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Old January 11 2011, 09:33 PM   #31
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

That was really a cool entry. you get the details and make the imagery to allow the reader to picture what's going on. More, please!
...sf fandom is only a personality disorder if you do it right.-Klaus - archive stories! for honest gaming

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Old January 12 2011, 04:23 AM   #32
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

Ok, that was a good one. Which of the ladies was making fun of the movie, Autumn or Hoshi?

Speaking of Hoshi, I'm amazed that she would actually cheat to win. I was under the impression that her gambling wins came from skill, not a stacked deck.

Although with Polly involved, something being stacked makes perfect sense.

btw, I believe you meant sought out, not sort out.
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Old January 27 2011, 12:23 AM   #33
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

Duncan, no one was actually making fun of the movie. They're at the stage where they've just seen the movie and enjoyed it so much they just want to quote bits. They're also drunk enough that falling down a landing ramp is hilarious. Most things are hilarious. Consider this: between the numbers one and ten there are only three that start with the letter 'T'. Is that funny? Are you doubled over, gasping for breath because you're laughing so much?


Then you're not drunk enough.

Oh, and Hoshi does normally play by the rules, especially for honest games of skill. A wager of this nature though is more a matter of pure chance, and she has no problems tipping the scales in her favour.
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Old January 27 2011, 12:30 AM   #34
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

UES Enterprise. Orbiting Galador V.
October 23rd 2151.

Although relativly quiet right now, main Engineering was usually deafeningly loud. As such the Chief Engineer's office had some pretty heavy soundproofing. Knocking on the door would be useless, as would waiting to here a cry of 'enter' from within. Malcolm Reed hit the door chime. A moment later a green light flashed, letting him know he could come in.

Trip Tucker was sat behind his desk, intently studying his computer display, plus half a dozen or so pads scattered about. He wore a pair of ear defenders, the engineering ones with the built in communications system. It was pushed up on the left side of his head, allowing him to also use his desk's handset. He looked haggard. Bags under the eyes. A couple of days worth of stubble. As Reed came in he glanced up and gestured to the chair opposite.

"Taylor, you sure 'bout that? There's a red light on my board, ahm lookin' at it right now. Check the couplin's again." he said into the ear defenders microphone, before switching to the handset. "Clare, if we can't get that subspace variance down below thirty percent, we ain't goin' anywhere. If it stays above fifty percent, then we're goin' everywhere. At once." A pause. "Well try a purge. No, a complete purge. And if that don't work..."

Despite the invitation to sit Reed stayed at parade rest, eyes fixed straight ahead. In his experience it was better to show respect to officers higher than himself in the chain of command. At least, while you did respect them. If they started messing up things were different. And as Reed had found out, that was a regrettably common occurrence. Still, this Tucker fellow seemed the decent sort, for a UESPA, and had acquitted himself well during the Enterprise's maiden flight. He'd have the benefit of the doubt, for now.

Eventually the parade of technobabble drew to a close, and Tucker replaced the handset and and removed the ear defenders. He stretched his arms out, joints audibly clicking, and tried unsuccessfully to hide a yawn. "Sorry 'bout that. Take a seat Malky. What can I do for you?"

Reed paused halfway into the chair. " wanted to see me, sir."

"I did?" Tucker looked bewildered.

"Yes sir." Reed sat and fished out a mini pad. "I received a message ordering me to---"

"Oh right, yeah, now I 'member. Sorry, I'm a little caught up in things at the moment."

Reed nodded. "That's alright sir, things do seem a little busy at the moment."

"Right, right." Tucker rubbed his chin. "What it was, I wanted to apologise for not allowing my people to take part in the security drills you got runnin'. I know you want everyone involved...." He trailed off.

"That's quite alright Commander. Even I can recognise that there's some value to having fully functioning engines on a ship. There'll be time for more drills later, when everyone's available. Assuming the Captain allows them, of course." He paused. Tucker could have sent his apology by internal message, or waited until they saw each other at the next daily briefing. No need to summon him for that."Is there anything else sir?"

"Actually, yes. It's not somethin' I normally take much interest in, but with John away I'm second in command of this ship, so I guess I should be kept in the loop. How are the drills comin' along."

Reed hesitated. "Acceptable sir."

"Acceptable." Tucker echoed.

"Yes sir. The results so far are within the acceptable parameters set down by the Admiralty. Just." he added.

Tucker closed his weary eyes and pressed the heels of his hands against them for a moment. "Hmm. I need coffee. D'you wanna coffee?" He stood and went to the drinks dispenser in the corner.

Reed didn't much care for the dispenser's offerings. " Thank you."

The chief Engineer took a sip from his steaming mug. "So. Just acceptable. What's the problem? No, let me guess, The UEMA guys are doin' OK. It's us UESPAs who are lettin' the side down."

"It's a bit more complex than that, sir. Whilst it's true that, on average, the UEMA crew score more highly than the UESPA ones, that's simply because of a greater familiarity with weapons and military procedure. If you look at the security trained UESPAs, their scores are comparable to their military counterparts."

"So anyone with security trainin' does best, huh?"

The Major allowed himself a small smile. "The Marines do best, sir. Then security trained officers, irrespective of service. Then UEMAs, and then UESPAs. That's dealing in averages of course, there's a bit of variation. Except for the Marines of course. We're always at the top.
"So there's a number of factors as to why Enterprise fares badly compared to the rest of the fleet. For one, half the crew is non military. Slightly more than half, if you count the civilians. A lower percentage of UESPAs have security training, and many of those are currently off ship on the landing party. So that pushes the score down. I ran a few simulations, based on their official records. If they were with us, that would help. Maybe not equivalent to fleet average, but it'll help."

Trip dropped back into his chair. "Plus you'll have your own people back, that'll make a difference."

"Yes sir, although, not as much as you'd think."

Tucker took another sip. "Really? I'd ha' thought four more marines would make a whole world o' difference."

Reed shrugged. "It's a question of numbers. Enterprise carries twenty marines, sixteen bayonets and four support people." 'Bayonets' was slang for those whose primary job was fighting. "The other Declaration class ships carry forty bayonets, and ten support. And that's on general duties, routine patrol and such. They can go for double that if sent on a high risk mission. Meanwhile we're toddling along here in unknown space. There's no way to judge just how much danger we could be in at any time. In my opinion sir, Enterprise's security level is critically low."

"But hang on a minute. The other ships only have ordinary marines. You guys are the Pathfinders, the best of the best. Surely that gives you the edge?"

