CO Captain Kathryn Harper

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CO Captain Kathryn Harper

Postby Luceo » Wed May 13, 2015 11:59 pm

"Lucky"

Of all the places she had tried to sleep during her Starfleet career, Kate Harper found sickbay to be the most difficult. She lay on her back with wide-open eyes reflecting tiny versions of various displays, one of them the obnoxiously bright wall clock that read 02:57. Her Academy training had included survival and combat scenarios that spanned multiple days, and she had found herself in various uncomfortable sleeping arrangements since, but somehow, sickbay trumped them. Perhaps it was the cold sterility of the place, or the noises from the medical equipment, or even the constant possibility of being awakened by the staff or another patient. Regardless of what precisely made it harder to sleep here than near a battlefield, or while fighting for survival in the wilderness, the reality of her situation was unchanged.

The clock now read 02:59. She was not ungrateful to the doctors and nurses, or angry at her confinement in sickbay, but merely found herself to be excruciatingly bored. It wasn't even unreasonable to her that they kept her for observation; yes, please go ahead and ensure that I am fine after cutting into my head! The thought didn't help her sleep, though.

03:02.

In her years of leaving the relative safety of the giant ship Atlantis in favor of the cockpit of a tiny fighter, Kate's worst injuries had come while sitting at the helm of said giant ship. Her tiny fighter was shot down once, but she was able to eject into space and sustain no serious physical damage from the ordeal. Yet while on the bridge of the Atlantis, she now could now count two major life-threatening injures; one left her with several new internal organs courtesy of Klingon disruptors, and the other necessitated brain surgery. Lucky her.

03:07, the clock said, not caring for her plight. It was undoubtedly better to be here and unable to sleep than dead and permanently asleep, she mused. Lucky me, indeed. That thought managed to give Kate some peace and send her consciousness back into her head, allowing her to tune out the physical reminders of her location, at least a bit. Eventually, Kate managed to fall asleep in spite of herself, and the clock counted its incessant march onward, not requiring her constant attention.
"Come let us sail the boundless sea..."

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Re: NAV Commander Kathryn Harper

Postby James Greenman » Fri May 15, 2015 4:33 pm

Absolutely fantastic log! I love these little vignettes and insights. :)
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Re: NAV Commander Kathryn Harper

Postby Luceo » Fri May 15, 2015 6:20 pm

Thanks!
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Re: NAV Commander Kathryn Harper

Postby Einar S » Sat May 16, 2015 12:41 am

I agree :) now I'm excited to know more!
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Re: NAV Commander Kathryn Harper

Postby Luceo » Sat May 16, 2015 2:46 am

Well, I'm not normally one to pimp my own stuff, but if you truly do wish to know more, then this log may be of interest:

http://atlantis.orbitalsunrise.net/getlog.php?id=171

Thanks again. :)
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Calculated Risk

Postby Luceo » Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:00 am

Doctors Tav and Slade were just doing their jobs, of course. Perhaps she didn't fully grasp the precise medical reasoning behind their protests, but Commander Kathryn Harper certainly understood the risks to her life beyond the lingering after-effects of her head injury. Admiral Blackthorne had given the usual pre-battle motivational speech, but the reality of this particular situation was apparent to all but the newest cadets. In a battle of this scale, the possibility of death didn't just exist, but instead overshadowed most reasonable expectations of survival. Still, such speeches were necessary, if only to inspire the best performance possible in the face of overwhelming odds, and she did intend to survive, so an attempt at inspiration wasn't unwelcome.

Kate now sat in the cockpit of her Mustang fighter, waiting for Atlantis to drop out of warp, signifying that the time to launch had come. Her pre-launch checklists had already been completed, so she ran through them again to pass the time, but the routine failed to keep her mind from wandering. Her recent injury while at the helm reminded her that while the bridge of a Sovereign-class starship was ostensibly safer than the cockpit of a space fighter, there was nowhere that could guarantee perfect safety to a Starfleet officer in the middle of a battle. This wasn't really something that she didn't already know, but sometimes reality has a way of dropping periodic reminders of its existence.

Now she prepared to fly the Boudica into the midst of a battle between thousands of ships, with the spectre of a head injury that could worsen from the stress of battle. She couldn't imagine the bridge being any less stressful during such an enormous conflict, and fighters at least had the distinct advantage of being difficult to hit due to their maneuvering capabilities and relatively small size. Unfortunately, she had previously noted that fighters were often hit by incidental weapons fire that had missed its original target, a problem that only got worse as more combatants joined any given fray. It also took fewer hits to down a Mustang than it did a Sovereign, and all of these cold equations to calculate the probability of her survival had been swirling in her head for too long now.

