|APAGear II Archives||Volume 3, Number 8||September, 2001|
05 Spring TN 1943
600km solar south of Tannhauser Microgate TC/11-Z
"What have you got for me, Thumper?" Angel asked, cutting power to the torch.
"I could say something, but I won't. As for that flash, I dunnknow, weak rad spike up twenty by negative thirty out twenty kay kay, could be 'worms usin a Tannhauser-DeSmitt microdiscontinuity, or it could be an old piece of hot shrapnel, an old warhead, or even something fresh cooking off."
"Thumper, you realize that you have just said 'usin' and then 'Tannhauser-DeSmitt micro-discontinuity' in the same sentence and then used tact of all things! I ask you, are you quite all right?"
"Sensyscheck nom, tacsyscheck nom, weapsyscheck nom, fusion torch is within operational params, we've got sevn'ty percent of our hydrazine still inboard, my harness is clipped to my seat in three-times-twelve more places than I knew I had, My name is Breven Thomas "Thumper" Carlisle, I got lucky with Mallorie Malloy from supply six duty shifts ago, I survived four lightning-strike attacks in a beer-can Xiong Shou during the War, and your name is Lieutenant Jenifer "Angel" LePierre, you piloted an Aspic for six cycles in the Army before you transferred up, and you last got laid sometime during dirtside holiday four weeks ago. You presumably did so with that guy from you da's old Skyhawks unit. Your da got nailed dead by a Morgana in some hellhole called Miechan two weeks after the camaels thumped Ogadog with Gabriels, and your ma still trains grunt groundpounders for the SRA in Marabou. If I can remember all that and still clean wax outa my ears, I guess 'm fine."
"Asshole. You are the same damn Thumper as always. Unfortunately. No wonder no other pilot would take you- you ended up with me because you obviously can not retain the simple concept that someone's' private life is supposed to remain that way! And that contact- should we investigate?" Angel asked, tapping a single puff of remass from one of the Peregrines' maneuvering booms. The ship slowly began to turn under the nudge, and she deftly fired a similarly sparing burst from the opposite boom to counter the motion once the nose of their fighter was facing the offending coordinate.
"Neat and prim as ever, bosslady, and now I've definitely got something movin like a bat that found the fiery gates, definitely from that flash. Guess the 'worms are gettin sick of us poaching their coffins and strapped a booster onto one for blockade runnin'. And will you ever guess what else I see! Iggy and Ookie, Tag One and Two, are trying to see who can play pancake longest in an effort to get to our illustrious visitor first. Make both Shrikes from the Laban trying to play ballsy hero and win a g-aneurysm." Thumper replied, patented cockiness blending with competent reports in Angels' audio.
"So, miss Pilot-Lieutenant Jenifer Raquelle LePierre of the glorious Southern Republican Aerospace Directorate Orbital Defense Corps, oh you callsigned Angel and currently reigning queen of the throttle, would you deem it worthy of our valuable time and remass to go see what our esteemed northern zealots have dug up and are oh-so-excitedly barking about?"
"Thumper, sit back, shut up, and enjoy the ride." Jeni exclaimed playfully, tracing a gently arcing course into her piloting computer and resting one hand on the throttle touchslide at her side.
"Bet you say that to all the boys ma'am." Thumper retorted, leaning back and fitting his arms into their acceleration frames.
"Burn in four, three, two-one, hold onto your ass, cause here we go-"
Drawing her dangling arm across the gently curving throttle strip, Jeni pushed the slider all the way down, following the arc of the gravsafe forward as acceleration pushed her back into her seat. The cantilevered acceleration frame hinged at three and a half gravities, moving her from the semireclining posture of operations-capable to the flat endurance angle that would prevent pooling. As the pressure increased further she could feel the surging pressure of her armor as lightweight pressure fluid inflated the bladders throughout her nearly skintight flightsuit, squeezing her limbs to keep blood from pooling.
As the pressure increased, she began to have to hold the gravsafe, the gravity-safe throttle pushing back down the ever-more-steeply sloping incline as her ship exceeded the "safe point" of three gravs, heading toward the elusive, crushing seven. "Frnhh" Thumper called out from behind her, doubtless grinning like an idiot as inertia and acceleration combined to crush him into his couch.
Trying to breathe calmly despite the exultation she felt with the crushing weight of inertia seeming to make her one with the ship, Angel watched the inertiometer tick off acceleration and time remaining.
