"The laddies coming out of the Academy think I was born old," says Major James Taggart, who is known as Paladin to the spacecrews. "But when I took my commission - not too long after we discovered the Empire of Kilrah - I was just a kid. I was charged up on stories of knight-errantry, on The Death of Arthur and The Song of Roland. So when we ran into the Kilrathi, I knew I was going to grab up a lance, hop into a cockpit, and change the course of history. Naturally," he jokes, "I did."
Taggart, 45, is a native of Ares, the self-sufficient space station built in permanent orbit around the planet Venus; his parents were terraforming engineers from Wick, Scotland.
Though an effective wingleader, Taggart is especialy appreciated for whis wingman skills. He has a reputation for protectiveness when flying wing. On an average of three times a year, pranksters get to his space-craft, scrape the name "Paladin" from his cockpit and replace it with "Mother Hen"
"Appreciate it while you can," he grins. "Combat flying is a young man's game, and I'm having trouble convincing the medics that I'm still 25. I'll be flying a desk before too long... if I can find one with afterburners and smart missiles."
|Know Your Fighter Qualification Ribbons
If you can't tell a Rapier from a Raptor at a distance, you probably can't tell them apart on their Fighter Qualification Ribbons, either. Try your recognition skills on the Fighter Qualification Ribbons above. Each is awarded when you've completed your first mission in that class of fighter. Clockwise, from upper left: