28/01/2016 at 19:06 #4171QuinnParticipant
Personal Log: Lt. Jr. Quinn of the TSN Hydra (CM-008), 2F 4LD
Note: For security reasons, portions of this log have been redacted by the author.
There’s a concept from classical Earth military theory that I learned in a military history class at the academy, the double-edged sword of einheit and auftragstaktik. Einheit is the unity of a fighting force, the glue that holds it together through common ideals and shared goals, and auftragstaktik is the decentralization of command, allowing field commanders the tactical freedom to execute general strategic orders with agility. They work in tandem to make an effective fighting force. Without auftragstaktik, einheit becomes aimless fanaticism, and, equally as dangerous, without einheit, auftragstaktik becomes chaos and discord in the ranks.
We faced that second situation today.
I suppose I should start at the beginning though, before delving into the topic that is really weighing on me.
The duty reassignments were posted today. It seems that while we were waiting around in one place on high alert guarding the PSE Schrodinger and REDACTED, the command staff took the opportunity to complete the reassignment. It was perfect timing, really, because it really gave everyone a fresh morale boost to meet their new crewmates just when the watches on the bridge were getting most monotonous. The space between the ships was filled with shuttles delivering the crews to their new assignments.
It’s exciting that the Hydra has fresh blood in her veins now, though our new bridge officers aren’t exactly strangers. Lt. Cmdr. Del Pino was assigned as our permanent XO and science officer, and Lt. Jr. Matsiyan is our permanent engineer. I’m sure the engineering teams will be happy to have a little stability in that position, I know I am. Lt. Cmdr. Verok is still in command, of course, and Lt. Jr. Fulvus is still our assigned weapons officer.
The shift started a little short-handed, despite the reassignment, as both Fulvus and Matsiyan were absent at roll call. It seems Fulvus is still under the weather and recuperating on station at Promethean Command, and Matsiyan had some clerical matter to attend to. Lt. Cmdr. Del Pino picked up the weapons station, in addition to his science and comms duties, and Cadet Adam Warner, fresh from the academy, joined us to cover engineering. This was his first time on a real engineering station but, despite being as green as they come, he learned and adapted quite quickly. I’m sure he’ll make a fine officer.
After the reassignment we ran a shake-down simulation to get the new crews working together and it went well. I don’t have any notes from that simulation, so it must have been just engaging enough that I was too busy to take notes, but not exciting enough that I could remember now.
After the simulation there was a leisurely break and more shuffling of the crew, as the TSN Valiant was sent from Promethean Command to bolster our forces. Lt. Cmdr. Del Pino was transferred to the Valiant to command her, and we received Ens. Cessna to take over his duties as weapons officer.
Just as it seemed like we might be on guard duty forever, all ships were scrambled into action to respond to an enemy incursion. The crew’s response time was nearly immediate, despite a good portion of them being brand new to the Hydra. The ship’s systems, however, weren’t so quick to respond. The weapons console malfunctioned, apparently due to it being on stand-by for so long. Usually it gets reset every time we dock, to avoid overloading the targeting systems with cached memory, but it hasn’t gotten that chance in quite some time.
Once the weapons came back we were able to engage a Pirate Axe, which actually surrendered and ejected its life pods. I’ve never seen pirates do that, usually they prefer to go down with their ships than face a TSN reformation colony. The Raven picked up two of their life pods and we grabbed the third, but I hope there’s no suspicious activity in the cargo hold this time. The last thing we need to be doing is second-guessing our decision to rescue survivors floating in life pods.
The conclusion was reached that our stationary position was compromised, so we would be moving camp back to the Promethean System. We were assigned to escort the Valiant while she REDACTED, and Flt. Cpt. Xavier made it explicitly clear that this was a high-priority duty. The safety of the Valiant and REDACTED was our main concern, which, in retrospect, was fairly ominous. Then the fleet was under way, escorting the Schrodinger and REDACTED to where they might be safer. From enemies, I mean. But not really safe, as it turns out.
The word is barratry. I had to look it up, but that’s the word for it when a captain orders his crew to disobey a fleet order. It’s like mutiny, except far, far more unsettling. It would have been mutiny if the crew of the Phoenix decided to disobey Cmdr. Expree’s order to fire upon the defenseless PSE Schrodinger. Instead, Cadet Millari, the fresh-faced weapons officer on the Phoenix, trusted in the discipline drilled into her in the academy and followed the order from her superior officer.
Cadet Millari, Flt. Cpt. Xavier, and the entire division trusted in the einheit, the unity of all the officers in the TSN. They trusted that everyone was on the same page and that the auftragstaktiks and freedom of command given to Cmdr. Expree would be protected by that cohesion. It never occurred to anyone that an officer could be compromised, let alone an officer as senior as Cmdr. Expree.
