Of More Value Than Numbers
Of More Value Than Numbers
Arc: Hammer and Anvil
Summary: Task Force Hammer drives the Kilrathi into the waiting guns of the Majestic and its escorts, resulting in a massive, but lopsided, engagement.
Date: 2658.259
Related Logs: None
Participants: Cole Kanani Paz James Walsh Victoria Draygo

Nexus-Capella jump point, 2100 Hours, 2658.259: The entire fighter compliment of the Majestic waits for the Kilrathi, strung out in a thin, roughly crescent-shaped line along the path from the Capella jump to the Tingerhoff jump. The line is anchored at each end by a destroyer, and the Majestic herself sits behind the middle of the line on the most direct path. Throughout the fleet, screens flicker to life with a hazy green VDU image of the Admiral in Majestic's CIC. « All forces, this is Marakov. Captain Inscho of the Winterrowd informs me that the last of the Kilrathi have fallen back to the Nexus jump, and should begin arriving from Capella at any moment. I hope I don't need to remind you all what the stakes are. Every Kilrathi we kill today is one we do not have to fight tomorrow. Every Kilrathi who 'dies gloriously for his emperor' here cannot oppose us at Perry, or Hyades… or Sumn-Kp'ta, or Kilrah. Captain Inscho also assures me that Task Force Hammer is following as quickly behind the Kilrathi as their engines will carry them. She's counting on us to hold the Kilrathi here, let's not disappoint her. »

Paz takes a deep breath and double-clicks her mic to acknowledge receipt of the message, psyching herself up for what her gut's telling her is going to be a bitch of a hard fight. The Fuzzy Wuzzies are _not_ going to be amused when they find their escape route cut off by the Majestic and her aerospace wing. Double, then triple-checking the status of every weapon, readout and setting on every panel, she settles back into the cramped cockpit of her Rapier to wait for the music to start.

Cole slouches a little in his broadsword as he continues the wait, grumbling something under his breath about "Bloody admirals and their speeches." He keeps his eyes on his scanners, trusting the radar screen more than his eyes to tell him when the Kilrathi appear. After all, they know it's coming sooner or later.

Sitting in a Broadsword again, Razor is actually getting familiar with the controls and surroundings, though he won't admit it to anyone. He had also secretly did some sim work with Broadswords as well when he thought no one was watching, something he would also vehemently deny if asked. When the update is broadcasted from the Admiral, Kell looks over his flight checklist again, making sure everything is green and ready to go. «I wonder how pissed Task Force Hammer will be if we kill everything and leave nothing for them.»

James watches his rader screen carefully. After the speech ends he mutters "And no mention whatsover about what will be dropping into our lap. Oh this is not going to be fun by any stretch of the imagination." «Given that we have no idea what's coming I wouldn't count on it happening Razor.»
Kanani takes a moment to glance out from the canopy of her freshly painted new fighter, Wipeout II. She checks her systems one last time, as she waits for the cats to make their appearance. Once the Admiral has finished giving his little speech, she chuckles a bit, and comments. «Looks like it's about time for the fun to begin. And who cares how pissed they'd be Razor. I bet they'd be glad to not have to do anymore fighting just yet.»
Back in the hot-seat, Walsh systematically runs through his Stiletto's diagnostics, settling in for what promises to be one hell of a furball. Knowing the Kilrathi are trapped between the proverbial rock and the hard place, he expects them to fight tooth and claw. As the admiral gives his pep talk, he finds himself filled with adrenaline, alert and ready for the incoming hordes.

Tori's in her rapier, ready to go. As per her usual. She listens to the speech and has to roll her eyes. Ya know, it would be better if they actually did give some details every once in a while. But never mind that. She double clicks her mic, acknowledging receipt, but stays quiet for now. So long as her rapier has been repaired since last time, it's all good anyway.

If nothing else, the Kilrathi certainly know how to make an entrance. The jump point flares in a continual series of blue flashes as ship after ship from the Kilrathi Fariss-quadrant fleet appears. Many show signs of the hard fighting and poor supply status, with tears in the armor, twisted and wrecked turrets, or even entire sections torn away. What hasn't been damaged is the Kilrathi fighting spirit.

Realizing their withdrawl isn't going to be unopposed, the Kilrathi quickly begin to disgorge fighters into space as quickly as their launch bays will allow… small forces quickly moving to probe for weak points at the periphery of the Confederation line, while the main body of the Kilrathi fleet presses straight in towards the Majestic.

« Voodoo to flight. Looks like we've been provided some entertainment. » Cole comments, as his threat receiver goes crazy inside his cockpit. « Razor, get on that Corvette if you can get a shot. I've got the whole goddamn Kilrathi navy trying for missile lock » Cole orders, already banking his fighter away from the formation, looking for a shot on one of the collection of fighters that seems eager to claim a piece of broadsword.

