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Guest Commander Hamblin

GCV Brazen - A Part of Earth.

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Guest Commander Hamblin

Ten points go to any Brit who can tell me where I plagarised this short from. Twenty points to any non-Brit.

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"On board a ship, you get everyone. You get village idiots, mad scientists, 'nest egg' lawyers, everyone, the whole spectrum." - Leading Rate Micky Goele.

GCV Brazen is a Galactan class Battlecruiser. Brazen has a complement of ninety eight men, and nineteen women.

"If you go away and live on a ship for seven months, it's like you're in a prison. You can't go anywhere, so you've got to get used to living and working with your fellow shipmates." - Leading Rate Micky Goele.

Brazen is equipped with four support Interceptor fighters, and is armed with an Ion Disruptor Array, and Passive Target Acquisition turrets. Brazen is also armed with a wide range of orbit to surface, air to air, and space to space missiles.

"With rank comes responsibility, and if that means that you have to be unpopular, well then, in my mind, so be it." - Lt Cmdr Michael Ratherford.

Brazen has nine senior officers, seven men and two women.

"I think I'm probably a fairly flamboyant character, I like to let my hair down every once in a while, and just because I'm in Galcom, doesn't mean I'll be stopping that." - Ensign Nick Cooke-Prieste.

She can sustain a maximum velocity of twenty five light minutes per hour for up to two minutes.

"I've had some good times, some really good times, but they're just getting less and less now. I mean, everything's changing, you know? It's all changed from when I first joined." - Junior Rate Mike O'Donnell.

Brazen is part of a class of nearly forty ships, and is one of the most advanced warships in Galcom's fleet.

"And you think to yourselves, it's a part of Earth. The ship's a part of Earth, and it's got everything. Even if you're from the colonies, those colonies had a bit of Earth in them, so it's the same with this ship." - Leading Rate Micky Goele.

A Part of Earth

"This is the Galactic News Network from London, and we begin at 0500 hours, Greenwich Mean Time, on Saturday the twenty fourth of September. Galcom ships are being sent to Tau Ceti to enforce the Galcom arms embargo on the warring factions of the Empirians and the Vesperons, as part of Operation Sharp Guard. Fighters are also involved in Operation Deny Flight, helping to stop pirates, mercenaries and arms dealers from entering either system, in an attempt to stabalise the situation."

Leading Rate Micky Goele

"Being aboard Brazen, it gives you the chance to see parts of life that, before, you just simply never knew existed." He was walking through one of Brazen's many corridors, while the camera eagerly followed behind him. He occasionally turned around to look directly at it, smiling each time.

"I mean, after you've been in space for some time, you start to get on everyone's nerves." He paused for a moment, both in movement and in speech, then continued. "Basically, because of the closeness of it all. You have no space which you can call your own, you're in everyone elses face all the time."

"How can you stand it?"

"Well, you just get used to it after a while. Either that, or you go crazy!" He laughed.

***

Day 1 of patrol. Position classified.

Weapons Engineering Mechanics' Mess

Junior Rate Mike O'Donnell

Leading Weapons Engineering Mechanic (LWEM)

"This is my fourth deployment so far, my second on Brazen. I used to get a lot of stick from me mates about joining Galcom." He snorted, and picked up his can of beer, taking a drink out of it. "I think my girlfriend was the one who didn't like it most. She kept on nagging me to get a proper job, you know? 'None of this going into space rubbish', she'd say." He chuckled, and took another drink of beer, leaning back on the couch.

"And you went into space anyway?"

"Well, that's a bit of a long story, but yep, here I am, ready and able, part of Galcom's front line of defence!" He smiled and laughed right into the camera.

Bridge

Captain James Rapp

Commanding Officer

"We're in a pretty exposed area, because we're close to a lot of their bases in nearby regions." He looked past the camera, towards the Bridge viewscreen, and magnified an area of the screen so he could study it. "We're also in range of the missile batteries that they could deploy in orbit of the nearby planet, so we are on a high alert status, so as to ensure that we can react quickly to any threat that might develop."

Lt Cmdr Michael Ratherford

Tactical Officer

"The main thing we're worried about is the lone madman in the fighter, or the lone captain who, for whatever reason, says 'right, that's it', and decides to loose one off at you." He showed the camera the image of his radar screen which, to the untrained eye, looked like a torrent of unreadable, and constantly changing dots, lines and symbols.

