Log Mundy 6118-2237

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    Adele Mundy

    Personal Log, SubKdt. Adelaide Mundy, ISN Oblivion, 2nd Flotilla, 4th Hunter Group
    Stardate: 6118-2237

    Stormhold. Fine name. You’d expect a granite fortress holding a remote mountain pass. It’s an industrial station, or what remains of it, among asteroid fields and wrecked ships. It clearly used to be a mining station, judging from the equipment we found on it, processing the ores brought in from the belt. It’s been abandoned after some catastrophic event, probably war, judging from the damage… We’re making guesses and deductions, all of us, until we can access any records.

    And while we can’t, my mind is free-associating bits of ancient Terran literature: Khazad-Dum, the dwarven mine where Balin’s ancestors delved too deep; ruined and seemingly empty, and then you find the writings by Balin’s tomb. And just by sound association, Za’Ha’Dum. If you go to Za’Ha’Dum, you will die…

    Well, of course we will. Everyone does. It’s what being human is all about. So, our latest close brush with death: major damage on all the ships, report after report about how dire our situation is. We don’t know where we are, we are having to watch Life Support and keep readjusting manually because the automated systems are not functioning reliably enough, and everything else after Life Support is being worked on in order of how essential it is.

    Strangely enough, we were pulled off maintenance duty and took a turn on the simulators. We have been trying not to overextend any crew, not to exhaust ourselves and others. It would be too easy to drive ourselves to working round the clock, pushed by necessity, until we’re in no state to make decisions if an emergency arises; and an emergency is bound to arise. Our whole status is an emergency.

    We were running scenarios planning for emergency, in fact. I was in command of Oblivion while the Fleet Captain, I mean, the Group Leader, was on Grant, going over the disastrous reports we had just brought him. Why do I try to use the ISN ranks? Because if we get out of this system, I mean when we get out of this system, we are going to meet ISN ships, and we’re going to communicate with ISN officers, and until we know what their attitude might be towards visitors from a parallel universe who’ve taken over the bodies of the 4th Hunter Group, we’d better look and sound like the 4th Hunter Group they’re expecting. Are you doing the same, Adelaide?

    [audible sigh]

    Have you tried contacting home yet? I’m afraid it’s going to be a shock for you. But do you even care?

    [pause, and the sound of pacing]

    We had Quinn as my XO, and on Helm, Ironclad in Engineering, Mid. Lolpi (a transfer from third shift, I think) on SciComms, and Slate on Weapons. She should have been in MedBay, her shoulder is still not recovered from whatever debris sliced into it during our universe-spanning jump. She made a brave attempt at keeping her station, but when our second sim was interrupted by the Group Leader calling all ships to deploy shuttles to Grant to pick up materials for repairs, I sent Slate back to MedBay. She wasn’t in a state to carry out a live mission.

    It was, to say the least, nerve-racking to watch on the monitor as the shuttles went off and came back, and we sat there, waiting. Equally nerve-racking as our DamCon teams rushed to fit the new parts to our drive, to make us at least mobile… Grant has been running her manufacturing capabilities to the limit, I’ve probably said this before. I’m losing track of what I’ve recorded, and I don’t want to go back to double check. Bad practice, but dammit, time is what it is.

    Since Ironclad brought back Proteus and our teams brought in her cargo in good time, we dispatched her to scout the sector, as sensors had picked up movement, but their range was too limited for us to determine what was moving. The first group of moving objects turned out to be space whales, for which we were all thankful. We weren’t so lucky with more objects we picked up later, and we were racing to get the ships mobile first, then have shields and tubes operational. We wanted everything at once, of course, but we had to prioritise.

    Some of the hostiles registered as Terran ships, but our comms and sensors were still functioning at reduced capacity, so it seems the signal was questionable. Just because they did appear to be Terran ship, we repeatedly attempted to have them surrender, but we had no response. And so we destroyed them.

    Were there humans aboard, or were they just Terran-made ships? Who was on board? And should it make a difference to me?

    In the course of the engagement, Excision suffered serious damage to her systems, her comms went down, and with our own sensors glitching, it looked for a moment as if she had been destroyed. That hit hard. For a few moments, I think everyone on the bridge felt… more immediately mortal, I suppose. Every man’s death diminishes me, and it was suddenly obvious how few we are.

    She was still there, damaged and battered, which we can ill afford, but there.

    And once we had cleared our vicinity of hostiles, and the marines on Excision had dealt with the attempt at boarding her, we found we had gathered an amount of promising sensor data, and that exploring spinward might yield useful results.

    So, spinward we went. Group Leader Xavier took command of Oblivion, with Mid. K taking the Tactical station, the rest of the bridge crew unchanged, while I went back to SciComms. Kdt. Aramond kept Relentless, Kdt. Hall kept Excision, and OInt. Morlock took Invictus.

    I’m concerned… I don’t know how to put this. It may be a stupid small thing, compared to being in the wrong universe. I see hints in procedural manuals, even in instructions, that non-humans aren’t referred to in quite the same way as humans. I may be jumping at shadows. Morlock’s counterpart is an OverIntendent, after all. One more thing to watch for.

    The sector we started exploring was strewn with wrecks of ships and bases – strewn being a relative term, in the distances we’re used to. Several biomechs went sailing by, and we left them well alone. We did find a few pirates, probably looting the ships they weren’t personally responsible for wrecking… and then we found this place: Stormhold.

    The base was abandoned, and damaged, but it looked from sensor scans as if some sectors were still sealed and might be habitable if power were restored, so we sent in a contingent of marines. We promptly had to extract them again, as they opened up a docking bay and radiation issued forth… It took a while to get that under control, while we dispatched more hostile ships close to the sector’s edge.

    And we docked. The station appears to have been long abandoned – so, whatever happened wasn’t a recent event. Our maintenance teams have made the main areas habitable already (well, habitable in the sense that Life Support works, and there’s no detectable radiation leaking through, but the potted plants and pastel artworks are going to have to wait), and they’re working on more. There are still sectors of the station that are sealed off, and a great deal of damage; but the scale of equipment on the station is larger than Grant can provide, and it was a mining base, so we can restore those processes and obtain the materials we need from the asteroid belts in the area; and we can probably salvage whatever the local scavengers have missed among the wrecks in the sector… Great, now the 4th Light is going to turn scavenger. But we have somewhere to dock, and a chance to build up supplies, whatever their source.

    I would be interested in finding out why Stormhold was abandoned, when, and under what circumstances. Did they delve too deep? I can’t take the time yet, not until we have sensors fully operational onboard all our ships. I need to ask DamCon if anyone has found any comms buoys on the station, we could deploy them and start gathering enough information to identify where we are. And if there’s a Balrog out there.

    And after all that, when I was debating whether I could stay awake long enough to set up some search parameters for the sensors, they decided we needed another sim. And they put the Midshipmen and Subalterns in command, and I ended up on Helm. It did not go well.

    And there’s no Hjocoa. Dammit.

    [end log]

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