Gunfighter

Stories set in the Dropverse.
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Mr.prowler
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:53 am

Gunfighter

Post by Mr.prowler » Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:45 pm

Here is my potato of a first attempt at writing.
Hope it is worth something :?


UCMS Torchlight
Richtofen class strike carrier
60,000 feet above Eden VII
342 miles East of New Lima
April 4th 2670 AD


Major Daniel MacMillan

The hangar bay of the UCMF Torchlight was like a bees nest. Busy techs in yellow and black uniforms running about, prepping birds for launch while announcements sounded over the horn.
"General Quarters, General Quarters. All hands to action stations. Set material condition 'Zebra' throughout the ship. General Quarters.."
Large trolleys of 40mm shells were being quickly towed from plane to plane, fuel cells pumped and sealed in short order. Pilots in grey uniform raced up ladders to reach their planes on the tri-tiered holding racks, signaling flight staff and elevator control as the roaring sound of jet engines began to fill the air. Sharp and angular interceptors were carried on overhead gantries, moving towards the 8 overhead elevators that led to the launch tubes.

A large Scourge flotilla had been spotted Southwest, recalled Major Daniel MacMillan. The cause for this early morning mess. His pulse raced as he sprinted along the wide flight deck, helmet in hand. Bay 49… bay 49… His alcove came into view, the Archangel custom nestled comfortably it's perch. A unique bird, jokingly named Papa dragon. The product of 12 years of flying expertise, a sneaky chief engineer and a couple bottles of gin. It's navy grey paint was punctuated by a fire breathing shenlong along the barrel of his 40mm guns, and some two hundred jelly kill marks adorning the side of the fuselage.

The Major climbed up into the cockpit, donning his helmet and buckling himself in. He opened up his kneeboard and flipped to a new page, scribbling down the date and other specifics. Old school but effective. MacMillan cycled through various imaging screens on his helmet HUD. His helmet registering specific eye movements and transmitted commands. Time to get the bird started up. MacMillan worked his way through a dozen switches, injecting fuel, testing flaps, running an abbreviated series of preflight checks. He shut down diagnostic-startup and booted up flight mode. An isometric lidar projection of the nearby terrain appeared in his vision, quickly relegating itself to the upper left corner of his vision to make room for fuel, ammo, and radar displays. The cockpit flickered in and out of view as the external cameras kicked in, streaming visual data from around the plane directly to his helmet and allowing clear visual through the Interceptors hull.

MacMillan looked up and waved to the elevator control booth on the ceiling. A stout operator gave him the thumbs up and began to work the controls. MacMillan slid the canopy closed as a forklift like contraption descended from the ceiling, sliding underneath the wings of Papa Dragon and pulling it from it's alcove before raising it to the ceiling.

The radio buzzed and the voice of the new assistant section leader, Vince, came through.
"Can you believe this shit Mac? Fucking flight op at 2 in the morning."
"Just be glad we spotted em at all this time Vince, any more jellies sneak by us and we'll get one hell of an earful from FLEETCOM"
"Better an earful than another early morning op, at this rate I'm gonna start growing grey hair."
"You and me both kid"
The crane deposited Papa Dragon into the elevator 2 holding cradle, which retracted flush Into the ceiling as it loaded the interceptor into the long, sealed launch tube.
"Hey, I heard down the grapevine you ignore regulation, you really don't fly with countermeasures?"
“ I know they tell everybody to keep it on, but trust me. Countermeasures are useless against the Jellies. That D-class shield plate ain't gonna stop a plasma bolt anytime soon. All it does is waste power and computing space. You’ll just be saving energy.”
“I dunno Mac, sounds a bit reckless if you ask me”
“I had a certain chief technician pull everything but the ECM kit off my bird, off the books of course.”
“You’re kidding?”
“Nope, those systems are heavy, angel’s fast but without countermeasures its faster, besides, we’re Jelly specialists. We got nothing to worry about”
The radio crackled with a new voice.
“This is Torchlight actual, Razor 1 you are cleared for launch. Good Hunting and godspeed”.
As the radio fizzled out MacMillan inhaled, preparing for the massive G acceleration that was about to begin. Small white lights that lined the tube began to strobe, the skeletal interior of the barrel briefly illuminated every so often. Ceiling indicator flashed yellow, then green. One. Two. Three. MacMillan's G-suit activated as he was slammed back into his seat, the launch rail accelerated him to a blistering 700 kilometers an hour. The ridged interior of the tube quickly morphed into an indistinguishable blur, racing by Papa Dragon. The night sky blossomed around the Archangel as it left the tube.

