Robotech Macross

RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 3
Monday, May 25th - Friday, May 29th, 2009

The week is a flurry. The training evolution continues advancing the pilot skill library, as they are now learning to further manipulate the 57 foot controls to perform basic operations in Battloid mode. Literally, the 56th OG initially looks like a gaggle of babies learning to walk, with plenty of bruised egos to go around. By the end of the week, the flights are practicing hasty infil operations. The OG is watching the overhead monitors as the 309th commences its run in the sims.

Alpha flight approaches over the horizon in a fluid four formation, followed by Bravo and Charlie with a five second gap. FIGJAM’s voice comes over the intercom, “This is Alpha 1, maintain formation, 600 knots, and 1000 feet AGL. Line of departure in 2 mikes.” The rest of the flight acknowledges the order, and continue flying past a small mountain range. “Alpha, we have reached the LoD, give me mach 1.5, and 100 feet AGL”, FIGJAM orders. The planes drop in unison, and the rest of the class watches.Guardian_-_building.png

Ground buffeting starts to affect the Valkyries, and a few trees lose their tops as Alpha struggles to maintain control. The monitors show Chase, in Alpha 4, hit a large tree and almost augers in, but he is able to recover. “Tighten it up, A4!”, barks FIGJAM.

As they finish maneuvering through the mountains, a large city looms in front of them. Smoke rises from several buildings, and is reminiscent of what many experienced just years earlier in the Global Civil War. Alpha and Bravo simultaneously transforms to Guardian mode, transition into two trail formations, and take separate paths, maneuvering through the city streets towards the rally point. The Alpha four ship plows through a few buildings with gun pods, thrusters, and wings, as they negotiate the streets with moderate success. Bravo and Charlie don’t fare much better.

Some of the 310th pilots in the observation area snicker, but most are well aware that they made similar mistakes earlier in the week. They continue watching the various monitor displays, and observe the relative fluidity in which the 309th is maneuvering. Eventually, the satellite display shows the Guardians approaching the RP from three different directions, almost perfectly from bearing 0, 120, and 240, and spread out by a few city blocks.

“GO! GO! GO!”, yells FIGJAM, and Alpha transforms into Battloid mode from approximately 50’ AGL. They perform a combat drop, and Van Skiver even manages to drop A2 into a three point stance. Bravo and Charlie perform similar transformations, and the 12 mechs start working their way to the objective, using standard bounding overwatch fireteam movements.

Battloid_ambush.jpg About one klick from the objective, 9 bogies appear on the overhead monitor as mechs power up. The 310th makes a collective gasp as they see Gladiators slowly come to life. Bravo and Charlie bear the brunt of their respective ambushes, and most are cut down quickly by volleys of missile and autocannon fire. Several monitor displays showing their viewscreens go dark. Van Skiver’s voice yells over the intercom, “Shit, boss! We’ve got three bogies about 200 meters ahead!” FIGJAM uses his thrusters to jump A1 atop a building to the left, as A2 and A4 take cover behind the same building. Van Skiver’s A3 is alone across the street.

The Gladiators split up and come south down two parallel streets. G1 heading towards A1, 2, and 4, as G2 and G3 head towards A3. Harper sprints across to cover A3 and they move to the far side of the block to cover the next street. Harper and Van are able to get to the end of the street undetected, and Van pops out and fires a long burst point blank at G2. Unfortunately, many of the rounds miss. Harper drops to a knee and snaps off a short burst into G2, punching more holes into its armor. G2 fires a volley of missiles at Van, and Van attempts to punch a section of the building into the way of the missiles’ paths. Luckily, the missiles go wide, and explode further down the street.

