CAP With the CAG
CAP With the CAG
Summary: The CAG takes Sapho out on a CAP where the two pilots hold a conversation.
Date: PHD 169 (10-4-09)
Related Logs: None

Hangar Bay

The hangar bay is bustling with its usual industry, this evening. Launch tube one appears to be suffering a malfunction, so a few EVA suit-clad deck crew are hoofing it that way with tool boxes lending a noisy clatter to their movements. It's also about twenty minutes to skids up for the evening's combat patrol, and the CAG is lounging near his viper in full flight gear, helmet dangling from one hand while he waits for his other 'half'.

Amongst those who are going about their business is Sapho who hurries to where she's supposed to meet Kai, her flightsuit on with her helmet in hand, hair held to the nape of her neck in a loose bun. "Hello, sir," she manages to get out between breathless pants, a sign of her having all but ran to get here before she's any later than she might be. "Looking forward to our fun?"

Well, she's not late yet. Marek's watch says fifteen minutes, and he makes a point of checking it as Sapho pulls up, slightly out of breath. "I always look forward to flying, Lieutenant. Ready to go, or do you need a minute?" His eyes flicker down, then up her flight suit-clad self, expression inscrutable as always.

"I'm fine, sir. All ready to go." Sapho smiles as she says that, the CAG's reaction to her arrival putting her at ease. "I think I foresee a few laps around the Kharon in my near future, however." Self-pointed joke made, she looks over to the Vipers and then to Kai himself as if saying 'lead the way', preparing to follow the Captain as soon as he moves.

Kai chuckles low at that, and hauls himself fully upright again. "You don't want to race me, Lieutenant." It's spoken flatly, and without any real ostentatiousness. He means it as a simple fact. "Go on and get your pre-flight done. Launch clearance is on STC, and then we'll use tac three until we get out a little further." He lifts his helmet in 'salute', then accepts the clipboard from a waiting technician. A pen is withdrawn from a pocket of his flight suit as he starts his walkaround.

Sapho nods. "Yes, sir." Like Kai does with his fighter, she too begins to circle her Viper, the fighter that has been assigned to her checked out from nose to tail, every inch of what she can examine by eye and touch given a thorough once-over twice before she moves onto another section of the fighter. This is repeated until every bit of it is checked off, the pilot giving the bird the thumbs-up for flight once all is said and done.

Kai finishes off his own walkaround, passes the completed checklist off, and swings up the ladder of his bird. He slides in with practiced ease, like something he's done countless times before and no longer has to think about it. Each system is run through its checks mechanically, even as the near-deafening noise of the hangar bay continues around them; shouts, bangs, the mechanical sound of a buzzsaw starting up can all be picked out from the melange of sound. Once his boards are green, he pulls his helmet on and snaps the hardseal closed. The deck crew are already fixing him up for a tow as he tugs down his canopy.

The female pilot also climbs into the cockpit, her appraisal now focusing on the flight controls, navigation, weapons and other essential systems, everything stared at intently until she's one-hundred percent sure that everything is fully functional. "Looks like everything is green," she says to the deck hand who had been following her, doing his own part of the pre-flight while she preps herself mentally at the same time. Looking towards Kai, she gives one more thumbs-up before slipping her helmet over her head which is attached to the 'collar' that has been slipped on previously. A deep breath and then she yanks the canopy down, waiting for launch.

Once his canopy is down, and he's hooked up for a tow, Kai switches to shipboard comms. A brief message is sent over the radio while he's trundled off to the tubes.

[Into the Wireless] Kai says, "Kharon, this is Spider. Requesting launch clearance."

Sapho looks around before settling back in, pressing herself firmly against the back of her seat. One last check of her helmet's seal before she too speaks into the comms.

[Into the Wireless] Sapho says, "Kharon, this is Pournelle. Requesting permission to launch."

Spider's fighter is loaded into the catapult, the chamber pressurized with a few mechanical whirrs and clanks. The light switches from red to green, and then he's away with a rush of hydraulics.

