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: Excuse me, sir. Did you say the Victory? Admiral Tolwyn
: Is there something wrong with your hearing, Colonel? Blair
: No, sir. It's just that I... Admiral Tolwyn
: The TCS Victory is a fine carrier with a long history of service to the Confederation. Blair
: Yes sir, a very long history, sir. Admiral Tolwyn
: Ship assignments aren't open to debate, Colonel. Of course, I realise that the accommodations may not be what you're quite used to. Blair
: Well, sir, I didn't mean to suggest that... Admiral Tolwyn
: The Victory will benefit greatly from having a wing commander of your stature and experience. Blair
: Thank you, sir. But can't we at least discuss the... Admiral Tolwyn
: Now that we have the Kilrathi on the run in both the Gardel and Morpheus systems, I can afford to shift you to the Victory in Orsini.
: [about the Behemoth
] We're heading to Kilrah with that thing aren't we? Admiral Tolwyn
: Well, what would you aim for if you had the biggest gun in the universe?
: [observing the wreckage of the Concordia
] May they rest in peace. Blair
: Peace. Have we ever known anything like that, Paladin? Paladin
: Not for a long time, laddie.
: Well, well, if it isn't the Colonel. I'm sorry I couldn't make your welcoming party. Blair
: Well, I guess you had more "pressing" maneuvers to undertake, Maniac. Maniac
: When duty calls, I'm there.
: Women like the smell of success. Blair
: Uh-huh. You know I'm surprised you haven't been blown out of the sky by now, Maniac... by friendly fire. Maniac
: Some people appreciate my flying style. I do what's necessary to win, OK? I suppose you still fly with one eye on the regs manual? Blair
: I don't take stupid risks. Maniac
: Speaking of stupid, I also heard you put Hobbes back on the flight roster. Blair
: My, my. Word travels fast on this tub. Maniac
: Never understood what you saw in that cat. Blair
: Simple, I need a wingman I can count on. Maniac
: You can't trust someone who will kill their own kind. Blair
: Who I choose as my wingman is my prerogative, it's privildge of rank. Maniac
: I'll bet you stay up late nights just polishing it, huh? Blair
: No, as a matter of fact I have Majors who do that for me. Maniac
: The difference in our rank is a formality. We both know who's better in the cockpit. Blair
: Yeah. We do.
[he walks off
: I've got news for you, Tolwyn had nothing with your lack of promotion, your flying style took care of that for you. Tolwyn doesn't even know you're alive. Maniac
: That's what you think. Everybody knows about the Maniac, everybody.
[Blair walks away
: How many people here know about the Maniac?
[no one answers
: Oh what, nobody?
[Blair sits down in front of Vaquero, who is playing his guitar
: [quickly putting the guitar down and saluting
] Oh, uh, good day, sir. Blair
: At ease, Lieutenant, carry on. Vaquero
: Sorry, sir. It's Rockero from the Celeste system. You can tell a lot about a system from its music, you know? Some places, it's all minor chords, makes you just wanna run out and do a suicide mission. But this is bright, heats your blood, makes you want to live a long life. Blair
: Yeah, are you a pilot, Lieutenant, or a musician? Vaquero
: Oh, I'm a pilot, sir. Pretty good one, too, check my kill scores. But my family, they made guitars for many generations. I've got one that's almost two hundred years old. The sound just keeps getting richer... Someday I'm going to open a cantina and bring in the best to play that guitar, a place for old fighter jocks like you and me. Blair
: Well, you better line up some other customers. Might not be many of us left. Vaquero
: Oh, yeah, it'll be open to one and all. And me, I'll just sit back, gaze at the beautiful women, and listen to the music. Blair
: It's a nice dream, Vaquero. Hang on to it. Vaquero
: You bet, sir. Some of these guys, they actually like the killing. Me, I'll just walk away when this is all over.