James watches an enemy fighter moving to intercept but ignores it in favor of one of the ships targetting the group's lead Broadsword «Voodoo this is Cutlass I'm on one of them but there's no way I can keep them off you.» He weaves his craft's nose back and forth but keeps it's base course towards the enemy fighter. He fires at a point when the craft fills his gunsights.

«Tallyho! Flight, Tizona, I make four, repeat, zero-four Drakhri-type Kilrathi fighters at zero one four, mark two one one.» Paz reports. «Also have a signal on zero two Lumbari at zero two sixer, mark one fiver three. I'm on the leader.» she adds, firewalling her throttle and banking her little Rapier sharply upwards to rise towards the enemy ships. "Okay, Fuzzies….here's where it gets fun." she grins ferally, looking to get a shot at the enemy ship's underside, preferably in its engines.

As the enemy forces arrive through the jump point, Kanani quickly sets her sights on one of the Drakhri, that is launched in the opening moments. Hitting her afterburners to swoop in on it, she waits until she's close enough to take a shot on the fighter, and pulls the trigger, unleashing some mass driver goodness at the fighter. "Sure are a lot of them out there." She comments to herself idly before stating calmly over the comms. «Flight, Tsunami. Engaging the enemy now.»

And at Tizona's words, Tori has to grin. « Roger that, Queen here. I'll take the second, see if I can't convince it that Voodoo really isn't such a good target. » Cause the rapiers are evil when given the opportunity. She moves to intercept the Lumbari, waiting until she's got a good visual and her finger hits the dumbfire trigger, for her own, « Tallyho! » Yup, Pip has a lot to answer for.

Switching his weapons to torpedoes and arming the master switch, Kell toggles his comm and acknowledges, «Copy that, Voodoo, switching to torpedoes and making a run for that Kamekh.» Having the luxury for now of having no one targetting him, Razor is able to focus on making his bombing run. Copying what Cole did last mission, he arcs his Broadsword up to twelve o'clock high before pushing his bomber forward for a steep dive down on the Corvette, launching his torpedo after getting a solid tone.

With the knowledge that this is going to be a protracted engagement — not a quick in-and-out, Walsh resolves at the outset to fight smart. He adopts a more cautious stance, hit-and-run instead of his usual all-out tunnel-vision assault. He closes on one of the hostile fighters, ready to perform evasive maneuvers if need be. «Ozone engaging.»

"Dammit…" Paz growls, bringing her fighter into a tight, stomach-churning Immelmann to whip around and try to jinx in on her target's six. It takes a bit of doing, but she's able to get close enough to line her gun sight up and give the trigger a slow squeeze, sending a hundred or so rounds of gunfire in at the ship's engines.

Cole's broadsword slips and slides, jukes and dives, and remains an all-around slippery target despite its size. As the Kilrathi fighters break off, Cole gives a little grin under his helmet, turning himself in towards the Kamekh. « Alright, you had your shot. Now it's my turn » he tells the destroyer, waiting for the solid tone of a torpedo lock in his ears before toggling off his first torpedo of the evening.

Kanani grins a bit in satisfaction as her first shots strike true, and blast her target into oblivion. «That's a decent start to the evening, I think.» She comments thoughtfully, before she twists her fighter around sharply, in order to get a shot on the next Drakhri. This time one that's chasing one of the bombers. Once she's in range, another pull of the trigger, and more mass driver rounds are unleashed, hopefully to as good of an effect as the last time.

James watches his shot strike near one of the Kilrathi fighter's weapon ports but unfortuantly the ship remains in one peice. He smiles as the Kilrathi fighter that had been on his tail breaks off. The smile fades when Kilrathi fighters begin targeting both bombers and he breaks to bore in on the one targetting Razor with his Mass Drivers blazing.

The torpedo that Razor launches flies true as it slams into the bridge section and detonates, making a mess of things. Before he could do anything to finish it up though, he spots a bunch of angry red blips behind him, «The Corvette is in bad shape but I have a trio of kitties on my tail. Finish her off Voodoo if you can.» With that, he goes into the most graceful evasive maneuvers a Broadsword can manage.

Tori watches as her first dumbfire strikes home, tearing the hull and opening up the ship to the vacuum of space. That it goes dark and hurtles away on its own is cause for grim satisfaction, but only for a moment. Then she is moving to the next target, going after the second Lumbari with precision. See how the kitties like having no home to go back to. Mindful of the expected length of this combat, she switches to full guns, saving her second dumbfire for the moment. « Queen on the other Lumbari, firing full guns, » she calls out.

In his efforts to keep his fighter intact for as long as possible, Walsh fires from a greater distance than usual. his shots mostly hit, but at a oblique angle, with poor results. Jinking to avoid incoming fire, he applies a burst of 'burner, and swings around for another pass.

As the Kilrathi slowly advance, the Majestic falls back further behind its line of fighter craft, engaging the lead Kilrathi units at long-range with its antimatter batteries. Between the Majestic and the Kilrathi fleet, a vicious fighter duel develops… drawing in nearby forces from the center of the line, stretching the forces at the edge further. Just the development the Kilrathi seem to have been looking for.
A section of Kilrathi fighters breaks away from the rear of their force, accompanying a pair of Ralari-class destroyers as they attempt to force through the far right of the Confederation position.

