Author Archives: Xavier

Duty Log: Ens. (Act) Matsiyan, TSN Phoenix (CL-262), 4th LD

Stardate: 12915-2237

No luck with the last couple of replicator espresso builds. Can’t recover whatever it was I set up in 2288. We’ve been running sims all day. Command officers terminated the last one in a hurry, gave us a serious break and were all seen heading into Senior Officers’ territory. Scuttlebut has it that a real mission is in the offing so I am firing up the real espresso machine while I dive into a shower.
That’s better. I know this isn’t what great-grandfather had in mind when he took over the Earth Company, but I’m happy to take the perks, even if I’m living up to them in a way he never imagined. Drinking the real thing before a real mission is becoming a personal tradition. Here’s to the day when heading for a bridge doesn’t feel like life or death.

No sign of the call up yet so while I sip this brew, lets track the day. No one is wasting time while ONI come up with mission scenarios. The sims are unrelenting. As part of standard Prometheus Command rotation for new junior officers, I am still getting varied assignments. Today all three were with TSN Phoenix under commander Expree. He has an interesting style. He is decisive and cool but has a levity in his tone as if any mission is just another exercise. It is quite calming. He keeps the crew on their toes however. When there is a moment he will ask each how they are doing. It seems like a joke and some answers come back as jokes but you can still hear the underlying tension or excitement or disconnectedness in the response and it pulls the team back together. The rest of the crew were Lt Zelreich | Sci XO, Lt Zargon SciCom, Ens Matsiyan | Eng, Cdt DuKane | Wea, Cdt Quinn |Hlm@Com.

Standard sector defense exercises against fairly heavy incursions. I was scrambling a bit to adapt to a light cruiser after several tours on a scout. I lost track of overall energy levels to start with but got back on track. By the third run I had my console configured to meet the skipper’s expectations and with an auxiliary tac screen, I was interpreting the bridge chatter to deliver energy where it was needed before it was explicitly requested and keep overall energy usage contained so our endurance was longer between station calls. It feels anticlimactic down in Engineering because if you do a great job no-one should need to notice anything and there are hardly any occasions to call directly on Engineering. Even so, I was kind of bowled over when I received a commendation during debrief for “exceptional performance”.

Oh crap, scramble alert.
Pause log.
Personal log, continued.

Dog tired. Had to strike into enemy occupied territory and catch a key transport convoy without getting close to our occupied stations. We don’t want the enemy taking out on captured populations. Mission objectives achieved though it got hairy when two of them broke for the cover of nearby fleets and we had to dig them out.
The Hydra didn’t make it. After her couple of recent scrapes I guess something just couldn’t be repaired like new. Something gave and she is drifting wreckage and plasma.

I thought that was sobering but when we returned to base, I sent the injured Damage Control casualties off to the base medical bay and then helped with the ceremonials to deliver the shiny black coffins of those who did not make it. The base is so crowded with all the transfers underway that they had our DC replacements assigned and in the docking bay before I left after the honours for the coffins.
0The first one was Crewman Polano, short, broad, ex-marine with too much tech aptitude for his own good. He had been injured aboard the Phoenix before the last tour and was cleared to come back aboard. The next one was a pale young woman with haunted eyes; Crewman Kaplan. Her last berth had been aboard the Hydra. She had been out for a long time after being put in a coma the last time the Hydra got caught in a firefight before she raised her shields.

Not sure how well I’ll sleep tonight.

End personal log.

Duty Log: Lt. Jr. Solari, 4th LD

Stardate: 17915.2237

And so ends the stream of the TSN Hydra. No second chances. Her black box was recovered and a radiation cloud lingers. May her particles drift in the vastness of space forever. Better than the pirates boarding and capturing her…but still.

It’s only been a few days, but as Humans might say, everything has gone to below the earth, in a breadbasket. Something like that.
Simulations were par for the course yesterday. As usual. We have an armada at our doorstep and we seem to do more training then I had at the Academy? But perhaps it’s for the best. Somehow, the Pirate alliance has managed to bring in more ships, take over our old stations and mine the area in record time. Like waves still crashing about the shore after a tsunami.

We had one job yesterday. Head back into our old sectors and destroy a transport convoy. Four ships. Seemed a perfect dive, if we became like the Terran Barracuda, instead of the Shark.
In fact it was, for the first sector. The division managed to make good use positioning and only had to deal with a few patrols, and strangely enough a Caltron once again just…observing? We avoided the main force, and headed to the next sector.
We arrived to see an entire minefield keeping us from a direct run. I was only too happy to see Fulvus back on Weapons, as I took Science. We had to find a pin in a clothes-stack, as the Human expression might go. Nothing but red IFF’s all over sensors.
So, we went around the minefield, keeping all four ships together. Sensors found the three transports behind the seemingly endless waves of alliance ships. In Gregorian, we would call this moment the rising of the bubble, before it bursts. Humans might say something that makes even more sense, the calm before the tempest.
We had one take, to do a hit and swim on them and leave. We did that objective, to the divisions credit, but failed in the execution. Miserably.
For the Hydras part, we did what we usually did…took on enemy ships. On my sensors I saw two of the transports slowly moving away towards the safety of their numerous ships, un-molested. By the time the division had caught upon them, they had made the safety of net. Again though, the division did the job. The transports were taken care of. But our ships were outgunned and outnumbered. We didn’t swim away. The Hydra went down making what I’ve researched to be a Kamikaze mine run the pirate alliance ships. The outcome has already been recorded.
We survivors spent the rest of the mission picked up by the TSN Hawk, and watching our almost routed retreat. The Raven and the Hunter took serious damage, and were almost destroyed themselves.

