The Rescue of the TCS Honour
The Rescue of the TCS Honour
Arc: The Battle of Junction
Summary: Pilots from the 221st, 1087th, and 13th Squadrons scramble and proceed to the jump point to assist the under-attack and heavily-damaged Yorktown Class Light Carrier TCS Honour as it retreats from the Nexus jump point.
Date: 2658.134
Related Logs: None
Participants: Phillip Trey Paz Foster Kanani Cole Weiss James

The Powderkeg
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1926 Hours 2658.134

Designed to house sixteen officers in some minimum of space and privacy, this is the barracks for the 1087th Fighter Squadron. Bunk alcoves and locker banks alternate along the walls, with privacy screens for the bunks retracting in front of the lockers when not in use. The bunk alcoves themselves are perhaps two and a half meters long and a meter deep, certainly not an arrangement for the claustrophobic. In the center of the room, a pair of sofas and a pair of chairs have been secured to the floor around a small table. A small hallway off to the rear of the room leads to a small bathroom and communal shower, while a door to port opens into a small private stateroom for the squadron commander.

Phillip opens his eyes after having been dosing for the past hour. He sits up from his bunk a little groggy and rubbing his eyes. He takes a quick look around and then checks his watch.

Trey is on the couch when Phillip opens his eyes. The guy's lounged in his favorite spot. It's arguably 'his', at this point, the guy having occupied precisely that spot, at the edge of the couch, every moment he gets. He's been known to sleep on it when the old lady's not looking. Head tilted over the arm of the couch, he's likely to appear more comfortable and relaxed than is strictly allowed… possibly by the law, for that matter. In his hand is a wooden paddle with a rubber bouncyball connected to it by a rubberband, and staples. Lots of staples. If one were to take the number of used staples on the paddle as an indicator of how many times the ball had bounced off, it would be… a -really- high number.

Phillip observes Trey and takes note of the wooden paddle. Iceblade gives a mild chuckle. Phillip then turns and puts his feet on the floor and stretches his arms giving a somewhat audible yawn. He then bends down to start putting on his boots.

Trey played with the paddle. That's what one does with these things, you know. His head's upsidedown, which would make this more challenging if he didn't seem to do just as poorly with it when he's rightside up. His hair stands on end, a product of his upsidedown head and the ship's artificial gravity. Eyes catch sight of the groggy pilot. "Morning!" Trey is not the kind of man who sounds like a proper officer. EVER. "You know, I'm really sorry, but I never got your name the other day. Just flew a sortie with you, nearly got my life ended by eight foot tall space cats… again, might I add."

Phillip looks over and nods at the pilot. "Evening yourself." Iceblade then adds as he finishes tying his boots on, "I'm 2nd Lt. Phillip Bradford…Iceblade."

Interrupting what had been a quiet evening in the black of space, a voice booms out over the loudspeaker. "All pilots, man your craft. All pilots, man your craft. Magnum launch. This is not a drill." There's a brief moment of silence from the disembodied voice, and then general quarters sounds as well. So much for that quiet evening.

"Iceblade. Hisssss…." Trey puts the paddle down… well, actually it flies out of his hands, but what else is new, to point his fingers at Phillip as if they were smoking. "Bradford. Cool. I'm…" He quirks his head up, "Son of a bitch. I didn't even get dinner yet." He's out of the couch and heading out of the bunks in a hurry.

Phillip looks up at the speaker and says, "Dangit, I just woke up from a power nap." Iceblade then quickly stands up, grabbing what gear he needs from his locker, and races for the door hurriedly putting stuff on.

__

Port Launch Tubes
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1947 Hours 2658.134

Part catapult and part airlock, the launch tubes of the Bengal-class allow for rapid deployment of its fighter wing. Eight tubes are set along the port side of the ship, virtually identical in construction. Each is kept closed to space by a heavy door at the far end of the tube, with the inside end sporting a similar portal. The blue-green track of a tractor beam emitter is visible along the floor of the tube, used to fling a spacecraft within out into space. Set along the walls to both sides are narrow catwalks for maintenance or emergency usage.

The 8 tubes each hold a fighter either a Scimitar class medium fighter or a Stiletto class light fighter. All ships are ready for an immediate launch

Iceblade quickly comms for clearance, «Control, Scimitar One Zero Eight Seven Fox Sierra Three, requesting immediate launch clearance.»

Sloppy comms over the radio, «Son of a…. didn't we do this already? I want my money back. This is totally a rerun.»

Tizona comms, «Control, Scimitar One Zero Eight Seven Fox Sierra Five, requesting immediate launch clearance.»

Sloppy comms, «Second that. Control, this is Scimitar one zero eight seven fox sierra six. Requesting immediate launch clearance.»

___

Local Space
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 1947 Hours 2658.134

The infinite void opens up outside the carrier, a wide field of stars visible in the pitch black of space, with the larger sphere of the agricultural planet Helen close enough to stand out on its own. The bulk of the carrier lingers nearby, flanked by the equally large forms of the cruisers Corunna and Rorke's Drift. A handful of smaller escorts loiter nearby, holding station between the larger ships, dwarfed by the bulk of the heaviest ships the Confederation has to offer… and yet still massive compared to a fighter craft in their own right.

Phillip launches first of the group from the Majestic after receiving clearance, eager to kill some furballs. He comms over the radio, «This is Iceblade. I have launched and awaiting orders.» Upon the launch of Sloppy and Tizona, Iceblade adds, «Welcome to the party, guys.»

Sloppy responds, «Then why aren't I having a good time?»

Iceblade quips in response, «Maybe cause your idea of a good time is a paddle-ball.»

