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Guest aramike01

Vile Motivations

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Oh, I don't think there's any doubt about that 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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Guest aramike01

Thanks Ben! You guys are great, I tell ya'! smile.gif

[RP]

19 October, 2985

1052 Hours

GCV-Canberra

Trenis System

Commander Rod Mack paced the Canberra's bridge rapidly. His thin face was pale as he was still a bit shaken from his most recent encounter with that Insurgent battlecruiser.

The Canberra was not what one would call a "warship". Of course it was armed, but certainly not heavily. She was a new breed of EarthCom ships, designed solely for recon operations. And, only the highest ranking officers within EarthCom knew of her and her sister MR-4 ships' existance. The

MR-4s boasted the most advanced of electronic detection suites, as well as a prototype cloaking system, which, in theory anyway, was radiation free and used very little power. On top of that, the power was drawn directly from the shield reactor.

But then again, the MR-4 fleet didn't exist, Mack reminded himself with little necessity.

His thoughts returned to that Insurgent ship that had came so close to his own. Within 10 meters, actually. Ten meters above him, no wait - there's no such thing as "above" in the vastness of space. It's all relative. Okay, then it came within ten meters relatively above him. There, that sounds about right.

Commander Mack's mind went in circles along that route for awhile, trying to distract his mind from the sheer terror of his close encounter. Had he had a battlecruiser, it wouldn't have been as big a deal. He would've decloaked just after the Insurgent vessel had seemingly turned toward him, and he would've destroyed it. But, if the Insurgent were to discover him now, they no doubt would realize that they were up against a new type of EarthCom vessel, and they most likely would have made a bid to capture it. That wouldn't please his superiors one bit. And that scared him more than death.

Rod Mack was a career EarthCom officer who had risen through the ranks quickly. He took his first command at the tender age of 24 and since then, he had never looked back. At one time, he had even become the poster boy for the EarthCom recruitment department. Now at age 43, that would be impossible due to his overly-slim frame, probably attributed to his many years in deep space on covert assignments. Anxiety was the ultimate passifier of hunger, and the unanswered growls of his stomach would back that statement up as had been the case for many a patrol through Gammulan space.

"Sir," the Canberra's tactical officer began, "We've finished our analysis of the Insurgent vessel. It was definitely a MK-1 type battlecruiser. From records, it appears to be the Listour, built in 2967, defected in 2979, under Commander Aorala's command at the time. Aorala is believed to have been killed during the defection, according to intel assessments."

"Thank you, lieutenant." The Listour, eh?

Commander Mack had commanded the Listour during a botched raid on a Gammulan shipyard complex many years ago. The fleet was under the command of, who was that chap? Oh, yes, Commander Aorala. "Any idea where they might be heading?"

Lieutenant Vasselli, the Listour's tactical officer, quietly tapped a few commands into the console resting near the rear of the bridge, before answering. "No sir, they might have cloaked. There has been no traffic through any nearby jump points and wormholes since the encounter."

"Very well, then." Mack turned to face the comms officer. "Please report the encounter to EarthCom, right away, please."

"Yes, sir"

19 October, 2985

1241 Hours

Genesis Starstation

Sol System, In Earth Orbit

EYES ONLY!

URGENT MESSAGE TRANSMITTAL

TO: ECIHQ, GENESIS STATION, ATTN: CMDR MARTIN

FROM: GCV-CANBERRA, CMDR ROD MACK

SUBJECT: INSURGENT SIGHTING

ENCODING: 19483-3627-63732-00-00-01

INSURGENT BATTLECRUISER, BELIEVED TO BE LISTOUR, SIGHTED AT APPROX. 0830 ZULU, 19 OCTOBER. COORDINATES AS FOLLOWS: TRENIS SYSTEM, 19824*32920*00212.

CANBERRA UNDETECTED AT TIME OF SIGHTING.

AWAITING FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.

The young comm-tech scanned the transmittal with about as much interest as he would feign while watching grass grow. He had seen many like messages, although they usually originated from somewhere in the Gammulan quadrant. He pressed a small button on his computer console, and called for TACOPS Commander Juliet Martin, who then quickly proceeded to the communications bay.