But they warped their way out, against incredible odds. Still, the price was a tad too deep for such a trivial objective. It had better have been worth it.

End Duty Log.

Personal Log:

Seems I’m going to be recovering in a tank for longer than I thought. Medical just scanned me again; another rupture of my leg cartilage. Note to escape pod designers, add more cushions, perhaps? Actually maybe I need one filled with water, just for myself. Wishful thinking.

The Hydra was a good example of what happens when a ship has a few non-regular bridge officers coming and going. And like a school of fish, it’s not good when individual ones aren’t used to the currents; the whole are then easy prey.

Ever since we returned from Expanse, the Hydra had no serving Helms officer, or Engineer. The Captain…well she’s a busy person it seems. Our XO was basically it most of the time. Lt junior Fulvus pulled double-duty as the Engineer, when he was usually around, and I would take weapons. The three of us were a sight to see as we were a crew. But with two bridge officers never the same person twice, we’d be re-setting our teamwork and co-ordination. Especially a pilot and an engineer, two key roles that need to be in-sync with the Captain.

I am not making excuses though. But to be honest…perhaps I should have been more vocal about retreating, from the view I had at science station. Perhaps, I finally understand what Humans refer to as ‘behind-sight’?

We’re going to hold a quick burial at space ceremony for those who didn’t make it into the escape pods from the Hydra. Afterwards, I’ll be awaiting whatever the currents will flow into, for orders. Perhaps, if I’m fated, I’ll transfer to a new ship.
Whatever happens, I’ll say this for those we lost. Hail Hydra.

End Personal Log.

Duty Log: Ens. (Act) Matsiyan, TSN Hunter (SS-835), 4th LD

Stardate: 5915-2237

Still yawning despite a full sleep period, shower and breakfast. Maybe the coffee will kick in soon. I am savouring every shade-grown drop. I know my supplies can’t hold out forever and even an Earth-Company brat can’t arrange infinite care parcels. I am still working on the replicator programming for the espresso formula, but build 2287 came out too burnt when I tried to go for the more robust body. Sticking with those precious vacuum packed beans for when it really matters. Like now. Can’t take them with me.

Last shift was long and grueling. Not only are we in the middle of what promises to go down as a major Interstellar War but crew assignments were shuffled. I suppose it shouldn’t feel so disruptive. I am still in the general Promethean Command assignment pool and not in a permanent ship berth. But it is odd how even two shifts with largely the same crew on a single vessel begins to create a sense of stability. Strange word to be using for the madcap crew of the Hunter. And the Hunter is where I was assigned again as she was tasked with CL-262, TSN Phoenix to penetrate highly occupied enemy space and dismantle as many of their Sensor Relays as possible to disrupt their fleet intel, command and control network.

The new Skipper is Commander Jemel with LtCmdr del Pino as his XO. Flashheart’s languid drawl was missing from this shift – wonder what trouble he got himself into? Anyway, the easy automatic understanding of the Hunter’s crew was absent. On my first time aboard, I did not immediately understand that they were working well together. Frankly I was shocked by what appeared to be a chaotic breakdown of command discipline. Etiquette was very lax and there was a lot of banter, but looking back, things worked remarkably smoothly because people knew the ship’s handling characteristics and each other’s odd communications styles. Today was more by the book and more tense and with a few rough edges, but still effective – it damned well had to be.

We completed our sector transition in good order keeping station with the Phoenix. Eyes widened across the bridge however as the sensors painted the picture of the new sector from our entry point in Delta-5. A massive curve of minefield lay ahead of us, leaving only a single opening in Charlie-5. Heading for that opening at a leisurely pace were more sensor contacts than I had ever seen, even in academy simulations. The only difference I could see between this and the ancient Kobayashi-Maru sim, was that we weren’t in the middle. I had combat systems offline and cruise configured straight away as the Skipper had us cruise up to the opening in the minefield and nose through. We paused to synch operations with the Phoenix and then plunged through a narrow gap between an oncoming fleet and a Kralien-occupied space station to slouch through as much nebula as possible heading to the nearest SR. Given we had orders not to engage and it was obvious some of the fleets were headed right past some of the Sensor Relay buoys, I cranked the warp drive to minimize flight time and then shut down while we loitered at the buoy for the techs to get aboard and disassemble it.

That first one was uneventful. The next one was too though enemy vessels were a lot closer. Heading for the third one we encountered enemy vessels who engaged but Phoenix took their attention off us after they must have already dealt with at least one other SR. Energy usage high and I was tweaking every system to reduce power draw. Helm afterwards pointed out that I left him without responsive manoeuvre a couple of times. Noted and promised to do better.

