More Matter, Less Art
More Matter, Less Art
Arc: Hammer and Anvil
Summary: Majestic launches a long-range strike on a Kilrathi carrier, only to have a Kilrathi attack sneak in from behind.
Date: 2658.240
Related Logs: None
Participants: Cole Kanani Walsh Ionel Victoria Draygo

Amazing how one tiny orange blip on someone's radar screen can incite such a flurry of activity, isn't it? Destroyer escorts crowd protectively around the massive hulls of Princeton and Majestic, gun batteries just starting to swivel warily as a fleet's worth of firepower slowly readies itself for action.

For the fighters, however, the party has already started. Wave after wave rippling out from the launch tubes at the side of the carrier, until every available craft of six squadrons is in space… scattering out into the void in a search pattern with a handful of heavy fighters left to provide the carrier a close escort.

By the oddities of squadron readiness, one such flight is both rank heavy and strike light… four Stiletto light fighters and a Rapier escorting a single broadsword as it lumbers along towards its assigned intercept point.

« Voodoo to flight. Keep your eyes peeled, the Kilrathi are bound to be throwing as much at us as we are at them » Cole orders from where he sits slouched inside the pilot's chair of his broadsword. « No telling what we'll run into out here. We should have two more Broadswords meeting up with us at our intercept point, pulling off of guard duty on the jump points. » Cole adds, before clicking off his comms. "Assuming the kittens don't get to them before they join us…" he'll spare his wingmates that pessimistic appraisal.

«Copy that, lead. Keeping my eyes open.» Kanani remarks as her Stiletto stays in formation with the lone bomber on this particular mission. «Let's just hope the cats miss them, cause if we do find that carrier, we sure could use the extra punch against it.» She remarks idly, in a slightly grim tone.

As the rest of the defensive flight launches, Razor swings his Stiletto around to fall into formation with the others as he keeps his eyes on the sensors, the blue friendly blips increasing as does the hostile red blips. Cycling through his systems to make sure all are green, Kell respnods to Voodoo, «Copy that, Lead. The more bombers the merrier, we'll try to keep them off of your backs.»

«Copy that,» Ionel says simply, keeping to formation. She adjusts her headset to make sure she won't be broadcasting all across the channel when she leans forward to put some ancient rock and roll on. She figures nobody else wants to hear Bad Moon on the Rise while they try to fly. Her leg bobs up and down in her seat, full of nervous energy and excitement.

Oh, that's nice. Good thing she's not a mind reader. Tori is in her rapier, of course, all hands to battle stations and all, and thank the stars she was cleared for active duty before this happened or she might well have gone ballistic. « Copy, lead, » she reports idly, settling into her position with practiced ease. « Just so long as they don't have rocks, it should be okay. » Yes, she is making fun of herself, glad enough to have the ability to do so. The wry amusement in her voice probably is recognizeable to all.

Privately holding back the terror of his first real combat engagement, Walsh gives his systems a quick check before acknowledging. «Copy that lead. Standing by. Gotta get me my Sun.» He immediately reconsiders the latter comment, hoping he hasn't just jinxed himself.

The mismatched set of fighters zips along through the blackness of space, until the Majestic and even the asteroid belt it lingers near are no more than tiny specks lost against the background field of stars. But, the majestic's pilots are soon to find they're not alone. Eight Kilrathi fighters appear on radar, closing in quickly towards the Terran craft.

As much as he'd like to race out to meet them, anything involving the word 'race' is a bit of a lost cause for Cole's broadsword. Instead, all he can do is watch as the red dots on his radar draw closer in. « Voodoo here, looks like we've got company » he reports simply. « Eight furballs inbound, calling 'em four Sartha-type light fighters and four… » there's a pause, and a moment's confusion. « Four the computer cannot presently classify. »

Kanani hmms softly, part of it being caught by comms as she replies to the Major's statement. «Copy that lead. Wonder if there some those fighters I heard about a few days ago.» She shrugs slightly as she corrects her ships course to head in the direction of the cats, still sticking with the 'sword for the moment. «Not that it matters. All that matters is that in a few minutes they'll be wreckage formerly known as fighter craft.» She finishes with a chuckle.

