26/01/2016 at 21:59 #4099XavierKeymaster
Personal Log: Flt. Cpt. Xavier Wise, TSN Raven, 4LD 24116-2237
Computer, being personal log, encryption code Lambda-4-Alpha-1-5.
Command had ordered the Division to maintain its position guarding the alien artifact, originally discovered by the PWE Manticore during their intelligence op. It seemed like we were going to be here for a long time, so I instructed the ships to close formation, allowing better communication between crews whilst we awaited further orders. During the downtime, I took the opportunity to finalise plans for the crew-reshuffle. Command had ordered a redeployment of officers across all Division involved in the Cerberus Campaign, as per normal procedure. It is always good to give crews a fresh assignment, particularly after combat, it takes minds of casualties and refocuses the officers.
We went ahead with crew transfers; with the proximity of the ships it was a routine transfer of personnel via shuttle craft. There were also a number of officers promoted; Deverin and Morlock both earning the rank of Lt. Jr. Lt. Commander del Pino had been keeping tabs on their performance and recommended them based on their performance in multiple roles. He’d reported that both officers had proven themselves proficient. This was echoed by the other command officers in their response to the recommendation for promotion. Command had also authorised a several awards, and so I was able to hand out 2 Distinguished Service Medals to Matsiyan and Wade for their sterling performance during and ambush, and a Bronze star to Morlock for demonstrating particularly excellent ability at helm.
Everything was pretty routine for the time being. Command sent through a confirmation we’d be relieved shortly, and were to report to Atlantis Command for command code and security updates. We’ve been detecting security breaches for weeks, some of them quite disconcerting. Somehow, the Unakalhai managed to hack our comms system and directly transmit a fleet-wide message during an operation. It has prompted me to put the security department on high alert. Other things keep occurring too, some innocuous such as the disappearance of supplies, others more sinister like the death of Unakalhai PoWs aboard the Hydra. I have no doubt there are agents of the USF at work here; they need tracking down before they cause something that truly puts TSN Officer’s lives at risk – like the events that occurred shortly after training simulations.
As we were reconfiguring the simulation software for the next fleet-wide simulation, sensor contacts began appearing, closing on our position. Somehow the hegemony had managed to locate us and were closing for attack. My first priority was to counter the threat and secure the system. We needed to buy enough time for the PSE Schrodinger to secure the artifact for transit. I was also reluctant to move it with Hegemony forces so close. They had probably picked up on the Division’s energy signatures coming from the nebula – keeping that many ships in one nebula for an extended period puts out enough radiation for Hegemony sensors to pick up. Our position in the nebula would have caused enough interference for Hegemony sensors not to be able to identify us. Indeed, it was evident from their approach that their aim was to search the nebula as they were not taking a direct course to our position. This led me to assume that it was highly unlikely they had detected the artifact, and so keeping it as hidden as best we could was the best option available.
The PSE Schrodinger remained with the artifact whilst the rest of the Division moved to combat the Hegemony threat. The encounter was brief, the Division dispatching the Hegemony fleet with ease, and sending the survivors running with their tails tucked between their legs.
Once the sector was secure, command relayed new orders to reposition the artifact in Promethean system. It was evident that our current location left the artifact far too vulnerable to attack. I ordered the Valiant to tractor the artifact – the ship’s speed and agility would mean that it could move to safety quickly I needed, and in dire circumstances, a scout is significantly harder to detect powered down than any other ship in the Division. The PSE Schrodinger moved with the Division, the Raven led, with the rest of the ships forming on its position. It was then that the Phoenix began to behave erratically. Despite numerous orders, Commander Expree seemed reluctant to move into formation with the Raven. As we moved towards the Promethean gate, the Phoenix lagged behind, maintaining a close position to both the Schrodinger and the alien artifact. This was when the mission began to go awry.
Expree lost it.
