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4 yrs ago
Update: for my birthday I got into a car accident. Starting to think staying in was a better idea after all.
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4 yrs ago
"hey how did you want to spend your birthday?" - I guess sitting in front of my computer playing games isn't an acceptable answer...?
4 yrs ago
Raindrop, drop top.


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Here's the ever tired daddy-o!

Any space for a single father and his daughter? :D

Explosions rattled off in the silence of space as the 7th moved in to engage the enemy. They were not the only ones in the local battle space, skirmishes and pitched battles from other units- both UEE and Coalition overlapped with theirs. Wings of FF-210 Naginatas screamed by chasing after Coalition Fenrirs, which despite their ungainly appearances were easily able to outmaneuver the UEE aerospace craft with ease. The UEE comms were saturated with panicked chatter as individual strike craft and MAS units banded together to form ad hoc units amongst the chaos.

Ingram watched a flight of UEE Sparrows attempt to enter the battlespace from one of Horizon Point's many hangars, wincing as a plasma blast from a Coalition warship struck the hangar and destroyed it, reducing the 3 suits into slag. The defense fleets weren't handling the assault well either: unprepared for an assault of this magnitude, many of the ships were still bringing up their combat shields as Coalition weapons collided against their hulls, exploding with orange fire and sending debris, atmosphere and bodies out into the void of space.

He watched as Pips sped forward to distract the Garmrs, leading them into the accurate fire of Deadeye. Gansu had begun engaging the main body of the enemy squadron. The Fenrirs were rapidly closing the distance between themselves and the Roanoke, and the enemy warships had just entered the ship's firing range. From behind them, brilliant beams of blue plasma shot forward, into the bodies of the Coalition warships, splashing across their shields and hulls with blinding blue explosions. In response, the Coalition ships fired back a volley of torpedos and cannon shells, bright red tracers streaking across the empty space. The presence of ship weapons just added another variable to the battlefield- while the Roanoke's projected firing lines were constantly being presented in realtime across their HUDs, any MAS smaller than the Titan risked being destroyed outright by a single stray shot.

Everyone's vitals had thus far been holding steady, so Ingram steeled himself for the battle ahead. He pressed a button and felt the legs of the Sparrowhawk close into flight mode as he pushed the throttle to the max. His head was pushed back into the headrest as the Sparrowhawk rocketed forward, tearing ahead of the rest of the group moving to meet the Coalition squadron. One of the Fenrir IIIs raised its shield arm and let loose a spray of plasma, the Sparrowhawk barreling to the left to avoid the lethal stream. The cockpit shook as the Fenrir III and a pair of IIs flew past him- making moves on Deadeye who had been taking potshots at their Garmrs.

"Deadeye, heat coming your way. Commander unit and two Fenrirs." Ingram barked into the comms. Fenrir commander units were typically bad news- they were smarter than their subordinates by far, and their plasma casters could reduce something as light as the Yeoman to slag in seconds. Normally, Ingram would've turned back to intercept, but they were stretched thin as it is.

Turning back to face the rest of the Coalition squadron, Ingram dove into the center of their formation, swapping back into combat mode as his targeting system went to work. Instinct, speed and violence of action were the words Ingram lived by, in the center of their formation, the Fenrirs would be hard pressed to acquire and fire on him without risking hitting their wingmates, which Ingram took advantage of. His ammo counter dropped as he pointed the Sparrowhawk's arms at two different Fenrirs and unloaded a burst of 20mm shells at each, explosions rippling across their armor. He followed it up with a volley of micro missiles, four of which exploded across the formation of Fenrirs. The damage was minimal, but the point wasn't to damage, it was to disrupt.