«Confirmed, Voodoo, hostiles are inbound. Maybe we can get a piece back to the Majestic's crew to study when this is done.» Razor responds as he checks his own sensors before saying, expecting them to survive of course, being the optimistic pilot. «Looks like we'll be engaged very soon, weapons going hot.»

Four unidentified - Oh, peachy. Just peachy. « Roger that, lead. Do you want us to wait or go ahead to engage? » Queen asks. Okay, her rapier - it's not so fast as the stilettos, but it can go a darn sight faster than the broadsword. "What the heck does that mean, can't identify - oh, lovely. Why do I get the feeling this just means trouble?" she asks, doing another check over all her systems, reporting all green! Thankfully. Course, her mind is definitely going a mile a minute as she wonders if they have something new blocking the scans or if these really are unknown ships. Either way, not good. She angles her direction a little more, keeping with the formation, making sure her own weapons are ready to fire when ready. « Time to earn the pay cheque, I suppose. »

Blam! True to her callsign there's a burst of early fire hurtling out into space as Trigger jumps the gun and fires before there's anything close enough to fire at. «God d—» And her comm was on. She clicks that off. "damn it," she finishes. "I told myself I wasn't going to /do/ that this time." Her hands tighten on the controls, white knuckled. But hey. No friendlies in front of her, that's the important thing right?

"Figures. Spend my former life working with prototypes, now this…" Walsh mutters to himself, before shaking himself into focus. Gonna have to be extra careful if we don't know what we're up against. His hands tightening on the controls, Walsh comms, «Say the word, lead.»

The eight Kilrathi fighters turn as one, moving in for a straight intercept of the Confederation force… stringing out into a ragged line abreast as they race in towards the human fighters.

« All craft, break and attack » Cole orders simply, even as he points his broadsword towards one of the light fighters and waits for it to race into range of his guns. « Stick to guns if you can help it, if we hit that carrier we'll need them for its close escorts. »

Clicking on the comm and responding, Razor is already breaking and heading towards the hostiles, «Understood, lead. Going to engage the new unknown types. Looks like someone mutated a Dralthi, smaller fins, bigger head.» The tactic that Kell chooses is clear, he is going heads on against the Kilrathi, "Time to see what these new bad boys are made of, come get some." Keeping his weapons on Mass Drivers, the Lieutenant fires off a quick burst of cannon fire before snapping his Siletto into a tight barrel roll.

«Roger, breaking and attacking. Let's try not to get ourselves shot out here.» Kanani states, adding a bit of a joke to try and keep the two new pilots from getting to nervous. Picking out a Sartha that's heading towards her, she opens fire with her mass drivers, once she gets a decent view of it's cockpit.

«Roger that,» Ionel says, breaking towards the Sartha that's heading her way and throwing on that burst of speed she's been dying to give since they got out here. When she deems herself close enough she fires, muttering the words to the music blaring in her cockpit. What she sounds like she's feeling is total focus.

« Full guns it is, » Tori says, as she takes her own turn breaking formation and starting her attack vector. She chooses to play dog and cat with the one that's got the broadsword targetted, not the least bit worried about it. She skims her rapier a little to one side, then hard to the other, and lets loose her own guns as she passes by, flipping and turning to bring the battle to the kilrathi rather than letting them keep the initiative, if she can. Protect the bomber, check.

«Engaging» Walsh says, pointing his nose towards one of the incoming Sartha as he slams the throttle open. He holds course with slight deviations until dangerously close before letting rip with a burst of mass driver and swinging on the controls at the last second.

The distance between the Kilrathi and Confederation fighters rapidly dwindles to nothing, and flashes of gunfire light up the darkness of space, the occasional spray of debris from a fighter's hull marking where a shot has found its mark. Caught fully by Walsh's guns, one Sartha simply crumples and explodes, the fireball quickly consuming what little air had been in the craft before fading out to nothing. The Kilrathi fighters quickly begin to cluster, splitting themselves between the Confederation fighter that appears the most badly damaged and the one carrying the most firepower.

