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Part of USS Crazy Horse: Blood For Blood and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Epilogue

Starfleet Academy, Earth
March 1, 2401
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The sun was bright over the Nevada desert.  Below the Squadron of five Valkyrie fighters lay the cities of Reno and farther to the East lay Fernley and Fallon. This empty and sparsely populated portion of North America had trained future pilots for centuries. Fallon Naval Air Station was a museum now.

“Okay, we’re  entering the training range,” Lieutenant Junior Grade Ashley Trask, callsign Flower, said over the intercom.   “Stay alert. Hindenburg is out here somewhere.”

“Nothing on sensors,” Trip replied.

“That’s the point,” Flower replied as she rolled to the left to make a ground check.  Nothing. Modern fighters had equipment to jam or fool sensors making visual identification all the more important.

With her head on a swivel she searched in vein while her co-pilot Falcon worked the sensors and weapons systems.  “Anything?”

Nothing,” someone replied over the comm.

Suddenly Flower’s console blared in alarm.  Frustrated she slammed her palms on the touch screen. “I’m hit!”

Me too.” Trip replied.

From a high attack angle flying with the sun to its back a single Sparrow-class fighter flew right through the Valkyrie formation knocking out a third ship. This time belonging to Compass.

Flower watched in fascination as Hindenburg with a far less advanced and capable fighter take out an entire flight in a matter of seconds.

The comm crackled to life with Hindenburg’s voice, “Congratulations.  You are all dead.  Return to base for debriefing.”

There were groans. The pilots would not be looking forward to hearing about how spectacularly they failed.  Not one fighter in the formation even got a lock on Hindenburg let alone a shot.

 


It was raining and cold in the Bay Area as a single Sparrow-class fighter taxied to a parking spot under a simple overhang near a series of buildings serving as the Academy’s spaceport. 

Shutting down the fighter Hindenburg climbed out of the compit and removed her helmet handing it to a smiling crew chief,  “You sure didn’t go easy on them. Glad you are on our side Captain.”

Órlaith smirked,  “They are just learning fighter tactics.  Hopefully they will get it and they can use it to stay alive. Going easy on them gets recruits killed. The enemy certainly won’t.”

The crew chief smirked,  “Oh, by the way a Captain Tarken is on sub-space for you.”

Órlaith scowled,  “You couldn’t have lead with that?”

He laughed,  “Nope.  You officers get everything you want when you want it. It’ll do you good to have to wait.”

Órlaith shook her head, “Right now, I’m thinking a certain Chief Petty Officer is going to be reassigned. I’m thinking waste extraction for Earth Spacedock.”

“You wouldn’t.  I the best crew chief in the fleet.”

“Modestly isn’t an issue,” Órlaith replied over her shoulder already heading for her office.   Once inside she slid into her chair and activated the her computer terminal.  “Sorry about the wait. I just got back from a training sortie.”

In the screen the face of a young, outwardly Orion, woman smiled. “Not a problem Captain Órlaith.  I hope the training sortie went well?”

Órlaith tapped her fingernails on the desk thinking about how to answer that.  “Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to depend on saving the Federation with these kids.  About the only thing they do well right now is die.  They better be thankful it’s me that’s killing them and no some hypothetical enemy.  With me it’s just embrassment.”

Kirin let out a chuckle and caused her hair to shimmer and shift between green and red. “We have all been there. Even simulated death gives them a chance to learn from their mistakes,” she remarked. Pausing for a moment Kirin glanced off to her side as if checking on soemthing before looking back at Órlaith, “Are you with them long? I hear that someone got a new shiny toy.”

She shrugged,  “You hear something I haven’t?”  Órlaith frowned,  “I doubt I’ll see starship command any time soon.  Command stuck me here to forget about.”

Kirin frowned and wondered for a month if the rumor mill had been wrong. She had double checked it some of her sources as well. “Oh, maybe I was mistaken,” Kirin said before continuing, “Why do you think they would do that. I know command can be odd a times but have done really well as far as I am concerned.”

“I was directly told that it would be unlikely to get a command again.  They went out on a limb putting me on the Crazy Horse with my limited experience and I could have caused a war between the Federation and Devore.  Politics I guess.”

“What?! That is rediculous!” Kirin said in a raised voice, “The Devore would have happily started a war themselves. I am surprised that command didn’t come down harder ont hem given their outright attacks on federation vessels and the destruction of several ships. I will have words with someone about this. Who told you that!” She took a depth breath and visibly calmed herself, “Personally I think you did a great job in a difficult situation.” 

“It doesn’t matter,” Órlaith said with a weak smile. “So, how’s the Sojourner?”

Silently kicking herself for opening this topic Kirin took to the change of topic happily. “Same old really. Had to go in for repaira for a few weeks once we got back from the delta quadrant. Crew has properly settled in now I think. Not much new beyond that really.”

“I envy you,” Órlaith said. “Being out in the black.  Not much call for an old fighter pilot these days except as shuttle pilots, and I got to be honest that doesn’t sound like much fun.”

An expression of deep sadness crossed Kirin’s face. She hasn’t known Órlaith long but she liked the woman and her current situation didn’t sit well with Kirin. “Yeah, I can understand that…” She trailed off as she spoke. 

“If command is finished with you, as you have indicated will you resign?” Kirin asked, “I know some people who know people and, well there are always ships in need of a good captain…”

“I might keep that in mind,” She replied with a grin.  “Or maybe I find me a little farm somewhere and settle down.  Have a family,  the dog, and that stupid bloody white picket fence.”

Kirin smirked but failed to hold in a slight giggle, “Stupid bloody white picket fence, I have heard that several times. Some Earth idiom I assume? I also know a certain Risian individual who could help you with that as well,” Kirin coughed as she spoke and backtracked, “the farm that is.” She tilted her head in thought and laughed under her breath, “Though I know a few others who wouldn’t mind meeting you…”

“We’ll see,” she replied. “I haven’t decided anything yet.”

Kirin nodded, “Well you have my support whatever you decide. And let me know what you end up doing so that we can catch up in person next time. Ok?”

She smiled, “Don’t be a stranger right?”

Kirin smirked, “Never. I am just a call away if you need to chat. Keep safe and don’t let those rookie flyers give you a hard time.”

“Will do,” Órlaith replied,  “keep the blue side up my friend. Murphy out.”