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Joseph Bosch

Orion Starstation: The Orion Lounge

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Time to get things moving I think.

[rp]The entrance of Commander Badgerius and his crew interrupted Alun and Ben's conversation.

"We'll carry this on later, Alun. I haven't seen Sev in quite a while."

"OK, but we're supposed to start soon, remember?"

Ben looked at his watch. 0857 hours? He'd lost track of time.

"Sev! Great to see you. It's been too long."

"That it has, Ben," Sev replied thoughtfully, "I would have preferred more pleasant circumstances."

"Yeah, me too. Talking of which, I'm afraid I'll have to cut this short. I've reserved you a seat with the other Commanders behind the podium, if you'd like to take your seat, we're just about to start."

"Certainly, I'll talk to you afterwards."

"I look forward to it."

Commanders Ristar, Badgerius, DeSylva and Tringad took their seats behind the podium as Ben addressed the crowd:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, if you would take your seats, please, we will begin."

The noise of conversation quickly dropped to nothing and people took their seats, waiting expectantly.

As he looked around the room, he saw several people who remained standing around the perimeter of the room. Their stern, watchful, yet confident demeanours gave them away as security personnel. 'Max must be here somewhere,' Ben thought, 'I wonder where' As he looked around, Max's position in the shadows was given away by Karen smiling and waving at him. Ben couldn't help a little smile to himself. 'Are there any galcom officials that she doesn't know?' he wondered. He looked around the room again and reminded himself of the occasion and the duties he had to perform.

"Welcome, everyone. Thank you for making the effort to be here, something more difficult for some than for others. Your presence is appreciated by all of us, especially by me. Fleet Commander DeSylva has come all the way from the medical facilities on Renegade Station, and has asked to make the opening address. Fleet Commander, if you would."[/rp]

next part coming soon!

------------------

Commander Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda ISS07

Defence Wing -ISS Fleet

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

http://www.watson-jones.swinternet.co.uk/Svoboda

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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[rp]Gareth moved slowly up onto the podium, wincing in pain as he negotiated the step up from the floor. He approached the lectern, cleared his throat and addressed the now silent gathering:

"Many of you here, know me. Those of you who don't, probably should. My name is Gareth DeSylva, and I am the commander of this fleet - your fleet."

"We are here today to honour the passing of two pilots, two comrades, and to many of you, two friends. Although I never knew the pilots who flew by the names of Cavalry and Deadboy, I have read the reports, submitted by Commanders Zwycky and Badgerius, and let me assure you, they were both glowing."

"But military reports alone are no fitting way to commemorate the end of a life. And today's ceremony is made all the more special because we are celebrating the beginning of a new life."

A murmur passed through the crowd, and DeSylva saw Tringad's and Ristar's eyebrows raise together and Commander Badgerius' face draw into an expression of surprise. Unseen to DeSylva (and probably everyone else) Ben cringed slightly.

"Francis Morgan, please step forward to the podium."

There was a moment of silence, and then Frank stood up from his seat. He stepped out slowly, looking at the raised platform where the command staff sat, before marching stiffly towards the podium, halting, and snapping off a salute. DeSylva smiled.

"No man among you knows better the dreadful confusion of identity than this man. All of you face death, every single day. It is the one unknown, the constant beast that dogs our trails as warriors. But not a single one among you has ever had to face life - as a great unknown. You have all lived your lives. You were all born of peace. But only one man on this ship was born of war."

Frank stared open-mouthed at the Fleet Commander, not sure whether to scream in rage or cry in pain. But then DeSylva looked down, and locked eyes with him, and Frank saw the sympathy there.

"There is no man among this crew more alive, more individual than Francis Morgan. Livewire. Let no one tell you otherwise, Frank, and if they do - refer them to me. I saw Deadboy die, Frank, and I have seen you live, and trust me - you are not him, and you never will be. You are you - you forge your own life, and you make your own way."

DeSylva looked up once more. "We gather here today to praise both of these men. Deadboy was a fine soldier who did what he had to do, and he did it with honour, and there is no way better than that. And I hope Livewire continues that legacy - in his own way."

"All of you today - serve. With honour."

DeSylva stepped down from the podium, and only those assembled there, behind him, saw the glint of tears and the memory of agony upon his weathered face.[/rp]

------------------

Commander Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda ISS07

Defence Wing -ISS Fleet

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

http://www.watson-jones.swinternet.co.uk/Svoboda

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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RP

Looking around the room he saw a lot of old comrades and a lot of new people that he would be getting to know even if they did not know about him. He saw Karen smile and wave at him. She had been with MAX many years ago on an undercover assignment and her unique ability for observation had saved their lives. They were good friends and still kept in touch from time to time. There was a hush in the room, the Memorial was beginning.

Gareth DeSylva was slowly climbing the steps to the podium. MAX was saddened to see his old friend in such pain. He listened.

Maxamillian knew the shock of cloning and had to deal with the trauma of it every day. Half his security staff were clones of good, honorable men who died in battle. Their commanders needed them to be replaced when they were killed in action. It was hard to adjust to life of their former personalities.

MAX respected Gareth for what he was trying to do, but his Security ranks were full of men who could not adjust to their former lives on board ship. MAX hoped Frank would make it, if anyone would it was he. Deadboy's record was well known to the head of Security/Intelegence and it had been impressive.

MAX watched as his old friend Gareth stepped down from the podium. He knew that DeSylva was risking his health/life just being here.

MAX quietly whispered to his comm inplant, "Note, put a tag on Frank Morgan's file, he is important to Gareth and therefore is important to GALCOM."

Gareth was back in his seat, pale and exhausted. MAX wanted to talk to him about Frank Morgan(LIVEWIRE), but knew this had to wait. Somewhere deep down inside him, MAX felt the stirings of sadness; however, they were only stirings, because, in his line of work he saw friends die, and there wasn't any room for emotions. He quietly ckecked with DREADNAUGHT, then gave his full attention on the preceedings.

RPend

Ben, thought I would put a little mystery string out for "Frank". Hope you don't mind.

LOL ------------------

Cmdr. Maxamillian (MAX)

GCV-Dreadnaught

Prime Fleet

G2 Intelligence/Security; G3 Tactics (Acting)

Shipsmotto: "Retreat? Hell!"

