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7/24/2011 01:29 PM

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Slipstream Stormfront Nova Black

Slipstream stirs from recharge. For once the bad dreams didn't haunt her. She actually got in a decent recharge! A stretch of her arms, then a flex of the wings with an audible Mmmph of exertion to get her joints lubricated before standing. Her optics scan the barracks, seeing who is about.

She, and anyone else in the barracks can hear someone coming to join them, the walls and floor shaking with Stormfront's footsteps. He comes into view eventually thereafter, back from the flight plains and a refueling, after checking in on current duties there.

Nova Black sits up as Stormfront enters. "Hey there, big guy," she calls as he approaches. "Thanks for the lift to and from the battle last night."

Slipstream smiles spotting the large mech as she finishes stretching and stands, "Good cycle Stormfront. Nova." she smiles to them both.

Stormfront glances down at the two femmes, then settles in the open, cleared space that serves in place of a bunk for him. "Good cycle." he replies back to both. "As for the ride and cover, just my job. You did well."

Nova Black twitches her wings, pleased by the praise. "Managed to knock a few dents into that blue 'Bot, yeah." She laughs, punching at the air in front of her, miming battle. Then she turns to Slipstream. "Good cycle."

Slipstream's wings flex a bit at the praise given to her fellow seeker. "I am glad to hear you got to show our esteemed veteran some moves Nova." she notes, "Speaking of, I was wondering if you had some time for a simulation?"

Stormfront nods. "Slipstream has been undergoing some additional training, and wanted to try working with you under my supervision." he adds, looking between the pair.

Nova Black says, "A simulation?" She peers curiously at the other Seeker. "Sure, I don't mind." She gives her friend a grin. "Might be fun to see what you've been working on. But what are you thinking of practicing?""

Slipstream chuckles softly, "Escort simulation. Stormfront doesn't make it easy either."

Stormfront nods. "She's begun both some flight command training, and working on transport and leadership escort duties, in addition to the usual flight and combat drills. She's needed some workout partners."

Nova Black chuckles. "No, I don't imagine he does." She stops, her optics glinting as she turns serious. "Escort simulation? Who or what are you gonna be escorting?"

Slipstream explains, "Its as if we are escorting Stormfront. He'll be watching the simulation and triggering the stuff that tests my leadership abilities and grace under pressure, that sort of thing. All you have to do is, well, take the orders." a little smile given. "Think you can handle that?"

Stormfront nods. "When I go into the field, while I offer heavy firepower and transport options, I do not operate with a great deal of finesse or maneuverability, making fighter escorts valuable. However, the drills will prepare seekers who take them for escorting other transports, CoC body guarding duties, guards for mid-air fueling... but its a different sort of duty, with different requirements, than normal air to ground assault."

Nova Black nods, remembering Stormfront's lumbering movements. "All right. I'd be willing to help you two out with that."

Slipstream smiles, "Great, shall we head on down to the drill hall then?"

Stormfront reaches the drill hall, and sets up the simulation. He's just off to one side, observing and plugging in data, as well as rating the seekers just like he did when they were at the plains academy. The simulation, and mission, seem simple - three parts. Fly in formation to provide escort and coverage. There are four sensor 'ghosts' serving as additional seekers. If they get shot down or break formation, those who remain need to cover for them. There are a handful of obstacles, but the simulation itself will provide plenty of difficulties. "Ready?"

Slipstream steps into the sim and transforms, "Ready to go sir. Bring it on." she notes with a chuckle.

Nova Black follows suit. "Ready. Let's do this, Slippy."

Stormfront sets the initial conditions. "Alright, Slipstream is flight leader, beginning in three... two... one..." And when the simulation begins, it really begins - radar picks up search patterns going to try and evade, while also sending up three separate swarms of missiles from different coordinates - the transport can take some hits, but as many as possible need to be pinpointed and shot down - without breaking escort formation. Stormfront begins a data log and starts making training notes.

