F4 Communications channel open.
Kingmonkey: “Ooh aahh aah! Anti! Whacha doing?”
Antikas: Eh? Oh… monkey! I’m err… flying a combat mission for Amananth.
Kingmonkey: “Not much scientific-like.”
Antikas: Err… umm.
Antikas: *Sigh* It’s not like I have a choice or anything! I got into an argument with Tersius over using the Ranger.
Kingmonkey: “Anti insult yellow tie again?”
Antikas: He looks like a fry-guy from McPlonald’s. ‘Truancy Officer’ my arse! Any ways, it’s a no-can-do on the ranger until I reach the appropriate rank.
Kingmonkey: “Monkey likes yellow tie.”
Antikas: You would.
Kingmonkey: “How many missions Anti fly for ranger?”
Antikas: No idea. I brought along one of those Amananthi whistles for testing. The device seems a little unpredictable.
Kingmonkey: “Monkey make deal – no more beer until promotion, then monkey buy.”
Antikas: Heheh… sure. Yeah… I was going to crack it open before I left the station and see if I could figure out how it worked… but you know how they make stuff here in Amananth… I couldn’t figure out how to get through the casing without breaking it.
Standby. Jumping into The Dark.
Antikas throttled down his Intensity, drifting towards the swirling blue energy of the Jumpgate. With his thumb he flipped through the various weapon loadouts, activating the full barrage of plasma weaponry his ship carried. The Jumpgate indicator lighting up on the CDDR, the aging pilot braced himself for the nausea and disorientation that would follow his physical dispersion between sectors. He closed his eyes, trying to calm his instinct and defy his sense of logic and self preservation.
The hum of the Jumpdrive faded away. He debated the consistency of the sandwich in his stomach for a moment before flipping his radar group to ‘enemy’, and cycling through his list of targets.
Antikas: There’s my manta.
Kingmonkey: “ooh ooh ah aahhhh.”
Sixteen-thousand meters. Antikas cycled through the other pink blips… C5, C4, C3… and then another group of conflux on a separate trajectory… a second manta and posse. Flipping back to the first manta, Antikas throttled up and fired his afterburners to quickly bridge the distance. Better to cut the numbers down quickly before the second group intercepted.
Heavy on the trigger, plasma blared from the vessel as he straightened out his flight path. The manta’s shields failed at the point of intercept… he could feel the thud of conflux mortar pummel his shields energy reserves… but flipped the ship around anyway, firing off another volley of plasma. A concussive burst of energy rocked the ship slightly as the manta exploded off the bow of his ship. He wouldn’t risk a second pass with the another group of pink closing on radar.
Still mid-turn he angled and fired again, sparks and then fire erupting from one of the snails. Flipping back he afterburned a bit more to better gage the second groups approach.
Antikas: Cycling targets… one, two– oh crap! Where are you again??
Kingmonkey: ooh? Oct space.
Antikas: Damn. Four more manta… I can’t count the number of snails… no time.
The group flew a tight formation… it looked like a fat pink blip on his radar, with a tail-like convoy of followers. Flipping around to match their trajectory he fired his afterburner jets yet some more. The gap closed quickly… too quickly. He targeted the second manta in the series, firing two Purgs. Back to the first, the gap was gone. Antikas fired off his Barraks, quickly switching his primary weapon assignment so he could check the ammo guage on his Hitman. It was low. With longer passes he might be able to survive the joust, but their formation would cut his shields to shreds. The first manta exploded, debris splattering across the fore-window of the tensy’s cockpit. He fired on the third one but this time there was no way he was turning to dogfight… he would definitely be lengthening his joust. The three remaining manta were already in mid turn by the time he saw the convoy of snail.
Antikas: Oh my god…
Kingmonkey: Ooh? Call him Hammy.
Kingmonkey: Hammy… it ok, monkey tell Hammy all about Antikas.
Antikas: This is going to hurt.
Kingmonkey: Great Hammy, protect Anti from fate befallen to him!
Antikas braced himself for the barrage of mortar to hit.
The trajectory was perfect, and the distance to impact too short to use an effective counter maneuver. There were at least 8 snail… the shells in formation like an explosive lance. The afterburner was already full pin when the mortar impacted. Within seconds his shields were gone completely… he could hear and feel armor tear away from the hull as the Intensity flew through the convoy. He couldn’t decipher the impact of snail bouncing off the fore of the ship from the shelling damage.
Acrid smoke was filling the cockpit as the purple blast hurtled the damaged ship through the snail and manta.
Intact he put some distance between the mini-swarm as the liters of flashfire fuel burned up. He gave the ship a quick check… shields were charging. Armor was badly damaged, but holding. Overall enough ammo. AB fuel low. Dimly he could hear the impact of his two Purgs. Another manta down. Manta still selected the third missile fired, lolling off it’s clamps as it fought to maneuver away from the high velocity Tensy. It impacted quickly in a satisfying explosion, and with his shields over 45% he flipped around for another run… dispatching the last manta.
The snail convoy had fallen behind. Knowing their limited pitch and yaw, he angled into them… mostly avoiding the ensuing shelling. Snail exploded around the Tensy as it flipped about to fire reverse course. Laser fire gnawed at his shields as the as of yet noticed C3 joined in the fray. Less concerned now that the manta were all dispatched and feeling a divine sense of calm, he flew several passes dispatching the rest of the snail and then the handful of C3.
Kingmonkey: “Ooooh… You alive?”
Antikas: I– I think so. I can’t believe I made it.
Kingmonkey: “Monkey ask Hammy for help.”
Kingmonkey: “Hamalzah. Monkey think he still help while golfing.”
Antikas: Hamalzah golfs?
Kingmonkey: “Pffft! ‘Hamalzah golfs?’ Monkey feel sorry for Anti.”
Wondering if the incredulous monkey had forgotten his medication again, he gave his ship a quick once over. Sheilds nominal. Armor still holding. AB fuel almost completely dry. Hitman ammo expended. Barrak ammo low. Missiles expended.
He still had to travel through the Last Point before he had a clear enough route to Amananth.
“Worry not, Antikas… I—the mighty Hammy will guide your way.”
Antikas: Quit goofing around.
the tales continue …