3: Greetings and Simulations (3/4)

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Antes tightened his flight harness as the canopy to the simulator capsule enclosed around him. He began his startup sequence as the view outside of the cockpit transformed into star-filled deep space.

"One, this is Three. How are we doing this?" Three. That was Camilo. "By the book?" Camilo added.

"That's a negative, Three," Antes answered. He gave his instrument readouts a once-over. "You know how they say the best defense is a good offense?"

"Yeah. What are you planning, Antes?"

Camilo's question prompted a smile from Antes. "By the book" referred simply defending against the fighters and allowing the cap ships to deal with each other. And it was almost a surefire way to lose the scenario.

"Good, because we're gonna go on the offensive. Screw the fighters. We're going in after the Hurricane. Izzy won't know what hit him."

"And then we commence mop up?"

The question came from Jamin Myveson, Blue Four in this simulation.

"Exactly, Four. Accelerate to attack speed and stay on me. Here they come!"

Antes threw power to his Hammerhead's front shields as Blue Team closed for the merge with the first wave of fighters. There would be two waves, one wave would be controlled by AI subroutines and the final wave piloted by Red Team.

Antes gritted his teeth as enemy laser blasts peppered his forward shields upon closing with the enemy. The laser blasts from both groups of fighters criss-crossed as they tore through the merge.

He punched the throttle to full and blasted through the first wave's formation with the rest of Blue Team trailing in his wake.

Like that, they were through the first wave.

"Blue Team, check in."

"Two here," said Dara, Blue Two in the exercise.

"Three, in tact," from Camilo.

"This is Jamin. I took a few hits, but I'm okay."

"Get it together Jamin. Once we're through the next wave and check back in, then we'll make our run on the Hurricane."

In tandem, "Copy that!"

Blue Team roared toward the second wave and unloaded. The second wave's aim was far more precise than the first wave of enemies. Antes gripped the stick tight and kept the Hammerhead steady as he pulled the trigger launching crimson laser fire into Izzy's lead Hammerhead, giving both himself and Izzy a taste of head-to-head combat. Relentless, Antes kept the trigger pressed, firing as fast as his lasers would recycle. The lead Hammerhead exploded vivaciously and Antes shrugged off its destruction. Dissapointment washed over him.

"Bingo! Nice kill, One."

Immediately, disappointment turned to anxiety and confusion. That was too easy. Surely Izzy would've put up a better fight than that. Then it hit him.

"Thanks, Two. Blue Team, be advised: the second wave is AI."

"You sure?" Dara asked over her comm..

"No, but that was way too easy.."

Antes checked his sensor board to get a look at the bigger picture. Blue Team, still at full strength was still at a numerical disadvantage against Red, despite Izzy's team already being down one.

"But we'll worry about that later. Listen close everyone, this is gonna be a bit tricky. Set your comm board to receive an incoming data stream. I'm going to send you my targeting telemetry and I want you guys to slave your targeting to mine. I'm going to strafe the Hurricane at full burner, hold my missile lock until you guys fire, and then I'll fire myself. After my run, Jamin, I want you to hit it with a second barrage, Camilo a third, and Dara if we need to, a fourth. We clear on that?"

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