4.9 Gravities... Accelerating...
5.4 Gravities... Accelerating...
6.0 Gravities REACHED - FIFTEEN SECOND BURN AT CURRENT THRUST
The weight of a giant remained on them, but neither minded. The hextupling of their weight was less drastic than it seemed when it was constant, and was in actuality only four times normal to them, the pilot habitat being set at a constant 1.5g.
The counter neared zero, and Jeni pulled back on the throttle, all the way back in an instant rather than a slow tapering. Thrifty burns meant more fuel, and fuel was essential for a fighter.
"Sixty-seven, repeat, Six-Seven-Percent fuel remaining, bosslady." Thumper reported,
Immediately both felt as if they were being hurled forward, as the pressure on them suddenly and instantaneously ceased. This was the dangerous part. In an atmosphere fighter, crushing acceleration was transitory, but in space the drive could continue to accelerate as long as there was remass. Despite the specialized atmosphere mix running into her flightsuit from the fighters' life support system, the sudden drop in compression could potentially mimic rapid depressurization, resulting in nitrogen narcosis, embolisms, or worse from unsuspending gasses. Irritatingly, those very illnesses reminded her of that PIM-turned-Gear pilot her father had introduced her to... Given a spare second as the torch cooled, she couldn't help but look at the partial reflection of his gift on the inside of her helmet visor.
The ornate and lightweight linked-chain circlet she wore inside her armored flight helmet was definitely against regulation, but the intricate sculpture not only served to keep her slightly longer-than-regulation hair free of her face. Indeed, the so called Helios Corona as beautiful and unique a piece of jewelry as it was functional, incorporating as it did low-gravity foamed metal lattice and semiprecious metals. But the truly impressive part was the artificial diamond-encased "jewels" within. While only the center gem was actually a true gemstone, each of the half-marbles along the band contained a bit of the Helios system. Through cajoling and liberal spending, she had managed to purchase fragments, often no more than tiny gram shards or samples from Hermes, Hope, Ares, Poseidon, and even some small fragments from the Cereberus comet and a chip of rock from the far-off Hades research post. When cut, polished, and set within the silver-finished cerametal band, it was truly a stunning object.
Re-suppressing her vanity, Jeni activated her trihup, the front of her helmet blanking and then becoming a perfectly detailed trid view of space surrounding the ship. Behind her, Thumper was doubtless grinning like a fool, but doing likewise.
The Trihup was a modification on a standard trideo, using retractable retinal holoprojectors to beam the image directly into her eye. To provide contrast, the flash-shield layer of her helmet, an electrically-triggered liquid crystal layer, also activated- providing a nearly black background on the inside of her helmet for the electronic hallucinations to appear against.
Instantly, she was Outside. The black of space everywhere, pinpoints of stars and planets, and limitless utter black extending away to entropy. This was the true proving point for a new pilot- withstanding the shock of complete immersion in the emptiness generated by the visual processing computer. Few could stand it, and fewer still function in it. But for those that could, the unending black became a sort of womb, a comforting nothingness akin to sensory deprivation with claustrophobia and agoraphobia all at once. Pilots often went Outside just to hang in the blackness. Some because they claimed they could feel God, others simply because they felt to survive the Black, they would have to experience it. Thumper simply went Out for a nap every sixth off-duty shift, and on that they could both agree. The blackness and weightlessness made you alone with yourself, a miniature planet, an omnipotent god of nothingness as you drifted off and dreamed free...
But this was not the soft starlight of relaxation- the vipro chips in the sensor systems began painting heading lines and headup information as soon as the display activated. Foremost were the Streaks and Ticks- the Streaks a 3D gridfield of computer generated pips that hung motionless in space, their length, direction, and color showing the motion of the ship, giving a visual reference to their immense speed. Secondly were the Ticks- dotted lines of acceleration contrails generated by the computer, showing the path of any nearby ships. The teardrop shapes in the trail increased or decreased in length and frequency depending on speed, while their width showed the acceleration.
Immediately, Jeni could see the two blue streaks of the northern SP-3 Shrike fighters, having completed their burn, they were tiny pinheads within targeting brackets, each trailing a near-solid line of long teardrop shapes. Vaguely, she could also see the faint yellow pulse of the unknown contact, equally invisible at the tip of a long line of green dots.
"Thumper, a better visual?" She inquired, and the pinpoints suddenly expanded, the brackets filling with magnified images of the three other ships, or two drivespots and a strangely tumbling piece of something, surrounded by a cloud of debris...
"Can't resolve the bogie- but I don't feel safe about that cloud of crap. Could be shrap, could be limpets, ASATs, remoras, drones, you name it." Thumper apologized, zooming on the unknown with the main highdef visual sensor.
