MD #013: Grizzled Not Grumpy
MD #13: Grizzled Not Grumpy
Summary: The CAG greets one of the returning veterans with a sim exercise.
Date: 21/04/17 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None
Kelton Niko 
Flight Simulators
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 very large 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. The screens of the old days are still there but rarely used, and in each helmet the crews see a projected hyper-realistic depiction of the combat environment and what their cockpits look like with any incurred damage. There are two Vipers, two Predators, and two full-cabin Raptors available.
Mon 06 NOV 2028 (MD #13)

Niko rolls into the sims suited up and ready to fly, helmet tucked under his arm. Back in the day he was all of eighteen, a cocky Ensign flying Vipers. Now the CAG is an older Lieutenant Colonel, with creases around his eyes and a bit of grey in his hair, even if he still has that cocky grin. He and DCAG have been calling in the veterans as they return to active duty, and today it's Kelton's turn. Word is that they're having a little chat with the 'old hands' before running them through a simulated exercise.

Kelton makes his way in, suited up, also carrying his helmet under his arm. He may be older than the CAG, but he doesn't look it; nearly as young-looking as he was the day he first set foot on Orion, only the slightly faded twinkle from his eyes betrays his age. "Reporting as ordered, sir," he greets as he approaches, giving Niko a curt nod before coming to a stop at attention.

They may not have had a lot of contact during the Second Cylon War, but Niko still flashes a please smile when Kelton reports in. "Cluck, right? Welcome back. Another gene therapy case, huh?" He chuckles and shakes his head. "Some days I think I'm the only one who didn't get that done. How're you settling in?"

A small smile creases Kelton's face and he shrugs. "Gave up good years to the last war, seemed silly not to try getting them back, sir," he responds. "As well as can be expected. I'm sure you'll understand when I say I had kind of been hoping not to set foot on a battlestar again, though, sir." He clears his throat before continuing. "How's everything going with getting everyone into the swing of things? Us old vets and the nuggets?"

"Yeah …" Niko gives an understanding shake of his head. They'd all hoped the Machines wouldn't be a problem quite so soon. "Still, thanks for coming back. We're gonna need you." And prompted by Kelton's quesiton, he nods and gets to the point. "Things are going okay, but the kids are pretty green. Most have never been shot at before and they need some time to figure out what's a stupid risk and what's worth risking. And that's where you and the other old hands can come in." He pauses to let that register before going on. "We need you guys with experience to share it. Talk to the newer people. Speak up during missions if you think someone's making a mistake. But try and keep it positive. Can't have it to turn into us old folks bitching about kids these days. Make sense?"

Kelton laughs, even if it is dry and humorless. "Grizzled war vets, but not /grumpy/ grizzled war vets. Will do, sir," he promises with a nod. "I've spent the better part of the last twenty years instructing would-be pilots, so I'm sure none of them are going to do think of anything dumber than what I've already heard people ask about," he adds, rolling his eyes. "But hey, once I'm a little more used to the running things end of the simulator, you'll have one more person ready to help get the kids prepared."

Niko laughs too, appreciating the sentiment. "Hey, you don't even get to /look/ grizzled, Cluck." He listens as the ECO describes his training experience, and nods slowly. "Yeah. Only we've got real Machines shooting at us now. Which changes things. But if you're up for running people through exercises, I'm all for it. Just clear it with Doodle. Captain Wescott." The Gentleman Ghost CO these days. "Don't think she'll complain about help." Then he turns to the sim panel and starts to punch up an engagement on the display. "Here, let me show you want I was talking about, real quick. Then we can try a Predator run, just for old time's sake."

"Yeah, not quite the same," Cluck agrees with a little grunt. "Captain Wescott; will do, sir." Kelton gives a sharp nod of confirmation before stepping forward, eyes on the display, watching what the CAG is cooking up, eyebrows furrowing slighlty as he switches into business mode. "Predator run… yeah, there's definitely some rust there that could do with getting knocked off," he admits.

The Fleets first engagement with the Machines comes up on the holo display, with capital ships squaring off around a big, cigar shaped space station. The Skath ships are in a screen in front of the station, with the Orion battle group and the Arpay strike group facing them. The CAG zooms in to where the smaller craft of the Air Wing are making their attack on the station. Niko jabs a finger at a gap left in the screen of Skath ships, which is covered by a fair bit of flak fire. "First combat against the Skath," he relates. "Vipers cleared a path for the Raptors to get past the enemy screen and nuke a comm relay station." He cues up the holo replay and things start moving — ships firing, missiles exploding, both sides are getting in their licks. The Raptors push through the Skath fighter screen, but then a lot of them balk at flying through the flak covering that gap and break off their attack. It's a fair bit of flak, but not an insane amount. Only one group of three Raptors push through, but it's enough, as they launch their nukes and blow up the station.

Kelton's eyes are focused on the screen and the altercation it's displaying. The occasional low sound comes from the back of his throat, vague acknowledgement's of the CAG's commentary. "Mostly new pilots?" he ventures, pointing at the raptors that decided against pressing through the flak-filled gap. "Looks like the Vipers did more than their share of the work in making a hole for us Raptor folk," he notes, nodding.

