The Big Red Light
The Big Red Light
Arc: Strange Bedfellows
Summary: The Majestic's Carrier group comes under attack from all sides by several destroyers, corvettes, and a horde of fighters and bombers. All craft are launched and sent to engage them before they can get in range of the Majestic.
Date: 2659.095
Related Logs: A Charlie Foxtrot Venture
Participants: James Phillip Walsh Paz Murphy Taylor

The klaxon goes off around the ship. The ships communication system immediately clicks on with the feminine voice of the Majestic's comm officer Lt. Caoilainn Murphy, "Attention! Attention! All personnel report to your battle stations. All pilots to your ships. Gunners to your stations. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill. All personnel to your battle stations." The klaxon appears to blare louder once Lt. Murphy finishes.

Iceblade is hanging out in the Powderkeg reading the last of the Lord of Rings books when the klaxon goes. He immediately looks up, drops the book on the bed, gets his boots on, and races down to the locker room to get suited up.

Walsh is in an otherwise deserted Observation room, concentrating intensely on programming his portable trainsim project. The klaxon sounds, and he all but drops his PDA in surprise. Coming to his senses, he quickly scoops up his electronic gadgetry, and sprints for the lift to stow his stuff and get geared up.

James was sitting in his bunk thanking whoever had come up with the idea of re-releasing every human versus cat species scifi book series a decade or so ago when he klaxons sound. He tosses the book onto his bunk then joins those sprinting for their ships.

Iceblade, James, and Walsh reach the hangar areas at about the same time.

Iceblade nods to the two Stiletto pilots and races to his bird, signing the checklist from the tech, and bolting up the ladder he goes. A few minutes later he can taxi to the launch tubes.

Walsh stops short, winded from his mad dash through the carrier. After a moment to catch his breath, he reaches his Stiletto, and all but vaults up the ladder. He's got his fighter on the move as soon as physically possible.

James signs for his own bird then hops in the cockpit doing his best to set a record for a Stiletto systems check by pilot. Once done he moves his craft towards the launch tubes ending up just behind Walsh's fighter.

The graceful chaos of a scramble can be observed all around the hangars and flight decks with pilots jumping into their birds and taxing to the launch tubes. Over the comm channel, the green-tinted image of the red-haired communications officer Lt. Murphy appears, "All pilots, be advised. We have inbound Kilrathi bombers and capships approaching from multiple vectors. I will be relaying you in groups." As each group launches, a flurry of callsigns, flight names, and vectors can be heard over the comm.

"Finally," Iceblade says to himself as his Rapier reaches its turn at the launch tube. «Iceblade, Cutlass, and Ozone, you are cleared to launch.» says Lt. Murphy over the comm. «Roger Majestic, launching now.» Iceblade responses as his bird flies out of the Majestic. Dang that took way too long, that had to be more than 5 minutes for all fighters to be launched.

James shoves the throttle forward as soon as launch clearance is given with one eye on his sensor readouts, the instant he's clear he banks starboard before reporting «Cutlass is clear Majestic.»

The launch order comes not a moment after Walsh has positioned his fighter in the launch tube. He braces for acceleration, and is thrown once more into the black void. «Ozone up.» he transmits, tersely.

The space around the Majestic is decidedly less busy than it was a minute ago as most flights are already vectored outbound. All three of the Majestic's escorts can be seen at a distance moving to engage no doubt larger threats. Both of the Ventures can be seen nearby the Majestic along with a pair of Rapiers holding position above the Bengal class carrier remaining as close-in CAP. As the last group of Rapiers and Stilettos bolt out of the ship, Lt. Murphy's red hair and gentle face appears on the comm, «Cutlass, you will lead Epsilon flight, which will consist of Iceblade and Ozone. Epsilon will remain in reserve and support the CAP in-case..» She pauses and looks away from the screen for a second as another officer yells several details out to her. «Correction, Epsilon, proceed along vector 0-0-23 and engage the group of Kilrathi there. The group consists of a corvette with bombers, so we are sending the TCS Cook to assist. Do not wait on the Cook, Majestic out.»

