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Pulling The Sword From The Stone

Posted on Wednesday 4 May 2022 @ 05:34 by

Mission: Disaster!
Location: Fighter Ops Deck 1a
Timeline: MH10:00
2534 words - 5.1 OF Standard Post Measure

Goose and Maverick arrived on the Flight Deck with Peyton and to say that they found the place to be a mess would be an understatement. The place was a scrap heap. Both flight officers whistled in unison at what they saw. Pete wondered how they would even try to execute the plan without any working fighters. "Chief this place looks like the land that engineers forgot. You know whose in charge here?"

Peyton was quite affronted by the comment. She took great pride in making sure all the fighters were able to exceed expectations. The flight deck was usually immaculate, not the mass of equipment and whatnot all meshed together. "It was nicer pre-disaster." she sighed. "But we are looking for Lt. Commander Oz..." she continued before noticing a rather recognizable pair of shoes. Commander Oz always wore non-regulation cowboy boots and they were trapped under the fallen wing of a fighter.

Goose saw Peyton's eyes drift to a pair of boots and exhaled sharply. He glanced over toward Pete and with a nod of his head indicated where the other man lay. "Come on Chief lets get this thing off him..." Nick said as he jogged over to the fighter. Pete was close on his heels although he did not think there was much of a chance that this Commander Oz was still alive.

She knew she wouldn't have been able to lift anything off of him herself, so Peyton was glad she had two others with her. They began to lift, she could feel the burn in her legs as the weight of the wing pressed down on them... it felt so much heavier to her. As it lifted and was placed down she saw the open eyes of Dominic Oz staring back at her, lifeless and unresponsive. "Oh Dom..." Peyton said as she tried for a pulse on pure reflex. There was none.

Peyton closed his eyes over and as a single tear rolled down her face she wiped some dirt off his face. "See you around sir."

Both Goose and Maverick had a face of both sorrow and disgust. A large part of the man's skull had been caved in by the fighter that crashed on it. The two officers came to attention and saluted the fallen CAG as was befit with tradition. However, the sorrow and hurt of loss would have to wait there was still a ship to save. Pete stood next to Peyton and put a hand on the woman's shoulder. "I am sorry for your loss but mourning is going to have to wait unfortunately. As the senior man on the deck I am going to take charge as CAG in the interim. Chief Santos as of now you are named the Deck Chief. Please make a note in the Flight Log. We need to get all available craft on the launching stripes asap. We will also need to get all able bodied pilots into the seats it is going to be the more the merrier situation."

Goose cut in while Pete spoke. "We are going to need at least eight fully crewed craft. According to my calculations."

"I know..." Peyton said rising, both her words and actions an answer to the fact she had to stow her feelings about what she had just seen. Her friend, her commanding officer lying in a mess of machine and Human parts.

Peyton also nodded in recognition of Maverick as the interim CAG at the moment. In light of current events he was probably the most qualified and she had no 'real' leadership experience. She left that to the officers of the deck, she just liked getting her hands dirty and shouting at people.

"I know some of our pilots carry their own comms device. Some of us keep them on us in case of emergencies and they act as a 'call to the deck' if you want to call it that." she said as she brought out a little pair of wings and pressed it. A small blue light began to flash. "We will need to see who shows up..."

"Ok while we wait lets get to work on the first fighter." Maverick said as he eyed the set of wings. A unique device that he wished he thought of. It was definitely something he would have to introduce on all of his future postings.

Peyton saw Maverick looking at the wings. "It was just something I threw together. First time we've had to use it actually, but it is our own in case of ship wise systems failures." she said waving her hands around showing the destruction and using it as an example.

"Pitstops fighter looks almost untouched." Peyton said pointing at the fighter in question near the corner of the room.

"Lets get it on the launching stripes. We need seven more..." Maverick was interrupted by Nick. "Hey Mav I got one here looks like it needs a new retro manifold. Should take about five minutes or so. So, looks like this makes two." Nick stood next to a craft that had the name 'Rockhound' stencilled onto the side. This must have been one hell of a flight he thought.

