As Simon sat in his frame, running through the last checklist, he struggled to keep his mind on the task at hand instead of what was waiting for him out there. He verified the readings on the analog gagues to confirm what the computers were telling him. Checking his watch, he started a countdown timer as he initiated the final command to release the umbilicals that linked his frame's systems to the Promethius. 48 hours of life supports were now between him and the great beyond.
"Promethius, Talon One reporting ready for launch." he said into his helmet mounted mic.
"Talon One, Promethius, Confirmed Launch Status. Mark 30 seconds. Catapult charging. Your flight is go for contact. Good luck." The FOC replied.
"Flight, Talon One, Check in." Simon queried his flight group.
"Talon Two, Confirmed for Launch." came the voice of Ling, his wingman. The slight inflections in her speach betraying her family's asian background.
"Talon Three, Confirmed for Launch." chimed in the voice of Carl. The distinctly russian sound of his words was unmistakeable.
"Talon Four, Confirmed for Launch." filled his ears with the melodious southern drawl of Liz, the pilot of the ElInt frame.
Simon gave one last command, "Flight, as briefed, form up at waypoint one after launch." He tightened his grip on the two multi-axis control sticks and set his feet more firmly against the pedals. His thumb pressed the launch button and the catapult began to cycle through the capacitors that powered the magnetic loops ahead of him in the launch tube. Six g's of acceleration flung him out of the Promethius with startling suddenness. As his frame passed the final ring, the stabalization system came online and corrected for any tumble that may have been introduced by the launch. A moment of weightlessness passed over him as the high pressure ion thruster took a moment to come to life, settling into a steady half G of acceleration.
He scanned over his information screens and saw that his flight had launched successfully and that the object they were being sent to investigate was still where they found it. They were forming up as expected and none of the craft were showing any problems.
"Promethius, Talon One, go for mission."
The quarter of diminuitive craft gently hurtled off into the darkness of space towards the mysterious craft that had been spotted orbiting the sun on the fringes of the solar system.