Without Some Touch of Madness
Without Some Touch of Madness
Arc: Cloaks and Daggers
Summary: The squad down on New Detroit gets their fighters, and along with them their first real opportunity to jump into the local mercenary scene.
Date: 2659.017
Related Logs: None
Participants: Pickett James Kayly Oceana

Sure it's taken a while, but things finally seem to have come together… a message from Pickett going out that was rather short on details, informing people to meet him up at the starport's landing pad. As luck would have it, it's not even raining today and the pea-soup fog that would normally be found at this altitude has thinned out a little, leaving the landing pad merely a dismal grey.

Pickett himself waits on an unused section of the landing pad, standing next to four rather beaten looking Talon-class fighters.

Kayly makes her way onto the landing pad, seemingly not bothered at all by whatever the weather is today, as she makes her way over towards where the Talon's are.

James emerges from the spaceport terminal trying to not get his hopes up too much but the wide smiles when he sees the fighters is only slightly tinged with oncerns about their flight status.

Cea got her message, and was more than willing to head out. Mind you, a pilot she's not. There's no question about it. The ex-marine makes her way to where she was asked to go, though as she gets nearer to the landing pad, her steps slow a bit. There's a thoughtful look on her face, as she continues along the way. The distance between her and James grows a bit, as she lags, but then she picks up the pace with determination, a deep breath and a half sigh the only sign that she's had to give herself a mental talking to. Regardless, she arrives at the dingy grey landing pad mostly on time.

"Well, this is at least enough of you for my purposes" Pickett comments to the little group that's gathered. "These are what we're going to be using to ply our trade in space. Talon-class, you might recognize 'em as what the Minutemen were supposed to have before they got lost. These have been retrofitted a bit, to provide us capacity to carry a couple passengers. Though the spacing is going to be cramped, and we've taken a bit of a hit in fuel capacity as a result."

Kayly glances idly at the fighters, as Pickett speaks, though she's certainly no pilot herself. As he explains the modifications, she nods a bit, not quite understanding the technical details but the general gist is gotten at least.

James looks at the fighters before asking "Are they still jump capable, and what's the weapons loadout on these. I'm guessing that the banging up is purely cosmetic?"

"Oh peachy," is all Oceana says, as she listens to the discussion of passengers and cramped spacing. That's seriously going to put a damper on everyone's style, isn't it? "We're really going to ride in those - " she stops there, not at all sure she wants to say more. Though she does observe, "good thing I'm not claustrophobic." Among other things.

"They are still jump capable." Pickett replies. "They've got a pair of lasers and a single mass driver forward, and a single laser cannon to the rear" Pickett explains. "That was the other portion of the upgrade, but the angle of fire's a little limited since it's situated between the engine outlets. For heavier ordnance, you've got two hardpoints for missiles. At present, you're loaded with Image Recognition."

Kayly inspects the Talons a bit more, taking note of the small size of them, and how cramped riding along in one's likely to be. She shakes her head slightly, and then turns her attention back towards Pickett, listening as he goes over the modifications in a bit more detail.

James nods "The aft lasers will be a nice surprise for anyone that tries to tail us. I thought I remembered reading about a verision with a Neutron Gun in place of the Mass Driver but we'll still have a slightly better punch then a Stilleto."

Cea stands at ease, relaxed and just listening to the tech babble. Oh, it's important granted, but she's not a pilot, and well, she's still kind of thinking about the helpless poor slob like her who is going to get to ride in there and depend on the pilots. Just what she always wanted for Christmas. Why'd she sign up for this life again? Oh right - her mama always said she was too stubborn for her own good. "Are we expecting to be riding in these things for any length of time?" she asks slowly.

"Unfortunately, beggars can't be choosers" Pickett replies to James. "And honestly, I'm not sure you'd want to be stuck with only short-ranged guns in one of these things. It's not maneuverable enough for a knife-fight, when you get right down to it. At any rate, we're going to go ahead and take 'em up for a little flight. Nothing too complicated, but while we're in local space we're going to meet up with a transport carrying in some spare parts and extra munitions for us"

Kayly sighs slightly at the prospect of being stuffed in one of the fighters for however long. And she grimaces a bit at the thought of having to ride in one, during a fight as well, but other than that she still stays quiet for now, since it's nothing like the job she's normally used to.

James looks confused by something Pickett had said but shrugs it off "Are we going to have tail gunners on this trip or is it just us?" he asks before looking among the ships to pick the one that he wants to fly.

