(4) To Be Named
The Crusader Campaign (355-1122 to 022-1123)
This file has yet to be fully
This file has yet to be fully
355-1122 : Zett
/ Klarn / Foreven
Mich has a plan for the remaining ships in the station,
One-Hole and Swiss Cheese, as they've named them. One more point
is that they should get Swiss Cheese's ships boat out of the bay before
they leave them drifting. When they jump out carrying the big
cube, it will be totally dead with no power, and take extremely major
work to resynchronize every single system related to it. The only
things worthwhile on Swiss Cheese are the ships boat and the big gun,
and the power cube which they plan to take with them.
They have also discovered one more interesting
point: no matter the size of the ship, there is pretty much the same
deck layout and exactly twelve staterooms. Of course, on the
larger ship the staterooms are absolutely enormous, but they're still
apparently just for one person.
Swiss Cheese has two weapon systems: the lasers, and
the main weapon which consists of both sponson guns. The main
weapon system is even operational, although targetting systems are
not. It would take bringing the whole computer system and
ancillary weapons support systems back up to get it fully working, and
that is seriously major work.
Nightshade is due to meet Marquis Marcus
Crestworthy on 085-1123, which gives them about two months. That
does mean they have a month or so that they think they will need here,
and still plenty of time to get to the meeting on Adabicci.
Mich does some careful consideration and figures out
that they can probably, over a couple of hours with careful monitoring,
bring Swiss Cheese safely up to 2G. He'll also need to monitor it
very carefully when bringing the acceleration off as well. He
also considers changing the security authorization pattern while
they're here to give them even more warning of an approach, but to do
that they'd have to visit every single physical component of the
system, and they haven't even mapped out all those yet. So that
idea is abandoned.
Removing the big guns and fitting them on Nightshade
is out of the question. It has become clear that aside from the
size issue, the two guns are very closely mated to the hull, and from
the way the hull reinforcement works, they require a very precise
spatial alignment with each other.
So they start stripping the ships for anything
useful, in addition to all the Imperial supplies they have already
restocked from the station itself.
Edward "Shark" Teeth out of the blue reminds them
that they have a hotel. They can power it with the large
cube. They can supply it with the most expensive drink in the
universe. They can have the most exclusive hotel in the
universe. Kalida Siena, Marchioness of Nakege, adds that they
have the nobility to pull it off, and the right contacts to make it
fashionable. Shark adds that this is the sort of enterprise where
they would simply hire the best management staff, just supplying the
Blockade Bourbon to them and letting them handle everything else.
It would be a very profitable enterprise. Of course, they'd have
to have fuel delivered. Kalida suggests they should deliver their
own fuel, and simply pump it into outgoing ships to deliver
again. Robert adds that they could sell fuel to visitors.
Shark says they could very easily avoid any sort of
audit of the books, as no-one would really care about it anyway.
At least, as Grand Admiral Baron Bridgehead adds, no-one who couldn't
be bought with a bottle of Blockade Bourbon.
All the stripping will present no problems, but the
whole operation is going to take about a month regardless.
They'll be taking all the control equipment to Nightshade so
when they transfer the big power cubes to their ship, they will still
work to power Swiss Cheese. They will take everything of interest
from the two ships, hich is not much. They will put a patch on
the hull of One-Hole, and update those computer systems from Nightshade
to bring it up to the same level.
The updating, under Robert's direction, is fast and
easy. One-Hole is set up to just faster than it would before
because of the vortex generators, but Helia Sarina tells them that it
will not jump as quickly as she can. As soon as the updating was
complete, the new communications device on Nightshade started
sending a signal. Everyone asks Robert what it's transmitting,
and he scrambles to figure it out. He tells them it's sending an
identifcation glyph for One-Hole, which will take a few days at the
very low bandwidth of the communications system. Nightshade
and One-Hole are talking to each other, and Nighshade is
broadcasting information over the new comm system.
Damage to One-Hole is actually fairly light.
The hole passed through the hull at the bridge and through the bridge
deck, taking out console #5. In addition, it's damaged some of
Avionics and Sensors, and the Laser system. Of these, the hull is
the only thing they don't have the capability to repair. The ship
itself has worked around the damage to sensors and avionics, and while
performance is substantially degraded it is plenty enough to work,
especially since Nightshade can fill in all the gaps for
In response to learning the communications started
up spontaneously, Misha Ravanos goes into sparkly pink. He soon
finds out that Nightshade herself doesn't know who is at the
other end of the new communications system. Even asking why she's
sending these communications prompts the standard answer of "I don't
know." That of course is a generic answer they themselves taught
the ship, which could also mean that Nightshade knows but can't
explain the answer. Misha asks if she expects a reply, to which
the answer is a simple "No."
Shark would love to know if Nightshade were
told to do something over this link, if she would do it no matter what
they said, but he knows the answer to that cannot be trusted.
Misha tells Nightshade to stop sending the
message, to which she replies that the transmission must be
finished. He asks if it can be paused, and she says "I don't
know." Misha comes out of sparkly pink and briefs the crew on his
Mich plans to repair what he can on One-Hole, and
since #5 is a generic console he does not plan to replace it, even
though he could take one from Swiss Cheese. The main thing that's
gone with the Laser -- and the piece of equipment that works with both
that and the Sensors -- is the remote viewpoint capability. It
will take quite some time just to patch up the hole in the hull enough
to hold air -- about three days because of the disparity of materials.
There's a brief discussion as to where to leave
One-Hole, but Mich points out that it really doesn't matter where they
drop it -- an empty hex is an empty hex.
