Robotech Macross

The New Order
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

The pilots of the 55th were told to remove all electronic devices before they filed into a makeshift briefing room. No one was sure where their final home would be, so they were borrowing the 510th’s. Although familiar, it was the mirror image of what they were used to from their time with the 509th. The new faces were also something new. Whether it was from attrition, or simply not arriving in time for the battle for Macross, squadrons were fractured. The 55th was now composed of elements of four different squadrons, with the largest being a contingent of the latest RDF training class.

The “newly promoted” Corporal Harper had found time between yesterday’s briefing with Captain Aldridge to scrounge up some rank boards for his uniform. Not that he needed to go far – he had rank sleeves going up to Staff Sergeant from his prior years before his series of demotions.

He made his way towards where the others from Alpha Flight were sitting. His flight, he thought. He wasn’t going to let something stupid get in the way of his career anymore. He looked around and saw a two other corporals, one of which was an extremely attractive Asian woman. Guess those are the other flight leads, he thought to himself. He gave them both a cursory nod and turned to face the podium.

His eyes narrowed when he saw the brand new sergeant boards on Caldwell’s shoulders. Caldwell stood and walked to the podium and gave a smirk when he caught Harper looking at his new stripes. He spoke, “I am Sergeant Jonathan Caldwell, your acting first sergeant. What will be discussed in here is classified, so I should not have to spell it out for you. We are all here because our existence is being threatened by an unknown alien force. That is the purpose of today’s briefing. Now, so far, intel has been debriefing both RDF personnel and the civilians, but any information you can provide will need to be shared in order to better prepare our fighting forces.”

Staff Sergeant Brocka’s voice cut him off as she walked into the room. “What we know is that their main forces consist of two primary military units.” The screens at the front light up and display footage of the ostrich-like eggs-with-legs. “These units are very lightly armored, especially the legs. We have heard of a few pilots destroying the main compartment with one missile, although intel recommends at least two. You will not be able to destroy one with your gunpods unless you are extremely lucky. Their primary armament consists of two large energy cannons. Variants include artillery and recon units. Although lightly armored, you do not want to go up against a pack of these alone.”

The screens switch to stills and footage of a small fighter.

“These fighters are highly maneuverable. These are extremely dangerous, even alone. They pack a powerful array of energy weapons in the nose, have a missile payload rivaling our VTs, and…they’re fucking shielded. Analysis of the combat footage shows the shields taking as few as three, and as many as ten missiles before failing, and then you get to deal with the actual airframe. You will definitely appreciate a wingman when taking these on. Do not be foolish. None of you are that good.”

“Unfortunately, we do not have intel on their capital ships, carriers, mother ships, or whatever UFO terminology you want to use…but, that’s where we come in. We will be flying a combination of CAP and recon until the rescue and recovery is complete. So far it’s quiet, but we don’t want to be caught by surprise. Bravo, you will launch in 15 minutes. Charlie, you’re their relief in four hours. Alpha, you are on alert. Any questions?”

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SITREP
Monday, July 6, 2009

Captain Aldridge walks into the 509th’s ready room and makes his way to the front. The few assembled pilots start to stand, but the captain holds his hand up. "Ladies and gentlemen – let’s drop decorum for a bit.

“Before I go any further, I want to give everyone a status update. Colonel Ingram suffered some pretty serious injuries while defending one of the city shelters. He’s in critical, but stable, condition. We’ll know more in a few days. Top also suffered some minor injuries, but he’s cleared for operational status. Unfortunately, we also have a few KIA, mostly as a result of being outside during the fold.

“The last few days have been pretty rough on everyone, and I just want to say that your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I know graduation meant new assignments, but those orders are effectively canceled – for obvious reasons. There will be a formal announcement later, but we don’t have time for formal change of command ceremonies.

“Effective as of 1800hrs yesterday, LTC Osman was given a brevet promotion to Colonel, and will assume command of the Prometheus. LtCdr Fokker turned down the XO slot because he wanted to remain the CAG, so Captain Glovall is still considering his options. Top is no longer a Top. He was made the SDF-1’s Sergeant Major, and I hear Glovall is fighting with the brass to push that to Command Sergeant Major.

“Many of you have been assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron. This is a combat operational unit comprised of mostly RDF VT Class 055, but also has a few stragglers we picked up. The current acting CO is Staff Sergeant Brocka, acting XO is Sergeant Somporn, and acting Top is Sergeant Caldwell.”

The pilots are unable to contain both their shock and surprise, and the news has a mixed effect on the crowd.

Aldridge continues, “Acting flight leads for the 55th are also posted.”

A voice calls out from the back, “What about you, Cap’n?”

