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Thor's Tale

Alright, I've locked in the autopilot. It should be smooth sailing from here out. Smooth sailing as long as our passenger back there stays unconscious. Where did you say you found him? Really? That many? Well, I'm glad he's doped up then. Ugly bastard. Not the worst I've seen. Hmmm? Oh yeah, I've been around the block. When you're the pilot of the Foundation's only close support gunship, you get a lot of shit thrown your way. Tell you what, it's gonna be a long flight. You make some coffee, and maybe I'll tell you some stories. Yes, I'd like cream.

Thanks man. Where to begin… Ah! I know. My very first call. This one actually happened before I was part of the Foundation proper. I was just a young pilot in the air national guard. Turns out my base commander had a special relationship with the Foundation. Always willing to lend a hand when needed. That's something people would be surprised about, I think. How much of their tax dollars actually go to helping the Foundation. Don't get me wrong, they'd be relieved, but surprised too. To know how much goes to an organization that officially claims no government affiliations. But I'm getting off topic, aren't I? Where was I? Ah, yes.

One day the base commander calls me and my crew into his office. Tells that we're going on a surprise training exercise, that it would, in fact, be live fire. We get to the target zone, middle of nowhere, Arizona. We're not seeing anything that looks like a target and our loiter time is getting low. Me and the crew chief exchange glances. I radio back to base for instructions, and the commander tells me to stay out there. Oh, another odd thing thing was that there was no tower. As far as I could tell, it was just the base commander giving us instructions. So I'm signing off, giving my copilot a look, and as I turn around for one more pass, I see it. What looks like the biggest lizard I've ever seen is tearin' across the Arizona desert like a bat out of hell.

Yeah, I see you know who I'm talkin' about. The big guy. 682. So I radio back to my commander. "Uh sir, we have what appears to be a large lizard in the target area. Requesting permission to engage." I'll spare you his reply. Suffice to say, we opened up on the bastard. I have to say it was a pretty sight, the shell bursts and HE impacts tearin' him to shreds. Pretty right up until the point it grew wings and came up after us. I threw the plane into a banking ninety degree turn to avoid the ten-ton mass of pissed-off lizard flying at us. I could actually feel the airframe around us vibrate and complain. Somehow, we made the turn, and the next two.

Now, I don't know if you know this, but the AC-130 is not made for dogfighting. We're juking all over the sky trying to keep this asshole off our backs, while he does his damn best to shoot us down. Did I mention he's shooting some sort of crystals at us? I can hear them pinging off the hull. Eventually, I decide to end this bullshit. I pull the AC-130 around to give my gunner the shot. That man was the best damn gunner I ever had. He was with me before I was officially attached to the Foundation, and he lasted until he contracted some sort of memetic agent through the sights of his gun. I hadda put him down myself. Damn shame. So anyways, my gunner, he gives 682 two shells right down the throat. That bastard screamed so loud I figured it was some sort of sonic attack, but that did the trick. 682 started falling to the ground. When he hit he musta made a crater deeper than I am tall. That was the last I saw of him, just lying there in that crater. Looked almost peaceful.

We spent the ride back to base in silence, just tryin' to process what we'd seen. When we got back the commander told us in no uncertain terms that we had seen nothing, heard nothing, and most of all, we had certainly shot at nothing. I spent the next two weeks off duty, tryin' my best to forget that shit. Just a tip, but alcohol works just as good as any class-C. Just when I hit bottom a man came to see me. Said he had a job offer for me, and here I am.

What? Why go through all the bother of hiring me? Why didn't they just give me a class A? I actually asked the brass about that a couple years ago. They told me that we actually weren't expected to take down 682 that first day, just delay him. Said it was a suicide mission, that they were impressed I survived. That's right, the asshole actually said to my face my survival was "unexpected." Hell yeah, I was mad. Now, though, after seeing what we're up against, I think I understand. We need suicide missions sometimes, and at least I don't have to order people on them. Besides, they're not so bad. 682 was my first suicide mission, but it sure as hell wasn't the last. Maybe I'll tell you about them sometime.


Wow.
EchoFourDeltaEchoFourDelta 7 Nov 2012, 15:13

I'm just gonna start at the top.

Let's see some of Echo's
BROOKLYN RAGE

Not the worst I've seen. Hmmm? Oh yeah, I've been around the block.

Yes, the pilot with an ultra-high clearance would obviously feel comfortable prattling on about compartmentalized information regarding all the shit he's seen. Brilliant start.

> When you're the pilot of the Foundation's only close support gunship
> only close support gunship
> Implying

Yes, a single aircraft with a maximum airspeed of around 300 miles per hour and a range of ~2500 miles could certainly provide direct support worldwide. Totally believable. I can see how it wouldn't make sense at for there to be additional regional organic CAS elements tasked with direct support of operating forces and provided through smaller gunships with less of a footprint, like, say, AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Venoms. This makes a lot more sense.

I was just a young pilot in the air national guard.

