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RP Aquila Flight: Operation Phoenix

Gunhand4171

The Gunman
1st Fleet Headquarters
Starbase Hayes, Nepleslia:


It had been a year. A long year of back door politics, investigations, and the treading of murky water. Finally it was done...

The internal investigation of the 78th Tactical fighter battalion, the Aquila Flight, in particular was done. The former commander of the 78th, Rear Admiral Titus Orion, had been arrested due to war crimes against the Nepleslian Star Navy and was relieved of command.

Even so, the year took its toll on Aquila Flight. Many of Captain Nero James Vega's comrades were either transferred out or were forced to resign. The only one that remained was his bombardier, Lt. Miranda Bannings.

Yet Aquila will fly again, come hell or high water...

Nero sat alone in briefing room 5. A room with several desks lined up in 3 rows of 5. In the front of the room was a podium and a wall screen displaying the Aquila Emblem. He checked his watch. "The flight should be here soon..." He said thought to himself as he smoked a cigarette. He let out a plume of smoke as he sent a notification to the flight.

Code:
Rise and shine boys and girls. Briefing room 5 ASAP.

-Captain Vega
 

Ametheliana

Sensei
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
FM of Nepleslia
FM of the Iromakuanhe
Game Master
Briefing Room 5

"Pass one over here, Captain," Olivia Winroe said, taking her hands out of her pockets and pointing with one hand to Nero's pack of cigarettes as she spotted them. Her call sign was Lucky and her attitude pleasant and to the point while she strolled in with a languid smile on her face.

"Nice to see you," she added with a salute before she sat down next to Nero.
 

Gunhand4171

The Gunman
Briefing Room 5

Nero glanced over to the newcomer. She is my new XO then... He thought to himself as he pulled the pack from his chest pocket and tossed it to her.

"I take it you are Commander Winroe?" He said passing her a lighter for her cigarette, his still firmly held between his lips. "I have read your service record, quite impressive." He said studying the woman. He held out his hand. "I look forward to flying with you Lucky. I have a feeling we will make a great wingmates."
 

Ametheliana

Sensei
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
FM of Nepleslia
FM of the Iromakuanhe
Game Master
Briefing Room 5

"That I am," Olivia muttered as she took his hand in hers and shook it, the unlit cig between her lips, making her speech hard to decipher. "I know we will, as well." She lit the cig and tossed the lighter back to him, assuming he'd catch. He better or that would be saying something ill of his reflexes. She inhaled deeply and exhaled smoke, then spoke again after she had moved her fingers up to relinquish her lips of the cigarette.

"I don't know you and you don't know me, but soon that'll be different. When it is, I hope we'll be happy to call each other wingmates."
 
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Grey Library

Well-Known Member
1st Fleet Headquarters
Starbase Hayes, Nepleslia

Huddling against one of the tiny portholes lining the outer walkway of the Bulwark-class orbital station, the tiny form of Lieutenant Miranda Bannings wasn't much to look at as she crowded up against the little circle of transparent mass separating the bone-chilling interior of the station's outer hull from the unforgiving void.

Outside, the gentle sheen orbital debris covered Nepleslia in a reflective shroud, giving the homeworld the appearance of being covered under a thin veil of glittering stars.

"It's been a long time since we left, hasn't it?" the lieutenant breathed to herself, the messy tumble of ash-grey hair hanging down her back all but camouflaging the woman against the gunmetal gray of the station's walls. Even now if she so much as closed her eyes and focused, the spaceborn Nepleslian could easily paint a vivid mental picture of a squat, chunky satellite teeming with tiny silverfish that traced bright trails of flames to and from the blue-green glow of the atmospheric layer below. The old globe-and-star logo of the Tradestar shipping company splashed across one of the station's sides, just above the block-lettered name of "BLUE HORIZON".

The spot where the station sat in her memories now lay empty, naught but the flickering of passing orbital junk as they flashed by.

Perhaps one of those might've been a fragment of her birthplace, diligently traversing its old route across the skies?

A beeping from the datapad clutched in her arms snapped her out of her reverie. "Pilot Bannings, you are requested at Briefing Room 5 by Captain Vega as soon as possible. Retrieving optimal route to destination."

"Thank you, Help. Time to move on."

