Wing Commander in Real Time - Day 3 - 1315 Zulu

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From nowhere, a huge Fralthi appears. But several moments
later, it receives DIRECT HITS from a dozen cannon blasts.

REVERSE ANGLE: The Confed fleet, in attack formation,
launches A HALF- DOZEN TORPEDOES. The powerful cannon
fire pummels the Kilrathi ship before it can react.

RESUME JUMP POINT: The Kilrathi carrier breaks apart, and
explodes. A second, smaller ship appears. It too is
destroyed in the ambush.

SC. 319 - 320 OMIT


The great ship seems surrounded by a fireworks display as
it fires torpedoes and missiles, and uses its massive
cannon array.


Bellegarde approaches Tolwyn, who watches grimly.

The Kilrathi fleet is coming through
the jump point one ship at a time,
Admiral. They have no chance to defend
themselves or warn the ships behind.

And the Snakeir?

She's disappeared from our scanners.

Launch two Rapier wings and a squadron
of Broadswords. We've got to find her.

Aye, aye, sir.


The darkened fighter tumbles slowly through space. Off,
way in the distance we can see Earth. Safe, at least for


All the instruments are dark. Blair trembles violently.

Hey, you were right all along.

Merlin appears in hologram.

I was?

We're doomed.

Merlin has a change of character -- a sudden burst
compassion in his circuitry.

Don't say that. You're a fighter. So
fight! We're going to make it.

Cold got to you Merlin? You sound
downright optimistic.

Let's just call it intuition...

Suddenly, the Rapier is jolted.

What the hell...?


A Broadsword bomber has captured the drifting Rapier in
its tractor beam.

Or a working array of scanners.

A strong spotlight illuminates Blair inside the cockpit.
As Blair looks up, the bomber pilot salutes him. With
badly trembling hand, Blair grins and returns the salute.



The battered old lady pulls into low earth orbit, joining
the rest of the Confed fleet -- the blue planet spinning
gracefully below her.

SC. 326 - 329 OMIT


Tolwyn looks out through the windows -- we can see the
Tiger Claw -- and Earth.

Blair comes on deck, looking very tattered himself.

He salutes Tolwyn. Tolwyn offers his hand and smiles.

Your father would have been pound.

Blair takes his hand.

I have something for you.

Blair takes Tolwyn's Ring from his pocket and hands it to

BLAIR (Cont'd)
Sansky asked me to return it.

Tolwyn takes the ring. Behind the mask of command we can
see the memories of past battles - friends and enemies

The wounds of civil war run deep. He
was a good captain despite everything.

Did they locate Lt. Cmdr Deveraux?

Paladin went out to search for her. We
haven't heard from him since the Tiger
Claw arrived in Earth space.

The comm chirps.

The Diligent reporting. Commodore
Taggart requesting permission to land
on the Tiger Claw, sir.

Bellegarde is listening to the transmission.

Is she with him?

Lt. Cmdr Deveraux is on board.

I knew she'd make it!

Taggart is requesting an emergency
medical team to meet him on the flight
deck immediately.

The celebration ends quickly.

What's wrong?

I'm sorry. The rest of the transmission
got cut off as they entered the Tiger
Claw's air lock.

Tolwyn looks at Blair

I think you're on the wrong ship.

Blair salutes and leaves. Fast.


Blair's Rapier is on it's final approach. It blasts
through the airlock.


Paladin emerges from the Diligent carrying a limp
Deveraux. The medical team rush over to them. Paladin
places Deveraux on an emergency gurney. The medical team
furiously starts to work on her. Maniac and Gerald are
all ready there.

Blair runs up, watching in horror as they medical team
tries their best to revive her.

(happy, relieved)
You made it!

Blair looks over to Paladin who looks very somber.

Pure luck that I found her at all. She
must have turned off her beacon so as
not to tip off the Kilrathi. Brave

The Medical team continues to work on her. Blair drops to
a knee to get right beside her. Maniac puts a comforting
hand on Blair's shoulder. Gerald and Paladin exchange a
hopeless look.

Come on, Angel. Come back. Don't you
die on me.

Blair clutches her hand.

BLAIR (Cont'd)
Come on, angel.

I got a pulse!

Deveraux starts to cough a bit. Her eyes begin to open.
She looks up at Blair. She doesn't look good but she
manages to smile.

What did you say?

I said don't you die on me.

Is that a suggestion or an order?

Blair manages a small laugh.

That's a definite order.

Blair goes in for the kiss. The Medic stops him.

We have to get her down to sick bay.
Don't worry she'll be fine.<?span>

We stopped the Kilrathi.

They'll be back. The only question is

We'll be ready for them this time, sir.
No more surprises.

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think
they were all that tough.

Blair, Gerald, and Paladin all exchange a look.

MANIAC (Cont'd)
What? I mean it.

They all break up laughing.