Then came the general recall and we threaded the needle at highly boosted warp through the middle of the sector like a speed-skater slaloming through cones. We cut it too fine close to the end of an almost perfect run. Not only did we catch attention and a target lock but I felt the whole ship judder as a tractor beam latched on to us. Helm and Weapons were on it like a pair of dancers. I was frantically routing power first to manoeuvre as we spun hard about in a High Energy Turn and then heating Primary Beams ’til they glowed crimson as we beat desperately at the bully who had clothes-lined us. The whole thing was probably over in twenty seconds and we were away and running free for that beautiful gap in the minefield.

The rest was just a flat out race with Phoenix to return to base. There is nothing like that high keening vibration the Hunter makes when all systems are minimised except the warp engines. She’s a fine little sprinter.

But that wasn’t the only time that day that I had to redline the Hunter’s warp core.

We only had a brief stand down while ONI absorbed our sensor logs, the Skipper attended debrief and we were called for briefing. I managed to change my shirt and wash my face. I looked longingly at my little espresso maker but knew I did not have even those few minutes. I recalled build 2287, tweaked a couple of parameter values with a softly breathed imprecation and launched 2288 into the replicator. You know, that may be what got me through the next mission. The bitterness was gone, the body was full, robust and earthy, the edge had just a mild hint of acid and there wasn’t a single part of the flavour profile missing. The angelic replicator even frothed the perfect crema.

The next mission frankly is a blur. Large enemy fleets were everywhere. Our helmsman was taken sick and the XO jumped in to helm. My guess is he is used to larger ships. The Hunter tended to overrun his expectations. Often we were having to dash about at highly boosted warp in order to be in the right place at the right time. Towards the end of the shift I was learning to taper off the energy boost to help avoid overruns. We picked off stragglers and we ran interference to slow down enemy formations by taking Tango and diverting them. We ran sensor sweeps around the sector several times. We hared over to pick up life-pods from a TSN wreck, whose name I am ashamed to admit I do not remember. I do remember the Raven got hit so hard she was offline for a minute and we thought she had gone down. We were Johnny-on-the-Spot when the singularities started opening and the little Caltron buggers came barreling out. And no-one ever remembers the names of the Damage Control team casualties. I see them diving into the smoking, twisted wreckage in the corridors and I tally the count as we head to the stations for repair, refit, fresh ordnance, energy top up and fresh new faces replenishing the DCTs – one for every shiny black coffin consigned to the station chaplain.

I know there was one time I had us at max boost and then got distracted by a firefight until I realized the warp engines were taking damage from the overload. I think that’s when I picked up the blisters on my hands and the smoke damage to my tunic.

My throat was raw and my eyes sore when we finally stood down after a terse debrief. Maybe it was just the smoke in my eyes when Hunter and Phoenix were recognized for the long run they had made that day.

That’s one tunic I won’t be seeing again. Let me finish this last sip of coffee and hit the replicator up for a fresh tunic. Ah, here it comes. Wait, it still has ”Acting” Ensign insignia? Well, I suppose there are other priorities today. Let me check the replicator update log. No changes since the beginning of last shift.

Wait a minute. The replicator. Build 2288! It was perfect. If I get that published I could be a celebrity. What were those tweaks I made?

”Replicator, recall Matsiyan, Espresso, 2288.”
What do you mean ”Version unknown”? Replicator, read final log entry.”

”Replicator Unit, Engineering, TSN Hunter, latest entry: System rollback restore point initiated by Damage Control automation due to collateral damage from warp core overheating event.”

End personal log.

Duty Log: Ens. (Act) Matsiyan, TSN Raven (BC-014), 4th LD

Stardate: 29815-2236

An eventful ”snotty” cruise! Having swotted hard for the exam, I wasn’t really thinking much about my first deployment in the chain of command. Swallowed hard when I realized that, for what would once have been called my first cruise as Midshipman, I was assigned Engineering aboard the flagship, TNS Raven. At least I was working my specialty, even if I thought something was wrong as we cruised hurriedly to our assigned sector. I had combat systems offline but still power was being consumed at an exaggerated rate. It was embarrassing to report to the Fleet Captain the ship’s systems were at 50% before we were even on station. But I had all non-essential systems minimised! Space Vampires?

It was cool that there was enough of a time shortage that I had the chance to max out power to the warp drive of a battleship, even if I had to throttle it back fast. Hearing that thrum of energy singing through the warp nacelles was not something I expected first time out.

Looking beyond my own little headspace though, the situation was grim. We had free license to engage pirates, of course, and Kraliens with whom there is an open declaration of war. The Arvonians in particular we had to avoid if possible, and engage at lower power to encourage a surrender without destroying any. I did see other fleet vessels having some success with that, but most of my attention was occupied by those few sliders and buttons and listening to the bridge chatter. It was difficult deciphering the comms flow of a different crew and I wasn’t fast enough to understand engagements were beginning on a couple of engagements, which meant Primary Beams were slow to come online – not something you want once you enter his engagement range! During the debrief I did get some recommendations for alternate secondary display options that might clue me in to combat proximity. For some reason close in enemy vessels were not showing up on my data display.

