Several months pass that turn into a year, the deaths of friends and the pain of their loss subsides slightly as the survivors move on with their lives. Corwin walks into his quarters and tosses his flight gear onto his couch. He looks around and notices the monitor is flashing with a new received message. He sits down and opens the message and smiles as it is the woman he left on Bajor for this new assignment. However as he listens to the message the smile disappears from his face. She sent him a letter to let him know that she will not wait for him. She wants a career and a family and with him being assigned all over the universe that doesn't leave time for them. Corwin closes the message and leans back in his chair. He knows he has a choice to make. "What else can go wrong." He asks the emptiness of his room. "What else must be thrown at me in this twisted universe to mold me into a person that I do not want to be." He stands and moves for the shower in his room removing his clothes as he does so and tosses them into the clothes hamper in the corner of his bathroom. He stands for the longest time under the hot water as it streams over him and he just stands there his head hung low and the water cascading down his back.
Corwin steps onto the flight deck of his new assignment three weeks after telling Ishika's parents of her death. He is greeted by many familiar faces as what is left of the original Wraith Squadron has been assigned here, however none of their faces bring comfort to him. He steps to the commanders office and looks about before knocking twice on the door.
"Enter!" Comes the call from inside and Corwin reaches out and turns the doorknob opening the door into the small office. Behind the desk sits a middle aged man with a patch over one eye reading a PaDD.
"Seems you saw the thick of the action on the Klingon Front with the man and women out there."
"Yes sir. Not our best performance sir." Corwin fights back tears as he remembers how many people were lost during their three year tour on that front. He tries his best not to show his remorse for getting his men and women killed in the senseless battles they fought.
"Well out here son you will be tried and tested just as much as you were there. We have the Klingons on one side and the Romulans on the other. We are fighting two fronts here and you had best be ready to lead your people into battle in the air and on the ground. You are my Special Warfare Unit. Welcome to the 53rd Assaut-Recon Wing Lieutenant"
"Thank you sir."
"Now get yourself settled. Tomorrow you go into action."
Back in the Saddle
Corwin swerved and dipped during the combat simulation with the 53rd but to him it was all wrong. The wrong people on his wing, the wrong setting, and the wrong type of command. He pulls his fighter out of formation thus ending the simulation. The CAG looks on shaking his head. Ever since Corwin was assigned to the 53rd he was able to tell that the new pilot had some issues to work out on his own. One of the pilots, a purple skinned alien female known as Rileynett, approached the CAG.
"Sir he just will not engage. Even under the simplest of attacks he pulls from formation." She tells the man.
"We have to give him time Lieutenant. He has been through alot and lost even more." The CAG hands the woman a PaDD with the mission reports from Corwins old command. "He lost the woman he loved during those engagements. He lost friends and comrades that he depended on for three years during a hostile environment."
The young officer begins to look over the PaDD and her eyes go wide as she realizes what those new transfers have been through and survived. She looks at the PaDD and then the Captain walking out of the flightdeck his head hanging as if he has been defeated.
"It is going to take alot of work to get him and the others back into the game sir. More than what we probably have in the way of time." She says still looking between the PaDD and the door Corwin disappeared through.
"I know Lieutenant, but he is one of the best according to Starfleet Command. They say we need him here and that it is our job to get him back to where he was."
Corwin stands at the door to the rural Japanese dwelling. The address confirms that this is Ishika's family home. He straightens his uniform and then knocks on the door. A woman around the age of 45 answers the door and Corwin bows to her his eyes already welling up with tears. He looks at the woman and straightens and then speaks to her in Japanese.
"Ma'am, I am Corwin Meyer. I served with your daughter on the Yamamoto." His voice cracks slightly knowing what he has to tell her. "I am here to inform you that your daughter Ishika, well Ma'am she was killed in combat a week ago. I felt I had to come tell you in person. "
The old woman drops to the floor and starts crying and a man comes to help her up as Corwin lends a hand as well. The man, Ishika's father, looks at Corwin having not heard what was said and beckons him to help get her to the couch. Corwin kicks off his shoes and helps move her.
"Sir, I have just informed your wife that Ishika...." He looks away the tears flowing freely down his face. "Sir I have lost your daughter. I am truly sorry. " He sets the PaDD down with the letter of her death and what possessions she had still in her locker including the ring Corwin never got to give her.
"I am truly sorry for the loss sir. Believe me, If I could take her place I would. I.... I loved her so much sir."