This is pretty golden, too. Aside from a basic C-130 pilot being literally unable to fly an AC-130 if he wanted to (different weights and load balancing, different coursework in training, vastly different crew, mission profiles, operating constraints and procedures… you know, basically everything there is to flying the plane), you drop the bomb.

Air National Guard.

Two units operate AC-130 gunships: the Air Force Special Operations Command, tasked directly to USSOCOM and its subordinate commands, and the 27th Special Operations Wing. Neither of these are Air National Guard units, and neither of them field ANG personnel. To take this one step farther, the AC-130 is one of only two aircraft that the ANG doesn't fly as compared to USAF. Forgetting that…

One day the base commander calls me and my crew into his office. Tells that we're going on a surprise training exercise, that it would, in fact, be live fire.

Because there's absolutely no way you couldn't get a few fast-movers on station and with a magnitude more total payload in the time it would take a big ol' AC-130 (that our speaker can't fly for about 15 reasons) to get out of bed, wake up, mosey to the fridge, take off and trundle its way to a target location.

Me and the crew chief exchange glances.

AC-130s don't have crew chiefs, brah.

and as I turn around for one more pass, I see it.

Implying a pilot could see a target at operating altitude. AC-130s are a speck in the sky. The pilots have to keep it out of range of, you know, stuff like AA guns and things that can shoot it down. This is, unsurprisingly, the same altitude the crews are trained to fly and engage from.

Yeah, I see you know who I'm talkin' about.

CUZ EVERYBODY IN THE FOUNDATION KNOWS ABOUT SCP-682, AMIRITE? THAT OL' HORSE THIEF!

So I radio back to my commander. "Uh sir, we have what appears to be a large lizard in the target area. Requesting permission to engage."

The pilot flies the plane. He's not the one who handles ground clearance for anything but the plane he's flying; that's the fire control officer's job. He's tasked with making sure that the plane's targets match acceptable target profiles and ensures RoE is followed. This is, after all, a system that can deploy literally hundreds of pounds of explosive ordnance over a significant portion of the countryside; they have a number of people in place, all little cogs in a machine, to avoid screw ups.

I have to say it was a pretty sight, the shell bursts and HE impacts tearin' him to shreds.

This isn't something the pilot would even know about; this falls to the people who actually aim the weapons, a pair of enlisted guys that operate digital and thermal targeting systems. All the pilot ever sees is two things: the horizon , and the horizon at about a 45-degree angle or so once the attack commences.

On another note, if you'd read the article, you'd see that a fire-team-and-a-half or so can subdue it with small arms. Moving past that…

the AC-130 is not made for dogfighting. We're juking all over the sky trying to keep this asshole off our backs

"It's not maneuverable at all, and handles like an overloaded cargo prop-driven plane that weighs 75 tons, but there I was, jukin' all over the sky like the Tuskegee Airmen!"

Eventually, I decide to end this bullshit. I pull the AC-130 around to give my gunner the shot.

"And just then, wouldn't ya believe it? He didn't even need to! The Millennium Falcon came tearing down and blasted the TIE Fighter 682 off our backs!"

he lasted until he contracted some sort of memetic agent through the sights of his gun. I hadda put him down myself. Damn shame.

Yes, in addition to deploying AC-130 gunships piloted by people who are apparently magic or something in order to engage an idea, professional, mentally sound military personnel can apparently discuss "putting down" their best friends like Ol' Yeller. Excellent work, writer, bravo.

That bastard screamed so loud I figured it was some sort of sonic attack

JUST LIKE ZUBAT

When he hit he musta made a crater deeper than I am tall

Because when biological material hits the ground at terminal velocity, it doesn't bounce, doesn't splatter… No, my friends… it leaves a TEN-FOOT CRATER.

That was the last I saw of him, just lying there in that crater. Looked almost peaceful.

"Yeah, Jim, after my gunners blasted a flying target they couldn't see while my modified cargo plane was doing loopty-loos, I looked back at an angle impossible to see from my cockpit and saw a remnant of something embedded in the dirt from 20,000 feet down well enough to tell he looked… peaceful, almost. Yep, swear to God."

When we got back the commander told us in no uncertain terms that we had seen nothing, heard nothing, and most of all, we had certainly shot at nothing. I spent the next two weeks off duty, tryin' my best to forget that shit. Just a tip, but alcohol works just as good as any class-C.

You know, I gotta say, too, the thing I liked most about being in the military was being able to take two weeks off at short notice, especially when I was in a unit that could be called up at any time, and required us to be sober on or off duty. Good times.

What? Why go through all the bother of hiring me? Why didn't they just give me a class A?

I dunno either, writer. Perhaps you could have come up with a better reason than a hackneyed "because he survived."

"Hey, Fred! You think we should debrief these guys and secure intelligence on the weird reality-defying terror we had them blast?"
"Nah, I'm pretty sure they can keep their mouths shut. I mean, it's to be expected, right? I think we can go on the honor system here."
"Thanks, Fred."

Maybe I'll tell you about them sometime.

And maybe next time you could bother doing 5 minutes of research or asking around on the chat before posting something like this.