Omega Force Savage Homecoming Online - Joshua Dalzelle

Chapter 1

"Captain, we must hurry!"

"What do you think I'm trying to do, Crusher? I'm bumping up against the airspeed limit at this altitude as it is," Jason shot back. He was becoming increasingly irritated at the Galvetic warrior's pacing and griping about how slow they were flying. Time was critical, but the planet they were flying over, Fournier Prime, had some strict air traffic regulations and the authorities wouldn't hesitate to revoke their landing permit.

The Phoenix, the Jepsen Aero DL7 gunship that Omega Force crewed, was loafing behind a pair of larger transports as they lumbered across the northern sky. Jason Burke, the captain of the ship and crew, debated trying to zip past them but didn't want their "clean" transponder codes getting a rash of air traffic violations attached to them. Chaffing at the slow speed, but resigned to the inevitable, Captain Burke ground his teeth and flew silently as Crusher continued to pace back and forth in front of the main canopy, annoying everyone on the bridge.

"Captain, I've got a high-speed transit lane coming up that we may be able to squeeze into. It's thrusters only, no grav drives, but it allows for hypersonic transit almost all the way to the coastline," Kage said quietly from the right-hand seat. Jason weighed his options as he tried to do the math in his head. If they took the faster flight path at the lower altitude they would run into heavier traffic once they began their final approach, but crawling along their current course behind the heavy cargo haulers was costing them significant time as well.

"Plot it," he said, making his decision. "I'm bringing the mains online now. Get ready to cut out the grav drive when we begin our course change." He reached over and flipped a series of switches on the engine management panel and was instantly rewarded with the deep rumble of the Phoenix’s four main engines starting up. The new main engines the Eshquarian government had gifted to them the previous year had the delightful habit of starting quickly every time, something the original Jepsen engines had trouble with, a quirk that had almost gotten them killed more than once.

"Five seconds to the veer-off. You're going to have to get on it hard, Captain; we'll be passing directly over the new flight path and there will be three fast movers bearing down on us," Kage said as he sent the navigational data over to Jason's console. When the countdown reached "one" Jason slammed the throttle down and pushed the nose over.

BOOM!

The shock of the mains fully engaging jarred everyone in their seats as millions of pounds of thrust shot the Phoenix off her current course and sent them rocketing down into the lower atmosphere, trying to get ahead of the three fast movers. Crusher let out a howl of delight as the ship transitioned to hypersonic flight, now peering eagerly out through the forward canopy. I bet if I could roll the window down he'd stick his head out with his tongue slapping the side of his face.

They easily beat the other three ships and raced along towards their destination: Hellikick Spaceport, a sprawling industrial port of call that was close to Fournier City. The city was their ultimate goal, but thanks to several unforeseen issues they were running well behind schedule. Jason took another look at Crusher and shuddered as he thought of the consequences of being late.

The rest of the flight was uneventful as he piloted the Phoenix into the holding pattern over the spaceport and eventually brought them in for a touchdown on one of the more remote landing pads. This unfortunately meant they had a long taxi to their parking berth, another delay that was fraying nerves.

"I am not certain we will make it in time, Captain," Lucky said as he walked onto the bridge.

"Don't even say that," Crusher said, pointing an accusing finger at his synth friend. "You're just going to jinx us."

"If you say so," Lucky replied. "Doc and Twingo are ready in the cargo bay."

"I was wondering where everyone went," Jason mused as he spun the ship around to comply with the alignment marks on the parking pad and began shutting down the primary flight systems. "It looks like we're in time to catch the maglev into the city if we hurry." No sooner had the words left his mouth than Crusher ran by him in a blur and off the bridge. They could hear the stairs leading off the