Her father looks at him with anger and pain and simply nods and then motions for him to leave. Corwin stands and bows to him and leaves the home feeling worse than when he showed up. As he walks back to the shuttle he wonders if her parents will ever forgive him.
Corwin turns and banks as the Klingon fighter is hot on his tail. This mission went from bad to worse real quick. What was supposed to be a standard Klingon Freighter Convoy with a light escort turned into a Klingon Military convoy with Negh'vars and Carriers. They even had one Command Cruiser. This fighter has been dogging him for the better half of an hour now as the battle is on in full. Several Heavy Escorts for the Federation have shown and are taking damage. Corwin turns and looks at his wingman, Ishika, as she stays close by him, then suddenly her fighter bursts into flames as a Bird of Prey decloaks and hits her almost point blank. Corwin banks and vents his plasma and then ingintes it destroying the fighter and issues the signal for the fighters to pull back. The losses are to great for them to stay and more cruisers are warping in to take care of the Klingon convoy. Corwin hits his engines and initiates his warp one escape back to the Yamamoto. Out of the 200 sent out on this mission he counts 10 returning, One of the ones lost was Ishika, he feels their deaths were a waste and now must inform their parents. His responsibility as Squadron commander for the Wraith. Four years running with the same 200 and now he gets the worst case scenario and the people he cared for the most paid for it.
"This is Wraith-1 to Yamamoto, 10 men returning to hangar bay, please inform the CAG of the losses." Corwin speaks into his comm system and grabs the tags around his neck and looks at the tag with Ishika's name on it. He holds back the tears as he and the others land. Once out of his fighter he moves for his office and closes the door sealing it and noone on the flight deck stops him.
Corwin, Ishika and three others move silently through a Klingon house on a planet in the neutral zone. All the members of this small team carry projectile weaponry and wear outfits designed for maximum stealth. They come to an intersection of three paths, Corwin sends Ishika with one of the others and the other two down the second path and Corwin goes off down a path by himself. The now three teams set up around the main courtyard of this small "kingdom" within the klingon empire.
"Wraith one to teams two and three." Corwin whispers into his communcations device. "Be ready target will show in five minutes."
The comm devices ring with the ready signal. The teams wait as the courtyard starts to fill with Klingon warriors. Then they see their target as she makes her way to the central dais and takes a seat. Her green skin and hair glistening in the pale moonlight as Corwin looks through his scope, knowing well that the shooters on the other two teams are as well. Three shots ring out all at once and the Orion Matron gets hit three times and drops to the ground dead. The teams then start to move when the third teams location suddenly explodes as if a photon torpedo hits it. The other team moves quickly and disappears
Two fighters race across space as they pursue a klingon scout fighter. Corwin and Ishika try to intercept the fighter before it can report back to its carrier and alert the KDF to the prescence of the Iwo Jima. Ishika has point and they are in range to fire when they start lighting up the sky around the scout. The three craft come around an asteroid and then the shock of their actions really sink in as the two Peregrines are now faced with a Klingon Fighter Squadron. They quickly do a 180 degree turn and go to full impulse and try to get a head start on the Klingons before they even start to move. Ishika now being in the rear keeps looking back as the KDF fighters start their momentum forward.
"Shit! Ishika break pattern Delta 4-3" Corwin shouts into the com between his and her fighter and then he does a steep dive. Ishika turns her head and sees a D-7 battle cruiser coming in from behind then. Before Ishika can react to the order the cruiser fires a full volley of photon torpedoes and it's disruptors. Her fighter is hit and takes some damage to primary systems. She looks out the cockpit and sees Corwins fighter on a direct course for the cruiser aimed at it's shuttle bay. Corwin fires a transphasic torp at the cruiser and it goes right through the shields and connects with the cruisers shuttle bay with a nice explosion. After launching the torp Corwin changes his attack vector and strafes the cruisers underside with his quad heavy phaser cannons. After clear the cruiser he alters course and heads right for the bridge firing all his weapons. The following explosion causes the Klingon fighters to retreat thinking there is a new Federation ship within the battle.
"Wraith-3 are you alright?" Corwin waits for the response from Ishika.
"I'm fine Wraith-2. A little singed but repairable." Ishika smiles as Corwin pulls along side her fighter. A few minutes later both fighters are on the deck of the Iwo Jima, an Akira Class Escort Carrier. Once out of the fighter Ishika runs over to Corwin and gives him a big hug.
