26/07/2016 at 22:15 #14394
Personal Log, Lt.Sr. Adele Mundy, TSN Horizon, 2nd Flt. 4th Lt.Div.
I knew something odd was going on when Matsiyan started thinking of elephants. Not a sentence I ever expected to dictate into a log, but we live in interesting times. So I’ll go on a nostalgic trip to the memory palace.
So, we were last in D.A.T.A., looking through the blast-proof window. Inside, I can see six steel cases for computer data banks, in typical Paragon “let’s assume some supervillains are going to break in here and start shooting fire bolts and opening up lava pits” style; there’s a console, too.
What have elephants got to do with anything? It’s an unusual image to appear in Matsiyan’s mind: he’s an engineer, not a biologist. I have become accustomed to seeing brief image flashes of his console when he’s on duty, particularly if we’re in a lull in the action on the ship I’m assigned to; and to “hearing” a surface thought here and there if he’s concentrating on something; and to always, always knowing when he’s drinking coffee. So when a strong image of an elephant appears insistently through the psi-link, I have to conclude that it’s a deliberate action on his part.
As I continue along the wall, past another steel case with a keypad on it, I reach the entrance to the restricted area. It says so on a sign above the steel mesh gate (it’s open, at the moment, but ready to drop if needed): “Caution: Restricted Area”. Red lights rotate above us, and across the entrance I can make out the faint red lines of light beams, which will trigger the gate if broken.
When elephants appear in conjunction with a request for volunteers from Cmdr. van Leigh for a, shall we say discreet, mission that might make use of Manticore, mental alarm bells start ringing. Van Leigh asked for a volunteer crew, since the mission would not be logged through the usual channels. So I volunteered. Matsiyan volunteered to run Engineering, Aramond came in as XO and Science Officer, Hall on Helm (probably with a separate ONI brief too) and Vaj on Tactical.
I go in, nevertheless, and no alarms sound. Perhaps it’s because Maurice Feldon is standing there (he wears a lab coat, and lemon-yellow trousers) and recognises me. There are more steel computer banks next to him.
In the end, the Fleet Captain authorised van Leigh to lead this crew into Arietis System, on Hunter. Supposedly, we would be testing new energy systems, but Lt. Hall would have details of TSN operatives, and should be able to obtain recent intel reports and sensor analysis. So before the beginning of the mission, Matsiyan and I worked with his engineering techs to upgrade Hunter‘s sensors and ensure they were optimised for efficiency.
I can look into the secure room from here, too (there’s another blast-proof glass window), seeing the same computer banks, plus a desk with more computers, and more steel cases.
Our orders were to hold our position in Arietis, and be obvious about preparing the ship’s systems, to confirm our cover story. Subsequently, we were to proceed into the Poseidon Rift, and gather sensor data – again, that would both support our cover story, and be actually useful. At the same time, however, we were to gather intelligence about Unukalhai ships.
On the white tiled floor are lines of yellow tape arranged in chevrons, pointing to steel lift doors between columns of red warning lights. And on the floor, right in front of the lift doors, where you’d think everyone would trip up on it, is raised octagonal boss with the bronze eight-pointed star. You could find these things all over Paragon, in the strangest places. They were supposed to have some meaning…
One Unukalhai ship in particular: it burst through Matsiyan’s elephant image, expanding into a vague, massive vessel, while at the same time his thoughts zoomed into a small image, closing in through a stylised viewport onto a picture of Horatio. Dammit. It was clearly the photo I was foolish enough to share that time in the bar. Dammit. I should just stop drinking. No more bar. Not even for chocolate. I should stop socialising and… Dammit. I was just beginning to feel at ease with people.
I take the lift down. In the deep, reinforced basement under City Hall, everything is concrete and steel. A wide doorway, more like a gateway, is deceptively open, but the red traces of light beams are clearly visible. Beyond it is a vast room, its ceiling almost hidden by a network of ducts.
It was difficult to concentrate on what van Leigh was saying about receiving intel about a new type of Unukalhai ship in the sector, suggesting renewed activity and the possibility of invasion. Supposedly it’s called Malfeas or Malfeasant: there’s a name to conjure with… There were different suggestions on how to move into the area to gather information (including using Manticore as a “pirate” ship), but the final orders were the ones I just outlined; with the added possibility of luring out the ship by presenting an attractive small target.
I go in. I’m standing on a wide steel balcony, with monitoring equipment on both sides, a metal railing, and one of the portal technicians standing there, waiting for instructions. The portal glows right in front of me, down on the lower level of the vast room. Its rings rotate at different speeds, clockwise and anti-clockwise, and the room thrums with its pulsing.
Then, once the mission was complete, we were to return to Sierra Gate to rendez-vous with the rest of the Division.
On the floor of the Portal room are four pillars with visible energy fields around them, each one as tall as a three-story building, at least. And a steel walkway leads right into the glowing circle at the centre of the Portal. I shouldn’t know this, the place was strictly off-limits… but I do know. If you step through that Portal, there is a moment of blankness, and then you step out into a different, vast, steel room. You’re in Recluse’s Victory.
I wanted to ask Matsiyan why he thought about Horatio when the Unuk ship was mentioned. Was he simply extrapolating the way I do, weighing the chances he might be on any USF ship we may meet, or did he know something specific? And if so, how?
