Rimward Trade Lane
The bulk freighter Sapphire Dunes screamed through space, her three massive sub-light drive engines pushed past the redline as the massive ship speed down the trade lane, plasma from burning scars on her engineering section leaving a shimmering trail that mingled with the kilometer long flame of her overtaxed drives. In her wake were her two disabled sisters, their drive sections smashed, smouldering wrecks, the big externally mounted cargo modules they carried already being sheered away from the doomed vessels.
A smattering of blue laser fire lanced out from the Sapphire Dunes's point defense lasers, small weak guns designed to intercept space debris, not fend off marauders. Several dark forms loomed in her wake, gleaming metal glinting in the reflected light from the freighter's drive wash and laser shots. From one of these forms came thicker, heavier blue-white laser blasts that chewed through what was left of the freighter's deflector shields and into her engines. One of the massive engines flickered and flashed before it's white jet of drive exhaust was replaced by a gout of yellow flame as the engine failed and disintegrated. The explosion spread, secondary blasts rippling along her stern, blowing apart the remaining two engines and sending the freighter into a slow careening stern over bow tumble.
Electricity from overloading generators and subsystems arched and crackled across the hull, then her stern seemed to bulge for a moment before the entire aft half of the great ship came apart in a blinding ball of flame and plasma as her main reactor bottle failed and consumed the ship in a momentary blinding star that rapidly faded into an expanding constellation of glowing wreckage.
The destruction of the Sapphire Dunes hid the almost simultaneous launch of her emergency buoy from her attackers, damaging the emergency device and keeping it from transmitting it's data for the several hours it would take it's self repair system to fix it's onboard transmitters and broadcast . . .
Two Days Later.
It was late evening and Operations was quiet. The usually daily traffic to and from the massive trade station was calm, quieter than normal, which suited Lieutenant junior grade Momoka Ise fine, as she sat behind her station, keeping an eye comm traffic. Usually she was posted to space traffic control, guiding ships in and out of Endeavour's trade lanes, but tonight she had pulled a shift helping cover a friend in the Comm section who was on a date. It was fine, she was being well rewarded with a tub of home made kimchi for her efforts, which just the thought of almost made her drool.
Momoka glanced up from the mass of screens and holographic windows floating before her as there was some commotion up in the command platform. Commander Natsumi Yamashiro, a short woman with snowy white hair, the station's commanding officer taking her last look around of the evening, then turning to her executive officer, an also white haired, but this time literally brilliantly glowing, and much taller kishargal, First Lieutenant Mairi Grizelda Kinnon of the Ersetu Royal Navy.
"Station's all yours, Number one" Natsumi said with a nod. "I'll see you tomorrow" she added before departing from Operations, taking a lift down to the officer habitat sector.
Momoka turned her gaze to the traffic control section, where her friend Dakura was on duty and smiled as the duty staff seemed to relax. Not that there was any issue with Commander Yamashiro being a hard ass or anything, in fact the commandeer was quite casual and understanding with her crew, but it was the usual relaxation that came in any workplace when the boss left.
She was about to send her friend a note when her station warbled with an incoming priority transmission alert.
Three fighters circled Port Endeavour in a distant orbit. Two were F7A Comet's, the standard fighter of the Interstellar Alliance, long slender hulled craft with long spindly wings and a pair of powerful vertically stacked drive engines aft, painted the blue and white of the Interstellar Alliance Navy, with the markings of Cobra 4 and Cobra 6. The third was a prototype out for it's paces, the X20 in it's white, blue, red and gold test colors and for it's time assigned to the station, designated Cobra 13.
They had the evening patrol flight. No testing of weapons systems or flight performance, but rather testing how well the ship handled the rigors of mundane day to day duties. The test ship looked like something out of the past, a sleek aircraft body with forward swept wings and canards for atmospheric flight. But looks were all the X20 shared with ancient fighter jets of old, the craft held a few secrets that could, if proven effective, change a lot about the way the Alliance thought about fighter craft. But today was the boring stuff.