At the same time, FIGJAM and Chase engage G1. Fig’s shots go wide, but G1’s missile volley finds its mark – Fig’s left arm and left leg bear the brunt of the damage, as the armor is chewed away, and he topples from the building. Chase rolls out of the way and uses his thrusters to attempt to flip over Destroid. Chase can be seen on screen trying to jam his injured leg at the correct pedals, but his slim-cast is interfering with the controls. His clumsy attempt makes it easy for G1 to simply pluck him out of the air and slam him into FIGJAM. Chase’s monitors flicker, but remain functioning. He rolls his mecha backwards and tries to snap off a burst, but the barrel of his GU-11 is deflected by a powerful punch that continues into the main fuselage.

FIGJAM stumbles to his feet and first a long burst from his GU-11, but the rounds do mostly cosmetic damage to the thick armor of the Gladiator. G1 proceeds to lift Chase’s Battloid, invert it, and perform a suplex. Chase attempts to get up, but his Battloid is non-responsive. His screens start to dim. “FUCK!”, he screams.

FIGJAM yells, “Chase is down! I repeat, G4 is down! I’m moving to you!”, and starts limping, then running, down the street to join Harper and Van.

Harper yells, back, “That’s a negative! Do NOT leave your wingman! Do NOT leave your wingman!”, as he snaps off another burst. G2 is almost upon them, firing off autocannon rounds and his 180mm grenade launcher, but the shots go wide and are mostly ineffective. G3, on the other hand, gets a good lock and fires a volley of missiles at Van, tearing away at his relatively light armor. His Battloid falls backwards onto the building, almost trapping Harper’s kneeling mech. G1 engages him in melee combat, and Van sacrifices the armor on his arms to parry the blows. His sensors show a very large volley of missiles coming from G3 towards him, and he grabs G1 and uses him as a meat shield.

G1 erupts into a series of explosions, as one arm and leg are disintegrated. Although G1 bore the brunt of the damage, Van was still in the blast zone and his Battloid crumples backwards through the wall. His armor is riddled with gaping holes, and his mech is billowing smoke. Several systems shut down, including the majority of his sensors, with the exception of a static-filled video feed.

“Fuck this shit,” Harper yells, and jumps into the air to transform into Guardian. He points the nose at G3, gets good tone, and fires a volley that does critical damage. Sparks, flames, and smoke start spewing from G3, as the missiles find weak spots in the armor. Sensors indicate several abnormal energy readings starting to emanate from the Destroid’s engine core.

G3 trades a volley with Harper, but Harper is able to shoot it down and return another volley of his own. More smoke pours out of G3, as its rocked backwards by the blasts. Its right arm and missile pod are torn away. The two continue trading fire as FIGJAM rallies and fires off a burst into G3. Van screams, “Guys, we’ve got incoming!” as G1 runs down the street and unloads a volley of missiles into the rear of Harper’s hovering Guardian.

Harper orders FIGJAM and Van to retreat, as he fires his last missiles at G3, critically damaging it further. FIGJAM seeks cover around the corner, as Van crashes through the building behind G1 in an attempt to tackle him, but does almost as much damage to himself as G1. Harper yells, “Use your damn missiles!” just before being knocked out of the air by G1. His guardian crashes into the ground, and lies limp. His screens dim.

Van leaps, transforms, and fires his entire complement of missiles into G1’s rear. Armor explodes in all directions, sending shrapnel down the street. G1 falls, missing an arm, leg, and billowing smoke, before exploding a few seconds later.

FIGJAM sprints towards what is left of G3, grabs its left arm, and unloads a burst into the rear of the shoulder socket. The arm separates, and G3 is effectively neutered. He yells in celebration, but then yells, “oh SHIIIIIIIT!” as fast movers strafe G3, destroying it and narrowly missing him.

Chase’s voice comes over the intercom, “This is A4, reporting all bogies down. I repeat, all bogies down. Prometheus, we need rescue and recovery at MC2045.”

