Human-'!Xibrat! War Fiction

Fiction by thesmith4

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Re: Human-'!Xibrat! War Fiction

Postby thesmith4 on Fri 27 Jun 2014 20:49

Home Guard [Day 79]

Ramadi read aloud from a tablet. "Engine Four: Operating at fifty percent efficiency. Engine Two: Operating, but cooling system not operating correctly. Laser Mount One: Power relay for mount altitude and azimuth traverse system burns out after approximately five minutes of continuous usage. Shield Cascades Four and Seven: Nonfunctional, possibly unrepairable. Launcher Three: Intermittent short in driver magnets, three crew in sickbay due to electrical shock during troubleshooting at -fortunately- minimal power levels. Oh, and the microwave in the Mess sucks at heating food. Lowest bidder quality controls strike again."

Noble hung his head. "General, I'm sorry. I've been trying to get ahead of it, sir." He frowned a bit. "It seems like my crews track down one issue, and two more pop up."

The ship's captain gave his engineer a smile. "I understand, Andy. Frankly, I 'm amazed that she works as well as she does. I didn't call you in here to berate you. I wanted to know if there was anything I could do to help you? Like, say...having a transport bring a crew of Mr. O'Neill's yard dogs and a hold full of spare parts out this way?"

Noble looked up, and grinned. "How did you work that, skipper?"

Ramadi chuckled. "It turns out that if a captain threatens to de-certify his own ship--the first of its kind, mind you--it gets a bit of attention."

Noble scuffed a foot sheepishly. "Not to be rude, but... When would this special delivery show up?"

The general gestured at a clock on the bulkhead. "About three days. Think you can hold her together that long?"

Noble nodded slightly. "I'll go break out the bailing wire and chewing gum, if I have to."

Ramadi chuckled again. "Good attitude. Feel free to get out of here--I don't want to keep you." He made a mock "shoo-ing" gesture with one hand.

Noble shot a quick salute, and then headed out. Overton and Jennings slid in right as the engineer left. "Mind if we bend your ear?" Jennings asked as they entered.

"Sure," Ramadi said, gesturing at two chairs across the room. "What's up?"

Overton cleared his throat. "We have some... concerns... about the systems that are being watched by scoutships. More specifically, how the ships in the system are stationed..." He trailed off, blinking a bit.

Ramadi narrowed his eyes. "What are you going on about, Tom?"

The Navy officer scratched his head. "Well, sir, the ship in AX Microscopii is in the wrong location. Um, can I use your screen?" He pointed at the big flatscreen on the forward bulkhead of the cabin.

Ramadi shrugged a bit. "All yours."

Overton walked up to the screen and used the touch interface to get to a presentation file he'd been working on. A map of the wormhole network that the various nations of the Earth had explored popped up. He pointed at the AX Microscopii system, a red dwarf star with a handful of planets, most small rocky worlds, but including one medium-large gas giant. "The Europeans have a scout here, but they've got it pinned against the wormhole that leads back towards us. Same with the Brazilians in Ross 154, between us here, and the Europeans in AX Mike." Overton used a common nickname for the red dwarf system as he gestured at it again.

Jennings took over. "If they move forward, to the wormhole that leads further out in each system, they'll be able to see any transits through their wormholes, then race back to the homeward wormhole and get out. They'll be just as fast as the fastest ships our opponents have--they should be able to escape with no problem."
In closing, all I have to say is: Shield, Shield, Shield, Armor, Armor, Armor, Hold, I-drive, Missile Launcher...

--Howard
thesmith4
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