«Look out people, we've got us some Grikath's out here. Don't let 'em get the Horatius.» Kanani remarks as she puts her words to action and switches her sights to one of the bombers. «Switching to missiles, and fox 2!» She calls out as she gets a lock on the Kilrathi, and releases her missile at it.

«Oh hell…Flight, Tizona, We've got zero-two Grikath's going for the Horatio.» Paz reports, immediately diving away from her former quarry and switching to missiles as she burns towards the second of the two. «Got a good tone….Fox two!» she reports, firing her missile at the enemy ship's cockpit.

Cole grins savagely as his torpedo races straight into the engines of the Kilrathi corvette in front of him, shattering it into a lovely collection of bits and pieces. It's enough to let him ignore the fact that he's got a Kilrathi medium fighter chipping away at his armor, anyway. « Looks like they're going to feed us some more, Razor. Showing two tin cans headed our way. I'm taking the portside destroyer » Cole informs his fellow bomber pilot, keeping his toggle on torpedos as he banks away from what was left of the Kamekh, swinging in towards the trailing Kilrathi destroyer and lining up his second torpedo shot of the evening.

James watches the enemy fighter come apart under his Mass Driver rounds «Cutlass scratch one!» He announces cheerfully before noting the second wave «Copy, engaging Lead bomber.» He swings around perparing for a full charge on the bomber's tail but notices a Sartha heading his way and begins a few random jukes squeezing the trigger as soon as he hears a lock tone «Cutlass Fox 2.»

Oh joy. Lots of incoming fun. Yay. Tori at least can see that second transport go down, helping the Horatius to smush it. Every dead kitty … Right. But there are more coming in, and as she spies the grikaths she grumbles. Those ships she recalls alright. «Queen moving to the lead bomber. Though sensors pick up one on my six. Keep those bombers off the Horatius. » Because yeah, they are going to want the Horatius to stick around. She goes hell bent for bear in on the grikath, waiting until the last moment to let her dumbfire fly, with a « Tallyho! » and then she veers up and to the left.

«I'll grab the other Destroyer then, Voodoo.» Razor responds back to his bomber wingman as they both try to tag a capital ship each. He does spot the Sartha on his tail so he does a little jinking and juking but for the most part, keeps the Ralari in his sights as he waits for the solid lock tone.

Another poor performance, and the arrival of a whole lot more trouble has Walsh re-evaluating his tactics. It seems he's just not that good at this defensive flying business. With the rest of the flight giving the bombers something to think about, he turns his attention to the pest that's been throwing ordnance in his direction.

Kanani manages to make a mess of the second of the two bombers, with the help of the flak cannons of the Horatius. She keeps up her attack, trying to help get rid of the pesky bomber, before it can cause any damage to the Confed destroyer. "Come on and just die, won't you?"
Paz curses angrily as she watches one of her four missiles get spoofed by the Grikath's suppression systems and dive merrily to explode against a cheap radar reflector. Taking a deep breath, she switches to her longer-range neutron cannon and attempts to line up a shot on the Grikath. Just then, she's alerted by a threat warning and is forced to start jinxing like mad to try and throw her attacker's firing solution out the window.

Cole flips his left VDU to follow the image of the seeker warhead on his torpedo, following it with satisfaction as it runs straight into the side of the Kilrathi destroyer and removes a chunk from it. While he watches the macabre result of his handiwork, he's already in the process of swinging his bomber around… bringing it in for another shot at that pesky Kilrathi destroyer, before it can take a piece out of the Horatius.

Second torpedo away, Razor sees that he splashed its hull, chewing up some armor and structure before he is forced to bank his Broadsword to the left to evade a stream of neutron fire from the Sartha tailing him. Rolling to port though, he manages to pick up a litter of kitties though, «Razor here, I've got a gang of angry kitties on my six, three blips. Going full evasive, unable to do a torpedo run.» With that, he goes into a barrel roll though it is rather sluggish in the slow bomber.

James grimaces as his fighter takes a blow to the wing and spins away. The evasion takes him away from the Saratha but one of the Drakhris slides in one his tail. Regardless he swings towards the surviving enemy bomber and restricts his evasion to small weaves and jukes until after he opens fire.

And splash one of the two bombers, as Tori's dumbfire takes it no doubt completely by surprise. Her cheer is perhaps premature as one of the little fighters manages to hit her cockpit with its neutron guns. Sudden and unexpected pain. « Ow, Queen is hit, but still functioning. And I'm going after that little bugger,» she reports. « Think I got a bit of shrapnel - it's painful but nothing to write home about. » Course, a quick look at sensors and scans will show that eveyrone is all over that Grikath, which is good. She targets who she thinks is the little sartha that attacked her, swooshing and jinking her rapier until she gets a target lock, and then she hits the trigger.

