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    Operation Midas


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    Join date : 2015-06-19
    Age : 23
    Location : Colorado

    Operation Midas

    Post by Ronin201 on Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:47 pm

    One, maybe more, story(ies) from the Sapin war that preludes ACST. OP has applied a combo of ACST canon and his own.

    The Santa Marina Turkey Shoot
    June 8, 2024 (Local Time: 1938)
    OFS Prometheus (CVN-58)
    300 Miles Southeast of Redmill
              Lieutenant Mark Walker stopped by his stateroom on his way to the briefing that night. His roommate, Lt. Chris Bodie, was gone, probably already in the ready room. He entered the small space, looking towards the far side at a small filing cabinet. Mark took a key from his flight suit and unlocked the top drawer of the object. Pulling it open, he extracted a small envelope that was hidden away. The young man stuck his wallet and cellphone in the drawer in exchange, and extracted a photo from the envelope. Inside was a photo of Ekaterina from their trip to Bana City, looking as happy and curvy as she always did. His face got pink at the sight of her; he felt so lucky to have a beautiful girlfriend like her to love.
              The pilot tucked away the photo and left the room behind. He took a shortcut through the hangar deck, where a good number of Carrier Air Wing Eight’s jets were waiting for the night’s events aboard the Prometheus. He stopped as a small group of red-shirted ordnance handlers rolled an AGM-157A Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile towards an F-35. He hurried to some stairs and went up them, moving into the section of the ship where most of the ready rooms sat. He walked to one bearing the famous skull-and-crossbones patch of his squadron, The Daredevils of VF-34, and entered. Inside some, but not all, of the squadron had arrived and was talking before the brief started. Mark approached his group of friends in the space and sat down. Lt. (j.g.) “Riff” Kramer, turned around and looked at Mark with a smile.
              “Yo Tex, was hoping you’d join us sooner or later.” He said.
              “Wouldn’t miss it for the world; granddaddy got his combat cherry popped in Sapin, now it’s my turn Ah guess.” He commented.
              He looked over at the chart for the country. Tonight was the first night of offensive operations against the country after they’d lashed out towards their easterly neighbors. The aircraft from the carrier were actually not the first strikers, though. The Osean Navy had smashed several instillations via Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) and the Osean Army’s 15th Rangers had raided several places in the country to stir more chaos. Now the dedicated, deliberate beast of air power was being brought forth to dismantle the war machine of the Sapin government and let popular uprisings sweep forward. Ironically they wanted back the king, go figure Mark shrugged quietly.
              “Attention on deck!”
              At the sound of Lieutenant Commander Hayward LeBue’s voice, the pilots all stood up ramrod straight and waited as Commander Jessica Moore, the pilot that led VF-34, marched down the center aisle. She was ironically one of the shortest pilots in the squadron, but you’d be hard-pressed to take her for granted. The woman turned around and saluted back to her ten subordinates before taking over from the XO.
              “Be seated, everyone.” She said in a naturally commanding voice.
              Mark plopped back into his chair as the projector was warmed up and the company name flashed before changing to an image of the area for tonight’s strike.
              “Tonight we’re being sortied to provide TARCAP for a raid on the Sapin port of Santa Marina. The Sapin National Navy has several of its major ships holed up in the harbor, including its one remaining aircraft carrier the Christa Domingo. We’ll be striking ahead of the Lightnings with T-Hawks from VF-104 that’re running SEAD alongside VAQ-68. We’ll secure the airspace and set up our primary CAPs along the inland perimeter of the city, and place an additional CAP on each side of the ingress route for the strikers. They’ll come in from the mouth of the bay to hit the ships broadside.” She began, highlighting the CAPs with a laser pointer. Mark checked his own CAP position and saw he’d be on the very tip of the spear, out there with Riff. His section lead would be Lt. Lyndsi Watts.
