The Maverick Mark VI. A dependable fighter craft, highly maneuverable and very fast. Used primarily for quick attacks and aerial battles, especially in deep space near their transport carrier, they can be put into service for escort should the need arise. Equipped with verticle take off and landing, the Maverick Mark VI is fueled with solar powered cells and a neutronium coil drive. As far as weapons go, the Mark VI has three sets of forward phaser banks and one torpedo launcher.
These aircraft were retired shortly after the Great Lupine Land War, but they found a new purpose as training vehicles for the next generation of pilots. Fighter pilots were now using the upgraded Mark VIIs in the field, which weren’t too different from the Mark VIs. For the twelve cadets undertaking this mission, they were all too familiar with the Mark VI and her capability.
The aircraft were like a second home for these twelve, and in truth the entire membership of House Ocelot. They moved quickly as they went into the hangar where their ships were prepped and ready to launch. Senia and Margo Talon climbed into theirs first, and began last minute check lists to ensure everything was ready.
“Fuel calibration levels,” Senia called out as she fired up her targeting display.
“Online and ready.”
“Working at maximum capacity.”
“Prepare liftoff,” Senia said as she made one last check to ensure she was buckled in properly into her cockpit. Corporal Talon did the same, and finally gave the nod to bring down the canopy of the craft. As it fit snugly in place, Senia fired up the engines of the Mark VI, she whined at first, but began humming, then she began to slowly lift off until she was hovering only a few meters above ground. “This is Ocelot One,” Senia said into her communicator. “Ready to rendezvous with the transport. Prepare for standard formation and keep a weather eye on the horizon.” She received acknowledgment from the other pilots, and finally the go signal from the Ocelot command station.
The six Mavericks moved slowly, guided by the ground crew, as they began their ascent. Senia and Talon first, followed by Hardy, then Clarfax, and finally the last three pilots. They moved into a standard wing formation, with Senia taking point.
“We are five by five,” Talon reported, her voice communicating to the other pilots as well. “I have the transport ship on sensors. Plotting course to rendezvous.”
“Taking us to one thousand meters,” Senia announced as she skillfully handled the controls of the Maverick. “Are we in communication range with the transport?”
“I have them on the grid,” Talon stated. “Hailing them now.”
“This is civilian transport Blackhawk,” the familiar voice of Jada Hawkspur said over the comm. “We read you loud and clear, Ocelot escort. We have received coordinates and are en route to meet with you.”
“Affirmative, Blackhawk,” Senia quickly replied. “Ocelot Five, Ocelot Six. Keep a close eye on your sensors. Check for any incoming hostiles.”
“Read you, Ocelot One,” came the replies from each pilot.
“Ocelot Control, this is Ocelot One,” Senia announced into the comm. “We are on course to rendezvous with the Blackhawk.”
“Understood, Ocelot One,” came the reply. “Ocelot Control will continue to monitor the situation and keep you apprised of any anomalies.”
“This is Ocelot Five. We have visual of the Blackhawk,” the pilot of the fifth Maverick announced. “Coordinates, 11-59 Mark 00.”
“Understood, Ocelot Five,” Senia announced. “Changing course to intercept. Keep the formation tight, and go into radio silence until we meet the Blackhawk.”
The six Mavericks soon joined the Blackhawk transport ship. A bulky vessel, it had very little for weapons and even less for shielding. An older model ship that many cargo captains favoured due to size and durability. They weren’t much for speed, but they also did not pose as a serious target as most pirates tended to leave them be. Every so often, however, a Blackhawk would be used to carry precious cargo, and those rare times a squadron of fighter pilots would be called in to protect her.
Soon, the Blackhawk was flanked by the Ocelot squadron. Two craft on her port and starboard stations, one craft at her aft and Ocelot One taking point.
The sun was just creeping up over the horizon as the small convoy began to make its way to the House Bobcat airfield. It appeared as though everything might be safe indeed.
“Ocelot One, this is Ocelot Six,” Corporal Vivian Mills called out over the communicator. “We’ve detected a small unit of craft approaching from 03-15 Mark 16. Initial scans were jammed, but we’ve managed to determine they are House Fennec squadron.”
“Those are your hostiles,” the voice of Captain Mallard said over the communicator.
“Keep tight to the transport,” Senia said as she kept a tight grip on her crafts stick. “Time to intercept?”
“Two minutes,” Mills called out.
“Time to House Bobcat airfield?”
“Ten minutes,” Mills called out again.
“Looks like we’re going to be in a fight,” Senia said with a hiss. “Keep tight and don’t fire until I give the word. Ocelot Six, you have permission to break off and pursue. I’ll leave the time to your discretion.”