"No one aboard, as far as I know, has yet seen a single enemy vessel, and I think that's how modern space warfare is. We've seen them on radar, and we've detected them with our equipment, but that's it. If you see the whites of the eyes of the enemy, then you've probably fouled in your job anyway." He nodded slowly, as though he had just uttered some mystical and profound truth.

Interceptor 1

Lt. Jerry Barnbrook

Flight Commander

"You know, it really makes you think, being out here. One minute, you could be doing a routine search, and the next, you could be going back to the ship to pick up extra weapons."

The man continued staring straight ahead at the stars in front of him, ignoring the silently floating camera hovering beside his head in the cramped cockpit. "It's a sobering thought to realise that you may have to actually fire a missile at someone."

The fighter flew silently through the black void of space, a miniscule speck of light, in a vast sea of stars.

"Are you looking forward to getting back to Earth?"

"Oh yeah, who in the service doesn't? But, at the same time, there's nothing on Earth that compares to this. Being out here, doing the job we do, it's something that no one has ever tried to do before. It makes me feel special to know I'm a part of something as important as Galcom."

Ensign Nick Cooke-Priest.

Flight Observer/Co-pilot

"When I joined Galcom, I had dreams of flying expensive ships, drinking beer and having fun." He chuckled at the camera, then turned back to the radar in front of him. "You don't ever imagine you could be in a situation whereby you might have to go and fire a missile at someone."

"Didn't it ever cross your mind?" The interviewer asked.

"Well, no, not really. I'm really into flying, and I thought that joining Galcom would allow me to fly more advanced ships than you generally see in a freighter company." He chuckled. "When I joined up, the recruitment poster said 'See the Galaxy'. I'd already seen the Galaxy, I just wanted cool toys to play with."

Bridge

Lt Cmdr Michael Ratherford

Captain Rapp was with Ratherford at the Tactical station on the Bridge. "Report." he ordered, standing over his shoulder, while the officer began outlining Brazen's status, with the seemingly incomprehensible radar screen.

"They don't seem to have a lot of their assets deployed here, or here." Rapp said, pointing at the screen a few times. "It looks like they're trying to set us up, and lure us in."

"I've noticed that too, sir. I don't want to get suckered in, personally." Ratherford said, tracing some marks on the screen to show how the enemy assets could potentially trap the Brazen. "They could disable our engines, and keep our fighters pinned down. And thanks to these assets here, they could even board us if they chose." He pointed to a number of small, short range craft indicated on the radar screen that could hold about twenty marines each, and were on sentry duty not far away.

"Those raiders can be smart when they want to." Rapp murmured, more to himself than to Ratherford. "Well, this is a moot point anyway. Their plan is pretty obvious, and our mission here isn't to attack them." The Captain looked deep in thought for a moment. "However, I want you to have a plan of attack on my desk by tommorow morning. Co-ordinate with all the necessary departments. We should prepare for the worst just in case."

Cargo bay 1

Lance Corporal Joshua Ross

"Alright, listen up! We'll just start off with some warming up, but after that, I want to move onto some teamwork exercises, so find a partner, and pair up!" A few of the Marines laughed, as they paired up, and prepared for the exercises of the day. Most of them wore tanktops, and a few had no tops at all. One wore a shirt with an obscene saying on it, which was blurred out on camera.

Ross had his hands on his hips. "Hands on hips, and gently swing them around...good, move those hips..." This evoked more laughter from the marines.

"How often do you train?"

Ross continued looking ahead, while still moving his hips about. "We train at least once a day, especially during Defence Watches like this, when we'll have to be fit and ready to go at a moment's notice." He laughed at a few Marines towards the back of the group, who were making entirely different hip movements.

"Save that for shore leave, Greg! Not that you'll need it!" Ross shouted. More laughter ensued.

"Sounds like being a Marine is great fun." The interviewer noted, chuckling a bit himself.

"No shit. I love it here! It's great to know a bunch of fellas who you can go out with, get drunk with, and eventually, when we get our chance, get sent to a planet to tear some shit up. You've gotta be ready to put your life in these guys hands, just as they're putting their lives in yours. It's why I love being a Marine. No matter where you are, or who you're with, the comaraderie is just unmatched."

