06/03/2016 at 14:44 #5683
Walking towards his small bunk room at the station, Cadet Blaze Strife was lost in thought. His third shift with the 2nd Space Fleet, 4th Light Division has just ended. Although the mission could be described as successful, he was puzzled about its outcome and meaning. The things he has seen in the deep space left him and everyone in the Terran Stellar Navy with something to ponder about.
The Caltrons are a wondrous race of aliens, so unalike us humans. We’re not even sure if they travel in those weird polygonal spaceships or if they themselves are those ships. Yet, their method of long range space travel could be the most curios piece of information we have gathered about the Caltrons. Blaze has heard about these aliens at the TSN Academy, but there was not much to be said, due to our limited knowledge and understanding of these hostile lifeforms. He didn’t expect anyone could have guessed how their solution to reaching distant stars would look like from up close. There was previously some data indicating that they came from spontaneously appearing black holes, and that alone changed our understanding of so many concepts regarding space physics. Witnessing the giant purple egg and the chaos of interconnected circular orange strings, left the whole Division stunned for a brief moment. Looking back at the moment, it was weird to experience a completely silent crew of the spaceship. It’s nice to be reminded that the universe still holds surprises, even for the veterans such as Commander Verok. The data collected by the Science Officers from this mission will be thoroughly analyzed for years to come, even though most of them didn’t manage to completely scan the anomalies.
Being two meters tall is not a benefit in the narrow grey hallways of the station. Moving through them without bumping everything and everyone is no small feat. Blaze grumbled a few times, while stepping aside to let the Damage Control teams or the occasional medical cart through. He knew that once he passed the Ensign exam, the DamCon teams would be the ones moving out of his way, not the other way around. Unless it was an emergency, of course; he had no intention of letting his pride hurt the fleet.
Finally reaching his cramped room, he was glad to find it empty. The nagging of the other cadets was the last thing he needed to hear right now. They mostly complained about his good luck to be named a main shift bridge officer in the heroic 4th, right after graduating from the Academy, while they were stuck in the night shifts, on the stations, or worse, in the DamCon teams. The most annoying ones completely ignore Blaze’s accolades and perseverance with which he was able to prove his worth as a capable officer again and again, both at the Academy, and as a Weapons Officer of the 4th.
He sighed, and set down to the only table in the room, to write his personal log while he still had some peace and quiet. Typing was a chore, and he wowed to buy a software with the ability to record dictation as soon as his paygrade allows it. Finding one that would accommodate for his thick accent would be a chore, and the software might prove expensive, but it will be worth it. He collected his thoughts and began writing.
Cadet Blaze Strife
No permanent assignment
2nd Space Fleet, 4th Light Division
Third shift with the Division complete.
Leaning back in the rigid chair, Blaze thought to himself that three shifts seems like such a short time to serve, but that he has already learned so much more than in all those years at the Academy. Of course, it was obvious that he wouldn’t last a single shift without the basics that were mercilessly drilled into him by the strict instructors, during the Academy’s numerous trainings and simulations, but none of that prepared him for the real thing.
On his first day, during his first simulation with the Division, with his first ordnance fired, he managed to destroy the ship. He closed his eyes tightly and hardly rubbed his forehead, remembering the embarrassment he felt. Sure, they learned about Combat Orders and different tactical maneuvers at the Academy, but he had never heard of an Echo run. So, while the Helms Officer was preparing to conduct the maneuver, having the ship move in reverse to be able to more accurately plot the course forward, Blaze didn’t wait for the order to drop the mine; he dropped it as soon as his Tactical console showed the tube was ready to fire the mine. Firing a mine behind you, and then backing into it, is not a good way to go.
Commander Verok, the Captain of the TSN Hydra, was quick to act, sending to the new bumbling Cadet the document with the Combat Orders, wondering aloud how was it that the new Cadet never saw it. The new Cadet never saw it, because he didn’t think such an important document would be in his welcoming package that he received upon arrival at the station. The new Cadet was stupid enough to look forward to starting the duty shift, leaving his welcoming package forgotten in his personal locker aboard the station. The positive bit in this negative situation was that it happened on a simulation, before the mission, otherwise they could have all died.
He leaned back forward and resumed writing.