The CAMERA pulls back, our heroes gathered around
Deveraux's gurney, sharing this moment of victory and
relief as people go about their business on the flight




MARCH 17, 2654
1315 HOURS

Admiral Tolwyn held his breath as the Concordia decreased
thrust and the battle group dispersed into attack formation.
"What do you think, sir?" Bellegarde asked as they stared
ahead. "Are we too early or too late for the party?" Tolwyn
squinted at a flickering gleam in the distance, a gleam that
quickly burst into a ringlet of light. "We're right on time." He
favored the radar officer. "Identify that ship."
"She's a Fralthi-class cruiser," Abrams said. "Fire all
Laser bolts and guided missile exhausts sewed a hundred
translucent trails into the gap between the Fralthi and the
battle group. Tight-lipped, Tolwyn observed the bombardment
and noted another ship flashing through the jump point.
Even as he faced Abrams, the young man shouted,
"Ralari-class destroyer in our sights, sir."
"Take her out."
Pummeled by a surprise attack, the Fralthi got off only a
half-dozen salvos of return fire, then emitted a spectacular light
show as it broke apart. The destroyer plowed into the Fralthi's
wreckage, then took a score of torpedo strikes to her stern.
"They're coming through one ship at time," Bellegarde said.
"They have no chance to defend themselves or warn the ships
Tolwyn nodded. "But where's that Snakeir?"
"She's disappeared from our scanners."
"Launch two Rapier wings and a squadron of Broadswords. We have to find her."
"Aye-aye, sir."
* * *
The status light on Blair's life support panel faded. He
probably had a couple, maybe three more minutes of oxygen left
if the cold didn't kill him first. The shivering had come, grown
worse, and now he sat with chattering teeth, rocking himself
toward death.
His Rapier had glided well past Pluto. Far beyond the gas
giants and beyond Mars lay that precious planet, homeworld of
humans, the only home, some said. He wanted to go there and
see the legendary beauty that everyone fought so fiercely to
preserve. Too late now.
"Hey, Merlin. You there?"
With the fighter's systems down, the little man took
holographic form, his image flickering on Blair's knee. "Here,
"You were right all along."
"I was?"
"We're doomed."
Merlin folded his arms over his chest and glared like a drill
sergeant. "Don't say that. You're a fighter. So fight. We're going
to make it."
"Cold got to you, Merlin? You sound downright optimistic."
"Let's just call it intuition—"
Blair fell forward as the Rapier lurched.
"—or a working array of scanners."
"What the hell…" A powerful spotlight shone on the cockpit.
The light panned away, and behind it floated a Broadsword
bomber that literally brought tears to Blair's eyes. The pilot
snapped off a salute, and Blair managed a shaky reply.
A tube extended from the bomber's belly and locked onto the
Rapier's primary external coupling. Blair threw back a row of
toggles, and systems blinked on. One screen showed his Rapier
firmly locked in the Broadsword's tractor beam.
"Good afternoon," the pilot said, his masked face now on
Blair's VDU. "I'm Lieutenant C. W. McCubbin of the TCS
Concordia. Who's Saranya Carr?"
"She's the star of Luna Jones, Jumpscout."
"That's good. But even the cats know that."
"C'mon, buddy. Do I look like a Kilrathi to you?"
"Well, Lieutenant, you're pretty damned ugly." The pilot
chuckled, then fired thrusters, towing Blair off.
* * *
"TCS Tiger Claw entering low Earth orbit," Abrams said.
"Jesus," Tolwyn muttered as he surveyed the old carrier's
shattered and blackened hull. When Gerald had made his
report, he had obviously understated the ship's condition. As
expected, the commander had spent more time discussing his
disappointment and disbelief over Captain Sansky's actions.
Tolwyn had taken the news with only mild astonishment.
Sansky wasn't the first or last traitor to wear a Confederation
The lift doors opened, and a familiar young man hurried onto
the bridge, looking about as tattered and battle-weary as the
admiral himself. Lieutenant Blair brightened as he met gazes
with Tolwyn, then steered himself to the viewport.
Tolwyn returned the boy's salute, then proffered his hand.
"Your father would've been proud."
"Thank you, sir. And it's an honor to finally meet you." He
stood starry-eyed a moment, then jolted. "Oh, I almost forgot. I
have something for you." He removed a ring from his breast
pocket. "Captain Sansky asked me to return it."
Tolwyn took the ring, eyed it with a deep affection, then
slipped it on. He tried to mask his sorrow over Sansky's
betrayal, but Blair's reaction said he had failed. "The wounds of
civil war run deep. He was a good captain, despite everything."
"Yes, sir. And sir? Did anyone locate Lieutenant Commander
"Paladin went after her. No word yet."
Bellegarde, who had been sitting at an observation station,
went to the comm console. He conferred a moment with the
officer there, then slipped on a headset. "We're monitoring the
Tiger Claw's transmissions. She's been in contact with the
Diligent. Commodore Taggart's requesting clearance to land."
The young lieutenant hastened toward Bellegarde. "Is she
with him?"
"Lieutenant Commander Deveraux is on board," Bellegarde
said, concentrating on the signals.