[STC] "Knight" Praxis says, "Pournelle, Kharon. You have clearance. Good hunting."

[STC] "Spider" Kai says, "Kharon, Spider. Wolf three is clear of the tubes, switching to tactical channel three."

[Into the Wireless] Sapho says, "Kharon, this is Pournelle. Launch complete, will be switching coms to tact-three."

[Wolf-3: Kai] Spider's viper blasts out of the launch tubes, all three engines firewalled as he corkscrews away from the Kharon at top speed— and quickly leaves the bulky carrier behind.

[STC] "Knight" Praxis says, "Pournelle, Kharon. I copy."


[Wolf-5: Sapho] Once launched, Wolf-5 shoots out of the tube like the proverbial bat out of hell, not too far behind the CAG. Cleared of the ship, she speeds after the other Viper, trying to get in formation to cover the CAG's six.

[Wolf-3: Kai] The CAG isn't easy to keep up with, that's for damned certain. While he doesn't fly recklessly, he does fly fast; his viper is probably accustomed by now, to being pushed to its limits whenever he takes it out. Sector 519 is blown through, and he cuts his speed as they near checkpoint two, in about ten minutes' time. Not much is spoken over the comms, aside from the occasional status report or mild banter with the Lieutenant up in CIC.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] For Sapho's part there is nothing but silence outside of updates given as needed, either not wanting to make the mistake of speaking when she shouldn't or not the kind to talk much while flying; whatever it is that drives her into being mostly quiet, it allows her to observe the CAG's flying style, it being important to learn so she can try to figure the best way to serve as his wingman, and it also lets her listen to what banter does flow between him and the Kharon without her interrupting.

[Wolf-3: Kai] By the time checkpoint two is crossed, the Kharon is just a sliver of matte grey in the distance, blanketed by stars. Spider cuts his speed again, and rolls smoothly to port in order to allow Sapho to catch up to him, so they're flying side-by-side.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] The wingman's fighter pulls up to just about even with Wolf-3, allowing for her to look out her canopy towards Kai, unable to stop smiling as she does. There is a bit more silence from her and then she speaks, the thrill of being in a cockpit again allowed to be heard.“This is like being back home. Everything feels right."

[Wolf-3: Kai] Spider completes his lazy roll, afterburners lighting up just briefly to bring him in line with Sapho. His stickhandling, like the man himself, is on the subtle side. "It's about the closest to home that we have," his voice crackles over the aforementioned private band. "How're you getting along in the wing?"

[Wolf-5: Sapho] There's a slight chuckle at first. "Well, I'm getting along just fine although I think Lieutenant Leda and I got off on the wrong foot. Don't think he really appreciated my not agreeing with his point of view on ship's tradition and all that." Pournelle snorts and pauses, her answer halted by her checking to make sure everything's still all good before continuing. "I think the fact that I'm not new to all of this helps. Makes me less of a target."

[Wolf-3: Kai] Hand steady on the stick, and weapons having been switched to live some time ago, Marek simply maintains a steady strafing pattern with his wingman. His eyes are alternately on DRADIS, and on his viewscreen, simply trusting that Sapho can stay abreast of him rather than keeping tabs on her. "What was his point of view?" is asked after a few moments, the sound quality decipherable but not flawless. "And what did you disagree with?"

[Wolf-5: Sapho] Sapho is not sure how to answer that question and she finds herself having to phrase her answer carefully as not to accidentally step on the Captain's toes. "He had asked Crewman Helios how he was holding up to the hazing which prompted a conversation to which he said that hazing is done as an act of love." Wolf-5 begins to drift a bit to the right, making a minor adjustment necessary but Pournelle seems to be holding her own despite the unintentional slip to the one side. "I told him that I didn't think there was anything loving about the act, sir. Not a major disagreement but I think we got each other's feather's ruffled due to our differing opinions."

