On December 14, 2008 some Molden Heath Pirates established an elite school for the top one percent of its pilots. Its purpose was to teach the lost art of space combat and to insure that the handful of men (and women) who graduated were the best fighter pilots in the Molden Heath region.
Today, the Pirates call it Sard Caid's Weapons School. The flyers call it:
TOP GUNPOINT DIPLOMACY.
Aviator Miura "Maverick" Bull and his Radar Intercept Officer Wensley "Goose" fly the F-14A Rifter aboard the RANSM 'Oddelulf'. They, with Maverick's wingman Lt Graham "Cougar" and his RIO Phantom Ghost "Merlin", intercept 9pool bogies over the Bosena gate. After one of the 9pool's Drake's missiles locks on Graham, he is too shaken to dock, despite being low on capacitor. Miura defies orders and assists Lt Graham in docking despite also being low on cap, but Graham gives up his Wings of Clam citing his newborn clone child whom he has never seen. Despite disliking Miura's reckless flying and repeated violation of rules, due to his talent, CAG "Stinger" (Avan Sercedos) must send him and Wensley —now his top crew— to attend the Top Gunpoint school in Molden Heath.
The single Miura flies recklessly in part to compensate for his father Duke Bull, an Aviator with the militia aboard the Carrier Oriskany (CV-34) during the Minmatar Rebellion. The elder Bull died when his F-4 Jaguar was shot down in an incident Miura refuses to believe was his fault.
Wensley is cautious and devoted to his wife Vasavia and child. The two officers are nonetheless close friends and effective partners, whose mantra is "I feel the need...The need for speed!". At a bar the day before the Top Gunpoint program starts, Miura, assisted by Wensley, unsuccessfully approaches a girl by singing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'". He learns the next day that she is Ariartus, an astrophysicist and capsuleer Top Gunpoint instructor.
Miura's reckless flying both annoys and impresses LCDR Dirty "Jester" Protagonist and other instructors. He defeats DP in combat, but violates two rules of engagement in the process; becomes a rival to top student "Iceman" Albback, who considers Miura's methods "dangerous"; and continues to pursue Ariartus. During class she analyzes Miura's engagement with 9pool, calling it "an example of what not to do." Later, Ariartus admits to him that she admires his tactics but criticized them to hide her feelings for him from the others, and they begin a relationship.
During a training sortie Miura abandons his wingman Craftycroc "Hollywood" to chase chief instructor CDR Sard "Viper" Caid. Although Miura effectively challenges the older pilot, Sard manoeuvres Miura into a position from which his wingman DP —who has already defeated Craftycroc— can shoot down Miura from behind, demonstrating the value of teamwork over individual ability.
Near the end of the training program, Miura and Iceman Albback both chase DP, the latter attempting to gain a rocket lock on the target. Under intense pressure from Miura, Iceman Albback breaks off. Miura's Rifter flies through the jet wash of Iceman Albback's ship and suffers a flameout of both engines, entering a flat spin from which he cannot recover, forcing him and Wensley to eject. Wensley ejects directly into the jettisoned Rifter's canopy and is killed on impact. (Sorry Wens).
Although the board of inquiry clears Miura of responsibility he feels guilt for Wensley's death, losing his aggressiveness when flying. Ariartus and others attempt to console him, but Miura considers leaving RANSM. Unsure of his future, he seeks Sard's advice. Sard reveals that he served with Miura's father in the militia, and tells him classified details that show that Duke Bull died heroically. He informs Miura that he can graduate from Top Gunpoint, if he can regain his self-confidence. Miura chooses to graduate, but Iceman Albback wins the award for top pilot.
