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Unread 9th of August, 2010, 17:49
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IC: On the Edge

The year is 2259. A few days ago, the new year had come and with it...tragedy.

Earthforce One, a massive transport that carried the President, Louise Santiago, exploded over the transfer station that orbited around Jupiter's moon, Io.

The death of President Santiago sent shock-waves through the Earth Alliance, even as Vice President Morgan Clarke assumed the Presidency with a promise to renew EarthGov's focus on Earth, humanity, and the defense of our species.

The date is January 2nd.

The place is Babylon 5.

Five miles long, the finest feat of human engineering in existence, this station home to a transient population of almost a quarter million humans and aliens, including ambassadors from every major and minor powers.

But today, Babylon 5 had some competition for most impressive feat of human engineering...the EAS Troy, a massive Omega destroyer, sat right outside the station. A constant line of glittering shuttles burned too and from the station, carrying supplies.

Food. Ammunition. Fuel. And, of course, personal. Babylon 5 was spacious enough to include restaurants, gardens...and bars. A lot of bars. Bars that were currently swamped with two hundred and fifty Earthforce officers and marines that seriously needed some R and R after a few months patrolling the Earth boarder.

But not all the personal on the shuttles were old hands. There were twelve replacements for people transferring away and the two casualties taken during a minor shootout with some pirates.

One of those transfers was one Lt. Jenna Saari, the former head of Alpha Squadron. She was being promoted and transferred to Zeta Squadron on Babylon 5, and thus, it was very appropriate that her celibration was being thrown in Earhart's, a restaurant that sits in the large, open area of the station. The windows looked out on an almost earthlike landscape, including a hedge maze. The only thing that marred that illusion was the fact that the horizon swept up and overhead, creating a five mile long, one mile wide cylinder.

Earhart's was crammed full of the upper echelons of the Troy's crew, and the off duty members of Babylon 5's officer crew. Captain Kimbareta was as close as he had ever got to his crew, sitting in the corner of Earhart's and nursing a drink, even as his crew toasted Lt. Saari, who stood in the center, holding up her cup of whiskey.

"And lastly!" She said. "I'd like to thank Atlas...you may be a GROPO, but you get stuff done!"

"Told you she'd work in another toast." Hale's spotter and partner, Julian McGuinness, whispered, grinning.

Saari had been toasting different crew as they occurred to her slightly tipsy mind for the better part of an hour.

She tottered. "And...uh...thank..."

The door opened...and in walked in two new transfers. Both Commander Wolfe and Mr. Bierce had been on Babylon 5 for a few days, waiting for the Troy to arrive and pick them up. They had both heard that the crew was gathering here for one last party at shore leave. They had both officially checked in with their new CO...

But hey...the drinks were free and the crew were almost all here.

"Thank our NEW crewmen!" Saari called out, holding up her drink once more. "For the...grand adventures they are going to have." She sloppily saluted the two of them. "I already regret not getting to serve with you gentlemen."

She paused. "And I think that's it."

She plopped down and started to chug her drink.

The crew laughed. Captain Kimbareta almost smiled. That, for him, was quite an accomplishment.
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 01:03
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"I was starting to wonder if she would ever shut up. Thats why folk shouldn't so much drink, McGuiness" Atlas mumbled, swirling the cranberry juice in his glass before taking a sip, "they always end up looking like bloody fools."
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 01:57
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Bierce was not a drinker and did not appreciate the need for alcohol consumption. It inevitably led to such absurd demonstrations of mundane fallibility like that displayed by the pilot woman who appeared to be only seconds from catatonia.

Perhaps the Troy is better off with her staying behind on the Babylon station.
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 04:04
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Commander Wolfe smiled faintly in thanks to Lt. Saari, but instead of joining her at the bar he made a beeline for Captain Koleas' table. He sat down next to him, gave him a professional nod, and surveyed the bar. "Sir," he said in greeting, unsure of how to proceed.
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 05:12
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Captain Kimbaretan nodded brusquely. "I was hoping to see you here, Mr. Wolfe...a good XO needs to see the temperament of a crew. Know them as you know yourself, and you can get them to do everything within their power."

