Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice...”
Sol circa 18th Century
Commander August McKenna sat in the cockpit of the Attitude Mechanic going through the Python's pre-flight checklist. For some, combat was a way of life, those pilots wanted to do nothing else. This pilot though, only saw it as a means toward an end.
Self-defense in the shipping lanes, that was the most common use of Auggie’s skills with ship mounted weaponry. However, most of his fleet nowadays consisted of unarmed freighters that were very good at avoiding or running away from attacking vessels. The Mechanic was different. Built from the landing pad up to be a lethal combination of engineered firepower and survivability, all wrapped up in an ominous charcoal and red exterior that said, ‘…and hell follows with me.’ She was fast, maneuverable, and could pack a punch.
The thrum of nervous gears in Auggie's gut was steady by the time he finally finished the checklist and requested departure clearance. “All you need is to be out there flying,” he told himself.
“ASTRA, wake up, run diagnostic,” he called to the ship's AI flight assist program.
“ASTRA online, all systems operational.”
“Control, this is Alpha Uniform Golf Eight Charlie requesting departure.”
“Roger that, Alpha Uniform Golf, you are go for departure. Watch your six out there, Commander,” came the customary reply.
The Mechanic gracefully eased upward free of the docking restraints. “Retract landing gear, quarter impulse,” McKenna ordered.
“Retracting docking modules. One quarter impulse, aye sir.”
The Python made a lazy roll into position and drifted silently toward the mail slot of the Orbis starport. “Full impulse.” A few moments later the killing machine was free of the station’s mass lock and boosting toward an FSD escape vector. “Engage jump drive.”
Witch space opened and swallowed the Python whole.
Upon arrival, the near desolation of the Wongo system stood in stark contrast. No bustling shipping lanes and only a single outpost for docking. “SKL and their stooges must have thought this would be a cakewalk. A quiet backwater, a hostile takeover…all business like,” Auggie thought as he cleared the corona of the star. He was here to ensure the loss they suffered to Black Omega would be absolute and beyond doubt.
Two contacts appeared from the backside of the star. “Right on time,” Auggie muttered. The scanner display showed the ships as a Fer de Lance and an Anaconda. There was no reason for comms chatter. McKenna had chosen his wingmates through experience; two merc pilots he had come to trust with his life through past combat operations, Jason Hartwig and Conesa Driggs.
Hartwig had cut his teeth fighting for Archon Delaine against the Empire with the infamous Kumo Crew. Precise and as cold as a steel blade, he would fly to Auggie’s right in the Fer de Lance, Raven’s Verse. Conesa Driggs was an operations specialist serving the Federal Reserves in another life. With a head for tactics and the experience to give real time assessments of enemy strength and the flow of battle, she would be flying her Anaconda, Grim Defiance, as Fire Direction Control and high cover to the Mechanic’s left.
After a short cruise, the trio dropped into normal space at an advantageous distance from an ongoing scrum.
“All points, weapons hot, red alert. Defiance, sitrep when you’re up and ready,” McKenna instructed over the wing’s comms.
A few moments later Conesa Driggs’ voice crackled over the channel with her situation report, “Enemy forces are in disarray. A dozen SKL individualists with no communication or direction. I count 2 wings of Omega virtually untouched and engaging.”
“Copy Defiance, call the ball.”
Driggs came back with precise instructions on the best target, “Lay on my target, ‘Conda, 30 low 40 right, 6200 meters.”
“Ok, Raven, you heard the lady, let’s get to work,” their leader spouted back over the channel.
The Mechanic executed a slow nose over roll to the right picking up the target chosen by the commander of the Defiance. McKenna’s wingmates noted his maneuver and followed suit, holding their well-practiced formation.
The aim was always to approach the target putting oneself and your wingmates in as little danger as possible; using attack angle and surprise, if available, to one’s advantage. Auggie vectored his Python toward a point roughly 2000 meters behind and below the target Anaconda. The silhouette of the larger ship firing at its enemies sporadically became larger through the Python's canopy.
At 1700 meters Auggie started the engagement by opening fire with the Mechanic’s laser armaments. First a large beam laser, then adding in 2 pulse lasers as the range to target closed. The target's shields danced, but waivered little with the onslaught. That is, until the Raven’s Verse poured in with burst laser bolts of its own. Moments later the enemy’s shields broke pitifully as the Defiance added her plasma accelerators to the mix.
“Powerplant.” The single word spoken over the comms channel told the wing to sub-target the Anaconda's main drive for a quick kill. Autocannon slugs from the Mechanic and the Defiance streamed into the hull of the hapless ship. With a quick adjustment from Hartwig the Raven’s huge railgun was brought to bear. The pilot squeezed the trigger and patiently waited for the charge to build. The rail slug tore through the target’s superstructure, boring a clean hole through the powerplant several decks below. An enormous gout of flame shot forth from the rail slug wound, there was no doubt it would be fatal. A split second later the craft, once majestic in flight, broke in half and exploded into an indiscernible debris field.
The first engagement by McKenna’s wing in the Battle of Wongo had lasted a grand total of 13 seconds. Auggie watched the scattered debris zip by, mesmerized. He wondered if any one piece could identify the ship that had once flown in its place. No matter.
“Orders, Boss?” Conesa Driggs' voice yanked Auggie from his musings. He cleared his throat slightly then hit the transmit button, “Excellent work you two. Call the ball, Defiance.”
So it went for three days, 6-8 sorties a day. They would finish a run, refit, debrief and Auggie would set the lift off time for their next trip into the combat area. On the fourth day SKL was in full retreat, Black Omega’s victory was complete.
Phase one of Auggie McKenna’s grand play for vengeance was done.