James blinks once, though that's the only sign of the surprise he feels, «Copy that Majestic. Okay Epsilon, we have two bombers incoming with escorts. I'm on the lead bomber, Iceblade is on 2, Ozone if the escorts focus on us hit one after whoever picks up two.»

«Roger, Majestic» Iceblade confirms as he pulls onto the James' wing. «Cutlass, Ice, I'm on your wing and ready to kill some Kilrathi.» Iceblade tries not to think about the fact that so soon after the previous battle, they would once again be working with Lt. Commander Auldwell.

«Copy that, Cutlass.» Walsh responds, before going back to configuring his fighter for combat. «The Cook? Don't we get all the luck!»

As Epsilon approaches the Kamekh, the two bombers can be seen staying close to the corvette while the three light fighters are situated above them. Upon seeing the inbound Confed ships, the 3 Sarthas immediately break formation and race at the them.

James nods slightly as the escort fighters split up, «Okay Ozone pick your own target for this pass.» he amends before switching to missiles as he swings towards his target and begins evasive maneuvers after firing.

«Cutlass, going for the second bomber, Ice out.» Phillip radios as he cues up a dumbfire and goes for the second bomber. All the while, he keeps an eye out for any Sarthas heading his way to attempt to avoid being hit too much. Phillip gets in range and opens fire on one of the bombers who are now starting to twitch and move to avoid the incoming Confed ships.

Two bombers, three light fighters, and a corvette. Couldn't the good guys have the advantage of numbers for once? With the bombers accounted for, Walsh cycles through to the first of their escorts, switching over to missiles to hopefully thin the crowd in a hurry. «Copy that, Cutlass. Already on the lead Sartha.» His target is at a very suboptimal aspect for a heat seeker launch, but he hopes to at least keep the enemy busy for a moment.

The Sarthas are the first to come into range and Walsh's heatseeker smacks right into the nose of one of them. The Kamekh's flak screen proves useless while Phillip and James' missiles miss badly. Also the Stilettos manage to avoid incoming fire from the Sarthas, but Phillip takes a hit to his weapon - nothing too serious at least.

James grimaces as his missile flies off into the night, «Okay, I'm going to save the missiles for when they've steadied down for their attack runs.» he announces before diving onto his target's tail. «Ozone keep hitting the escorts unless you have a "can't miss" shot at a bomber, and Iceblade stay on target but let me know if you start having problems from damage, then break»

Unfortunately, Iceblade's missile turned out to be a waste as the bomber easily evaded it. Iceblade immediately begins evading the flak and incoming fire from one of the Sarthas. Smack goes the Neutron as Iceblade feels a jolt on his right wing. "Damn it, they hit one of my lasers." Iceblade exclaims and he continues evading. He immediately switches to imrecs, comes around on the bomber again and waits for the lock all the while twitching his ship.

"Nice! Got the little bastard!" Walsh exclaims as the missile that he fired mainly as a distraction actually hits. There's no point in wasting another missile on a Sartha, however, so he switches to his trusty mass drivers for the finisher.

The bombers appear to be saving their lighter missiles for later, which could be a mistake, but that hasn't been seen yet given how they managed to evade James and Phillip yet again. With the arrival of the TCS Cook along with a surprisingly healthier Paz (who just got cleared for flight duty) have just arrived. The Cook immediately begins vectoring for the Kamekh, who in turn, does the same. This significantly reduces the flak, which was missing badly anyway. Walsh does succeed with a second nasty hit on the first Sartha.

«This is the TCS Majestic, Epsilon flight divert one of your Stilettos to scout out engagement zone Charlie. Advise caution. Your pilot should not engage if too hot. We have lost all contact with the fighters in that area. Majestic out.» is heard by the pilots of Epsilon flight.

James mutters a curse before opening his commline, «Ozone go, and stay alert out there. Iceblade we're losing our main source of cover fire so watch your back. Let's just hope the Cook gets here soon.» as he maneuvers for another shot at his target.