Aldridge’s lips purse for a second. "They’ve asked me to take over the 56th OG. It’s a great opportunity, but I’m sick of babysitting snot nose noobs. However, if forced into it, I may need a few cadre members. Talk to me if you might be interested.

“On a last note – this is the real deal. The slightest compromise in your airframes doesn’t just mean you lose air pressure – it could mean catastrophic decompression. Keep that in mind when you get promoted – it means you’re filling someone else’s boots.”

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RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 7 (continued)
Monday, June 22 - Friday, June 26, 2009

Nichols relaxed his grip on the canopy’s handgrip as his VT left the Prometheus, and began accelerating into a climbing bank as he rendezvoused with Harper. The two were supposed to be flying a routine CAP, so he was looking forward to a milk run. The past few days had been rough, and the squadron had only managed a few hours of sleep. He understood why the op tempo was so high, but he felt as if he was being personally singled out. He knew it wasn’t true, but Foley always seemed to be nearby when he cracked a joke. His access to a bunk had suffered accordingly.

He pulled up alongside Harper and gave a wave. Harper was somewhat of a royal screw-up, from what he had heard. Demoted at least thirty times, or something like that, and most recently for a training accident during their first week. This was one of the few times he had flown with the guy because of their training flight assignments. “If mom was his CO, that guy would never be in a cockpit unless he was cleaning it”, he thought to himself. He still missed her, even after all these years.

A soft alarm tone interrupted his thoughts. He glanced at the panels and saw that one of his displays was acting up. The quadruple redundancies built into the Veritech’s systems meant it was a minor inconvenience. He would just have to remember to look at one of the other gauges if he wanted to know his exact hydraulic pressure. He slightly rocked the wings and figured nothing was amiss. Rudders checked out. Damn glitchy systems! Apparently, the rest of the squadron had been reporting similar malfunctions to the maintenance crews, but they were having trouble finding the root of the problem. Some guys had been unlucky enough and had to RTB because of smoke in the cockpit. Flying on instruments was one thing, but it got a lot harder when you couldn’t even see your instruments.

He debated switching on the autopilot and setting an alarm so he could catch a quick nap, but then the telltale ping reached his ears. “Hey Harper, I’ve got multiple bogies at 3 o’clock low. Want to check them out?”

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“Affirmative. Let’s go say hello to the guys”, said Harper. Nichols had to shove his throttle forward to catch up. If nothing else, Harper was not one to shy away from a fight.

They barely had time to react when the TWS lit up and his screens took on red borders. He hit the master arm switch and toggled his radio. “I’m going hot Harper – they’ve got me locked up!” He began a series of evasive maneuvers in an attempt to break the lock.

“Dammit, they’ve got me too!”, yelled Harper. He inverted his plane and started jinking towards the bogies. “Alright, you sons of bitches. Let’s see what you got!”, he muttered. Nichols followed him in. He still had not gotten a visual on their bogies, even though at least one of them had him locked. The opposition had either stopped holding back, or his hydraulic pressure gauges weren’t the only things acting up.

As his eyes scanned for targets, he saw Harper’s plane popping decoys like they were dead weight.

“I’m out.”, sighed Harper. “Heading to angels 20 to watch the fight from there. Good luck, Nichols.”

Nichols was too busy to respond. The g-forces were putting a strain on him as he went into his AGSM. Air was escaping his lungs in controlled hics, and he felt his world going dim around the edges of his peripheral vision. He caught a glimpse of incoming missiles on his radar and started to pop decoys. Unfortunately, his hand slipped off the stick as he was trying to turn tighter, and all his displays light up to signify multiple impacts. As the g-forces eased up, he did a quick damage assessment and saw he was also out of the fight.

“Hey Harper!”, he laughed, “hold up. Let me join you.”

So much for a milk run.

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RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 7
Monday, June 22 - Friday, June 26, 2009

The 309th was rudely awakened by the call to General Quarters. Because of the late night partying on Macross, some of the pilots were a little more groggy than usual. It didn’t help that it was only 0430hrs. The ready room was filled with the smell of coffee and energy drinks.

The room seemed to sway in the storm as LTC Osman continued his briefing, "Gentlemen, welcome to the final phase of training. Sea Combat Trials is the most realistic training scenario we will offer, and will replicate a realistic full-scale combat operation to test everyone aboard the ship. If you have free time, I highly suggest you sleep because it will be in short supply the next two weeks.

We have just been alerted of a disabled vessel. A cargo ship is dead in the water and was sending out distress calls until about 30 minutes ago. Weather is hindering our recon efforts, but the ship has sustained damage. I have already spoken to the flight leaders, and the 309th will be dividing its combat elements. Alpha will be flying CAP in sector three, and Bravo will investigate the cargo ship in sector one. Charlie will CAP sector two. I shouldn’t have to say this, but under no circumstances are you to allow anyone through the CAP. If enemy forces breach the perimeter, the exercise is over.