***

Crew Quarters

"Here's where we sleep." Goele said, as he led the camera toward one of the sets of bunks in this area of the ship. "This is what we call a goach. As you can see, there are six pits to a goach, and it can be pretty cramped." He moved out of the way, to allow the camera a better look at the sleeping conditions of the enlisted men and women aboard Brazen.

"Imagine trying to crawl into bed on the night shift, and all you've got is a small red light up there to find your way through."

Goele pointed to the bunk on the bottom right. "This is mine. Easier to crawl into when you're drunk." He smiled, the camera floating around trying to get images from various angles.

"What do you do if you want privacy?" The interviewer asked, trying to comprehend how anyone could stand living there.

Goele pulled a tiny curtain across part way on one of the bunks. "That's it.

Captain's Quarters

Petty Officer Bryan Noble

"Normally, the Captain will eat alone. He'll get invited down to the mess every once in a while, of course, but for the most part, he'll just sit alone, and eat in his cabin." Noble looked around the small side compartment adjacent to the Captain's cabin, which was the alternate entrance to his cabin. It was where he could prepare meals for him, when food came up from the galley.

"My job is to make sure the Captain gets his meals three times a day, among other things. I'm like his personal delivery boy straight from the galley." He picked up the plate of food, and walked in.

The captain, who was studying a set of technical manuals, looked up to see Noble walk in. "Ah, what have we got today?" He asked, as the Petty Officer set the plate down on a nearby table.

Afterwards, Noble walked back into the compartment. He shook his head, and sighed. "I wanted to be an officer when I first signed up." He said. "I mean, it makes me angry that I failed the entrance exam to join Galcom Academy, and the only way I could get out here was to enlist. I see the officers on board, and I wonder, could I have been with them right now, instead of being the Captain's personal servant?" His eyes took on a somewhat dreamy look, as he stared past the camera, and imagined what could have been.

***

Day 4 of patrol. Position classified.

"Are you a strict Captain?"

"Am I a strict Captain, well, that's a tough question." The man leaned back on the chair in his cabin, behind the Auxilliary Bridge on Deck 2. "I believe in the idea that it's best to be consistent. If you show to the men and women under your command that you're one thing, you'd better stick to being that thing, so they know what to expect."

He nodded, trying to place emphasis on his point. "I suppose you could say that's my command philosophy, if you're meant to have one." He smiled, as a thought just occured to him. "They taught us back at the Academy that each captain has his or her own style, their own wisdom, their own manner about them, and this reflects on the ship that they run. Soon, that ship is vibrant with their manner, their wisdom...their style. I'd like to think that Brazen has this as well."

Deck 2, mid corridor.

"General Quarters, General Quarters. All hands, man your battle stations. Go up and forward on the port side, down and aft on the starboard. All hands, man your battle stations." The PA system announced, the voice echoing through the darkened corridors of the Brazen.

The klaxons were blaring throughout the ship, as the crew began running through the wide corridors to get to their battle stations. The almost constant whirr of opening and closing doors, and the stamping of feet on the deck was starting to reach deafening levels.

Bridge

On the Bridge, the Officer of the Watch was sitting in the Captain's chair, when Captain Rapp entered the Bridge.

"The Captain is on the Bridge!" The computer said, and the Officer of the Watch gave up the seat to the Captain.

"Officer of the Watch, initiate evasive maneuvers, and activate the weapons systems." He ordered, as he activated the relevent holographic screens.

The radar showed the two fighters in close formation, speeding towards the slow moving bulk of the Brazen. They began opening simulated fire, impacting on the simulated shields of the Brazen, and the simulated damage being taken into account by the computer systems of both the fighters and the Brazen herself. Simulated PTA fire lanced out from the turrets of the Brazen, which were accurately tracking the fast approaching fighters.

The two pilots dived, and turned in opposite directions, trying desperately to avoid the deadly simulated beams that were aiming for their nimble craft. However, it turned out to be futile, as the computers on all three ships registered multiple hits, and the quick destruction of the two fighters. With the simulation having ended, the two fighters returned to formation, and flew quickly away from the Brazen, sending their acknowledgement of the engagement, and their thanks for the chance to test out their piloting skills.

Communications office

"Good evening, this is your daily briefing, with myself, Petty Officer Bryant. Before I begin, I'd just like to convey the congratulations of the Captain to the whole crew, on completion of the recent training simulation. The exercises with fighters from GCV Vanguard has gone splendidly. You all reacted well, the simulated damage was repaired quickly, and both fighters would have been destroyed due to the PTA defences. Well done.

