01/05/2018 at 00:37 #32326QuinnParticipant
Personal Log: Oint Nathan Quinn, Acting Group Leader, ISN Oblivion, 2SF 4HG
[Begin Encryption: Quatro Lima Delta]
Computer, let’s fix that right off the top: This is brevet Lt Sr Quinn, Helm Officer of the TSN Sabre, 2nd Space Fleet, 4th Light Division.
Sometimes I have to remind myself of that. Remind myself that the TSN I swore an oath to still exists, even all the way across the multiverse. When everything else changes, I still have that oath.
This log is partly a way to process my thoughts, but it will also have to serve as my contemporaneous account of my time as acting group leader of the 4th Hunter Group, should a court martial ever need it. I guess that means deep down I think we’re getting back to the TSN, which is nice to think about.
After the simulations last shift, I suddenly felt the symptoms of gravity exhaustion again. Lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, tunnel vision. The kind of thing that made me nearly flunk my physical fitness exam in the academy. It’s only ever been a problem on high-gravity away team simulations back in the TSN, but over here the ISN run things differently. Keeping the ships gravity at 1.5G for conditioning is an admirable practice, but doesn’t exactly account for spacers like me who grew up in low G.
Apparently, while I was indisposed the ISN was busy disposing of our senior officers. The way I’ve heard it told in hushed tones around the Oblivion was that they were all marched onto an “azure legion” ship and the division was left with only Overintendants and below to carry out their mission.
I showed up for the shift just an Intendant, waiting to hear from whoever was in charge what the plan was to get our officers back. That didn’t last long. Overintendant Greybeard was Acting Group Leader and his first action after roll call was to promote me to Overintendant. His second action was to relinquish his command prerogative, which then made me, as the only other Overintendant, Acting Group Leader.
My head was spinning. The most experienced officer I know just decided I ought to be his superior officer. I had no time to process it, though. INI officers came to check in on us with the senior officers away and expected us to carry on as normal in their absence. To simulations then.
We rotated in some exhausted second- and third-shifters to fill out our ranks and were able to field Oblivion, Relentless, Invictus, and Excision. All commanded by Intendants or Subintendants with Subalterns and Midshipmen filling out the rest of the roles. Despite the green crews, the simulations went well.
I commanded the fleet in the first one, but really each ship was able to work mostly independently once I’d assigned operational areas. Intendant Ironclad served as my XO, but other than that I can’t even remember who else was on the bridge.
… If I’m honest, I didn’t want to learn their names. Suddenly their lives were in my hands and I didn’t want to think about… If all my attention was on commanding — on the task at hand, then I can only hope that would be enough. My best will have to be good enough.
That’s the kind of thinking that made me give Intendant Nhaima fleet command in the second simulation. I needed to breathe a little. Focus on how to command the Oblivion, then figure out how to command a fleet. By the time the second simulation was over, I felt ready to give fleet command another go in a third simulation, but instead we were called into a briefing by the INI and given a mission.
I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve commanded a vessel and on one hand the number of times I’ve commanded a fleet. All of those were in simulations. Helm officers don’t even give that many orders. I’m used to supervising drills, approving maintenance reports, and relieving Third Shift, not sending people into battle. I’m supposed to be on the receiving end of orders. Hell, I’m great at taking orders. Giving them is a new skill that I’m going to have to pick up damn quick.
The mission was to investigate distress calls in Krisenda. When we got to the sector they were coming from, the stations who sent them were gone. No debris, no life pods, just gone. I don’t know what was on that station but I have a hard time having sympathy for anyone dealing that kind of destruction. We found them hiding in a nebula nearby and I didn’t hesitate to carry out my orders from the ISN to destroy them.
I didn’t think twice about it at the time, and that kind of scares me, in retrospect. I know how cruel and tyrannical the ISN can be, so I should really be suspect of every order they give. My oath is never to turn from a right path, never to follow fear, never to enable an injustice. Am I enabling injustice by following their orders? Or am I protecting the innocent? It was the kind of thing we did back home all the time- protecting friendly stations. It shouldn’t be a moral dilemma. At the time, though, the IFF painted the stations as yellow and the Skaraans, Kraliens, and N’Tani attacking them as red and my training told me what to do next.
We mopped up quickly, however we failed to save one of the stations. They launched life pods and we shuttled them to safety, but I have no idea who we rescued. Was it innocent civilians? Or was it full of ISN officers who don’t hesitate to commit mass murder on a whim? It’s exhausting to think about. Does Xavier feel like this all the time?
It didn’t get any easier on our second mission. We were sent to investigate the smuggling ring in that area and were ordered to destroy any station connected with the smuggling operation. This is the kind of order I could tell would have us “turn from a right path” and I decided to share my thoughts with the acting captains of the other ships over the encrypted communications channel. There was a short discussion regarding our already tenuous standing in the eyes of the ISN, and the consensus was reached that if the ISN suspects us of any wrongdoing, then our senior officers are at risk. If we continue to act like the ruthless ISN soldiers they expect us to be, then we still have a chance of rescuing them.
I hate this decision. And I know it’s irrational, but I kind of hate Xavier for making me make it. I know he didn’t put me in this position on purpose, but having to decide between two seperate parts of my oath is not something he prepared me for. Deciding whether to protect the chain of command or to “never enable an injustice” is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I gave the order to maintain our cover, no matter how distasteful our mission may be, so that we can recover the senior officers.
It started off easy. After a few scans of cargo ships, some pirates entered the sector talking about “the usual deal.” I’d like to say I refused his bribe out of a strategy to avoid suspicion with the ISN, but that too was instinct. I suppose corruption in the ranks doesn’t sit well with me, even in somebody else’s universe.
