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Wing Commander Prophecy: H’rekkah System


Introduction

Cult of Sivar Temple
Priestess: During the reign of the Ancient Ones, Sivar himself appeared in a vision to the First Prophetess of Kilrah. His words are recorded in the Tome of Sivar. “There shall come a time when one who has the heart of a Kilrathi, but is not Kilrathi born, shall rain cleansing fire down upon us. And Kn’thrak, a time of great darkness, shall embrace us.”
Devereaux: Drop team, this is Devereaux. We are on an intercept course with contact Sierra-37.
Drop One: Yeah. Roger that, Devereaux. Looks good here. You should be getting a strong signal. Preliminary scan shows high concentration of Borenium and Kilrantium.
Devereaux: Moving into position. We are charging the core. Coring commencing.
TCS Devereaux
Devereaux: All clear. Stand by, Priest is coming out to give you a hand.
Drop Two: Oh great, “His Majesty” is coming to join us.
Drop Three: I heard that.
Drop One: Ah, never mind her, Priest.
Drop Three: Never do, Drop One. Hey Devereaux, I’m picking up a new reading on my grid.
Devereaux: We see it, Three. Better check it out.
Drop Three: Roger that, Devereaux. I’m hit! I’m hit! Devereaux! Dev
Drop One: Three… are – <static> – you receiving me…? <static>
Priestess: “Death itself shall pour forth, obscuring the stars in a veil of darkness. Theirs is the claw that tears flesh from bone.”
Drop Three: <scream>
Priestess: “Theirs is the poisoned fang.”
Alien invasion…
Devereaux: Mayday! This is the research vessel Devereaux
Priestess: “Their number shall rend the universe barren and crush the breath from our clans. We shall be bathed in our own blood and rotted flesh shall be our fare. With a deafening thunder shall the dark age begin.”
Casey: C’mon Maestro, lost your touch? I’ve been ahead of you since the last jump point.
Maestro: Watch and learn from the Maestro himself!
Midway: Incoming Piranhas, this is the TCS Midway. Reduce speed to zero-six-zero and set approach vector to B-44.
Maestro: Take us around back, Casey.
Midway: Welcome to the Midway. You are cleared for landing.
Casey: Just hope they got all the bugs worked out.
Maestro: Relax, Confed hasn’t seen any action in years.
Casey and Maestro Arrive at the TCS Midway
Maestro: This is it, Casey, the big time!
Casey: Great. Our first duty: ferrying Piranhas to some high-tech bucket of bolts in the middle of nowhere.
Maestro: Don’t worry about it, little man. I’ve brought something here to pass the long, cold nights like a breeze. Especially with the right company, if you know what I mean. Let’s see, I got it somewhere… No. Yes!
Casey: Altairian Brandy? That’s contraband! Where did you get it?
Maestro and Casey
Maestro: It’s a diplomatic perk. I borrowed it from the Consulate General’s private reserve.
Casey: Well, put it away, Stupe, before we end up in the brig.
Maestro: What are you worried about, Stupe? This isn’t like flight school any more.
Stiletto: TEN-HUT!
Casey: Uh oh.
Maestro: Shhhhh! <groans>
Stiletto: Second Lieutenants Casey and Garrett, I presume?
Maestro: Maestro.
Stiletto: Maestro? Okay, Maestro. I’m First Lieutenant Jean Talvert, callsign Stiletto. I’m acting commander of the Diamondback Squadron: your initial assignment here on the Midway.
Maestro: <whispers> How’d a first lieutenant like her rate an entire squadron?
Stiletto: Because I’m that good, Mr Garrett. Hmmm, apparently your reputation precedes you. It seems the CAG would like to discuss that little incident with the Altairian Consulate’s daughter.
Casey: So, it really was his private reserve, huh?
Maestro: Shut up!
Stiletto: And you, Mr Casey. If you think that having a famous father is going to cut you any slack around here, you’re dead wrong.
Casey: With all due respect, I’m here on my own merits.
Stiletto: Let’s hope so, because around here you live or die by your flight stats. Understood?
Casey: I did get the highest scores of any cadet at the Academy.
Maestro: He did.
Stiletto: And the most demerits, according to your record. Listen, this is a make or break shakedown cruise for us. I don’t have time to play baby-sitter. Got it? Now get yourselves registered on the system. And stow this swag before the CAG sees it. You’re in enough trouble as it is.
Casey: That went well.
Maestro: Didn’t it? Welcome to the Midway. I think she liked me.
Casey: You think?
Maestro: Yeah, I think the lieutenant liked me. Stiletto… Stiletto… I wonder what that means?
Enter Callsign
Casey: All right! Let’s check out the rest of this bad boy.
Maestro: Great!
Stiletto: The CAG is waiting, Mr Garrett.

