Log Nhaima, 16917-2237

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    Today, some of Phoenix‘s embers glowed warmly again. Half of Horizon‘s crew was unavailable for deployment, so instead part of the band got back together. We were joined by Slate as well as Vaj’s protégé, Cdt. Arretez, and command was given to LCDR Aramond. We were also joined by Lt. Donovan, always a pleasure and joy though one which will become scarce once more when Lancer is cleared to return to active service.

    The day began with a series of simulations which were all handled with usual levels of proficiency. This lead to high spirits as we headed off to our first assignment of the shift. We were dispatched to answer a N’tani distress call in response to a USF attack. One of the stations malfunctioned and there was a loose pod of space whales once the situation had largely been locked down but both N’tani ships survived as did the whales with no significant loss of life on our side. Sadly, that trend wouldn’t hold.

    Commander Aramond had to be returned to Sabre so command fell to SRLT Hall. We were then directed to a prospective invasion of the Cronus system by Hegemony assets which largely turned out to be a refugee exodus in salvaged, stolen, or refitted shuttles but they weren’t hiding what they were and they weren’t trying to fight either. Why our captain ordered us to fire on a refugee vessel still confounds me. And why- well… now I’m getting ahead of myself. They were fleeing a warzone and either being chased or escorted by light Kralien vessels. The warships were engaged, and then we fired on a vessel which reengaged its engine after the captain ordered it to cut thrust. They didn’t put up much resistance though and the sector was largely pacified. Then came the distress call from Promethean Command. We rapidly attempted to transit to its defense. Along the way, we encountered Zolmari freighters under attack by pirates. There were only two or three raiders visible, but we didn’t stop. I should come back to this as well…

    In Promethean Command, the situation was far more chaotic than it should have been and largely that was self-inflicted. Horizon operated in a forward strike role to help secure the spinward defensive perimeter outside the mine screen. Thankfully, that is a point of entry that was never breached I think. A dozen and more escorts, destroyers, and patrol craft from the local sector forces had been mustered to Command’s defense. We weren’t as aggressive as we could have been in dealing with one of the Caltron super swarms and a sizable fleet of sector forces reached it…. I think only one was able to retreat from that engagement. While the primary sector assets remained unharmed, there was a significant loss of life to accomplish that. A loss of life I’m not entirely sure was necessary…

    After that engagement personnel shuffling left Viper short-handed so I offered to accept a temporary transfer to help bring them up to strength. LCDR Matsiyan was in command and in his usual fine form, but the rest of the crew was Xiph (helm), Greybeard (weapons), Beaumont (engineering) and I covered science and communications. Except for the captain, no one was in their proper place. The resulting comedy of errors consisted less of errors and of more comedy than I would have expected given that the jump from engineering to a tactical role is not a small one but Xiph did quite well for, what he admitted afterwards, was his first turn on the station. The nature of the exercise was a defense simulation, using in-sector forces to bolster the 4LD’s efforts. While I normally have a dim view on the tactical value of local patrol destroyers, it had been reinforced by the earlier events. Initially I tasked them to guard stations in our AO in case we had a breakthrough from a simulated pirate or Skaraan raider. The captain eventually asked me to begin tasking them to engage the smaller Kralien escort fleets. No more than four vessels, nothing heavier than a battleship. That worked, and as the fleet grew I started tasking them with larger assignments up to and including a holding action while Viper returned to repair and rearm. To my surprise, all of this happened with minimal casualties. Perhaps they aren’t so fragile in limited applications after all.

    That constitutes the major events of the shift, but a few things still bother me: Firing on the refugee transport, abandoning the Zolmari transport, and the near-total destruction of sector forces in the Caltron attack…

    I’ve done things – would likely do things again – that would displease many of my peers. I believe that an enemy is to be fought in the most efficient manner possible within certain boundaries. I’m happy to agree that certain weapons are inhumane and should not be used but it doesn’t matter if you’re killed by heavy beam arrays, torpedo volleys, cloaked minefields, or strategic raids… you’re still dead. But that only applies to military targets or military industrial capacity. Firing on a refugee, because they ran away from a fight and failed to obey your order to cut thrust when a fight pursued them? That’s one line I’ve never crossed, never intend to cross. And I can’t imagine that firing on the Hegemony’s refugees would make the Zolmari very happy.

    And about the Zolmari: They’re still Kraliens until we sign some kind of treaty. The level of military coordination we’ve had simply under color of a truce is astounding. But even given that, that’s what Command wants. Fine. I follow orders, I protect the Zolmari too. Then why did we abandon two of their transports when even one member of the fleet could have been tasked to destroy the raiders or loiter long enough to signal local forces to help protect them, or otherwise divert their attention away from freighters? If we’re going to care about them, then let’s actually do more than just pretend like it and sing “Kumbaya”? Otherwise, why are we going through all the effort of spending man hours, materiel, fuel, and blood to make big gestures when we afford them less courtesy than we do our own allies and signatories?

    And as for the Caltron engagement…. I don’t know. The computers suggest that sector forces can fend for themselves better than I feel they can, it may be right. But sending a dozen little ships against a super swarm? There weren’t any lifepods, nor did the computer identify any chunks of alloy even half as big as Lancer’s desecrated hulk to retrieve. They’re dead, and for what?


    Matthew Vaj

    // Vaj’s protégé – I like the sound of that 😛

    Adam Parra

    Good read Nhaima!

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