"Always there to save me. You are my Avenging Angel aren't you?" Corwin chuckles at that and looks at her as he breaks the hug.
"No Ishika I am more like your protective Titan. Unstoppable. Strong and able to kill those against us with some minor difficulty" The flight crew look at the recorder for Corwins craft and start to call others over to view it as well. Soft murmuring is heard and some gasps.
Corwin and Ishika depart the hangar bay and walk to the CAGs office to give their report. The flight crew just stares where the two exited in amazement that all that the two had damage wise was on Ishika's fighter. A Commander comes over seeing the entire flight deck around the one fighter and then speaks to them and they let him see the recording.
The next morning as Corwin and Ishika enter the flight deck for patrol the both notice Corwin's fighter has a new area of paint upon it. As they get closer they see that under Corwin's name is now the word "Titan" neatly centered under the name.
"Well now Corwin. Looks like the flight crew has given you your callsign" Ishika giggles as she gives him a kiss and moves for her fighter.
Three months later...
Corwin looked at his new patch and then around at the rest of his squadron members all with the new patch as well. The 1st MACO Special Operations Battalion, under the Command of the SOCOM at Starbase 39. They appeared to have been assigned here after their missions in the Klingon Neutral Zone during the war. Corwin and Ishika were still in the same flight wing, however alot of the personnel now assigned to them were fresh from the academy and special operations training command school.
"Well looks like I am now the top pip of the squadron Ish. Maybe we can now learn how good we are in this never ending battle" He leans and gives her a kiss before stepping out of the office and looking at the people formed up before him.
"I am First Lieutenant Corwin Meyer and this is Second Lieutenant Ishika Takahara. We are your commanding officers and we will be expecting nothing but the best from you. Now we are a long way from the cushy Starbase 39 where the 1st is normally assigned. We are here to provide fighter cover and escorts for federation troop transports and close air support when they are on the ground. Our mission is to keep people alive and to put a hurting on the Klinks. I will not accept prisoners and the Klinks will not take any. Our standing orders are shoot to kill in all aspects of this war. Am I clear?"
"Sir yes Sir!"The new members respond all at once.
"You have the rest of this day to get familiar with the USS Yamamoto. This escort Carrier will be our home and the place to which we return after every mission. Dismissed!"
The squadron breaks from formation and moves off to take a quick tour of the ship and to learn their way around as they were ordered to.
Several days later Corwin is standing in the small room used to brief the pilots before each mission. Corwin looks out of the hangar at his squadron and sighs as he looks back to the PADD in his hands. He begins to wonder if his men and women are up for this mission as to what it entails. Not the use of individual fighters but a combined assault force on the ground against a Klingon base.
"Well time to brief the squad." He gently tosses the PADD onto the small cot in his office. More than one night he spent sleeping there when his command was about to take a mission. He steps out onto the flight deck of the carrier they are on and calls for the squadron to fall in formation.
"Alright ladies and gentleman we have a new mission. However this mission is not in our fighters but in a ground strike. We are going after a Klingon Base on the moon of Ari'Ba in the Omega Leonis Sector. Now this is right across the neutral zone so we have to be careful. Matthews, Jones, and Jefferson will be our infiltration and exfiltration pilots along with flight three giving them the air support they need. The rest of us are on the ground killing the Klinks and setting spatial charges and disruptor charges. Once we have infiltrated the base we will download everything from the bases computers onto datarods from three points. Lieutenant Takahara will lead strike group two. I will lead strike group one and Sergeant Timmons will lead three. Command has issued Top Priority to this mission and has diverted several other carrier groups to assist if we need them."
Corwin looked around at all the shocked faces. Even Ishika was shocked that one squadron would be given this assignment. He sighed but could offer no comforting words to any of them. In the three months they have been here in the sector they proved themselves the best of the best and that they could achieve that which others have failed to achieve.
"You have three days to train on the gear and tactics before we strike. Dismissed!"
"Corwin-san. May I speak with you in private?" Ishika's voice held an edge of fear in it from what Corwin could detect. He nodded and lead them to his office and closed the door and window shutters.
"Corwin-san, Are we ready for an assignment like this? I mean are the men going to be able to do their job under this kind of pressure?" Her concerns mirroring his own. He thought about that for a moment and remembered what the last line of the letter with their mission has stated.
"If we complete this mission we can expect alot more like it. I don't like this any more than you do. M.A.C.O. Senior Command Staff thinks we are the best ones for the job. We are 2000 strong in numbers and get the best and brightest of the graduating classes from our academy. However I am not sure about this mission Ish. I have a bad feeling about it that I cannot shake."