Slipstream sails into the simulation which holds her jet form into place but allows for range of motion as if it were the real thing. "All right, formation is delta six one. We will be cruising at the following altitude and speed." she data bursts this over a secure comm, "Keep your scanners on high, I'll be doing the same. I will expect all of us to do our jobs. None of this peeling off to shoot at the enemy. We will protect this transport with our very lives. To not do so is paramount to failure. We all know what Megatron will do if we fail." Her scanners pick up the incoming salvos. "Red one and two, coordinates as follows. Take out that salvo. Red three and four, coordinates as follows. Eliminate that salvo. Red five and myself shall take the following coordinates for that incoming salvo. Fire at will!"

Nova Black isn't a big fan of this whole "no peeling off to go after the enemy" slag, even in a sim, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Especially with someone big watching.

And this *is* just a sim. And she's got to admit, Slippy's taking it seriously, flying with single minded determination. She follows in tight formation, her systems humming with excitement as she fires on one, then another, of the simulated enemies.

There's reasons she's taking it seriously - but that's for another time. And, of course, not going directly after the enemy, and impulse control, is part of the point.

One of the 'phantoms' gets a wing clipped by the salvo, not serious, but forcing Slip to make her first command decision of the sim - slow down slightly and keep escorts, or have the phantom return to base and fly with 5.

Otherwise, the missiles get shot down - and two more salvos come at them from differing directions, requiring a little adjustment.

Slipstream considers her options. She commands the group slow down enough for the injured flier to keep up, though that flier is shifted to the rear of the formation. The call for new coordinates are put out now. "Stick to your coordinates as given previously. Since 5 is now 3, please take those last coordinates and assist four. Fire at will."

Nova Black's engines rumble. She doesn't like slowing down. But Slippy's doing a pretty good job of this, she has to admit. And it's not like she's been told not to shoot at things. She fires again, taking out another pair of missiles aimed at the simulated transport.

The comms of the seekers crackle. "Mission objective one: radar has picked up the location of enemy missile batteries. Adjust coordinates to the following." A coordinate feed follows. And yes, that will take them right into the teeth of the enemy missile fire, and require fancy flying and shooting. "Seekers will need to confirm exact coordinates of the missile batteries and feed to the transport/bomber - which will unload heavy bomb payload on coordinates. If this is successful, you will be given your secondary objective."

As the coordinates are given, more missiles come streaming into the air.

Slipstream is glad Nova is taking the orders with no snark back or issues. But her focus remains upon her task. The time of arrival is altered due to the slow down, but they keep the escort numbers up. Which means to her the escort stays safe. She listens to the incoming comm and smiles. Oh Stormfront threw a little curve in on this one. "Understood. Proceeding to coordinates." she data bursts the coordinates to the others then commands, "Formation will be alpha three nine. New firing coordinates as follows." she bursts that to them, "Fire at will upon incoming salvos. Keep formation as much as is possible but use discretion should you need to evade."

"This is more like it!" Nova Black calls as they speed toward the specified coordinates. She twists to evade an oncoming missile, more fancily than is strictly necessary, and shoots down two more. As she reluctantly glides back toward her place, another missile speeds toward one of their simulated unit and she swerves in front of it, her laser fire just barely taking it out before it hits her. "Heh," she scoffs, returning to formation.

Of course Stormfront threw some curves into the scenario, and added mission objectives this time. Slipstream wanted a test - and this demonstrates to the seekers, usually focused on air-to-air missions, why transports and bombers are useful, but also why they need escorts to do the things they can't, in return for the potentials of greater firepower. There will likely be more curves later.

For now, the change in coordinates means more missiles coming at them, and more defensive fire as the simulated enemies defend their heavy missile batteries.