H’rekkah 100.8 – Kilrathi Distress Call

Maniac: I mean, I almost feel sorry for the guy ’cause he’s flying against the Maniac. Not! But anyway. So, he pulls a break right in front of me, right? Bam! Cat on my right? Dust! All right. Wingman doesn’t even see me, okay? Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Kitty litter.
Enter the Newbie
Casey: Is this seat taken?
Maniac: Anyway, all right. The third cat: image recon. Boom! Right into his stovepipe. Dust. He’s gone!
Casey: Hi, I’m Casey.
Maniac: Meanwhile, all right? The Chief Cat, right? Some like… Does something smell in here? Something stinks in here, doesn’t it? My eyes are watering. Oh, you know what? There is only one thing in the universe that could smell that bad: a Plebe. Fresh off the recovery deck and still reeking of the Academy. Shoo, Plebe! Get lost. Okay? This isn’t the sandbox, all right? This is the table for the big… big boys… Hey! This is the table for the big boys – Black Widow Squadron.
Anderson: [loudspeaker] Major Todd Marshall, report to the Briefing Room at once.
Maniac: Oh, man, just getting to the good parts. All right. Umm… I’m saving the best for later, all right? Hang out! I don’t want to see you at this table again, Plebe. Whoo-hoo!
Casey: <sigh>
Zero: Congratulations. You just met, and ticked off, Maniac – a legend in his own mind. <laughs>
Casey: How you doing? I’m Casey.
Zero: Hey, I’m O’Hearn. They call me Zero. Since you’re new here, let me show you around pilot country! You’re currently in the rec room – home to malcontents, drunkards, and trouble-makers.
Casey: Sounds like my kind of people.
Zero: Over there’s your self-serve bar. There’s your flight simulator. And of course, the infamous killboard. C’mon, there’s much, much more.
Zero: Locker’s here. Inside you’ll find your flight suit and your gear.
Casey: Homey place.
Zero: Oh yeah, all neat and shiny, just like us. Coming? And, of course, what state-of-the-art carrier would be complete without ‘Big Brother’? From the flight log computer you can log into the main system, just like in flight school, only now it’s all for real. Anyway, why don’t you er… get yourself acquainted. Come and find me in the briefing room when you’re ready.
Zero: Behold! The briefing room! Take a look around you, Casey, my man. Billions of Confed credits at work. This is the nerve centre of our work here on this ship.
Casey: No map table?
Zero: <snorts> Ancient history. This is ICIS. Brand new. It’s tied to all the computers on this ship. It’ll tell us where we’re going and what we’re doing according to the brainiacs upstairs. Oooh! Sorry, the Tactical, Intelligence and Science divisions. Anyway, it all gets distilled down to the screens on our desks. It’s easy – point and click – you know?
Dallas: Call it our window to the world. If it works, that is.
Zero: Casey, meet Dallas, our resident voice of doom and general naysayer. He’s probably writing another letter to Senator Taggart as we speak.
Dallas: <chuckles> Not so, Zero! That’s a very appropriate name. I am, in fact, tracking my investments. Five more years at this rate and I can retire a wealthy man.
Zero: Yeah. You see, Dallas does it for the cash. It’s not just a job and all that.
Dallas: You think everything is a conspiracy, don’t you? Cash is what it’s all about! How much money do you think Confed saved by building a stand-alone carrier force? Namely, this behemoth of a ship.
Zero: Who cares? If this tub gets hulled, what then?! They’ve put all their eggs into one little basket with no back-up. <sigh> It doesn’t matter, Confed’s got their greedy little fingers into everything. What’s a few credits here and there?
Dallas: Well, don’t tell that to Commodore Blair. After all, the Midway was his idea.
Casey: Oh no! Not Blair again! For years at the Academy all we’d hear about was Blair this and Blair that: “Saviour of the Confederation”, “Most Decorated Pilot”, blah, blah, blah. What is the guy, like, four thousand years old? I think I’ve heard just about everything… except that he was on board the Midway.