« Good shooting, whoever got that one. Stay on 'em and stay sharp, looks like it's not amateur hour out here tonight » Cole reports, ignoring the flashing damage indicator in his own cockpit as he turns in aggressively towards one of the craft attacking Draygo. "That's right, forget about the bomber…" he mutters under his breath as he lines up a shot.

«Razor, you ok out there? And how about you, Ozone?» Kanani questions the two members of her squad that've taken damage so far, as she switches to one of the mysterious new Kilrathi fighters that have started to chase Draygo, trying to down it before any more damage can be done.
Meanwhile, Tori gets targetted quite nicely and she just laughs as the kitties decide she looks dangerous. Awww. So sweet of them to notice. Course, while they're all chasing her, they're not chasing most anyone else, so she simply works to avoid everything aimed her way. Though in the process, she catches a lock on another one of the unknowns, and lets loose with full guns. « Nice shooting so far. Let's keep up the good work,» she says, sounding perfectly calm.

The head to head engagement wasn't anything Razor had expected, not even close as his shots go wide on the new Kilrathi fighters while the return fire of laser cannon slams into the front of his Stiletto. The armor of his right wing is scorched by its the one done by his cockpit that deals nasty damage, some of his panel sensors shattering. «Shit! These things have some teeth, controls are shot, trying to breaking hard right! Stick is sluggish.» He also tries to cycle through the auto-repair system but it fails on him.

Trigger pays close attention to where she actually scored some damage, and a fierce grin flits over her face. "Let's bring it around town, you hairy son of a bitch," she mutters. Of course, in order to hit the same thing she just hit she has to shift directions, whip around quickly, and get right back in front of the thing. But that's the kind of speed capability she enjoys in these Stilettos. She slams down on the trigger again when she's lined up the shot she wants.

Walsh curses as laser fire tears through his pristine fighter. That'll teach him for such an aggressive opening move. «Uh, she don't fly so straight now, Tsunami, but I think I've got it.» He replies in a nervous tone. He gingerly maneuvers his fighter in the direction of one of Victoria's tails. «Queen, Ozone. I'll try to rid you of some of your fan club.» "If it'll stay straight…"

Two more Kilrathi fighters fall, both shot through the cockpit, reducing their occupants to stains on the interior of their craft as the fighters themselves spin harmlessly off into space. The news isn't all good, however, as Draygo's battered Stiletto takes another hit from laser fire… though despite what all logic would dictate, the battered light fighter holds together.

"Goddamn" Cole grumbles under his helmet as once again his shots connect, but fail to inflict any real damage on the Kilrathi fighter in front of him. « Sit tight, Razor, we're trying to get 'em off you as quick as we can » the australian bomber pilot tells Draygo. Unfortunately, it's about the most assistance that he can offer at the moment.

«That's one of those gone. Whatever the hell they are.» Kanani remarks as she sets her sights on one of the Sartha that are chasing Draygo. Her fighter jukes around some, trying to deny a chance for another of the mysterious fighters to try and avenge it's wingcat.

With all the fun going on, Tori is elated as she manages to dodge the proverbial bullet, whether some shots went wide or her piloting skills managed to help her evade. as the systems targetting her drop to something a little more reasonable, she takes a zip across to try to nail one of the furballs still chasing Draygo's tail. Waiting, waiting, and as she gets close enough in and her targetting system locks, she lets loose a blast with full guns, and then flips up and over to change directions, hoping for another shot/look at the mystery meat.

As Ionel is half turning to go assist, she realizes one of those unidentifieds is coming straight towards her. She suddenly spins her craft in the other direction, firing for anything on it she can hit, letting out a breath. The track on her music player changes; another band blares through at top volume. She is aware mostly of the baseline over anything else, thrumming through her blood.

More shots slam into Razor's Stiletto, putting it in worse shape. A burst smacks into the body of his fighter, the armor stopping it but then a second burst hit him again, this time tearing through the thin armor. «Copy, two more kitties on my tail, this group certainly knows how to smell blood.» He does what he can to dodge more incoming attacks but with his controls damaged, his fighter isn't nimble and light anymore, instead it is slow and sluggish like a Broadsword.