    “We can expect the Sapin National Air Force and their navy’s air arm to scramble fighters, namely EF2000 Typhoons, F-CK-1s, and Rafale M’s. Expect air traffic to be heavy, so check your targets before you shoot. Refer to your AWACS for tonight, callsign “Pelican”, and the OAF AWACS over the bay, callsign “Cruiseliner”. As far as ground defenses go, we’re expecting the Iron Hand element to zap them, but the enemy has NASAMS-2 and radar-directed 35mm guns in the area.” She outlined.
              Images of SNAF airfields and the aircraft they expected to face were presented. Mark knew only the technical aspects of the jets; he had never even faced any in mock combat. His friend Eric, currently on the West Coast, had flown Rafale Ms with Emmeria for a brief while; he had mentioned they felt kind of like F-21s. He’d get a real surprise with the Typhoons and F-CKs. Moore went on to talk a little about the ROE, a subject that didn’t surprise anyone. They were in a wartime state of things, and the Osean Navy was more than prepared for that. It was simple: check targets, communicate, and only fight what was fighting back.
              “As an extra reinforcement on the ROE, it’s important to note a large strike force will be hitting several targets in and around Gran Rugido. Osean and Belkan, mostly. Make sure we don’t shoot down anyone in an F-16 or Tornado; last thing we need.” She spoke up after also pointing out the position of the F-35s slated for buddy refueling that’d be supporting them.
              “Tell those Chair Forcers to read their charts properly!” Captain Glenn Myung, Osean Marines, commented aloud. The squadron collectively chortled at his comment, only to be quickly silenced by Moore’s sweeping gaze. She then looked at her notes.
              “If anything we should expect them closer to the end of their attacks as they try to egress. CAG Boyce is also very adamant on making sure we behave ourselves.” She added.
              Before the time for questions came, it was also communicated that the Osean Marines would be playing the rescuers today if anyone went down, ready with HH-60s, F-35s and AH-1s off the LHA Haehcho. Mark remembered that Eric’s brother James was aboard the ship, waiting to land in Sapin and help the rebel uprisings. He watched Moore as she asked for any questions, but no one had anything to say. Things shifted as the two sections of four split up to talk about the CAP. Mark stood up and followed Riff to meet with “Killa” Watts and her wingman, Ens. Rick “Rick-Roll” Cross.
              “Okay everyone, we’ll meet up northwest of the carrier. Point will be…this, right here; other element and the Iron Hand will be plenty far from us so we won’t have to worry about mid-airs.” Watts said in a voice similar to Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame.
             “Sounds good, Killa-Watts.” Mark nodded, noting the position. She showed her charts to Riff and him.
             “Tex, Riff, you two will be on CAP just northwest of the skipper while we take up position to protect the egress route for the JSFs. Whenever anyone gets handed a threat to deal with, do it in pairs after you’ve called it. When we pull back to egress, Tex and Riff you’ll go first. Otherwise I want things done by the book and in combat measurements. Spread, altitude, patterns, everything. Stay loose and support each other; we don’t want the Sapins to have an easy shot.” The chestnut-haired pilot went on. She looked at the others.
             “Anything to add that’d be useful to us? Rick Roll, you feeling okay?”
             “Everything’s feeling fine, Killa-Watts.” The young man assured, holding up a thumb.
             “Yeah, gotta say Ah’m almost a bit giddy in an odd way. Wanna know what it’s like, understand the real thing.” Mark commented.
             “Well, we’ll find out soon enough…Tex you study Jane’s guide for kicks, right? What can you tell us about the threats?”
             “Ah thought intel would be the people to go to.” He chuckled, but obliging anyways.
             “From what Ah understand the Rafale will be much like our jets, but with fewer short-range weapons. The EF2000s have a heavier payload, and can carry AIM-120s like our T-Hawks, but Ah imagine they’ll probably pack Meteors since they generally’ve been reported to carry IRIS-Ts…course Ah’m just speculatin on that.” Mark explained.
              “And the Fucks?” Riff asked. Everyone looked at him.
              “What? Sounds like an appropriate name.” He shrugged.