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Thunderboy
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:51 am

Re: Gunfighter

Post by Thunderboy » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:51 pm

Nice story, great to read the modifications. And the 200 kills, sounds like big talk to me. Just like the pilots are known to do!
“We're like the Forums little pitbull. You'll beat it, mistreat it, and once in a while we'll escape to attack somebody.” ;)

Location: The Netherlands, Europe

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overlord
Site Admin
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:23 pm

Re: Gunfighter

Post by overlord » Sat Oct 26, 2019 11:20 am

No more? Sad face

Mr.prowler
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2019 1:53 am

Re: Gunfighter

Post by Mr.prowler » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:27 pm

*********************************************************************************************************************
Not a minute later, the rest of the ten squadron air wing was deployed in their high altitude cruise. Mac spared a glance down towards the surface. Storm clouds. He set the radio to broadband and depressed the transmit button.
“Alright ladies and germs, you know the drill. Clean sweep. Wipe the map of hostile air presence and head on home. Our friends in the Seraphim wing send their thanks."
Vince chimed in “Descend to 20,000 feet and set cruise speed, let's get it done quick folks.”

As they dropped MacMillan peered up and out into the sky. He could see the stars fading away. High altitude flight was serene, sailing through an ocean of nothing, being surrounded by the gentle colors of the dark reddish atmosphere. Dropping down was being slammed into reality. An unpleasant reminder of the brutal war that he and every other denizen of the Torchlight lived in. The ruined cities, collapsing skylines, and ruined highways; it was like living in the history books. And the Jellies, how little they had changed. Just like his grandmother had first told him decades ago, they were brutal, terrifying, and so very real.
Wind turbulence picked up, jostling pilots in their cockpits as they cut across the sky. Meteorology had made a point of bad turbulence on Eden VII, Autonav was practically having a seizure, charting and recharting flight paths as the wind interference disturbed its calculations. Macmillan thumbed the system off. Razor squadron entered the high cumulonimbus cloud layer. Rain pattered against windscreens as flashes of lightning illuminated their knife-like silhouettes.
“Target area is closing fast,” said a pilot from another squadron.
The air wing shot through the dark grey clouds and entered the world below. Not a single soul had to be reminded of the ramifications of entering Scourge airspace, and the horrors that lie beneath them. The ground below was colored in all the wrong ways, alien crops and nutrient production facilities marring the landscape with the colors of lavender and vomit. Eden VII was once the agricultural muscle of the Eden System and many frontier colonies by extension. Two billion had lived here. Most of whom had been assimilated in the first assault 200 years ago. Those who had survived to fight back were killed under the surging waves of occupational forces. Now, for the first time in centuries, human presence on Eden VII was making a comeback.

As the wing moved into the combat zone, the squadrons broke away from one another to complete their objectives. Each member simply rehearsed choreographed movements. They had trained hard and long, practicing with tireless effort to best their hated enemy. MacMillan led Razor to the north of the city, while Vince and Letius took the southern front with everybody else. Every squadron had four birds, understaffed by official regulations.
“Nine bogies bearing 92” Ray exhaled sharply. “Airframe analysis and vector calculations indicate Corsair interceptors.”
“Alright Ray, Charles and I’ll keep ‘em corralled. I want you and Flavian to tear ‘em a new one”
“You got it Major!" Ray sounded nervous.