Gambit's voice is then heard over the radio, «Control, Gambit here in Stiletto Two-two-one-FS-Five. Launching.»

Iceblade comms, «You ready for this, Paz?»

Tizona chuckles «Iceblade, Tizona, please be so kind as to not broadcast my name over an open channel. Really don't feel like having a price on my head.»

As the fighters that aren't out on patrol duty begin to clear through the launch tubes of the Majestic, the carrier itself can be seen springing to combat-ready life, lights dimming along the non-combatant decks of the vessel and at the same time, the turrets sweep warily across arcs in the sky. As the majority of the fighters move clear, VDUs onboard the fighters click to life with a hazy green image of the Majestic's bridge. «Majestic Control to all craft. Approximately eleven minutes ago, we detected multiple jumps into Junction from the Nexus system. Four minutes ago, we received a distress call from the TCS Honour. The Honour has fled Nexus heavily damaged, and has multiple Kilrathi craft following. Damage to her is extensive, and is preventing a launch of her own fighter craft. Thirteen, Ten-Eighty Seven, and Two-Twenty One will proceed directly to the Honour to render assistance. Other squadrons will remain on close patrol in case that Kilrathi battlegroup decides this is a good time to jump us.» There's a moment's pause before the voice continues, « We don't have enough carriers in this sector to lose one, gentlemen. »

Iceblade comms afterward, « Wait, so what are the wings again?"

Trey rolls into formation. «Well that's great. Wouldn't want us to not be thinned out and down on our luck.» The pilot flips switches and dials, checking his craft out and modulating the shields to his preferences. He sounds a little bitter over the radio, that's for sure.

«We're always outgunned.» Paz chimes in as she does her own quick bit of configuring her ship's systems. «That's what makes us special.»

« Christ on a pony » Is the ever-so-elegant response from a certain Australian bomber squadron commander as he checks out the IDs of the various craft deployed in space. "How'd I end up in charge of this clusterfuck?" He muses, quickly cycling his sensors through the contact list. « Right. Come about for the Honour at two-two-three mark seven. Assignments are… Tizona and Iceblade, Tsunami and Gambit. Sloppy, you're with me. Try to keep up ». Well, at least the broadsword pilot hasn't lost his sense of humor.

«Well, what is the fun in outnumbering your enemy.» Iceblade chimes in as he pulls alongside Paz. «You can count on me Tizona.» Iceblade adds.

«Outgunned just means there's more targets to go around for everyone.» Kanani states over the comm. She chuckles at Cole's broadcast and broadcasts an acknowledgement. «Copy that Voodoo, but I always thought it was you that needed to try and keep up with us.» She can't quite help but add a shot at the broadswords lack of speed, as her fighter pulls into formation.

«Luck's only a factor when the enemy's the lucky one.» Quiet words there from Foster as he shakes his head a bit. «Got it,» he offers to the wing assignments. Careful about not sending the next bit of talk onto the comm channel, he begins singing a bit to himself. Pausing that to make a comment as he hears Kanani's words, «You know, someone might even hit something, then.»

«Lead, Tizona, roger your co-ordinates. Coming about to two two three mark seven.» Paz radios, voice making it clear she's spoiling for a fight after…

«Yes -sir-. I'm on your wing,» says Trey as he slips his over-armored space relic towards the Broadsword, «and ready to go. Do we have any forward warning of what we're coming into? That doesn't sound like a good situation. We're on a vector bravo, or is this a direct route?»

« Negative Tsunami, it's just my excuse to admire your afterburners » Cole replies with a little chuckle, before he adds more seriously « And I'm assuming if they had that information, we've had been given it, Sloppy. As it stands, best we can do is hope we're not flying into too much of a mess. We're taking the direct line in. »

After what seems like ages, the rescue flight group approaches the scene. And what a glorious mess they seem to have stumbled into as well… the aging light carrier has clearly seen the worse of whatever exchange it was involved in, its flight deck lacking the telltale shimmer of atmospheric containment, and a long streamer of ionized gas venting from one engine. As if the situation wasn't bad enough for the Honour, a pair of bombers are moving in to press the attack. Whatever escort the carrier might have once had is now down to a pair of Rapier fighters which are neatly boxed in by an eight of Kilrathi fighters, unable to intercept.

« Voodoo to all craft, break and attack! Get in there at those bombers. » Cole orders, pausing for a moment before adding. « That means you too, Sloppy. Don't worry about me. » Famous last words.

«Lead, Tizona, copy that, breaking left, now now now!» And with that, Paz heels her Scimitar into a stomach-churning, skidding turn to point her dumbfire right at where her targeting computer estimates first of the lumbering Grikaths' engines will be upon impact. From there, it's all about squeezing the trigger.

«Nice knowing you, Voodoo,» comes the light words as Foster listens to Cole's words, before he grins a bit and moves in for one of the bombers, attempting to get into position to fire down at the thing, possibly for the cockpit area now. Muttering something to himself.

«Tizona, Iceblade. Focusing on your target.» Iceblade comms to Paz as he switches to dumbfires and focusing in on the Grikath's body as his Scimitar flies beside Paz's. «Lets wax this guy,» Iceblade adds and he launches his dumbfire right after Paz shoots her missile.

«Copy that, Voodoo, taking care of the Griks.» Kanani acknowledges the order, and promptly hits the burners, rocketing towards the second of the bombers, and lining up to put a heat seeker into its engines. «Fox two.» She states calmly as she pulls the trigger and the missile launches towards its target.

Not a pleasant sight. Trey's eyes widen, but he keeps his customary calm in the face of pretty much anything. «Right, sir. Splitting off. If you need me, just give out a shout. Tizona, Iceblade. I have eyes to your target, heading one four one mark seven niner at one one zero clicks. Armed and engaging.» He blasts the afterburners and shoots towards the bomber, attempting to get a good, proper shot on it.

