Topic: A Good Start  (Read 14314 times)

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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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A Good Start
« on: April 30, 2012, 03:49:49 pm »
L-1 Station

12 January 2014 - 08:04 Zulu

"Carter to Captain Atkinson."

James looked at the intercom on the desk, he sighed and started to take his headset off, "George, I'm afraid we'll have to continue this another time."  He took the headset off and opened the intercom channel, "Go ahead, Sam."

"Captain, I think you should come up to Ops."

"It's open?"  James looked to the monitor that showed the current progress of the construction phase.

"Almost, but this is something you need to see for yourself."

James tossed his headset towards the desk, a necessity since he currently wasn't in contact with anything in the room.  The toss pushed him slowly towards the ceiling, the headset bounced off the desk and floated back up to him, "On my way."  He caught the headset and let it push him just a bit more.  He reached back for the ceiling, knowing it was just a few short centimeters beyond his reach, but his momentum would put it in his reach in just a few seconds.

"Bring something small, James."

James started to ask why, but when he reached the ceiling, he thought better of it.  She probably wouldn't tell him right now anyways.  He pushed himself towards the door, and began to twist his body to put himself upright.  As he reached the door he reached down to his boots and activated the magnetic soles.  Designed to give him some kind of normal range of movement, they exerted a small magnetic field that 'gripped' the floor.  The field wasn't strong enough that he could break contact with the floor with the same amount of effort it would take to lift his leg out of mud.  Ordinarily he would eschew the boots, but the boots were a part of the physical fitness regimen that Doctor Elliot prescribed everyone on the station.  He missed the freedom of swimming around the station, but he wasn't about to anger Doctor Elliot.  The door swished open when he pressed the access button, and he strode out into the corridor.  He looked down to his left, at the elevator that leads to the promenade, then turned to his right, towards a T-junction in the corridor.  When he arrived at the T-junction, he turned left, down a corridor that had only opened up three days ago.  He crossed the threshold that separated the old section from the new section, if he hadn't known about that threshold, he wouldn't have noticed as the color of the corridor on both sides was an exactly matching gun-metal grey.  The corridor led to the station core, and an elevator that will, once complete, run from Ops all the way to reactor control.  At the moment, though, it only ran from Ops to this level.  Reaching the elevator, he pressed the call button.  Surprisingly, it opened immediately.

The elevator did not have a conventional winch and cable that almost all terrestrial elevators had.  When he stepped in and pressed the button for Ops, it began to climb smoothly, and quickly.  A hum filled the elevator, the hum was caused by the magnetic rails rapidly activating and deactivating.  It was that sequential activation that pulled the elevator towards its destination.  Ordinarily these rails would not be powerful enough to lift the car, but in the weightlessness of space, it was more than sufficient.  By not using the winch and cable system, it also meant that each car was also capable of lateral movement, not just vertical movement.  They hadn't designed the shafts to accommodate that yet, but it was something that they had planned to use when the Grav Deck and Cargo Bays were connected.  The humming changed pitch as the elevator came to a stop.  Before the door opened, a hissing sound filled the car, and the sound of metal on metal tapping the outer shell of the car, indicating that the car was locked in place.  The indicator light on the panel glowed green, meaning that the atmosphere on the other side of the door was normal.  The door opened and gave him a view of the place he would be considering his home away from home for, hopefully, a long time to come.

The Operations room was a cavernous, two level room.  The elevator deposited him on the upper level, across the room was his office, he could see the red light on the panel from where he was standing, telling him that it wasn't ready for him to move in yet, the double glass door would give him a view of anyone wanting in his office.  Right now it gave him a view of the Walker that was welding the window in place that would give him a view of space.  The Walker took note of him and flashed him a thumbs up before pushing himself down to presumably another task.  Directly in front of him was a step stair way that led down to the lower level.  The large table that dominated the lower level was dark, but he knew that when power was finally given to the table, it would house a large Multi-function Display, that would, among other things, display station schematics, star charts, and anything else they wanted to see.  The pit, as they called it, would be the place where they held most of their meetings.  Around the upper level were stations dedicated for Science, Security, Tactical and Engineering.  Each station was separated by stairways leading to the pit.  The stairways were laid out in a cross pattern, each exactly ninety degrees from each other.  Lining the outer ring were a series of windows that looked out into space, they angled down towards where the docking arms would be, allowing anyone in Ops to see every ship docked at the station.  The two levels mirrored each other as they were both kind of oval shaped.  This is not because of the way the structure was built, which was built completely round.  But because of the space required by the elevator and his office.  The office jutted out from the outer wall, and would have taken up all the room on that side, if the railing didn't move in towards the center to allow its placement.  A similar set up occurred on the elevator side, not because of the space required, but just giving more room to exit the elevator without causing a case of claustrophobia.

James looked around Ops for Sam, but couldn't find her.  He then looked around for an intercom panel to call for her, but stopped when her voice filled Ops.  "Go ahead and stand over by your office."  He nodded and began walking around the perimeter.  "I'm still in my science lab, but I'll be up there in a minute."  James realized that she was watching him from the security camera situated above the pit.  He also knew that the science lab she was in was directly beneath his office.  When he got there, he stopped.  He didn't wait long until she gave him his next instruction.  "Hold your headset parallel to your body, and hold it steady.  Once it's steady, let it go."  He did as she asked, and released the headset.  It floated in place for a few seconds.  "Okay, now watch this."  He stared at the headset in amazement as it slowly fell to the floor.  He opened his mouth to ask a hundred different questions, when Sam pushed a piece of deck plating away from the corner of his office and pushed herself up into Ops.

"What did you just do?" was the first words out of his mouth.

She smiled at him as she picked up the headset and dropped it onto the floor again.  "I got to thinking when you told me about your interview with George Noory that you were doing.  He has some crazy people on his show sometimes, but a couple of years ago he had a guy on that claimed that he had found a way to make anti-gravity fields for use in propulsion.  So I went digging a bit, and found that there is a bit of truth to it.  Not all of it, but some of it.  Enough that I was able to rig up a device, that pretty much takes up my entire lab, that generates a small gravitational field.  It's nothing substantial, point-one, and its area of effect is quite small."  She demonstrated by putting the headset over her head, and releasing it.  It just floated there.

"Interesting.  Such a small, and weak field means that there's little practical use for it."  He quickly amended his statement, "Yet."

"Yes, and the fact that it takes up my entire lab, and about seventy percent of the output from one reactor core just to make it work, means that we aren't going to be doing anything but experiments with it for a while."

"That much power?"  He shook his head, "We don't have that much power to spare yet."

She nodded, "I know.  I won't be able to do much with it at all until the next reactor gets up here.  But, it's A Good Start."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Starfox1701

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 07:50:16 pm »
Nice, you can almost her ONeal in the background go "Cool" ;)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2012, 07:10:50 pm »
James stayed in Ops while Sam went back down the ladder to her lab.  He closed the access hatch behind her.  There were two such hatches in Ops, both on either side of his office.  They were intended to be ways to get in and out of Ops if for some reason the Elevator was non-functional, but they also provided quick access to the office level right beneath Ops.  Once he made sure the seal was good, he turned his attention back to the empty control center.  The room was only large because it was so tall, if you took out the ceiling, 15 meters from the lowest point of the pit to the top of the dome, it was really quite cozy.  The outer dimensions of the room was 15 meters in diameter.  Narrowing to 10 meters where his office entrance and the elevator foyer was.  He leaned forward on the railing that separated the pit from the upper tank.  In doing so, he finally noticed the slight gravitational pull from Sam's experiment.  Ordinarily he would have had to pull himself towards the railing to assume that position, but this time he was actually pushing himself away from it.  The difference was so imperceptible though, that when Sam pulled the plug a moment later, he was able to quickly correct his grasp to keep from pushing himself against the wall.  Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the indicator on his office's door panel switch from red to yellow, and then slowly start blinking.  The room had pressurized, but was not up to temperature yet.  The silence in the room was deafening, only the faint humming of distant fans could be heard as it forced air through the life-support ducting.  It came as no surprise to him then, when he heard the elevator clamps disengage and the elevator hum away.  He turned around to look out the window behind him.  It had an excellent view of Docking Arm 1, and a decent view of where Docking Arm 2 would eventually be.  The freighter, still attached to Arm 1, looked as if it were part of the station.  It sat there with its navigational lights flashing every few seconds, its engines powered down.  James knew that the ship would be leaving later this afternoon, the first of many departures that the stations would be handling.