We covered the retreat of several passenger ships evacuating stations, but there were too many for the fleet to hold off and we had to retreat with the refugees. Before we could regroup and re-engage, pirate netrunners had hacked the manual console command net and defense had to be turned over to automated systems. It felt very strange training instead of engaging, but the very best we can do is hone our skills while we wait for fleet cybersecurity to catch up.

My appreciation for other stations improved. I’ve only sat helm once before and suddenly I was navigating the flagship. I managed not to scrape the Raven’s virtual paintjob, but I missed several opportunities. Admitting where I had problems during the debrief required a depth of honesty not called for every day. I was however somewhat relieved when the (acting) Engineering chief confessed his Echo manoeuvre config neglected to assign power to warp, which explains why I wasn’t able to manoeuvre as planned!

For the second simulation you could have heard a pin drop when Fleet Captain Xavier asked if anyone wanted to take command of the Raven while he concentrated on Fleet Ops and evaluations. Very quietly I slid back as far out of view as I could. Someone else bent down to examine the maintenance hatch behind their console. The Leftenant-junior who took it on had all my sympathy. And at least I got one Echo manoeuver vaguely right!

Time to wipe down my sweat-drenched console and hit the sack.

End personal log.

Duty Log: Lt. Jr. Solari, TSN Hydra (BC-016), 4th LD

Stardate: 9815.2237

A pirate alliance. If I wasn’t staring at the latest casualty reports, I would almost be congratulating myself for understanding why it happened.
Like some species, Humans are not an entirely unified front. My own species once had a caste warfare, over who was in charge of our limited land. The halfs and halfs not, is the Human term? Or is it haves?

The TSN is still struggling overall. Two of the fourth division ships went after the flagship of this so-called alliance. Our only triumph so far. I only hope they got the General leading them. But I doubt things are so easy or simple.

And such it was, the events of the Pirates coalition ship being destroyed, caused ripples on the water, as most do. We were once again called to alert. I’m happy to report my fellow Lt.jr Fulvus once again took the weapons console. I needed to re-calibrate my data tablet for the still under-repair Science station as it was. Having a bad leg didn’t help either.
Ships of every make, save Arvonian, which is a good sign, showed up on our floor step? Something step. We did have orders not to destroy the N’Tani, but they left us little choice. Again, not all species take on a single harmonious front.
We lost two research stations, but managed to evacuate the sector successfully, with minimal losses. If calling another retreat is successful.

It was during our final withdrawal that I noticed a radiological alert on the Hydras sensors, as we swept the nebula for any stragglers.
Let’s see if this information isn’t entirely restricted anymore. Moments later a Caltron ship appeared.
As if things couldn’t get worse. It was dispatched easily though, and we reported the temporary radioactivity prior to it showing up. It was odd, but a key piece of information.
However, we had not the time to study the findings, as once again yet another sector came under attack.

I barely remember much of what happened. My webbed hands danced over every sensor contract I could see, identifying the masses of ships converging on three of our stations. The Pheonix and Hydra were in one group. Again, perhaps anger or a bad bloodlust was with the Hydra, but we made a poor showing of ourselves, having been almost overwhelmed yet again. Our offence was great, no doubt, but our defence? No. We failed, dearly.
Selona station and all of her five thousand crew were lost. The one clear part of that debacle that still stands out in my mind. I called out the station was under attack. Then that her shields were critical. And then…it was just gone from sensors. We didn’t even dock when we had orders to evacuate whom we could.
What shocks me is that no one on our bridge seemed to care at that moment. I hope they didn’t know someone on that station.

We had a few more Caltron interruptions. The division noted that they did not target any surrendered pirate coalition forces that passed them. I theorise it may be the surrendered status, not any kind of pact.
I did manage to record a brief artificial singularity near Cerberus command, along with the now usual radiological alert. The fact that they can appear almost anywhere is…discomforting. Yet these seem more like scouting probes than any aggressive movement on their part.
Let’s hope it stays that way. We don’t need yet another front in this retreating action.

End Duty Log

Personal Log:

Before the attacks occurred the Hydra and the remaining crews did more simulations. We needed them because of the fresh influx of…hmm…odd cadets. Perhaps it’s the losses we’ve been taking, but the newest officers seem to be in a hurry and quick to rush into what they think is the optimal course of action.
Disappointed would be my reaction. Especially since Lt.Cdr Verok seemed to encourage one in particular on the Hydra. We don’t need internal contradictions from subordinates at a time like this. Again, it may just be the stress getting to us though.
Still. Hearing a cadet on the bridge complain that escorting an evacuation ship is taking too long to get to a destination? Unacceptable. I was actually quite serious that the cadet take an airlock out. We don’t need uncaring officers, especially ones who seem to think like pirates might.

Side note: I took helm and did not crash the ship in a simulation. Oddly invigorating. I actually didn’t mind it so much. Conflict makes for, what do Humans call it…strange bunkmates?
Now, back to the water tank to heal and contemplate.