As Walsh's fighter leaves with quick double mic check, the Cook and another Rapier arrive.

«This is the TCS Cook, take care of those bombers and leave the corvette to me.» says Lt. Cmd. Auldwell as terse as ever.

«Epsilon Flight, Tizona» Paz calls over the radio. «You guys getting into trouble without me? I'm disappointed.» she pouts playfully, lining up her sights with an oncoming Sartha and giving the trigger a squeeze when the reticule lights up.

Iceblade's imrec is evaded yet again. "Damn it." Upon hearing the order for a scout, Iceblade radios «Stay safe Ozone». Phillip immediately notices the arrival of the Cook with a friend. «Welcome to the party, Tizona. Crap.» Iceblade ends with an exclamation as the bomber he is tailing fires an FoF at James. Ping. «Iceblade, Fox 2, imrec away.»

While Paz comes rocketing in and slams a dumbfire up the butt of the Sartha chasing Iceblade. The torpedoes go flying with the Kamekh barely avoiding severe damage while the Cook's gunners easily down the incoming two torpedoes. All other pilots in the field however are sucking wind on accuracy today it seems.

The bombers now decide to start really doing their job and go for very dangerous, straight-on torpedo runs on the Cook. The Sarthas, deciding that the real danger here is Paz, immediately go for her.

James grimaces as he notices the shift in the enemy's targeting, «Be careful Tizona and pick a bomber to go after. On the next pass I'll switch to trying to nail the Sarthas.» as he switches to missiles and bores in on the lead bomber.

Paz gives a cheeky grin as she watches her missile slam home. «Okay, Iceblade, that oughta give you some wiggle room.» Paz radios. «Cutlass, Tizona, this is your party, tell me where you need me to be.» she calls, targeting one of the incoming Sarthas with her guns and firing.

"Damn it, who designed the guidance on these missiles." Iceblade grumbles as his imrec misses again. He cues up his last dumbfire and goes for a careful shot on the Grikath's pretty cockpit. "Wow, you really are going straight now, your mistake." He says with devilish grin right before his fighter reaches parity. SCHROOM goes the dumbfire from the Rapier.

Paz blasts the first Sartha into a spin, which collides directly into the torpedoes from the Grikaths. Both James and Phillip, now that the Grikaths have stopped weaving, find their missiles obliterating both bombers just after they launched their missiles. Cheers can be heard (probably not by the pilots) from the audience…inside the nearby Majestic's CIC. "Hey, let's stay focused here, what is the status on Ozone?" says Lt. Murphy.

Paz's Rapier takes a hit, nothing big while the Kamekh and Venture keep dueling. The Kamekh's armor takes the torpedo amazingly well, while Lt. Cmd. Auldwell's gunners keep the Kamekh's torpedo from hitting.

James smiles as the bombers and another Sartha come apart "Welcome to the party Tizona, apparently you're our little groups good luck charm. I know I don't need to say it, but everyone after that Sartha, guns only. Let's save the missiles in case of more uninvited guests.»

«Cutlass, Tizona, copy that, rolling on him now.» Paz replies, suiting action to words. "Shoot me you fuzzy little bastard," she grumbles. "After yesterday? I don't /think/ so." she says, angling to get into position for a diving attack. "Let's see how you handle /this/.
The dumbfire flies true and cremates the Kilrathi where he sits taking his fighter with him.

"YES!" «Bomber is destroyed, and nice work Cutlass. Roger on missile saving, but I'm already down to FoFs.» Iceblade then wheels around to the last Sartha, guns blazing.

As the last Sartha sees its fate sealed, it races for the TCS Cook at max burn intent on a collision.

Even though, the Sartha managed to launch a dumbfire, the TCS Cook's armor proved too tough. The kamikaze run by the Sartha ends immediately thereafter as the three Confed fighters take it out in a matter of one second. The Kamekh's torpedo is again destroyed by the Cook's gunners while the Cook's torp lands squarely against the Kamekh's bridge doing moderate damage to it and those inside.

