15/08/2017 at 04:13 #26049Adele MundyParticipant
Personal Log, Lt. Sr. Adele Mundy, TSN Sabre, 2nd Flt., 4th Lt.Div.
The Fleet Captain asked me how I was feeling this past shift. I answered, “Much improved, thank you, sir.” Which is true. Yes, Computer, it’s true. I am feeling much improved, since I’ve decided to take advantage of my robot dreams as virtual target practice, instead of trying, in vain, to avoid them. And I’m somewhat cheered up by the company I find myself in…. Our brains do such odd things in dreams. Not that you’d know, Computer. Do robots dream of electric sheep? Perhaps I can try dismantling a robot in my next dream, and see what I can find in its memory banks.
I was surprised at how well I remember the old farm, the wooden buildings, the haystacks, and the brown tilled fields surrounded by those ramshackle wood fences that never kept anything out.
That’s where I met him, in my dreams. Did he find me, or did I find him? I was shooting robots, and there he was, wearing his favourite leather jacket, of all things. He came out from behind the water tower, jumped to the ground and sauntered towards me. He said, “I shoot the ghosts now?” in the exact, plaintive tone of voice he had used as a three year old, when Mita and I were playing our sim game, where you had to shoot ghosts, but not shoot people. You lost points for shooting people. And he wanted to join in, of course, though it was set up as a two-player game and he was too little anyway. “I shoot the ghosts now?” he suggested, and Mita, who was always much kinder than I was, handed over her gun. Which he promptly broke, because his hand was too small to pull the trigger, and he had a tantrum and smashed it on the floor.
The woods are — were, dammit! — close to the farm, in an arc from North through West to South. The East side is open, down to the river, and across the covered wooden bridge. Which would all be terribly idyllic, if it weren’t for the antlered creatures in the river.
But there he was. And he grinned at me, and shot a robot that was approaching.
“I saw that. I could have taken it,” I said.
“Of course you could,” he said, “but it’s better if we work together.”
It’s been so long since we spoke, and longer still since we spoke without arguing… Dammit.
Back to the waking world, dammit, back to work.
The Division has been practicing tactics to use against pirates, because pirate incursions in Promethean have increased since Command was damaged in the Caltron attack. Pirates actually got away with some TSN resources, and one of the planned missions was to go and retrieve them. We took virtual Sabre, Viper, Lancer and Horizon on our training sims, with Matsiyan temporarily in command of Viper while the Senior Officers debate who will become her permanent CO. Meanwhile, Lt. Nhaima has found a permanent berth as Helm Officer on Horizon. Oh, and Lt. Wade is back, was assigned to Sabre for the sims, and, in the words of the Fleet Captain, “Wade, it’s clear you’re back and you still know what you’re doing.”
In a pause before we took off on our first mission, we were gathered in the Galley, and, as has become custom of late, someone turned on the news. The usual sort of thing, until the broadcast was interrupted by a rogue transmission from an organization calling itself Radio Free Humanity, spouting anti-alien racist propaganda. There was general condemnation, and a call for Security to investigate how the station’s feed could have been hacked. I thought security had been tightened up considerably after the Hydra incident and the traitors, but apparently there’s still some loophole somewhere. I’ve been going over Comms on Sabre since then, just in case. But I haven’t found anything.
As I said, our first mission involved patrolling for pirates in Promethean and Volantis systems, with the aim of recovering the resources they had managed to steal from our damaged shipyards. We split into two groups, Sabre with Lancer, Horizon with Viper. It was something of slow, frustrating work for us, with several small engagements against pirates who would not surrender, hampered by the ion storm the Shipping Forecast had predicted, which was affecting our sensor range and allowing the pirates to take cover in nebulas. Eventually we found a hidden pirate base, recovered some cargo containers disguised as life pods, which included fabrication array components. And our marines were able to foil an attempt by a boarding craft to take control of Sabre: we had casualties, and our medical staff was put to the test after the action was over. I know Doc Singh took it very personally when two of the marines didn’t make it… The rest are recovering, though; and the pirates they captured are also stable, and will no doubt be questioned once they are delivered to Promethean Command.
