Uss Vindicator

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Catch Me If You Can

Posted on Thu Mar 30th, 2023 @ 4:30am by Commander William McCormick V

1,871 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Genesis
Location: Flight Holodeck
Timeline: SD 242303.29

=/ Vindicator’s Flight Deck /=

Will strolled into the Flight Deck’s briefing room at 0600 and grunts with pleasure as he takes a sip of his morning tea.

“Computer, Lights.”

The room illuminated and displayed rows of empty seats and a large viewscreen that span the length of the wall behind a podium was at the center. He moved to the front and activated the viewscreen. Typing a few commands, the status of each squadron populated one side and the status of each fighter populated another. The central panels of the viewscreen remained dark. Will continued to sip on his tea while he read each name and rank of each pilot display. Selecting the portrait caused the full bio of the pilot lit up on the center screens. Will used a finger and scrolled, reading, studying, meditating on the profile of his pilots.

As the commander of a new star fighter group on the USS Vindicator, Will was eager to meet his pilots face to face. He was looking forward to seeing what they were capable of. Scheduling the first meeting of the entire fighter group for 0800 hours gave him time to study and review the challenges he’d plan for them. It was fortunate that the flight deck had its own holodeck because Will planned to spend the next several days running simulated battles to test their skills and abilities. Will chuckled. After they were done, the holodeck might need a deep clean. Finished with his perusal, Will shut everything down until the meeting and went to his office to finish the preparation.


Will entered the briefing room from the side door that lead to his office with his flight helmet in hand and pretending to read a datapadd. He slammed his helmet down on the podium with such force that it shook, forcing the entire room to his attention.

“Good morning,” Will said, finally look up at the gathered pilots.

“Good morning, sir,” came the chorused reply.

Will paused a moment and look around the room. He noted those that did not shy away from his stare and those whom seemed to bubble with excitement of an eager beaver.

“My name is Commander William Astor McCormick, the Fifth,” Will began. “Starfleet, in its infinite wisdom, has anointed me your commanding officer while on board the USS Vindicator. I want to welcome you to the newly created 204th Tactical Fighter Group.”

Will paused for the hoots, hollers, and cheers he’d expected and continued once it calmed down.

“I know you are all eager to get started, but before we do, I want to remind you that our primary goal is to protect the ship and the crew. We will work together to ensure that we are always ready to respond to any threat that may come our way. That means that we will train hard and pushing ourselves to be the best we can be.”

Will activated the viewscreen behind and turned as it displayed the Vindicator and miniature versions of the fighter group, categorized by type.

“The mission for our group is to be the first line of defense for the Vindicator during dangerous missions. We would need to be able to operate in all types of conditions, from dogfighting in the depths of space to escorting diplomatic envoys.”

Another tap split the viewscreens into thirds. One third displayed each squadron and their fighter details. Another showed a schedule of activity, and a final third displayed a scoreboard with the names of each pilot, including Will.

“Starting today, and over the next several days, each one of you will get a chance to show me what you got and why you deserve to be in my squadrons,” Will said before pointing to the scoreboard. “And after that, we’ll all know who the best is and have an equal measure of pilot we fly with.”

A double-tap command cleared the first two-thirds of the screen and displayed the overview of the training program.

“Starting with the Nightstalkers,” Will continued, “Each flight will take turns in a simulated battle scenario against me. Their goal would be to shoot me down, while I would do my best to evade their attacks and take them out.”

Will grinned devilishly while another round of hoots and hollers rang out.

“As a reward the top pilot will get to paint their helmet gold,” Will said and held up his helmet for the entire room to see, “But for now, it’s mine…come take from me.”

The pilots cheered and Will could see a few even tried to holler a challenge at him. Will grinned and took in the competitive spirit in the room. He clicked off the viewscreens and sent each pilot their training schedules. Will would take on a pair of starfighters at time until he had time with the full squadron. It would be an excellent test of not only their combat and piloting skills but also their level of teamwork.

“I’ll see you in the holodeck,” Will finished and picked up his helmet and marched out of the room.

=/ Flight Deck Holodeck /=

The first pair to take on the challenge was Lieutenant JG Shai’la , an Andorian and Ensign Jethan Ral, a Bajoran. Shai’la is a skilled pilot who has been flying for the Andorian Imperial Guard since she was young. She joined Starfleet to gain experience with other species and has become one of the best fighter pilots in the Federation. Her ice-blue skin and antennae are a striking sight in the cockpit. Jethan Ral, fresh from the Academy, showed exceptional skill as a pilot. His Academy instructions raved at his natural talent for combat. Will would severely test his abilities and hoped that pairing him with the more experienced Andorian would temper that eagerness.