"Okay, looks like we got a solid 21 minutes left in this rut before we go back to the barn" Cobra 4's voice crackled over the flight channel. "Then we can race back and see who's buying drinks at the club tonight" she added and the others on the channel could hear the grin on her face even over the slightly staticky comm channel. Cobra 4's pilot was a good matured and fun loving human from the Normandy system and liked friendly competition with her squadron mates.
"Yeah" Replied 6, "See how that shiny new fighter's top speed caps out after that last servicing it got ya?" he replied. The X20 prototype and it's specially designated test pilot, Alex Castita, had arrived at Port Endeavour for practical duty trials of the ship a few weeks earlier and had been integrated in as the 13th member of Cobra squadron, one of the fighter groups assigned to protect Port Endeavour and the local sector.
There was a lot of curiosity in the ship from the fighter groups and ground crew. Rumors were the ship had some special party trick, though only a couple of senior pilots had flown along with the ship on any special system testing and only the X20's specially assigned maintenance staff and flight crew were allowed anywhere near the thing when it was in it's special service hangar.
"Ready to give that thing the beans and see if it can finally outrun our Comets, 13?" 4 asked. The F7A, with it's slight frame and powerful engines was notoriously nimble and quick to accelerate.
Momoka frowned as the priority transmission window popped up in her face, blanketing her displays. Ship in distress, SOS emergency buoy transponder beacon. The kind automatically launched by a ship facing critical damage or destruction. The small orange haired woman swore softly as the details scrolled across her screen in plain red text. SS Sapphire Dunes, class 2 bulk freighter, one of three that had departed from Port Endeavour almost a week ago, bound for Dominion space. Big, slow, bulky. Small crew, lots and lots of cargo.
She tapped at her keyboard, pulling up all the data she could on the ship and it's convoy, compiling it all with the transmission and sending it to the command platform as she spoke up.
"First Lieutenant Kinnon, we have an incoming emergency distress transmission"
OOC: Tag everyone. I know this only mentions and calls for response directly from a couple of people, but more will be called upon soon as the plot begins to evolve, everyone not directly mentioned please feel free to write what your characters are up too in the evening aboard station.
For Alex Castità, life on Port Endeavor had been yet another major change. The rigors of mercenary life had been replaced by the semi-monotony of military life. Ah well... He thought to himself, at least I'm not sleeping in a dropship anymore. After the Black Forge's ill-advised and ill-fated mission into the heart of Tianese space had left the mercenary group shattered, his hasty escape into Alliance territory had left him with little but the clothes on his back and the partially completed X20.
The alliance treated its citizens well, and finding food and housing hadn't been a problem. The X20, which hadn't even had a designation when he'd arrived, had almost immediately become a source of problems. Few public storage facilities offered large enough spaces to store the craft, and no company offering rental warehouses wanted anything to do with military hardware. Almost inevitably, he'd ended up talking to the Alliance government.
While it had initially been slated by a local official for confiscation and scrapping, Alex had been able to talk his way into a meeting with a representative of the ISA navy's military procurement department and convince them of the potential for such a machine. While the X20 had become military property and Alex had been required to join the ISA navy, he'd soon found out that the experienced mechanics and engineers were able to correct many of the errors that he'd made when cobbling together the original version.
Looking at the cockpit around him, Alex noted how much it had changed. In fact, almost all of the X20 had been either reworked, remodeled, or outright rebuilt, much of the outdated or redundant technology used by the Black Forge being replaced with ISA components. Keying the radio, Alex responded to Cobra 4 and 6; "The techs have cleared me to push the reactors to 75%, I think you might find this big lug a bit more capable than last time."
As the alarm flashed across her screen Dakura Dakura slumpped down into her chair. She was hoping it was gonna be an easy day for her and her small assistants, Ichi and San, but that's never seemed to be the case.
