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Into The Fire Act Four - Deliverence

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Into The Fire

Act Four - Deliverence

Right, we're moving into the penul-, peniultim-, bit before the last act of the scenario. Im accelerating things a wee bit to ensure that Akira doesnt stress too much about being tortured. Matter of point - the last act only lasted a couple of hours in scenario time, so he's got a little while before those Earthcom freaks start using tweezers on his gnads.

And no, this act's title has no bearing on his current prediciment ... unless he wants to write that part in himself . Here are some assumptions about this next act before we progress any further.

All but a total of six mercs are dead or incapacitated. That means there are weapons strewn all over the place just waiting to be picked up by anyone with hands. So far, nobody from either camp has had any reason to start putting holes in eachother and It would be good if we kept it that way.

The crew that boarded the Vulture from the Leo have been shanghied into the mission, whether they like it or not. Commander Caine is currently recovering from a bad headache, and the Graf Spee is hovering over the Leo. External systems on the Vulture are all but fried. Short range scanners are operating, but havent detected Gallions shipmates thus far. Again, it would be better if it remained that way. As for communications with the Leo, they ceased the moment the Graf Spee got involved.

Heres one final assumption.

Savage has been unconscious in sickbay for the last five hours. During that time, the

Vulture got it's engines fixed up and has proceded on to it's rendevous with the McKendrick.

Game on.

[RP]

17:38 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Infirmary

His eyes opened and immediately tried to focus on the first thing that came to view. Rather unfortunately for Fleet Commander Savage, it was the grinning maw of former Corsair Wing Commander Gallion.

"Well, look who decided to wake up." said Gallion, drawing away.

Savage heard the words, but couldnt muster the effort to reply in any way to them. He would have, but he hurt. He hurt all over in fact. From the hairs on his head down to the nails on his toes, everything ached. Even worse, he was thirsty. Damned thirsty, and he had this itch below his naval he couldnt scratch. That, of course, was due to the sedatives pumping through his system. He could see intravenous drip tubes lanced into his arm and could feel another at the base of his spine.

What the hell are they doing to me? he wondered. And what the hell is going

on?

He could feel vibrations from beneath the bed he was sprawled out on, a sure fire indicator that this pile of junk the mercs called a ship was in motion - and pretty fast motion. A good sign, he councluded. The ship was in motion again.

"Wha-" he started, the words barley making a sound.

Gallion pulled down to him again, getting close enough to hear better.

"Whats our status?" asked the fleet commander.

Gallion pulled away again and folded his arms. "We're on the last leg of this pleasure cruise of yours. The ships shot to hell, but we got the jump engines back online eventually."

Savage attempted a nod, but it caused more pain. The pain, however, became less important the moment he noticed an unfamiliar face approaching with a merc.

"Who the hell is that?" croaked Savage.

Gallion turned and looked. "Oh, that. That's commander Caine of the UCV-Leo. He came to our assistance and generously supplied us with the materials and manpower we needed to get this ship moving again."

Savage heard the man, Caine, splutter and mutter somthing under his breath. Although he couldnt make it out, it didnt sound as if he was in complete agreement with Gallions version of the story.

"Just like that?" asked Savage.

Gallion nodded. "More or less. But thats not really important right now. What is is that we got ourselves some more manpower, which is somthing we lost a lot of when our friends from next door stopped by for a ruck."

Savage groaned. "What part of no civillians didnt you understand?"

"Wasnt as if we had much of a choice. They boarded before we knew they were their. Think of it as containment."

Savage didnt like the sound of this. He didnt like the sound of it one damned bit. It was one thing to get military personnel involved in a mission of this nature, but to draft in civillians - whether it was neccesary or not - was a bad idea. Not only did he have to worry about keeping a lid on this thing once (if) we mission was conpleted, but to expect a civillian to keep quiet. Well, that wasnt a likely event.

"How much does he know?"

Gallion took a moment to answer. "Enough."

Dammit. Dammit!

That tore it. Even if they somehow managed to pull this off, they were screwed. The only way out was to silence him - and that wasnt somthing he was going to do, nor allow anyone else to do. However, there might be another possability ...

18:02 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Bridge

Despite the objections of acting CMO David Foss, Savage unplugged himself from the medical bed and made his way painfully up to the bridge. He stoped briefly to throw a robe around himself and slide on his boots he found in a cabinet on the far side of the infirmary. He would have put his uniform on, but it was in a mess, what with burn marks from weapons fire, shrapnel tears and more blood spears than he wouldnt to think about.

Oddly, Gallion assisted him on his journey back upto the bridge, and even helped force the turbolift door open when he got there.

When he stepped onto the bridge, he was surprised to find it in much better condition that he recalled. Most of the damaged terminals were at least partially working, and all the bodies and various messy goop had been cleared away. Akuma was sitting at the Nav terminal

and Reynolds was apparantly taking tempoary command. He turned in the command chair and

stood to greet his commander the moment he noticed him.

"Good to see you up on your feet, sir." said Reynolds, stepping away from the command seat and offering it to Savage.

Savage shook his head. "No no, im in no condition to be taking the bridge just now. Besides, it took me ten minutes to stand up and I'll be damned if im going to go through that again any time soon."

Reynolds grinned. "Aye, sir."

During the next few minutes as Savage painfully inspected the most critical systems on the bridge, both Gallion and Reynolds explained what had been going on during his time in the infirmary. By the time they had finished, Savage was aware that they were now only minutes away from the rendevous point and that so far, with the minor exception of the Gammulan

attack and interception from the Leo, they were as yet, undetected by any potential

hostiles.

So far, so good. All they had to do now, was wait.

18:09 hrs, 19th May, 3008

GCV-McKendrick

Bridge

Commander Neena Polovoski bolted from her chair and leapt up close to the viewscreen the moment the Vulture was picked up on sensors. The look on her face was one of utter horror.

"Oh my god. What the hell happened to them?"

Ailsa swiveled in her navigators chair and faced her commanding officer. "Looks like they've been in one helluva fight, sir. Im reading Gammulan weapons signatures on the hull. Mostly PTA fire by the looks of it."