The quartet of Interceptors split to surround the enemy. Long-range picket assaults were the standard. Archangels had a range advantage, and they would use it. Harass the enemy from long range, and use weight of fire to maintain spacing. Corsairs were notorious for their knife fighting style of air combat, so outside of a relatively short range, they were mostly harmless. Mostly. Macmillan and Charles squeezed off a few rounds, pushing the Corsair flight to break and scatter. Unfortunately for them, that took them directly into the firing arcs of Ray and Flavian. Thunk thunk thunk thunk thunk. Twin streams of death erupted from the chin guns of the UCM planes, picking apart the enemy.
“Splash Four!” Cried Ray.
“five more to kill” muttered Flavian.
The duos swapped roles, Flavian and Ray pushing three Corsairs into the arcs of Mac and Charles. They started to fire, 40mm shells flaying the enemy craft to withers before they exploded. “Splash two” Muttered Charles. Macmillan spied two others, they were climbing fast. The hunters were about to become the hunted. Scourge with an altitude advantage could perform boom and zoom attacks with ease.
“Break off! Two bogeys circling! Don't get sandwiched!” Roared MacMillan. Corsair plasma-based thrusters were terrifyingly efficient, making incredible speed as they rapidly closed on Flavian and Ray. The duo twisted to flank the enemy, Charles following suit. Mac moved to finish off the remaining Corsair. Ray was outmaneuvered.
“S-shit! He’s behind me!” shouted Ray. “I can't shake him!”
“Hold on, I got you Ray!” responded Flavian.
Just as Flavian closed and burst out rounds, a plasma bolt had left the Corsair’s cannon. Countermeasures fired ineffectually before Ray’s fighter disintegrated in a fiery display of metal and super-compressed hydrogen fuel. Flavian latched onto the tail of Ray’s killer, sticking to it like glue as the enemy fighter attempted to maneuver to safety.
The Corsair engaging Charles did a high yo-yo Into his flight path. The Scourge fighter fired and made a near miss, just close enough to melt his left aileron in place, locking him into a death spiral.
I’ve got to eject!” Panicked Charles

He pulled the jettison bar with all his strength, but the release bolts didn’t detonate, the canopy was melted shut. Charle's last view of the world was the rapidly approaching discolored ground.

“Damn,” thought MacMillan, seeing the expanding fireball blossom from the fields below.

Flavian and his target met head-on, reducing one another to little more than debris sailing through the air.
Damn amateurs.
The fleet was losing more pilots than it could get.
‘All this because AHQ's has a rush order on the next several classes of pilots’ Macmillan thought to himself.
The Air Command's new chief of staff was a blithering idiot.
‘What the hell is the point of having more pilots if most of them can't fly for shit? The airmen shortage was bad, but rushing vital training would only ensure that any battles fought would be lost in short order.’
And besides, these Corsairs were worth their salt, a rare divergence for their kind. Papa Dragon twisted and performed a low yo-yo, lining up a bogey.
“You’re in my wheelhouse now motherfucker”. MacMillan saw the Corsair fighter dart out of the left-hand corner of his vision. He yanked the stick back and banked hard left. His anti-g compression suit activated, practically squeezing his lungs out of his chest. The Corsair tried to jink out of the way. Too late. MacMillan pulled the trigger, 40mm autocannons belching out their cacophony of death. He grinned as shells hit home. The Corsair bled plumes of tar-black smoke and spewed plasma before exploding.

