Just a note on today’s training missions: almost immediately, my console started sputtering, sparking, smoking. I spent the whole session with tech support crawling under the panels and tinkering, then asking “Are you getting anything, Cadet?” to the unchanging answer of no.
Is it uncharitable of me to suspect Doc of having set up the malfunction just to see how I would react?
By comparison, the mission went smoothly, at least from the point of view of Science and Comms, in that I was able to do my job when it was needed.
In Cronus Sector, the Battle Group (Capt. Alice in overall command) was instructed to search for a transport ship hiding in a nebula, because it was carrying a new type of weapon, some kind of tachyon railgun that fires plasma projectiles. Since it supposedly goes right through shields, it can’t be allowed to fall into enemy hands. There were a number of engagements while TSN Hunter scouted, until the transport was detected.
A massive Kralien fleet was approaching the transport, so our ships engaged, led by TSN Hydra – the most intense action I’ve seen so far. The details blur – I ought to double check with ship’s mission logs, but this is for myself. If I live long enough to have a naval career, it might be enlightening to reread this stuff in a few years’ time, and see if I’ve changed, and how. If I don’t, then, well, it doesn’t matter much how accurate my personal recollections are.
The action was successful, marines boarded the transport and it surrendered. Hydra was supposed to tow the transport ship back, we ended up towing it instead – by we I mean TSN Hawk, I was assigned to Hawk this time. Cadets are sent out to the ships to fill the gaps, and nobody wants too many Cadets on one ship, obviously – lack of experience and skill in too many officers on board could be disastrous. It’s like those days back in junior school, when teams are picked, and you wait and hope you’re not the last one…
Towing the transport back meant Hawk slowed right down, and Lt. Kennon Far in Engineering had to boost the drive so we could evade pursuit. Two thoughts on that: one, it was just as well we were towing, rather than Hydra, because Hydra is big and powerful, but fast she is definitely not: Engineering takes the drive down to about 75% when we have to form up on Hydra; and two, we didn’t see pursuers, but my sensors were picking up a lot of radiation, which would make scanning difficult, and they also detected several singularities that appeared and then suddenly disappeared. The first time I thought I’d made a mistake. Then it happened again, and again, and that was when Lts Allard and Hall gleefully told me about Caltrons. Like you tell the new kid in school about the scary man who lives in the house on the corner.
And, just as they were concluding the description of the battle they’d been in, in which Caltron ships were combining together into bigger ships that became more powerful than the sum of their parts, as the saying goes – perfectly on cue, a singularity appeared, and an unknown ship seemed to come out from it. Upon scanning it, it was, indeed, a Caltron. And the Caltron ships kept appearing as we kept towing the weapon away, so I can’t help thinking, again, that if Hydra had been towing, as had been the original plan, we could not have kept ahead of the Caltrons.
As it was, we delivered the weapon and we protected the AI of supercarrier Atlantia, and the mission was confirmed as successful.
Then we were sent out on a second mission, to push back the Hegemony and recapture the bases in Sector 6. And I was on Hawk again, with the same crew on the bridge, so things were starting to settle into a familiar pattern.
TSN intel said the Grand Alliance was starting to pull back. But you know the old joke about military intelligence… Their General Montargh (I wonder if that’s the right way to spell his name. Transliterating alien languages is always a tricky process) sent out a message worthy of a villain from the ancient SF cinema classics, which must be in the official log records, of course, but which I can summarise here as “Mwuah ha ha ha ha, Earthlings, you have fallen into my trap and you are all going to die! Mwuah ha ha ha ha!” His evil laugh was very evil indeed.
Still, our ships engaged the (mostly Kraliens) quite successfully. Lt. Allard, in command, as we found ourselves running out of energy and weapons as we were tasked to defend a base against attack, and on finding that the base had no torpedoes for us to use, came up with the inventive strategy of docking on the base, thus replenishing energy, and constantly converting that energy to torpedoes, which were then fired at the enemy fleet.
And as the enemy, their ships destroyed or surrendered, were unable to prevent us from retaking the bases, they resorted to destabilizing an asteroid belt and using the asteroids themselves as weapons (This was accompanied by another supervillain-style message from the General to the effect of, “If I can’t have this sector, Earthlings, nobody else shall have it! Mwuah ha ha ha!”) so we had to chase down the asteroids and fire on them with beams until they broke down into harmless dust.
Some stations remain to be retaken, and more asteroids may arrive, now that the belt has been destabilized, their trajectories have been altered. But the mission was considered concluded for us, other ships will keep watch.
And I was promoted to Ensign, and Lt. Allard suggested I should apply for permanent posting on Hawk. So, somebody wants me on the team.