The frantic and intense dog-fighting seems to have been going on for half an hour but was over in a matter of a few minutes real time. With the fighting rounding up, a distress call be heard over the Majestic's Confederation frequency. «This is the TCS Lancelot to TCS Majestic and any nearby fighter groups. We have another group of bombers inbound and our cap is currently engaged.»

As soon as the channel closes, Lt. Murphy is seen on the comm, «Epsilon flight, I'm sure the Cook can take care of the Kamekh by herself. Light your burners to the Lancelot's location. Sending coordinates to your nav computers now.» «TCS Lancelot, this is the Majestic. We are vectoring fighters to your location.» Lt. Murphy radios on a wider broadcast range.

«Understood Majestic, TCS Lancelot out.»

James opens a comm channel to the Majestic, «This is Epsilon Flight lead, order acknowledged, has there been any word from Ozone since he was sent on the scouting run you requested?» while awaiting a reply he opens a private line to the rest of the flight, «Good work Everyone, but stay alert, and maintain formation. I'll take point.» as he swings towards the provided coordinates and kicks on the afterburners, his eyes focused on his sensor display.

«Cutlass, Tizona, I got your wing.» Paz reports, settling into position as she sets up her navigation system to the indicated coordinates and lights the 'burners. "Okay, this could get a little wonky," she muses, settling back into her couch to enjoy the brief respite before re-engaging with the enemy.

Iceblade swipes the sweat off his brow and immediately upon hearing about the distress call says, "Damn it, more bombers." «On your wing, Cutlass.» Iceblade radios as he proceeds to get into formation, match speed, and finally cycle through his systems.

In less than a minute, Epsilon group approaches the Lancelot. It can be seen engaging or rather bludgeoning a Ralari destroyer. Mass driver fire can be seen flashing in the span between the two ships as Sarthas and Stilettos duke it out. Epsilon group rapidly closes the distance and the Stiletto's computers pick up 2 Grikaths and 2 Dralthi lead by a Hhriss approaching the Gilgamesh destroyer from its rear. The Lancelot immediately communicates as the Epsilon flight approaches, «Good to you, Epsilon. You are just in time. Don't worry about the Ralari and her escorts, just keep those bombers off us.»

James grimaces as he sees the battle raging ahead and enemy fighters veering towards them. «I'm on the Hhriss, Tizona and Iceblade hit the bombers if you can get a clean shot but watch your backs.» James radios before shifting course towards his intended victim and boring in on its tail, «Cutlass Fox 2»

«Lead, Tizona, copy that, rolling right. Watch your asses, folks, these kitties ain't lookin' for a saucer of milk tonight.» Paz radios, swinging her fighter into a looping climb as she uncages the seeker head of her imrec. "Hi there, Fuzzy," she grins wolfishly, targeting one of the bombers and giving her pedals a little dance as her threat warning system catches the Hhriss that's vectoring in for a pass against her. "Welcome to Gemini Sector, shit head," she grins, squeezing the trigger and releasing the missile before making a retina-detaching crash dive.

«Iceblade here, order confirmed.» Phillip radios as he spots the incoming bombers. Iceblade sees the inbound Dralthi and tries to shake them off while he comes about to attack one of the bombers from rear with full guns. Iceblade gives a silent prayer that the Dralthis behind him can't shoot for shit as he begins firing away on the bomber.

The Stilettos from the TCS Lancelot and the Sarthas continue to duke it out doing minor or no damage to each other with one of the Sarthas taking one hit painful enough to go spinning into flak and exploding. The Ralari missing completely while the Lancelot heavy antimatter fire can't seem to breach the Ralari's armor. One of the bombers, Phillip's target in fact, succeeds with a torpedo that rocks the Lancelot badly without doing significant internal damage. Both Rapiers has little luck while James' last heatseeker merely scars the Hhriss.

«So you think you can take us that easily, well Captain Cristo is a much tougher nut.» Lt. Commander Montgomery Corwin, the TCS Lancelot's Captain, taunts the Kilrathi forces. «Fighters see if you can peel off those bombers for us.» He adds on the Confed frequency.

