Flight Lessons

September 11, 2018:

After a meeting with the Queen of Almerac results in a negative result, Caitlin and Hal Jordan go up in a Javelin to continue her ongoing assessment of her piloting ability.

Air over East Coast


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Caitlin looks defeated, sad, awkward, and guilty when the Queen of Almerac takes her leave of the Hall of Justice. It's hard to miss the uncertainty on the young woman's face, and once she's sure no one's looking, she sniffles once and brushes her hand under her nose.

She moves to her table, busying herself with putting away her equipment and making sure it's secure.

She coughs, clearing her throat, and when she turns back to Hal she smiles in a more self-assured manner. "Sorry you had to run into that. You, uh, you still got time for our lesson?" she inquires. "I got my certification for basic operations. You think I'm ready to start training for the big leagues, get the combat flight approval?"


"Hey, don't apologize. I'm used to it. I have that affect on most women… Earthlings or otherwise." A large smile appears then fades, his 'uniform' disappearing to reveal a light jacket with a hood, jeans and dressy-ish boots. Almost. No mask, just Hal Jordan…

"I do actually, half a day if you want to hit Ferris Air or one of Stark's places. You feeling biplane or something a little more of the times? Thats the question." A look behind him at the exit where both Donna and Maxima had vanished he can't help but spare a headshake.
"Best to get me while I'm still sober!" He chuckles…


Caitlin shakes her head. "Nu-huh. I've been working my butt off for this certification. I'm not training to shoot down the Red Baron, I wanna dust down some Apokalips monkeys if Darkseid ever shows his mug here again!" she says fiercely, pumping her fist in the air. She picks up the duffel bag of her stuff and walks up to Hal, grinning down at the pilot with only a hint of nerves about the flight lesson. "Ferris Air only has the civilian planes and the Quinjets are all offline. I need something with VTOL capacity and gravimetric repulsion. Guess it's a Javelin!" she says, before Hal can answer. "And it's a good thing that someone here has clearance." Cait winds up her index finger and pokes Hal (gently) in the sternum, mouthing 'You!'

"Hangar 4, ten minutes?" she says, walking backwards with her bag in hand towards the locker room to get changed.


"Javelin is a big step." Jordan frowns like hes about to second guess it all or say something but then he flashes another smile at the poke, "Only that you know of. You should see the special commissions but yeah… Hell with it, you're right. Gonna play hard ball go for broke and careful with the poking. I could be the ticklish sort." He isn't. At least not there, a look after her while she struts off towards the walker room and he nods once. "Yeah, lets hit it up. I'll see you up there, we'll take out the cargo flyer, less likely to piss anyone off and its just about as fast… " Of the three they have available right now.

A lingering look after the spirited giantess and he exhales. "If this goes south… we blame an Amazon."


Ten minutes and thirty seconds later, Caitlin and Hal are strapped into the Javelin's control seats. Cait's swapped yoga pants and a hoodie for a jumpsuit and boots, and her hair's pulled back and twisted into a no-nonsense bun. With the League emblem on the jumpsuit, it'd almost look military except for the giddy grin on Cait's features as she preps the system for takeoff.

It's not terribly complicated— the autopilot does a lot of it— but part of the certification requires manually prepping and checking all flight systems. It's a tedious task with a lot of steps. Surprisingly, Caitlin seems to need very little help with this side of things, going through the checklist in her hand fairly quickly.

"Okay, uh, flaps are good, generators are in the green, repulsors are reading nominal, and, uh…" she flips through the final pre-flight, a few times, and frowns. "This says there's twenty steps but I only see nineteen. What's step twenty?" she asks, showing Hal the discrepancy on the paper.


"That long for some yoga pants?" Jordan mocks Cait, his flight jacket on and a headpiece hes sitting in the co-pilots seat. Watching her intently as she runs through the preps in a textbook nailed fashion, "Such a nerd." He adds watching her. "I bet all your teachers loved you, probably brought apples too."