Cancel your plans
Sunday, May 24th, 2009

After receiving recall notices, all RDF personnel report to their respective units on base. The men and women of the 309th are loosely assembled in a horseshoe-shaped mob in one of the hangars, when LTC Pete “Hack” Osman strides towards the center. Behind him stands the XO and senior NCOs. He clears his throat and speaks with a mellow, yet authoritative voice, “Ladies and gentlemen, it has come to our attention that local news journalists have hidden camera footage of conversations with one or more RDF personnel regarding the training incident last weekend. COL Ingram did advise the members of this Operations Group to avoid speaking to the press, so I can only assume we have all obeyed the orders of our appointed superior officers. I will advise you again, do not speak to anyone regarding this incident, unless they are actively involved in the RDF investigation. Based on the breach of protocol, COL Ingram has issued an order restricting all student personnel to the base, effective immediately. Weekend liberty is canceled. Top…?”

He walks out of the circle, and 1SG Emil Foley waits for the CO and his retinue of officers to exit the hangar. Once the door clang echoes throughout the hangar, 1SG Foley unleashes a fury that many haven’t seen since the RDF Academy. Even with a hint of an Irish accent, his gravelly voice barks out loud and clear.


“Please, somebody fucking tell me, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU, to think you can disobey a DIRECT FUCKING order from our CO? Do you think this is some fucking GAME? You disobey a fucking order when you are getting shot at, YOU WILL FUCKING DIE! YOU WILL CAUSE ME TO DIE! If you die, AND you cause me to die, I WILL HAUNT YOUR FUCKING GHOST…every…FUCKINGDAY! This is way fucking beyond fifteen bloody fucking minutes of fame. On your fucking faces!”

The mob drops to the ground in front leaning rest. “IN CADENCEEXERCISE!” As the 309th starts banging out four-count pushups, 1SG Foley continues, “Do…NOTFUCK…with me today, you gaggle FUCKS. I had a very fucking late night – my girlfriend was bitching about how there was no room in the closet!” The confusion on some of the 309th’s faces is evident. 1SG Foley squats quickly in front of one of the heaving pilots, and explains, “…if I let the bitch out, my wife would have seen her!” Snickers and laughter erupts, and Foley barks the order to recover.

“You maggots pissed me off…squat thrusts…FOREVER!”

He waits a few minutes, as the exertion takes its toll on some of the personnel. He stands near one who is clearly grimacing in pain, and yells, “Son, you got a face like a WHOLE lotta WHATTHEFUCK?”

The smoke session continues for over an hour…

RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 2
Monday, May 18th - Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

The atmosphere in the 309th is a little more somber, while the unit deals with its second major hospitalization in as many weeks. Many of the pilots have effectively shunned SGT Harper because of the events leading up to the accident. Teamwork within Alpha is equally strenuous, as the leadership rotations also took place the same day.

Sunday morning, COL Ingram sent the 56th an email cautioning the personnel about speaking to the press, and advised them that the pilots and Valkyries were grounded while the investigation was underway. In the meantime, training would continue in the sims.

The next few days consisted of numerous presentations (PowerPoint overload), and simulation exercises involved in-flight transformations, hovering, and numerous obstacle courses in both plane and Guardian modes. Things seemed to return to some level of normalcy, as pilot egos began to resurface. Some exercises caused anxiety, as they involved low speed passes, but the majority of the pilots fared well.

Throughout the week, humor returned, and Van Skiver was even talking about a hot volleyball player he met. Harper was extremely quiet, as the strain of the investigation, heated discussions with his lawyer, and the guilt of putting his wingman in the hospital was slowly eating at his sanity. Caldwell, acted as if everything was fine – either hiding his emotions, or actually being apathetic to the situation.

The flight surgeon informed the squadron that Grant might be returning the following week, but would be pretty banged up. A few of his squadron mates have visited, but he was pretty heavily sedated the first few days.