The pit's table beeped, indicating that it was starting it's boot-up procedure.  While the station's main computer controlled most of it's processing power and storage capacity, the table had a built in processing unit that was primarily geared to running the display adapter that controlled the touch screen table.  It could save minor things, such as display layouts, but even that would largely be called from the main computer core.  The Processing Unit's main purpose though, was to function as a back up, in case the main computer was unavailable.  The screen came to life, and the display loaded the default image, a schematic of the station.  James turned back to the table and looked at the diagram, a steady blue light traveled across the screen.  It indicated the position of the elevator, which was heading back up to Ops, from the Promenade.  He was just about to ponder who may be on the elevator when the deck plate behind him opened with a pop.  Sam pulled herself through the open hatch,  "First thing I want to do, is redesign these access hatches.  Surely we can make these things open with a button rather than having to force it open manually."  She stopped herself on the window and pushed herself back to the deck.  "Also, if you're in a hurry, you might not re-close the hatch behind you."

"Fair enough point."  James nodded as the elevator opened to admit Micheal and George to Ops, Micheal was holding a very large box as they walked into the control center.  James turned to face him and smiled, "Gentlemen, what brings you up here?"

Micheal grinned as he lifted the large box in front of him, "The Walkers reported that they were done with the Command Dome, so we felt that it was time for us to give you your going away present."

James shot them both a look that showed his annoyance, "A going away present?  Didn't we have better things that could have taken that space and weight?"

George chuckled, "The weight was negligible, and as for space.  Well, we had the space."

James narrowed his eyes, "Your smuggler bins no doubt."

George laughed, "Hey, every good freighter's gotta have a place to hold contraband.  How do you think we'll get by our first run-in with a Star Destroyer?"

All three of them had a laugh, while Sam merely smiled.  As the two of them arrived at the office door, the indicator light had turned green.  Micheal pressed the button to open the door, "Well, go on in and open it up."  He waited for James to go in first.  When James went in, they waited for him to slip behind the desk before they followed him in and set the box down on the desk.  The box snapped into place when it was placed on the desk, the magnets on the bottom of it holding it firmly to the desk.

James pulled the lid of the box off, and noticed three smaller boxes inside.  One of the boxes was large and flat, it lay against the bottom of the container.  The other two were smaller, but thicker.  His attention was immediately grabbed by the name on one of them: Ashley.  He looked back at them puzzled, but before he could say anything Micheal responded, "Ashley bought it before she left.  I asked her if she wanted it back, and she said that you could have it anyways, and that, quote, 'I expect to see it in his office when I come up to visit', unquote."

James smiled as he pulled her box out of the container, "I hear she found a job.  She's going to be the Captain of the next ship to be out here."  He opened the box, "They incorporated two days ago as ASSTEROID STRIP MINERS, INC."  He reached into the box and pulled out a 1:350 replica model of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701, TMP refit.

Sam frowned as James set the Enterprise down on a table in the corner to his left, it had a magnet in its base to secure it to the table, "Strip mining usually has a lot of negative connotations with it.  It seems really odd to adopt a name like that, even if it is technically what they are doing."

James chuckled, "Oh you have NO idea."  He walked back over to the crate, "They spelled it, Ay, Es, ES. Tea, Arr, Oo, Eye, Dee."  He reached in and pulled out the other large box, this one had George's name on it.  "They decided that they were going to help fund their ship and their trips by installing video cameras in the Miner's dressing rooms, and charge people a fee to watch the Miner's," he coughed as he opened the box, "change into their EVA suits."

Sam's eyes went wide, "Would people actually pay for that?!"

James pulled out a 1:350 model of the freighter, and looked it over, "Very nice, George.  Thank you."  George nodded as James moved to set it down next to the Enterprise.

Micheal answered Sam's question, "Given the amount of money people spend world-wide on Pornography.  I would imagine, that, if the miners are attractive enough, they could make some money off of it."

James shrugged as he turned back to the crate, "It's all preliminary.  They are looking for both male and female miners, but they are also still in the construction stage of the ship."  He reached in to pull out the last box, "They have the added challenge of needing to get out further than even we've gone at this point."  This box wasn't a box, but rather something wrapped in paper, he began to carefully peel the paper off of the object, "They expect to have the ship done in July."

George looked stunned, "That's awfully quick.  It took us ten months to build our ship."

James held up the painting that he unwrapped, "They have the benefit of us having done it before.  They can learn from the mistakes we made."  The painting was an artists rendition of the International Space Station, with Earth in the background.  From this far out, the ISS was something that they would not be able to see with the naked eye.  "Thank you, Micheal."  James went over to the wall on his right to mount it, "You know, I wish we could have actually docked there.  Just too low an orbit for us."

Sam nodded, "It certainly would have been interesting to see the change in design philosophy between the freighter and that station.  Do you think people would be willing to debase themselves like that?"

All of them shrugged, Micheal was the only one with words, "We'll see."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2012, 09:44:12 pm »
12 January 2014 - 14:30 Zulu

"The Freighter is signaling, requesting permission to depart."

James looked over the freighter from the Upper Tank, "Send them their departure course."

Sam nodded as she entered the command, "They've acknowledged receipt of course."

"Clear their course."

Sam's fingers flew over the touch screen, the departure course, etched in red on the map of Earth-Luna system, blinked green, "Course Cleared."

James looked up, "Bon Voyage, Micheal!  See you in a few weeks."

Micheal's voice filled Ops, "Looking forward to it."

The docking clamp that attached the freighter to the station pulled away from the freighter.  The six maneuvering thrusters on her port side flared to life as she pushed herself away from the station.  Just as quickly as they came on, they turned off and the freighter drifted away from him.  Once she had pulled away far enough the six thrusters on the starboard side, thrusters he couldn't see from his vantage point, stabilized her position.  Then her main engines fired, and while he didn't have a direct view of its exhaust ports, the flare from them was visible even from the front of the ship.  It didn't take long for the freighter to rocket herself past his vantage point.  He turned to watch it go, now he had a clear view of its engine ports, and the white hot exhaust flames that spewed from it.  It quickly sped off into the distance, where a blue marble the size of his fist waited for them.  Earth.

"She's clear."

James turned back towards the pit, and pulled himself to the railing to look down into it.  "We've got three-plus weeks until she returns.  What do we have to pass the time?"

Sam smiled up at him, "I still have to dis-assemble the gravity generator in my lab.  I've already forwarded the specifications to several different universities and technical colleges around the planet.  Maybe they can figure out a way to refine it.  Once I have that dis-assembled, I'm ready to take a Launch Craft into Lunar Orbit for those SONAR Soundings that I wanted to take."

James nodded, "When will you be ready for that?"

Sam shrugged, "Tuesday."

"I'll makes sure there's a Launch Craft waiting for you then."

She looked at him, "Can I make a request, sir?"

He raised his eyebrows at her, "Of course."

"Can we call it something other than a Launch Craft?"

He frowned, "Well, that's what it is."

"I was hoping to call it a shuttlecraft, or a runabout."

He chuckled, "It's a bit small to be a runabout.  But I suppose a shuttlecraft, or just shuttle for short would work.  We didn't want to call it that because it could be confused with NASA's old Space Shuttle program."

She laughed back, "No one here is going to be confusing it with that."

He conceded the point, "True."

After a couple of seconds of watching the screen, they both noticed that the freighter had cleared the station's perimeter.  She looked back to him, "What are you going to do for the next three weeks?"

"Besides paperwork?  I get the task of troubleshooting everything here."  James sighed, "Someone has to make sure every door opens, every air vent blows, every filter breathes, every temperature regulator, uh, regulates.  A lot of busy work, but everyone else has more important stuff to do."

"How long is that going to take you?"

"If I could go straight through, it would take me about a week.  But, I have to be up here when you're doing your SONAR run.  I have to be up here when the Walkers are out moving the big stuff.  I imagine I'll be doing that stuff all the way up until the freighter returns."

"Sounds like fun."

He smiled, "I'd rather be out with you on that SONAR run."

She smiled back, "You've already been in Lunar orbit."

"Yeah, but I never got down to the surface.  Half the crew did, but I never had a chance to do it."

She feigned insult, "What makes you think I would want to land on the Lunar Surface?"

