** DECLASSIFIED - Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.N. § 552 **
-USN █████████ - Missile Cruiser
-Crew Logs: Ensign Ed Scofield
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Woot! Too bad you can’t see me now. Who’s got a loop on his cuff? It’s me! Showed up for the briefing and our XO was now sporting new Lt. Commander stripes and he was holding a Sub Lieutenant loop and stripe for me.
Enough of the self adulation. We had one heck of a mission and I know the brass at command and control can’t wait for us to turn in our reports. Last time I failed to turn a report in they withheld my shore leave and wouldn’t let me off the ship. I hope whoever has to read these finds that funny, because I sure didn’t.
It all started with a knock on the door of my quarters. I hadn’t even got out of my bunk when the door slid open and a USN Special Ops guy in dark shades filled the door frame. Those guys are really intimidating up close and personal. I’ve seen them passing through the hangar before to their dropships and even from a distance they are impressive. I darn near fell back into my bunk. My first thought, I must have tried to hit on his girl at one of the past parties I’ve been at and he was here to teach me a lesson.
Instead, he just said, “I’m going to need you to come with me.”
I don’t know how long I stood there and blinked at him, but eventually he said, “Right this way, Sir,” and he stepped aside and gestured down the corridor.
I tried to engage him in some conversation but he apparently had better things to pay attention to than me, so I just tried to keep up. As we got closer to the docking bay we headed right past shuttle to the USN Liberator and kept walking. I tried to get his attention since I’m usually assigned to the Liberator but apparently not today.
We kept walking and abruptly stopped at one of the service trains which circle the outer rings of the station. Through the portals in the train I could identify approximately where we were in the station but after a while nothing looked familiar. I manage to get around and thought I’d seen most of the station, but my limited security clearance was very apparent. Eventually we emerged into another docking bay. I could see what looked like a missile cruiser, but the markings didn’t match any of the normal USN decals.
We got off the service train and picked up a shuttle. The whole bay was surprisingly absent of activity. No service crews, no cargo handlers, no brass ordering people around.
The shuttles didn’t have any ship names on them either. Unlike the other designated docking/service bays and their USN ships, which seemed to have an ongoing marketing blitz to get their ship name on the most real estate possible. This ship didn’t appear to want any attention.
As we circled the ship toward the airlock it dawned on me, this ship had been disguised as an ore freighter. If you didn’t take a very close look and in the darkness of space, from any kind of distance it would be hard to tell. If it had the capability to mask itself from a routine scanner sweep it would be able to pass back and forth between the different sectors without anyone even noticing it. The ore freighters passing between Tarantis and Elysium are so frequent they practically cause traffic jams in the most common space lanes through the asteroid belts.
When the airlock opened my escort waved me inside but stayed in the shuttle leaving me alone. I followed the markings to the briefing room and met the rest of the crew. I recognized some of them, but we had a few new faces as well.
I was happy to see █████ ██████████ as well as █████ ████████. We broke the silence and joked around about the way we all arrived. We had a little time and got to know the other members of the crew. None of us knew why we were here or the name of the ship we were on. The door swished open and █████ ███████ snapped us all to attention.
Finally, someone to let us know what we’re going to be doing. This ship has been fitted with some captured tech and they were looking to test it out. Specifically the ████ █████ and the ███████ ████ had been modified to work with the USN power sources and had the potential to replace the ████ and █████. The part I was most unsettled about were the significant disclaimers about the possible side effects of using this technology. There is always some risk in space but we’ve had generations of engineering perfecting our current propulsion methods. The idea of instantaneous sub-molecular disintegration sounds a little freaky, but probably wouldn't hurt as much as suffocating from a hull breach.
We were dismissed to our consoles to familiarize ourselves with the controls. I was assigned weapons and was surprised to see no beam arrays at all. I had 4 torpedo tubes and a ridiculous amount of ammunition, but that was it. From the wear on the console it would appear this ship had been in use for long time. The labels on most of the buttons had worn off and the control surface had been polished clean and smooth from years of use. Where the ships name had been, only a freshly burnished streak of metal across the bridge frame remained.
