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Pilot Goodness

Posted on 06 Jul 2016 @ 8:15am by Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Jonathan Kilmartin & Lieutenant Gemma Alexander

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Pilot's Briefing Room
Timeline: MD 2 || 0900

Terry sat in one of the chairs at the front of the Pilot's Briefing Room going over a PADD with all of the information from the staff briefing. It was a lot and he had been pretty busy yesterday putting it together, along with making sure the Flight Deck was up to specs. He expected a lot questions during this, especially since he was briefing the entire squadron...heh, all twenty pilots. He chuckled a bit as he realized that he kept thinking 'entire squadron' in terms of pilots, maintenance crews, ordinance crews, engineers, diagnosticians, and the like. But this briefing was just for the twenty pilots. He looked up as he heard the doors open and a small group of them walked in, laughing. He grinned and waited for the rest to show.

Alexander, call sign Archer, for her background and love of the Classic English Longbow, strolled in wearing her flight suit and laughing at something another of her group said as they took their seats. Red haired, blue eyed and pale she matched her British upbringing, though the normal reserve they were famed to have she didn't as much. She made a made a quiet but lewd reply and there was snickers as they waited for the others to arrive.

Lieutenant Kilmartin, or Sunbeam as his callsign, came strolling into the briefing room and took up his seat at the front of the room, ready and willing to chime in or take over whenever the Squadron commander required it.

The newest addition to the Black Knights, Dzhossen arrived punctually on time for the briefing. Nodding politely to the Lieutenant Commander, the pilot who answered to Discord took in the rest of the room with a cheshire grin. His gaunt features and green complexion gave him a sickly look. He hadn't met many of these people yet and had spent most of his time aboard ship with the crew who serviced his Valkyrie. They'd cursed him out at first as getting in the way, but he'd cursed back and pushed torpedoes alongside of them and eventually the crusty old petty officer who ran the crew had taken a liking to him, signaling to the enlisted men that this officer, at least, was okay. He picked a seat towards the back, where he could observe his fellow pilots and played the game "Pick the Wingman," trying to determine who the leaders in the room were.

Terry gave it a few more minutes for the stragglers to arrive. Once all twenty pilots were there, Commander Walsh got up and walked up to the platform. "Good morning everyone," he began. "Yesterday was quite the experience at, we've gained a new pilot, Ensign Dzhossen. Welcome to the Black Knights, Ensign." Terry paused a minute. "Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's begin. We are en route to the Hadyn Nebula. It'll be a nightmare for the Black Hawk once we enter it. And for us. Sensors won't work, shields won't work, and our weapons will only work at one-third the power. Our mission is to be the eyes and ears of the Black Hawk while in the Nebula. And the reason we're heading to the nebula is because two Consortium ships, the Chimera and the Cochrane are headed there. As a matter of fact, they're going to beat us. All of us are going to be looking for a rumored Romulan Valdore class Warbird that allegedly holds a Thalaron device. So everyone will need to be on their toes." Terry paused and looked around briefing room. "Questions?"

Archer had stopped telling funny stories as soon as the Commander had come to the front and focused. When he introduced the new guy she glanced over and gave a nod then returned her attention to her Chief. She raised her hand.

"Yeah, go ahead Lieutenant," he said, noticing the red head's hand.

Alexander spoke when recognized, "How about engines or navigation, will mobility be affected?" making a mental note to brush up on her visual flying.

"As far as we know, engines shouldn't be affected. Navigation on the other hand, is a different story," he said. "Ours as well as the ship's navigational systems will be spotty at best. We're going to be using visual scanning on this one, folks."

Dzhossen returned Archer's nod and noted the tone the Lt. Cmd. used when addressing her. There was someone the Chief respected.

Another pilot raised his hand and was noticed. "What about torpedoes, Sir?" Discord was glad he wasn't the only one thinking it. Navigation was fine, he had a good spacial awareness but needed to know if he could still count on his heavy ordinance.

"Torpedoes should work fine," said Terry. "However, with all of the other things that are going to be down, I'd be prepared for manual targeting, just in case. Remember, though, each Valkyrie is only equipped with eight torpedoes. Once you're out, you're out. This is good stuff." He paused to look around the room.

Manual controls and targeting. By the sounds of things this was going to get interesting very quickly. Maybe Discord would have to see if the Blackhawk had a "Battle of Briton" program for the Halodeck. Most human Halodecks did, as a speicies they seemed fond of that one. That did give Dzhossen an idea though. He raised a finger and waited to be recognized.

"If everyone at this party is going to be relying on visuals, sir, may I recommend having the squadron repainted? Active camouflage would be best but anything to break up the image of our fighters."

Archer glanced at the Commander curious what he would say, the newbie had a point the enemy sensors had to be as screwed up as theirs were so they'd be in a similar boat with visuals. Maybe they weren't getting saddled with a clueless newbie just before a major operation after all.