[This message has been edited by Maxamillian (edited 03-10-2000).]

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Thanks, Max. I learn more about Karen's past every day smile.gif

[rp]Ben hadn't expected such an emotional address from his fleet commander. He shook himself, got up from his seat, walked briskly over to the lectern and carried on with the service plan.

"Thank you, fleet commander. Many of us echo your thoughts."

Frank tried not to lose himself in the storm of thoughts and emotions that threatened to engulf him and instead focussed on the single figure speaking at the front.

"If anyone would like to share his or her experience of either of these men, there is now an opportunity for you to come up and say your piece."

Many people stood and made their way to the front, representatives of the many groups of people who had worked with Cavalry and Deadboy, representatives of other groups who owed their lives to them, and others whose lives had been touched by them.[/rp]

This opportunity is thrown open to anyone who is in the room. Now's your chance to say something about either of them, your experience of working with them, meeting them, relying on them, almost anything you like, really (within reason smile.gif). From my crew there are going to be representatives of the systems engineers, flight engineers, the other pilots (Firehail), the other backup pilots and Jana's going to say something as well. Ben will sum up at the end and close the proceedings.

------------------

Commander Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda ISS07

Defence Wing -ISS Fleet

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

http://www.watson-jones.swinternet.co.uk/Svoboda

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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[rp]

Firehail stood at the front and gave a moving personal account of working alongside Deadboy for four months. He recounted Deadboy's first day, when they smeared glue all over the back of his seat in his interceptor and left him in there for half an hour after his first training flight, hosing him down every ten minutes. Eventually Jana came along, felt sorry for him, put a stop to it and went and got some solvent. Not the most conventional start to a romance, but in the end effective nonetheless. The story got a couple of laughs from those gathered, then he became more serious.

"We've got great memories. Everyone was amazed at Cavalry. At how fast he learned. At how much he could do in training, about how much he did to save so many. He was a great guy on top of that. Guys- wherever you are right now, I just want to say that you made a difference. You saved lives. You were heroes, and you were our friends. We all just want to say that we loved you, and will never forget you."

He moved back to his seat with a mixture of determination and pain, making way for the next person to say what they wanted to say.

[/rp]

Is anyone else going to say something, or should I carry on on my own?

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS07

Adjutant to the Strategic Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Member - Order of Jade Dragon

http://www.watson-jones.swinternet.co.uk/Svoboda

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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[RP]

Sev stood and walked to the podium after FIREHAIL had sat down. He looked out at the assembled crowd, and paused, searching for something to say.

Finally, he began.

"The events leading up to destruction of that interceptor, that day above Mercury, are a matter of record. I'm sure that everyone here knows the acts of heroism that these two pilots accomplished before their deaths. But the events that occurred immediately after that fighter's destruction have overshadowed an important distinction that should be brought to light."

Sev paused, and took a sip of water. It was hard to keep the ghost images of that day out of his mind's eye, and say what needed to be said. A quick glance at his senior officers told him that they were reliving those moments, as well.

Sev refocused his thoughts, and continued.

"It has been the tradition of naval warfare, since time immemorial, to acknowledge the ship that fired the last volley of a war. For it was with the firing of those final volley, that peace began. Those vessels, more than diplomats or treaties, mark the end of a conflict.

The interceptor under Deadboy's command was the last GalCom vessel to fire a shot in anger during the Vesperon Conflict. I have checked the flight-recordings of all vessels which might claim that title, and their is little doubt. Those final shots, which like the first shots of the conflict, were fired at targets within my ship, ended the war.

So although Deadboy and Cavalry were killed in wartime, they died in peacetime. And the honour of final volley of the war should be bestowed upon them."

Sev turned from the podium, and returned to his seat.

[RP off]

------------------

Commander S. Badgerius

GCV-Diligence

Prime Fleet

S36 Commander, Gamma Wing

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Thanks Badger, that was just what I was after. Great post.

[rp]

A short and slightly overweight man nervously approached the podium. He had friendly features and a quiet and reassuring voice.

ÔÇ£Hi. My name is Brian Causey, IÔÇÖm a flight engineer on the Svoboda, and I worked with Greg Robinson, who became known as Cavalry. He was a nice lad, maybe not the best engineer, but lots of fun. When he first came on board, he was fresh from the academy, and wasnÔÇÖt exactly a conscientious worker. One time on a simulated attack it was found that IC-3 wouldnÔÇÖt launch. We traced the problem back to a few circuits that had been damaged when Greg was doing a routine systems check. It turned out heÔÇÖd dropped a welding torch on the engine control system, and then hadnÔÇÖt bothered to check that it was still working afterwards. If we had really been under attack, we would have been one interceptor short. Quite a few of us thought he would have got thrown off the ship for that, but he wasnÔÇÖt. After a severe dressing down, the Commander said that he needed some motivation to do a better job, so he put him on the list to be trained as a primary backup interceptor pilot. This was so if anything went wrong with any of the ICÔÇÖs, Greg knew that his own life might be put at risk. From then on he was one of the pickiest systems checkers on the ship!ÔÇØ Brian gave a little laugh at this point. ÔÇ£He was made a primary backup pilot as a form of punishment, but he pretty quickly gained that position as of right. It was pretty amazing how much he learned and changed. IÔÇÖd like to think he had it inside him all the time, he just needed a break to show us all what he was really made of. Wherever you are, Greg, I hope youÔÇÖre doing well, and weÔÇÖll meet again someday.ÔÇØ

Satisfied that he had said all he wanted, Brian stepped aside. [rp]

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

http://issfleet.cjb.net

http://www.watson-jones.swinternet.co.uk/Svoboda

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

[This message has been edited by Ben Zwycky (edited 03-26-2000).]

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[rp] Jana came up to the lectern, very unsure of what to do or say. The silent expectation of the audience only made her feel worse. She had cried at many of the memories that the earlier speeches had brought to the surface. She was on the edge of tears again at the prospect of recounting those precious memories that hurt so much now, and she very nearly broke down before uttering a word. From somewhere she gathered the strength to utter the words

"Deadboy. What can I say about him?"