James sets his weapons control over to missiles and bores in on one of the bombers settling the crosshairs over the target and squeezing the trigger once he has a lock «Fox-2» He calls over the comm-line as he fires.

If the fight was a mess before, the addition of extra Confederation fighters certainly doesn't make it neater. The Kilrathi escorts are caught far out of position, dancing with the two Rapiers still. Both bombers loose their torpedoes, and a single one manages to impact… a last-second turn by the carrier's commander causing the torpedo to impact on one of the few undamaged sections of the carrier's armor. Both bombers pay for their run: One explodes, and a second staggers under a flurry of impacts, but doggedly turns in for another pass. The Kilrathi escorts, perhaps too late, realize there are more Confederation craft in the area, breaking off from the Rapiers to engage. A static-filled image pops up on the VDUs, rolling smoke obscuring the ceiling of a shattered CIC. « I don't know who you are, but glad to have you with us » A young woman wearing commander's stripes greets the arriving fighters.

Crazy as always, and unable to reach the bombers, Cole turns his broadsword straight into the fighter melee. Mass driver shots tear a chunk out of the wing of one of the lumbering Kilrathi craft, before its wingman moves in to line up an attack.

James notices a pair of Sarthas angling for a shot on him and adds a few evasive maneuvers to his attack run before squeezing off a Mass driver volley at the bomber. «Cutlass guns but I've picked up a couple of tails here.»

Iceblade pulls the trigger before Paz gets off her dumbfire, both colliding with the Grikath after the bomber blunts the dumbfire from Trey. «Ya Hoo. Take that you Kat.» Iceblade rejoices over the comm as he pulls away and flies toward one of the Jalthis while remaining alongside Tizona. He locks on a heatseeker, holds for the ping, and prepares to fire.

Kanani watches her missile make a mess of one of the engines on her target, but it still keeps lumbering on. «Switching to guns to declaw this cat.» She comments with a hint of annoyance over the radio. Her fighter swoops around and tries to get a nice shot from above where hopefully the armor is a bit lighter.

Moving in for the other bomber, Foster frowns as his attack seem to bounce off the armor of the bomber. Twisting and turning to take another shot at the enemy. Keeping silent for now.

Trey lines up a good shot onto the bomber's tail. «Hey cat. Daddy's got a fishy wishy for the little poopsy woopsie.» and then in a dull voice he adds: «Fire. Fox… something.» and shoots the missile off. It impacts into the tail section, though the pilot himself is already swinging around for a shot on the heavy fighter that's after Cole. «Who's a good kitty? Who's a good widdle kitty? Huh? Huh? Yees. Yeees. You're daddy's widdle kiddy!»

«Iceblade, Tizona, form up and let's go for that Jalthi.» Paz radios, grinning like a possum eating a sweet potato as she watches the first of the Grikath's go up like a Roman candle. No time to celebrate just yet, there's still an awful lot of enemies out here. Flicking over to heat seekers, Paz draws the IR scanner right onto the engines of the second Jalthi and squeezes the trigger as her earphones fill with the growling sound of a tight lock.

Combined firepower quickly brings down the heaviest of the Kilrathi craft… the second Kilrathi bomber exploding, catching its own just-launched torpedo in the blast well short of striking the Honour. Both Jalthi die as well, mobbed by reinforcements and lacking the armor to evade the volume of incoming fire.

Cole grins under his helmet as he tracks his FF missile straight into the cockpit of his target. « Who said a 'sword can't dogfight? » Cole jokes. « See Iceblade? » he adds a moment later, before turning his bomber back in towards the fighter swarm. Is it absolutely absurd, the lumbering bomber trying to tail-chase the fastest and most nimble craft in the Kilrathi arsenal? Probably. But it doesn't seem to deter Voodoo.

Iceblade hears the ping and launches his missile only to have it be blunted by the Jalthi's armor. Right then, the fighter explodes from other shots at it. Before Iceblade can comm, the other Jalthi and several Sartha blast at him. He tries to evade but too late the shots him home causing serious damage to his scimitar. Iceblade's right hand is hurt, but he grits through the pain and flies on attempting to evade further shots. He breaks from Paz's wing and attempts to remove some of the avoiding Sartha with a heatseeker.

«Flight, Tizona, good shooting everybody!» Paz cheers. «That oughta get the fuzzy little bastard's attention. Iceblade, Tizona, let's mop up these escorts.» Paz radios as she warms up her remaining heat seeker and lets its seeker head drift over and attach itself to the glowing hot tail pipe of escort-5.

James winces as a Neutron burst strikes his Stiletto, «This is Cutlass I'm hit but it's not bad.» He transmits then swings around to engage the fighter that had hit him.

«Hey, what's with trying to ruin my paint?» comes from Foster after a few shots hit the Englishman's fighter. «Time to show those guys that they can't behave like that!» Turning to attack one of the escorts.

Kanani can't say she's really surprised that her mass driver shots didn't do much of anything to the bomber, so she gives a bit of a shrug, and heads off to greener pastures, lining up her heat seekers with one of the Sarthas and launches once she gets a lock.

The blast from the heavy fighter is bright enough that Trey has to cover his face with his arm, though he recovers and shoots through the debris at double haste, his shot having mixed with Tizona's to generate a really bad day for a Kilrathi. «Sir, watch your six. Sartha designation Epsilon six is on you, heading one one one mark one nine six. I'm moving to intercept.»