Ishika walked up to him and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind and rested her head on his back. She knew he was feeling the same as he was but none would openly say it to command. She smiles when she felt his hands rest on hers and gently rub her arms.
"We will succeed Corwin-san. We will be here again at a later date to enjoy the life we have together."
Corwin smiled and turned to her and gently kisses her forehead.
"That we will my Cherry Blossom, that we will."
For the next three days the squadron trains using the holodecks for the mission.
Corwin walks out of the room after unsealing the doors and reestablishing the security protocols on the ship. He moves down the corridor and looks for one person hoping that she is by herself so they can talk
"Ishika, we have orders."Corwin looks flatly at the woman sitting at the mess hall table.
"You mean they actually want us to go through with those orders?"Ishika states as she lets out a sigh.
"I know it is a suicide mission but they say we are the best at this sort of thing." Corwin states flatly.
June 2396 is when this story begins a young 18 year old Hawaiian joins the MACO basic training program for the enlisted personnel. His long brown hair blowing in the cool San Francisco breeze coming off the bay. Already the recruits for this specialized training camp are bitching about the weather and the lack of seats. Corwin sits down on the ground in his civilian clothing and feels the dirt as he waits for the DI that will instruct him over the next few years.
"Alright you Maggots on your feet and fall in a straight line. You pansy footed animal f****** had better be worth my God Damned time that I could be spent make sweet love to the virgin prom queens you left back at home. I am Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas. But to you faggots I am to be called sir or your God"
Several of the recruits laugh, However Corwin coming from a long line of Distinguished Military personnel dating as far back as the World Wars 1 and 2 did not laugh but just stood there at attention like his great grandfather showed him. "From this day on you are no longer productive members of this society. You are pieces of shit until I tell you otherwise, no scratch that shit has a higher social standing than you do right now. Am I understood Maggots?' "Sir yes sir" all the recruits say almost at once. "Jesus Christ what the hell was that. Are you maggots trying to get me to loosen my a**hole so you can get away with shot. I don't think so. Let's try that again. Am I understood Maggots?" "Sir yes sir" the recuits call out in unison this time. "Thats more like it. Now get your sorry asses into the bunkhouse and then to the barber to cut off that pubic hair growing on your head. MOVE!" The recruits all start to rush to get the orders done. Corwin moves and looks around and then mumbles "This will be a long year"
"Alright you Maggots, you have made it past your basic training and are now onto the advanced portion of this program. However if any of you feel that you cannot complete this course, or if you feel like you'd be better off in the pussy ass Starfleet and not a MACO I want you to grow a pair of balls that none of you seem to have and step forward and ring this bell. I will be sure to write to Mary Jane rotten crotch that you will be coming home to finger bang her through her pretty pink panties."
Corwin stands there at attention waiting to see what happens. Noone steps forward.
"Alright then. Today starts the ass kicking portion of your training. You will learn how to fight a klingon on the ground even though the enemy is stronger than you are." A klingon officer steps forward his starfleet uniform is in perfect order.
"Excuse me Sir" A female cadet raises her hand while looking at the new officer. "If we are at war with the Klinks why is this one here in our ranks?"
Gunny looks at the female and gets an angry look on his face.
"Cadet step your ass forward and show some respect to an officer loyal to the Federation. This "Klink" as you so happen to call him is one of those that do not believe in this war. Now seeing as you so graciously spoke up about your feelings you volunteered to be our first demonstration."
The female smiles figuring that she has the advantage as she removes her hat. Her long black hair in a bun and her almond shaped eyes looking at her opponent.
"What is your name punching bag" Gunny asks as he steps directly into her face.
"Ishika Takahara Sir!"The cadet says with a confidence that she feels better than the Klingon.
"Well now. We have one of those that have been taught to fight the family way. You really think that is going to save you? You are about to look like a used tampon."Gunny turns and nods to the Klingon and he takes a aggressive stance.