It certainly was no ordinary communications bay, as it was buried in the deep bowels of Genesis. Only the most secret communications came through here, all handled directly by Earthcom's intel chief, Commander Martin. She even had her own fleet, although the comm-techs didn't know this. They just thought that she would send the communications to her superiors, who'd then take the appropriate actions. But, no, she had command of all that was intelligence, including an intelligence fleet. As for the bay itself, well, one could easily term it as a place where information was abundant. Any enemy would love to get their hands on even a smitten of the data contained within.

At least they were safe here, the junior tech thought. Armed Marines guarded the entrance, which even then would only open to those who had passed a handprint and retinal scan. Then, once inside, one would have to proceed past another security checkpoint, again guarded by heavily armed Marines.

TACOPS Commander Martin arrived quickly, giving authorization for the communique to be transferred into Genesis' main computer server and in turn, to her office. She then returned to her office, locking the office's door then sliding into the seat behind her desk.

The communique was already on her screen, and Martin read it carefully, bringing up a map of the coordinates on her monitor. Much quicker than it took her to read an analyze the message, she had prepared a return transmittal, brought it to the comms bay, and sent it.

It read:

URGENT MESSAGE TRANSMITTAL

TO: GCV-CANBERRA, CMDR ROD MACK

FROM: TACOPS CMDR MARTIN, ECIHQ, GENESIS STATION

SUBJECT:

ENCODING: 42515-3321-79254-00-00-01

INITIATE PHASE TWO.

20 October, 2985

1234 Hours

Earthcom Academy

"Will you knock it off?" Lana asked with roaring laughter. Michael was feeling too playful to oblige and as such, he kept his fingers dancing along the underside of her exposed bare feet.

"Hospital beds are a bitch," he said, finally letting the tickling relent. "So, how are you feeling?"

"Just super. I'd be better anywhere but here. I hate hospitals." That was probably due to the fact that Lana's mother constantly told her the story about how the doctor had accidently knocked her head into the wall just after her birth. At least that was what Michael attributed it to.

"I looked at your chart. Out in a few hours, so relax," Michael said with much jest and a very large smile.

Special Commander Jeffers entered the room, causing the young Cadet Kristophers to snap to a crisp attention. Just as quickly as he'd stiffened his body per proper military protocal, Commandant Jeffers put him "at rest".

Jeffers eyed Lana up, trying to find any physical attribute that shouldn't exist, hoping there was none. Even when she'd knocked that felon, err, former cadet out, he'd silently made her his favorite to graduate from the academy, and he didn't want her to be injured in the least. "So, Cadet Neecie, how ya' feeling this afternoon?"

"Very well, sir, thank you," was her reply, which, Michael noted, was substantially different from the one she gave him when he had asked.

"That's good," Jeffers said. "Listen up, cadets," he went on, refering to Michael Kristophers as well as Lana. "First, no one has seen Novak since the accident. But, we are still investigating. Don't worry, we'll get him. Secondly, your instructors have pointed you out as way ahead of your classes. In light of these things and your demonstration of resourcefulness, meaning you, Kristophers, we're going to advance you both to basic flight training. Good luck, cadets." With that, Jeffers left the room.

"Ummm, did he say that?" asked Lana, quite rhetorically.

"Think so. Damn, that's great!"

Michael leaned over his girlfriend and gave her a very excited kiss. Which she accepted with as much excitement. She knew his dream was to fly, and very soon, they both would be flying.

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

Richard Jeffer paused just outside Cadet Neecie's room. He didn't like the idea of advancing a cadet the way he just had done to a pair of even his most promising cadets. But, what could he do? The order to do so came directly from Commander Juliet Martin, Earthcom Intelligence Chief.

Jeffers walked away, thinking about how nothing seemed to make any sense anymore.

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

Cmdr. Michael Kristophers

Spectre Fleet

Commanding Officer, Spectre StarStation

ICV-Intrepid

"You won't get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole!"

[This message has been edited by aramike01 (edited 07-30-2000).]

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Guest aramike01

[RP]

24 October, 2985

1510 Hours

Earthcom Academy

Now they were having fun. Basic flight training had begun without even the slightest of problems. Both Neecie and Kristophers were found to have high natural aptitude as pilots, which their instructors intended to exploit.

