Men Speak Too Much of Danger
Men Speak Too Much of Danger
Arc: Hammer and Anvil
Summary: TCS Princeton and TCS Majestic lead a daring assault to cut Kilrathi forces in two.
Date: 2658.212
Related Logs: None
Participants: Cole Paz Kanani Victoria

Viewed from the jump point, Nexus looks much like any other star system… a mass of black scattered with pinpricks of light, with only a slightly larger blue-white dot marking the system's blue giant star from this incredible distance.

The jump point flares to life in a flurry of activity, a stream of Confederation craft making their way through… a scattering of destoyers, a pair of heavy cruisers, and then finally a Bengal-class carrier. As the two cruisers and their accompanying destroyers peel away to move towards the other jump points, the carrier begins to deploy its fighters. Dozens of fighter craft issue forth from the Majestic's launch tubes, breaking away from each other in threes and fours as they go on about their assigned missions.

The jump point flares one last time, and a massive form emerges into the sytem: TCS Princeton. One of the last of the surviving pre-war battleships, Princeton's kilometer-long hull nearly doubles the Majestic in size. As the last of the fighters clear the Majestic's launch tubes, a handful take up positions orbiting the pair of large ships… accompanying the pair as they slowly begin to lumber towards that blue-white dot in the distance, heading for the heart of the system.

« Zulu lead to Zulu flight. All craft, report status » Cole calls over comms as he brings his broadsword into its position near the Princeton. One of the few times that he actually has to back off the throttle to keep his assigned position in a formation. Yes, the battleship is /that/ slow.

«Lead, Tizona, ship's good to go.» Paz replies happily as she heels her fighter into a turn that puts her on a vector to join the rest of the formation. «Ol' battlewagon's kind of on the clunky side, ain't it?» she comments, cursing quietly as she dials back her throttles frantically to stay on station.

«Zulu lead, this is Tsunami. Everything checks out here, and isn't it nice to be able to visit Nexus again, so soon?" Kanani replies over the comm, as her fighter settles into its very, very slow escort speed, forming up with the other fighters in her assigned spot. «Yeah, Tizona, just a bit clunky. Maybe if they'd tried harder, they could have made it even slower though.»

Tori's enjoying the rapier, compared to the old Scimitars. But she does have to remember to keep it slow for now, at least until they have something to go tearing off after and into. « Queen here. Zulu 2 is all green. » she reports in, as requested. Tizona's comment has her grin, and she can't help but comment, « Not much worse than the scimitars, really. » Course, since they're not flying them any more, they are fair game. And then she goes quiet on comm, chuckling softly at Tsunami's input.

The advance, it seems, will not be unopposed. Trouble appears on the radar screen long before it becomes visible to the naked eye: A quartet of Fralthi-class cruisers advancing, with a screen of fighter and bomber craft ahead.

The first face that appears on the VDUs in response is none other than that of Vice Admiral Marakov himself, a savage smile on his bearded face. « Majestic, fall in astern. If these bastards want a fight, I'm going to give them one » He orders. « Fighters, just keep their bombers off us. We'll delete the heavies. »

Markaov's face fades, to be replaced by the young comms lieutenant standing watch in Majestic's CIC. « Yankee flight, you're on the bombers. Zulu flight, the fighters are all yours. »

« Copy that Majestic. » Cole replies, before speaking to his section. « Zulu lead to Zulu flight, looks like we get the fun part of this today » Cole comments with a little grin under his helmet. « Let 'em come in under the flak, then get in there and make a mess. The better we keep them occupied, the faster the Raptors can chew up their bombers. »

"Heeeere kitty, kitty, kitty." Paz grins to herself, slowly feeding a little more power into her ship's engines as she starts setting up her weapons. «Lead, Tizona, copy, wilco. Just like old times, right guys?» she asks, then shakes herself a little to get back into character. Been a while since she's been up against Kilrathi.

«Roger that, lead. Bout time we took the fight back to the cats, wouldn't you guys say?» Kanani chimes in, putting a bit more power into her Stiletto's engines as she gets ready for the fight to start up.

