October 2203

Procyon's family campaign

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October 2203

Postby procyon on Tue 17 May 2011 01:46

October 2203

October 1st 0050 hours/Ceres Colony, Asteroid Belt

Major Hsieh had his orders. They were unusual, but nothing he couldn't handle. The Senior Colonel had given him direct orders to locate a fifteen-year-old boy and his mom, then take them into custody. No questions, no bargaining. The fact that deadly force was authorized to protect the two was a strange point, but the 6.5mm Pulse Rifles would be able to handle anything that might become an issue. He had also been authorized to requisition or seize any equipment necessary to conduct the operation. It had crossed his mind to ask why, but he had thought better of it. Easier just to do his job. Safer also.
The lifter touched down near the habitat where the two lived. Or had lived. Close detonations from both alien and Chinese nukes had left the habitat without power, and damage was evident in several areas. It looked better than the other two habitats in sight. Both of them were blackened and twisted masses of metal and rock. Hopefully they hadn't been killed in the attack. That would make this mission rather difficult to complete.
Major Hsieh checked in with the Administrator for the habitat, and found that the woman was one of the mining workers, and had been active lately in rescue efforts for trapped colonists. She was currently supposed to be off shift and in her apartment. Major Hsieh and his four team members brushed past the man and moved toward where the two subjects were supposed to be.
Damage in the colony was light, but as they climbed the stairways to the upper levels (the lifts were still down, or considered unsafe), the damage became more prominent, with evidence of repairs and other measures taken to keep the habitat intact and sealed. Major Hsieh located the apartment and knocked on the entrance. There was no answer, but that wasn't unusual for this time of day. He directed two of the troopers to breach the doorway. In their powered armor, it took only seconds to turn the entryway into scrap. As soon as they were in, the four troopers with Major Hsieh fanned out through the house, and returned with a rather irate middle-aged woman, and a very sleepy and slightly belligerent boy. Hsieh motioned for them to take the two outside. Moments later the two civilians were loaded onto the waiting lifter and were bound for the FSC freighter Mary Reed.
Why, Hsieh had no idea. But it was done.

October 3rd 0400 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, 6 light seconds from Mars

Rear Admiral (not lower half now) Jack Ryan worked on the progress report for Admiral Walters. The new Interceptor, the Eisenhower, had cleared the slip two days ago, and was undergoing her shakedown cruise. It wasn't going so well. Someone back home wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to what they were supposed to be doing. 'Maybe more than one.' thought Jack as he looked at his new rank on the top corner of his console. The Eisenhower’s crew was giving it their best. Some were even volunteers who hadn't been crippled or terminal when given full cyborg conversions. The war drive at home was actually picking up some public support. Folks liked heroes, and the last few months had produced a few off them. 'All they had to do was die in some useful way.' thought Jack. 'Hope I never get the chance.'
The Eisenhower had a number of glitches with faulty hardware in the sensor arrays. Granted it was new equipment, but someone had decided to try and save a buck and changed the production slightly. Damned ship could hardly find its way back to dock, let alone target something moving a couple thousand km per second. What was worse, the slip was already busy fabricating the basic parts of the hull for a new Interceptor. They couldn't even get the Eisenhower in to try and overhaul or replace the defective parts. The Euro had stepped up and offered the use of their Mobile Shipyards - huge ships with heavy equipment for working on space going vessels. They were twice the size of the JFK. Problem was, the Euro had only two of them. One was at Earth, taking care of the newest Interceptor there. The other was coming in from the belt to escort the other Interceptor from earth back to the belt while it worked on the ship enroute.
Here at Mars, they were going to do their best with what they had. Jack was actually kind of proud of himself. He and a few of the engineers from the other ships and Mars Station had gotten together and cobbled up a set of bypasses that allowed the standard civilian navigation arrays on the Eisenhower to feed to the Targeting Computer. Wasn't much, but the crew could train on a ship that could find her way from point A to point B, and could even target other ships at short ranges. Wouldn't do for combat, but the crew wasn't ready for that yet anyway.
Jack finished up the progress report and transmitted it to the Comm Station to be logged and sent. Then he pulled up the letter from Meagan again, and tried to figure out what he should write to her. She had been happy with her current assignment, until now. It seems her boyfriend/fiancée had decided that she might not be coming home anytime soon, and had sent her a Dear John letter. They had been together for 4 years and she was taking it pretty hard. Meagan even wrote that she had put in for transfer. It had of course been denied. As had her request for leave.
He wanted to tell her it would be all right. But how.
Jack flipped up a second screen and started to fill out deployment and training logs, and requests. Jack was sure he could oversee the training of the Eisenhower from a distance. He hadn't taken a few days off for a while. Might be nice to see a planet that wasn't red for a change.
Might be easier to forget finding the right words, and just be there.