Commander Harper looked up at the assault bay door and saw the stars cease to streak past. Atlantis had dropped from warp and the time had come for her to lead her pilots into battle. If her head trauma worsened and caused her death, then she figured that would be no different than being shot down, or having a bridge console explode in her face as they seemed prone to doing. With the fate of the Federation on the line, if she survived the battle by doing anything other than giving her all, she wouldn't be able to live with herself. Kate had willingly chosen to put on a Starfleet uniform, and that was what it meant to wear it.

Resolute, she set her eyes on the assault bay door and gave the signal for the Sharks to launch. As she slammed her throttle forward after lifting off the deck, Kate vowed to survive despite the odds, head trauma and enemy pilots be damned.
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Pit Stop

Postby Luceo » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:58 pm

Matching the erratic movements of a starship to execute a combat landing was no easy task, but a constant link between the fighter's computer and the helm console on Atlantis's bridge assisted the craft's tired pilot. Commander Kathryn Harper managed to bring Boudica to an abrupt halt on the deck and opened the canopy as the Mustang was immediately swarmed by deckhands. She raised her visor and turned her helmet to one side to disengage the lock ring, freeing the helmet and allowing her to shake her sweat-matted mop of red hair free. The cool, relatively fresh air was a welcome change from her flight suit, and although Kate wasn't claustrophobic, the helmet was certainly confining and she was eager for a few minutes without it.

"Port-side actuator is malfunctioning, shields are almost drained, and of course, I am out of microquantums, as usual," she said to Deck Chief Galen as he climbed the ladder to hand her a towel and a nutrient drink, which she gratefully accepted.

"Then we're gonna need a few minutes to pull that actuator, ma'am."

She dried the exertion of constant G-strain from her face with the towel and then looked at the Chief. "Do what you must."

The Chief paused a moment, seeming to notice her ragged countenance as what might be concern momentarily lingered on his prematurely weathered face. "Maybe you could grab a few minutes of shuteye while we work, Commander."

"Perhaps." Galen disappeared down the ladder, leaving her alone in the cockpit. Kate uncapped the nutrient drink and gulped it down without tasting it. She had already lost four pilots, and another two had been shot down, but had managed to eject in time. The remainder of her people were out in the middle of the largest battle she had ever seen, trying to stay alive. How could she sleep at a time like this?

"Commander? Commander Harper. Firefly!"

Kate's eyes flew wide as she jerked awake with a gasp. After a moment for her mind to clear its fog away, she asked, "How long was I asleep?"

"Fifteen minutes, ma'am. The actuator is repaired, you are re-armed, and your shields are as recharged as I think you'll wait for them to be. Good hunting out there."

"Thank you, Chief." She replaced her helmet and locked the visor down as the Chief left. While the canopy lowered, Kate looked out the bay door and could see that the battle still raged, as expected. How many hours had they been fighting? Of course she could always bring up a clock, but at what point did it cease to matter?

The cockpit repressurized and the Boudica shot out into space to rejoin the fray. At least this time, Kate didn't need a stimulant, thanks to the brief nap.
"Come let us sail the boundless sea..."

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Familiar Maneuvers

Postby Luceo » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:26 pm

by Kathryn Harper and Ian Blackthorne

Ian Blackthorne pulled hard back and to the right on the Boudica’s controls, pulling the fighter into a steep turning climb. Another Mustang chased him, and hesitated in its reaction to the maneuver, shooting under him before also beginning to climb. Seeing the mistake, Ian applied full reverse thrust, flipped the fighter one hundred and eighty degrees, and then threw the throttle forward again. It was the sort of maneuver that only worked in space, but it produced results – an immediate microtorpedo lock on the pursuing Mustang. Staring down into its cockpit, since he had attacked from above, he could see his opponent slam the console in disgust. “You’re dead, Firefly,” he said over the commlink.

Kathryn Harper swore elaborately in her native Risan tongue. “Yes, yes, it has been a while since I’ve flown, you know. What is the point of this check-out flight again?”

The two fighters settled into formation alongside each other. “I told you, I need all able pilots qualified on the Mustangs. Your piloting experience came up in a review of the crew roster.”

“Lucky me.” Harper suddenly climbed hard, hoping to catch Blackthorne off guard. If she had to do this, she figured that she might as well enjoy it and at least try to get a shot in on the Admiral.

---

Lucky me indeed, she found herself musing several years later in Boudica's cockpit, now under her control instead of Blackthorne's, and surrounded by a sea of Tzenkethi fighters. That day had led Kate from a comfortable and largely safe, but generally boring, job as beta shift CO to her current predicament. The intervening years had certainly been more exciting and a far cry from her start in the fleet as a science officer aboard the USS Federation. Today, whatever today still meant after endless hours of combat, fitful attempts at sleep, and overwhelming odds, might just be the end of that excitement.

The realization that her death may be imminent had danced on the edge of Kate's mind several times through the course of the battles, but the sheer number of enemy fighters now surrounding the Atlantis made it come rushing back into the center of her thoughts. Not allowing herself any time to dwell on the macabre notion, she dropped in behind a Tzenkethi fighter and fired her phasers as its maneuvering thrusters activated in an attempt to evade her.