Playing chicken with his target, firing at the last moment before veering off, proves to be just as ineffective His shots blunting the Drakhri's nose but little else, Walsh breaks off, gunning instead for one of the fighters that has its eyes set on the 'sword. «Let's see if I can give you some breathing room, Razor. — Damn, Queen.»

What's perhaps the first sign the Kilrathi are in trouble is a subtle one, the flaring of a jump point and a single five-fighter element of the new Sabre heavy fighters deploying into a split-vee formation. Contrasting with the standard green and grey confederation paint scheme, the lead craft is barely visible against the stars, painted in all black. A high-pitched squeal bursts through comms as one of the craft activates a jammer of some sort, followed by a white-noise hiss. The hiss is replaced a moment later by every communications screen in the area lighting up with an image of a human figure in a flight helmet that reads 'Archangel'. « Attention Kilrathi forces, this is Lieutenant Colonel Pickett of the TCS Winterrowd. You are hereby ordered to surrender, or you will be destroyed. »

The Kilrathi response is predictable, their rearguard turning on the five Sabres in almost a single motion. Paying for the impertinence of their commander, the handful of craft are quickly facing the prosopect of a fight for survival against nearly ten times their number.

« Guess we've got our answer! Kill 'em all! » The Colonel orders. His face disappears from the screens, but the communications jamming remains, flooding friend and foe alike with the first strains of Mozart's requiem as the black Sabre races in on full afterburner towards the Kilrathi fleet.

Inside his cockpit, Cole winces at that brief ear-splitting squeal that comes with the jammer's activation… blinking in surprise at the message that follows. "Wish fleet would at least /warn/ us when they were planning that sort of stunt" he grumbles to himself, even as he comes around on the Kilrathi destroyer once more… lining up for a shot with the last of his torpedoes.

Paz grins as she watches her neutron cannon tear into the Grikath's cockpit, just enough of it burning through to reach out and touch the pilot inside. A grin that's short lived as her threat receivers squawk again, indicating that a Sartha has managed to get on her six and is staying there. Then one of the newly arrived Jalthi's joins the 'Kill Paz' party. "Okay, could be in a little trouble here." she says to herself, trying to calculate a clever move to get out of her current predicament. Pickett's arrival and broadcast cause her to break into a grin, and, still grinning, she throws her Rapier into a near retina-detatching flip and rockets back at the Sartha, stroking the trigger on her cannon over and over again. That should convince Fuzzy to move.

Kanani winces a bit at the jamming, but she doesn't let it distract her to much, as she sets up a missile launch on the lead fighter of the newly arrived Jalthi. Once she gets a lock on it, she quickly pulls the trigger, and the missile flies off its rack and off towards its destiny.
James grimaces as the comm goes out and curses whatever lowest form of life is behind this. He notes that he has appaerntly swapped Drakhris but switches to missiles and locks onto one of the Jalthi's engines before firing. "Time to make up for my lost kill." he mutters as he looks the enemy ship over and notes it's damage.

The jamming surprises Kell for a moment as he frowns, kicking his Broadsword into a hard break to the port side as he is able to dance around the majority of the neutron cannons that was flung in his direction. A small smattering impacts his bomber but the thick armor was able to soak it up fully. Ignoring the lone Sartha that remains on his tail, Kell goes for a straight dive on his original Ralari, aiming straight for the Bridge section and hoping to split the Destroyer into two on this bombing run.

Tori wrinkles her nose at the squeal. Bloody everlasting - . Grumble. Yeah, yeah, so it's good tos see Pickett, but really, the man's still a showboat. There's no time to think really, what with two bogeys chasing after her and a whole fleet load of them desperate enough to attack anything that moves. Her arm is still sore, but she's been hurt a lot worse. She moves a little more carefully, given what's attacking. She takes a chance, spinning around in a circle to end up behind the dralthi that used to be on her six, and fires at it.

Walsh curses loudly at his amateurish performance after yet another mere scratch delivered to his target. Even more curses follow soon after as incoming fire burns holes in his fuselage. And just for something different, his ears are assaulted too, high-pitched squeal delivered by his helmet's inbuilt speakers. Still, the distraction is welcome, and he relishes the chance to use a missile. Might actually damage something if he's lucky too.

On the far side of the battle, the action doesn't take long to turn into a furious exchange of fire. Explosions dot the sky as the Sabres engage, tearing through the first Kilrathi craft to make contact before scattering to all directions in what's clearly a well-practiced maneuver, smoothly executed despite the lack of communication. The Kilrathi response isn't nearly as coordinated, fighters crossing paths wildly in pursuit of their targets, a pair of explosions marking collisions between Kilrathi craft. All the while, an Austrian deceased for 850 years continues to disrupt communications on both sides.
The jump point flares again, three times in quick succession… a trio of Gilgamesh-class destroyers from Task Force Hammer; TCS Herakles, TCS Roland, and TCS Bond; popping through in a line astern.

