GM'd by Ewan Quibell
NPC: Shiraamer & Chuck
Location: Various places around the Miishakaal, Gishinridu system
1125.7.5 - 19:17
The intercom sounds while you are all about your activities, and a human voice imitating the jump klaxon reverberates through the ship. While you are deciding whether this is supposed to be a joke or not the jump klaxon sounds. You drop what you are doing and head to your duty station.
Slade comes on the intercom, "All hands, all hands, jump end estimated in three minutes. Breakout procedures initiated. Engineer on station."
You've done this time after time and it feels like second nature, you strap yourself to your acceleration couch and report in.
"Gvarokh on the bridge."
"Vincent on station, Port turret manned."
"Captain on the bridge."
"Simrii on station, Starboard turret manned."
"Chuck on station, Crew lounge."
"Vlad on station, Crew lounge."
"Lakir on station, Crew lounge."
The last few minutes of Jump take the longest. The first you know of breakout is when Slade comes on the intercom once again. "We're clear. Jump drive off-line, jump grid shows no activity. Power plant shows normal output. Maneuver drive shows normal and will be online in five minutes. Laser banks are charging. Jump flash will clear the sensors any second."
As the seconds until the sensors can see pass in silence the anticipation of what awaits you in system grows, and grows.
Gvarokh comes on the intercom. "We have sensors. Navigation is working on our position, and we have traffic, I'm showing two contacts bearing 2.15.122. They'll see our flash in seconds, RRRRrrrrrrrr. We need maneuvvvvr."
At times like these any contact could be hostile.
"Working on it." Slade replies.
"Oh crap," says Lakir.
Simrii frowns and fires his turret up, "That's just bloody inconvenient. Tell you what, once you've figured out who they are let me know if I should be shooting them or brewing a pot of coffee."
Vincent replies, "Give me a target, a beer and intent and I'm good to go...the beer can of course wait till we're done, but here's to hoping..."
Shiraamer listens to the news and speaks up to settle everyone down, "Ok everybody, we've had this happen to us before. No firing yet since we don't know who they are. Be on your toes though and ready to act as soon as we know something. Get me the information on them ASAP."
Working up the turret controls Simrii adds, "That's the plan skipper, until you smack me on the head with the cap I'm just sitting here watching the world float past." The view on Simrii's screen changes as the turret dose a 122 degree spin and the lasers adjust to bring themselves on a bearing to the two targets.
The sound of faint panting comes over the intercom as well as the computer saying, in a slightly metallic voice, "Navigation confirms entry into the Gishinridu System (Lishun Sector 0513). Computing current in-system position... working."
Slade follows on from the computer as if it were he who had said "working" "...port and starboard maneuver drive. She'll answer the helm."
Chuck, having listened to Slade's report that the maneuver drive is online, unbuckles his harness and gets out of the acceleration couch. He goes to the cupboards of the galley and starts to open them.
Without looking up from the sensors, Gvarokh says, "One of the two contacts is identified as a 'Kilaalum'. No info on the second. They are probably already within weapons range."
He then looks up and says to the Captain, "Should we go active? If we do, they will instantly get lock on. But, with the jump flash, a 'Kilaalum' will have a lock on almost immediately anyway. Unfortunately, without active we can't tell what we are facing."
The Captain looks at the sensor reading for a second before saying, "We need to know. Go active." With a light touch of the controls she turns the ship to a direct flight path to the planet and puts the drives on full burn.
The slight hum of the engines increases, but no one feels a thing as the ship accelerates towards the planet.
Simrii's turret rotates as the ship turns to keep the lasers on the two targets.
Gvarokh is about to turn the sensors onto active when he stops. "Before I turn it on, let's see what they do about our movement." The moment the ships start moving to intercept, Gvarokh turns on the sensors. But he waits first to see if the ships react to their heading change.
Looking at the sensors shows little movement in the targets, however after a minute of no change, a third target shows up on the screen in the same place as the other two. Gvarokh thinks that its signature may have been hidden by the other two but is unsure due to the time the passive sensors have had to build up the picture.
After another minute as the Miishakaal is pulling away from the targets towards the planet there is a definite movement in them. The heat signatures flares and the three targets change to four. It looks like the targets are scattering as if they were startled by something.
Gvarokh activates the active sensors and a wealth of information starts to present itself on the sensors, mirroring into the turrets. The computer interprets the data and presents it for all to see. Two targets are showing as 400 ton ships, best possible match is Lurushaar Kilaalum class patrol cruisers, one of these is showing the transponder signal of INS Fiihaammum, the other two targets are showing as 1000 ton ships, with the best possible match being Fer-de-lance class destroyer escorts. The sensors report locks on all targets and pass these locks to the turret stations for the gunners to choose their preference. All are well within range, and present excellent targets. It seems obvious to Vincent and Simrii that any shot now would cripple the ships that were hit. Simrii's turret is primed and laser batteries are charged. In Vincent's experience he expects that he could have the turret up and shooting before the targets would have time to respond.
30 seconds later the Miishakaal is actively scanned by INS Fiihaammum, and shortly afterwards a Vilani Female wearing Imperial Navy uniform comes on to the general video broadcast channels saying "Merchant vessel Miishakaal, this is Lieutenant Drilimmi of 15th squadron's ship Fiihaammum. Stand to and prepare to be boarded."
Vlad stays put in the acceleration couch while waiting to see how things turn out.
Simrii clicks his mic on, "Vincent, I know I promised you a beer and cookie if you got the first hit in with your turret but I think we can leave these guys alone."
Vincent responds "I'm just gonna sit here and be happy they aren't firing on us..."
Simrii continues, "Should I make some coffee and tea for them Captain? Extend the welcome wagon such as it were?"
Gvarokh says, "Looks like we found the welcome wagon. Hopefully they won't be too pissed we precipitated right on top of them. Shall I slow down so they don't have to chase us too hard?"
"Ah, shit..." Lakir says as he reaches for his comfort piece, knowing he didn't lock it up in the armoury last go round ... He checks to make sure there is a full mag in.
The captain turns the maneuver drives off and indicates to Gvarokh to open a channel, "Hi, this is Captain Shiraamer Siirkaasare of the Miishakaal, we are standing to."
With the channel closed she continues, "Right then. Lets make the Miishakaal look presentable, and something tells me that Lieutenant Drilimmi won't be in the mood for coffee Simrii."
Chuck notes where he left off on galley inventory and then begins to prepare for the ship to be boarded. With glances, he makes sure that aisles and hallways are clear on the starboard side, which they should be.
As everyone starts to prepare the ship for boarding, the computer pipes up on the bridge "In-system position calculated. Picking up local procedures and news from navigation beacons."
Next: Gishinridu System Inspection