"Looking good, hands on and…. we're ready." He reaches forward, grabs one of her hands and shoves it forward on the handles, "OFF IN TO THE WILD BLUE YONDER!" He shouts, a little too loudly at her, just to frazzle her nerves some. The nose should dip unless she fights him, but then its just a jerk up if so. Right it and sail them out…. "Pay less attention to whats next and get comfortable… also don't kill us or anyone else."


Caitlin squeaks when the Javelin bobs on the landing struts, feet scraping the deck. "GAH! People… SCARING me today!" she says over Hal's laughter. She makes as if she's going to thump him, then thinks better of it and settles on wagging a finger at the pilot. "And don't tease me for being a nerd. You want someone who rushes pre-flight, or someone who cares if the avionics fail mid-flight?"

She huffs and flips a switch. "Tower this is Javelin 03, requesting permission to takeoff."

"<Granted 03, you are clear for a southeasterly departure. Flight traffic is heavy coming into JFK, so keep it under 1,000 and watch out for civilians until you clear local airspace.>"

"Roger that, thanks much tower." Caitlin pushes forward the power feed to the repulsors and the Javelin rises upwards, clearing the tower in a slow, lazy arc. Once they've got some clearance she releases the thrust control to give them some forward momentum, and then they're off and flying southeast at a sedate pace. In just a few minutes they're over the countryside, where there's less risk of an accident injuring civilians. Caitlin's lips are pressed into a thin line as she focuses on everything she's supposed to, like a teenager trying to check her mirror with one eye while making sure she doesn't accidentally start the windshield wipers while turning left.


"You realize you're talking to one of the best test pilots the USAF ever seen right?" Jordan flashs another of those grins. "Caution is only an afterthought. We flew to break things so no one else got to suffer."

Fearless in there… clearly.
"Nicely done though. You're a better pupil than I ever was in just about anything. What sort of instincts do you have though?"
He sits back, looking like hes comfortable though his eyes betray that. Always moving, watchful.
"Relax a lil. Don't want to rip the javelin controls out."


Cait exhales steadily, resting her shoulders back against the seatback. "You're talking to an engineer, Hal. Meet a few MEs with missing eyes and fingers fingers, you gain a healthy appreciation for inspecting your equipment and wearing safety gear in the lab. Though at this speed, a crash would probably just give me some whiplash," she admits, glancing at the air gauge.

She purses her lips, thinking. "Uh, instincts?" she hesitates. She glances at the gauges. "Well, I can feel some juddering in the stick, so I'm guessing that's windshears and the thermal bloom coming off the cost. I'm tacking two degrees into it to reduce our wind profile. Flight ceiling looks like it's…" she squints. "Four thousand feet, then we hit that thick band of clouds and we'll be blind except for instruments." She glances at the gauges. "Speed's steady, pitch is steady, annnnd…" she glances at Hal. "And that's it. What'd I miss?" she asks, concern on her features.


"You, yeah." Hal chuckles, "Whiplash be just the beginning." %R"Yeah good steady pitch, nose on the horizon. Just stay under the canopy unless you are feeling bold. You're doing fine though, I could almost fall asleep."

"That said, give it some more.. Get your heart pounding some."

"You're missing the scenery, just lighten it up. We're in a state of the art craft people only dream of even touching, think less and just play around some." He wants to stress some out of reflex but doesn't, shes nigh-invulnerable and his ring is there. Worst could happen?
"Watch the geese." He says casually.



Caitlin looks away from Hal, gasps, and puts the Javelin into a barrel roll. Geese go squawking past, getting the thrill of a goose lifetime as the machine skews off. She hauls back on the stick, pulling the nose away from their path. This brings them close to the ground and she twists the stick back to restabilize their trim. Too close to the ground now— most would hit the flaps and pull upwards, but Cait's other hand goes to the repulsor control and she engages them midflight at full power. Their altitude adjusts without needing to aim the nose of the Javelin skywards, and she eases back the repulsor power once they're stable. "Golly, doggone birds," she mutters, eyes narrowed and heart pounding in her ears.