October 4th 1420 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Earth orbit

Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked out the viewing port at the blue and white planet below her. It looked so peaceful. It was nice to have a chance to relax. The meeting with Admiral Kushnir had went well. Jude had wanted a personal briefing on what had happened out in the belt. It hadn't been an order, or even scheduled. Just a chance to talk about the events of the last few months. That had started at about 09, and had just turned into a long talk about the years they had served. Brenna could remember when a Lieutenant J Kushnir had gotten her first space side post, and had submitted her Commander's training plans on a civilian shipping site. Brenna had helped her to straighten out the issues after the fact. That had been almost 40 years ago. Admiral Kushnir had come a long way after that first mistake. From a green Lieutenant on the Isabelle to commanding all of the Pan Euro's space combat assets.
It sounded like they were going to let Jude get back to command again. The Q.E. was supposed to clear dock in the next two weeks, and Jude was supposed to be taking her out. The Tatianna would be done about the same time. Then the Catherine would start her repairs, and hopefully be done by the end of the month.
Then in November, they would set back out for the belt.
Brenna had asked Jude if there was any chance she would be able to transfer back to TRADOC. Brenna hadn't said it, but she wasn't sure she could keep doing this indefinitely. Or maybe just much longer. Circumstances had just pushed her into it.
Admiral Kushnir had told Brenna that transfer wouldn't be possible. Brenna would be getting promoted before the end of October, and hailed as a living hero of the Pan Euro. She would also have to take part in the ceremonies for the 2nd Battle Group and Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat. After that they would set out for the belt. And after that... well Jude wasn't saying much. Which meant it wouldn't be good.
Brenna came back to the present. It was nice to watch the clouds drift below.

1845 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, Earth orbit

The Dutchman wondered what this whole trip was about. NO one paid for the transit of a space vessel from the belt to Earth for just two passengers. Let alone an armed freighter. The Mary could carry nearly 15,000 colonists. Carrying two was a waste. Usually.
The Chinese Cargo Lifter would be docking in 2 minutes. After that The Dutchman would get paid. Then leave, quickly. A Chinese Strike Vessel was less than 200 meters away, on station to escort the Lifter down. The Dutchman didn't want to hang around to see if they started shooting. This was a bad situation, and he wasn't going to stick around any longer than he had to.

October 5th 0730 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China, Earth

Jeng still felt mad. He didn't want to be here. He couldn't see the sky, and his things were not here. He didn't get to see his mom, and he didn't like having to sleep on the big ship in the icky tank. At least they had lots of pretty numbers to look at. They had gotten very close to the pretty bubbles, and had new numbers. The other people here couldn't understand the numbers, but Jeng thought maybe he could. They didn't make a pretty picture yet, but they looked like they could. It would just take time. When he was done he would go and see his mom. His tummy felt funny and she always helped him feel better.
The numbers were more fun now. Time to make the pretty picture.

October 8th 1210 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

Lieutenant Meagan Ryan was mad. Really mad. The dumb bastard who had tried to cut costs on the new sensor production had cost the US way too much to fix. It was cutting into the research funds that she needed. The morning briefing had been tied up with just trying to figure out how to get around this production problem and fix it before the next three Interceptors cleared the yards. Her presentation had gotten cut short, and then Admiral Walters raked her over the coals for the lack of progress! Now when she needed to get back to work, some idiot was here to interrupt. Without a doubt some staffer from the briefing come to pick at what little information she had to give. Meagan keyed the release to open the door to her office.
She focused on her monitor, trying to let whoever it was know that she was busy. Maybe that would get them to leave, or at least cut this short. She doubted it, but was in too bad a mood to be polite.
Whoever it was, they were awfully quiet and patient. After several minutes of tapping at the monitor, she'd had enough. Putting on her best 'If this isn't good your going to regret it' face, she turned and stood to face whoever had interrupted her. It was a cyborg. Unusual, but not that unusual here on the station. 'Oh s**t, he's an Admiral' she thought as she saw the rank. She glanced at the name on the uniform out of habit, as all the cyborgs looked pretty much the same. And she stared.
Maybe she had time for lunch after all. Maybe a long one.

October 12th 2145 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China, Earth

Jeng was tired. Very tired. And his tummy felt bad again. It had been better for a few days. But now it was bad again. The doctors had come bunches of times. Jeng didn't like the doctors, and they had given him shots. They had even stuck needles in him and left them with bags of water attached. He pulled the needles out when they weren't looking.
The funny men that weren't men came all the time. They liked his numbers. He still couldn't make the pretty picture fit all together, but they liked what pictures he could make. They didn't understand. Jeng was sure of that.
The funny men said his mom was sick like him, and that was why she wasn't coming to see him. They had let him talk to her on a big picture screen. Mom looked pale, and had dark eyes. But she still smiled and said she loved him. Jeng still wasn't sure what that was, but as soon as he made the pretty picture he would go see her. But the picture was so hard. And he felt so very tired.