Paz's heat seeker flies true, but a last minute flare diverts it from its intended target, causing it to bury itself into the Sartha's belly. Which turns out to have rather disastrous consequences for its pilot. The first of her enemies' neutron blasts scream by her plane but miss wide. «Ha-ha-ha…missed m…» Paz starts to taunt when her craft suddenly lurches as one of the Sartha's neutron guns smacks into the port side of her craft. "Oh no you don't, you mangy, flea bitten little bastard." she growls, pulling her ship into a steep climb and switching to guns before diving at her attacker, mass driver's blazing.

Iceblade fires his next shot, but it loses lock due to the heavy evading, which nearly shakes the scimitar apart from the sartha exploding as it passes him. He pulls his fighter and turns around to attack another Sartha with his last dumbfire.

James notices that one of the enemy fighters has turned back to attack him and swings to meet it in a head on pass weaving a little before squeezing off a volley «Cutlass Guns.» He calls over the comm.

Cole shakes his head as his missile slams into a target, and this time fails to destroy it. « No you don't, you little shit. Get back here » Voodoo growls into his open comm as his broadsword swings around to try and line up its guns at the little light fighter. It would almost be comical, if the stakes weren't life and death.

Kanani chuckles as her missile flies into the Sartha she was targeting and blows it up. She then rolls her ship over, in order to line up yet another shot. «Looks like things ain't going so well for the kitty cats, today.»
Still trying to get to those remaining enemy fighters, Foster starts climbing, attempting to come down from above at an angle where the kitten pilot can't see him.

A love tap, they call it. A tap on the cheek. A big, wet, sloppy kiss. Others would say the Kilrathi on Trey's tail manages to strike his starfighter with a stream of neutrons. The range is a bit farther, the shot taken out of desperation more than anything else. It hits, but only singes some armor plates. He swings around, listening for the tones that echo throughout his cockpit, and then launches the missile. It tears his target to pieces, parts flying in every which direction, which the pilot uses as a diversion. He flies through it, then pulls back into a split S, hungry for his next target and eager for lock.

« This is worse than that bloody transport » Cole grumbles as three fighters all shoot his target, and the Sartha still somehow manages to hold together. The Broadsword keeps up its rather awkward pursuit of the target, not even close to able to catch up… but at least traversing its main guns inside the arc of the fighter's movement, to keep throwing a steady stream of silver-grey mass driver slugs its way. « Down to two now, wing. Mind your backgrounds when you shoot » Cole orders.

James smiles as his shot and several others plow into his target while the neutron burst aimed his way misses. He stays on his current target «Cutlass Guns!» he announces as he squeezes the trigger.

Iceblade, even while evading, manages to get a solid shot off but the Sartha's fire blasts the dumbfire before it hits. Iceblade pulls around and sees the light fighter explode from repeated hits from the other Confed craft. Iceblade starts scanning and targets the Sartha Paz is gunning for as he switches to mass drivers, lines up and blasts away straight toward the target.

"Damn it…" Paz swears as her quarry veers at the last second, sending the bulk of her mass driver rounds into the craft's wing, but she does manage to get one lucky tracer through the side windscreen, and that tickles her some. What doesn't tickle her is the second, more punishing neutron blast that bakes off another small slab of armor, causing all kinds of electrical faults and failures. Fortunately, Scimitars have back ups for the backups. Undeterred, and in point of fact, now quite pissed, Paz bottoms out her dive and points the nose of her Scimitar at the maddeningly stubborn Sartha she's trying to kill, waiting for the moment to depress the triggers and hopefully, shred the little Kilrathi shit that tried to kill her.

Trey drops a missile into the cockpit of one of the few remaining Kilrathi fighters, leaving death and suffering in his wake. There is a joke to be had, here. He swings towards the next craft. «Well I was on an orphanage for as long as I can remember, sir.» Trey 'minds his background' as he scrambles for lock. «When I turned eighteen, I signed up with Argus Traders. Is this actually the time for this, sir?»

Foster frowns a little bit as he sees one more enemy go down in flames. Turning his attention to the lucky enemy, moving to take it out. Keeping silent, at least for those outside of his cockpit, he's singing to himself again.

Kanani grins slightly as another of the Sartha is taken out, even if she wasn't the one to get the kill. Now out of missiles she switches to guns and swoops her fighter around to go after the one Cat that hasn't taken any damage yet, opening fire once she sees a good shot.

Iceblade smiles as his guns hit home contributing to the Sartha's demise. Iceblade, whose ship is practically destroyed and who could only marginally make out the others' comms, attempts to radio to the wing. «He…….id..Da…uck…»

As the last two Kilrathi fighters shatter amidst combined weapons fire, the communications from the Honour click open again. « Thanks again for the assistance. Not sure we would have survived that without you. »
And as suddenly as it begun, it's over. The space around her filled with rapidly expanding clouds of fire and debris, Paz pulls her damaged craft carefully out of the combat zone and into clear space before starting to run diagnostics on her bird. «Lead, Tizona, Sitrep. Got a little cooked over here, but nothing critical. Trim is good, gimbals are good, internal nav is good, engines are in the green. Looks like mostly superficial damage,» she reports. «Iceblade, say your status, over?» she calls, swiveling in her seat to try and spot her wingman.

Trey screams in towards the craft behind Paz's, banking slightly to one side. This is important because it's the -wrong- side, and it slowly causes the craft to fall out of his sights… but not before he gets tone. «Fox… five? Six? I can never remember.» Whatever. The heatseaker shoots for the cat and leaves nothing but fur and entrails in its wake. He does a long roll and shoots across the bow of the Honour, effectively buzzing her, though at a naval-friendly sort of distance.