James smiles as the missile hits but grimaces as first the Hhriss emerges intact with two Dralthis breaking towards him. He fires a snapshot towards the Hhriss then breaks evasive. «Stay on the bombers, I'll try to keep their lead and escorts busy.»

«Stormcrow, see if you can give the Majestic pilots a hand with the bombers, we'll keep these Sarthas busy.» comes the transmission of the wingleader referenced as Crane.

"Dammit…." Paz growls as her quarry makes a quick thruster shuffle that causes her imrec to go wide. "Okay, here goes…" she starts to say, then yelps as her craft is rocked by the Hhriss. «Somebody please get this idiot off my tail.» she radios. «Just don't get into the flak ring.» she notes, switching to her remaining dumbfire and lining herself up on a plane with the bomber.

Iceblade spots the torpedo launch but is unable to shoot it down before it is out of range right after his shots fail to penetrate the bomber's armor. "Damn. Okay, Mr. Grikath, I think it is time to boost the pepper now that your friends have turned tail," Iceblade says as he loads up a FoF and gets aggressive with the second bomber.

While Stormcrow acknowledges and bolts for the second bomber, his two tails start blasting him before the Stiletto pilot's wingmates can get them off his back. His controls take a serious hit, which throws the heatseeker's lock off right as he was firing it. The missiles goes sailing off missing the bomber.

Both Bombers do however take some pain, Paz's dumbfire turns the first bomber's engines into mush, and Phillip clips the second bomber's wing along with some serious damage by the Lancelot's flak gunners. James also lands a successful hit on the Hhriss. All the while, Paz and James manage to evade their pursuer with Phillip flying unmolested.

The heavy flak takes out both torpedoes soon after their launch from the bombers. Both of the Lancelot's other Stilettos hit their targets with heatseekers but only Mockingbird's amounts to much damage. The Sartha soon after finds itself flaked to pieces. The Lancelot and Ralari continue shooting each other but only manage to flash shields without penetrating. The Lancelot's captain is no doubt too busy managing his crew and ship to communicate before it fires more volleys at the Ralari who returns fire.

«Ack, This is Stormcrow, going evasive.» The Stiletto pilot reports.

«Stormcrow, Crane here. Coming to assist. Mockingbird take care of that bomber would ya.» wingleader Crane orders.

«Roger, time to die kitty.» Mockingbird acknowledges.

James grimaces as another hit is scored with only minor damage to the target. He fires another burst after the enemy leader just in time to hear the most unwanted sound of his life - a missile lock-on warning. Kicking his ECM to full and continuing to evade he says, «I don't know how much longer I can keep these guys busy, but I'll do what I can. Tizona has command if I go down.»

Iceblade's guns failed to switch to FoF and the result was less than stellar as he only managed to clip the bomber wing. "Damn it, you stupid Rapier, I told you switch to FoF." After mashing the FoF button and double checking that the switch occurred, he lines up with the bomber. Just then alarms go off as the ship detects a missile lock. He fires the friend or foe at an imperfect angle and starts to evade the incoming missile.

«Flight, Tizona, that Hhriss is on my ass and on it /hard/, requesting assistance, repeat, requesting assistance.» Paz radios, pitching up sharply to take a shot at the other bomber, only to find its twin racing towards her! Threat alarms scream as it locks on, leaving her with no option than to juke as hard as she can and still uncage the seeker head of her last imrec and hope for the best.

The stalemate thus far is starting to turn. Flak from the Lancelot finishes the first bomber as it tries to avoid dying. James manages to nail the Hhriss in the cockpit before it launched his imrec at Paz. The missile barrage from the other Kilrathi against the Majestic ships were evaded through the grit and skill from the pilots as they attempt to take down their own targets. In its evasion, the second bomber manages to avoid several missiles only getting some slight damage from Phillip's friend or foe.

