Well that was a different.

We watched the 8 tracks coming in, with ever precise tracking information. As expected they were fighters.  Not as expected they seemed to bog standard Imperial Light Fighters, Mk CCCLV class. While the Three five five isn’t terminally cutting edge for fighters, it’s still in common use by imperial forces, and very very few are being sold to out side of solid allies.  The fact their transponders are IDing them as ‘Republic Space Force Interceptor Flight 1077″ is equally odd.  The only republic in the the sector is Republic of Edan, and they I know don’t have CCCLV class fighters, the Imperium having lost that arms deal the to the Zhodani.

“Guns, once they enter effect missile envelope, let them have it. Use l-s-l-s please.”

“Could you say last in something other than scout please Superior pack leader?”

“Look, Shoot, Look, Shoot, Don’t volley your next set of birds until you have seen what the first did. We don’t have enough on board to just play at being a missile boat.”

“Understood. Only bite again after you see where the prey is bleeding. A wise battle tactic. Estimated time is 35 minute to enter effective envelope. Will show them our teeth ot them then Superior pack leader.”

Got to tell him to not call me that, but I suspect that’s a waste of time. If he gets in his head that I’m not the pack leader, things could get if not ugly, weird. This is not my first cruise with a Vargr crew mate, it is however, the first with a whole, if small, Vargr pack. Might be the first for the IISS as a whole.  At least he agreed to my tactics, even, as I suspect, he would have just fired off volley after volley if given a chance.

At about 15 minutes to engagement range Mr. Urdar reports

 "Vector change, 2 separating from main group, appear to be on vector towards the drones."

Great.  Just what I wanted to hear. Time to make a tactical call and earn those big credits –  “Guns keep missile track on main group, we will deal with the leakers as we can.  We can lose drones, that’s their job being a decoy“.  Wonder what the tactics teacher at Scout Pilot Academy would have said about that.  “You find your self out numbered by units that can, under optimal happenstances blow you out of space and you didn’t jump?  Are you crazed or what?”  He was of the “Scouts don’t fight, we scout” school of thought, vs the much more offensive “Scouts only fight a little bit, normally just we bug out”  Well the Merry isn’t your normal Imperial Scout ship either.

“I understand Pack Leader, ignore the hunters on the false trail until we have shown the pack at large our fangs”

Is he going to translate every tactic I pass to him into a Vargr fighting adage?  Could be worse, at least he’s doing it in Anglic, not just barking at me.  At least I know he knows what I’m thinking when he does that.  Might not be a bad idea.  Got to think about that.

Watching the count down clock, at 0:30 before the magic effective range count down mark “Guns, get some at zero”. A single bark, which might have been an exited “Aye” can back.  At T minus 0:15 Mr. Urdar made a tiny vector adjustment, then grunted and smiled as the birds left the tubes. I’ve never been on a ship that fired a full 6 round volley at one time.  I would have thought I would have felt something, but if grav plates can make our 4G wobbles not affect us, they can deal with a little light recoil. Heard them launch, but only until they cleared the tubes,  nothing after, of course.  More like hearing a cannon fire on a planet than rockets being fired. Makes sense, once their exhaust gas was not hitting the tube the vacuum of space wouldn’t let us hear them any more.

Birds away and flying true.  9 minutes til vector closing. Tell the Lt. that his roll allowed for perfect straight vectors for both turrets.“.

Thank you guns

We wait.  We wait some more.  At 4 til closing the boogies do a star burst separation.  Pack leader Elig must have thought of that, or we got lucky and each bird had picked it’s own target because our cluster followed the vector changes like they knew it was going to happen.  The howl from the turrets tells me they planned that.  Good to know that the “blast it until it stops moving” reputation of Vargr gunners didn’t seem to be the case here. The computer tracking board went from a 3 way screen to an 8 way screen as Urdar made some adjustments. On vector close, 2 boogies just stop showing on the screens, and 2 took off on random vectors, like there was no one alive at the controls. The other two just kept coming. “Guns, One turret on each of the leakers, they are getting with in range, and I’d rather not take any hits.”  I get an “Aye/bark” in return.

While the turrets slewed to the their new attack vectors the hostile fighters returned fire with their pulse lasers, just with in their range. One of the drones dropped off the scope, one shot went high and wide on us, and one hit, but the armor took the damage.

While a light fighter might, if lucky, survive having a solitary missile attack it, having a  full triple turret, either missile or beam laser aimed at it in effective range, with highly trained crews, is not really something that they can be expected to survive. They didn’t.

"Out jump signature, from  location of the mother-ships"

Humph. What the hell was that? To far away from Zhodani, Vargr or Aslan space to be any of them, didn’t seem like Sword World Confederation tactics and I would bet money that wasn’t Droyn. Hiver and K’Kree were out of the question, based on ship size in the case of K’Kree and sheer range to their space in both cases.

All hands, report and stand down, Mr. Higgs, take the surveyor out for SAR please.

Never say you are bored on a stake out.

Skip, it’s been 5 hours, I’ve got an idea to both keep us sharp and give some training.

What you got boats?

Both of the special training troops are boat rated, and did well enough in my little sim I ran on them that I’d let them fly. Let’s load up the whole scout squad in the surveyors, launch it and go into what passes for scarred rabbit mode for them. Have the Lewis go into rolling stealth, the drones go in to hide and evade mode, have the pack try and get firing solutions on the drones and the boat under manual control. To make life interesting, the surveyors will need to stay with in .5% of it’s starting position with regards to it’s initial location post launch with us. That’s going to cause turret masking every now and then.

So, the scouts are rabbits and the Vargr are the hunters? How are we going to avoid possible friendly fire?” “Disable launch/fire from you station it’s the yellow flashing button. Push it until it turns green.” I clicked the button.

I’ll run the points. Right now scoring will be based off seconds not in sights for the scouts, good firing solutions for the guns.

Well make it so boats“.

A series of commands were issues, and once the surveyors had cleared the Merry, emissions went stealth, and random darting around in place started. Grav plates made it where you didn’t really notice, but we were no longer just holding in place.

Dr. Darst had visited all the people that were not in uniforms that included a medical read out and issued an arm band version, early in the waiting period.

After about a half hour into the “game” I got a private buzz from med bay”Sr. Scout, is there a reason why all the gun crews as well as they away scouts would be having higher than normal heart rate and respiration rates?

Well, they are taking pot shots at each other. No live ammo, but using the ranging lasers and local control on the missiles, as if they were launched.

Well that would explain it. Thank you, please warn me next time so I don’t start looking up what to give a hyper Vargr that doesn’t knock them out or make them high. I don’t think we have any thing that does that, by the way, and I’d just a soon not have high Vargr on the ship

Well, crap.  “Find one, and when we RTB get oh, 12 doses
So, we were playing “shoot the pirates when all 3 sensor officers, who were not playing the game (Mr. Urdar running the ships eyes, and the scouts not running drones on the surveyor running theirs (muttering about non stable platform) and the on board scouts using their sensors.

 

Jump foot print, 4 light seconds 800 dt class, military grade drive.”  About ten seconds later “Beta and Zulu reporting same in their scan zones.”

A minute later “Multiple 10 dt craft launched.  8 on vector our postion.  Zero/Zero at current 6G acceleration 149 minutes.

‘Surveyor, back off 20,000 km, go dark, set drones for active and have them start a circle based on our position off set by 1/4 light second. Guns you have local control, release current tracks, go to weapons free.  Laser turret one, configure for point defense. Get some Gun Pack

Battle stations, I say again, battle stations