03/12/2016 at 00:44 #19072Adele MundyParticipant
Personal Log, Lt.Sr. Adele Mundy, TSN Lancer, 2nd Flt., 4th Lt. Div.
The plasma storm continues, and most of the division continues to monitor sensors, attempt to analyse the garbled data we are getting from them, and keep them going. We won’t be able to take any of the ships out of their berths until the storm intensity dies down, and then I expect we’ll have to go and find out which of our sensor buoys, if any, are still functioning. Meanwhile, a few crews at a time are taking part in sims, when Engineering and Maintenance decide they can spare us.
Cadet Reynolds found the time to take and pass his Weapons exam, so he’s been promoted to Acting Ensign. I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t rely so much on 21st century media. There really is no reason for him to misbehave.
The sims started with crews moving around from sim suite to sim suite, as first we reported to the ones emulating the ships we’re normally assigned to, and then moved, following the D.O.’s instructions, to whichever ships needed crew. We were able to crew Viper, Horizon, Phoenix and Raven. It looked for a moment as if I might be on Viper, with Verok in command, and Aramond, Matsiyan, Blaze and Graybeard, and it looked like a wonderful opportunity. Then I was told my presence was required aboard Horizon, commanded by Allard. Then I was told to move back to Viper. Then I was told to stay where I was, while Allard disappeared up to CIC.
You know what, Computer? Time for a little Memory Palace jaunt. The last place I visited was the D.A.T.A office in Paragon City Hall, so let’s take up where we left off.
//Normal typeface is what is heard in the log. What appears in italics is not actually recorded anywhere, but is placed in Adele’s Memory Palace, with the descriptions in the log as the key to retrieving the memory.//
Returning upstairs in D.A.T.A and heading towards the door, on my left, along the South wall, are three more computer databanks.
It’s flattering, I suppose, that Allard was prepared to go over the D.O.’s authority to make sure I stayed on Horizon. It’s just wrong. I felt that I was placed in an awkward situation over something that was actually of no importance, since we were about to start a sim, not a mission. At the same time, it was disrespectful towards Blaze: as the D.O., he had made some decisions about personnel, and as I understand it, Allard didn’t present any kind of argument against those decisions other than, “No. No, I want Mundy here.”
In the middle of the room is a big black slab-like desk or workbench, flanked by two black filing cabinets and a waste basket, with two computer monitors – so old-fashioned! They look like the kind with a tube inside, the bulky kind that went out of use in the early 21st century. Of course, when I was a child I had no idea they looked old-fashioned, they seemed normal to me. And of course, the actual circuitry was nothing a 21st century computer would have recognised.
So, Allard came back from CIC with instructions that I was to stay aboard Horizon, and we started the warm-up sim. Ens. Beaumont took Helm, Croove took Engineering and stepped in on Comms, which is his primary, when he could, Allard took Science (sort of), and put me on Weapons. Now, I’m okay on Weapons. Not brilliant like Blaze or Nhaima, but okay. I can certainly use the practice, and there were moments when I know I was slow, or had the wrong ordnance loaded. That’s the point of a sim. I know I can improve. Having Allard change his mind two or three times about what ordnance to load as we approached enemy fleets did not help, but I can understand that. But. But. So many damn buts!
There are two computer towers, and lots of cardboard boxes on the floor, some of them just opened.
Where to start with the buts? It makes sense for the C.O. to take the Science console, of course; BUT, dammit, it would help if he were actually to scan ships, and even actually double scan them from time to time. I had a Science screen open next to my Weapons console, so I could have a wider view of where we were and what we were doing, and if it had been my Science screen I would have been ready to resign my commission…
Further along the wall are three more of the bulky grey metal computer databanks. It all seems so appropriate to the office name, thinking about it.
Beaumont did fine on Helm. I saw him in a later sim, with Nhaima on Weapons, and the coordination between the two of them is a thing of beauty. So I’m going to take responsibility for any lack of coordination in that first sim, even though it wasn’t pointed out. I suppose if I can see where I need improvement, I don’t need the C.O. to say it. BUT isn’t that part of his job, dammit?
Then it’s back to the door, turn left, back out into the hallway, (do I need to describe the hallway again? Blue carpet, wooden cabinets, table lamps… No, I don’t.) and head south to the door into M.A.G.I.: Modern Arcane Guild of Investigation. Do you believe in magic? People in Paragon did.
Croove took Engineering, and kept the ship going. I can’t claim I would have done any better, BUT I’ve seen Jemel, Graybeard, Matsiyan at work, or rather, I’ve experienced the results of them being at work, and I know that the tubes wouldn’t ever be that slow to load unless there was damage to the system. The telling remark, in my opinion, was when, during the debrief, Croove said, yes, he had the Comms screen open, so he was sending out taunts and surrender requests when he had nothing to do in Engineering. I can feel Matsiyan’s hackles rise at the mere thought: nothing to do in Engineering? Dammit!
