Formally assigned to Hawk!
The most recent training exercises were awash with tech trouble – Cdt. eastjc, who was sharing Science and Comms with me on Hawk had a malfunctioning console almost immediately. I should have pointed out in my previous log that rather than having separate Science and Comms stations, there is a new protocol where two officers share the stations, and in this case it proved the reasoning behind it, as I was able to continue operating while the new Cadet went through repairs procedures with the tech crews – it sounded so familiar, and I wanted to encourage him, but I had no time to do so while the training was taking place. Even Helm station had trouble, and Lt. Allard, in command, had to take over. Even so, at the end of the exercise we ran over one of our own mines… Ow.
There seemed to be a shortage of personnel for the second training exercise, and perhaps that contributed to, well, what should I call it? The general kerfuffle. We took damage from a nuke we had fired, we seriously damaged Hunter with another nuke… I’m glad it was a training exercise and not a real action.
On a positive note, we were able to practice a manoeuvre Lt. Allard seems fond of, following up an EMP with a run-through and dropping a mine. I believe Lt. Allard is currently calling it The Ol’One-Two, until it gains wider recognition and acquires a formal name.
In the mission briefing, we were told we would be taking Marines to reclaim bases in Sector 6; we were warned to expect to meet Torgoth vessels, and reminded that the Torgoth have the asteroid cannon, so we might find asteroids targeting the stations.
In the course of the first engagement one enemy fleet was destroyed. We headed for one station – I can see its position clearly on the screen even now, though I can’t think of its codename, delivered the Marines, and were waiting for them to confirm the base had been recaptured. Instead, we received their message that the base had been set to self destruct. The Marines scrambled back on board, and we took off to avoid the blast.
At this point, we received orders to assist another ship. Hawk changed course to go and assist – and the new course took us too close to the base, just as it exploded. Red alert systems screamed, there was smoke and sparks and flames, the shiver of metal all around as destruction made its way inwards. Everyone on the bridge made it to escape pods. Not everyone on board.
I’m not sure how long we spent in the life pods until they were recovered – well, I can look it up, they had clocks as part of standard instrumentation, of course, but knowing the time is different from having any sense of the time. Time spent in a life pod in the middle of a battle has a different length from other time. Comms were functioning, so I -we – heard the orders to the other ships around us, and we knew that someone was coming to recover us. It was just a question of whether they’d arrive before some random chunk of metal, ours or theirs (metal is quite impartial when not guided by sentient beings) punched through our frail shells. Or some random beam or piece of ordnance hit us before it could hit its intended target. Or we just floated away and ran out of air.
You go through training and psyche evaluation for this sort of thing. You live your life in space stations and on ships that are just metal shells hanging in the empty black. But there’s nothing quite like being inside a much smaller, frailer shell after the larger, stronger shell has exploded around you, to bring home what living this way really implies. You can put your hand on the metal wall that encases you, and you know that death is just a few millimetres away.
And notice how I switch to the impersonal you when the subject matter gets too difficult. Psyche-eval. personnel would have a field day. Better change the passwords to my personal log again.
Anyway, they picked up the pods, or I wouldn’t be writing this. We were assigned to another ship, and some cheerful soul immediately painted the name Hawk on it – except that they actually wrote Hawkk. I don’t know if that was deliberate, or a mistake made in haste. I don’t know where the ship came from, either, but it had no fuel collectors, and with the fact that several of the stations were still in enemy hands that made our life interesting. In the Chinese proverb sort of way. Or in the “Oh god, oh god we’re going to die” sort of way. We limped our way through the rest of the engagement, and even managed to take out a couple of the asteroids that came hurtling through after most of the enemy fleet had been destroyed or had surrendered.
The sum total of which is, four out of five stations were recovered, one station is fully operational, it should be possible to recover any remaining stations and the sensor booster arrays soon.
And just a final note today, to point out that the universe is making sure I don’t get overconfident: we had one more training exercise, in the course of which we switched form our customary posts to posts we were less familiar with. I was placed at the Helm station. Yeah. It feels like driving while being locked in a box. There is a consensus on the bridge that I get to be on Helm for the next few training exercises. Dammit.