PWD #33: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
PWD #33: Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Summary: During a rare bit of off-time, a Raptor Pilot and an ECO put in some simulation time. There are quite a few twists… Such as the veteran pilot and the hotshot newbie ECO switching roles to comedic effect, and a guest appearance by a Cylon Basestar. Nukes may be involved.
Date: Dec 03 2012
Related Logs: None
Thaddeus Theo 
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 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.
Dec 03 2004

It's late evening and Theodotus has a free evening. The dinner shifts are, for now, over. The dynamic duo (dibs on Batman!) can do their own thing. In Theo's case, this involves Sim time. And surprisingly, he isn't running the simulations as a ECO, but as a pilot in a Raptor. The difficulty is set to easy, and it's clear why he claims he's an indifferent pilot; He is technically trained, but lacks the finesse and insticts that make a Thaddeus or a Duke.

You need eyes in the back of your head, in a ship that doesn't let you see your ears. To torture the metaphor. In some situations it flies like a bus. In other, it's like a twitchy dragonfly — and to the inexperienced, it changes between the two without warning.

Theo may not even notice the brightening-then-dimming of the room that signifies someone else entering, or the sound of someone leaning against the side of the Raptor sim, but he'll probably notice Thaddeus's amused voice:

"I heard someone called for a cabin-boy."

<FS3> Theo rolls Pilot: Good Success.
<FS3> Theo rolls Piloting: Failure.

And to be a successful ECO, you have to be able to absorb and process a million different things at once, making decisions on the fly that could result in life or death for not just you but an entire squadron.

The moral of that story? Theo is good at noticing things around him. And so he noticed the entrance, and doesn't even turn from Thad.

"If you want to be useful, get strapped into the ECM station and jam the raiders." Theo is a touch terse about it, but judging from the readings on the screen, there's three different missiles locked on him that he has to dodge.

<FS3> Thaddeus rolls Ecm: Success.
<FS3> Thaddeus rolls ECM: Good Success.

"Old missile algorithm searched clockwise," says Thaddeus as he climbs in and crosses to the ECM station. "Six to nine o'clock's your sweet spot." The ECO's seat creaks, belts and buckles click, and the erstwhile cabin-boy adds, "Unless they've changed it." Smirk. Quieter: "Frak, where the… uh. DRADIS green, targeting- frak, three, uh- there." Is it the right combination of toggles and blinkenlights? How many years has it been since Thaddeus was in flight school, anyway?

<FS3> Theo rolls Piloting: Good Success.
<FS3> Theo rolls Gunnery: Success.

Theo's expression is one of fierce concentration. "Are you jamming their guidance systems?" Theo asks, still terse as the cabin shakes. He corrected a little too hard, taking them from ten to five. "Damn, direct hit." He attempts a complete 180 to handle the second missile. He manages the sharp turn, and fires on the missile, shooting it down. "Got a lock on number three? Please tell me you've got it's targeting system down."

The amused smirk fades as Thaddeus starts paying genuine attention to the bank of controls and readouts in front of him. C'mon, man. You ride the rooks for not taking it seriously. Practice what you preach. "Jamming algorithms coming on online. Seventy-five. Keep shaking our ass like you mean it. Ninety-five. Online. Uh…" His fingers drum at the metal between the switches as his eyes race up, down, and all around. Think, man. Think faster. "Found it. Confirmed lock on raider three. Targeting system…" …is here somewhere. He just has to find it.

<FS3> Thaddeus rolls ECM: Good Success.
<FS3> Theo rolls Piloting: Great Success.

"Frak this." Theo growls, frustrated as he hears Thaddeus fumble around behind him trying to remember how to use the ECM controls. "Hold on to your hairy ass." He then abruptly rolls the entire Raptor over, machinery screeching as he pushes the gyros to the limit, and rolls over the raider… blowing it up with it's own missile. He lets out a shaky laugh at that. "Gods. That actually worked." He sounds surprised.

