[Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

U-99 is a plot revolving around the 95th Imperial Unterraumsboote, a stealth vessel, and its crew as it performs a number of sorties from intelligence gathering to stalking ships from afar.
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[Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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Somewhere in Taianese Space

The subspace craft of the Kaiser's Navy, unlike their regular space cousins, based their entire life on never being seen. Their influence was cast by being unseen in the dark corners of space, watching, learning, and waiting. This was no different day. The difference, however, was that the subspace craft still had kinks to work out in their existence in both physical and mental existences. Admirals did not always agree in where and how their assigned groups should be used or if at all. The ministers did not agree on if they should be putting their money further into these devices. The Shipyards in orbit of the industrial worlds of the Hoffnung system argued with uniformed officials on who should exactly see the blueprints of these devices and some even disappeared from their posts after their lunch breaks.

And for U-99, their life support system did not always want to cooperate.

---

"Nothing like a hot ship for the heated crew." Kapitan Paschwitz said from the forward-left side of the ship's cramped command bridge, hunched over the navigator's table. He gave a sly grin to the Navigator to his left who did not share his enthusiasm. It was almost 29 and a half centigrade and back in the engineering section, the barely dressed and well-overheated engineers worked tirelessly in almost 32 degree heat. Every once in a while, an engineer would walk through the command deck towards the ship's mess galley, and stand in the freezers much to the Cook's dismay. The ship had been like this for a week now, and the ship had been out of port for two. It was not a good day to be a sailor in the U-Korps.

"We're at the right spot," The navigator laboriously lamented as he pointed to a spot on the holographic display, "And willing that they are not horribly behind, there should be a group of ships here, including our quarry."

The Captain shrugged, trying to keep morale high by seeming completely unaffected by the heat. "There is always trouble in paradise. Even when we are illegally squatting in paradise." The Captain walked back towards the "dive" station. Keeping with long out of use tales of submarines on the seas, the control point which worked the drive system keeping them in between the planes of subspace and realspace was almost referred to in naval slang. Everything was working, for now, but the heat was beginning to cause the emissions to leak faster into underspace than normal, which in theory could become detectable at a certain degree in realspace. It did not help the heat either.

"XO, go back to our sensor phones and see what the boy is finding. And while you're at it, go check of Chief and the rest of Engineering." The Captain looked back to meet his executive officer and gave a reassuring smile. He was going to keep the crew busy.
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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Oberleutnant zur See Stanislaus Rafael “Rafe” Theismann, XO of the U-99, a moderately tall man with dark hair and a thick beard, looked up from the collection of guages and displays that dominated the bulkhead at the dive station, the station he was monitoring as the crewmen manning it did their work, his deep intelligent eyes catching his CO's as the command officer walked over.

"Aye, skipper. I'll take care of it" he said with a curt nod. The oppressive heat did not seem to effect the XO, at least not beyond the sheen of sweat he shared with everyone else in the bridge. He relinquished his place by the dive station and headed aft, ducking through the low pressure hatchway into the sensor room, where a young crewer was hunched over a control panel, their eyes fixed on a display while they listened intently to sound signals picked up by the sensor array on their bulky headset.

"Anything on the sensors?" he asked as he paused his walk to the heat of the engine room, waiting for a response from the boy at the sensor station. He was concerned about the heat they were radiating, the flaw in their system could be enough to give them away if too much leaked out, and they could only contain and mitigate so much heat before it leaked out or forced them to retire and cool.
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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The sandy haired Reichmänner sat at the sensor console, sweat from the heat of the ship shimmering on his brow before it was wiped away by a hand towel. His eyes were closed in concentration, which normally would have been a concern, if not for the unobtrusive (though unusual) modification that the young man had made. In addition to the normal visual displays for the sensor systems of the subspace vessel, there was a high end pair of over-ear headphones linked in, translating the data into audio form.

Feeling the vibrations of the deck, Schulz opened his eyes and slipped the headphones off, turning around to look at the Oberleutnant. After giving a brief salute, he gestured to the display. "Ah, Oberleutnant. I'm afraid the emissions from the boat are playing hell with our sensors, it's making it a lot harder to find anything at the moment. Indeed, the ship's normal sensors were swamped with 'noise' from the ship's emissions. "I've been trying to filter the junk out, but there's always a risk of accidentally missing a piece of important data, so it's time consuming."
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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The boy was right, the sensors were jammed up with their own ship's emissions. Anything could slip by, from a humble star beast to a Taianese frigate hunting for spies. What should be a simple hunt and stay quiet was becoming hunt and stay hot and visible. The sensor screen was marred with jagged and obstructing clouds of energy, it would be easy to lose something in it. The saving grace however, was that while in underspace, they could vent a large amount and stay undetected. That is, until some would seep through the rift that the engines created to stay anchored to realspace and look eerily like a ship venting energy. It would not be positive to their health to be found out, nor would it be to cook inside this coffin.

Their thoughts on the matter were cut short by a low rumble followed by a handful of concerned and upset curses from the engineering section, followed by a much louder curse and a loud metallic bang. The ship surged and seemed to list to one side without actually turning. Another bang cut gravity completely before it all seemed to go normal in an instant. A handful of cheers erupted as a grimy, stout, and giant of a man emerged from the aft bulkhead three rooms down.

