Alain and Astraea take to the holobands for some Viper fun.
Location: Ready Room, Dauntless
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 1518
A time was scheduled when they'd both be off-duty and have a good chunk of time. It's taken a few days to arrange it, but Astraea had asked Alain. He'd offered, at one time, to help her with her goal to someday land in a Viper cockpit. A very slow, unlikely path, since it must all be one in what limited downtime she has. The woman sits in the Ready Room, a couple of holobands sitting ready and waiting on the desk by the chair she's claimed. Next to them, on a plate, is a couple brownies. Because a bribe is never amiss.
Alain is not such a big fan of the holobands. Certainly, he's been very rarely sighted at using them, and definitely not for recreational purposes. But, as a training tool, their effectiveness in lieu of the real thing can't really be denied. He strides into the ready room, dressed in off-duty, if neat, uniform, carrying a cup of tea. He smiles when he spots Astraea, and it deepens when he sees the brownies. "All right. Good start, Nova," with a grin, as he slides into the seat next to her, finding a place to set his tea down.
The Scorpian pilot has never used them recreationally. Likely, growing up without access to such things has made her far less inclined to utilize them. It's just not the sort of thing she connects 'free time' with. She's so much more prone to hang out in the Lounge, hit the pool, or look for people that aren't former Pyramid pros to play a pickup game.
She may even be less likely to use the things, now.
There's a broad smile for Alain in answer to his grin as she shifts to better situate her chair. The plate is lifted and moved to set next to his tea. "You deserve something for giving up your free time to help me."
"Haven't done anything yet," Alain declares, though -- of course -- that doesn't stop him immediately reaching for one of the brownies when she puts it in arms reach, chewing thoughtfully and appreciatively. "What scenario did you pick?" he asks, in between bites, glancing at the holobands.
"Right, 'cause yer th' sort to run outta here after you eat th' brownies I brought ya." Astraea snorts in good-natured amusement. She's got her own mug nearby, but it's likely coffee. She takes a long sip, following his look to the 'bands. "Aerilion... three, I think?" She purses her lips as she picks one up to check what's loaded into it, setting her mug aside. "Yeh, three. It's got a solid flight of Raiders, but th' weather's clear." A lot of them have various forms of inclement weather, since they're intended more as supplementary training rather than... for someone new(er) to the frame.
"You never know. There might be bribery cake waiting for me elsewhere. You're not my sole source of treats, you know," Alain warns, albeit with a low, amused chuckle. He finishes up the first brownie as she reads off the scenario, nodding. Whether he's familiar with it or not isn't clear; he just gestures towards her as if to say, ready, reaching for his own holoband and slipping it on.
"I'm not?!" Astraea feigns offense, picking up her mug for a long drink. "I've gotta up my game. Yer supposed to pine after my treats." She sets the mug back down, picking up the holoband instead. She takes a deep breath before getting it situated in place. "Don't laugh too hard iff'n I crash," she mutters at him.
"Definitely not promising that," Alain says. Outside of the holoband his voice comes just next to hers; inside, it pipes over the wireless and through the helmets they're wearing. The sim starts them already in the air, and it's habit that Alain checks over his instruments and flicks a glance to DRADIS. Clear skies, and clear DRADIS, for a few minutes at least. "Check over your bird; keep an eye on DRADIS," he tells her, as he settles in, the oddness of the sim fading away as fingers tap at the panel as a part of his normal ritual. She'll be the first to spot the targets on DRADIS -- or at least, Alain doesn't call it before she does, anyway.
It's reminiscent, at first, of a rare pleasant day on Picon. One of the only ones she had, actually. One that cemented her desire to be in a Viper frame all the more. The opportunity that the war stole from her. Yet something else the Cylons killed. She can be heard to take a deep breath over the wireless before she quickly reacquaints herself. Some things are similar to a Raptor, many different. The layout, for one. But the bird remains steady enough. "Is it strange, not havin' yer music?" But he may not get a chance to answer because she sees those blips. Raptor or Viper, DRADIS remains the same. "Got Tangos on DRADIS," she announces, quickly.