Nanites have caused an explosion aboard TSN Hydra, severely damaging the ship with it. Serving at the Hydra as a Weapons Officer for multiple simulations and on one of my two missions attended, made me start thinking about Hydra as my home. The news of the explosion shocked me. I cannot even begin to imagine how the permanent crew of the Hydra feels.
Blaze expected Commander Verok was probably notified as soon as the explosion happened, so he didn’t know his reaction, but he remembered seeing his composed face in the galley, allowing only a corner of his lips to twitch once, when the news about Hydra was repeated for everyone to hear and know.
New upgrades for personal consoles, again. Plenty of Division officers arrived early to upgrade everything on time.
Many new faces, cadets and returning ranked officers. Due to many new cadets, was asked to take the Ensign Exam by a few officers. Told them it’s not the right time, yet.
The Ensign Exam is not that easy, contemplated Blaze. He studied for it a bit, but knew he had a lot more ground to cover. A little more experience wouldn’t hurt, either.
After the permanent crews left the galley, the current DO, Lt Eric Aramond, started assigning us cadets around. The Lt knew how much I liked Hydra and apologized to me that he cannot send me to serve at her. Instead, he sent me to serve at TSN Excalibur.
Blaze snorted to himself, remembering how confused he felt walking to a ship he never even heard of. The handout he received from the Assistant Duty Officer Quinn contained brief instructions on reaching the ship and general info about the ship. A destroyer class with 18 homing missiles, 6 EMPs, 6 PShocks, no mines or nukes, but with two laser beams. He has been on one destroyer in a simulation, but never on a mission. This destroyer had a bit more ordnance, and he always felt better with additional firepower at his disposal. Reading the handout, his eye caught the ship’s strange nickname, “The Mustard Sword”. He wondered about the name, while walking towards the ship.
On route to the dock with the Excalibur, he encountered a fellow cadet, one of his bunkmates from TSN Hydra. This guy worked down in the engineering, and has been stationed on the Excalibur as well. What a coincidence, Blaze thought to himself. He rather liked him, so they spoke about the situation with Hydra until their paths diverged, leading his friend down to the Engineering, and Blaze to the elevator that would transport him all the way up to the bridge.
Arriving at the bridge, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw some members of the Hydra crew aboard the Excalibur.
Commander Verok was sitting in the captain’s chair comfortably, letting us all know that we’re going to be okay, and that he’s still with us, ready to guide us, as always. When the elevators doors opened with a silent sigh and Blaze stepped on the bridge, Verok slowly turned his gaze from the ship’s data shown on the big main screen to see who had just arrived on his bridge. Noticing it was the young Cadet Blaze that had already served under him, he seemed pleased.
“Cadet Blaze reporting for duty, sir!” Blaze said, trying to sound official and professional, but unable to hide his growing smile. He already saw that Lieutenant Junior Quinn and Ensign Cessna, both from the Hydra, were here and already at their designated stations, ready for anything. Blaze wondered how could Quinn arrive before him, when he was still helping others when Blaze left for the ship. Must be a shortcut on the station.
“Welcome back, Cadet. Weapons are yours.” Verok was brief, returning his attention to the data on the main screen. Quinn and Cessna both warmly greeted Blaze, as did Chief Engineer Lieutenant Graybeard over the communications channel from the engineering room. Graybeard is an expert engineer, one of those that loved to get his hands dirty. Blaze just hoped he doesn’t drink that engineer’s poison that they call a beverage on the job, or this is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.
A few minutes after myself, the last crew member arrived on the bridge, Cdt Honidian. He was put on Comms.
We proceeded to test the ship through two simulations. The second one was a test to see how can we perform on stations we’re not used to.
The second simulation was envisioned by the commanding officers as a practice for Lieutenants to try their hand at commanding a ship, as well as for everyone else to test their skills and knowledge of the stations they didn’t usually serve on. Graybeard took the captain’s chair, sending Honidian down to Engineering, Verok sitting at the Communications console, Quinn moving to Science, Cessna to Weapons, and Blaze to Helm. Blaze had previously piloted a few ships, but never a destroyer class. While he was taking a closer look at the unfamiliar controls, he noticed Commander Verok vaguely smiling and observing the bridge officers and our nervous glances across the room.
The simulation was chaotic. We were lost.
