Part 37: Flight Log 31 - Lt. Lance Casey
[Flight Log 31 - Lt. Lance Casey]
The dreadnaught was the primary alien defense around the wormhole. We had to take it out before we even had a chance of destroying the wormhole, so our first objective was to soften it up for a bombing run later. We were to take Vampires out and wipe out the turrets and anything else that we could on the ship in order to make life easier on the bombers.
Blair suggested a training missile strike to disorient the aliens in order to give us a shot, which was a great idea that hadn't even crossed my mind. But then again, I guess that's why he's a legend. The CAG agreed and they launched a volley that we rode alongside on the way to the dreadnaught.
When we got there, I was amazed at how huge the dreadnaught was. It was easily the biggest ship I'd ever seen in my life. Bigger than the Midway, Ship Killer, and the Kilrathi super-carriers combined. If the aliens had more of these, we had no chance in hell of surviving the onslaught when the aliens came through the wormhole.
The patrol force around the dreadnaught was simply four Squids, which were distracted by the missiles. They went down without even giving us a fight, ignoring our ships for what they perceived as a cap ship missile attack against their dreadnaught, much like the one they sent after the Midway. By the time they realized it, we had already wiped them out, and a second wave was launched to take care of us.
The second wave consisted of Squids and Morays. They sent a lot of them after us, but in a Vampire, these fighters would only pose a threat to new pilots, and we didn't have any of those on this mission. It took a while just from the sheer number, but we took all of them down with no problems.
With the third wave, the aliens finally wised up and sent out some fighters who could pose a threat to us. I believe I counted eight Mantas and six Stingrays flying out from the dreadnaught's launcher, which was more than enough to keep five Vampires busy. The Mantas had a bad habit of distracting a pilot with one Manta flying evasive maneuvers while a second Manta came up behind you and blasted you from behind. And if you switched over to that Manta, the first one would take up the position behind you. It was a no-win situation, and the only way out was to ignore the Mantas and call for help from your wingmen.
Some smart missile usage took out a few of the Mantas fast, evening the odds quite a bit. However, because we were so focused on the Mantas, the Stingrays had time to form up and come after us. As soon as I saw a Stingray cluster, I told my wingmen to pull off of the Mantas and go to break them up. Thankfully for us, the Stingrays were jittery when clustered, and broke apart the instant a threat appeared. The trick was not getting blasted by their plasma cannon while trying to split them apart. But once they split apart, it was easy pickings.
After a long fight, we cleared out the rest of the fighters. I guess the dreadnaught had run out of fighters to launch, because all that was left was us and the huge ship in front of us. Because of how busy I had been taking out the fighters, it really hadn't sunk in how amazingly gigantic it was until I flew up on it to take the turrets out.
I guess the ship relied on its fighters for defense, because the turrets were pretty non-threatening. There appeared to be two gun turrets on each of the eight "arms" of the dreadnaught, along with some missile turrets on the "body". But because the thing was so big, the missile turrets were out of range, and therefore didn't bother us while we were taking out the gun turrets. It was a nice and relatively easy change of pace from the hectic battle up to this point. I could only imagine the look on what passes for the aliens' faces when they saw that their defense force was wiped out and we were having our way with their turrets. It brought a small smile to my face.
Once all of the gun turrets were taken out, the computer told us that our mission was accomplished, but I wasn't satisfied with that. There were still plenty of missile turrets to get wasted, and since we hadn't taken any damage from the gun turrets, we went ahead and took care of them too. Everything we took out now made life easier for the bombers whenever we took this thing down.
Our mission briefing told us to use whatever ordinance we had leftover against the main ship components. Unfortunately, our missiles wouldn't lock on to the major components, and their shielding was too effective for our guns to do anything. So we had to be happy with taking out the turrets, and leave the rest to the bombers.
We headed back to the Midway. My camera managed to capture what I thought was an amazing shot that showed exactly how huge this thing was.
The comm officer congratulated us on a job well done, and told us that it would make life easier on the bombers. I was hoping that the bombers would launch soon, because who knows how fast those aliens could repair their capital ships. For all we knew, that thing could be completely repaired by tomorrow. I didn't want all of my hard work being wasted. Although not like I wouldn't do it again if I had to.
Score wasn't very important on this mission, or at least not as much as completing the primary objective. Maestro and Stiletto were hanging around the flight computer, and I was getting ready to go grab a drink with them and rest a little bit before the next mission, when the CAG showed up and had a little surprise for me.
Kilrah Mission 4 *** (Come for the dreadnaught, stay for the game breaking my spirit)
(next mission is done, thank God, and will be uploaded later on this week)