              “Right…those Ah can’t say…Ah’d gamble on them performing like Hornets. Maybe Falcons.” Mark commented.
              Watts nodded and double-checked a few more things with the pilots before attention was brought back to the front of the room. Near the entrance to the lockers, behind a small wood-metal desk, Duty Officer Lt. Klein O’Neily had picked up a red phone and had a quick conversations filled mostly with “Yes sir”. He set down the receiver and looked at Moore.
              “It’s a go, Skipper. They want us topside, now.” He relayed. She nodded.
              “Okay people, move your asses!” She ordered.
              Mark followed several of his compatriots to the get his flight gear. Mark found his G-suit, the fittings used to somewhat protect pilots in flight from the forces pressed on them from violent maneuvers, and attached his flight gear to it. Mark’s strength came in plenty handy for carry all the survival gear on his frame. He checked his thigh pockets to make sure the charts were in and the correct parts showing. He shook to make the stuff all settle into place, too, before taking his helmet bag and heading from the space to get his sidearm. Unlike many pilots, who favored 9mm semiautomatics, Mark’s piece was a .357 Colt Python with ivory grips, black metal and a four-inch barrel. He reasoned he’d only ever need to use it in dire straits, when stealth was pointless.
              Holstering the hand cannon, Mark walked confidentially out into the hall leading to the flight deck, the rest of his section waiting. They made their way to some stairs that led up into the open air and the dark air. In the dimly light glow of the flight deck, Mark took each step carefully. One of his biggest fears wasn’t he’d be killed in combat; it was he’d be killed before it. The young pilot made his way to one of several F-21A Thunderhawk fighters sitting along the starboard side of the carrier. Mark close in on one baring the famous skull and crossbones on its black tailfins. He approached a figure in a brown shirt, float coat, “Mickey Mouse” helmet, and camouflaged pants.
              “Evening Vinny, the bird okay?” He asked the Plane Captain.
              “Yes sir, it’s ready. Not a single thing’s been overlooked.” The Bana City native replied over the din of engines and the sea.
              Mark nodded and went to the side of the cockpit. He climbed up and deposited his helmet bag in the seat before coming back down to inspect the jet. He had four AIM-120D AMRAAMs (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) and four AIM-9X Block III Sidewinders plus his M61A2 20mm cannon. Mark gave one of each of the missiles a shake to ensure it was on tight before he crawled about the twin-engine Grumman fighter, giving it his personal approval before settling into the machine and donning the dark blue helmet with its red racing stripes down the middle. He strapped in as Vinny game up and made sure he was ready to go. The two exchanged thumbs up before the crew that tended to “Skull 207” unchained her and got out of the way.
              The pilot lowered his Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS II) visor and the canopy as he gave the jet life. The displays and gauges lit up and began to give nominal readouts. A man dressed similar to Vinny, with the difference of a yellow shirt, signaled Mark to release his brakes. Mindful of the other jets, he brought his F-21 forward and turned towards the forward catapults, avoiding the plane director. For now traffic was mainly the CAP and SEAD as they organized and launched. Despite the visual chaos, it was all a well-orchestrated affair. The HARM-toting Thunderhawks were sorted for catapults three and four while the Daredevils went to the foremost “cats”. Mark watched as the two devices worked like a pair of handguns in slow motion until the Jet Blast Deflector (JBD) lowered and he saw another plane director, the Catapult Officer, beckon him forward towards the Number Two Cat.
              Mark brought the Thunderhawk forward into place and swept out the wings. Green-shirted Catapult Crew ran forward to hook up the F-21’s front landing strut to the shuttle and get the weight of the aircraft. In the cockpit, Mark grabbed the minute he had to slide out one of his favorite shots of Ekaterina. To celebrate their first date anniversary she’d gotten one of those Playboy bunnygirl outfits and come sauntering into view; he’d been blown away and she made it a point to treat him to the outfit that day every year. He’d gotten a nice shot of her showing off for the camera. Of course he could only just barely glance it before he had to return his attention to the Cat Officer as he gave him the signal to work all the control surfaces. Mark did as he was told And noted his weapons being given one last check. When he got no signs of trouble, signals or otherwise, it was safe to say he was in the green still.