"Well, I'd take exception to the idea that any marine could be described as ordinary. But that aside, this is still one of those situations where numbers count. You may think having one super trooper who's the equal of ten normal blokes is a good idea, but what if there are five critical areas, all which need defending at once? The ten normal blokes are a better bet in that situation. And the Enterprise has a lot of critical areas. Plus of course, not even an elite super dooper trooper is invulnerable. One lucky shot by the opposition and it's game over."

"Huh. I see your point. What ya suggest?" asked Trip.

Reed leant forward. "Well, we've been planning things out, running a few simulations. Our best tactic seems to be using the security trained crew as our main line of defence, with regular crew as back up. The marines operate in four man squads, shoring up our defences as needed and if possible launching counter attacks. Sealing the main hatches and bulkheads can slow an enemy advance, while our own people can use the service ducts to get behind them. I'd recommend the addition of movement sensors to the ducts, make sure no one tries the same thing with us. And we've identified a few choke points, places where an advance would have to slow down. If we prepared barricades that'd really help.
"Ultimately though, what we need, really need, is more people who know how to use guns. That's what'll really make a difference."

The engineer leant back in his chair, deep in though for a moment. He finished his coffee. "OK. OK. I'll be honest with you, I can't see the Cap'n allowin' you to set up barricades on his ship, just not his style. This is a ship o' peace, after all. When he comes back though I'm gonna recommend we offer security trainin' to anyone who wants it. I think you an' your people are qualified to teach. It'll have to be volunteer only though, an' no one'll be officially qualified 'till they take the test. An' they can only do that back at Earth. How's that sound?"

"Very reasonable sir. Just knowing there are more trained people on board would be highly reassuring, even if they don't have the certificate. And yes, my boys and girls will whip them into shape. Thank you sir"

"Hey, if the Enterprise is over run by little grey dudes who wanna give us a severe probin', I don't want you on the table next to me sayin' 'I told you so'."

Reed grinned. "Hopefully, we can prevent that. Is there anything else sir?"

"No, don't think so. See you later Malky."

Reed stood, saluted, and turned for the door.

"Oh, Malky? Just remembered, there was one other thing." Tucker waited until Reed had turned back. "Tell me about the stash, Major."

It's 'Major' now, Reed thought with foreboding, not 'Malky'. "The stash, sir?" he asked innocently.

Tucker wasn't buying it. "Yes, Major, the stash. Or the cache, or the stockpile, or whatever the hell you wanna call it."

"I...don't know what you mean sir."

Tucker regarded him coldly for a moment. He tapped a few buttons on his computer then turned the screen around so Reed could see it. "Ring any bells?"

The object on the screen was an olive green storage case, marked with the UEMA Marine Division insignia. A keypad lock held it tightly shut, and sturdy metal struts kept it secure to the wall.

Reed peered closer, but the resolution was too low to make out the identification number. Damn.

"We've not ran a scan," Tucker said, "as we weren't entirely sure what sort of safeguards your folk might ha' put in there. But this is a standard weapons locker, isn't it? Half a dozen rifles, pistols, ammo. Mebbe even explosives. Hidden away in one of the service ducts."

Reed's shoulders slumped. "Yes sir. We...I thought it prudent to have a small stockpile. Just in case."

"Just the one, eh?

"Yes sir, just that one."

Tucker turned the screen around so Reed could no longer see it. "And where did we find it, Major?"

Reed thought a very bad word. "Ah, don't need me to tell you that, do you? You've already found it."

"Tell me, Major. That's an order."

Reed hesitated.

"You don't know where we found it, do you Major? Because I took steps to ensure there were no distinguishing features in the image I showed you. Even blurring the ID number. There's more than one of these lockers hidden away on board and you can't tell which one we've found. Now records show you brought four of these onboard last time we were at Earth so I reckon there's at least three more."

Reed tried to brazen it out with forced levity. "Have you ever considered transferring to Intelligence sir? You've got a talent for---"

"Goddamnit Reed! This is serious. We're having a hard enough time fixing the ship as it is without worryin' about stockpiles of weapons around ev'ry corner."

"Sorry sir."

"You damn well should be sorry. You do know we're in this mess because the warp field de-phased, right? Warp fields are affected by all sorts o' things. It's possible, just possible, that one o' your lockers is at a critical point. Could'a distorted the entire field."

"You mean this could all be our fault?" Reed asked, shocked. He shook his head. "I asked M'boto to double check the placements. He said it would be safe."

"Your Mr M'boto is a good technician, but unless he's a better warp field specialist than me I wouldn't take his opinion as gospel. And here's a hint: he's not. So the next time you get a break from playin' your war games, you an' your guys go remove those lockers. Understood?"

Reed nodded resignedly. "Yes sir. Sir, I did get clearance from the XO before installing them."

"I'm sure you did. But I know you didn't get it from the Cap'n. He'd have told me. Now if, if, he agrees to it on his return, I'll help you find a suitable place or two. Until then you're forbidden' from havi' hidden weapon supplies on this ship. Alright Major, dismissed."

Reed saluted and left. Tucker stood and moved to the offices window, looking down on main engineering. He waited until the big hatch had closed behind the marine before allowing himself a slight smile. There was no realistic way one of those lockers could have been responsible for the warp field de-phasing, not unless it had been place within the engines themselves, but it was a useful fiction. No way was he having anything hidden on his ship without the Captain's knowledge and approval. It just wasn't on.

He stretched his arms out, then turned back to his computer. There was still a lot of work to do.
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Old February 1 2011, 09:38 PM   #35
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

That was great! You always include things I wouldn't even take into consideration when writing, like the ear defenders. It adds so much to the believability of your stories.
Looking forward to the next bit...

(Like the Trip/Malcolm thing, too, btw!)
...sf fandom is only a personality disorder if you do it right.-Klaus - archive stories! for honest gaming

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Old February 24 2011, 01:10 AM   #36
The Badger
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

OK folks, it's that time again...
I want to apologise for not updating for a while. I've been busy at work recently, plus my regular bouts of bad health. Nothing major, but enough to take the wind from my sails. It always seems to happen at this time of year.

I am making progress, but it's slower than I'd hoped. With a bit of luck I'll have something soon.
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Old February 25 2011, 04:56 AM   #37
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

Don't worry about it Badger. The real world interferes quite often. We all understand this.

We look forward to more when you have it to give.
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Old March 11 2011, 12:41 AM   #38
The Badger
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

UES Enterprise. Orbiting Galador V.
October 23rd 2151.