Kitten chasing, here we come! « Welcome back to Nexus, » Tori says with an intent look on her face. « Roger, Zulu lead. Looking forward to seeing how these birds fly, first hand. » Oh yes, it's time to make kitty litter. She preps up, her own engines almost pouting at the wait, as she powers weapons up, making sure she is eady to hit the afterburn and high speed as soon as those fighters near the designated location.
The two sets of warships continue their stately approach, the blue and orange dots on the radar screens slowly drawing closer and closer to the inevitable confrontation. As the groups close, the Kilrathi fighters suddenly accelerate forward… racing in towards the Confederation ships on afterburner.

« Wait for it. » Cole comments simply, even as he moves his hand to rest on his throttle control. « Wait for it. » He adds again, watching as the range counts down further and further, before finally jamming his throttle forward to the stops. Not that it does all that much good in a broadsword. « Zulu flight, break and attack ».

Similar orders are mirrored a moment later in Yankee flight's formation of heavy fighters, and the Raptors streak in on afterburner towards the Kilrathi bombers.

Tori's grin is amused as Cole keeps everyone in line. Her own hand finds the throttle at his first 'wait for it.' But she waits until he gives the command before she hits her own afterburners, the rapier jumping forward with more speed than the scimitars ever dreamed about. "Sweet," she murmurs, eyes agleam, and she takes off to meet the incoming fighters. « Let's party. »

«Copy that, lead.» Is all Kanani says as her nimble fighter breaks towards the kitties and rockets off towards them, while still trying not to get -too- far ahead of the Rapiers at least, Cole being of course likely to get left a few planets behind the rest in his slow bomber.

«Lead, Tizona, copy that, breaking…now now now!» And with that call, Paz flips the seeker head on her first friend or foe missile and lets it drift across the enemy formation until it snags a lock on the lead Krant. "Hello, kiity." she smiles nastily. "And goodbye."

While the heavy warships might be taking their time to come into firing range, it takes only seconds for the fighters to close on each other at their absurd closure. A brief flash of fire is visible as the heavy fighters open up at long range. A pair of Kilrathi bombers explode within a second of each other, followed quickly by a Raptor.

The kilrathi escorts break off to meet the Confederation fighters, with a garishly painted orange-and-black Sartha leading the charge. Either a very skilled or a very foolish pilot, to be that aggressive in his maneuvering.

Straggling behind those racing in, Cole toggles his selector switch over to his missiles. As his broadsword slowly moves into the fight, he lobs a friend or foe into the melee, trusting the smart weapon to be just that. After all, with so many targets in front of him, why be picky?

Kanani rolls her fighter after the Sartha with the horrid orange and black Sartha, commenting over the comm. «Someone sure has bad taste in painting their fighter. Looks all dressed up for halloween.» She states as she switches over to missiles and launches a heat seeker once she's on his tail. «Fox 2!»

"Wait a second….who is _this_ idiot?" Paz asks herself, shifting her missile lock from the Krant over to the newcomer. "You've gotta be somebody kind of special to have a fancy paintjob like that. «Zulu Flight, Tizona, looks like we got a heavy-hitter in the crowd. Stay alert. These fuckers don't play games.» she advises. «Hey you, with the orange and black paintjob. My name's Tizona, and, heh, guess what?» she calls over the open channel, «I'm going to blow you up! Fox-two!.> and with that, she firess.

Tori can't miss the big orange and black paint job. If they weren't painting their ships before, they're apparently taking lessons. her own Aces and Queens full house looks positively invisible next to that garishness, but that's okay. Given the immediate locks her peers are putting in place, Tori decides to go after one of the other fighters, targetting one that's aiming at the slower moving broadsword, locking onto one of the nasty Hhriss heavy fighters. « And fire away, full guns on the Hhriss on your tail, Zulu lead. » she calls out, as she hits the fire button.