[Wolf-3: Kai] The minor slip off-course is probably noticed, though not commented upon. This appears to be an opportunity for uninterrupted discourse, and not a lesson in flying. "I'm curious, Lieutenant. Did nobody in your prior posting ever give new people a hard time? Or did someone go over the top, and traumatise you?" He seems genuinely curious.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] "No, sir, I didn't experience anything overly harsh myself but seen a few people get pushed well past what they were able to handle. Had some people wash out as a result." Sighing, she gives one last tug to the stick before feeling like everything's back on course, Sapho adding once her heading's noted, "It makes me worried for people like them, sir. People who are…" Her words stop mid-sentence and she lets her head pivot, trying to see Kai's reaction despite the distance and the two canopies between them, it being instinct.

[Wolf-3: Kai] "Weak?" The suggestion is a blunt one, and whatever tone of voice Spider might have, it doesn't translate over the fuzzy comms and jittery reception. He sticks right, rolling his fighter away in a brief course correction. It isn't particularly fast, and shouldn't be hard to keep up with. "Tell me, Pournelle. What happens when someone like that is strapped into a machine capable of pulling velocity twice the speed of sound, catapulted out into space, and ordered to fly head-on into a squadron of enemy raiders?"

[Wolf-5: Sapho] The CAG's maneuver is followed with only the smallest amount of lag from his wingman, Sapho keeping up with him with perhaps only one or two seconds between when he shifts courses and when she does. "I hate using that word about another person but yes. Weak." Her hand comes up and she wipes the side of her hand against the glass that graces the front of her helmet, the visor rubbed as if she is trying to quell an itch or poise in thought. "Are you saying that hazing is meant to weed out the weak pilots who wouldn't survive combat from those who would, sir," she asks quickly, her voice tinged with a bit of disbelief over that being what Kai might be implying along with perhaps slight understanding as well. Sapho totally lept over answering the question, it being one she's too uncomfortable in responding to directly.

[Wolf-3: Kai] Spider's voice crackles over the comms about ten or fifteen seconds later. He thought he'd spotted something on DRADIS, but looks like it was just a ghosted signature from an asteroid. "Partly." There's another pause, while he thinks about how to phrase what he says next. "And Leda's partly right, as well. A squadron is a very tight group of people. They work together, they play together, they put their lives in each others' hands." There's a soft grunt, not heard over the comms, as he puts on a bit of speed and strafes out ahead to checkpoint four. "It isn't a knitting circle, Pournelle. Those men and women need to know. Need to know that you trust them. That they can trust you. You don't walk into a new wing and expect everyone to be your friend. You pull that kind of shit, and you're asking to be the omega of the pack."

[Wolf-5: Sapho] As much as Pournelle hates to admit it, that makes a lot of sense although she's too busy looking ahead at the asteroid and then down, sensor readings watched. Her silence is furthered when she finds herself having to move faster, her distraction having caused Kai to get a bit more ahead of her than she likes. "I see what you and the Lieutenant mean, now," she eventually says, unable to not concede the point to the Captain, "I just wish there was another way to figure that all out which doesn't necessitate in making another person's life hell." Finally back on Wolf-3's wing, she takes a deep breath which is held for a while before it's exhaled in the form of a breath out to get rid of the butterflies.

[Wolf-3: Kai] Spider swoops his bird in under Sapho's, brings it about wing over wing, then slots in at her other side. It could be him showing off, or it could be that he just really loves to fly. "You're talking about hot-blooded, testosterone-laced young men and women, with egos big enough that it's a wonder they fit in their cockpits, Pournelle. Give it some thought." He throttles back a little, giving his wingman ample room to stay apace of him. "If it isn't going to work out, I can talk to Captain Legacy about a transfer to black squad. Raptors are a little more.." Another soft grunt. "Sane." And by a little, he means a lot.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] Pournelle tracks the other Viper as well as she's able to, first by sight and then by DRADIS when he gets to where she can't see him directly, trying to keep a tabs on him at all times. "It really isn't any different from how it was aboard the Bell, sir. I'll adjust." Another rub of her hand to her 'face' and then she shakes her hand, a slight fidget from the normally calm pilot. "No offense to those who do pilot Raptors meant when I say this, but I think I'd die if I were to have to pilot one, sir. Not quite my ball of wax."

