Kitty On The Rocks
Kitty on the Rocks
Arc: Strange Bedfellows
Summary: The Majestic's Intelligence geeks are certain that the cats have another base further in the system, so the Majestic is doing a search for it with the expansive asteroid field being first. As a result, Paz is leading a flight of Phillip, James, and Walsh through a pre-determined route.
Date: 2659.101
Related Logs: None
Participants: Paz Phillip James Walsh

Analysis of the Kilrathi strike just less than a week ago has revealed that the Cats were attacking from two different locations. Most of the various strike groups originated from the direction of the Xytani jumppoint and the Kilrathi Carrier and Destroyer groups located there; however, several bomber and fighter groups attacked from further in the system, which allowed the Kilrathi to more effectively attack from multiple vectors. Thanks to the beating the cat forces received, it seems that the Kilrathi fleet is perfectly willing to hunker down at the jumppoint waiting either for a resupply of bombers and pilots or the Majestic's group to attempt to punch through them. In any case, the cats are doing a very lack luster job of searching for the Majestic while the Majestic's carrier group attempts to avoid detection.
Since the cats aren't interested in finding the Majestic, the 27th Carrier Air Wing is doing an all out recon of the several major locations in an attempt to find where and what the cats have hiding further in this system. Most of the higher ups are convinced it isn't mobile since it's not a carrier and no other cat capital ships can carry Grikaths, so the job just a lot easier, which isn't saying much. The asteroid field in this system is quite expansive and so are the two "habitable" planets in this system, if you can call a desert world and a seismically unstable planet habitable.

To make a long story less long, this is why we find Captain Ramirez leading two Stilettos and another Rapier through a rather dangerous tract of space filled with a bunch of large, lethal, and sensor-glitching boulders of metal and carbon. Speaking of sensor ghosts, I think the Stilettos just picked up another.

James is watching his scope carefully and sighs when what is probably just another sensor ghost comes up. He focuses his sensors on the blip then hurriedly pulls up to let a tiny boulder he had almost smacked into fly by.

Walsh is sat in his Stiletto, in an environment full of high-velocity chunks of death, watching his sensors. In other words, the status quo at the moment. He spots another faint blip, but in the interference caused by all the activity, and the likelihood of enemy ECM in proximity to wherever their base happens to be, the sensors aren't the most reliable. «Ah, got another one. Probably nothing, like the last… how many now?»

Paz stifles a slight yawn as she threads her Rapier through the rock field with her usual √©lan. «Cut, Ozone, Tizona. You guys picking up anything buy spoofers out there?» she queries, mostly out of boredom than any real curiosity. they'd tell her if they really picked anything up. «You guys don't think Meat Grinder gave us this search pattern 'cause we didn't jump on those Sarthas yesterday, do you?»

So here is Iceblade, yet again on Paz's wing. Always the wingman, never the wingleader. Phillip flies his Rapier on Captain's Ramirez's starboard side with some added distance for navigational purposes. Oh great another blip on my radar that is just a stupid sensor shadow. "Jeez, maybe passive sensors would be better," he says to himself. *VEER* Phillip's mind screams. "Stupid rock," Iceblade says as he weaves a bit to avoid yet another chunk of rock. «Eighth, I think. At least of those that have been radioed,» Iceblade radios to Walsh a little exasperated.

James mutters a curse as yet another sensor ghost is revealed, «Too bad we don't have enough torps to just dump two or three into each rock.» he says while maneuvering between two larger rocks.

Only about a second passes after the end of Walsh's transmission before he's forced into playing 'thread the needle' between two asteroids flying in opposite directions, causing quite some amount of sweat and swearing. When he's once more in the clear, he has the chance to reply to Paz's question. «Really hope this isn't punishment. Want to think he's smart enough to understand our reasoning for not kicking the hornet's nest.»

"Ah shit!" Paz meeps, finding herself on a near collision course with a rather large ball of rock, leaning on the port thruster a little to veer away far enough to make steerageway. «Ozone, Tizona, yeah, hoping the same thing. But there are moments when I have a doubt or two.» she replies, trying to make the slight bit of tension in her voice as she threads her way through the maze come off as humorous. She's only partially successful. «One thing's for sure, if the Fuzzy Wuzzies have anything hidden in here, it'll be a bitch to deal with.»

"I see with my little eye, something big, gray and lethal," Phillip mumbles to himself as he avoids big, giant things that really really hurt. «Actually Cutlass, I bet we could blast these rocks up pretty good with guns only, but asteroids are bad enough relatively still. An explosion would make this place a lot deadlier.» Iceblade radios.

