“All right, boys… we’re coming up on intercept point in five. Sweepers, tighten up your vectors to maximize your engagement windows.”
“Roger that, Pogo.”
“The rest of you are to hold back forty percent of your missiles from the initial pass. I need not remind you that if any of these guys get through, there’s not much chance of there being anything for us to dock with once we’re done here. If I do not see your requisite quotient of missiles in the final mop up, I will personally disembowel you even if I have to E.V.A. and then torch my way through your canopy to do it.”
“Putz, Cheese Fry, Dribble, and Panty-Waist, you are on point. You each have three bogies assigned to you. They’re marked as such on your screens as of now. I will be back stopping you. Hold your fire until I give the signal– we cannot waste ordinance on any long-shots here, there are just too many of them. When the explosions start you’re going to want to switch to beams right away, but hold off with those until they are in the orange-zone. If you both survive to point-blank range, you don’t want to be the one waiting for your pulse-lasers to cycle. Are we clear on that, people?”
The com-wave blossomed into a chorus of assent.
“Alright, then. Look sharp… and good hunting!”
Pogo flipped off the mic, did a final run-through of last-second checks, and exhaled a deep breath. The engagement clock hit its last-minute, and began winding down. At e-minus fifty seconds he injected battle-hype. At e-minus forty seconds he triggered a long-wave sensor pulse to refresh his tactical screen. There were no surprises, so he unlimbered his missile packs and warmed up his pulse lasers. At e-minus twenty-six seconds, he noted the missile bursts throwing up flack as the point defense of the lead fighters took them out. He flipped his pick-up back on.
“Steady, boys,” he said. “Begin ripple-fire on my mark in ten seconds…. (Split the difference in your approach vector there, Dribble.) Release in four… three… two… one… fire!”
The lead fighters began launching missiles. Several enemy glyphs winked out in succession…. but Putz’s crest switched off while Panty-Waist’s went to yellow. Pogo altered his vector to intercept Putz’s remaining two bogies.
“Hold it together…. Divert twenty percent of your power to screens. Begin pulse-laser barrage… now! Sweepers, engage targets at your discretion.”
Pogo’s display showed the enemy targets pinned by pulse-laser fire– even as they accelerated toward the frigate, their facing was riveted towards the interceptors. But the two sweepers began cutting across the axis of the rapidly closing squadrons and cutting into them from the side. One after another, enemy glyphs began disappearing. Dribble’s crest blinked out… followed by one of the sweepers. In just a few seconds of destruction, the fighters passed each other and began pivoting their facings.
“All wings… begin a triple-weight ripple barrage… now!”
Five bogies remained on Pogo’s display. It quickly dropped to two. But the density of the barrage was decreasing due to distance. The glyph of one of the last bogies winked out, but each second that passed increased the odds of the last enemy fighter breaking through the line. It entered the yellow-zone… then the green-zone… then… just as it was about to go cold, it’s image disappeared off the scopes. Cheers erupted over the com-wave.
“Excellent work. Adjust vectors with a 1G burn… and set a return course. Tonight, the drinks are on my tab.”