Log Mundy, 28117-2237

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    Adele Mundy

    Personal Log, Lt. Sr. Adele Mundy, TSN Raven, 2nd Flt., 4th Lt.Div.
    Stardate: 28117-2237

    I shouldn’t be amazed, really. We go for weeks and months with routine shifts and even more routine sims, and everything seems settled. Then something like this happens, and we have to consider ethics from a whole new angle.

    The shift seemed routine to begin with. A pleasant kind of routine, as Lt.Jr. Quinn’s promotion to Lieutenant was announced, and deservedly cheered.

    We took part in a couple of standard sims, with enemy fleets attacking bases. Ships taking part were Lancer, (Capt. Jemel), Viper (Cdr. Verok), Phoenix (Cmdr. van Leigh), Hunter (Lt. Cmdr. Aramond), and Raven, (Flt.Capt. Xavier Wise in command, Matsiyan as XO and on Engineering, Nhaima on Tactical, Quinn on Helm, while I took Science and Comms.) I had to rely on Matsiyan taking over some of the scanning, though, as there were TSN allied ships to be sent to defend bases, and that took rather too much of my attention. There has to be a better way I can keep my eye both on the wider picture on the Science console and on the more detailed exchanges over comms. It may just be a matter of practice, as the second sim went better from that point of view.

    There were a couple of amusing events: a close encounter with an asteroid that left Matsiyan complaining about the paint (all moot, of course, because virtual); and among busy inter-ship exchanges, the Fleet Captain apologising to us on the bridge, “I hope I’m not too distracted, especially when dealing with Phoenix.” Oh, yes, and of course there’s that weird bug on Phoenix still, the one that keeps changing the comms I.D. of her bridge crew. At least, van Leigh said it was “totally a bug”, during the bar conversation after the shift.

    A final sim saw us changing the ship types, so Raven was set as a Missile Cruiser Mk2, Hunter as a Battlecruiser, Lancer as an Interceptor, Phoenix and Viper as Light Cruisers. Capt. Evans joined our crew and took Engineering, which meant that Matsiyan was able to take Science, and I concentrated on Comms. There was much discussion, after the sim, on the challenges posed by the ship type: the consensus was that a Missile Cruiser is weak, slow, has no staying power, and has difficulty doing meaningful damage. Suggestions to improve this last problem included making more use of Echo maneuvres, preferably Kilo Echo, and following up with P-shocks; suggesting that P-shocks should be used whenever the opportunity arises, because waiting for orders to use them generally meant it would be too late; for example, an Omega 1 could include P-shocks at will to follow. It was also pointed out that during missions, when we have access to fuel collectors, they can be used to replenish the stocks of Homing torpedoes, making the ship type more capable of dealing damage

    Just as I was feeling that I had reached peak incompetence level, as the only person who did not have a useful suggestion to make, we were ordered to report for our mission.

    The mission was to continue reconnaissance of Euphini Sectors 4, 5 and 10, with Lancer and Phoenix in battle group 1, Viper and Hunter in battle group 2, Raven as support. And this is where the story really starts…

    We met a mix of Hegemony forces in Sector 14, and at first thought little of it. We engaged, and were having little trouble. In fact, the Hegemony ships were surrendering in haste, and heading towards Sector 10 with even greater haste. I intercepted one of their comms transmissions: “Forget the TSN. Disengage. Defend BETA at all costs.” I relayed the message to the Fleet Captain.

    There was a moment’s pause, as he consulted the bridge crew for their thoughts. Fully aware that the message might have been intended to be intercepted in order to lead us into a trap, he ordered the fleet to follow the Hegemony forces to investigate. Naturally, investigation proved less straightforward than we would have wanted.

    To begin with, we found considerable interference and sensor glitches in that area. And when we moved further into the sector, we found the Hegemony forces were being attacked by Caltrons. Dammit. At first our main concern was that we were confronting two different enemies. There was one suggestion that we should withdraw, allow the Caltrons, who seemed to have a clear advantage, to clear out the Hegemony forces first, then attack the Caltrons. Not the best of ideas, really, as it would have left the Caltrons time to combine, and as we know by now, Caltrons’ increase in power as they combine is non-linear. I don’t want to say exponential without data to prove that.

    And at this point, we received a message from the Hegemony, asking for help. Dammit.

