PROTECTORATE FLIGHT OFFICER O.C.C.
It takes a special breed of person to strap themselves into an armored rocket, armed to the teeth, and then face death head-on in the unforgiving blackness of space. You have to be part adrenaline junkie, part mathematician, part insane, and all backbone.
The average Terran Protectorate Fleet Flight Officer is all those things, and often a bit more. These are the pilots who brave death behind the stick of the Crossbow and Ballista fighters; turning and burning in The Black with the deadly pilots of the Arkhon Empire for dominance of space, chasing down pirates and securing shipping lanes, and keeping the skies over Protectorate territory enemy-free.
They are celebrated like rock stars, held to a code as strict as any knight, and many likely will die in the cockpit, enveloped by searing electromagnetic forces, or suffering a horrible death of decompression and exposure in the icy depths of the vacuum. And, amazingly, they are all volunteers, for what is one of the most desired duties in the Protectorate.
Potential pilots begin training as early as 15, with 16 being the age of legal adulthood in the Protectorate. All students take military testing in the last years of school (schooling in the Protectorate goes from age 3 to age 14 or 15, and there are no summer vacations), and those who show excellent reflexes, cool-headedness under pressure, and a high aptitude for math are offered scholarships and incentives to enlist and go to flight school. Itís considered nuts to turn down this offer (although many still do, for a variety of reasons). Even if one washes out, their college is free, and just having completed one of the two years of intensive flight training will land you a job in the commercial sector with ease.
A successful candidate, who completes both years of training, can be behind the stick of a Protectorate spacecraft before their 17th birthday. The top 20 percent become fighter pilots, while the rest become shuttle and transport pilots, or helmsmen and navigators for the larger vessels.
Starting rank is 2nd Lieutenant, following a naval ranking tradition almost identical to that of the old U.S. Navy. However, flight officers are treated quite differently than naval aviators ever were.
To be a pilot on the Protectorate is almost like being a member of a knighthood, or a secret order. The tricks of combat and dog fighting are held to be sacred, and most of the pilots currently serving have taken on affectations akin to nobility. They are a breed apart, by both their own choosing, and due to the pedestal they are put on by society.
Capes, embossed armor, special paint schemes for their star fighters; itís not a surprise to see any of this on a pilot of the Protectorate. But, for the most part, they donít let it go to their heads. They get this special treatment by keeping their skills honed to a razorís edge, and by staring Death in the face on a regular basis, and punching him in the teeth whenever they get the chance.
Since the Protectorate has just become embroiled in a new war with the Arkhon, the pilot corps is filled to the brim with officers eager for their first taste of battle. Except for some experience dealing with raiders, almost none of the current pilots have any real combat experience. The men and women are quickly being separated from the boys and girls; usually by the Reaperís sickle.
Of course, the most celebrated pilots are currently those flying the Crossbow Space Superiority Fighters. They are the knights of the sky and the aces are famous across a number of planets. Fortunately, now that there is a war on, most pilots are all about business, and being the best at what they do is their top priority, Those who let being a pilot go to their heads do not get to keep their heads for long.
Pilots come in all sorts of personalities, moods and temperaments, but Protectorate pilots in general (and Crossbow pilots in particular) are known for their ultra-aggressiveness in aerial combat. Many squadron leaders are picked solely based on their ability to curb their pilotsí killer instincts when a larger, more important mission is at hand. While very disciplined in general, if the Terran pilots lack anywhere, it is in self-control when going for the kill. Arkhon pilots are much better at looking at the ďbig picture,Ē holding formation, and sticking to operational goals, even when it means missing out on a few kills. It is no wonder, then, that Crossbow pilots are often portrayed in Arkhon territory as murderously aggressive maniacs who live to dine on Arkhon blood.
Protectorate Flight Officer O.C.C. Stats
Alignment: Any (mostly honorable; Principled, Scrupulous or Aberrant)
Attribute Requirements: I.Q. 12, P.P. 14 or higher.
Starting S.D.C.: 25
Racial Restrictions: Human.
Speak and Read Terran (an English dialect) at 98%
Math: Basic (+10%)
Math: Advanced (+10%)
Pilot: Space Fighter: (+20%)
Fighter Combat: Elite: Crossbow
Fighter Combat: Elite: Ballista
Two piloting skills of choice (+10%)
Read Sensory Equipment (+10%)
Weapon Systems (+10%)
Navigation: Space (+15%)
Radio: Basic (+10%)
Military Etiquette (+10%)
Zero Gravity Movement and Combat
W.P. Energy Pistol
W.P. Energy Rifle
Hand to hand: Expert, can be changed to Martial Arts (or Assassin, if an evil alignment) for the cost of one O.C.C. Related Skill.
O.C.C. Related Skills: Eight other skills at level one, plus two skills at levels 3, 6, 9 and 12.
Electrical: Basic Electronics or Electrical Engineering only
Espionage: Any (+5%)
Horsemanship: General only
Mechanical: Basic, Mechanical Engineering and Spaceship Mechanics only
Medical: First Aid and Paramedic Only
Military: Any (+10%)
Pilot: Any (+10%)
Pilot Related: Any (+10%)
Science: Astronomy and Astrophysics only
W.P. Ancient: Any
W.P. Modern: Any
Wilderness Skills: Any
Secondary Skills: Select six Secondary Skills at first level from the Secondary Skill List in the Skill Section of Rifts Ultimate Edition. These are additional areas of knowledge that do not get any bonuses, other than any possible bonus for having a high I.Q. All Secondary Skills start at the base skill level.
Standard Equipment: Several dress uniforms and duty fatigues, ďsoftsuitĒ pilot armor, Survivor Backpack (10 M.D.C., 24-hour air supply, 2 weeks of ration bars, and a jetpack capable of speeds up to 50 m.p.h. with a 200-mile range), sidearm of choice with two spare E-clips, survival knife, mini-computer, ear bud radio transceiver (150-mile range), gun belt and thigh holster.
Special Equipment on Assignment: Crossbow Space Superiority Fighter or Ballista Heavy Strike Fighter; fighter craft of any type for special assignments, energy rifles, heavy weapons, special radio equipment, prototype fighters and weapon systems, ďhardsuitĒ combat pilot armor.
Vehicle: Will be assigned a fighter, which they will be able to personalize once they have achieved Ace status (10 kills). Also likely to own a hovercycle or other small, fast personal vehicle.
Housing: Flight officers tend to share a dorm with their squadron mates on bases and space stations. These are two-story buildings with a small bedroom for each officer, and a large, shared common area. Those with families (fairly rare considering the enlistment age) or ranked above Captain are supplied with private housing on base or nearby.
Pay: 2nd Lieutenants start with a base pay of 5,000 credits per month, and all accommodations paid, meaning all that money is spending money. The pay scale increases from there with rank and attainment of Ace status.
Cybernetics: None to start, generally prefer biosystems if needed. Cybernetics are not popular or wide-spread among the Protectorate.
Experience: Use the SAMAS pilot experience chart in Rifts Ultimate Edition.