Smoke, concussive force, and heat from the missiles in such volume and proximity played havoc with the Fenrirs sensors, allowing Ingram to pick off one without taking fire from the rest at once. Swapping back into flight mode, Ingram pushed his MAS forward and rammed one of the Fenrirs, the two MAS rocketing out of the smoke cloud

> C-MAD - Fenrir Mk II
> Lt. Andrew 'Nessie' Loch

"What in the-" Loch's voice was cut off as a UEE pilot of all things rammed into him. Whether it was aerospace craft or MAS pilots, UEE servicemen and women were never this bold. Usually it was the Coalition outmaneuvering and outgunning them, but somehow their unit ended up being the ones with the tables flipped. A fucking Sparrow was making a mockery of the Garmr wing, and another, bigger and bulkier sparrow had entered close combat with them.

The Sparrowhawk let go of his Fenrir and he felt himself tumbling as he quickly swatted at his controls, trying to bring his MAS to a stop- but the UEE pilot was already back on top of him.

"Fuck off!" Loch shouted as his Fenrir, still spinning, pointed its autocannon at the UEE suit and sent a spray of inaccurate shells in its general direction. The Sparrowhawk pointed its arms at his Fenrir and Loch saw the muzzle flash of its arm mounted weapons. He instinctively hugged the Fenrir's bulky arms around its chest, protecting the cockpit as explosions rippled across his arms and armor. There was an explosion above him and the cockpit viewscreen went dark for a moment as the UEE suit scored a direct hit into the Fenrir's head unit.

As the explosions stopped, Loch quickly looked around to reacquire his target. The camera distorted and unclear but he eventually found the Sparrowhawk, charging back at him- a beam saber drawn. Cursing to himself, Loch quickly hammered at his controls, launching his Fenrir's sledgehammer missile at the approaching suit whilst drawing his own combat blade. The armored Sparrow juked past his missile and an outstretched arm nailed him with another volley of shells, the explosions fully ripping his gun arm off. The enemy's beam saber reared back to prepare a strike and Loch saw his opening. He rushed forward with his combat blade, intending to stab the heated blade through the Sparrow's chest.

"I've got you!" Loch cried triumphantly as the Sparrowhawk juked to the left at the last possible moment, its beam saber cutting low across the Fenrir's torso. The blue-white of a plasma saber filled his view screen and disappeared, returning moments later as brilliant blue light began tearing through his cockpit. His helmet visor rapidly polarized as it tried to protect its pilot from the intense light, shattering. Loch saw the bright light and managed to get out a wordless scream. He felt intense heat, then nothing.

> 7th Squadron - Sparrowhawk-B
> LCDR Ingram 'Boss' Shaw

"That's one. Coming around for another pass." Ingram called over the comms, flying past a bisected Fenrir. His Sparrowhawk rocketed away from the remaining Fenrirs as the smoke cleared, easily dodging returning fire. His targeting AI blared a warning, his cockpit flashing red as it notified him of a Hardballer taking aim at him. The Sparrowhawk threw itself back into flight mode and tore off in random directions, a beam of plasma searing past him, along with a spray of 35mm shells.

"Eyes, I need some more fire down range, the Hardballers are coming into range, and they seem pretty intent on slagging little old me." Ingram barked, he may have specified Gansu, but he didn't much care who was firing, so long as it was sent.

> C-MAD - Garmr
> Lt. Amy ‘Aimes’ Kos

“How the fuck is this thing so fast?!” Amy ‘Aimes’ Kos barked into the comms as she and the remaining two Garmr’s tried to track the pesky sparrow down. Normally they would’ve let it go by now, but it just kept on getting in their faces whenever they tried to get even a second of breathing room.

“Fuck me, they got one of my boosters,” groaned one of her wingmates, as his Garmr lagged behind, smoking trailing from its shoulders where one of the Kolibri’s bursts had blown up one of its direcitional boosters. One of the Kolobri’s shells must have also scored a direct hit with the cockpit, as his camera was fuzzy and helmet was cracked.

“Stay back and bracket the fucking thing.” Aimes barked at her wingmates, “I’m going in for the kill.”

“Yes Ma’am” the other two pilots replied, as they immediately broke off their chase, splitting off in opposite directions. Using a combination of laser fire from their head units, as well as sprays of munitions from their handguns, they attempted to corale the Kolibri into a singular heading, where Aimes rushed forward to fill the gap, intending on ramming the thing with her sword and tearing it apart.

