You are Allen Starwind, a starship captain and veteran of the Great Interstellar War. Your starship is old, yet (mostly) reliable, and you must take on jobs in order to bring in enough cash to keep it flying. Last time, you did an interview, returned to your crew, and are now thinking back to your service in the War. Good luck, and fair skies. Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZapQMArchive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=Starcaller
You switch over to the inter-squadron radio, contacting Guerra. “You alright buddy?” “Yeah, LT.” Guerra replies a little too quickly for your liking. “Everything’s square on my end. No issues with the new bird.” You frown. “That’s not what I’m talking about, Dan. You feeling alright?” There is a sigh on the other end. “Yeah, sir. Just feeling a little jumpy. I’ll be alright though.” “Just treat this like a regular air-support op and you’ll be fine.” You look over, seeing his running lights in the distance. “We’ll get through this, same as always.” “Yeah, sir.” He trails off, and you are about to cut the transmission when he speaks up again. “Why do you think they’ve got spooks riding with us tonight?” You grimace, looking down at your comm panel. As long as it’s accurate, your new co-pilot wasn’t on the channel when he said that. You can only hope that his wasn’t listening either, or didn’t care. >”It’s none of our business.” >”Could be to ensure we do the mission THEIR way.” >”Maybe they’re just here to see how these things perform in combat.” >Write-in.
>>2227282>>”Maybe they’re just here to see how these things perform in combat.”>”Could be to ensure we do the mission THEIR way.” but ultimatly>”It’s none of our business.” Glad I managed to catch this live!
>>2227282>To be spooky, lets just hope they don't backseat drive or worse.
You frown, glancing at the comm panel one last, time just to be sure. “Well, they could just be here to see how these new craft perform…” You adjust some settings on your instrumentation and alter your speed a bit to keep in-formation. “Though, it’s just as possible that our mission’s objective is so unsavory, that they need to be here with us to make sure we do things THEIR way…” You shrug. “Not really any of our business though. Command makes the decisions, we just fly the missions, right?” “Right… I’ll let you go, sir. Need to finish some calibrations on my end.” You frown. “Fly safe, Guerra.” As you switch off your radio, there is a click in your right ear, another channel has opened up. “Running lights off, we’re nearly on-site.” Bragg’s voice crackles over the radio. You turn your running lights off, then watch as your squadmates’ lights disappear from view. You look down at your instruments and activate the formation-keeper module. A holographic display lights up in your visor, showing the approximate locations of the other craft in your squadron. Blinking a couple times, you activate some other holographic modules so that you don’t need to look down so often. The display is a warm amber, different from the pale green you are used to. Your formation descends a bit, moving through storm clouds, heavy with rain. The storm is thick enough to toss your squadron around a bit, forcing you to spread out. There is a click in your right ear, followed by minimal static. Someone has opened a separate radio channel with you. “So,” your new co-pilot says. “You’re under the impression that we might be commissars…” >”Well, the fact that you were eavesdropping certainly encourages that theory…” >”I was just stating possibilities. I also said you all might be here to observe these crafts’ performance.” >”What exactly are you three here for?” >”Well, anything’s possible if the Navy has started recruiting high school kids.” >Write-in.
>>2227472>>”Well, the fact that you were eavesdropping certainly encourages that theory…”
>>2227472>I'm not making assumptions yet. I'm sure you can empathize I might not be over enthusiastic with this whole deal appearing to have a lot of... uncertainties.
