Log Matsiyan 9917-2237

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    Personal Log, Lieutenant-Commander Conrad Matsiyan, ONI, FNS, BUPERS,
    Acting CO TSN Viper, 4th L.D.
    Stardate: 9917-2237

    It was 139 years before William Sitgreaves Cox was forgiven. I hope I can forgive myself in less time than that. We saved a few of the brave Zolmari who escaped in rickety ships stolen from maintenance yards, but most of them perished trying to honour the example of their High-Commander and her brother.

    I’m kicking myself because so many more could have been saved if I had realized what the true objective was: save lives not ships. Ironically we did it for the one in worst condition.

    Cox was a midshipman acting third lieutenant in charge of a gun crew. All the officers above him were out of the fight. He was in command, even though he wasn’t aware and he was court-martialled for not being on the quarterdeck.

    When Captain Evans in CIC orderd the division out to assist refugee Kraliens, the fleet captain had already retired from the shift feeling unwell and so had Aposine. Jemel and Aramond were away at the inquiry into Lancer and Captain Verok has been away from the division for a few shifts now. We had crew for three ships. I was the only senior officer present. I and Lt.Sr. Hall were the only permanent XOs available, though I have been in de-facto command of Viper since Tuor left. The other ranking officer was Lt.Sr. Mundy who has frequently acted as XO. So she commanded Sabre, Hall Horizon, and I Viper with a scratch crew, well, barring Lt. Beaumont, who has been her, and my, steady support for a number of months now.

    From lowly occasional acting-CO to fleet command supported by junior officers in a single bound. I have noticed this with individual command too. Not only does the newest officer have the least experience, but they don’t have the settled, experienced crew, used to working with each other that the long-serving captains have. No disrespect to any of the crews I serve with but the junior ship usually has a crew made up of the least regular attendees or new cadets. Not only are they getting used to an unfamiliar commander and and a ship whose capabilities are unknown, but also colleagues they have not yet established an efficient communications protocol with. It is a real impact that creates frustration and reduces the ship’s ability to carry out orders with precision and speed. Either people don’t say enough and vital situations go unremarked, or more commonly, people are a little too eager to be heard and the chatter makes it hard to hear key items and doubly so for the skipper who has command channel chatter coming through and intership messages to catch and to deliver – assuming he can get a word in edgewise. I don’t want to suppress a lively atmosphere on the bridge but you notice in experienced crews that the quantity of chatter varies. In operations chatter gets sparse, key information is exchanged in the briefest of terms leaving room for command and for reporting of unusual situations and dealing with emergencies. Nothing gets said that is not vital to ops. Conversely, out of combat, the crew relax and banter and stretch military discipline, but know when to can it. I now realize that is much harder on the flagship. Maybe I need to tune my comms to get preferential volume for intership.

    After the defensive tension of my tenure in CIC finishing off the Caltron incursion into the Hjorden system (just what have the Kraliens been playing with?) and the gung ho adventure into Erebus to recover Lancer’s remains with Capt. Xavier in CIC and Capt. Evans leading the division, assisting a fresh convoy of refugees to join the Zolmari defectors seemed routine. Yes, I expected some pursuit but I didn’t expect it to be too heavy since Captain Evans reported they had already reached Promethean system.

    By the time we arrived next door into the gate sector, the refugee ships had already made it as far as DS-12. Expecting trouble from the gate, I distributed Sabre and Horizon to either side where hopefully they could use the minefields to advantage. Meanwhile, we got the refugee ships, mostly transports heading coreward as far from pursuit as possible. One was fairly prompt and the others much less so. I would have said that was just as well, given what happened next, but it turned out badly anyway.

    The lead ship was barely past Forward Command when it squawked a Mayday and ejected its lifepods. They claimed their drive reactor was losing stability. We swooped in and deployed our shuttle to pick them up and get them back aboard. We deposited them at Forward Command and that is when the ship’s drive reactor went critical. Most ships at that point simply disintegrate into plasma. On this one, the safety interlocks failed and instead of collapsing into a relatively harmless plasma explosion, this one melted down, spewing unstable heavy elements in all directions and a dynamically stable, uncontained warp field primitive, generating extremely hard radiation beyond the frequencies TSN shields can be tuned for.

    Consulting station engineering we found they had a stock of sensor buoys whose active emitters could be tuned to damp that radiation output if they were overpowered and distributed around the source at precise angles and distances. They wouldn’t last long, but long enough for a science and engineering task force to clear up the radiation source. Meanwhile the source was too hot for us and we had to take a break after deploying the first two buoys to let the shields cool off or we would have been taking casualties and systems damage.

    Horizon and Sabre saw a good deal of heavy action initially, but were able to confuse the enemy sensors and lure them into the dense minefields near the gate. However, pirates took advantage of the huge EM confusion and the limping transports to interfere. I don’t think a single one of the transports made it across the sector boundary to safety, but if I had realized how slow they were and how much difficulty their crews were having, we could have taken off more in shuttles and got them to safety.

    Espresso may be great for engineering problems, but it doesn’t cover everything.
    The price of experience is blood, and not always your own.

    [End log]


    //read and enjoyed

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