In hindsight, it seems foolish to open ourselves up to such a vulnerability, but, on the other hand, we would be absolutely crippled if every cadet questioned every order their captain gave. The balance between trust and security is a difficult one and I am glad the task doesn’t fall to me to navigate that minefield.
We later learned that it was mind-control that compromised Cmdr. Expree, originating from REDACTED, which is honestly even more frightening than the idea of an Unukalhai infiltrator. At least in the event of the latter I can be assured in my own loyalty to the TSN, whereas it seems anyone at all could be susceptible to mind-control. What if I become unfit to serve? Almost as bad, what if I start second-guessing my every instinct as the possible effect of mind-control? That way lies madness.
However, when Cmdr. Expree started ranting over the comms about how the Schrodinger was a threat and needed to be destroyed, my instinct was to put the Hydra in between the Phoenix and the Valiant and to suggest to Cmdr. Verok that he order the Valiant to move away from the Phoenix, so perhaps my instincts can be trusted after all.
Instinct was all we had, really, because in an instant, Lt. Greybeard was ordered by the Flt. Cpt. to take command of the Phoenix and have Cmdr. Expree placed in the brig, then suddenly the sector was under a massive Caltron attack. We were ordered to leave the Valiant and, as per usual, head into the thick of it to soften up the enemy’s defenses.
That turned out to be easier said than done. The Caltrons had ships I had never seen before, and we were caught off guard by the sheer amount of destruction they were able to inflict. We managed to knock out one of their fleet formations, but the next one hammered our shields during our Echo maneuver and from there it went downhill quickly. Either they knocked out our warp engines or they caught us in a tractor beam and, unable to escape, we were pummeled within an inch of our lives. Just as it seemed we were going to have to make use of our freshly-inspected life pods, our core shut down and we had a ship-wide power outage. Later study of the logs revealed the source to be an electrical storm in the nebula that was able to short-circuit all our systems once our shields went down.
Instead of this being the nail in our coffin, it ended up being an enormous boon. The power outage had taken out our transponder, making us appear just as dead as we felt to both the Caltrons and the rest of the fleet. It seems that while we frantically tried to restart the engines, the Lancer heroically came to pick up the life pods we surely would have ejected, if we had been destroyed like they thought. Unfortunately, the Lancer lost shields just like we did, but they also experienced a cascading power failure that saved their lives. To the rest of the fleet it must have seemed grave, appearing to lose two ships in such a short span, with major resistance left in the sector. After getting our systems back online, we regrouped and were able to finish the job we started, albeit a little more cautiously.
We thought that after that harrowing fight we’d be able to finally head back to Promethean Command and get some much-needed R&R, but as soon as we went through the Promethean gate we received a distress call from the stations in Sector XII. It seems the Unukalhai were trying to set a trap to ambush us and steal REDACTED.
The USF ships have gotten an upgrade, it seems, or else the only ships we’d seen up until now were scouts. It took quite a lot of ordnance to send them packing, and the stations they had attacked will be under repair for some time. The Valiant was ordered to REDACTED and I hope we’re done with it for good. The thing really spooks me.
Then, for what seemed like the millionth time in recent memory, the thought of returning to Promethean Command to regroup was shattered when we received orders to make way for Atlantis Comand in the Atlantis System. It seems that, due to our recent security concerns and our extended time away from base, we were required to receive updated command codes and security updates there.
Thankfully that detour was uneventful and we docked at Promethean Command for the first time in what seemed like ages. Once there, we received lots of news. The incident in the Hydra’s cargo bay, which has been weighing on me ever since it happened, got a lot more unsettling when it was revealed that the plasma gas that killed the prisoners was initiated from the Hydra’s bridge. I have my suspicions, but I’d better not even record them in my log. If this saboteur is still aboard the Hydra, then hacking my personal logs is a simple task compared to concealing a murder. In fact, maybe I should clean up some of those parts about REDACTED too…
In lighter news, we learned that Cmdr. Expree was under medical observation and preliminary reports suggest that the effects of the mind-control are temporary. The Flt. Cpt. seemed hopeful that Cmdr. Expree will be fit for service again someday, and I think the entire division hopes the same. In addition, the two Acting Ensigns, Tardov and Remmick were promoted to full Ensign, and a promotion is always cause for celebration, despite the somewhat low spirits of the division.
After that, Lt. Jr. Matsiyan was able to join us for a simulation, having missed the action aboard his newly assigned ship. The sim seemed designed to distract us more than anything else, but I think the entire crew still managed to worry about the future. The TSN academy taught us all how to multi-task, after all.
Lieutenant, Junior Grade Quinn
TSN Hydra (CM-008)
2nd Fleet, 4th Light Division
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