"Ma'am? Ma'am? Is everything alright?"

Commander Hernandez turned her head. Moshiri was standing nearby, a concerned look on her face. "Yes, Lieutenant, I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

"It's just that, well, you've been standing there for over an hour."

As soon as Moshiri said it Hernandez was hit by a dozen small aches telling her it was true. Nothing overwhelming, she'd spent enough time stood to attention in her military career and could easily cope, just the little twinges of muscles held in position for longer than comfortable. She grunted, and shifted position, rolling her shoulders and neck to get some life into them. "Got a lot on my mind." she said softly.

"Yes ma'am." said Moshiri. "That's understandable."

There was a moments silence.

Hernandez looked forward again. The huge bulk of Galador V dominated the view outside the observation dome. To allow the dorsal sensor arrays maximum coverage of the area around the gas giant itself, the Enterprise had orientated itself so that the world was almost directly 'above' them. It was a somewhat disquieting panorama. Normally at this time the obs. dome was full of off duty personnel, enjoying a drink or a light meal. There were noticeably fewer people here now. Though reason said otherwise, the sight of the planet looming over them triggered the conviction that it would fall and crush them at any moment. Those who did remain tended to face away.

It was not the planet itself that held Hernandez's interest, however. Silhouetted against it's lower quarter was the cylindrical shape of a Thor class destroyer. It was too far away to make out details with the naked eye, but long range scans had identified it as the D-11. Or rather, the remains of the D-11. Trip Tucker had studied the sensor readings and categorically forbidden any approach. It was too unsafe. Right now a couple of remotely operated drones were carrying out a close up inspection. Even at this distance she could see the strobing of their anti collision lights.

No sign, yet, of any other craft, human or Axanar.

"Well, if there's nothing else ma'am..." Moshiri started.

"Have you eaten?" Hernandez asked. "I'm about to, and you're welcome to join me."

Moshiri looked slightly startled by the question. Hernandez usually kept to herself off duty, and wasn't in the habit of dining with the crew. "Ah, no ma'am, not yet. Thank you."

They found an unoccupied table and sat. Hernandez beckoned the crewman behind the bar over. As he approached she asked Moshiri "Do you want anything sent up from the mess?" There was a dumb waiter system linking the obs. lounge to the galley, as well as a small meal preparation area in the room behind the bar.

"No, I'm just a bit peckish, it's not worth the trouble. Still, it's good to have a proper chef on board, isn't it?"

"Oh yes. It's amazing how he can get such good results, even when he's using the same raw materials that the fabricators do."

Moshiri leant closer. "Ah, but I've heard that he has a special stockpile of herbs and spices. Adds a bit of punch to his meals."

"That'd explain it." Hernandez said.

The crewman arrived. Moshiri ordered a light salad. She was on one of her semi-regular diets. After some deliberation Hernandez asked for a cheeseburger with fries. Comfort food, not her typical fare. She felt the need for a bit of comfort.

And then, as the crewman went to get their meals, she found herself telling Moshiri about her earlier visit to the Galador system...

Destroyer D-32. Entering Galador system.
August 19th 2143.

Ensign Maria Hernandez double, then triple checked the seals on her space suit. She'd been out of the academy for over a year now but the safety lessons still burned in her mind. Having sat through the standard, but distressingly graphic, films on the effects of catastrophic decompression she had no desire to experience the effects for herself. With the ship about to enter a potential combat zone she was not about to leave anything to chance.

There were some amongst the crew who had worn the space suits near permanently for the past five weeks. They claimed it was nothing to do with safety. That might be true. If anything happened at warp speed that threw a human off the ship, no space suit could save them. Crossing the warp bubble threshold would cause total molecular disintegration. Instead, they claimed, it was to keep out the mosquito whine of the ship's engine. Certainly the helmet did that job well enough, but Hernandez had been able to ignore it with just a pair of earplugs.

But then, it was the veterans who wore the suits all the time. Guys who had been on Thor class destroyers for years, often turning down postings to other, larger ships. Scuttlebutt said they were all a little odd.

For Hernandez, getting off this ship couldn't come soon enough. Straight out of the academy she'd been lucky enough to get a posting on the corvette UES Valiant. Not a bad posting, if a bit cramped. The six junior officers had one small room between them, though with bunks on the floor, walls and ceiling that wasn't too bad. The shift system meant that the room was never fully occupied either. Best of all, Diana and Nuyen, two of her classmates, were with her.

Those were exciting times. She'd quickly proved her worth, getting an official commendation after her first combat mission. Reassignment from secondary to main weapons array came not long after. Her friends also excelled in their fields, sensors and engineering. The Valiant gained a reputation in the fleet as a lucky ship, though those who crewed her said luck had nothing to do with it. Quality of the crew mattered.

Things were going well, until the day an Axanar torpedo decided to make it's home in the main impulse manifold. Somehow the engineers kept the ship space worthy long enough to limp back to the nearest outpost, but it's days as a combat vessel were over. And so Hernandez found herself re-assigned to Outpost Delta 14. Or more accurately the Thor class D-32, a destroyer based at the outpost. It was a bit of a shock after the Valiant. Thors were small, and the designers had apparently considered the crew to be an unfortunate necessity, grudgingly allowing the bare minimum of room that could be spared from engines or weapons. The good news was that Hernandez didn't have to share a room. The bad news was that her quarters were the size of a rather small elevator, and also doubled as her workstation.

Zero gravity meant a bed wasn't needed. She slept in an elasticated webbing that also served as a safety restraint during battle manoeuvres. A large visual display unit took up most of the wall in front of her. The controls, inactive at the moment, were down by her side, where her hands were normally. At full throttle the G-force could be enough to stop her reaching ahead, hence the unconventional but more practical positioning. The only other furniture was a small wardrobe built directly into the bulkhead behind her. Lights were recessed into the walls, which were softly padded and an institutional green. There were no windows.

Despite the change for the worse after the Valiant, she'd coped. Delta 14 was pretty well outfitted for a frontier outpost, and the D-32 spent most of her time near the home port on rapid reaction duty. Mission duration was two, three weeks tops, followed by some downtime. That was the only time she saw her friends, and infrequently at that. They'd been assigned to the same outpost, but to the D-32's sister ship, the D-11. The different patrol rotas didn't always coincide.