[Wolf-3: Kai] "Good," is all Spider has to say to that. It's quiet, even over the fritzy comms, and it seems to encompass everything Sapho just said. Is he impressed, just a smidgeon? Maybe.
[Wolf-3: Kai] Spider miiiight just be grinning a little into his helmet, when he says that.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] Sapho is back to silence, not able to figure out what to say, not that anything really needs to be said since the Captain's brief response to her pretty much summed it all up perfectly. It is all good and it shows in the smile she tries to give Kai, the slight illumination from within the cockpit causing her face to be bathed in a soft, slightly-blue glow.

[Wolf-3: Kai] The CAG seems to be a pretty firm believer in the value of silence, as well. The conversation isn't pressed, though his helmeted head cuts right so he can indicate with an easy to decipher signal, what he's about to do. That being, veering away from the flight deck on the first pass, and buzzing the porthole windows of CIC at high speed.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] The flyby is unexpected but she follows suit, giving a soft hoot of joy at being able to cut herself loose even if just for a moment.

[Wolf-3: Kai] No hoots, whoops or whistles from Spider. Once he's sure his wingman is on board (so to speak), he firewalls his throttles and streaks away at full burn, engines belching blue-white exhaust as he leads the pair in a blindingly fast strafe across the 'nose' of the ship. Full colours, indeed. As he reaches the end of his run, he flips his fighter over until it's belly-up, and drops away vertically. One more pass, and they'll be able to land.

[Wolf-5: Sapho] Wolf-5 is not far behind, the second Viper following along at speeds just a hair slower than those the CAG choses to fly in. Direction changed made at the appropriate time, she too getting ready for landing, Kai's lead still followed by the junior officer.

Hangar Bay

[STC] Seriy says, "Spider, control. You are green for landing."

[Wolf-3: Kai] Their buzz of the proverbial 'tower' complete, Kai rolls his bird right-side-up again and brings it in for a landing; a glint of silver and black that's quickly swallowed up by the flight deck's cavernous depths. He catches the trap cleanly, if a touch fast, and grinds to a stop that's jerky enough to slam him forward into his seat harness. His craft is immediately hooked up for a tow to the flight elevator, even as he's powering down systems one by one.

[Into the Wireless] Sapho says, "Kharon, Pournelle. Do I have permission to land?"

[STC] Seriy says, "Pournelle, control, board is green for landing."

[Wolf-5: Sapho] Wolf-5 lands after its lead hits the deck - not exactly what one would call 'text book', a sign of it being a while since Sapho flew, perhaps 3.97 out of 5 possible. The engines wind down once powered down, allowing for those who do recovery post-landing while she finishes the post-flight check and all that.

Kai pops the canopy on his viper, and clambers down the ladder once he's unbuckled himself and tugged off his helmet. The technician at the bottom hands him a clipboard with a checklist to review, and his face flinches with something that might be a smile, if it very clearly.. wasn't. He tucks his helmet up under one arm, and proceeds to do his walkaround.

Once secured, Sapho pushes up and back, getting the canopy of Wolf-5 to slide back and lock into place so she can get out. Harness undone, she slides up to her feet as much as she's able to and then scampers down the short ladder, her feet hitting deck a moment before she finds a clipboard shoved in front of her face. Snorting in surprise, she stares at it before it's taken from the tech and the post-flight begins, much like the pre-flight did before the CAP began.

Kai circles a couple of things, signs his name, and passes the checklist back to the orange coveralls-clad technician. Sapho seems to have nothing further to say, and nor does the antisocial Captain. He nods curtly to her, hoists his helmet up, and threads between the bustling mechanics working to hook up a fuel line to his fighter, on his way out of the 'bay.

Sapho looks up just in time to receive that nod and it's returned. "Thank you, sir." That's it, those three words the only given to voice her gratitude. Signed off, she allows herself one more look around the hangar before departing it, something about a shower muttered as she meanders towards where such a thing can be had.

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