Michael especially enjoyed time in the simulator, although he wasn't "piloting" a very glamourous craft. He decided that even the simulation of flying one was a release of sorts. And, in the year 2985, the simulations were quite realistic, which he discovered after leaving a minor "crash landing" with a bruise on his chest.

Lana was faring as well as Michael, undergoing the same simulations and training, although she wasn't enjoying them as much. She had a thirst for the real thing, getting a taste of the adrenaline with her recent centrifuge incident. Something about bona fide danger always made for a good natural high. The military had termed this "combat high".

Finally, after many simulations over the past five days, nearly fifteen a day, to be precise, the flight class was assembled on the flight grounds, a massive hanger looming to their right. There were only twelve cadets in the class, and today was the day they'd all fly for the first time. Well, not exactly fly, per se. Today was the day they'd all sit in the cockpit while their instructors flew. But damn, it was going to be a good time.

"Cadets, listen up," the chief instructor... what was his name?...oh yeah, Bellows, said. "This hanger," he gestured to the right, "contains seven LRT-three transports. You all know the specs. At least you better."

As he spoke, all seven of the monstrocities were towed from their hangers by vehicles that seemed too small to tow anything. A whisper of excitement fell over the cadets, as the sheer size of the one-hundred meter long transports were pulled onto the tarmac. And that wasn't even as large as the transports could get - they could be slaved to several "trailers" to allow for a more lucrative transport mission.

The LRT-3s chosen for their simplicity in flying. All the basics were there such as stick handling, throttle, computer navigation, and thruster control. But these massive hulks were known for their responsiveness to the pilots commands, almost as if they flew themselves. Some even believed that they were the pinnacle of transport vessels, requiring only a five man crew on long hauls. Not very costly to run, either.

"Two cadets per transport," Bellows spoke as the transports were placed in their final resting spot before lift-off. "Fall out."

The cadet formation split into pairs, moving toward the tarmac and the transports lying on it. They climbed aboard each one from a small access port in the underside of each ship, then they made their way through the abandoned, useless corridors to the cockpit, where they strapped themselves in securely for the ritualistic pre-flight checks.

Moments later, the engines fired harshly, and the transports were spacebound.

24 October, 2985

1526 Hours

Spectre Starstation

In Antis Orbit

The book was called Rustica. James Kristophers was reading a copy that had belonged to a long-dead private of his unit. He found the religous work while investigating the man's belongings to decide what should be shipped to his parents on Earth along with James' sincere condolences for the loss of their son. Kristophers intended to send it, but found himself captivated by the pagan religion which really wasn't very old. The first traces of the Rustic faith were dated to be from around 2370.

It wasn't as though Kristophers was a follower of the Rustica, rather, he was a avid Catholic. He just enjoyed the solemn variation the book had provided him during many quiet evenings. It had in some ways provided a fresh look at the natural aspects of the universe. He had even considered visiting a Rustica church aboard Spectre, but decided against it. He didn't feel the need for the faith to be thrust upon him, which would be hardly relaxing as was the goal.

Chapter of Tree

Third Part-

...Man is born of the dirt, as so is Tree. Created of the life circle, a force that cannot be altered but only hesitated under it's own willings, as all life and all things are of the dirt. Man has thought himself superior to nature, but Man is only a part of nature, perhaps superior in some ways over other parts.

Tree speaks to man, only it is rarely heard. The prophets of the third age can hear them, but they only share what is meant for mankind's ears.

Tree spoke to Mheragua and said, "Only when you understand all that is real, will you eliminate all that is not."

This bothered Mheragua for a moment, his comprehension in question.

"I do not understand, Tree. Explain what is real."

Tree responded with kindness, as Tree had always been kind to Man, nurturing Man with His substance. "You will understand, as all life does, but understanding comes with a price, the price sometimes being life itself."

After He spoke, Tree fell into his sleep, leaving Mheragua with confusion.

Closing the Rustica, Kristophers concluded his daily reading, deciding that the Chapter of Tree was the strangest part he had read thus far. He climbed onto the small bed within his quarters, deciding to try for some sleep.