McGuiness snorted, then downed her drink in flat defiance of her partner's grumbling.

A few of the officers glanced at Bierce. Despite his constant mental barriers, despite the gloves, he could still feel the faint crackle and pop of mistrust. Mundanes.
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 06:11
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Wolfe nodded and waved over the bartender, ordering himself a mix of whiskey and the local popular soft drink. "That was my thought as well," he said, and looked out over the assembled crewmembers, carousing and cajoling. "I admit I don't know anyone here very well, and I admit I'm not exactly the type for small talk. Anything you can tell me to get me started?"
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 08:58
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The Captain nodded at a small knot of bemused looking civilians. "Those are our passengers for this tour...they are from IPX, supposed to help us study the aliens we meet if we meet anyone new."

Wolfe noticed that the civilian scientists had a wide berth around them where members of the Troy's crew did not go.

"Any friction between the civilians and our crew needs to be nipped in the bud...keep an eye on them."
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 09:40
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Wolfe glanced over, sipping his drink. "Good point, sir. It would help if they were integrated a little more... I don't want any toes to get stepped on, but perhaps if they were attached to the Science crews, they could interact with the crew more, while also getting a feel for how the Troy is run."

He set his drink down, and looked across the bar to another table. He nodded toward it, addressing the Captain. "I heard we were being joined by a Telepath. I suppose that'd also be something to look into, for morale's sake."
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 13:21
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The Captain nodded, eyes unreadable. "Get on it, Commander." He said, softly, nodding at his XO. Wolfe was unsure if this was a test, an order, or something else along those lines. He had never been at this rank before...and so was understandably nervous. Kimbareta was a rather imposing figure: Tall, broad, with eyes that had seen more death than almost anyone in the room...even Wolfe's brush with the lethal power of the Mimbari was nothing compared to what the Captain had survived.
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 13:39
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Wolfe swallowed the rest of his drink, grimaced, and stood up. He hadn't dealt with civilians for a long time, but he wasn't expecting any trouble.

He made his way to the small group of scientists, trying to determine the ranking scientist. "I'm Commander Wolfe," he said, to the group at large. "I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you all into the Troy's crew."
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 13:41
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"Ok, McGuiness, lets get away from this drunken revelry." Atlas said, slamming down the last of his cranberry juice and standing up, "Lets go to the market and do some spotting exercises. Come on, lets leave the kennel to Lassie and get some practice in. We can go xeno spotting."
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Unread 10th of August, 2010, 14:23
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McGuinessgrinned. "Sounds good to me..." she patted the binoculars that she always had around her neck, walking with Atlas to the nearest transport tube, which started to glide along, taking them to the Zocolo, a bustling marketplace in Red Sector's main corridor. There were lots of shops, lots of people...and lots of aliens...including more than a few Mimbari.

The IPX scientests looked up, bemused by this sudden approach. Their leader, one Dr. Takagi, stood and held out his hand, smiling broadly. He was a youngish man, with Asian features that were spiced up by a dash of...something European or American. "It is a pleasure to be on your ship...the Troy's mission provides us with a brilliant opportunity. A brilliant one!"

The three other scientists bobbed their heads in agreement.
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 02:35
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Bierce looked around, hoping to find Talia Winters, the station teep, as he at least had something in common with her. Even though she was a commercial teep, Talia and Bierce had been acquaintances at PsyCorps, which nearly made her family. That's certainly how the Corps tried to portray the relationship, and for the most part they succeeded.
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 06:08
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Sadly for the lone telepath, Talia Winters was not attending the Earheart's celebration. That left the conversation options the crew who he would be serving with for God knows how long.
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 06:41
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Bierce decided that he might as well introduce himself to the captain now, rather than once they were onboard the Troy. The telepath walked quiety forward, keeping care to not brush against anyone if he could help it.

