Author's note: As usual, the Wing Commander universe and everyone in it is owned by Origins. I own only those characters that are created for this story.
Flight of the Valkyries
In the darkness of space, a flight patrol of seven Vampires was streaking across the skies. It had been almost two days since their journey began and their formation was beginning to get a little loose. "Stay sharp people we're almost there," said their Wing Commander.
"It's about time," said one of the other pilots. "We've been sitting in these things for forever."
The COMM crackled and they instinctively tightened up their formation. The starboard wingman for the Wing Commander adjusted one of the knobs on her screen to try and boost the COMM signal.
"This is the TCS Eisen to inbound squadron do you read us?" asked the voice on the COMM.
"This is Colonel Jessica Sylvesterson," said the Wing Commander. "We're the new Wolf Pack squadron you guys requested."
"Glad to hear you made it, Colonel," said another voice on the COMM.
"Doug, is that you?" asked the Wing Commander.
"Sure is, Jessie," said Doug. "We'll turn the lights on for you."
"Thanks, Doug," said the Colonel Sylvesterson.
"Anytime, Colonel," said Doug as he switched off the COMM.
"It that the Valkyrie squad?" asked one of the officers on the Bridge.
"Yes," said Doug. "That was the new Wolf Pack Squad. Please don't refer to them as the Valkyries."
"Sorry, Sir," said the officer. "It's just that that's what all the pilots having been calling them since they heard that an all female squadron was transferring to the Eisen."
"I'm not sure how Colonel Sylvesterson would take to having her squad referred to as the Valkyries," said Doug. "You might want to not call them that to their faces."
"Yes, Sir," said the officer.
Once the Vampires were in visual range of the Eisen, Colonel Sylvesterson signaled the Bridge on her COMM. "Wolf Pack Leader to Eisen. Requesting permission for Wolf Pack Squadron to dock."
"Permission granted, Colonel," said the COMM officer. "Good to have to you aboard."
"Thank you, Eisen," said Colonel Sylvesterson. "Okay everyone, get into docking formation and don't bunch up. We didn't fly for two days just to crack up now."
The various pilots signaled their acknowledgement and got into formation. Within a few minutes they were all docked and finally shutting down their Vampires. When they were done, they removed their helmets, exited their Vampires, and headed for the debriefing lift. Doug was waiting for them at the lift. When they were close enough, he saluted. Colonel Sylvesterson returned his salute and gave a casual glance to the rest of the squadron. They all understood her silent order and lined up by rank to face Doug.
"So, Jessie," said Doug. "This is your squadron?"
"They sure are, Doug," said Colonel Sylvesterson. "You want introductions now or once we've had a few to stretch our legs?"
"We can do it in whichever order you like," said Doug. "Remember, I'm the laid back one. Oh, and Commodore Sugimoto wants to see you right away before you get settled in."
"He does? About what?"
"He didn't say. He just gives the orders and I carry them out."
"You know, for a CAG you're such a pushover."
"That's what makes me so loveable, remember?"
"I think there are a few former commanding officers of ours who might disagree with you on that. Well, since the Commodore wants to see me right away, we should do the formality of reporting for duty and introductions now."
"Sounds good to me."
"New Wolf Pack Squadron reporting for duty, SIR!" shouted Colonel Sylvesterson. They all saluted.
"Good to have you aboard, Colonel," said Doug returning the salute. "Rank, name, and callsign."
Colonel Sylvesterson spoke first. "Colonel Sylvesterson, Jessica A. Callsign, Athena."
The next pilot in line spoke, "Major Moon, Tanya M. Callsign, Inferno."
"Major McMillan, Elizabeth T. Callsign, Fyvve."
Doug shook his head before speaking. "Wait a minute. Five? Do I want to know?"
"It's spelled F-Y-V-V-E, sir," said Fyvve. "It would take too long to explain at this time, sir."
"Very well," said Doug. "Carry on. Continue."
The next pilot spoke, "1st Lt. Winters, Crystal H. Callsign, Kitten."
"1st Lt. Highfeather, Khendra B. Callsign, Sixkiller."
"1st Lt. Denver, Amanda B. Callsign, Runway."
"1st Lt. Waters, Angela D. Callsign, Houdini."
Doug considered them all for a few moments. "Welcome to the Eisen Carrier Group," he finally said to them all. "Get your gear stowed in your quarters and get some rest after your trip. Colonel, don't forget you have a meeting with Commodore Sugimoto to get to. Dismissed."
With that, Doug saluted them all again and they returned it before heading to the lift.
"At least we have a friendly CAG for a change," said Runway.
"Don't be fooled by his friendly disposition," said Athena. "Doug is one of the best. When the time for business is at hand, he's not as friendly."
"Thanks for the heads up," said Fyvve as they all entered the lift.
When they reached their first stop and the door opened, Athena handed her gear over to Houdini. "Please stow that for me," she said to her. "I'll catch up to you all later after I talk to the Commodore."
"See you soon," said Inferno as the door to the lift slid closed. Athena took in a deep breath as she waited for the lift to reach its destination. When it finally did the door slid open to reveal the command deck. After exiting the lift she stopped a random officer in the hallway to ask where the Commodore's office was. The officer politely pointed her in the right direction, saluted, and left. Athena approached the door and knocked gently.
"Come," said a voice from within. Athena opened the door and locked eyes on Commodore Sugimoto for the first time. He was a slightly elderly man yet he carried himself well. "Ah, Colonel Sylvesterson, please sit."
Athena saluted then sat in a chair in front of his desk. "You wanted to see me, sir?" she asked.
"Yes, Colonel," he replied. "No doubt you heard what our mission was?"
"I did, sir," said Athena. "Hit a Nephilim shipyard and get out with our hides intact."
"That, in a nutshell, is our mission. Did they tell you which shipyard?"
"The shipyard in Volgris. THE Nephilim shipyard."
"They want us to hit a shipyard that deep in Bug territory? Begging all due respect, sir, but that's a suicidal move at this time."
"I know how you feel. I expressed my doubts to ConFed personally. Nevertheless, they are insistent that we make a go of it. That's why you and your squadron are here. ConFed top brass chose you and the pilots under your command specifically for this assignment. Your Wolf Pack Squad, or perhaps the more aptly named Valkyrie Squad, are the spearhead of the fighter contingent for the Eisen carrier group."
Athena looked puzzled for a moment. "Valkyrie Squad, sir?" she asked.
"It started as a little joke by the other pilots here on the Eisen," he replied. "When the top flight jocks heard that you and your team were all women, they began referring to you all as the Valkyries. But all jokes aside, Colonel, I was relieved when they posted you here. I think our chances for survival, and success, are a lot better than they would be if you and the pilots on your wing weren't here."
"I'll try not to let you down, sir. We'll all do our very best. You can count on that."
"Based on your squad's flight records, I know that I can. Well, that's all I wanted to discuss with you, Colonel. Go get some rest, you had a hell of a flight. Dismissed."
"Thank you, sir," said Athena as she rose from her chair and saluted. Commodore Sugimoto returned her salute briefly and then went back to dealing with the work at his desk. Athena finished her salute, turned about, and exited his office. Once out, she closed her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. "Right in the shit. Just like always." With that she headed back towards the bunk deck to try and get some sleep. It would probably be the last good sleep she would get for awhile she thought to herself.
To be continued…