========================
Briefing Room 5

With a cheerful beep, the doors to the briefing room slid open with a soft hiss of escaping air. Miranda herself paused a step into the room, blinking in surprise at the unfamiliar officer standing before the Captain. A Commander? she mused upon a quick glance at the patches emblazoning the shoulders of the woman's uniform. Then the smell of burning tobacco hit her full-force and she had to quickly turn her head to the side to hide the cringe on her face. Goodness gracious.

Steeling her features, Miranda snapped to attention with the ease of practice and saluted the two officers. "Sir, Ma'am. Lieutenant Bannings reporting as ordered."
 

Alex Hart

Well-Known Member
Charles Alistair had just been transferred to Aquila flight. He had only just arrived and moved his precious few belongings into his bunk. He felt out of place, a short, young man on a station full of seasoned pilots. Supposedly he was good enough to warrant transfer here for special training.

As he walked into the briefing room, his nerves were screaming at him.

The short, youthful man saluted sharply.
"Ensign Alistair reporting."
 

Gunhand4171

The Gunman
Briefing Room 5

Nero nodded as they shook hands and caught the lighter without breaking eye contact. "Have a seat Commander." He said with a nod and a small smile as he saluted the others entering. He nodded to Miranda, giving her a tired, knowing look. Then finally he greeted the nugget…

"Everyone take your seats." He ordered as he took his place behind the podium. "Welcome boy and girls, to the 78th Tactical Fighter Battalion. More specifically you have been assigned to my flight, Aquila Flight. I am Captain Vega, but my Callsign is Crux. You're here because you have shown the potential to become real life Aces, and I intended to make sure each one of you accomplishes that."

"Now to accomplish this, Aquila Flight personnel have been each given a new modified ACE that shall act as your new co-pilot. All have a personality matrix best suited to your personality. Lt. Bannings and I already have our ACEs. Mine is Cipher."

At the soft mechanical voice spoke out in the room. "Hello I am Cipher, Captain Vega's AI Co pilot. Your new Co pilots have been prepared by myself and Lt. Bannings ACE Help. I looked forward to serving with you all."

Nero cleared his throat. "Your ACE will become your new best friend. So make sure to play nice when you wake them up." He added.

He turned and brought up the crew roster on the wall display, showing the current placement in the flight. "This is how we are broken down currently. I am Aquila Lead or Aquila 1. Commander Winroe is Aquila 2. Lieutenant Bannings is Aquila 3. And finally Ensign Alistair is Aquila 4." He finished.

"Today Aquila will finally be leaving the station and will return to the NSS Oracle. In transit we will have a training exercise to collect data on your ACEs and make sure they are functioning properly. If there are no questions I will begin the briefing."
 

Grey Library

Well-Known Member
"Pleasure to meet you," Miranda called as her name was announced, favoring Olivia and Charles with a smile and a quick wave before slipping into one of the seats. The fact that she was one of the two remaining original pilots left in the Flight still took quite some getting used to, the bombardier let out a wistful sigh as her eyes swept the mostly-empty rows of chairs filling the room. Good men and women all, such a shame they had to part so soon.

Perhaps the Flight was slated for better fortunes this time around?

Blinking out of her thoughts as something the Captain mentioned caught her attention, her hand shot up. "Sir, a question if I may? Our Flight was issued some custom overhauls by Lazarus in the past on a number of our vehicles; will we be sourcing parts for them through other channels now that our backers are gone, or will we be downgrading our craft to standard-issue models?"
 

Ametheliana

Sensei
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
FM of Nepleslia
FM of the Iromakuanhe
Game Master
Briefing Room 5

"Look at it less like a downgrade," Olivia Winroe told Miranda as she put her cigarette out on her boot, down to the filter of it. "And more like our tech getting streamlined to what is standard amongst those fighting the same fight as we are."

"We all want to be in this together. And if we're using tech that creates a disadvantage between our fellow brethren comparative to ourselves, we are not doing all that we can to make it all that it can be for those fighting alongside us."
 

Gunhand4171

The Gunman
Briefing Room 5

Nero nodded to the commander. "The XO is right, and I admire her take on the situation." He said nodding to Olivia before looking back to the other two.

He cleared his throat. "Cipher, let's begin the briefing..."

The lights dimmed and the screen showed a grid of the local space. "Today will be a training exercise, but you will treat this as if it were a real battle. So pay attention!"

