Chapter 22: Port flight pod

The mission of the squadron was to keep cylon raiders off the raptor force assigned to hit a large cylon military base. Hector “Cookie” Fishman was fresh out of viper school, having done nothing other than fly CAP since his assignment to this batttlestar.

He was a line pilot, nothing special. His viper was in the launch tube. He listened to his wireless as the jump countdown went to zero. He felt the launch tube catapult his viper into space.

He found his wingman and took station just behind him to his right. He looked down at his DRADIS. It was clear for the moment.

“Just like we planned peel off to the right,” his squadron commander ordered.

He kicked in his throttle and pulled the control stick to the right.

“Contact,” an urgent voice reported in his ear. “Cylon base star, they’re launching raiders.”

“Engage the inbound aircraft,” his squadron commander ordered.

Fishman checked his weapons switches and then squeezed the trigger. He loooked on in awe as a long stream of bullets belched out from his weapons. Several seconds later, he saw explosions from dozens of raiders.

There were smudgeds of red, looked like blood soon after consumed by fire.

“Okay break break break,” his squadron commander ordered. “Stay with your wingman.”

Cookie watched his wingman disintegrate as cylong fire ripped through it. Instinctively he jinked his Mark VII viper, avoiding death himself.

“Watch your six Cookie you got a pair of raiders on your tail.”

“Whoa!” he tought, jerking his control stick, trying to look over his shoulder and see the raiders. His mission was now to change direction as many times per second as he could. Flying straight and level was death now,.

His viper rocked as a round hit it. Warning lights flashed and he struggled to control his viper.

“I’m hit I’m hit I’m hit,” he announced on his wireless. “My lead is already dead.” He fought panic.

He felt the impact of first one, then a second explosion as someone cleared the two raiders off his tail. “You are clear Cookie,” his squadron commander ordered.”form up at rally point Victor.”

“Where the frack is Victor,” he said before he saw the letter V flashing on his DRADIS.

“Change of plans,” the squadron commander said in his ear. “Clear the center aisle. There are two manh of them. Mercury is setting up an engagement zone. Back to the barn, the stike is successful.”

He kicked in his engines and headed for the battlestar on a route that kept clear of a wall of fire and flak spewing from the battlestar. He was assigned to lan on the lower port flight pod. He flipped his orientation and performed his first combat landing, upside down from the orientation of the rest of the ship.

There was a second strike planned. All he had to do now was sit in his viper until the recovery teams towed him back to the hanger deck.

This was going to be boring. Now he was going to have to be broken in with a new wing leader.