We engaged those pirates but the situation quickly got out of hand. Half the stations began flipping their IFFs to hostile and the other half were under imminent threat by TSN ships coming through the Titan gate. My first instinct was to protect those stations and I ordered the fleet to do so as their first priority, with protecting the local transport ships as a secondary priority.
It wasn’t long before there were ISN reinforcements in the sector and the stations had to be evacuated. Two of them managed to launch escape pods but a third was destroyed with all hands. I had no time to reflect on that failure, however, as another one immediately followed.
ISN Relentless had been tying up a large TSN fleet, trying to keep them away from the bases, when she got swarmed and sent out a mayday. We quickly made our way to her, but were not in time before she suffered major damage and dropped off our sensors. I assumed the worst, and there was talk of retreat on the bridge of the Oblivion. Before I knew it, Excision was also damaged, limping away from danger at the edge of the sector.
This cascade of failures froze me. With each successive loss I refocused my attention narrower and narrower- the minutiae of commanding the Oblivion was all that I could manage, until I heard the transmission from Command and Control telling us that they were reading the Relentless again. We focused on getting the Relentless and the Excision back to working order, but I realized that this fight was probably unwinnable.
I decided to risk our ISN cover in order to save our own skins, but not out of any compassion for the TSN ships we were fighting. Upon reflection, I wish my intentions had been more noble. Had I not followed my fear, I would have thought to send the transmission earlier and save both sides the destruction. As it stood, we had dealt a considerable amount of losses to the TSN and I wasn’t sure they would accept my truce, but I offered it all the same.
Under the usual encrypted communications, I broadcast a message to the TSN ships in the sector to cease hostilities, explaining that we could not be seen to betray the ISN because they had taken some of our officers hostage. This message was repeated a second time before their ships signalled a surrender and began retreating from the sector.
At this time, it occurred to me that we may have used up all the goodwill we had earned with the TSN of late by destroying so many of their ships. As a show of good faith, I ordered Intendent Ironclad to launch a shuttle and drop a black box with our intel on the caltron weaponry that the ISN has been utilizing.
My hope is that if we need them in our efforts to free the senior officers, this act will show the TSN that we are still operating under good faith, despite their loss of life. They may have intelligence on where the senior officers may be located, and we may also need their help in the rescue attempt. If I were them I’m not sure it would be enough. I hope it will be.
Following this, Command and Control ordered us to destroy Eris station, the source of much of the TSN reinforcements. Simultaneously, Eris station launched a ship which was fleeing to the border. I transmitted to the fleet on the encrypted channel that we had been ordered to destroy Eris station, but that we should take our time doing it, so that vessel could escape.
Immediately after this, the ISN Relentless, under the command of Intendant Nhaima, made all haste to intercept the fleeing vessel. The Relentless launched ordinance at the fleeing vessel, but the vessel reached the sector border and seemed to escape before it could be destroyed. At this point, Eris station began to self-destruct.
On the trip back to base, there was more discussion over the encrypted channels about what our next steps must be. When it was clear that the captains were not in agreement on what their advice to me would be, so I decided to meet with them and the other Intendants privately while the Duty Officer ran a simulation.
I won’t be able to summarize all the arguments, but the main issues at hand was whether to leave the ISN immediately and hope that the TSN would have the resources necessary to help us recover the senior officers, or whether picking sides in the ISN-TSN conflict was a value judgement we could not make and which may even violate our non-intervention protocols. Everyone agreed that our primary objective must be to recover the senior officers, but that we must try not burn any bridges that may bring us back to our own universe.
I was sympathetic to the idea that we cannot assume that this universe’s TSN shares our own ideals, but I also know that I will have a hard time going along with any more of the ISN’s ruthless tactics. After reconvening the fleet, I reassured them that our first priority was to recover the senior officers and that I was not inclined to accept any more missions from the ISN unless they further that end.
Between this briefing and the previous conference with the Intendants, I outlined our objectives as follows:
Gather intelligence on the location and situation of the senior officers from any and all avenues, including the ISN/Azure Legion, the TSN, and underworld contacts.
Prepare ships to possibly leave the ISN, including hardening systems against ISN e-war tactics and gathering all possible supplies and ordinance for future long-range operations.
Execute recovery of senior officers by any means. This may include covert operations within the ISN, hostile actions that result in leaving the ISN, or joining forces with the TSN
Those officers in captivity are my brothers and sisters. I owe them all my life several times over. Not to mention they can relieve me of the burden of command. I will rescue them if it’s the last thing I do.
[Encryption: Quatro Lima Delta, Continued]
In the process of writing this personal log, I have discovered a note from Cadet Harriet Hamilton, an officer from the ISN Oblivion’s third shift, I believe. She has notified me that by the time I have read it, she has already gone AWOL. She objects to our strategy of maintaining our cover within the ISN and says, “if I find them, I’ll do what an officer of the TSN ought to do.” I take this to mean that she intends to defect to this universe’s TSN in the hopes that they will help her rescue the senior officers.
I have decided that in order to avoid further scrutiny from the ISN, Cadet Hamilton will not be listed as AWOL, but will instead be marked as under medical quarantine in her quarters.
01/05/2018 at 01:30 #32330Adele MundyParticipant
- This topic was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Quinn.
//Great log! Huzzah for moral quandaries and exhausted Acting Fleet Captains!01/05/2018 at 01:53 #32331Adele MundyParticipant
//also, perfect moment for quoting the TSN oath.03/05/2018 at 14:23 #32382Adam ParraParticipant
Yes very well done!06/05/2018 at 05:05 #32432MatsiyanParticipant
// Fantastic log. Thanks for the glimpse into the chaos!
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