|Wing Commander Academy episode|
|Chain of Command|
|Tolwyn meets an old "friend"- who just happens to outrank him now!|
|Air date||Nov. 2th, 1996|
|Previous episode||Lords of the Sky|
|Writers||Mark Edens/Brooks Wachtel|
|Notable guest actor(s)||Jessica Walters|
|Subsequent episode||Walking Wounded|
|Guest ship(s)||Byrd-class, Achilles-class|
Chain of Command is the 6th (chronologically, possibly the 7th) episode of the Wing Commander Academy TV series.
The TCS Tiger's Claw with a squadron of Scimitars and at least one Broadsword are stationed around the pulsar with the jump hypernode. They are waiting for Kilrathi scouts, which always come first before joined by a larger reconnaissance force, and then commit the fleet main body. Tolwyn is on the bridge and explains to Christopher Blair that tThey will destroy the scouts before being able to report that the node is guarded only by a single carrier. Worried by the Kilrathi activity in this sector, Tolwyn had asked the Fleet Command for reinforcements. Tolwyn chose Blair to be with him instead of with his squadron to learn what it means to command. Leaders don't share the dangers of those under their command, but their role to be right is even harder, as war doesn't forgive mistakes.
The sensors beep as Kilrathi scouts enter through the node and Tolwyn orders the fighters to engage a Kamekh-class and 2 Grikaths. Payback launches 2 missiles against the Grikath and Maniac shoots down the other. The Scimitars concentrate on the Corvette. It hits one scimitar before it loses one of its turrets. Archer orders to concentrate against the engines. Grunt and Hyena in the Broadsword launch torpedoes. Arther is shocked as she got its engines and wouldn't go anywhere.
Then new flashes appear, and Nelson reports that sensor probes detect 7 ships coming out of jump space. Maniac suggests to Archer to take out the carriers laser turrets, and he will fly through the hangar deck, to be scolded by her for his childish behaviour. However Tolwyn realises they are Confederation ships and orders retreat. They are light cruiser TCS Manasses, Bengal-class TCS Trafalgar escorted by 3 Achilles-class destroyers and 2 Byrd-class reckon ships. Admiral Rhea Bergstrom of the Trafalgar, an old acquaintance of Tolwyn, requests permission and arrives on the Claw with a Shuttle welcomed by Tolwyn, Nelson and Blair. After some bitter remarks that she managed to outrank Tolwyn, they proceed to the briefing room.
There Bergstrom explains to Tolwyn her plan, let the Claw guarding the node as a bait for an ambush of their combined forces of 140 fighters and then retreat to an unsecured sector, to which Tolwyn objects, but Bergstroms insists and tells tolwyn to carry her orders.
Scimitars land on the hangar deck and Archer congratulates Maniac for almost taking out a carrier. Maniac says that he should stay on board to polish Tolwyn's brass, to mock Maverick. Bergstrom interrupts Blair as he was the one who led the reckon mission beyond the jump node, and invites him in her shuttle.
There Bergstrom privately asks Blair his opinion on Tolwyn. She explains to him that Fleet Command don't trust him; despite his talents, he is not part of the team, but fights his own war. She doesn't trust him either, and orders Maverick to report to her if Tolwyn fails to carry out her orders.
Tolwyn is to lure Kilrathi fleet into an ambush at Seti Beta I. Maverick should spy on him, and if Tolwyn fails to execute it, she will relieve him of his command.
In the briefing room, Tolwyn explains the cadets their mission to destroy Kilrathi reckon ships who enter through the jump node. Maverick attempts to mention Bergstrom, only to have Tolwyn put him in charge of that mission. During the mission, and after Maniac's puns that Maverick decided finally to join them in a mission, he sends an urgent message to Tolwyn and Nelson, revealing him everything about Bergstrom. Tolwyn then orders the fighters to return to the Claw once attacked, in order to lure them to Bergstrom's ambush.