Four little birds go flying through the rocks, bored and annoyed. But what is this out of the corner of their left eyes, but a flash of light against a distant rock. Red light at that. The pilots must be seeing things or are they.

James is just about to reply to Phillip when he catches sight of the light, «Hang on I think I've got something.» He gives the direction while focusing his sensors on the area the light had emerged from.

Walsh is distracted by a combination of chatting and trying not to shake hands with a rock. «What's that, Cutlass? I don't…» Swerve. Dip. Dive. «…see anything.»

Paz doesn't catch it, as she's too busy dodging rocks that seem to come in large, extra large and 'Jesu Christo, how do I get away from it?'. She does, however, hear the radio chatter and it has her full attention. «Flight, Lead, talk to me guys.» she calls out. «You got something out there?»

After barely detecting the flash of red light, Phillip quickly turns his head to the left and says "What the hell was that." Upon hearing James see it as well, he radios «Cutlass, Iceblade. Confirmed, a brief flash of light off to port. I think it was reddish in hue.»

Several more flashes alternating between red and white can be spotted some distance away, but much what is going on is heavily blocked by the big old rocks.

James opens the comm channel again, «The good news is there is definitely something there, the bad news is I can't make out what thanks to the rocks. I'm going in for a closer look.» He carefully accelerates towards the flashes with sensors on full.

«Yeah. I see it now. Some sort of beacon?» Walsh asks quickly, before being assaulted with a spray of tiny rocks interspersed with some larger ones, causing his shields to flash and buzz in protest. "Jesus Christ, they're out to get me!", he says to himself, exasperated.

«Cutlass, Tizona, copy that. Watch your ass out there, copy?» Paz says, breathing a brief sigh of relief as she enters a decent sized empty spot that'll give her a minute or two to settle her nerves before the next round of rock hopping. «Cutlass, Ozone, Can you give me a bearing and a description?»

Iceblade turns his Rapier with Paz's fighter, weaving to avoid anything big or small of the not so sedimentary variety. "Thank goodness for a clear space," Phillip says to himself before focusing his eyes toward the Stilettos, at least what you can see of them.

James nods «Bearing 295 Looks like red and white flashes I'm still not certain what's causing them though.» as he brings his craft around a smaller rock to close with the big one that was disrupting his sensors before diving under it.

«Confirmed, Red and white flashes, bearing approx. 295» Walsh manages, the small particles still raining hell on his shields. Seems he happens to be in the best part of the formation for all the rocky action today.

"God, I picked the wrong day to cut down on my drinking." Paz sighs, settling into her cockpit. As if on automatic, her fingers reach down and start arming her weapon systems, filling that section of her instrument panel with friendly, lethal little green lights. «Ozone, Tizona, copy your bearing. Iceblade, stick close, this could get hairy.» she calls.

Iceblade remains on Paz's starboard side waiting for more information about what the heck is going. «Roger that Tizona, and be careful Cutlass. There is definitely a fight brewing over there.» he radios as he primes his weapons systems.

As the Confed ships draw closer, they see a furball of 7 ships including two…Talons? Where did they…oh wait, yeah there were those pirates? privateers? unknown humans in this system. Well, three Sarthas and two Dralthi are trying their best to take on two Talons but with all of the rocks, they are all flying rather cautiously. A Sartha manages to hit one of the Talons as both Talons are firing on one of the Dralthi. Another Sartha decides to get reckless, though, and narrowly avoids smashing across an asteroid.

James watches the contacts as he closes «Ok everyone we've got five cats engaging two Talons. 3 Sarthas and two Dralthis for the kitties.» He watches the rocks carefully as he maneuvers to set up his first attack run.

"What the /FUCK/?" Paz shouts, suddenly veering her Rapier over to bring one of the Dralthis into her targeting reticule. «Flight, Lead, looks like we've got company out here after all.» she calls out, needlessly. «Stay on the Fuzzies for the moment, we'll deal with the Talons later.» she instructs. «Lead Talon fighter, this is Tizona in TCSF Rapier fiver fiver one one Sierra. Identify yourself!» she shouts over the open comm channel.

Ah, well great. A three-sided fight. Walsh readies his weapon systems quickly as they approach, still being plagued by what is undoubtedly the biggest dust cloud known to mankind. "Godddamnit, wish these shields would stop buzzing!" he mutters, before acknowledging his orders, with a slightly annoyed tone. «Copy that lead. Felines first.»

"Dang that is a lot of ships," Iceblade says to himself as he keeps with Paz's Rapier that is not moving closer into the fighter melee. "Okay, let's try guns for a bit, rather would like to avoid wasting a missile against some rocks." Phillip says aloud before focusing his sites on one of the Dralthi. "Hmm… now what was that Kilrathi phrase again," he mumbles thinking.