He winked at her, "Because that's the reason you're on the SONAR run."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 10:32:07 pm »
L-1 Station
14 January 2014 - 07:24 Zulu

Ops was quiet, just the low hum being emitted from the pit's table was audible.  James had muted the audio feed hours ago, and was just floating above the table, staring down at it.  He felt numb, but he also wasn't surprised.  The most annoying aspect of being this far away from Earth was not the time lost.  But the changing of video signals as they rotated through different frames of reference.  Right now he had the Sky News Feed, which was the feed he wanted the most.  But he knew that in a couple of hours he'd have to drop that for a Station based out of the United States.  When Sam entered Ops to prep for her SONAR run, she stopped and looked at him, "Shouldn't you be in bed?"

He didn't even notice her walk in, but her words brought him out of his trance, "The powder-keg that was Europe just went off."

"Really? What happened?" She asked as she walked down into the pit and looked at the table.  Besides the Sky News feed, that dominated two-thirds of the table, there was a political map of Europe, countries were colored based on their current upheaval status.  The entirety of the Balkans, from Greece to Hungary, and from Bulgaria and Slovenia were flashing red, indicating that they were in a state of open revolution.  Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal glowed orange, to indicate that they were completely paralyzed by unrest, but only sporadic incidents of armed protests had been reported.  Of all the countries, only England and Iceland were Gold, indicating that they were stable.  Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Poland, among others were various shades of Green or Blue, depending on how much influence over their countries actions the rest of Europe's issues had.

"Basically, it comes down to two things.  The French Socialist that was elected two years ago, predictably, couldn't come through on his promises, and the useful, or useless, depending on how you look at them, idiots that got him elected finally had enough.  The other item, is that someone bombed the Parliament building in Athens, and predictably as well, the Neo-Nazi's are blaming Germany and the Bankers who kept them afloat for the last three years, they've armed themselves and are, predictably once again, giving the EU troops in the region a real good fight."  James took a breath, "All that happened late last night, European time.  Since then, the Neo-Nazis have expanded their operations beyond Greece, and have lit up the entire Balkans.  The EU never had a strong military, it was mostly a show force, and when the Socialists took power in France, they slashed that too.  Britain withdrew their contribution, good thing too, because problems in Ireland and Scotland have tied up much of their military."  He stopped for a moment and directed her attention to the final panel on the table, "However, this is something that has caught my attention in the last couple of hours.  An armored division out of Persia has launched an unsanctioned strike across the Bosporus.  The division is Turkish in origin, it's operating with no supplies but what they brought with them, because Khan has declared them rogue and cut them off.  He's made no attempt to stop them, but has been offering the Europeans, and the United States, detailed information as to their composition, and their officer corps."

"Amir Al'Quayym?"

James nodded, "Yes, him and about a hundred others in the unit are almost a blank slate.  Odd considering that this guy is the Colonel in charge of the Division.  Some of the rest of them, Lieutenants, you kind of expect.  But really odd for a Senior Officer, and extremely odd for a CO."

"What do you think is going to happen?"

James shook his head, "The United States is out of position, they can't get enough force in the region to stop this division until next week at the earliest.  The EU army is underfunded, undermanned, and poorly supplied.  What is still in decent shape is also out of position.  The Israelis have some good troops in position, and could actually deploy them tomorrow, but that would also mean that they would have to trust Khan, which they are not inclined to do right now.  That leaves the Russians, who quite frankly are scared to death of Khan right now.  If I had to guess, the Israelis would send some troops in support of the EU, but the EU would be the main battle line.  The Russians would move in to shore up Belarus and Ukraine, essentially just trying to keep this division out of their allies territory.  The United States could get an aircraft carrier in position to provide air-support, but not much more.  The fact that the division is operating with no external supplies means that it can only go as far as the supplies they capture.  I would not be surprised if Greece, Bulgaria, maybe even Romania, Macedonia, and Albania fall to the division.  Then the diplomats have more stuff to sort out.  And I for one am glad that there's no possible way I can make it the UN this time.  Not that I would be welcome anyways."

She shook her head as she looked back up at him, "Going to be an interesting week."

He frowned, "We can say that because we're really the only ones that are out of reach.  This thing could get real ugly if it goes nuclear.  We can't get nuked directly, but we can starve to death."

She pulled herself into the chair at the table, "And on that note, I'm going to get my shuttle ready for departure, and you need to get some sleep."  She turned the table back to normal operations before he could protest.  She looked back up at him when she noticed he hadn't started to move, "I still have the handcuffs."

He glared back down at her before resigning himself to her order, "Fine."
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 10:42:33 pm by Lieutenant_Q »
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 01:04:28 am »
14 January 2014 - 21:30 Zulu

"So exactly just how much of the Lunar surface are you going to be sounding?"

Sam's looked up from her controls as she was finishing the final simulation run, "Why not the whole thing?"

James' voice came back over the intercom, "I don't think you have enough fuel for the whole thing."

She smiled as she shut down the simulation, "Then I can finish the rest of it Thursday."

The lack of response broke her smile into a full fledged grin.  She enjoyed toying with him, and knew that he really wanted to be out with her on this run.  It took her no time at all to get used to the controls of the shuttle craft, she was using the simulation time to figure out fuel saving maneuvers, time saving tricks, and to prolong his agony just a bit.  When she had decided that she was done torturing him for the moment she reset the controls and faced the intercom, "Requesting permission to depart."

His voice came back immediately, "Permission granted.  You have the communications relay in your drop bay?"

The drop bay was specially installed for this run, it was attached to the underside of the shuttle, giving her a miniature cargo bay.  She couldn't access the drop bay from inside the shuttle, so it was only useful for dropping items off.  Although George had made a comment about making one that would attach itself to the fuel tank, giving the shuttle extra range.  That would have to wait until he returned with the freighter.  "It's in there, and ready for deployment."

"Feeding departure course to your console, and opening launch doors."

"Thanks, I'll try not to have too much fun without you."  The bay decompressed and the doors slowly parted in front of her.  When the indicator light on the side of the door frame blinked green, she activated the maneuvering thrusters, and ever so gently pushed the shuttle out into space.  "You are paying attention to me, and not Europe, right?"

"I wouldn't say you have my undivided attention, but yes I am paying attention to you."

She nodded, she knew that if he had said otherwise he would be lying.  The happenings in Europe, while not directly affecting them, had a broader impact on the entire planet, and therefore, did affect them.  "Anything new?"

"You've cleared the station, you can engage your main engines now."  James came back.  She did so, and he answered her question, "Greece is all but fallen.  And the Turkish Division has made significant in-roads into Bulgaria.  They captured Athens a couple hours ago, but the Neo-Nazis and the remaining EU battalion have joined forces in the Peloponnisos city of Corinth.  I doubt they can hold there long, but they might be able to buy some time."

"Heading for the Northern Hemisphere of the Moon.  I'll drop the communications relay in a polar orbit, and then handle the Northern Hemisphere before returning."

"Got your course plotted.  How many times are you planning on landing?"

She knew he was squirming wherever he was, she debated whether or not to twist it a little bit by not answering, or just thrust it deeper in there by telling him outright.  She decided to twist, "That will depend on my fuel status."   It also depended on how long she decided to stay out when she was down, she looked down at the O2 indicator on her forearm.  All she had to do was snap on her helmet and she could step out of the shuttle, but she didn't have a lot of Oxygen.

Silence filled the communications channel.  "You're going to have to keep talking to me, James."

He came back on the line, "Yeah.  Corinth fell.  No fight at all, reports are the two forces turned on each other as the Division entered the isthmus.  One of the BBC talking heads is thinking that the Neo-Nazis have sided with the Turks.  If that's the case, who knows just how far this Division will roll."

She was barely paying attention, focusing more on her course and what she needed to do as the Moon grew larger in her window, "Germany?"

"Doubt it, but I wouldn't put Austria or Hungary out of their reach."

She cut her engines, flipped the shuttle over, and fired them again.  The braking maneuver would take her to a high polar orbit.  The communications relay wouldn't stay there forever, but it would stay there longer than any other place they could put it.  "Beginning braking maneuver, ETA eight minutes."

"Hmm... Khan's opened up Turkish Airspace for Israeli flyovers.  He might be serious about stopping this man."

She frowned, "Israel can't reach Greece with their fighters."

"No, it'd be a one way trip.  But that does mean that Israel can put a refueling plane or three over Turkey, and refuel halfway before striking." James paused for a moment, "It's a stopgap measure until the Reagan can move into the Med."