Maverick: Have we met, Lieutenant?
Casey: Casey, Lance R. Second Lieutenant. Confed Number C26354.
Commodore Blair
Maverick: Casey, huh? So you’re the Iceman’s kid? I heard you were coming on board. You know, I flew with your father. He was a good pilot. Always followed orders. Knew when to keep his big mouth shut.
Casey: Good-bye career.
Zero: Don’t feel so bad. I hear there’s always openings in the Diplomatic Corps. <laughs> C’mon, let’s get you a drink to put those flames out.
Maestro: Good first day at work, honey?
Casey: Yeah, I’ve been on board less than an hour and I’ve already managed to tick off just about every senior officer in sight, including Commodore Blair.
Maestro: Wanna go up there?
Stiletto: Stop right there, gentlemen! This here is Diamondback seating.
Maverick: Take a look around, most of these pilots are still kids. They’re– they’re too green.
Drake: Talk to the Captain.
Casey: Who’s that talking to Blair?
Maverick: We don’t even have a full complement of ships.
Zero: That’s the CAG – Commander Air Group. She’s as hard as they come.
Maestro: Huh. Yeah, we’ve met. And it wasn’t pretty.
Drake: All right, let’s get started. We have a change of plans. As of now, the Midway is on full alert status. At 0400 hours we received what appeared to be a Kilrathi distress call. Tactical has tried to verify this message fragment, but so far, whoever sent it has stopped transmitting. Since we’re the closest vessel, HQ has ordered us to assess the ‘situation’. Attention! Captain on the deck!
Wilford: As you were. Sorry to interrupt, Commander. A live feed has just come in from our SWACS patrol that has jumped ahead to the H’rekkah system. This is a need to know for all squadrons. Open channel three-one.
SWACS TK-421
TK-421: Probably lost three full wings of fighters, but didn’t get them all before they got hit. Nothing’s moving now. Could have been two, maybe three, carrier groups. Computer reads Fralthi II class. Seems to have missed most of the blast. Whatever hit ’em completely obliterated the whole fleet.
Captain Wilford
Wilford: As no contact can be established with any Kilrathi ships, on recommendation of Colonel Dekker, I’ve decided that as of now this is a Marine operation. Commander?
Drake: All right, before we begin. Lieutenant Casey. Lieutenant Talvert has recommended you lead the Diamondbacks based on your “exemplary Academy record”. This is highly, highly unusual, Lieutenant. This is not a training exercise. Don’t disappoint her. Pilots, now check your ICIS for mission details and assignments.
ICIS: Your wing will deploy when the Midway jumps into the H’rekkah system. Panthers from the Black Widow Squadron will provide primary escort for a marine LC, with your Alpha Wing providing additional support. Escort the marines to the remains of the Kilrathi fleet. Your objective there is this Fralthi II class cruiser. SWACS scans have detected faint life signs aboard. The LC will dock with the damaged ship, and Colonel Dekker will lead a detachment of marines aboard to recover the ship’s data log and locate any survivors. When the marines have returned to their ship, escort them back to the Midway.
Drake: Before I dismiss you, I believe Commodore Blair has a few words. Commodore?
Maverick: As you may know, the Midway is not yet fully operational and for many of you this will be your first mission outside the Academy. Keep in mind you’re Confed’s very best. Watch your butts out there.
Drake: Good luck, people. Dismissed.
Casey: Hey, thanks for the opportunity. I won’t let you down.
Stiletto: Forget it, Lieutenant. Just make sure I don’t have to come and save your sorry butt.
Casey: Is it me?
Maestro: Yes. <laughs> C’mon, lets fly.
H’rekkah System
Piranha Launch
Fly H’rekkah 100.8
Maniac: About time you rookies decided to join us.
Let’s go, Plebe Patrol. Form up.
Stiletto: Don’t start, Maniac.
Maestro: Oooh! It’s Maniac! The Maniac?