Before I could figure out what was going on, the Phoenix opened fire on the Schrodinger. A science vessel’s shields are no match for weapons of a TSN Light Cruiser and so it was destroyed within seconds of the first volley from the Phoenix; all crew aboard were killed in the incident. Over an open comms channel, the Commander began ranting about defending the artifact and orders to defend against enemies. It was a damned good job it was open comms, Commander Verok quickly recognised the threat posed by the TSN Phoenix and immediately moved the ship away; the Hydra moved to act as a defensive screen for the Valiant. Simultaneously, I ordered Lt Greybeard to take command of the Phoenix and relieved Expree of command. There was something odd in the way that Expree had spoken, and how he had suddenly changed in attitude. Previous psych. evaluations had shown him as completely stable, and he was one of my most solid command officers on operations. After the op. he was taken directly to medical and was treated for effects of psychic control. It later transpired that the alien artifact had somehow managed to emit a low level psychic field that caused Expree to lose it. By the sounds of it, it could have happened to any officer. It just so happened that it locked on to Expree, the highest ranking officer in close proximity. The xeno specialists are looking into it, but to me it indicates some kind of intelligence. I do not think it a coincidence that it locked on the Expree – he was close enough to feel its effects, and high ranking enough to order the destruction of the PSE Schrodinger.
This was just the beginning. With one command officer down, it was with great trepidation that I looked upon all the Caltrons surrounding the Promethean gate – definitely not something I was anticipating.
The ensuing combat saw the most intense fighting against the Caltrons that the Division had been involved in since the Euphini Expanse. Two huge clusters of Caltron ships had gathered, forming some kind of Caltron base. From these clusters, smaller Caltron units detached to engage the Division. I ordered Lancer and Hydra to move ahead of the Division in order to strike the Caltron formations, keeping the Raven and Phoenix together for mutual support and follow up with close range attacks. As the Lancer moved to engage, the Caltron base detached a huge swarm which quickly overwhelmed the Lancer. The ship must have taken massive damage because almost instantly after sensors detected a massive decompression – the Lancer seemed to have been destroyed completely. With one ship down, and still a massive Caltron presence, the odds were stacked against us. Valiant was more or less out of the fight as it was, towing the alien artifact. As I assessed the situation, I was hit with another shock. The Hydra had moved into the Lancer’s last known position to try and recover any life pods. As it approached, the Caltron swarm struck again – that was when we lost the second of our ships. Two within quick succession!
Things were starting to look very bad for the Division. I was aware we needed to get through to Promethean quick before we lost any other ships and were unable to defend the Valiant. I ordered the Raven forward. Maneouvring with the Phoenix in support, we began our attack run, well aware that we may end up meeting the same fate as the Hydra and Lancer. My aim was simple; distract the Caltron swarms and order the Valiant to flee through the gate. The primary objective was to get the artifact to a safe location. The Raven and Phoenix would then break off from the Caltrons when the Valiant was through and make a run for the gate.
As we engaged, the transponder signals of the Hydra and Lancer flared up on sensors. It seemed that they had somehow managed to escape the Caltrons. It later transpired that in the attack, the Caltron swarm had caused massive damage, taking out the ships’ communications relays. Due to the damage they took, and the explosive decompression from taking direct hits, they had both read as being destroyed by fleet sensors. Both ships were down, but not out.
After patching up systems, both the Lancer and Hydra were able to re-engage. Though they still had massive damage, they effectively coordinated with the Phoenix and Raven to attack the Caltrons. Hydra used its massive ordnance payload to bombard the Caltron cluster, and lancer tore through them with their beam arrays. At the same time, Raven and Phoenix destroyed the second Caltron cluster. Through the coordinated strikes by the Division, the Caltrons were successfully neutralised.
Bloodied, we managed to jump back into Promethean system. On entry, we docked at DS-15 to refuel and rearm. At the same time, the base transferred replacement materials and plating to fix up the battle damage. A short layover saw the Division ships patched up back to combat effectiveness.
It was then that Command relayed intel about a strike into the Promethean System. It seemed far too coincidental – the sector we aimed to leave the artifact was the sector Unakalhai forces suddenly decided to attack. It is clear someone was relaying information to the Unakalhai. In a way though, we were in luck that they were too early in their attack. We went through and were met with several Unakalhai raiding parties. DS-15 had a malfunctioning IFF transponder and DS-06 reported an overload in their main core. This denied the use of two out of the three stations in the sector, and the third had Unakalhai forces quickly bearing down on it. I ordered the Lancer forward immediately and the Valiant to secure the artifact in the sector. Valiant tractored the artifact, leaving it hidden with a nebula where mines had been deployed earlier. Rejoining the Division, both the Valiant and Lancer were ordered to intercept lone ships and scout the enemy forces. The Hydra once again used its heavy ordnance payload, softening up enemy formation ready for the Raven and Phoenix to strike.