The scoop
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Sabine gave herself a critical eye as she applied some finishing touches. She hated wearing makeup, but realized the necessity. Her producer wanted to hand the story over to a senior reporter, but she was not about to be scooped by some old fool. She opened her eyes wide as she applied some more mascara. She blinked a few times, adjusted her skirt, and turned around in the mirror to make sure everything was just right. She saw a few loose strands of her natural blonde hair poking out from the brunette wig, and made a few more adjustments. She puckered up her lips and threw a fake kiss at herself. Satisfied, she started towards the door.

Time to find me a source or two, she thought to herself.

Ongoing coverage
Saturday, May 16th, 2009

The graphics for a local news station swirl on screen, as the camera focuses on an anchorman. “Good morning! We are reporting live as the Robotech Defense Force undergoes recovery operations of a downed fighter plane. The plane crashed late last night while on a routine patrol. Sabine Leitner is on the scene.”

The camera switches to a very attractive woman. “Good morning, John. We are watching as the RDF begins salvage operations for one of their fighter planes that went down last night. Eyewitnesses say a few planes were flying so low, their boat was shaking in the waves.”


The camera pans to a young woman. “Yeah, we were like, just partying man, you know, hahaha – and then we heard some jets and looked up to see these planes just coming down on us and we were like, holy BEEEEEP and water was like, splashing everywhere, and I fell down, and it was, like, so BEEEEEPing loud but it was also cool, you know? And then I wiped the water out of my eyes and I see one of the planes is, like, wobbling and then crashes over there.” She points off camera.

The camera pans back to the island as a crane lifts part of the fuselage. “The pilot, who has not yet been identified, has been flown to the RDF medical center in critical condition. We will continue to update our viewers with this developing story. This is Sabine Leitner, reporting for MBS.”

Sabine waited a few seconds until she got the all-clear signal from her cameraman before she lowered her microphone. She was exhausted, but the adrenaline rush hit her again. She had resigned herself to being given filler assignments, but there were only so many traffic accidents and lost kitten stories she could handle. She adjusted her hair and used her hand to block the sun as she squinted to observe the aircraft recovery crew continue working. She knew Peter was going to gather some more B roll footage to act as filler, so she had some time to kill.

She walked to the new chopper and watched her footage again. She knew by the brown color of the plane that she was dealing with a low level pilot – more than likely one of the students that kept rolling through the island’s training squadron. It would be a good place to start looking for some more information. She reached for her laptop and began doing some research.

JAG off
Saturday, May 16th, 2009

He couldn’t have been asleep for more than a few hours when he heard the annoying ringtone. His arm flailed around randomly on the nightstand in an attempt to silence the alarm, and he heard items clattering to the floor. It seemed to do the trick, as the phone went silent. He pulled the blankets over his head and rolled over. He could feel long strands of hair tickling his face and he knew she was still there. He wrapped his arm around her torso and spooned closer. He inhaled her perfume and started drifting back to sleep.

The annoying ringtone.

“Gaarrrggh!” He uncoiled himself and rolled over. He cracked an eye open to look for the telltale light from the phone’s touchscreen, and almost fell out of bed reaching for it. He succeeded in grabbing it without succumbing to gravity, and yelled into the phone.

“Take me off your goddamn calling list! You have the wrong number! The check is in the mail!”

“Geez, Aaron – it’s Major Quattrochi. Get your ass out of bed. We have a situation, and your caseload is light. I’ll see you in twenty.” The line went dead.

“Ah fuck…”

He fell back onto the bed.

“Just go”, she said. “I was just going to run errands anyway, and you hate that. See you this evening.”

Captain Aaron Samuel, JAG, somehow knew this wasn’t just another drunk driver he’d have to defend.

