Rally Thomas stretched, then adjusted her seating position as she lounged around in the ready room. They were supposed to sortie at some point during the day cycle, but her CO had left the exact time vague, so she had readied her fighter, eaten lunch, watched a few episodes of her favorite intergalactic sitcom (Moonies were just made for slapstick!) and then taken a nap on one of the squashy sofas littered around the ready room. It had been roughly five hours since the announcement, and nothing had happened yet, so she figured sitting around doing nothing was as good as anything else. At least this way she would be well-rested.
The Female pilot ran her fingers through her shoulder-length hair, which had been modified to grow out a light, almost powder blue in color, and blinked her eyes a bit groggily, similarly modified, though this time in a pastel orange color. Her skin was kept fairly pale, though this was in spite of the UGR Navy's efforts to keep a steady supply of UV lighting available in their ships, she just wasn't one to tan much. After messing with her hair for a bit longer, she dug an elastic hair tie out of one of the multitude of pockets on her flight suit, and tied the wayward strands back in a messy but functional ponytail.
It was an interesting life, being a fighter pilot. Most of it was long stretches of sheer boredom, despite the Republic's best efforts at mitigating it, but it was punctuated by the odd sortie, either for training, or a patrol, or escort duty, though, all of them went about the same way. Being in a fighter was an exhilarating experience- You sat in what amounted to a tiny egg made out of advanced metals and composites, which had layered on top of it various arms and munitions, and of course a storage of very volatile materials used for fuel. Depending on the model, you either had Antimatter, which in and of itself was really great at just ending things very explosively, fusion, which had a tendency to cook off and cause large explosions, again ending you, or even some other more exotic forms of creating propulsion, all of which had various ways of causing your starfighter to become a poof of death- for the pilot.
Of course, every method had been applied to make each and every one of those power sources more stable, but then you had the munitions, Which, not surprisingly, tended to be the same things the power generators used; AKA; Antimatter, fusion, and various exotic materials that all meant death to something or other. Ideally, that death would be handed to the target of the munition, rather than the fighter carrying it.
And on top of it all, the fighters themselves and enemy craft notwithstanding, there were plenty of things that were quite dangerous to a fighter in space. Asteroids, though slow moving, could very well end your day if your reflexes weren't quick enough. Starships, friend or foe, could make erratic maneuvers that turned the fighters into little more than a bug on a windshield, random space debris could easily wear down a fighter's shields, making them even more vulnerable, and of course the abnormal hazards of space itself, strange vortexes of energy, time warps, clouds of unknown substances that turned everything they touched int cosmic jelly, and wormholes, which could suck you up and spit you out in an entirely different universe- if you survived the trip of course.
Rally didn't really care about all this. By now she had sortied enough times, both for training and for actual duty, that she could very easily become a senior officer, or even just retire. But, the blue-haired girl didn't want to. She enjoyed flying, and enjoyed seeing the galaxy, and while she could do some of that in civilian life, She couldn't do it on someone else's dime, nor could she fly such a high-powered, high-performance craft as the UGR's starfighters.
"Although..." Rally mused aloud, as she thought of all this, "I do have that Saber spaceframe in a storage locker back home..." She closed her orange eyes, imagining the antique starfighter she had purchased with a bonus after some fancy mission escorting some fancy politician dude, who had the same last name as one of the pilots she flew with, and whom miraculously did not die while under her unit's care. The starfighter, of course, was a relic of the greatest war, and somewhat primitive compared to the machines they currently flew in, but it was a high-performance craft nonetheless, and while it lacked some of the sophistication and creature comforts of the current military stock, could keep up with the modern ships if it were placed in the hands of a competent pilot.
"Maaaaan, If Only we got another cushy job like that with a nice fat bonus, maybe I could finish refurbishing the old bird!" Rally groaned, Running her fingers back through her bangs once more before sitting up properly in the little armchair she had been occupying for the last several hours. Her feet, shod in the lightweight, flexible boots that pilots wore for better control and dexterity, hit the ground, and she rummaged through yet another one of her pockets and pulled out a Breakfast Bears Breakfast bar, opening the wrapper and beginning to munch on the treat.
The door to the ready room opened with a whisper, and another pilot made their way into the ready room. With an exasperated sigh, the young man made his way over to the opposing wall to fetch himself a cup of coffee. Then, cup in hand, grabbed a seat of his own, and put his feet up in order to lounge as best he could. "Briefings. Are. Dick."
Rally's interest was piqued as someone else finally entered the ready room, and she quickly stuffed the rest of the Breakfast Bears Breakfast Bar in her mouth, chewing on the delicious thing a bit before swallowing it, licking the little bits of sugary frosting off of her fingers and then wiping them off on the side of her flight suit. She stood up, and walked over to the newcomer, a familiar face, but, considering how long she had been loafing, he was a newcomer for the day.
"Oi!" She ejaculated, trying to get the man's attention
The man's head lulled lazily to look at Rally, and he met her gaze with his own, tired looking green eyes; he casually took a sip from his coffee, which must have been hot as he looked to be trying to not wince. "Yes, Rally?"
"You're one of those smart, officery-types, right? You have any idea when the damn sortie's gonna happen? I'm fukkin' tired of sitting around all day doing nothing!" Her body language suggested a bit of agitation, thought it was less directed toward the green eyed man, and more toward their circumstances in general. She came even closer, and placed a hand on the man's shoulder. She took a deep breath, seeming somewhat invigorated by the steam fuming off of the cup of coffe. "August, Please tell me they didn't cancel it while I was napping. I've been looking forward to any kind of sortie, even a training one, for the last week! We've been doing nothing but FTL jumps to get the ship's new navigator broken in and I'm tired of Hyperlag and all this other bullshit!"