              With his Helmet-Mounted Display (HMD) fully set to night vision and working perfectly, Mark waited another moment while the way for his jet was declared clear. The Cat Officer seemed to emit pure satisfaction as he  as he looked at Mark and gave him the signal that he was cleared to launch. Mark nodded and raised his right hand to salute. He looked forward and gulped down one last mouthful of cold, dry oxygen as the Cat Officer did his famous final motions, ending with him enthusiastically delivering a high kick parallel to the intended path of the fighter. Sometimes they liked to get a little creative. The pilot jolted involuntarily as the fighter was pulled down towards the bow at rapidly increasing speed. His Thunderhawk shuddered again as he was freed from the carrier’s grip and sent into the sky. The pilot eased back the stick and flew at low altitude away from the carrier before ascending.
              “Skull 207, good shot.” He radioed as he adjusted the flaps and landing gear.
              Mark went up and left out of the traffic pattern and into the layers of sky above the battlegroup to take on Riff Kramer. The two joined forward of the boat and then formed the section with Killa-Watts and Rick Roll. They spread to the left while Moore and her section went to the right. Below and forward, the Artemis SEAD element and their Growler brethren from the Wraiths streaked towards the harbor at 19,000 feet. Mark and company settled into their formation at 22,000 feet. For now the only maneuver, until tanking, was a steady turn towards the harbor.
              Down below, closer to the battlegroup, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Alvin Glass and Lake Sokatoa fired their next salvo of Tomahawks. The brilliant flashes illuminated the fronts of the sleek ships for a moment before fading into the distance. From Foley Air Force Base in Southern Osea, F-15SE Silent Eagles from the 11th tactical Fighter Wing under the escort of O’Leary-based F-22s and Hampton-based F-35s, swept in from the east onto the Futuro Canal. Belkan Tornado IDS strike aircraft from Sprecher Air Base, protected by EF2000 Typhoons, descended on the far eastern regions to cut up Sapin’s air bases and hit isolated industrial targets. The Osean carrier Kenosha had her wing, CVW-3, airborne, and had targeted Sapin’s primary military headquarters at a refurbished castle known as Seis Pilares. All of Sapin was awake tonight; maybe they could even see the actions from the Oured area…
              Comandante (Major) Ramon Mendez, 329 Escuadrón, threw his body against the door and ran across the tarmac towards the line of EF2000 Typhoon fighters lined up across from the hangar in “combat arrangement”. Each jet had its weapons already pre-attached; the only matter was arming them and getting the jets fully powered up. The barrel-chested Major with his shinny goatee ran to his personal fighter and clambered up the boarding ladder into the cockpit and settled into place to fly. He activated his Useafighter IDH helmet-mounted display as the aircraft was rapidly made ready for takeoff. Tonight the pilot would have Four IRIS-T short-range missiles, four AIM-120C-5 AMRAAMs, his 27mm cannon and two drop tanks.
              Few, if any, words were exchanged between him and the ground crew in the scramble to get airborne. As per his notes on his charts and information, he’d be under the command of first an E-767 orbiting to the Northeast of Santa Marina, and then a substation of Southern Regional Air Force Command (CFARS in his native tongue). It was expected the command aircraft would be at great risk, so the fighters were expected not to rely heavily on the machine. Mendez didn’t care either way; he’d flown harder missions. Containing the pilots loyal to the oppressive monarchy during the coup had been plenty challenging. The pilot rolled his fighter towards the tarmac and listened to the radio traffic. He couldn’t get a picture of the whole battle, but knowing the frequency of the control tower radar technicians gave him some valuable insight. From what was being reported, they were facing worsening odds in terms of aircraft against aircraft. Mendez also gambled that the Oseans would, as they had in the past, demonstrate their heavy emphasis on advanced technology and training.
