Planetary Prom Night
Tanager hoped that her high school prom would be like "Pretty in Pink," or at least "Napoleon Dynamite." In the end, it was kind of a wash and she didn't actually dance at all because her glowstick poi were forbidden on the dance floor.
This mission wasn't like that.
* ride 25 ly, one for each orbit Tanager has completed
* dance party!
* Prom photos
* ice cream molecules
* Pick up the prom queen (aka MsMoon) in a bomber limo from Kendall Galaxy
* be more fun than Tanager's high school prom
In celebration of her 25th oribital, Tanager called a do-over on that most feted rite of teenage passage. After a back-loaded prelaunch, with many late landings at the fort and much of SCUL's fighting strength lost in the woods of Vermont Galaxy, 9 blushing pilots brought their dates to the prom. Some were accoutred in chic semiformal attire, others in wrong-side-out bike shorts. All of the ships looked fabulous in their battle-hardened paint with black tires and grease.
With Antlers to the fore as first-time navigator, we fared through Cambridge System to Luna Toscanini, arriving in time for ice cream molecules. Leotard received a discount on a blueberry Grand Marnier micro-sundae on the grounds that the whipped cream was "sad". It did not taste sad.
Though not a large armada, SCUL was in strong form and powered up by Tanager's excellent playlist. Manta Ray chalked some fine space-whales, food appreciated our adhesive emblems and a HARV launch demo, and the burning question of "if Mjollnir wore pants, how would it wear them?" was answered. As far as I know it's still wearing them. Threespeed made an efficient solo sortie to Central Constellation, to squire Ms Moon back to the fleet.
Fueled and ready for action, we launched along Planet Massachusetts toward our next port of call: THE PEAR. Antlers explored novel navimigational techniques in a fresh and untrammelled manner, wandering on and off the direct route to bring us pearward. Star Hustler experienced a brief mechanical due to a "stick" whatever that is, but 3speed soon fixed it.
Ah, the Great Fruit of Dorchester System. It is a pear of many things, beneficial and baneful. We drummed it righteously and traded for snax at Luna Tedeschi. A clan of indigenes mounted on strange vehicles, shiplike in shape but noisily self-motivating, stopped for some cultural exchange. Not like that! We just talked, like, a little, and gave the blessing of our stickers. You could tell they were Dorchestrians because they explained that this was the pear of ancient Earth being Ebenezer Clapp. A likely story -- these Earthun and their quaint folklore.
Shock, horror! Antlers realized he ejected his oxygen pack at Luna Tosci, many lightyears ago. Should we send a scout? Try a whole-fleet sprint? Nah, it's Stogie to the rescue! Well not actually as he didn't find the pack, but to his credit he did look, laying to rest any suspicion that it was still forlornly orbiting the luna. We may yet hope that the Toscian inhabitants have recovered it. Meanwhile Ravensson was visited by an attack of space madness! The pearal influence can never be predicted.
With Ravensson relieved of Comsat duty and Wombat taking over navigation so Antlers could escort Ravensson home should it be necessary, we set forth again toward Objective Dance-party. Wending toward the waterfront we came to an enigmatic yellow megalith, likely crafted by space-whales in a parallel timeline; upon this our crew climbed and oscillated at some length. Excellent sport, every prom should have one of these things.
We continued down the radiation front. In a hexagonal temple to the glory of motherhood we thought to dance, but were dissuaded by "security" -- surely a misguided notion in this uncertain world. Soon after we met with an even more delightful shrine, inscribed with mystic symbols and held together by ratchet straps and string, and here we did dance, in the orange light of the crescent moon, to the glory of the funk and the completion of our mission objective.
Again we launched, with some objectives achieved but still 12+ light-years to go. There were many bun alerts and 3 skunk warnings. Smells like Fleet Admiral! We could not pass Castle Island without a brief shoreleave, quickly donning our Sans-A-Spacesuits to do some HARV orbits with aplomb and despatch.
Wombat now led us a highly technical chase to the heart of Boston System, the hour being late enough that transports were sparse. We wandered through thousands of tables at Luna ICA, orbited the cyclopean arch of Rowe's Worf, then reached the Aquarium with our sanity mostly intact. 5 strange and silent beings greeted us, ovoid in shape and dappled of fur. We learned little of their wisdom, but had a snack and refreshed ourselves for the last push back to the fort.
Flying casual as the moon sailed high, with Tanager's groove changing to a celestial back-to-base mix, we returned via Charlestown and the Rainbow Connection through Lechmere Constellation toward the fort. A curious lightness tinged this planet's sky, we still don't know what that was about. Wombat crushed some SWEET ASS CUPS with extremely satisfying explosions. It's always safer to crush cups on a HARV because then you can be sure of not getting, say, yogurt in your hair.
All pilots arrived safely at the landing pad and the mission was declared a success. Romance and heartbreak, chiffon and tweed, loss and ice cream, but above all spaceflight in comradeship and busting of the funk -- it was all that a space prom should be. Thank you, ships, for going out with us. We had a lovely evening and hope to see you again. Then we returned to the fort to find... Dead Bride's cake molecule! NOM
Thanks to Dead Bride for a delicious molecule, Wombat and Threespeed for stepping up to new jobs mid-mission, Lordmcfuzz for piloting Cloudbuster on a long and technical flight, big ups to Tanager for leading, and a juicy honorable mention to Stogie for support.
Medals: Strength to Ravensson, Valor to Antlers, and Chic to all pilots observing the dress code.