Ajay's Story: Not Weakened, Not Alone.
Omega-3 system. GMG Observatory.
I was sitting on the bed in the cargo hold of the "Stranger" and sending directives to one of my assigned store managers when the console then suddenly displayed the new message.
From: Coalition HQ, Vorkuta
Captain Mercy has reported for duty some minutes ago. He's got a storage ship in Sirius ready for departure to Inner Core. Assist him if possible."
-"If possible"? Of course it's possible - I muttered.
Cpt. Mercy was one of the rare people I could've call my friend. He was a Fighter Corps special operations agent (Or another Intelligence Directorate agent, he never specified) sent to the Inner Core, and in Sirius he was seconded to the Crossfire Police Department. It didn't matter that he double tasked: CFPD kept order in Sirius, which was even useful for us, while outside from Altair his task was mainly to fight aliens - the same task I was usually doing, so no wonder we fought side by side so many times that a friendship formed between us. I'm not a man who makes friends easily, so it's a feat from both his and my sides.
I've opened a "Create new message" window on personal console and started to type.
"Hi. Heard you need to get store to IC. Ready to help. W8ing at GMG Observatory"
Choosing the Cpt. Mercy's phone as recipient. Pressing the "Send message".
After some time, the answer graced my console.
"Sure. I will come after few minutes"
Of course I'd jumped from the bed, told the store manager to call later and quickly relocated myself into the cockpit, activating ship. After ship was fully online and undocked, I'd entered the transmitter and loaded Mercy's communication identification code into the "Recipient" field.
Soon his ship appeared on my radars and I sent him a group invitation. He accepted and landed on the GMG base, then took off and formed on me.
-Ready? Let's go - I said and, noticing that Mercy formed on me, docked to GMG Hypergate.
-The docking takes lot of time - Mercy's voice appeared on the comlink. Neither him nor me used video part of the comms. I switched camera off because I thought of myself as of freak (and because the power feed of the camera was damaged long ago and I still haven't found a time to fix it), dunno why he did the same.
-Agreed - I said, and as his ship jumped from the anomaly, added. - Form.
It was usual for me to tell commands or comments shortly. There is no need to tell a lot sometimes. Just "Agreed", "Form", "Ditto", "RB", etc.
The playlist switched onto "The Lifetime Of War" as I activated my cruise engines and guided my ship around the black hole. The way to Venn was mostly silent.
As we arrived on the other side, I'd put a waypoint close to one of the Repair Buoys on the south of the system, out of the crystal fields.
Despite being something I hold dear, "Stranger" has a lot of drawbacks that come from being a Basilisk-class fighter. Sheer weight of all that armor strapped on it make it sluggish to the point of being borderline unwieldy. I've got used to it in the combat, but in crystal field endless collisions with asteroids can and will throw me off my course, so I'm gonna let the autopilot take over while we're in it.
Mercy followed me within 1K distance, but not forming on me. Well, by letting him do this he'll get more chances to not get disrupted if we'll meet some CD-armed hostile, as it'll be me who will spot such a foe and avoid it, giving my wingman time to react. Or if I'll catch CD, he'll be aware that I need help. His ship, Saber-class fighter, was more agile than my spacecraft, and he was no less (if not more) skilled in piloting - he's a specialized fighter pilot, while I'm just a former communications officer that got combat missions by the will of the fate.
A first contact arrived rather soon, a wing of Savages, with a light fighter, closing on 3 o'clock. I've calmly took left. They didn't even launched their CDs. Mercy followed me as I was keeping an eye open for his shield and hull status.
Another contact followed soon. Warriors, one bomber included, 10 o'clock. Doing the same calm turn, this time to the right. Checking out the rear view to make sure my wingman's cruise engines are still on.
After we left the crystal field, I switched autopilot off. In case we'll have to flight, I'd rather not have something messing with my controls.
A capital ship patrol arrived and I started to maneuver so they won't hit me.
Some more time passed and we met a Dom'Setek group. Four Light Fighters. After I've passed them, I've noticed that Mercy's shield has suffered some damage. I'd pulled 180 while making a corkscrew to check him out - damage could've been done by a CD. Opened up that it wasn't as Mercy followed me. Making sure he's still cruising, I'd continued my way to RB., keeping the rear view on my main screen.
