24/04/2017 at 00:18 #22945Adele MundyParticipant
Personal Log, Lt. Sr. Adele Mundy, TSN Raven, 2nd Flt., 4th Lt. Div.
Hunter. Dammit, we lost Hunter. I’m not sure how many of the crew died, I know MedBay is busy with the injured, and I’m not going to waste their time with my questions. The bridge crew all made it with minor injuries. But dammit, there was an instant when I was right back on the bridge on Hawk, the day she was hit. Not a place or a time I want to revisit… but there were explosions shaking the bridge, the smell of smoke, the sparks from torn cabling, the blaring of red alert sirens, and orders: “Abandon ship!”
I was about to leap to my feet and order the crew to the life pods, when I realised I wasn’t on Hawk, and Raven was in no danger – well, no danger more immediate than being in battle. But the damage and the imminent destruction were real. They were on Hunter. I was getting Matsiyan’s view through the psi-link. I felt the deck shake, heard steel bulkheads buckle. Dammit, I don’t know how long that lasted, and I was in command of Raven, and this was no sim, this was a mission. This was no time to have a distracted commanding officer… Thank the stars around I had as competent a crew as anyone could wish for: Greybeard in Engineering, Quinn on Helm, Xiph on Tactical; and a new cadet, Stylee, on Science – though I had both Science and Comms consoles in front of me, just in case.
Then Hunter’s crew were scrambling into life pods and ejecting, they were appearing on our screens, and we swooped in to pick them up while Lancer ran interference for us.
So much for diplomacy. Yes, Computer, it was supposed to be a diplomatic mission. Gunboat diplomacy used to be thing in the 19th century, I believe… because after the events of the last shift, with the Ximni ships and the disappearing ordnance, the Powers That Be wanted to have some clarifying Words with the Ximni. At least, they said they wanted Words. It might be diplomatic speak for something entirely more aggressive. So after the usual sims, (that was when Cdt. Stylee joined us, and was assigned to Weapons, which is a station he was unfamiliar with and where he made the same sort of mistakes I used to make all the time) the Division set out towards Krisenda System Sector 3, to provide security for our diplomatic envoys.
Raven was rather short of crew, as the Fleet Captain had to remain on station and Lt. Cmdr. Aramond was also assigned elsewhere for the shift; and that meant I was the senior officer on board. Which was fine during the escort mission, as all we had to deal with were a few Skaraans and pirates. And since all seemed quiet once the Ximni diplomatic ships reached DS-33 in Krisenda System, and the diplomats disembarked, among the usual ceremonial pomp, to start the talks, the Division was sent off to the neighbouring Sector 2. There, lo and behold, we found a number of Ximni and Skaraan ships attacking industrial bases I-23, I-91 and I-002.
As I said, so much for diplomacy.
So, we went in to defend our industrial bases – Ximni ships have an annoying habit of actually using those damn clever jump drives of theirs to get out of trouble, so scanning and targeting them presented more challenge than usual. And that was when Hunter was hit.
Once we cleared the sector of hostile ships, we returned to Sector 3, to find out, to nobody’s great surprise, that the Ximni there had broken off negotiations as soon as they found out about the attacks on the bases in Sector 2, and our response. Intel started coming in about the way the Ximni have been targeting industrial bases, which suggests they are intending to cripple our manufacturing capability. This suggests preparations for war… but no war has been declared yet, and there are even hopes that we might be dealing with a Ximni rogue faction, not with the main Ximni government. Though given that the Ximni are a direct democracy who vote by daily referendum on everything, I’m not sure who their government is. Maybe they’re not sure either. Maybe that’s the problem.
We returned to Krisenda Command after patrolling and clearing the nearby sectors, and waited for news while we trained with the usual sims. There was a cadet on the station who insisted on telling jokes – well, he called them jokes. Made one long for the blissful nothingness of the Void… He was a terribly young cadet. Is it a sign of old age when it seems like cadets are getting younger and younger every shift?
We tried a border war sim, with a near-instant system crash. Matsiyan is now running a Division-wide pool, taking bets on how long the next border war sim is going to last.
We followed that up with an escort mission sim, and defending a command post from enemy fleets. At some point during the sim, we were attacking Arvonian ships. Or rather, Phoenix was attacking an Arvonian command ship, and a Comms officer on another ship taking part in the action demanded and obtained a surrender. It might even have been me, I don’t remember exactly where we were at the time. If it’s close enough to be on my console, if we’re engaging it, and if it’s damaged, I tell it to surrender. Cmdr. Van Leigh was not pleased, and broadcast a demand to know who the hell had got the ship to surrender. And Matsyian, who was in command of the simulated Hunter, was not happy, and pointed out that we are training crews to uphold the traditions of the TSN. I believe he meant to say, we follow the rules of engagement, and don’t train our weapons officers to murder surrendered enemies. Well, in fact I know that’s exactly what he meant. Sometimes the psi-link makes life complicated.
Because Xiph was called away elsewhere, and we had sent Cdt. Stylee to help out on (was it Phoenix or Viper who was short of crew? Computer, double check that for me from mission logs, would you?) we were left with three bridge crew for the final sim, and ran it anyway: I took Science and Comms, and between them, Greybeard and Quinn ran Engineering, Helm and Weapons. I was nominally in command, but we were really a triumvirate. I wouldn’t want to run a serious mission like that unless it was necessary to take the ship out of harm’s way, but it was an inordinately cheerful thing to do as a concluding sim, especially as we managed quite well. Damn fine officers.
We’re left counting the cost of the Ximni attacks, though: the dead and wounded on Hunter, the dead and wounded on the stations, the damage to our manufacturing capabilities. Matsiyan has his grandmother’s coffee maker safe, because he’s been keeping it on whatever life pod is closest to his duty station – dammit, it seems like yesterday that we were sitting up to all hours of the night, real planetary night, studying for exams at the Academy, and that coffee maker was working overtime to keep us alert at our computers. And I had no sense of what was in his mind, other than the data we were studying, and he couldn’t hear me mentally swear at my slowness with the engineering tech… So, the coffee maker is a veteran survivor of many battles; but Hunter’s disco ball has been shattered into glass splinters, from what I hear. Or even plasma, I’m not sure what was left. It was only an object, but we imbue objects with meaning beyond their material composition: the disco ball was a mascot of a sort for Hunter, a playful rallying cry: “TSN Hunter disco ball, engage!” They will mourn for it as another lost friend.
[end log]24/04/2017 at 00:49 #22948MatsiyanParticipant
// Lovely to read as always. Thanks for the psi-link, the chuckles about the jokes, the history of the coffee maker and the eulogy for the disco-ball.
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