"Yeah," Niko acknowledges the problem. "It's going to take them a while to figure out how much flak is too much." It could have been a mission failure, and the CAG is taking it seriously, but there's no blame in his tone. "And I'd just given them a 'we don't need dead heroes on day one' speech. So I gotta take some of the blame for that. But they gotta learn that once you get that far, you gotta finish the job, you know?"

"Yeah, creating a hole doesn't do any good if nobody will fly through it," Kelton agrees quietly, nodding. "Well, like you said, it'll take them time. I don't know if I can say with any sort of confidence I'd've flown through that when I was new, either… but then, I sit in back, I wouldn't have been making the call in the first place," he adds. "At least you have video of our people making it through the hole, hitting the objective; tangible proof that it was not, in fact, too much flak to fly through," he offers optimistically.

"Right," Niko agrees with a quick nod. "They can see how it's done. And I know you sit in back, but you can still say something to your pilot if things don't seem right." In any case, that issue is covered to his satisfaction, and the CAG is ready to move on. "Anyway. Let's blow some shit up," he grins, ready to get some flying in, even if it's only simulated. "Any particular mission you want to fly?"

"Don't worry, I won't hesitate to correct a nugget if they're riding in front of me, sir," Kelton promises with a dry laugh. "…if they need it, of course," he adds. He returns the grin with a shake of his head. "Dealer's choice, sir. Surprise me. Something that'll make me work, though; nothing too easy," he amends.

Niko nods and turns back to the console, tapping through a list of scenarios. "Let's see…" He picks one and locks it in for the Predator pod. "Here we go. Wild Weasel. You like letting SAM shoot at you, right?"

Kelton snorts. "Who doesn't?" he counters, shaking his head before pulling his helmet on. "You flying for this adventure, sir, or running the show from out here? Flying, right?" He waves an arm towards the Predator pod with a smile. "After you, sir."

"Flying," Niko leaves that in no doubt. Then he gives a head-tip for the offer to go first. "Let's do this." He climbs in the front station of the Predator cockpit and pre-flights things on his side. And once they're secured and ready, engages the simulation. The new holo-projected visuals, right on the front visor of their helmets, is a lot more realistic than the old computer-generated stuff, that's for sure.

Kelton slips into the pod behind the CAG, settling into his seat and cracking his neck, humming the old C-Bucs fight song as he takes care of his end of pre-flight checks and prep. A quick scan over everything, and he gives a nod, mostly to himself. "Ready here, sir," he calls to his pilot for the time being, humming only briefly interrupted, fingertips resting at the edge of the control panel.

"Roger that," Niko acknowledges Cluck is ready. "Here we go." And suddenly they're at medium altitude over a forested, hilly area of Libran. There are a pair of bomb-armed Raptors in-bound to hit a target, and the Preds job is to keep the Skath air defenses busy. The Predator is armed with an ECM pod that will let Kelton suppress multiple DRADIS sources, along with four anti-radiation homing missiles for use to counter same. Medium altitude is generally thought of as bad, all around — not high enough to be above the air defenses, and not low enough to be under the DRADIS. But then their job is to draw fire.

<FS3> Kelton rolls ECM: Good Success.

A deep breath is taken then blown out by the ECO as he takes in their situation. And loadout. "So, suppression is the name of the game today," he says softly, mostly to himself, though certainly audible to Niko. "Got at least one SAM's attention down there, be surprised if it's the only one," he informs the pilot, fingers flying across controls. "Jamming."

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-1 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Predator-9097w - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).

"Roger that," Niko responds to the ECO's warning. And then the threat alarms are going off as a missile lifts off and comes climbing up towards them. "Incoming! Hang on!" It's locked on but the jamming has some effect, as does a hard break Scythe makes into the oncoming SAM, forcing it to turn and explode behind them. The Predator is buffeted by the blast, but still flying. And a second SAM site goes active, showing up as a new threat on Kelton's display. "Talk to me, Cluck."

Kelton grips the controls for a moment in response to the simulated explosion before he's back to business. "Nice moves; second looking for us," he relays. "Should've shot the first one while we had time," he grumbles, chiding himself. "Jamming both, hope you've got more fancy flying in you!" Buttons and switches are toggled and checked as Cluck gets to work trying to make them as hard to hit as possible.

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-1 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-2 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Far From Predator-9097w - Moderate wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-9097w - ARMOR on Nose stops the attack!

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Far From Predator-9097w - Light wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-9097w - ARMOR on Tail stops the attack!

Niko is grunting up front as he shoves the stick and works the throttle, pulling the Pred into another high-G turn in the opposite direction. The airframe creaks in protest as the gees pile on. BOOM! The first SAM goes off, the aircraft shudders, and fragments bounce of their armor. Then Scythe rolls into a split-S, leaving the second SAM too high. BOOM number two. A few warning lights come on but nothing critical. "We can't take much more of that," is the CAG's assessment. But the Raptor's are on Cluck's display now, inbound on the primary target.