Kanani looks over her scanners as well as doing a visual check, to make sure that that was the last of the cats in the area. «Lead, Tsunami. Looks like the skies are nice and clear around here for the moment, so far as I can tell.» She states, her fighter rolling and twisting around, so she can get a good look at the CZ.

Foster leans back in the cockpit a little bit now that the enemies seem to have gone to wherever the Kilrathi go when they die. «Should we stay around for longer, or is it time to head back home and get some rest?»

«Crusader, Raven, Tizona.» Paz calls. «Damn good flying out here. You guys done good.» she compliments and, ~gasp~ actually sounds sincere.

Iceblade attempts to call over the radio, deciding to attempt a one-word spelled-out response. «..F…F..U…..U..C…C..C..KK……….DD…..».

« Pull in with the Honour » Cole orders. « Stick tight, watch out in case there are more of them. We're still not out of the woods yet. Not until we've got her safely under the Majestic's guns. »

«Iceblade, you're breaking up…I do not have a visual on you, repeat, do not have a visual.» Paz radios, sounding more than a little put out with this sorry state of affairs. «Wingmen are supposed to stay on the _wing_, Iceblade.» she chides. «Does anyone have eyes on Iceblade?»

After a minute Iceblade finally pulls up to Tizona flying at 200 kps (just over half-speed).

Trey thunders across the TCS Honour… well, not thunders. He IS in a Scimitar, afterall. It would be more exacting to state that he coasts across the carrier. «Negative. No visual. I… no. No Iceblade, and judging by the comms, I'm guessing he didn't hear that, either.» He checks his craft over. «Not a scratch on her. You know, is it just me, or am I not the only guy in this squadron who's really -not- looking forward to flying some shiny new ships? I like the Scim. It's… solid. I know what it's going to do.»

Kanani slides her Stiletto neatly into escort formation above the Honour, lazily weaving around a bit as she does so.

«Iceblade, Tizona, if you're receiving this, strobe your landing lights twice.» Paz calls.

Cole's bomber pulls in along with the Honour as well, moving in behind the carrier for a moment to take a look at the damage. « Gonna be a long flight back, folks. Grab your pillows. » Cole comments from where he's sitting. « Looks like the dorsal engine took a direct hit and the left ventral overloaded. »

Iceblade's Scim is mashed in on both sides especially on the right side. Iceblade strobes his landing lights twice.

«Okay, I'll walk you through this.» Paz calls. «Look to the bottom, right hand side of your console, you'll see a breaker box. Open that box.» she instructs. «You'll see a double stack of circuit breakers. The one for your comms is the middle breaker on the left hand side. Strobe your lights if you copy.»

Iceblade opens the box with a very hard humpf using his left hand. He sees the wire practically disconnected. He strobes his light once. There is a big bulge at the back of the box.

Trey glances out his canopy towards Iceblade and mutters something under his breath. He swings his craft towards him, coming in low, then putting on the breaks to position himself behind and beneath him a fair distance away. Fair enough that a mechanical mishap won't take them both out, but close enough that if Kilrathi should fly in from nowhere, the other man's double-protected. «Plenty of damage to go around sir. I'd read you a bedtime story, but I think we've got a minor situation here.»

Iceblade attempts to lower his landing gear. The left landing gear lowers with trouble, but the one on the right stops halfway.

Kanani glances around the tiny space that is the cockpit of a Stiletto fighter, and smirks slightly at the bomber pilot's call for pillows. « Very funny sir. But those of us that don't fly around in relics don't have the wasted space to carry any pillows around.»

« I do keep forgetting you don't fly your fighter, you wear it » Cole replies with a little bit of a grin at the response from Kanani. « One more reason I'm happy to stick to my broadsword, thank you very much »

«Iceblade, Tizona, your gear's working fine.» Paz comments drolly. «Okay, back to the task at hand, and listen good, we don't have a lot of time. Pull the middle left hand breaker out. Then pull the second breaker on the right and put it in the middle left hand breaker's place. You'll lose a few secondary systems, but you don't need 'em. You need to be able to communicate more.» she calls. «Strobe your lights again, then broadcast.»

Iceblade begins tinkering as ordered. One minute later, he strobes his lights and attempts a broadcast. «Test..Te..ng.an..you hear..e»

«Negative on the gear, Tizona. Iceblade, you don't have all three points extended. Be advised of that. If we can't get them down, then we'll have to get an evac team out when we reach home.» Adds Trey with a dour tone to his voice, «We've already had one landing fail. I'm guessing the Commodore would simply explode if we, god forbid, had a mishap. I'm standing by.» He drops behind Iceblade by a few more clicks.

«Roger, Iceblade, I am receiving.» Paz replies, sighing with relief. «Be advised, you need to adjust the gain on your comm, still got some break up, just dial it back in.»

Iceblade comms in, «Rog..Sloppy. Let m..ow..f this w.rks.» Iceblade then begins to raise his right landing gear and lowers it and raises it and lowers it again. Then it raises all the way up and he lowers it one last time. As it lowers, it begins to hang for a second at the midpoint, but with a jerk it pushes past and goes full extended. Iceblade then reduces the gain «Better? Is it better now?»

«Yeah. That's good. Signal's a little strong, but we've got you. WHat's your sitrep, Iceblade? You've got a gear problem, but that's only a problem if you don't know. And you do now, so… problem solved.» Trey continues along, and shoots a glance towards Paz in her Scimitar, then back to Iceblade.

«Iceblade, Tizona, reading you five by five.» Paz replies happily. «Tuck in on my wing and we'll take high dorsal cover of the carrier, over?»

«Roger Tiz,» Iceblade comms with some relief. «Oh just FYI, this will be the first time, I've landed a fighter this banged up.»