Hal's hands slam to the sides and he clutches a latch and his seat. The jerk, sudden drift and stablize ridden out with a grin the whole time, maybe gritting his teeth too hard to do other wise until shes got them evened out once more. An exhale from the off-duty Lantern, "Bet you just made their day… Canadian geese. No one woulda missed them." He sits back again, seat creaking at his shoulders.

"How many hours of this you need to rack up yet?"


"Dunno," Cait admits. "Everyone's being kinda cagey about it. Most of the regular Javelin pilots are military, and I'm like… the /only/ full-timer who can't fly under my own power." She glances at Hal, weighing him in with that first group. "So I just know /someone/ signs off on me for operational flying, but no one's telling me what standards I need to meet." She adjusts their course slightly to take them between a pair of mountain peaks, revealing a pristine tree-covered valley below, and then starts banking northwards.


"A fair number." Jordan responses, "Uh, honestly outside of the guys working for League sponsers I'd have to check. Different rules and if Batman tampered with them again you'll never fly." He chuckles, "We'll make sure this is in the system though."
"Drop altitude if you like, toy with it, like I said… this is some people's dreams come true."

"What do you think of our newest recruits, Troia and Spoiler, by the way?" Small talk as they coast. "Princess rather likes both, can't say I'm drawn either way… ones from Gotham, dated Flash of all people and the other… hell, I think shes her royal sweetness half the time."


"Dropping altitude," Cait confirms— and cuts thrust entirely. The Javelin starts dropping like a very aerodynamic rock, and she makes no effort to pitch the nose forward to maintain some lift. Indeed, it starts wobbling, shaking, and protesting as the full cross-section of the wings start protesting with the strain.

At the last possible moment, she discharges the overwattage in the capacitors and throws repulsors and thrusters to full. The bottom drops out of Hal's gut as their downward plunge is arrested, and then with face-melting acceleration they shoot skywards again, with Caitlin whooping and giggling madly. With a surprisingly deft hand she weaves between the mountains, flying nape-of-the-earth. There's a comfortable margin there, more than Hal would need, but it's still pretty tightly executed.

They level off, Caitlin giggling madly, and she looks to Hal. "Oh, Donna, and Spoiler?" she asks, conversationally, as if she wasn't just messing with him a little. "Donna is Diana's sister, so if you think we don't need another Wonder Woman in the League, you're nuts," she tells Hal. "And Spoiler's… okay, I mean, she's got bad taste in boys," Cait says, wrinkling her nose. "But Batman wouldn't keep her around if she wasn't good at her job, y'know?"


The joke gets Hal's features contorted as he adapts to the change in G-force and angle, a drop down like that… even experienced and born to fly hes glad his stomach is empty right now. Once they're free of the dive and cutting a straighter line he mutters under his breath.
"Good one… almost had me."

"Nah, I know shes the sister and all. They're rather proud of that, its just… as eerie as it is sexy. Still, Donna's got some edge I dont often see in Di." He'd know, theyre close like that. Though lately been butting heads and not talking beyond 'business'

"Spoiler, yeah, shes a mystery to me. Like the Bat and the rest of them, they don't like to cozy up too quick… Agreed, bad taste but then, don't we all?"


"Well, she's Diana's sister. Not Diana," Cait reminds Hal. Commentary about sexiness is not graced with anything more than a glance skywards, appealing to some deity for some sort of intercession.

"Spoiler is definitely a Bat," she agrees. She glances obliquely at Hal. "But… I kinda know her in a non-cape capacity, too. She's a friend. I trust her," Caitlin says. It's simple as that, in her mind. "She's good people."

She banks to the right, then peels right, using thrusters and repulsors to effect a sharper curve than a traditional aircraft of that size would allow.


Jordan's crooked smile appears again at the intervention request gesture. Fairchild has known him long enough to expect as much no doubt.

"Well aware and I get it, it's just… twins freak me out. Maybe. They're kinda almost may as well be."