October 17th 0815 hour/Attack Escort Cynthia, Asteroid Belt

Captain Giovanni Vetra looked at the monitor. They were on a routine patrol. The Anastasia was in the lead, and the Red October was following several light seconds behind. Everything was just routine, except the place. And the way Giovanni's thoughts wouldn't stay on what they were supposed to.
This was where the battle had taken place. A few light minutes from Ceres. So many people had died around this place. But right here was the last known transmission of the Boudicca. It had been months now, but Giovanni could hear the transmissions clear as day. Clear as the day his Rachel had died. Right here.
The Q.E. hadn't come out, but that didn't matter. If the aliens showed up, the 1st Battle Group would fight. Whatever it took to make them pay for what they had done. Someday they would be back. Now the Cynthia was in the belt. It was her turn to hurt them. Let them come.

October 24th 0335 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China, Earth

Jeng was glad it was done. He was too tired to work anymore. But the pretty picture was done. And the funny men had said such nice things. But his tummy felt bad. So did his head. Dizzy a lot.
The pretty picture had been so hard, because it wasn't a pretty bubble. It was lots of them. One after another. Each would grow out behind the other, then start over. Many layers of bubbles inside bubbles. All moving. It was so pretty.
They had let him come to see his mom. She was sleeping now. He had touched her arm, and pushed it, but the men said she was too tired. He was tired too. He just wanted to lay down. They had let him. Mom would help him feel better when he woke up. She always did. Jeng was so tired. He could sleep here....

October 25th 0600 hour/Beijing, China, Earth

Minister Po listened to the report from the Research Facility. The boy was dead, but the work had gotten done before he had expired. He had seemed driven they said to complete the work. Had managed to stay alive past the projections of his radiation poisoning for days, in spite of the infection complicating his condition.
The researchers said it would only take a few more months to build an operational field generator, now that they knew the principle of how the fields were produced. The harmonics were what was disrupting the sensor returns so much. Multiple dynamic fields had been the answer. Each expanding before starting over they said.
No matter. What was important was that they would be able to begin production within the next few months. This put them well ahead of even the FSC Queensland Facility. Perhaps the Queensland Facility would have to suffer an 'unfortunate' setback in their research. Perhaps one that would stop their ability to perform research for the foreseeable future. That would have to be addressed at the next meeting of the ministry.
The boy, what was his name again, had done something that might have just saved the human race. It was a shame that no one would know who he was. No one could even know that he existed outside of the Research Facility. Not for a long time. Maybe someday his contribution would be known. Perhaps not.

Sorry it is a little short, I could have done a lot more with this month. But we are running low on wood at the house and momma likes to stay warm.

This month was fairly quiet. None of the players were in a hurry to risk losing any more ships, and the Nemotians were going to need time to unmothball enough to be able to afford to make an attack.

Highlights (or lowlights for the US) of the month included a bad random event for the US. Seems karma had caught up with them from their earlier gain in regards to Jack Ryan. This month they had a production issue causing problems. I skipped part of the random determination, and decided that the sensor array would be the only system without a long track record and that the newest ships would be the victims. The Euro stepped up and offered the Mobile Shipyards without even asking for the US to pay for the maintenance on the ships the US was borrowing. How nice of mom.

For China the big event was a first roll success on the shield research. (I was about ready to confiscate his dice.) One down, and one to go. He was doing his best to hide the fact from his big sister, and everyone else for that matter. He even asked for how many RDS facilities the FSC had, and if it would be possible to perform hostile espionage on the site, or if a lifter with a bomb on board would be able to shut down/destroy the facility. So much for the siblings working together nicely.

As this was the tenth month, they all were busy working out if any leaders advanced grade,or disappeared (we always do the 10% chance of losing a leader every ten months), and figuring up their population growth.
For the Euro, earth's governor (government) went to BG +1, and both Brenna and Jude went to Elite. She was very tickled. Since Brenna is a trainer, she could get to work in earnest.
For China, the earth government went to BG +1 also (two healthy jumps in income over two months, he was also happy). His leaders didn't go anywhere though. I decided to leave his dice alone.
The US had no luck on the governor roll, but Jack Ryan also made it to Elite. Promotion to Rear Admiral followed immediately. That kind of helped to make up for the faulty ships.
The FSC had no luck what so ever. And with the middle boy (China) looking to take her out, she could really have used some luck.

I'll post an addendum for October with an overview of the various powers financial status starting the next ten turns, and a fleet list. Anything else you would want to see let me know and I'll see what I can do.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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