"Damn." exclaimed Neena. "It's a miricle they made it at all."

"It will be a bigger miricle if they make it any further. Their structual integrity is well below the red line. They're either running from somthing we cant see or are totally unaware of how serious the damage is."

"Or they're crazy." offered Neena as an alternative.

"Uh, or if they're crazy, sir."

Neena sighed. Knowing Karl the way she did, crazy seemed to be the most likely. Still ...

"How long until we're within transporter range?"

Ailsa checked. "Another six minutes. We'll need to get right on top of them if we want to beam them aboard without lowering our cloak."

Neena nodded and turned away from the viewscreen. "Get us there, and fast. Once we're within range, hail them and let them know we're pulling them out fast."

18:10 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Bridge

The warning klaxons didnt come as a complete surprise to Savage, but it still disturbed him none the less. He quickly barked out an order and was gratified when a response came to him almost immediately. The response, however, was not what he wanted to hear.

"How long?" he said, gripping the back of the command chair. "Four, maybe five minutes until we lose integrity. We're going to start losing the upper decks first. Hull plating is buckling on deck one. Breaches opening up on deck two, fore section. Emergency forcefields are in place but weakening. Deck three is going to lose integrity in under three minutes. "

"It never rains, but it pours."

Savage rounded on Gallion. "If you have anything constructive to bring to this, please do so. Otherwise, get your ass down to deck three and start moving people out of the med bay to deck two."

Gallion straightened and gritted his teeth. "And take them where exactly? We lose integrity on decks one and three, deck two will be in vaccume seconds later."

"I'll take those seconds. We need to buy as much time for Neena to pick us up as possible."

"Then I suggest we cut the engines and coast on course ... the reduced stress may give your precious Neena a little more time to pull us out. Thats IF she's there at all."

Savage frowned at Gallion. "She'll be there. She always is. Now more it!"

Gallion snapped off a sarcastic salute. "Yes sir!" And then was on his way.

"Reynolds, get on the PA and get everyone to the aft section of deck two. Get the engineers reinforcing those forcefields on the fore section. Helm, cut main power to the drive and let us coast."

Reynolds nodded and began carrying out his instructions. Savage painfully stepped upto the navigators console and took Akuma by the hand. "It's time to go. Gather the others and clear the bridge."

Akuma stood from her console and looked at him. "What about you?"

Savage frowned. "I've gotta take care of somthing here first. Go on ahead, I'll be down there shortly."

Reluctantly, Akuma gave way and began gathering the other bridge crew together. Less than thirty seconds later, the bridge was empty, all except for Fleet Commander Savage.

He sat at Akumas vacated console and began tapping into it. He had things to take care of.

[/RP]

So then, the ship is breaking apart. People are heading to the aft section of deck two,

which is the safest. Theres a whole bunch of people in the infirmary that are going to need moving to saftey, not to mention a few hull breaches that are going to need sorting real soon. That is unless you enjoy seeing your lungs on the outside of your body.

Happy hunting. smile.gif

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

Fleet Cmdr. Karl Savage

GCV - Tsunami, Orion Starstation (CENTRIS)

Fleet Leader, ORION FLEET

www.orionfleet.com

'Here cometh the storm!'

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To all ÔÇô I suggest that Blades be the only one that places a Time Stamp on their post.

Reason ÔÇô keeps the story line time consistent and flowing. Follow my lead eek.gif

[rp]

19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Gallion muttered to himself as he and York gathered those that were able to move on their own to the aft part of deck two. He had answered Blades inquiries honestly for the most part. Only evading what Caine may or may not already know. Murphy was not the only one that could cloud reality with the harshness of ambiguity.

...do I get paid on the onset, or after completion of the mission?...

The later of CaineÔÇÖs questions ÔÇô that he had purposely not answered ÔÇô continued its incessant query over and over again. Not my problem...Savage can deal with that matter, he thought as he and York reached the Infirmary. Slowly the walking wounded were moving to the gathering place designated by Blades.

Blooming lunatic that Blades ... and they think I be crazed. Now where did Rattler go off to?

ÔÇ£Give me a hand with this lad York,ÔÇØ Gallion said as he neared the gurney where Caine lay.

ÔÇ£Come on Mr. Caine,ÔÇØ Gallion said to the groggy merc.

ÔÇ£Be glad that ye doesnÔÇÖt have ye peashooter with ye on this bucket Mr. Caine,ÔÇØ he said as they assisted the groggy merc to his feet and moved out of the infirmary to the aft section of deck two. ÔÇ£This crate will not last much longer,ÔÇØ Gallion continued, which seemed to answer the question on CaineÔÇÖs face. The trio continued their journey meandering through the wreckage in the passageways, occasionally stepping over body parts that were not policed up after the furious battle.

ÔÇ£Besides,ÔÇØ Gallion said as they neared one of the few operational turbo lifts, ÔÇ£your peashooter is not as far away as ye may fear.ÔÇØ Gallion saw a faint spark in CaineÔÇÖs eyes light up.

Time to quench that puppy

ÔÇ£Just a tad bit inaccessible fer the moment.ÔÇØ The spark in CaineÔÇÖs eyes dwindled some and a sadistic grin appeared on GallionÔÇÖs mug. ÔÇ£He-he-he, not to worry lad,ÔÇØ the turbo lift doors opened and the trio entered.

...do I get paid on the onset, or after completion of the mission?...

ÔÇ£To answer ye second query ... remember ÔÇô not all that is Gold is a glitter, not all those who wonder are lost.ÔÇØ The former Corsair said as the turbo lift doors closed.

If looks could kill, who would be left standing? Caine? Gallion? or GallionÔÇÖs mother hen?

19th May, 3008

GCV Graf Spee

Torn between two lovers. What was Rico to do? He had one set of orders with two conflicting dilemmas.

1. Maintain contact with the transport ship the departs Pixan without being detecting

2. Assist this transport when required; with drawl; resume procedure one.

What was not covered in his orders was what to do with the UCV Leo. The Spee could very well destroy or disable the Nightstar class carrier with a few well-placed CTAS shots. But this was not RicoÔÇÖs or the Graf SpeeÔÇÖs modis operandi.