    “Juicio 1-1, requesting permission for immediate departure on runway E-1.” He radioed, switching back to his appropriate frequency.
    “You’re cleared to scramble, Juicio 1-1. Takeoff immediately.” A female voice from the control tower radioed back.
              Mendez navigated the EF2000 into the right lane of the path leading to the runway while one of his squadron’s fellow aircraft took the left spot. Teniente Coronel Palmez was somewhere towards the back. The coward, Mendez thought; typical of those who’d slid right into power just after the coup.
              “Juicio 1-2 on your wing, Comandante.” Teniente (First Lieutenant) Esteban Falcón advised his lead.
              “Understood 1-2, I trust you to perform well tonight.” He replied.
              He swung his fighter to the far end of the runway and hit the throttles as soon as his was aimed straight down it. The two UJ200 engines expelled purple flames from the back and sent the Typhoon rolling down the runway at high speed. Mendez intended to get to a proper intercept altitude immediately and set about organizing into a proper ambush. By now he had no doubt they’d have to frustrate their enemies and use every applicable advantage. The hell with their reputation; the Oseans couldn’t sneer and act so superior when they were burning carcasses in the countryside. The two fighters screamed upwards into the night, waiting to activate their radars until they were well aloft…
              “Skull Lead, Pelican, contact bandits. Heading 078 for 200, Angels 18. We count four so far.” The E-2 controller radioed.
    Mark eased his head to the left as the TARCAP stormed over the far edge of the bay at Santa Marina, smoke trails from burning AA sites dotting their field of vision. The fleet had been caught completely asleep, and it would take some time for even the smallest ships to shot so much as machinegun rounds at them. The strikers were almost in range, anyways.
              “Roger that Pelican, Skull Lead is pushing to engage bandits.” Moore replied. Mark listened for orders from Killa-Watts.
              “Skull 2 Lead to flight, move into loose deuces.” She ordered.
              The aircraft left the wall formation and formed back into pairs, only with more spread and less tightness than they normally flew. Reflecting on its name, the Loose Deuce let the pairs be flexible and light on their feet. Mark checked his radar and selected his AIM-120s. On the screen he saw the dots of radar contacts appear on the far side of the city.
              “Skull 2 Lead, Ah’m not getting any IFF returns…” He radioed.
              “Me neither, Skull 2-3. You and 2-4 are cleared to push at your discretion.” She replied.
              Now armed with a freer hand, Mark pulled Riff along over the bay towards maximum range for his weapons. They went wide to flank the Typhoons; the rest of the formation began to split and move to hit from all sorts of angles. Mark turned the APG-79 radar to Auto-Acquisition, AUTOGUNS. He wanted to lock and shoot the first bandit he could glass. He pushed up the throttles a little more as they turned back towards the bandits and swept his head around. The sky was eerily quietly, then suddenly bam! Tracers floated up like fireflies in the night, and his RWR began to shriek at him instead of steadily beeping to warn. They were painting the Lieutenant.
              “Riff, loosen it up another half mile.” He radioed.
              After a minute it turned out the 35mm weapons were shooting at targets well beyond their effective vertical range. The F-21s sailed towards the incoming EF2000s with impunity. Mark couldn’t help but think of the films of Directus during the first raid in 95 by Belka or even as far back as the 1940s.
              “Y’all know we shoot to kill…and we always will. It’s the bomber…a bomber…” He mumbled.
              The range closed to 170 miles; Tex Walker had one of the jets singled out and he planned to shoot the second he had a solid lock. The contact was currently going perpendicular to him, apparently overwhelmed by all the Oseans coming for him and his buddies. In the meantime the radio was indicating the F-35s were coming to sink the Sapin ships in the bay. No time like now, Mark thought as he screamed at his first kill; those sailors had to be attempting to get the missiles and guns on the ships armed and poised to kill. The miles wound down. Come on, Mark nearly shouted. His heart began to beat like an engine and he felt his entire body tensing. The pilot aimed the nose at his target and waited while the electronics packed into the jet did their work. On his HMD, working with a Heads Up Display (HUD), displayed a Target Display (TD) box being approached by a green diamond once he was in range. The Thunderhawk was now in full military power, wings swept. The ultimate killing machine, for sure. Eat your heart out, OAF…
              Mark had solid lock. He depressed the fire button twice.