: [after bringing back Flint when she goes off fighting the Kilrathi by herself
] We don't fly suicide missions. We fight this war to live, not to die. You've got to fly with your head, Flint. Not your heart. Flint
: You've never done that, sir, fly with your heart? Blair
: The day I do that, I expect a stiff dressing-down, Mister. That's an order.
[Blair walks up behind Maniac and Flint, who watching Flash flying in the Excalibur
: They ought to shoot that kid, if you ask me. At least strap him to one of my thrusters on the next mission. Flint
: [noticing Blair behind Maniac
] As usual Maniac, your solution to the problem is brainless. Maniac
: Me, any chance I get, I'm up in the air. They're gonna have to pry my dead carcass out of the cockpit. Flint
: Oh, stop banging your chest, you're gonna bruise it. The Colonel will deal him. Maniac
: The Colonel is a spineless... Blair
] I wouldn't finish that sentence if I were you... Major. Maniac
: Uh, we were just speculating on when the new pilot might pull his own weight. Blair
: Uh-huh. Well, one way or another we'll find out what Flash is made of. I guarantee you that.
[he pats Maniac on the shoulder and walks off
: [to Flint
] Does he pat you like that?
: [kicking Flash's bed
] What the hell do you think you're doing? Flash
: I'm waking up now, sir. Blair
: Didn't you hear that scramble alarm? Flash
: Yeah, it woke me up for a minute. Blair
: We were under attack for Godssakes! Flash
: My talents will not be wasted on your little skirmishes. Blair
: Yeah, well people were dying out there, you son of a bitch! Flash
: It's a war, people die all the time. Blair
: You've never seen it, have you? Flash
: Seen what? Blair
: Never seen pilots, people you know, getting fried in their own cockpit? Flash
: I do my part for Confed. Blair
: I don't think I've ever seen anyone as... frightened as you. Flash
: You think what you want. I've got my orders. Blair
: Yeah, and you'll find refuge in that just as long as you can.
: [whenever Blair completes a mission without damaging his fighter
] Pretty slick flying, sir. Blair
: Thanks, Chief.
: Welcome aboard old friend. You're looking fine, and fit. Does this war agree with you? Blair
: Yeah, like a pair of busted wing-flaps!
: [when Blair first comes aboard the TCS Victory
] Yes, I know what you're thinking, she's no Concordia. Blair
: Neither is the Concordia anymore. Eisen
: Yeah, terrible loss. My sympathies. However, you're in my home now, and I'll expect you to wipe your feet every time you come in.
[Paladin comes aboard the Victory shortly after Blair has discovered Angel's fate
: You missed all the fun. Paladin
: I wish I'd been there. I'm tired of flying a desk. I hear you had a little run-in with Thrakhath. Blair
: Yes I did. You son of a bitch. Paladin
: It pains me that you had to found out that way. Blair
: Have long have you known? Paladin
: Ahh... since the Concordia went down.
[Blair punches Paladin hard in the jaw
: Well! You haven't lost your touch! Blair
: On Vespus, you stood there and lied to me! Paladin
: I was under orders, laddie. Blair
: All those missions we flew together, you on my wing protecting me? Paladin
: I was protecting you by not telling you! You just see what you nearly did when you found out! I was protecting you from yourself. Blair
: You know how much she meant to me. Paladin
: I do. But this is war, laddie. All of us have lost someone dear to us. That does not make you special. Blair
: Yeah, I've heard that before.
[Blair looks at a photo in his locker and has a flashback of him and Angel enjoying some time together on a beach
: Is this forever? Blair
: Forever isn't long enough.
[they kiss passionately and the scene dissolves back to the dingy sleeping quarters. Blair walks away
: Sometimes I hate myself because I actually feel lucky there is a war. Blair
: I knew, I mean, I know someone who feels that way. She lives to fight the good fight. Flint
: For me it's the flying. I love the purity. Nothing holding me back. Blair
: Only pilots know that feeling.