In the zoom-window, something detached from the unknown, followed by a puff of gas, instantly crystallizing into an obscuring white cloud in the frigid blackness. As the unknown was slowly obscured by the gas cloud, Jeni though she could see a smaller, controlled puff turning the black shape around. The cloud had nearly obscured the contact, but when the unknown stopped its turn, a chill colder than space ran down her spine.
"Thumper, did you see that!?" She yelped, powering down her drive potential and shunting power to her heatsinks.
"Shit yes, goddamn well looks like it was sure intact enough to turn, arrest, drop a drag torp and then release aerosol chaff! Goddamn! Northies are oblivious, probably want to rescue some Pulciano Junior and make a footnote in the history books... Tag One is accelerating, right toward it. Stupid! Get the hell away!" Thumper monologued, even as Jeni watched on her own displays, noting that as Thumper talked, he also erected their dampening fields and sensor screens with competence.
"Thumper, is it just me, or is Tag Two letting Tag One block while he is shadowdropping?" Jeni asked, watching the trailing northern fighter change direction slightly, then turn end for end and begin to retroburn.
"Yup, looks like they may not be so stu-"
Then both their screens went dark blue, indicating flash-shielding had engaged. The blue wall faded just as quickly, revealing an expanding cloud of particulate, the explosion from the lead Shrike neither fiery nor deafening, but horrifying nonetheless. In a battle where the enemy was seldom visible and scarcely detectable, anything so dramatic meant doom.
"Thumper, stat?" Jeni demanded reflexively, every instinct demanding action, even when any movement would reveal them.
"Tag One is toast, no beacon. Looks like a two-kilo remora, not very hot, but enough! Sheeit! We're still in green, and I'm locking up for a laserburn- I'd like it if we waited until we can stereo LIDAR the bastard, but I can deal with it."
In her visual, Jeni could see the second Shrike now closing on the unknown at full burn, a nine gravity dive that would end with the hostile stitched through with railgun bolts and incinerated by rockets and missiles carrying low yield nuclear warheads.
"Fire immediately when the cloud is enough dispersed, Thumper."
But, like its forebearer, Tag Two erupted in flame, and again the blue wall covered their vision for a quarter second to shield them from the glaring gout of flame. Unlike the first Shrike, however, "Ookie" was still alive after the particle or laser beam strike. Twisting and spewing vital breathing mix and or remass, the front half of the ship was still mostly intact. While the thruster arms and rocket pods were gone, little more than twisted stumps trailing molten cercametal, the crew pod and railgun were still apparently intact.
Jeni and Thumper both felt the cold of space run down their spines again, as they imagined the horror of being trapped inside a dying fighter, engines and weapons gone, no control over their ship, and the hostile still waiting hungrily out in the darkness...
"Poor bastards..." Thumper said, voicing their common thought aloud.
"Yes. But they are not us, so please make sure that we do not have the same happen to us." Jeni agreed warily, firing two small cold-thruster bursts to adjust their intercept course. The range to unknown was down to forty kilometers.
"SHIT! Hostile Active Search! We have been pinged! Contact bearing oh-two-three by neg ten declination, looks like another drag launch hunter-seeker... Coming in at eleven grav, twenty seconds... It has definitely acquired us... Suggest power up zap the fucker quick."
"Must I do all your thinking for you Thumper? Confirm Yankee-search. Do a wide active scan for more and then pulseshot to all contacts, ripple autofire!" Jeni barked, "standby for evasion-burn..."
Thumper occupied, Jeni grabbed for her controls and activated intelligent continuous-burn. While the fighters' four plasma vent engines screamed to life on their gimball mountings, Jeni was already directing their ship into a dropstrafe, accelerating at a curve toward the contact. With proper timing and enough inertia, the missile would be unable to turn fast enough to hit and then overshoot, thus to either have no fuel for another run, or be shot down by Thumpers' computer-guided scan-and-fire.
With a high pitched squeal of gimbals, the binary laser array dishes to either side of the ship awoke, then hissed as they swept nearly 720 degrees around the ship, burping slightly whenever they encountered a contact and paused for a moment, increasing power and vaporizing the offending object before continuing on.
Unfortunately, using the LIDAR guided weapons system could make the fighter more visible, plumes of ionization pointing to the fighter from each vaporized contact.
Suddenly, their visors went blue again, and to Jeni it felt like an eternity- and well it could be. Space combat was not a forgiving medium, and hits almost uniformly fatal.