Over the course of the next half hour the three managed to get seven fighter ready. "Chief, any word from any of the pilots?" Mav asked. He knew having the ships was one thing but it meant nothing if you did not have the people to fly them.

"I have Pitstop, Rockhound, Sasquatch, Viper and Iceman on their way. Possibly a few stragglers for support, right now though with the names I've mentioned we have 8 including ourselves... I've not flown in a while." Peyton admitted, possible at the wrong time but still she was nothing if not honest.

"Right get everyone into fighters and start pre-flight. We will launch on me. Once launched positions and vectors will be assigned for the tractor beams. With any luck this will work just great. Goose you're with me as usual. Lets plan for a five minute launch window." Maverick said to Peyton then jogged over to the fighter that was in the ready one position. He hoped into the pilot's seat and Goose jumped into the TSO seat. "Right Goose short short version of pre-flight. I am not sure we have too much time here."

"Mav.. This rig has taken a beating we need to check the whole thing or we won't be around to save anyone." Nick responded with a tone of sarcasm in his voice.

Peyton got into a fighter designated for Psycho. She hadn't heard from him to she assumed the man was still alive somewhere but he was just unable to contact her.

As she started up the pre-flight checks a warning light flashed up on the console. Peyton swore in Spanish and began a small reroute to bypass the problem with the ignition sequence. Before she knew it the fighter was running a little smoother, she ignored the rattling noise that intermittently began to patter behind her.

"Talk to me Goose... We don't have much more time." Pete looked around and was happy to see that the fighters present had their ignition sequences over with and engines were humming. "Come on we have to get going."

"GOT IT!" Goose interjected and actually punched the console in front of him. Whatever he did triggered something and the fighter burst to life. Maverick saw the ignition sequence buttons flashing and ready to go. So he pushed them and the engines burst to life. He engaged a comm channel to all the birds. "Ladies and Gents. I am Lieutenant Pete Mitchell, but please call me Maverick. We set out now to show them what the fleet pilots can do and save your mothership. I am transmitting rendezvous coordinates. Launch immediately and form up. Once we are in position we will engage tractor beams and attempt to drag the Merlin to safety. On me... Ready One launch." He made sure to transmit on a frequency that the Iwo Jima was receiving. As soon as he closed the channel he pushed his controls forward and through the forcefield that blocked out the void of space.

The Merlin herself may have been damaged, systems inoperable at the moment, but Peyton was glad that the internal equipment, the fighters, were still operational. She nodded to some of the other pilots as their fighters formed the line on the stripes and began to shoot off into the abyss of space. From the outside you could see the Merlin adrift, the flickering lights on some bits, the debris that had been shaken loose. Peyton's heart broke a little but she knew she had a mission to complete alongside Maverick and her own pilots.

"Attention all flights. Take up cardinal direction points around the Merlin." Maverick maneuvered his fighter to fore of the Merlin. At a distance and to his right he could see his mother ship the Iwo Jima holding position like a lone sentinel. The Merlin herself had debris floating around her, and holes in her hull. Pete hoped this plan worked. "Right here we go... I have the fore, Chief I want you on the dorsal, Pitstop take the aft, Rockhound you have the port side, Sasquatch the starboard, Iceman you have ventral, Viper you and Lady Gray are flying out rig. I want squawk on any contact. Call out when you are in position." Maverick came to all stop about 10,000 kilometers of the bow of the Merlin. He made sure to match pitch and roll with the derelict vessel, and issued orders for the rest to do the same. The comm channel activated. "Pitstop standing by..." "Rockhound standing by..." and one by one the rest of the flight checked in.

"Aye, Lieutenant." Peyton acknowledged and began punching commands into her console. The fighter began its swift move towards the dorsal part of the ship. She was quick, agile and it almost felt like she was there in no time. There were a few minor adjustments to avoid some floating debris but she made it there unscathed. "Santos in position, ready to get my crew to safety... and you guys be careful." She said like a mother hen to the fighter pilots.