>>2227472>”I was just stating possibilities.>I also said it wasn't any of our business.but>>”Well, the fact that you were eavesdropping certainly encourages that theory…”
“I was just stating the possibilities,” you retort. “And besides, I also mentioned that it wasn’t any of our business regardless.” “Indeed,” is the only response you are given. There is more turbulence, so you adjust to stay on course. “Though,” you add. “The fact that you were eavesdropping on us certainly makes it look like you might be some sort of commissar.” Patton hums over the intercom for a second, before speaking. “It certainly would look that way… But what if I merely bumped the switch and overheard your conversation?” You shrug. “Well like I said. It’s none of my business.” You sense that she’s about to say more, but another voice crackles over the radio. “Descend to 1500. We’re going in for our first pass. Wedge formation.” Commander Bragg grumbles over the radio. You move into formation, taking up the right corner of the wedge. As your formation descends through the clouds, you see multiple signatures appear on your radar. “I’m getting several contacts, far to the southwest…” Guerra speaks up over the main channel worriedly. “Ignore them,” Bragg replies. “Just a patrol. Our target is straight ahead.” Your formation breaks through the bottom of the cloud cover and you see a shape in the dark sky. It looks like a cigar hanging in the sky. Lightning flashes in the distance and you see the metallic sheen of the transport ship’s skin. “Target confirmed,” Bragg says as you all see it. “Transport, Tallmadge class. Fan out and attack at-will.” You and Guerra break off from formation. The Tallmadges’ are unarmed transports… Why doesn’t this one have any escorts? Shaking your head, you think about how you want to go at this…>Sling some missiles at its engines.>Go for the bridge. You may be able to neutralize it with minimal damage. >Fire everything you’ve got at its cargo bay. You might be able to hit some structural supports and break it in half. >Something isn’t right. Hang back and fire up your wide-range scanners. >Write-in.
>>2227701>>Something isn’t right. Hang back and fire up your wide-range scanners.
>>2227701>>Sling some missiles at its engines.Mobility is the only thing that might, maybe, save it.
>>2227701>Something isn’t right. Hang back and fire up your wide-range scanners.
>>2227701>Sling some missiles at its engines.
>>2227701>>Sling some missiles at its engines.
>>2227701>Something isn’t right. Hang back and fire up your wide-range scanners.Time to be the grown up a little.
>>2227701>Something isn’t right. Hang back and fire up your wide-range scanners.If the spook asks, claim we suspect a Q-ship.
Running in about 45 minutes to an hour.
You have a creeping feeling that something’s wrong here. Angling the craft away from the transport, you look down at your control panels. Strange, where’s the recon module?“Why aren’t we going in for an attack?” You hear Patton’s voice in your ear. “What sort of wide-range scanners do we have?” You frown, reducing your speed. “It’s a new model. I’ve got control of it.” You squint, looking out at the transport. “Activate it for me, would you?” “Roger,” she replies. You hear the distinct ping of the system activating, loud enough to be heard through your co-pilot’s mic. “Any contacts?” You raise an eyebrow. “They’d be appearing on your—!” Patton begins, only to interrupt herself as your HUD lights up. “Four contacts moving in at high-speed!” You see them, clearly interceptors. They’re less than ten kilometers away, on the other side of the transport. “Bragg, Guerra,” you say as you switch to the squadron channel. “We’ve got four bogeys moving in. Likely stealth craft. Caught them on wide-range.” “Roger,” Bragg replies. “Follow my lead. We’ll shoot the bogeys down, then return to the objective.” “Sir, are you joking?” Guerra speaks up. “These things are ground-attack craft. We can’t use them to dogfight! It’s suicide!”“If we abort now, we won’t be able to destroy the target,” Bragg replies. “The only way to win this is by taking those fighters out first. Guerra, Starwind, get into formation now!” Your stomach lurches. The fighters are coming in hot, you need to make a decision. >Guerra is right, the op is burned. It’s better to abort before you lose anyone.>It’s not ideal, but you doubt these spooks will take kindly to aborting the mission. Take those fighters out!
>>2231873>>It’s not ideal, but you doubt these spooks will take kindly to aborting the mission. Take those fighters out!>Willingly taking air to mud craft against air sup fighters>whatcouldgowrong.png
>>2231873>>It’s not ideal, but you doubt these spooks will take kindly to aborting the mission. Take those fighters out!
>>2231873>It’s not ideal, but you doubt these spooks will take kindly to aborting the mission. Take those fighters out!
>>2231873>do itI feel like this base would instill a gung ho attitude. Also I have a sneaking suspicion that we will live to tell the tale.
>>2231873>>It’s not ideal, but you doubt these spooks will take kindly to aborting the mission. Take those fighters out!>It’s not ideal, but you doubt these spooks will take kindly to aborting the mission. Take those fighters out!
Running in an hour.
