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Posted on 06 Jul 2016 @ 7:42pm by Lieutenant Gemma Alexander

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Holodeck
Timeline: MD2

Reporting early for his appointment with the rest of Alpha Flight on the holodeck, Dzhossen paced irritably. He didn't know who was currently in there or what in the hell was taking them so long but he was certain their time was over. To say he was eager to get his first look at the Nebula was an understatement. His morning hadn't been very good, first with the camouflage idea being shot down and then all the medical garbage. He always felt better after he had the opportunity to fight. Like purging warp exhaust, there was a flood of emotion and an explosion, then everything was better. After that medical visit he needed to kill something.

A little frustrated that her performance wasn't up to her high standards Archer aka Lt. JG Gemma Alexander walked out of the holodeck, studying a PADD with her performance loaded onto so she could review each piece to see where she could improve. Her excellent situational awareness causing her to dodge around Discord and pause, looking up. She took into account his body language, "Discord right? You level?" She asked, a slang pilot term that asked was he ok, on a level flight plan, or not.

"I hate doctors." It was a flat statement, as though that should be evident, as though every sentient being did. His eyes flashed around. "Discord. Right. Lt. Kilmartin says that he'd like me to fly wing a couple of times with an experienced pilot, to get the basics of how we do things. Alpha 6 was suppose to meet me here, but he's late. Could you use the extra seat time? I'm sure you'd be better suited for it. 6 is fine, but the Chief listens to you. It's Archer right?"

Discord stuck out his hand, looking for Archer's consent. It was a decidedly un-Vulcan gesture, but one humans usually appreciated. It cost Dzhossen nothing however, seeing as he was not one of his species latent telepaths.

Alexander looked at Dzhossen. He seemed pretty emotional for a Vulcan then it make sense. She'd heard of Vulcans who didn't cleave to the logic line. Anything that unusual for a Vulcan made the rounds of the universe gossip mill pretty fast, but she couldn't remember what they were called. Dismissing it as not important at this time she shook his hand, "You're Ensign Dzhossen." She said making it a statement, "I'm Lt. jg Gemme Alexander aka Archer and I never turn down the chance to fly." She smiled. Poor 6, she knew him and knew that the man couldn't be on time to save his own life. He was a great pilot but he had no real sense of time outside of combat. Then he was focused.

"Yes sir. Shall we go?" As they stepped into the holodeck the program spun the Nebula around them, purples, reds, blues and yellows swirled around them. It was beautiful but obscured their vision. Dzhossen smiled, he could feel the tension begin to fall away at the prospect of the eternal struggle for survival. This was going to be an interesting mission. His arms hung loose at his sides and his fingers waggled with anticipation. "Where do we start, sir? Any bogies for the first session?"

Alexander smiled in a friendly fashion at his eagerness and gestured to where he should stand and chairs appeared behind their legs in their respective positions. As Archer sat and locked herself into the harness, after putting away her tracking PADD, she answered his question, "Maybe, maybe not. The main goal is to get used to flying in this muck then at random points they will toss things at us both small craft and the main enemy ships in pretty much whatever other config it can think of." These simulations were brutal. It could be just the small craft from one or both enemy ships, if they launched their small craft, or it could be those and one of the ships. Or both. Or everyone all together trying to stomp their little ships into dust. And like all good training programs it kept learning from all the pilots that used it so it kept getting tougher and tougher as sessions mounted. Alexander reset the criteria but it wouldn't take long for the computer to pick up.

The harness snugged down with a tight familiarity as Dzhossen waited for his Valkyrie to appear. Dutifully the computer began to construct a simulation of their assigned fighters around them. Running his hands over the familiar controls, Discord ran through a standard pre-flight checklist. He could feel a broad smile spreading across his face. Perhaps the day was looking up. "I haven't had a chance to really fly in a while. I hope it's not easy."

Alexander laughed, "I doubt it, these are not the newbie pilot sims. You'll fit in well around here, any excuse to fly is a good one. My friends call me Archer or Gemma..." She said happy as the valkerie appeared around her in all sleek lines and blinking consoles. It was a beautiful piece of machinery. I was 36 feet long by 23 feet wide and 10 tall. Its wings elegantly aerodynamic for atmospheric flight and to carry its ordnance. Archer's had a fully drawn longbow on the sides with an arrow nocked. After the craft appeared around her she settled into it like it was a second skin. Muscle memory as much as knowledge guiding her hands as they danced across the controls to do the pre-flight check.

It was an amazing craft it could to as high as warp 4 or 4.5 (for 30 minutes) in a pinch. And it carried a punch for such a small craft, protected by Grid-projected (TDS)/distance-projected shields it had 4x Type-J Emitters 3x Type-VII Phaser Banks (2 forward, 1 aft), 1x Torpedo Launcher (forward) and could carry 8 Torpedos. In Alexander's eyes there was no finer craft, "Been flying long?" She asked by way of asking about what his story was as she worked on her pre-flight check.

"Only learned in flight school, so no." Discord work over his weapons, cycling through the phasers and rotating a torpedo into the launching tube. No flight control in their right mind would ever let him take off with a torpedo ready to fire but it was always one of the first things he did. "Fighters are the future of the fleet, though, and we're given a great deal of independence to fight. I don't think I could be a helmsman, how are you supposed to just sit there until the Captain tells you what to do?"