None of their other points of interest are on the
way to Adabicci, so that doesn't influence their path.
001-1123 : Zett
/ Klarn / Foreven
The New Year party is brief and subdued this time, with all the work
that needs to be done before they can leave here.
018-1123 : Zett
/ Klarn / Foreven
Everything is stripped and ready to go. This
is the the day when they start to repair the hull on One-Hole.
Swiss Cheese can be sent out today. The
pilot's console is operational on the big ship, and enough autonomic
systems are running that a good pilot can move the ship on the one
remaining maneuver drive. The pilot can transfer through the door
behind the bridge. Teri Cralla suggests that she could accompany
Helia to make sure the larian was OK. While some of the
engineering can be done from Nightshade, which now has some
control systems and the power cube, hull structural integrity will have
to be managed from Swiss Cheese. That means Mich, Helia, and Teri
will have to be on board the other ship.
Robert says they can do the security response
through repeaters on the other ship. He assures everyone that the
setup he and Mich will arrange will definitely work.
Teri motions Kalida aside and mentions that if
Robert is fixing up the box that is supposed to make sure they don't
get fired on, then Robert should be on the ship when they go out.
So Teri, Mich, and Helia will be on board the Swiss
Cheese. No-one else relevant has enough vaccsuit experience to
look after themselves. Once they have it set in the right
direction at 2G, they can leave it alone heading out of the system.
Robert's box is about the size of a suitcase, built
into a strong unit by Mich that makes it suitable to be carried and
bashed around by someone in battledress.
The skeleton crew board Swiss Cheese. Mich
works on the structural integrity field, and then they remove all the
grav bracing that the Imperials had put on the ship. They drop
gravity in the bay for this, but put a little artificial gravity on
Swiss Cheese where they can to help the crew.
The ship creaks and moans as Helia gently eases her
out of the station arm on the one maneuver pod. The three of them
feel every movement with the inertial compensators off. Helia
turns around and accelerates slowly outwards. Swiss Cheese starts
to build acceleration, taking half an hour to get up to 1g.
They've decided to stick with that rather than try to pull 2g without
Mich holds everything together as the forces build,
and breathes a sigh of relief when Helia sets a steady acceleration at
1g. Swiss Cheese is headed out of the system.
The challenge and response of the security system
works exactly as Robert promised. While a meson gun hit might not
take out the ship, it would certainly be somewhat disastrous for the
The crew now transfers to the large ship's boat, and
Helia pilots it back to the station without incident. Again the
challenge and response are seamless, and Helia pulls the boat back into
the bay and parks it. Gravity is back on in the bay by now.
Swiss Cheese is now accelerating out of the system
at 1g. Now they need to get One-Hole, the ship's boat, and Nightshade
They work on the plan for the rest of the
operation. As Mich says, someone other than Helia will pilot the
cheese boat, so that Helia can park Nightshade close to the
cheese boat so the gangplank can be extended for the pilot of the boat
to transfer across.
021-1123 : Zett
/ Klarn / Foreven
The hull on One-Hole has been fixed, and by now
Swiss Cheese has been accelerating out of system at 1g for three
days. They are ready to leave, but of course still have to dock
at the center hub and erase their records first. Shark has spent
his days cleaning all the other arms as effectively as possible, and
he'll finish off the other arm once everyone is aboard the various
Vonish Kehnaan takes the helm of the cheese
boat. He pulls it just outside the bay, out of the way of the
other two ships. Nightshade is next out with Helia at the
helm, with One-Hole following on its own.
Shark gets into sparkly pink and tells One-Hole to
wait here for a few minutes and they'll be back. Helia takes Nightshade
to the center hub, where Robert does his trick of erasing the fact of
the visit from the records, at the central computer and at each of the
four arms, and finally at the center hub on his way out.
Nightshade and One-Hole head out from the
station in tandem, with Vonish taking the cheese boat with them.
They have no problems with any of the security -- Robert did indeed get
The trio head out after Swiss Cheese at a full
20g. Helia is delighted to be running at full speed at last.
022-1123 : Zett
/ Klarn / Foreven
It's the next day when they three vessels catch up
and match velocities with Swiss Cheese. Vonish misses the
rendezvous, however, and hurtles out beyond their target. The
vilani chef takes 6 hours to get back to the others.
Slowing down Swiss Cheese needs Helia and Mich (and
Teri) back on board to maintain structural integrity. Helia locks
Nightshade with her gangplank matching the door behind the
bridge, making it easy to transfer over. They back the
acceleration off to zero, then they wait for Vonish to get back with
the cheese boat. The three of them transfer back to Nightshade.
Swiss Cheese is on course with the maneuver drive
shut down. The large power cube now on Nightshade remains on
until Vonish gets back, since it powers the cheese boat too.
Once he's back, Helia takes Nightshade's
launch and locks it to the cheese boat. She then matches the
cheese boat exactly to Swiss Cheese, far enough away that a cargo ship
could scoop it up without gravitational interference with Swiss
Cheese's trajectory, and she and Vonish spacewalk back to the launch.
Vonish is not having a good day. He misses the
launch, and Teri retrieves him from turning into another piece of space
Callisto measures the trajectory of the two
abandoned vessels precisely so that they can come back and pick them up
Mich shuts the large power cube down
gracefully. He has all the batteries from either ship.
Once everyone's back on board Nightshade,
the two crusader ships jump for 0610 / Lirian. They hope
that One-Hole will follow them successfully.