"Captain. I am Ezekiel Bierce."
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 07:15
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The captain nodded, standing and holding out his hand without obvious hesitation. Bierce found himself impressed by the captain's steely control of his own mind. Maybe serving under him would not be so bad. The Captain shook Bierce's hand. "It is a pleasure to have you aboard...a telepath will help if we are going to make first contact with any races."

Of course that was not the only reason Bierce was on the Troy. But no one had to call attention to that just yet.

The evening passed, with officers slowly leaving for their own billets. The Captain left before he got too drunk, and finally, Earheart's bouncer helped walk the very very drunk home.

The next day, the last shuttle carried over the last batch of crew and the Troy set off. It's massive fusion engines kicked on on a light 0.1 G for a few minuets, before shutting the engine off and opening a crackling vortex of orange light. And with that...it entered hyperspace.

Bierce would feel the faint expanding of his powers in hyperspace...and he would be surprised by the invitation to Captain Kimbareta's Sit-Rep meeting. The meeting took place in a slender room that was to the right of the circular bridge of the Troy. A thin window looked out on the miasma of hyperspace. The Captain sipped a cup of coffee and sat at the front of the table.

Those at the table numbered six, including the Captain. Bierce, Wolfe, Hale, Takagi, the head of the engineering and maintenance crew Gideon Starr.

The Captain sipped at his drink once more, then sighed. "We are on route to the...Sin'talith system..." He tapped a few invisible buttons on the black surface of the table. A starmap appeared. "It's about two jumps from the Narn Regime, nestled between the Brakiri and the Gaim. The Sin'talith system is a bit of a political hot potato...large amounts of Quantium 40 have been found all over the place, and the Narns, Brakiri and Gaim want their hands on it. The diplomats hashed out a little contract where independent miners get to work there, selling to whoever wants to buy..."

More buttons. A logo appeared: Apollo Shipping.

"Apollo is why we're heading there. Apparently, their ships have been attacked repeatedly by pirates and raiders and none of the local powers want to risk breaking the treaty and losing their lucrative trading agreements. As Apollo is a human corporation...EarthGov wants us to track down the pirates, secure the area, and make us look good to the aliens in the process."

"We'll be there in a week. I want us to be ready for a fight when we get there. Any questions?"
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 08:57
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"Do we have any suspected leads on where the pirate base is? Do we know if it is based on the planet itself?"
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 09:23
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"Sadly, no." He frowned. "The Sin'talith system has several large gas giants which have countless Trojans..." He brought up the system map, pointing out the trojans in question. A trojan was an asteroid that was on the same orbital 'path' of a planet...but they were scattered along the orbit, like a conga line.

"One of the gas giants was a captured one. It ripped the terrestrial planets to ribbons, giving us several billion tons of rocks to pick through."

He tapped out a few more notes, and several markers appeared, showing pirate attacks.

(make a Knowledge: Tactics check or a Tactics: Strategic check to try and figure out a pattern)
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Unread 11th of August, 2010, 19:07
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Wolfe wordlessly studied the starmap, trying to discern any pattern from the strikes. He turned to the Captain, while still speaking to the room at large. "I suggest we run drills for the gunnery crew and fighter wings, with a focus on small attack craft. The pirates can't have very large ship in their fleet, but there is no telling how many smaller craft they may have."
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Unread 12th of August, 2010, 00:36
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Atlas stared at the map blankly for a few moments and shrugged. "I got nothing. The only thing I can think of is to start listening for com-chatter from a trojan, but barring a lucky break it could take a very long time to find the right one."
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Unread 12th of August, 2010, 00:55
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The Captain nodded at Wolfe, then glanced at Atlas and nodded again. "It looks like we'll have to work out more of a...concrete plan when we arrive and get more intelligence. So, spend this week keeping your parts of the crew in ship shape. Sargent, I want you to run boarding and close combat drills, just in case we get the chance to take one of the pirate ships..."