End Personal Log

Duty Log: Ensign Solari, TSN Hydra (BC-016), 4th LD

Stardate: 9115.2237

Didn’t believe I was going to be putting this ship name on my logs for a long time, if ever again. TSN Engineers are, what is the phrase, sorcerous workers? Whatever it is, instead of facing the wrath of her Captain, I was instead, back aboard her bridge, albeit in shambles. Some quick thinking Destroyer commander had tractor beamed the salvageable wreck before the pirates could swarm upon her hull. To whomever that was, my personal thanks. I’m liking those destroyers more and more.

Back to the Hydra though. The Fleet Captain had her brought along with the Raven, into service again, ahead of repairs. Battle repairs indeed. For a ship over one day from having been abandoned, she was rushed back into the evacuation of the Cerebus sector.
Defence and escort were the orders of the day. Our Captain however, was perhaps feeling vengeful? Hard to tell, since Human vocal speech does not have the full range of emotion I’m used to. At first we were on the offensive, along with escorting passenger liners evacuating multiple stations. If it hadn’t been from command and control reminding her that a station was still awaiting the liners, I think we might have actually had civilian loses in the thousands. The stress is affecting all of us, even our commanding officers.
Note: A lone TSN scout ship can not evacuate a station of that size. I’ll never forget that lesson the Captain had made for us.

But all is still not well. For every positive gain with the tide, the undertow is, as always, taking more away. The TSN had another ship wrecked, and the Hydra quickly picked up her life pods. After that, the division as a whole began to experience a complete shutdown of most of our external sensors and tablet functions. Pirate Electronic Warfare, according to higher ups. Our mission was cut short, and we had to retreat on autos. The Human expression of an appendage between our legs comes to mind; something to do with a domesticated animal.

The last few hours have seen us in simulations again. Morale is low. My hopes are still with the Arvonian peace talks, should they still be ongoing. Nothing is ever easy though.

End duty Log.
Addendum: Recent talk amongst the division has been the TSN ships lack of weapon arc coverage and overall capacity; especially after a simulation against ships of extreme power, and our dependence on having to use black holes as if they are our personal rubbish bins for aggressive ships. Seems odd ships would be suicidal enough to go on an obvious course through one in the first place, taunted or not. Well unless they’re the *redacted*. Needs further studies.

Personal Log:
If I was having doubts about being a weapons officer, then they may be fading to the background fast. Science is still a passion of mine. But with events as they are…
Well, firepower seems to be demand now.

Recovery goes well. Walking out of the water with this cane, has been interesting. It shall still be another two weeks, but I’m to continue using it while my leg regenerates in a tank. Found a use for this piece of titanium; tapping on any superior officer who asks me to be a Duty Officer again unprepared. A horrible experience, I have no desire to repeat soon.

End Personal Log

Ensign Solari – Assault on Cerberus

Hour 1

Hope and loss. In the span of the last duty shift, that was all Solari could manage to think of. He sat, dejected at Atlantis Command’s medical bay, waiting to tend to his minor wounds, still fresh after hours.

One of those two words outweighed the other. Exhausted, he attempted to recall the events.
The day had begun wonderfully. Bridge crews managed to fill up, including some new and older faces, the half-human hadn’t recognised.
Someone had finally noticed his XO had been taking command of the Hydra, and promoted Verok to Lieutenant Commander, a senior officer. The division needed a few more like him up there. But as Humans say, the sewage runs downward; somehow he had gotten promoted as well. No, that didn’t count so much as hope; it as more akin to shock. Good, but not wanted. It was his non-human half that had the proverb: ‘Don’t rise too high with the tide, or the undertow will take something away.’ Humans needed to swim more.

Back to hope though. The news of the day was that negotiations were to begin with the Arvonians. Rumour had turned to fact, and the fourth light division was to make it happen, despite the Raven being dry-docked for repairs.
A brief simulation later, and the Hydra was underway. The currents had favoured them, as they dropped of the negotiation team, and were holding off a surprise Kralien attack. It didn’t help that the Arvonian’s carrier group launched fighters that still read the TSN a hostile.

Then it happened. Loss. The newly minted Lieutenant junior had happily taken the science station once again, and was scanning what seemed to be and endless wave of drones and ships, when the Hydra began to buckle and groan. It was worse than the live-fire training incident.
The moments afterward were still a blur. Smoke, screaming to be heard, getting into a life-pod, being picked up by another ship and placed on yet another.
The Hydra had been wrecked apart. The captain was not going to be pleased when she returned, assuming she had one to command then.

Complicating things more, the negotiation team taken aboard one of the Arvonian carriers had also lost their ship. The survivors were now somewhere on the station. Yet despite the setbacks, it was considered a mild success by command.
The Arvonians would determine that for real.

Yet, to add insult to further injury, the pirates came back in full force to the Cerberus system. Fielding little more than two scouts and two light cruisers, the now-aptly-named ‘light’ division waded into the incursion with other elements of the TSN.
The first explosion heard over the ships speakers was the start of the downward spiral. One of the major jump-gates in the area had been blown apart. No warning at all. Only later, in the debrief did the past come back to haunt them. One of the stolen mining ships had done the job. One of the ships Solari knew might have been caught with better information, had he not destroyed the first one he encountered.

It didn’t end there though. Even firing everything they could, at the advancing waves the TSN evacuated the system. Pirate or not, they had shown their cleverness. Holo-disguised ships, stolen ships, capturing stations left behind. They were organised. And they were not done.