The starbase was represented by a green square in the middle of the screen. Four blue triangles were superimposed atop it. "We will be departing the starbase, on our way back to the NSS Oracle." As he said this the screen zoomed out and showed a new icon representing the Specter class stealth carrier. The blue diamonds moved slowly between the two. "While enroute we will engage a formation of enemy bombers that are trying to destroy the Oracle." As he stated this, 5 red triangles blocked the 4 blue ones on their way to the Oracle.

"The mission is simple. Eliminate the flight of bombers enroute to the Oracle. Each bomber has 2 escorts, but the bombers are your primary targets." Nero said. "This is it. Aquila is getting off the ground again and here is the first test. Earn your spot here." He said finally. "Suit up in Raider PAs and get your ACE copilots from the quartermaster when you suit up. Meet in the hangar in 10 minutes. Wheels up in 20. Dismissed!"
 

Ametheliana

Sensei
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
FM of Nepleslia
FM of the Iromakuanhe
Game Master
Briefing Room 5

Olivia stood up quickly and chuckled, "We'll make easy work or these pseudo-enemies! Anyone willing to say a word against the Imperium is an easy enemy to vanquish, simulated or no!" She strode towards the hangar and looked behind her, making sure the rest were following.
 

Grey Library

Well-Known Member
"Yes ma'am." Miranda sighed. Losing the Centrifugal Drives on her craft would be a bummer, but she'd learn to deal with it. The trusty Hornet lasted her all throughout her Nugget years in Knifehead, it'd still serve her as well as before.

The pilot silently mourned the loss of the breathtaking acceleration the custom engines afforded though. Everyone needed blue-white comet trails blasting out of their vehicle's behind in their lives.

"Oh ho, so we're issued Raiders now?" Miranda hmm'ed as she gave Captain Vega a silent nod. A rerun of the Fort Sentinel raid, Crux? Very well, for old time's sake.

Standing up to trail in the wake of her fiery new XO, she began muttering requests to her digital companion housed in the DataJockey in her hands whlist nodding along with the officer's patriotic tirade. "Help, please inform the ground crews to load up the Hornet with dummy Puffers, all six of them. The vulcans will have to suffice for anti-armor work today."

Miranda abruptly made a face in annoyance. "And do reserve a Jiyuuian-size suit for me, will you? I'd prefer not to spend half a day arguing with the armorers' again, thank you very much."
 
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Alex Hart

Well-Known Member
Charles was excited. He was flying with the Aquila flight. When he was sent to Aquila, he looked upon with much scrutiny when he explained that he would be using an Uno. But it was what he had played as in flight simulators as a child, and he was comfortable with it.

He made his way down to the armor bay, where a technician prepared his armor.

After Charles was fitted with his Raider power armor, he made his way toward the hangar, and surveyed it with his helmet in the crook of his arm. His Uno looked out of place with the newer designs used by the others.
 
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Gunhand4171

The Gunman
Starbase Hayes, Nepleslia:
PA Bay:

Nero nodded to the flight as they moved to go get changed. He walked behind them, allowing the XO to lead the way as he checked reports on his datajockey. He was ready to be in space again. Being grounded for almost a year had tested the pilot's patience to his limit. So to say he was eager to get back to the Oracle and get back to work was an understatement.

He was silent as they reached the PA bay, moving to the front of the pack and entered his code. He looked to the quartermaster, who nodded back to him. "You equipment is ready to roll Captain."

Nero nodded. "And are the ACE units ready for their pilots?" The captain asked.

"Aye aye sir." The quartermaster replied. He looked to Oliva and waved her forward, sliding her a green datacard. "Here is your ACE commander..." He then waved Charles forward, sliding an identical card towards him. "And here is yours ensign."

Nero looked to the two. "Take good care of them. They might save your life one day." He said, looking between the two of them.

"Alright, suit up and get to the Hangar!" He ordered. striding into the bay and walking to his custom raider, green in color with a yellow cross painted on the helmet. "It's been a long time..." He said looking at the armor.
 

Ametheliana

Sensei
Staff Member
Submissions Reviewer
FM of Nepleslia
FM of the Iromakuanhe
Game Master
PA Bay

Olivia took the green datacard and held it up to her chest before lowering it down and tucking it into her pants' pocket and sprinted to get to her Raider. She got in slowly and determinedly after putting the datacard into the cargo module on the hip of the Raider.

