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Pirate's Bane

Dealing with Xenon Ks and Kha’ak Destroyers Continued

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As narrated by “E-cell” newest member of the PB Intruders.

PB gave our squadron leave after our near disastrous butt womping handed out by the Kha’ak Destroyer. (I wasn’t on that mission; I was still in-processing back at the base.)

After ordering the leave, PB immediately took off to parts unknown in his Heavy Dragon.
The rest of the group decided to go out and relieve some steam.

After hitting our local hole-in-the-wall bar and endlessly discussing possible tactics against the Xenon and Kha’ak Destroyers, everyone went to bed, no doubt dreaming of sending a Banshee missile up an enemy tail pipe.

Over the next several days, Sarge, our one-time NCO from the Argon military, made sure the squadron kept calm and about its business (which included ship maintenance, flight qualification on the different ships, having on and off-line meeting with our various supporters, and a host of other duties that go on at a “Merc” base).

On the fourth day after PB left, Sarge decided it was time to go over some of the finer points of breaking a Kha’ak cluster with me and several other “newbies”, in our ready room.
“Look”, Sarge began, “you just don’t waltz up to the thing and wait for it to break up. You put the hammer down on those Kha’ak as soon as you’re in firing range and you don’t let go of the trigger until you run out of juice or the Kka’ak break on you.”

As Sarge was getting ready to continue, PB came banging through the door. “Sarge assemble the squad in one hour”, PB yelled as he shot past us to his office.
Sarge then bellowed, “Alright you heard him, back in one hour, and I suggest you all get some chow!”
Things happen quick around here, and no sooner did we hit the chow hall then we heard the cry, “Gear up! Gear up! Get your flight gear together and meet in the ready room!”

Fifty minutes later we’re back in the ready room. PB stomps in five minutes early and of course everyone is already assembled and seated.
This was the first time I ever saw PB. He was of average height with kind of a stocky build, and appeared to be about 40. The most noticeable thing about him was the no-nonsense attitude he radiated and the forcefulness of his stare when he looked at you.

PB glanced around the room and began, “OK we got just got our butts kicked by the Kha’ak, not because we weren’t ready, or had bad tactics. No, we were just plain out-gunned. The biggest thing we have is a Panther, and while it’s great for carting our fighters around, and can certainly handle a group of fighters, it just flat out can’t stand up to capital ships.

“So we needed a solution. I looked up one of my Boron contacts, and he landed me a flight test in a Thresher. I figured anything that could mount Photon Pulse Cannons and Ion Cannons could be just what we needed. I flew the thing, and I just could not get used to its wing width or long tail. So I scrapped that idea.
“Next I called in some favors from a high placed supporter over at the OTAS Corporation. He said he could hook me up with a recently repaired Boreas, however we would have to supply our own shields and weapons because the corporation could not be seen providing us a war ship. So I jumped out to the OTAS ship yard and checked her out. They actually let me fly her with one of their crews. I decided she was just what we needed and I contacted Tharn, our Taledi banker, and told him to enter into negotiations for the ship.
“Tharn got right on it, and got us a cash deal for $92 million credits. That makes us just $62 million credits short of the asking price, so we need to raise some serious money.”
(Everyone’s mouth formed a big “O” when they heard that number!)

PB continued on through the amazement. “I figure we need to do what Mercs do best and hire out on some serious money raising missions. I have lined up six pirate capture/assassination missions that will raise us the money we need.”
A hush settled about the room. “Man” I thought, “that’s some serious fighting”. I reflected back to when I was a gold bar in the Argon military, and how even some of our senior leaders used to wince at the thought of chasing pirates down in the fringe sectors.

PB paused for a second to let the idea sink in and then he went on.
“We will break up into four strike teams that will alternate missions in our Dragon and Heavy Dragon. I will lead the Heavy Dragon groups and Sarge will lead the Dragon groups.
“Our tactics will be as follows.
“We will jump into the system of our target pirate ship. Once through the jump gate, if you are not within 10 Km of the pirates you will immediately jump to whatever gate they are near. When you are within 10 Km of the pirate squadron, you should immediately launch 3-4 heavy missiles at your target pirate ship.
“This will accomplish two things, it will help bring your target down faster once the missiles hit, and secondly, it will tork off the target pirate and bring him to the front of his group.”
PB stared off into space and commented, “Why the crazy pirates behave in this manner is a riddle we will probably never solve.”

PB then continued on with his instructions.” Once you have fired your missiles, close on your targeted pirate. Destroy the pirate ship with your lasers and immediately evacuate the area by either running back through the jump gate or jumping from your current position. Usually, the pirates will not chase you once you jump out of their system, however you will practice the usual maneuvers and evasive routes to ensure they do not tail you back to our base.”
PB then slowly glanced around the room and continued, “Under no circumstances will you continue to engage the rest of the pirate squadron after your target has been destroyed. We don’t need any dead heroes.”

PB glanced once more around the room making sure he made eye contact with each one of us. When he was satisfied that we were all listening he said, “I hope I do not need to remind you that this is no game, and that mistakes ... will get you and your crew … killed.”
Waiting to make sure his message had been absorbed; PB then glanced at Sarge and said in his typical no nonsense voice, “Sarge form up the strike teams.”
Sarge immediately jumped up and bellowed, “Grab your gear and report to the flight deck, I’ll assign crews once we form up. Now move it!”

So started my first mission as one of PB’s Intruders. My next journal entry will detail the results of the strike mission. E-cell out.
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Updated 17-07-2009 at 05:49 PM by Pirate's Bane

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