12/03/2016 at 07:52 #5889MatsiyanParticipant
Personal Log, Lieutenant-Junior Conrad Matsiyan, TSN Hydra, 4th L.D.
The fog of war is a well used phrase and now I know it does not only apply to the movements of enemy formations in unfamiliar territory. It also applies to individuals running covert infiltrations and to the strange sense of disorientation that blurs so many details of what happened.
I started the shift fairly elated after a couple of rotations away, looking forward to be useful again. Mundy and I had been invited outsystem to participate in a Terran cultural diversity festival that we were heavily involved with during our time in the Academy. With civil war underway, the psychological war on disaffection and division is in full swing. We would have been tempted to try and wriggle out from under BUPERS benevolent thumb, but they spiced up the deal by dangling an opportunity to participate with some select senior cadets in simulation trials of the latest fighter-equipped dreadnought under the command of legendary Admiral Patti Substelny with her husband, Mike, the Chief Naval Records officer. And then they threw in the chance to get some hours in the command seat leading junior cadet training exercises. I was pleased to rack up the highest kill score in the sessions, much to the wide-eyed delight of my crew of neophytes, who were somewhat dazzled by the speed and tactics of front-line experience. It was a little unfair that I had Mundy sitting at Science and coaching the Freshman at Comms. We were acquiring targets, asessing capabilities, plotting courses and avoiding overruns much better than the totally green crews.
It was hot, sweaty work in the bright sunshine but the thundering drums help you to understand the ferocious esprit de corps that drove samurai forward into battle and face whatever came with equanimity.
It all started so mundanely and cheerfully. A new officer transfer in from Second Division, Udae of the Orr people. Mr. Blaze passed his exams with flying colours to achieve his gold pin and Roshin Das was promoted to full Lieutenant.
First we ran a routine simulation. Since I had been away, I was happy to be back at Engineering rather than seeking another post as I have been doing to widen my experience, even though Lt-Cdr del Pino was aboard. We transferred from Lancer together. I admired his aggression and his strategic insight. He had a pretty fine understanding of how much time and resources any one encounter should require and where the ship needed to be thereafter. I found him rather remote on a personal level. You could sense him assessing and internally critiquing whoever was in command, though he never spoke negatively, despite a wicked and razor sharp sense of humour often deployed via the low priority comms text channels. He had offered to give me some help in developing skills in science and command strategy.
It was a pleasure to find Chief Kaplan and her assistant Polano still assigned to Hydra, DamCon crews get rotated and reassigned with monotonous regularity. It seems that the assignment controller’s nostalgia for Turkish Delight was already paying dividends. I initially thought that’s why Polano had been tapped to participate in a trial of additional automation assistance for the DamCon teams. In light of subsequent events I am suspicious that other forces might have been involved. Polano was enjoying himself tinkering with new tech toys though. These were advanced semi-autonomous, light duty robots. They are able to handle some routine cleaning and maintenance tasks without supervision. They also make a great assistant for working it awkward places, able to hand over the right tool, carry away debris, apply pressure with their light manipulator arms where it would be awkward for a crewman, operate in a toxic cloud and so on. The tech leads working with them had nicknamed them “skutters”, partly because they sometimes seemed to scuttle about and partly because they got all the unpleasant “skut” work. I could see them being very useful in a warp core incident while DC headed to the lifepods.
The console upgrades were a pain. Fortunately I had installed mine (and given Mundy a hand with hers) just before the shift, but poor Fulvus ran into some kind of glitch and spent half an hour under his console with a base tech. With Fulvus away from Weapons, Ens. Cessna took it over and the XO, del Pino, stepped in to his favourite roles on SciComms. We expended all the mines the admiralty had seen fit to grace us with and as a bonus Quinn pulled some very smooth manoeuvres around a gravitational anomaly to ditch clouds of fighters. Fulvus returned and Cessna reverted to SciCom.
Hawk and Lancer were sent off to patrol Atlantis whale preserve for poachers. The rest of us ran a second sim. Hydra competently executed her usual evolutions and launches.
When the rainbow warriors returned triumphant, the whole division mustered to escort a merchant convoy in the Atlantis system. This being a live mission and with a real prospect of action against Unukalhai interference with merchant shipping, I followed my personal tradition and made espresso. The threedy-printed copy of my heirloom, which I still hope was recovered when Hunter was salvaged for rebuilding, has not had much chance to be broken in, but already the flavour is improving, less metallic.