Maniac: Now that you scrubs have worked out how to get here, let’s engage our autopilots and get on with it.
Spyder: All wings, this is Charlie. We’ve got unidentified craft on our scopes. Vectoring to intercept.
Maestro: Will ya look at that!
Maniac: Looks like the cats had one heck of a party. Ha! Too bad we missed it.
Anderson: All craft, be advised: Charlie and Echo wings report unknown hostile encounter.
Dekker: Okay. We’ve docked at the cruiser, Alpha Wing. You watch our backs.
Maestro: I have a very bad feeling about this.
Dekker: Alpha Wing, this is Marine One. The engagement area is littered with dead cats. Whatever hit ’em hit ’em hard. Confirm the location of ship’s auxiliary log. Downloading.
Maniac: Whoa! Heads up, plebes! We’ve got company!
Stiletto: Where did they come from?
Maestro: Those aren’t Kilrathi fighters.
Stiletto: Just stay cloaked until we work out if they’re friendly.
Maestro: Um… they’re shooting at me. Guess they’re not friendly.
Stiletto: Activate your cloaking device, Maestro!
Maestro: I am using my cloaking device, thank you very much. Must be broken.
Stiletto: Hey! What? They’re shooting at me, too!
Watch it, kids! They can see through our cloaking somehow!
Dekker: Alpha Wing, we’re taking fire! We’re bugging out!
Maniac: Blast! All craft break and attack!
Dekker: MARINES! WE ARE LEAVING!
Marine One, dusting off.
Maniac: Hope you plebes can make it home alone, ’cause I’ve gotta catch up with my patrol.
Dekker: All right, Alpha Wing, get us back to the Midway.
Dekker: Thanks for the escort, ladies.
Anderson: Nice flying, Lieutenant! You’re cleared to land.
Anderson: [loudspeaker] Attention! Attention! There is a fluctuation in the main power grid. Closing cooling channels 2 and 7. Matrix array is off-line. Tech team to the bridge at once.
Coriolis: Blast, there goes the guidance system again. I need that working on the double. And tell O’Neil to get hangar rams number two and seven back on-line. We’ve got real problems here. Doesn’t anything work around here? Go!
Casey: Um…
Coriolis: What’s your damage, fly-boy?
Casey: Excuse me?
Coriolis: Did you crash your fighter or are you just lost?
Casey: Um… yeah, I mean no… I mean… I just landed… I…
Coriolis: Don’t they teach you numb-nuts anything in school? When you land you check your stats, there. Then you head to the chute which leads to decontam. Got it? I hope you fly better than you take directions. See ya. What are you still standing there for? What do you want?
Fire on the flight deck
Anderson: [loudspeaker] Alert! Fire on the flight deck.
Zero: Would you sit down?!
Dallas: Wait a second, wait, hold it, just stop. This was not part of the deal. They’re actually shooting out there. We’re talking live ammo!
Maestro: I don’t want you to get your panties in a bind or anything, but when you joined on with Confed, didn’t anyone actually tell you that getting shot at was part of the deal?
Casey: Yeah, well we’re really not sure who ‘they’ are yet.
Zero: I heard one of Dekker’s men say that the dead cats on board were more than just blown away. More like cut up into little pieces.
Dallas: Cut up?
Zero: Dissected. Almost ritually.
Hawk: Science Division’s working on breaking the code on that black box that Dekker’s men brought in. They asked Rachel to help, but she’s got her hands full bringing the ship back on-line. No telling how long that’ll take.
Casey: Zero said something about the Cats being cut up. Is there any truth to that?
Hawk: Absolute truth. Cut up into little cat chunks. Dekker’s men also found a single Kilrathi word scrawled in blood on the deck. Even they were creeped out by it.
Dallas: Wh… wh… what word?
Hawk: My Kilrathi ain’t so good. “Kn’thrak.”
Maestro: Kn’thrak? What’s it mean?
Hawk: It’s supposed to mean ‘night’ or something like that.
Zero: Darkness, actually. Void. Evil.
Dallas: <faints>
Dallas Faints
Anderson: [loudspeaker] All pilots to your ships! This is not a drill. All pilots to your ships!