But then her visor cleared, followed by Thumpers' only marginally sane cries of elation. "Dumb Bastard! You DUMB, PATHETIC FUCKER! YOU CAN'T HIT ME! I SHOT AT YOU BASTARDS FOUR FUCKING TIMES BEFORE AND YOU STILL. CAN. NOT. EVEN. COME. GODDAMN. CLOSE. TO. GETTING. ME." He elated, following it with a long howl of joy.
"Thumper, that has made me not so sure if I am dead and in hell. Please tell to me what just happened."
"Sorry. Gonna need a new bolt tat if we survive this... Dumb bastard shot off a pulse laser at us through his aerosol chaff. 'fortunately for him, it looks like he toasted out his hull a bit from refrac, but enough got through to us we just lost our left Liddie pod. Sensors are cut from one-eighty through two-seventy to zero, dek of neg ninety to pos ninety. Whole damn dish, but it caught most of the blast for us. Lining up a torpshot right now."
"Keep him busy, volley volley volley. Burning positive twenty, inclination forty." Jeni ordered, continuing to accelerate toward the hostile, now at nearly five gravities.
"Volley volley volley, weapons on track. Twenty seven low-yields on track. Closing at nine-four in scattershot..."
"Keep it from tracking... Going up to six grav..." Jeni screamed, ramping up the thrusters as the engines and her heart thrummed in a valkyrie tattoo of death and havoc against the weight crushing her and the earther far ahead.
"Fuel state five-zero, repeat, five-zero." Thumper noted, slurring his words under the acceleration.
Cutting her forward burn slightly, Jeni began to alternate individual thrusters, firing them off at thirty degrees from her flightpath, slewing the ship from side to side along two axes.
"Contact and boom! Scattershot blast, two-six torps had green ignition. Contact obscured. Visual in- now!" Thumper reported, switching to short-range weapons.
"Engines cut. Closing at fifteen kilometers a minute subjective, range is twenty kilometers to projected... God we're close- I want to see that bastards' carcass and bring back his fucking teeth!" Jeni screamed, the Valkyrie rage rising in her heart as she felt both death and her prey near. Twenty kilometers distance with parallel courses in combat was insane, more even than a lightning strike. At such close range it would be death to whoever fired first, and her ships' primary weapon was vaporized across most of the starboard hull.
"Visual! Visual! No breakup!? What the hell! You cheeky bastard, why won't you goddamn well die properly and let us go home?! Make maybe heavy fighter or assault corvette class, something new and a 'runner for sure. Looks like we nailed him with blast from one, maybe two, but he's still there!" Thumper screeched, activating his torpedo targeting system.
"Tone, got tone... firing at the beep..." He monologued, listening to the high-pitched beeping of the killer torp as it acquired from the sensor system. Then, abruptly, the tone broke off in an ungracious squelch.
"Goddamnit! Minrange! We're inside min range! Disabling rangefinder, firing."
"I can eyeball him! He is that close! Enjoy your welcome presents, you earther bastard..." Jeni growled, watching two pips drop away from her fighter and streak toward the contact, only to explode in two blinding puffs of energy, afterimages of the flash tracing back to the ugly black ovoid that had been their target, now shuddering slightly as something overloaded and erupted in an electrical maelstrom across the hull. Those two shots may have stopped the torpedoes, but it had cost the Earthers dearly...
"To hell with it, Thumper, arm the buzzsaw and set for ship-to-ship. I want to carve my fucking initials in his hull." Jeni seethed, bloodlust only slightly dimmed by her incredulity over the fact the earther vessel was even vaguely alive after all their efforts.
But with an ominous dentists-drill whine, the Stormclaw vulcan atop the ship deployed and activated, ready and willing to change all that.
With the crystalline hatred of frustration mixing in to sweeten her joy, Jeni toggled her yoke to auxiliary fire control, carefully lining up the crosshair with the lead indicator and squeezing both thumbs authoritatively down on the main fire, delighting in the hailstorm rattle resonating through the hull as the cannon went into overdrive.
In her helmet, she could see the long line of scintillating armor-piercing rounds tracing out to the crippled ship, stitching it in half in minute puffs of gas. As the shells traced along, the rents in the hull began widening, ending in a cataclysmic whoosh of air and fire as the vessel split in half and disintegrated.
"Kill. Confirm?" Thumper keyed on wideband.
"Confirm." Came a strange voice in response, shocking them both.
"Now that you're both heroes, how about getting us a little help over here?" Came the amended reply, as the crippled form of Tag-Two slowly drifted past, close enough for Jeni and Thumper to see one of the Shrike crewmen waving through his tiny artificial diamond viewplate.
"Goddamn." Jeni muttered, bringing the fighter around and sending out a postbattle situational report while Thumper deactivated the cannon and replied to the drifting northern fighter.