Meanwhile, Horizon and Viper were struggling for their lives… I kept hearing Matsiyan’s voice calling out orders, and it was disturbing to see all the red nodes on Viper’s schematics, to hear the Mayday calls. They were dead in space at one point, maneuvering out of commission, all their repair crews seriously injured and unable to effect repairs, almost out of energy. Matsiyan ordered the shuttle to fly to the closest base to bring new crew members. I understand Horizon was in similar distress, too. It seems that almost all the pirate vessels they encountered had tractor beams, and when that is coupled with shields resistant to torpedos, it’s a lethal combination, because a ship that closes in to attack with beams enters tractor range.
Both Viper and Horizon made it back, I’m glad to say. We’re going to have to think about how to deal with those Void-damned pirates, if we can’t use torpedos or mines, and we want to avoid the tractor beam trap.
We were back on Promethean, discussing this, when we received a distress call from Cerberus 1, and we scrambled. The Artefact that had been on Promethen Command until last shift had been placed on a transport ship equipped with special containment equipment (F51), and was on route to the Atlantis System, where better containment facilities would be provided. (Note to self: improvement in headaches corresponds to the removal of the Artefact from the station. Correlation or causation?) And now the convoy escorting F51 was under attack by pirates.
That cargo ship had to be protected at all costs, we were told. If the containment equipment were damaged, the consequences might be disastrous. And just on cue, in a close engagement with a couple of those damn pirates, a stray shot damaged F51 and its containment field. It felt as if someone had driven a spike into my skull… I’m going with causation on this one.
I was working the Comms console, calling allied ships to defend the transport and receiving no response. I need to go over the data again. They should have received my transmissions, dammit. They should have answered, at least.
And sensors registered the kind of radiation surge that has become distressingly familiar. There was the damned singularity, and there were the Caltrons. Can they see/hear/read the Artefact somehow, when it’s not being contained? Is there a link between the Caltrons and the Artefact tech?
It took a concerted effort, but the Division did repulse the Caltrons in the end, and the Artefact received a new escort and continued on its way. I hope the containment equipment is made of sterner stuff.
A pleasant interlude between missions, at last, as a number of crew members received well-deserved awards: Viper, Raven and Phoenix received Meritorious Commendations; Quinn and Nhaima received Advanced Practical Proficiency ribbons (and about time too, I nominated them months ago, and I’m sure other officers did the same); there were a number of Purple Hearts awarded, among the recipients were Tuor, Cr00ve, Matsiyan and Bubba, for the loss of Hunter; there were Commendations for Slate, Donovan and Morlock; and a Distinguished Service Medal for Hall; all of which deserve suitable celebration in the Bar as soon as we can gather there.
But we were called away from our gathering by an update on the Zolmari Kraliens, who found themselves in need of assistance again: one of their agents, having been discovered, had taken refuge in the Hjorden system, and was calling for extraction. This placed the Division in a delicate situation, because the mission was high priority, and there was no time to go through the proper channels to let the Hjorden know of our intentions. And, indeed, a few Hjorden feathers were ruffled. Yes, Computer, I know the Hjorden don’t actually have feathers. We had to warp our way past an attempt at blockading us out, so that one of our shuttles could rendez-vous with the ship (X58) where the Kolmari agent with, it turns out, a second person as well, were waiting.
And a singularity appeared, and Caltrons came out of it. That makes no sense to me: if anyone was interested in the Kolmari agent, it should have been the Kraliens who had uncovered them. What could the Caltrons possibly want from the Kolmari? Of course, we scrambled to stop the Caltrons, which was harder than we expected, as a couple of Ternaries and a Senary appeared.
Once the Kolmari agent and their companion were safely recovered, we made a fast exit out of the Hjorden system, back to Cerberus – but I did have time to notice that my sensors registered an explosion in the area where X58 had been. I can only surmise that the agent had rigged the ship to self-destruct once they left. I hope there was no personnel aboard…
And once we were back on base, Matsiyan was called aside for some kind of confidential interview.
So, Memory Palace time: let’s put this one in Steel Canyon Vault Reserve, it seems appropriate. Grey steel plates bolted over the reinforced concrete, the huge not-circular (16-sided) door with its six massive hinges, and beyond it, the ranks of steel safe deposit boxes embedded in the solid concrete wall. I open one.
I got a glimpse of a grey uniform, but only a blurry impression of a face. A voice asking questions, not loud, but demanding. Brown leaves falling against a grey, rainy sky. And a symbol, bright blue on a dark background, a Greek letter: Psi.
[end log]15/08/2017 at 06:32 #26051MatsiyanParticipant
// Read and greatly enjoyed!15/08/2017 at 22:15 #26058DraecoParticipant
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