And They're Off is the fourth chapter of Red vs. Blue: Strikedown.

And They're Off

Finally finished with gathering their equipment, Iowa and California were walking on down to the flight center. The bright morning sun was bearing down on the both of them, making them realize just how long they were going to be gone. Turning to her friend, California asked, "How long do you think the trip will take?"

"It's hard to say," replied Iowa. "First of all, we have to travel to the Dawn of Victory, then we have to take a slipspace trip to make it to Kallos 9." Even at this point, Iowa was a little nervous. The fact that the entire fate of humanity could very well rest on the outcome of this mission put a bit of strain on Iowa. It certainly wasn't a position he enjoyed putting himself and California in, but they were the only two the Counselor trusted for this assignment.

Strolling into the flight center, California noticed a man slumped up against his Pelican, asleep, holding a sign that said "Dawn of Victory or Bust." California pointed over to the man and said, "Iowa, I'm thinking that he's our pilot." Without hesitation, the pair made their way over to the man and tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to wake up. Quickly getting up, he smiled at the two, dusting his jacket off.

"Sorry about that," he said, "I dozed off and didn't realize just what time it was." The man was slightly shorter than Iowa, who stood at about 6'1" but was slightly taller the California, who stood at 5'10". Both Iowa and California noticed a slight Cajun accent in his voice. "I should properly introduce myself, my name's Alexander. And if I'm not mistaken, you two must be Agents Iowa and California." Iowa and California simply nodded and shook hands with Alexander. "California, I've heard you've had prior experience flying these birds, how would you like to be my co-pilot since my regular co-pilot is out of commission?"

"Thanks, I would enjoy being your co-pilot. But, if you don't mind me asking, what happened to the other co-pilot?" inquired California.

"Got drunk and threw the fuck up all over the room he was staying in. Kept mumbling to me on the way to the medical center about a pink horse following us." Iowa and California both exchanged quizical looks with Alexander. "Yeah, we assume he also got high. Anyway, we should probably get going, we're wasting time just standing here." Alexander motioned for Iowa and California to follow him on board, tossing the sign he had over to the wall. Then, he waved California into the cockpit as Iowa getting settled into his seat.

"Alright, this is your pilot Alexander. We're going to be arriving at the UNSC Dawn of Victory is about 2 hours. Until then, please enjoy one of our in flight movies." After saying that, Alexander linked up Iowa's iPad with the ships internal movie streaming system. As he flipped through the library of movies, he turned to the viewing window to see that they were taking off. Iowa never really enjoyed flying, usually because he was being shot at while it happened, but this was calm, serene. The only thing that kept Iowa from fully enjoying the experience was knowing what they were soon going to be doing.

Psi's hologram materialized from Iowa's wrist device. Noting his carriers expression, Psi asked, "Are you having trouble deciding on a movie you like?"

"It's more of a trying to find a movie I like that I haven't seen a dozen times over," replied Iowa. Finally deciding on a movie to watch, Iowa and Psi settled into watching it while California and Alexander chatted about aviation and some of their prior exploits. A man true to his word, the Pelican arrived at the Dawn of Victory in almost two hours.


Captain Kindler stood at the bridge of the Dawn, wondering just how much was going to be going on within the next few days. He wasn't told much about what they were going to be doing. All he knew was that they were heading to Kallos 9 to transport two Freelancers on a search and destroy mission. He just hoped this mission didn't cost any more lives than what needed to be lost, that is to say, absolutely none. Lieutenant West arrived on the bridge and walked over to the Captain. "Captain, the two Freelancers have arrived, shall I send them in?"

"Yes, thank you Lieutenant," answered Kindler. Without another word West walked out. Within minutes, California and Iowa walked in. "Well, it's good to see you again, Daniel."

"It's good to see you too, Captain Kindler," said Iowa. Both Freelancers shook hands with Kindler. Iowa saw a bit of a perplexed look on California. "The captain and I go way back, California. He used to come to our school to talk with us about joining the UNSC. He and I used to get into conversations after school about my future. Hell, if it wasn't for him, I might not have joined in the first place."

"So Daniel, can you tell me much about this mission of yours? I wasn't very well informed. All I got out of it was that we were travelling to Kallos 9, I wouldn't think we're simply going on a vacation." Just about everyone knew that the planets surrounding the star Kallo had a tendency to fall into a string of bad climate changes at one point or another. Kallos 9, the farthest of the planets, was now mostly a desert.

"Nothing else besides that Captain. The Counselor didn't leave us with much either," answered Iowa.

"Alright, you two can head off, take a look around the ship and hang out. It'll be awhile before we reach our destination," said Kindler. Nodding, Iowa and California left the bridge to find an exercising room. They wanted to get a little training in with each-other before they arrived at Kallos 9. "Let's take it to slipspace, destination: Kallos 9."

"Yes, Captain," said the bridge's onboard A.I.

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