The Stilettos from the Lancelot take a beating from the Sarthas, however, but manage to stay in the fight with the wingleader Crane nailing a Sartha in the nose taking it out. «Got that one off your back Stormcrow. Wing, let's take care of this bomber, I'll watch your tails from the rest of the Sarthas.» Crane radios.

The Kilrathi, however, are not going to give up so easily and redouble their efforts against the Majestic's ships. Meanwhile, the Lancelot also finally manages to damage, however slightly, the Ralari.

James smiles, «I believe that takes care of your Hhriss problem Tizona. Now if you could help finish the last bomber, Iceblade and I can keep the Dralthi's busy for you» even as he swings back to engage the fighter which has been tailing him for some time.

«Cutlass, Tizona, gracias, my friend, I owe you a pint or two when we get back.» Paz radios, blowing a sigh of relief as she pivots her craft and bores in towards the remaining Grikath, setting the pepper on its tail and waiting, waiting, waiting, barreling in at high speed, to fire at point blank range!

Iceblade grits his teeth and manages to avoid a missile up his tail, but the Dralthi is coming back around. «Roger James, engaging Dralthis now.» he radios as he comes around to the Dralthi after him, firing another FoF missile, probably his last.

The Battle is rapidly turning against the Kilrathi. Paz lands a full gun blast that ruins the engines, power plant, cockpit and day of the Kilrathi pilot with the flak and torpedo explosion in the face adding more insult to injury and injury. Crane heatseekered out the Sartha after Mockingbird while James' mass drivers roast the cockpit and the kil inside it to burnt hair leaving the ship flying right into some stray flak. The Dralthis' missiles are again evaded while Phillip's last FoF strikes the Dralthi but doing only minimal damage.

No other hits are made by the fighters and while the Lancelot does hit the Ralari, it only does minor damage while the Ralari's own shots merely scratches the Lancelot's paintjob.

«Scratch my ship will you. All gunners full blast. Helm let's bare down on them.» Captain Cristo orders over the radio.

«Epsilon, Crane here. Mind finishing off that Dralthi while we send this Sartha to its own grave?» radios the lead Stiletto.

James opens the commline and says, «Not at all.» then shifts to the flight's frequency «Well let's turn this last Dralthi into a bad memory shall we?» as he swings around to engage, guns blazing.

«Copy that, rolling in hot.» Paz replies, diving on the enemy ship.

After firing the last FoF, Iceblade went evasive and succeeded yet again in avoiding the enemy missile. With the Dralthi still on his tail, he goes evasive and races toward Paz and James for them to finish him off. «Hey Tizona, Cutlass, I'm bringing him to ya.» Iceblade radios as he dodges and uses his last remaining afterburner fuel.

With the enemy reduced to so few, the Lancelot flak ends. As Phillip races past Paz and James, the tailing Dralthi finds itself cut to shreds by laser and neutron fire right to the face. The last Sartha however receives little damage to no damage from the Stilettos but misses Crane several times. The Lancelot herself races toward the Ralari who attempts to stand its ground and manages to land a hit on the Confed ship while losing some armor in the exchange.

Out of nowhere, a Sabre comes flying in at full speed, heading straight for the Ralari. «This is Meat Grinder, I repeat this is Meat Grinder. TCS Lancelot you are to pull back immediately. I'll finish off this furry scum.» radios Col. Taylor flying a Sabre that looks almost completely unscratched, though it clearly is some missiles light from prior fighting judging on its velocity. «Majestic pilots clean that Sartha's clock.» He adds.

«This is the Lancelot, acknowledged, we are disengaging. Crane land your flight immediately.»

James curses as his weapons misfire and takes a few moments to fix the problem while replying, «Acknowledged sir.» and boring in on the new target at full speed before firing at point blank range.

«Understood, Tizona coming in hot.» Paz radios, bearing down on her target.

Iceblade checks behind him and sees the Dralthi burnup. «Nice shot Tizona.» Then after hearing the appearance of Col. Taylor, immediately comes about to take on the final Sartha, which is now going after the WingCo. Still Iceblade can't help but be a bit distracted watching the WingCo take on the Ralari.

