15/12/2015 at 03:23 #2854Adele MundyParticipant
Personal Log, Ensign Adele Mundy, TSN Hawk, 4th LD
Don’t Panic, say the big friendly letters on the cover of one of the great classics of 20th century Terran literature. A warning to be taken to heart…
There was definitely a note of panic in the psi-waves washing from Matsiyan at the start of the duty shift, as he saw the letters D.O. after his name. At the end of the last shift he had volunteered – and therefore had only himself to blame – to be Assistant Duty Officer, but had heard no more about it; and then, with seven minutes to go before the start of the duty shift, he saw he was actually Duty Officer, and didn’t even have the required rank for the job. The senior officers noticed too, and there was a flurry of red tape being whisked aside as Matsiyan found himself promoted to Second Lieutenant, as it would have been in a more leisured age – in this hurried modern day, they call it Lieutenant Jr.
Acting Ensigns Roy Johnson and Jayce Gideon were promoted to full Ensign. Then, with the ominous warning that we were on the border and therefore anything could happen, we all reported to our ships.
Matsiyan was really rather pleased, even though he was rushing around to sort out where the cadets would be assigned, to make up for more experienced personnel who were late arriving due to problems with the shuttles. I caught, once again, a hint of panic, well hidden in soothing tones to the cadets. I was rather amused by how quickly his mind went from noble ideals of fitting each cadet to the role they would be best suited to, to counting up personnel on the ships, seeing what was missing, and sending the cadets there as fast as possible, with the consoling thought that they would have to learn everything anyway, so they might as well start somewhere.
When he finally made it on board Lancer, there was joking from the bridge that Matsiyan’s doodles of Napoleonic lancers in their fine uniforms and czapkas (there is something of a contest among Lancer‘s crew as to who will come up with the best design to be adopted as the ship’s logo), had attracted attention from senior officers, and, well, some of us remember the traditional curse: “May you live in interesting times, may you come to the attention of those in power, and may your every wish come true”. So, there was teasing about the whole D.O. post being due to a very fine hat. Nobody said the hat was in any way cunning.
The opening exercises were rather frantic, it seemed to me. Hawk was short-handed at the start, with Lt. Cmdr. Allard on Helm and Command, Lt. Jr. Chuck Finley on Engineering, Ens. Deverin on Weapons, while I took Science and Comms as usual. Allard likes to use homing torpedoes and ordnance in quick succession, and that takes practice – which is what the exercises are for. Looking out for enemy tractor beam capability was something I need to practice. And there was – it was this duty shift’s psychic leit-motif – a touch of panic from our engineer after our shields went down in an engagement, and we still went into close combat range with beams, but Lt. Jr. Finley kept Hawk going and in one piece.
In the lull as we waited for the second training exercise, I was able to catch some of Matsiyan’s conversations as he assigned late-comers to the ships, and discussed (I’m not sure who was on the other end of the conversation) the challenges of being on Hydra, which, in the immortal words of Adams, “Looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow.” It looked for a moment as if the only crew member on Hydra would be poor, lonely Fulvus… But the rest of the crew arrived, on some of those delayed shuttles.
Meanwhile, on Hawk, a rather light-hearted Lt. Cmdr. Allard was alluding to another 20th century classic as he referred to his command post as Picard, and insisted that Lt. Leonard Hall refer to his post as Ryker, Lt. Jr. Finley as LaForge, Ens. Deverin as Worf, and my post was, of course, Data.
Which was all very well while we were on the training sim, but then the red alert went off and things got serious. Capt. Fish Evans came aboard, Lt. Hall was reassigned elsewhere, posts were shuffled so that Allard took Engineering and Finley Weapons, and we were off to Cerberus.
If I had thought the training exercises were frantic, well, that’s just peanuts to space… (Adams seems to be much on my mind tonight.) A TSN transport vessel was under attack and had sent a distress signal. No sooner had I detected high radiation that a singularity appeared in the system and Caltron ships started emerging from it, and from that point it was a constant race to destroy them before more would appear; at the same time, ships were rotated in and out of position so that none took too high a dose of radiation.