"Affirmative Shrike Alpha Charlie Zero Two Niner, we'll get you some rescue ASAP. Hell, it's in our own best interests. Once the brass is done yelling about your fighter, you poor northern bastards owe us a steak dinner."
While the northern Shrike spacefighter may be more famous, and the southern Xiong Shou more plentiful, the Republican Peregrine is still one of the all-around best Terranovan space fighters in production. Initially conceived to counter the Shrike interceptors beginning service to the UMF at the turn of the century, the SRAD contracted Republican Aerospace Armories in 1906 to design and build a machine capable of holding its own against the high-speed terror from north of the equator. Bankrolled by the SRA and drawing talent from the whole of the Antarctic, RAA quickly conceived a design to fit the bill. Unfortunately, the design simply could not match the speed of the Shrike, as no thruster ports could be made or procured to withstand the needed stresses without quickly eroding under the high-pressure fusion plasma. However, while southern plasma nozzles were not up to the task, the fusion core for the Peregrine was far superior to its northern nemesis, and designers wasted little time harnessing this power for potent sensor and weapon arrays. Also, in a stroke of extreme cleverness, if not genius, designers were able to find a powerful weapons grade laser that could operate at a low power setting for LIDAR sweeps and, upon acquiring a contact, immediately power up and fire at weapon grade intensity. The consequence was that the LIDAR/laser system was necessarily placed externally and thereby exposed to hostile fire, and that the Peregrine became far more sensor-visible after firing. Nonetheless, the combination of the instant acquisition-and-fire and the raw power of the laser arrays was considered too powerful a system to scrap, allowing its implementation as it was. The argument later given (that the fighter would have nothing to fear from detection after firing, since the target was already dead) was widely ridiculed by the northern spaceforces, at least until the War of the Alliance.
The Peregrine was one of the shining beacons of the SRA aerospace corps during the WotA, and despite extremely heavy losses served as an excellent hunter-killer ship, preying mercilessly on ancillary CEF ships like frigates and tenders. Unfortunately, the sensor-illumination problem after firing continued to plague Peregrines, and forced them to either act as snipers or rely on drone swarms to occupy a target while they lined up a deathblow. Even with such tactics, more than half of the Peregrine fighters in service were destroyed during the war. However, the tonnage-kill ratio for these ships was nearly 155:3, and Republican propaganda spared no effort to glamorize Peregrine crews as heroes to the groundlocked public following the War. To this day, the space service has no lack of applicants, and has been forced to resort to extremely stringent entrance requirements beyond the normal mandate of six cycles as atmosphere fighter pilot and three cycles as space pilot. However, the esperit de corps and morale among those who qualify is among the highest of the already incredibly devoted southern republican military, reflected in the challenging unofficial training regimens pilots have developed among themselves and the ornate paintjobs they decorate their ships with, as well as slogans embedded in IFF transponders or painted across the hulls of their fighters.
Name: SL-3A Peregrine deep-space interceptor Origin: Terra Nova, SRAD-ODC Manufacturer: Republican Aerospace Armory and Mekong Space Systems Type: High speed orbital defense interceptor-fighter Crew: 2 (pilot, gunner) Length: 17m (w/ burn pod) Width: 8m (maneuver and LIDAR booms retracted) Height: 8m (rocket pod retracted) Empty Weight: 67,000 kg Loaded Weight: 105,000 kg Powerplant: 1x fusion drive vented through 4x articulating plasma torches Reaction mass: 2,100 bp Total thrust: 7 g Sensors: +2 Ficon: +1 Coms: +1 Maneuver: -2 Base size: 16 Armor: 35 Combat speed: 35bp Max speed: 70bp Weapons: Phased convergent microwave laser (HLC, +1 acc, w/20 shots, turreted) Stormclaw vulcan cannon (HAAC +1 acc w/500 rnds, front arc, +2 to antimissile fire) Vogel-S9 rocket pod (MRP9 w/27rnds FF) Hyperion torpedo system (ATM w/6rnds front) Perks: Life Support (Limited, 800 hrs) HEP Extreme heat HEP Extreme cold HEP space/vacuum HEP Radiation (r5) Reinforced Armor (front, r3) ECCM (r2) ECM (r2) Decoy Systems Advanced controls Automation (r1) Stealth (r2) Reduced G Effect (+1 to FIT rolls) Sniper system (HLC) Flaws: Exposed weapon systems (HLC) Exposed sensor systems Incurs -1 to concealment immediately after firing HLC
Republican Heavy Gear pilots may be more touted and Legion Noire infantrymen more feared, but no Republican military branch trains and crosstrains its soldiers more than the SRAD. In a branch where even the lowliest maintenance crewman must be a peerless professional, Spacefighter pilots rank supreme in both dedication and skill.