They couldn’t afford to spend much more time on a single Sparrow, they needed to turn and harass the UEE’s heavier units so the Hardballers could get their shots in undisturbed.

Space remained silent as an orange flower of fire erupted from the top Horizon Point- bits of solar panel, steel, and dish parts filling the local area as the force of the explosion ruptured outward. The station and its attached ships shuddered as gas, debris and concussive force rattled the local area. The explosion tore a great chunk out of the station’s superstructure, and a series of secondary explosions began to ripple across the station as a series of secondary explosions began to slowly tear the station apart from the inside out.

Time seemed to slow down as onlooking ships and people on board the stations tried to process what was going on. In the emptiness of space, just outside the range of Horizon Point and the UEE fleets’ weapons, a battleship warped into view, detaching its destroyer escort as soon as it exited FTL. Moments later, several other warships warped into view, releasing their clutches of destroyers and frigates as well. The final force was larger than the combined might of the Horizon Point’s defense fleet and weapons installations, and the 5th fleet- much of which was still undergoing repairs. Coalition ships released their MAS squadrons- dozens of tiny specs in the darkness of space, the glint and light from their thrusters made them seem like a swarm of angry fireflies in the distance.

Moments later, the flagship opened fire.

The remains of Horizon Point station rocked violently as a plasma blast struck it, melting into half a dozen floors and corridors in the tightly packed station hull. While not a devastating hit on its own, it was the preamble to another volley of plasma and cannonfire from the Coalition fleet. Several more impacts rocked the station, while others sailed off into the distance, hitting other vessels in the UEE fleet.

Red lights and sirens began blaring across the entirety of the UEE vessels, as they tried to react to the sudden attack. The planetary defense fleets, as well as the damaged 5th fleet sluggishly moved into defensive positions to meet the Coalition invasion fleet, deploying their own fighter and MAS units to combat the Coalition threat that was quickly closing in.

The Roanoke shuddered violently, sending personnel, equipment, and Ingram’s drink flying. Ingram cursed as he caught himself against the bar. ”Eva! What the fuck was that?!” Ingram barked into the air. Almost as if in response, the lights on the Roanoke flickered off, plunging them into darkness. Red emergency lights flooded the dark rooms and halls moments later.

Like a hound to a whistle, Abigail had already taken off on her heels for the nearest door. "MAS first think later!" She yelled over her shoulder, bumping into the opening doors as the emergency power was sluggish to detect her dead sprint towards it.

Eva’s avatar popped into existence in front of him, pouring pale blue light over the him. “LIEUTENANT COMMANDER SHAW,” the avatar reported, “Communications to Horizon Point have halted. In regards to your question what ‘THE FUCK’ was ‘THAT’: I can only assume the THAT you are referring to is an impact against the Roanoke’s hull from a Coalition plasma cannon. We are currently under attack.”

”Lead with that first next time!” Ingram cursed at the ship VI, also sprinting to the doors behind Abi. With a sort of practiced grace, Ingram transitioned easily from the false gravity inside the Officer’s lounge to the low/zero gravity of the ship’s halls.

”All hands, brace for emergency dismount.”

The ship shuddered as it ripped itself away from its docking mounts on Horizon Point. Those onboard the ship felt it shifting, as the ship rapidly pulled away from the exploding station, and began to reorient itself in space.

”General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands report to battle stations. This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill.

Already pushing himself down the ship’s hallways, Ingram grabbed his comm and barked into it, almost echoing the captain’s voice above him as it rang throughout the hallway.

”7th Squadron scramble! I want everyone off their ass and in their mechs, we have 5 minutes, do it in 3.”

Minutes later, Ingram and other pilots of the 7th squadron were tearing into the Roanoke’s hangar, which was already a mess of activity. Pilots sprinted for their crafts while engineers rushed to their stations, shouting things at one another and pointing at datapads and screens. Unnecessary or momentarily irrelevant materials were unceremoniously shoved aside as Ultra-light MAS lifters attached last minute munitions to mechs that still needed servicing.

