Cleaning UpMature

Vincent shook his head, nonsense still overcoming his judgement. Blood continued to flow from his nose, being pulled in all different directions on his face as the ship continued to spin. his eyes felt swollen and his head was in pain. “Ugh..” he swallowed some blood that had pooled at the back of his throat and took the controls again. Slowly but surely the ship leveled out, Vincent brought it up to one g acceleration toward the minefield and then leaned forward. He tapped Marcus on the head which bobbed lifelessly. “Marcus!” He yelled, “Get your ass up.” The monitor to Vincent’s right was showing Marcus as stable, he slapped him in the back of the head again.
    “Hugh!” Marcus blew and sat up quickly in his seat. “Ugh...” he grunted again, holding his helmet with one hand. “What the hell happened?”
    “The shockwave put us into a spin, we went into g-LOC. Get your head straight, we’ve got incoming targets.”
    “Ugh god, this is not my day.” Marcus said, grabbing onto his controls.
    “Two are in range.” Vincent said, locking on and firing the fresh missiles.
    “There’s three of them after that bomber.” Marcus stated as he re-activated the firing aid.
    “They’re too close for the bomber to shoot them without worrying about the debris.”
    “Yeah, sucks having a wide ass like that.”
    “Hold on I’m going to kite them.” Vincent increased acceleration to five g’s and swooped down beside the bomber. “Unit four to bomber three, cut your rear gunner off when we’re in range and I’ll kite the mines from you. Target them once they’re out of frag range.”
    *Bomber three to Unit four, copy that, good luck.*
    A few minutes of relative silence passed as they made their way back toward the front line. Marcus dispatched a few mines that veered into his field of view while they made their way to the bomber.
    Vincent pulled the ship to the side and sliced through the bombers exhaust, skimming only a thousand meters in front of the mines as they changed trajectory to tail the fighter. “Alright bomber three, do your worst.”
    *Incoming fire, unit four.*
    “We’re in for another bump Marcus, hold on.” Vincent said as a spray of machine gun fire from the bomber turrets sliced through the mines, the last of them ignited first causing a chain reaction. The shockwave knocked them forward, much less violently than the smart mine from earlier, but still enough to give a headache.
    Enora’s face populated the comms screen as the hailing tone rang. *Unit four, attack my target.* One of the smart mines targeted became highlighted on Vincent’s screen.
    “Yes Ma’am.” Vincent replied pulling his fighter toward the target.
    Marcus changed the firing mode on his guns. “I can’t lock onto it, it’s like the one we had earlier, we’ll have to do it by hand again.”
    “It’s already heading for the Zerachiel.” Vincent remarked.
    Delia’s fighter pulled up a few kilometers ahead of them and began to fire on the mine, destroying it and gracefully peeling away from the shockwave to end up behind another mine that was tailing a bomber.
    Both of them were silent for a moment as the computer calculated the next best target. “Well, so much for that.” Vincent said, maneuvering to their next target. A quick lock on and a missile took it out.
    Marcus frowned. “No more targets in range.”
    “That’s... unexpected” Vincent replied, cycling through the targets available, there were still millions of mines, but the wings had successfully burrowed through the field, none of the remaining mines were in proximity to initiate an attack sequence. In a few seconds the Zerachiel and its fighters would be millions of kilometers away from the last mines, continuing their deceleration into the hostile star system.
    The hail tone interrupted their contemplation, *Squadron three, form on my wing, we’re heading in*
    “Yes Ma’am” Vincent replied, maneuvering the ship to his position in the Squadron.

    “Sir...” Alexus started, “... we’re through.”
    “Finally.” The captain sighed as the last of the mines passed them by. “Helmsman, drop us to one and a half g’s.” The captain turned to Sutler. “ What’s the status of the wings?”
    “They’re on their way in. Bomber six is heavily damaged, the others sustained negligible damage. One fighter was disabled, all others have negligible damage. Three casualties, no dead.
    “I’d say that went rather well.” Said the captain, turning to the Counselor, “What would you say Counselor?”
    The Counselor groggily regained consciousness, holding his head and attempting to straighten himself in his seat. “Ugh...”
    “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” said the captain, turning back to his front. “Sutler, get someone to bring me the pilots from fighter four in Squadron three, I want to know their take on the smart mine they destroyed.”
    “Yes sir, I’ll send for them immediately.”
    “Major Osprey, make sure to map that field and send an emergency transmission to the rest of the command fleet.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Make sure you let them know that it’s a regenerating minefield, the tunnel we made won’t be there for long.”   
    “I’ll do that sir.”
    The captain unbuckled and stood up, grunting as he stretched. He then sat back down, buckling back up. “Alright, Sutler, make sure there are two relatively fresh scouts out there.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Let’s get on with this campaign.”

The End

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