Without stopping at the RB, we headed to Jormdar. No serious stuff (except for Dom'Razak mothership uncloaking out of nowhere and unleashing almost full salvo at me, which was responded by "EEP!" and a corkscrew from my side) happened, until there...
...where, successfully avoiding a Dom'Nepesh group of fighters, we ran into mothership. I flew under its belly, while Mercy decided to fly over it. I'd noticed that the distance between us increased and pulled 180 turn to see what's the matter. His marker on my head-on display was shaking. Then he disappeared from my sight.
-What the flak? - I muttered, then Mercy's ship appeared on my sensors again.
-Collided with it, then got thrown with my shield down - his voice appeared on my comlink and I've sighed.
Alien mothership definitely have some flakked-up shields. Once you collide, it holds you close first, then flings you away, with your shield gone.
Thinking it wasn't enough, one of the escort cruisers fired at Mercy, scratching his hull. We already have flown away by the time the cruiser fired once more, missing this time. Instead of continuing way to Methper gates, I've turned to the Repair Buoy.
Closely to the repair buoy, a Savage fighter wing appeared. It consisted of 1 MF and 3 LF.
-We fight. We're close to RB - I've said at the comlink. The repair buoys don't choose whom to repair, so the fight will last forever in the vicinity of it. We're better not taking risk.
-Roger - came the reply, as I've pressed on one of my gatlings and started to maneuver, while charging towards alien ships. As hostiles flew past me, I engaged the rest of my class-10 arsenal, sitting on the tail of a medium fighter.
After some sustained firing it was destroyed. One more flash notified me that Mercy also has destroyed his target. The next fighter I've targeted took out my shield and shaken my hull. Somewhat disturbed by this, I've started to heat the alien up with rapid-firing. Destroying the enemy, I picked on another light fighter, halfway downed by Mercy, and helped finishing it off.
Now it was me who needed the repair buoy. But it's okay, it was close.
-My HDD on the onboard computer is full - Mercy came over the comlink. - I'll have to off the recording.
-Take your time if you want to clean HDD up. Tell me when we'll go - I've answered.
-Already did. Let's go - without further ado I've started cruise engines and headed to the gates, my friend following.
At 3K from the gates we met a fighter wing of Dom'Nepesh.
-Fight, right? - Mercy asked.
-Yep - I replied, dropped the cruise speed and charged the wing, as the music in my headphones - Sabaton's "Birds Of War" - started to play.
Dom'Nepesh were royally flakked. But, anyway, they are royally flakked most of the times (if not always) Mercy and me are on a hunt here in Jormdar.
Finishing off the last fighter, we jumped into Methper.
-Sadly you couldn't record how we crumped those Dom'Nepesh gits - I've said. - Okay, I need tea and some catching of my breath.
After short tea break, we continued our way to Weth, without any serious thing happening. After jumping to Ryssk I've plugged on "Panzer Battallion" and sang along as we were flying, avoiding fighter wings and mothership patrols. I think Warrior and Dom'Razak have noticed that if I'm singing something along these lines, it's very good for them to not flak with me or someone flying with me. Besides, they have already lost more than four patrols to me alone, including one full bomber wing that time in Methper.
Then, finally, "an armored battalion on course to the east has reached the end of its march" - we reached Weth gates, and started to dock. Mercy let me go first, and docked only after me.
On the other side, three alien gunboats were waiting for us. I've engaged thruster and pulled a loop, avoiding a powerful salvo one of gunboats unleashed before being utterly obliterated by Dom'Kavash defense satellites.
We're safe, I thought when Mercy jumped from the gate. We're safe.
And then I thought that it's good when you have someone to cover you, even if you can pull it through by yourself.
That it's good to not be weakened, but it's better to be not weakened and not alone.
Author's Note: Since Night-Hunter aka MercyGuy is the person that inspired me to revive my own story, I've decided to write an entry about one of our trips to Weth.
This entry is posted after I let him check it out by PM, and I guess I've got an approval. Still, he can request an edit if he minds something.