The female cautiously approaches the klingon and tries to throw a quick jab at his chest. The Klingon catches her wrist, twisting it so that all hears the crack of the bone. He then launches a backhand at her face striking her squarely on the chin. Her head turns and blood comes out her mouth. The Klingon then punches at her midsection and once again bone is heard crunching under the blow. She doubles over in pain and is apparently now crying from it. The Klingon steps above her and raises his hands bringing them down in the center of her back forcing her to the ground. Normally one would view this contest over, however this woman insulted his honor, He brings his foot up and stomps down once on her back. He brings his foot up again and as he starts to bring it down he is drop kicked from the side throwing him off balance and to the ground. Corwin stands over the fallen woman refusing to let her get hurt any more. Gunny raises an eyebrow but does not stop this, it appears that this one needs a lesson as well. The Klingon stands smiling. He then rushes Corwin with the intent of using his pure strength to take the small man down. Corwin smiles and falls backward pushing the female to the side and doing a toe drop hold onto the Klingon so he goes face first into the dirt. Corwin motions for some other to get the woman to the side and a few quickly do. The Klingon stands and backhands at Corwin, his being distracted by the cadets moveing the injured he turns his head and meets the backhand full on. Corwin stumbles back from the blow but looks at the opponent. Both combatants take their stances and Gunny looks at Corwin in somewhat of amazement, it seems this cadet knows some Mokbara evident by his stance. The Klingon rushes again at the small man. Three hours later Corwin wakes up in the infirmary to Gunny standing over him with a wry smirk on his face. "You got balls son. I have never sen anyone stand up to or even draw blood on the Corporal before. However by your being here it is evident that you had your balls ripped off and shoved down your throat. Blind bravery only gets people killed. Remember that when you take your squad out for drills and practices." Gunny nods and turns walking away. Corwin painfully turns his head to the side and sees the doctors still tending to the woman who got her ass handed to her and past her he sees the Klingon standing in the doorway. Corwin tries to sit up intent on showing no pain but his head swoons and he falls back onto the bed as the Klingon approaches. The Klingon sits next to him and pats his shoulder gently. "You fought well for a human. I am Ul'Raene Sil'Vanosys Son of Chi'Lan. Today you have earned my respect. You did an honorable deed for a comrade and I will not forget that." The klingon stands and walks out of the infirmary. Corwin lays back and relaxes and eventually drifts off to a painful slumber.
Over the next several months the cadets train for every conceivable scenarios that could happen. Ground based attacks, Space born bombardments, even escape and evasion techniques. Corwin and the other cadets take it all in stride absorbing what is taught them. Finally after the year of training is up their graduation looms on the horizon.
"This is going to be so great" one cadet exclaims. "Finally we get to wear the real uniform of the Military Assault Command Operations. We are going to be MACOs."
Corwin moved off from his classmates as he continues to read a PADD over and over trying to make sense of what is on it. Severly injured in a hovercycle accident. His two younger brothers clinging to life for three weeks now and the Gunny just now gave him the PADD. Standing he moves to look out the window at the Arizona training facility and he can't help but wonder what they were trying to do that caused the accident. He holds back any emotion from showing in his face as one of the female cadets comes over and wraps him in a hug. "We did it Redskin. We are graduating" she says excitedly. "I never doubted anyone in this class. However this celebration might be short lived. Rumor has it our flight wing will be sent out to the Klingon Front after we graduate." Corwin looks at her. Ishika, the klingon punching bag, has made his time here a little easier to bear. They had developed a bond that went beyond friendship. They cared for each other probably more than they should have. "Listen Ishika, don't get reckless out in the field while flying. You are a good pilot and some of these show offs here want to make a name for themself. Don't get caught in their bravado please." She nods and smiles at him and places a gentle kiss on his cheek as she had so often in the past since the hand to hand training. They both stand there looking out the window at the newly arrived fighters for them to depart in tomorrow after graduation. Not a word was spoken again nor did it have to be. They were MACO and Damned proud to be called so.
August 2400 Graduation day. A day of celebration. A day of completion. Why then did the air feel so heavy at this ceremony? The graduation class was fully assembled on the ceremony grounds in their dress uniform. A trill Captain standing facing them with a box at his feet, a rather large box. As the Cadets crossed the stage and collected their certificates the Trill Captain handed the recent graduates old earth style dog tags. After the ceremony as Corwin and Ishika stand talking to her parents and Corwin all the celebrations have started. Corwin and Ishika excuse themself and take a walk across the campus. "Corwin, I hope we are assigned to the same fighter wing. We work well together." She removes one of her dog tags and gives it to Corwin and she removes one of his and puts it on her chain, she then pulls him in and kisses him gently. "Ishika we will watch each others back. I promise that I will always remember our graduation day and have a drink on that day no matter where I am." Ishika smiles and takes his hand as they head back to the party.