AWD #228: A Different Kind Of Victory
A Different Kind Of Victory
Summary: Maia and Holtz face off in the sims as part of her training. She is 'destroyed', but it's not exactly a loss.
Date: 22/08/2013
Related Logs: Various Maia cross-training logs
Holtz Maia 
The Air Wing has access to flight simulators to train pilots off the ground in combat maneuvers and situations that are hard to replicate with regular dogfight practicing and this is their home. A rectangular room, the hatch opens up beside the bank of computers that control the simulations and what is seen by the individuals when training sessions are in progress. The sims are actual cockpits cut out of old frames and installed here to function exactly as the real thing, right down to oxygen plugs for suits. In front of each cockpit, complete with armored glass, are LCD screens that cover most of the front view to the front and above. There are two Vipers, two Predators, and one full-cabin Raptor available.
AWD #228

The simulators, at first glance, appear empty. No pilots are currently at practice, and the only person in the room at all for the moment is Holtz, seated at the computer bank at the edge of the room. A cup of tea off to the side, he's currently working on one of the input terminals, entering parameters for a test simulation into the central computer.

Then Maia strolls in through the hatch, interrupting the quiet and solitude. At the moment, she's wearing her fatigues but she's definitely off duty now for the day, so here she is in the flight sim room, her usual habitat during off-hours. Noticing Holtz already in there, she nods in acknowledgement. "Sir."

Holtz is absorbed in whatever it is he's doing, so he doesn't immediately notice Maia's entry. His eyes are still locked on the screen as he absently reaches for his mug and takes a sip. But then Maia's voice gets his attention, and he looks in her direction, putting the cup back down as he rises to his feet. He's in his offduties as well, twin tanktops over green pants. "Evenin', Lieutenant," he replies with a nod. "You're ready, yeah?"

Maia has just entered the room where Holtz is at a screen, preoccupied. His question, whether she is ready or not, is met with only a margin of trepidation and there's a brief flash of uncertainty in her eyes. No.. "Yeah, I believe I am." Trying to bolster her own confidence, she plasters on a confident grin. Not the cocky one she usually sees on a couple of the Viper pilots, but she does appear at least on the surface to be ready.

From a standing position, Holtz hunches over to input one last command on the keyboard, followed by a decisive stab of the enter key. "Good," he replies with a thin, lip-curled smile at her expression. It passes, though, as a mask of seriousness falls over his features, and he clasps his wrists behind his back. The instructor is in the building. "Do you have any questions before we begin?"

Questions. Did she? Mentally, Maia sifts through the process of the things she had learned, with everything committed to memory it comes to her as naturally as when she flies Raptors. She'd been living and breathing Vipers lately, so it certainly was fresh on her mind and suddenly she is exuding more confidence. "None right this minute, sir, but if I think of anything I'll definitely ask."

"Think quickly, Lieutenant, because in a minute or two you won't have the chance," Holtz replies matter-of-factly. "As soon as we're in cockpits, I won't be answerin' questions." He waves in the direction of the Viper mock-pits. "The simulation is loaded. You can pick a module and enter when ready." Storm follows his own cue, stepping out from behind the computer console and heading down for the simulators themselves, an eye on Maia herself as he walks towards the nearest Viper module.

Ohboy… With no obvious questions she can think of, Maia heads for her own simulator, taking a deep breath before slipping inside. "I can't think of anything, Sir, so I'm prepared." Looking at the controls almost reverently, but with a confidence she feels even more fully now that she has the instruments before her, she begins the pre-flight check, her concentration fully on the task at hand now.

"Right, then." With a tiny nod, Holtz turns away from her and clambers into his selected cockpit. The canopy slides closed, and the monitor displays come alive. They're in an asteroid field, but not a very dense one; just enough floating debris to keep them on their toes. Notably, the ship hanging in space across from Maia's Viper is not another Colonial fighter, but a Cylon Raider. "The face of the enemy," Holtz's voice crackles over the com. "This is what you'll be facing out there. I always thought the best tests were as realistic as possible, yeah?" He guns the engines, but instead of coming in on an attack run, the Raider flips and zooms further into the asteroid field. "Your mission is search and destroy. Begin when ready."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Holtz=alertness Vs Maia=alertness
< Holtz: Good Success Maia: Good Success
< Net Result: Maia wins - Marginal Victory

Watching him get into his own simulator, Maia forces herself to steady her breathing as her pod closes around her. Butterflies invade her stomach as the Raider appears on her screen and they increase with ferocious intensity as she realizes what the game is. She could do this. She was born to it. Since she was already in the air, there was no catapulting, it was just flying. With a serious tone, she replies into the com. "Realistic, yeah." Already her eyes are seeking him while her hand moves to the stick, steady and sure. She's ready.