Half climbing, half throwing himself into the chest cavity of his MAS, Ingram mashed a key on the side of his cockpit, shutting himself into the darkness. With a short breath, he pulled his helmet over his head and sealed himself within his flight suit. The helmet whirred to life as it booted up and connected to his neural implant, painting a heads up display over the helmet’s faceplate. As the MAS itself sprang to life, the walls seemed to become transparent, becoming what the ‘head’ of the MAS saw. Ingram turned his head left and right and was satisfied that the Sparrowhawk’s movements mimicked his.

Ingram looked up as the massive hangar doors above them began to pull open, leaving a thin oxygen shield as the only thing preventing the entirety of the hangar from venting out. Above them, the inky black void of space, dotted by stars, now occupied with dozens upon dozens of ships. Battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and the exploding Horizon Point station loomed above them, as flashes of light from railguns and plasma cannons streaked across the black empty. Tiny flecks of blue lights- the thrusters of MAS and aerospace fighters zig zagged and spiraled around, lights flashing as their weapons fired, silent flowers of orange and white taking their place as weapons connected with them.

> Confirming Pilot Assignment: LCDR Ingram Shaw_
> ...Pilot Confirmed
> Initializing systems...

> Reactor Unit: Online_
> Life Supportt: Online_
> Targeting AI: Online_
> Weapon Systems: Online_

> All Calibrations Complete
> All Systems Functional
> Standby for Launch

Above them, lines dictating each MAS’ projected path out of the hangar was displayed in realtime 3D. A screen flashed in front of Ingram’s face, control tower giving him and the 7th squadron authorization to launch- not that he would’ve waited for them to give the OK anyway.

”This is Boss. All green, all green. 7th Squadron, comms check.”

He paused for the briefest moment, waiting for everyone to report clear before he continued. ”Communications with Command are cut. We’re not sure what we’re flying into so expect the worst. Primary objective is the Roanoke, other allied vessels should be protected if possible, but the Roanoke holds prio. Updates on the fly, launch when ready.”

There was a hiss as the cables connecting the Sparrowhawk to the ship were disconnected, removing the MAS from the Roanoke’s grid, electromagnetic rails quickly propelling the Roanoke’s MAS’ into the black void of space. The Sparrowhawk’s thrusters activated as he cleared the threshold of the Roanoke’s hangar, banking off to get out of the way of other launching craft.

Taking a moment to orient himself, Ingram remembered how much he hated space combat. No solid ground or cover, fire could come from almost any angle- and at any distance. The only thing keeping him from dying in a vacuum was a few layers or armor.

Approaching the Roanoke was a Coalition cruiser and a pair of light frigates, intent on crippling the small carrier before it was able to clear Horizon Point and fall back to the carrier lines. At the head of the small Coalition force was two full squadrons of Coalition MAS, Ingram’s targeting computers tracking no less than 8 Fenrir IIs and a pair of heavy Hardballers, led by a Fenrir III. A quartet of Garmrs screened their approach, also led by another Fenrir III.

”Watch yourself, watch your wingman. All units, weapons free.”

Ingram sighed as the pilots filtered out of the officer's lounge, an absentminded hand rubbing at his temples. The squadron deserved their break- but Ingram still had a while before he was able to relax. He grabbed a small tumbler from behind the bar, and plonked a orb of ice into the glass, pouring himself a glass of whiskey from a bottle Gansu hadn't gotten his hands on yet. He threw his head back and downed the glass in a single gulp and poured himself another shot.

He went about the very mundane process of forwarding post meeting notes to the Roanoke's Captain and the necessary upper brass. All things considered, the squad had taken the new girl without much fanfare of complaint- not that he expected anything entirely different. The Savonians were sociable, but stuck mostly to themselves, Gansu was Gansu, and the others weren’t the type to cause trouble either.

