Log:Zonk vs Simulator: Round 3
There are many flight simulator pods installed aboard the colossal starcruiser that serves as the Resistance flagship, none of which have yet met Zonk. Yet, before he can be approved for a duty flight, the basic competence course must be logged and witnessed before the Houk can be entrusted with one of the Resistances precious few starfighters, and so.. Here they are.
Captain Temmin Wexley of the Resistance Starfighter Corp is considered big for a human. Just over six foot and of a hefty, if pudgy build, the uniformed Captain doesn't even stand to the chin of the Corp's newest recruit. He tries not to stare at Zonk, and mostly succeeds at keeping his voice and words steady and professional. "So, Cadet: I understand you've had some problems completing the simulation, so far?"
Merek has come to watch Zonk do his test, and has come with his staff to assist him in making it around while on the ships. He salutes to the Captain, while he walks to the side of the simulator, with a nod towards the Houk as well. He pours some of his liquor into a flask while he looks to them with a nod also, "Captain, Cadet."
"Of all the crummy..."
It's fair to say that most people don't think of 'painted on' when they imagine what a flightsuit should look like on somebody. But that's exactly what happened when Zonk crammed himself into the largest flightsuit the Quartermaster had available. This is why he's usually shirtless. As he picks the wedgie from his crotch, he gives the Captain something approximating a salute, though done half-assedly and from a slightly bent over position.
"Who said that? That ain't what happened! Them crummy frammistats and doodads is the ones had the problem, not Ol' Zonk!"
Wexley nods slowly to ol' Zonk's answer. "We... are definitely going to need to custom fit a flightsuit for you, Cadet. Assuming the sims don't have too much of a problem with you," the Captain adds, with a wry note coloring his voice. "Have a seat. If you are already familiar with any particular model of starfighter, let me know. Otherwise, it's best you get used to an X-wing." Captain Wexley inputs a few commands into the simulator controls, voicing as he does so, "This will be a convoy raid scenario, Cadet. Destroy the freighter's escort, and the freighter itself, before it escapes into hyperspace."
Tallie Lintra has arrived.
It's with pretty pronounced suspicion that Zonk looks down at the simulator seat, as if fully expecting this to be some sort of gag. He gives Captain Wexley a long, hard, appraising stare that seems to last for about half a minute. He doesn't seem to need to blink very often, that Zonk.
Apparently, the captain doesn't seem to be the kind of guy who would pull a prank on him, or Zonk just wants to get it over with. He sighs as he tries to sit down, adjusting his flightsuit a couple of times as he eases into the seat. Truth be told, he's not 'that' big. He's certainly crammed in there, but at least he isn't spilling out over the simulator like a Hutt in a bikini.
"Yeah, you know, I mostly just flew an old shuttlecraft fer the Hutts back on Nar Shaddaa. Not a bad gig. They had heated seats..."
He looks with dismay down at the very uncomfortable, very Spartan, very unheated ones the simulator uses.
"You'll get used to it," Merek tells Zonk, while he shifts his attention to the Captain, "I will keep an extra set of eyes on the progress if you like, sir," he offers, with a nod to the man of respect. He shifts about the staff he uses so he can take a drink from the flask of his.
Still tucking her white scarf around her neck, Tallie skitters into the room and slows to a walk at the last minute. Those blue eyes widen at the tableau before her and she slows down and puts her face into order before calling attention to herself. "You were looking for more pilots on the simulators, sir?"
Wexley cracks a grin at the mention of heated seats on a Hutt shuttle. "Sounds pretty top shelf, Cadet. Let's configure the controls to a T-85.. Fliught stick doesn't change, power modulators to your left, fire controls above that, and we'll add an R2 unit to the simulation to manage any repairs that might be needed." The simulator's seat creaks once, but holds solid underneath the Houk, as the visual display fades to black, the 'cockpit' lights up, and the pod's targeting computer powers on. Wexley glances aside to, "Lieutenant Lintra, just in time. Pick a pod, pick your ship, and be prepared to take Flight Lead for Cadet Zonk on a convoy raid."
A look of recognition spreads across Zonk's face as Lieutenant Lintra arrives. Or maybe it's a look of gas. We'll find out for sure one way or another in due time...
"Yeah, we gotta blow up the ship 'stead of stealin' all their valuables and makin' 'em work fer us fer free. 'Cause we're the good guys."
Zonk nods solemnly as he recites some of the tenants of the new ethos he's agreed somewhat reluctantly to follow. Truth be told, he'd look way more in his element if he were shirtless and waving around a vibro axe, with a bunch of enslaved humans trailing behind him. For only the briefest of moments, his imagination wanders, but then he's back in the simulator, and hopes nobody noticed his very brief daydream.
"HEY!" Zonk starts as the simulator lights start coming on, and both of his fists raise up and tighten into roughly human head-sized balls. It's Rounds 1 and 2 all over again.
But this time... he stops. "Crummy bleepin', bloopin' frammistats!"