"I knew she'd make it," Blair said with a hearty nod.
"Taggart is requesting an emergency medical team to meet
him on the flight deck immediately."
Blair froze. "What's wrong?"
"I'm sorry." Bellegarde pursed his lips and removed his
headset. "The rest of the transmission got cut off as they
entered the Tiger Claw's airlock."
The lieutenant's expression harbored more than simple
worry over a comrade. Tolwyn smiled inwardly. "Mr. Blair? I
think you're on the wrong ship."
"Sir, if I can borrow—"
"Get down to the flight deck. I'll have a fighter waiting for
He raced toward the exit, remembered his salute, then knifed
through the lift doors before they had fully opened.
"Well," Tolwyn said, hearing the melancholy in his voice,
"there we go, just yesterday, his age."
Bellegarde's face reflected his own yearning. Then his gaze
settled upon Earth, and he studied the planet with an odd
intent. "Sir? I've a leave coming up. Maybe it's time I go to
Scotland. Have a look around, as it were. With your
"Granted, Richard," Tolwyn blurted out in surprise. "I think
you'll find a lot more there than you've expected."
"I hope so, sir."
Blair switched off the comm in his borrowed Rapier,
silencing Boss Raznick's tirade. The boss would have to forgive
Blair's reckless approach. He plowed through the energy
curtain and blew the canopy as the Rapier came to a wailing
hover and abruptly descended. Landing skids slapped hard on
the deck.
Standing in his cockpit, Blair spotted the Diligent across the
hangar. A crowd had gathered near her loading ramp. He
jumped from the fighter, then sprinted toward the commotion.
Taggart, Gerald, and Maniac stared over the shoulders of two
medics as they struggled to revive Deveraux. She lay on a
lowered gurney, and her back arched as one medic waved a
pen-shaped defibrillator over her heart.
Maniac broke away from the group. "Son of a bitch, you made
Blair's gaze returned to Deveraux. "What about her?"
"Pure luck that I found her at all," Taggart said. "She must've
turned off her beacon so as not to tip off the Kilrathi. She had
eight seconds left on her self-destruct when I nudged the pod,
woke her up, and got her to deactivate. She passed out before I
got her moored. Brave girl."
He slipped past Taggart and dropped to his knees beside
Deveraux. Her ashen face made him tremble. "Come on, Angel.
Come back. Don't you die on me." He took her cold, limp hand
in his own. "Come on, Angel."
Maniac hunkered down and placed a comforting hand on his
The grim-faced medics continued waving their instruments
over Deveraux. One placed a small disc on the base of her neck
and studied readings on a palmtop scanner. "Hold on now.
Wait. Yeah, there it is. I got a pulse."
"That's right, Angel," Blair said, squeezing her hand. "Don't
you die on me."
Her eyelids fluttered and finally opened. She coughed a little,
then turned her head and smiled through her grogginess.
"What did you say?"
"I said don't you die on me."
She licked her parched lips. "Is that a suggestion or an
"That's a definite order," he said with a stifled laugh.
Their gazes locked, and she did not look away. Her lips
welcomed him. He learned toward her, going in for the kiss.
"We have to get her down to sickbay," one of the medics said,
blocking Deveraux's face with his arm. He winked. "Don't
worry. She'll be fine."
Blair stood as the medics raised the gurney and wheeled
Deveraux toward the lift doors. He kept his eyes on her until
she rounded a cargo container, out of sight.
"So, Mr. Blair," Gerald began. "I heard you single-handedly
took out a Snakeir. Lured the ship into that gravity well at
"That's correct, sir."
"Well, despite that, despite everything, I still don't like you."
The commander flicked an ugly stare at Taggart's cross.
"However, you've earned a little of my trust. In all likelihood,
I'll be assuming command of the Tiger Claw, and I want only the
best wing commanders I can find."
Taggart rolled his eyes. "The commander's trying to promote
you, Lieutenant. I understand he's got a short list of
command-approved wing commanders. You want the job or
Blair grinned at the joke. "Wing commander? Me?"
"I can use you, Lieutenant," Gerald said. "We stopped the
"They'll be back," Taggart cut in. "The only question is when."
"We'll be ready for them this time," Blair said. "No more
"He'll take the job," Taggart told Gerald with a wink.
"I don't know," Maniac said, having been remarkably silent
until now. "Maybe it's just me, but I didn't think they were all
that tough."
Gerald and Taggart looked at Maniac as though he had finally
lost his mind. Even Blair could not repress his frown.
"What?" Maniac asked, feeling the heat. "I mean it."
That drew hoots and guffaws from everyone, then Polanski
pulled Maniac away while the deckmaster flagged down Gerald.
Taggart gestured toward the lift. "C'mon. I owe you a drink."
"And I owe you this." Blair tugged the cross from his chain.
After withdrawing his own chain from beneath his vest,
Taggart clipped on the cross. "I assume the admiral has his
"He does. Can I ask you something, sir?"
Taggart smiled. "You'd like to know about Amity."
"How did you know?"
"The way you just looked at the cross."
"I'm sorry if I—"
"No, it's okay," Taggart said. "Let's get that drink. I'll need it
to tell that story."