She seemed to be relieved to get something out, and was able to continue-

"He was a kind man. He was a generous man. He was a gentle man. He loved me, and he was the first man I ever loved. I never thought I would love anyone that much, but I did, and now he's gone."

The sobs took over and she couldn't go on any more. She struggled back to her seat where Frank put his arms around her and tried to comfort her, without much success.

Ben was upset to see one of his crew in such pain. He was reminded of the love that he'd lost all those years ago. The one he had pinned all his hopes on. He approached the podium again.

"Thank you for sharing that, Jana. We're all here for you." He then straightened up and faced the rest of the audience.

"Deadboy and Cavalry were heroes. No one denies that. We were all privileged to know them and serve with them. They both gave all they had to save others, and when they had nothing left to give, they gave themselves. Any of us would be honoured to have that said of us. I don't know whether either of them believed in God, but I know this: If any of us can face death and face meeting God with the same courage that they did, then there will be no challenges in this life that we cannot face. Deadboy and Cavalry, we salute you."

Ben turned to the screen and saluted, and everyone in the room stood and did the same, except for Jana, who was unable to stand, and Frank, who stayed down to comfort her. Everyone held their salutes while the Galcom anthem was played, during which many a tear went unwiped, then sat down again when it was finished.

Ben turned back to the lectern.

"These proceedings are now closed. For those that wish to stay, there will be a reception in the next room in five minutes."

Some small double doors opened in the wall to the right of the podium, revealing a second room containing some elegantly laid buffet tables. Some stayed where they were and talked to old friends, some made their way to the second room, and some went on their way to their various destinations. Ben turned to the commanders behind him and shook the hand of each one, thanking them for coming. He talked quietly with Fleet Commander DeSylva before he was moved to a hoverchair and escorted back to his shuttle.[/rp]

Feel free to hang around and chat in the reception. I hear the food's quite good smile.gif

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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[rp] "You're kidding!"

"No, I definitely beat him, here's the results broadcast to prove it." Replied Doug McIlroy, handing Ben a datapad

"Doug, that's unbelievable, it's unheard of! You actually beat a Nepalese Gurka over an assault course?"

"I've just given you the proof, what more do you need?"

"Come on, what aren't you telling me?"

"Why can't you just believe me?"

"Because I know that look, Doug, and you usually get it after you've laid a practical joke for someone. What happened?"

Doug smiled. "No wonder you always find those! OK, he had a virus, and a sprained wrist," and after a few more suspicious looks from Ben he reluctantly admitted, "and he was 46, OK? Still, I was the only guy there to beat him."

"I'm still proud of you, Doug."

"Hmph. Those guys are amazing! I'd give just about anything to have a squad of them under my command."

"So would everyone, Doug, they're the best natural-born soldiers on the planet. Prime fleet has jurisdiction over all of them, and they're certainly not keen to let any of them go. I wouldn't be."

"Couldn't I go and ask for some to strengthen ISS' elite battalion?"

"Well, I suppose it couldn't hurt to ask. Badgerius is quite high up in prime, but I'm not sure if he has that kind of authority. Even if he does, he'll know how valuable they are, so I wouldn't get your hopes up too high."

Never being that responsive to negative thinking, Doug happily jogged across the room and enthusiastically introduced himself.

Since Frank had got up to join in the conversations, Jana had just remained seated, appearing distraught and totally unapproachable. All around her, the different conversations blurred into an unpleasant noise, and more dark thoughts haunted her.

'Everyone else is enjoying themselves. No one understands what I'm going through. No one cares.'

The noise seemed to rise in volume, interspersed with the occasional recognisable word:

*babble*

*babble*

*babble*

"Deadboy"

*babble*

*babble*

"Deadboy"

*babble*

"Deadboy"

"Deadboy"

*babble*

"Deadboy"

*babble*

"Deadboy"

"Deadboy"

"Deadboy"

When she could stand it no longer, she stood and ran out the door, down the corridor, away from the people who didn't understand, away from the room full of life. Her breathing became more panicky, and she decided to head for the one place she could get away, be alone.

Her quarters.[/rp]

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

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[rp]Jana ran into her quarters and the doors closed behind her. She was safe again, away from all the people who invaded her space and interrupted her thoughts, free to let her emotions go completely. She collapsed on to her bed in an unpleasant daze, and lay there for she didn't know how long, her mind blurring down to a standstill, totally emotionally exhausted.

Frank suddenly noticed that Jana wasn't around, so he cut short his conversation and asked around if anyone had seen her. Finding out that she had left looking very distressed, he decided to go after her. He quickly said his goodbyes and headed off to the Svoboda and Jana's quarters, where he assumed she'd run to.

After however long it was, she felt a little more composed, and reached over to the drawer below her comms terminal. She got out the battered old datapad, sat on the corner of her bed and began to read again. The words seemed much more powerful this time, piercing deeply into her soul, stirring up feelings she didn't want and reaching parts of her that she didn't want touched, even if it was gently. She threw the datapad to the other end of the bed, dropped her head into her hands and began to cry. She cried for Deadboy, and for herself. She cried about the things she had done and said that she regretted. Things in the last few weeks. Things in the last few months. Things years ago that she'd managed to bury until now.

The doors opened and Frank stood there, moved by what he saw. His beautiful beloved, sitting on the corner of her bed, alone and crying her eyes out. There was only one reaction.

He sat down and put his arms round her. She gasped and started, not having noticed his arrival. She turned and recognised him then put her hands in his, placed her head on his chest, and curled up into a ball, pulling his arms around her as if her life depended on it, releasing a fresh burst of tears that went on and on.

They sat there together for a long time, Frank kissing the top of Jana's head every so often and talking softly into her ear until her tears slowly subsided. She rolled onto her back and looked up at him with a smile.

"Thank you," she said gently.

"Anytime," came his quiet reply.

They smiled at each other for a little longer.

"You going to be alright?"

"Probably."

Frank looked around the room. He had only had one look round at it before, and he had had a lot on his mind that time.

"This is a nice room you've got. You want to help decorate mine? It needs some work, " he said with a grin.

"Maybe, but I'm not tidying it for you," she replied with a grin of her own.

Frank noticed the datapad next to her pillow. He picked it up.

"Hey, what's this? I recognise it from somewhere."