As the Confed ships get within striking distance, the fighter melee continues with no hits except on the rocks. Poor dumb rocks, always abused. Just then one of the Talons races toward an asteroid followed closely a single Dralthi. The Talon easily evades the rock, clearly knowing what he is doing. The Dralthi though apparently is definitely much less skilled and skids across the asteroids surface as he tries to evade it. The resulting collision actually causes the poor Kiralthi's fighter to fly right into another asteroid at a high rate of speed. The Dralthi explodes into the rock showering out a spray of mixed metals and solid carbon.

The Kilrathi quickly realize that there are more ships in the area as do the Talons who immediately bolt and weave away from the scene, leaving the Confed flight to deal with the cats.

James replies «Copy that Lead.» as he skirts around the edge of the large asteroid before opening fire on the lead Sartha then breaking to dive under the rock as he tries to evade the fire of the surviving Dralthi.

Paz lines the lead Dralthi up in her sights and gives the combination triggers a squeeze. "Wow, so much for goddamn gratitude." she grumbles as her sensors register the Talons scooting away. "Note to self, try and get a course extrapolation on those jokers."

Phillip watches as his target bounces into an asteroid and can't help but chuckle. Then the threat receivers go off as one of the Sarthas goes for him. He immediately begins evading the cat and rocks and decides to piss the cautious cat off. He radios, «Hey Kitty, *Kilrathi insult*». Phillip barely remembered the phrase but for the life of him, he can't remember quite what it means. Only that it really pisses off Kilrathi.

Iceblade immediately heads straight for an asteroid and vectors in an attempt to just miss it, but hopefully the Kilrathi won't be so smart.

"Oof." Walsh cringes as the Dralthi ping-pongs between asteroids. True to form, his quick wit kicks into play, and he can't resist interjecting commentary. «Guess that Kat was a bartender? — He just invented Dralthi on the rocks…» *insert rimshot here* "Saves us the trouble." he says to himself, off-air. Meanwhile, he notices that the Talons have begun to make themselves scarce, leaving the kitties with the bag, so-to-speak. He spots a Sartha in what is relatively clear space, and decides to improve his day.

Phillip's little stunt didn't pay off and he took a hit to nose for it, but at least he manages to gracefully avoid hitting the asteroid while the tailing Sartha just narrowly misses it, which gives the somewhat angry Kilrathi a slight calming (read humbling) effect. The other ships sling shots in the melee but have no luck with hitting anything. All the while the Talons flee the area with a parting but slightly distorted and smug communication, «Th..ks for the assi..onfed.»

"Dammit….Snap out of it, PAz! Shoot straight, goddamn it!" Paz snarls to herself, sliding in back behind the lead Dralthi and lining herself up for another shot. Out of the corner of eye, one of her rear views catches a fragment of Iceblade taking a smackdown from a Sartha. «Iceblade, Tizona, sound off!» she calls out.

James grimaces as his first shot skims the shields of its target and cuts back on the throttle as he swings around hoping for more time to aim the second volley. Once it's on its way he dives and banks to port trying to shake off the Dralthi.

So apparently the Sartha saw Walsh coming, and was quick to the trigger. Luckily, thanks to a combination of being highly alert, and the Kilrathi reputation for precision gunnery (or lack thereof), the shots fly wide by a large margin, shattering an asteroid in the distance. "Hey, buddy, I'm the one doing the shooting here!" he says with some annoyance, as he lines the bandit up again. «Ozone guns.»

The Sartha manages to get a hit on Iceblade's Rapier's nose before he closes with the rock. Even still, Phillip deftly and gracefully avoids the big damn rock, but the Sartha manages to avoid the rock as well but goes shooting off straight rather than staying on Iceblade's tail. Phillip immediately takes this opportunity to get onto the Sartha's tail with a loop and he opens fire. «Uh, nothing too rough Tizona.» Iceblade radios quickly and distractedly.

"Oh screw it!" Paz growls as her second attempt goes even wilder than the first. Cursing, she applies a little more throttle and pursuing the Dralthi with a bit more gusto. Damn the asteroids, full speed ahead! «Tizona, rolling in hot, guns!» she calls, lining up for a third bite at the apple.

James watches his second shot rip into the nose of his target as he passes then swings around trying to get onto the Sartha's tail before firing another shot and looping in an attempt to force the Dralthi to break or eat rock.