I was still messing around with the console when the docking clamps released and the ship pulled out of the station. We pulled out at what seemed like a crawl, but we were pretending to be an ore ship, so that seemed appropriate. After we had pulled far enough away from the routine traffic in the sector I figured they would engage the warp, but instead as the engines revved up, *BOOM*! As far as I could tell, the world had just exploded.
There was what felt like a moment of blackness and then everything started flickering back to life. The helm let out a giggle and started talking about space rifts and folding time other sciency mumbo jumbo. I should have paid more attention during the mission briefing. Anyway, as I started figuring out what happened, I realized where we were. We had jumped all the way across the sector and were at one of the jump gates.
The ███ ███████ had been assigned escort and came rushing in a few moments later. For once, I was on a ship that could travel faster than the ███████.
We jumped through the gate into a border region that was still contested with the TAK. There was a small patrol of TAK ships at the far edge of what our sensors could reach. I was stlil watching the science scans, trying to figure an offensive strategy without using any beams when *BOOM*.
The life support systems whirred back to life and the screens flickered back on. Could someone at least tell me when they are going to engage the ████ █████?
The proximity alarms went off. Holy Crap! We were right in the middle of the Kraliens. For a moment, I think they were as surprised as I was about what just happened. Then they opened fire. I punched the shields button harder than I needed to but I was still too late. We suffered some damage, but nothing that prevented us from using our torpedos. The Lt. Commander had us rough them up a bit with some homing missiles and *BOOM*.
Again, the ship came back to life. There we were, back on the other side of the sector. “Load the ████,” came the command. "Aw yeah", I thought to my self. Finally, let’s do some DAMAGE!
I paid a little more attention to the radio chatter this time and was better prepared. I raised the shields just a moment before they engaged the ████ █████. This time we were safely out of range of the fleet. I targeted the center and released the ███ followed by three █████. I almost felt sorry for them as the ships disappeared from my screen. They didn’t have a chance. We reloaded and moved in to finish them off when the ███ ███████ came tearing through. Without their shields their hulls just couldn’t hold up to the firepower coming from the ██████.
The amazing thing was, we had managed to attack the enemy fleet twice in the same amount of time it took the ███ ███████ to cross the sector with a ship four times the size. I've got to give the propeller heads back at Fleet Com some credit for figuring out how to make this work. No wonder the USN pays so much attention to the salvage brought back from the TAK.
The mood brightened considerably after we all realized the ship wasn’t going to turn itself inside out and that we had a pretty good chance of making it back home in one piece.
The Lt. Commander asked if we were ready to head back to ███████ ████, but the general consensus was “hell no”.
We patrolled the sector as long as we could and eventually ran ourselves out of armaments. There were no bases out this far so we had to rely on the science guys finding some anomalies to keep us running, but we never encountered any significant resistance.
I don’t know if the TAK were able to report back on what we were doing out here, but there are several ships that won’t be returning to their slimy homeworlds. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I can sure see how having a few of these ships would keep the TAK on the defensive and might make them a little less aggressive.
We used the ████ █████ to get us back to the jump gate that would get us back to ███████. We had to wait for the USN ███████ to show up. Which of course meant we had to rib them about how “slow” their ship was.
When we docked back at base, there wasn’t any of the usual activity that seemed to occur whenever a ship pulls in. We were back at the same dark, unmarked bay. There were only a few very serious looking technicians downloading the mission logs.
After a short debriefing we were released and shortly after greeted by our very own Spec Ops escorts again. We were taken back to the main decks by separate routes. I think I was assigned the scenic route again because it felt like forever before I was rather unceremoniously dumped back at my quarters.
It’s missions like this one that really make me wonder what happened to the USN Nike. Could it be one of those ships, anonymously being retrofitted with a captured ████ █████? Wherever it is, I hope it it is still in one piece.
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