Merek looks to the new arrival, then he nods a bit, and decides to take the simulator's test also. He settls at one of them, while he shifts the controls about, setting it up. Amazing how much of experience he has with such things, it's configured to a T-85 like the others without any assistance.
Merek also takes a tape from one of his pockets to place into the simulator, because you need to have some music to do all these things, while he sighs a bit, "Haven't flown in a fighter like this since the Order." Wait, what?
Careful to keep any dubiousness from her expression, Tallie snaps an affirmative before slipping into a nearby simulator. She slips on her earphones and begins flipping switches in a stimulation of a ready check before turning on com. Even in the simulator her vital signs show all the parameters of a person functioning in their element. A dimpled smile is mirrored in the console when she speaks, <X-Wing Leader to X-Wing 2 and 3. Systems green for target acquisition? Over.>
"Don't-" Snap Wexley starts to warn as Zonk gathers his hands into skull-sized fists. ut then Zonk reins in the smashing, and Captain Wexley lets out a relieved exhale. "Regarding the Houk's view of Resistance morality, "Well, sometimes we do knock out a ship and board it to capture intact. For cases of particularly valuable cargo or recovering prisoners, that sort of thing. But most of the time we lack the resources to capture the big freighters, and have to settle for taking them out." That said, he glances to the computer. "All three friendlies are reading as ready. Starting simulation."
The simulator reads as being in the Dellalt System. A First Order bulk freighter is slowly creeping along between hyperspace waypoints, with a trio of TIE/fo fighters flying escort.
"Aw... I wanted ta be X-Wing Leader." The big purple Houk frowns a bit disgruntedly before piping up suddenly. "I calls dibs on bein' X-Wing 2!"
Now that the important things are settled, he looks over in Merek's direction to make sure that his dibs goes unchallenged. It's the look of a kath hound standing in front of his bowl of scraps.
The simulator starts to do his thing and Zonk suddenly realizes he's never been this far before. "Holy Zug Nuts! You didn't say these crum bums was allowed to shoot BACK! I wasn't ready..."
The simulator rocks for effect, and Zonk raises one of his balled up fists. But with the other hand, miraculously, he's actually busy trying to operate the controls.
"Can we start over? I wasn't ready!"
Merek looks at the flight controls, while he tries to maneuver from the cannon that is coming at him. He doesn't do too well with it, but only one of them manages to hit, and he speaks to the R2, "Keep on shields, make sure that they stay up, Gadget." He then shifts his hands to the controls while he takes a firing position and shoots at a TIE. He then takes his shot and manages to take a lot of the shield's power from the foe, "Cadet, flank him with me, I will keep him off you tail, Officer Lintra, what's your position?" he asks. He has some kind of experience with fighter combat, clearly.
<X-2, concentrate, watch your scans, weapons on unlock, let your targeting computer lock on for you till you get the hang of this. Copy me?> She is hanging upside down relative to the others on the simulator, throttle pulled back as she kinks to starboard to avoid incoming on her already weakened shields. X-3 is doing its job and has not only engaged Alpha-2 but is making life hard on the pilot. <Good shooting, X-3> she calls as she flips her X-Wing to the side and goes in blazing at Alpha-3. <We have three hits on Alpha 3. Give me updates!>
The escort TIEs roar quickly onto the attack, firing their first salvos of emerald energy as the Xwings are still locking S-foils into firing position. The attack isn't sophisticated, but it's effective.
"Sunuva... I'll try spinnin', thassa good trick...."
It IS a good trick, and one that Zonk partially pulls off. He still gets tagged though, the lights in his simulator going all kinds of crazy. "SHADDUP, blinky lights! I already KNOW I'm gettin' shot at!" One of his fists has remained balled up pretty much the whole time, but when he gets an earful of advice from his fellow pilots, he forces it to relax and prepares to engage with his weapon systems. Probably not as fun as punching the TIE fighters with his fists would be, but let's hope it's more effective.
"We're gonna need ta do a Zergnux City Shuffle!" Whatever that is, it apparently involves shooting at one of the TIE fighters with his cannons. It barely glances off the ship, causing Zonk to unleash a stream of Houk curses that would burn out the ear drums of anyone who could understand them.
Merek maneuvers with the ship while the droid does their repairs, "Thanks Gadget," he says, while he takes a moment to settle in his next shot. That one goes a bit wide while he speaks to the comm, "A2 has taken fire from X2 and X3, my shields are at 80, flanking maneuvers on A2," he states for the others.
