I keep forgetting we haven’t worked together for years as a unit…
Aria had been patrolling nearby space when she reported multiple contacts in Assah.
I saw the few Ghosts at home-base preparing there ships and crews for combat. My own ship, the Ghoul had already begun it preflight routines upon my arrival. As my pod slid into position, and my senses awakened…we moved from the berth and into the coldness of space.
Numerous reports began flooding in as the Ghoul turned aligned towards Assah…very hostile territory…best to be on our guard on this run. Kimochi streamed her coordinates to me and my ship entered warp. We decelerated a few moments later coming to a stop near Kimmy’s golden Arbitrator...and waited.
“Awaiting orders”, came a message stream from the young pilot recently into our ranks. Dame, I learned early on a few days ago…loved to give full status reports, as she continued to feed me ammo and ship capabilities on her Hurricane.
“Your orders Athas?” this time from Kimochi, and then, “Awaiting Orders...” form Aria. I hadn’t planned on leading this attack. Aria had far more experience prior to becoming the Dominations Liaison for us…but was not “officially” a Ghost. I was the senior officer on site...just my damn luck.
As I asked for a current target report, my mind drifted back to carefully managing my career with the Festival to always stay in the background, but close enough to the throne to guide it and influence it when needed. Something had obviously gone wrong with that plan...just my damn luck.
“Rupture, Curse, and Hyperion on scan, attempting to locate”, reported Aria. A few minutes later she reported having lost all contacts, but sensors indicated they were still in the system. Fine…lets up the ante...”Dame, take your ship into a Assah belt…Aria provide cover, Kimmy you and I will wait in position, Dame...make yourself…tasty for them”
Moving in came her reply, without hesitation. I knew this was a basic order…a baiting tactic…easily seen for what it was…but I wasn’t about to let my fellow pilots know…I had no idea what I was doing. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
This wasn’t like the sanctuary, where we trained in very specific ships for hours each day…until you knew what the pilot next to you was going to do or not do...probably before he or she did.
Curse here …
I immediatly gave the order to move in and my ship sped towards the Assah gate…maybe this was going to work after all.
As we decelerated near the gate preparing to jump though...”CVA blob entering system!” reported Aria. Just my damn luck…
Abort…move out of the area. I hoped to get all the Ghosts out safely…if we reacted fast enough.
Engaging…taking damage streamed Dame…
I’m out...Aria reported.
What the hell was Dame doing…?
Re-engaging reported Aria.
Damn, Damn, Damn…..
“Kimmy stay in Hasa!”…the Ghoul jumped into Assah…
Sensors showed 25 or more hostiles in Assah…CVA…didn’t come light...
I needed them out that belt…as my ship turned to align for warp to join them…or this is going to go badly, I thought to myself.
Sensors were picking up multiple interceptors and assorted HACs…just my damn luck…fast movers.
“I’m down!” reported Dame...pod returning to base; followed by Aria’s “I’m out.”
We activated our cloaks, and watched CVA patrol the system for 10 minutes or so…as they sent scouts into Hasateem.
Another 10 minutes and they decided to move on.
Everyone stand down…and we returned to base.
Later as I sat in my office…mulling over these events…a sharp knock tapped on my outer door. Enter I said...and Dame walked in, a strange look on her face.
She came to a stop in front of me, “Permission to speak freely, sir?”
“Aye, of course pilot, what’s on your mind?”
“My ship, sir…and my crew…they didn’t have to die.”
I nodded, in what I hoped looked like an understanding gesture.
“Sir…The falcon pilot…why didn’t she wait for me to warp out…”
“She followed my order…you didn’t.”
“Sir, she should have waited for me to enter warp, and then disengaged.”
Perhaps...you should have ordered your ship to depart when I instructed…you proceeded to engage instead.
“I was scrambled sir.” (A hint of sarcasm?)
I should have realized that, and I hadn’t…
“Look pilot, I understand…but, until we all learn to fly together, these sorts of things will happen. I hope you understand that?”
“Yes sir, I only bring it up, because I wouldn’t want it to happen to another pilot. (More sarcasm?)”
Very well….I’ll pass this information along…anything else?”
“No sir…thank you!” she turned and walked away…the door closing behind her.
Damn, damn, damn…the kid was right. I should have made sure her ship was clear before ordering a withdrawal.
Just my damn luck.