H’rekkah 101.1 – Black Widow Rescue

Anderson: All pilots to your ships, this is not a drill. All pilots to your ships.
Scramble
Tigershark Launch
Fly H’rekkah 101.1
Drake: Lieutenant Casey, several Panthers from the Black Widow Squadron have been ambushed while on patrol. Your Alpha Wing will rendezvous with the Black Widows at NAV 1. Your orders are to escort the survivors back to the Midway. The NAV route we’ve mapped out should help you avoid hostile encounters.
Anderson: Sensors indicate that an unknown source is scanning all comm frequencies. Keep your ears open.
Stiletto: Let’s go and find us a Maniac, shall we?
Maniac: Hoo! Never thought I’d be glad to see a wing o’ plebes.
Stiletto: Having problems, Maniac?
Maniac: About time you guys showed up.
Nephilim: <unable to translate>
Stiletto: Is everybody picking up their transmissions?
Nephilim: <unable to translate>
Maestro: I’m getting them. Whatever they’re saying, though, my ship’s computer doesn’t recognise it.
Nephilim: <unable to translate>
Maestro: I’m going to open a voice link to Finley. Maybe she’ll recognise this stuff.
Nephilim: <unable to translate>
Maestro: Finley, are you reading this?
Finley: I’ve got you, Maestro, though I can’t tell you for sure what it is we’re hearing. I’ll run some analysis on it.
Finley: Folks, our computer has no idea who – or what – is talking to you out there. Be careful.
Maniac: Not too bad, for a plebe. Let’s go home.
Stiletto: Think you can manage it from here, Maniac?
Maniac: Black Widow Lead to Midway: where do you want these stray Tigersharks we picked up?
Anderson: Nice flying, Lieutenant! You’re cleared to land.
Black Widows rescued: H’rekkah 102.0
Black Widows lost: H’rekkah 103.5

