05/06/2017 at 22:04 #24501
Personal Log, Lt. Sr. Adele Mundy, TSN Raven (seconded to TSN Training Station Phoenix CC)
25417-2237 to 28417-2237
So many cadets, so little time. I’m sure Admin has a full list of all their names, with details of their completed courses so far, and notes by their instructors, but, thank the stars around, I was not involved in Admin other than peripherally. I did my stint of wiring and setting up and testing (Matsiyan did too), ran into Mike Substelny during systems test (Admiral Substelny couldn’t attend) and received some first-hand information about the new test routines. And then the murders began.
No, Computer, they didn’t. It’s an old joke. But I was, occasionally, tempted.
And then the cadets arrived, and it was all hands on deck. Six decks, as we had six sim suites prepped and linked together: Ishtar (light cruiser), Bast (scout), Badb (missile cruiser) Zora (mine layer), Diana (heavy cruise ), and Freya (dreadnought, with fighters aboard). The cadets’ level of preparation ranged from never-set-foot-on-a-bridge-before to fairly proficient. It’s a shame that a number of the fairly proficient ones seemed to think they were supremely proficient, and to be lacking the capacity to work as a team with their bridge crew. What are their NCO instructors doing, voiddammit?
I lost count of the times when the youngest, shyest, most inexperienced cadets were “relegated” to the Comms station, and as First Officer I had to stand by them and walk them through how to talk to the other ships in the division, how to request information from the Science officer, how to demand surrenders… to say nothing of the number of times I pointed out to the whole fleet that if each Comms officer kept asking the DS bases to build different weapons every couple of minutes, nothing would be built at all. They didn’t listen, and the number of times the ships had no more nukes available is proof of the fact.
Out of all the cadets I shepherded onto assorted bridges, only one asked me: “Which is the lead ship, Lieutenant?” I made certain his question appeared on the notes I passed on to his instructor. Watch that Cadet, he shows promise as well as good sense. The interesting thing – yes, Computer, this is me using “interesting” as code for “stupid and potentially lethal” – no ship was officially designated as lead. I suppose that since there was no way to know in advance who would have the Command post on each ship, and given everyone’s inexperience, it would have been an extra burden on someone to give them Fleet Command as well as command of their ship; but it made for some damn chaotic missions.
Some bridge crews were unadulterated disasters; others started out stumbling, but worked together and ended up exceeding my expectations and their own. Those were the best moments, when the bridge officers meshed into a real crew, understood what the other members needed from them, and provided it. The inconsequential chatter died down, and all you could hear on the bridge were orders from the captain and responses from Science, Helm, Engineering, Weapons, Comms, without talking over each other – there is an elegance to the exchange of information on a bridge that reminds me of the best fencing bouts sometimes.
And then there were the cadets who, I swear, had been ignoring the “no alcohol before a duty shift” rule, or who were taking the whole exercise as entertainment. Perhaps they were still at the beginning of their training, and hadn’t yet grasped the importance of a naval career; perhaps it was the euphoria of being away from the Academy for a few days, in an atmosphere where discipline was slightly more relaxed. I suspect some of the sims where the crews were supposed to be pirates didn’t help…
They were eager to take on the role of wealth-hungry space outlaws, that’s for certain – it makes one wonder how thin the veneer of human civilization is, after all these centuries – and the fact that they were confronted with a jump-drive ship with very little in the way of ordnance, no support from other ships, and only one base they could approach safely added to the new experience. One crew I was with struggled to work out the jump drive, even with my efforts to explain it to Science and Engineering: they took so long to work out and input the coordinates that they consistently jumped into the middle of the fleets they were trying to attack, with predictably dire consequences; one crew, after a couple of botched attempts at jump, suddenly understood what they were doing, and proceeded to maraud their way through several Arvonian ships carrying precious cargo. You never can tell when they first step on the bridge, which crew it will be.
There were things that I now realise fall into the norm: having to point out to fledgeling Command and Weapons officers that an EMP is going to appreciably lower enemy shields, so it should be fired before a nuke, not after; and that mines do almost as much damage as nukes, but you do not fire mines from tubes, you drop them astern as you fly on… I don’t think anyone actually reversed onto their own mine; but there were instances of Helm officers assuming they could fly through mine fields while not being Aposine.
And there was one Lieutenant who, voiddammit, had been telling the cadets on the Science console that the weakest enemy frequency appeared on the screen as the highest bar… How in the name of Truth and Science did that man ever make it to his rank? And when I corrected the cadet at the console, the man had the gall to argue with me! I calmly repeated the correct information. He asked me if I was sure. I looked at him. He skulked away.
He was the same Lieutenant who wandered onto Freya’s bridge when I was in command (there was a last minute absence among the cadets, and nobody wanted to take the Captain’s chair), and objected to my order to taunt a Torgoth Behemoth and fly through a black hole. There was not a moment to be lost: it was two minutes to the end of the sim, we had no ordnance other than torpedoes, and thanks to the chaotic orders given by multiple Comms officer throughout the shift, there was no heavy ordnance available from any of the stations, even had we been able to reach one in time. The crew, who were hesitant about the order anyway, hearing an officer say it couldn’t be done, started to object. I had to raise my voice… pointing out that Freya, and indeed the TSN, was not a democracy, I demanded they follow orders. I told Engineering to be ready to boost warp, I had Science set a course and give Comms the information on how to insult the Torgoth, and we went. The Behemoth with its 800-plus shields followed us through, and we had just enough time to see it being swallowed up by the singularity before the sim ended. The Lieutenant who had said it couldn’t be done skulked away. (He seemed pretty competent at skulking.) The crew cheered.
Yes, Computer, that’s me gloating.
There were conferences and lectures, there were planned and chance meetings with friends from the Academy days, there was food and drink. And then there was the dismantling of the sim suites, which is probably good for the ego as one is crawling around disconnecting cables, but not so good for the back.
And it’s time to return to real duty.
[end log]06/06/2017 at 01:06 #24520DraecoParticipant
//I do truly enjoy reading your logs (and Matsiyan’s), you write particularly vividly, enough so that even though I missed the shift I could visualize it. And they are just fun.06/06/2017 at 01:26 #24522Matthew VajParticipant
// Agreed. Also, the banter with the computer is quite entertaining.06/06/2017 at 04:57 #24540MatsiyanParticipant
// She certainly has a way with words.
Thank you both for commenting. It is great to know they are being seen. Don’t need huge praise but it is sad when the weeks go by and no sign they have been seen.
Cheers06/06/2017 at 16:19 #24554
//Thank you!06/06/2017 at 17:11 #24566NhaimaParticipant
// I didn’t realize I’d been doing it wrong for nearly a year… You’re supposed to shoot the big bars? Quelle surprise!06/06/2017 at 17:41 #24570Matthew VajParticipant
// Hmm, what might be a good assignment for an officer proficient at skulking?06/06/2017 at 17:54 #24574
//@Nhaima: you and me both! Honestly, the Phoenix Starship Academy people run the Artemis introductory training video on a continuous loop in one of the conference rooms, so it’s not difficult to get the theoretical basics of the game if you bother to spend half an hour watching it. And this means that this guy, who has been helping out at least as long as I have, and probably longer, has never watched the video.
//@Vaj: ONI? Oh, except for the Intelligence bit…
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