“What sort of air-to-air weapons do we have?” You angle the craft toward the enemy. “The missiles are multi-purpose,” Patton says. “And we have the minigun, of course.” “Right,” you nod. “Get me a lock on the closest enemy fighter.” “Starwind,” you hear Guerra speak over the squadron channel. “You’re not actually thinking about dogfighting with these guys, are you?” “Hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?” You put the craft into a roll, pushing the throttle to full as you hear the radar lock signal. You dump countermeasures as an enemy launches a missile. “Lieutenant…” Patton strains to speak, obviously fighting the g-forces. “Though these craft can fight against air-targets, they are not designed for acrobatics…” You do another roll and drop more countermeasures. “Duly noted…” You grimace. Looking back, you see that Guerra has fallen in behind you. “Bragg,” you begin. “How you holding up?” The Commander replies first with a grunt. “I’m managing,” he replies. “One’s on my tail, but he can’t seem to get a lock on me. I’ve got another in my sights.” You look over to see a trail of cannon fire erupt from Bragg’s craft, narrowly missing an enemy fighter. The bogey on his six is closing in though…“Roger, I’ll be over to— Oh shit!” You barely dodge an enemy fighter as it barrels down on you, head-on with guns blazing. Your craft shudders. “They seem to like playing chicken!” Patton speaks next. “Damage to starboard wing and fuel tank.” She pauses, seemingly distracted. “And now he’s turning, looks like he’s trying to get behind us!” “I’m trying to get him in my sights,” Guerra says. “Just need an opening…” >Take out the guy on Bragg’s tail. >Focus on taking out the guy behind you.
>>2234425>>Take out the guy on Bragg’s tail.Wingmates watch out for each other.
>>2234425>>Take out the guy on Bragg’s tail.
>>2234425>take out the guy on Bragg's tailWe can swap bogies. Yuck.
You do a quick barrel roll, whipping into position behind the Imp on Bragg’s six. “Commander, try to hold position for a second,” you say. “Roger. I hope you know what you’re doing…” You grimace at his statement, agreeing with him internally. You activate the radar tracker for your missiles, hearing the signal that informs you of it trying to get a lock. “That guy’s on our six now,” Patton informs you. However, before you can say anything, your craft shudders again and you see tracers ripple past your cockpit. “Starboard engine is damaged!” “Just a little longer,” you mutter to yourself. The solid tone rings in your ear, telling you that you’ve got a lock. You let the missile fly, then pull away fast. Looking back, you see the missile hit him square in the fuselage, ripping the fighter apart. “Scratch one,” you say, marking your first-ever air kill. Braggs speaks next. “Good work Lieutenant. I got the one I was after too.” More tracers whistle around you. “That white bogey is still on you.” White? You look back as you pull up, seeing that the enemy fighter is painted bright white, bright enough to be seen in the night, as opposed to the ghost gray of most Imperial craft. “Guerra, where are you?” “I’m trying sir,” he replies. You see that the enemy is now preoccupied with avoiding Guerra’s guns. “He’s slippery.” “Right,” Bragg says. “I’ll help you out. Starwind, get that other one.” You point your nose toward the fourth bogey, who is already moving away from the fight. “Sir, he’s bugging out,” you say. “So is the white one,” Guerra says in a puzzled tone. You look back to see the white fighter moving away at a high angle, going supersonic after a couple seconds. “Quantum signature detected!” Patton practically shouts over the global channel. “The transport is activating its FTL drive!” You look back to see the transport angling its nose toward the sky, engines glowing blue, bright enough to illuminate the ground below. “Shit! Abort, abort!” Guerra turns away from the transport, firing his engines up. “They’ll fry everything for five miles!” “We won’t make it out in time,” Bragg says gruffly. “Focus all fire on the target’s engines before they can charge up.” >Attack the target! You can make it!>Retreat. You’ll just make it out if you lay on the throttle.
>>2234613>Attack!Those pricks. You're not allowed to go FTL in atmo!
>>2234613>>Attack the target! You can make it!There's no way we'll get out of the blast radius in time. It's a long shot, but It's better odds than running.
>>2234613>>Attack the target! You can make it!
>>2234613>Attack the target! You can make it!
>>2234613>Attack the target! You can make it!Our job is to do or die. Clearly we were considered to be a fair trade for completing the mission and saving more lives elsewhere.