His quarry, the Vulture was underway, yet he was still with the Leo. Totally ruining his day and plans. Rico thought about it enough. Time to take a chance and tempt the fates.

ÔÇ£Open a channel with the Leo,ÔÇØ he said, ÔÇ£voice only.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Channel open sir!ÔÇØ

Leo, this is the Graf Spee, Rico began, we seem to be after the same objective. One that I cannot allow you to attain Rico paused, more to collect his thoughts and formulate a plan than for dramatics, ...for the moment this is. There for I have proposal for your consideration. One that I feel will be mutually beneficial to us both.

Rico outlined his plan. A simple one in reality but the way Murphy was working this past 24 hours, it was one that could easily be laid to waste in a nano-second. Under RicoÔÇÖs plan the Leo would maintain at least 250k km distance from their quarry. Which is on the fringe of both the LeoÔÇÖs and their quarryÔÇÖs sensor range. If the Leo agreed, then the Graf Spee would release the Leo from its current predicament ÔÇô the Nightstar class carrier would no longer be a target of the Graf Spee.

ÔÇ£You have three minutes to decide Leo,ÔÇØ Rico said at the end of his proposal, ÔÇ£choose wisely, Graf Spee out!ÔÇØ

What Rico did not say was the most important decision he's had to make to this date. For if the Leo failed to agree to his proposal then he would be forced to disable or destroy the vessel. If they did agree then he and the Graf Spee would cloak and continue with their mission ÔÇô shadow the Vulture.

The tick-tock of the chronograph became louder in RicoÔÇÖs mind as each one succeeded its predecessor. Rico could feel the palms of his hands begin to clam as the tension within him slowly grew with each successive tick-tock...

...tick-tock...

...tick-tock...

...tick-tock...

...tick-tock...

[/rp]

Missed your two question post Caine eek.gif sorry frown.gif

This is the only way I could think of to get both ships out of hot water yet still remain in the story cool.gif Murphy is a nasty companion and one should never leave things to either him or chance wink.gif

TTFN

[This message has been edited by Gallion (edited 04-07-2001).]

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[RP]

19 May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

The nightmare that had once been Engineering was now merely a mess. Most of the access panels had been resealed, and for the first time since Somerset entered it, he thought it looked like a real engine room.

Not that it hadn't taken a lot to accomplish that.

Unfortunately, his original estimate was off. There were so many foul-ups and glitches that it had taken not 2, but 5 hours to get the ship he had taken to calling Beater up an running. Somerset knew that calling the Vulture by the nickname Beater was insulting, but so was "useless bucket of bolts".

And that was what this ship was. Even if they made it where they were going, this ship would never sail the stars again. She'd just seen far too much this time out. There wasn't a thing onboard that wasn't at least partially damaged, and just to be cautious, Somerset had his people don suits before they started major repair work. Not to mention ready an RCU, just in case.

The engines and the inertial compensator had turned out to be the easy part. It was managing the SIF with the reactor link that was really tricky. For with the first two, it was merely replacing damaged components. The latter two needed constant minute adjustments, and this ships computer system just didn't support that. It might have before the run in with the Gamms, but it sure didn't now.

Somerset cursed this ships computers and AI routines, as he started the next hour of being on his feet. He looked up at the time display on the ships Master Situation Monitor. For a moment, he felt a slightly unsatisfied at the MSM. Even in his younger days as a CEO, EarthCom ships had used holographic MSM's, capable of showing the ship in 3D, and zooming to any individual component onboard. However that flexibility was uneeded aboard a merchant ship. To save a few credits, the builders skimped on a flat-panel MSM display.

"Cheap-skates," he muttered to himself as he punched in another flow correction to the reactor link. As he completed his task, Somerset noticed something. He wasn't sure what it was, only that it was wrong.

The deckplates. Something felt wrong in the deckplates. What is it, though? he thought.

"Computer, run a Level 4 diagnostic on the propulsion systems. Report any anomolies."

"Acknowledged," the computer replied.

It didn't have time to report. An alarm went off that Somerset had never heard in a real life situation. They didn't even use it in training excerises. It indicated a SIF failure in progress.

"What the bloody hell now?!? Computer, report!"

"SIF failure occuring on all decks. Estimate structural collapse in 5 minutes, 30 seconds."

Somerset pressed some buttons on his console as his face contorted in concentration. The internal sensors were reporting the SIF field generators were all cracked in at least 3 places. How could they have missed this? Moreover, how in hell could they have survived this long with the SIF in that condition?

There was no time to question that now, however. There was only time for action.

"Somerset to Bridge. We've got an SIF failure in progress. There's no way I can stop it. Must've been a failure in the computer safety protocols to let something this major slip by-"

The computer sounded it's warning chime again. "SIF failure, all decks. Estimate structural collapse in 5 minutes."

"You heard it. This ship is done for. I advise making preparations to abandon ship. My people have suits on, so we'll stay here and try to hold her together as long as we can. Whether it's longer than the computer says or not, I'm not sure. We'll do our best. Somerset out."

As soon as he cut the channel, he looked at the assorted faces around him, and said "Let's see if we can't keep this Beater together a little longer. Helmet up, in case we get into a vacuum. And activate your mag boots. No use getting your helmet on if you get to spend the rest of your days a Flying Dutchman."

He pointed a small group of SE's, presumably from the Leo. "You five, get up to the fore section, and try to shore up those forcefields. The longer those stay up, the longer we can keep this bucket going. Everyone else, grab portable field generators. Once the hull starts going, the rest of the Guardian field might collapse, and open those breaches to space. We don't need the people we're trying to save to die of asphyxiation. Get moving, we don't have a lot of time."

The computer chimed a warning again. "SIF failure in progress. Estimate structural collapse in 4 minutes, 30 seconds."

"Not much time at all."

[ 04-09-2001: Message edited by: Ben Somerset ]

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[rp]

19 May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Deck 2, aft section

*Well this is just dandy. I get shanghied, my implant is damaged, the LEO is god knows where, I have a hell of a headache, and I'm being escorted by none other than Gallion himself while this junk ship is falling apart around us. Things couldn't possably get any worse.* Caine stumbled slightly, still dizzy from the shot to his head. Gallion easily caught him, and allowed the merc to steady himself before completing the journey to the aft section of the ship.