As soon the the Major shut his eyes, the door chimed. "Just a minute," he called, pulling on his duty jumpsuit.

"Come on in."

A burly Marine lieutenant entered his quarters with a formal stride, finally coming to attention just a meter from Major Kristophers. The lieutenant's uniform was neatly pressed, a drastic difference to the unkempt one Kristophers was wearing. "Sir. Lieutenant Michael Strider reporting for duty!" he barked crisply, handing Kristophers his transfer papers.

"Let's see what we have here." James moistened his finger and began flipping through Strider's papers, only briefly scanning each one. "You requested transfer to this unit?"

"Yes, sir!"

"May I ask why? Oh, and, at ease, lieutenant."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. I wanted to be a part of the best Marine unit available, sir!"

"That's nice, now how about the real reason?"

A tight smile crossed Strider's lips, as he knew his motivations to be different than those he reported to his new commanding officer. "Well, truthfully, sir, scuttlebutt says this unit's going to be getting some real action soon, and I want to be a part of it. I'd like to think that I didn't train with the Fifth Brigade for guard duty, sir."

"Fifth Brigade, huh?" Kristophers rhetorically asked. The Fifth Brigade was Earthcom's highest trained unit, very well versed in all forms of combat. He should know; he was once a member of the Fifth. That was, before he defected to the Insurgency.

"Yes, sir. And I heard you needed a new XO, so I applied for the job, sir."

"Sounds good to me. You've ever seen combat?"

"With Earthcom, I did, sir," Strider responded, with a measure of disgust, it seemed. "A few engagements against the Insurgents, I'm afraid. Took me long enough to get the balls to defect, but I finally did, sir."

Kristophers wondered how long it could have taken, the man looked so young. Ahh, 25 years old, the transfer papers informed him. The man was being a little too hard on himself. Not as hard as James had been on himself, but James had been a part of some of the "covert murders" that the UFN had sanctioned against the Insurgents and their sympathizers. Oh well, that's all in the past, he thought. We now have different goals, and this young lieutenant looks to be a fine addition to our team, which will help us achieve our goals. "Welcome aboard, Strider. Think it's good to have you. But there is one thing..."

"Yes, sir?"

"I appreciate the proper military protocal, here, I really do. But, you sound like a damned cadet. One 'sir' per paragraph will suffice," Kristophers conluded with a grin.

With an even larger grin, Strider said, "Yes, uhh, Major."

24 October, 2985

1530 Hours

ICV-Listour

On Patrol Near Barnard's Star

The bridge was too cramped, the "deceased" Commander Lianna Aorala thought to herself as she rubbed shoulders with several crew members on her way to the command chair. "Tactical readout?"

"No targets present," Lieutenant Commander Jack Derisa said. Derisa had been with the Listour for since her maiden voyage, so many years ago. He served as a system engineer up until their defection to the Insurgency where he received a commission, and worked his way up to Lt. Cmdr and an executive officer position rapidly.

"Okay, where the hell are you?" Aorala spoke quietly to herself. They'd been hunting an Earthcom transport for nearly a week now. Intel informed them that the transport was carrying "war materials" destined for a task force near Insurgent-occupied space. The ideal tactical scenario would be to capture the transport and the goods within, but it's commander seemed a bit to competant to allow that. But, destroying it wouldn't hurt either, and that was the Listour's orders, straight from Spectre H.Q.

"Navigation, calculate the transports last known coordinates and heading, and give me any escape possibles, if you please," Aorala ordered.

"Yes, ma'am," and the navigation officer got busy with handing out instructions to the crew for the calculations. Within moments, the answer was given to Commander Aorala. None of the escape options seemed viable for the transport to leave the region any time soon, anyway. That gave the crew of the Listour some time.

Aorala rose out of the command chair and began pacing, a gesture which was very familier to most starship commanders. Crews have joked about whether or not they taught that frantic pacing in command school.

At least the skipper of the Listour was, well, one helluva skipper, rather than just a pacing dictator. Aorala's crew liked her, rather, they adored her. She had always been kind to them; listening to their suggestions and using them when they warranted, showing genuine concern not only for their safety, but for their well being, and always entering the bridge in the morning with a smile.

