Viper One Zero, Meleager. You are cleared for Hands-on approach, vector two-two-eleven, carem four.
Acknowledged, Meleager. Inbound, two-two-one-one, carem four. Flipping the toggle for the transmitter, Reddog mutters to himself, "Frak, frak, I hate this part." The Mark VI Viper wobbles a bit as the young pilot twitches the control stick, but turns gracefully enough to line up on the landing deck of the Hunter Class ship.
Easy, Reddog, easy. Keep the throttle light, and flare right before touchdown. Just like the simulator. I'll be right behind you, Vortex chimes in from just off his Port wing. The Mark VII flown by Old Mel's CAG slides gracefully back and takes up a following formation.
Easy for you to say, Vortex. You're actually older than the ship you're flying. I still say we should just let the automatics handle our landings. Isn't that what they're for, anyway?
Sure, kid. The Automatics are great. But I'm not going to pass you if the only landing you can make is while you're sleeping. You don't have time in combat to let the ship do the work. You need to be able to come in hot and touch down, even dead stick if that's what it takes. Now throttle back thirty. Yeah, that's it. Nice and slow this time. Combat landing protocol will be the next step.
Reddog's Viper shudders a little in response to its pilot, but is now skimming only meters from the landing deck. Reddog throttles back, cutting relative velocity to near zero, and flares the fighter up twenty-five degrees. The Viper settles almost gently to the deck and slides only a couple feet before the mags kick in, bringing the fighter to a halt. Reddog sighs and slumps in relief. Finally, he hadn't slid into anything important.
Vortex's Mark VII flips gracefully over the downed Viper as the CAG waves happily down at the nugget. Not bad, kid. You barely even scraped the deck plate this time. Now Checker owes me thirty cubits!
"Oh, frak me, Checker's gonna cream me at Pyramid tonight!"
Meleager, or "Old Mel", is a Hunter-class Escortstar nominally assigned to BSG-75, technically under the command of Galactica and Commander Adama.
Meleager has been attached to the 24th Viper Training Squadron for the last seven years. Pilots in the final stages of their training are transferred to Meleager and her two accompanying vessels for their final six months of qualification for combat landing and manuevering training, keeping the Nuggets from "bothering" the flight crews of the 'Combat Commands'...vessels such as Galactica, Pegasus, and the members of the various 120 other-some-odd Battlestar Groups of the Colonial Fleet.
Meleager is slated for decommisioning during the next six months to a year, and as such has become a low priority posting for the fleet and the needs of the Admiralty. Combined with a mid-space collision three months ago that killed or wounded a significant portion of its crew and damaged a little over a dozen various small craft, and the Meleager is notably understaffed. Nonetheless, her Commanding Officer, Major Ivana Deering, has been ordered to prepare for a transfer to command of the Spatha (a Gladius-class Gunstar) after it finishes its refit, and intends to take almost all of her crew with her, so readiness and morale remain high in anticipation of a mass-move into a bigger and better vessel.
Old Mel is quite understrength at the current time, notably due to the aforementioned circumstances. With only 416 crew (of her alotted 800), a short air group of 20 Vipers (most manned by Nuggets), and a single flight of Raptors, the ship, though maintained as well as possible by Major Deering, is not quite up to full fighting strength. While she is capable of handling the pirates that plague the Erebos Belt or even a couple of pitched wartime battles, her dearth of personnel and small craft would doom her quickly if the war resumed...unless she found additional personnel and small craft in short order.
Meleager is currently on the outskirts of the Erebos Belt, conducting training missions in the fringes of the asteroids; today is the day that Galactica retires and then proceeds to Caprica to meet up with an honor guard composed of most of the Colonial Fleet to be escorted to its final resting place in orbit as a 'living museum'. The crew of Meleager, however, has already had to deal with several 'incidents'--none directly Cylon-related yet--and has had their first major 'situation' drop in on them...and it has only been three hours since most of them came on-shift.
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