Most of the Interdiction Patrol were fast attack destroyers - 20 man vessels which could be quickly deployed when ships tried to escape the gravity well called Earth. While reaction speed was critical, so was the firepower to pound an escape attempt back or to destroy it altogether.
The one to two man light attack skimmers filled a different niche. At times they acted as screens for the destroyers, but they also patrolled the corridor up to Station 5, the research hospital in the L5 spot opposite the moon. They would escort the converted cruise ships from the upper reaches of the Earth's atmosphere to Station 5 and back.
The Parasol skipped above the Arosa Sky, she was bouncing down below the Karman Line, piercing the Mesosphere, giving a light display for anyone watching below. The passengers on the converted cruise ship were not watching.
"Parasol, give it a rest. Concentrate on bogeys!" Lunar Central was not amused with Jenny, the pilot of the light attack skimmer.
"Then why do we call them skimmers?" was her quick reply.
"Parasol, not funny."
As the Arosa Sky climbed out of the Stratosphere, the Parasol leveled out. "Lunar Central, what is the ETA on Skydancer? I'm a little nervous out here without backup."
"She's got the pedal to the metal Parasol." Or be quiet on an open line.
The Parasol skipped above the Arosa Sky, a converted cruise ship. The light display was enthralling as she skimmed off of the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere. But neither the passengers on the Arosa Sky nor Lunar Central cared.
"Parasol, give it a rest. Concentrate on bogeys!" the cool voice of Lunar Central heated up almost as much as the outer shell of the two man fighter.
"Then why do we call them skimmers?" was the quick reply of 2nd Lt Jenny Dalton, pilot of the Interdiction Patrol's light attack skimmers.
"Not funny Mustang, think the Arosa Sky is laughing?"
As the cruise liner climbed out of the Stratosphere, the Parasol leveled out. She gave a final shake, perhaps to get rid of a bad case of the giggles. "Lunar Central, what is the ETA on Skydancer? I'm a little nervous out here without backup."
"She's got the pedal to the metal Parasol." Left unsaid was "Or be quiet on an open line." The quick transition of Lunar Central to match the mood of the fighter crew would have bewildered an observer from a hundred years earlier. But times were different, the Plague has been raging across the earth for over a year. Fully 20% of the Earth's population was gone.
And those already in space were fighting to make sure that the quarantine held, that the deadly disease did not make it out of the gravity well. The one exception were the hospital ships, the converted cruise liners, which ferried the infected up to Station 5. There researchers sought a cure for the plague. The weightlessness, power, and isolation were ideally suited for the research efforts.
kanigix.com, kanigix.org, and kanigix.net sites and contents © 1999-2007, Tom Haynes, all rights reserved.