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Longsword R: Becker
Posted By: Sterfrye36<Sterfrye36@yahoo.com>
Date: 18 September 2005, 4:20 am

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1034 hours, November 23, (Military Calendar) Cockpit of Marcus Easley's Northrop-Grumman Longsword S Interceptor, Earth local space

      How? The Major's mind felt numb.
      How? How could he…? Marcus could find no answer. He swung his bird back to the right, just like he had the last time Colonel Becker…
      Colonel Becker…

1345 hours, July 4th, 2550, (Military Calendar) Cockpit of Marcus Easley's Northrop-Grumman Longsword L Interceptor, Gethsemane local space

      "Lead, it's getting too hot here!"
      "Keep it erratic, Two-Four!"
      "I can't! They're boxing me in! They're—" Twenty-Four's COM signal went silent as his Longsword L exploded less than one-hundred feet away from Lieutenant Easley's 'Sword. The turbulence from the explosion slapped Easley's bird to the side, forcing him to barrel-roll around yet another pulse laser turret before keying his COM.
      "Colonel, are you sure about this?"
      "Positive, Lieutenant. I'm one of maybe five birds out here actually armed with something. I've also got the only weapon out here that can...well, take that thing down."
      "Why couldn't they load the Maverick up with real ammo from the get go?" Marcus asked as he jinked his bird to avoid a pulse laser shot that had seemed to come out of nowhere.
      "Because," the Colonel grunted from the strain of the g-forces as he kept his interceptor moving unpredictably, though his voice was still as calm as ever. "This was just supposed to be a ceremony. You knew the drill as well as I did."
      Marcus did. The Maverick was a brand new Marathon class cruiser, fresh out of the Reese-McCleese shipyards above Mars. It had been sent out to the Gethsemane system for a simple morale raiser. At the end of the ceremony, the Maverick was to have one of its fighters fire off a SHIVA missile with a delayed timer, and then jump into slipspace for the finale while the nuke exploded safely behind.
      But the Covenant had showed up, only one ship, but enough to destroy the Maverick quite easily. The Maverick was totally unarmed, with the exception of a few fighters that were to have put on a stunt show with live loadouts. The Colonel had been one of them, and he also happened to be the one with the SHIVA nuke attached to his fighter, loving named "Lady Luck!" after Becker's signature trait.
      The entire fighter compliment of the Maverick had been scrambled if for nothing else but to provide a distraction while the Maverick left the dock. Becker had already saved Marcus's butt several times today, and had called in the favor immediately for his crazy plan. He had dogged Twenty-Four into it too, and Twenty-Four was now nothing more than a collection of free floating atoms in space.
      They had come in towards the Covenant cruiser at high speed, risking their lives on what was only guesswork timing by Michael, hoping to avoid the shields of the cruiser. It was common knowledge throughout the fleet that the Covenant had to lower their shields briefly to fire, and with the rate of fire that the Covenant were using their pulse lasers at, it wasn't extremely difficult to get under their shield. They dove into the forest of pulse laser turrets like the fighter pilots had dived into the trench in the neo-ancient movie he had watched recently, Star Wars. He now knew what they must have felt like, dodging the turrets and trying to reach their target, knowing that the odds of their survival were small.
      The Lieutenant had been lucky many times in this battle. A Seraph had failed to fire on him when it was in perfect kill position; Becker had been exactly where he needed to be to scrape another bandit off of Marcus's tail; yet another had been hit by friendly fire. Was Becker's luck rubbing off on him?
      Easley hoped so as he continued to break every rule in the book while he wove in and out at a relatively slow speed, doing everything the instructor's had told him not to do; he was flying on instinct now, the only thing that would keep him alive. The two were flying on top of, and in the same direction as the cruiser, which was now chasing the Maverick above Gethsemane, which made their flight seem all the slower and more dangerous. The Maverick was using its emergency thrusters with reckless abandon, desperately trying to keep away from the Covie cruiser. It had been able to do that so far, but it was only a matter of time before the Covenant found their mark.
      Becker radioed in suddenly, "All right, my radar's back up. Transmitting nav point now."
      "Roger," Marcus replied, sweating profusely in his g-suit. They raced as quickly as they could to the port side of the ship, finding what they had been looking for: a mid-line docking bay. They continued toward it, keeping their movements as random as possible.
      "All right, I'm entering the launch code. Standby."
      "Roger, Swordsman One. Make it quick, sir." It was only a few more seconds, and then Michael radioed back.
      "Code confirmed. Sending launch warning on all bands…Launching!" Becker's Longsword L rocked as the heavy SHIVA missile was released from the center bay, significantly lightening the fighter's weight. Its motor ignited, speeding it towards the Covenant docking bay, where it made a sudden dive, and lanced into the belly of the beast.
      It smashed through the bay's wall, creating a thirty foot wide hole before continuing on though several more bulkheads, and finally lodging itself in the reactor room, right where it needed to be to land a knockout blow.
      "All right, let's get out of here!" Becker yelled as he shoved the throttle forward and commanded his Longsword into a steep climb when he saw that a pulse laser turret right in front of him had fired.
      And his luck finally failed him.
      A pulse laser shot from the side nailed the rear-right part of his Longsword, destroying his number two Pulse Detonation Engine, and nearly lit off a few off Becker's missiles in the process. The hit spun the Longsword like a top on its X-axis, flipping it over, and sending it straight towards the cruiser. The Lieutenant saw Becker eject, saw the smoke as he seat shot away from his damaged fighter. Unbelievably, he didn't hit the shields on his way up. The Colonel continued to fly away from the cruiser and towards his death in the vacuum of space.

      "That's the one?"
      "Yes, that's him. Retrieve him."
      "Roger, moving into EVA retrieval position. I have the controls."

      "Fox two." The second bandit on Marcus's tail exploded in a purple fireball as a pair of missiles literally appeared out of the vacuum and smacked into the Seraph's tail.
      "That was a little close. Stay out of trouble from now on, okay?" Marcus managed to shake himself far enough out of his stupor to say a single word across the radio.
      But the voice didn't respond. It had vanished just as quickly as it had come.