Episode 44 – Swarm

Cyanos Geosynchronous Orbit Bravo – CSA TET 2 Control Room

Friday – morning

Rönd: FLIGHT – TACTICAL: Detecting large scale deployment from the Bugaarian ship, Delta-1.

Along with Commander Tova’s series of rapid fire orders the background working hum of the control room ratcheted up several notches.

Rönd: FLIGHT – TACTICAL: Condition RED is set – shields raised – fighters to advanced position Foxtrot-Oscar-Bravo. Acknowledged.

Wolfgang: TET 1 – TET 3 this is TETNO-2: Be advised we are set at condition RED. Shields are raised. We confirm large scale swarm from Delta-1. All fighters reform to defensive position Foxtrot-Oscar-Bravo.

Lionel: FLIGHT – GENO: Lemon squeezer alignment is tight but remains nominal – we are in the lane.

Hanne: FLIGHT – COMMS: Maintaining secure communications. Fighter patrols continue to seek and destroy bug scouts – also advise bug core capture now stands at four-three-eight.

Calico: FLIGHT – ECHO: All electrical systems are secure, optimal and prioritized to essential. Environment and additional systems remain nominal.

Blaze: FLIGHT – CORE: Reactor is running at eight-zero percent and all parameters are nominal.

Lambertus: FLIGHT – SECO: Control room is secure – all remaining station personnel are accounted for and at assigned condition RED stations.

Blaze, the CORE officer leaned over to Dieter and extended his paw to give Dieter a fist bump.

Blaze: Hi, I’m Blaze. I hear you have brought a bunch of rocks that might help us all out.

Dieter: Yup, that’s the idea – I sure hope we can pull this thing off, those bugs do seem to be getting a bit antsy pants. Do we know whether my friends have arrived at their TETs yet?

Blaze: Dunno, but we can find out.

Blaze thumbed his mike, and called up Hanne on the dais loop.

COMMS this is CORE: AUX here was wondering if Lode-1 and Lode-3 have arrived on station yet?

Hanne swivelled in her chair and looked across to Blaze and Dieter with a silly grin on her face and then thumbed her mike.

Hanne: CORE / AUX this is COMMS: I confirm that Lode-1 has arrived on station at TET-1 and Lode-3 will arrive at TET-3 in nine minutes. I also confirm CORE, that the scruffy mutt sitting next to you is Lode-2.

Hey there Diets! I knew ya missed me, but this is one hellava way to wangle a visit!

Blaze motioned to the thumb switch on the armrest of Dieter’s chair. Dieter got the hint and thumbed the switch.

Dieter: H… I… er mean COMMS this is um… AUX: Hey Hache! I really did make it up here, un – be – liev – able! Looks like there is a bit of a thing going on up here eh.

Hanne: You could certainly say that Diets. You stick with Blaze over there little brother – he will tell you everything you need to know.

With that, Hanne clicked off to a different loop to attend to other tasks.

Blaze: OK Dieter – it’s time to earn your kibble. I’m gonna set you up with some key core reactor indicators on your holo-screen – you’ll see there are upper and lower parameter limits, but what we really want is for them all to stay right down the middle; you let me know if there are any stray dogs right?

Dieter pleased at being given something to do, responded enthusiastically.

Dieter: Awroof! You got it Blaze! I’ll keep those puppies on the leash!

Space – Forward Defensive Position, Foxtrot-Oscar-Bravo:
Half-way to the Cerulean Meridian

Photo credit.

Friday – morning

Three TET fighter wings, one hundred fighters in each, rapidly converged in three triangular shaped formations on the forward defensive position, Foxtrot-Oscar-Bravo. It was a point located around half-way between Cyanos and the Cerulean Meridian. The Cerulean Meridian in turn, being located half-way between Cyanos and the edge of Cyanos Space.

Just as rapidly, the swarm of bug fighters that had disgorged from the belly of the Bugaarian mother ship, was converging towards them. The swarm was exactly that; in complete contrast to the disciplined formations of the Cyanos fighters, the bugs were a random chaotic mess. There were no discernable flight patterns, they swooped, looped and dived with seemingly no clear purpose. What they lacked in ability to fly with any precision, was made up for in one aspect. Numbers. There were thousands of them. They easily out numbered the Cyanos fighters by at least ten to one.

Squadron Leader Top Cat: All wings report in.