With a couple of officers dealing with upgrade issues, only Raven and Hydra had full crews. My previous stint as DO made me uncomfortable with that. So I messaged Lt. Aramond offering to assist if another vessel needed an extra officer. I was hoping to serve with my old comrades aboard Lancer or maybe finally get a chance to work with Mundy and get a better look into this ship that is so familiar from the psychic flashes we share. So naturally the DO assigns me to Phoenix, which is fine except that the XO, Cdr Zelreich does tend to bemoan things that don’t go right on the spot rather than finding a helpful debrief lesson you can build on. Maybe I’m thin skinned but I find it rather demoralizing sometimes in the middle of action.
I know Phoenix did a conscientious job of covering the convoy and taking her turn to scout and dance with rude strangers before they could tango with the convoy. But the details are gone. I know we docked back at Atlantis Command and, by the time I had run the cooldowns and Engineering diagnostics, I was about the last to leave Phoenix’ bridge when we were given liberty in the officers’ mess (which by division tradition we refer to as the “Galley”. I guess the forward base supported by the Division’s original complement of scoutships was pretty tiny). I noticed Hydra was docked between Phoenix and the Mess Hall. I thought about stopping in to get a fresh change of uniform but the gangway was on lockdown with most of the DamCon crews shoreside and only del Pino and Cessna aboard. I figured they were dealing with some minor emergency, but when I could not open a hailing channel, I left a message for Commander Verok advising him of the lockout and asking what was going on.
In the absence of other agency, I joined the crowd in “the Galley” and was downing my first synthehol when the klaxons blared and all hands were scrambled to chase the stolen Hydra. My first reaction to the red alert was one of empty loss. My place was in the vast twisty spaces where Hydra’s mighty engines twine about the huge automated magazine management systems of her quadruple ordnance launchers, or in the back corner of the Bridge on the console remotes.
As I popped a “scuppers hosepipe”, part of me wanted to just sit there and pull out a serious bottle of Scotch, because if my home in the division was denied me, then what use was I? I was already defeated. A heartbeat later I realized that Phoenix would need a hand now more than ever, with her XO out of the picture.
The chase was just a misery of desperately shunting power where the systems were crying out for it. The saboteurs had been thorough. As soon as we launched, my auxiliary consoles went dead. I had no tactical input at all except what I could overhear over the open bridge channel. And this was not my crew, we had no smooth rhythm of expectations and cues. I know power was not where it was needed half the time. And it was with curious reluctance that I fed power to the primary beams as we apparently took sidelong passes at Hydra to avoid her mine launchers. It felt so wrong to help those ravening tongues of energy lick out at my ship. She wasn’t to blame.
The supremacist invective Cessna was spewing over the division comms net affected me strongly. The world narrowed to a dark, vicious, narrow tunnel through confused, shadowy storm clouds of dismay and hate.
And then the bastards blew my replica stovetop espresso machine to a radioactive plasma with a full broadside of nukes that damn near took Raven as well. But then, a Moka pot does not have the shields of a Battlecruiser.
I didn’t like del Pino, but I damn near respected him. May he rot in hell.
12/03/2016 at 08:13 #5894Blaze StrifeParticipant
- This topic was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by Matsiyan. Reason: Typo
//The golden pin, yeah… I wonder when I’ll receive that thing. When I have a permanent station?
//Uh, the “skutters” are a nice idea!
//Nicely written, especially the last few paragraphs..12/03/2016 at 08:29 #5896AramondParticipant
The Hydra is toast, the Raven is a radioactive mess, we lost two officers to betrayal and death; but the true casualty here is your coffee maker.
Let’s raise a toast to lost appliances!12/03/2016 at 11:08 #5904Blaze StrifeParticipant
//Oh, I got the pin! Yay! 😀 😛 Thanks to whomever did that. Xavier, I suppose. Someone lurking around, in any way. 😛12/03/2016 at 17:01 #5926MatsiyanParticipant
Eric, have you never heard of psychological displacement? 🙂12/03/2016 at 18:49 #5933QuinnParticipant
//Well written, and thorough too! My notes are a jumbled mess, and I forgot you were put on the Phoenix before the theft, for some reason I thought it was after. I’m not sure what the verdict on Hydra’s crew is. I wrote that they were all still aboard, but you’re probably right in assuming that a good portion of them would have station privileges, especially the NonComs. Maybe there’s a rotation of who gets to go and who has to stay on the ship? With any luck, some of the recurring NPCs you always mention in your logs have escaped the worst.12/03/2016 at 22:12 #5952ZephyrParticipant
//cool 🙂 I’m sure some skutters are left.
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