14/04/2018 at 05:55 #32299Adele MundyParticipant
Personal Log, SubKmdt. Adelaide Mundy, TSN Oblivion, 2nd Space Flotilla, 4th Hunter Group
Our ships have been upgraded again — or at least, that’s the official term for the tweaks and changes. Naturally, everyone is grumbling about something (for example, our combat systems seem to burn through more energy than before), even on the newly repaired Invictus. Especially on the newly repaired Invictus. But that’s one of the things sims are for: so when we experiences systems crashes, we sent our engineering teams into action, then tried again.
While maintenance continued, we adjourned to the Galley, ostensibly for the latest news; but actually, taking advantage of some of the privacy protocols, we spent some time discussing the Kralien Artefacts. Yes, the Well-drenched Artefacts. Is that something anyone says? Since you have the Well of the Furies, doesn’t it make sense that something particularly dangerous and despicable would be drenched in its waters? Perhaps not. But what’s the point of having a mythology if you don’t use it to make up swearwords?
Anyway, back to the Artefacts. We’ve been digging among the data, particularly the data where nobody is supposed to dig, and your Empire seems to be approaching an understanding of how the Artefacts communicate. That means that it is also approaching an understanding of how they control Caltrons, and that is not a comforting thought. Caltrons were the Forerunners’ AI troops, and if the ISN comes close to replicating the Forerunners’ ability to control the Artefacts, and to manufacture and control Caltrons, those things could become the Empire’s advance troops and weapons, with no need of human personnel. They could expand the Empire beyond the Systems we know… somebody even speculated that if the Artefacts in this universe resonate with the Artefacts in ours, this could even expand the Empire’s control to the Caltrons in our universe. So much for my moment of optimism last shift.
Not if we can do anything about it, Adelaide. We’re watching all comms, even more than before. If we hear a whisper of an Artefact, we’ll find it, and we’ll get there, and we are not going to allow your precious Emperor to use it.
Some of this conversation was sparked by the mention, on the news, of Prefect Moritani’s arrest and current detention in Fortress Fenring, in Atlantis System, and by the accusation that supposedly he used something known as the Idol of Hyoko to sway the local population’s opinion. We are asking ourselves if this Idol might be one of the Forerunner Artefacts, or if it’s something different. After all, since Hjocoa is an illegal substance over here (dammit!), could this Idol thing be involved in its production? That would be one way to keep a population docile. But then, we only have Interim Prefect Romanova’s word for what Moritani has been doing, and she was the first one to openly mention the Idol. Personally, I have no reason to trust her motives.
We were left with more questions than answers — a situation we really should be used to by now — and we were sent out on our missions.
Our first mission sent us to Krisenda, where pirates and mercenary forces have been trying to take advantage of the unstable situation in the System. There were also rumours of TSN ships fomenting rebellion, and reports of remnants of the Kralien and Hegemony forces endeavouring to cause as much damage as possible in their retreat. Our orders, of course, were to patrol and deter them all; while also collecting information on any comms and sensor buoys requiring repairs and maintenance, and, if necessary, deploying engineering teams via shuttle to effect repairs.
Oblivion and Relentless formed one battle group, Invictus and Excision formed another. We started our patrols from Krisenda Command and into Sector 2, to repair sensor buoys. Kraliens and Skaraans tried to interfere, but we interfered with their interference quite effectively, until some malfunction (damned “upgrades”) shut down our systems long enough to allow the few remaining Kraliens to escape.
Once our engineers had turned the lights back on (and there was much colourful language involved in the process) we continued into Krisenda Sector 3, where we found DS96 in the hands of pirates. So we sent our shuttles full of Marines to take the station back, and they sorted out the pirates on the station while we held off the pirate ships and more stray Kraliens.
Continuing our patrol, we found a sensor array damaged, which limited our ships’ sensor range, and meant we had some difficulty finding and tracking hostile ships as we continued to defend the stations in the system. One station was destroyed by Torgoth ships, and our comms officers had to despatch friendly ships to search for and rescue any survivors, while we defended the remaining stations.
And the thing we carefully scrubbed from sensor records: there were TSN ships in the sector. We sent them requests to assist with rescuing the civilians, but we had no response: they simply observed, but at least they didn’t attack. And then, after we ended our rescue efforts, they sent us a message: that they would leave the sector, but would drop something for us to pick up. Curiouser and curiouser… They did just that. Invictus’ shuttle picked it up, brought it back, and we returned to Command, very carefully erasing all trace of this interaction, substituting a continuing patrol.
The Black Box, which of course we have kept isolated from all ISN systems, contained details of TSN comms protocols: a highly directional arrangement that should be difficult to detect by anyone outside the direct beam. So we have a way to talk to them, but we need a good cover story, because too many blank spaces become noticeable after a while. I wonder who is a possible candidate to be convinced to give us orders to infiltrate the TSN? Romanova? That would be amusing, and poetic …
But we were back on the base, and had to stop talking treason for a while.
For our second mission, we were ordered to do a security sweep on Industrial space stations in the Core-Spinward sectors of Krisenda System, checking all personnel credentials against Imperial databases, in order to uncover dissidents, identify their ringleaders, and extract them, in order to prevent any further negative influence on the population. Negative, in this case, probably means “encouraging critical thought”… apparently, Krisenda System has been isolated from the Empire long enough that separatists have been spreading dissent, and parts of the system seem on the brink of declaring independence.
Needless to say, the ISN expected us to carry out arrests of such dissidents, though they did not specify if this would lead to re-education or permanent disposal. Equally needless to say, we decided we had to find a different way to make such dissidents disappear. We were also warned that the stations might hire N’tani or Skaraan forces to defend them, and since we wanted to capture the so-called dissidents, we determined that we would do everything possible to restrict our use of weapons to wearing down our opponents’ shields to get them to surrender, then send in Marine contingents to pick up the dissidents.
Someone suggested we might engineer a glitch in our Comms security protocols as we entered the system, so that they could overhear our ship-to-ship messages, and have time to escape. I wasn’t particularly happy with that suggestion, as we’ve been experiencing a variety of manufactured malfunctions already, and every additional one increases the chance we’ll be caught. To say nothing of the fact that a glitch in Comms security protocols reflects poorly on all Comms officers. Adelaide, you should be glad I’m protecting your reputation. But I’m also committing what you’d think of as treason, so, it probably doesn’t quite balance out.
We decided we would send in the Marines and remove the ringleaders, then claim we threw them out of the airlock doors, and instead hand them over to the TSN — if we could get their secure comms protocol to work, and they were willing to listen.
We carried out our plan: surveying stations in Krisenda, delivering Marines to ostensibly clear the stations of all dissidents and round up the ringleaders, then bring them on board as prisoners. Meanwhile, we fended off Kraliens and Torgoths; and noticed stationary TSN ships observing in the outer reaches of the sectors. And once the coast was clear, we delivered our prisoners by shuttle to the TSN ships. That was when an ISN convoy made an appearance, and we had to scramble comms in order to avoid talking to them until our prisoners were safely delivered to the TSN. We tried to make it look as if the TSN ships were interfering with our transmissions. I hope that worked; we keep “losing” comms at terribly opportune moments, and sooner or later somebody is going to work that out. Then we “fixed” our malfunction, and reported that the dissident leaders were no longer on board. We left them to deduce what they would from that assertion.
A pod of Xenos went by, and a Torgoth fleet went chasing them, but we put a stop to that. I haven’t actually looked up the ISN’s official policy towards Xenos, but dammit, the TSN protects the space whales, and therefore, so do we. Whatever uniform we happen to be wearing at the time.
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