Chapter 2 – "No-one said the real thing was easy, they just said it was
Kerrin was the last in the ready room. The three other pilots stared
quickly at the door, and then snapped back to attention. Mikael kept his
eyes in the Sergeant in the front, and betrayed no emotion. The other two
pilots were new to Kerrin. Beta three was a Terran female, tall, nearly as
tall as Mikael. Neither Kerrin nor Mikael knew her name. She gazed with
rapt attention to the Sergeant, and was the first to glance back after
Kerrin entered. The fourth was a Vasudan, and from Kerrin's point, the
Vasudan was a male. He stood as high as Kerrin, and wore his flight suit.
The Sergeant was the same from the briefing room, and shouted out,
"Attention!" The rookies formed a tighter line, none wishing to draw
attention to themselves. The Sergeant continued, and his voice was loud in
the cramped room. There were plenty of seats, but none if the rookies
wanted to sit. "We are en-route to the Alpha-Centauri jump node, and will
exit subspace in an hour. At that time, we will be escorting a small convoy
of freighters to Vega. There have been no reports of pirate activity, and
as well, the convoy is guarded by Alpha wing from the Aeolus – class
frigate, the Iron Hammer. There will no problem, you take over for Alpha
wing, run the convoy to the jump node, then return to the Tempest. Be at
the flight deck in twenty minutes. Dismissed." The pilots stepped out of
the room to prepare. The new ones to Kerrin were out first, but the Vasudan
turned around and raised his hand. Kerrin knew a little Vasudan courtesy,
and he raised his hand opposite to the Vasudan's, and pressed the palm to
his forehead. The Vasudan looked surprised, and then did the same. He began
grunting strangely, until Kerrin realised he was trying to laugh. He asked,
"What is your name, friend?" The Vasudan answered, his speech going through
a translator in his throat, "My name is Vaa'shoom Dakl. What is your name
Terran?" Kerrin also knew Vasudans were addressed with their second name.
"My name Dakl, is Kerrin Roeber. This is Mikael Lebenen. We are your wing."
Dakl bobbed his head back, and smiled. It looked strange on a Vasudan.
Kerrin began walking and talking, "If I may Dakl, why are you in a Myrmadon
fighter? Can not Vasudans only pilot ships made by your race?" Dakl nodded
again, then answered. "That is true, but that my clan is wealthy, and I
have always admired your style of ships, Roeber. My clan father is Mekhu
Shem'seti, and with his money, I purchased a fighter designed for a
Vasudan." Mikael broke in at this point. "Did you say your father is Mekhu
Shem'seti? The owner of Mekhu Enterprises?" Dakl again nodded. "As Lebenen
knows, my clan has much money. But when I enrolled at the academy on Vega,
and was accepted quickly. But because of my clan family, no captains would
accept me as a pilot. I transferred from ship to ship, but I feel
dishonoured that I have not yet fought, and I was given wings nearly a year
past." Mikael asked, "Well, it seems none of us will be able to fight at
all today." Kerrin nodded, and turned away from the others. "I need to suit
up, you two go ahead, I'll meet you there."
The flight deck was cold, the deep vacuum of space leaking through the thin
shield between space and the deck. Kerrin stood there in his flight suit,
holding onto his helmet and mask. The four Myrmadons were being prepped by
the techs, the rising amount of cursing a testament to their success. Only
one other pilot was there, the female from the ready room. Kerrin walked
over and called out, "Hey there." She turned, and upon seeing who it was,
shook her head, and asked, "What?" Kerrin was a little surprised, but
asked. "I'm Kerrin Roeger, what's your name?" She looked annoyed, but said.
"If we are going to be flying together, I suppose you need to know. My name
is Lucia Delhardy. Beta four." Kerrin smiled, and continued, "Ah. Well, are
you ready for this mission?" She glared fiercely at him. "Yes." He winced,
but continued the attack. "Well, that's good news for us. Have you met
Mikael or Dakl?" She kept her stare on him, "No." Kerrin shuddered, and
looked around for reinforcements. Mikael and Dakl stepped off of a lift,
talking animatedly. Kerrin waved them over, and saw that Mikael took an
immediate interest in Lucia. They stopped in front of her, and Dakl gave
his hand to her, "My clan name is Vaa'shoom Dakl, what is your clan name?"
She seemed surprised, but smiled and shook his hand, "I am Lucia Delhardy."
Mikael offered his hand with a grin and, "Mine's Mikael Lebenen." She
snapped him a glare, and walked off to her fighter. Kerrin began laughing,
while both Dakl and Mikael looked confused. The techs waved them over, and
Kerrin sprinted to his fighter, "We'ed better get a move out."
The four myrmidons burst from the bow flight deck of the Deimos, and
instantly began twirling maneuvers, and rolling. It had been a long time
since they had been in a fighter and out of the simulators, and they felt
it. A com buzzed in Kerrin's helmet. "Beta flight, this is Control. Form
up, the convoy will be arriving soon." Kerrin flicked a switch on his
board, "Alright Beta, take my wing. We hold at 4 mark 6 mark niner niner 2
from the Tempest." The four ships neatly lined up in front of the Deimos,
and a little to starboard. The timer appeared on Kerrin's heads-up display.
(HUD) He saw about thirty seconds until the convoy would warp back into
real space from the Alpha-Centauri node. Kerrin waited, his eyes on the
stars, and the imaged graphic of the node on his HUD. The timer clicked
down to zero, and the warp field appeared. The giant blue arc was enough to
encompass nearly three kilometres in every direction, but nothing came out
of it. The arc was there for ten seconds, and nothing emerged. Kerrin heard
his com click, "Control, this is Beta two. (Mikael) Where's the convoy?"