Her shots miss, naturally, but they did what she intended them to do. Now to finish little Sartha off with a few rounds of autocannon fire. Kick turning to fall in behind her foe, Paz grunts at the Gs she's pulling before lining up a shot and starting to spray the ship down with gunfire.

Cole has a few choice words to use as his torpedo slams into the Kilrathi ship, only to be harmlessly turned aside by the destroyer's armor. Thankfully, the flight is spared them by the wave of jamming that's coming in from the flight of Sabres. Instead, he just snaps his broadsword around as quickly as the ungainly craft can manage, toggling off a missile in the hopes of giving a rather rude surprise to one of the Kilrathi heavy fighters.
Kanani didn't do nearly as much damage with her previous shot as she'd like but it did mess up the cat's shot, so she figures that's ok. As her fighter twists around in the melee of fighter craft, she switches her target to a somewhat more damaged Jalthi and opens fire on it, trying to fill it's cockpit up with mass driver rounds.

James manages to evade the incoming laser fire then takes the time to mutter "Why in the world are they showing 20th century spy films on the comm?" before swinging around for another pass this time spraying Mass Driver fire towards his target.

«Damn Ralaris have really tough skin today, they ate their wheaties.» Razor chimes in as his torpedo finds its mark again but only takes out another chunk of armor and hull, making it look uglier but not by much. The jamming seems to have effected the Sartha behind him quite a bit as the shots scatter wide, which the Lieutenant has no complaints. Instead of doing another dive on the same Destroyer, Kell banks to the right and instead heads to the one that Cole was working on, firing off his third torpedo.

Tori's shot hits, but the Drakhri keeps going. Damn it. She does her level best to stay on the tail of that drakhri, intending to try to take it out of the battle if she can. Not that she can be heard, what with jamming still happening, but she can try. "Tallyho," she murmurs to herself, as she guides her rapier around some debris, then catches a green lock on the drakhri which has her finger hit the trigger and fire.

Bright flashes on his wingtip alert Walsh to the fact that there is still, in fact, a Sartha on his six. Must do something about that… His heat seeker takes its bait, flying almost inside the Jalthi's engine cone before detonating. He breaks into a flurry of jinks and rolls, hoping to lose his tail, thoroughly confusing its furry pilot.

Kilrathi numbers begin to show their weight, as the five Sabres fight on desperately against the overwhelming odds, forced to spend more time evading than they are firing. For a brief moment, the five craft seem nearly untouchable by Kilrathi fire, slipping past everything thrown their way, lashing out with terrifying efficiency when an opportunity to fire presents itself.

It can't last, and it doesn't. Within seconds of each other, one sabre is blotted out of existence by no less than six Kilrathi missiles and a second is ripped apart by gunfire, an ejection pod blowing clear moments before the fighter's reactor detonates in a flash. The music abruptly stops.

« TCS Bond, this is Archangel. Mouse punched out and Padre just bought it. I've got about forty kittens cornered over here and could use a hand »

« Copy, Archangel » Comes the response back from the destroyer. « We'll see if we can't thin that out a little for you ».

The three destroyers continue to close, opening fire at the extreme end of their range. The first bursts of flak fall well short of the Kilrathi, but are certainly enough to draw attention, the Kilrathi assault on the three remaining Sabres becoming markedly less aggressive. The next volley intersects neatly with a Sartha, punching through the cockpit and into the reactor, shattering it in a brilliant fireworks display.

Kanani gives a little growl as her mass drivers bounce off the hull of the heavy fighter, and she switches over to her final missile, looking to finish it off, with one big punch. Another shake of her head is given as the music stops, and she mutters to herself. "Looks like that's the end of that. No more confused kitties." She shakes her head, and then launches her missile at her target, hoping for the best.

«Scratch one Destroyer!» Razor calls out as he watches his torpedo spiral in on the damage Ralari, slamming into the bridge canopy before incredible destructive energy explodes outward. This sets off a chain reaction as the Kilrathi Capital Vessel lights up with multiple explosions, one threat to the Horatius gone. The jamming continues to effect the Sartha behind Kell who misses again and the Confed Fighter-turned-Bomber pilot takes full advantage as he climbs in up in a half loop to head back to the original Ralari. "C'mon, make this one good." He whispers to himself as he hears a solid tone before pulling the trigger, sending his last torpedo at the last Kilrathi Capital ship.

"Oh for crying out loud!" Paz growls as her next attack goes wide. "Okay, enough of this playing it safe shit." she says, slamming her throttle to the stops and lining up a burst at the Sartha's engines.

James evades the laser fire heading his way, and cheers as the enemy fighter comes apart under his guns and mutters "I wonder if that one will count?" before veering towards another Jalthi and firing. This time he boars straight in on the target to increase accuracy.