Loss it was then. At least for today.

Hour 3

“I said no synth-cast!” Solari’s exclamation came out more as a lyric then a yell at the Atlantis’s Chief Medical Officer.
That happened when you were part of an amphibious species. Sound travelled differently underwater, so they learned to chant their acoustic language.
It’s why the Lieutenant junior always sounded like he was humming his Terran speech. It’s also why the Humans had named them the Gregorians, much to their initial chagrin. Until they heard the Human chants and loved it, taking the word as an honour.

The present came back to him.
He put a webbed hand up to his face and let a sigh out. “I’m sorry sir. Xeno-biology, basics. You mostly treat Humans, aye? Remind me what a cast does to fully Human skin?”

The doctor, with the Commander insignia barely noticeable on his medical uniform, was standing in front of Solari, and very much soaked in his own perspiration.
He was putting away his diagnostic scanner, when he replied. “Well synth castes immobilise and dry up the epidermal…”, he didn’t need to finish, looking at the purple-skinned officer, and his ‘modified’ uniform, still in slight tatters.
“Ah, I got you. We’ll have to consult the inter-species database then. You’re my first half-Gregorian patient, let alone that I’ve never treated a full one.”
The doctor, picked up his data screen, and stared for a moment.

Solari was curious. “Something ahit sir?”

A strange glance followed the doctor’s reply, “A what Lieutenant?”

The half-Human gave a blink, with his four eyelids. They reminded Humans of a Terran frog supposedly. “Ah, I mean amiss? That is the correct word, aye?”

“No and yes”, replied the Human. “Actually, strange coincidence. We seem to have a small group of Gregorians on a liner, from the system evacuation. One of them, is, by the documents, a xenobiologist.” The doctor seemed to stop sweating for the moment, and looked back up. “We’ll see if we can get them over the comms at least. Until then, you’re confined to bed for recovery while the time allows.”

Solari cocked his head to the side. “I no longer have one presently sir.”

The doctor, so busy treating people, had barely ay time to recognise any other kind of damage. “Damn. Well, we’re full up here, and the station is processing evacuees in every space we…”

A webbed hand from Solari stopped the doctor. “I believe Atlantis command’s main foyer has a wall aquarium?”

“Well this is named after that mythical island..” Again, the doctor realised where this was going. “You’re telling me you want to go in it, aren’t you?”

Solari nodded. “Aye sir.”

“Well, I think I just my appetite for today’s meal. I’ll get an attendant to help, Lieutenant.” The Doctor chuckled, probably for the first time in the last few hours, as he went to his next patient and muttered “Catch of the day indeed.”

But Solari didn’t get the joke.

Hour 5

Sleep had overcome Solari quickly, almost the instant he’d entered the aquarium.

He hadn’t the fondest idea that he’d been almost a display for some of the evacuees, whose own data tablets had been overwhelmed by the TSN’s priority and needs. Human relied on their mobile devices a tad too much for his liking, anyways.

But he wasn’t dreaming about that. For some reason, he was dancing around a fire, and primitive drums. Was the drumming getting louder?

The aquarium vibrated everything inside the water as if someone had rang a quiet bell over one’s head in atmosphere. Jolted, Solari woke up, scaring the small fish away from resting in his head tendrils.
Again the aquarium vibrated with another thud. He used his hands to shift 180 and face the plasti-glass. The doctor from the medbay was looking to pounce on the window again, when Solari gave a deep whale-sounding, “Stop!”

It took the doctor and some of the surrounding evacuees aback. Solari blinked and looked around embarrassingly, whilst thinking ~Well, now know how I feel?~ He simply gave a Human-like shrug.

Pointing upwards, the doctor climbed the maintenance hatch ladder, and was joined head to head by Solari, still in the water, careful to not tread too much with his still injured leg.

Sleep seemed to be something the Doctor sorely needed, but he sighed saying. “Sorry about the knocking Lieutenant. Only way to get your attention. How’s the leg?”

Solari nodded. “Feels better in the water sir.”

A small chuckle came from the doctor. “Doesn’t it.” He seemed to look past the half-human for a moment. “Well, looks like it was a good call. We got in touch with the Xeno-biologist, and basically recommended the same thing. Keeping your leg immobile in water pressure.” He looked back at his data tablet. “Actually we should be using something similar with pure Humans as well, just um, with a breathing apparatus.” He flipped open a new window. “Right. Treatment…Ah, looks like all we need is to let you do this on and off for a week or so, and your body should regenerate cartilage on it’s own. Gregorians. Tough species.”

Solari looked down into the water, then back up. “Perhaps. But we’re nothing without access to this liquid. What is the saying, it’s our Hercules Abdomen?”

Another chuckle from the doctor. “Achilles Heel, Mister Solari. Speaking of which,” he put away his tablet, and brought up a short cane, “you’re going to need this for a while as well. And your first test will be to report back into your division. Wounded or not, we’re still on alert.” He left the cane crosswise along the aquariums circular top, and started to climb back down.

Being reminded of the Hydra gave Solari a chill for a moment. He looked over to the cane and hum-sighed. Time to face reality, with a limp.