"I don't always have it on," Alain observes, with a little grin audible in his voice. "Certainly not when--" he breaks off as she calls out the incoming. "I count three, confirm?" He readjusts his heading towards the contacts, glancing out the cockpit window briefly. "I'll follow your lead, Nova. Take us in when you're ready. Remember we're outnumbered -- don't play it too aggressive too early."
"I choose not to believe that," Astraea quips back. Nope, in her mind, he's always got his Gemenese music going. But they've got contacts and with a quick glance at DRADIS: "Aye, three incomin'." But that doesn't mean there might not be more out there. She only knows the description of the scenario, but the full parameters. When he says she'll have the lead, Nova quickly looks over to her current wingman through the cockpit canopy. Then it's back ahead as she kicks in the afterburners a bit. "We should try to split 'em off from each other I think. Get 'em spread out so they risk hittin' their own." And once she's got visuals, she's veering off to cut between the one on the left and the one center.
"Roger that, Nova." Alain doesn't follow through with the quips, not when they're so close to contact. He rolls in on Astraea's wake, right on her tail until they're nearer, after which he veers right, angling for the space between the center and right raider, taking a shot at the one to the right as he screams nearer.
She actually is a rather good pilot. Someone who wasn't wouldn't have been just about to start the Viper pipeline after all. It's just the unfamiliarity... though Astraea doesn't fly through those two Raiders like someone unfamiliar with the Viper. She does fumble, just a little, with the trigger for the auto-cannons. She's certified in KEW and performed decently the last time they had their trials. But it's still not the same second-nature it is for the viper Pilots.
It's a decent hit on Alain's part, his flying as confident as ever. All three raiders are still up, though, and starting to fire back, their piloting skills now as much about avoiding getting hit as it is lining up the best shot. The raider to the left has latched onto Astraea, as has the one in the center -- the one to the right returning fire on Alain and sticking close as he makes a hard turn around to try and shake him off.
Out of the corner of her eye, Astraea notices the center one peels off after her rather than Alain. "Iff'n ya take yours out, see if you can get th' one followin' me." All while she's playing chase with the one that had been on the far left. She takes a breath, lining up before hitting the trigger again. In the hopes of an improvement over the previous time.
"Roger that," Alain says, his voice at ease, like he's in calm control. "Watch your six." He's making a sharp turn as he and the raider exchange fire, his KEW fire grazing the body of the other raider as he comes back around.
"Nova, Jigger- copy." Astraea's got a better view in the Viper than she would in a Raptor. The boxy buses mean she's wholly reliant on DRADIS and her ECO to know what's going on in her blindspots. And as a very visual person, it sometimes feels like a disadvantage. And maybe, in point of fact, it is... Because the next time she depresses that trigger, the KEW rounds tear into the bulk of the Raider, sending it broken and smoking down to an Aerilonian field. Unable to help herself, Astraea lets out a 'whoop!' of joy. She bears down on the pedals, adjusting her wings and trajectory to pull around for the one chasing her down.
It's hard not to fall into the trap, the reminder that this is just a sim perhaps coming belatedly to Alain as he exchanges more fire with the raider, his own hitting, this time. "Remember you've got better manoeuvrability than in the raptor. Use it to keep them from getting a clear shot at you. Think ahead -- where will he be when you straighten up? Will he be in your sights, or you in his?"
It's an attempt at a fancy maneuver and it sort of works except Astraea's ass-end is left clear for the Raider to get a shot off. A few alarms ring regarding the new scores across the tail of her digital Viper, but the Scorpian switches them off. "Right," she says, voice initially sullen. Then a pause and a breath taken. "Nova, Jigger- copy that," she says, recovering to something a bit more properly professional as she tries to angle in for a more clear hit.
"Good," Alain says approvingly, as he sees Astraea's next hit -- a solid one to the body -- swinging back around. This time, he makes no move to attack, merely leading the second raider around, away from Astraea, as if keeping him occupied while the raptor pilot deals with second raider.