We return to our scheduled transmissions…
We were waiting to find out when we’d be sent out, when the Fleet Captain announced that an outbreak of Arvonian Zikon virus had been sweeping through the fleet, leaving us short of active personnel as so many were confined to MedBay; and therefore, the planned missions would be deferred until we had sufficient healthy officers. Instead of the missions, we undertook a series of exercises.
Before I forget, this was my fourth and last shift as Duty Officer, and I know that I overlooked some requests for postings. I was distracted by thoughts of the Unuk recon mission, but that’s really no excuse. Cdt. Mulas, who requested several times to be posted with Ens. Braddock, ended up on a different ship, as I was trying to balance the number and expertise of our diminished crews. For some reason, perhaps the virus outbreak, we had a large number of engineers, and a dire shortage of pilots, and I couldn’t come up with a solution that kept everyone happy.
Again, perhaps because of the virus epidemic, Lt. Jr. Luna (another engineer) was back on main shift, after a long stint on alter-day shift. She claimed to have been stuck in the event horizon of a singularity, and perhaps it felt like that… on some assignments, time simply stretches away for ever.
The first exercise was supposed to simulate picking up medical supplies from stations and distributing them. I may have been somewhat distracted by the informal competition that has arisen between Slate and me (oh, and I shouldn’t forget: Slate was promoted to Lt.Jr., most deservedly. I’d love to claim prescience, but it was just about time) over who can claim the most surrenders… I’m pretty sure I had 4 in the first sim and 2 or 3 in the second, but there were several more where it was hard to tell; made harder by the fact that for some of the time Lancer and Horizon were in a battle group together, so Slate and I were trying to intimidate the same ships. If your shields come down and there are two TSN ships demanding your surrender at the same time, who do you surrender to? It would be nice if the enemy, instead of sending a generic “Curse you, Earth spawn” when surrendering, would actually insult us by name: if they said “Curse you, Horizon” or “Curse you, Lancer” then there wouldn’t be any uncertainty.
There used to be a phrase, First World Problems: I think the above qualifies.
//This is RL me not having taken enough notes: the Krisenda gate thing, was that a mission or a sim?//
On the way to Krisenda gate, after dispatching some pirates and N’tani, we recovered a code case containing the plans for an anti-matter weapon. As I communicated this to Allard, who was in command of Horizon, having arrived from duties elsewhere part way through the shift, he was requested to communicate privately with Command and Control. Shades of The Weapon… I hope not. He didn’t say a word about what the communication was about, so I would hazard to guess it was a serious matter.
Or anti-matter. All right, Computer, we’ll delete that.
The surrender contest continued, but I lost track completely, and at this point I have no idea who is ahead. Interestingly, it seems to have sparked renewed interest in obtaining surrenders on the part of the other Comms officers too. And in the end, if it spares lives, it has to be a good thing.
Among good things were two more promotions: both Strider and Max Power are now Ensigns.
We concluded the shift with a simulated scenario that set up rather different conditions from the ones we’re used to: our sensors were severely limited by nebulas, for example, and solar flares were interfering with the gate technology. We were looking for a scientist who had important information, and who was not where we had expected him to be; and a science vessel in a nebula where enemies were appearing and disappearing.
I found that the sensor limitations not only made the Science Officer’s job more difficult, that was obviously going to be the case; but the fact that ships would appear for about five seconds at a time meant I daren’t look away from the Science screen even when nothing seemed to be happening, and therefore I was unable to pay as much attention to Comms as I normally would. It was really a case where a dedicated Comms officer would have been terribly useful. The simulation was interrupted by the end of the shift – that’s one advantage sims have over real missions, we can stop… the other advantage is not dying, of course.
I didn’t want to detour into this, but I have to say a few words about Recluse’s Victory. Bear with me, Computer. Recluse’s Victory is Atlas Park, but not really. It’s Atlas Park plastered with Longbow recruiting posters, and hung with red white and blue banners that manage to be cheery and sinister at the same time. And there’s no way I know of to tell where or when it is, because it is accessed through a Portal. What sort of research was Portal Tech doing, anyway? The amount of gate technology that was being used on Paragon was completely off the scale, compared to any other civilian settlement in current records. The more I think about the things I took for granted, the more I realise it was a weird place.
Then, after debrief, Lt.Cmdr. van Leigh and the bridge crew of volunteers were called aside. The mission had been approved, though it would involve Manticore, not Hunter. And after all that extra work Matsiyan and I put in to the scout ship… Dammit. We were issued with I.D. codes for Clancy Meaney, and outline I.D.s for ourselves as pirates (Cornelius Tennison is van Leigh’s). So, it’s off to the Poseidon Rift we go. Let’s see if we can get back in one piece.
Computer, end log.
27/07/2016 at 10:14 #14448Blaze StrifeParticipant
- This topic was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Adele Mundy. Reason: Dicrete/discreet: damn English spelling!
//Matsiyan’s elephant in the room about your brother was very interesting to me when we were at the meeting.
Great log, as always! I was wondering how will you handle the Manticore-Hunter switcharoo. I’m just sad I didn’t get the opportunity to jump on the Tactics console with you all. 😛27/07/2016 at 21:50 #14467
We miss Blaze! But Vaj jumped in first, and he does have an in-character reason.30/07/2016 at 19:59 #14769gebbensModerator
Nice Work with the Logs keep it up 😛
Lt. Cmdr Gebbens30/07/2016 at 22:44 #14786
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