"I've got the deck gang working on identification markers already. None of this should be new to any of you. You'll have trained to do it, now is the time to put that training to use. I've stolen as much holodeck time as possible for simulations and trials between now and the ETA, so use it," the Squadron Deputy spoke as he rose from his position and joined the Commander at the front. "From now on, all landings will be manual anyway, so lets get to grips with as much manual stuff as possible. Technology makes things to easy, dulls the senses. We need to be prepared for anything."

Dzhossen hoped there was a duty roster for the holodeck time. Either way, he was spending as many of his waking hours as possible in the simulation. He had some procedural garbage first, but he knew where he was going immediately afterward.

"To address the repainting," said Terry, "I don't think we'll have enough time to do that to the entire squadron before we reach our destination. That, and I don't think that Captain and XO would go for it. We'd have to return them to normal afterwards. The upside is that the Consortium ships will have the same problems as we will. They will be running on visuals, too. As to what Lieutenant Kilmartin spoke to, he's on target. What he has set up in the holodeck will benefit all of us. What else you got?" he asked, speaking to the pilots.

In the back, Discord slumped slightly and took note. What was the human phrase... Better to ask forgiveness than permission. He should have just used the bloodwine to pay his deck crew to paint his Valkyrie. Now he was going to be a sitting duck out there.

"What exactly is the effective visual range, Sir?" a pilot from Charlie flight asked. Unlike Alpha and Bravo flights, who were pretty integrated Dzhossen noted, the Charlie pilots seemed to cluster together. Either the flight was very close or outsiders in their own squadron.

"According to reports, the Hadyn Nebula boasts several Mutara-like properties, but on a stronger scale," said Terry. "And everyone in this room should be familiar with the Battle of the Mutara Nebula. So keep that in mind." He referenced the PADD in his hand. "As such, it is made up largely of ionized gases. It'll be almost like seeing an image in a cloud at first, which is why you have to say sharp and make sure of what your seeing. As far as the effective visual range..." Terry tapped at his PADD and brought up two images on the screen in front of them. "This is the Hadyn Nebula. And the second one is an viewscreen image from an Academy training scenario. As you can see, effective visual range is however good your eyesight is."

"Anyone in the area besides us and the Consortium?" a female pilot chipped in. It was always good to know if there were any civilians in the area.

"None that we know of," said Terry. "It'll be just us and them. Well, should be."

Another pilot pipped up, "Whats' the timeline?" There was always a mission timeline, when to be ready, when to fly, even group trainings were scheduled to ensure team cohesion.

"We're scheduled to arrive at the nebula in two days," said Terry. "That'll give us plenty of time to get the training that we need from Lieutenant Kilmartin's holodeck program. Once we get there, we go hot. As soon as the Black Hawk drops out of warp, we launch and take up formation around the ship. But not too close as we are to be the first alert system."

Archer frowned but made notes on her PADD. She thought breaking up the visual outline, since the enemy would have to eye ball them would be helpful but the Commander had a point as well, it's not like they'd be all that easy to spot anyway, still every inch helped. She indicated she wished to speak and when recognized by the Commander asked, "Standard Rules of Engagement Sir?" She asked confirming what was likely, to do their best to defend the ship and blast the crap out of the Consortium or as Archer liked to call them. "The Pisser's in my wheaties..." It was a formality to ask but rules of engagement were always spelled out during a briefing before they set wild pilots loose on the universe.

Terry turned to Sunbeam. "Lieutenant, you wanna address that one?"

"Standard rules apply folks," Kilmartin nodded slowly. "Your primary mission is to detect the consortium vessels and serve as sensor buoys to improve the resolution of the ships sensor equipment. Should you detect the enemy, you radio in and have the right to use any force required to defend this ship and your Squadron from attack. Do not fire first and do not alert them to your presence if at all possible. Let the squadron form up again and we can go from there. Two, three fighters will be of no use against starships so don't put yourself in a position where you don't stand a chance," the XO told, looking at the squadron chief for his approval.

"Spot on, Sunbeam," said Terry, using Kilmartin's call sign. "Especially the part of not tackling a starship on your own. Call in it's location and get back here."

There were murmurs of understanding from the assembled pilots and Alexander nodded.

The briefing continued for the next fifteen or twenty minutes with Walsh and Kilmartin taking turns at answering questions. This group was shaping up to be a fine group of pilots. They were thinking things through and had some good questions, which told Terry that they all had a good on on their shoulders. That was essential in flying a starfighter. One always had to be ready for anything and quickly adapt to the unexpected. And with a good head on their shoulders, they could do that.

When the questions were answered and the briefing concluded, Terry dismissed the pilots. There was a lot of training and planning yet to be done.


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