Jana sat up and looked across at what Frank was holding. She stopped smiling, and slightly embarrasedly replied "Oh, that."

Frank started to read what was on the datapad's screen.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

"What is this?"

"It's Frank's- I mean Deadboy's old bible. His dad gave it"

Frank interrupted her, "gave it to him while he was in flight school, just before he died. Yes, I remember. Whoa, that's weird, knowing that it wasn't me he gave it to." Frank shivered slightly at that thought. "Anyway, what are you doing reading it? You're not going to go all religious on me, are you?"

Jana became a bit more defensive."I don't know, maybe there's something in it."

"Oh, come on! We've disproved all that by now, haven't we?"

"You would have thought so, wouldn't you? If you look at the evidence, it's actually pretty good."

Frank looked at her with a puzzled expression on his face. "If the evidence is so good, why doesn't everyone believe it?"

"I don't know, maybe they don't want to look. I didn't until recently."

"So what changed your mind?"

"Deadboy did."

Frank looked very surprised. "He was into this stuff?"

"Well, he was pretty shook up when I told him we should stop seeing each other, and I suppose he turned to it as a result of that."

"Oh. Hey, I thought you said you didn't see him after you split up."

"Well, yes, that is true, but" Jana paused, and started to get very nervous.

"But what?"

She looked down at her feet dejectedly, "but that was my fault."

"How?"

Unable to look up, she explained, "he kept trying to see me, but I kept avoiding him. He kept sending me comms messages, but I just deleted them. I managed to recover some of them after he died. You can take a look at them if you like."

"I don't think that's ne"

"I should have shown you them before," she interrupted, moving over to her comms terminal and bringing up the files, still unable to look him in the eyes.

Frank sat down in the chair in front of the terminal, and looked at the list of messages. The subject of the last one caught his eye.

Sub: If I don't make it

He opened the message and started to read. Jana turned away and tried to hold back the tears. She already knew the message off by heart.

Jana,

Things are really starting to heat up. The Vesperons really mean business, and I've had a couple of close calls already. It's made me think that next time I might not be so lucky, and it would be terrible for things to end as they are. You are a wonderful girl, and you deserve a lot better than I've given you. If we both make it through this, then I promise I'll treat you better. I'm changing. If I don't make it and you do, then I want you to have my bible. I've made a mess of a lot of things in my life, but giving it to God is a decision I haven't regretted. It's hard but it's worth it.

I really miss you. I'm really sorry for avoiding you. It was really stupid. Please talk to me.

Frank

Frank sat back and exhaled, not knowing what to say. For a few seconds, Jana's little sobs of pain and shame were the only sounds in the room.

"You still loved him, didn't you?"

"Yeah," she croaked, in between sobs.

"So why didn't you talk to him?"

"BECAUSE I'M NOT LITTLE MISS PERFECT, OKAY?" she suddenly shouted, before sitting back on her bed and starting to cry again.

Frank got up from his chair and sat next to her. "Hey, look.."

She twitched away from him.

He put his hands around her shoulders. She flinched, but then relaxed.

"Hey, look. You were upset. You did something you regret. I understand. It's OK. You still care about him. You're still not used to not having him around. It'll take time. We've both got stuff in our heads that needs sorting out. We'll take it easy and slowly for a while, and see what happens. I'd love to spend more time with you and get to know you better, but only if you're ready for that. Until then, I'll be here for you whenever you need me. That sound OK?"

"OK." She had gradually stopped crying, but she was still facing away from him.

Frank put his arms around her and squeezed. He then got up off the bed and crouched down in front of her, so he could look at her face. She avoided eye contact.

"Look, you've got lots of friends on board, who care about you, and would love to help you- use them. Don't cut yourself off. I tried that, and it didn't seem to work very well. OK?"

"OK." She said, without any audible emotion.

"Jolana's you're best friend on board, isn't she?"

"Yeah."

"Go pay her a visit. You'll feel better."

"In a while."

"OK, I've got to go now. I'll come back in a few hours to check you're alright. Alright?"

"OK."

It pained Frank to see her so drained and lifeless. He left the room and went straight to Jolana's quarters. The doors opened and he was warmly greeted.

"Oh, hi Frank. How are you?"

"Not too bad, considering. Listen. Jana's very upset, and she really needs to sort some stuff out right now. Get all the chocolate you can and pay her a visit, OK? She needs you more than she ever has."

"OK, give me five minutes." Jolana hurriedly went back into her room and got out a large box marked 'Emergencies only'. She opened it and removed a huge bar of chocolate, a packet of marshmallows, two mugs, a teaspoon, a jar of instant drinking chocolate and a flask. She put them all in a black handbag and headed off to get some hot water.

Content that everything was taken care of, Frank headed off to the meeting he was already ten minutes late for.[/rp]

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

[This message has been edited by Ben Zwycky (edited 04-14-2000).]

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[rp] The doors to the briefing room opened and Frank came in apologetically.

"Sorry I'm late, guys, Jana's been pretty upset."

"It's OK, buddy, it's been tough on everyone. You haven't missed anything that important," reassured Firehail.

"Huh," snorted Poltergeist quietly, datapad in hand, before continuing, "right- feedback time. How has everyone been reacting to the training exercises? Are there any areas people feel are being overlooked or need going over again?"

"Well, I've been hearing from a couple of the backup pilots, that they feel pretty happy about the lead and wingman training, but would like some more work on individual dogfighting tactics, in case they get separated from their partner. I think it's a confidence thing, to know they can handle themselves if things go wrong."

"Good. That's positive, and we can certainly act on that. Anything else?

"I think we should run a couple of planetary assault scenarios. We might be required to perform one of those pretty soon, and we haven't trained for it in a while. Everyone knows they can get pretty hairy, and we don't want anyone freaking out under fire."

"Yes- good point, Frank. I'll get together with Steve and Doug and see what we can set up. It'll be a good opportunity to do a shipwide drill. Other suggestions, opinions?"

"Yeah, this uniform just isn't good enough," mused Tony Devorah, sadly. "It does nothing to bring out my cheekbones."

The burst of laughter was audible down the corridor, as Tony's trademark grin was fully revealed.

"Nice one, smiler."

"Yeah."