Trained to be able to handle a multiperson fighter alone and acclimated to resist G-forces up to six times normal, a spacefighter crewman must not only be the pinnacle of technical training, but also of physical health. In an effort to increase G-tolerance, a common facet of their jobs often involving pressures that could crush all but the toughest normal humans and make even the smallest effort as much a test of willpower as of their physical strength, most spacefighter crews live in station or shipboard areas spun up to produce more than one an a half gravities. Despite different specializations, all crewmembers are also required to be proven atmosphere fighter pilots with at least four cycles of flight experience under their belts.
Agi: +2 App: 0 Bld: +1 Cre: +1 Fit: +2 Inf: 0 Per: +1 Psy: +1 Wil: +1 Str: +1 Hea: +1 Sta: 35 UD: 5 AD: 5 Acrobatics 1+2 Combat sense 2+1 Elec Wfre 1+1 Zero-G 3+0 Pilot (space) 1+1 Pilot (air) 2+0 Gunnery (air) 2+0 Gunnery (spce) 1+1 Survival (spce) 2+1 Space Nav 1+1 Notice 3+0 Also: One to three technical skills, and one skill appropriate to the crew position at level two or three (+2 Gunnery for gunner or +3 Electronic Warfare for EW officer, etc.)
While Spacefighter and Aerospace-fighter pilots are rarely exposed to hard vacuum, it is obviously prudent to wear some sort of protective garment in the event of a breach, be it from a failed seal to combat damage. To this end, all ODC pilots and crew wear a full space-capable military-grade spacesuit during all flight operations. However, while most shuttle pilots can make do with a bulky standard suit with thin manipulator gloves, the cramped confines and dangerous pressures involved in crewing a fighter made such suits unsafe, impractical and otherwise unusable. The fighter crew suit currently in service is nearly the opposite of a standard spacesuit, and yet also very different from the standard flexible shipboard pressure suit.
In essence, the SFCPS (Space Fighter Combat Pressure Armor) is a thin body-formed garment made from woven monofillament fibers that are virtually impossible to cut and woven so densely that they are nearly airtight. Over that layer a coating of flexible heat exchanger pipettes, electromagnetic radiation dampers, and a self-sealing fluid layer are added, followed by another layer of monofillament cloth. On both the inside and outside of this sandwich layer fluid pressure bladders are added, an integral G-suit system designed to keep blood from pooling during high-gravity maneuvers. Over the entire undersuit thin layers of ablative armor platelets, smaller than but essentially the same as that found in infantry Turtleshell, are added, followed by a combat harness, a two-day atmosphere rebreather, food and water tubules, and an outer layer of flexible light flak armor.
Also worthy of note is the integral flight helmet. Combining advanced holographic display technology, the helmet not only projects images directly onto the retina of the pilot, but also incorporates an advanced visual imaging system that can project data directly onto the synthetic-diamond faceplate. The helmet itself is made of lightweight foamed polymer and contains a two-hour oxygen supply and emergency communication beacon, as well as nutrient and water tubes located in recesses in the neck ring. Additionally, the intense gravitational forces occasioned by space combat prompted the inclusion of a specialized "exospine," a powered armature that runs from the back of the helmet to the middle of the pilots' back. It is servo powered to provide normal freedom of motion for intentional head movements, but become rigid when its' inertiometer detects sudden acceleration.
Cost: Unavailable to civilian market, ~1,500 dinars
Armor value: 30 (RPF 20, protects completely against electrical attacks, double armor value against disc guns, blades and lasers)
Includes 50 hour atmosphere supply, +1 bonus to FIT rolls against acceleration, 1 liter supply of water and .5 liters of nutrient paste. Self seals up to a 5cm slash or 2cm radius hole in three turns. Can interface with fightercraft to replenish stores.
Born into a Marabouan family that had a tradition of military service dating all the way back to the Marabou Marauders, Jeni never had any problem deciding her course in life. Daughter of two SRA career Sergeants (one a drill instructor, the other a dropmaster in the 99th Skyhawks), Jeni was a self proclaimed army brat from the time she could talk, and always worked hard to outdo her older brothers at any activity that could bring her recognition from her parents, from school to Youth Guard.
When she was fourteen cycles old, her father took her along with her brothers to a demonstration jump his cadre was performing at the Marabou airport. While her brothers were awed by the elite paratrooper Gears (most especially their fathers' Razorfang Black Mamba), she was captivated by the sleek Aspic fighters and Varis hoppers that did aerobatics over the crowd during most of the airshow.