"When is that?"

"The Reagan should enter the Med early tomorrow.  It then would be in striking range by about Daybreak on Thursday."  James switched gears for a moment, "Has the Air Force ever considered building a space-based carrier?  This would have been over with by now if you had."

She groaned, "The idea had been floated a number of times, but the Civvies never allowed it.  Violated too many treaties they said."

"Hmm."  That was all James said in response.

"What's that supposed to mean?!"

"It means that's never stopped you before in the past."

Sam glowered at the intercom, "You mind clarifying that?"

"The anti-missile shield, that orbital weapons platform you built a few years ago."

"What are you talking about?"

"Hmm... you'd think as part of the Space Warfare Division they would have told you about that one."

Sam rolled her eyes, "Of course I know about the SDI program.  Who doesn't?  Yes it DID violate several treaties, but we withdrew from the respective treaties before starting the actual construction work."

James continued, "They should have done a better job hiding it.  We found it on our first layover back at Earth.  They did a good job hiding it from terrestrial observers, but we got up close to it.  It wasn't operational, but the engineering looked sound."

She narrowed her eyes, "Are you going to stop being so vague?"

"Maybe.  They didn't tell you about the Particle Beam weapon you had in orbit?  Grazer-one?"

She laughed, "You bastard!  You had me going there for a minute."

His laughter filled the shuttle, "I'm the bastard?  You're the one that started this torture session, knowing full well how much I'm squirming over here.  The least I could do was return the favor."

Sam shook her head, "Just you wait til I get back."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 05:00:59 pm »
Lunar Surface
14 January 2014 - 22:03 Zulu

Sam deftly fired the braking thrusters as she settled the shuttle on the surface.  She didn't technically need to land to activate the SONAR, but this provided a clearer picture.  And she did want to step outside.  It got her thinking about firsts. Of course its not the first time anyone's ever stepped foot on the Lunar Surface.  Nor is it the first time anyone's been out to where the station is.  The Station IS the first of its kind, and they are the first to be out beyond Earth's Magnetic Field for as long as they are.  But it did get her thinking about other firsts, the firsts yet to be accomplished.  Ashley's ship would be the first to reach the Asteroid Belt, who would be the first to Mars?  To Venus?  Jupiter?  Saturn?  Would she be a part of any of them?  Was she going to be on the station forever?  Is this a price to be had for her impatience?  She could still have been a part of Major Christopher's Trailblazer project, but that would mean she would still be on Earth, right now, and not about to take in one of the most breathtaking views one could imagine, or so she had been told.  She chose this particular landing spot for a reason, the position of the Earth.  Earth would be about ten degrees high on the horizon, with a three quarter phase.  The sun would be almost directly above her.  She could snap a picture from her camera, specially sealed to prevent the vacuum from ruining the interior mechanisms, and not have to worry about glare from the sun.  She secured her helmet to her head, and depressurized the shuttle.  "I'm stepping outside the shuttle."

"Roger that."  James' voice came back through the intercom.  The door soundlessly opened away from her, exposing the lunar surface.  She stepped out, and resisted the urge to take a deep breath.  She gazed around at the barren, broken landscape, and wondered to herself just how anyone could have thought that this place had even a chance of hosting life.  Her gaze continued to sweep the ground, littered with broken stones, and pockmarked with centuries old meteorite collisions.  Then her eyes stopped, and she just stared at the glowing jewel in the sky before her.  Earth.  It did indeed take her breath away.  She stood there mesmerized by it, she thought about just how small it looked from up here.  Sweeping nations like Russia, were no bigger than the width of her pinky.  She started thinking to herself.  If you felt this small after looking at your Homeworld from one of its satellites?  What could you feel just from looking at it from outside the star system?  How insignificant we all are.  Do we even matter at.... "Sam!"

She shook her head, fighting back tears, "James?"

"Talk to me Sam!"

She stammered, "I... I..."

"Look away from Earth!  Look back at your Shuttle!"

She pried her eyes away Earth, it wasn't easy.  It felt like it took every ounce of her strength to do it.  She finally put the shuttle back into her field of vision, "I... I.. see it now."  Her breathing became labored as she fought back the feeling of emptiness.  "I'm OK."

"You were out for almost ten minutes."

Her eyes went wide as she glanced down at the chronometer built into her wrist, "Ten Minutes!  Impossible!"  But when she looked at the time, 22:14, she knew he was telling her the truth.  She sat down and slumped to the ground, "What tipped you off?"

"I was trying to ask you a question, and you were silent, for a moment I thought that you just didn't want to be bothered, but then I started to hear you sob ever so lightly."

She put her hands in front of her face plate, "I was crying?"

"I won't tell anyone if you don't."

She chanced a look at Earth again, this time she felt nothing.  The emptiness that she felt was gone.  She was disappointed, and mad at herself for losing her objectivity.  "I don't think I want to finish this run today."

"I don't blame you.  I was concerned that you might need a partner.  I didn't think it would affect you like this though."

She stood up and pulled her camera out, she would at least get the picture she had set herself up to take, "It shouldn't have.  But I got to thinking about how small we all..."

"Stop!"

She did as she was told.  She lifted the camera and focused herself on what would be the best picture.

"If you dwell on it again, you'll fall back into it.  And I don't know if I can snap you out of it again.  I want you to keep talking to me, about anything. While you're out of the shuttle, I don't want to hear a break in your voice except to breathe."

She settled on the picture and snapped it. "Are we encrypted?"

"We are."

She turned to head back into the shuttle, "People will wonder what was said."

"We can always tell them it was personal and private."

She stopped, "But that would get them thinking that we were involved."

"Would you rather that, or let people know that you nearly broke out there?"

She took a couple of slow steps back into the shuttle, "What about you?"

"I couldn't care less if others think we're involved.  You play with me enough that I think a few people already suspect that's the case, anyways."

She closed the hatch behind her, "I'm back in the shuttle."  She pressed the button to re pressurize the cabin, "What are we going to do?"

"Nothing different.  We can talk about what happened when you get back.  But if you change your public interactions, some people may wonder."

The cabin pressurized, but she resisted taking off her helmet, "I don't want to go back outside again.  Not alone."

"That's your choice.  But I ask that you do not even think about whatever it was you were thinking about when you were out there.  Not until you get back here.  You can spill your thoughts with me in a room, but do not revisit them out there."

She unlatched her helmet, "I won't."  She steeled her resolve before removing it, "Preparing to depart for the next landing zone."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2012, 10:41:26 am »
That last segment was confusing for me; what happened to Sam? Was she overwhelmed by a change of perspective?
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2012, 11:31:58 pm »
L1 Station
15 January 2014 - 04:07 Zulu

The station was unsettlingly quiet as Sam wandered through the corridor after returning from her mission.  She spoke very little about what happened while she was out there with the maintenance crew that jumped on her shuttle after her return.  James had been no where to be found when she returned, she had expected him to be waiting for her when she got out of the shuttle.  Slightly disappointed she made her way aimlessly through the station, until she had arrived here.  Outside of her office.  Why she was here, she wasn't quite sure.  She thought about going up to Ops and talking with James in his office, but ruled it out when he wasn't there immediately for her.  She pressed the panel on her door to open the room, and there he was, floating over her desk, holding a book of hers in his hand.  She couldn't quite make it out at first, but after she stepped in, she realized what it was.  Her copy of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.  As he floated there, she grew uneasy.  She didn't particularly care for the way he so nonchalantly treated micro-gravity, normally she didn't say anything, but she did this time, "Could you please come down from there?"

He blinked at her for a second, as if not understanding the question she just asked, then nodded, "As you wish."  He reached down and activated the magnets on the soles of his boots.  "I didn't realize it made you uncomfortable," he said as the magnets slowly pulled him to the floor.  As he landed, she walked around to her chair and seated herself in it.  "I figured it would be best if we hadn't made a scene in the Launch bay."

She nodded, although she wasn't quite convinced that that wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.

"So what happened?"

"I got overwhelmed.  I started thinking..."  She started stammering, "About how insignificant we are.  Each one of us."  She closed her eyes, "We don't matter!  None of us do!"

He put the book down in front of her, it was opened to the page on the Total Perspective Vortex, "That's what I thought."

She opened her eyes and looked at the book, wiping away a tear that had formed, "I laughed at it the first time I read it.  It was a good joke.  But I thought that was all it was."

