Part 23: Flight Log 18 - Lt. Lance Casey
[Flight Log 18 - Lt. Lance Casey]
We had heard some rumors floating around that Confed was getting ready to send us some reinforcements. More specifically, some top-of-the-line fighters and bombers to complement our exploratory force that we had stationed on the Midway. Unfortunately, as the CAG briefed us, they didn't come in time to save us from the retaliatory strike from the bugs for our assault on the Dula Seven starbase.
Before I ran to the flight deck, the CAG stopped me and told me that the Cult of Sivar wanted to help us out on this one, because of the assistance Hawk and I provided a couple of weeks ago. While I was still pissed about what happened to my father, I figured that any help would be appreciated. I just knew not to turn a blind eye to them and be ready for anything.
As we arrived at Nav 1, we realized that we were horribly outnumbered. There were about 12 enemy ships to our 3, and I decided that the only way to win this was to take down the enemy ships as fast as possible. So I kept instructing my wingmen to attack my target until we thinned the ranks a little bit. The concentrated firepower was enough to take a few ships down, but we were still heavily outnumbered.
Thankfully, true to their word, the Kilrathi showed up after we had taken out a couple of aliens. With them on our side, the battle became much more manageable. While I still didn't trust them as far as I could throw a Devastator, every alien fighter that they put down resulted in a little less pressure on our shoulders. So they could kill all the bugs they wanted to, as long as I wasn't next on their list when they were done. You never could tell with those crazy cats from the Cult of Sivar.
Getting overconfident in the cockpit is one of the keys to failure, and I was certainly on my way to unlocking that door. With the Kilrathi on our side, I started paying a little less attention to the enemy, and it bit me in the ass. In the blink of an eye, both my front and back armor was gone, and a missile was bearing down on me. I wasn't toast, but I wasn't far from it, either.
My ship was severely damaged, but I still figured we'd have no problem taking the rest of these bugs back, and I could limp my way back to the Midway. That plan was thrown away when the Midway broadcasted an all-distress call and told us that they had incoming enemy fighters. It didn't surprise me in retrospect. We were sent out to attack the incoming aliens that we knew about, but there was certain to be more that we didn't know about, and they slipped through the cracks.
Since the Midway had no more fighters at home to protect them, we knew that it was on the wings who were out patrolling to get back as fast as we could, or else the Midway was a goner. The instant the last bug was gone, we autopiloted back to the Midway for support. I noticed that the Kilrathi were following us, but as long as they didn't put a mass driver round into my tailpipe, I wasn't going to concern myself over them.
I saw that the aliens had shipped the big guns after the Midway, leading me to believe that the forces at our patrol point was a decoy. It was almost exclusively bombers that came in, with Red Mantas, Skate B, and Stingrays, who weren't exactly a bomber, but that plasma cannon was every bit as dangerous as any torpedo. I had managed to save most of my missiles (perhaps somewhere in the back of my mind expecting this to happen), and I wasted no time putting them to good use.
When we arrived back at the Midway, the Kilrathi spoke up and told us again that they'd be happy to assist us. They did a good job at the Nav point, so this time I had a few less qualms accepting their invitation to fight along our side. I still can't say that I exactly trusted them yet, but they proved themselves out there. It appears that they hated the bugs more than they hated us, which is understandable. The Kilrathi, in a way, respected our strength, and our almost 40-year war against them gave both sides a grudging respect for the abilities and capacity of each other.
Just as before, I used the tactic of focusing fire on specific enemies to take down big threats first. In this case, I wanted to go after the Skate Bs, because I knew they were easy to split up, just like all Skate groups, and by doing that, they posed no threat to the Midway.
While we were messing around with the Skates, though, the Red Mantas had begun their bombing runs against the Midway. But between the laser batteries of the Midway and the harassment by the Kilrathi fighters, I didn't hear the Midway report a single torpedo blast hitting their hull. By that time, we were done with our targets, mopped up the Mantas, and the rest of the mission was smooth sailing from there.
Upon arriving back at the ship, I saw all of my wingmen huddled around the CAG and Captain. When they saw me, they gave me a huge round of applause, which surprised me. I was just doing my job, and certainly I didn't do any more than any of the other pilots out there. But the CAG and Captain personally congratulated me, which, I have to admit, did make my head swell a little bit. After they walked away, Maestro, Stiletto, and Zero pushed me over to the computer so I could check my score, then each bought me a round over at the bar. A good ending to a good mission.
T'lan Meth 10 ** (only worth watching for the sheer number of enemies they throw at me while I'm in a suckass Panther)
Edit: Do you guys want me to turn wingman chatter back on? Let me know. It gets a bit obnoxious to do commentary when they're talking every few seconds, but their chatter is probably better than my commentary, so.... VV