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Simulated Potential

Posted on Sun Jul 23rd, 2023 @ 2:18am by Ensign Kate Kono

Mission: Damn Dirty Apes
Location: Holodeck
Timeline: Shortly after stellar cartography

Kate had spent a few hours in Astrometrics learning all she could about the system and then forwarding that information to the captain. She needed to get something off her mind before focusing on it and for now, she needed a little time to relax. She found herself at the doorway to a place she had only ever dreamed of seeing ever since she heard about it by other means in a previous life - the holodeck. There were a few things she always wanted to do that she never had the chance to do outside of a simulator. She stepped into the holodeck and wound up in a place she recognized but she just never quite made it to the flight-line. This was a simulator like none-other though. The doors closed behind her and vanished into the thin, dry air of the northern Nevada flight-line at Nellis Air-Force Base. She walked under the awning that protected her aircraft and flight crew from the harsh mid-day sun. The aircraft, an F-16C Fighting Falcon of the block fifty-one derivative, had the ladder hooked over the canopy which allowed her to ascend the steps into the fighter. The air crew strapped her in and she began performing the startup procedures which included tuning into the Automatic Terminal Information Service or ATIS at Nellis Field which sent audio through her headset in her helmet to tell her that the day was July First, 1994, amongst many other things. It was a random date, a random time in history, with random weather, and random happenings. She closed the canopy and locked it as she set her systems up and performed her BIT Tests, ran the systems, turned the ejection safety off, and tested the breaks. The pure oxygen flow through her mask also helped her relax and think as she was Marshalled out onto the flight line and released to the runway.

She pushed the throttles forward and waited until she reached a hundred-and-fifty knots and pulled pressure on the stick until the nose lifted off the ground. The rumble in her seat subsided when her wheels lifted off the ground. Kate pushed forward on both pedels and she heard the wheels stop and then she reached down with her left hand to pull the gear lever up up. Once the gear was in, she proceeded to two-hundred-twenty knots and turned her course out over the Nellis test range. Once in the traning box, she turned her master arm switch on and proceeded to the stores menu, then selected the inventory switch. She selected GBU-97 and then unfolded a chart that was stuck in the side of the cockpit cowling portion of her control panel. In the early 90’s pilots didn’t yet have tablets that were independently computer controlled. It made things interesting as she had to find the grid area to match with the chart that she had. She reached forward to her scratch pad and hit the dobber switch down to get to the main menu on a small computer screen on the upper right of the control panel. She selected a menu button that gave her the coordinates of her position using a satellite system that was classified at the time and it gave her coordinates she could find with her chart as she unfolded it enough to get her thumb on her position. Once there, she adjusted her course by inputting the position on the chart she needed to go to as a steer point using the button-input system in front of her called a “scratch pad”.

A diamond symbol appeared on the Heads Up Display in front of her that showed the location and altitude she desired using the scratch-pad details she used with help of the map. In the bottom right of the HUD showed a time-to-target display. From there she stuffed the chart back into the nook of the cockpit canopy and control panel and concentrated on the right Multi Function Display Panel where her GBU’s were selected. The altitude of the target range was 4,120 feet. She selected the GBU cluster-bomb release altitude by hitting CTRL on the display, ENTER once, and then changed the barometric separation of the cluster bombs to 5,120 feet and swapped it back to inventory-mode. From there, she selected A-G under the heads up Display and pressed a button on her stick to place her Heads Up Display mode into a Continually Computed Impact Point mode, or CCIP that was depicted by a long line that stretched from the top of the display to the bottom. She looked down at her right MFD to see that the release angle was set default at 45 degrees, which means she needed to clear the target by 5,000 feet for safety.

She pulled an ancient device called an E6-B Flight Computer out from beside her seat. By ancient, it was completely slide-rule where she could calculate her loss of altitude in a drop at the degree of angle that she wished to compute by moving the slider to the desired setting to get the altitude and distance she needed without breaking 5,000 feet but to also get the angle she needed to release the bomb on a target set out for her at the field known as Coyote-Bravo. The bar came down on the heads up Display slightly as she pushed the nose over to 45 degrees, When the bar met the bottom of the line, it met up with a circle that was the impact point on her heads up display. As soon as the bomb-point met the diamond, she pressed the release button on the stick. She could almost make out the large blue square target on the sandy floor of the dessolate landscape below as she felt the reverberative tug at her seat when two bombs suddenly dropped from the pylons under her wings. Kate pulled her thumb across a button on the side of her stick and the computer repeated the phrase “CHAFF/FLARE/CHAFF/FLARE/CHAFF/FLARE” in her headset as she broke to the right and pulled hard.

She knife-edged the opposite direction and repeated the process while standing the aircraft on the wing to look over her shoulder. The ground below her erupted in multiple puffs followed by one large explosion indicating that her target was destroyed. Kate brought the wings level and turned her Master Arm switch back off, followed by clicking the A-G button under the heads up display to put her aircraft back into Navigation Mode. Kate hit another button on her throttle after inserting the frequency for NTTR AREA number 51.

“Dreamland Control, Hangnail 521, Intent Land for Refuel with Information Charlie.” She reached down to her IFF Panel that was to the right of her seat and placed a classified code that the control tower would read into the transmitter, which was 0022. There was a pause.

“Hangnail 521, with Charlie - Dreamland Control, you’re cleared straight in only - Three-One for full stop. Upon touchdown, exit at Delta and wait on the apron. Your window for departure is thirteen-twenty-one.”

Kate hit transmit again. “Copy Clear Three-One, straight-in-only, Full Stop, Exit Delta, Wait Apron, Delta at prior thirteen-twenty-one, Hangnail 521.”

Upon touchdown at the infamous Area-51 in Nevada, Kate flipped the parking break on as a truck dropped in and began refueling. She flipped her chart-light on as a crew member draped her cockpit canopy with a drape to keep her eyes from viewing the rest of the airfield as they refueled her. She reached forward and hit MENU-TWO-ENTER which changed her right digital computer to the Fuel-Level indicator, which showed her at 4,100 pounds of fuel and rising.

From there, she pulled out something that didn’t yet exist in 1994… A PADD from the 24th century. She studied the charts of the system that her friends went down in. Part of what made her decide on this flight out to Area 51 was part of what she was gathering from when she visited Stellar Cartography with Sam and Deanna. The planets atmosphere suggested air quality and levels — that of latter twentieth Century Earth, complete with trace compounds of radio isotopes, carbon, and trace CFC’s… It was certainly reminiscent of a thriving yet semi-primitive type-zero civilization.

For all she knew, the planet could very well have airfields like the one she just landed on, filled with what they’d consider secrets that might include a runabout this time. Her mind pondered the worst as she watched the numbers on her aircraft rack up to 7,120 Lbs of fuel and stop and the sheath over her flight-deck canopy pulled as MP guards stood watch to guarantee that she focus on the taxiway to departure and absolutely nothing else as she departed Area 51. She wouldn’t be returning to Nellis though…

“Computer, End Program.”

The last thing to vanish was the ejection seat that she was no longer strapped to as it sat in the middle of a gridded room. She stood up and walked out the door into yet another simulation that was her new life for the rest of her existence. She knew that it wouldn’t be too long before she set those thoughts aside to live this life in a brave new universe of excitement and exploration. She studied her PADD more and wondered just what it was like where John and Calli were right now. The simulation did plenty to help bolster her mind as she drew up plans in her head for contingencies she may need to take to the Captain if indeed they were dealing with a society that kept secrets from each other like Earth’s 20th Century.


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