A flurry of missiles races in towards the Kilrathi fighters, three of them angling for that distinctive orange and black form… the pilot's skill is obvious, as he neatly sideslips a pair of the missiles. The third one, however, proves too much for him to take, driving into the light fighter and blowing a chunk away from the rear of one wing.

The swirling melee continues between the Raptors and the bombers, both sides locked into a furious combat between the groups of capital ships. The first few shots of fire from the capital ships begin to reach out from both sides, striking into the fighter melee between as it comes into range… drawing closer to position for their main batteries to open fire.

Cole's broadsword, in an engagement like this, mostly seems to be playing bait. Drawing fighters to it with the threat of a torpedo attack on the cruisers, leaving his wingmen free to shoot. Attacked by three Kilrathi fighters, he still emerges unscathed… wildly evading, even as he lobs off a second shot. « Seems I'm popular today »

«Just so long as they don't hit you, Voodoo.» Kanani replies to Cole's statement. She frowns slightly as her missile hits the ugly fighter hard, but not hard enough. Then again, as far as she's concerned it never is unless the fighter blows up on the first shot. She stays on the cat and switches to guns, opening fire once again, trying to place a shot into his lap.

Suddenly finds herself the star of the show, with all of the flashing lights and fireworks that come with the position! Cursing, Paz pickles off her first missile and loses track of it as she jukes and jinks her Rapier like a madwoman to avoid the incoming fire. She's able to do it, barely, but the result is one wasted missile and one fairly annoyed Paz. "Okay, that's it…no more of this ducking an dodging shit." she growls, flipping her fighter back to semi-level flight and firing up her last missile. This time, she does it right, puts the seeker right on the enemy ace's engines and slowly squeezing the trigger, intent on riding the beam on this one if it kills her.

« As always, lead, » Tori retorts. « Has to do with that big target painted on your Broadsword.» She manages a light hit on the Hhriss she's targetting, but at the penalty of getting hit by one of the light fast fighters. "Damn it," she cusses as her rapier wobbles a bit from the impact, but then she is back in the game, still chasing that Hhriss, with intent to kill. Nasty thing needs to be removed from the fray before it gets in a lucky shot while the good guys are distracted by hallowe'en. Target and … fire. « And here we go again. »

The orange and black Sartha evades wildly, swinging through space in a series of quick evasives in its attempt to shake the terran craft that hound it. The effort ultimately proves in vain. A line of mass driver slugs walks into the cockpit, the wild maneuvering leveling out as the pilot inside is hit… and a moment later, a missile races into the engines and detonates the fighter in a flash.

The brilliance of that explosion is quickly eclipsed as the main batteries on the Princeton come into range of the Kilrathi cruisers. Half a dozen heavy plasma turrets traverse towards the lefthand ship in the Kilrathi formation, and a rippling fire of incandescent green begins to steadily lash out into space. The first few shots fly wide, but the Princeton quickly finds its mark… the glow of the Kilrathi cruiser's shields as they struggle to withstand the torrent of energy visible as one more star against the sky.

The Kilrathi fighters, meanwhile, finally seem to realize the Broadsword for what it is: A distraction. As they begin to angle in towards the remaining Confederation fighter craft to avenge the loss of their leader, Cole grins under his helmet and swings his broadsword around quickly towards the Ace's wingman. "You're going to pay for that mistake…" Cole comments under his breath, toggling off the last of his missiles.

«Tsunami, Tizona, scratch one Fuzzzy Wuzzy.» Paz cheers over the radio, pumping her first for a millisecond before switching to her image recognition missiles and pointing one of their seeker heads of the Hhriss riding Queen's tail. «Queen, Tizona, break right, you've got a heavy right on your six. Coming in high.» With that, she dives and once more, lines up on the enemy ship's engine compartment.

Kanani gives a little shrug as the leader of the Kilrathi group is blown up, and she swings her fighter to target one of the Krants. «Nice shot there, Tizona.» She adds in response to Paz's statement, and then starts to juke and jive her fighter a bit, as she notices two of the kitties trying to chase her down.

