“They’re closing Sir!” said Ensign Harrington pointing out of the bridge window.
Annie’s mouth went dry as she pushed through a pair of dark wooden doors. She shuddered involuntarily at the sight of the man, who was once her lover in front of her, “My God Peter, what has happened to you?”
In her strafing run Annie knocked out a couple of observation posts and was certain she took out the gearing on one of the big guns. As she came to the end of her run, she looped the Victoria around scouring the Leviathan for Newton pylons, seeing none in sight, she pushed the air wing down and to the right before launching out into clear air behind the battleship. The entire strafing run took less than a handful of seconds and Annie realized she had been holding her breath for the entire run. Catching movement out of the corner of her eye, she visually confirmed that Carol had made the run too, and together they pulled away from the Leviathan. Continue reading
The Victoria screamed out of the Arc Royal, bobbed, waved and then flew true as the air-wing burst into the open air. The sight that greeted Annie almost overwhelmed her, she has never seen so many ships and wings in one place. Her hands started to shake, she could feel the panic start to take over her body and her mouth grew dry. It took more than a few seconds for her training to kick in and she could then take stock of the situation. The Dominion fleet hadn’t started to launch its air-wings yet, and training her eye on the silhouettes of the enemy ship it looked like only a two of them were carriers, not counting whatever the Leviathan was carrying behind its screen of escorts. Squinting she could see the enemy picket wings turn towards them, but they were pitifully few and not a threat to the waves of air-wings the Europa fleet were launching. A plan formed in her head, if they could get close enough and under the enemy fleets guns they might just do some serious damage to the Dominion here.
“I am sorry, you have ARGOA!” said the figure in white.
“I have what?” replied Annie rubbing her eyes.
“I said you have AROGA!”
AROGA! AROGA! Screamed the horn mounted above Annie’s berth on-board the Arc Royal as it blasted out a called to battle stations, a wave of nausea passed through her as she sat up in her bed. The screaming horn was replaced with the gravel bass tone of Captain Mansergh verbally calling the ship to arms and for all flights to launch. She shook her head knocking the last of the cobwebs out as she realized it was a combat alert.
“What the hell could it be? We are not due to make contact for another three days yet. If this is a drill I’ll have someones head.”
She jerked to her feet groping for the cabin bulkhead as her head swam, she swallowed hard and fought to clear her head. The vertigo finally faded and she pulled open her locker, stepping into the battered leather flight suit that hung against the door. She busied herself fastening the front of the garment up trying to ignore her reflection in the stained mirror in the back of the locker. Her ice blue eyes stared back at her, and she pushed back her short bobbed blonde hair before snapping her flight boots. Taking a deep breath she grabbed her gloves and stepped out into the corridor, pulling the metal shuttered door closed behind her.
The corridor was packed with the other pilots from her group as they raced towards the launch bays of the carrier. Annie seeing the bottleneck of pilots and technicians heading towards the service ladder and main elevator, turned around pulled on her gloves and cut into a service tunnel taking the narrow John ladder down to the next level. Just as her feet lighted on the deck she tumbled, the Arc Royal rumbled and shook around her as the Newtons dropped to bring the old carrier up to combat speed. Annie held onto the deck plating as the tremor passed over the hull and the ship let out an angry growl. When the moment passed she sprang up and ran down the catwalk that strung across the hanger deck, almost halfway across she grabbed the support rail, and swung off sliding down the metal support landing firmly on the carrier deck. The ship lurched one more time as it finally hit its top speed making Annie stumble as she ran towards her waiting Victoria, a sleek mono-winged fighter.