Holtz continues out into the field a little ways before looping around an asteroid and cutting back in towards Maia's original location. She's not there any more, though. He consults DRADIS, but there's just enough interference from the asteroids that his scanners aren't much help. He does a visual pass… and curses as he suddenly catches a glitter of metal. She's behind him. He ducks behind another asteroid as she closes, attempting to break contact and regain the advantage.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Holtz=alertness Vs Maia=alertness
< Holtz: Success Maia: Good Success
< Net Result: Maia wins - Marginal Victory

Losing sight of him on take off, Maia maneuvers through the asteroids dotting the area, light on her thrusters. It takes little time before she catches sight of the Raider again and she lights it up, moving in behind him. When he ducks behind, she loses sight of him again. By luck and keeping her eyes out and alert, she catches sight of him again and moves back in behind, targeting him, because she knows he knows she is there.

Well, at least she seems to have taken his training and lessons to heart. As Holtz changes course away from the asteroid, he sees Maia's Viper once again swing into view behind him. With a dry grunt, he angles away again, heading for another and much larger asteroid, one with several canyons and canals stretching across the surface. He ducks down into one of the larger fissures, attempting to draw her in after him… at which point he might be able to get the drop on her.

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Holtz=alertness Vs Maia=alertness+2
< Holtz: Success Maia: Great Success
< Net Result: Maia wins - Crushing Victory

It was something Maia has wanted for so long and to actually be this close to accomplishing her goal. When he speeds into one of the canyons, she closes in behind him before changing her mind and maneuvering above him so she can get a good shot. Locked on, she prepares to press the firing stub.. wait for it.. and now! Pressing it is easy since it looks like a Raider and not a Viper.

"Clever girl," Holtz murmurs as he watches Maia not follow him into the chasm in the asteroid. His coms are closed, thankfully, but either way, for the moment at least, she's got him, and judging by the salvo of fire that abruptly blasts forth from her KEWs, she knows it. With little room to maneuver in the canyon, his only avenue of escape is up… into the line of fire. Nevertheless, he pulls up hard, attempting to escape her sights and return fire before she shreds him into bits.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Maia attacks Holtz with KEW - Serious wound to Left Wing.
<COMBAT> Holtz attacks Maia with KEW - Serious wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Holtz has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Her own com is silent as she waits, taking the shot. Too late she goes into a quick spin to try and avoid the return fire and her pod shudders as she's also hit. Without waiting for him to try and evade her again, she thumbs the fire on her stick in an attempt to strike him again, but this time, she intends on evading the return fire.

Likewise, Holtz's pod rocks wildly as her simulated shot strikes home. Warning lights flash, but the sim computer doesn't rule him dead just yet; his fighter spins as he takes a heavy hit to the wing, but he quickly regains control and brings the crescent-shaped fighter around. Now that he's escaped the surface of the asteroid, though, he does have room to maneuver, and his ship spins like a whirling dervish as his chattering guns again spew simulated fire at Maia's Viper.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Maia attacks Holtz with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Holtz attacks Maia with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Holtz has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.

Now it's a full on fight and after releasing her kew, Maia throws it into a quick roll. Too soon.. it forces her aim off and though she avoids being hit, she also misses the Raider. Cursing herself, taking this very seriously, she increases thrust to keep up with him as one more, she fires.

Holtz's spinning Raider just manages to evade Maia's shot, but neither can he keep Maia's wildly evading Viper in his sights, and his own shot goes wide as well. Flipping his ship end over end, he pours on the afterburners and charges in as he lines up for another shot, realizing that the fight is likely going to come down to whoever can land the next solid hit.