And then came the Galador mission. Five weeks at warp. Five weeks of near total isolation. There were very few common areas on the destroyer, most of the crew worked from compartmentalized cabins like her own. Things were slightly better now. Almost half the stores that had been secured in the main corridor had been used up, so it was a lot easier to move around if she wanted. Everyday she spent an hour strapped to one of the exercise bikes in the tiny gym, staving off muscle atrophy. Every other day the medic came by with a syringe, vitamins to supplement the survival rations.

A series of chimes got her attention. They were dropping slower than light. An intense whine filled the ship which shook like a wet dog drying itself. It was unpleasant, but at least it meant that this part of the journey had come to an end.

Hernandez tapped the controls, activating her view screen and bringing her weapons online. A pair of fire linked turret mounted one hundred gigajoule plasma cannon. Even as the streaks of light coalesced into stars she was scanning the sky, ready for any potential threat.

The gas giant loomed ahead of them, uncomfortably close. A Jupiter type world, according to long range observations. In principle it's gravity would mask their arrival. The mission profile called upon them to establish a secure zone and watch covertly for enemy activity. If it was small scale, they would disrupt it to the best of their abilities. Otherwise they had orders to withdraw without contact. A larger force could be assembled based on the Intel they would provide.

That plan went out the window within the first seven minutes.

A chime heralded an announcement from the bridge. The task force were reporting in, all safe, but scattered after their long journey. The frigate Patton had spotted what looked like a partially constructed space station in orbit. The Patton itself had been detected. As secrecy was no longer an option they would engage and destroy the station before withdrawing.

As the CO's voice died away Hernandez felt herself breathing heavily, her heart thumping in her chest. She tried to tell herself that it was nerves, but she knew the truth. She was excited, even pleased by the idea of a fight. It was what she trained for, what she was good at. And after that journey she wanted to blow things up.

Information swam onto her screen as the D-32 changed course, data about the enemy contact. It was too far for the destroyer to make out much detail, but the Patton was sending information to the rest of the task force. The object had the look of an Axanar station, clearly unfinished, almost a third of it's superstructure nothing but a metal lattice awaiting it's coverings. Yet lights showed along it's flanks, and a sensor dish spun. Unfinished perhaps, but operational. Floating aside it lay the fat bulk of an Axanar freighter, and a handful of shuttles swarmed about it.

She frowned. The data from the Patton showed the frigate was heading straight towards the station at full throttle, not waiting for the rest of the task force to assemble. By it's very nature the target wasn't going anywhere, and this class of freighter was slow. No chance of escape, so, she asked her self, why the rush?

In rapid succession six more contacts appeared on the screen, flashing yellow arrowheads departing the Patton at high speed. Her brow furrowed in confusion. Unlike the destroyers the two frigates were large enough to carry a few torpedoes, much fewer than normal, but hopefully enough to make a difference. The new Mark Fours had been fitted with tactical atomic warheads, the latest small size, high yield devices.

Standard doctrine said that limited resources should be husbanded carefully. It would be much more efficient for the task force to move as a group to the station and destroy it with conventional weaponry. There was simply no need, that Hernandez could see, to waste the torpedoes like this. She'd be the first to admit that the desire to get into the fight was strong, but surely the Patton's CO, Commander Howell, couldn't be so undisciplined. Wait, wait, Howell has a reputation as a glory hound. I bet he just wants his ship to get credit for the kill, and forget the rest of us.

One of the torpedoes hit the freighter amidships. On the sensor display it's image blurred and seemed to expand. For a moment the tracking systems registered it as two separate vessels before registering that it had broken apart.

The remaining torpedoes tore into the station. Hernandez shook her head ruefully. They were all concentrated in the same area. All that fire-power targeting one spot, even more wasteful. Unprofessional. She found herself composing the after action report, which had some very scathing things to say about the Patton's gunner. Leave it for now. The job's not over yet, and there'll be plenty of time on the way home.

Now the Patton had gotten within effective gunnery range and opened up with the three-fifty gigajoule plasma cannon. The smaller but faster D-19 swooped in to add it's weapons to the attack. The D-32 was the next closest ship, but it would be about two minutes before they were close enough to engage.

And then it was all over. The station seemed to bulge outwards before simply breaking apart. An anticlimactic end to the battle, and a frustrating one. It was over without Hernandez even getting the chance of a shot.

It took nearly six hours for the task force to prepare the engines for the return home. The various commanding officers considered going after the Axanar shuttles, which had rapidly scattered when the Earth ships turned up, but it was considered a waste of time to hunt them down. With the warp drives ready they turned and began powering out of the gas giant's gravity well, aiming for the point from which it would be safe to go faster than light.
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Old March 11 2011, 12:42 AM   #39
The Badger
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.


Sirens screamed through the ship. Multiple contacts, dropping out of warp, almost dead ahead. Seven of them, Axanar light cruisers. Probably returning from a raid of their own, on Earth territory.

Hernandez fought down her feelings of panic. They were outnumbered, and although an Earth frigate out-gunned an Axanar light cruiser, it wasn't by much. And each enemy ship had more fire-power than her small destroyer. Still, surprise was on the humans side, and if the Axanar ships had sacrificed torpedoes for range, as the Earth ships had, that might improve the odds a little.

She felt a kick in the back as the thrusters went to combat power. Looks like I get a fight after all. A text message popped up on her display. They were not going to try to evade. When the Axanar discovered their station had been destroyed they'd go to full alert. So they would try to punch straight through the enemy forces before they knew they were there.

It almost worked. The first volley of torpedoes from the Eisenhower managed to close the range before being detected. Two Axanar ships were hit, badly enough to take them out of the fight. By the time the second volley arrived, along with the Patton's last four torpedoes, the Axanar had their ECM up. Only five of the eight hit, doing damage, but no knock out blows. And now the enemy were fighting back.

The frigates may have drawn first blood, but it was the destroyers racing forward. Partly this was to close the gap so their own weapons could come to bare. Mainly it was to protect the larger ships by providing a more obvious target.

A crash like thunder screamed through the D-32 as it lurched sickeningly to port. Hernandez was tossed around like a discarded rag doll, only her safety web preventing injury from smashing into the walls of her cabin. The lights flared then faded, replaced by the crimson glow of the emergency lanterns. Her viewscreen dissolved into static, and fragments of voices hissed through the intercom. Casualty reports. Damage reports.

She shook her head to clear it, piecing the facts together from what she heard. They'd been hit. Sensors suggested they'd been caught by the heavy laser used on Axanar light cruisers. Must have been a glancing blow. Thor class destroyers were lightly armoured. A direct hit could have sliced them in half.