"Hoo, my. Hehe. Right, any serious suggestions, opinions?"

There was a silence for a few seconds.

"OK," said Poltergeist, looking at his watch, "next exercise is in 30 minutes, and it's space asset defence. We'll do individual dogfighting in the 1400 session this afternoon, and the planetary assault exercise will be announced in due course. Get the backups prepped and ready, and check your interceptors simulated weapons settings and status."

The news was greeted enthusiastically by most of the backup pilots.

"Cool, probe hunt! I love that game!"

"The lessons you learn from this 'game' may well save your life one day. Take it seriously," scolded Poltergeist.

"Sorry, sir."

"Right, there will be one backup and one regular pilot in each interceptor. You will each be flying with the partner of the guy you replace, who is your most likely partner in a real battle situation, so work as a team. Darkwind, you're with me, Roadhog, you're with Smiler, Redwood is with Livewire and Sawtooth is with Steelfingers. After half an hour, we will swap over."

After performing their last minute systems checks, the combatants climbed into their crafts and waited for the command to launch.

"Probes ready, simulated weapons systems and IFF signals active and fully operational."

"OK, launch probes."

"Probe 1 away, probe 2 away."

"Set both probe destinations to lunar jumpgate."

"Confirmed."

"Launch interceptors."

All four interceptors were catapulted out of their launch bays and turned smoothly towards the probes as one, engaging afterburners to catch up to their assigned asset.

"Verifying IFF yellow 1, simulated weapons and shields active"

"Verifying IFF yellow 2, simulated weapons and shields active. Yellow asset active."

"Verifying IFF purple 1, simulated weapons and shields active"

"Verifying IFF purple 2, simulated weapons and shields active. Purple asset active."

Both pairs of interceptor circled their assigned probes, 3 kilometers apart and on parallel courses to the lunar jumpgate, watching each other and waiting for battle to commence.

"Acknowledged. Exercise begins in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, begin."[/rp]

Just reposting what was lost in the shakeup. More coming sometime soon, probably smile.gif

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

ICQ:72897748

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The girls mind seems to be turned elsewhere as she wanders in. She appears to be new, her hair tipped in violet and streaked violet on the bangs as well. She seems to be unarmed even though her hand hovers at a black belt wrapped around her waist.

She takes a seat at the bar and eyes the robots suspiciously. "An Orange Juice if you will." She says in a soft voice filled with wary undertones.

She rests her hand gently on the bar top and absent mindedly plays with the sleeve of her uniform. Her hair is bound back in a leather thong secured by an opal gem.

Her eyes remain downcast and focused on the bright light around the bar. She appears innosant and nieve.

------------------

Akuma Minako

Orion Fleet

GCV- Tenchi

www.orion-hq.fsnet.co.uk

"War is the plague of Mankind, created by Mankind."

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(Rp)

After a long night at work dealing with trade ships and the lot commander bosch makes his way down to Officers Lounge to get a drink at the bar.

"last time i let my inturn leave early..."

Bosch walks into the lounge and looks the room over before going to the bar to order himself a OJ before seeing the new commander from the acamdey that arrived today

"Oh ...Welcome to Orion"

Bosch offers his hand to her

------------------

COMMANDER BOSCH

ORION FLEET

TSUNAMI BATTLE GROUP

GCV - OBENBONE

ICQ:24625094

"For Orion Home and Soul we guard you"

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Here is my entry into this already lenghty thread, hope it's not too late to join!

[RP]

The door to the lounge opened with a silent swish, and Daniel Sedlacek stepped in, sauntering his way over to a chair in a corner.

His ship, the Millennium had just put into the Orion stations a few minutes ago to have some cargo offloaded. Apparently, from some of the reports he's been reading, things are heating up in the Procyon region. His latest orders from ISS Command has had him running supplies to and fro the entire Sol system.

Along the way of his last cargo run, the Millennium was ordered to escort a convoy of MRT-15's, carrying some very valuable cargo. Convoy duties were never Daniel's specialty, adding to his already monotonous schedule of running errands for ISS Command. And seeing how warships aren't designed for cargo space, his docking schedule for the supply runs are nearly doubled that of what a standard transport has to make, due to the Constellation-class Battlecruiser's small cargo holds.

I've been cramped up in my ship too much, Daniel thinks to himself. At least I'll have a few hours off of it while they handle the off loading. He looks around the bar quietly before cupping his hands over his eyes, attempting to supress a yawn. Unless new orders arrive...

[/rp]

Whew! It took me a good while to read all the posts on this thread. Very good stuff, I say we all put our collective heads together and write a huge BC3k novel! smile.gif

------------------

Commander Daniel Sedlacek

GCV Millennium ISS16

Tactical Support Wing - ISS Fleet

ISS Homepage

Hazardous Conduct Homepage

"The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom." Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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Hmm...What's this about e-mailing? I think I'm supposed to be doing that right now arn't I?

(RP)

She turn slightly, a wary eye cast on the man and then smiles. "Akuma." She says simply. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

She takes the hand, a firm grip and then grins. "Can I get you a drink, Commander?"

(RP)

And I hope I got this layout right...I'm just learning. Bare with me here! biggrin.gif

------------------

Akuma Minako

Orion Fleet

GCV- Tenchi

Deterrence Battle Group

www.orion-hq.fsnet.co.uk

"War is the plague of Mankind, created by Mankind."

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(RP)

Bosch Smiled and said "Sure why not..So just arrived at orion did you? hope your up to it alot of things happen out there on the rim

Bosch then gets his drink and takes a sip before going on

"Names Bosch i'm assigned to Rockwell but i come here for a drink every now and then."

------------------

COMMANDER BOSCH

ORION FLEET

TSUNAMI BATTLE GROUP

GCV - OBENBONE

ICQ:24625094

"For Orion Home and Soul we guard you"

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HI guys! I was wanting to carry on my story here. You think I should move the whole thing to a new thread, or carry on here? It might disrupt the flow of what you guys are doing.

Let me know sometime soon (am writing next post as we speak, but might take a little while)

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

ICQ:72897748

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No way Ben. Keep on postin as you have done.

Bosch, Akuma, why not start a new thread and leave this one be so it doesnt get confusing?