Ingram glanced up- Abigail seemed to have been content to remain in the Officer’s lounge, more or less gnawing on the same sugar-drink-snack-thing she always seemed to have. He offered the young pilot a raised eyebrow.

“You know you’re dismissed right? Unless you had something else you wanted to say.”

"No point in hurrying if I have nowhere to be dismissed to," Abigail responded. She thought for a second. "I don't like her yet," she added on.

“So I suppose bugging me is the next best thing to do.” Ingram sighed. “Yet? You’ve just met her- besides, you say that about practically everyone that comes on board. Or I assume you do, I still only understand half of the things you three are saying.”

"I've nothing to gain from bugging you. Besides - you spoke first. Could've left me to chew on this vacuum-sealed metal packaging for all I cared." She went back to chewing on the corner of the empty Froot Skwurt. "I don't care that she spoke over me. Only way to get a word in edgeways. But she shrugged and smiled at me, which worries me." Abigail chucked the empty carton towards one of the bins but the lid didn't slide open automatically so it bounced off. She sighed and stood up to collect it. "An FNG in a prototype MAS that doesn't look like it's had a lot of field testing shouldn't be getting cheeky with any of us - even the dumb rookie who talks too much. I mean shit, the only reason I felt alright doing it was 'cause I'd been video calling and sending IMs to you lot right the way through training." She picked up the packaging and plopped it into the bin.

"Don't get me wrong," Abigail looked up at Ingram. "This isn't about her not liking me. It's refreshing to be not liked for once. I just hope she's not so quick to put down the rest of the crew based on how they behave this close to being taken off the frontlines."

“Its a miracle those things haven’t bored holes in your teeth yet.” Ingram muttered offhandedly, “I mean, she knows more and less about you than probably the whole squadron- most of your files are redacted, and those that aren’t are all the poster child gaff.”

“Hell, if my first introduction to you had been the Abi-the-poster-child, I probably would’ve been looking for a way to get you out of my squadron ASAP.” Ingram pointed out, “Not everyone has a pair of vets looking out for them.”

“I wouldn’t stress too much about the new girl,” Ingram added, “I think she was just trying to find her spot on the pecking order. You probably look just as much of a rook’ to her as she looks to you.”

"I'm not stressed." Abigail pulled that placid, plastic smile she knew Ingram hated, thrown onto innumerable posters and TV channels all across Savonia and peppered throughout UEE propaganda. "After all," she played up her accent a little, "The Child of Savonia fights for the UEE, but she can't fight alone!" Her smile dropped as soon as it showed up. "I'm fair game, I just don't want her thinking it's okay to do that to anyone like Gansu."

Ingram was distracted for a moment as his holopad pinged- it was Dearil, prepping his return to the Roanoke. That was good for morale, Ingram rarely asked Dearil about what he brought- he was aware of the contraband that came on board, but as long as it wasn’t harmful to the crew Ingram didn’t care. Still, he made a habit of not asking what the man brought, he’d have to report it to command if he knew the specifics. He sent the Hammerhead pilot an OK, sending him necessary approval codes to land in one of the Roanoke’s hangar bays.

Raising his second glass to his mouth, Ingram shook his head and sighed, turning back to Abigail. ”I really hate when you do that.”

Horizon Point Station
Communications Hub

“How are we looking over there Sika?” Barret called out as he looked up from underneath the main console of the Communications center. His sleeves were rolled up and his face and uniform were covered in grime. He wiped at some sweat on his forehead with a dirty arm and was rewarded for his efforts with a dark brown and red smudge of gunk over his face. He grimaced and wiped his hands with his uniform- it didn’t help much. With a sigh and a stretch, he stood up straight and sat down on the chair attached to the console, pulling out a silver flask.

“All done over here boss,” Sika called out from behind another console. “We’re good to go.”

“Good, good. Right on schedule,” Barret said with a lighthearted chuckle as he took a swig from the flask. He took another as Sika appeared, also covered in grime, and leaned against the console itself. “Want some? Ilyan Whiskey.” Barret asked, offering the younger officer the flask.