"Do we know what it is this time? Or we in the dark like normal?" The blonde half elf said as she scooted up in her chair a bit and pushed a few glowing buttons on her console.
"It just appeared on our sensors give it a minute" San, the blue haired mini android said as she floated into her respective place on Dakura's shoulder, followed closely by her sister and compatriot Ichi who nodded in agreement.
She brushed down her uniform with her hands while she scanned the bridge. Between the Commander and herself she was definitely more of a hardass comparably- on duty, at least. The plain practicality of the Alliance uniforms almost made her feel overdressed in her own. Almost.
She perked up quite noticeably when Momoka alerted her to the distress transmission- pulling her from her thoughts and into total alertness, "Let's find out the nature of it!" She moved to pull the signal up to ascertain the specifics of the signal with controlled urgency-while she gripped onto the hilt of her sabre to focus her excitement into a less noticeable form, lest she appear to be too terribly excited, "Put our flight crews on standby and alert security. Our watch might contain some excitement yet."
Data started scrolling down Dakura's display screens and holos showing the information she had called up about the alert, freighter in distress, emergency beacon from one of a convoy that had departed from the station a few days ago. Big ship, small crew, lots of valuable cargo in her holds bound for the Dominion.
In the command area, a communications officer nodded as Mairi issued her orders. A discreet signal went out to the stations staff to go to a heightened state of alert, especially medical and engineering, as well as a more official alert notice to station Security chief and the commander of the station's fighter group.
Momoka was processing the incoming data from the emergency signal as quick as she could. Coordinates, ship ID, logs, manifest, course and planned destination, her external sensor recordings and status at time of beacon launch. A wash of red indicators came up on her displays, showing that the Sapphire Dunes beacon was automatically deployed due to the ships destruction. The orange haired Lieutenant muttered a curse at that one, especially since the data dump from the transmission did not indicate there had been any escape pod launches. There was a lot of information, too much for just her to go over quickly so she divided up the incoming files to the operations team and focused on the status of the ship for her report
A few feet away a new window popped up on Dakura's screen, showing the freighters external sensor logs, including footage from her cameras that, while garbled, showed some of the attack, several other freighters in the distance, burning or disabled, small attack ships darting between them, or after the Sapphire Dunes, weapons blazing, things exploding. The detail was limited, but it was enough, paired with the sensor log data linked to the video file, to show Dakura the ID of all the other freighters, which had been in the convoy with Sapphire Dunes, all of which had recently left Port Endeavour for the long trek between the station and the sister positioned near the border of Dominion space. There was enough for Dakura and her minions to pull a full manifest itinerary and crew staffing for the entire convoy, and let them know how much of a mess they might be dealing with.
Meanwhile, What little tactical data was contained in the data files in the emergency beacon signal popped up in a window on Omar's display. It wasn't much, sensor logs and visual records from civilian grade short range sensors and cameras, compressed and quick loaded onto the beacons drive before it was ejected from the doomed freighter.
What little was visible in the low-rez camera footage and detail lacking sensor logs, showed multiple fast moving armed attackers dropping out of FTL to hit the fleet, crippling or knocking out freighters in short order, then pursuing the Sapphire Dunes as she attempted to run. Sadly the ships sensors were not able to catch any ID info, or even auto match ship type, they were too poor quality readings and the video was to blurry for the station computers to try and make quick ID from hull shapes, let alone trying to even pick up any identifying hull markings.
"Ma'am" Momoka glanced up at the First Lieutenant, "Freighter Sapphire Dunes sent an automated distress signal from her emergency beacon, looks like upon her destruction, what there is from the transmission, no sign of escape pod launches at all" she reported on the data she was working on and routed a copy to the holographic display floating before Mairi.
Yoshi Katai's desktop terminal lit up with an alert notice from Ops, indicating to quietrly take her security force to alert status.