"Well, for starters, I know a couple of folks who would debate you on using both smart and officery when describing me," August chimed, braving another sip of coffee. After a slightly longer swig than before, he gave a contemplative hum. Maintaining eye contact with Rally, he put a hand on the one she had placed on his shoulder.
"Rally, I'm sorry. The sortie has been delayed," the male pilot began somewhat dramatically, using some of the tears caused by the hot coffee for effect. "Indefinitely."
Rally's hands flew up in frustration, and she let out a groan of frustration "Maaaaaaan! I was so Looking forward to this. And now you tell me this bullshit? Damnit." Rally's hands met her face and she grabbed her lower eyelids, pulling them down in another dramatic show of frustration before letting them go and blinking a few times to recover from her immediately prior lack of discretion on which bodypart she had decided to pull on.
"You better be yankin' my chain, but... you better not. I don't know which would be more aggravating, it actually being cancelled, or you joking about it being cancelled." She then began to eye August suspiciously, as if everything were his fault.
Clearing his throat nervously, August took another drink; finishing off the small cup. "I seem to be getting my words mixed up again," he crossed his arms. "Rather than delayed I mean bumped up, and by indefinitely I mean by ten minutes. So rather than use launching at 1640, we are launching at 1630. Thirsty?" He stood, promptly changing the subject as he went for another cup as well.
Rally grumbled, turning her wrist and causing a small emitter embedded in her flight suit to project a holographic watch, which showeed that the ten minute time change still gave her a good three hours before the sortie, and she rolled her eyes, huffing in yet more frustration as she knew that she still had to wait before anything exciting happened, even if it only amounted to a little training hop or a survey trip to go look at a floating block of ice just a bit closer.
The orange-eyed pilot screwed her face up a bit in thought, and then realized something. "Hey, Yer grampa or something fought in that big war, didn't he? He flew a saber, right? What was his name again?"
"Great-Grandpa," August corrected her, and now with a new cup of coffee in hand returned to the couch. "Steven Kerning. And yeah, he was among the first to fly a Saber in the War. Why?"
"Aww, nothin, Just wonderin. I bought myself a Saber a ways back, figured you might know a bit more about 'em what with the family history an' all. The one I got's an early model, too, don't even have a proper serial number. Had some neat noseart, too." she explained, tapping her wrist and poking in a few commands before bringing up an image of the old starfighter, with faded and battered nose art that read "The Wyvern" on it.
"Pretty cool, innit?" She asked.
"Oh?" August said dully, leaning over to look while taking a sip from his new coffee. It took him a second to process what he was seeing, but when the gravity hit him he almost spit his coffee. "That's the Saber you picked up? This a joke?"
"Do I look like the kind of girl to joke about something like this? Of course it's my damn starfighter! " She scrolled through a few more images of the starfighter, going from the beaten and worn, but complete ship, and into various phases of it being pulled apart, wiring and components and this and that strewn about a messy workshop looking area. "I've been pulling it apart and refurbishing it. When I get enough money I'm gonna get the old bird flying again, and then I can finally quit the navy and fly for myself"
The tired look in August's eyes was gone, replaced with wide eyed wonder. "There's no way," he mumbled, but it was hard for him to deny it; after all, it would be a silly thing to copy. "No, no no, I mean, that Saber, is an honest to goodness war relic. The Wyvern flew some of the toughest missions during the War. Kept its pilot alive all the way up until the finale."
"Cool!" Rally responded. "I just bought 'er cause the paint job looked cool and cause it was pretty cheap. Poor thing was sittin' on a pylon in front of a junkyard. Decided to save it, you know, for posterity, and 'cause I've kinda got a thing for the old ones." Rally tapped her wrist and the pictures disappeared, followed by Rally suddenly remembering something.
"I think it said Capt. S. Kerning on the side, too, though that kinda got stripped off when I had to plasma torch the cockpit open to get inside."
"I always though the paint job was a little pretentious, personally," August added his two cents. By the end of Rally's story, he could feel some snark trying to surface. "Captain S. Kerning, huh? Captain S dot Kerning. Ker. Ning." The male pilot was sounding somewhat condescending, swirling his cup as he wondered if Rally had forgotten what his last name was; despite it being on the patch on his flight suit.
"Yup. S. Kerning. Skerning. Mister Captain Ess Kearn Eng." Rally pronounced and accentuated and mispronounced the name several times. "Unfortunately, I don't have the funds to fix it all the way yet, But when I do, you bet yer ass I'm gonna take a couple months leave and get that thing back into space where it belongs." Rally seemed pretty proud of her goal, though she seemed to either have genuinely forgotten August's surname, or was flat out ignoring it on purpose.
Just as he looked like he was about to start into some rant, he took a deep breath and waved his hand dismissively. "Just don't total it when you do, The Wyvern deserves a better end than breaking up in the middle of a field."
Rally Thomas shook her head, giving August a side-wise glance. "You gotta be kiddin. That thing is my baby. If anything it's gonna outlive me!" She seemed to be very confident in this idea. However, now that she could sense the conversation winding down, the pilot searched around the room, finding her helmet sitting next to the armchair she'd been occupying earlier, and went back to it, flopping down on the cushioned seat and tapping at her wrist a few times to set an alarm.
"Oi, Lemme know when it's time to start getting ready if my alarm doesn't wake me, alright?" she asked of August.
"I'm sure the previous owner will be happy to hear that," August responded as he got up and went to grab a spare book from another table before returning to his seat. "And sure, sleep well."
Daring adventurers willing to risk it all in the name of galactic peace and exploration, the fighter pilots of the United Galactic Republic Navy are the heroes of their own tales, as well as of lore; always at the forefront, the UGR Navy pilots fly their fighters as extensions of themselves in order to ensure peace and prosperity around the galaxy.
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