She was set and ready and after moving the arms back and forth around her, then stretched her legs. She had then twisted at the waist and jumped up lightly before hustling to the hangar, where she waited, oggling what they would soon be piloting.

"Hey Crux," Olivia shot out to her commanding officer. "Want to make this interesting? Whoever has the least amount of kills has to buy the first round tonight!"
 

Alex Hart

Well-Known Member
Charles took the card and activated the ACE.

"Hey in there, whats your name?" He asked.

The ACE responded, "I like the name Ghost."

"Ghost it is." Said Charles. "How do you feel about being in an Uno?"

"Ugh... its so outdated." The AI groaned. "Why do you have to fly that?"

"Because its what I'm used to." Charles responded. "Besides, the Uno is much more sleek than the Quattro, and its weapons systems just feel better to use, whereas the newer fighters are much clunkier and less maneuverable."
 
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Grey Library

Well-Known Member
Clomping into the hangar in her brand new Raider, Miranda winced as the insulating layers underneath the armor's carapace did their level best to squeeze the air out of her. That was always a problem with new gear: unfamiliar kit she had to wear all day long, without all the little mods and leeways tinkered in over the months for comfort's sake.

She quietly made a mental note to adjust the inflatable padding lining the insides of the Raider after she arrived at the NSS Oracle.

"Ah, there she is." Laying a gauntleted hand on the sied of the Hornet Fighter Bomber's nose, Miranda couldn't help but grin at the sight of her old aircraft. Scuffed and slightly deformed in places from wear and numerous patchjobs, the blocky matte craft seemed to bear its countless scars and wrinkles with the quiet dignity of a grand dame. Armored fingers traced along the Meridium fuselage with a soft grind, where the silhouettes of a handful of heavy bombers and a particularly beat-up Wolf fighter (complete with cartoon bandaid) were painted on the vehicle's snub-nose.

She was beaten, bruised and aging, but a fire still burned in the old plane. "Still alive, buddy."

"Pilot Bannings, are you requesting that your craft be redesignated as 'Buddy'?"

"No, no, it's a pilot thing. Father used to do this every time he brought the Fairwinds Kestrel out of dock, he said it kept the old girl together all these years."

"I fail to see how verbal communication may serve to prolong service life in inanimate machinery."

====================

"Main engines, start!"

A heady thrum rumbled through the cockpit as the Hornet awakened, the twin Magneto-Plasma Drives pumping energy into the craft's veins. Behind Miranda, the various terminals on the empty copilot's seat lit up as Help got to work, the ACE AI rooting into the nervous system of the bomber with ease. Her virtual friend materialised a moment later with a soft ping, its glowing firefly-orb avatar lighting up the cockpit's interior with a pale blue light. "Startup Check, all systems nominal. Proceeding to secondary systems."

"Back in the saddle we go~" Spirit sing-songed as she tested out the well-worn flightsticks, humming to herself. The HUD activating with a soft tone, she spied Ensign Alistair's F/A-01 warming up its engines as its IFF transponder came to life, quickly registering itself as [AQUILA 04] on-screen. Blinking to herself, she keyed a transmission to the new guy. "Hello Charles! I'm Miranda, callsign Spirit. How are you and your new friend getting along?"
 
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Alex Hart

Well-Known Member
Charles looked to his right, seeing the tag Aquila 3 come up above the Hornet next to him.

"Nice to meet you Spirit. He's decided on the name ghost, and though it seems he has no appreciation for the classics, I think he'll come around."
 

Gunhand4171

The Gunman
Starbase Hayes, Nepleslia:
PA Bay:


Nero finished donning his armor and snapped his helmet into place. "Finally..." He muttered as the suit went though it's checks, making sure nothing had went faulty in its year of disuse. When the check finished, the captain smirked. "It's time to go to work." He muttered under his breath as he stepped out into the hangar.

Starbase Hayes, Nepleslia:
Hangar:

Nero smiled as he entered the hangar, looking out on their craft. At the challenge of his XO he smirked. "Your on Lucky, I am warning you now that I can and will drink you under the table." He said patting her armored shoulder as he walked towards his craft. He smiled as he approached the Uno. "It's about time..." He said softly as he patted the nose of the craft. He moved and boarded the cockpit, strapping himself in. He pulled his own data card from his storage device and slid it into a slot on the console. The heads up display in his helmet went blank for a second as the suit interfaced directly with the fighter. The display rebooted and began displaying the preflight checklist.

