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Hunter Matheson



Every ship has its eccentricities and every console has its quirks. After several days of endless cargo runs from ship to shore, Kal had returned to Excalibur, cleaned up, and began to study its helm console, burning into memory every position, verifying every possible variation from the standard Akira class, and looking for every quirk.

Matheson was certified and highly qualified. He had flown a few Akiras, but that was before he shifted into SWCC—Special Warfare Craft Crewman—and became part of a team of small craft extraction specialists.

Sometimes referred to as custom shuttles or modified runabouts, Special Warfare Craft were actually a cross between a shuttle and a fighter: maneuverability, armaments, and jaw-dropping technology wrapped in a shuttle-sized sensor-defying skin that accommodated ten to twelve for quick reaction, exfil, or ordinary rescue. Typically, she pushed off with two corpsmen, and several weapons specialists—depending on the situation—and at least two pilots, just in case one bit the dust.

Anyway, it had been a few years since his last Akira posting, so he had to recert. It took a while, but he got it done. You go where they send you, no questions asked, and here he was, getting into the groove of a high tech mega-monster of a starship, a big mind-shift from small craft. Excalibur was a bonafide kickass Akira.

She was sleek, she was mean, and her very presence said back off. But she was big, and there was no way she'd stop on a dime. Her maneuvering took a tad more finesse, and she just didn’t fly into the shuttlebay at chow time.

And this a convoy mission, transporting refugees to safe havens. Probably one of the most important and least favorite missions any squid could ever hope for, Kal would have to be on top of his game. Convoys were strange animals, mongrels, a Heinz 57 mix of craft ranging from high powered escorts and loaded supply ships, to lumbering transport vessels on the wagging end. With the possibility of max warp 4 to destination, it was going to be a dangerous ride, and if they just happened to be intercepted by the refugees’ pursuers, it could get real interesting.

Edited by Hunter Matheson

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