: Let me know if I'm out line here, but the word is there's a test pilot flying in on one of the new Excaliburs. Is that true? Blair
: Oh, Command doesn't tell me everything. Rachel
: I hope it's true, I can't wait to get my hands dirty with one of those pups. Blair
] You really like your job, don't you? Rachel
: I just hope the test pilot's not some priss who won't let me touch his equipment. Blair
] I gotta give it to you, you really get to the point. Rachel
: Well, I never really cared much for grey areas, that's why I do what I do. Either an engine part works or it doesn't. Blair
: Machines don't lie. Rachel
: Not as much as people do, anyway. Blair
: Aren't you being a little hard on people? Rachel
: They gotta pass inspection, same as anything else. 'Course, I got certain hours for that. Blair
: And do we keep this schedule posted, Chief? Rachel
] Only for a select few, sir.
[Flash, a hotshot young test pilot, lands on the Victory in a prototype of the Excalibur, Confed's most advanced fighter
] Ah, Colonel. Which way to the bridge? Confed's expecting my tech debriefing. Blair
: I caught some of the incoming radio, Major, how long have you carried that "Flash" handle? Flash
: Since my first day at academy. I don't think you should ever apoligise for sporting a little style.
[to the crew members crowding around the Excalibur
: That baby's still classified, folks.
: You think you could keep your people at bay a while, Colonel... Blair
: Christopher Blair. Flash
: Ah, I read about you, back when I was flying with training wheels. Is it true pilots don't get older, they just get better? Blair
: Only the good ones. We'll see if anyone reads about you someday.
[after clashing twice, Blair and Flash have agreed to a duel on the simulator
: I guess you two are itching to go at each other. Blair
: Sir, I just got fed up... Eisen
: As a rule, I'm not too big on these needless displays of macho crap. You're taking a big risk, morale-wise. And if you lose you won't be too popular around here, so I'm gonna give you a word of advice, Colonel... Kick the little twerp's ass. Blair
: Yes, sir!
[Blair sits down in front of a Vagabond, a keen card player
: Welcome aboard, sir. Wanna play a hand? And since you're the rookie on this boat, I'll let you call the game. Blair
: Not much for protocol, are you? Vagabond
: Formalities tend to be forgotten when you spend most of your time just trying to survive. What little spare we do have, we fill up with other things besides practicing our salutes. Blair
: Well, I guess you have to adapt to your surroundings. Vagabond
: Don't I know that. It's an art, really. Blair
: No wonder they call you Vagabond. Vagabond
: Been doing your homework, I see! Yeah, I've knocked around some. Blair
: And yet your combat file is surprisingly brief. What's with the big gaps in your bio? Vagabond
] Can I help it if Confed decides to blank my data? Blair
: [deciding not to press this
] Sometimes HQ is as big a mystery to me as the enemy. Vagabond
: We've got a lot of good people here, Colonel. Even those of us with incomplete bios. Just give us a chance.
: It's time we talk, Lieutenant. Cobra
: Ain't much to talk about, sir. You've flown with "it" and you both got the job done. Blair
: If you're referring to Hobbes... Cobra
: I can't fly with him, sir. Blair
: If you stay on this ship, you'll have to, sooner or later. Cobra
: Don't put me in a position of having to defend him. I won't do it. Blair
: Why? Cobra
: Let's just say I'm hard-wired that way. And nothing you do is gonna change that.
: Still buying the fantasy that we're winning the war? Blair
: Well, why the hard-on for the opposite take? Rollins
: Because you'd have to be blind not to see that things are going bad and getting worse. Blair
: Excuse me? Rollins
: Fact: We haven't had shore leave in months. Fact: All we do is move from one defensive mission to another. Fact: Our entire force is constantly in retreat. Now is that just my imagination, or is the entire war effort unravelling before our eyes? Blair
: Fact: We have a communications officer aboard with far too much time on his hands, dangerously spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt throughout the ship. From now on, mister, you spout your theories to anyone, I'll have you reassigned to waste recycling.
