Part 7: Flight Log 7 - Lt. Lance Casey
[Flight Log 7 - Lt. Lance Casey]
Our mission was to put the comm station back online while the other fighters acted as decoys for our mission. The biggest surprise came after the briefing, when "Maverick" Blair himself volunteered to fly as my wingman. While I had had plenty of run-ins with him before, the man was a legend, and he wanted to fly on MY wing! This was probably the greatest complement I ever had or ever will have in my career as a pilot.
The Midway ragged on my "plebe" status (as Maniac likes to remind me so often) a little bit, but honestly, flying next to Blair, anyone is a plebe. The man who ended both the Kilrathi war as well as the Border World war, and he wanted to fly on my wing. I still couldn't get over it. I was almost too nervous to fly, but I steadied myself and launched myself towards the comm station.
As soon as we got there, we lost contact with the Midway. It made me a little nervous, but I figured that the bugs had figured out that this was a communications center, and put some sort of jamming device into place so we couldn't communicate long distances. This would probably all clear up after we took the station back. Or so I thought.
Sure enough, as the Midway said, the area was only guarded by a few Moray fighters. These stopped being a match the first time I shot one down, and they were even less of a match now. The fight was over in seconds.
After clearing out the area, Dekker called Blair and told him that he should come down to the station to see what happened. I was a bit nervous about being up here by myself, but who am I to argue with the Heart of the Tiger?
Blair reported back that everyone had been killed, and not humanely. It sounded like the same thing that happened on the Fraltha that we discovered earlier. I don't know what these bugs were doing, but whatever it was, it wasn't pretty.
After comms got back on, Dekker reported an incoming friendly ship, which was a pleasant surprise from most of the incoming ships I'd seen lately. It was the refueling ship Redeemer that we rescued from the convoy attack a couple of days ago. Apparently it heard we lost contact with the Midway and decided to come investigate how we were doing. I wasn't too low on missiles, but it never hurt to restock, so I docked with them and then flew back to the space station to wait for Blair and Dekker.
Sure enough, enemies popped in, which probably shouldn't have surprised me, seeing as how my luck had gone recently. Blair told me he'd be back in three minutes, and Dekker suggested I play cat and mouse until then. I wanted to yell at Dekker that I knew what I needed to do to live, but he was just trying to show concern in the best way that a Marine can, so I held my tongue.
As I was holding off the enemies, Blair reported that there was still something down there. Dekker confirmed that all of his men were accounted for, and then I didn't hear anything else from Blair until Dekker told me he had been captured by aliens. It didn't quite sink in at first, seeing as how I was trying to survive, and I'm embarrassed to admit that my first thought was that I was going to die out here alone against these alien fighters with no wingman to back me up.
It wasn't until the camera switched over to show an alien ship fly away from the space station and jump to another system that the gravity of the situation hit me. This wasn't about me. This was about the greatest hero of the Confederation being kidnapped and having God knows what done to him. I steeled my resolve to help him, and fought against the aliens attacking me with a newfound determination. Blair was.......no, Blair IS my wingman, and I'd be damned if I was going to let him die like Dallas did.
I barely fought off the bugs, taking some ship damage in the process, but nothing too severe. I was surprised I fought so well, because my mind was a million miles away, thinking about what had just happened. We needed to get back to the Midway, but we didn't even know where she was. I had no idea what to do.
Thankfully, Dekker showed his ability to command by telling me to land on the space station so we could regroup and figure out what to do. With both my brain and my ship acting on autopilot, I landed in the hangar and automatically went over to the computer without thinking.
The computer scored my progress for the mission, but for the first time, I couldn't have given less of a shit. Blair was captured, the Midway was in trouble, and I was on a space station in the middle of nowhere. Where was I to go from here? I had no idea. But as I looked around the hangar, I saw a computer screen next to the mission status report with a flashing light, telling me I had an incoming message from Dekker. I hurried over to the computer and checked it to see what was coming next.
(to be continued)
H'hrass 1 ***** (I can not possibly stress enough how much you should watch this)