On another note, we will be having a special visit today from the Assistant Chief of Galcom Staff, Vice Admiral Harwood. We expect the Admiral to arrive by shuttle some time tommorow, and he should be here for about three and a half hours. He will be touring the ship, and taking questions from the crew, so this will be a unique opportunity to speak with a very senior officer within Galcom, one which shouldn't be missed.

That is all.

***

Day 5 of Patrol. Position classified.

The shuttle slowly began it's final approach to the Brazen, and in the corridor behind the sealed doors of the shuttle bay, the Captain was waiting with the on board flight engineers.

The shuttle slowly landed in the bay, it's landing struts impacting on the deck with what would've been a dull thud, if it had been possible to hear anything in the decompressed bay. The doors slowly closed, and the atmosphere flooded in. Within minutes, the airtight doors opened, and the flight engineers poured out, the Captain close behind.

Admiral Harwood walked quickly out of the shuttle into the cavernous shuttle bay, and shook hands with the Captain. "Welcome aboard, sir." Rapp said, giving a curt salute.

"It's good to be aboard, Captain. It's nice to get out of that office every once in a while." He chuckled, and they both walked into the adjacent corridor.

Captain's Quarters

"...how many stop and searches have you done?" Harwood asked, sipping at his tea.

Rapp leaned back on his chair. "We've done about forty five, to date, and we've managed to detain twelve vessels running arms into the system. Each time, the culprits have gone quietly. Our brig is starting to get a little full, actually. Looks like they're not willing to fight over it."

"We think that once they realise selling arms to either side in this conflict is more trouble than it's worth, they'll back off, and go off in search of greener pastures." Harwood said, setting his tea down on a nearby table. "Good work, Captain. HQ is hoping we can get this whole situation under control as soon as possible, and it's thanks to ships like yours that we've managed to get this far already. We might be calling on you again in the near future, if we think you're the right ship for the job."

"Well, of course, we're always ready to serve, Admiral."

"That's good." Harwood stood up, ready for his tour of the ship.

Weapons Engineering Mechanics' Mess

Admiral Harwood stepped into the small room, and everyone present stood up.

"At ease." He said, and they slowly began to sit down, as he found himself a seat. "Now, I'm here to let you know that you are important in today's Galcom. You are the foundation of the service, it's heart and soul, and without you, we wouldn't be anywhere. If you have any questions, or complaints, then I'm here now, and I'll try and see if there's anything I can do to make your Galcom better for you."

He began fielding rather straightforward questions and comments from the various people present in the Mess.

"Well, sir, you've got to keep your front line running, and your front line is your ships." Chief Steward Alex Halliday said. "But the way it looks now, we're getting less and less people into the service, and more and more people are leaving as soon as they can. So, are there any plans in place to try to deal with this? Because we're starting to bear the brunt of sometimes not having enough people on board to do everything that needs to be done."

Harwood nodded, his familiarity with the subject all too obvious in his concerned face. "I understand exactly what you're saying, and you're right, we do have to keep our front line running. But with a rapidly dwindling budget, we're starting to look at reducing man power on our ships through various schemes. You may have heard of the tests currently being performed on GCV Yorktown, to see how more automation, and better designing of critical areas, can help reduce overall manpower, and therefore, overall costs, and it's this which has been keeping your Assistant Chief of Galcom Staff pretty busy."

***

Day 9 of Patrol. Position classified.

Wardroom

The preliminary music from GNN blared loudly through the wardroom.

"This is the Galactic News Network from London, and we begin at 0500 hours Greenwich Mean Time, on Monday the third of October. Galcom ships are continuing to enforce the Galcom arms embargo on the warring factions of the Empirians and the Vesperons, as Operation Sharp Guard continues in earnest. These latest images from the fighting, show that..."

The noise of the announcer was drowned out by the chatter in the wardroom. Their replacement, the GCV Andalucia, was on her way and would arrive soon. After that, Brazen would be heading for Tramis, for some well earned shore leave.

"Finally, our thoughts and prayers go out to the brave men and women of Galcom who are on the front lines of the Empirian - Vesperon conflict, attempting to bring peace to the troubled region. Their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of thousands of others, is what ensures the safety and security of our way of life."

[ 09-29-2001: Message edited by: Commander Hamblin ]

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