[Gryphon is aboard Concordia as an ad hoc IPSF/WDF mixed task force prepares for a tricky and dangerous joint operation. The Valkyrie update Riker refers to would eventually be moved a few years and repurposed as Project SERAPH BLUE in Rogue Squadron.]
Smiling, Gryphon moved off down the hallway,
following a well-remembered route and hoping the refitters didn't move
any bulkheads around on him.
They hadn't; a leisurely three-minute walk brought him through
a heavy double door into the cool and noisy expanse of the hangar deck.
This, at least, was more or less as he remembered it. The fighters
parked in their revetments were a little newer than the ones that had
been here when he'd last been aboard, but the mechanical noises and
faint scents and contained bustle were the same. The only significant
change was the big banner painted on the aft bulkhead, which read,
WELCOME TO ICE STATION ZEBRA
Gryphon pondered that for a second, got the joke, chuckled to
himself, and then turned to catch the next passing technician.
"Excuse me. Spaceman?"
"Sir?" the dark-haired young woman asked, looking mildly but
not overly flustered to have been hailed by a man wearing the uniform
of a different space force.
"Where can I find General Currier?"
"She's gone aboard the Klingon ship, sir. Discussing close
air support strategies with Colonel Martok in case we get into a
"Ah," said Gryphon, nodding.
"Her adjutant's in the squadron office if you'd like to talk
to him," the technician added helpfully.
"I'll do that. Thank you," he said.
She saluted as though not entirely certain whether she should,
but wanting to show respect. He returned it in the spirit if was
meant, then headed across the hangar to the squadron office.
"They're actually letting you file your own paperwork now?" he
asked the man who sat at the desk in the outer office.
Major W. Thomas "Too Tall" Riker, adjutant to General Patricia
"Terror" Currier and lead pilot of Concordia's second Veritech
squadron, grinned through his neatly trimmed beard and swung himself
to his feet. At six feet four inches tall - two inches above standard
regulation height for a Veritech pilot - he lived up to the nickname
his fellow pilots had bestowed on him in flight school.
Riker thrust out a hand, pumped Gryphon's, and said, "Believe
me, that's one privilege of rank I could do without. Come to take a
look at your force's only tactical strike asset, eh?"
Gryphon laughed. "Don't let my Delta pilots hear you say
"The Delta's a good gunboat," Riker acknowledged, "but if
we're going up against Cylons you're going to be damn glad you've got
our VTs and Dragonflies along."
Gryphon nodded. "I know it, Tom, believe me. But then, there
isn't -any- fight where I wouldn't be damn glad to have this ship's
squadrons flying cover for me." He glanced back over his shoulder,
then said, "I didn't see any Valkyries in the hangar. Don't tell me
Tricia's finally gone to the Thunderbolt."
Riker laughed. "Not a chance. She told me the other day she
thinks the last re-engining program will see the VF-1 to its fifth
century of service. She's got the Eight-Balls on standby up on the
portside flight deck, just in case we get jumped when we cross over.
I'm probably going to standby my squadron on the starboard ramp as
soon as I'm done squaring away my will."
Gryphon arched an eyebrow. Riker shrugged.
"Well, we're going off to help fight a desperate war in a
parallel dimension," he said. "I think we're going to make it back,
but there's no sense making Will sit through probate if we don't."
Gryphon had to admit he had a point.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.