Three more to kill. Radar showed bearing 171, closing fast. Letius had let some escape. Sloppy bastards. He had hoped for more from Vince. MacMillan was displeased. A one on one duel with a Corsair was risky enough, but a three on one was near suicidal. Even with his custom bird, he wasn’t sure that he could outrun them, but showing his tail and getting caught was certain death.
As he turned to face the enemy, MacMillan was already formulating plans. How to keep them close to each other, avoid their weapons fire, and eliminate them one by one. Ride the air updraft from a missed plasma bolt, and use the extra speed to surprise them? The enemy broke apart, moving to flank, contain, and annihilate him. Textbook move.
“Not today you slimy fucks” MacMillan muttered to himself.
Not much time left to think. The enemy closed range and opened fire. A brief flash from the plasma cannon and the bolt screamed by as he yanked the stick hard right, the gas expansion pushing the craft even farther to the side. The first Corsair passed him, the others swinging to attack. A quick check to the top mirror confirmed that #1 was turning fast. The second Corsair twisted in an Immelman into his four 0’clock and fired. Overshot him. The third was closing on his six. He pulled up hard and pitched thrust vectoring to match. The Kulbit maneuver, a forward-moving loop de loop.
As his gunsight intersected with the narrow form of the third Corsair, he pulled the trigger. Thunk Thunk Thunk Thunk. 40mm guns roaring, the Archangel jittered wildly. MacMillan's visor polarized, blocking out the bright detonation of the Corsair’s reactor as he began to regain lost speed. He made a wide pitchback, both enemies coming on to his tail, sensing the opportunity to kill. He slammed on the throttle, his lightweight plane rocketing to the large thunder cloud formations nearby.
The Corsairs broke off. No scourge pilot would be quite insane enough to fly or fire into high-density cloud cover at combat speed. Superheated plasma mixed with condensed water vapor makes for quite an explosive combination. Of course, Corsairs didn't need their plasma thruster to fly, they could make decent speed in clouds using their grav-engines alone. However, without plasma thrust vectoring, they lost nearly all maneuverability, a death sentence against UCM fighters like the Archangel with conventional control surfaces.
Macmillan was dead calm. There was only one thing he could do. Kill.
Radar showed the two bogies, circling the cloud and gaining altitude. He shot out his cover and made a break for the nearest enemy, catching it unawares and lining up his holographic gunsight. Thunk Thunk Thunk Thunk. The Corsair attempted to maneuver wildly before being caught in the hail of 40mm airburst rounds, exploding in a fiery conflagration of plasma and debris. The last was gone. Macmillan looked down, his heads up display allowing him to peer directly through the hull. Nothing. Mac banked hard and hit the afterburners, trying to gain some height. Now it was a matter of speed management and defensive tactics. As long as he had a general idea of where the last bogey was, this would be another easy kill, but radar was showing blank. Thermal too. That couldn’t be right. How the hell could it not be on thermal? Plasma thrusters would always show up like a white-hot sun… A twinge of fear fluttered through MacMillan's psyche as he realized his mistake.

Right behind him, the sleek form of his enemy darted out of the clouds. Activating its plasma thrusters as it dropped behind him.
“No goddamn way…” MacMillan muttered. This one was one ballsy fucker.
He had one last trick up his sleeve, if he could get the enemy to overshoot, the cannon cycle time would let him finish them off. He slowed down a nearly imperceptible amount, baiting the enemy. The Corsair’s cannon warmed up a furious incandescent blue. He knew that hue, and instinctively made his move. After it fired he'd probably have to pull another post-stall to get into firing position, then he cou- it didn’t shoot. It knew he would chicken out. Leering at him with those baleful orbs. Too late. He already committed to the turn. The world seemed to slow to a crawl as he locked eyes with the Corsair. This one was far too intelligent, unorthodox, cunning. A scourge ace. The real deal. He got a good look, it was different from the others; elongated, the expanded form housing a long-barreled plasma cannon and expanded thruster bank. Must have been one of those unique personalities the grunts were always babbling about. The Corsair fired. The plasma bolt roared by, but it never had to hit. The canopy was vaporized, MacMillan's melted visor obscuring his vision as altitude loss warnings screamed into his headset. Blood was pumping hard, The edges of his vision were turning a reddish black. Parts of his flight suit had burned and fused into his flesh, every part of his body screaming in pain. It was all he could do just to stay sapient. MacMillan tugged desperately at the jettison bar, his numb hands struggling to find purchase on it. Click. The ejector seat rocketed MacMillan into the air, away from his precious bird. Everything went black as the howling world below swallowed him up.

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Orchaldor
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Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:05 pm

Re: Gunfighter

Post by Orchaldor » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:23 pm

Very good indeed! Things look bleak for the UCM here - shortage of quality pilots, Jelly ace on the loose... nicely written!

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Thunderboy
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:51 am

Re: Gunfighter

Post by Thunderboy » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:51 am

Very cool! Lovely Top Gun feeling to it, mixed with Battle of Britain.
“We're like the Forums little pitbull. You'll beat it, mistreat it, and once in a while we'll escape to attack somebody.” ;)

Location: The Netherlands, Europe

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