Phillip fires off a few shots, but the weaving of the Sartha proves too good. So good in fact he easily evades an upcoming rock and loops around to blast at Phillip's portside laser cannon as Iceblade attempts to avoid the rock. "Damn it," Iceblade says after the hit. "No more Mr. Nice Guy," he says as he activates imrecs. A weave here and a weave there with the Sartha tailing and finally a clearing. AFTERBURN! and turn, one second later and PING! Missile away. «Fox One!» Iceblade radios.

Walsh and the Sartha are engaged in some sort of space-borne joust, flying at each other and firing. A high-speed joust. In an obstacle course. Where the obstacles move. Consequently, nothing much happens, except the creation of more, smaller asteroids from errant shots. Despite the frustration of getting nowhere, fighting in an asteroid field, above all else, makes Walsh nervous.

The melee continues with both James and Walsh scoring hits on two of the Sarthas while Phillip and Paz's missiles fail to connect with their targets. The Kilrathi have much less luck with a Dralthi only chewing up some of James's front armor.

Paz growls with frustration as her Imrec goes wide, and preps a second. «Flight, lead, say your status, over?» she calls over the radio, clearly anxious to know how everyone's doing in this crap-tastic flight environment. "Okay, Fuzzy, next shot, you're kitty litter." she growls, lining up her targeting reticule and, against type, patiently waiting for the cross hairs to align, hanging in behind the Dralthi doggedly. «You can run, fleabag, but you can't hide. Tizona's gonna get ya!» she calls over the open channel, hoping that maybe her taunt will shake the pilot up and make him do something stupid, Like follow his former wingman into a collision with a big damn rock!

James grimaces as the mass driver rounds plow into his shield and hurriedly rebalances them to compensate before coming around for another run at the Sartha which is now tailing Paz. «Cutlass, I'm fine the shields absorbed the hit, they are still a little weak but no damage.»

Phillip's missile shoots out at the Sartha whose own shots are easily evaded by Phillip. The Sartha evades the missile by flying near an asteroid. The Sartha misses the asteroid but the missile doesn't and showers space with more small rocks. "Grrr.." Phillip growls as he races toward the Sartha being a little less cautious of the rocks, but not being stupid about it. «Tiz, Ice, I'm fine.» He responds rapidly as the missile locks. Ping! «Iceblade, Fox One!» Phillip says and fires the missile at the Sartha who is even now turning to attack Phillip.

Walsh leads his reply with a rather audible sigh. «Just fine, Tizona, but fuck these rocks, hard.» He has finally scored a hit on his target, amongst the to-ing and fro-ing, and that's something positive, at least. He swings his craft hard around the back of a large asteroid, slingshotting himself back toward the Sartha. Hopefully dealing more damage, this time.

After taking another hit from James, the Sartha after Paz turns around and fires upon James, missing completely and taking a light hit to the nose before easily avoiding a rock. The other kitties also start getting overzealous with the Dralthi launching a heatseeker at James. The other cats miss except for the one after Phillip who quickly finds that to be his last shot as Iceblade's imrec blows a big hole up the Sartha's nostril. Phillip and Paz both manage to avoid rocks themselves in their slightly less rock conscious states with the same going for the other kitties.

«Flight, lead, copy that, let's just try and stay that way a little longer.» Paz calls over the radio. «Good shot, Iceblade!» she adds. «That'll keep 'em thinking.» she says, then grins devilishly when the two crosshairs finally align. «Tizona, Fox Two!» she announces and squeezes the trigger, grinning hard as she feels the slight shudder of the big missile leaping off the rails and racing toward its target.

James watches as another of his shots strikes his target's nose hitting a little below the scar from the first hit he had scored. James then throws his craft through a half loop back towards the Sartha after evading its fire hoping to line up a killing blow on the Kilrathi fighter or at least force it to break from its attack run to evade.

As the Kilrathi Sartha comes around on Phillip, it fires several rounds, one of them bursting through Iceblade's shields and smashing into his right wing. The cat, however, pays for that hit as it flies right into the imrec exploding right into an asteroid. Phillip grins as he switches back to guns and heads off to help Walsh with a quick radio announcement, «Iceblade here, someone order an asteroid sprinkled with some fine cat's blood»

Walsh is pleased to pepper his newest friend with another set of holes, but this is taking altogether too much effort for his liking. Time to change things up. He abruptly changes direction, heading off on a tangent. He hopes to be able to out-play his adversary and double around behind him from behind an asteroid.

With careful aim, Paz hurls an imrec right into the Dralthi's face obliterating the cockpit, the cat, and fighter. Both Sarthas miss by long shots and both take nasty hits for their more aggressive flying by James and Phillip.