When Alpha 3 lights up with her cannon and begins to trail the telltale tail of frozen vapor in its trail, Tallie lets out a sharp breath, <<Retarget onto Alpha Leader, Alpha 3 is down for the count. Report X-2>> Eyebrows lifted in hopeful expectation for the Houk to sync with the rest of the crew. She follows her own orders, pulling the nose of her T-85 straight up to avoid the two TIEs that have locked on her. "Fiver, lock on. We are going for a ride" she grits her teeth involuntarily in real time she would be pulling 3 Gs on the maneuver and her body knows it though her mind tells her differently. <Come on Zonk, Merek, we can do this!>
The greater durability of the X-wings begins to tell, as the plain aggression of the TIEs has yet to put down one of the T-85s. Their swarming attack is effective in one way, at least: the freighter remains undamaged as it slowly nears the midway point to its exit to the hyperspace corridor. Captain Wexley nods at a few points, his eyes narrowed on the simulator display from the outside. "Remember the objective, team," he advises.
As the blaster bolts fill the sky around him, Zonk starts to visibly sweat. For most people, this wouldn't be a big deal, but when you're crammed into a tight cockpit, and an even tighter flightsuit, and you have sweat glands as productive as Zonk's...
"Foggin' up, I can't... GRRAAAAAAAR!!!!" Zonk rips the chest of his flightsuit with both hands, leaving the suit in tatters around him. "I'M DONE WIT' DESE POOZES! It's time for... RAMMING SPEED!" Something comes over Zonk's face, a kind of psychotic joy. His left eye twitches relentlessly, and his giant purple mouth breaks into a wide grin that exposes all of his teeth. As sweat pours down his face. he hits the accelerator, aiming his X-Wing right at the freighter!
"COME GET ME, YA POOZ!"
Merek does a skillful aileron roll into space within the simulator which places him away from the shots fired towards his X-Wing. He then shoots at the TIE while he positions, though the foe manages to dodge it with some maneuvering away. He speaks to his comlink, "I... Don't ram it, I am going to hold off the TIEs which I'm able to while you take the freighter."
The squadron has the TIEs attention sufficiently for Tallie to run some risks. Big risks. Those torpedoes feel like so much ballast at the moment and the freighter is running at top speed for the jump point. She gambles on her own hand being steady enough to target without waiting on acquisition. The simulator gives her that little kick on release of the torpedos. Once loosed she immediately goes an evasive turn. <Main target has a gift zeroing on it from X-Leader> Fiver sends her the results and she sees the shimmer of dropped shields.
Firing unguided torpedoes is generally considered a waste of torpedoes, but Tallie manages to make the maneuver pay off in an impressive show of gunnery. Two of the torpedoes streak off into space past the freighter, but the other two slam fully into the vessel, crumbling its rear shields.
"That's it, ya little pooz! Come to Papa Zonk!"
The TIE fighter follows him, trying to hit Zonk from behind. This seems to not bother Zonk at all, as he gracefully dodges the blaster fire. His touch on the controls is a lot more delicate than one might expect from looking at his hands. And his fingernails. Which are filthy. And seem to have been trimmed with a vibro axe.
Now that he's shirtless, Zonk seems to be able to function at a slightly higher level, but he's still sweating pretty profusely, and he's still accelerating toward the freighter. He starts firing his torpedoes wildly, as if they are an afterthought, and he's actually planning to hit the freighter with his ship!
However, the torpedoes actually connect with the ship, much to Zonk's surprise. And... probably to everyone elses as well.
"YEAH! GOTCHA, YA LITTLE BITH!" Zonk punches the control panel of his simulator, laughing maniacally. The control panel fritzes out, and all the lights in Zonk's simulator go out.
Sweating profusely, with shreds of uniform sticking to his slimy purple body, Zonk busts out of the simulator.
"DIDJOO SEE DAT!!!! I put the whumpin' on 'em!"
Merek watches as the simulation is complete, and he shifts that hand of his to the panel while he clicks a few buttons with his fingers. He then opens the machine so he can stand from it, while he takes his staff, and looks around a bit, "Well... That was a bit interesting," he says, while he takes a drink of his flask and also picks his tape back up to put it into his pocket.
Tallie can't help herself and breaks the classic stoic flat voice over com, <Soooo, you did!> Grinning widely, she mutters off com to Fiver. "Pure luck! But then we all need it at times, maybe he will start to tighten up with a few successes under his belt."
Snap Wexley is watching the attack run on the freighter with interest that veers quickly into confusion, and then, slowly, a facepalm. The SFC Captain is staring at Zonk between middle and ring fingers, briefly pinching the bridge of his nose. "Yeah. You sure did, Cadet. Of course.. you're also dead now, so. Both in simulation and possibly in the real world, once the Chief finds out we scrapped another sim pod. So. A bit of a mixed bag."
"Ha ha HAAARRR!!!!"
Zonk's fists are raised in triumph as the simulator lies shattered behind him. It's only when he notices that the Captain isn't cheering that his expression slowly changes.
Fists still raised over his head, Zonk slowly raises the part of his forehead ridge where an eyebrow would be if Houks had those.
"What? Whaddaya mean? Is the Chief bigger than me?"
"The Deck Chief is bigger than any pilot, Cadet," Snap answers, dryly. "Let's.. get you out of here, before she finds out." Zonk is waved out and Wexley exhales wearily. "Well. At least we technically completed the simulation, that time."