As he walked in, he could see several other people milling about, with varying levels of stress marked across their faces. Among them, his CMO was working with Foss to get a couple of the injured settled. She looked up in time to see him enter. "Cane, get your but over here and give us a hand with these people!"

SS Vulture, Engineering

The engineers from the Leo quickly don their helmets, then go about their task trying to find any way possable to boost the containment fields. "I'm afraid we'll only be able to get you another minute at most, and that's only if we're lucky enough to pull off a power tap." a female voice came over the engineering comm. The team was trying to hardwire a bridge into the auxiliary power grid so it will feed the fields at the same time as main power, to try and strengthen them as much as possable.

UCV LEO

Bridge

Jo had no difficulty making her decision, but waited for a full minute before responding, so she wouldn't seem too desperate.

"I agree to your terms, Graf Spree. We'll follow the Vulture at the required distance."

The LEO smoothly rotated, and took it's position just as the vulture powered it's engines.

The Nightstar had little trouble following the damaged transport, but Jo's main concern was the ship following behind her, and her inability to raise Caine. It was going to be a long day.

[/rp]

My CMO was standing right beside Foss when she called to Caine

[ 04-09-2001: Message edited by: Caine ]

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Guest Mikel

Hmm. We're going to have to try and sort out what happened in the engine room before it got reopened. (I was waiting for your move Zeke).

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Deck 3, uh-oh. Say Ben, are you in Engineering or the engine room, because last I checked Nimitz sealed off the engine room.

[RP]

19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Engine Room

What a nightmare this had turned into, Zeke wasn't sure what was going on. He had taken a couple of hours to detour into an unused section of the engine room and attempt to repair his bionic eye. This was after that crazy man had tried to kill him again, he barely escaped with his life and wasn't sure whether he had actually lost the man or not. After what Zeke estimated to be three hours of fiddling with his eye he popped it back into his face and decided not to waste anymore time. So he trudged on, blindly, in search of nothing in paticular, his CSO maybe.

He managed to retrace his steps back to the ventilation shaft he had located, so he climbed in. As he crawled through the cold, damp shaft he could feel a slight breeze on his face. Then Zeke's hand landed on something wet and slimy, he slipped, his chin made contact with the cold steel.

"Damn it!" he cried out in anger.

Continuing down the shaft he came to a fork in the road and quickly decided to go right. A ways down in this direction he felt the shaft slanting upward, it went on like this for a ways. Whoever designed this ship must have been expecting people to crawl around in the ventilation shafts. Zeke came to a grate and was about to knock it open when he heard someone yell.

"Caine, get your butt over here and give us a hand with these people!"

This stopped him cold as he decided this would be the perfect area to listen in, in hopes of overhearing something of their mission. Off in the backround he could hear klaxxons sounding and wondered why this was.

Then it hit him, vent shafts don't slant they go straight up, he must be in some sort of engineering tunnel or something else. Damnit, I certainly don't miss being blind

[/RP]

I was about to put Jeffrey's Tube, but that's Star Trek

[RP]

19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Engine Room

A screwdriver! The thought was still amuzing Jet when he found the last component on his list. The attack had merely cut his fake human flesh and maybe scratched the Titanium plating beneath. After Nimitz had run off to who knows where Jet had started to follow, figuring the man was chasing down his Commander. It was not long until he discovered the three of them were not alone. When he rounded a corner the Science Officer was attacked from behind, one blast to his back sent him into a computer console. He did managed to restrain the Merc who attacked him with a shot from his Rifle on stun mode. Unfortunately the Merc's shot had hit a bad place for him, his mobility was seriously damaged and he soon lost Nimitz. It took Jet an hour to mostly repair himself, just a few tics left over.

A long search for Nimitz came up with nothing but the sealed engine room door, it was at this point when Jet decided to assembled a small explosive to pierce the door. An hour after finding all the parts he needed he had the thing ready too.

"SIF failure occurring on all decks. Estimate structural collapse in 5 minutes, 30 seconds."

This warning annoyed Jet tremendously, because he might not be able to use his explosive. He gavered up his explosive and went to the nearest computer console. Once again hacking into the mainframe he found the computer not be lieing, this certainly was not good. Even worse was he was on a deck that would collapse approximately 2 minutes from now.

Then something good happened, everything suddenly got a lot quieter and his sensors came back to almost 100%. A split second later he knew where everyone on the ship was, including Zeke. Back to the ships computer he used it's sensors to quickly scan for his cloaking device and then stopped it, hopefully before anyone else saw the UCV-Susceptor's modified shuttle. Next he opened a private channel to Jake and awaited a responce.

19th May, 3008

Modified shuttle craft from UCV-Susceptor

Jake was awakened by the computers voice, "Incoming message on private channel, voice only, origin unknown."

He tapped the console and the voice of his comrad Jet was heard, Jake was relieved to hear he was okay but wondered why it wasn't Zeke making the call.

"Jake, right now I am so glad you disobedied a direct order. This tub's SIF Field is about to collapse and I don't want to be on it when this happens. Can you get a lock on me and Zeke?" Jet said, rather quickly.

"Not with this shuttle I can't, unless you are in the transporter room of that ship. The only other way is if I had a direct link to their main computer. Where is Zeke?" Jake responded.

"He seems to be in a ventilation shaft, I don't know if he knows what is happening to this ship. That is what I thought too, thanks Jake. Keep a look out for us trying to get off this ship, right now I need to get off this deck, it's going to collapse in about a minute. Jet out." before Jake could say anything else the channel closed and Jake was again left in silence, surrounded by to many ships to be comfortable at all now.

[/RP]

There, I am all caught up again

Well Mikel, I wrote where my characters went but tried to avoid saying what came of yours, but if you have any quarry with this I can edit it.

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Guest Mikel

*Grin*

[rp]

SS Vulture

Engine room

After managing to lose the...android, Nimitz found himself in a unfamiliar part of the ship, even worse his ribs were really hurting him. He was going to bandage them up when the klaxon started sounding and the oh so friendly voice talked again: "SIF failure occuring on all decks. Estimate structural collapse in 5 minutes, 30 seconds."