Sika shook his head, and Barret shrugged. He shocked the flask and frowned, seemingly unhappy with how little remained of its original contents.

“How about you buddy?” Barret asked a comms tech, slumped against the same console he and Sika were at. The tech’s head rolled to the side, his eyes were glazed over, blood trailing from a small hole in his forehead between his brows and down his nose. With a smark, Barret upended the flask and poured the remaining contents on the body. He tossed the flask aside, seeing the name ‘E. Bossk’ enraged on its side one last time before it clattered against the floor and stopped at the boot of a second engineer, this one with a trio of holes in his chest.

“Gloria ad Imperium.” Murmured Sika quietly as he shut his eyes, dropping a silenced pistol to the floor and clasping his hands together. Barret nodded to the younger man as he pulled a detonator out from pocket. All around them, flashing red dots.

“Gloria ad Imperium.”
potentially interested
Ingram chuckled softly to himself as the Officer’s Lounge erupted in conversation and light hearted joking. The squadron seemed to have received the new girl fairly well at the very least. The Savonains welcomed her about as warmly as he expected them to- that being just a short welcome before no doubt delving into whatever tangents they always got into, but in Savonian. Ingram could make out bits and pieces of their conversation, but had long since given up on attempting to understand everything they said. Ingram had requested that most topic-relevant conversation be spoken in the galactic standard, but there was no harm in otherwise keeping their culture alive. Gansu did what he always did, and handed the new pilot a good luck token. Ingram was never sure where Gansu got them all, they sort of all just seemed to appear out of thin air.

Ingram turned to look at the gaggle of pilots he called his squadron, particularly at the Savonians, who were bickering about something. Abigail- their squadron’s youngest, yelled at him, complaining about Aleks not granting her leave. Again, he didn’t know the extent of what was said between the two of them, but he caught enough to understand the gist of the conversation. With an amused look, Ingram couldn’t help but shrug.

“Well, Abi, try asking again tomorrow?”

"Good idea, sir." Abigail nodded once and reclined in her beanbag chair. That was that.

“And Aleks?” Ingram added, with a short sigh as he rubbed at his temple, “Please refrain from calling members of the squadron cock suckers.”

Ingram’s understanding of the Savonian language was still relatively rudimentary, and he couldn’t speak it. But he could understand enough to generally understand what the Savonians were saying. Though he could never be certain with his translations. He turned back to Clara as she finished introducing herself to the squadron.

“Well Clara, I’m sure you’ll fit right in. Probably.” Ingram said to her with a slight grin and a shrug “If you haven’t already, stop by the med bay and get your tac-cor’s recalibrated to the Roanoke’s” he added, gesturing with a finger to his eyes as he did.

She was a test pilot, new to military squadrons, so Ingram wasn’t sure how aware she was of typical protocols. Most, if not all pilots had a suite of implants applied to them upon joining the military: At the bare minimum, a set of contact-like tactical corneas to allow them to read/interpret information much like a helmet HUD, and a basic neural-link to allow them into interact and interface with most simple UEE tech.

“The Roanoke’s not a big ship, but if you get lost you can have a map or path displayed to your tac-cor’s, just ask Eva-”

“Yes, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER SHAW,” A voice interrupted him, and Eva’s physical avatar appeared before them, “what would you like to-”

“-Nope, shut up Eva.” Ingram cut in with a quick wave of his hand. The Roanoke’s VI Hub had been taken a near hit during one of the last missions, and since then the VI had become overly responsive, and had the habit of popping in with as little as its name being mentioned.

“Very well, LIEUTENANT COMMANDER SHAW.” The avatar nodded and disappeared.

"Am I able to do anything with Eva yet or are we still keeping her as a portable search engine after that mishap in the washroom?" Abigail asked, scratching her scalp idly.

Ingram gave her a look, and the lack of Eva responding to her name being spoken gave the rest of the room enough of an idea that Eva was generally not responding to Abi’s voice- as had been deemed by Ingram.