« Nice job, folks,» Tori calls out, glad that there's one less enemy ace to be dealt with. And one less fighter in their way. She notes she's got a tail, the other Hhriss apparently not liking it much as she continues to focus on her first target. Heck, they all gotta go down, might as well pick on the tough guys first. Or something. "C'mon, kitty, let's see what you've got," she murmurs, as she switches to an image recognition missile and lets it loose after the Hhriss. « Bombs away. »

The Fralthi come into range of the Princeton a moment later… trading volleys of fire across the black of space. The shields of the Fralthi being attacked continue to glow fiercely under the assault, shifting from the usual translucent blue haze to a brilliant opaque red.

Caught in the middle are the fighter craft, weaving in and out between the massive bursts of energy, conducting their own private little war between the dueling giants. Accuracy for all sides drops as the fighters struggle to maintain positions without being hit by fire from the capitals, a further element of chaos added to the melee.

Cole, meanwhile, regards his screen with something approaching panic. Even if he does his level best to keep that from creeping into his voice. « Voodoo to Tsunami, go evasive. You've got the whole goddamn Kilrathi Navy on you. » Cole calls out, even as he lines up his guns on the cockpit of a fighter, hoping to thin out the odds a little.

«I see them. I see them.» Is Kanani's response to this situation, in a tone of voice not nearly suited for the fact that so many fighters are shooting at her. Having said her say, she then starts to loop and roll her nimble fighter, trying to break every law of physics known to humankind, and probably a few that aren't known, as she tries to dodge all the fire.

«Tsunami, Tizona, no worries, girlfriend, we'll get you out of this.» Paz adds, juking a little to avoid getting caught up in the increasingly chaotic and dangerous flak ring above and below them. "Not wasting a missile on this guy." she says, switching to her neutron cannon and lining up her next shot carefully. "Come on, Fuzzy, hold still for just a couple heartbeats."

Tori manages to evade the attack from the heavy fighter aimed her way and her missile scores a hit on the fighter she was attacking. The flak around is noted - adding to her concentration required to stay in one piece. As she hears the comments and realizes that Tsunami is taking the brunt of the attack, she frowns. A heartbeat and she peels off her target, leaving the fairly damaged Hhriss in favour of an undamaged fighter, hoping to distract if not destroy one. Her rapier loops and is still fast moving, as she hits the throttle forward, chasing one of the Krants now, firing a missile at it. « Bombs away,» she warns.

The brilliant red glow from the Kilrathi cruiser's shields suddenly stops, the relentless green bolts of fire tearing into bare hull as the shields collapse. Within seconds, they can be seen to penetrate straight through the cruiser, and it expands in a cloud of debris and burning atmosphere. Princeton's batteries methodically shift to the next target down the line without a pause in their firing, sweeping towards their next victim. The Kilrathi ships finally find their range, a pair of antimatter shots slamming into Princeton's thick hide, causing small explosions to blossom under the shielding. Modern technology does have its advantages.

The shift in fire from the Princeton catches the second Kilrathi light fighter by surprise, while it's too intent on following the evasives of the wildly maneuvering Stiletto ahead of it. One of those incandescent green beams from the Princeton intersects with the light fighter, blotting it from space without leaving so much as a debris cloud behind. One moment it was there, and the next it's simply gone.

A second Kilrathi fighter dies in a more conventional manner, the hhriss battered by continued fire until it breaks apart into two sections, which spin back against each other and explode.

« Christ I'm glad I'm not on the receiving end of that » Cole comments as the Kilrathi cruiser explodes, followed a moment later by the evaporation of that light fighter. He jerks his controls around quickly, moving to change targets… even as he watches the Kilrathi moving for another pass at his craft.

«Queen, Tizona, lemme see if I can scrape that burr of your backside.» Paz calls, slipping smoothly behind the second, already wounded Hhriss to deliver a coup de grace. «Hell of a light show.» she comments to no-one inparticular as she lines up her next shot.

«Physics be damned, ha!» Kanani remarks as her physics defying manuvers dodge all of the shots headed her way, as well as avoiding the fire from the big guns. The moment she notices that the cats have switched to other targets, just as quickly her fighter levels out and races after one of the krants in an aggressive fashion, and a heat seeker quickly jumps off the rack to intercept it.

