Joined: 12 Aug 2004
Posts: 320 on topic
|Posted: Sat, 18. Feb 17, 14:32 Post subject: Forgotten Supplies
|(Not a DiD - I'm not that good a pilot.)
The game is X3AP, bonus pack only, start Terran Commander.
Venus orbit, orbital defense station
„That‘s it, Harl – all the MAM Throwers are installed, and while I would have preferred three more megajoule shields rather than those measly 200s, I think the Ishikawa Ridge is as ready as she is going to be.“
Saorsa Selek beamed happily. Her term as commander of the Katana-class corvette Sedna’s Shadow had been eventful – hunting commonwealth pirates in the outer sectors, a short stint on Xenon defense in Segaris, and a couple of escort missions for Osaka-class Destroyers in the war zone had resulted in promotions for her and all her crew. In her case, it meant an upgrade to captain a Yokohama class frigate, the Ishikawa Ridge, which had been pulled from Aldrin space to reinforce the war effort.
“How are you set up crew-wise?” Harl Onin used to be her executive officer on the Shadow, but with the promotion notification he expected to take command of either a wing of fighters or perhaps a bomber.
“My orders are to keep the crew that ferried the Ishikawa over, and to fill the empty slots with folk from the Shadow, so I will take Lydia as my new exec. It’s about time she leaves helm and astrogation, and we know how shrewd she is in tactical simulations. And PO – no, Chief Bro will take over engines and power.”
“Oh, he’ll love the extra headspace a Yoko offers.” Chief Hanes Bro was a head taller than your average station-born Terran, and his commo helmet always had the dents and scratches to prove that.
“Other than that, I have all positions filled. I’m in for some Aldrin homecooking, I guess – most of the transfer crews are draftees from Aldrin, including our galley and sickbay tech. Well, once we’re on fleet supply, it’ll be C-Rations and MREs anyway.”
Harl drew a face when he thought about Aldrin cuisine. Their plants would have seen soil and animal droppings as fertilizers, unlike the controlled and hygienic hydroculture that was the standard on Terran stations. But his thoughts were cut short when his communicator beeped the code for an incoming order.
“So, Harl, did your new orders finally come? What’s it gonna be?”
He called up the message in the data-visor. “Hot organic waste, they are giving me the Shadow!”
His former commander offered a half-serious, half mocking salute. “You’ve earned it. But you won’t get those launchers or shields back – they are mine, mine, mine.”
“I get the Shadow, and those of the crew that remain. Plus a few conscripts from the outer stations. Oh, they even gave me budget!”
“Will that cover your equipment requirements?”
“Hardly. Venus ODS is empty, anyway. I’m gonna try my luck in Luna. They get the most supply, it’s possible I can scrounge some before the shipyard claims it all.”
“Well, then go tell your crew, commander. The Ishikawa just got marching orders. Good luck to you and the rest of the crew.”
“And good luck to you, captain. May the solar winds support you.”
The Moon, Orbital Shipyard.
Harl fumed. The promised budget for equipping the ship had been reduced twice already, and by the time he and his crew had docked the Sedna’s Shadow at the shipyard, it had been down to less than the cost of two MAM launchers. All he had to work with were the fighter-class EMPC guns that the Shadow had held in reserve under her former commander. Getting a set of ten had been a masterstroke in creative logistics even then, but ten guns left the katana with four empty hardpoints.
“All hands, attention! Conference in the marines’ mass.”
The Marines quarters and mass on deck two served as recreational area or impromptu storage space on most Terran warships, but its foldout furniture was designed to accommodate marines in readiness, which meant it offered ample space for ordinary crew unencumbered by the heavy marine suits.
He looked around. Engines tech Sal Varnit’s ship slacks bore their usual stains, accentuated by the greasy wipe slung around one of his wrists. Gunnery techs Pael Cruise and Janit Brano shared that look, applying their damage control abilities to help Sal getting the system running smoothly. Newly appointed helmswoman Julie Brano, formerly only second reserve helm and primarily responsible for the scanners, had littered the table before her with several old-fashioned viewscreens. Gunnery chief Jo Keppel likewise studied for his new extra duties as executive officer. On a ship as small as a corvette, everybody got to wear several official hats under normal cruise, when only partial shifts managed the ship.
“It is hopeless, folks. The supply folk here tell me that they never heard of me captaining, and so they won’t sell me anything sharper than a message repeater. If we want to fly the Shadow ship-shape, we will have to scrounge. And that means we will let the Shadow sit here for a while.”
None of his crew showed any surprise. Even before the destruction of the Torus, everything had been in short supply, but since the war had grown hot, each command did its best to hoard supplies. If the yard-dogs didn’t see you in the top of the list, there were no supplies to be had.
“So, this is my plan. You will do whatever is possible with the few remaining ship stores to get everything ready for when I return with all the nice equipment we were supposed to get for this command. As soon as our new conscripts arrive, train them in the simulators, and train them hard. Take some simulator time for yourselves, as well.”
“In the meantime, I will swap our two remaining shields for one of those ATF scoutships, and try to raise money or bring in equipment. The Valkyrie will carry passengers, unlike our USC Sabre, and for basically the same price. I’ll try to up our rep through taxi missions, and I will try for some prizes to exchange for our payload. Without shields, the Shadow will be immune from marching orders. Jo, keep this from getting a bigger mess than it already is. See you in a few weeks,”
Heretic’s End, Solar Power Plant
Harl looked at his books, in his data-visor. Taxi rates were miserable, even though there were constant disturbances by Argon free corps fighters suppressing civilian traffic and provoking military traffic. His current ride carried half the guns that had been left on the Shadow. He had dubbed the Valkyrie “Forgotten Supplies”, in the hope to gather up such, but no luck with that at all. But if the Terran side didn’t cough up the supplies, maybe the Commonwealth could? There was something to be learned form those free corps fighters. Harl would take the Supplies and take a tour of Commonwealth.
Terran Command didn’t give individual orders, but rather assigned ships to vague initiative groups. Harl still received orders that would have given to a semi-equipped, fully crewed corvette, even though he had registered his current vehicle as secondary resource for the Shadow, giving its type and its ability profile. Years in the USC militia had taught him that orders that were left that vague had to be responded to by local volunteers, and he didn’t feel like volunteering for the war zone right now, even though he had two of the thickest occupied Argon sectors just south of him. Luckily, the Argons didn’t field anything as fast as a Valkyrie, so all he had to do was to ride out capital fire and missile attention. How hard could that be?
Day three, very late...
Scale Plate Green, eastern gate
How hard could that be, indeed? Harl re-entered the ship, having finished his work with the repair laser. There was one thing in the Argon arsenal that was faster than his valkyrie, and that was the wasp missile, eight nasty little payloads outperforming his scout, and his shields and hull able to withstand two of those. Definitely not three – there had been few parts of the surface not in need of an ordering touch of the repair laser.
Scale Plate Green was the first non-Argon sector Harl had reached. Deadly tired, he wanted to dock somewhere, have a good nap, a good shot of caffeine in hot, dark liquid, and a place to open one of the MREs he had brought. Not in this sector, though – It bordered on one of the AGI reservates tolerated by the Commonwealth, and he wouldn’t risk waking up in such an environment. That left the north as the only possible direction to continue.