Col. Taylor looses the torpedo directly into the engines of the Ralari, bearing the heavy flak the whole way in. The Ralari takes a severe hit and explodes into a large fireball almost instantaneously. Both Phillip and James score hits on the remaining Sartha taking it out before it could attack the WingCo. «Nice work Pilots, see you on the flight deck. Meat Grinder out.» the Sabre radios as it comes away from the Ralari wreckage to join with the other pilots and the Lancelot on the trip back to the Majestic.

The Stilettos finish their landing on the TCS Lancelot, and all of the birds start making their way to the Majestic.

Iceblade scores a nice hit taking out the Sartha even though he was a bit distracted by the fireworks. «You as well, Meat Grinder. That was definitely some gutsy flying.» Iceblade radios before he moves to get into formation for the trip back.

James watches the last fighter and the destroyer go up and maneuvers to take a place at the rear of the Confederation formation. «Tizona, Iceblade, any signs of problems for the flight home? And Majestic is there any word on Ozone yet?»

«Cutlass, Tizona, negative, repeat, negative. Road's clear all the way home.» Paz replies, her grin evident in her tone, then it falters for a bit. «No word on Ozone just yet. Keep those fingers crossed.»

«Majestic to Epsilon, yes Ozone has returned with a few banged up Rapiers. Communications were lost due to Kilrathi jamming in that area. He didn't take too much damage it would appear, but those Rapiers will keep the techs busy for a day or two for sure assuming they don't become permanent fixtures.»

Iceblade nods at the somewhat good news, though he says, "I bet Weiss is really pissed right now seeing those birds coming in." Iceblade then radios, «What's your status guys. My bird is bit dented and I'll need a new laser cannon, but overall nothing too serious.»
«Meat Grinder here, it is going to take more than a bit of shrapnel to knock me out, kid.» Taylor responds.

A sigh of relief can be heard over the comm channel, which James had apparently forgot to cut before a reply to Iceblade's question comes, «All systems are green.»

«Iceblade, Tizona, got a few bitch lights over here, but nothing I can't handle.» Paz replies breezily, settling into the Majestic's traffic pattern. «Meat Grinder, Tizona, that was a hell of a nice move,» she compliments the man. «Fuzzy Wuzzy didn't see that one coming.» she says, grinning, «So, is the scuttlebutt correct? You're our new Winco?»

As Epsilon group returns to the Majestic, the TCS Cook and TCS Baden-Powell are holding escort formation around the Majestic while the TCS Salami and TCS Odysseus can be seen approaching at a distance from two different vectors. As the group closes to visual range of the recovery deck, a flight of beaten and battered Rapiers are seen touching down. Not far from the Majestic can be seen a Stiletto belonging to Lt. Walsh. Lt. Murphy appears on the comm, her face slightly sullen, «Good work out there, Epsilon. It's good to see you all made it back and not flying hopeless wrecks. Unfortunately, not everyone made it back.»

«Iceblade, Tizona, Cutlass, and Ozone have next clearance to land. Begin your approach. By the way, be careful as you touch down. Several ships were barely holding together when they returned. Meat Grinder, you can land after them. There is nobody else outbound. Majestic out.» A sad sigh can be heard at the tail end of that transmission. Epsilon begins the process of landing.

James cuts back on the throttle «Iceblade, Tizona, and Ozone you go first and I'll be right behind you.» Once the others are safely down, he lands then sighs once he's finished powering down.

Iceblade returns to the Carrier's air space or should that be space space…weird. «Roger that Majestic. Beginning approach now. See you on deck Ozone.» Iceblade's Rapier touches down on the deck seconds later.

Paz glares a little bit at her gyro as it pretends to not know what bit is up and what bit is down. «Majestic, Tizona, I have the ball.» she announces. The rest isn't precisely easy, but doable.

Walsh lines up for a relatively smooth landing. Damage to his craft is mostly superficial, which is just short of miraculous, considering. «Goddamn I hate flying blind solo! Anyone wanna dream up an easier way of getting killed?»