              “Skull 207, Fox 3, Fox 3.” He reported with chained excitement.
              No sooner had the words left his mouth then did Riff report pop-up contacts from below.
              “Riff, break formation!” He shouted.
              “Watch it Tex, lead bandit’s nose on you!” His wingman replied.
              Mark barrel rolled, throwing flares all over the place to defend himself. He used his energy to shoot past the Typhoon’s forward field of view. It didn’t stop an IRIS-T from being fired at him. He eased back the throttles to trade momentum for maneuverability. The cityscape of Santa Marine’s suburbs filled his canopy as he tried to pick out the Typhoon that’d shot at him. He spotted the moving shape fairly quickly and gritted his teeth. Selecting his AIM-9X and leaving his AMRAAMs to go on their own, he pulled back more on the stick and moved to get on the Sapin fighter’s tail. The Typhoon broke to the right and began to climb rapidly. Mark was forced to level out and speed up again to regain energy and hit his target from the outside.
              “Riff, where are y’all?” He asked, having almost forgotten about his wingman.
              “Engaged defensive with the other pop-up.”
              That was all he got. Mark was effectively solo, but he only had one enemy jet to deal with. He applied patience as the fighter kept up its ascending turn before snapping left, flashing by in front of him and rolling towards the ground. He followed it and found it’d bluffed, making a wide barrel roll and shooting back up. He mirrored the roll and screamed up after it. As the Typhoon left the maneuver, it went well above him in a high yo-yo. The Sapin pilot struck down at the Thunderhawk like a bird of prey, launching an IRIS-T at the apex of its climb. Mark broke left and climbed, deploying flares to defend. He used the few seconds, if he was given any, that the IRIS-T used to differentiate flares and engine heat. He looked for the weapon, straining his neck to the left to keep an eye on the small, fast-moving dot as it pursued him. His face felt like it was being flattened as he reversed and tried to overwhelm the missile’s sensors with rapid, erratic movements.
              His plane’s systems continued to whine and beep at him as the weapon kept its pursuit up. Mark had to use his energy and avoid the temptation to go into afterburner and give the missile a better target. Finally, after another hard reverse, he sent the IRIS-T into a ballistic trajectory to the northeast. Mark spotted the EF2000 and aimed his nose at it. In his HUD-HMD, the TD box around the target was encroached by a circle briefly until the jet passed overhead. Mark pulled up and over, rolling upright and increasing speed to close the space the Typhoon would have to defend itself. In the meantime, the line connecting the two shapes in front of the Osean’s eyes closed again, hindered for a brief instant by the enemy fighter’s release of flares as it went right and down. Mark rested his thumb on the launch button and shot as soon as he had tone.
              “Skull 207, Fox 2.” He reported.
              The AIM-9X went off the rail and arced ahead, turning to catch the EF2000. Mark readied another Sidewinder to fire. He made a steady bank to the right, watching the missile with anticipation. The weapon came down on the rear of the Typhoon and produced a large, violent fireball. Mark passed over the enemy fighter and turned towards the harbor. It was now ablaze. The JSFs, from far away, could only watch the dots on the horizon as their LRASMs struck the ships. The heavily improved follow-on to the Harpoon had far more ways of avoiding and outdoing enemy defenses on ships. The CAP had been spared the fury of the CIWS on the ships when the strikers had come rolling in to attack. Admittedly the strike pilots wanted to see the results, but it wouldn't be worth the fury of a bunch of combat ships. At the same time, as the first major raid on an enemy fleet occured by the Osean Navy in years, whether he was the only one coming out of the fight alive or not, the next Walker boy had just earned his warrior’s honor.


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      Current date/time is Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:36 am