Starr Frontiers: Recon

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
What was to be a simple recon for Logan and his wing mates turns out to be anything but simple.

Please leave a comment...this is just a short story that I threw together in 2 days...have other ones that are alot longer that I am trying to "fine tune".

Thanks.

Submitted: August 27, 2012

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Submitted: August 27, 2012

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Starr Frontiers:  Recon

 

Logan Starr woke up that morning with a slight hangover from the previous night's carousing. With a bit of difficulty, he managed to pull himself out of bed and stagger to the refresher. Looking in the mirror at the image staring back at him, he decided to skip the shower and headed directly for the sink. He turned the water on full and shoved his head under the faucet.  Logan pulled his head out from under the faucet and shook himself off.  Grabbing a towel from the rack on the wall he hastily dried his hair and then tossed the towel into the recycler bin.  Walking out of the refresher, he headed over to the closet to get his flight suit.  ‘Just another day of recon,’ he thought out loud as he slipped on his gear and headed out the door towards the briefing room.

Courtney Smith was finishing up in the mess hall and getting ready to report for duty. Breakfast that morning was unspectacular as always. She refilled her coffee cup and headed for the doorway. She had gone to the briefing room to await the start of her shift. She sat down in her usual chair and picked up a message pad. Silently, she began to write a letter to her husband back at Earth Central Command.

James Colton was working on his Prowler with the Maintenance chief. He had been up all night helping get a few of the battered fighters back together and back on the flight line. With a grunt, he stood up and arched his back. He desperately needed a shower and a cup of coffee before he had to report for duty.  James rushed back to his quarters and grabbed a clean flight suit. He quickly changed, ran a hand through his short blond hair and headed to the mess hall to get a cup of coffee before heading to the briefing room.

Logan arrived about five minutes before the start of his shift. He saw Courtney sitting at the table, composing a letter. "Hello," he said quietly so as not to disturb her too much.  Courtney was in the middle of a paragraph when James walked in and said hello to her. She waved a hand to acknowledge him and didn't look up from her pad. She wasn't trying to be rude to him, she was just busy. She desperately wanted to finish her letter before her shift began.

“Morning Logan.  Morning Court,” James said as he entered the room and took his seat at the conference table.

“Morning J.  You seem to be in a good mood for once,” Logan said.

Taking a sip of his coffee, James replied, “I should be.  Got most of the Prowlers running at specs plus.”

“That’s great.  Did you make any of the modifications to ours that you were talking about doing yet,” Logan asked.

“Not yet.  It’s kind of hard to do when you got the chief watching you over your shoulder.  I do plan on trying to get them started in my off-time,” James answered as he set his coffee cup down.

Looking up from her pad, Courtney growled, “Could you two space jocks please keep it to a low roar.  I would like to try to get this finished before the briefing starts.”

“Sorry Court,” Logan said.

“Yeah, sorry Court.  What’s up your afterburner today,” James asked.

Setting the pad down with a huff, she replied, “Nothing is wrong.  I just need to try to get this letter to Brad finished before we head out.”

“Come on, you know that you do this whenever we have a recon to do,” Logan said.  “You’re one of the best fighter jocks we have.  That’s why the three of us always get picked for recon.  We get it done and get back in one piece.”

“Second best,” James said over the top of his cup with a slight grin.

“I know all that, but you just never know,” she sighed as she picked up her pad to finish.

Logan looked at James and shrugged.  James just sat there, sipping his coffee.

Ten minutes later, the commanding officer walked into the room.  As he entered, Logan, Courtney and James all stood at attention.  “As you were,” the commander said as he set the stack of datapads down on the conference table.  After seeing that they were all seated, he passed around the pads.  “You will fly a routine patrol route on this set of navigation points. Your objective is to fly to each patrol area and eliminate any hostile enemies you may encounter there. Once you have finished your sweep of the area all you need to do is head back here. End of Briefing."  Looking around he waited a few moments and then added, "If no one has any questions," he said. "Then you are all dismissed."  As he turned to leave, the three pilots stood at attention. 

Once the door closed, James broke the silence.  “Well that was short and sweet.  I guess I’ll head down to the bay to prep us.”  Picking up his pad, James headed out the door.

Looking at Courtney, Logan asked, “So did you finish your letter?”

Courtney didn’t reply but just nodded as she picked up her mission pad and headed for the door.

As the door closed, Logan stood there in the empty room and shook his head.  ‘There is more going on than she is letting on and why is James acting so hyper’ he thought out loud.  “Great…now I’m talking to myself,” he said as he picked up his pad and headed out the door.

 

As he made his way onto the hanger deck, Logan caught sight of James and Courtney.  As he made his way towards them, he called out, “How did I get stuck with you guys yet again?”

“I think it’s more like I got stuck with you two,” Courtney said.