<COMBAT> Triggering new turn.
<COMBAT> Maia attacks Holtz with KEW and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Holtz attacks Maia with KEW - Serious wound to Body.
<COMBAT> Holtz has started a new turn. Pose and choose your action.
<COMBAT> Viper-1040d has been KO'd!
<COMBAT> Maia has been KO'd!

It was a fatal mistake, to go off the defensive.. though she had a better shot, obviously so did Holtz and he took it. While her own kew harmlessly discharges into the great beyond, his strikes true into the body of her Viper and the warnings flash while her pod shakes rather forcefully. She'd been eliminated. Powering down, she sits there a moment.. she'd failed. One hand remains holding the stick and she doesn't make any move to get out even after the simulator opens. Frak.

This time, Holtz's fire strikes home, and Maia's Viper goes up in a flash of flame-colored pixels on his screen. He takes a deep breath before powering down his simulator module and pushing the canopy open. Climbing out of the cockpit, his boots make a dull metallic sound as he jumps down to the deck. He goes to stand in front of the line of mockpits, silently directing an expectant look at Maia's still-closed canopy.

Opening the canopy now, Maia drags her eyes away from the screen to look at him. Finally, she releases the stick and forces a smile, climbing out. "Well done, Sir." What else can she say? "I should have remained on the defensive when I knew you were still locked on me."

Holtz raises an eyebrow. "'Well done'?" he echoes coolly, his own expression remaining stonily blank. "Lieutenant Kane, for ten of the past fifteen years I have either been flying the Viper or teaching kids like you to fly the Viper. I'm very good at it." He starts pacing back and forth in front of the row of cockpits, tilting his head at her comment. "You're still thinking like a Raptor pilot. With both ships damaged, how long do you think you'd have been able to keep up a good defense, even if you'd committed to it from the beginning? It might have worked, but I would have settled on a more… attack oriented approach, yeah?"

He stops in his tracks, locking eyes on her once more. "With both ships damaged in that first exchange, it only took one good hit by the attacker, one mistake by the defender, to end the whole damn thing, yeah?" He shakes his head. "A Raptor can afford that kind of thinking. You can absorb a few hits and stay in the fight. In a Viper, however, your best defense is to resume the offensive as soon as possible."

Attack oriented.. Maia curses herself because like he said, she had been thinking like a Raptor pilot. Defensive. The realization is there in her eyes as she meets his, not even smirking when he calls her a kid. "It's totally the opposite to what I have been thinking and it makes perfect sense. Either way, one hit would have done it and now I'm down the Raider is still up. If I'd been more offensive, I may have still got hit, but at least the Raider would have been down with me and I'd have had a chance on staying up." Or having a Raptor save her.

Holtz grunts noncommittally as he resumes his slow steps back and forth. "It's possible. As you say, your chances for a more favorable outcome would've at least been a bit higher, anyway." For a few moments, he's silent, the only sound the quiet impacts of his boots against the deck as he walks. "There's a reason not many people make it through cross-qual, Lieutenant. The two craft require a much different mindset to operate successfully, yeah?" He comes to a stop again, his eyes meeting hers. "It's something you'll have to remember in the future."

Watching him pace, Maia feels uneasy, especially with the lingering silence before he breaks it again. Silence was never good, was it? Regarding him in silence herself, she waits, standing tall, not flinching even when she wants to as his eyes meet her blue ones. "I understand the difference, Sir and I won't forget again. The next time, I won't back down. Thank you for taking the time to instruct me during all these months and I know it's difficult to earn the cross-qual, but I won't be giving up. I'll keep doing it."

Holtz raises a brow slightly as he again comes to a stop. He doesn't break contact with her eyes, his lips pursed in response to her words. "Do you, now?" he asks quietly, taking a couple steps towards her before shaking his head. "There won't be a next time, Lieutenant. I've seen all that I needed to see."

This time Maia can't hide the flinch when he approaches her, and she doesn't tear her gaze away either. At his words though, the denial of her dream, she doesn't back down as the fire ignites in her eyes. "I won't give up, Sir, please don't deny me this. It's important to me and I'm ready for it. I know I am."

At that, Holtz actually laughs. It's a short, sharp sound, but undeniably a laugh all the same. He can't be that cruel, can he? But then he shakes his head again. "Did I say you failed, Lieutenant?" His head tilts to the side. "Like I said, I'm very good at this, and I've been doing this much longer than you have. At this point in your training, I wouldn't expect you to beat me on your best day and my worst. That wasn't the point of the exercise, Centerfold."

