The pulsing red strobe in the cockpit lit the blurs of the passing stars with a sense or suspense. His hand balled into a fist and cracked, aching for the throttle and the command to go. “Omega Leader to bridge, what’s our ETA to the Beta Omicron Field?”
“Omega Leader, system arrival in fifteen seconds,…mark! Standby for deployment and Fortress Mode lockdown.”
Lt Ryan Cooper nodded internally, matching his own count with that report. It was a maneuver they had practiced often. As soon as their carrier, the U.S.S. Typhon shuddered into sublight speeds, his Valkyries would have ten seconds to launch at most before layers of armor plating cocooned the starship in its defensive stance. He inhaled a deep breath to study his pulse, and released as the warp steam faded away so that the starship didn’t smash headlong into an asteroid or a dozen.
“Omega Squad, launch and form by pairs!” Answering words with actions, his impulse engines hummed to a near-whine as he rocketed out of the docking bay in a tight rolling turn to form up on the nose of their carrier. Besides him, Omega 2 slipped in seamlessly to his side in her Mk. III. And just as they had practiced a thousand times over, the formation was complete well before those last shields linked to close the Typhon. Four sleek Mk. III Vindication-class took point, with Cooper at the lead. Behind them, ten Mk. II Valor-class attackers blossomed out from port and starboard to find their partners. Finally, twelve Mk I Valkyries covered the rear to begin their duties.
“Typhon to Omega Squad, no sign of the U.S.S. Tbilisi on long or short range sensors, but there’s a lot of decaying energy readings. Begin search pattern Delta-2 while we analyze.”
“Acknowledged. All ships, keep close to your wings,” the lead pilot ordered as they divided their numbers to enter the field of celestial leftovers. Ryan had a feeling this was going to be a long look for a needle in a haystack, as an Excelsior-class starship doesn’t just disappear without help.
“Thoughts, lead?” his wingman posed over a private channel.
“Hard to say, Two. But I’ve got a bad feeling about…”
“Typhon to all fighters! Subspace wave inbound, estimate size one capital ship! Arrival time is thirty seconds! Assume combat alert!” the carrier controller practically yelled to them, causing every fighter to come about and prepare. Cooper’s hand twitched over the trigger of his torpedo launcher. Though he did not see what he expected, when the smooth curves and coral skin of a Mon Calamari MC80 heavy cruiser thunder into view. Still, at almost three times the size of the Typhon, even a friend could be intimidating.
A feeling made colder by what had arrived with it, all forty-eight of them. A loose formation of one X-Wing, one Y-Wing, one A-Wing and one B-wing squadron, sweeping under their starship like a school of obedient sharks, broke away in different directions. Even if their snubfighters did not assume attack positions, they all still came in with their shields at full power.
“Omega Lead to squad, stand down to Yellow alert and reform on the Typhon. They might be responding to the distress call from the Tbilisi as well.” Ryan called out, and switched his main comm channel over to the same one their carrier was using to listen in.
“This is Commander Worf of the Typhon. Identify yourself,” challenged their starship’s captain, and the only Klingon in Starfleet.
“This is Captain Horak Zo’rah of the New Republic cruiser Mon Aurora. We are investigating the destruction of one of our ships in this system. Are you here to lend assistance?” That was not the answer Cooper was hoping for, or even expected.
“Negative, Captain. We are also investigating the disappearance of one of our starships in this sector.” Worf clarified.
“Understood Typhon. Might I suggest combined search operations to cover more ground? It would allow quicker coverage of this space.”
The lead pilot could picture their Commander scowling at that idea, but it was a good move diplomatically. “Agreed. Our science stations will relay data to yours. Have your fighters switch to our channel for coordination with Omega Squad.”
The Republic cruiser confirmed, and their starfighters broke formation again, this time into similar pairs. “All right, looks like we have help today…” Ryan muttered to himself before piping in over the comms “This is Omega One, we’re moving into a search pattern if you wanted to shadow us.”
Responding to his request was a voice that filled him with intimidation and admiration, “This is General Antilles, Red Leader. Prefer a more cooperative pattern than just acting as a shadow. We’ll form with you by pairs and move out.”
Would it surprise you to know that, at some point in their history, Star Trek decided they need fighter jocks too? It sure did me, but it was an amazing adventure.So naturally, it was only a matter of time before I brought them together, if only it could be under happier circumstances…
I hope you all enjoy.