James put his arm around Sam, "Most good jokes are based on truth.  Part of the reason why the PC police has gone out of their way to ban jokes."  He sighed before continuing, "But you are taking it way too literally.  Stand up and look out the window."

She turned to look out the window, Earth was just now entering their view.  She suddenly realized why he met her here, "Not again..."

"Now stop.  Don't think of yourself for the moment."  He paused, she cleared her mind.  When she nodded, he continued, "Name someone on the design team of the Nimitz Class Carrier."

She shook her head, "I don't know."

He smiled at her as he gave her a squeeze, "Neither do I.  But there's 6 Billion people down there who are affected by those people that we don't even know the names of.  I'd wager that five and three quarters of a billion people couldn't name one of them either.  Those people aren't so insignificant now, are they?"  He slipped in behind her and wrapped his other arm around her and held her tight, and she felt quite comfortable in his embrace, she shook her head in response to his question.  "Now think of yourself."  She did so, and while the doubt crept into her mind again, she was steadied by his presence. "Everyone down there knows we're up here.  If they are capable of making a cognizant thought, they know we're here.  They may not know who we are, but they know what we are."

She looked up at him and frowned, "Easy for you to say, they do know you."

He looked down at her, "And they know you.  They may not know that you are Samantha Carter, but they know you are up here."  He smiled at her, "A person is only as big as the people they touch.  You're up here, a part of this station, you touch every person who is aware of this station."

She smiled, "I get it now."

He gave her another squeeze before releasing her, "Good.  Now hopefully you'll remember just how important you are."

She twirled away from him and returned to her seat, "The Space Shuttle would have been a more appropriate question for where we are."

He winked at her, "Yeah, but I was afraid that you might just know the answer to that question, and that would have defeated the purpose."

She stopped for a moment as she stared at the still open book, when she returned her attention to him she decided that now was the best time, "Can I ask you a personal question, James?"

"Shoot."

"How does it feel to be known to pretty much everyone on the planet?"  She waited for a moment for him to answer, but when none was forthcoming, she continued, "I get emails from colleagues and peers that ask me how I can stand working with you.  They make you out to be some sort of monster.  I haven't figured out how to respond to that."

He shrugged, "It's not surprising that I'm reviled in the scientific circles.  Of all the things the UN hasn't accomplished, one thing that it has accomplished is the free flowing of ideas, if it were gone, we'd probably go back to seeing things shrouded in secrecy for the good of a few nations.  It also probably doesn't help that I am not a scientist, or an engineer, myself."

"Your degree was Business Administration, that is still useful."

"Actually, it wasn't.  I never completed the degree."

She froze, "What?"

"If I had, we wouldn't be here.  There's not a business model in existence that says that this station would work.  There's not a model in existence that says the freighter would work.  To anyone I would have graduated with, this is a project that is doomed to fail, and there's no point in even attempting it."  He smiled, "Or so I've been told by everyone I would have graduated with."

She felt confused, not sure of what he was anymore, "I don't understand."

"I was majoring in Business Administration and minoring in History.  It seemed a natural choice, learn from History and apply it to the business model.  But while I was digging through History, something occurred to me.  The evolution of Sea Travel.  Naval History.  It had occurred to me that we were almost at the same point in space travel, as we were back in the early days of the Greek and Roman Navies.  Rickety Biremes fighting for supremacy of the Aegean and eventually the Mediterranean.  But traveling through space is different than traveling through water.  I knew that it wasn't an immediate profit for setting up this station, but I was looking long term.  I left school seven years ago, I scraped, worked odd jobs, looked around for a way to make this work.  Three years ago, by chance, I managed to find someone who was quite bitter about the way Houston was treated by the retirement of the Space Shuttle, and vowed that he would make them regret it.  With my idea, and his money, we began putting together this station.  And here we are today.  Still in the red, but a lot further than anyone in my class ever thought we would be."

"So, Your degree?"

"Strictly honorary."  He smiled at her, "As for your colleagues.  I really don't care what they think of me."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2012, 10:46:59 am »
Quote
"If I had, we wouldn't be here.  There's not a business model in existence that says that this station would work.  There's not a model in existence that says the freighter would work.  To anyone I would have graduated with, this is a project that is doomed to fail, and there's no point in even attempting it."
Love it. :) 
I cannot stand the "What's in it for me?" crowd. And people who just want to see the money. It cannot be solely or mostly about the money. Do they ever have enough?

I like your guy James. He's ruthless, through and through, no denying it. But that ruthlessness is tempered by his benevolent dream. Siding with Khan and not stopping his gunships was an uncomfortable moment which would have been horrific when dealing with the aftermath of the situation on the ground, but it strikes very close to home. When it is abstract or removed it is palatable. If your relatives are living in that village harming no one and living in fear themselves, it is a crime against Humanity and the perpetrator is a monster. But James not intervening in that atrocity is the very start -- if perhaps not the heart or spirit -- of the UFP's non-interference directive.

Very well played, Q. Looking forward to more.
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Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2012, 11:21:43 am »
Deleted
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012, 11:34:02 am by Scottish Andy »
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 12:50:13 am »
L1 Station
16 January 2014 - 06:10 Zulu

"Do you sleep much?"

The words weighed heavy in the air as James half turned to face Sam as she entered Ops.  He had been watching the developments in the Balkans all night after his daily run through of the station's mechanicals.  "Some nights it doesn't feel like it.  You going to order me to bed again?"

She smiled as she descended the steps to his side, "Not this time.  I do want an update, though."

He stabbed his finger at the map of the Balkans, "The Turkish division controls all of Greece, Macedonia, and Albania.  They've left mixed companies of their troops, along with their guerrilla allies, to garrison key locations.  One of their companies was even honored with a parade in Sparta.  Whatever the outcome of this is going to be, I think this guy, who's taken to calling himself Kane in public, is going to be around for a long time.  He's split the remains of his division into four parts.  This flank,"  James pointed to the far eastern arrow, "Is bogged down across the Danube, Russian airstrikes are pinning them down near Bucharest.  That Putin decided to actually get involved is a bit of a shock to me.  The Central thrust," He pointed to the Bulgarian capital, "Has encircled Sofia, he's left the Bulgars with an exit route, but they have shown little inclination to taking it.  In less than an hour, Kane's going to have to make a decision to start shelling the city or not.  If he does that he could lose some of the good will he's built up in Greece, Macedonia, and Bulgaria, towards that end, the rumors are flying fast and furious that Kane's talking, not to Prime Minister Borisov, but rather to the rank and file of the Bulgar Battalion.  I think he's hoping for a bloodless coup there.  The Western flank,"  He pointed to Serbia, "is currently moving near the speeds the US armies attained on their drive to Baghdad in 2003.  Right down the main Serbian highway.  The problem that Kane's going to run into, between Belgrade and Nis, there's almost the entire German 23rd Mountain Brigade waiting for them. The Coastal flank," he pointed to Montenegro, "Was along the coast, but decided at the last minute to skirt around Montenegro.  If Kane's noticed the 23rd, the Germans are in trouble, but it doesn't look like he has, as they appear to have Sarajevo on their Objective list.  European Airstrikes coming out of Austria and Germany are now starting to hit the columns as they roll, but the Euro airforces are losing a good number of planes in the strikes.  The Israeli warplanes have called off their strikes, even with refueling planes over Turkey, there's no viable targets for them in range now.  Not unless they want to be shot at by the Turkish Anti-Air assets."

"Hmm..."  Was all Sam said as she looked over the data.

"The next hour is going to be important."

She looked at him, "What do you think?"

"Well, given how bad my last prediction was, I think I might just abstain from predicting."

She smiled, "Humor me."

He smiled back, "Ok."  He pointed back to Romania, "Kane pulls back to the Danube, and tells Putin that that's truce line.  Putin probably agrees to it, and Kane can shift that part of his division west.  The Germans, get nervous that Kane's spotted them, and pull their troops back to Belgrade or beyond.  If Kane catches them, it probably stops his advance, but at the cost of half of that Brigade, or worse.  I can't even begin to tell you why he's avoiding Montenegro, unless he's worked some kind of political deal out with them."  He moved his finger back to Sofia, "That's the wild card, I don't think either side wants a fight in the city itself.  Its going to come down to who can bluff whom."  He moved his finger to Sardinia, "Regardless, the fighting is only going on for another 12 hours, the Reagan is approaching the southern tip of Sardinia," he moved his hand up to the Italian Alps, "There's also a French Division moving through Venice as we speak.  Four hours after that another German Brigade moves in.  Kane has to know he's up against the clock."