"Take that you Hoffnunger Wench!" He beat a fist against the wall as the temperature seemed to be ever so slightly cooler just seconds later, "Takes more than a handful of busted coils to fu-" He looked down at the XO and turned slightly pale and stammered. "to uh, wait uh... Dammit I lost it." A shorter, older man, the chief leaned in from his shoulder and pushed him through the door. "Shit's fixed, Ex."

The "noise" began to subside as the vents were sealed so that the drive chambers could normalize in temperature and stop sucking the reactors dry. The ship got audibly quieter as the engines went from a rough rumble to a smooth bassy hum. Off-Watch sailors returned to bed as the on-watch could put their shirts back on. Everything was going back to normal.

Was.

Two blips appeared beyond where the could of emissions had previously blocked. The IFF did not identify them outright, but just listed them as "Schiff 1" and "Schiff 2" with speeds matched at 370 Kilometer per second. As the patchwork feed reached the screen, the boy's screen beeped twice. Once for each bogey.
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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Schulz went silent and pursed his lips, leaning close to the sensor screen, and cupping one hand over a headphone cup, pressing it to his ear as his other hand worked a tuning dial. "Two contacts, on an intercept course with us.!" He exclaimed, "Mass is medium, size is small. I count two engines active per contact." He said, as dials and switches all over his console were turned and flipped in the pursuit of a better sensor picture, but to no avail.

"I'm sorry sir, we're still cooling down, that's as accurate as I'm able to get right now." He said as the distortions on the sensor screen receeded slowly, turning around in his seat to look at Oberleutnant Theismann, pulling one headphone cup off as he did so.
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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Any issue the XO might have had with the Engineers behavior evaporated as the sensor board lit up with new contacts and Schulz rattled off his report. Rafe swore silently and nodded as he absorbed the information, his eyes fixed on the screen for a moment, committing the scrolling data on thee display to memory even as he listened to Schulz.

"Right, do the best you can, keep on it, get me an ID on them." he said, giving a reassuring glance to the sensors operator. Then he leaned over and switched on the intercom line between the sensor room and the control room and spoke into the mic pickup. If he had any worry about the two incoming ships, he did not show it outwardly, to those around him Oberleutnant Theismann was as cool and collected as could be.

"Kapitan, sensors has two unknown contacts on an intercept course" he said and repeated the details that Schulz has reported to him just moments ago.
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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The red lights turned live, and the Captain's voice rang through the intercom system almost as soon as the XO finished his sentence.

"Action stations! Ready on drive locks!"

Footsteps rattled throughout the ship, men moving from one spot to the other. Back behind the XO and the sensors station, bunks were overturned and clothes hastily put on. Looking forward through the bulkheads, petty officers and junior chiefs looked for signs of what was happening. On the bridge, the Captain was slaved to the scopes, his eyes invisible behind the periscope. "XO! Get up here!" He swung between both of the targets as the sensors fed visual information into the scope, switches being flipped by his fingers to switch between views. He tensed up and pointed towards the helm control.

"Drop our signature another fifteen units, turn our heading 215 by 24. Ahead slow."

Paschwitz didn't wait for the XO to appear, he just assumed he was next to him by now. "Two Taianese patrol frigates, probably sniffing our refuse. If we can jink out of the cloud, they'll never know that we were the ones there." The Captain stood up and offered his scopes to the XO, looking to his right at the readouts on the various consoles on the wall to gauge the boat's situation and standing.

"I'd prefer not to start a war, at least not here."
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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As the klaxon blared and red lights flooded the small ship, Rafe made his way back to the control room, quickly, twisting to dodge multiple other crewers as they rushed to their battle stations. The Oberleutnant joined the Captain at the periscope and peered through the eyepiece as it was offered too him. Indeed, in diamond speckled blackness of space, there they were, two green and white hulled Taianese frigates, their distinctive curved double engine podded hulls glinting in the distant starlight, teal tails of engine exhaust trailing them as they cruised through space.

"Yeah, there they are" He agreed and adjusted the zoom of the periscope, focusing in on one of the small warships. "Hùwèijiàn class if he had to guess" he said, his thick germanic accent butchering the name. The Hùwèijiàn were probably the most common ship in the Taianese navy, so it was an easy guess to make looking at them. He took several images with the periscopes camera and transferred them to U-99's ship visual recognition system to chew on before relinquishing the scope back to the Captain.

Rafe stepped over to a control panel and brought up the known info on the class: 4 drive engines, light armoring, shields, armed with a sizable number of plasma cannons and at least one or two torpedo tubes, if their intel was correct.
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Re: [Episode 1] All's Quiet on the Silent Front

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Schulz seemed to snap into action as the ship cooled more, training the sensor suite on the two Tianese ships and beginning to collect information: exact energy outputs, model/make, and the many other small details. After all, from what he remembered from learning about Tianese starships, single classes were built over periods of decades, and significant differences could occur in ships of the same class. Knowing these details, he set about his search for clues that could make or break the engagement.

Erik licked his lips, which were beginning to chap as he shifted his headphones again, looking intently at the screen as he began to hum a little nothing-song, making a rhythm out of the klaxons and the machinery sounds of U-99. Search, track, lock, scan. His actions fell into a rhythm, his hands moving like dancers performing to a familiar tune as he sent the information up to the bridge.
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