Log Matsiyan 11616-2237

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    Personal Log, Lieutenant Conrad Matsiyan, TSN Lancer, 4th L.D.
    Stardate: 11616-2237

    Bloody Arvonians. Checking out these systems is going to take so much work.

    I was almost late for the shift. Some of the more delicate sensor components on the station had been stressed beyond design limits by the overdriven, max cycle frequency loads placed on them by the Arvonian black ops device. I had been able to identify the power response profile of ones that held up well versus those that didn’t. The store of immediately available spares on station did not fit, so I hopped a shuttle over to one of the yards and went through the inventory with a tester to weed out suitable units. The pilot got bored and decided to run some diagnostics while he had yard equipment to hand. Why couldn’t he just play cards and chew stimtabs?

    By the time he had the systems rebooted it was touch and go to get back in time. I did warm up his impulse thrusters on the way back and left cutting it til the last second. There was a bit of a clang as we docked. I hope we didn’t scratch Chief Edwards paintwork.

    No messing about in the briefing. Warm up sims to shake down available crews and then a covert mission for Lancer’s crew to take the Manticore privateer hull to cut out a Hegemony Daka generator to work on patching up the damage caused by The Artifact weapon. Imperative that the acquisition not be traced back to the USFP. Meanwhile the rest of the division would make a demonstration in force against the advance Hegemony bases, partly to do some serious damage and slow up their advance, partly to draw any nearby reserves away from the covert mission zone.

    The sim aboard Lancer went well in terms of cooperation, but demonstrated Lancer has almost no role in hostile station reduction. One station hit grazed us and took out over half our shield capacity.

    Not sure what posessed the XO though. The skipper was called away just as we went aboard Manticore. This is fairly normal when Command are doing final mission reviews. He delegated crew management to Lt. Hall who didn’t assign us to our primaries. I’m all for rotating duties to become a well-rounded officer but on a lone-wolf covert mission, I would have preferred to have Engineering under my hands and definitely Aposine on the stick, but Hall took the helm himself, let Lj Finley handle Weapons, had Aposine manage comms and gave me Science. Under ordinary circumstances I would have been ecstatic, I want to gain more experience there because you have the best chance of getting a strategic view, which seems to me the best prep for command. But in a hull even more fragile than Lancer, with no backup to pickup life pods, I would have had all of us contributing our best strengths.

    Normally we are arm wrestling for places on Lancer. I am still on temporary assignment there, so am most at risk of being assigned elsewhere. I have been lucky to have a seat while Morlock has spent some time in Medbay recently. But this shift Roshin Das was also absent so we had an empty seat. The DO assigned us a cadet. A cadet! For a risky covert op. I later learned the DO had been a bit desperate. He had requested Mundy from Eagle, but her skipper turned down the request. For a whole division mission I could understand it, but they were expecting to run more sims initially and that denied Mundy a career opportunity and also denied the ship in the riskiest position an experienced hand at one of our boards. The ever adaptable Finley distinguished himself at the Weapons console as usual. It is easier on Lancer because she has no missile tubes and therefore you have no ordnance to worry about and can concentrate on manual beam targeting, especially since we have become fairly adept at warning the Weapons Officer of inbound missiles when we know they are in manual targeting. However, quickly positioning Lancer high or low off the ecliptic and pointed thirty degrees off the target to minimise the risk of critical damage from incoming fire is a fine art requiring some practice, which Aposine has and Hall less so. This left poor cadet Timonix on Engineering.

    Despite my discomfort I put in a creditable performance at Science. I had been reviewing Stellar Cartography and somehow it just clicked. I was able to rapidly have navigation plots available for the skipper to choose from and route to helm. We were able to transit half a dozen sectors staying mostly to the cover of nebulae. We had to skirmish our way past significant numbers of Caltrons and some Skaraan hunters.

    Aposine naturally was hyper alert on comms and eager to do his bit, but this backfired. As we neared the generator we encountered a couple of Skaraans. One we were able to engage and force into surrender before we were in sight of the generator. It rapidly departed the area. The other one wound up engaging us actually in the same nebula as the generator. Aposine’s timing was exquisite and as we pummelled her shields to nothing he convinced them to surrender. There was that instant of relief and elation that a combat was over, we were still around to realize it and we had control of the field of engagement.

    Then the captain pointed out that there had to be absolutely no trace of the generator back to the TSN. There was immediate concern across the bridge about firing on a surrendered enemy. But she was too close to the generator. She must have seen it and having been in combat with us had a good read on our emissions profile which could be used for positive ID in the future. I did not think of it at the time but I should have suggested taking her crew prisoner and scuttling the vessel. But we could not keep them in custody indefinitely. I guess we could have forced them into lifepods, scuttled the ship and then dropped the pods off somewhere they would be sure of rescue. That way they would never see us for ID purposes. We could have scrubbed the pod records before drop off.

    But my brain shut down as I flashed back on the first time this happened to me. That time I could have prevented it because I was on engineering and could have cut the power. This time I was at Science and had no way to intervene. At that point I think my brain surrendered to the situation and stopped thinking of alternatives like those above. I had a mental image of myself in camouflage slipping up behind a sentry with a dagger. I tried to tell myself that this is duty under certain circumstances. But I still feel dirty.

    We absolutely need to establish a clear order to suppress demands for surrender in certain rules of engagement. To me, we should also warn the opponent that that if the engagement begins, no quarter will be offered.

    Soon she was drifting plasma and we successfully tractored the generator back, albeit with some alarums and excursions. Lt. Hall employed a bit of a lead foot and perhaps Cadet Timonix was not familiar with managing the power load at that level or communicating problems. Anyway, we took significant engine damage before we paused for the first couple of sector transitions. The second one became significant as we also ran into opposition while we were conducting repairs. That is also when my console exploded. Well, okay I exaggerate but it did shut down due to overload. I slipped and hit my head when I went to fix the lateral sensor array power interface couplings. Bloody pirate amateurs. Fancy high-tech powerplant and weapons systems, but not properly attenuated to interface with the sensor suite. That’s what caused the blowback to the science console systems when the power plant was overloaded with tractoring the Daka generator.

    I don’t remember much after that point. By the time I was more aware there was just time for a few bits of sealing wax and string before we were back at Promethean Command. I reported briefly to sick bay to get an all clear and after listening in at a very lively session in the bar over a nice glass of warm milk I made my way to my quarters. Hopefully my brain will stop whirling now I’ve logged it all and I will get some sleep.

    [End log

    Blaze Strife

    //This is one of the best logs in recent time, I think! You’ve shown us character’s mind marvelously.

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