Saturday, April 25, 2009

Entry 03

*Logcam Activated*

The scene fades in again like the previous entries. The only differences are on Ethan's body -- his hair and beard have been recently shaved, and his eyes are slightly more sunken than before. There's also a medical bay identification tag wrapped around his wrist.

Begin entry 3.

You're probably wondering about the med tag. No, I haven't been to the cloning vats since my last entry -- but I'll get to that soon enough.

The university has been out of lockdown for several days now. It was nice to get out of the station for a change -- I plugged in, borrowed a shuttle and flew a couple laps around the system along with some of the other students. My studies are going all right -- I've been taking some engineering and microeconomics classes, nothing particularly interesting but all of it useful. The only really interesting thing that has happened lately was the set of orders I got from my Navy liason.

As part of my deferred enlistment, I'm still subject to the chain of command. This means that from time to time when they need something done and can't trouble the real navy to do it, I end up with the job.

Ethan leans back in his chair, tilting it up onto two legs with his feet propped against the desk.

This time I got sent to Nourvoukaiken -- we're actually docked at the Naval Assembly Plant around the tenth moon of Nourvoukaiken VII right now. My orders didn't say anything except to be at a certain local pub at a certain time wearing a certain color -- a little different from the usual official summons to the local fleet commander.

Ethan lets the chair sit back onto all four legs as he leans forward.

I'll admit to feeling a little nervous as I walked to the rendezvous -- the lift station was a long way from the pub and it was not in the most pleasant part of the station. I didn't know that space stations had ghettos, but I guess I shouldn't be that surprised.

It turned out that this time I was working for the fleet surveillance division, not command. I'll leave my contact's name out of this log -- security protocol, heh. He had a couple jobs for me -- mostly just the usual pirate hunting. As I skimmed through the datacards, he pulled one out and pushed it to the top. He was very excited about it, and the first line managed to get my attention pretty quickly. Apparently the Gallente found a loophole in the treaty of Iyen Oursta. Gallente corporations operating in our space are permitted to use armed spacecraft for security purposes, and my contact explained that the Gallentean government has been setting up fake businesses as an excuse to stage a military build-up in Caldari space.

The corporate government has only recently become aware of this problem, and currently is scrambling to find a diplomatic solution. In the meantime, my contact explained, one of the Gallentean front-corporations has been found in breach of the treaty due to a "filing error." The way he smiled at that part tells me all I need to know about how exactly that bit of paperwork got lost.

The plan was simple. Show up at the Gallente branch headquarters in Caldari space, declare them in violation of the treaty, and blast away. My contact wanted to come along for the ride, and I thought that was a little strange at the time, but hey, maybe he just wants to get out of the station for bit, right? So we jump to the Gallente's location and sound general quarters. The poor bastards aren't prepared at all -- we broadcasted our first warning about seven seconds after the first volley was away. I didn't even feel them going for a target lock until after the second volly. They didn't seem to be very well equipped -- there were about a half dozen frigates and a pair of destroyers, none of them with decent weapons or armor. The Moa I've been flying for the Navy (the Vincent) made pretty short work of them all. The bridge crew functioned well, nothing got past the shields, and the op was going smoothly -- until the last ship went pop. Then everything went to hell.

The station had been all quiet up to that point. All of a sudden I get four new red signatures -- retractable heavy missle turrets pop out of it's superstructure and start letting loose. It seems that someone on the Gallente side had finally realized what was going on. The Vincent is armed with blasters that have an optimal of less than 5km, and the station is about 25 clicks away, so I immediately jam her into full afterburner and start heading for the station knowing that this is gonna be ugly. The Navy Surveillance guy is screaming, the bridge staff is picking themselves up off of the deck scrambling to adjust the shield boosters, and missles keep coming in.

At this point I've had a sort of pressure building in my head through the entire op, and with the sudden increase in stress things started becoming really painful. I got us in close to the station and started blasting away at the launchers. Firing the Vincent's weapons didn't help things much, at least in regards to the pain I was feeling. At this point it was more than the normal burning from mangled shields -- this pain was coming from inside of me. I managed to keep it together long enough to finish off the launchers, but as soon as the last one melted into slag I blacked out.

Ethan fingers the paper medical braclet around his wrist.

I woke up in the med station -- still in my original body, thankfully. Apparently they didn't need to drop me into a clone. My contact person had assumed command when I passed out, and the crew had gotten the ship home safely. The doctors don't know why I felt what I did -- they're ruling it stress and over-work for now, and are ordering me to continue this log. I can't make any more sense of it myself -- I'd flown in a dozen combat situations between this one and last time I'd seen the medical staff with no problems at all. Maybe it is just stress.

Ethan pauses as if deciding whether or not to go on.

There is one other thing. I'd assumed that the station had surrendered after I blacked out. They had no weapons left, were crewed mainly by paper-pushing administrators, and the Vincent was still almost completely functional. Well, I reviewed the logs a day later and it turns out that that's only partly true. The station did surrender. They stood down and prepared to be taken into custody . . . and then my contact destroyed them. The Vincent fired on the station until it exploded from within, and then targeted any escape pods within range. He spent a half an hour hunting down escape pods.

Ethan is staring at the camera but his eyes are unfocused -- he is lost in thought. Suddenly he shakes himself back to the present.

I don't know why I mentioned that.

He pauses for a second longer, and then reaches behind the camera.

*End of Entry*

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