Her screen was still blank. She hit the restart switch, and again. It came to life, a wire frame tactical display of the combat zone. Where the hell is the D-19? It should be...oh no. No identifying beacon showed, but a tumbling metallic shape occupied it's last known position. Dead in space...

The symbol for her own ship was now perilously close to an Axanar vessel. It was manoeuvring in front of them to block their escape. Fortunately it's current aspect meant it couldn't bring it's main batteries to bear, but once in position it'd only take a few moments to reorientate itself. The tactical display would do no good; she hit the keys to bring up her targeting system. For a split second the status board for her turret mounted plasma cannon came up, before being replaced by that for the main gun. That was a bad sign. On this ship she was secondary gunner. If she had access to the main guns then something must have happened to the chief gunner.

No time to consider that now. The Axanar cruiser was near dead ahead, right in her sights. She hit the intercom, asking permission to fire, getting a 'hell yes' back before she'd even finished speaking.

At close range a Thor could punch above it's weight. The ship itself was built round the Mjollnir quad barrelled railgun. It was the only ship to carry such a weapon, the size and bulk of which made it impractical to fit into a turret. Only a ship fast and manoeuvrable enough to aim itself at the enemy could hope to use it effectively.

She toggled the selector over to KEAP--Kinetic Energy Armour Piercing--and selected an aim point near the rear of the target ship. Mjollnir rail guns could only fire forward in a very narrow cone. Manipulating the magnetic fields as the projectile left the barrel allowed a small amount of fine tuning, but otherwise they were locked straight ahead. Fortunately their current course had the ships aft within the field of fire. Intel suggested that main engineering was located about a third of the way between the lateral sensor pallet and the impulse emitters, so Hernandez carefully layered the cartwheeling sight over the likeliest spot and squeezed the trigger.

Four barrels. Each spewing one 328 gramme projectile every two seconds. Staggered, so a little packet of death departed at half second intervals. Each launch sending tremors through the destroyer. Not recoil, even at over ten kilometres a second the projectiles had too little mass to significantly affect the ship. It was the electromagnets themselves, bucking and thrashing within the weapon as they strained against the very forces they created. Even with cushioning the shock waves carried to the rest of the ship. It was this vibration, coupled with the ship's cylindrical shape, that had given the Thor the nickname 'sex toy of the gods'.

She released the trigger, waiting a moment to let her eyes refocus after the tremors. It looked like there was considerable damage to the target point, but the Axanar vessel itself was operational. In a moment they'd be past it and on their way to the exit point, but with it still active they'd be running a high risk. They'd be in it's rear weapons arc for several long seconds, time enough for it to return fire.

Only time for one last shot. She flipped the selector to KEF, fired a sustained burst at the same spot. The Kinetic Energy Fragmentation rounds would be ineffective against the armoured outer shell, but if she could get just a few of them under that armour, they might do some serious damage. They were designed to break apart on impact, releasing a swarm of projectiles that, whilst too weak to work against outer armour, should rip through interior bulkheads, machinery, and crew, ricocheting around inside confined spaces to do even more harm.

And then they were past, the enemy ship no longer in her fire arc. She switched to the turret mounted plasma cannon, swing it aft to continue her attack. After loosing a couple of rounds she stopped, her target clearly no longer a threat. Secondary explosions cooked off within the hull, sending fountains of molten metal into the void. She scanned the sky fo another target just as the warp initiation chimes sounded. Her last view of the battlefield was of the Patton desperately clawing it's way past two Axanar ships. Then the ships, the planet and the star system itself hurled themselves into the distance.

She offered a prayer of thanks. They'd gotten away.

UES Enterprise. Orbiting Galador V.
October 23rd 2151.

"...and after another five weeks of travel, we limped home. The Eisenhower had gotten there slightly ahead of us. We waited and waited, but no other ship returned. Afterwards, months of physical therapy. Those survival rations can keep you alive but only just. Inquiries, after action reports...quite a few of us were of the opinion that if Howell hadn't wasted his torpedoes on the station he could have gotten his ship past the Axiees. But his father was high up in the Admiralty, so that never made it to the official report." Hernandez leant back, scooping up a dollop of ketchup with her last fry. Oddly enough she felt better for having told the story.

Moshiri gestured to the distant destroyer with her fork. "So this is the D-11, right? The one your friends were on?

She nodded.

"I don't suppose there's any chance they could have survived? Gotten to that Earth type world, maybe?"

Hernandez sighed deeply. "I'd like that, I really would. But our ships were too small to have life pods. We relied on our space suits to keep us safe. And without engines there's no way to make it there. There was only a twenty four hour air supply. Now the Patton did have life pods. But as we didn't even know there was a habitable world in this system back then, they'd have no reason to even head in that direction. No. No, I can't see anyone surviving, not realistically."

Moshiri nodded slowly, agreeing with her reasoning even as she wished it wasn't so. "I'm sorry ma'am. I think you're right, I don't think anyone could have survived."

Hernandez starred at her plate for a moment, before abruptly straightening up, throwing of her despondency by sheer will. She offered a brittle smile. "Sorry to bend your ear like this. Guess I needed to get it off my chest."

"That's alright ma'am. Any time."

Later that night, as she was drifting off to sleep, a wisp of a thought wandered through Hernandez's mind. We didn't know about that Earth type world, so of course our life pods wouldn't have gone there. But did the Axanar know?

But it was a fleeting thought, and by morning, it had gone.
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Old March 11 2011, 02:20 AM   #40
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

Good chapter, Badger. I see interesting times ahead.
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Old March 11 2011, 09:30 PM   #41
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

That was engrossing. So glad to see you back at it!
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Old March 12 2011, 10:50 PM   #42
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

A two parter!

Always glad to see more of this story, very well done battle scene.
"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery" - Winston Churchill
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Old April 11 2011, 08:41 PM   #43
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

The surface of Galador III. October 25th, 2151.

It has often been claimed that a marine is happiest when cold, wet and miserable. All three conditions applied to Corporal James, but she was far from happy. Her feet felt like lead, her legs like jelly. Her spine ached and her shoulders burnt. Her stomach was in knots whilst her throat and lungs were on fire. In short, her body had become a walking mass of clichés, and it was only her determination and training that kept her moving. To add insult to injury, she had only herself to blame.

