Hackworth never saw the crone.
The puddles of stagnant water lined the streets like limpid pools of
earthen humour, slowly festering in the midday heat. The transport
approaching on his left gave him no warning, and he was forced,
against his desire, to veer to the right, driving his navi thruster
into the the river of necrotic fecundity. He never saw the crone.
Hackworth's unavoidable maneuver sent a sheet of the horrid liquid
arcing onto the sidewalk, forming a sheer curtain against the sun
through which all the faults and flaws could be seen. And through the
sheet, Hackworth saw the blurry image of the crone.
The crone had no warning. The sheet of filth hit her with all the
force the horrid contents could muster. Hackworth screeched his ship
to a halt, more out of guilty obligation than out of any plan for what
to do or
say to his involuntary victim.
The crone, dripping with scum, slowly turned to face him. Calmly,
almost languidly, she reached a filthy, ruined hand towards him, her
index finger extended. Gently, almost sensually, she brushed her
fingertip along Hackworth's cheek, leaned forward, and with a lilting
voice which seemed incongruous with her ancient visage, whispered:
July 11, 2009
All hands launched nearly on time and headed, led by the intrepid
fleet admiral, towards soon-to-be-pilot Boom-Boom's residence, where a
trial/party was awaiting the fleet. Among the pilots flying the
mission was Masokist, a long-time SCUL pilot visiting from the
California Galaxy. The mission was looking to be a reunion as well!
En-route, a strange rumbling noise approached the fleet... was it a
low-flying jet? No! It was the bastard child of a shopping cart and
road bike, piloted by a friendly floater. SCUL's new friend
accompanied the fleet to Boom-Boom's, and joined the pilots just as
radiation began to fall.
The shindig was a huge success, culminating with the knighting of
Boom-Boom. Funk was busted on the dance floor, and once the radiation
died down, all pilots saddled up and headed out into space.
WIth their bellies full of earth beer and food molecules, the courageous
fleet made its way along Mass Ave for a brief incursion into the
Arlington system, then used some fancy flying to pilot themselves into
the Minuteman Wormhole. Thunder rumbled in the distance as if to
portend the work of the crone, and as the fleet passed the Alewife
Space Terminal, the curse struck.
Cries of "Mechanical!!" worked their way forward through the fleet via
the passive ambient media audio transmission system, which coincided
with a plasma containment unit leak on USB Cloudbuster. The fleet
took emergency docking action near the Alewife transport storage
facility in order to begin repairs on Cloudbuster and to assess the
nature of the mechanical. As the fleet grouped at its temporary
docking pad and Hackworth piloted his ship to safety, the full extent
of the mechanical became apparent to the fleet.
The helm of USB Devastation had not just cracked; the portside
steering unit had entirely disassociated itself from Devastation's
navigation system. Toolbag was alerted and several wookies assembled
on the wounded ship to attempt field repair. Finally, with ingenuity
which would have made MacGyver proud, a set of vicegrips was used to
provide surrogate steering facility to Devastation's helm until more
permanent repair could be realized.
With a parallel effort to seal Cloudbuster's plasma containment leak
completed, the fleet saddled up and prepared to head out. During the
field repairs radiation had begun to fall, and the majority of pilots
had left the fort sans rad-gear. Despite this, morale was high and
the fleet launched, continuing the mission.
But the crone was not done with Hackworth yet.
Hardly a quarter light year into the next leg of the mission a cry of
"Mechanical!!" moved through the fleet again. With radiation falling
at greater and greater rates, the fleet halted to quickly assess the
problem. It was Devastation, Hackworth's ship. The propulsion
transmission conduit had become out of phase within the overall drive
system - "dropped a chain" in colloquial Earth parlance. A relatively
quick fix, however the events of the night were beginning to defy the
rules of random stochastics in the minds of the fleet: This was no
Wary of what might strike them next, the fleet launched again into the
heavy radiation, their singular objective now to make it back to home
But the crone was not done with Hackworth yet.
Another mechanical! Devastation's propulsion conduit out of phase
again! In the immortal words of Nancy Kerrigan, "Why?! WHYYY?!"
Not wanted to expose the fleet to further radiation exposure,
Hackworth decided to valiantly propel Devastation manually at great
personal risk. It would seem that the crone's curse would not be broken.
But it is always darkest before the dawn. From within the fleet two
brave pilots, Moose and Gonzo, approached Hackworth and had the hexxed
pilot reenter Devastation's cockpit. The three pilots then executed a
daring close proximity flight formation which allowed Moose and Gonzo
to manually transfer propulsion to Devastation. Success! The fleet
was posi operational! Pilots formed a tight perimeter around the
three-ship formation, protecting it from heavy transport cross
traffic. Negi-G activity and hard radiation battered the crippled
formation, but perseverence won the night as the landing pad came into
The fleet landed at Luna Dunkin' Donuts, and with great fanfare medals
of Valor and Strength were handed out by the Fleet Admiral. All hands
had survived, and a sortie headed back to Fort Bartlett.
Rad-damamged pilots filled Level 0, where Skunk handed out towels and
dry clothes from bins of SCUL swag. Pywaket and Retard offered the
services of their space-suit demoisturizer on Level 1 for all who
required its services. Skunk then announced popcorn on Level 2, and
everyone headed up.
As pilots lounged about in various states of deshabillo, snacking on
corn-based comfort food, one thing became clear: a crone's curse is
no match for the Posi Power of SCUL!
|Axeman||Swayze Express||123.92||Petty Officer First Class|
|Fleet Admiral Skunk||Cloudbuster||439.964|
|Hapto||Basquiat||108.92||Petty Officer First Class|
|moose||Loki Ducker||148.44||Petty Officer Second Class|
|Yarko||Ez Raider||223.214||Petty Officer Third Class|
|Minister of Zoobs||Axeman|
|Mission Leader||Fleet Admiral Skunk|
|Navigator||Fleet Admiral Skunk|
|Skynet Operator Pre||Buckminister|
|Tool Bag||Fleet Admiral Skunk|