[Maniac has noticed Blair talking to Rachel, the sexy mechanic
: Well, if it isn't loverboy himself. I saw you putting the moves on everybody's favourite little grease monkey. Blair
: Jealous? Maniac
: Oh, I don't think getting into her pants requires any high-risk manoeuvring. Blair
: Well, just the fact that it takes manoeuvring leaves you breathing my engine exhaust, doesn't it?
[he walks off
[he flicks through his Playboy magazine
: Oh man, I've dated all you girls!
[he tosses it down
: I hear we're going after a garrison. Blair
: I haven't been briefed. Vagabond
: It may not seem like it, but my wheels are always turning. I fly better when I know what the real objectives are. HQ's got a bad habit of labelling every target a military installation, even when they ain't. I like to be real sure. Blair
: Hey... we're the good guys, remember? We don't go after innocents. That's the difference between us and them. Vagabond
: Well, it's like the cards, see, a lot of people, they never ask questions about what's dealt.
: Strange, that despite the skill and courage demanded in flying, a part of the Kilrathi spirit is never entirely satisfied by interstellar combat. Blair
: You like it up close and personal? Hobbes
: We are taught how to use these claws even before we can speak or walk. This seems... savage to you? Primitive? Blair
: Killing is killing, hot-blooded or cold. You're one of the best pilots we've got, buddy, don't start second-guessing what you do.
: [looking at the blueprints of the Behemoth
] My, my, grandma, what a big gun you have. Blair
: They don't get any bigger. Rachel
: That's what they all say. Talk is cheap.
: You know, I don't think I've seen anyone as anxious to waste the enemy as you. Cobra
: Oh, I'd blast planet after planet if it would rid the galaxy of Kilrathi. There's no justification for their existence. And that includes your buddy Hobbes. Blair
: Jesus, Lieutenant, it's like an endless loop with you. Cobra
: You have no clue. Blair
: So enlighten me. Cobra
: They took me when I was 10. Blair
: Who, the Kilrathi?
: Slave labour camp. I escaped when I was 20. Blair
] Must've been... Cobra
: You have no idea what it must have been. I saw things. The psych guys spent 2 years trying to pry things out of my head after I escaped, but you can't wipe it all. There's a little bit of Kilrathi prowling around inside of me and I can't get it out. One day there won't be any human left. Blair
: [puts his hand on her shoulder
] We're gonna get 'em. You'll see. Cobra
: Keep telling me that, Colonel. Even if it's not true.
[Blair and Maniac have just defected from Confed and Blair is trying to cheer Maniac up
: Will you look on the bright side, at least now you won't have to deal with that Confed promotion that finally came through. Maniac
: My promotion came? My promotion! Confed... that's not right...
: [the young officers are all starstruck by Blair, who is famous for ending the Kilrathi war
] All hail, the mighty Heart of Tiger! You know, you're not the only war hero in Confed, I've taken out more cats than most ships' entire attachments. Do I get the red carpet treatment? No, I carry my own duffel bag, I don't go schmoozing with the Admiral.
[in a fawning voice
: Admiral Tolwyn, Tolwyn, Tol... has he said anything about me? Blair
: You haven't heard? He couldn't stop talking about you, Maniac. Maniac
: What? Blair
: Well, it's classified. I mean I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you.
: [Maniac has just been shunned by a woman in the bar
] I guess women out here on the edge of nowhere can't appreciate a civilised man. Blair
: Sure they do. When they meet one. Maniac
: Good to see you too, Colonel, or should I say Farmer Blair? Glad you could fit me into your busy schedule. Blair
: It's a peaceful life. Maniac
: I've always said you're either an earthworm or an eagle.
: Attacking that convoy... is this the way wars start? Blair
: Let me tell you something, Catscratch. Wars are like bombs. The fuse gets lit before you actually hear the bang and sometimes the fuse can be pretty long.