She pointed to the Serbian highway, "In just a few dozen kilometers, the real bombing begins.  They'll start entering the operational range of the Tornado and F-18 Strike craft."

He nodded, "Mmmhmmm, so far all the air to ground strikes have been done with AirSup fighters, now that Strike Fighters can reach and loiter, they'll be able to start hitting them really hard."

She sat down in a seat, and waited for him to clear the screen, when he didn't she looked back at him, "Kane's power grab is over."

He shook his head, "No.  No it's not.  It may not have been everything Kane wanted, but he'll have seized a third of the Balkans.  What he keeps, will ultimately depend on how much diplomatic help Khan gives him."

She shook her head back at him, "Khan doesn't support him."

He frowned, "Yes, he does.  Not openly, but he does.  I've spoken to Khan a couple of times, not since this has started, but a couple of times since the UN meeting we were both at.  He's using Kane as a test case.  He wants to see the world's response.  He wants to see what the world, and the UN in particular will do in the face of this aggression.  Khan doesn't strike me as the kind of person that is going to settle for just the Persian Empire.  And God only knows what other surprises, or tests, that he has in store for the planet."

"Wait, you've spoken to Khan?"  She looked back at him confused, "He's been ignoring top diplomats all the time.  Letting his diplomats do all the talking for him. What did he want?"

James cleared the screen, and pulled up a diagram of a craft similar to the Soyuz capsule, but with noticeable differences, "He wants to enter the Space Race.  He wants to send us a supply ship."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2012, 12:56:52 pm »
11:47 Zulu

"James, I think you better get back down here."

James pulled his head out of the tactical console and looked out into the pit, "What's going on Sam?"

She pointed at the table, from his perspective he couldn't see anything on it, but he could tell it wasn't station related.  "When it rains it pours," she said as he pushed himself along side her.

"A coup in China?"

She nodded, "And this one was anything but bloodless."  Unlike the surrender at Sofia, and the withdrawal of the German Brigade, both of which happened without a direct confrontation, and no more than a dozen casualties for the Euro forces, the number of dead scrolled across the bottom of the screen, and it numbered in the thousands.  "While the entire world was focused on Kane and the Balkans, Colonel Yu Liao, stormed Beijing and killed anyone associated with the Communist Party.  Current and former members.  But she didn't get all of them, she missed the big one, Premier Jintao was on the Korean Border at the time, and has since slipped into Korea with a number of senior staffers.  But it doesn't look like they are heading to Pyongyang, instead it looks like they're heading for the DMZ.  Meanwhile, Yu's begun slaughtering people wholesale across the rest of the country, and she's got the support of the poorer farmers in the hinterlands."

James looked over the screen but said nothing.  Then BBC posted a picture of the Colonel, and they both stopped and stared.

Sam spoke first, "She's just a girl!"

James shook his head in disbelief, "And Kane is just a boy too."  He reached for the console, pressed a series of buttons, and photographs of Yu, Kane, and Khan all appeared side by side.  "If any of those three are over twenty..."  He trailed off.

"What the hell is going on down there?"  Sam asked, somewhat rhetorically.

But if James noticed that it was rhetorical, he didn't pay any attention and answered the question the best he could, "I don't know.  But I do know this.  Premier Jintao does know, and we better get him before she does."  He paused for a second, and then noticed something, "This isn't NSA feeds, this is from our Freighter."

She nodded, "When I called you over here, the NSA feeds went dark, she used an EMP detonation to knock out every satellite over China.  Micheal says the periphery of the EM pulse caused some problems with the systems on board, but he's got it under control now."

He pointed at Korea, "Then no one knows where Jintao is."  He pressed his finger hard on a section of the map that apparently contained only water in the South China Sea.  The map zoomed in, and James caught something in the northern section of the screen, "There it is."  He pressed his finger on it hard again, and it zoomed in to show a Carrier Battle Group.  He double tapped on the Carrier, transmitted the coordinates to the freighter and opened a line to them.  "Micheal, keep them apprised of Jintao's position, they are going to have to get him out of there."

Sam looked at the Carrier Group, "That's not an American Carrier.  And how did you know it was there?"

"It's the Charles de Gaulle.  I was curious as to where it was when it was the Reagan that responded to Kane, instead of them."

"They're quite a ways a way."

"They're the closest.  Sure there's a dozen Destroyers, and even a couple of Cruisers in Pusan.  They may just meet them half way, but sinking a Destroyer or a Cruiser is an 'incident', an 'accident', or an 'unfortunate mistake'.  You don't sink a Carrier without a Declaration of War."

"You think she'd sink a Korean or American Destroyer just to get Jintao out of the way?"

He frowned and looked back at her picture, "I know nothing about her.  He does.  He knows something about how she could be a Colonel at twenty years.  It will depend on how badly she doesn't want that information public."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2012, 05:11:12 pm »
Very nice! Love the way you continued this, and then the addition of a third young star...

Excellent thread weaving, Q. Keep it coming. I'm reading, even if no one else is.
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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2012, 12:34:49 pm »
18:10 Zulu

James cursed under his breath as he pulled on the cover in front of him.  He had his head in a small access panel on the Promenade, in front of one of the upper level shops.  For what seemed like the fiftieth time in the last fifteen minutes he glanced up to the flash light he had positioned above his head.  There was no need for that glance, as he knew it was there, and also knew it wasn't going anywhere.  The slight rotation of the station would not carry the flashlight far away from him.  He had figured that it was just years of training on Earth that he hadn't yet broken.  What he did want to break, was the flywheel cover that was currently giving him fits.  When it finally did snap off on his next tug, he got a look at the inside of the mechanism.  Lubricant was everywhere, coating every thing on and around the flywheel.  Pulling his right arm free of the access panel, he groped about for the vacuum pump that was lying along side his tool kit, when he found it, he pulled his head out of the hole so he could get the nozzle in the panel.  Once he activated the vacuum, two quick swipes pulled the gelatinous substance into it's chamber.  After he pulled the vacuum out, he stuck his head back in and was satisfied that he got all of it.  Then he focused his attention on the center of the flywheel, the seals looked like they were on correctly, but with all the lubricant in the cover, he knew that wasn't the case.  This particular flywheel controlled the lower half of the door of Promenade suite 2-C, and if it wasn't for the smart door programming, he be having to replace a motor as well.  The smart door program detected a problem with the door when he attempted to open it twenty-five minutes ago, and refused to open it.  Had it tried to open the door in this condition, it would have burned out the lower motor, and quite possibly done some damage to the upper motor.  After a quick diagnostic, it traced the problem to the lower flywheel.  Now he was pulling the seals off that flywheel.

"Ops to Captain."

James reached into his vest pocket and pulled out his earpiece.  After a couple of blind fumbling attempts, he got it secured to his right ear, "Atkinson."

"You busy, James?"  Sam adopted a more informal tone now that they were on a private line.

"For the moment, Sam.  What's up?"  James finished removing the seal and began to inspect it for damage.

"Kane and the Euros have agreed to a cease-fire."

James noticed a slight tear in the seal, his first instinct was to toss it away but stopped himself when he remembered where he was.  Instead he pulled out of the panel completely and put it in his tool box. "Where's the armistice line?"

"More or less the Danube river.  Once the Danube reaches the Serbian-Croatian border, the border then becomes the Bosnian-Croatia border.  You'll have to see what happened when one of Kane's Battalions encountered two French Battalions.  It wasn't pretty, for the French."

James pulled a new seal from the tool box, and inspected it.  "Well, you know what they say about the French... Used French Rifle, never fired, dropped once."

"That's not funny."

He grabbed a tube of lubricant and went back into the panel, "Sorry."

"All we have are second hand accounts.  But from the reports, the Turks pushed their equipment well beyond their rated tolerances.  Using them in ways that the French didn't even think were possible, let alone seen before.  There's reports of Tanks and Jeeps turning on dimes, uncanny levels of accuracy with their weapons.  I imagine that some of it is exaggerated, but if any of it's true, it adds more of a mystery to Kane."

James stuck the end of the lubricant tube into the flywheel thread, "It could also be face saving excuses.  Micheal is still over China right?"