“Figures that I get stuck with the two ‘second rate’ fighter jocks on this bucket,” James said with a chuckle as the three of them headed towards their fighters.

Once they reached the one man fighters, they zipped up their suits and donned their helmets.  After climbing into the cockpit, they began the preflight sequence.  Silently, the canopy hatches to their fighters began to close. Activating the repulsors, Logan maneuvered into launch position.  Both Courtney and James followed.  After about another minute they were ready to go.  Flipping on his comm, Logan said, “Flight One to Two and Three…check in.”

Two to One and Three…green,” Courtney replied.

Three to One and Two…green,” James answered.

“Flight command this is Flight Wings One, Two and Three.  Ready for launch.”

Flight Wings this is Flight Command…you’re clear for launch.  Safe patrol.”

Taking a deep breath, Logan launched himself out of the hanger.  He felt the mass acceleration push him back into the pilot’s seat.  After a few seconds, the pressure eased up as he suddenly found himself surrounded by the vast emptiness of space.  As he checked his scanners, he saw that his wing mates were there also.  Flipping his comm on, he said, “Flight Command, this is Flight One.  Permission to get this recon underway?”

Permission granted Flight One,” the flight officer replied.  “We’ll keep the porch light on for you.

“Acknowledged.”  Flipping the comm to another channel, he asked, “How we doing guys and gals?”

“Picture perfect,” Courtney replied.

Ready to get this show on the road,” James replied.

“Set auto pilots for Nav-Vector-One,” Logan said.

They all engaged their autopilots are headed for the first NAV point. James did his best to get comfortable as he was going to be in this position for a few hours. Courtney sat motionless in her cockpit. Logan was looking all over the place, making sure that nothing was out of sorts.

A soft beeping over the comm snapped Logan awake. Looking at the comm panel, he noticed that it was a single channel, not the group channel.  Flipping his comm over he said, “One here.”

Logan it’s Court.  I just needed someone to talk to and James must be sleeping.

“Not a problem.  So…did you ever get your letter to Brad finished?  I heard through the grapevine that he was up for a promo.”

Yes and Yes.  He’s been transferred back planet side.

“Any chance that you’ve been thinking of going with him?”

We've talked about it," answered Courtney. "But nothing is a definite yet. Though I think it would be nice to see blue skies for a change instead of starry black."

"Amen to that," agreed Logan. "You'd get bored quickly on Earth…no recons."

"You think that that's all there is to life?" asked Courtney.

“Court, I know you.  How many of these recons have the three of us been on together?  Almost a dozen give or take.  The three of us know each other better than I think we know ourselves.”

You’re right on that point, but there has to be more to do than sit in a cramped cockpit.  I was thinking that if I did transfer with him that I’d see about going into medical for a change of pace.

“Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.”  A beeping from the navigation computer drew his attention.  Switching over to group channel, Logan said, “James wake your butt up.  We’ve reached Nav-One.  Commence with sensor sweep.”

Once the sensor sweeps came back clear, they all breathed a sigh of relief and programmed their NAV computers to head for the next point. When they were ready, they engaged their autopilots again and headed off.

 

Flight Three to One and Two.

“Go ahead James,” Logan replied.

I think that we need some cool call signs.  This One, Two and Three is for the birds.  One of these times we’re going to get all mixed up and give the wrong one,” James said.

I have to agree with him for once,” Courtney said.

“Well then what do you think they should be?”

Well you’re always seem to like the lone recons so I guess for you Logan we’ll give you Lone Wolf,” James said with a hint of a grin in his voice.

“Fine by me.  I guess for now, Courtney can be our Angel,” Logan replied.

It fits,” Courtney giggled.  “I think James should be our WildCard.

Yeah…I get the coolest one,” James beamed.

Chuckling to himself, Logan could almost see James dancing with joy over the call sign.  A beeping from his nav computer snapped him back to reality.  “Heads up,” he said to the group, “We’re getting close to the second point.

Acknowledged,” both James and Courtney replied in unison.

As they entered the nav area, they were greeted with numerous fighters that suddenly turned their attention to the newcomers. 

Looks like we stumbled into a raider party,” James quipped.

You going to call this one in,” Courtney asked.

Repositioning himself in his seat, Logan cleared his throat, “Angel, you break to the right…WildCard, you break left.  Let’s take ‘em.”

Acknowledged,” Courtney said.  “Engaging hostiles.

I hear and I obey,” James replied.

Courtney did a barrel roll and broke formation. James followed and Logan continued straight ahead and headed for a fighter cluster. Raider fighters buzzed all around. Courtney targeted the closest raider to her and moved to engage. The raider zoomed past her and she had to turn about quickly to give chase. She matched its speed and began to line it up in her sights. When she had a clear shot she opened fire. The raider's shields lit up from the laser fire.