The simulated radio from the transport calls again, "Ok, we have rough coordinates on the missile batteries, but need an exact fix. If someone feels like stunt flying - the objective is to dodge through direct missile salvo - locate the battery, and get back with coordinates in one piece. Engaging the enemy is suicide, its a hard point - just locate the battery and get back /fast/, and the rest of the escort needs to be careful - you can't blow up missiles too close to your teammate, but still need to keep them from reaching the bomber... so decide quickly who is feeling lucky, and who has the accuracy to shoot down missiles without endangering your spotter. And be warned, whoever goes as Spotter - this is rated as a /very hard/ exercise - you're flying into three missile batteries, and fire from at least eight phantom enemies - even if you succeed, you'll likely take some damage. Don't get cocky. Everyone else needs to continue to protect the bomber, and keep what missiles they can off the spotter. Good luck."

Yep, definitely added twists - and didn't make them easy.

Slipstream comms back that she understands, "Nova, I want you to take on the coordinate detail on the batteries and report them back to us." Yes putting her friend right into the line of fire, but then she figures Nova would appreciate her confidence. "The rest of you shift to alpha six two formation and keep your coordinates empty of salvos." she pauses then adds, "Nova, be sneaky about this, no need to let them know you are coming until you have gone. Understood?"

Nova Black's engines rev in answer. "Givin' me the hard jobs, huh Boss Femme? Good! I was starting to get bored. Can't say I much like not shooting back, but at least I get to do some flying." Blasted Stormfront and his drills, always making the fun part come with a price...

Her engines roar again as she races fearlessly into the line of fire, twisting to dodge the first barrage of missiles, energy crackling through her weapons systems. She mutters a curse, knowing she can't let it loose and just shoot the things down.

Nova Black picks up the dicebag and rolls against her agility. Nova Black's roll succeeds!

The missiles are evaded - which is a good start. And as Nova drops down below them, she can see the hard point below - not enough to pinpoint the missile stations yet, but close. And can also see why she's not shooting back - there's at least 8 phantom Crystal City Guards down below manning the weapon stations, in addition to the heavy weapons - opening fire here would probably be suicide if she made a target of herself.

Meanwhile, more missiles are streaming into the skies - and with Nova getting to do 'the fun stuff', and enemies in sight, one of the other Seekers peels out of formation and goes on an attack run, ignoring orders to return - both Nova and Slipstream can see said Seeker coming under heavy fire - and meanwhile, the air is still full of targets, presenting danger both to the flight, and to Nova on her pinpointing run.

Slipstream keeps tabs of Nova's process with pings of her scanner as she simultaneously escorts the bomber with the remaining team. Any incoming volleys of salvos are noted and the spread of cover fire unleashed as predetermined by the coordinates each flier was given. If someone happens not to quite get something though, she can only hope the bomber's thick armor can take a few hits as he attested to before verbally. She just knew there'd be a peel out. "GET BACK HERE NOW RED TWO." she commands loudly, "Formation to charlie echo three. New coordinates for salvo elimination as follows." she bursts that to the remaining team. An exvent, there just has to be a stupid glory hound....

Nova Black curses as the simulated Seeker pulls out of formation. It's the sort of thing she might do herself if she thought the situation called for it -- but this one doesn't. She's seen the guards below, and there are way too many of the slaggers to mess everything up by engaging. She watches the simulated fire nearly consume her simulated ally and snarls "Serves you right." Then, as Slipstream orders the rest of the "team" into a new formation, another pair of missiles streak straight for her and she dives to evade them.

Nova Black picks up the dicebag and rolls against her agility. Nova Black's roll succeeds!

Nova gets a firsthand look at a glory hound opening fire near enemy artillery and severely outnumbered, as Red Two goes up in a blaze of weapons fire - his last contribution being taking out several of the missiles around him, and crashing into part of the weapons emplacement. The rest of the seekers do a fair job shooting down missiles under Slip's commands and coordinates, and the bomber is capable of taking some hits - but go figure, things are more challenging now.

Nova gets close enough to see where the three heavy missile emplacements are, each capable of firing off 8 heavy missiles per shot - of course, her being in visual range and getting the readings means she's visible - so now the trick is tagging the coordinates, and getting out of here without getting shot!