Great. Out of all the things to happen. Better prepare myself for Zero-G/space enviroment. He stumbled around for a little while until he found the door; it had a hole blown in it. Out of the fire and into the frying pan. Holding the wrench in a oh-so threating way, he stumbles out to head for a airlock...

[/rp]

Note: I've just started taking a Creative Writing class, so my posts may increases, degenerate, or stay about the same in quality.

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Guest Blackwell

Gentlemen,

My appearance will be brief. I hope I don’t step on any toes.

(RP/)

EarthCOM

Secret facility

Three soldiers, one a commander, walked out of the turbolift and into a long cylindrical corridor. It’s unusual construction allowed for detection of the minutest traces of explosive agents, EM signatures, weapons and any other threat by the expensive sensors imbedded in its’ walls. No detectable threat was present. The men knew better. This was a secured facility with multiple layers of overlapping security that would be extremely difficult to defeat covertly.

What the sensors did not pick up was that the Commnder in the center of the formation was the embodiment of controlled rage. As leader of one of the most brutally effective unconventional forces earth had ever produced, he had to be. He was constantly assessing threat angels, escapes vectors, best available cover, local offensive/defensive resources etc. until it became second nature, like instinct but far more focused.

He was sure that his escorts where doing the same type of threat assessment. After all, he had developed the training protocol that they followed.

Jacobs and… Sterling he recalled them from their training a few years back. Capable protectors… the Director must be worried about me.

As he should be. In three years of active covert action, the Commander had lost only one SRS member in combat. Their elite status demanded nothing less than perfection achieved through arduous, constant training and meticulous planning. This latest fiasco had claimed the lives of three elite soldiers -He wanted answers.

The three men entered a spacious office filled with screens undoubtedly monitoring various “assets.”

“Escorts your are dismissed.” Came the command from the old man across the room.

The men hesitated, perhaps for the first time in their careers. They sensed the inherent danger of the man they had escorted.

“Now gentlemen, I can assure your that the Commander will be on his best behavior.”

The two escorts looked at each other and backed out of the office.

The two remaining men studied each other from across the room. After an uneasy silence the elder of the two men spoke.

“Congratulations on a successful mission. Your team preformed their task flawlessly.”

“Not flawlessly! Three of my personnel are dead.” Was the barked response.

“Well the Insurgents may be dumb, but they are not stupid. Anyway it’s a natural consequence of battle as you well know.”

“Yes for anything less than an elite unit following a detailed plan. Yours was a reckless over exposure that compromised operational security and cost the lives of my men!”

“The prize was worth their lives.”

The Commander’s eyes narrowed before continuing with the heated exchange.

“I don’t know how you managed to convince the brass to pull me away from MY task but I can guarantee that it won’t happen again. We are done here. I am pulling my team out. We will be underway in 10 minutes.”

“That’s fine by me, I have no further use for you or your precious SRS. Their last minute inclusion in the plan assured it’s success but what lies ahead requires…a different touch.”

The older man touched a screen and an image of his bloodied prize was visible on all monitors.

“You have made a mistake in bringing such a high profile Insurgent here and if what I am seeing is any indication, your… interrogation methods will prove inefective.”

“Nonsense. I have my best men working him over now. It won’t be long till I have what I need.”

Jesus Christ! The old man has lost it. He is making this personal.

“You have gotten lazy and worse, impatient in your years away from the field.”

The words stung the old man harder than any in years.

“You ungrateful son of a *****. How dare you talk to me in that tone! I was pulling off Psy. Ops. before you where a twinkle in your traitor of a Dad’s eye.”

No turning back now!

The warrior ignored the comment entirely and replied in a calm voice that helped underscore it’s meaning.

“If you compromise MY operational security, I will deal with you personally, with approval.”

Again a long silence as the two men studied each other.

“Your threat is duly noted” was the old man’s response to acknowledge that the Commanders last two words had been clearly understood.

Commander Joshua Blackwell backed out of the office of the Psy. Ops. Regional Director for EarthCOM Intelligence Drake Blackwell, determined to put as much physical distance between them as possible. The emotional distance from his uncle had already been addressed.

(/RP)

[ 04-09-2001: Message edited by: Blackwell ]

[ 04-09-2001: Message edited by: Blackwell ]

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Zeke; I'm assuming that Engineering takes up more than one deck. Besides, with command access, Somerset can easily open up the sealed hatches.

[RP]

19 May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Engineering

The computer always made the sweetest warning chimes when the ship was about to fall apart. This occassion was no different.

The computer chimed beautifully as it announced "SIF failure in progress. Estimate SIF collapse in 4 minutes."

"All right everyone, let's be about it," Somerset said as his people started heading for the hatches.

Suddenly, one of them stopped as his faceplate hit the still sealed hatch. "Um, sir, I think the hatch is sealed."

"We don't have time for this. Computer, unseal all hatches in Engineering."

"Acknowledged," came the computers reply as the hiss of opening hatches flowed through Engineering.

"Now be on your ways. I'll monitor from here."

The computer chimed again. Only this time, it was slightly different. "Warning. Reactor link pressure is exceeding tolerances."

"Not now, damn you...computer, what is the reactor link pressure?"

"50,000 kilopascals and rising," the computer immediately replied.

This was not a good thing at all. The reactor link is what supplied heated plasma to not only the engines, but the power control unit which converted some of the plasma into electricity which could be utilized by the ship. If that failed, or exploded, the ship would be powerless.

Though at the moment, being without power would be only a minor problem.

"Computer, show me where the overpressure is occuring."

The computer promptly threw up a scematic on the flat-panel MSM. Somerset quickly digested the information. It appeared that outboard valve 1, which ran to the sublight engines, was stuck in the closed position. Fortunately, it was "down-stream" of the PCU, so the ship wouldn't lose power. It would however, lose sublight propulsion. But on a ship about to come apart, did it really matter?

There was little time to waste, and Somerset acted quickly. "Computer, seal off the reactor link aft of frame 17. Open all emergency vents from frame 17 aft, and vent drive plasma overboard."