Blaze leaned back in his chair again, wondering what he should write down. He was convinced that if that was a mission, they would get chewed out by the Command. As a Helms Officer, he didn’t handle the pressure very well. Every three-digit number he heard, he thought it was a bearing to which to turn. The consequence of this was an aimlessly rotating TSN Excalibur. The ship spent a great deal of time spinning in circles, moving a little distance to one side, then rotating to move in another. It was only later, while talking to his fellow officers, that he was able to figure out he should only listen for the bearing from one person, the acting Captain; unless the Captain says otherwise. There were others who didn’t perform as well as they could, but there’s nothing to gain in criticizing anyone, at this point; everyone knew where they could’ve performed better, and what they had to fix.
After the second simulation, everyone returned to their assigned stations, and we headed out on the mission. Caltrons were to be our enemy this time.
Now comes the hard part. How to describe what he saw and how he felt? Best not to, since there are plenty of others who will do it with greater competence than a single cadet. Blaze decided to keep his personal log brief.
Gravitational waves caused major problems to Helm and Weapons. It was hard to fly; it was hard to hit enemies with ordnance. Possible sources are the dimensional rift and moving black holes.
“There, that was short and concise.” Blaze decided. He mused that there’s no need for him to write any more about the annoying waves with his own guesses, since there’s plenty of other people with quite a lot more knowledge about the anomaly, as well as all the recorded data from the Science console. What infuriated him the most was the observation that the Caltrons seemed immune to the gravitational waves. They were able to outrun ordnance and chasing after them to shoot them with lasers was a strenuous challenge. We had to be careful to fire ordnance in front of the enemies, taking away their advantage of maneuverability. Turning off Automatic Aim proved a good investment, since it allowed Blaze to target enemies’ weapons or thrusters, making the job of destroying the Caltrons easier to the crew of Excalibur. He was even verbally commended by Commander Verok for that skill.
The dimensional rift was either a giant purple egg-like object or an orange chaotic string. The black holes were appearing and disappearing near the anomalies, and two other black holes in the sector where moving rapidly.
Blaze had no idea how to make heads or tails of what he had seen. Even after contemplating about it for hours, and discussing his thoughts with others. No one seemed able to provide a valid explanation of the phenomenon. Was the giant purple egg a ship? It seemed stationary even when a black hole appeared out of nowhere on top of it. The chaos of interconnected circular orange strings was probably the dimensional rift itself, at least that seemed like the conclusion reached by the consensus of the officers on the duty shift, but they could not be sure.
But even more than seeing something so marvelous, Blaze was pleased with the teamwork, both on board the Excalibur and in the Division. He decided he needs to make a note about that.
The 4th Division’s teamwork was excellent. The crew of TSN Excalibur worked very well together.
Just as he was about to close the log, Blaze remembered they picked up a mysterious black box from an edge of a moving black hole. He wondered what’s inside, and hoped it wasn’t more nanites, or there’ll be hell to pay if the crew of Hydra manages to damage yet another ship. He made a quick note of the box in the log and signed off, since he heard loud voices of two of his bunkmates in the hallway, growing ever nearer to the small room.
Just as he stood up, the two shorter guys entered and the bunkroom became a very crowded place. Blaze pushed past them out of there and headed to the mess hall for some better company and much needed refreshment.06/03/2016 at 14:46 #568506/03/2016 at 17:16 #5693
//Also, if you’ve read it, please let me know. A simple post with a plus sign or something like that is simple enough. Thank you.07/03/2016 at 00:27 #5709AramondParticipant
Wait, we’re heroic? How come no one tells me these things? I could have been using that to boost my reputation!
–Aramond has ragequit at 08:26–
//I like the log being used as a kind of narration. Gives it a sort of cinematic vibe.07/03/2016 at 01:09 #5712Adele MundyParticipant
// I like the use of the log interspersed with 3rd person narration; you need to edit the narration here and there to change from “we” (which came from your original log, I think) to “they”, or “the ship”, or “the crew”, as needed.07/03/2016 at 01:19 #5714
//Very nicely written.
I missed that shift and it is good to know what happened. It certainly seems that I need to improve my nanite scanning techniques!
Writing it as a story was a good device to see what the professional log would look like and yet still be able to explain Blaze’s thoughts and viewpoint and add some environmental background.
The written English is very good. The clarity of expression and the correctness is better than many native speakers achieve. I noted some minor grammatical changes that I will send you privately.