Slipstream was prepared for the losses if they happened this go around. If anything the fact that the peeled out flier is attracting the fire away from Nova and themselves is sort of a plus. She maintains a open frequency for the coordinates to be received should Nova get there and pinpoint the location. "Be ready to alter coordinates. Maintain formation. Keep firing at will."

Nova Black sees the emplacements, but her attempts to engage her navigational systems and determine their exact location fails when another barrage of missiles shoots straight for her and she has to roll to evade it. "Slag."

She opens a comm link to Slipstream. "Almost got it, but I'm coming under heavy fire. I'll keep going. They start hitting me, I'm coming back, though."

Nova Black picks up the dicebag and rolls against her agility. Nova Black's roll fails!

Nova gets tagged across the nose and one wing by enemy fire. Nothing that will ground her - but the situation has gotten a lot more interesting now. She stuck around, so she'll have one more chance to pinpoint it - but the enemy has her in their sights now.

Meanwhile, one of the seekers starts to break formation, not to go on an attack run, but to go try and rescue Nova Black - the risks of teammates sometimes is that some put teammates above the mission - for good or ill - leaving Slipstream with another decision. If she lets the seeker go, it increases the chances of Nova getting back in one piece, but probably means the bomber takes a couple more hits and they have less coverage.

Otherwise, the seekers above are holding their own.

Slipstream comms she understands, "I can see that Nova. Safe flying." she offers in encouragement. The incoming salvos are dealt with as they pass Nova and head toward them. She keeps the pings going, frowning at what she's seeing. Not good. And again with a peel out. Though she understands the need for it, it lessens the coverage. "Did I say to assist Nova red four? You put yourself, her, and this mission in jeopardy. Get back into formation." she can only hope Nova can pull out of there safely. The femme wanted excitement.. so she has it.

Nova Black picks up the dicebag and rolls against her awareness. Nova Black's roll succeeds!

Nova Black snarls as the holographic enemy fire sprays across her nose and one of her wings. Real or not, this is a Decepticon sim -- and that means getting shot does send something unpleasant through her sensor net, minor though it is.

"Slagger. You're not stopping me from gettin' what I came for." She activates her navigational systems again. This time, she manages to get her lock. For once not bothering to waste time bragging, she relays the coordinates to Slipstream -- just as a barrage of fire from the now-alerted enemies comes straight for her.

Nova Black picks up the dicebag and rolls against her agility. Nova Black's roll fails!

As she's climbing, Nova takes a hard shot up the tail, leaving her still airborne, but limping - thankfully, there's another slow flier, but now things are definitely trickier. Red Four pauses to decide what to do, which means she gets clipped - but at least she's in position to help Nova limp out of line of fire and back towards formation, even if it limits further options - but they have the coordinates. New mission objectives come from the bomber.

"Coordinates received, prepare for attack run. Proceed to starting run coordinates, and select the gunners - two seekers will blaze a trail and shoot at enemy snipers to clear the bomber a clear path, the rest need to shoot down missiles. This will bring the gunners into enemy range, so be careful. After this run, you will get to choose to either return to base, or attempt to complete a secondary assignment before returning. Good luck."

Slipstream gets those coordinates and data bursts it to the rest of the team, "Let's bring the pain." she conveys with feeling as they all turn toward the location of the seeker femme, "We'll be coming in hot Nova, better get out of there if you can." Then she pauses at the new orders. Lovely. "Okay time to get my wings dirty. Two you are with me on sniper detail. Five you cover four and Nova's return back to formation. Three you take point and shoot what salvos you can down that we miss. Let's make em hurt." with that she locks into the coordinates and power dives with her second off her wing.

Slipstream picks up the dicebag and rolls against her agility.

Slipstream's roll succeeds!