"Acknowledged. Reactor link sealed. Emergency vents opening. Venting drive plasma."

Outside the ship, a plume appeared behind the ship, green plamsa spilling from them like billowing smoke. Losing the drive plamsa normally would be bad, but in the situation, hardly worth noticing.

"SIF failure in progress. Estimate SIF failure in 3 minutes, 30 seconds."

Somerset's internal comm crackled. "All teams in place, sir. We're activating all the forcefields. Team 3 is trying to divert power from the aux grid to boost field strength."

"Very good. Make it so," Somerset replied.

"SIF failure in progress. Estimate SIF failure in 4 minutes, 15 seconds."

"Good work people. At least we've bought ourselves a little more time," Somerset said, slight triumph in his voice. Sometimes, it was all about the little victories.

"Reactor link pressure decreasing. Dropping below 42,000 kilopascals. Reactor link pressure is now within normal tolerances. All drive plasma has been vented overboard. Setting Emergency Condition 3."

"Belay that, computer. Set Emergency Condition 1. And standby to set Condition 1AS."

Emergency Condition 1 ordered the computer to prioritize power to the SIF, life support, and the Guardian field. It was designed for crew survival until they could abandon ship. Which was what Condition 1AS was for. Even merchant ships, which had no combat systems, still had a Condition 1AS. It was universally known among spacers as the signal to abandon ship.

"Somerset to Bridge. We just had a minor problem down here with the reactor link. I had to vent all the drive plasma overboard. We just got lit up like a Christmas tree to any ship in sensor range. I hope you've got another ship handy, because this one's finished," Somerset silently took a deep breath, preparing himself for what he was about to say. "Recommend we set Condition 1AS, and get the hell off this bucket."

Never before had Somerset recommended to abandon. Not even when the Starcruiser he served as XO on was shot to pieces, and he found himself placed in the Commander's post in the middle of a fight. Even then, he had been unwilling to abandon his post. As he was now, if he had any choice. The old Swiftsure wasn't under the threat of structural collapse, with all of her drive plasma overboard. This Beater was.

And now it was time to leave her.

"SIF failure in progress. Estimate SIF failure in 4 minutes."

[/RP]

Everyone's got a little extra time. Blades, I hope the McKendrick is on their toes. If not, we've got a great showstopper coming up.

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Akuma joined the masses as they prepared to evacuate. She was uneasy most assuredly about the whole situation but mostly about leaving Blades behind on the bridge.

Clutching the gun she had managed to salvage back in the med bay she brought up the rear as they reached engineering. I Don't like this at all she looked around nervously.

Please be okay Karl...I don't want to lose anyone else.

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[RP]

19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Engineering Tube, Deck 2

As he sat there and listened, he quickly became annoyed with them for not giving away their mission. Is it getting colder in here?

Zeke suddenly heard a large clanking noise and felt something sliding over the opening. They were sealing it off! Did they find me? The Commander was well aware that this only occured if there was a hull breach and judging by the strange warning klaxxons this was indeed the case.

Zeke had to think very, very quickly. Stay in the tube and possibly die from lack of air, maybe get sucked into space through a small hole or jump out into the obviously crowded room and risk capture.

Zeke kicked the grate off and flopped out, almost getting his foot crushed by the sealing hatch in the process.

19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Engine Room

Jet snatched his explosive up again and ran as fast as his mechanical legs would carry him back to the sealed Engine room door. 1 minute until this deck was done for.

As he ran he heard an explosion ahead, no time to figure out what it was now, just time to run. When he reached the door there was allready a hole in it which he promptly went through without hardly losing speed. 45 seconds.

Up ahead he spotted the merc who had shot him, it must have been the merc who blew a hole in the door. The man was struggling to get the turbolift door open, Jet shoved the man aside and rapidly tore the door open. The two men began climbing the emergency ladder alongside the turbolift's route, there was no time to see if it was working or not. 30 seconds.

[/RP]

[ 04-10-2001: Message edited by: Commander Zeke Stone ]

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[rp]

19 May, 3008

UCV 'LEO'

Medibay, deck 3

Jo Shtann was sitting on a bed while one of the standby meds placed a quick-cast on her broken hand. The LEO had been following the transport for nearly an hour, with no communication from either Caine, or the Graf Spee. Finally, she had to tear herself away from the bridge to relieve the pain that constantly throbbed up her arm. Naturally, Murphy was waiting for just such a moment to have the s**t hit the fan.

The plastic cast was still hardening when a beep came from a nearby console. She casually reached over and turned it on. "What now Huber?" Jo recognised the stress on his face instantly.

"It seems that the Vulture is in big trouble. They've just dumped their plasma, and are on the verge of structural collapse. To make matters worse, another ship has appeared on long range as well, it seems to be on intercept."

"Right, I'm coming up." Jo mumbled a thanks to the Med officer, then made her way to the bridge.

UCV 'LEO'

Bridge

Jo stepped out of the lift, and moved to look over Huber's shoulder. On the screen was displayed the Vulture, red patches superimposed over most of the ship's hull, with status readouts attached to each section. "Bring up the new arrival"

The display blinked to a view of the McKendrick, as it sped towards the Vulture. "It's about 50/50 that they'll make it. Should we move in as well?"

Jo was silent for several seconds before responding.

"No."

"But, Caine is over there." Huber looked aghast. "We can't jus-"

"Yes we can, because we have no choice." Jo moved to the command chair, and sat down. Close to half distance, and be ready in case the newcomer doesn't make it on time.

"Aye" the ensign plotted the new course, and the nightstar came to a stop just over 100 km's from the shattered transport.

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Guest Mikel

[rp]

SS Vulture

Various

Nimitz had managed to make his way to a airlock, grabbing a Gam rifle, a merc handgun, and a medkit. He was struggling to get the suit on I'll be in a world of pain if I don't get this on

He managed to snake himself into the suit and sealed it (he had made sure it was a hardened suit that was armored) he felt relief. Taking a deep breath, he realized he had left some very important items in his quarters. Cursing to himself, he started heading back to his room when a motion caught his eye; someone was in the airlock and venting it *(#_*$ Who was that?