"You will see your doom!" shouted the raider.

"I may one day but you’ll see this right now," said Courtney as she pushed a button on her flight stick and launched a missile. It sped towards the raider and impacted hard against its port side. The raider turned about and charged her with its lasers on full spread. Courtney's shield's lit up for a moment and she veered away just as soon as she launched another missile into the approaching raider.  She felt the shock waves a few seconds later from the exploding raider fighter.

"Angel?" asked Logan. "You okay?"

"Still sitting pretty," replied Courtney.

 

James opened fire on the starboard side of a Manta-class fighter with his full lasers. The Manta's shields showed signs of weakening, but the Manta itself seemed untouched by the assault. It merely opened fire on James's Prowler and he had to dodge to avoid being destroyed. James had swung about and launched a missile at the damaged side of the raider’s fighter. It shook very briefly then exploded.

 

Logan opened fire with his guns and further damaged the side of the raider that he had been targeting. The raider responded by locking a missile on him and firing back. Logan turned away and launched two decoys very quickly. Fortunately, the missile took the bait. Logan swung around and launched a missile right at the raider. The raider launched a decoy of its own, but Logan’s missile didn't take the bait. The missile impacted the aft of the raider. “Scratch one raider,” Logan said over the channel.

 

Courtney fired on her new target and lit him up again. She was trying to remain patient with this one, but it was being a pest. “Damn,” she swore.

"Problems Angel?" asked James.

"Not at the moment, but I’ll let you know," she responded.  Turning her attention back to the raider, she noticed that his port and aft sides were severely damaged and she did not want to waste a missile on a target that was already so badly off. He turned again and she had a clear line of fire. Her lasers opened up and the raider exploded into dust. "Another one bites the dust," she said. "Too many to go."

.

Logan locked onto another raider and fired. The raider took minimal damage and buzzed passed him at a very close distance, strafing Logan’s fighter. "Damn kamikaze," he spat. He turned about to pursue. The raider, meanwhile, had turned about and Logan took a massive amount of laser fire right to his bow. "WildCard, help me out here!"

"Affirmative," said James.

Swinging his fighter around, Logan headed towards James’s last known position.  Along the way, he managed to pick up another raider.  “Umm guys, the party’s kicking up a notch.  Bringing party favors to you guys,” he said.

Ready,” James replied.

Got my party hat on and ready,” Courtney also replied.

As Logan tried to avoid taking more hits to his aft shields, he counted down from ten.  Once he reached one, he pushed his fighter into a steep climb, just missing the four incoming missiles from the left and right.

James took careful aim with his missile. When he had a lock, he fired. The raider was trapped and the missile hit it hard.  Courtney took the opportunity and finished off the other raider with a lot of laser fire. "That's the last of 'em," she said.

"I owe you guys one," said Logan.

"Think nothing of it," replied James.

 "That was a little too easy," Courtney said.

"Better easy than hard, Angel," James said to her.

 "How we all doing?" asked Logan.

"Still sitting pretty like I always do," said Courtney.

"Not a thing wrong on my end," said James.

"Good," said Logan. "Let's sit here a bit while we catch our breath and let our systems recharge and do some diagnostics.  Once that’s complete we’ll engage our autopilots and get out of here."

So it’s nap time?” James asked.

“Let’s just call it some well earned down-time,” Logan replied as he started his diagnostic program.

An hour later, the three ships formed up and zoomed towards their next NAV point.

 

What is with all this raider activity today,” James said as they arrived at the nav point.

“Not sure but break and attack again,” Logan ordered.

"Roger," replied James who turned and rolled out of formation.

"Affirmative," said Courtney who hit her afterburners and charged ahead.

Three raiders fired at Logan. He did a barrel roll and a dive to avoid most of their fire, but his aft starboard was taking a beating. He looked at his damage readout. His afterburners were hit and down to 75%, his engines were down to 70%, and his core was down to 85%. The auto-repair had kicked in and the damage to his afterburners and engines were beginning to drop.  After a few minutes, he was able to reengage. He targeted one of the two remaining raiders and opened fire with his full lasers. The raider zoomed this way and that. It tried to turn to face him so that it could return fire, but by the time it was in proper position it was too badly damaged and exploded.  The second raider tried to mimic the first raider and met the same fate.  The third raider veered off towards another target during the skirmish. 

 

James was pursuing a raider when a missile lock went off. He quickly deployed a decoy, but the alarm continued. He deployed another decoy and then his whole Prowler shook violently. "Damn!" he shouted. "I'm hit!" He surveyed his damage. His engines and afterburners were down to 65%, his core was at 70%.

Courtney flew in and targeted one of the raiders. Her missile lock engaged and she blew the raider out of the sky. The two remaining raiders scattered and regrouped. "WildCard?" she asked. "Are you okay?"