Walsh whoops with excitement as his hits slam home. "Gotcha, furbag!". His elation is cut short, however, as, in the corner of his eye he catches another Terran fighter taking a pounding. He struggles with his controls, attempting to vector to intercept one of the Kilrathi that are intent on finishing the job. Taking advantage of the crosshairs staying still for a moment, he lets fly with a burst of metal.

More weapons fire flashes between the fighter craft, though with both sides being more careful, the results aren't nearly so spectacular this time… the fight continues as a twisting melee of fighters, pilots struggling for a split-second shot at fighters flashing past into view.

« C'mere, kitty » Cole grumbles into his open comms as he continues his effort to track his target despite the broadsword's inferior maneuverability. His eyes flicker briefly to his radar as his threat receiver chimes, though for the moment the fighter behind him is ignored in favor of the fighter in front of him.

Kanani snarls to herself as her fighter takes a hit. Not a particularly bad one, but still annoying none the less. She rolls her fighter a bit more, trying to avoid any more shots, as she keeps on firing at the Sartha in her sights.

One-track mind. Ionel has a one track mind. She narrows her eyes and shifts her craft, keeping up before she can spin around and take another shot at the body of the Unidentified she just hit. She's vaguely aware of something else coming in on her, but disengaging to fool with that one just doesn't seem to be in her make up. She's picked this target and intends to doggedly hammer at it until it is dead.

Tori is mindful of her job - protect the bomber. She grumbles as she manages to miss the lucky fighter she was trying to hit, probably partly due to having to avoid the shots coming in her way. As that particular kitten changes targets, Tori leaves him to someone else for the moment, instead, juking one way, and then dropping down to come up at the combat plane from a different angle, aiming this time at the fighter behind Cole. « On your six, Voodoo. Will try to get the kitten to stop chasing your tail. »

"Damn. Just a scratch!" Walsh sighs. Oh well. Performing a visual sweep, he notices one of the sartha divert towards him. Switching to evasive maneuvers, he begins ducking and weaving, as much as his damaged controls will allow. «Looks like I got some attention. Least it's not bearing down on Razor now.» He squeezes of an opportunistic shot at his target before resuming goose-chase mode.

More gunfire tears into Draygo's fighter, shredding the armor around the cockpit of the ruined Stiletto. Several Kilrathi fighters take a pounding in return, though contrary to their fragile reputation, the craft manage to hold together despite the storm of fire directed their way.

« Razor, if you can find a way clear, take it » Cole orders the man simply. « We'll cover you on your way out, don't think you can do much more for us here » he explains simply, even as he continues tracking the fighter he'd been slowly chipping away at.
Kanani is slightly surprised that her shots stuck true on the Sartha, despite all of her rolling. Still, she'd have rather done even more damage to it. Once she notices that two of the unidentified fighters are chasing her, she figures it's best to not worry about that, and instead focus on giving physics the finger, so that her ship doesn't take any more damage.

With Voodoo taking the initiative to tell Draygo to get clear, Tori simply nods her head silently. She frowns a bit, knowing that she hit her target, and glad of it, but the bloody thing is somehow managing to fly still. Somehow. But since she gave it a good hit, she decidse to try to give another of its unknown buddiesequal fun treatment, zooming off and targetting the last of the new ships, not worrying too much about ducking or dodging at the moment, but going in for the kill. Lock and fire. "Alright you little troublemakers. Glad you decided to come out to play, but I don't think you get to take your marbles and go home this time."

The situation for Razor goes from bad to worse, even though he dodged two bursts from the Sarthas, one of them continues to trail his damaged and sluggish Stiletto. The follow up strike hits home, slamming into the cockpit section as more damage rages inside as some shrapnel now smacks into the pilot. Grimacing from the pain as the metal bits slash into his chest and left arm, he grits his teeth as he responds, «Understood, sorry I can't be much more help. Razor withdrawing.» He clings onto the flight stick with his right hand as he pulls back and begins to limp away from the combat zone.

«Oh SHIT! Razor, you ok?» Walsh exclaims as Razor's bird takes another brutal beating. Glancing around, he notes with some panic that he's picked up another tail. «Got one of these new things on me too now!» Still, he tries to maintain his attack while adapting his movements to the new threat. "Fuck off and die already!" he directs at nobody in particular as he squeezes the trigger once more.