Gold Wing Leader: OK Top Cat – Gold wing standing by.

Red Wing Leader: Red wing standing by.

White Wing Leader: White wing standing by.

Gold Leader: Look at the size of that swarm!

Red Leader: Myerow goodness! It’s big isn’t it – can we really swat all that?

White Leader: We’re going to cut across their axis and try and draw their fire.

Top Cat: I’ll run straight through the swarm as you make your run and try and draw the flak off you.

White Leader: OK – thanks Top Cat.

Gold Leader: This is Gold Leader, we are starting our attack run.

Gold Two: I’m right with you Gold Leader – I’m going into attack.

Red Leader: How many bugs do you think Top Cat?

Top Cat: Say about three thousand. Estimate they outnumber us by ten to one.

As Gold wing began its attack run directly through the centre of the heaving mass of bugs, White wing rounded on the left flank and cut across the main axis of the swarm. Top Cat ran interference, attempting to distract the bugs and draw their fire away from the main attacking fighter wings. Red wing rounded in on the opposite flank and came in from the right.

The fire-fight had begun.

The TET fighters had the advantage of being able to fire from up to all four of their apex proton lasers simultaneously, taking out four bugs at once. When hit, the bugs imploded into a sticky green globular mess. Avoiding flying directly through the sticky debris field became more and more difficult as the number of dispatched bugs increased.

The outer tetrahedron fuselage of the TET fighter rotated independently around the central sphere cockpit to allow for fast and accurate aiming of the apex lasers. As the battle wore on, and more sticky bug debris impacted into and onto the fighters, it had the double effect of reducing visibility, but more seriously it also reduced the ability of the outer fuselage to rotate freely around the cockpit.

Gold Two: My outer rotation gimbal is gummed up!

Gold Three: Stay there – I’ll be right with you!

Gold Two: I can’t see!

Gold Three: Gold Two! Pull up!

Gold Two: Its too late – I can’t hold it!

Gold Two, blinded by bug goop smeared all over his inner sphere, and unable to control his gummed up fighter, was directly in the sights of a diving bug fighter. The bug fired its spitting venom weapon, which made a direct hit. Gold Two exploded into an orange and red fireball and was lost.

The battle raged on, bugs dived and swooped, and the three fighter wings continued to re-group and fire on the bugs as best they could. However they were still hopelessly outnumbered, for every bug they hit, another incoming hoard of bugs swooped in to take its place.

Gold Leader: Top Cat – are you hit?

Top Cat: I just lost my starboard apex – but I’m alright!

Red Leader: How long to the Hundes arrive?

Top Cat: Standby Red Leader – I will call Cheetah again for an update.

CHEETAH this is TOP CAT: Request status of Hunde Squadron arrival over.

Hanne: TOP CAT – TET-2 COMMS: Patching you through to CHEETAH now.

Commander Tova: TOP CAT this is CHEETAH: I have the Hundes making the jump from out of hyper-space in one-four minutes. Can you hold out for just a little longer?

Top Cat: Each wing has lost a few fighters and we are all getting a little gummed up and smeary, but we can hold out for a bit longer.

Commander Tova: Hang in there TOP CAT – help is on the way.

Adapted movie dialouge – The Dam Busters (1955) / Starwars (1977)
Battle images courtesy – Colourbrand

Previous: Episode 43 – Watch, Listen and Learn
Next: Episode 45 – All Lights Blazing

5 thoughts on “Episode 44 – Swarm

  1. Craig 24 June, 2022 / 16:07

    Big shout out to Colourbrand for the bonus extra images of the firefight.

  2. Chris S 24 June, 2022 / 16:43

    My utter pleasure sir – and must admit, I was moved by this battle – heroes going in etc…

    Excellent work sir 🙂 glad to have helped 🙂

    • Craig 24 June, 2022 / 16:44

      More to come – the battle aint done yet!

  3. Shuichi Fox (@newcarpathia) 24 June, 2022 / 17:41

    Color-coded squadrons. That works well. Easy to follow. 🙂 Do the colors relate to importance? And the fighters are triangles too. They do like their triangles. 🙂

    Dieter is handling himself pretty well so far. I would reckon someone might need to be near to calm him down if their ship starts taking fire. I know I would.

    • Craig 24 June, 2022 / 17:51

      Colours – picked similar ones from the Starwars sequence. Dieter is doing just fine, he’s a good boy.

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