As Will watched the pair walk in, he could see the excitement and anticipation on the Bajoran’s face and the stoic yet defiant provocation from the Andorian. Will chuckled and climbed into his fighter and, after reviewing the safety protocols with each pilot. He adjusts the holodeck safety protocols to allow them to really feel the hits they would take, but causing no physical damage. There may be some bruised egos, but such is the price one pays when in the driver’s seat of a starfighter. Once everyone took everyone took off from their respective launch pads, Will signaled the start of the engagement and moved into a high orbit above the simulated planet below.

As expected, the Andorian piloted her starfighter with clinical precision, taking the lead with young Jethan as her wingman. They came straight for him and Will grinned, finally allowing the moment to overtake him. He let them chase him as he dodged and weaved through space. They’re rapid phaser fire missing him. The action was intense as the three fighters dodged and weaved through space, firing phasers. As Will led them around the simulated solar system, he dodged behind a large asteroid, performed a hair-raising maneuver that let him get behind the pair.

“Where’d he go,” Ensign Jethan said, after Will disappeared from their sensors.

“Stay alert, Ensign,” Shai’la barked, “He’s still here…”

A moment later, Will popped up behind them and targeted the Andorian.

“Bang, yer dead,” Will said before zipping past the Bajoran. “Come catch me if you can.”

After ensuring the Andorian fell back, complying with the rules, Will smiled as the Bajoran tried to match his speed.

“Watch it, Ensign,” Will said, “This is how you get dead.”

Will perform acrobatic moves through the simulated asteroid field. Jethan’s phaser fire-streaked past, up, and around him. Taking an advantage of an oddly rotating asteroid, Will followed the rotation around until he had the young pilot in his targeting sites.

“Bang, yer dead.”

The next pair, Ensign Selik a Vulcan, and Lieutenant JG Karaq, a Human/Klingon hybrid rose up for the challenge. The action was even more intense than before, with Selik and Karaq firing at him relentlessly. Will flew through asteroid fields and narrowly avoided colliding with the massive chunks of space debris.
Will quickly engaged in evasive maneuvers, twisting and turning as he tried to shake off the incoming fire. He deployed his own weapons systems, targeting the offending pilots with a returning fire. The simulated battle rages on for several minutes before Will shoots down Karaq and caused Selik to crash into an asteroid.

The last pair of the first session was Lieutenant Junior Grade Ezri Kalar, a Trill and Ensign Venn a Ferengi. From their personnel jacket, Will recognized the Trill may be a challenge while he thought the Ferengi was a better engineer than pilot. Pairing the two together, Will hoped Kalar may impart some knowledge and raise Venn’s skill level. He wasn’t a terrible pilot but had to work hard at what others were more gifted at.
It wasn’t long before Will put pressure on them. Venn a critical mistake and was hit by Will’s fire before spinning out, nearly hitting Kalar’s fighter before Will pulled him from the simulation. Kalar’s fighter streaked past him, sending a jolt that rocked Will’s fighter. It made him grunt, as it was totally unexpected.

“Tag, old man,” the Trill said.

Accepting the challenge, Will pushed his fighter to match her speed and the two twisted and turned, each trying to find an edge over the other. It was then that Will realized it had been some time before he’d been through such stresses. As the battle wore on, Will could feel his energy levels flagging. His maneuvers were becoming sluggish, and he knew he was in trouble. Lieutenant Kalar pressed her attacks even harder, firing her phasers with deadly accuracy.

Will used a last-ditch effort to evade her and looped up and around an asteroid and winged her, causing Kalar’s fighter to spin. As she struggled for control, Will took a shot.

“Bang yer, dead.”

“You got lucky, old man,” Kalar said as the simulation ended.

Will simply chuckled.

Will took off his helmet and wiped at the beads of sweat on his head. Stuffing his gloves in his helmet, he
looked at the pilots he just faced and the others who served as spectators. They impressed him and knew that they would be an asset to the USS Vindicator.

“Well done, First and Second Flight. Go hit the showers and take the afternoon to review your actions,” Will said. “I expect an after-action report tomorrow morning.”

Several raised a hand for a question and Will waved them down. “You’ll have plenty of time to ask questions later during the debriefing.”

Will called for the holodeck’s arch and moved toward the exit. “Third Flight, I’ll see you back in 1400 hrs. Don’t be late.”

As Will left the holodeck, he didn’t want to let on how sore he was. He could use a nice massage and wondered if the recreational holodeck was open. Besides a shot of whiskey, he was severely in need of a rubdown.

End Log

Cmdr. William A. McCormick, V
Group Commander
204th Tactical Fighter Group
USS Vindicator


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