He relaxes his posture, leaning against a nearby simulator module with his arms folded across his chest. "The point was to see how much you've learned, and how well you could apply your training against something more than a computer simulation. You stayed on me in the asteroid belt, and you were smart enough not to follow me in to that chasm. If you had, I'd've torn you to bits in the first exchange of fire. But you didn't." He gives another tiny headshake. "You're far from a finished product, Lieutenant, especially since you've basically had to cram the entire Basic Flight course into a few months without the proper resources back at Flight School. But I'd be lyin' if I said there wasn't potential there."

"No, Lieutenant, you've passed my test. Perhaps not with flying colors, but all things considered, I think you're ready for the next step." A pause, as he raps his fist against the side of the Viper mock-pit that's holding him up. "I assume you'd like to get started in the real thing, yeah?"

His laugh catches her off guard and Maia almost jumps at the sound, but instead, she studies him with a quirked brow, lips twitching in response. She'd never known him to be cruel, so did that mean..? His next words confirm it and she jumps up, lips curving into a lopsided smile. "Really?" The word isn't exactly a squeak because.. well Maia doesn't squeak. "Thank you for the opportunity, I won't disappoint you," she vows. Oh but this was just about him passing her. Unable to keep the smile from widening, she nods once, decisively. "I'm not even a finished product as a Raptor pilot. I never want to stop learning and getting better, it's just something I push for in myself."

She could hardly believe she had passed at all! But she would stay true to her word and only get better from here.. all the hard work and sleeplessness had paid off! As soon as he mentions getting started in the real thing, she flings her arms around him in a brief and very dignified hug, if he doesn't disallow it. "Oh yes, yes I would! When can I?"

Holtz doesn't exactly push her away when she hugs him, but he does clear his throat and stiffen slightly until she releases him. After all, in this particular moment he is acting as her instructor. There is decorum to be maintained. "That's all well and good, Lieutenant, but actions count for a hell of a lot more'n words with me. Nevertheless, you've put the work in, and you've certainly earned a shot." As an instructor, Holtz was never particularly free with compliments. He's probably offered more praise in that single statement than he's given her in the last few months of her training. "We've got a few Mark IIs aboard. I'll see about getting one checked out for you. Your normal duties with the Ghosts will still take precedence, but I think we can start schedulin' training flights in the next week or two. That work for you?"

Despite his stiffening and the clearing of his throat, Maia isn't upset. It had been something spontaneous, so she hadn't tried to even hinder herself. She does toss him an apologetic look as she pulls back, but that smile never leaves her eyes. "Understandable, Sir. I know there's little I can say, but I do intend on doing my best for both squadrons and I would never shirk my duties with the Ghosts. That was never my intention. I just want to be the best that I can be and this was another step towards that goal, now I want to excel at it and to be able to climb into any craft where I am needed." Clasping her hands together, she forces herself to relax, but still the excitement is there in her posture and in her smile. "Yes sir. Training flights in the next week would be incredible."

There's a mildly amused expression on Holtz's face as she breaks the hug and makes her promise. "I'll hold you to it, Lieutenant." He pushes himself off the side of the mockpit, pulling a battered pack of cigarettes from his pocket and lighting one. "In any case, although I expect you to keep studyin', you've got some of your free time back. I suggest you try to enjoy it, yeah?" He nods with a sense of finality. "I'll let you know when we're ready to go. You're dismissed, Lieutenant Kane."

Releasing her clasped hands, Maia bites her lip but the smile won't be denied. "Thank you again, Storm. Really." When he dismisses her, she snaps off a quick salute and steps towards the door, her boots making a light thudding sound. "Watch out for me on that kill board. I've downed a Raider in a Raptor… imagine what I could do in a Viper." If he looks at her, she has a teasing smile, definitely not serious about the board, but she was having a good time messing with him about it.

Holtz snorts and crosses his arms, but when he replies, he's wearing a crooked smile all the same. "Yeah, well, I've got one hell of a head start… you're gonna have some serious catching up to do!" He shakes his head as he watches her go, still with the ghost of a smirk on his face.

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