«Just take it really slow, alright? The 187th did us all a favor, if you want to get really black, by having their mishap. The 1087th used to be the laughing stock of the carrier, so take this slow and easy and show them that us reservists can fly a freaking fighter.»

«The Honour's ships did a good job.» Paz adds over the radio, her tone still admiring. «Two ships, against all that, and they held them off long enough for the cavalry to come?»

Iceblade comms over in a less serious tone, «I don't think you have to worry because while I don't want to tarnish the 1087th even though technically I'm not a reservist, I really don't want to die from crashing.» Iceblade then adds with offhandedly, «Oh, and more than likely my plane won't crash. It might implode when it hits atmosphere, but it certainly won't go smashing into anything.» Unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to this statement, since while the plane will be near stopped when it hits the atmospheric barrier, the structural integrity of the scimitar may be so weak that it crushes in when the craft hits the increased pressure of the recovery deck.

«Those guys are the ones who are left, Tizona.» Trey's tone is not glib, but nor is it dark. «TCS Honour's a carrier. Bet those two guys are going to be a mess. Probably lost a lot of friends. Pretty sure that -someone- fucked something up pretty bad, but what do I know?» He continues along. «Not a reservist, huh? How'd you end up with us, then? We're all weekend warriors and privateers who didn't read beneath the dotted line.»

Iceblade responds to Trey, «Well, I wanted to fly in something heavier, so my former captain got me transferred to the 1087th. I imagine you are always in need of new pilots anyway. Besides, this war is not going to end in a Confed victory any time soon, so reservists squadrons are going to remain on full active service for the foreseeable future.» Iceblade then contemplates the Honour, «how many fighters do you suppose she had in the air before its bay was damaged?»

After a long, slow crawl across space, the 1087th and the 221st shepherd the TCS Honour into the carefully sanitized space near the TCS Majestic. «Majestic Flight, Control, marshal at one five two mark two one four, tankers are standing by.» the carrier instructs. «Welcome back. Good work out there.»

«Control, this is Sloppy. Thanks for the welcome. We're coming home to roost.»

«Control. This is Iceblade. I am coming in pretty banged up, so make sure the deck is clear when I land.»

«Copy, Iceblade, crash units standing by…maintain position until all other birds are landed then proceed with landing.» the Majestic's LSO replies. «Tizona, Majestic, you are clear to land on port bay number seven.»

«Copy, Majestic, coming in on port number seven,….» Paz calls, flying her ship neatly home.

Kanani yawns slightly, after a boring and slow return trip escorting the beat up old carrier, and she activates her comm, once the carrier is parked all nice and snug in its spot. «Control, this is Tsunami, requesting clearance to land.»

_

Flight Deck
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 0009 Hours 2658.135

Open to space on three sides, the flight deck provides space for returning craft to properly align themselves and engage the landing tractor beams. The beams themselves are generated from a series of emitters starting at the front edge of the deck, and ending about halfway to the recovery deck entrance - the closest to the ship they can still safely slow a fighter for landing. Bright red numbers halfway down the deck bear the carrier's hull code: 22, as well as serving as a visual reference for when a pilot needs to engage the beams or abort for another pass.

«Roger control, wish me luck, Ice out.» After the landing of the other fighters, Iceblade's scimitar slowly makes it way to the edge of the flight deck under a slower speed than normal for Iceblade. He slowly lets the wheels touch down and make traction with ship before slowly applying his brakes.

_

Recovery Deck
Junction System, Humboldt Quadrant — 0010 Hours 2658.135

Set behind the flight deck, the recovery deck is a single cavernous space dedicated to the processing and repair of damaged fighter craft. A network of taxi lines crosses the decking here, directing across the deck to a pair of assessment stations, then further to the series of repair hangars, or on to the elevators to the ready line below. The repair hangars occupy both sides of the deck, open facings showing spacecraft in a variety of stages of repair. At the fore end, the deck is open to space with a shimmering blue barrier of energy serving to keep the atmosphere in and the vacuum out. Retracted down into the floor is a heavy bay door to seal the deck in the even power to the containment field is lost.

Kanani stifles a yawn as she pulls her helmet off, and cracks open her Stiletto. And of course even that isn't enough to be done with the whole thing in the military, since she has to go about all the check lists and stuff as well, before she can do anything else.

Trey climbs out of the Scimitar. "What, no more shoe-horning into the old iron tank?" He makes his way down the ladder. "I'm pretty much at home in these. It's the new ones that really scare me." He's quite intentionally not mentioned the extra pip on his collar. "All… high tech and fancy. If it hasn't had a hundred years to bake in the solar flares, then I'm not too sure I even trust it." It's in his eyes. The man's actually a little unnerved about this.

When Ice finally reaches the atmospheric barrier, he is going 5 mph. The ship breaks through the barrier not seeming to react negatively to the increased pressure. Just then a shudder is felt through the fighter. It slowly finishes its way through the barrier, shaking as it goes. Then when the fighter slowly comes to a complete stop, it gives one final shudder and then begins settling. Creaking away as the fighter's power is shut down and the pilot begins exiting procedures. Iceblade opens the canopy being careful not to initiate the eject seat, and he comes down the ladder, exiting the old fighter, only a bit shaken but certainly not stirred.

Phillip looks down at his hand which is wrapped tightly but poorly in gauze from the first aid kit. "I better get through decontame quick, so I better get medical to look this hand."