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Sure hon! I've got no prob with that! wink.gif

------------------

AKUMA MINAKO

ORION FLEET

GCV- TENCHI

DETERRANCE BATTLE GROUP

www.orion-hq.fsnet.co.uk

"War is the plague of Mankind, created by Mankind."

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Heh, she loves me already. wink.gif Fleet commanders have all the fun.

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Cheers, guys smile.gif

Will prolly have something to post tomorrow or the next day. Been sick today frown.gif (in both senses of the word)

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

ICQ:72897748

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Aww...Poor Ben! Cheer up and best wishes!

As for you Blades! eek.gif <--- That's all I got to say.. wink.gif

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Aww...Poor Ben! Cheer up and best wishes!

As for you Blades! eek.gif <--- That's all I got to say.. wink.gif

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Darkwind & Poltergeist yellow

Smiler & Roadhog yellow

Livewire & Redwood purple

Sawtooth & Steelfingers purple

[rp]Both pairs of interceptors circled their respective asset, watching each other to see who would make the first move as the countdown reached itÔÇÖs end

2, 1, Begin.

Both yellow team interceptors charged towards the purple asset, while the purples came out more cautiously and in tight formation, looking to focus their fire on one of the incoming crafts. Instead of targetting the purple interceptors, however, both yellows targetted the purple probe just behind them and each launched three simulated questor missiles at it. In the meantime, Poltergeists craft now had four simulated perseus missiles homing in on it, and his efforts were now focussed mainly on avoiding impacts with more than one of them at once, and thus give his shields time to recover, but at the same time attempting to keep a rough idea of where the ÔÇÿenemyÔÇÖ interceptors were.

Both the purple interceptors having targetted PoltergeistÔÇÖs craft left Roadhog free to target SawtoothÔÇÖs vessel, weaken his shieldÔÇÖs slightly with a burst of laser fire and launch two simulated perseuses of his own. After flashing past the slower moving vessel at a combined speed of almost 3,000 kph, he was able to strafe the purple probe, absorbing a little simulated PTA fire. He then banked round to try and get on the six of one of the purple ICÔÇÖs, who were still both intent on ÔÇÿbagging a ghostÔÇÖ.

Poltergeist was at his best, twirling diving and soaring, leading the missiles and purple ICÔÇÖs in a merry dance through the stars. One by one the simulated missiles ran out of fuel and vanished from everyoneÔÇÖs tacscopes. A couple of them impacted, and a few laser shots hit home, but they were spread far enough apart to give his shields time to recover. The purple assetÔÇÖs simulated PTA turrets, slightly damaged by RoadhogÔÇÖs fire, were only able to destroy one of the incoming missiles. The others totally overwhelmed its already weakened shields, and it erupted in a pretty flash of plasma and debris.

Sawtooth had managed to avoid one of the simulated perseuses on his tail, but the other had impacted forcefully, and combined with RoadhogÔÇÖs attentions had significantly weakened the shields around his engine. A few hits later and he started to lose ground on his leader, engine damage being simulated by a cut in the available thrust.

In a dogfight, slow craft are vulnerable craft, and Sawtooth was now at RoadhogÔÇÖs mercy, of which he didnÔÇÖt expect and didnÔÇÖt receive much. Livewire was now on his own. He had managed to damage PoltergeistÔÇÖs launch tubes and tacscope, but that wasnÔÇÖt good enough- he was now outgunned and isolated. His asset was destroyed, as was his wingman, and the enemy asset was undamaged. He utilised his only option and hyperjumped to the lunar jumpgate. Poltergeist drew back to a defensive position in orbit of his asset while Roadhog maintained his pursuit. In the meantime, Sawtooth and Steelfingers sat in their slowly drifting craft, watching the proceedings through their tacops displays.

Livewire and Redwood emerged from hyperspace slightly earlier than Sawtooth and Steelfingers. As he neared the exit from hyperspace,

ÔÇ£Hey, thereÔÇÖs only one other anomaly there!ÔÇØ

Upon exiting the anomaly, he banked round and tried to use however many seconds he had to gain a momentum advantage over his opponent, a crucial edge in any confrontation.

Poltergeist, seeing what was coming, called out to his wingman

ÔÇ£Sawtooth! Get back here! The exercise is asset defence, we donÔÇÖt chase runaways. Watch your back and get back here as soon as your jump engines recharge.ÔÇØ

Sawtooth engaged his afterburner immediately upon emerging from hyperspace and turned towards LivewireÔÇÖs rapidly approaching vessel, intending to flash by him and get out of his sights and also give him insufficient time to obtain a target lock. It was a bold and dangerous move, but one that was unfortunately also anticipated by Livewire. He not only managed to weaken SawtoothÔÇÖs fore shields as they rapidly approached each other, but at the last second managed to dumb-fire a spread of three simulated questor missiles, two of which slammed into the front of SawtoothÔÇÖs IC, obliterating itÔÇÖs guns, launch tubes and pilotÔÇÖs compartment, ÔÇÿkillingÔÇÖ Sawtooth. The craftÔÇÖs engines and navigation still worked, and Steelfingers was still able to pilot it, but it was out of the combat.

ÔÇ£Great shot man!ÔÇØ Applauded Redwood, ÔÇ£now letÔÇÖs go bag ourselves a ghost!ÔÇØ

Two remained, Livewire and Redwood in an undamaged IC versus Poltergeist and Darkwind in a slightly damaged IC with a fully functional asset.

ÔÇ£Care to pick a winner?ÔÇØ Ben asked Steve in admiration of both his pilotÔÇÖs performances. Steve just smiled in agreement.

Redwood watched the hyperjump charge indicator as it reached full capacity Ready to jump in 5, 4

The question remained unanswered. Two red blips appeared on everyoneÔÇÖs tacscopes, and a warning klaxon sounded.

ÔÇ£Two raider vessels have entered the region. This exercise is now over. Prepare for weapon activation.ÔÇØ

All the instruments of the ÔÇÿdeadÔÇÖ ICÔÇÖs came to life accompanied by several confirmatory beeps, and their engines came back on line with a soft hum as authorisation codes were downloaded The soft female voice of each ICÔÇÖs computer reported,

ÔÇ£Live weapon activation in 3, 2, 1, active.ÔÇØ A few more indicator lights coming on quickly followed a couple more confirmatory beeps.