“Weather outside is pretty crappy – we’ve got high winds, and some of the waves seem like they’re hitting the flight deck. You’ll be relying heavily on instruments. Dismissed.”


Alpha is soon in the air, and FIG JAM orders Harper and Lee to stay low, while he and Van perform overwatch. The near hurricane force winds force them to continually make corrections to maintain some semblance of a formation, and the rain makes visibility near zero. Radio chatter from Bravo is pretty minimal, when Harper’s voice crackles over the comm, “Gentlemen, I’m picking up three…no, four contacts. Fast movers about 50 miles out.”

The distance is quickly closed and Alpha’s comms are full of expletives and the sound of electronic warning buzzers. Two Falcons and two UF-14s unleash an angry swarm of missiles and simunitions into the air as Harper and Lee’s Valkryie’s systems start shutting down from the simulated damage. Harper radios for assistance as his missiles dispatch one of the Falcons. A female voice comes over the air and states, “Falcon 042 and UF-14 367 are out of the fight and RTB.”

Harper blinks twice and his pucker factor goes up. He sees a Veritech unlike any he’s ever seen before, and it was heading right for him. If its camo paint wasn’t sinister enough, the extra jet packs and armor plating gave it an even more menacing appearance. It was hugging the water just inches from the surface, and jinking back and forth to avoid any pop-up waves. It almost seemed like slow motion as four large missiles streamed out of the jetpacks and headed towards Lee.

Lee yells, “Where’s our backup?!?” as his plane registered several hits and the radio went silent. His controls responded sluggishly, and he noted his damage displays showed one of his ventral fins was gone. That explains the radio, he thought to himself. He tried to climb out of the way of two more incoming missiles and realized his flaps weren’t responding as sharply as they should have. So much for evasion.

Harper and Lee begin trading shots with the enemy Veritech, but its armor was allowing it to survive far more hits than their planes. Adding to their difficulty was the uncanny reflexes of the pilot – the bastard actually deflected one of Harper’s missiles with a spinning kick! “Dammit Caldwell? Where the fuck are you?!? We can’t hold out much longer!”, yelled Harper.

Lee’s sensors registered several more impacts. He sighed, then signaled the ATC that he was done and was going to RTB. He flipped a few switches to reset his plane, and began climbing to a safe altitude to watch his squadronmates.

“We just splashed the other Falcon and 14,” says Van, “and now we’re inbound.”

“Watch your fucking tone, Harper. I can’t get good angle on him!” interrupted FIGJAM. He rolls his plane to reposition, but to Van it looks like the pansy was running to preserve his KDR. No one could ever get him to confirm it, but his behavior definitely suggested to Van that Caldwell was chasing some imaginary stats leaderboard. He couldn’t stand the guy, but his scorn was far less than Harper’s.


“That chickenshit asshole!”, thought Harper. He furiously worked the controls and sent a few more missiles towards the VT’s rear and yelled in triumph as his sensors registered massive damage to the jetpacks, and rendered one leg inoperable. He sped towards the bogey as it seemed to lose control and slump into the waters.

He saw Van struggling to fend off a Lancer, and went off to help. As he flew over the spot the bogey went down, his sensors triggered a proximity alarm on his six. He glanced into the mirrors and saw an apparition rising from the depths.

“Holy shit! This dude is fucking Poseidon!”

Harper barely had time to roll his plane before his plane registered more missile impacts, and additional systems shut down. He continued his barrel roll and popped more decoys in an attempt to avoid anymore damage, but it was too late. His displays lit up with “Aircraft destroyed” messages, and he radioed the ATC. As he began his climb, he heard Caldwell proclaim, “Fox Two! Fox Two!”

Figures, he thought. He banked and headed back to the Prometheus.

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RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 6
Monday, June 15th - Friday, June 19th, 2009

Alpha Flight is approaching their assignment for this training sortie. Their four-ship consists of Broderick VanSkiver, Duncan “Plow” Harper, Grant Chase, and Bill Lee – they’ve been tasked with escorting a heavy bomber on its way to destroy an industrial center. VanSkiver is the flight leader for this op, and he spends only a few minutes discussing their strategy before the conversation degenerates into several random topics, such as video games, women, and comic books. Lee and VanSkiver also engage in a few barrel rolls to stay awake, while Chase and Harper mutter, “kids.”

Chase is interrupted mid-chuckle when he notices multiple blips on his radar. He taps the LCD, in the hopes it is yet another random processing glitch, but to no avail. “Guys…,” he states, “we’ve got multiple incoming…I’m counting six, no wait – eight fast movers!”