After so long cooped up on the Enterprise the landing party had, for the most part, relished the opportunity to get out and about. Long walks and jogs were common, carefully remaining within the drones' surveillance zone but describing wide circles around the base camp. As a matter of pride the marines had pushed themselves harder than anyone else but there soon arose the unspoken conviction that they could do more still. And so James had gone over the geology of the area with the scientists in an attempt to find something a bit more challenging. After planning things out she'd put it forward to the landing party, asking if anyone wanted to come with the marines. Even the most enthusiastic keep fit fanatics thought it best to wait and see how they coped before trying it themselves.

There was no sense leaving the camp undefended, so Tipping and Grant would stay behind whilst she and Dumont went for the first run. After some warm up callisthenics they set off, accompanied by a pacemaker on the quad bike. They went in fighting order. Body armour, helmet, wrist computer, rifle, pistol, grenades, medkit, ammo, batteries, combat scanner...a little over thirty five kilos of gear. Just the basics.

It started with a run--and it was a run, not a jog--of almost eight kilometres over the grassy plane, skirting the forest. This got them to the foothills which, they had been assured by the survey team, were much steeper than the aerial images made them appear. Score one for the science boys, even the quad bike had trouble with some of the slopes. They were also rocky and pockmarked, twisting an ankle or breaking a leg became a real possibility. She was glad the quad bike was with them, it's fold out trailer would make an effective stretcher if need be. If things really got bad, the Beowulf could come pick them up.

Despite starting early in the day, before it got too warm, she and Dumont were both sweating copiously by the time they reached the next stage. The river looked cool and inviting, but before entering the two of them took the precaution of lashing themselves together with a length of high strength rope. The far end was attached to the quad bike.

Cool didn't begin to describe the river. Coming from the distant mountains, it carried the snow wash off their icy peaks. Dumont yelped as he waded groin deep into the water. James didn't fare much better. In places it was deep, very deep, and more than once she found herself immersed, only her hands holding her rifle high remaining above the surface. It was also flowing much faster than anticipated, and as they waded downstream they found it a constant battle to remain standing. The safety line to the quad bike, shadowing their progress along the bank, was a considerable reassurance.

They travelled down almost as far as the lake. Here the ground was thick with mud, almost a marsh, perfect for the next task. Crawling, flat on the belly like a snake, through the thick, viscous, and still very cold, mud. It also stank, and James was glad the scientists had found no trace of any micro-organism that would pose a threat to them. The area they were crawling through must be absolutely teeming with microbes.

After a hundred meters or so, the ground was mercifully too dry to crawl through any further. Their not quite triangular course now left them almost exactly six kilometres from base camp, and the plan required a steady, brisk walk back home. Of course, that was far too easy for a Pathfinder, so here they had added a twist. For the first klick James would carry Dumont across her shoulders, as if he were a casualty depending on her for evacuation. They'd then swap, him carrying her, changing every kilometre until they got home. She was aware that Dumont got the better of this deal, he was a lot taller and a lot heavier than her, but she was determined to do her part.

The determination wavered somewhat near the end of the third kilometre, gradually replaced by he conviction that she was indeed out of shape, by Pathfinder standards at least. With more than two hundred meters to go before Dumont took over the lifting duties her legs buckled and she nearly dropped him. It was like running into a brick wall. Through sheer willpower she managed two more steps, but then a new problem arose. As carefully as possible under the circumstances she lowered Dumont, bent double, and vomited.

"What are you stopping for? I thought you Pathfinders were supposed to be fit. My mum wouldn't stop, and she isn't in no fancy pants special forces unit. No, she's infantry. Ground forces infantry, the thin red line, the PBI. If she wanted to puke she wouldn't even break stride. I've seen her do it, most impressive. Unlike you two, you're such a disappointment. I thought you'd be something special. I feel ever so let down. My aunty Phillipa could do better and she's a tank commander. She goes to war sitting down, but she'd do better than this."

God, does she ever shut up? James wondered, wiping her mouth with her sleeve. It had seemed such a good idea to invite Professor Partridge to be the pacemaker, although that was more to do with her desire to spend some time with the scientist than any practical consideration. How they'd joked, and laughed, and exchanged suggestive looks when Partridge had promised to 'whip them into shape'. They weren't laughing now. They hadn't expected her to mean it literally, pressing a length of thin electrical cable into service when they slowed. The first couple of times it happened it had been quite funny despite the sudden sting, but the novelty soon wore off. Just before they'd entered the river Dumont had had enough, and told Partridge that under military regulations corporal punishment was not allowed. Partridge had regarded him sternly for a moment, then said that, as a civilian, she was not subject to military regulations. She then had him hold his hands out so she could deliver a blow across the palms.

As she struggled to lift Dumont back onto her shoulders it occurred to James that the opposite was also true, and, as a civilian, Partridge had no power over them. As such they didn't have to put up with her behaviour. It was an illuminating thought, and one she spent a little too long mulling over. The faint hum from the quad bike changed in pitch slightly, which, she knew from bitter experience, meant that the rider had gotten off. There was a slight rattling as the storage compartment was opened.

"Bloody hell Autumn, she's got a sword!" Dumont squealed.

There was a whooshing hiss, then a line of fire ignited across the back of her thighs. She stumbled, managing to twist so that Dumont would land feet first, then dropped to all fours. Every muscle seemed to lock into place, and it was several seconds before she could take any voluntary action. That action was to scream a particularly foul obscenity at the gently swaying grass below her face. As she got her breath back she became aware that Partridge was standing by her, and lifted her head to say, in no uncertain terms, that her services as pacemaker were no longer required.

That intention lasted about half a second, as James remembered why she wanted the Professor here in the first place. Partridge wore one of her typical catsuits, plus a matching corset, both in a very deep red. Her hair was pulled back into a long braid, which, she'd claimed at the start of the journey, made her look 'like a Mord'Sith', whatever that meant. The small black control box for the quad bike was strapped to her left bicep. In one gloved hand she held a fencing foil, which she swished from side to side menacingly. The other hand was on her hip, one finger tapping out a steady rhythm against the corset's edge. One-two-three-four. One-two-three-four. One-two-three-four. She looked down at James with sardonic amusement.

Now this, James thought, is a woman who could get away with murder. Despite herself she chuckled at her predicament, and started to clamber to her feet. Partridge offered her free hand, which James gratefully accepted.

"I didn't over do it did I?" Partridge asked, a sudden concern in her eyes.

"I'll live." James admitted, rubbing the backs of her legs. "Although, I must say, ow! What did you bring a sword for?"