Sullen she may be, but Astraea does listen. The raider does get a potshot off on her, but it barely grazes her bird as compared to the solid hit her rounds score across its bulk. There's not quite the holler of success this time. She's focusing more. Or trying to. It becomes a game of chicken between herself and the other Raider. She's not trying to chase it away or around like Jigger is. She's fully in it, but at least she's not taking to reckless flying. Not cautious either, really, but the lack of aggression is probably a good sign. Not just for her flying in the simulation.
"Nice work," Alain calls over the wireless, as he sees the raider she was focused on torn up by her KEW. "I'm going to play defensive, keep him on me while you line up shots." And, instead, his tight turns straighten out into an out and out rabbit run, with the occasional defensive move to keep from getting shot at.
In live combat, Astraea would probably panic a little over the maneuver. However, for all that holobands make things real-seeming, she still knows it's all just a simulation. "Got it," she calls back through the radio, pulling around and away from the wreckage of the raider she's just destroyed and sent to solid ground below. She must have hit something vital; the hit was just barely more than glancing. But a dead Cylon is a dead Cylon. Unfortunately, her first tracers towards the Raider chasing Alain miss completely.
"You can afford to be more aggressive, since you haven't anything on your tail. It risks exposing you, but check DRADIS, be sure, take the opportunity when it comes... as long as you don't live there." That's true of several of the Wolfpack, no need for Alain to name names. He can't see too well over his shoulder, relying on DRADIS to tell him if the target is still up or not.
There's some hesitation from Astraea. Just enough that when she fires, the Raider chasing Alain entirely evades it. She clenches her jaw, not responding over the comms as she picks up a bit of speed to take things to a more aggressive level in trying to handle the Cylon craft that Jigger is leading for her.
Slowing slightly, Alain drops back a bit to both keep the interest of the raider, and to give him a chance to glance down at DRADIS, checking their surroundings. He doesn't know the sim, either, and is keeping an eye out for ambush.
Jigger's move to drop back is a successful one. The Raider moves to compensate, but it's too late. Astraea goes screaming by, laying into the enemy craft with the auto-cannons. The hit to its own weaponry is enough to send the entire system on the fritz and it tumbles to the ground below as well. Before it fully hits, the simulation goes dark and begins printing out an after-action report of how it's scored them, based on performance.
Back in 'reality' save for reading the scoring printout, Nova leans forward to grope around the desk, blindly, for her coffee mug.
The raider is toast, a check of DRADIS first and a sharp turn later providing visual confirmation. "Now, and this is very important, Nova," Jigger says, all seriousness. "Celebration barrel roll." Maybe she'll get time before the sim goes black, maybe she won't. Meantime, Alain's going to munch on some brownies and watch the other pilot.
She gets part of a barrel roll off, while laughing, before the scenario reaches the end of its programming. It's probably the first time Astraea's laughed since she got back from her time in those caves with the Cylons. She gives up on locating her mug blindly and instead pushes the holoband up and away. In that same motion, she moves from her chair to lean across and hug Alain- even if it interrupts his brownie eating. "Thank you."
Alain looks more surprised than anything, hastily lifting a hand to protect the brownie as she goes to hug him. "I didn't do anything," he says, frankly. "You just need more confidence. More time in the sims too, probably," he adds.
There's a small shake of her head at his protest. "It's th' first time I've not thought about... y'know, what happened." Astraea finally lets him go so he can turn to his brownie, sitting back on the edge of her chair, facing him. "It's hard to get away from it when... everyone is either a reminder," like Kell or the others who were captured, "or treatin' you like you're made of glass. This-" she lifts a hand to take off the band completely. "was good. Though I wonder if that was too easy of a scenario, mebbe?" There's that lack of confidence creeping in still.
"That's the thing about the holos -- you can easily substitute in different scenarios, turn the difficulty up and down. You'll want to find that spot where it's challenging but realistic still." Alain finishes the brownie, and reaches for a sip of tea. "Find another, and we'll go again," he suggests.