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Close Pass

We've spent four weeks coasting since we kicked out of Outpost 16.  Then, Mars was on the far side of the sun and Jupiter at opposition.  The outpost wasn't on the charts, and nobody launched a panicked sortie towards us, so it looks like we pulled it off.  We passed right under the Himalia tracking station, but our raiders had done a quick hit and run on it two days before and they were still off-line.  All the big moons are on the other side of the planet, and of the little fry, only Amalthea is in line of site to our burn.   Task Group 12.3 should have it under attack already. 

After four weeks of no gravity and little heat, I gave the order.  Our ships kicked all ten ion drives on full, lowering the performance and maxing the acceleration by pushing xenon through them at maximum military thrust.  The engineers were nervous, watching the currents build up nearly to arcing.  We were pushing more than two gees now, changing our course, flying a thousand klicks over Jupiter's cloud tops.  The radiators glowed amber.  The burns of our group and the other twenty ships lit up my boards - incandescent blue ion drive flames trailed the dark ships, their coppery radiators burning at three thousand degrees. 

We gained a little Oberth effect thrust too - not so much since we were already pushing 180kps, but after twelve minutes, we'd be back on coast, going 200kps through the ring plane and radiation belts, dropping off drone missiles left and right, hard to spot and only an hour and a half away from Callisto. Only forty minutes out of combustion head range.  Those Red bastards are really going to get it. 

--Belt Guard Captain Leander Nasr-Kwon, commander,   Task Group 12.2, 7 March 2522

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