"See, I /toll'd/ ya!" Paz grins as she watches her Imrec splatter the Dralthi into a hundred thousand white-hot fragments of molted metal. "Maybe one of these days, you furry bastards'll learn to listen to ol' Tizona." she chuckles, then, spotting potential trouble on Ozone's six, she catches her breath, bears down /hard/ on her abdominals and vectors like crazy to start a new round of target acquisition on the Sartha that's been plaguing the Illumunati.

James mutters, "Great I think we're past nickel and diming it to death and down to pennying it to death at this rate," as his target takes a fourth hit but keeps flying. He snapturns back for another pass but fights down the urge to switch to missiles instead sending another salvo of Mass driver rounds towards his target.

As Walsh pulls away, Phillip races in taking some care to avoid an near collision with a moving rock and fires at Walsh's purser landing a solid hit to its nose and hopefully distracting the Sartha long enough for Walsh to make the kill, but just in case. «Hey Kitty, *another successfully remembered Kilrathi insult*» is radioed by Phillip and really pisses the cat off. Iceblade immediately turns around evades incoming shots, but this time he keeps some distance from the asteroids.

Right according to plan, the Sartha spots Walsh change directions and gives chase into a denser part of the asteroid field. Also according to plan, he overshoots the place where Walsh has ducked in behind an asteroid to wait in ambush. With its engines blazing, it presents a juicy target to the seekers on an HS missile. «Fox Two, motherfucker!»

As the Sartha turns to race for Iceblade, Walsh's missile smacks and breaks the nose and all of the controls on the poor Sartha who immediately explodes. Meanwhile, James lands a hit on the last Sartha, but is unable to penetrate the armor. Even still, the cat is still distracted by the hit and in turning to attack James, completely misses the floating rock right to his port. WAM! The kitty is splatted right into the rockface. Stupid cats.

«Ozone, Tizona, /nice/ shot, guy!» Paz calls, her grin evident in her tone. «Okay, flight, sound off on your status. Anybody got any damage we need to be worrying about?» she queries, shutting down her weapons systems. «Also, say your fuel state. We've still got the rest of this rockfield to scour, Fuzzy Wuzzies or no.»

James cuts back on the throttle so he can laugh at the irony of the Sartha being brought down by a rock. Once that's done he glances at his status display «Cutlass shields are back at full and all systems green. I'm going to run a sensor sweep and see if we can pick up out runaway Talons.»

Iceblade weaves a bit here and there to avoid a few rounds of neutrons, but then it stops suddenly. Iceblade slows down some and glances back to see that where the Sartha was now lies some expanding gases and debris. «Excellent hit Ozone.» As Phillip takes his Rapier around to get back on Tizona's wing, he radios in response, «Lead, Iceblade. I took a hits here and there. I'm good otherwise. Still got a little more than half-a-tank, it is real hard to use burners around here.»

Walsh emerges from his ambush site, and weaves his way back in the direction of the others. «Cheers! Should be thanking the Kitty for being a predictable idiot» He pauses a moment before responding with his sitrep. «Ozone, Status green. Fuel good. Almost afraid to use 'burners in this shit.»

«Flight, lead, copy that.» Paz replies, settling back into her couch and tickling the throttle down a little on her Rapier. «Okay, folks, just a few thousand more kilometers and we're off home. Cutlass, if you can get a read on those Talons, it'd be a big help. Already got their point of origin, if we can extrapolate a course for them, we might be able to work out who the hell they were.»

James nods punching the point of origin into his search and trying to pick up traces of their outbound vector even as he replies <Working on it Lead.»

Iceblade reaches Paz's starboard side again and listens to the orders. After thinking for a second, he comments, «Lead, Iceblade. Those Talons are probably with that guy flying the Hhriss we encountered not but a week or so ago.»

«I'm with Cutlass. Sooner we work out where they went, sooner we can get out of here. This asteroid field is doing my head in.» Walsh says. He's got more reason than most to dislike asteroids, and he's not known for keeping his cool.

«Ozone, Tizona, I heartily agree with you on that one.» Paz says, caching her breath a little as she viffs to avoid a deceptively large hunk of rock. «We're in the muck here, flight.» she sighs at length, once she gets her heart rate under control. «Iceblade, you think those Talons are the same ones? You sure?»

«Pretty sure. The Hhriss did run back into this same asteroid field, and I would be surprised if there were more than one group of pirates or whatever they are hanging around here.» Phillip replies after avoiding another big chunk of rock.

With the Talons long gone and leaving little of an ion trail in the rocks; Paz, Phillip, James and Walsh continue their designated recon patrol route encountering no further hostiles or details of interest. They head for home afterward with another 5 cats down and a small expenditure of missiles.