Ionel lifts herself up for a moment, slowing down. Just long enough to let that craft shoot past her. Then she's after him in a burst of speed, keeping up with his movements, staying right behind him. What she mutters as she finds herself close enough to his back end for her liking, as she sends fire right towards his tailpipe, is not really fit for mixed company in particular.

« No worries, Razor. We've got this » Cole's assessment might be a little over optimisitc there, even as his gunfire tears his target's cockpit open to space. Somehow, the Kilrathi pilot inside manages to avoid being struck, kept alive by his environmental suit. « Focus in on the damaged ones, let's see if we can't overwhelm them and start nibbling down the odds. » Cole adds. « Every minute we spend out here is time their carrier is spending getting away »

Given Cole's instruction, Tori changes her target, going after the most damaged kilrathi she can see. She hit it once, hopefully she can hit it again. « Stay safe to fight another day, Razor. After all, who else will be my court jester?" » she teases the man, aware fully that he'd prefer the knight in shining armour role. But well, that just wouldn't be teasing. Meanwhile, she tilts her fighter's nose, ducks down, and then comes up after the unkwown she hit earlier, full guns blazing.

Kanani : 1. Physics : 0. Her fighter spins around the incoming shots, almost like a ship out of control, other than the few seconds that it suddenly straightens out to let off a quick shot at one of the Sartha. On hearing Cole's order, she switches over to the most damaged of the new Kilrathi fighters, and tries to make another shot, while still going about her physics defying manuvers in an effort to shake the tailing kittens.

Since the craft she's attacking is already damaged, Ionel just keeps right on it. Snarling as it turns at the last second and presents a part of its body that's different than the one she wanted, she turns again and stays right on it, leaning forward in her seat. Now she can't hear the music at all, though it's loud enough for a ballroom. It's all surging through her blood.

"Whew!" Walsh takes a moment to wipe his brow as several shots fly past his cockpit. Taking a deep breath, he abandons his futile attack on the lead Sartha and swings around to apply pressure on one of the damaged unknown craft. With this much firepower headed in their direction, something's gotta give, right?

The two damaged unknown craft are finally finished off by combined firepower from the Confederation strike. With the withdrawl of Razor's wrecked stiletto, however, the fight still remains at least something close to an even one. And then the news gets worse.

Comms screens flicker to life once more, though this time it's not a member of the flight wing who appears. No, instead it's the communications officer from Majestic's CIC. « Mayday, mayday. TCS Majestic is under attack. We have lost our fighter escort and have multiple Kilrathi bombers in local space. Any available craft, please assist »

« Christ on a pony » Cole grumbles. « Voodoo to wing, abort the strike. Switch to missiles and let's burn these bastards and get home… while we still have a home to get back to » Cole idly flips his own selector switch to his missiles, snapping off a Friend-or-Foe shot blindly and trusting the missile's seeker warhead to do its work.

Kanani curses under her breath at that news, before switching to her missiles, and working on a missile lock on the Sartha she's chasing. «Copy that, Voodoo, switching to missiles.»

<Copy that,» Ionel says. She switches to missiles as she flies away from the satisfying burst of light that is the remains of that unidentified craft, and picks the next nearest target, laying hard on the thrusters. When she's lined up a good shot she lets fly with the missile.

With aiming at the one she damaged mystery ship, Tori scores another hit and notches a kill. She winces though at the next announcemnt from the comm. "Oh, hell," she grumbles. "Did we fall into a trap?" « Roger lead, switching weapons. » She continues on her crazy run, using her skills to avoid metal of all stripes and shapes, as she targets the one remaining strange ship, intending to shoot it down. At least the intel types will get lots of camera footage. As Tori's fingers find the image recognition, she gets a target lock on the ship, and her finger automatically presses the button, letting loose the shot on that silly kitty. « Fox two. »

"Fucking arse-licking KATS!" Walsh is starting to lose his cool. With his entourage obviously deciding he's too hard to hit, he doesn't need to focus on avoiding their shots, so he switches back to his arch-nemesis. Hearing Cole's orders to switch to missiles, he thumbs the selector, waits for a solid tone, and fires. «Fox two, wanker!»