“Its been less than 48 hours.” Ingram told her as a reply. Half the time, he was unsure if he was in command of an elite military squadron, or a gaggle of schoolchildren. Perhaps somewhere else in the universe there was a teacher being overwhelmed by straight laced and extremely studious students.

"That it has," Abigail agreed. "I distinctly recall cleaning it all up when I realised what was going on." Again - she just...dropped the matter entirely. She acknowledged his response then sunk back into the chair once more. She finished her Froot Skwurt.

“Anyway.” Ingram continued, ““If there’s nothing else, we can call the meeting here.”

“7th Squadron.” Ingram called out. There was the scrape of chairs as everyone stood up- or at least came to a semblance of attention.


There was another loud puff as Abigail collapsed right back into her beanbag chair and started chewing on the tab on the juice pouch, sprawled out and watching the other pilots tidy their things.

Horizon Point Station
Communications Hub

From its view on Horizon Point, the planet below looked blue and peaceful, beautiful even. The thick layer of fluffy white clouds almost managed to cover the cratered, scarred, and war torn surface of the planet below. Cerol had been fought over and nearly destroyed half a dozen times over the course of the war, its resources raided and razed, but from up here, one could almost ignore the destruction down below.

"Lieutenant Barret!" called out a voice, young, clear and bright. Looking up, Barret saw a fresh faced young man- almost a boy- approaching him. His face was full of youthful enthusiasm and his dress uniform crisp and freshly pressed, the shiny silver bar on his shoulder marking him as an Ensign in the Imperial Navy. The nametag on his chest denoted him as a man named Sika.

"Did you hear anything about our orders?" Sika asked.

"Nope, nothing's changed since the last time you asked, 15 minutes ago." Barret replied with a shrug as he began walking off, motioning for the young ensign to follow him.

"Its a relief though, this has been a long time coming." Barret said with a relaxed sigh, as the two made their down well populated halls of Horizon Point. "We won't get another chance like this, not for a long time."

A pair of Imperial soldiers met the two officers at the airlock door that led them into the station's UEE branch of the communication hub, the Empire's own personal communications center for military use on the otherwise civilian station.

"C'mon Sika, keep up." Barret called out towards the lagging Ensign. "We're still on the clock."

Chapter 1: Out of the frying pan...

Horizon Point Station, Cerol
Cerol System, UEE Controlled Space

Horizon Point Station, part imperial shipyard, part frontier trading post, throw in a few 'navy' bars, and a sprinkle of rustic charm and you had a recipe for... whatever this was. While it wasn't quite a backwater but one could hardly call Horizon Point a thriving center of commerce. While technically a civilian station, since it was seated above the only inhabited planet in the Cerol system, Horizon Point served as one of the UEE's forward operating bases, set a few systems deep into the FEZ/No man's land that the UEE and Coalition were currently fighting over, a point of egress between the frontlines and the UEE's more fortified colonial systems.

As a result, it saw plenty of UEE traffic, and the station's economy ended up growing to suit its military centric clientele. A hodgepodge of services both legal and illicit to provide for the tired and ailing soldier quickly cropped up, and it was often said that an enterprising soldier could find most anything he could need here. Shuttles and freighters laden with supplies zipped back and forth between the station and the surface, bringing supplies to ships docked to its shipyard arms, as wings of fighters and MAS units flew on regular patrols. Several fleets floated in close proximity to the planet, some preparing to leave, others returning from the front lines for much needed repairs.

Among the returning fleets was the Fifth Imperial Expeditionary Fleet, or the 'Fighting Fifths' as the men and women of the fleet often called themselves. Having just returned two weeks prior from heavy conflict within the Ilyan System, fending off a Coalition attempt to establish yet another foothold into UEE space, the majority of the Fifth fleet was undergoing repairs, with several smaller ships being built from the ground up to replace fleet losses. Transports shuttled back and forth through the ships of the Fifth Fleet, delivering supplies and transporting personnel. Shuttles bearing the black and gold stripes of the 101st Legion flew from the the surface of Cerol to several of the fleet's capital ships, as they dropped off new pilots and MAS's to replace the fleet's losses during its previous operations. The majority of the Fifth Fleet and its crew were set to be rotated off the frontlines- moving into a reserve and training role as new pilots and crew needed to be inducted into their specific roles and brought up to speed.