We interrupt this broadcast...
Friday, May 15th, 2009

“…and as you can see, the congestion problems that existed weeks ago are now non-existent. The Adler Augen, or Eagle Eyes, traffic control system from Adler system has worked wonders on Macross’ traffic, especially around the…excuse me one moment…”

The attractive reporter’s eyes light up, as she yells something to the pilot. The helo makes a hard bank and the cameraman struggles to maintain a hold on the pretty blonde’s face. Her voice comes back on, and she is struggling to hide her European accent, “Goot eefning. If you are just joining us, vee haf received word that a military vehicle has crash landed not too far from here. Vee should be giving you footage in a few minutes.”


The TV cuts to a middle aged anchorman who gives very little additional information, as he and an attractive female co-anchor exchange banter and feigned concern before cutting back to the young reporter.

The graphics below her face identify her as Sabine Leitner, a reporter with Deutsche Welle. She yells over the helo, “Hello, we are here at the scene of a downed military aircraft. We apologize for the footage, but we are unable to get much closer because of a no-fly zone and the circling jets flying overhead. We have been told the aircraft was piloted by a student assigned to a training squadron, but we do not yet know his identity.”

The footage cycles between IR and night vision, but the distance and motion of the news helicopter make identification difficult. Sabine makes a few more comments, but essentially repeats the story while the voices of the news anchors speculate on what may have happened. After about 30 more minutes, the helicopter has to return to the mainland to refuel.

RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 1
Friday, May 15th, 2009

All warning lights stop flashing, threat warning systems go blank, alarms quiet, and disabled systems come back online. The training squadron breathes a collective sigh of relief, and starts to chatter amongst themselves about who did what to whom. The XO’s voice booms over the radio, “Okay lads, exercise over. For the most part, you guys did okay, but suffered heavy losses because of inaction in the first few seconds. We’ll give you a full debrief on Monday once we’ve had time to analyze everything. Park your planes, and enjoy the weekend!”

The squadron cheers, and goes back to trading smack talk with each other. The adrenaline takes awhile to wear off, as evidenced by more than a few missed landings by various members of the crew. Eventually everyone parks, hits the showers, and starts to head out for an evening of well-deserved celebration. A SFC pokes his head in the showers and yells, “FLIGHT LEADERS! REPORT TO THE XO!”

The order is repeated amongst the squadron until the flight leads respond in unison, “Aye, Aye! Flight leaders reporting to the XO!”

RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 1
Friday, May 8th - Friday, May 15th 2009


PVT Grant Chase walked up the gangplank to his new home. He had seen photos, but nothing really prepared him for the sheer size of the supercarrier. The CVS-101 Prometheus was a new addition to the fledgling Robotech Defense Force, and he would be one of the first to serve aboard her, even if it was in a training capacity. Although class was not to start until Monday, he had taken the advice of an NCO from the RDF Academy to always arrive a few days early, if possible.

Of course, the Prometheus paled in comparison to the monolithic shape of the enormous SDF-1 behind him. He paused on the ramp to turn and take a look at the impressive structure, and couldn’t help but feel a surge of excitement. He let out a whistle of appreciation, and could feel the hairs on his forearms sticking up despite the heat and humidity of the tropical island weather.

He watched from afar for a few minutes, and glanced up as he heard the sound of aircraft above him. The sound was familiar, but also somehow different. He swept the sky for a sign of the jets, but could only make out dark shapes as the setting sun silhouetted them. Fast. They were extremely fast. He waited to see if they would make a return pass, but after a few moments concluded that they were probably on a patrol and wouldn’t return for awhile. He readjusted his bag and headed back up the ramp.

He felt a rush of processed and recycled air as he finally entered the ship. Two armed Marine NCOs were making small talk at a reception desk. The corporal who was seated accepted his ID and checked him in using a touchscreen attached to the desk. He handed back the credentials, and then gave a somewhat confusing set of directions to the flight quarters. The puzzled look on Chase’s face caused the sergeant to chuckle and offer to show him around.

They made the usual small talk, and the maze that was the ship made Chase lose track of where he was. He half wondered if he was being lightly hazed because he could have sworn that he had seen this particular fire extinguisher already. Eventually, he was shown his “room”, and claimed a top bunk. The benefits of arriving early sometimes expressed themselves in small ways. The sergeant gave him a second to drop his gear, and then led him on a more direct route to the squadron briefing room.