"Just peachy, Angel," said James. "Thanks for asking."

James flew at a raider and opened fire. The raider started evasive maneuvers. James just smiled and continued firing. The raider exploded after sitting there for a second. "He shoots and scores!" he shouted.

WildCard, give me a status update.

“Lone Wolf, engines and afterburners down to 50%...core reads 60%,” James replied.

I want Angel to escort you back to base,” Logan said.

Negative Wolf,” Courtney said.  “We’re all beat up and we should stick together on this.”

“Angel, you and WildCard will return.  Only a few left.  I’ll cover you guys.  I’m not as bad off as he is,” Logan said as he read his readouts on his own damage.  His stats were all lower than James’s were but he didn’t want to let them know.

I guess you win Wolf.  Will escort,” Courtney said, a hint of defeat in her voice.

Guess we’ll see you when we see you Boss,” James said.

Logan watched as James and Courtney headed home.  Turning his attention back to raiders, he braced as one of the three remaining raiders opened fire on him again and the sounds of its laser fire could be heard reverberating against his hull. Logan turned about to try and return fire. The raider broke off its attack long enough for Logan to get into a firing position. He retaliated with a missile and the raider was dust. Checking his damage readout, Logan didn't like what he saw. His guns were at 85%, his shields were down to 15%, his engines and afterburners were at 35% apiece, and his core was at 45%. "Not doing very good," he said to himself.  As another raider moved in, Logan quickly let a missile loose along with a volley of laser fire.  The raider tried to avoid the missile but was caught in the laser fire and exploded.  Logan could feel his ship shudder under the impacts of debris from the raider.  Checking readouts again he noticed that he was down to one missile, no decoys, guns at 50%, shields at 9% and core was at 30%.  Engines and afterburners were now at 20%.  Reaching over, he powered down his engines and afterburners, leaving just enough power for maneuvering thrusters.  He also dialed down the life support to minimum in hopes that he could get a few more percentage points to the core.  He also reduced his shield output to bare minimum.  He tightened his grip on his flight stick…in hopes that the raider would think that he was dead in space and would move in for a closer look.  He also silently added that he hoped that the raider didn’t have an itchy trigger finger and would just use him for target practice.

As the minutes ticked by, Logan’s cockpit started to ice up slightly, not enough for him to see out of though.  As he sat still, he noticed that the remaining raider was slowly headed towards him.  As he tightened his grip on the flight stick, he counted down the distance between them.  When he figured that the raider was close enough, Logan thumbed the missile button and squeezed and held the laser trigger.  The raider exploded into a cloud of dust.  Letting out the breath he was holding, Logan dialed up his life support a bit.  Looking at his readouts he noticed that his guns were down to 15%, shields were now at 3% and his core was still holding at 30% and engine and afterburners were still at 20%.  Logan activated the on-board computer and began re-routing the remaining power from the lasers to the engines.  Also he reconfigured his shield output to .5% and left his life support down.  The computer beeped and displayed a new set of readouts…core was now up to almost 40% and engine and afterburners were now at 28%.  Breathing a sigh of relief, he was thankful that at least he now had a better chance of making it back.  Setting the autopilot, he settled in for the long journey home.

 

“Where is he,” Courtney asked.

It’s been hours that we’ve been hanging out here,” James said.  “Do you think we should head in to refuel then head back to him?”

“I was thinking that,” she replied, just as a beep on her sensors drew her attention.  “James, are you reading this?”

James looked at his own sensor reading.  “Looks like he did manage to finally make it back but look at the readings…bare minimum on everything.

“Logan it’s Court…do you read me?”  A long pause.  “Logan…pick up the phone.”  After a few long minutes, a voice came over her comm. channel, “Quiet…you’ll wake the dead up.”

“James, he’s ok,” she said. 

“Flight Command this is WildCard…I mean Flight Three.  We are requesting that you send out a retrieval unit.  Flight One is in bad shape and may not be able to make it to base on his own.”

“Acknowledged Flight Three.  Unit is being deployed now.  Welcome back."

 

Once Logan was safely on the deck he let out a great big sigh of relief. His canopy opened and he climbed down the ladder from his cockpit. James and Courtney met up with him shortly and the three of them went to the debriefing panel to officially conclude their patrol. Each typed in their access code and got their statistics for the mission. A smile crept over their faces and they entered the lift to decontamination. As the lift door closed, James turned to the others and said, "See you both back here tomorrow to do this all over again?"

Courtney just smiled and pulled out her pad. “I’m going to finish this letter to my husband. I may just have some more things to go over with him concerning his transfer.”  Placing a hand on Logan’s arm she silently mouthed the words ‘Thank You.’

Logan grinned and said, "I wouldn't miss tomorrow's patrol for the world."

 


© Copyright 2017 M J Mitchell. All rights reserved.

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