: Lately some of the men haven't been so sure about the missions they've been flying for Confed. Eisen
: During the war with the Kilrathi it was easy, loyalty to Confed required little commitment. After all, what was the alternative? Now the war is over, second guessing is easy. Blair
: I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be shooting down my own kind. Eisen
: Humans will always vie for power, Colonel. The Confederation may be far less than perfect but remember it was the driving force behind our victory. It succeeded in uniting humanity in a way that no other institution had. Blair
: That's our ultimate duty isn't it? Eisen
: The difficulty is how best to execute it.
: [Tolwyn is giving his final address to the Confederation Assembly before the vote on the declaration of war against the Border Worlds
] A formal declaration of war is a very terrible thing. It should not be undertaken unless all options have been exhausted. I'm afraid to report to you that that is the case. We did not fight the Kilrathi for decades just to have an infection hollow us out from the inside. If there is a cancer amongst us, we must cut it out now! I urge you to vote yes on this declaration. Thank you.
[while the Assembly applauds, Blairs bursts into the room
: There is a cancer that needs to be cut out! Admiral Tolwyn
: Seize that man! Blair
: But it's not on the frontiers of the galaxy but right here before you! Admiral Tolwyn
: Well, Colonel.
[to the Assembly
] Admiral Tolwyn
: This, is the great hero of the Kilrathi war, who has betrayed the Confederation and now fights for the Union of Border Worlds. Blair
: I fight as I always have, on the side of peace and honour.
: [Blair is debating with Tolwyn of front of the Confederation Assembly
] Admiral, do you believe the strong always survive? Admiral Tolwyn
: With every fibre of my being. Blair
: Is that why the head of the Black Lance forces is a product of the Genetic Enhancement program?
[consternation rumbles among the Assembly
: That program was cancelled years ago! Admiral Tolwyn
: He's more of a warrior than you will ever be, Colonel. He is excellence personified. He is... Blair
: He is dead! Admiral Tolwyn
: He is... symbolic of all that we will achieve in the future. Blair
: And what is the expense of these achievements, Admiral? The lives already lost to your Black Lance forces, the millions more that will die if this Assembly votes for war? Space Marshal Tolwyn believes that our victory over the Kilrathi was a fluke. That we as a race need tinkering with, engineering! If a few billion die along the way, well they weren't worthy anyway! Why can't we be more like the Kilrathi, addicted to conflict, the only meaning in life being found in death, tell us all, Admiral! Is that the price of freedom? Admiral Tolwyn
: Mankind was at its zenith when fighting the Kilrathi. Now our society is crumbing. We have no goals and no focus, we've grown complacent and confused. Who will protect us when the next race tries to dominate us? Who can tell where that threat will come from and when? No, we must be prepared. Progress only comes through struggle. Fighting keeps us fit. Conflict ensures our readiness and our survival. The Kilrathi understood this. They endured for millions of years and so shall we if we continue fighting. If we continue to perfect our methods of killing...
[a hand comes down on his shoulder. It is Paladin, the Assembly Master
: I think we've heard enough. The Assembly will now vote.
[Blair is sitting in the cockpit of a parked Rapier fighter on the flight deck
: Two Dralthis on your tail. One above, one below. You got five, maybe ten seconds. Clock's ticking, what do you do? Blair
: Simple. I go vertical and inverted, do a 180 at full throttle, apply brakes and drop in behind them. Angel
: Bang, you're dead. Not fast enough. Dralthis are too quick, particularly in a climb. You've just taken a missle up your tailpipe. OK, let's reverse the situation, you're locked on a Dralthi, it goes evasive, enters an asteroid belt. Blair
: If I'm locked on, there's no such thing as evasive action. Angel
: And you're dead again. You see, it's an ambush, five or six fighters hide behind rocks the size of your swollen head and pants. A Kilrathi gangbang. What's the matter, did I bruise your ego? Blair
: No, I'm not used to getting combat tips from a grease monkey, that's all. Angel
: Lieutenant Commander Deveraux, your wing commander. You have a name? Blair
: Uh, Lieutenant Blair, ma'am. Angel
: Well Lieutenant Blair, if you want to play at being a fighter pilot I suggest you find a virtual fun zone. Meanwhile, step down from the Rapier.