There were a few other student pilots milling around. He stood listening on the outskirts and then heard the group making plans to jump in the sims for a quick sortie. No one seemed to mind his request to tag along, and he made small talk with a few while they sauntered to the sims.

He was impressed by the size of the facility. There were what looked to be a few dozen simulators. More than enough to have a have an entire squadron practicing at once. He made his way to one towards the edge and climbed in. He was thankful to be in the cockpit – it offered him some protection from the outside world. It wasn’t that he was shy, but he had trouble allowing himself to get close to anyone. Flying allowed him some release.

“Uh…Chase, right? This is Thomas. Looks like you and I are on the same side. Let’s put on a good show for the peanut gallery.” The voice was surprisingly clear, and he wondered if it was because of the fact that they were in the sims, or if this was one of those other advancements of this new technology. The controls definitely looked more advanced than what he used during basic flight, and he didn’t recognize a few of the gauges. How hard can it be, he though. Just point and shoot.

He and PVT Travis “Tank” Thomas did okay on their first sortie, but made a tactical decision to use the town as cover when the second wave of enemy fighters approached. Before they could reach the town, his plane registered two hits. He was out.

Chase was furious – the same voice that had been taunting him during the sim was the same that called him a loser. He expected that pilots had egos, but there was no need to be an ass. He heard Thomas mutter something about FIGJAM. He was about to disconnect his radio and remove his helmet when another voice said, “PVT Chase, please report to colonel Ingram.” Well, crap.

SGT Duncan Harper walked into the sims just in time to overhear COL Donald “Mac” Ingram giving PVT Chase a lecture about collateral damage.

After the surprisingly well-mannered reaming, the men decided to join the rest of the squadron for a night of bar hopping to wash away the troubles. While shooting the shit, FIG JAM and his cronies kept sending Shirley Temples to Harper/Chase’s table. An inebriated Harper made his way over to Caldwell’s table and attempted to plant a jovial kiss, but stumbled into another table. Naturally, a fight broke out between four townies, Harper, Chase, and Tank. Harper saw FIGJAM and his crew slink off away from the brawl.

After trading a few blows, bouncers stepped in to break up the fight, Harper decided discretion was the better part of valor, and ducked out. The last thing he needed was another drunken brawl on his record. The guys made their way back to Prometheus, albeit separately.

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Harper and Chase made their way to the chow hall the next morning and realized that Tank never made it back to the Prometheus. After a brief search, they learned he was recovering at a local hospital under MP supervision and quickly ran outside to hail a cab.

Harper’s face went pale as they rounded the corner to Tank’s room and he saw the two MPs outside the door. Without giving too much in the way of details, the corporal acknowledged that Thomas took a pretty good beating. Chase and Harper looked at each other quizzically, and Chase asked, “But how? He was fine when we last saw him last night?”

“Oh really? Do you mind if we ask you a few questions?” The MP tilted his head to his shoulder as he activated his radio. Harper groaned and slunk down into a seat.

Harper and Chase were called into the 509th XO’s office when they finally returned from being questioned by CID. They had never met the man, and they could barely understand what was being said, but they understood all too well that they were receiving a first class ass-chewing. Captain Ryan “Slipstream” Aldridge quickly dismissed Chase, but kept Harper behind.

“We haven’t even officially met, and you’re already fucking up! I can see why you’ve been demoted more times than than my ex-girlfriend caught the clap. Jeeezus, what were you thinking? The colonel isn’t going to be happy when he finds out. I guaran-fucking-tee you that you should consider yourself warned. Don’t fuck up again, or I’ll have your stripes! Now get your ass out of here!”