"The frak are you-?!" The sim can't pitch its occupants ass over teakettle, but it can rattle them around. By the sounds of it, the cabin-boy's getting properly rattled. "Ease off, you trying to snap the-" And then the DRADIS blips an all-clear, rather than the sim reporting a laundry list of G-force malformations.

Finally, from behind Theo, an utterance full of amused disgust. "I can't frakking beLIEVE you pulled that off."

"Huh." Theo unstraps himself to go back to the ECM station, leaning over Thad to flip some switches and bring up the internal sensors. "All clear. That should have destroyed several systems and maybe even compromised hull integrity." He says, sounding surprised. "Frak, I got lucky. I'm not that good of a pilot."

Thaddeus bats at Theo's hand with a good-natured grumble. "Hey, I could have got that." (Eventually.) Failing to beat the ECO to the last buttons — which is to say, he guessed the wrong buttons entirely — he goes back to shaking his head at the empty DRADIS. "You and your frakking luck. Roll like that is- shit." He can't help but chuckle, turning his head to peer up at Theo, brows lifted. "Not bad." The ghost of a grin tugs at the edge of his mouth.

Theo is close to Thad, head mere inches from his. Enough that he can feel the laugh deep in the ECO's chest. "It was luck. I know my talents. I'm a damn good ECO, but I had issues with the piloting certifications at Flight School." He shakes his head, resting his chin briefly on Thad's shoulder. "Try again?" He suggests, "You can pilot of you want."

"It was luck." Thaddeus is quick with that assessment, but he's just as quick to add, "Would've been luck if I'd pulled it off, too." A furrow appears for a moment between his brows. /So there./ Pale eyes slip sidelong, tracking the ECO's face in his peripheral vision. Then, with only a slight nudge of shoulder for warning, he's standing up. "Yeah. Once more like we mean it." He shoulder-bumps the other man, jostling them both across the Raptor sim's floor. "Make me proud, rook."

<FS3> Theo rolls ECM: Good Success.

The ECO laughs, and stands up, moving out of the cockpit to go reset the program. "Honestly, they should have the ECM station networked to the Sim controls." He says conversationally. "Be much easier to reset from the ECM station than get up and do it manually." It also prevents him from hacking, but we'll leave that unsaid.

He resets the sim and puts it on a delay to give himself time to get into the cabin and strapped down. "Simulation Alpha Foxtrot Foxtrot Five Oh Five, Two point Oh initialized in…" He says in a deep, rich voice that seems like it was made for such announcements. "Five. Four. Three. Two." Pause. "Mark."

And the simulation starts! A lonely Raptor out in the vastness of space, no cover. And then… "DRADIS contact; Three unidentified contacts… First one at 3, 5 o'clock negative-y. Second at 4, 5 negative-y. Third at 9, 7 positive-y." Pause. "I'm showing active lock on all three. Initiating jamming algorithms, and deploying swallows."

<FS3> Thaddeus rolls Piloting: Failure.

"What, and make it easy for you to sit on your lazy ass, but not me?" calls Thaddeus as Theo heads over to the sim control panel. Snaps and creaks announce his own preparations for the upcoming fight.

And then… DAT VOICE. It makes oncoming doom sound enjoyable.

"Contacts acknowledged. Initiating evasive maneuvers, maintaining maximum distance from target…" Thaddeus's finger spins in midair as if it was the dial on a game-show wheel. "Two," he decides. It's a crapshoot with three targets approaching on different vectors. It might be the wrong choice. The sim will show him soon enough, but for now he steers the Raptor on a merry cat-and-mouse chase, cutting perpendicular to the second raider, no matter which way it maneuvers.

<FS3> Theo rolls ECM: Failure.
<FS3> Theo rolls Gunnery: Failure.

Out goes the little ickle swallows. "Prepare for a bumpy ride." Theo tells Thaddeus, "Suppressing jamming and attempting to get a missile lock. Firing on my mark." He stops his active jamming, the result being all three raiders re-orient on the Raptor, the jammers ignored. "Nearly got it… Nearly got it…" He grimaces. "Mark." and off the missile goes.