« Nice shooting, Razor! » Cole calls as one of the Ralari disappears from sensors. « We'll make a Black Cat of you yet » he jokes. Even as his missile blows out the cockpit on the Jalthi he'd aimed for, he's turning in search of another target to vent his wrath on. Without his torpedoes, Cole's free to play extra-heavy fighter… and he's quite happy to put on a tutorial for the Kilrathi on the combat capabilities of the Broadsword in fighter engagements.

A little more damage to the drakhri, but not enough to take it out of the picture. Tori continues to play cat and mouse … erm, okay, maybe that's a bad analogy. She does however continue her dogfight with the drakhri that has been aiming at her. As the music stops, the jamming ending, she winces, but still zigs, zags, and finds a good shot, firing swiftly before the target lock vanishes. "Almost enough to make me wish for more dumbfires," she grumbles softly. Though as one of the ralari goes kablooey, she cheers quietly.

In the confused tumble that ensues, Walsh manages to turn the tables somewhat, creeping around behind his attacker. Taking advantage of the situation, he let loose another missile, unsure if it had even fully locked. Alas, the weapon flies wide, just another dot to pollute scanners for a few seconds. On the plus side, at least he didn't take any more hits himself. He resigns himself to taking opportunistic shots with his guns, as his Stiletto and the Sartha flail around.

The jump point flares yet one more time, and the boxy shape of a Concordia-class fleet carrier slips through: CVS-29, TCS Winterrowd. Primed for the assault, the carrier wastes no time in clearing its decks… fighters racing three abreast from both ends of its pass-through launch bay, turning clear of the carrier and racing in towards the Kilrathi formation.

The Kilrathi turn from the threat ahead to the one behind, their capital ships maneuvering to focus on the unescorted fleet carrier. Caught out of position from their earlier pursuit of the fighter engagement, the Herakles, Roland, and Bond turn back towards the Winterrowd in a slow-motion race to intercept the Kilrathi capital ships before they pass within firing range.

James cheers as the fighter he had targetted blows apart, a laser bolt punches into his nose but the armor takes the hit. «Cutlass Scratch one, now to add a foruth kitty to the nights kills. And I choose… you!» He veers onto the tail of one of the Sarthas before switching to missiles. Once he has tone he squeezes the trigger «Cutlass Fox 2!»

Kanani grins to herself as her missile hits the heavy fighter, and blows it apart. «Got you, ya bastard» She calls out, before her Stiletto once again twists quickly around in search of new prey. She switches her focus to one of the Sartha's and once she's close enough to line up a shot on the fighters cockpit, she opens fire.

Yeeow! Okay, Tori got another hit on that Drakhri, so that it's not having a good day. Course, neither is she. « Queen here. Took another hit. But I am still in this fight. Might need a little help getting out of my fighter later though. Took some shrapnel. » She still sounds good though, making light of the matter. « I think I might be concentrating on flying a bit more than shooting for a bit though. »

"You gotta be fucking kidding me!" Paz cries as her next burst sparkles uselessly against the Sartha's shields. "Fuuuuuuck!" she adds, venting her full annoyance. Might as well keep trying, at this rate, she may mar the paintjob.

Taking advantage of the quiet on the airwaves, Walsh takes the opportunity to call for support. «Would someone kindly shove this kat through a blender or something?» More thrashing about dogfighting, with neither party scoring any hits. «Seriously, fuck off already!» Getting dizzy from all the quick turns, he decides to try it a different way, breaking off on a tangent. He hopes he can goad the bastard into flying straight at him, and maybe score some cheap hits.

The last torpedo hits but it wasn't a direct impact, the explosion shallow enough to damage the bridge section and that is it. Kell however gets nailed from behind, a light hit that somehow shorts out his Broadsword for a moment. He is floating in space for precious long seconds as he goes through the procedure for a hard restart. Finally his bomber comes back to life, «Razor here, freaking 'Sword shorted out there. Minimal damage though, I'm back in action.» With that, he starts trailing the nearest fighter and goes after it, unleashing a FoF missile.

Out of torpedoes and out of missiles, it's down to Cole's guns to do the work. He brings his broadsword around once more, ignroing the Sartha behind him that seems determined to tear a chunk from his broadsword. Instead, he turns his guns on the Kilrathi medium fighter that seems to be doing an excellent job of injuring his fellow squadron commander. He can't let that stand, after all. « Sit tight Queen, I'm scraping that guy off you »

Pressed by the Kilrathi attack, the Winterrowd doubles back towards the jump point. Kilrathi fire focues on the TCS Roland first, the combined fury of a Kilrathi fleet battering it into a lifeless, drifting hulk. The Bond and the Herakles close in, the destroyers placing themselves between the vulnerable fleet carrier and the Kilrathi… buying time for the fighters to do their work on the Kilrathi attackers.
The jump point flashes a final time as the Winterrowd passes it… but rather than the carrier withdrawing, two more shapes appear through the jump: TCS Corunna and TCS Rorke's Drift. Caught directly under the guns of a pair of cruisers, the Kilrathi abandon their pursuit of the Winterrowd and turn to engage the Confederation warships. A vicious pounding match swiftly develops, as the capital ships trade fire at ranges too close for either side to miss.