ÔÇ£Preparing to jump.ÔÇØ

The four former combatants converged as one on the two raider vessels that had emerged from the pluto jumpgate, both zodiacs. Zodiacs were powerful craft, well armed and at close ranges had more powerful lasers than the Svobodas ICÔÇÖs, but in many critical areas including rate of fire, manouverability, and laser and radar range, solarian class interceptors were far superior. There were also twice as many of them and they had very much better trained pilots, so there was only one likely outcome, and the sleek looking vessels were quickly disabled.

ÔÇ£That was too easy!ÔÇØ celebrated Redwod.

ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs what the training is for,ÔÇØ smiled Livewire.

ÔÇ£Send shuttles 1 and 2 to tow them back to Galcom HQ- theyÔÇÖre probably wanted for something,ÔÇØ ordered Commander Zwycky, ÔÇ£and send a probe through to pluto region. Zodiacs are normally part of a Megaron class carrierÔÇÖs complement.ÔÇØ

The svobodaÔÇÖs ICÔÇÖs maintained a vigil on the two disabled craft as the shuttles darted across space towards them.

ÔÇ£Whoa,ÔÇØ said Smiler, shielding his face from the bright flash as one of the zodiacs suffered a core breach.

ÔÇ£What?ÔÇØ said Steelfingers as the other did the same moments later.

The two shuttles arrived to find nothing but a dissipating shockwave and two dispersing clouds of debris.

ÔÇ£Hey, did you fire on them while we were in hyperspace?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£No, nobody did, and I didnÔÇÖt see them eject. Anybody else?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£NoÔÇØ

ÔÇ£NoÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Not me.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Weird.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt understand it.ÔÇØ

The Svoboda then arrived and launched its probe towards the slowly pulsing jumpgate.

ÔÇ£Probe 3 away.ÔÇØ

As the probe serenely homed in on the red glowing sphere at the centre of the jumpgate,

ÔÇ£Right, letÔÇÖs see whatÔÇÖs around.ÔÇØ [/rp]

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

ICQ:72897748

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[rp]

Flash.

ÔÇ£Probe link updateÔÇØ gently reported the SvobodaÔÇÖs computer.

ÔÇ£Activating TACOPS computer, displaying pluto region.ÔÇØ

The 3-D view of the pluto region seemed to wrap itself around Ben. He looked in all directions. Nothing seemed to be amiss; all appeared serene and normal. There were no red target designators anywhere, and only a couple of blue ones. He zoomed in on the blue ones. An empirian tourist transport and a zelon trader vessel, neither of them any sort of threat. Ben zoomed in on the trader ship,

ÔÇÿHmm, this is odd,ÔÇÖ Ben thought to himself, ÔÇ£Karen, open a channel with Gazer1; maybe they saw where those ships came from.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£OK, give me a sec.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Why would they go straight past a much softer target with no backup into the most heavily defended region in the quadrant?ÔÇØ Ben thought aloud.

ÔÇ£Channel open.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£OK, tell shuttle 1 to go into the pluto region and see what that Zelon trader vessel is carrying.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£On his way.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Right. Gazer1 station, Commander Zwycky of the GCV Svoboda here. WeÔÇÖve had a somewhat unusual incident here with a couple of raider vessels that came through your region. We were wondering if you could help us find where they came from.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Raider Vessels? We havenÔÇÖt had any raider vessels through here in the last two or three days.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What? We just had two raider vessels, zodiac light fighters who entered earth region less than five minutes ago.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Well, we had no hostile warnings here, and no red TLDÔÇÖs on scope. IÔÇÖll check the TACOPS logs, but IÔÇÖm pretty sure thereÔÇÖs nothing there. Give me a minute to bring them up, Commander.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Thank you.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Shuttle 1 reports that the trader vessel is loaded with vacpacs, deflector arrays, iridium and ODS grazers, amongst other things.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£About as tempting a target as you can get. It just fits together less and less, doesnÔÇÖt it?ÔÇØ commented Ben. Steve agreed thoughtfully.

ÔÇ£Commander, I believe I have something for you. We did have two zodiac class fighters come through here from the alpha centauri wormhole and entered the earth jumpgate four minutes ago, but they both had empirian mercenary IFFÔÇÖs, not raider. I hope that is of help.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Great help, Lieutenant. Thank you very much.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What is going on? They were definitely raider ships.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Go over our TACOPS logs, Steve. See what you can find.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Will do.ÔÇØ

After another 20 minutes with no more activity from the Pluto region, Ben decided that nothing more was going to be happening for the moment.

ÔÇ£OK, swap over pilots and continue with the training exercises, but watch that probe data and tell me the second anything comes into the pluto region, raider, mercenary, whatever.ÔÇØ

After docking his interceptor and exchanging a few ÔÇÿI had you just where I wanted youÔÇÖ boasts with Poltergeist, FrankÔÇÖs mind returned to the situation he had left in JanaÔÇÖs quarters. Even though he was feeling quite hungry by now, he headed straight there and cautiously knocked on the door.

ÔÇ£Who is it?ÔÇØ asked a familiar voice.

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs Frank here.ÔÇØ

The doors opened and Jana and Jolana were sitting on JanaÔÇÖs bed, both laughing at something that had just been said. The old datapad was lying between them, next to a bar of chocolate that was considerably smaller than when he last saw it, a nearly empy packet of marshmallows and a couple of mugs with unmistakable brown rings round their inside rims. Jana was laughing, she was smiling! She jumped up from the bed with a joyful ÔÇ£Frank!ÔÇØ and hugged him and kissed him. He hugged and kissed her back, overjoyed at the transformation in her. He drew his head back and looked into her eyes. They sparkled.

ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre happy, youÔÇÖre smiling, youÔÇÖre better!ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yeah, itÔÇÖs great, IÔÇÖve given my life to God!ÔÇØ

Frank froze and his expression changed instantly from one of overwhelming joy to one of shocked puzzlement. He withdrew his arms and stepped back.