Nova Black growls as she's hit again, her rumble of pain clearly audible over the comm link. "Understood." Part of her doesn't *want* to back get into formation. It's finally time to bring the pain and she's *still* not supposed to yet? But that shot to her tail has made it difficult to keep on course at all, and staying out here without the others would mean trusting to two lasers and a few missiles to shoot down everything coming to pick her off. Showoff that she is, she's never been suicidal.

Nova Black picks up the dicebag and rolls against her agility. Nova Black's roll fails!

With Slip and her wingman clearing a path, the bomber moves, slowly by seeker standards, into position, then begins the dive and run, with the remaining seekers picking off missiles while Nova and her escort get back into position in the flight. Nova takes more fire, which at least means the attack run isn't being shot. She also has someone moving in front of her to cut air resistance to make it easier to stay aloft - which might be a positive at this point.

When the bomber unloads, there's a massive explosion, complete with shockwave, and a ring of fire sweeping out over the enemy emplacement.

"Good job, red team." comes the comm. "Get back into formation, and prepare to guard the bomber - and then decide if you want to return... or receive further orders and proceed to secondary objective."

Slipstream considers, they have taken some injuries already and the main objective was accomplished. "Permission to return to base control." then pauses to call in the rest to formation to cover the retreat of the bomber should there be any other hidden troops shooting at them.

Nova Black hisses in frustration as Slipstream calls off the mock mission. She understands the logic, and she's still struggling to keep herself aloft and on course. And she did achieve the primary goal, however badly she got shot up doing it. She'd never have pegged herself as one of the sneaky Seekers.

But then, she's rapidly learning that's how Stormfront's drills work: make you do something you're not programmed for and see if you can pull it off. And if that's the point, she supposes she didn't do too badly after all. "Nice job leading, Slippy," she says, calmer. "But I still wanted to shoot somethin'..."

"Simulation completed." Stormfront's voice calls, and the scenario and the phantom images blink out, as well as the fake damage readings on Nova Black. "Well done, primary objective completed with minimal loss of time." He relays the initial mission grading - Slipstream receiving high marks for 'focus on the mission', 'completing set objectives' and 'ability to assess and relay fighter coordinates', and lower marks for 'concern for allies', 'unit coherency' and 'speed' - and as she knows by now, yes, its impossible to get perfect marks in everything. Some categories go up or down relative to each other, and have different weights. Overall, she gets a 'high passing' mark as unit commander.

Nova gets solid marks for 'focus on mission objectives', 'maintaining composure', 'fulfilling orders while under fire', 'concentration', and especially 'following difficult orders', while getting lower marks for 'evasiveness', 'sensor accuracy' and 'initiative', once again, high marks in one area may preclude them in another, and in this case, taking severe injuries in order to more accurately complete the mission, and still returning, and willingness to trust Slipstream's judgment appears to have gotten her a very high grade on a mission with a high difficulty rating.

"You'll have plenty of opportunities to do more shooting, Nova Black. Well done on your first mission together."

Slipstream chuckles softly to Nova, "Maybe next time, and thank you." she notes, transforming and exiting the simulation to hear Stormfront out on his assessment. "Is ally concern an issue here Stormfront sir?" she asks, honestly curious. Then to Nova she states, "You did well considering the situation. Just be glad it was a sim." she notes.

Nova Black nods. "Hell of a thing to do, making me the weavy-dodgy one there, Ms. Mission Leader." She grins. "But I got you what you needed, after all."

Stormfront nods to Slipstream. "Concern for allies is always a concern. You would have gotten higher marks on that had you let the first injured flier ride on the bomber, or sent him back to base - at the cost of points from unit coherency and concern for the mission - as having the injured there put him at greater risk, but increased the odds of a successful mission. There was no 'perfect' choices throughout the simulation. The trick was finding out what kind of leader you were and what you did faced with hard choices. Just as Nova's task, knowing that she would like to engage more, and do more gunning was tested against ability to follow orders, and willingness to take assignments she wasn't made for - and she succeeded. As a unit, you two came through with flying colors. This was never intended to be an easy mission, and, incidentally, had she given that mission to anyone else, they would have gotten shot down."