His AI showed up as the Aquila Flight emblem in the corner of his HUD. "Sir, preflight checklist is complete. We are ready for departure."

Nero's smile broadened as he felt the engines firing up. He opened up comms to flight control. "CAG, this is Aquila 1. We are ready for departure."

The Chief of the Aerospace Group, or CAG for short came back over the squad channel. "Aquila Flight, CAG. You are cleared for take off. Use Launch tubes 5 through 8."

"Roger that CAG, Aquila 1 copies all." With that, Nero's Uno left it's place on the flight deck and began taxiing to the first launch tube. As he reached it, the ground crews secured his craft to the catapult and gave him a thumbs up. Nero returned it. The Uno was pulled into the launch tube, and the bulkhead slid shut behind him. He saw as the air was sucked out of the tube, then the forward bulkhead slid away to reveal the space beyond. "We're home..." He said in the few seconds before launch.

"This is Aquila 1, Launching!"

The catapult fired, rocketing the craft forward through the tube. In mere seconds the plane was out in space, traveling at high speed. "It's about damn time!" Nero yelled to himself as he rolled his craft up and away from the launch tubes. He opened the squad channel again. "Aquila 1 to all Aquila members. Once you launch, form up in diamond formation. Aquila 2 on my starboard side, Aquila 4 on my port side, and Aquila 3 will take up the aft position." He ordered. "Now hurry up and get up here, the view is great!"
 
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Grey Library

Well-Known Member
"Pleased to meet you then, Ghost. Take good care of Charles for me, will you?" Spirit smiled warmly at her newest colleague, though her eyes were noticeably roaming around the general area around the young man's head with a tinge of confusion. "Though, do let me know when you decide on an avatar to use? I'd like to have a chat with you face-to-face sometime soon."

"I concur with Pilot Bannings, having a clear reference point to focus on greatly assists in conversation with human personnel." A sphere-shaped cluster of glowing particles hovering above Spirit's shoulder intoned, pulsing with every other heavily-synthesized syllable.

The effect was a strobelight-esque flashing, disconcerting to the least.

"Be advised however, Intelligence Ghost," Help continued, cheerfully monotone as ever, "that displaying the image of deceased persons, be it thematic with your chosen name, is inadvisable due to the distressing effect to personnel such images have-"

"...anyway! The both of us will be relying on you pretty often in the future, I hope we'll be able to work well." The bombardier interjected, waving the AI offscreen. "See you aboard the Oracle then! Spirit, out!"

===================

Launch Tube 7

"Reactor status nominal, fluid pressure check. Is the sotfware reformatting holding fine?"

"Affirmative, Pilot Bannings. Operating systems have been reset to factory defaults, tuning engine output to account for efficiency difference."

"Thank you very much, commencing final systems check in five." A cheerful whistling filled the cockpit as the seasoned spacer got to work, running the Hornet through a battery of preflight checks with practiced ease. Deft flicks on control switches translated into miniature shifts of various steering thrusters as they recentered, the bulky spacecraft's twin engines filling the cramped launching corridor with a floor-shaking bass rumble. "All maneuvering systems confirmed in working order."

Beside her, Help's orb fluctuated. "Preflight check complete, confirmation codes have been sent to Hayes Tower. Digital sign-off has been received and recorded in the ship's flight logs."

Nodding in thanks to her digital companion, Spirit opened up a channel to Starbase Hayes' ATC officer. "Hayes Tower, this is Aquila 3. Thanks for having us over, hope to see you again." Snuggling into her harness, she pushed the throttle down to full. "Aquila 3, setting off!"

The Hornet exploded. Twin columns of plasma spewed forth from the bomber's wings and splashed against the raised firewalls of the launch tube, hurling the craft forward just as the catapult system engaged. Heavy magnetuc clamps pulled in tandem with the furious thermonuclear bloom raging against the end of the silo as the heavy gunship rocketed down the launchrails, erupting out of Starbase Hayes' hangar bay on the crest of a blossom of atomic fire.

As the NSN orbital station receded in the distance, Spirit heeled her ship into position in the back of the formation. Smiling in reminiscence, she opened up a channel to her longtime CO. "Just like Fort Sentinel on our first mission, Crux?" she quipped, shooting the captain a wry grin. "We're even loaded with Pufferfish again, to boot!"
 
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