As said before, the Raiders reorient on the lil' Raptor that could quickly, not fooled by the jammers. They also manage to jam Theo's missiles at the last possible moment, triggering explosions just short of their hulls. "Frak. Give me time to re-establish jamming protocol."

<FS3> Thaddeus rolls Piloting: Good Success.

"Three of 'em and you're poking your head up?" Thaddeus whistles lowly and hauls the sim-Raptor through a rough turn. For all the ribbing he gave Theo for shaking the pair of them up, he's not afraid to dance around on the edges of the ship's tolerances, either. "Changing maximum distance target to Raider One for fifteen seconds, Raider Three for fifteen seconds, on my mark." The Raptor swerves again, rotating hard. Warning bulbs light up. "Mark. Work your magic. They don't like my dancing."

<FS3> Theo rolls ECM: Success.

"You've got full control over the weapon systems." Theo tells Thaddeus, even as he gets to work jamming their missiles and foiling their DRADIS. "I've initiated algorithms, and on my mark we'll have limited DRADIS stealth for sixty seconds. Make it count, Dub." Pause, "One… two… three… Mark. We're off their DRADIS." The ECO shifts his hands along his screen, twisting and pushing buttons. "I'll initiate anti-jamming protocols on them when you reach maximum missile range. It should give you a few seconds to lock and fire."

<FS3> Thaddeus rolls Piloting: Great Success.
<FS3> Thaddeus rolls Gunnery: Good Success.

"Yeah, baby. That's the ticket." Slightly distracted, voice tense with exertion; if they didn't both know better, Thaddeus would sound like he was in the middle of a much stickier dance. "Come on-n-n, I gotcher firing solutions right here, bitches. Maximum distance…" He trails off, adjusting the Raptor's trajectory. "Got it. Gimme their sweet spot, baby."

Sometimes it really is picture-perfect. The jamming drops, and three missiles streak away. As the third one finds its mark, Thaddeus whoops — pity the JTAC that'd be on the other end of that, if this was real — and pumps a fist. "EAT. IT. Yeah." Laughing, he flops back in his seat, grinning like they just won a war.

<FS3> Theo rolls ECM: Failure.

"Another DRADIS contact." Theo's rich voice cuts through Thaddeus' celebratory whooping and cheering. "Massive unidentified object. Looks like a basestar. I'm showing five active nuclear signatures locked on us." Despite the grimness of the words, there's a ripple of amusement in his voice. Clearly someone played with the program. "Attempting jamming algorithms." Pause, "Failed. Still have five locked on us."

<FS3> Thaddeus rolls Piloting: Success.

"Oh WHAT?!" Thaddeus actually turns in his seat to give Theo a hard look. "A frakking basestar with nukes? What the FRAK-" The chair spins around and the Raptor lurches wildly as the pilot dives straight back into evasive maneuvers. The stick calisthenics don't stop him from a stream of banter (read: abuse), though. "Three on one, you couldn't be happy with that, frak THAT, who needs a happy ending when we could have a basestar with five frakking nukes instead-" After a few more seconds of 'flying', and tense breathing, he says, "Okay. They wanna play hardball? We'll frakking play hardball. Arming nukes." The Raptor takes a hard turn as various 'are you sure? no really, absolutely? fer realsies?' toggles get thrown. It leaves them lined up on the basestar — and a sitting duck for the incoming missiles. "Nukes away," he announces, as he fires twice. "Here comes the end of the world, baby."

The screens all go bright, and then go black, as the nukes hit the lil' Raptor. "Heh." Theo says, having closed his eyes the moment the launch started. "Didn't expect you to fire nukes at them." He stretches languidly in his seat, and grins that cocky grin at Thad. "So. Little more confident on my abilities now?"

"Might as well flip them the biggest middle finger we've got before they take us out," reasons Thaddeus. "Not like there'd be anything to recover from what's left of us, anyway." He spins the chair around again, slouching down in it in an unconscious mirroring of Theo's posture. He studies the ECO — his ECO — for a while in silence before he says, "If you can pull that when we're out there for real?" Grin. "Then yeah. Maybe you have a reason to think you're such hot shit."

FTB due to sleepiness of players

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