ÔÇ£Wha- you did what?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs brilliant! God is really there, and heÔÇÖs got standards. None of us come anywhere close to living up to them and thereÔÇÖs a price to pay for that. We canÔÇÖt afford that price but because he cares about us so much, he came down to earth and paid it for us. ItÔÇÖs amazing!ÔÇØ

Frank turned to Jolana as if she had just shot him through the heart.

ÔÇ£What? What did you do?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£When I got here she was reading the bible. We read it together, talked, had chocolate and marshmallows, read some more, then she said she wanted to give her life to God. She asked me how to do it, I told her and she did. I didnÔÇÖt need to persuade her, she wanted to.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs what happened Frank. ItÔÇÖs what I needed to do, I realise that. ItÔÇÖs such a relief.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Come on, youÔÇÖre scaring me here. This stuff is rubbish.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£No, donÔÇÖt be afraid. Deadboy was right, just look into it for yourself and decide.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Stop right there,ÔÇØ Frank interrupted, ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm glad youÔÇÖre feeling better, you do what you want, but just leave me out of it, OK? IÔÇÖve got to go and get something to eat.ÔÇØ

With that, Frank turned and headed out the doors, leaving behind a slightly confused and hurt Jana, who turned to her friend,

ÔÇ£What happened?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£IÔÇÖd hoped he would react a bit better than that, but it happens sometimes. ItÔÇÖs come as a bit of a shock to him, and you know heÔÇÖs had some bad experiences in the past.ÔÇØ

Back in the SvobodaÔÇÖs ready room, Ben and Chris were about to receive SteveÔÇÖs report.

ÔÇ£Well, what did you find?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£OK, erm, when you first look at it, nothing seems out of place, two raider vessels enter the region, are engaged and disabled, then both suffer core breaches before they can be tractored and towed to Galcom HQ.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Right,ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yeah, but the report from gazer1 draws your attention to the moment they entered the region. How could they be mercs on the pluto side and raiders on ours? Have a look.ÔÇØ

Steve then brought up a slow motion view of the pluto jumpgate and the two vessels entering the region. The flash of the jumpgateÔÇÖs field collapsing partially obscured their view.

ÔÇ£I didnÔÇÖt see anything.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Me neither.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Neither did I, until I slowed it right down. Watch their TTDs carefully.ÔÇØ

The sequence was repeated, but ten times as slowly. Both shipÔÇÖs TTDÔÇÖs seemed to almost imperceptibly flicker as they entered the region.

ÔÇ£Hey I saw something there.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yeah, just.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£HereÔÇÖs what you saw.ÔÇØ

Steve then ran a dead slow frame by frame progression. Both shipÔÇÖs IFFÔÇÖs were blue and read empirian mercenary as they entered the region, then one frame later they disappeared, then in the next frame they read empirian raider in bright red.

ÔÇ£In the tactical logs there is a 0.02 second delay between registering a vessel coming through the jumpgate and the hostile vessel warning. Normally this gap would only be a thousandth of a second. This difference is slightly more than the time it takes for a navigation computer to verify itÔÇÖs location. Also, the time delay between the SOS signals being first broadcast and the core breaches occurring was exactly 20 seconds in both cases.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£You mean it was suicide?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£You mean someone wanting to go out in a blaze of glory? If there had only been one vessel, then I might have thought that. But to me the only thing that seems to fit is an execution.ÔÇØ

The word came as a shock to both of them. Chris was the first to break the momentary silence.

ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs a bit of a strange way to go about it.ÔÇØ

Ben responded, ÔÇ£Yes, but itÔÇÖs not unheard of. Sometimes in time of war one side has been known to dress prisoners up as soldiers and bring them to an active part of the front line. They tell them to run for their lives, if they can make it to their own lines they are free. Of course the enemy shells them as they run, without knowing that they are actually killing their own people, and if they turn back or refuse to go, they get shot. ItÔÇÖs a very cruel and ironic form of execution, but something I wouldnÔÇÖt put past some of our enemies.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Erm, you mean a couple of Galcom operatives discovered by the Gammulans or Insurgents? Yes, well thatÔÇÖs a possibility, but I donÔÇÖt think itÔÇÖs the most likely one.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Oh, what is?ÔÇØ Ben asked, genuinely intrigued.

ÔÇ£Well, in an organised crime syndicate, some of the high ranking members often get aspirations to move up, particularly if they donÔÇÖt like the way the organisation is being run. Normally the top guy in any organisation will have a few totally trusted head enforcers who keep everyone else in line, so in order to take over they have to get rid of those enforcers.ÔÇØ

Ben nodded and added, ÔÇ£or sometimes itÔÇÖs one of those enforcers who turns against the top guy, so he has to get rid of the other enforcers or convince them to join him. You think thatÔÇÖs what it is, Steve?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs what it looks like to me. Our enemies would be more likely to want us to know theyÔÇÖd found one of our operatives, though itÔÇÖs not inconceivable that theyÔÇÖd do it this way.ÔÇØ

Chris looked worried. ÔÇ£It was a pretty expensive way to go about it. I mean, the only organisation I know of with those sorts of resources is the SlaÔÇÖti.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Exactly. Ever since the Vesperon conflict, the SlaÔÇÖti have been pretty quiet, even though you would expect the opposite, since it severely weakened both the Vesperon and Empirian fleets, and even our prescence in alpha centauri, and so thereÔÇÖs a lot less to stop them. It seems to me like one of the high ranking officials has got tired of the inactivity and wants to do things his way.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£So we could be seeing a lot more ÔÇÿaccidentsÔÇÖ in the near future.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt you think weÔÇÖre trying to read a bit too much into all of this?ÔÇØ asked Chris concernedly, ÔÇ£I mean, yes this is suspicious and we need to find out as much as we can about this and the SlaÔÇÖti inactivity, but this is all a bit tenuous for me.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Hmm, maybe, but I expect weÔÇÖll find out soon enough.ÔÇØ[/rp]

------------------

Cmdr. Ben Zwycky

GCV Svoboda, ISS08

Adjutant to the Fleet Commander

ISS Fleet Recruiting Officer

Director, CIOPS Directorate of Training and Administration

Initiate - Order of Jade Dragon

ISS Fleet Homepage

GCV Svoboda Homepage

"Nakonec pravda vitezi" (in the end the truth wins)

ICQ:72897748

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