A Kilrathi force shows up and the sensor probe indicates 2 corvettes, 2 destroyers and 5 fighters. Garahl nar Hhallas notifies a Commander that they detect surges of Terran ships powering up, and he is ordered to put the corvettes in defensive formation and launch against the fighters. A swarm of Dralthis and Grikaths. Despite Maverick's orders, Maniac goes forth and kills a Grikath. Another attacks Maverick but he destroys it with 2 missiles. While the fighters are busy, Archer orders the Broadswords, one piloted by Grunt and Hyena, the other by Pitchfork, to attack the bigger ships. They launch torpedoes but Pitchfork is killed by the ships' fire. The torpedoes however hit one of the Kilrathi destroyers. Seeing this Garahl assumes command, and orders to target the remaining bomber. However he sees that while they have the advantage, they retreat back to their carrier. Believing this to be a trap, he orders not to pursue but follow carefully.
Tolwyn speaks about the loss of cadet Ved Patell, and Hyena promises that the Kilrathi will pay. Tolwyn says that he will get this chance soon: as soon as the Kilrathi fleet enters, they will pursue the Claw to Seti Beta 1 where Bergstrom's task force is waiting. He also confines Blair to his quarters until further notice.
Agon Ra Sivar exits jump space, and a shuttle transports Garahl there. He reports to Thrakhath nar Kiranka that the Terran carrier has retreated and watched by long-range fighters. They will destroy the Terrans once the carriers arrive. Thrakhath says that he brought only his flagship and escorts; he already has a hidden fleet in the system that will crush all the Terrans trapped between.
The Claw and its escortss is en route to the planet and Maverick is in his quarters sending a message to his father. He knews that Kilrathi follow the Claw, so Bergstrom was right.
Tolwyn orders all the cadets (including Blair) to the briefing room. The Claw arrives to the designated coordinates, where Bergstrom's task force is hidden behind the planet's "sensor shadow", will slingshot around it and launch the fighters which will join Bergstrom's forces. Then, Nelson forwards a message from Bergstrom that she is under attack. She requests assistance and then the message is terminated. Tolwyn orders all hands to battlestations and assist the Trafalgar.
A battle rages near the Seti Beta 1. Grikaths shoot down Scimitars, an Achilles is destroyed and Destroyers concentrate to the Trafalgar. Suffering heavy casualties, with no weapons and engines going critical, Bergstrom orders to abandon the ship. Survivors eject escape pods and moments later the Trafalgar is destroyer.
The fighters from the Claw approach. Maverick tells to Archer that he sees only fighters and they engage the Grikaths. Hyena in a Broadsword kills one to avenge Pitchfork but his ship is damaged forcing him to eject. His pod is then tractored by Grunt's Broadsword. They manage to fend off the Kilrathi but Archer says that they will be back with reinforcements. Maverick tractors an escape pod from the Trafalgar, which carried Bergstrom, regretting that all her crew are gone.
Survivors are taken to the Claw's sickbay, and Bergstrom tells Tolwyn that she should had listened him. Tolwyn tells her that he will attept a desperate escape run. At the bridge, Nelson tells Tolwyn that the Kilrathi forces are en route towards the Claw. Tolwyn orders all head forward to the jump node.
Thrakhath learns that the Claw approaches weapons range, and orders to move into the way of the node and open fire. The Claw approaches under the gunfire with all power diverted to forward shields. Blair comes to Tolwyn suggesting to launch fighters, but there won't be time to get them all back. Shields are failing but Tolwyn doesn't allow Nelson to divert power from the engines. The Claw is in collision course with Agon Ra Sivar. It receives damage and Maya McEaddens among other technicians take out fire.
Thrakhath acknowledges the Terrans' bravery and finally orders hard to port to evade the Claw. As it withdraws, the Claw passes right below scratching part of its turret. It reaches the node and jumps away.
Some crew cleans up the hangar bay while Blair is making some repairs. Tolwyn tells him that he wishes he was a soldier and be responsible for his own life. If Bergstrom had heard his advice, the second fleet would never attack them. Noone giving an order knows its outcome. He leaves and Blair asks him how Tolwyn knew that the flagship would retreat to allow them to escape. Tolwyn replies that he didn't.
- This episode reverts the introduction theme song to that of the first episode.
- This episode was aired before Expendable, however it obviously occurs after that, as it mentions the hypernode discovered in that episode, and Blair's exploration in Kilrathi space.
- There is a non speaking cameo of the cyan-haired com-tech when Nelson reports the arrival of the Confederation ships.
- The draft script identifies Pitchfork's full name as Ved Patel.
- Episode first draft script at CIC