Docked to one of the arms of Horizon Point was the INS Roanoke, abuzz with a quiet commotion. Just outside the ship, the muffled rumble of heavy duty torches could be heard throughout the ship as whole plates of damaged armor was repaired or replaced. Inside, engineers and technicians were walking around the cramp hallways and thoroughfares of the ship, making repairs and spot adjustments to the interior of the ship, working in seemingly tireless shifts as they brought the Roanoke back to full strength. Despite this, the attitude throughout the ship was light, lax even, as crew chatted about, eager to finish up shift and cash in their leave passes for a trip to Horizon Point station proper.

This relaxed attitude extended to its detachment of MAS pilots as well. The 7th MAS Squadron found themselves gathered in the Officers' Lounge, temporarily converted into a meeting room for the day's briefings. The Roanoke had just received a shuttle full replacement crew and pilots to shore up their past losses, and the process of integrating the new and old was a fairly standard order of business.

Ingram sat at the head of their converted meeting table, with all the air of a chaperone trying to reign in kids getting ready for spring break. The Roanoke- and by extension the 7th Squadron had been pulling rough shifts for the past several standard months, so Ingram understood the desire to relax. Their usual briefing room was currently undergoing repairs- complications due to a missile striking the hull above the room. As a result, the 7th found themselves gathered around a table in the officer's lounge, with its partially stocked bar no further than a few steps away.

"Alright, 7th Squadron, lets get this done quick." Ingram called out over the mild din of chatting pilots. His voice held the authoritative timbre most of his squadron were used to, but lacked the the harsher bark it typically had while they were deployed.

"As you all can see, we've just arrived at Horizon Point," Ingram began his spiel, gesturing out the lounge's windows. "We'll be here for the next week as the Roanoke undergoes repairs. We're getting rotated off the frontlines so if you have vacation requests put them in now."

Ingram glanced at his datapad and swiped over to a dossier for their newest pilot, the public parts of her dossier appearing on everyone else's synced screens. "Also, it appears that the Upper brass has finally heard our calls for reinforcements during the Ilyan blitz, and has seen fit to send us a single pilot. Please welcome Lieutenant Alcántara."

Ingram was of course making a joke at their new pilot's expense. The Roanoke didn't have a large enough hangar to support anymore than a single additional pilot anyway. Ingram wasn't thrilled at the idea of a test pilot joining them, rather than another veteran combat pilot. That being said, the squadron and the rest of the fleet were about to shift into a training/rest/recoup stance anyway, so they had plenty of time to iron out the any kinks the squadron might have. Nevertheless, Ingram paused his spiel to allow their newest pilot- and anyone else in the squadron to make any introductions they wished.

Ingram gestured to their newest pilot, "Welcome to the 7th Direwolves, Lieutenant. My name is Commander Shaw, but the boys and girls here like to call me 'Boss'. Make yourself comfortable and feel free to ask anyone in the squadron questions you may have. As for the rest of you, I expect you to play nice- you know who you are."

Ingram shot a look at those few pilots in question, but didn't approach the subject further. Good natured ribbing and hazing rituals were common in most- if not all UEE squadrons. As a squadron leader, Ingram was required to publicly disapprove, but as long as things didn't get overly hostile, violent or otherwise out of hand, most people took their squadron rituals on the chin.

Oh and before I forget. I know that several of you are trying to jump ship and hit Horizon Point as soon as possible. Danielsson will be in charge of approving requests for leave, starting at 1700 local time."

"Questions? Concerns?"
Hey everybody! Here's the new OOC Thread for Falling Skies moving forward, go ahead and migrate your CS's over to the new thread.
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