Slipstream notes to Nova, "I needed to know if you could handle it, as did Stormfront." then listens to the mechs commentary. "Thank you for saying so. I know there's no way any real mission would go easily and these simulations only test my mettle as well as those that I believe would serve well on escort missions."

Stormfront nods to Slipstream. "As I've told you, I think you respond best to candor and direct feedback. Would you like to tell Nova why she received this particular test, or save that for another time or further testing?"

Slipstream considers thoughtfully. "Because I want to consider you as part of my own trine, Nova." she explains, "That and I felt you would take well to the responsibility of escort duty."

Nova Black glares at Stormfront, her optics clouded as though she's seeing someone who isn't there. "I do follow orders," she says, her voice flat. "May not always like 'em. But I do, now."

Slipstream's next words call her back from whatever dark memory had hold of her. The gears in her jaw creak as it opens wide. "You -- your trine?" she stammers. She's never had one, not out in the middle of nowhere where her team was cobbled together out of any 'Cons around.

And she's never thought she missed the loss. But now -- Her engine stalls and she can only stare at the other Seeker.

Stormfront nods. "I have a meeting scheduled with Megatron. Part of that meeting has to do with both additional training, as I seem to be getting more field assignments. I will be requesting that Slipstream gain a flight command roll in her own trine - a new trine, which in addition to the normal duties common to all Seeker trine flights, will be trained with bomber and transport escort - complementing my heavy ordinance with people capable of finesse work and support. When asked about who she would potentially include if the request is granted, your name came up, and I agreed to design drills for the two of you, and the prospective third. And yes - you do follow orders. Congratulations, you've passed a very difficult test under significant pressure."

Slipstream nods to Nova's disbelief, "I do not take such selection lightly Nova, you are aware of that. We need to train together more, see where we complement each other and where things need work. Our esteemed veteran here deserves the best possible escort. If that happens to be myself and two others that work well together, then I'd like to consider you part of it. But that depends upon you and the third."

(New BB message (4/94) posted to 'Decepticons' by Shadow: Report)

Nova Black nods to Slipstream. "I -- I'll have to think about this, Slippy. You know that --" she looks toward Stormfront and lowers her voice "-- that I worked alone for a long time. I hated it, but I'm used to it. And I've never had a trine. Not ever. I -- I don't know what that means, really. How I'd take to having one." She grins. "Or to following your orders. But I'm honored that you're thinking about it." She flares out her wings in confirmation of what she's saying.

Stormfront nods once. "I still need to get final approval. You would also be taking missions without me, but part of your tasks would be being the first choice for escort duty. You should definitely think on it, and practice together when you get the chance. I will let you both know the results once I've spoken with our commander."

Slipstream inclines her head to Nova, "I figured you say that. Please think it over. There is no rush. We are still in the early stages of training. I have others I have in mind. Though I may have to eliminate Shred since she is a medic and if we lost her skills I fear for Rob's mental and emotional well being.. not to mention the condition we'd all be in with just one medic on staff." a nod to Stormfront, "When will you be speaking with our Lord?"

Stormfront nods to Slipstream. "If you think she is the best choice, Shred is a possibility, as medical evacuation is one use for heavy transports. In any case, even if she is not included, we would likely be working with her in that capacity. I do have space enough to carry an emergency medical bay - but not a fully equipped one."

Nova Black grins. "Well, if you two want to work things out right now, I'm gonna be going. You've given me some stuff to think about. I'm gonna head back to the barracks and... do that." She nods to both of them, clicking her wings.

Slipstream replies, "I shall keep that in mind sir." then a smile to Nova, "Take care Nova." then looks back to Stormfront, "I should report in for what my mission of the cycle is sir."

Stormfront nods, "I will be here or in the barracks, doing a more detailed assessment of the training so far to submit."

Slipstream waves and heads off.

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