According to her, she was so entranced by the fighters that she completely ignored watching her fathers cadre jump and only acknowledged his presence back on the ground when she began begging him to introduce her to the Air Cavalry pilots.
Upon enlistment in the Republican Army Air Cavalry (at minimum age, of course), Jeni poured all her abilities into becoming the best fighter pilot in the South. While not quite the goddess of the air she aspired to, her performance was enough to gain her several commendations and, eventually, transfer into the experimental weapons corps as a test pilot. It was there, helping with the new Aspic High-Altitude fighter refits, that Jeni found how limited her atmospheric domain truly was, and when the Orbital Defense Corps began recruiting for Peregrine Spacefighter pilots, she jumped at the chance. Over the next few cycles of zero-gravity bliss, she finally realized her dreams, becoming one of the top southern pilots, albeit only among the small community of spacefighter pilots. Her expectations were exceeded far beyond even her imagination later, when she was requested (by name) to serve as one of the elite escort pilots aboard the SRGS Illustrious, something she finds terribly exciting with the Black Talon missions and Gate Coffin incursions occurring regularly within her sphere of responsibility.
In short, Jeni is one of those rare people that can get along with anyone she encounters. Always cheerful, impossible to depress, and universally outgoing, Jeni was brought up with the typical Marabouan cosmopolitan outlook and an almost too exuberant joy for life, making her as welcome a sight aboard the Illustrious as any previous posting. Given her fairly unprejudiced outlook on other southern nations, however, has put her at odds with some of the more supremacist Republicans aboard, though it has never gone beyond the occasional verbal rebuke. Unfortunately, her time in space has begun to extend her open-mindedness to those born north of the equator... Her participation in the Laban Emuros-Illustrious soccer tourney has allowed her to at least make the acquaintance of several UMF fighter pilots, whom she occasionally encounters on her patrols. The one minor mark on her personality is the utter hatred she has for the CEF, a result of hearing her fathers' war stories as a child. In her mind, the CEF as a whole is nearly evil personified, despite her reluctant acceptance of the occasional earthers who now work in the Terranovan spaceforces.
With her mother a hand-to-hand combat instructor, her dead father a commando Gear pilot, and most of her lifetime spent in the military, Jeni thinks of combat as merely an occasional event in everyday life, albeit one of great importance to her continued well-being. Due to her current assignment aboard the Illustrious, Jeni's acclimatization to the variable or nonexistent gravity and her love of Sand Dragon Kung Fu and Kendo would likely make her quite the adversary, and the fact that she and her fellow pilots live in a section spun up to produce 1.65g gives her the muscular strength to make any hits count. This also allows her more freedom during her chosen method of fighting- piloting a space or atmosphere fighter. Her increased G-tolerance and excellent skill are a potent component in a deadly combination with a competent gunner.
"Thumper" Carslisle, (age 49 cycles, specialties: space gunnery & carousing) her gunner/EW operator; Anya LePierre, (age 67 cycles, specialties: Hand-to-hand & teaching ) her mother and a SRA boot camp instructor; Harik Kzyn (age 39 cycles, specialties: Gear piloting & demolitions) a fine young caval whom she tries to visit every leave; Soldier Strela (age unknown, specialties: Aerospace pilot & trading) a Minerva GREL cargo shuttle pilot whom she loosely knows from her time at the Port Oasis Spaceport; "Tsunami" Herrera (age 30 cycles, specialties: space pilot & athletics) a pilot aboard the Laban Emuros against whom she competes in the mini soccer tourney between their ships.
Age: 40 cycles Height: 170cm Weight: 89kg Hair color: Blonde Eye color: Glowing Blue (atsi sculpted) Handedness: Ambidextrous Agi: +2 App: +1 Bld: +1 Cre: 0 Fit: +2 Inf: +1 Kno: 0 Per: +2 Psy: +1 Wil: +2 Str: +1 Hea: +1 Sta: 35 Ud: 5 Ad: 7 Flesh: 17 Deep: 35 Kill: 70 Shock: 6 Skills: Acrobatics: 2+1 Aircraft Pilot: 3+2 Gunnery(air) 2+2 Athletics: 1-1 Combat Sense: 1+0 Comms: 1+1 Elect. Wfre. 2+0 Etiquette: 1+0 HtH: 3+2 Leadership 1+1 Melee: 2+1 Space Pilot 3+2 Gun'ry (space) 2-1 Zero G: 3+2 Space Nav: 2+0 Sm. Arms: 1-2 Survival (spce) 2+1 Music 1-2
Born into a middle-class family in Siwa Oasis in 1895, Breven Carlisle was at the very best a problem child. Notorious for playing pranks and causing havoc, his parents forced him into the Youth Guard in an effort to keep him under some form of supervision at any time. As a young Guardsman, Breven only cursorily followed orders and at one point received a letter home stating that he unfortunately had "at best, barely sufficient interest to make low-end MILICIA service a reality." Horrified, his parents gave up on trying to make him into an officer and a gentleman, and simply begged him to make something of himself. Amazingly enough, he apparently took it to heart, and at least maintained passable grades and a decent discipline record in the Guard.
