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.
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.