Cole turns away from blasting apart a Sartha, just in time to witness the arrival of the two Confederation cruisers… and the close-range brawl that quickly begins between the line warships. « Christ on a pony, am I glad I'm not in the middle of that » Cole comments idly. He's got plenty of time to make smart comments really, trying as he is more not to get shot than to line up effective fire of his own.

«That's another one!» Kanani states with satisfaction, as the Sartha quickly falls to her gunfire. A quick look around shows more fighters approaching, and she calls out. «Looks like more cats are joining the party over here.» Before she sets her sights on one a Dralthi that doesn't look in particularly good condition right now.

James winces as by some miracle the shielding over the enemy light fighter's engines asorbs the shot. He's lining up for a smailar shot against the last Sartha when several new enemy fighters sweep in, one going for him. To make matters even more fun the fighter his is targeting moves to engage him, and the destroyer turns it's guns his way. He fires as soon as he hears the lock tone «This is Cutlass, Fox 2. Also apparently some catnip got left on my ship by mistake and the kitties really want it. Some help prying them off please?»

"Well, that's _something_ at least." Paz sighs as her next attack does visible damage to the Sartha's hindquarters. She's about to switch to missiles and finish the beast off when her threat receivers scream and a flight of Dralthi appear on her sensors. «Flight, Tizona, zero six Dralthi-class fighters just came into the game. They're at bearing two one four mark two two two.» she announces, spinning away from the damaged Sartha and bringing her missile's seeker heads to bear on the lead Dralthi.

Tori isn't sorry that the drakhri that she was aiming at got k.o.'ed, though she could wish she'd hit it herself. Just could not get a target lock on it. Still, gone is gone. And since for the moment there's not any warnings that something is targetting her, she takes her not so healthy rapier in after the last remaining sartha. «Do my best, Cutlass, » she says, though maybe her comm is a little static-y. She's there though, firing as soon as she gets a lock.
For once, something goes according to plan. As Walsh loops around in a tight Immelmann, his reticule comes to rest squarely on the oncoming Sartha. Taking advantage of a well-timed missile impact, he opens fire, rounds piercing neatly through the center of the cockpit. «Fucking good riddance. Asshole had that coming -real- good.» He has little time to celebrate though, as more red blips sprout from his radar. He turns to engage, with fire in his eyes.

"Thank you, God!" Paz calls as she watches her missile slam into the lead Dralthi's engine, detonating it like a firework a few seconds later. As much as she'd love to gloat and such, her threat receivers warn her that another one of the Dralthi has shagged a lock on her ship. "Oh, no…I don't think we'll be having any of that, today, Fuzzy." Paz calls, switching back to her neutron cannon and starting to squeeze off bursts.

«Woo! Now things are starting to move along nicely. How you guys doing?» Kanani calls out as another fighter falls to her gunfire. She quickly rolls her fighter over, to target another of the Dralthi, and quickly opens fire once it's in her sights.

Cole's shots might fly wide, but Cole at least passes the most basic test of a combat pilot. He doesn't get his ass shot off. The fact he sees his target turning in for Tori's already damaged Rapier doesn't exactly leave him in much mood for celebration, however. « Check six, Queen, you've got one coming around on you! » Cole calls out, even as he lines up the Kilrathi fighter in his gunsight and depresses the trigger.

«Watch yourself, Highness, you have a pair of Dralthi's on your tail. Gonna try to scoop up the one on the right.» Razor shoots out a warning over the comm as he switches to Mass Driver Cannons, since his payload is now spent. His eyes does glance to his sensors, seeing the blip appear but he ignores it for now. If his bomber shorts out again though, he won't be pleased.

Oh sure, pick on the damaged fighter. If it wasn't so damned annoying, not to mention dangerous, Tori would be laughing. Still, while she does take it easier, doing her best to keep her fighter - and herself - in one piece, she switches to her friend-or-foe missiles, figuring they might actually manage to hit something. « one, two - seems they don't like me much. Must figure I'm easy pickings, » she retorts to both Razor and Voodoo. Nice of them to be so caring and look after her like royalty. « Tally ho! » she says when she gets a chance to fire. « and yes, I'm being careful! »

Shots tear into one of the incoming Dralthi, ejected debris confirming that Walsh's mass driver did some damage this time. His fighter loses some more armor as well, but he's on the warpath. He allows himself to overshoot his target, twisting around to hit it from behind. Missiles this time — he wants stuff -dead-.

James watches his missile expolde a little short of it's target with the blast encompassing the fighter's tail. It survives but breaks off along with the dralthi that had been targeting him. James is boaring in for another shot when he notices the pair of Dralthi's targeting Queen «Queen two moving for you I'm engaging one of them now. Cutlass Fox 2!» he announces as he squeezes the trigger with his sights locked onto the craft's engines.