"You know this isn't a Viper, right?" Kelton points out in response to the Predator's less-than-encouraging sounds of protest, but continues to do his job. "Kind of hoping we won't /have/ to take much more of that; our Raptor's are moving in, just have to keep the SAM's distracted a little longer. Jamming both," he reports, confirming his controls are still more or less where he left them set, making some minor tweaks.

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-1 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-2 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Raptor-2787g - Critical wound to Body (Reduced by Armor).

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - Critical wound to Cockpit.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - NEAR MISS!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - Serious wound to ECM.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - Critical wound to Cockpit.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - Critical wound to Cockpit.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Cabin stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - Critical wound to Cockpit.

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Right Next To Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Right Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Cabin stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Cabin stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - Serious wound to Cockpit.

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Cabin stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Controls stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Left Wing stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Raptor-2787g - ARMOR on Cabin stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Raptor-2787g has been KO'd!

<COMBAT> Raptor-2 has been KO'd!

And suddenly they're off the hot seat as the SAM both switch to the Raptor flight. Both of them lock up the trailing bus, and it gets blown out of the sky. But the lead Raptor conintues on target, dropping it bombs and turning on the burners to egress. Niko levels off and looks at the damage they've taken, then turns the Predator back towards the two enemy AA sites. "We're losing fuel. Let's see if we can cover that guy's exit and get out of here."

"Frak!" Kelton curses at the controls as one of the simulated Raptors is brought down by the SAM sites below. "Like, we're ending up on the ground no matter what losing fuel? Or let's not linger too long losing fuel?" He asks, fingers hovering over controls to decide what to make of this final pass.

"We're okay," Niko clarifies, "Three minutes before bingo." Like they're going to want to hang around here even that long. And then the DRADIS warning receiver is chirping again as one of the SAM systems starts trying to lock on to the Predator again.

"Well, if we're staying in the sky, I'll try to keep it that way. Jamming. Let's get out of here," Cluck says, punching controls and humming once more. Loudly.

<COMBAT> Raptor-1 suppresses Sam-1 with ECM. <unsuccessful>

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Pretty Close To Predator-9097w - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-9097w - ARMOR on Tail stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-9097w - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Predator-9097w - ARMOR on Engine stops the attack!

<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Very Far From Raptor-0880 - ARMOR on Body stops the attack!

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-1 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

<COMBAT> Kelton suppresses Sam-2 with Jamming Pod. <successful>

The ECM seems to be having an effect now, as the remaining Raptor evades one and escapes the area. Bombers are clear, now they just need to get out. Niko keeps the missile headed their way off the port wing, the breaks hard as it gets close. He's done this before, way too many times, but doesn't quite judge it right this time. The explosion is uncomfortably close, but the Predator shrugs it off and keeps flying. "All right, time get the frak out of here." He turns the aircraft and dives, headed away from the SAM and down towards the deck, building up airspeed to speed their getaway. "How are we looking?"

"Well, we're still in the sky, if that's what you mean," Cluck answers, still working the controls. "Dive should have us out of range of our friends back there; bring us about to…" he taps a few buttons, sending a course over to the pilot's display… "…to this bearing, and it should keep us from running into anything else that would like to see us on the ground. Good flying back there, sir," he says, a noticeable bit of admiration in his voice.

"Thanks for the update," Niko replies on their continued flight status, his tone amused. But he's all business again when the ECO gives him a course. "Roger that." He eases the damaged Predator onto the new flight path, sounding less than impressed with his own SAM-dodging. "First two weren't bad, but I nearly got us killed on that last one. Lucky the Pred is tough." And then the Sim starts winding down as they follow Cluck's plotted course out of the area. "All right. Let's call it a day, Cluck. Give the replay a look over later. Maybe talk through it with some of the new guys."

"Well, it's not a Viper; considering the boat you were working with, I'd say you did a fine job. Sir." Kelton insists, letting out a long breath as the simulation fades away. He lifts his helmet off, cracking his neck once more. "I'll be sure to do that; it'll be a good example of just what a Predator can and can't do compared to some of the quicker craft." He makes for the pod hatch, waiting just outside for the CAG. "Any input on things I should've done different, besides maybe take a shot when only the one SAM was in range?"

"The Pred flies like a brick," Niko agrees it's no Viper, shaking his head. "But it can take a beating." Then he unhooks his suit and clambers out of the pod, slipping off his helmet to rake his fingers thorugh his hair. As for pointers, the CAG shakes his head. "When to shoot or when the jam is a tough call on a mission like that. I think you're probably right — might have been good to take the shot early. Let them know we're a threat. But you never know. Could just as well have been your jamming that kept the first SAM from knocking us out of the sky. I don't like to second guess my ECO about back seat stuff. It wasn't like a clear screw up or anything. You had to make a call."

"A particularly aerodynamic brick, but yeah, a brick all the same," Kelton concurs, stretching a bit and nodding along with the CAG's assessment. "Yeah, jamming or shooting, neither was really the /wrong/ call. And it mostly worked out, so I guess I shouldn't second guess too much." One last deep breath, then a nod. "Alright, well, I should probably go be productive, sir. Until next time." He snaps to attention and offers a curt nod and, assuming nothing else comes from Niko, makes for the hatch.

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