It was not as though she was a push-over, either. Her exotically dark brown eyes demanded respect, as did her body language. And she was very easy on the eyes, the male members of her crew had decided without question. Quite attractive for a woman barely over 50. A beautiful, petite, caring, courageous, natural leader. The Listour's crew would follow her straight into the depths of hell, knowing that, if at all possible, she would bring them back home.

"Ma'am," Derisa started, "I don't think they can stay cloaked for much longer. Radiation's a pain."

Aorala took note of the usual calm smile Derisa always showed, even during the most anxious of moments. It was notorious for helping the crew relax during such times, which were frequent for members of the Insurgency. Hell, this had been a quiet week in comparison. "No, I suppose not," the skipper responded with an equal smile.

"Ma'am, Earthcom transport decloaking! Range ... thirty million. Bearing ... two-six-four by three-one-eight. Speed ... Ma'am, he appears to be holding position, maybe a slight drift but nothing else," was the report from the tactical officer.

"Combat, raise shields to maximum strength. Activate all weapon systems, full speed to target." the skipper calmly ordered.

The ion/light shields quickly increased it protective barrior around the Listour as it moved quickly in the direction of the transport. Slightly audible chirps came from the bridge computer systems, signifying the weapons status as "Ready".

"Three minutes until we're within range," the navigation officer reported.

"Very well. Stand by to engage," she ordered to the combat officer who was clear across the bridge. She then turned her attention to Derisa, and spoke quieter. "He seems to be dead in space. Let's see if we can bring home a prize."

"Understood," he responded, that same smile creeping across his face. "Combat! Set IOD strength to twenty-five percent. Target engines when in range."

"Yes, sir," acknowledged the combat officer, as he moved to the tactical-action computer terminal.

"One minute, thirty for optimum range," navigation updated.

Derisa looked at his commander for approval. After receiving a nod he said, "Stand by to open fire."

"Engines targeted," combat replied, checking his equipment to be sure.

"Thirty seconds."

The Listour's crew remained calm, as always. They were professionals, and they knew what was expected of them. But, to Aorala, they seemed a little more calm than usual.

"Ten seconds," navigation said.

"Stand by ... stand by ... fire!" Derisa ordered.

The Listour's main cannon came alive, firing three bursts of super heated ion energy at the Earthcom transport. The red hot fireballs streaked across the starscape, their final destination being the engines of the seemingly disabled cargo ship.

"Six seconds to impact," Combat reported, his gaze not leaving the tactical display.

Aorala and Derisa watched as the bolts of IOD fury moved across the TACOPS display with ease, dooming the transport's crew to Insurgent custody and it's cargo to Insurgent use.

"Three ... two ... one ... impact! Engines disabled, Commander Aorala."

"Thank you, lieutenant. Prepare a boarding team. Jack-" she turned to face her XO, "take us in closer."

"Yes, ma'am. Navigation, move us to within three-thousand kilometers, please."

"Wait a second. Something's happening," Combat broke through, with less than perfect military bearing.

Derisa looked at the tactical screen from over Combat's shoulders. "Elaborate, please."

"Dunno. Looks like a massive energy discharge coming from the impact area. Oh, shit!"

A bright flash of light engulfed the transport as it seemingly ripped itself to shreds. Flame fanned by reactor fuel poured out of the rear section of the ship, which was falling in a different direction than the rest of the transport. The flames died quickly, though, as the vacuum of space stole the air which it breathed.

A silence overtook the bridge of the Listour. The transport, the one they were going to "escort" to Spectre H.Q. was now nothing more than a few torched hulks, with many smaller pieces of debris nearby.

"What the hell happened? That sure as hell wasn't a self-destruct." Derisa said, breaking the silence. The latter statement was obvious - no self-destruct mechanism would leave three very large pieces of a ship behind. Rather, it would literally vaporize the entire vessel, to allow the capture of no equipment or information.

Aorala turned her head to make eye contact with him. "I think the question should be, 'what was on that ship'?"

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

Cmdr. Michael Kristophers

Spectre Fleet

Commanding Officer, Spectre StarStation

ICV-Intrepid

"You won't get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole!"

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