"Yeah, Princess isn't too keen on the lack of sharing who is under the mask, maybe some warriors pride and loyalty thing but she sucked it up. Shes funny at times about the oddest shit… uh stuff."

"Good people, yeah, can confirm I suppose. Just Gotham… woof."

The veer in to bank has him losing his smile slightly, fingers tightening on the arm. "Watch your left… twist the vtol about 30… nah, nevermind. You're solid."


"This really isn't so bad," Caitlin says, relaxing into her seat again. "I thought the Javelin was gonna be way worse than that turboprop but it flies so… /smooth/. And it's so responsive, I guess that's all the electric steering systems," she says.

She follows a riverbed under the hull, swaying back and forth in lazy banking motions. "What do -you- think of them?" she inquires of Hal. "Donna and Spoiler, I mean. Do you think they've got the chops?"


"It's a lot of cheating on this thing, electric steering, minicomputer that learns it's pilots, overcorrects, compensates. It's set up for ease, we'll disengage all that later… so, don't get cocky. You're no pilot yet." Jordan remarks casually, "Training wheels, one day though, I'll let you fly the Interceptor. Fastest ship this side of… well, anywhere if you ask my bossy blue bobblehead overlords."

"I'm learning Donna, shes not so bad, goof fighter. Eager. Maybe on the side of bloodthirsty… which, her sis can deal with that."

"Not sure what Spoiler is capable of honestly, shes not very imposing but then maybe shes some sort of packaged surprise ninja."
"Giving them benifit of the doubt, it's what we do, right?"


Caitlin purses her lips. "I, uh… I wouldn't want to be on Spoiler's bad side," she confesses, in a neutral tone. "Donna, I don't know. She's fast, but in a straight fight, maybe that goes either way. Spoiler's sneaky. Batman freaks me out, and I see some of that in her when she gets mad. Like, you don't know she's gonna square with you until it's already done, and she'll figure out something you never thought of."

The Javelin starts banking northwards, back towards New York, and Caitlin verifies their route is clear with the regional ATC office. "Thanks for co-piloting me, Hal," Caitlin tells the Lantern. "I appreciate it a lot. I need to be able to pull my weight around here a bit more, so— let's get me that mission ready rating ASAP, huh? However many flight hours you think I need, I'm ready."


Hal shake his head a lil and sidelongs Cait, "I'd bank on Donna and Di over Spoiler and da Bat any day."
"Youre almost adorable in this fangirling, which, hey, fans keep the dreams alive."

"We got to mark up them hours so we got the time ahead we'll make use of it."
"But by all means, take us on home. I swear I am forgetting something and it's important… hope I didn't burn my apartment down."


Caitlin laughs. "Oh, shuttup, willya," she says, grinning. "I've been fangirling since I was a college freshman. I just can't help that I have a job where I'm allowed to fangirl on a paid basis. I'm a /professional/ fangirl," she tells Hal. "I just can't help that my job is awesome."

Their approach to the tower is a bit rocky— hotdogging in the boonies is one thing, but trying to kill thrust, engage landing mechanisms, and control the repulsors all at once proves almost too much for Caitlin. The Javelin almost bumps the hangar sidewalls a few times, swaying like a bob on a plumb line, but it hits the deck with a *screech* of metal as the landing feet meet the deck.

"Whoo! Did -not- die or wreck the fifty-million dollar jet," Caitlin says, exhaling and unbuckling her seat harness so she can run through the post-flight checks. "I call that a good one."


"Hey… we all got a lil fan girl in us somewhere. I'm not hating! I recall saying its almost adorable."
A laugh that disappears quickly when theyre scraping hangar walls, his hands reflexively coming up over his eyes as he groans but then points his fist, about ready to lend a large green hand when shes peeling them free and dropping gear to rest in.

"Any flight you can walk away from… yeah… "

"Fifty million was the older models, I think this ones a bit more than that as of last december." He is lying but make her sweat.
Unbuckling himself he stands up and stretches, watching her go down the checklist again, so textbook… another laugh at her expense escapes him.

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