« You can say that again, » Tori murmurs. That's just - wow. She shakes her head, switching back to full guns as her last IR missile has ben fired. Course, that's long enough for a kitten to target her, so she now has to duck, juke and weave to evade the kitty who is targetting her. Which just has her try the old slow down, let the kitty pass her, and fire back. « Take 'em out, Tizona, » she says, as she gets her chance, target locking and she fires.

The second Kilrathi cruiser goes through much the same stages as the first one did… the shields flaring blue, then starting to glow a brilliant red as their ability to withstand the torrent of fire directed against them fails. More victims fall to straying into that barrage of energy, a Grikath bomber and the Raptor that had been chasing it explode within a second of each other. Bolts of plasma don't recognize IFF codes, after all.

A further series of small explosions blossom along the Princeton's side as more Kilrathi fire comes in, followed by a much larger explosion as a Kilrathi torpedo finds its mark, tearing away a chunk of armor and exposing a section of several decks of the battleship to space. Majestic's main batteries come in range a moment later, adding still more fire to an already crowded sky… working over the cruiser opposite from Princeton's target.

« Looks like I'm popular again » Cole grumbles, though as the Kilrathi fighter population thins he at least seems to be a little less cautious… concentrating more on landing attacks than he is on whether his broadsword takes damage. After all, when his flying is still not at its best, he's gotta trust the broadsword's thick hide a little.

Kanani doesn't pay much attention to the lightfight going on outside her cockpit, other than to make sure she's not in the way of any incoming shots from the big ships. Her previous missile having done some decent damage to the Krant, she continues to go after it, trying to finish it off, with her last missile, calling out. «Fox 2. and that's my last missile.»

« Getting crowded around here, » Tori comments, and she's not necessarily talking about the fighters. While she manages to trick the kitty once, it's obvious that she can't use the same tactic. Still, she works to get that Krant, targetting and then letting loose with full guns, hoping something will hit. It's getting a tad more difficult to maneouver around the cap ships' light show. Without getting hit that is.

"Jesus, Mary, Mother of God." Paz says as she sees part of the Princeston's hull plating peeled away in a firey blast. She crosses herself quickly in the cramped little cockpit and then it's back to work. Her first shot's got more fire coming out of the Hhriss' engine compartment, but it's stilly flying and still dangerous. «Here kitty, kitty, kitty…» she taunts openly. «I got a whole can of tuna fish for ya.» she coos as she lines up her second shot.

The second Kilrathi cruiser to come under the Princeton's guns doesn't fare much better than the first, its shields shimmering and failing… followed a moment later by the ship neatly splitting in half as high energy plasma tears through from bow to stern. The steady stream of green shifts once more, directing onto the same target as Majestic's batteries.

Able to see the writing on the wall, the Kilrathi cruisers slowly begin to edge back out of the fight… even as their bombers press the attack, and a second torpedo explosion tears into the massive battleship.

The Raptors doggedly keep on their targets, whittling down the number of Kilrathi bomber craft steadily. The Kilrathi might be getting their hits on the massive warship, but they're paying a terrible price for it.

« Krants just don't die » Cole grumbles as his shots tear through the armor around the cockpit, and yet the stubborn fighter flies on. « Let's hurry up and finish these off, and see if we can't help with the bombers. Princeton's not looking pretty »

«No kidding. We need bigger guns on these fighters.» Kanani remarks, as she tries to put a burst of gun fire into the Krant's cockpit. Her fighter still manages to avoid getting hit by any of the big guns fortunately, and that suits her fine.

"Dammit.." Paz growls as her second shot, so carefully lined up, hits and is mostly deflected by the Hhriss' tail armor. "Okay, that's it." she scowls, feeding just a little more power into her already screaming engine. "Time to die, Fuzzy, we got better things to do than futz around with you guys." Once again, she lines up the pipper on the enemy craft's engine compartment and slowly squeezes the trigger.