Caltron ships combine, somehow, into larger units that become more powerful than the sum of the original components; and we saw several Duodenaries, meaning that somewhere along the line, twelve ships had linked up. I’m not entirely sure the term is correct Latin… Twelfth is duodecimus, but the duodenum is a section of the intestine, so the term Duodenary sounds a little too gastro-intestinal to me… but I don’t get to name the alien ships. If the linking up happens on the far side of the singularity, or in our sector of space, I do not know. I didn’t see it happen, but things were, as I said, rather frantic, not helped by moments when orders to Hawk to proceed to one engagement were immediately countermanded, and we were sent in a different direction, with the need to switch scan targets so that Finley at Weapons could have the information he needed.
Caltron Duodenaries have the highest shields I have ever seen – I could swear I saw 18000 on the Science console, and now that seems impossible. Am I adding a zero, misremembering? The official log would tell me, but I think it’s been sealed and carted off by Intelligence for further scrutiny. However much it was, it took several of our ships acting together to get through them. It would be useful to determine if any particular sequence of ordnance is better at penetrating those shields.
And there were asteroids being deployed too; not only that, but when they were destroyed they left a wake of mines, so that the battlefield became increasingly full of dangerous obstacles.
After losing Noreel and Fremora stations (those emergency life pods floating among the debris, blinking on my screen as we were ordered elsewhere…) our division finally surrounded the singularity and jointly fired beams at it, shifting frequencies to match its increasingly erratic behaviour, until it was destroyed.
During the concluding debrief we were told that such a large Caltron incursion had not been seen before, and that the Caltron’s use of mine-trapped asteroids was a first; that the ship that had sent the distress signal was rescued, and will take part in rebuilding Noreel and Fremora stations. There was, at that time, no firm data on the number of deaths from the destruction, just vague references to rescued personnel, among whom were many injured.
We have, so far, no intelligence on the Caltrons. Since no life forms were detected on board their ships, speculation that they be automatons seems reasonable. I have had no sense of any personality when attempting communication with them; there is no way to provoke them verbally; I have seen them surrender, but have received no verbal acknowledgement of that surrender, merely the automatic signal from ship’s systems. They seem to have evolved for the purpose of frustrating Comms officers…
We were told the division is to remain in Cerberus sector to guard against the possibility of Caltrons returning. Meanwhile, exercises were to continue, to improve our familiarity with the new engines. In particular, since nebulas have a noticeable slowing effect on them, I’ll need to start plotting courses around them, which should work out quicker than the straight line routes.
The crew of Raven was sent off to sickbay post-haste, due to the high amount of radiation they may have been exposed to.
In the concluding exercise, I found myself posted to Engineering. It was another frantic time, particularly during the early part of the sim, where I needed to bring those large friendly letters to mind several times; and not helped by the fact that Hawk was tractored by a pirate with one of those weapons that slices straight through shields (I was looking at the Science console on my secondary screen, partly so that I could work out what the bridge was going to need , and partly because, dammit, I need to know what the ships out there are). So I called out a warning to the bridge, because I’d been making a point of looking out for those damn tractor beams, but I don’t think they heard me, and it wasn’t my job to do… Suddenly, every system on my board turned red, the damage control teams fell like ninepins, and then the ship was gone. That’s why we do simulations, we all repeated when the simulation brought us back. And scan those pirates! And inform when engaging! And target their weapons as a priority!
It was fortunate for me that at that point Lancer was having some problems that necessitated Matsiyan to run diagnostics, so while he wasn’t fully concentrated on his console I was able to peek at the energy profiles and set them up, which made life easier for me and energy management more efficient for Hawk. Still, I need to learn my way around.
At the end of the shift we were told we’d be back to Promethean sector for our next duty shift – countermanding what we had been told earlier. Ours not to reason why, of course. We were told there would be updated protocols for fleet manoeuvres.
Cadet Tygera, having passed her Ensign exam with a Silver pin and served a shift, was promoted to Ensign, so the shift ended with a cheer. And speaking of which, I’m now curious about which Jeffries tube on Hawk might hold the traditional Engineer stash…
- This topic was modified 5 years, 10 months ago by Adele Mundy. Reason: Tidying
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