Following his graduation, he enrolled in the SRA and had just completed advanced systems operator training (after being dumped in the SRADs lap) when the CEF invaded. Assigned to a Xiong Shou fighter, Breven was one of the first Terranovans to face the invaders, and continued to fight for the rest of the war, despite an ejection and two dead pilots. During the course of the battles against the CEF, he somehow managed to survive four Lightning Strike raids on CEF command vessels, and is widely accredited with being "that lucky bastard that holed the Serveromorsk" (the CEF light carrier crippled by Terranovan fighters and later scuttled by the CEF in 1914) and having survived a run on the Akula, an Io class destroyer. Since the War, however, "Thumper" has returned to his typical pattern of just barely meeting the requirements, and experienced a streak of reassignments as he irritated pilot after pilot. Now assigned to a Peregrine fighter under Lt. Jeni LePierre, he has apparently either lost interest in causing havoc with other members of his crew, or has simply met the first person with the willpower to tolerate him.
Thumper believes he should probably be dead from his experiences, but the possibility of there being no afterlife has galvanized him to fully savor whatever joys are available while he is still alive. Things try to kill him with what could be considered frightening regularly, be they hostiles, friendlies, or even his work environment. But, as nothing has yet succeeded, he is determined to live his life to its fullest, even if it means stepping over some foolishly restrictive rules of conduct or putting himself at risk. From several "incidents" involving dynamite fishing in lake Esperance and his famed one-time win of forty thousand dinars playing poker, to the time he somehow managed to date the Fontaine twins for a period of two weeks despite both sisters being stationed on the same base, or numerous other escapades, Thumper seems to be something like an ambulatory natural disaster when looking for a good time. So long as someone is not either an easy target for his jokes or so easily offended as to react negatively, Thumper can get along with nearly anyone, though there are few that do not fall into either or both of the prior categories.
While not (quite) insane, Thumper seems to believe that he is somehow either invulnerable or lucky, and is often willing to do something more than a bit crazy to defeat his enemy. Like most spacefighter crew, he lives in a habitat ring spun to 1.65g, and combined with his wide knowledge of various methods of destruction make him a poor choice for an opponent in person-to person battles. But, while he may only be a moderate threat groundside or in a boarding action, at the controls of a gunnery chair or any type, Thumper becomes a terrifyingly lethal soldier. While he may focus more effort into shooting down enemy missiles and drones at the beginning of an engagement, he does so only to give himself more time to line up that perfect shot- usually one that almost always either kills the target outright or cripples it. His skills in combination with a Peregrine fighters' sniper-oriented weapon loadout makes a for a deadly mixture.
Jeni "Angel" LePierre (age 40 cycles, specialties Air & Space pilot) his pilot and one of the few people who can tolerate him; Mallorie Malloy (age 38 cycles, specialties Tinker and Electronics) a supply officer on the Illustrious and his current occasional lover, The Fontaine twins (ages 39, specialties Air Pilot and Air Gunnery) two of Thumpers' former lovers now both threatening vengeance on him for romancing their opposite twin at the same time.
Age: 49 Height: 163 cm Weight: 86 kg Hair color: Dyed, varies Eye color: Glowing Green (Atsi sculpted) Handedness: Right handed Agi: +1 App: -2 Bld: +1 Cre: +2 Fit: +1 Inf: -1 Kno: +1 Per: +2 Psy: +2 Wil: +1 Str: +1 Hea: +1 Sta: 35 UD: 6 AD: 6 Acrobatics 2+1 Athletics 1-1 Cooking 1-2 Combat Sense 3+1 Comms 2+1 Demolitions 1-1 Elec. Wfre. 3+1 Gambling 2+2 Gunnery (any) 3+2 Hand-to-Hand 1+1* Notice 2 0 Sm. Arms 1+2 Survival (spce) 2+2 Tinker 1-1 Zero-G 3+1 *Barfighting
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 3, Number 8||September, 2001|
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