Cole can only shake his head as his shots slam into the Kilrathi fighter in front of him, and yet it keeps on flying. All that's left for him to do is keep on trying, maneuvering his broadsword to keep his target in front of him, waiting until the crosshairs center on his target once more and giving one more pull of the trigger. « This one's a tough SOB »

"Come on and die, you dumb furball." Kanani complains to the Dralthi in her sights, as she smacks it around, but isn't able to kill it yet. The shot did catch it's attention though, and the fuzzy apparently decided to go after the person shooting at him. Seeing this, the young Hawaiian pilot decided to fly slightly less agressively, juking and weaving out of the cats gunfire, even as she opens up with another burst of her mass drivers.
Finally, the Paz takes a hit, but only a glancing one, a stray round from the Dralthi's mass driver that manages to get past her shields. "Okay, you really shouldn't have done that." Paz replies, looking to dive on the ship from high on the perch. "Eat this!" she grins, starting to pepper the space around the enemy ship's cockpit with neutron cannon fire.

James watches the fighter that he had targetted comes apart even though his last missile misses. He notices the hit Victoria takes and veers towards the Dralthi that had engaged guns blazing «Are you ok Queen?»

« Can't you all kill them faster than that? » Tori complains, though she's at least not targetted once more. « Thanks for the help. Always nice to have some knights in shining armour out there. » She can't fly so fast as she did before, but she keeps trying. If she has anything to say about it, the dang kitties have written her off too early.

Walsh's third and final heat seeker impacts hard against the Dralthi's curved wing, shredding durasteel, and sending secondary explosions cascading through it's structure. His current target dispensed with, he heads toward the final Sartha that's been dogging Tizona. Tori taking more hits is cause for concern, however. «Hang in the, Queen, we're still working on fuzzy extermination!»

As the fighter count on the Kilrathi side dwindles, Kell switches to the next target and falls in formation next to Tori, «On your wing, Highness. Let's see if we can't get rid of the rest of these furballs.» Atleast his Broadsword can match the damaged Rapier's speed, so that's a plus.

The light show between heavy ships throwing antimatter at point-blank ranges may be impressive, but it's the Confederation fighters that win the day. Hemmed in on all sides by light craft as their forces are slowly whittled away, the Kilrathi capital ships are left vulnerable to a succession of bomber strikes from the Majestic and the Winterrowd. A handful of Kilrathi ships with the foresight to charge their jump drives escape back through the jump to Capella, but the majority cannot escape and are overwhelmed one by one, leaving a battlefield that belongs only to the Confederation… and the dead.

Paz blows a _long_ sigh of relief as the combat ebbs away, settling back in her seat and becoming aware of just how drenched in sweat she really is. «Queen, Tizona, say your status, please, over?» she calls, chopping her throttle and falling into line with her Squad Leader and her wing men.

« Little bit of shrapnel, but I'm good. The rapier took the worst of it, and she's still flying, » Tori replies. Green? No, but she's mostly in one piece. « I expect a visit to medbay is in order, but I don't intend to be staying there. Queen - heading for base. » And hopefully she can land her poor rapier without damaging it, herself or the docking bay. Could be a bit of a challenge.

James looks over his systems «One hit that got through the armor but no serious damage.» He swings his ship around and sets course for the Majestic.

« Think that was the last of them » Cole comments, swinging his broadsword around in a quick circle just in case he was mistaken. « Hell of a job, everyone » he adds, pausing for a moment and then asking. « Anyone besides Queen injured? » Might as well get the butcher's bill now.

Kanani leans back into the chair of her cramped cockpit as she lets out a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness -that's- over." She remarks to no one in particular, as she checks her scanners and looks around at the battlefield. «Two twenty first, Tsunami. How're you boys doing out there?» She ask the rest of her squadmates, as she waits to see if there's any further orders.

«Queen, Tizona, glad to hear it.» Paz calls, letting go of yet another sigh that almost turns into yawn as the adrenaline of combat drains away to be replaced by fatigue. «Lead, Tizona, Took a couple of stray rounds, but other than my floating back teeth, I'm fine.» she reports with a smirk that's almost audible. «Also, be advised, if we're going to be loitering for any length of time, you might wanna whistle us up a tanker or two.» she adds. «I'm not bingo yet, but I'm close.» Not surprising, she's been on near-constant burner since this fracas started.

Walsh falls back into formation, covering the heavily damaged rapier. His own Stiletto is missing some chunks of durasteel, but nothing major. «Tsunami, Ozone. All systems green. Got some holes to patch up, but good to tango.» Truth be told, he's just glad to have that damn Sartha off his back.

It certainly hasn't been without cost for the Confederation. Two destroyers lost, both cruisers crippled, one torpedo each in Winterrowd and Majestic… and then there are the fighters. Still, if the Confederation has paid for its victory, the cost of defeat is heavier still for the forces of Kilrah. A substantial portion of their Gemini fleet now floats lazily in orbit around Nexus' blue-white star.