"Oh, I'll have the NSA feed from the battle in the morning, and we'll see about that then.  But yes, Micheal is still over China.  Premier Jintao is finally across the DMZ.  Now that he's on better roads, he's making better time, but he's also taking just about every turn he can.  We have six Raptors in the air over Korea..."

He began to fasten the seal back onto the thread, "We?"

"Sorry, the United States has six Raptors over Korea, with a dozen more on standby to launch at a moments notice.  The de Gaulle is moving at Flank Speed for Pusan.  It should be there by Friday."

He tightened the fastener one last time, "How is Yu's purge going?"

"It's gotten less bloody, and she's in control of about sixty percent of China at this point.  There's still some strong pockets of resistance around Hong Kong, Shanghai and Manchuria.  However, three provinces recognized her control in the last hour on the promise that she not kill anyone aside from Communist Party members, all of whom have been sentenced to death by her."

He grabbed the remote control and activated the door.  The flywheel made an audible whirring noise, but nothing came out of the seal.  "She's got something out for the Commies.  As much as she's gained in the last eight hours, I think it's going to take a few more days to finish the coup."

"Probably, there's reports that the Communists are trying to get across the Korean and Vietnamese borders.  I'd imagine the NoKos don't quite know what to do about that."

He laughed as he set the flywheel cover back in place, "Yeah, I'm sure they are quite confused, so used to trying to keep their people in, they probably don't know how to keep people out."

"They're going to have to figure it out quickly, because they can barely feed their own people.  They can't handle refugees."

James grabbed his flashlight and pulled himself completely out of the panel, "Door P2-C is working.  This might just be the straw that breaks North Korea's back.  Unification with South Korea would mean that if Yu wants more than just China, she'd have to go through the United States, first."
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 12:47:46 pm by Lieutenant_Q »
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Scottish Andy

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2012, 10:41:46 am »
So, Kane has captured Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, the Federal Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Not a bad few days' conquering.

And on seeing your signature, Q, can I assume Kane is a cameo from C&C? :)
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Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2012, 03:46:30 pm »
Andy: Indeed it is C&C's Kane.  The personality really fits for the position, and given that the Brotherhood of Nod loved the Balkans, it seemed like a perfect place for him.  It's been my understanding based on the dialogue from Space Seed, that Khan was not the only "Augmented" (to use the term from Enterprise) leader.  But nothing was ever said about them officially.  Khan may have been the most powerful, but there could be up to a half-dozen of them.  Some come to power differently, Khan was basically anointed, Kane took countries by force, Yu led a coup on an existing country.  I will let out that there will be another who is ELECTED to be the leader.  They take over in multiple different ways, and they rule differently.

I have more coming, but I've had a busy weekend.  It'll be Wednesday this week rather than my usual Monday update.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 04:28:59 pm »
Station Log: 17 January 2014.  Installation of the Promenade is complete, Work crews are moving on to prepare for the arrival of the first part of the Grav Deck.  Estimated time to completion is three days.  On a housekeeping note, our supplier for the door mechanisms has been notified that there appears to be a flaw in their manufacturing process.  Six doors on the promenade level have had faulty lubricant seals, leaving them susceptible to freezing without notice.  The recent coup in China has opened a business deal that we have quickly jumped on.  Micheal will use the freighter to deploy twelve NSA, GPS, and NOAA satellites from the United States, and offers have already come in from European and Asian entities for similar transactions.  These satellites are intended to replace those lost in the EM pulse from yesterday.  While these transactions are small compared to our overall operating debt, every little bit helps.  Personnel are in good spirits, although we are eagerly awaiting the return of the Freighter, which will not be for almost another three weeks.

James glanced out the window of his office after he finished reviewing his log entry from last night. As Earth had just migrated out of his view, it left him looking out at a sea of stars.  While it should have looked like the star fields he would have seen from his backyard, it was quite different.  Stars that weren't visible from the surface were just a shade dimmer than the stars that made up Orion, which was front and center in his view right now.  What else has the atmosphere, that protects and sustains everyone on the surface, been hiding from us?

The door buzzer turned him around, he motioned for Ammanda Willard, the Walker Leader, to enter.

As she did, she handed a tablet to him, "Progress report, sir." James looked over the report as she summarized it, "The rest of the Promenade is up to temperature now.  We've begun work on the Grav Deck connection cab, and the bearings that will allow it to rotate once we install it."

"Good, Good.  Everything going well out there?"  James nodded as he handed the tablet back to her.

"We're ahead of schedule.  Always good when you never know when the next solar storm is going to come at us."

James frowned, "Unfortunately, Solar Weather Forecasting is too much art, not enough science yet.  And it also doesn't help that we're watching the Sun on an eight minute tape-delay."

Ammanda nodded, "I can tell you though, that we will not have a repeat of last year's incident.  Every suit is triple checked before it even leaves the perimeter.  There will not be another thruster break-down on my watch."

James shrugged, "I appreciate that diligence, as I'm sure your Walkers do.  Any word from Elise yet?"

She smiled, "She's gotten over it. Steven visiting her for the New Year helped her out a quite a bit.  They both want to come back."

"Steven wanted to stay even as we were sending him down on the Medevac shuttle.  He'll still have at least another three months of rehab though before he's physically ready to come back."

She nodded, "Elise will be on the freighter.  She passed her physical yesterday.  She's putting her affairs in order right now."

James smiled, "Always good to get an experienced hand back."  He paused for a second, and then fixed her with a thoughtful stare, "Question for you, Ammanda: You saw what Sam did last week, right?"

She nodded.

"How much modifications would be needed to the station, should she, and her colleagues around the planet, figure out a way to make it work, even slightly?"

She answered quickly, almost as if she had been rehearsing the answer, "The Command Section, Promenade, and Reactor Room would need just a minor face lift.  Essentially we'd have to replace the decking, and put the gravity generators in the floor.  The Power Distribution System would need a major overhaul.  Unfortunately, the Grav Deck would need to be completely scrapped.  We could take it apart up here and put it back together, but it would be a long and tedious project."

James nodded back at her, "I have no doubt that we'll be seeing Artificial Gravity sooner, rather than later.  If you have some spare time after this phase of construction, can you do what you can to start that work?"

"Given that we don't know just how big, and what exactly the dimensions of the generators will be, all we can really do at this point, is prepare the Power Distribution System.  I can ask Juan, he's the electrical expert, as to what he thinks we would need."

He smiled at her, "Have him get me that list by the end of the day.  I'll forward it to George, and have him put his smuggler's bins to use again."

"How soon do you think we'll have it?"  She looked at him stunned.

"I can't say.  But from Sam's report this morning, I have to believe that it could be as early as the end of the year."

"That..." She stammered out, "That... would be incredible!"

"Wouldn't it though?"
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2012, 07:13:50 pm »
21 January 2014

"You saw that right?"  Sam looked up over at James from the main pit.  James had just settled in at the Tactical Station as she was saying that.  Ammanda was seated at the Security station, which she had converted for the time being to allow her to coordinate Walker actions from Ops.  Both James and Sam were happy to have an extra person to talk to on a regular basis.

"Yeah, I see it,"  He looked intently at the readout on his screen, "Looks like it's heading this way too."

Ammanda was rapidly going over her station, "I've already ordered all of the Walkers inside."

Sam pushed herself away from the table, "We'd better head for a shelter ourselves then."

Ammanda grinned as James shook his head, "We're in one."

She stopped, and looked at the windows that lined the upper tank, "You're joking."

"Ops is probably the most heavily shielded place on the Station."  Ammanda responded.

She looked back to the windows, and then back to James, "Seriously?!"

James cleared his throat, and then dropped his voice an octave, "Positive Shield, Now."  As he spoke he flipped a couple of switches, and a loud whirring and grinding sound filled the room.  The windows slowly began to close off the view of space.  Fifteen seconds later the whirring stopped, and the room was illuminated only the light coming from the overhead light that currently glowed a hard red.

Sam shook her head as she looked up at him, "That was a lousy Lorne Green you know."

He shrugged, "Never claimed to be a good actor."

"Why didn't you say anything about that?"

Ammanda answered, "It was in the specs.  We didn't hide it."

She scowled, "I guess I'll have to pay a little more attention to the design specs."

James smiled and turned to Ammanda, "We've got six minutes before the flare hits.  Are your people going to be in by then?"

Ammanda flashed a thumbs up, "The last one is getting in right now."  She looked back down at the pit, the table showed the approaching Solar Flare.  "Do you think we even need the armor?"