H’rekkah 102.0 – Sweep and Rendezvous
H’rekkah 103.5 – Patrol and Rendezvous

Maestro: Casey. Casey! Come here. You have got to try this stuff.
Casey: What is it?
Maestro: Boom-Boom!
Casey: Boom-Boom? Uh oh. <choke> That’s disgusting!
Maestro: Well, have another one then. So, how’s our little friend?
Casey: Who? Oh, Maniac. Oh man, you should have seen the look on his face. I thought he was going to lose it right there in the cockpit.
Finley: That’s funny, you sound just like him.
Finley and Casey
Casey: Excuse me?
Finley: Like Maniac. I’m still amazed at how fast you hot-shots get full of adrenaline and testosterone. You just set a new record, Stud.
Maestro: Sounds like a good mix to me.
Finley: Wrong! It’s a dangerous mix.
Maestro: Casey, duty calls. I’m sure you and Mrs Freeze here will be very happy together. Ciao!
Casey: Sorry, maybe we got off to a bad start. I’m Casey.
Finley: Science Officer Aurora Finley. I read your report.
Casey: Oh? What’s a science officer doing reading a classified mission report?
Finley: Well, ask yourself this question, Lieutenant: If you’re not flying against Cats out there, what then? That’s where I come in.
Casey: Well, maybe they’re renegades or something.
Finley: Hmm, think so? Right now, we’re analysing all the data we can to find out. Look, Casey, you seem like a nice guy. I’d just hate to see you crash and burn, that’s all.
Briefing
Drake: All right, people, we have a lot of ground to cover. You’ll find your mission data on your ICIS. Let’s get started.
ICIS: The Midway’s primary sensors are now on-line, and indicate that a large body of unidentified contacts have positioned themselves between the Midway and the Nephele jump point. These ships are on an intercept course. We estimate that they will be within striking distance of the Midway by 0100 hours. Our best escape route is a jump to the G’wriss system. The Midway must reach the jump point before the enemy fleet can intercept us. Patrols in force will be deployed along our intended escape route to clear a path to the jump point, limiting enemy reconnaissance and preventing a pre-emptive strike on the Midway. Your Alpha Wing will patrol this route, eliminating any and all enemy forces, before rejoining the Midway at NAV 4. You must rendezvous with the Midway by 0100 hours to make the jump. Once we have reached the G’wriss system, we can re-establish communications with Confed Command via the relay station in the H’hrass system.
Drake: Very well, pilots. You have your mission specs. Good luck. Dismissed.
H’rekkah 103.5:
Anderson: [loudspeaker] This is not a drill! All pilots stand by for immediate launch!
Maverick: You know who we’re talking about, it’s Lieutenant Casey. Somebody has to have a word with him, it might as well be me. Mister Casey, can I have a word with you? I’ve been following your performance. You’re not flying to your fullest potential. In fact, you run the risk of being sent home in a box.
Casey: But, sir…
Maverick: No buts, Lieutenant! Now, you’d better get your act together and start flying like lives depend on it. Because they do.
Piranha Launch
Fly H’rekkah 102.0 | H’rekkah 103.5
H’rekkah 102.0:
Stiletto: Stay focused, rookie. We’ve got a job to do.
Stiletto: Looks like we’re heading for the hornets’ nest!
Stiletto: That’s the last of them. Good work, Lieutenant.
H’rekkah 103.5:
Dallas: I hope you’re better than Blair thinks you are.
Dallas: I think we’re gonna die.
Dallas: We did it! We survived!
Anderson: Nice flying, Lieutenant! You’re cleared to land.
Coriolis: I saw you fly out there. Look, Casey. I’ve been thinking about the way I snapped at you the first time that we met. And uh… it’s just been chaos around here and I… I’m Rachel Coriolis.
Tech: Good news, Chief. We cracked the code on the Kilrathi log the Marines brought back.
Coriolis: That’s my cue. Maybe I’ll see you around.
Kilrah System: Enemy gate under construction
Next: H’rekkah 104.0
Next: H’rekkah 105.5

H’rekkah 104.0 – Wasp Intercept
H’rekkah 105.5 – Tactical Retreat

Scramble
Wasp Launch
Fly H’rekkah 104.0
Tigershark Launch
Fly H’rekkah 105.5
Drake: All craft, be advised: we are tracking numerous inbound enemy craft closing fast. You are to engage and eliminate all hostiles. Stay alert. Watch your tailpipes, people…
Anderson: …All you have to do is keep them off the Midway until we reach the jump point.
Nephilim: Your test is at hand!
Zero: Looks like these boys learned our language quick enough.
Nephilim: Death is awaiting you!
Maestro: I think I liked it better when I didn’t understand them.
Anderson: The Midway is approaching the jump point. Stand by to break off engagement and return to ship.
Anderson: Midway to all wings: we are preparing to jump. Break off your engagements and return to the carrier. Repeat: break and return.
Stiletto: Omega Wing, return to base. Omega Lead to Alpha Lead: time to go, Lieutenant.
Maestro: Gamma Wing, return to the Midway.
Maestro: See ya back at the ranch, Casey.
Anderson: Midway to Lieutenant Casey: you’re cutting it close. If you don’t get back here on full burners, we’re jumping without you. (H’rekkah 104.0)
Wilford: Lieutenant Casey, if you do not return at once, you will be left behind. Do you read me? (H’rekkah 105.5)
This is your Captain speaking. All pilots, return to the Midway at once. We will leave this system in approximately 25 seconds.
This is the Captain: you’ve all served us well, but we must leave this system at once to save as many lives as possible aboard the Midway. This decision is not made lightly: it’s the only choice available to us. Good luck to you all.
We thank you for your dedicated service. Good luck. Midway out.
Retreat to G’wriss
The TCS Midway jumps to G’wriss system under fire.

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