"Vaya con Dios, amigo." Paz sighs, pulling out her medallion of St. Joseph of Cupertino and giving it a kiss. "Lord, this ship and those like it have done us yeoman's service." she intones quietly. "Though they be only machines, let them, nor those who have flown them, not be forgotten. They have borne the harshest duty, and have not wavered. Remember Jolly, Spaceboy, Crankshaft, and all of the others who gave their lives to save their friends. For thine is the power, and the glory, forever and ever…Amen…"

Trey respectfully stands by while Paz pays her due respects. He pulls from under his shirt a pendant of Saint Sebastian, oddly enough. "Yeah. Respects to the dead. Squadron isn't calling it quits, though. It's not as though they're not getting honored the same way they always were. Just… it's more modern now." Once Paz finishes her Amen, he waits a respectul number of seconds, and then slips the pendant back under his shirt, "Yeah. You should have a look taken at that hand, Phil."

After 24 hours of nonstop work cleaning and clearing the damage of the disaster while still recovering from his wounds, then forced into another 24 away from the deck, newly minted Technical Sergeant Weiss has emerged from wherever he has been hiding himself and onto his deck. He looks cleaned up, though unshaven and still pale.. haggard even.. using his crutch-like forearm-cane more heavily than he did before the accident. His boys and girls all blink and stand straighter as he pushes his way towards the pilots who have just returned, teeth grit around the large cigar.

Phillip looks back at the second scimitar he has damaged in as many days and sighs. "Good riddance," Iceblade whispers. He then turns to Trey, "yeah, but I still don't really feel the pai….ah Shit." Iceblade adds with a grimace, "looks like my adrenaline level finally dropped." Iceblade then heads to decontame and starts moving toward the forelift afterward.

Scrubbing her face with the back of one hand, Paz steps down off the stairs and fills out her last Yellow sheet for a Scimitar. "She did good." she tells the tech who passed it to her. "They always do."

Kanani stretches out a bit as she finally slides down onto the deck, after having finished the post flight check out dance. She turns around to watch the two Minutemen pilot's little ceremony at Paz's Scim, and gives a bit of a chuckle and a headshake.

"Hey, Weiss, do me a favor, will ya? Save the yoke assembly…" Paz calls, waving to the newly christened Tech Sergeant. "I'll mount it on my new bird."

Trey: He of no such attachments. "How long have you been flying these things, Paz? I didn't know you felt that connected to them. I always felt like it was just a tool, you know?" Trey slips a hand into his pocket and starts to walk with Paz. "You know… means to an end. Keep my ass out of medical, give the 221st something to laugh about, and we all go home with visions of dead cat dancing in our heads, you know?"

Paz chuckles and shrugs a little. "Call me sentimental…Scim's the only ship I've ever flown in combat….Saved my ass a dozen times over, so…" she replies letting her voice trail off. "There's a lot of personal history in these ships for me." she adds, closing her eyes and gulping quietly before continuing, "Lot of friends…ya know?"

Trey puts his hand on Paz's shoulder and gives it a squeeze. "If it's any consolation, I get a little teared up about Draymans. You want to talk about friends I've lost…" The man cuts the air with his hand. "Last time we went on an escort mission and lost a cargo ship, well…" He lowers his voice, "It hurt worse than what it should've. I mean, it's supposed to hurt. People died, supplies gone… but it gets to me."

Weiss comes to a stop a few feet away from the pilots as they are getting out of their soon to be relocated and repurposed Scimitars. He puffs a few times on his cigar staring at each of the pilots in turn. He looks wary and haunted and probably hasn't slept well, even with painkillers.. His lip curls slightly. "Oh no, fraulein. Do not vorry. I vill make sure dat you get yuir stick. But you.. /all/ uv you.. Have one last assignment." He puts his good hand to his lips and whistles once, loudly. ALL his 'kids' come to a stop. "Until each and every Rapier haz been cleared by me.. Every nut and bolt examined.. EVERY reactor checked so we know zat we didn't get some refurbed peice of shit I believe maybe vas one of a few MAJOR factors in the fiazco.. Until zey ALL show green NO ONE vill be flying zem. BUT!" he says, now with a small glint of his former self in his grey eyes.. Maybe a but maliious. "BUT! You pilots not to worry. besides recerting on rapier simulators. I have NEW assignment for you." He snaps his fingers and a dozen techs appear.. with buckets and scrub brushes. "I vill NOT have any zese birds released looking like.. like ZIS!" his hands sweep to them in their scorched glory. "So! Make sure zey SHINE! And YOU!" he says, turning to Phillip.. a man he hasn't met personally yet but DID see him come in with his nearly deep fried bird. "Oh yes.. You get SPECIAL treatment." And One of his people brings out a bucket and a toothbrush. And Weiss's grin becomes evil.

Phillip looks incredulously at the head tech. "You do release that that fighter is practically unsalvageable, right."

"Yeah….I know, Trey, I know." Paz replies, patting Trey's hand fondly and nodding soberly before Weiss' speech leaves her nearly collapsing to the deck with laughter. "Aw, hell yes!" she replies. "C'mon, Sloppy, let's make our birds _shine_ for posterity!

Weiss eyes Phillip.. an evil look when coupled with the white streak in his hair and the massive cigar. "Oh JA. I do know, Ist vhy mein boys and girls will strip it down of all ze flotsam. But after you are done, I vant it to be ze BEST looking.. ze PRETTIEST.. peice of unsalvageable junk in zis sector." he says. Then he looks to Paz and the others. "Oh yes.. I vant zem oh so pretty. Oh.. and one more ting?"

Kanani grins slightly as she watches the Minutemen accosted by the Deck Chief, and told to clean up their ships. She does manage to keep from laughing, since drawing the attention of the techs like that is usually a bad idea.

