Swallow Light Fighter
spotter ducked as shots snapped around the VRDF's trenches. A Diamond Shark
raider star was advancing, led by a Grendel. He peeked out of his
foxhole, staring wide eyed at the first enemy he had ever seen, as the
reservist infantry around him, the Veiled Republic's citizen soldiers, readied
themselves for the Sharks' onslaught.
A Warbow's gauss rifles cracked, and the Grendel spun awkwardly as it fell, a leg going one way as its body went the other. A cheer rose from the infantry dug into the red clay dust; the Grendel's death was at least a small victory.
But the cheers quickly turned to screams and chaos, as a swift Piranha charged with its machineguns blazing, tearing up a platoon like a combine through wheat. The young spotter froze at the bloody spectacle, then dropped into the bottom of his foxhole, whispering a fearful prayer as SRM trails converged on the Piranha in reply.
Slowly, the young spotter got a grip on himself, as the chaos continued to multiply around him. The Sharks would be all over the VRDF's position in moments if something wasn't done. He took a deep breath, and raised his rangefinding periscope. This was what he had trained for. And somehow, from down in his hole, looking through the lenses, it didn't seem quite so bad. He spoke calmly into his radio headset, calling off numbers as the Diamond Sharks continued to advance.
There was no warning of what happened next. Shadows flickered past overhead, amazingly fast, followed by whistling sounds. The sonic booms came just as the bombs fell on the Diamond Sharks. A swirling wall of smoke and dust sprang up in front of the VRDF's positions; the young spotter had called his strike perfectly. Through the fiery haze, he could see the Sharks milling about, starting to fall back. The infantry cheered again as the fighters came back around, streams of laser fire chewing up the landscape around the retreating Sharks.
As the noise and confusion died down, the young spotter lifted the cover off his hole and looked for the silhouettes of the Swallows overhead. He radioed thanks and waved, and one of the fighters waggled its wings in response before the flight roared off into the distance. He watched them go, and then looked around at the battlefield. Slowly he turned full circle, looking at the smoking craters and broken Shark Mechs, at the bloody wounded and maimed corpses of the VRDF infantry.
And then the spotter, no longer young, simply sat down and cried...
AeroTech 2 Vessel Technical Readout