May 11th-15th, 2009

InDoc and Veritech familiarization. Paperwork, walkarounds, tech manuals, sims, and check rides. Trainees are informed of the other Veritech modes and the importance of their training, but the emphasis for the next few days would only be flying.

The class had their first solo flights a few days later, and the acceleration of the Veritechs, more than surprised many of the students, as a few of them had issues with takeoffs and landings. Harper earned the call-sign “Plow” after he botched his first solo takeoff when he overshot the runway, applied the brakes too late, skidded, and buried his nose gear into the runoff zone.

While enroute back to the Prometheus after a day of flying aerial obstacle courses, the squadron is jumped by aggressors for their first ACM sortie, with 60% losses for the students within the first few minutes.

Cadre Prep
Thursday, May 7th, 2009

“Attention on deck!”, bellowed 1SG Emil Foley . His thick British accent normally made him difficult to understand, but the men and women of the 56th OG had been working with him long enough to be able to translate. The personnel quickly scrambled to their feet as Colonel Donald “Mac” Ingram, the Combined Arms Group Commander, walked into the 56th Operations Group briefing room.

“Take your seats”, said Ingram, “I’ll try to make this short because I’ve got to meet Captain Gloval in a few minutes. We’ve got Class 055 showing up tomorrow, and I wanted a SITREP on each department’s status because I know some of you are taking tomorrow off. XO?”

“Sir”, lieutenant colonel Dave “Bunsen” Burner said as he stood, “For the most part, the group is doing well. We are having minor maintenance issues. Nothing life threatening, but there are still shakedown glitches in VTs. Two birds are down for routine maintenance, and maintenance expects them to be ready to go no later than Saturday. I’ll let the squadron commanders give you specifics.”

He paused to gauge Ingram’s reaction, but received only a nod. He continued, “We will have 24 VT and 18 Destroid pilots in this class. One of the VT pilots is a recycle because of a training injury, but the rest are all noobs. A few hotshots, but nothing we haven’t seen before. Based on their SBRs, I don’t anticipate any problems. Hack?”

A short man strode to the front of the room. Unlike most of the other pilots in the room, the wings on his uniform were gold. Lieutenant colonel Pete “Hack” Osman turned towards COL Ingram and said, “Sir, the 309th has one VF-1J down for repair. Sergeant Derrick noticed one of the turret lasers wasn’t responding to inputs, so he’s working with the vendor to figure out what’s going on. She should be up and running by tomorrow. Their first flight isn’t until next Friday, so we have plenty of buffer.” He waited for a response from Ingram, who only blinked.

The room was silent for a few awkward seconds, and finally Osman just stepped off the stage. He was replaced by another light bird who gave a similar status for the 310th. One by one, the major unit heads gave accountability reports. Two Gladiators were undergoing repair from damage caused by a Class 054 student. There was a shortage of milk. Adler Industries sent an entire shipment of incorrectly-sized replacement motherboards for six simulators. One crew chief was on emergency leave because of an illness in the family. The list went on.

Seated in the back of the briefing room was Ryan “Slipstream” Aldridge. Like many of the other junior grade officers, Aldridge held a position higher than someone of his rank normally would normally merit. The Global Civil War’s attrition of experienced military personnel caused many of the world’s militaries to promote whoever was left alive, and he was one of those beneficiaries. A squadron executive officer billet would usually be filled by a major or lieutenant colonel with about 15-20 years of experience, and not a 27 year old Captain who had only been an officer for ten.

However, his flying credentials were unquestionable. His natural ability helped him earn honor graduate awards for his early flight training, and as a teenager he had over 30 aerial victories during the GCW. He loved his job as a flyer, and had resisted this assignment for years. He knew that this was a young man’s game, but a staff position meant he would be flying a desk more than a plane. He sighed a little at the irony – his skills got him where he was, but where he was meant he would have less opportunity to employ those skills.

At least a training position allowed for more flight time than some frontline squadrons, but sometimes he wished for another war.


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