Trey peers across the deck at Weiss. He doesn't say anything. In fact, the man is focusing on that. Concentrating on not saying a blessed word. He looks to Paz, then he looks to Phillip, then he looks back to Paz again and raises an index finger, "I'll go get a mop."

Iceblade's Scimitar sits structurally unsound, with each side being a bashed-in wreck of metal. Shield emitters are destroyed, weapons are in-tact, but there is no way missiles could be mounted. The cockpit's walls are partially bulged inwards toward the seat, and pieces of armor are just now clanking onto the ground piece by piece as one of the crew starts to pull the fighter away. He stops immediately.

Phillip realizing that there is no way he is going to be able to go to medical for his hand, heads to the bathroom to quickly clean the wound and rewrap the gauze. Phillip hollers back at the chief as he walks to the bathroom, "yeah yeah I'll be right back."

Without a word Weiss limps down the deck towards the forcefield, making it obvious he wishes for the whole group, techs and pilots to follow. It takes several minutes and he brooks no disagreement, even if he is in more pain than usual. When he finally gets to the field he turns to the group and reaches into his pocket to pull out a box. He flips it open to show its contents. A new medal. Still shiny and almost glowing. "Zis.. Zis ist de Blaze Meddalion. I supposedly earned zis.. For 'conspicuous gallantry"." He snorts at that and reaches into his belt loop for something. "I earned zis by KILLING a damned pilot." With some effort he kneels down and withdraws his portawelder..and in a few flashes the medal is bonded to the very lip of the deck, where nothing can actually run over it but can still be seen if one looks. He then looks to everyone. "I heard ze message. And I have heard zome people talk. yes, Naga vas a grade "A" fuck up.. Not mein vords.. LOTS of people saying zat. But she vas one of US! Her only crime, other zen not paying attention or not realizing how bad uv pilot she vas? Her only crime vas she still had ze guts to VANT to come here and FIGHT. She should NEVER have been cleared by her instructors. Zis is on ZEM!" he growls and slowly stands. "She fucked up.. people died. And I vill NEVER forgive myself for what I had to do.. and vhat I vould do AGAIN to ANY ONe UV YOU!. But after all zat she vas one uv US! I vant EVERYONE to remember dat. Because I NEVER vill. So everytime you take off or land from /mein/ deck, you vill see zis. And remember. It could have been you. So make sure your shit is together. Understood?"

"Iceblade, get your ass to medical and get that hand tended to!" Paz shouts. "Work'll still be here when you're fixed."

After hearing that, Phillip responds, "Sir, yes Sir," Phillip salutes at attention making it clear that he understands that as a direct order. Phillip then books it to the Forelift and up he goes.

Paz comes to attention at Wiess' speech. "Understood, sarge." she replies quietly, kissing her medallion again.

Trey just shakes his head. "Man. That's weird. He actually requested this squadron because we had a bunch of old birds, and now he's happy to see them go." He chuckles to himself. Good freaking god, man. He exhales, "So… anyone mention the insanity to you yet, Paz?" He strolls towards his bird… which is in perfect shape, by the way, and sighs, listening to Weiss. "You know… I think the Commodore was a little harsh in that statement he made, but it doesn't matter for anything in the end. What you had to do, man… that hurt. I'm sure it hurt." He nods his head slowly. "You've got props from me. That's some shit to deal with. That's some shit."

Weiss puffs his cigar then flicks it out through the forcefield, the energy screen flickering a moment as the cancer tube topples through and snuffs out in the vacuum of space. He looks to trey and just nods. "Ja.. But ve all have to deal, do ve not." he looks at everyone else, then smirking at Paz. "It's Chief. Sounds better." he reminds her as he limps past and starts waving down techies. "WELL! VHAT ARE YOU SITTING AROUND FOR. You have VORK to do /Gott verdammt/. /Bewegen/! Get moving. We have deadlines. I vant zese peices of shit patched and treated with respect before we retire entire sorry lot of zem.. and ZEN.. ZEN we are going to be going over every rapier more intimately zen yuir first prom date! Ve can sleep when ve are DEAD!"

Paz salutes and promptly turns-to with mop vacuums and brushes..whistling and half-singing 'Astronomy Dominae' by Pink Floyd as she does her best detailing work on her Scimitar. "Hey, Chief!" she calls. "Not to complain, but is there a reason we're doing this?" she inquires. "Are we making museum pieces?"

Trey rubs his temples. "I think it's a stress test. Fly out, get shot at by cats, save the other half of the fleet, come home and feel like a fatigued mess, as usual." He shakes his head, "And then the deck chief suggests we really should so some chores." He doesn't sound like he objects to the idea as much as he's just tired. "But hey. Physical labor keeps you humble, right? You know, chief… that feeling you got? We get that too. So you're in good company. Nobody blames you for what you did, but we know what it's like when people die and it's got something to do with you."

Weiss half turns as he gets to his workstation that is mounted on a cart and grins. "Vahss?" he asks. The grins even wider. "Oh.. Not at all. I just not want anyone tinking ve are a bunch of slobs. I mean, I know ve are but ZEY not have to know zat. We are ze Majestic. Anything less ist.. uncivilized." he winks, though his good humour still rings a LITTLE hollow.. and probably will for a while. "Now stop bothering me. I need to make sure your NEW birds are worth ze hassle of reading stupid manuals." He shrugs at Trey but smiles still. "I know I am in good company. Now just have to make you all GREAT company. But am only a glorified technician.. Not miracle worker." And with that he pulls out the tablet PC as he sits on a swivel stool stolen from the lounge and starts doing his job. "och! Stupid IDIOTS! Who puts thermal exhaust port ZERE?" he cries at the tablet and hangs his head. "Ze gods.. zey HATE me."