Polly cocked her head. "Do you mean on the landing party or with us today? Well, first of all to practice, though I've not had much chance so far, and secondly to motivate lazy marines when the cable no longer does the trick. Right, have a swig of water, then get a move on." She took a few steps towards the camp, quad bike obediently following her like a puppy.

As she drank from her water bottle James noticed steady movement in the sky. The spare drone had been tasked to keep an eye on them, in case of trouble. Ordinarily it would be flying too high to see. I'll bet they've taken manual control. Dropping it so we can see it, letting us know we're being watched. Yeah, they'll be laughing themselves senseless watching this.


The glassy eyed drone was not the only observer. At the edge of the forest, just deep enough for concealment, a shadowy figure watched with a set of high powered binoculars. Capable of a multitude of active scans they were currently locked into a passive visual only mode. There would be no emissions for the humans to detect. The watcher was outnumbered, and out gunned. It would have to choose it's time carefully.

It watched the three humans with interest. Two were obviously military. They wore armour and carried rifles. The other...the purpose of the other was unclear. It was...what was the term? Female. Yes, female, the humans had two genders, and this one's shape conformed to the notion of female. It had observed the humans since their arrival, taking the utmost care to remain undetected, and this one with it's yellow fur was perplexing. On the first night it had taken on the menial duty of food preparation, yet at other times had seemed to be giving orders. Though not to the uniformed ones, only to those in the varied coverings. Yet now it commanded two of the soldiers, and had been observed striking them. Perhaps it's duties were punitive?

The observer clicked in frustration. This was confusing, and at this range it could make out few details of the humans actions. If only it had stayed in place, watching as they had skirted past the edge of the forest! But no, the risk of discovery was too great, it had retreated deeper for concealment. Still, perhaps by increasing the photonic gain to maximum, it could improve the resolution of the image. It reached for the appropriate knob on the binoculars, but it's gloved fingers were clumsy. Idly it slipped the glove off...


"I don't know whether to pity the corporal or envy her." Tipping drawled, taking a sip of coffee. He was leaning over Hoshi's chair in the Beowulf's cockpit, to get a better view of the display. "Looks like the professor likes to play rough."

In the pilot's seat Mayweather was giggling away. "Oh man, this is comedy gold! Make sure we're recording this, the guys on the Enterprise will not want to miss it."

"Way ahead of you." Sato said. "I've got it rigged so that the official recorder only gets the wide angle images, the standard stuff. All the close up stuff is re-routed to external storage, which I'll physically detach later. It'll be a simple matter to alter the records. As far as the captain will know, every-thing's above board."

"You have a devious mind Lieutenant." Mayweather said.

"Thank you."

On the screen the James put Dumont down. It was time for the medic to carry her. Tipping watched their progress for a moment. "I don't think I've ever seen Dumont move that fast. Not even in parachute training. I swear to god he'd free-fall slower than the rest of us."

Mayweather shook his head slowly. "Oh, she's got the sword out again! I can't believe I'm seeing this."

"Maybe you're not." Sato said. "Maybe you're hallucinating. You've not been at the fungus, have you?" The tree fungus Captain Archer had discovered on the first night had been tested thoroughly. It was found to be highly nutritious, a near perfect survival food, were it not for it's mild hallucinogenic qualities.

"Hey, I volunteered for human testing, but Doc Locke refused."

Sato snorted. "He's probably building up a huge stockpile for when his cigarette supply runs out."

Footsteps echoed up the access shaft. Someone was climbing the ladder into the cockpit. Hoshi quickly turned the main display over to the more panoramic surveillance view, and all three put innocent looks on their faces.

"Room for one more?" Captain Archer asked, sticking his head into the cockpit. Tipping moved as far forward as possible, almost sitting on the flight controls, to make room. Archer came in. "So what are you all doing up here?"

"Just keeping an eye on the others sir!" Mayweather blurted nervously. "It's for their own safety!"

Archer looked at him suspiciously. The helmsman was clearly hiding something. He glanced at Tipping, but the marine's countenance gave nothing away. And Hoshi's poker face was legendary. Still, it was fairly obvious what they were hiding. "Don't play games with me." he said wearily. "I know what's going on."

"You do?" asked Mayweather.

"Yes. I do." He turned to Hoshi. "You're running a book aren't you? Gambling on who does best?"

"Damn!" Tipping exclaimed, loudly. Archer turned to him for a second, then back to Sato. "Who's in?"

"Just us three." she said, thinking quickly. "After that business on our first night here I've not had many takers. Me and Mayweather reckon Dumont's going to win, Tipping's got his money on James."

Archer grunted. "As long as it's just you three I'll let it slide. For now." He straightened up, brow furrowing as something caught his eye. "What's this?"

He was gesturing to one of the smaller screens. Hoshi called it up to the main display. A thermal image, a bright red spot glowing just within the forest's edge. "I'm not sure. From it's size it looks like a small animal, maybe one of those ferrekat things."

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Old April 11 2011, 08:41 PM   #44
The Badger
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

The watcher moved position slightly, keeping the binoculars trained on the retreating figures. It watched the humans as they left, crawling forward for a better vantage point. As it did so it became aware of something wrong....Ground! Twigs, grass, fallen leaves..pressing directly against it's skin. It's glove was off! It had neglected to replace the garment after adjusting the controls. Foolish! Foolish!

It cast about frantically, desperate to find the missing glove. The camouflage material did it's job too well. The watcher was close to panic when it finally spotted it on the ground. Only once the glove was back in place did it begin to relax. All the same, it decided it had lingered too long. After quickly checking it had all it's weapons and equipment, it turned and began the long trip back to base.


"Huh. Whatever it is, it's gone." Archer said as the red spot faded from view.

"Probably a burrowing animal of some kind." Tipping suggested. "We've seen a few of them. Sudden heat trace as they pop their heads above ground, gone just as quick when they nip back down again."

"There's still so much we don't know about this world." Archer mused wistfully. "A full survey would take years. Even with all our technology, we can only make the most basic of studies."

"But would you want to spend years on just one planet?" Hoshi asked with a smile.

Archer smiled back. "With all the galaxy out there waiting for us? No chance. So much to see, so little time. And on the subject of time, our intrepid wanderers will be returning soon. I better make sure Doctor Locke is ready in case he's needed."

It was only after she was sure the captain had left that Sato turned to the marine. "Quick thinking Tip."

"It's the espionage training, that's what it is. Mind like lightening."