Inside, starting along the north wall, on my left, there is an antique desk with a hand-written manuscript on it. All along that wall stand rustic bookshelves with old books, most leather bound, punctuated here and there by a skull or a candle.
And I know that a four-person bridge crew is not ideal, and there is going to be some loss of efficiency from doubling up the stations. BUT I would expect a C.O. to at least point that out during debrief, rather than telling everyone they had “done great”. No, we hadn’t. We hadn’t made any irreparable mistakes, and we had managed with the resources we had, which in itself is an achievement, but it has to be placed in the right context.
All right, Computer, time to come back to the here and now. The next sim was a combat exercise that actually took place in multiple stages, and just by having a series of evolving objectives it turned out to be one of the most interesting exercises I’ve taken part in so far. The exercise was set in Cerberus sector, and in the first part, the idea was to practice coordination with other TSN vessels. I stayed on Horizon, moved to Comms, and was given the task to coordinate the defence of three stations with an allied force.
Talk about a learning experience. It was engrossing and frustrating and satisfying at once. Things I learned:
1. There is no way (yet) I can think about shepherding nine TSN allied ships into battle, and look after Science scans at the same time. Maybe one day. But today is not that day.
2. There is no way I can do that shepherding without a Science screen right beside my Comms console. I didn’t even try. It would take a Science officer whose only task was to guide the Comms officer, and that seems inefficient.
3. Some TSN allies are more responsive to orders than others. This could be because it was a sim, and the allies were being run by the A.I., with possibly occasional tweaking by CIC.
4. Being interrupted in said shepherding because the C.O. wants surrenders from enemy ships is not conducive to the survival of the allied ships being shepherded. Again, possibly because they were being run by the Artificial Stupidity (now, now, Computer, don’t sulk, the solar wind will change and your circuits will get stuck looking like that) rather than actual officers.
Overall: it’s a job that takes a lot of concentration.
//After asking Mike Substelny why some vessels would refuse orders, he said that if they have a mission in the script they will not accept orders, or they will accept for a moment, and then revert to their original course, until they have completed that mission. So the script might need to be changed.//
Anyway, I managed to keep most of the northern fleets of enemy busy with our TSN allies until our own ships were ready to deal with them. Too many losses – I would hate to have been responsible for that many in a real engagement, but on the other hand, I doubt that real personnel would head blindly into large enemy fleets the minute I turned my attention elsewhere.
There followed an ambush scenario (I moved to Raven at this point) where we went skulking through the nebulas in Cronus Sector, looking for a Kralien dignitary with important information. We found the right transport ships, they surrendered, and we captured the Kralien – I wasn’t sure at first if their transport ships then self-destroyed by overheating their drives, but it seems from the official logs that we actually scuttled them.
We used the information we had gained from the Kralien, to find and destroy a weapons development facility. We then headed for the gate, but it was inoperable. We received information over comms (with much interference) about the nearest gate that was coming online, and then it was a question of reaching it, avoiding enemy fleets. And then we had to hold position by the gate as it was also offline, and TSN personnel was trying to re-establish the connection.
It was a busy, satisfying sim, with changing objectives, and even a few Caltrons turning up – I don’t know if the radiation spikes that always accompany the Caltron appearances were involved in disrupting the gates, but it’s a possible explanation.
In a final, fast-paced sim, Aposine was given command of the fleet. This is where I saw Nhaima and Beaumont working Helm and Weapons together like a beautiful dance; and on that positive note, the shift ended.
What the next shift will bring will depend in part on the plasma storm: if it goes on like this, we are going to need to keep personnel doing maintenance, and we are going to have to stick to sims. We’re not receiving supplies – not that the situation is anywhere near concerning, since stocks are maintained at levels that allow for significant delays in resupply – and we’re not receiving new cadets trying out their temporary posts, either. Something about those things seems to be bothering the kids (oh dear, I sound like my mother), I mean, the cadets and the junior enlisted: they’re hanging around when they’re off duty telling ghost stories, and some of them are talking about the failed attempt at “The Pirates of Penwrath” back on Prometheus Station, and suggesting some similar enterprise. Only, not an operetta, which might be a good thing, considering; unless it’s something worse. I have no idea, they stop talking when I walk by. That’s it: I’m officially old, then. Dammit.03/12/2016 at 10:04 #19079Blaze StrifeParticipant
//A very interesting read. I hope more people read this one. And thank you for the high praise. 🙂
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.