Muttering quietly to himself, and making sure he was prepared incase of a breach, he started back to his room....

[/rp]

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Foss has told me that from this point on please don't post anything about the Med Bay and he'll have a post up by this weekend. Yea!

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We wont be waiting that long for resolution in the med bay. We cant wait that long. He'll have to play catch up when he gets here.

More shortly.

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Well, this is going to take longer than I thought. For the time being Hoffman and I are being relagated to NPC, If you want to write me in, private message on the forum. I'll give you an update on the location of the Eclipse et al.

[ 04-19-2001: Message edited by: Eclipse ]

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[rp]

Chavik had worked his way upship amidst sparking wires, failing displays, dead bodies and had gotten a good way past his quarters when the general alarm came on to assemble on deck two. He stood stunned for a moment not knowing whether to laugh, curse, or cry. The alarm blared again and he began his way back to deck two.

On the way to deck two he managed to stop by his quarters and retrieve his suitcase with his extra "clothing". Looking like nothing more than a civilian who was late for his flight Chavik made his way to deck two. The sniper rifles he had slung over his shoulder gave him a little trouble but in spits and spurts he made it.

[/rp]

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18:12 hrs, 19th May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport S.S Vulture

Bridge

Alone on the bridge, Savage almost wet himself for the second time that day when a horrific tearing sound came from the service ducts a few feet above his head. Looking up instinctively from his console and peering upwards, he watched with deranged fascination as the metal above began to blister.

Just need thirty more seconds ...

His eyes went back down the the console, and his hands worked feverishly over it. He stayed on the bridge not to shunt power from the auxillery systems to reinforce the SIF, but to purge the ships datacore of any information that could jepordise the future of the mission and his men. Secrecy was everything, even if it cost him, his ship, his men ... everything and everyone associated with this mission their lives. It was too important to leave to a salage team to discover. Too damaging for anyone to ever know. However this panned out - there could be no written record. Ever.

"Bridge! This is Somerset in engineering. Is anybody there?"

Savage was momentarily distracted. "Ben? What are you doing in engineering? Get the hell out of there, NOW!"

Static.

"... of you, boss ... bought perhaps another two minutes ... eck 1 is buck ....... -gest you get out now ..."

Although the message was garballed, Savage understood what was neccesary. His own visual inspection of the bridge told him that he was about to become one with the great outdoors, although hearing it from Ben Somerset in engineering made it all that more real.

"Understood." replied the Fleet Commander, finishing the purge on the datacore and arming the previously placed charges around the computer room.

Whether we survice or not, this ship and all it's secrets are gonna be dust in less than six minutes.

Savage pushed himself painfully away from the navigation terminal and bolted towards the turbolift.

He stopped the instant he realised the automatic doors had stopped functioning again and collided with them painfully.

As his rump hit the buckling metal floor, he realised that getting off the bridge wasnt going to be easy, and considering he had roughly thirty seconds left to do so, it looked like it was end game time for Fleet Commander Savage.

"Bummer ..."

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This is a catch-up from act 3.... app. 5 hrs before the start of this Act

I hear you Gallion, and Blades, if you need to modify my time stamps, please do so.

[rp]

1300 hrs, SS Vulture

RM 14g, deck 1

Angry thoughts running through her head, Ensign Donaldson stomps out of Sickbay.

Where the **** am I going to find an Insurgent Uniform? Wake up Wold?? What kind of insane order is that? Better off NOT waking IMO, especially after what happened in Medibay! I'ld be better off helping someone who is REALLY injured!

Not realizing the possible impact the next few seconds could have she continues moving down the corridore, though at a much slower pace. Her thoughts take another turn....

Wait a minute....this isn't a sanctioned military effort. I don't HAVE to obey orders. Let the B****** sleep! PERMANENTLY for all I care! A deep sigh escapes her lips Foss, I DON'T know why I'm obeying your order, but....

Ships condition being what it was, Merc. Mel sees a pair of fingers clawing at the small gap of the door before if finally gives and slides open accompanied by a grunt of effort. The apperition that suddenly appeared caused a burst of laughter mixed with squeals and she hated it when she squealed. Ensign Donaldson had swiped the first Insurgent uniform she could find and it definately wasn't cut to fit her.

Casting a murderous glance at the Merc., Donaldson heads towards her real task while grating out "All right Merc, Foss wants him awake and I would apprecieate it if YOU keep him from killing me!"

Sweat begining to run down her back she injects Wold with counter-agents and immediately backs away.

Wold didn't feel the prick from the injection, nor the slight burning sensation running up his right shoulder and down the arm. He did however feel the results of the chemical reaction in the pit of his stomach. Leaning over the edge of the bed, head swirling, ears buzzing, eyes tring to focus, and stench reaching his nostrals he hears a rather gleeful "HAH, it worked!" followed by pounding of boots as Donaldson makes a rapid exit.

Several hours having passed, the room is somewhat clean, again. Wold's mind has finally subsided to a low roar minus the pounding throb. The other remaining two side affects being his memory holes and a thin, plastic type cast on the broken left arm. Both being frustrated that the third iteration of the past hours events at not having an impact on his memory. Wold turns to the portable computer and begins searching through the remains of the Vultures computer systems.

Unconscience of time he picks his way through systems. The information didn't trigger his short term memory as he had hoped but it did give him a current 'picture' of things. A rather bleak picture at that.

Wold was half-way to the closet before his brain caught up with his body. The warning system had abruptly kicked in with the SIF warning, on a surge. Grabbing his gear from the closet and shoving the 'puter into the bag he and Mel race for the door.

"CR**!! Savage! The doors are out and he's stuck on the bridge!" Throwing his gear at the Merc, "Cargo bay 1, there is an empty pod. Grab 3 emergency suits and get in that pod w/ the gear, those things seem to survive anything. Now MOVE!"

[/rp]

Blades, I wasn't sure if you left your character 'hanging' to see what rescue was arranged or if you had something else in mind. If you don't like my next post let me know and I'll zap it.