There were a number of friendly jeers at her, a little banter as they knew her well and that she was overprotective of her 'family' and the fighters they flew in... they were her babies too.

"Right on Goose's order. We have the tractor, everyone else you just guide the Merlin, use repel beam if need be." Maverick said on the comm. Nick Goose Bradshaw had been running computations since they launched. He finally got everything together. "I am sorry but figuring out how to tug an Excalibur Class is no small feat. Here we got all units engage."

A beam of silver energy came from the rear of the fighter, and one by one the same beam came from each of the fighters in turn. The lead vessel which housed Goose and Maverick began to pull away and to the astonishment of just about everyone the Merlin began to move as well. "We just need to get the ship out of this area and close enough for the Iwo Jima to take over the tug."

A warning light began to flash of Peyton's console, followed by a small alarm. The sheer size, the mass of the Merlin was taxing the systems of the far smaller fighters. She opened a channel to the others, "Santos to flight group, keep an eye on the tractor beam system. The sheer force of dragging the Merlin is causing overheating issues on my fighter. Stay safe, don't overtax your systems." she said not wanting to be scooping anyone up once they had completed their mission.

"Thanks Chief... Take power from the weapons systems and everything else you can save for life support to keep the beams going." Nick chimed up after her.

The Merlin creeped through space as the small flight group moved it millimeter by millimeter. Pete saw on his console that the pitch and roll of the Merlin was faster than the fighters could compensate. "Attention Flight group, this is the CAG. Pilots you are going to have to use pinpoint flight maneuvers to finish this mission. The Merlin is pitching and rolling faster than we can compensate on thrusters. Maintain your positioning and kick up your engines. Watch the redlines... CAG out." A small bead of sweat dripped down Pete's head as his hands glided off the controls. "Hold onto your garter Goose here we go..." He engaged the impulse drive and the fighter began to fight and buckle against the weight. Slowly he glided his hand over the flight cross and his fighter began to match the pitch of the Merlin.

Peyton almost chuckled. Imagine the pilot telling her how to compensate for drag force, on how to solve the power fluctuations on the fighters systems. Sometimes she forgot that pilots, more specifically male pilots, tended to forget the people that fixed these systems knew what to do. However, she knew those that managed a team sometimes had to say the obvious if only to clarify the obvious. Sometimes people did forget simple solutions to things.

There was a rumble that had began. It was subtle, the strain as the Merlin began to roll and pitch was building and she knew that they had to get them to safety soon before the fighters burned themselves out and became just a smaller version needing to be saved.

A high pitched whine began to sound from somewhere on Goose and Maverick's craft. "I dunno what you are doing or how long it is going to take but I am pretty sure this ship is going to explode soon." Goose's console lit up like a Christmas tree with all the warning lights. "Just a little farther..." Maverick replied as he inched the craft farther toward the coordinates he needed. "Maverick, this is the Iwo Jima. Great work we can take it from here." A lance of blue light came from the Akira Class starship and took hold of the Merlin. "Flight disengage and return to the Merlin. CAG out." Maverick said into the comm channel.

"Thank God!" Peyton exclaimed. Her dash had lighten up like a Christmas tree, all those pretty lights began to dim and her console began to show balance and she felt less worried about things blowing up in her face. The Merlin was safe, they had lost no fighters and everyone was relatively safe and sound.

She would need to take stock when back aboard and look at the things she would need to fix. There would be long nights ahead.

>>>** Senior Chief Petty Officer Peyton Santos
Deck Chief
USS Merlin

●● Lieutenant Pete "Maverick" Mitchell
Chief Flight Control Officer/Commander Air Group
USS Merlin

○● Lieutenant Junior Grade Nick "Goose" Bradshaw
Tactical Systems Operator
USS Merlin


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