DS-06 continued to report a core meltdown. Despite their best efforts the crew were unable to get the core under control. The meltdown began to cascade and the whole station began emergency evac procedures. As the Valiant, supported by the Lancer, captured the life pods and brought the crew aboard, security aboard the ships put all of them under close supervision, confining them to the medical bay for screening. The meltdown, and subsequent loss of DS-06 was too much of a coincidence; it seemed that it had been timed perfectly with the attack by the USF. With one star base reporting problems with their IFF systems, denying TSN ships the ability to dock due to the inability to disable defensive systems, and another being entirely destroyed due to a major core meltdown, it was clear that both had been caused by saboteurs.
Rooting them out was a problem for later, and my attention focused on coordinating the Division ships to dispatch the USF forces. Some of those USF ships have huge shield capacity, so it took combined efforts and close coordination to combat them. Toward the end of the combat, Valiant acted to divert attention of the ship, whilst Raven and Phoenix moved into their blind spots and attacked. Once the sector was secure, Command was informed and they dispatched the 2nd Battle Division.
It was admirable to see how the Division coped with such an intensive operation. From beginning to end, combat was intensive and the stakes were high. Aboard the Raven, I was particularly impressed with the efforts of our newest member, the then Acting Ensign Tardov. Despite taking major damage in battle, Tardov kept systems running and got us back in the fight quickly. It was after the mission that I felt she had more than earned the right to full Acting Ensign status. Acting Ensign Remmick was also highlighted by his commanding officer for a fine performance and cool head during the operation, and so also was more than deserving of gaining his full rank. On returning to Promethean, both were given their promotion, to the cheers of their ship mates.
Back at Promethean, the Division resupplied but had little respite. We still needed to head to Atlantis in order to update command codes, get the latest intel data and install new security patches. After the mission we had just been through, it seemed more than essential that this went ahead; security breaches of the fleet-wide data net or comm systems would seriously hinder the performance of the Division.
I handed command over to Captain Evans, and gave command of the Raven to Lt. Jr Wade to give him some command experience. In the meantime, I took the opportunity to retire to my office and review some of the latest intel updates and security data.
My first concern was the state of Commander Expree and the impact of both his outburst and the psychic field on the crew of the Phoenix. I ordered medical to complete a complete psych evaluation of the whole crew, and work out some way to block out the field should the artifact somehow activate it again. Analysis of the sensor data confirmed the low level psych field emitted by the artifact had been actively transmitting throughout the mission, and had recorded a single yet powerful burst for a fraction of a second, moments before Expree had began ordering the destruction of the PSE Schrodinger. After that burst, the field disappeared entirely, and has not been detected since. I have ordered both the medical staff and engineering staff to come up with some way to block out the field and protect crews in the future. Though the incident was dealt with quickly, it could very easily have reeked havoc with the operation and severely crippled the Division. The loss of life was regrettable, but could have been significantly more severe without the quick actions of the Phoenix crew in subduing the commander.
The NSD had also forwarded reports about the incident previously with the crew of the Hydra, and the death of the Unakalhai prisoners. The reports indicated that one of the prisoners was a high ranking officer in the USF, one that would likely have been a source of significant intelligence data. What was most disturbing was the termination of the prisoners was transmitted from the bridge of the Hydra, killing the prisoners by venting toxic plasma gas from the pods’ engine systems. The effects of the gas were not evident until a short time later when the prisoners were taken to the ship’s brig and subsequently died from the poisoning. Such a death from plasma gas poisoning is swift and painless once the poison has taken hold. What is chilling is the almost execution-like manner in which it was carried out. Contacts are investigating further.
Things are becoming more dangerous. Hopefully the NSD can root out the agents within the Division before they cause major loss of life and somehow manage to cripple us entirely. To think that, within our own rank, there are USF agents and sympathizers working to disrupt our operations and even kill our officers… they must be stopped.
End Log.26/01/2016 at 22:36 #4101Leonard HallParticipant
// Xavier stepping up to the personal logs plate for the second time, I think? Interesting.27/01/2016 at 05:50 #4105MatsiyanParticipant
// A DSM? Oh wow! I thought I felt Mundy smiling about something.27/01/2016 at 10:05 #4117Jemel EahainModerator
// hydra went down first. If i remember lancer was ordered to attach a cluster base. We did so but took a massive beating and were quickly surrounded or tractored as we couldnt move then lost our engines
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