[ 04-13-2001: Message edited by: Wold ]

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[RP]

19 May, 3008

Modified LRT-15 Transport SS Vulture

Engine Room

Time was swiftly running out for the Beater. In Engineering, and throughout the rest of the ship, Benjamin Somerset and his SE's frantically worked to buy more time for the crew to get to evac stations.

Engineering was all but deserted, save for one man constantly punching commands into the console in front of the MSM. Logistix was beginning to show signs of all the fighting that had recently occured, and Somerset was being forced to hold the reactor together with hectic commands and adjustments to keep it from tearing itself apart.

Under the circumstances, it would probably be best to just eject the core. However, even if Somerset left it alone, the reactor wouldn't drive itself to destruction before the SIF failure did the job itself.

Fortunately for him, the builders had done this LRT-15, and Benjamin Somerset in particular, a very good favor. Even though they had skimped out of a HD MSM, they had put in an escape pod less than 5 seconds distance from Engineering. If neccessary, he could run and get off the ship before she tore herself apart.

But there was still work to do.

"Sir," a voice crackled over Somerset's suit comm, "Team 3 has diverted power from the aux grid into the SIF. That should buy us a few more minutes."

Before he could reply, the computer gave its beautiful warning chime. "SIF failure in progress. Estimate SIF failure in 6 minutes, 35 seconds."

"Very good work. All Teams, this is Somerset. I doubt there's anything else we can do to save the ship. Set all portable field generators on automatic, and head for evac stations. If there's anything else that needs doing, I'll handle it down here. All Teams acknowledge. Somerset, out."

The Teams grudgingly acknowledged, and began making their way though the broken ship to evac stations.

Though he was certain there was no one left on the bridge, Somerset felt that he should inform anyone who might be crazy enough to be up there of their good fortune.

As good as it had come this day, anyway.

"Bridge! This is Somerset in Engineering. Is anybody there?"

Hearing a voice slightly shocked Somerset. Who the voice came from was even more shocking. The voice of Savage came floating over his comm, slightly garbled. "B-n? W--t are you --ing in --gineer-ng? Get --- hell -ut of th--e, NOW!"

"That's a very kind suggestion coming from you, boss. I managed to buy perhaps another two minutes. But Logistix says Deck 1 is buckling. I suggest you get out now, while there's still time."

The only reply he heard was "Understood."

Understood? The man only understood he was going to be breathing vacuum in perhaps two minutes?

But Benjamin Somerset was in Engineering, and that meant he could at least do something.

"Computer, reinforce SIF fields around the Bridge, and connecting corridors to Deck 2 aft. Transfer all power from the engines, shields, weapons, and all other nonessential systems. Activate emergency containment fields on the bridge and connecting corridors to Deck 2 aft in case of atmospheric breach. Inform me the moment atmospheric pressure begins dropping in any of those areas."

"Acknowledged. Transferring all power to SIF fields and emergency atmosphereic containment fields. Sensors indicate no loss of atmospheric pressure at this time."

But they would. And Somerset had done what he could to save Savage from certain death if his route to Deck 2 decompressed.

Because what happened during explosive decompression was a fate he wished on no one. He had seen the damage it had wrought, and gruesome didn't begin to describe it.

He only hoped that Savage made it out in time.

"SIF failure in progress. Estimate SIF failure in 6 minutes, 5 seconds."

[/RP]

[ 04-12-2001: Message edited by: Ben Somerset ]

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Guest Mikel

[rp]

SS Vulture

Various

Nimitz threaded his way back to his cabin, stopping along the way to grab his confiscated weapons, and reached his cabin. It had become locked. Mutter a curse under his breath, he gave the door a good, swift kick, which worked for this time. He quickly dashed into his cabin and grabbed his equipment. The computer chimed in again, "SIF failure in 6 minutes".

Nimitz quickly checked a map of the Vulture and saw that it would take at least 6 minutes to get out of the ship.

Only one way out.

Taking his rifle he headed to the nearest window. After shutting and locking the door, he took the gam pistol and, after a few moments work, converted it into a crude bomb. He taped it to the window and quickly retreated into a corner. Aiming at the pistol he took a deep breath and fired. Their was the sound as the gun fired, as the pistol blew up, as the window eventully gave away to the forces, and the sound of oxygen sucking out of the room.

At least I hope it's only this room.

Taking one last look around, Nimitz slipped out the opening and went out into the black, silent void of space...

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[rp]

Sprinting to the bridge Wold had aquired an emergency plasma tourch, used for cutting out trapped crew members. He knew it would take too long, but it was better then beating on the door w/ his fist. What he needed was....Something caught his eye. Skidding to a halt, he backs up and sees a boarding charge attached to the hatch. Hitting the release switch he snatches it from the hatch and heads to bridge. Reaching the bridge he slaps the charge onto the hatch and punches the button. 15 seconds later she blows.

Commander Savage's 'luck' was holding better then he thought. He had bearly uttered the word 'bummer...' when the charge blew launching the hatch into the bridge area inches above his head. The shockwave from the explosion punched him in the chest and flipped him onto his back.

Bolting onto the bridge Wold yanks Savage off the floor across his shoulders in fireman's carry position and makes a bee-line for cargobay 1.

Jumping into the cargo pod as it closes up Wold mutters to Savage "I sure do hope you have someone out there that will pick this thing up."

In the dark and tight space they fumble with the emergency vac suits each with their own thoughts..... [/rp]

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Cmdr Nova,

The SIF (Structural Integrity Field) is what holds the ship together when making high speed transits. A ship entering hyperspace goes from 0 to extreme speed in a few microseconds. Under normal circumstances, this would immediately turn the ship into something like a deflated ballon. The SIF is designed to hold the ships structure together, so this doesn't happen.

Working in concert with the SIF would be the inertial compensator. While the SIF holds the ship together, the inertial compensator keeps the crew from being turned into salsa on the nearest aft bulkhead when a stressful transit (through hyperspace, jumpgate, or wormhole) occurs.

None of the components (specifically) isn't mentioned in the BC parts list IFAIK, so I assume (which can be bad ) that both are part of the "Guardian Field" that protects the ship. But IMO they should be referred to seperately, since they do different jobs, even if they are part of the same system. Just my $0.02 on the matter.

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