Duty Log: Ensign Solari, TSN Hydra (BC-016), 4th LD

Stardate: 21815-2236

Almost a week since we arrived back at Atlantis command. The events of the *redacted* at the *redacted* are behind us.
The Hydra has been once again in a fair state of repair ever since the, shall I say, embarrassing, live fire exercise almost made her a wreck. The captain was none the pleased to be sure. Details of the *redacted* ships were re-created a tad too much.
Of note: The people at R&D, if able to create such replicas for training, may want to consider using such ships as decoys, for the TSN in future engagements with the *redacted*.

With the Hydra out of action temporarily, we did not participate in the last mission. Rumours of something to do with Arvonians and negotiations are abound. The Humans call it scuttle-bread, I think? Whatever the case, progress with them can only benefit the USFP, if this is true.
For our part, the Hydra instead performed more simulations, under our XO, Lieutenant Verok. The Captain is hopefully taking note of his performance.

On the whole, pirate activity increased slightly. This is…puzzling at times. It seems no matter how many the TSN engages, the more seem to loiter and harass ships in this sector. I just hope it’s not related to the *redacted*.

Last note: Our ships roster is still out of date. Then again, I doubt it will ever be current. Some TSN officers seem to come and go at random assignments.

End duty log.

Personal Log:
Prototype construction has been ongoing with my uniform. Project Dune, some of the Humans call it. I do not know what a dune is, beyond a mound of Terran sand, so I’m confused on how it relates to water retention. Remind me to research this further.
Back to it though, the closest I can compare this invention to would be like having an outer circulatory system exoskeleton. Something called catch pockets as well?
However the prototype is a tad bulky under a standard TSN uniform. I think I have a rash on…no, never mind.
I’ve also suggested replacing some of the material with some more water porous or absorbent. At this point I wonder if I should just wear a wetsuit, with a water-skin tube and be done.
But I have to thank all of the engineers who are putting their free time on this endeavour of mine. I believe it might be Human custom to find a rare alcoholic beverage for them, sooner than later.
Let’s hope the waters are calm as the next duty cycle approaches.

End personal log.

Ensign Solari – Krisenda System

Day 1

The lights inside the bunk-room were very dim, aboard the Hydra. Most of the crew was on station at the few remaining research facilities. But Solari tended to be a loner afterwards. When you spend so much time on a bridge with others constantly, it was good to get away from that and collect oneself.
But only for so long, it seemed.

A soft computer voice echoed in the dim room. “Operations Order thirty-one in effect. Log recordings offline. Data retrieval offline. Outbound TSN channels unavailable.”

Solari nearly slammed his slightly webbed hands down on the terminal. Frustration was creeping in. Normally, his species kept a very calm demeanor…in public. When one could live in the water, it made for displaying emotions like a Human, rather odd in it.
~So much for that,~ he thought.

He was desperately wanting to recount the last duty shift in some way. To make some sense of what was going on. A new species that used black holes like they would a jump gate? Mass Driver suicide asteroids? The TSN Kinetic held in place by, an unknown creation.

The weapons training in him was scared. They’d been lucky the Division lasers and torps had even been effective, and that shields worked. And sadly they had proved dangerous to almost three of the stations crews that had been out here.
Yet the science training in him, was almost…what was the Human expression? As twitty as a schoolgirl? The technology level they, whatever they were called, displayed was certainly unconventional. And what was the TSN conducting out here in the first place that required a Quantum Entanglement communication device?
Black Holes and Quantum singularities made for a dire mix.

The thoughts were just swimming in his head. Taking a deep inhale and a slow exhale, he knew he wouldn’t get anything. The Division’s senior officers would have to deal with that. For now, he sat up in the still dim lights, and tugged on his uniform. It still felt odd on him after almost three months without NCO stripes.

Just like his career though, events were changing. Sometimes too fast.

Swimming thoughts gave him an idea. Perhaps he’d go aboard and see if the station had a decent water tank. If not, an EVA suit and an airlock would do. He just wanted to float and relax a while.
Who knew what was going to happen next.

Day 3

There really hadn’t been much time to relax per-se, after the initial shock had worn off from two days ago.
The Hydra was currently part hospital ship, and part watch-dog. Luckily, the unknown assailants hadn’t been back for another round.
And that was quite alright to Solari.

He was sitting next to one of DC team members, a Crewman Kaplan. She still slept in her doctor induced coma, just one of the many patients still being treated.
The sickbay itself was mostly quiet. Save for the hums of the medical scanners and nursing droids, it was almost peaceful.

The Ensign hadn’t moved in an hour. In fact, he barely seemed to be looking at the Crewman directly now. He was lost in his own guilt. Kaplan had been knocked out after the Hydra had taken a hit with her shields down. A moment of his doing during the first strikes with the unknowns.
He kept playing the memory in his mind. Shields, shields the bridge crew kept calling out. Solari knew he had pressed the button on his console to activate them; it was always the first thing he had his hand over. The helmsman’s own collisions with asteroids to the front of the Hydra, had kept him on edge with keeping them raised much to his own credit.
But for some reason during combat, had he somehow froze, or blanked out?
It was, as humans said, feasting at him.
Sometimes it was easy to forget that a ship had a crew, and that one mistake could have consequences other than bad timing, or repairable minor damage. The old military adage of ‘with rank comes responsibility’, always applied.