Sounds like a good plan. Tori's already tailing after the Krant, even as it tries to get a good shot on her. Cat and mouse, only this mouse has teeth. Erm, guns. Dodge, evade, duck - beginning to seem like the usual, at this rate. « At least they're having the same fun targetting us, » she grumbles aloud. As she manages to loop unexpectedly, she fires at her target again, hoping that this time the armour has been weakened enough that her shot will make it through. She has a split second and takes advantage of it, firing.

Savaged by the Raptor pilots, the Kilrathi bombers move to withdraw towards their fleeing cruisers. Even as one of the cruisers edges beyond weapons range of the slower carrier and battleship, the second one's luck fails it. Antimatter shots from the Majestic slam into the retreating Fralthi's engines, and the ship suddenly goes dark, tumbling in a helpless spin. Princeton's batteries mercilessly shift onto the crippled ship, carving the cruiser it into pieces in the blink of an eye.

« Looks like they're heading home » Cole comments with a little grin, trying his best to hide his frustration at the night's performance. « Might as well try and punch out a few before they can get there. Fewer we'll have to fight tomorrow »

Kanani grumbles as her shot doesn't do any damage to the Krant this time. She doesn't dwell on it though, and tries yet again to finish the ship off.

"Dammit! Really?" Paz sighs as her next shot misses the engine but does a good job of tearing a chunk out of the ship's body. «Flight, Tizona, looks like the Fuzzies have had enough for today, scope says they're bugging out.» she calls over the radio before lining up what she privately swears will be the last shot she will have to take at this wretched damn ship one way or the other.

Tori hits with her last shot, though not exactly a stellar hit. She wrinkles her nose, and tries again, firing as she gets a good opportunity. Maybe if the other ships are turning tail and running she'll have a better chance at this one little fighter she's trying to blow up? « Let's finish these buggers off then, » she says, determination ringing in her voice.

The fire from the secondary batteries of the capital ships cuts off abruptly, as the risk of striking a friendly fighter becomes greater than the potential to kill an enemy craft. As the Kilrathi fighters move to withdraw, another pair explode to concentrated firepower from the flight assigned to their destruction… a sole Krant racing back towards the surviving cruiser on full afterburner, catching up with the surviving bombers in their hasty retreat.

« Princeton to all units. Good work, people » Comes the ghostly green image of the 8th Fleet's Commander. « That's three cruisers they're not getting back » Which, apparently, is of far more concern for Marakov than the scattering of holes in his flagship.

« Voodoo to Zulu Flight » Cole calls a moment later. « How's everyone looking? Showing all green across the board on my end. Makes for a nice change » he adds wryly, as his bomber swings back in towards his escort position.

«Lead, Tsunami. Everything's green on my board.» Kanani replies, as the kittens run away from the fight. Her fighter once again moves into its slow escort position as well, as she looks over the area. «That's a pretty impressive way to enter a system, wouldn't you say?» She adds with a bit of a chuckle.

"Ha-ha! Eat hot, neutronic death, you Fuzzy bastard!" Paz crows as the Hhriss she's been bird-dogging finally explodes into a shower of component atoms. «Lead, Tizona.» she radios, nimbly dodging the rapidly expanding debris cloud. «Doing just fine over here. Good work, everybody.» she adds. «Damn, but that was fun! You think they'll be game for a rematch any time soon?» she asks, obviously eager to nail a few more Kilrathi pelts to her door.

Marakov's words bring a bloodthirsty smile to her face, just for a moment. Tori then replies back to Cole's request with, « Queen here. Light damage, one of the kittens got lucky but green enough to go.» That's her opinion at least, and she too falls back to take up her escort position once more. At least unless she's told to do something else.

« Copy that » Cole replies. « Nicely done, everyone. Good to see we haven't rusted too badly out in the ass end of nowhere » Says the man who very nearly got himself killed out there. Yay, irony. « Form back up on the Princeton in case they decide to come in again. Yankee flight lost three of their eight, with three more damaged. If the kittens come in again, it's going to be up to us »