During the graduation party, Iceman Albback, Craftycroc, and Miura are ordered to immediately report to Oddelulf to deal with a "crisis situation", providing Rifter support for the rescue of a stricken boosting tech 3 ship, the SS Loki, that has drifted into hostile space. Miura and Phantom Ghost are assigned to one of two Rifters as back-up for those flown by Iceman Albback and Craftycroc, despite Iceman Albback's reservations over Miura's state of mind. The subsequent hostile engagement with six 9pool bogies sees Craftycroc shot down; Miura is sortied alone due to warp failure and nearly retreats after encountering circumstances similar to those that caused Wensley's death. Upon finally rejoining Iceman Albback they shoot down four 9pool bogies and force the others to flee, and return triumphantly to Oddelulf. Offered any assignment he chooses, Miura decides to return to Top Gunpoint Diplomacy as an instructor.
At a bar in Teonusude, Miura hears "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and recalls meeting Ariartus. She enters the bar and the two reunite.
|Miura "Maverick" Bull|
|Sard "Viper" Caid|
|"Jester" Dirty Protagonist (DP)|
|Lt Graham "Cougar"|
|"Wolfman" Jack Dant|
|"Slider" Willem Revolati|
|"Merlin" Phantom Ghost|
|"Sundown" Doctor Genocide|
|"Stinger" Avan Sercedos|
|"Wensley Goose's Wife" - Vasavia|
Sard Caid: Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees.
Jack Dant: Holy shit, it's Sard!
Wensley: Sard's up here, great... oh shit...
Miura: Great, he's probably saying, "Holy shit, it's MB and Wensley."
Wensley: Yeah, I'm sure he's saying that.
Sard: In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this killboard.
[turns to Miura]
Sard: Do you think your name will be on that killboard?
Miura: Yes, sir.
Sard: That's pretty arrogant, considering the company you're in.
Miura: Yes, sir.
Sard: I like that in a pilot.
Jack Dant: [watching a video of Falcons being shot down] This gives me a hard on.
Craftycroc: Don't tease me.
Sard: [discussing Miura] Let me ask you something. If you had to go into battle, would you want him with you?
Dirty Protagonist: I don't know, I just don't know.
Vasavia: Hey, Wensley, you big stud!
Wensley: That's me, honey.
Vasavia: Take me to bed or lose me forever.
Wensley: Show me the way home, honey.
Willem Revolati: Wensley, whose butt did you kiss to get in here anyway?
Wensley: The list is long, but distinguished.
Willem Revolati: Yeah, well so is my Johnson.
Miura: I think I'll go embarrass myself with Wensley.
Avan Sercedos: And if you screw up just this much, you'll be flying a blockade runner full of rubber dog shit out of Molden Heath!
Miura: Yes, sir!
Sard: Top Gunpoint rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team. They are not flexible, nor am I. Either obey them or you are history. Is that clear?
Ariartus: So, Miura, where exactly were you?
Miura: Well, we...
Wensley: Thank you.
Miura: Started up on a 6, when he pulled from the asteroid belt, and then I moved in above him.
Ariartus: Well, if you were directly above him, how could you see him?
Miura: Because I was inverted.
Iceman Albback: [coughs whilst saying] Bullshit.
Wensley: No, he was man. It was a really great move. He was inverted.
Ariartus: You were in a 4g inverted dive with a 9pool bogie?
Miura: Yes, ma'am.
Ariartus: At what range?
Miura: Um, about two meters.
Wensley: It was actually about one and a half I think. It was one and a half. I've got great camera drone footage of it, and he's right there, must be one and a half.
Miura: Was a nice picture.
Ariartus: Eh, Wens, what were you doing there?
Miura: Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations. You know, giving him the bird!
Wensley: [Ariartus looks puzzled, so Wens clarifies] You know, the finger
Ariartus: Yes, I know the finger, Wens.
Wensley: I-I'm sorry, I hate it when it does that, I'm sorry. Excuse me.
Dirty Protagonist: That was some of the best flying I've seen to date - right up to the part where you got killed.
Iceman Albback: You can be my wingman any time.
Miura: Bullshit! You can be mine.
|Another successful RANSM mission.|
Thanks for reading!