It was another twenty minutes, before Solari stood up and put his webbed hand on the Crewman’s own. “Get well,” he whispered.
Moving, he took a look around at the other patients in sickbay and nodded. Most of them were civilians or TSN researchers from the bases. The outlook for them was good though.

As he left sickbay, he took a glance at his chrono. 2200 ships time, yet 1400 station local. It was easy to choose sleep over his current mood.

Day 5

The 63rd anniversary of the USFP had come and passed by the 4th Light Division.
Whereas most of the worlds were still celebrating, and wishing each other well, this little pocket of classified research space was still doing anything but the sort.
Sombre would be the word for it.

Recovery and restoration were still on-going. Most of the senior staff seemed occupied by the still yet-to-be-named entities capabilities.
But Solari was backtracking even further. The pirates and the ship theft. The explosion of the jumpgate. It all seemed like a minor random act compared to what happened afterwards. So, why was he even thinking about it?

Still nursing a spiced tomato juice in the galley, the edgy Ensign was remembering having fired the Hydra’s main batteries at one of the stolen mining ships that had suddenly turned into a hostile IFF ID. Lieutenant Verok, the acting Captain, had reminded him after-the-fact that they should have had an ECM ready to disable it. They never got another chance to do so though.
Solari knew why he had clicked on the ship. He simply had a dumb moment and thought he was on sensors again that could scan. He’d been curious. But that, as Humans might say, killed the dog. Or some sort of domesticated animal.

He sipped his drink with a quick swallow and gave a sigh. That had been the first of his two mistakes on that extended duty shift. From that, he was starting to think Science and Tactical didn’t mix well. Or perhaps the truth was, he didn’t mix the two well. The thought of that was dangerous.

Gulping the last of his drink, he placed the glass back in the replicator for recycling. Watching it disappear, he rather wished self-doubt could be taken back just as easily.

In the end though, the day wasn’t about him. The USFP was another standard year older. For all the good and ill that had happened so far, it was still around. A good enough example to live by.

Solari exited the galley and went back to living. The minefield surrounding the bases needed re-stocking and they weren’t going to lay themselves.

Day 7

Most of the wounded had recovered from the events almost a week ago. Crewman Kaplan had woken up yesterday, eager to get out of sickbay, much to Solari’s internal delight.
What few who hadn’t were on bed rest in their own bunks. Yet, some funerals had been held. Still an odd Human custom to Solari’s non-Human half. On his home-world, land was a premium, and so letting the body fall down into the watery depths, to feed the endless cycle, was more appropriate than burying a useless husk. It was almost the same with space, and sending a body, if there was one, out into the black. In fact on his home-world’s defence ships, they recycled the body into…well nothing was wasted. Practicality ruled, not sentiment.

That aside, repairs, re-arming, sensor sweeps, meetings. Life was going on in the 4th, and the stations.
If there had been an inspection by the old Academy Commandant, the Division would have passed with running colours, as Humans might say. Or was it hovering?
The Hydra itself was remarkably almost dent free from the last beating she had taken almost a week ago. A testament to her engineering crew and the research stations mysterious supply of hull coating, salvaged amongst other things, from one of the derelict stations. Humans had a way of being practical with some things, it seemed.

And with all that, something was coming. Most likely more questions than answers from command, if Order 31 ever ceases to be running.
Hopefully, it would be business as before, or there would be more complications. Either way, this lull wouldn’t last; It never did.
But isn’t that why they were out in Space?

Duty Log: Ensign Solari, TSN Hydra (BC-016), 4th LD

Stardate: 6815-2236

Simulations. Simulations. And more simulations.
Our Fleet Captain has been out of the division for a tad. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say someone is planning something. Or maybe they’re finally promoting him to Commodore?

Whatever is going on, it’s been quiet besides from another two ships from our division on another assignment last duty shift. No information was officially released on it, so I’ll as Humans say, keep aunt about it. Correction, mum. I’ll get these idioms someday.

Nothing else to report, besides the XO getting some Captain time. I’m finding simulations with him to be almost enjoyable. If he ever decides to go for a command, well it might be a good thing in my limited experience as an officer.

Still no results for tracing the pirate hacks to the newer systems functionality. Luckily, our simulations have shown no degradation to the Hydras ability to perform our duties. Personnel wise, Lt junior Luna will be leaving our ship. Re-assignment, such is the life in the navy. Note to the ships Yeoman, update our roster. It’s out of date.

End duty log.

Personal Log:
Having some difficulties with my fully Human bunkmates on the Hydra. My species requires some time in the water, and anything above Human room temperature becomes almost, intolerable.
Instead of being as Humans say, a mammal out of water, I’ll have to see if R&D can modify my uniform to fit my needs. Perhaps a water filtration/cooling system?
I’m sure my fellow officers would appreciate not having the shower allotments taken up any more.
And a note to the galley. Yes, I do eat seafood. I’m half Human after all.

End personal log.