Mayweather was confused. "What are you on about?"

Hoshi shot him a withering glance. "What we are on about, you numskull, is that when someone, for example a ship's captain, thinks you are doing something wrong, but what he thinks you are doing wrong isn't quite as bad as what you are actually doing wrong, it is a bad idea to sigh with relief when he says what it is that he thinks you are doing wrong, and you realise that you are not in as much trouble as you would be if he actually knew what you are doing wrong. Fortunately Tipping here realised that you were about to sigh with relief, and thus give the game away, and said 'Damn' very loudly so the captain wouldn't hear you."

Mayweather considered this carefully. "I have no idea what you are on about." he finally admitted.

"And to think the Admiralty tried to use you as a spy. Thing's must have been pretty damn desperate."


When the marines arrived back in camp they were greeted with applause and cheers. James waved away the attempts to help. There was still one last challenge that needed completing. She and Dumont dragged their way over to a designated area, where Grant stood in wait.

"Prepare for practice fire." the red headed sniper said. Without a word they drew thin connector cables from their wrist computers, plugging them into their weapons' data ports. On the wrist-comp's small screen James could now see the control system for her rifle. She selected the icon for target practice protocols, reducing the weapon's effective output. It shouldn't be needed here, everyone had been informed to stay out of the firing zone, but there was no sense taking risks. Especially with civilians about, they couldn't always be relied upon to do the sensible thing. Besides, the targets wouldn't stand up to full power for long. Grant double checked the rifle's status, then gestured to the firing positions with a brisk nod.

Not even allowed to take off their bulky and heavy back packs, they took their positions overlooking a long, wide area of the plains marked out with red flags. Almost immediately a man sized shape sprang up from concealment in the long grass, about three hundred meters away. In one swift move James shouldered her rifle, squinting through the site, activating the zoom until the target was clearly visible. Humanoid figure, camo uniform, weapon held across it's chest. A 'Musorian', the non-existent race used to represent enemy forces in battle simulations. Placing her cross hairs slightly to the left of the target's centre--to compensate for the breeze, which could affect low powered shots--she squeezed the trigger carefully.

Unlike the real thing the training shots had little noise and less recoil. They moved just as fast though, flashing to the target. A bright spot showed where she had hit, a second one designating Dumont's effort. Both were a little off target, and she compensated with her second round. Closer. She was lining up her third when, just as suddenly as it appeared, the target retracted.

She lowered her rifle, returning the scope's zoom to normal. A second Musorian popped up just a few meters away. As she raised her rifle her thumb flicked the selector switch to three round burst. Her first burst drew a line from groin to chest. Even though armour, that would be bad. But not as bad as the next three rounds, straight to the face.

Even as this target dropped another popped up, right next to it. "Check fire! Check fire!" she yelled, voice hoarse with exertion. Beside her Dumont was shouting the same. Rather than a Musorian this target was a human male, wearing Fleet uniform. It disappeared almost instantly.

Over and over the targets would show, sometimes for a fraction of a second, sometimes much longer. They were, James thought, a useful piece of kit. A piece of memory material, two meters long and a meter wide, wrapped around a roll. A small motor could rapidly force the material through an upwards facing slit, electostatically charging it so it became rigid. There had been a lecture on the workings of the device, but she didn't remember much apart from all the sniggering at the use of the words 'rigid' and 'slit'.

One other factor. The LCD coating could display up to four possible images. Usually pre-programmed, they could be adapted by someone who knew what they were doing. Obviously someone on the landing party did know what they were doing, as James found out when the original target deployed again, and she found Captain Archer on the other end of her scope. Time for another chorus of "Check fire!"

Just to add to the confusion Grant would sometimes bark orders at them. To hold their fire as an enemy popped up. For one to shoot but not the other. To pick a specific one of several targets. To fire on a human in uniform. That wasn't much fun, and they really wished they didn't know why such training was needed.

"OK, make your weapons safe." Grant said as they finished. "That's it, I'll calculate your scores."

"Are we all done?" Partridge asked as they headed back to the Beowulf. "Thanks for letting me take part, it's been such fun!"

"Fun." echoed Dumont hollowly. He could hardly walk.

Partridge rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "You know it's been ages since I took that role. Normally I go the other way."

The marines mulled this over for a few seconds, then continued with increased vigour.

Captain Archer was waiting with a couple of large glasses of water. "Here you go. How was it?"

"Brilliant! We saw ducks!" the professor exploded, clapping her hands together. "Space ducks! Ducks from another world! Down by the lake. Well, obviously not ducks, obviously, but this planet's equivalent. Looked a lot like Aix galericulata. Ducks! And I found bones. Near the river. Looks like the same sort of canine predator you found evidence of. Isn't it strange that we've not seen any sign of them? There's a perfect environmental niche for predators but no trace of them in the last few years. Very odd. And they quacked! The space ducks, not the predators, I don't know what noise they made. Only it wasn't quite a quack, like a quack but more sort of drawn out. Quaaaack! Quaaaaaaaaaack!!"

"Yes, thank you professor." Archer said hurriedly. "I look forward to your report. Why don't you go put the quad bike on charge?"

"Oh, OK."

As she left Archer turned back to the marines and asked again how the excursion had gone.

James sipped her water carefully, resisting the urge to gulp it down. It had the slightly chemically taste of re-hydration powder. Not pleasant, but what she needed. "Well, we've been through worse sir, a whole lot worse, during basic training. All the same...I think we're out of shape."

"Badly." Dumont agreed.

Archer rubbed the back of his neck. "The exercise facilities on Enterprise weren't designed with Pathfinders in mind, only regular troops. If your unit is to remain on board, we'll have to do something about that."

"I think I'd better see the doctor." James said. "I threw up. Probably the exertion, but it'd be stupid not to get checked out."

Dumont nodded. "Right. Wading through the water, crawling through mud...wait a second, you went under a couple of times didn't you? In the river? Did you swallow any of the water?"

"A bit, yeah." she admitted.

Dumont and Archer exchanged glances. "Go to the doctor, now." the captain ordered. "You too Dumont."

"Yes sir." Dumont said.

James didn't speak, but nodded faintly. She lifted her hand to attempt a salute, got half way, then crashed unconscious to the floor.
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Old April 11 2011, 09:25 PM   #45
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: Starship Enterprise: Strange New World.

Nice chapter, Badger. Worth the wait. Especially Polly berating the pair of them. Truly inspired insults.
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