He nodded, "I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Sure the Magnetic Field will do a wonderful job of tearing the worst of that flare apart, but we're quite far away from Earth's field.  I'd just rather at this point, since this is our first Flare, play it overly cautious."

Sam sat back down, "Five minutes."

"Clear the Promenade, Ammanda."

She nodded, "Already cleared, all personnel have reported to radiation shelters in the station's core.  Doctor Elliot and one nurse are in the Infirmary's shelter and ready for patients."

"I've got the radiation monitors tied into table, we'll know the second one of them reaches the danger zone."  Sam finished converting the table display, and then sat back to wait.

"Four minutes."  James looked up, "The freighter has ducked into a lower orbit."

"Are they going to be alright?"

"They'll be just fine."  He started, "They've got a bigger and more power magnetic field to shield them.  While they are on the wrong side of the planet, they get into a lower orbit, the field scatters more.  They'd be better off if they were on the dark side, but the difference isn't going to be big enough to overwhelm their defenses."

"Three Minutes."  Ammanda looked around, "I suppose we should review things that can happen while we're waiting."

Sam nodded, "Besides radiation levels reaching points that could kill us all.  There's risk to exposed wiring and circuitry that it could be overloaded.  If there's a crack in the housing for the wiring, we could have a fire on our hands."

James nodded as well, "There's also a possibility of damage to the station's computer system.  And a chance, however small, that an X-ray spike could cause the nuke plant to have a spike itself."

Ammanda frowned, "Just what would that do?"

Sam answered, "Two Minutes.  It would in the best case scenario, cause a slight hiccup, but it could SCRAM the reactor, or even cause a partial melt-down in the worst case."

James raised a finger to make a point, "In either of the first two cases, we'd be on auxiliary power, we could vent the radiation from the SCRAM easily, and be back in business in a couple of hours.  A Partial Meltdown, means that we're going to have to scramble to get it under control.  We can't really afford to be jettisoning this reactor already."

"Couldn't we just shut the reactor down now?"  Ammanda began to look worried.

Sam shook her head, "No.  We need the reactor running to power the Magnetic Field."

James looked down, "One Minute.  We couldn't shut the reactor down in time anyways, the risk is still there, and we lose the power it provides.  I think it's worth repeating that its a very small chance of anything happening to the Nuke."

Ammanda closed her eyes and nodded, then looked back at her console, "We'll know in thirty seconds."

Sam smiled at her, "Relax.  We'll have more trouble from fires than we will from the reactor."

She nodded, "I just never had time to think about this.  During the last flare, I was too busy trying to get Elise back in the Freighter."

James chuckled, but said nothing.

She looked at him, "What?"

He smiled, "The flare passed.  No damage, only a slight climb in the external readings, it's already receding.  By all accounts this was a pretty weak flare."

Sam looked up with a smile, "Did we get lucky?"

He shrugged, "Maybe.  I'll have to pull some telemetry from a couple other sources to see just how well the shield held up."
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: A Good Start
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2012, 12:03:35 pm »
22 January 2014
04:13 Zulu

"She's Genetically Engineered."

Sam looked over towards the Tactical station, looking for where she thought she heard James' voice come from.  When she didn't find him she walked over in that direction.  When she rounded the security station she saw his legs sticking out from underneath the station.  Obviously he was working on something, what he was working on was the question.

"She's nineteen, and she's a Colonel.  The Chinese were participating in a crash program, co-oped with Saddam Hussein in Iraq, they created hundreds of these children.  They started with a Selective Breeding program, strict guidelines on who could be in the program.  The Women were kept in isolation, conception only occurred under their watchful eyes.  After conception, the embryos were carefully watched during development.  Their genomes were mapped.  If any sign of genetic weakness were discovered, they were aborted immediately.  Those that were deemed 'pure', were then subjected to gene altering radiation therapies.  The women carrying the children were treated like royalty, but they were subjected to daily medical checkups, and sometimes invasive and damaging procedures.  Even the best women could only bear two or three children before what they went through prevented them from having any more."

Sam stood over the station, stunned.  She was at a loss for words.  James pulled his head out of the compartment and closed it behind him.  "Once the children were born, they were taken from their mothers and put in creches. The children were raised by doctors and scientists whose job it was to make sure that these children were the best of the best.  If they didn't excel in any of the desired criteria, they were, 'disposed of'.  The criteria they were looking for was strength, reflexes, intelligence, stamina.  If the children excelled at one, they were assigned to that particular creche.  Many of the children excelled at two, and they were placed into a higher program.  A few excelled at three, and occasionally, a child excelled at all four.  She was one of those.  Her intelligence is three to four times the average persons.  Her strength is twice that.  Her reflexes are faster, and she has about twice the stamina as some of the best marathon runners out there."

"She's a super soldier."  She helped him to his feet, "How many are there?"

"In just the Chinese programs, about two-hundred.  The bigger question is how many were in the Iraqi program, by all accounts the Iraqis embraced the program more fully.  But no records of their program survived the fall of Saddam Hussein."

"You don't think that..."

"That Khan may be one of the Iraqis version of the program?"  He finished for her, "I'd bet my life on it."  He shrugged as he sat down at the Tactical station and re-activated it, "It's something that you don't get by just watching his television appearances.  I looked that man in his eyes, and I saw it.  I didn't know what I saw at that moment, but it makes sense now."

Sam paused for a moment, but then placed her hand on his shoulder, and spoke her next question so soft it was barely a whisper, "When Ashley asked Shaun if he was 'THE Shaun Geoffrey Christopher' I kinda scoffed, but now I find myself asking, could he be THE Khan Noonien Singh?"

James looked at her, opened his mouth to reply, and then stopped.  He closed his mouth, and opened it again several times before turning back to the station and performing a computer search.  "I don't think there's any time he's not gone by just Khan.  No middle name, no last name.  It didn't even occur to me that he may be THAT Khan."  The computer beeped back at him, "Negative.  He has only ever been referred to as either Khan, or Emperor Khan.  There's no record of any other name attributed to him."

Sam leaned in to whisper in his ear, "You didn't answer my question."

"I don't know if it's relevant.  Whoever was in charge of naming the kids coming out of the program may have had a thing for Western Pop Culture.  He or she might have gotten a kick out of whatever hell raising they imagined that name would provoke amongst the populace."

She wasn't about to be deterred, "But we have Shuan, and now Khan, what else are we going to have?"

He shook his head, "What do you want me to do about it?  Go knock on Eugene Roddenberry Jr's front door and ask where his father got his ideas for Star Trek?"  He sighed, "Both names can be attributed to their place in Pop Culture.  I mean come on, if your family name is Kirk, and you were a Trekkie, wouldn't you name your boy James Tiberius?  Now, if a Klingon Battle Cruiser pulls up for shore leave, I promise you as soon as we get the stench off the station, I will be on his doorstep beating it down."

"So where does that leave us?"

He snorted, "It leaves us nowhere.  We're speculating as to his name.  And names can be influenced by culture."  He pointed down at the pit, which had a map of China on the screen, "But it also leaves us in a lot of trouble, more so than we thought."  He pulled up the tactical screen and designated a target.

"Wait... what are you doing?"

"Calibrating the targeting computer."

She looked around Ops, "With what?"

He smiled, "Ammanda had some scrap that she couldn't do anything with."

"No, what are you using to shoot the scrap?!"

He grinned, "A BAE 32-MJ-LRG-s-B"

She paused for a moment, searched her memory for that designation, then she scowled at him, "A Railgun?!  That's not in the current specs!"  She spun around to walk away, but then stopped and rounded back on him, "Anything else you want to tell me?"

He hesitated, "Uh... we'll have four of them by the end of next month?"

She stopped, "We were supposed to have eight by the time the station was completed, where did you get this from?"

"We pulled the two off the freighter, because they'll be installing two BAE 16-MJ-LRG-s right about now.  The 32s were too stressful on the freighter's hull, and their rate of fire was horrid, not because of the system themselves, but they were so power hungry, one fission plant couldn't keep up."

She laughed, and then turned to leave.

"Where are you going?"  He shouted after her.

She stopped at the lift door, turned and flashed him a predatory grin, "Have fun with your weapons test.  I'm going to have fun making you more ammunition."

Before he could ask her what she meant by that, she stepped into the lift and the doors closed behind her.
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)