He nodded. "Wolfe, take the helm and oversee simulated fighter attacks. Starr, practice damage control maneuvers."

The engineer nodded.

Now, due to the dangerous nature of hyperspace, the fighter pilots would unfortunately have to be kept within the ship, meaning they could only study tactics or run some time on the imperfect simulators. The rest of the crew could run drills just the same.

The training itself went as could be expected. The week was spent in drills, drills, and more drills. Everyone on the ship was the best that EarthGov could find, and they all did more than adequately.

The Troy arrived in the Sin'talith system, emerging from hyperspace. The Captain was sitting in his chair, with the various sensor and gunnery officers in their positions. Wolfe stood, ready to act.

The sensors swept the system and four blips appeared across the sensor screen. A human transport was burning hard and engaging in fierce evasive maneuvers, dogged by three fighters...the computer banks searched around for the make and model of the ships. It came up with a picture that Wolfe recognized as Narn Frazi heavy fighters.

"Narns?" The Captain asked.

Wolfe, though, saw that the paint insignias on the fighters did not match any known Narn fighter wings. That could mean any number of things...but right now, they were firing on the freighter. Their shots were not as direct as they could be. Wolfe recognized the telltale signs that they were trying to disable, not destroy. Definitely pirates.

The Captain nodded. "Take us in and save the civilians, Mr. Wolfe."

But as he spoke, the coms officer looked up. "Getting a distress signal." She piped it through the speakers.

"This is ALT-1, repeat, this is ALT-1! We have three pirate ships on our tail and four pirates on our ship!" The sound of PPG fire and swearing sounded. "They have us holed up in our bridge, we NEED FRAGGING HELP!"

The Captain tapped his hand com, bringing up Atlas. "Sargent Hale." He muttered, softly. "There are four pirates on a civilian transport. I want you to take the shuttle and a wing of fighters for cover. Get in there with your men, save the civilians..." He paused, thinking. "Bring the teep. See if you can't take one of the pirates alive and rip some secrets out of his mind."
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Last edited by Zoombie; 12th of August, 2010 at 01:58.
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Unread 12th of August, 2010, 03:31
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Atlas salutes smartly "Aye, Sir! We will be out as soon as the hangers get preped!" With a few quick taps on the screen, he pulls up Bierce and McGuiness. "This is Sergent Hale. The Captain wants us for a boarding action on a civi freighter. Grab your gear and meet in the hanger bay. We leave on your as soon as the shuttle and fighter escorts can be preped. Hit the requisition if you need to, but make it quick." Alas tapps out of the com, grabs his rifle and rushed for the hanger.
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Unread 12th of August, 2010, 03:37
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McGuiness grabs her own PPG and a few extra caps, just in case, then follows Atlas to the shuttle, the two of them transitioning from the rotating section of the ship to the section of the ship with microgravity, where the hangers were, with ease.

(Going from gravity to microgravity requires an acrobatics check, but you both passed easy peasy)
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Unread 12th of August, 2010, 03:39
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Wolfe nods once at the Captain, then set his eyes on the viewscreen. "Ahead full." He takes a position on the bridge near the Captain, but leaning forward toward the instruments.

"Close for battle," he says, pointing at the freighter. "Scramble fighters. Gamma Squadron to escort shuttles, Alpha and Beta Squadrons, engage enemy fighters. Search and destroy."
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Unread 12th of August, 2010, 03:52
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Bierce got his things together, which really only amounted to his PPG, and headed for the shuttle bay. As he hurried along, he went over some mental exercises so that he was prepared to force his way past blocks, if necessary. He'd heard something about Narns, though, and figured that if the pirates were Narns, the telepathy would at least be fairly simple.
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