"We're taking up gunners" Pickett comments, looking towards Kayly and Oceana for a moment. "Or at least, the closest substitutes we have on hand" he explains, giving a little amused smile. "Might as well get 'em used to their new lives as sardines"

Oh goody. Crazy people who think flying is fun … And they're in charge. Sigh. Cea is definitely with Kayly on this one. "Deos the transport know it's bringing us parts and munitions?" she asks with little to no respect for authority showing. Because hey, if she's going to have to suck it up and ride in a Talon all squished up with a pilot … then there should at least be a good fight at the end of the ride.

Kayly rolls her eyes a bit, apparently not thrilled with the thought, but at least resigned to how it's going to end up. Giving a bit of a shrug, she asks, "So who's riding with who today, anyways?"

James nods and has picked out the fighter that seems to be in the best shape to his eyes, along with a backup incase Pickett takes his first choice. He turns towards Kayly and says "Good question." before turning his eyes to their CO.

"Hell, I don't care" Pickett replies. "Odds are neither of you is going to hit a damn thing if it comes down to shooting. Just pick a fighter and go with it." he explains with a little shrug. Apparently not being tied to the whole pesky military protocol thing has left Pickett a little more blunt. That said, he moves along towards the worst looking fighter of the four.

Cea just glances over at Kayly and shrugs. "Pilots," is all she says. She closes her eyes for a moment, before she just sighs and then follows after Pickett. "Here's hoping you don't get us all blown up," she murmurs, but hey, she'll go along with whatever. It's a paycheque.

Kayly shrugs as Cea follows after Pickett, and then turns and waits to see which of the fighters James plans to fly today. "I'd just like it on the record that I -really- don't feel like getting blown up today." She remarks with a faint smirk.