Similarly, Chief Engineer Arnold recieved an alert notification and instructions to bring his engineering staff to alert and prepare the station for whatever might happen next.
Chief Medical Officer Eilidh Dour-Warad, too, was alerted, medical was to prepare and go to alert status and await further information
The banter between Alex, Cobra's 4 and 6 was interrupted by the voice of the CAG over the aerospace wing channel. "This is the CAG, all wings to alert" her voice crackled over the comm channel. Launch patrol flights three and four" this was followed by a series of acknowledgements, flights 3 and 4 were the next to patrol shift's flights after Alex and his group.
"Patrol flight two, RTB, refuel, arm with missiles, you will be the ready five"
"Well shit" 4 hissed over the flight channel, then switched to the wing channel, "This is Cobra 4, Patrol flight 2 acknowledges, RTB"
Then back on the flight channel; "6, 13, form up on me, looks like that race and drinks are gonna have to wait for another time" she said as her Comet angled it's nose for the station, Cobra 6 sliding into formation off her left wing, leaving the right slot open for 13.
In the distance, from one of the fighter bays 6 F7A Comets rocketed out into space, splitting into two 3 ship formations that quickly moved to take up guard patrol around Port Endeavour.
OOC: Tag everyone! Got at least a little to get all your attention!
"Whatever's happening, it's certainly big." He commented as Cobra made its way back to Port Endeavor.
Mairi squinted at the data as it came to her- she was fairly quick to scurry down towards operations to lean over and read directly from the screens. She was all for letting her bridge crew do their jobs and sort through to report the important information, but she was impatient and needed data to start looking at even if she didn't know for sure what she was looking at just yet.
"No escape pods? At least it was a freighter. Get me a number on deaths, get me a list of names- and we'll have a scan done of the area in case by some miracle there's any survivors. Stranger things have happened." The Lieutenant scrunched up her nose and stopped in place, "Get me physical scans of that wreckage- If we're looking at pirates looking to scalp the wreckage of anything valuable they're unlikely to have gotten far. We'll have our retribution, and -perhaps- a trial. Alert security that they may be looking forward to a boarding action."
- Posts: 110
- Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:30 pm
- Location: In your bed with your husband.
Sitting at her desk with a cup of coffee and a plate of English muffins, Yoshi Katai was going over cases that had been sent to her in box. Most of them were simple complaints of minor theft, petty disputes, and one bar fight that she was sure was caused by one of the Port's higher officers. Smirking at that one she was about to send a response to one of her deputies to look into a possible theft ring when her monitor changed and flashed red for a second.
Sitting up in her chair, Yoshi touched the flashing icon and opened the alert from Ops. Shaking her head she stood and reached for her shoulder harness and duster. As she strapped herself into the only uniform she really had she made sure her badge was in the left pocket.
"Hey George send a notice to all security, and have them come up to teal alert, keep it quiet, the Ops monkeys have something going on, I'm heading up there, I have my com link." She smiled as she pushed out of the door to the Security Main office branch on the main concourse of the station. Walking along the path she presed her badge up against a scanner for one of the lifts. Kept in a side tunnel of the lift system were a few emergency lifts for well emergencies, or when someone like her needed to get some where fast. The doors slid open an she pressed the button for Ops, along with pressing her badge again to override any stops along the way.
It was a short trip for Yoshi she barely had time to make sure her duster covered the twin pair of pistols in her harness when the doors slid open on Ops.
Stepping out she looks around before walking right up to Momoka. "Hey Momo, got the call, what fight did you start now?"
"Well that's not good" Dakura said to herself as she sat up in her seat, "Seems like its more than just a communication error. Ichi, San get what data you can about those ships"
"Yes Ma'Am!" The two little androids said in unison as they started to download the relevant data.
Meanwhile Dakura began furiously typing, going though the stations log and bringing up the relative data on the other downed ships, "This is strange, shouldn't we have known about any pirates hanging out in our backyard?"