The bomber pilot’s calm voice comes over the com, “Gentlemen, we are continuing on course, but will maintain an evasive pattern. We’d appreciate it if you’d go and say hello to our hosts. Good shootin’!” The bomber goes into a slow banking climb.
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VanSkiver yells, “Weapons hot! Go! Go! Go! Harper, you’re with me! Chase and Lee, stay with the bomber!” He glances over his right shoulder, gives a thumbs up, and pushes the throttle forward. Lee and Chase take up positions slightly below and behind the bomber.

The next few seconds pass by slowly, before the sky erupts in beams of light and explosions. “Shit! Shit! Shit! They’ve got AA on the ground!” yells Lee. He rolls his craft and pops a few decoys to distract a volley of missiles that were heading to the bomber.

Meanwhile, Van and Harper are engaged in a serious furball with a group of seemingly angry Lancer II drones. The lightly armored drones don’t take much damage before exploding, but they are extremely difficult to hit. Lack of a human pilot allows them to have a flight envelope exceeding that of the Veritech’s agility. Things seem to be okay, until two more blips show up. Van radios for assistance from the other section, so Lee and Chase accelerate to join the fray.

After what seems like an eternity, Alpha is running low on ammo and the bomber has taken significant damage, with two of its four engines disabled. A lone Lancer has managed to get behind it, and the bomber pilot is unable to shake it off. Meanwhile, Harper and Van have gone forward to engage the Raidar X and Spartan providing ground defense, and are unaware of what is happening because of the Raidar X’s ECM.

Just as all hope seems to be lost, the bomber pilot’s voice comes over the air, “Use the Force, Luke!” as his WSO drops their ordinance. Almost immediately after pickling the munitions, their displays light up to signify their destruction. The pilot radios, “That’s it for us, gentlemen. Bombs dropped, but we are out of the sortie and returning to base. Hope they do the job.”

Alpha Flight rolls their planes and watch as explosions erupt in a line heading toward the factory. Rocks and sand start to cloud the view, and then a giant explosion rocks the landscape. “FUCK YEAH!” screams VanSkiver. He transforms into Battloid and does a small victory dance in mid-air. The rest of the guys laugh and cheer, and then start the long trip back to the base.

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RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 5
Monday, June 8th - Friday, June 12th, 2009

The class is over halfway complete, and attrition is relatively light – only three pilots have left the squadron. The remaining pilots of the 56th OG are getting refresher courses in target priorities. During the weekly proficiency test, Alpha Flight was tasked with the location, and destruction, of suspected AA units responsible for aircrew casualties.

Initially, Alpha allowed themselves to be distracted by the Veritechs who were providing air defense for the AA units before they were reminded of the mission objectives. Alpha was unable to communicate with each other because of communications jamming, so Harper made the heads of the Raidar-X’s his primary targets, and VanSkiver delivered the finishing blows. Harper destroyed the near-mint Spartan destroid by targeting the open missile launchers and causing an ammo explosion. This is a tactic that was shared with the rest of the squadron.

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RDF Veritech Training, Class 055, Week 4
Monday, June 1st - Friday, June 5th, 2009

1SG Emil Foley storms into the room and states, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a situation. A Special Forces Destroid patrol was ambushed and is calling for immediate air support and exfil. One of the pilots is a VIP named SGT Nikolai Vlasi. Vlasi is not only a Platoon Commander in the 2/7, but also the son of a UEG Senator. His Gladiator was incapacitated, and we need to make sure he and his unit makes it back. We don’t have much time – he’s 150 miles away, and it will take you about five minutes to reach him once you’re in the air. Coordinates are already uploaded to your nav systems. Bust your ass to get to him, and cover his mech until exfil can reach you They are on the way, but approximately 15 minutes out. Stop looking at me and get your birds in the air!”

The trainees quickly don their flight suits, grab their helmets, and race to their waiting Valkryies. The air is filled with the sound of engines powering up, and planes quickly queue up for takeoff. Once each flight has formed up in the air, they watch as each flight takes a slightly different flight path to their respective coordinates. PVT Chase has been given command of this operation for Alpha, and he tells everyone to shove their throttles to the firewall.

Alpha quickly makes contact with six ground targets, but are unable to communicate with Vlasi’s unit. As they get closer, they realize the reason why – Raidar X’s sending out powerful jamming signals, and the unit is effectively cut off from each other. Unable to communicate, the trainees rely up on their training, and maintain close formation as they make a quick pass over the area. They quickly spot 2 Gladiators in a ravine covering a third Gladiator missing one of its legs. They also notice four Raidar Xs and two Gladiators firing down upon the SF unit.

Chase starts calling out target priorities, as the flight banks to engage.

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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.”

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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.

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“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…

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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.

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