    The Fleet Captain assigned Matsiyan to negotiate with the Hegemony command – and a good thing too, as he was calm and diplomatic through it all. I’m not sure I would have had the clarity of mind needed. I had a brief image of the fallout on Paragon… and no, that had nothing to do with the Hegemony, Paragon was – still is, what’s left of it – all the way across the other side of Terran space. But, dammit! The Hegemony, enemies we’ve fought for years, who’ve destroyed Terran ships and killed Terran personnel. It struck me, briefly, that this must have been what The Little Horror felt. And at the same time, they were asking for help, and Caltrons, dammit, void-damned Caltrons… You can’t reason with Caltrons. They remind me of the Clockwork, but without the steampunk charm. It doesn’t even make sense to hate Caltrons. All you can do is transmit computer viruses and hope they are the right kind to do some damage, and even then it doesn’t last long. And here were sentient beings asking for help…

    The Fleet Captain offered a ceasefire. The Hegemony agreed to the ceasefire, requested assistance to evacuate non-combat personnel from their base and to defend Hegemony transport ships. So we fought the Caltrons, as we would have had to do anyway, concentrating on the Superswarms first (big damn constructs, shields at 2000) because they seemed to be acting like bases; and then on the Caltrons they launched.

    When we coordinate our forces, we can destroy even the larger Caltron constructs. I’ve heard officers dismiss them as not such a big threat after all, but considering that Caltron tech is older than Earth, it’s still far too effective for my taste. And do the Caltrons adapt? Have they improved their weapons over the millennia? Are they capable of doing so when faced with opposition they can’t immediately overwhelm? Are we forcing them to evolve into something more dangerous than they already are? Because I don’t recall seeing Superswarms before.

    There was no time to ask any of these questions During the engagement, of course, but they’ve been rattling around in my brain (and Matsiyan’s, inescapably) since we’ve returned to base.

    The Hegemony Command’s messages became increasingly fraught as some of the transport ships we had undertaken to escort were destroyed despite our attempts to defend them. Dammit, they were so slow! We couldn’t keep all the Caltrons away, and the transport ships had almost no shields to speak of. Hegemony Command said another transport convoy was coming through, and the Fleet Captain ordered that it was imperative to evacuate them safely if we wanted to maintain our neutral stance.

    At the same time, someone objected, what if the convoys were going to resupply Hegemony bases? They would pose a future danger to the TSN. From Phoenix, van Leigh suggested we should betray the Hegemony, go back on our agreement, kill everyone on board the transports and take the ships and their contents… perhaps that Pirate King comms I.D. Isn’t entirely a bug, after all. I suppose I ought to be grateful to him for saying that, because I realised, from the shock I felt at his words, that I had already decided that the right thing to do was to protect the fleeing transports.

    Of course the decision wasn’t up to me; but I feel better for having come to it before the Fleet Captain issued his orders that, since we had agreed to a truce, we were under obligation to assist with humanitarian aid. I actually felt a pedantic need to point out that perhaps we should be talking about sentientarian aid… but the situation was too serious to clutter bridge comms with fatuous remarks.

    So we did assist with evacuating personnel from the Hegemony base, and escorted them to the neighbouring Sector 9. They actually offered the Fleet Captain the data they had collected on Caltrons, and they kept their word.

    And then, as the Hegemony transport was tractored away by a Skaaran ship – with their consent, I hasten to add, the Skaraans work for hire, after all – we received a message from CIC that CP27X was under attack by pirates. So, our return to base was livened up by exchanges of fire with pirates, while I worked on sending allied forces to defend Sensor Arrays xiiiA and xiiiB. It was a smooth running operation, and somehow soothing (since when is military engagement soothing?) because it involved no moral dilemmas: the pirates attacked, we defended. They made it evident they were our enemies, and intended destruction; they were destroyed.

    With coffee on stand-by, we returned to base.

    The debrief summarized the engagement against the Caltrons, reported that we only saved one of the Hegemony evacuation transports. There were, I think, mixed feelings about that. There are clear opinions that the only good Hegemony member is a dead Hegemony member; and no doubt we’ll be fighting the Hegemony again next shift, and the shift after that, and who knows how long. But you never know. One day, one of the civilian evacuees on that transport might end up in a diplomatic post, or hold a high rank in the military, and they might feel less hostile towards humans because humans escorted them to safety.

    Anyway, we were told the data from the Hegemony would be downloaded onto a separate system, scanned for viruses, and examined in detail. We may hear something about the contents, if and when Intelligence decide we need to know.

    As for the pirate attack on our base, there seemed to be uncertainty about whether it was a probe of our defences, possibly gathering intel for a future attack, so we’re urged to vigilance. Not surprising, really.

    And then we were reminded to have our dress uniforms pressed and ready, as it seems likely an Admiral (of some sort) will be arriving on station for an awards ceremony. It’ll be good to celebrate something, though I’m not exactly looking forward to the speeches.

    [End log]

    Matthew Vaj

    // Yep, I’m still working on that bug in the Phoenix‘s systems….

    Blaze Strife

    //Verok is a Captain, mind you. 😛

    //A very interesting log. Lots of RP questions to ask and seek answers to.

    Adele Mundy

    //dammit, yes he is! I’ll have to edit to correct that.


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