You angle toward the transport, opening fire with your autocannons. “Patton, get me a lock on the transport’s engineering section.” “Roger,” she replies. You look over to see Bragg alongside you, firing his weapons at the same part of the enemy ship. There is an explosion, likely from the volley of shells breaking through the hull and hitting something inside. Another series of explosions causes the ship’s engines to flicker. You hear the solid tone indicating a missile lock and switch over to them instinctively. “Firing missiles,” you announce over the global channel. All of your remaining missiles leap free at once, screaming across the sky to the target. Bragg fires his as well, creating two barrages of missile fire. You angle away as the missiles hit their target, creating a concussion strong enough for you to feel. Looking over, you see the ship’s engines give out, then a green flash emanates from the hole created by your combined fire. You activate the blast tint on your visor just before another explosion, magnitudes larger than the previous ones, consumes the rear two-thirds of the vessel. As the flash subsides, you see that the rear half or so of the ship must’ve been vaporized, and the ragged edges of the remaining piece are still glowing as it falls through the growing mushroom cloud. “Shit,” you mutter. Your eyes don’t leave the stricken hulk as it hits the ground, areas of the hull crumpling in on themselves. You see fires erupt along the broken wreck, just bright enough to make the bare metal of the hull shine softly. “Looks like the mission was successful,” Bragg says. “Negative,” Bragg’s co-pilot speaks up on the global channel. “The passenger staterooms and crew accommodations are in the front of those ships. Our target could still be alive.” He pauses. “Starwind, I want you to land by the wreck so Patton can go in on-foot and make sure we got the job done.” >”Why can’t you do it?” >”I follow my squadron-commander’s orders, not yours.” >”Understood.” >Write-in.
>>2251772>Other>How are we going to manage that?Didn't we take off of a runway? I assume we need one to land as well.
>>2251810>Didn't we take off of a runway?Yeah, but these (and most military fighters and bombers) are also VTOL capable in case they get stationed aboard a starship with minimal facilities. The function is just barely ever used planetside, usually because the craft stationed on planets tend to be older. In fact, your previous birds were so old that they didn't have any VTOL capabilities, which is one of the reasons they're down for repair and upfitting.
>>2251842Ok good. I was worried this spook wasn't thinking straight.>>2251772>>”Understood.”
>>2251772I'm sure he will order us to do so but we can still be a dick about it.>”I follow my squadron-commander’s orders, not yours.”>>2251863>I was worried this spook wasn't thinking straight.You don't outthink the enemy by thinking in straight lines.
You grimace, looking down at your VTOL controls. You don’t like this, but you like the idea of pissing a spook off even less. “Understood,” you reply. You fly over to the wreck site, looking for a flat patch of round that isn’t on fire. You spot an area and activate VTOL mode, nudging the craft over to where you want to land. “What a mess…” You hear Patton mutter absently over the craft channel. You frown. “We got their reactor. Imps use an F-core recirculation system,” you recite what you remember from both training and countless briefings. “Very powerful and efficient… But volatile.” You look out at the wreckage as you bring the craft to a stop and begin descending. You’d never seen one react like this though, even in news footage. As your landing gear touch the ground, you sigh. The sound of the rear canopy opening gets your attention. Looking back, you see Patton readying a compact assault rifle. She’s put on a tactical vest on over her flight suit, likely during the descent.Looking at you through the gap beside your headrest, Patton’s expression hardens. “You see that machine pistol bolted to the bulkhead?” You nod. “Stay here and guard the craft. You shouldn’t encounter any survivors, assuming there are any, but be ready to use the gun if you have to.” “Right,” you nod. Pulling the machine pistol from its housing, you examine it, racking the charging handle. You sit the weapon in your lap and sigh. Only for a voice to interrupt the silence. “What are you doing? I said guard the craft.” You glance back to see Patton standing up, half out of the cockpit. She points to the outside of the craft itself. Oh, she meant stand guard outside. You grumble, standing next to the retractable boarding ladder. Your helmet is off so that you can see better, and your machine pistol is at your side. Patton frowns, glancing at the wreckage. “Looks like it’s tipped over on its side. It’ll be a real pain to infiltrate… She takes a step toward the target. >Let her go. Sooner she gets done, the sooner you get back to the base. >”Why all this fuss over one person?”>”You seem awfully young to be a spy.” >”What makes you think this target survived the crash?” >Write-in.
>>2251904>>Let her go. Sooner she gets done, the sooner you get back to the base.Spooks aren't the sort to answer questions, about what they're doing or themselves.
>>2251904>What makes you think this target survived the crash?