James says "Don't worry I've managed to bring every fighter that I've ever taken up home. Coruse one had to be scrapped after I was done but it made it home." He strides towards his chosen fighter confidently.

~~~

The flight up and out is unventful to say the least. The fighters might look like they've seen better days, but they at least prove spaceworthy. A lazy jaunt along towards the jump in from Saxtogue ends with the sighting on sensors of a Drayman-class transport flanked by a pair of Orions which seem to already be occupying an escort position.

« Funny » Pickett comments over the comms, eyeing the situation in front of him with concern. « That ship wasn't supposed to be escorted… » he comments to James. « Get a shot lined up on those Orions in case this turns ugly »

James opens the commline and replies «Understood.» before settling his gunsights over the nose of the lead Orion. "If we go hot I'll try to manuver in so you can get a shot at the other ok."
Kayly mutters under her breath, as she hears Pickett's call, and then James' instructions. She looks over the controls to her gun, nodding a bit as she tries to figure it all out. "Got it. Not that I'm likely to hit anything like this…"

Uh huh. Just what the doctor ordered. "Well, at least we get a chance to shoot. Maybe," Cea mumbles. This is not going to make her resume, nope. someone might want her to do it again, and really, this is about enough to /make/ her claustrophobic. "Apparently they do know we're coming and they're not happy about it," she adds, as she too pays attention to the gun she's got in front of her. "Did you bring an instruction book?" Sarcastic much? Nah.

"Yeah, point at something that ain't ours. Pull trigger. Hope it goes away" Pickett calls back. Two can play the sarcasm game it seems. That done, he depresses the buttons on his communications again. « SS Roc, we weren't expecting you to be escorted. What's your status? »

The comms remain ominously quiet, no response coming through. As the fighters make their way closer, a small shuttlecraft can be seen to have latched onto the underside of the Drayman's cargo bay. The two Orions, meanwhile, move to put themselves between the transport and the incoming Talons. Apparently, they really aren't the friendly sort.

James says "Ok it looks like we're going to be testing your gunnery skills today. I'll angle for the one on the right in a way that should give you a shot at his friend." He begins setting up his attack run silently.

Kayly grumbles a bit as she gets the gun all powered up and ready to shoot at stuff. "Yeah, just don't get us shot up in the process. And this should be -real- fun… I'm used to shooting a gun from a stable position… Like being on solid ground or something."

The two Orions continue to close, and a moment later threat receivers in the cockpits of the Talons buzz. Apparently, the radar systems are at least still good enough to let a pilot know when he's been locked onto.

« Looks like they're not going to play nice. Weapons free. » Pickett turns towards the marine at the back of his fighter, yelling back "Looks like we're about to get shot at. Hang on back there" before he swings his fighter in for a shot on the closer of the two Orions.

James plots his coruse and says "Hang on back there. I'm going to try to save the missiles." That said he turns inward towards the gap beween the enemy ships and accelerates weaving some to make targeting him more difficult firing off a salvo from his guns when the Orion fills his gunsights.

Kayly lines up her laser on the Orion that James isn't chasing after, still muttering under her breath, as she tries to work the unfamiliar and cramped controls. "Always knew that fighter pilots were insane." She comments under her breath.

"Oh of course we are. Bloody ever lasting - Thanks for the head's up," Cody manages, making a face at the universe in general. How does she end up in these situations? She is of course on the rear gun, so ends up looking at the Orion that Pickett doesn't have in his sights. She lines up her own laser, giving it a good Marine shot - never give up. Never surrender. "At least we'll go down shooting."

James smiles as his weapons burst slams into the Orion's cockpit. He flies past the target and pulls into a loop before saying "Alright this time fire on my target after we pass him, and great shooting." He accelerates into the attack still juking enough to make getting a lock on him difficult.

The pair of Orions, apparently, didn't quite expect what they were going to be up against… the thick hide of the mercenary ships proving to be all that saves the occupants from a grisly death as shots impact near the cockpits of both ships. From behind the two bulky Orions, the Roc swings drunkenly for a moment before its turret swivels and begins to fire into the fray as well. Even if there's still no communications from the ship.

« Nice shooting, all. Keep on 'em, it's going to take a fair bit of firepower to bring these bastards down » Pickett reports. « And keep an eye towards that transport, wouldn't want to get blindsided by flak if he's on the wrong side of this »

"I hit one? Oh I got one… sorta." Kayly comments to no one in particular, as her laser shot somehow manages to hit her target. She quickly tries to get in a shot on the other Orion, after hearing James comment. "Got it."

Cea's shot misses, easily enough. She isn't surprised really, cussing quietly under her breath as the fighter moves unnaturally. C'mon, planets never move … okay, planets rarely move so crazily while she's trying to fire at enemy targets. It's beyond reasonable. She mumbles again, as she lines up a shot, aiming where she can. Maybe if she waits a bit longer, she can get a hit on something? Maybe. At any rate, she lines up her shot, and hopefully manages to ride out the jarring motion of the fighter as she squeezes her trigger and fires the laser.

Which side the transport is on still probably isn't very clear, as the whole volley of its shots sails harmlessly off into space around both sides of the engagement. One of the two Orions is torn apart by gunfire, the second craft looking rather worse for the wear… turning to run from a fight that no longer looks like it can be won. Shame Orions are good at taking hits, but not so much at the 'running'.

« Looks like he's running, don't let him get away » Pickett calls over the comms, probably rather unnecessarily. « Might as well make sure people get the idea we're not people to mess with ». Harsh, but.. well, part of this mission comes down to playing the role.

Cea misses again, but at least one of the two ships firing at them is taken care of. One step at a time. She simply listens on the radio, and then concentrates on taking her next shot. Aim … Aim, and there we go, a perfect shot. Or so it seems when she squeezes the trigger to fire her laser.

Kayly hits her target again, but doesn't do any damage unfortunately. On the other hand, at least the Orion is destroyed. She then waits until she can take a shot at the other ship, before opening fire yet again.
James smiles as the gunboat comes apart while his manuvers send bursts of Neutron fire harmlessly"Ok we'll do the same to the last one." He sets off in pursuit of The Orion weapons blazing as it fills his sights then he oomsby to give Kayly her shot.

It might not be the most effective performance in the history of armed spaceflight, but the lead Mercenary's Orion does what it's designed to do. It survives. The jump point it was racing towards flares a bright blue, and the Orion disappears through it.

About the same time, a transmission finally comes through from the Roc, the screen clicking on to show a toothy grin from what's apparently its Captain. « Sorry about the trouble there, fellas » the man calls to the Talon pilots. « Had a couple pirates follow me in, and wasn't much I could do to outrun 'em in this bucket of bolts. 'Course, don't think the couple guys they sent onboard counted on me venting the atmosphere out of the main corridor either. » He seems far too proud of himself at his explanation.

«Glad to hear you've got it under control » Pickett replies. « We'll follow you the rest of the way in to the landing zone » Pickett adds, before switching over to speak with James. « Stick with the transport, it's what we came here for »

Well, at least she doesn't have to fire and miss any more. For now. With the tense combat finishing up, Cea gets to relax just slightly. She grimaces though at the air venting - hey, she'd be one of the folks on the boarding party, right? Ow, just ow. "Next time, I gotta remember to say no," she murmurs, half seriously.

James glances back at his gunner and smiles "Great work." He thenopens the commline and replies «Understood takingpostition now..» before manuvering to a point a little behind, below, and to the port side of the transport.

Kayly chuckles and lets out a sigh of relief as the combat is finished up. "Well, glad we got out of that in one piece." She comments idly. "Now if everything else, could go so smoothly."