Thanks, I look forward to more!07/03/2016 at 07:11 #5736
Thank you for reading and the feedback! It gives me incentive to write more, and I do love to write. 🙂07/03/2016 at 20:52 #5747
you need to edit the narration here and there to change from “we” (which came from your original log, I think) to “they”, or “the ship”, or “the crew”, as needed.
@mundy Thanks! You’re correct. I found some instances were that was left in, since I shifted the perception.
On a side note, in some cases I used the forms of “we” that designated the narrator as human. For example:
The Caltrons are a wondrous race of aliens, so unlike us humans. We’re not even sure if they travel in those weird polygonal spaceships or if they themselves are those ships. Yet their method of long range space travel could be the most curious piece of information we have gathered about the Caltrons. Blaze had heard about these aliens at the TSN Academy, but there was not much to be said, due to our limited knowledge and understanding of these hostile lifeforms.
This could all be written like this, as well:
The Caltrons are a wondrous race of aliens, so unlike humans. The TSN’s scientists were not even sure if they travel in those weird polygonal spaceships or if they themselves are those ships. Yet their method of long range space travel could be the most curious piece of information humans have gathered about the Caltrons. Blaze had heard about these aliens at the TSN Academy, but there was not much to be said, due to limited knowledge and understanding of these hostile lifeforms.
Which do you think is better? Do you think I should write as if the narrator is not human? That could be interesting, especially if I put in comments on “silly human thoughts and actions”, but it would change the tone a little bit. Kind of like “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”… I think I actually prefer writing with narrator as a human, since we can connect with the characters easier than if the narrator was a distant something. The current narrator seems more like someone riding on Blaze’s shoulder, able to peer into his head through the ears.
When the elevators doors opened with an almost silent sigh and Blaze stepped on the bridge, Verok slowly turned his gaze from the ship’s data shown on the big main screen to see who had just arrived on his bridge.07/03/2016 at 21:51 #5751
Oh that’s unkind. Verok doesn’t slouch like that!
Writing from Blaze’s perception as a human is fine, but don’t forget the USFP is not entirely human and the mainstream of society is assumed to be very tolerant of diversity, unlike the Unakalhai. I prefer the raceless, genderless, ageless narrator. They can describe whatever any character is feeling or knowing, but as soon as they have a point of view, they become a character and that places limits on what they can narrate.07/03/2016 at 21:58 #5754
Of course he doesn’t; it’s just the action described that reminds me.
Well, currently, Blaze is not the narrator himself. Having the narrator be omniscient could be counterproductive in this case, since I’m not writing a book with my own characters, but rather a side of the story with as many sides as there are players. That’s why it might prove better to have the narrator follow only Blaze, as closely as possible.07/03/2016 at 22:04 #5756QuinnParticipant
// Very interesting way of tackling it, well-written too. There are definitely things you can accomplish with a 3rd person narrator that you can’t with the 1st person personal logs.
Seems like you’ve incorporated some of the parts of the log you deleted, but you should continue to write whichever style you like best. Plus it’s nice to inject a little narrative diversity into this subforum. I like that you kind of centered it around Blaze trying to write his personal log, it lets you jump between both styles.
Also, I like your character choice of having Blaze be constantly haunted by the mine error in his first shift, as long as you the player knows it’s all water under the bridge!
Keep it up!07/03/2016 at 22:07 #5758
I am looking forward to how you choose to tell the story. I am enjoying it so far.
( The Verok comment was an attempt at a subtle joke. I knew exactly what you meant, but by commenting only on the slouching, other readers can infer that everything else about the picture is exactly like Verok; the eyes, the nose, the ears. But please don’t tell the Commander…)
07/03/2016 at 22:17 #5761
- This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Matsiyan. Reason: Stupid touchscreen keyboard
@nquinn91 Yes, I have recycled the old log. I’m pleased to see someone even read that thing (both you, and Adele Mundy commented on it).
Of course, I as a player know it was a rookie mistake, but the character Blaze should be aware of the consequences of his negligence: one small push of a button at the wrong time, and everyone is dead.
And again, thank you all for reading it. 🙂
Since I’m unable to modify my original post in the topic, I’ve decided to update the story with your comments and advices (praise be to @Matsiyan for the grammar error-hunting-and-reporting!) to Google Docs. Here it is. You should be able to comment on the updated text, if you’re interested.07/03/2016 at 22:25 #5767John van LeighParticipant
//It’s a wonderfully written story. Makes me feel sorry for not being able to show up.
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