The nebula swam around his fighter like a fog as Dzhossen performed a quick snap roll to test the simulation's response. He'd have to stay close to Archer, without sensors he would loose her in this soup, or worse, fire on her before he could separate her from the enemy ships.

Alexander laughed, "Aye we can be in impatient bunch." She said as they entered the nebula over the comms in helmets they now wore. It was difficult but at least the proximity sensors seemed to be working this close so she was helped in station keeping near her wingman.

=/\="Archer to Discord we're going to maintain course and speed for 5 minutes then adjust to 436 mark 7 then change course three more times before returning to original heading. We got to get good and confused then see if we can find our way back home...then the fun starts..." She quipped, flying the craft like an extension of her own body. Thank god some of the systems for nav still worked because the body could lie when it came to speed and direction, space lived to trick the senses so distance, pitch, yaw all could be thrown off. It took a delicate balance of minimal systems and visual cues to fly in this nebula.

=/\= "Discord to Archer, got your six. Just remember, first star on the left and straight on til morning. We all go home in the end." He cut his speed and pulled up until he had drifted smoothly into a defensive position above and behind her. Rolling again to check the Z axis, Discord increased his speed to match Archers.

Archer laughed again as they followed their course, the navigation as promised being spotty so she was thankful the colors of the nebula didn't shift much as she tried to keep a large patch of pink on her right window, stars shown through the gaps and she had another thought, =/\="Discord, if not familiar don't forget to study the local star map we may have to eyeball some calculations." It was seriously old school but navigating by stars was an ancient and tried method especially since they could rely on their computers for that much help. People seemed to think pilots were a bit low brained that wasn't true. They were a bit crazy but not unintelligent. Right now Alexander had an old school calculator/PADD strapped to her left leg and just to check the computer kept a running tally of important items like acceleration, distance traveled, time passage, angle and other factors that added up to 'where the the heck am I', using formulas like:

a = acceleration (m/s2)

vf = the final velocity (m/s)

vi = the initial velocity (m/s)

t = the time in which the change occurs (s)

Δv = short form for "the change in" velocity (m/s)

She was rusty, Lt. Kilmartin was correct, they'd gotten spoiled with all their tech. She practiced from time to time with the old school methods still taught as back up in flight school but as these things tend to go she'd hadn't practiced as much as she should have.

Visually scanning the area, Discord kept his eyes in constant motion while his jabbed repeatedly at the button that controlled the targeting sweep. Sensors were pretty much shot, so he couldn't rely on that particular piece of equipment either but by keeping it in a continuous sweep he hoped to cover any area of the expanse that his eyes weren't fixed on. =/\= "Discord to Archer. Feeling lost yet?" =/\=

=/\="Archer to Discord, keep up if you can!" She grinned and made the promised flight change, then randomly made a few more. They were now completely turned around but through it all Discord kept pace with Archer right off her wing, he may be green but he knew how to fly. Archer nodded an approval to herself as they worked together to not only figure out where they were but how to get back on target.

The thatch weave Archer threw his way was to be expected, but she rolled straight up into an Immelmann and then executed a tight high yo-yo that nearly lost him. Discord kept the pace through a few more maneuvers before toggling Archer's craft with his targeting sensor just to let her know he was still there.

=/\= "Discord to Archer. That blue dwarf over there has a pretty unique signature. I ran it through the database and I think it's 124.6543. That would make the red giant to port 344.7731. 56.104J is the three star cluster aft. I triangulated it and I'm transmitting a new trajectory to you that should put us back on 436 mark 7. Check me?" =/\=

Archer did so and was about to tell him good job when in at that moment when a streak of phaser fire almost hit Archer's craft. =/\="Bogie High Noon!" she said in a clipped tone as a shuttle skimmed passed them and made a beeline for a blob that could only be one of the enemy ships. =/\="So much for a surprise! We need to clip him before he gets close to home."

=/\= "Acknowledged Archer." =/\= Discord dumped the thrusters to maximum impulse, but unfortunately the two fighters couldn't close the gap as the shuttle's larger size was offset by larger engines. =/\= "Recommend we take the shot Archer. If we hit it before it gets back we can regain surprise. Otherwise, we might as well start looking for an oort cloud or something to help even odds." =/\=

=/\="Lock weapons, manual targeting. fire on my mark, we have to pool our weapons if we're to do any damage..."

Discord waited carefully for Archer's mark, then fired. Both phasers and emitters lanced out and struck the shuttle's port nacelle. For a moment he wondered if they had done enough damage but before Dzhossen could fire another barrage the nacelle began to stream sparks of light and then exploded. As the enemy craft fought for control, Archer led them around in a tight bank, lining the Valkyries up for another pass. A second round of phaser fire and the shuttle lost power as it spewed atmosphere into dead space.

=/\="WooooooT, take that!..." She did a quick check, "I think their enviro is stable but engines are down, let's finish this..." And so they did they streaked around, avoiding fire from the enemy ship as they closed in and got a few good shots off on their torpedoes tubes and phaser arrays, the greater maneuverability of the fighters and the skill of the pilots causing the small craft to dance around the returning fire. And so time passed as both pilots did what they loved.


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