The volley of Confederation missiles neatly blots a pair of Kilrathi fighters from the sky… leaving one lone Sartha in space for the Kilrathi side. Perhaps oddly for a Kilrathi, it turns and runs… looking to draw the Confederation fighters into an extended persuit, further away from their carrier.

« Let him go » Cole orders simply. « Turn back for the carrier, best possible speed. Don't worry about me, I'll catch up » Cole adds simply, even as he moves his lumbering bomber back on a heading towards the carrier. « More important that you all get on whatever's attacking the Majestic right the hell now ».

Tori simply radios back. « Roger, lead. Queen disengaging and heading for the Majestic at top speed,» she says, though not without a longing look at that red dot. She'd like to get one final shot in at him, but she doesn't do any such thing, instead, turning her Rapier around and zipping back towards the Majestic as quickly as she can.

«Copy that, Voodoo. Don't take to long. Alright 221st you heard the Major, lets get back home, and don't spare the fuel.» Kanani says, as her fighter quickly turns back towards the Carrier, and rockets off, towards home, trying to get there before there's no home left.
The order given, Ionel will turn her ship around and return to the Majestic, holding her fire. «Copy that,» she replies, and she punches those thrusters as hard as she can, brow furrowed as they go.

«Yeah, -finally-! Hope that tosser doesn't have any lives left…» Walsh allows himself a moment of personal victory before glancing around and noticing the last remaining Kilrathi tucking his tail between his legs. He can't resist a parting shot over open comms — «Pussy!», before toggling back to Confed channels to acknowledge — «Copy that. Hope he chokes on a furball or something…»

A hurried flight back, and the collection of Stilettos with tagalong Rapier accessory find themselves returning to the sight of what was clearly a fierce battle. Wreckage of a dozen Confederation fighters floats among the stars, with easily twice that number of Kilrathi craft destroyed. Oddly enough, Majestic and its escorts seem all but untouched.

TCS Princeton has paid the price, however. The old pre-war batlteship with its limited anti-fighter armament was a sitting duck for the Kilrathi bomber attack, and large chunks have been torn from its hull… including the entire top 'tower' where the bridge once sat having been torn away.

Whatever Kilrathi were here for this are, by now, either dead or gone.

«Damn it all. They really beat the hell out of that battlewagon… And it doesn't look as if anything's left for us to chase around here, at least…» Kanani remarks as her fighter comes into sight of the fleet. Her eyes open for any Cats that might still be in the area, though that seems unlikely for the moment.

The carnage is somethint else. Tori whistles under her breath as she brings her rapier in. « Majestic, this is Queen. Voodoo is a little behind us, but anything you need us to chase down? » she asks. The Majestic looks okay, that's a relief though the dead confed fighters - that's not such a good sign, cause that means friends and colleagues down. Hopefully in process of being rescued by SAR. She doesn't say anything else, just keeps her eyes open as well, wincing every time her gaze crosses over the Princeton.

Real battle damage just doesn't look anything like the simulator damage. Ionel stares at it for a moment before shaking herself back to task, her mouth tightening as she listens to the various words coming over the comm. She doesn't join in the chatter right now; she simply listens and awaits orders.
Walsh winces as the flight comes close enough to survey the damage to the Princeton. "Ooh, that's one sorry looking battleship! Those cats must've had some sharp claws." He takes in the rest of the scene; the wreckage of numerous small craft, and sighs in relief at the apparently intact Majestic. Reassured he has a place to return to, his eyes return to his radar, searching for any remaining contacts. «Ozone here. Where do you want me?»

Oddly enough, when the screen flickers to life again it's Majestic's intelligence officer who appears on screen. « Specter to inbound flight. We've taken care of the last of them for now. Princeton took six fish. » the man reports simply, as if a capital ship absorbing six torpedoes and surviving was an everyday occurance. « Commander Saint-Cloud has command on the bridge, I've got CIC. Commodore Claybourne was in the meeting with Admiral Marakov onboard the Princeton when they got hit. No word on either of them yet » Well, there's something of an explanation at least. « Take up a patrol pattern for now, we'll cycle you back to the deck as soon as the other flights return »