: What happened? Taggart
: You just plotted a jump through a gravity well in under 10 seconds. The Navcom can't do that. Maniac
: That's not bad. I mean, that's not bad for the second best pilot in the Academy! Taggart
: YOU SHUT UP! Next time you don't follow my orders I dump you with the rest of the garbage, you got that? You plot a course for the Tiger Claw, Mr Blair. Blair
: Yes sir.
[Taggart leaves the cockpit
: That guy's got a serious attitude problem.
: My whole life, I've taken crap because I'm part Pilgrim. And I don't know why. Taggart
: Sit down. You're one of the last descendants of a dying race. Pilgrims were the first space explorers and sailors. For five centuries they defied the odds. They embraced space, and for that, they were rewarded with a flawless sense of direction. They could feel magnetic fields created by quasars and black holes, negotiate singularities, navigate not just the stars, but space-time itself. Blair
: Like a Navcom AI? Taggart
: No no, you've got it backwards. The billions of calculations each second necessary to lead us through a black hole or quasar is the Navcom recreation of the mind of a single Pilgrim. Blair
: Then why did the war start? Taggart
: You spend so much time out here alone, you end up losing your humanity. When Pilgrims began to lose touch with their heritage, they saw themselves as superior to man. And in their arrogance, they chose to abandon all things human and follow what they called their destiny. Some say they believed they were gods. Blair
: Do you believe they were gods? Taggart
: No. But I do believe they were touched by God. Like it or not, you've got some of that inside you.
: [Discussing the Midway megacarrier
] This tub gets holed, what then? They put all their eggs into one little basket with no backup. It doesn't matter, Confed's got their greedy little fingers into everything, what's a few credits here and there? Dallas
: Well, don't tell that to Commodore Blair, after all the Midway was his idea. Casey
: Oh no, not Blair again. For years at the academy all we hear about is Blair this and Blair that, Saviour of the Confederation, most decorated pilot, blah blah blah... What is the guy, like, 4000 years old? God, I think I have heard just about everything...
[Zero and Dallas have started standing to attention, Casey looks over his shoulder and sees Blair himself standing in the doorway
: Except that he was onboard the Midway. Blair
: Have we met, Lieutenant? Casey
: Casey, Lance R. Second Lieutenant. Confed number C26354. Blair
: Casey, huh? So you're the Iceman's kid. I heard you were coming on board. You know, I flew with your father. He was a good pilot. Always followed orders, knew when to keep his big mouth shut.
[the CAG enters the room, Blair leaves Casey to talk to her
: Goodbye career. Zero
: Don't feel so bad. I hear there's always openings in the Diplomatic Corps.
[He and Dallas laugh
: Come on, let's get you a drink, put those flames out.
: Lieutenant Casey, this is a critical mission for us. After going over the roster, I have decided your wingman will be... Blair
: [Entering the briefing room wearing a flightsuit
] Me. I'll be Casey's wingman. CAG
: I'm not sure this is such a good idea. Blair
: You need a seasoned pilot out there. Now, these kids are good, but I'm the best you've got. CAG
: Mr Casey, you'll recap the mission specs with your new wingman. The rest of you are dismissed. Good luck... to you all. Casey
: Congratulations, sir. Blair
: Don't congratulate me yet, Lieutenant, it's been years since I flew my last mission. Casey
: Are you kidding? You'll be fine. Besides, it's not every day that a guy gets to fly with a legend. Blair
: You know Casey, the problem with being a legend is they always expect you to win. Casey
: Oh, you don't have to win this time, sir, you just have to try to keep up!