---

Ian’s reaction was near-instant, and he pulled up hard in pursuit. He guessed that she would try the same flip maneuver on him, and would turn out to be correct. As soon as he saw her maneuvering thrusters fire, he dove hard, and she was left looking at empty space.

In the one second it took for Harper to locate him on sensors, the enemy weapon lock tone alerted her that she was once again dead. After the dive beneath her, he had flipped his Mustang to face her as she flew past, ending up below and behind. She swore in Bolian, and then opened the comm channel. “I know, I know, I am dead.”

Smirking, he replied, “Good try though, but now you see the counter to that.”

She cut the comm and muttered, “I have seen it before.” Harper watched him come alongside and vowed that she would get at least one kill on him before this flight was over. Determined, she flip-turned the Mustang again, and then flipped again two seconds later, this time keeping an eye on the sensors to track her adversary.

---

The Tzenkethi flip-turned as she had done against the Admiral years ago, and Kate instinctively executed the counter that Blackthorne had demonstrated, diving the Boudica hard and turning to catch her opponent off-guard. It was a predictable response on her part, but ultimately a successful one, since her microquantum found its target. Several more bandits fell in rapid succession to her weapons, the Tzenkethi fighters not being as heavily armed or shielded as the Mustangs, instead relying on overwhelming numbers.

Several minutes later, Kate found a target whose pilot obviously had great skill. She had never allowed herself much time to humanize those she had to face in combat, but she couldn't help but to admire the display of mastery demonstrated by her current adversary. The opponents found themselves locked in a tight spiral as Kate tried to out-turn the Tzenkethi to gain enough of a targeting lead to fire. Mustangs did have the advantage in the turn, and right as she was about to fire, the adept pilot responded with a move that she had seen once before.

---

Blackthorne had reacted, but was still within sight, turning hard to the right. She matched his turn, trying to cut inside to get a lead on him for the target lock. Just as she thought she might succeed, he flipped and yawed his fighter, ending up on a course opposite and above the plane of her turn. This time, she reacted immediately and rolled left into a steep banking climb, ending up behind him. “Firing solution, Great White,” she said through a smug grin.

With a measure of surprise in his voice, he responded, “Great move, Firefly! Don’t think that after that, you can still use the, ‘but I’m rusty!’ excuse with me.” Ian looked out of his canopy and could almost see a trail of self-satisfaction behind her Mustang as she eased into formation on his wing. “Let’s return to base, you’re qualified.” He had briefed her on the omnidirectional phasers and multiple shield configurations earlier; the torpedo-lock exercise was purely maneuvering and tactical practice.

A few minutes later, the Mustangs eased to a landing in Atlantis’s assault bay. Once their shutdown sequences had completed, the canopies opened and their pilots climbed down to the deck. Harper took off her helmet, and as she shook her red ponytail loose she saw Blackthorne approaching with his helmet tucked smartly under his left arm. When he reached her, he offered a handshake and a smile. “Congratulations, Commander.”

---

She hadn't immediately known why Blackthorne had offered congratulations, but he'd made it immediately apparent by offering her the position of Commander, Air Group. It was a job she had approached with enthusiasm, thriving instead of merely existing as she had done through most of her career. Being the CAG had let Kate make a difference in a way she never was able to before, allowing her to project force beyond the range of Atlantis's standard weaponry, or if necessary, to stay nearby and defend the ship - her home. It was that home that was now threatened as her console delivered the harsh notification that Atlantis had just lost her shields.

The tactical sensor readout displayed a wave of incoming boarding shuttles heading directly for Atlantis. As her phasers finished off the expert pilot, Kate rolled Boudica to the right and turned toward the boarders. In the process, she flew directly over Atlantis's saucer section, and the bridge caught her attention, standing proudly at the saucer's apex while seeming oddly vulnerable. Kate Harper knew very well what the consequences were of a boarding party reaching the bridge, and had several new internal organs to prove it. The Admiral of this entire fleet was on that bridge, but the fact that her best friend was also there seemed to be more important to her right now. Kate couldn't let these boarding parties reach Alexis, or anyone else aboard, ever again.

She gave the order without being prompted; this was why Kate had accepted the position of CAG. "Sharks, Firefly - your number one priority is now the boarding shuttles. Do not let them reach Atlantis, no matter the cost!" Boudica, battered and scarred from the battle, moved to intercept at full speed, pursued by several enemy fighters.
"Come let us sail the boundless sea..."

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Re: NAV Commander Kathryn Harper

Postby James Greenman » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:48 pm

That was absolutely awesome. I love space combat written well, and that was masterfully done. Bravo! :allears:
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Re: NAV Commander Kathryn Harper

Postby Luceo » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:01 pm

Thanks! I must, of course, credit Battlestar Galactica.
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