uncharted frontier

Duty is heavier than a mountain...
Lego's log

Wow. Things have gone to hell in a handbasket.
It all started out so smoothly. I’d received a message stating class had been canceled. A perfect opportunity to get an early start prepping for exams. But then more messages started coming in about cancelations, and soon I found myself hanging out in the cafetaria with classmates, wondering what the hell was going on. I half expected some kind of drill.

And then all hell broke loose. It began with a crashing sound followed with dome breach alarms. So I followed protocol and headed into the tunels towards the nearest gathering place. I was the first one in. Down there I stumbled upon a dead trooper; an armed one for that matter. He had a strange dart in his neck that seemed to have caused part of his skin to crystalise. I grabbed his assault rifle and continued on. When I reached the gathering place, the ceiling there was breached, I suspect it was some kind of dropship. And there were people around it. i approached them to take a look, but they were aliens! Before I could do anything one opened fire and he hit me with one of those darts. Immediately I noticed its paralyzing effect, but I managed to get off a few bursts dropping him. The noise got the attention of his companions, so I decided to retreat and herd the rest back into the tunel. This wasn’t easy, but I managed to get them moving and dropped the emergency bulkhead.

Someone in CC asked me to try and seal another tunel. I proceeded with care, so I heard the strange noises in time. Four of those things were trying to sabotage the emergency bulkhead. So I sniped two of them, dropping them with headshots. This left two, and an almost empty AR. So I charged them while I emptied my clip as suppressing fire and flipped the handle, locking one of them on the other side. I tried to grab my pistol, but the alien hit me in the side of the head and everything went dark.

I woke up in ER and the raid (this was a raid of all things) was over. So someone saved my bacon down there. Classes were canceled for the time being and I got put in a detail to clear out debris. And for the time being I had to bunk down in what used to be a closet I guess with 5 or 6 others. There’s one chick I’d put down for a fighter jock if I had to go by the attitude. A friendly girl I recognise from one of my classes, medical student I believe. A guy who seems to be loosing it. And something that must have crawled right out of a horror movie; more tattoos then should be possible, or legal for that matter. And no privacy, no comforts, … So I started trading and sneaking off to my stash when I found the time. So by evening, we had music blasting and a few bottles of booze.

And then reports started coming in. Those freaks had taken people; entire shiploads of them. By the end of the week we knew over 250k had been taken off. I started going over the lists, feeling more releaved every time I finished a list and didn’t find any friends or relatives. That is until I saw a name I hadn’t seen or heard in years. Asin. That was abit of a shock. I hadn’t thought of her in awhile. I should have contacted her, but things always came up; and then I forgot. It had been three years since last we spoke! And now she was gone.

Then the news came some of our professors were leaving because of some disagreement. I went to talk to one I liked. i’d been talking to the med student; she was in that class as well. I think we must have been talking loud, because before I knew it the others were tagging along as well. Even freakshow.
At first the man didn’t want to talk. It was clear something strange was going on, but he caved in quickly, and handed over a big file. Well, it was a shocker. The government had known of aliens since 1947. Rosswell. No weather baloon.
In short: they have an experimental FTL drive; they even have an experimental FTL ship; they’re not going after our people; they’re keeping it all a secret. Our missing people will be declared dead. It’s a tragedy, but there it is. All in all a sound decision. We may have 1 ship, they needed 7 to transport all. We won’t know what to expect there and may even provoke an all open war with a species that has superior technology.

Freakshow noticed a report from NASA; when Voyager 1 passed Pluto it received a radio transmission. It was judged to be its own transmission reflected back and was later forgotten. Now, the rest of them were all ready to up and leave for Pluto; all except the pilot. At that point I said my goodbeys and left. i’m not ready to get booted off the academy.

Later the pilot came asking if I wouldn’t join them on a trip to Pluto. The ex professor had rented a ship and someone needed to call the shots. I caved, and asked for a leave on grounds of a missing person. The administration was not asking questions at this point and handing it out.

So we left on a rustbucket from the war. An armed one. I tasked freakshow with repairing the long range sensors; and when that was done we were greeted by a patrolship in hot pursuit. Playing deaf didn’t help because it was faster. So I was ready to let them board when the smuggler/owner declared he was hauling a freight of dope. that’s when the pilot opened fire and destroyed the patrolship’s engines. Luckily for us, there’s no way for them to know we were onboard.

In short on Pluto: we found an acient pleasure craft with an advanced FTL drive crashlanded on the surface. it had 4 cryo pods still working and we managed to repair the ship and its computer system. hell, we even had it working in English (or it did that by itself). And then another type of hell broke loose. Everyone but the pilot wanted to go after our people. just the handful of us in a pleasurecraft. No thinking there, just pure emotion. And they were ready to ignore my orders and reasoning. So I told them have fun, I’m leaving with the smuggler. In the end the pilot chimed in and together we were able to let them see reason.

So we headed back to Lunar Base, and hailed CC, and handed over this ship. Maybe, just maybe, something good will come of all of this. Perhaps we can make a big leap in technological advancement by studying the vessel. Perhaps we can build something that gives us an edge in an attempt to rescue those people; although that doesn’t seem likely. But we can always hope.

All of this made me think of some books I read a few years ago. A fantasy series classic by Robert Jordan. Asin had given them for my birthday the year I cam to the academy. There’s a passage where one of the main protagonists says something that keeps coming to mind lately: Death is lighter then a feather, but duty is heavier than a mountain.

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Exile
Lego's log 2

Things don’t go smooth.
When we got back, things went as I expected. We got locked up for debriefing. And I cooperated in this for the most part; I just left out firing on the scoutship for obvious reasons.

This went on for about a week or so, mostly without incident. Except for the one time when the alien robot went on a rampage on the ship.
But then the cruiser picked up around 400 passengers of a civilian vessel; all students from the academy, and a former professor Mordecai. They were on an unscheduled field trip to somewhere; right.

Well, they were there to ‘rescue us’ from whatever untold tragedy awaited us. And this started another round of bickering, yelling and calling names. In the end, I went back to my quarters while the rest went to steal the FTL ship on board and take off to whatever unknown fate awaits.

Mordecai had told us the plan was to drop us in a housing container, together with the FTL ship at specified coordinates to be picked up by an unmentioned party. My idea was simply to trust in the chain of command and follow orders.

So later that containers was opened, by none other than Freakshow in person, on board of that very same FTL ship. I was greeted by gloating faces, asked ‘how I now felt being rescued after the fleet had blown up the container’ and ‘how I could be taken out with the rest of the thrash if I so desired’. Well, that’s when I snapped. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest or most tactically sound decision, seeing as they were the ones holding the guns. But at that point I just needed to punch a nose. So I did and shut the sob’s mouth; for about three seconds. But it felt good.

And then I got thrown into another brig. That whiny engineer tried to smart talk his way into my good graces or something, but I gave him my rank and serial number and called that a day. I think he got the message.

A few hours later Raptor, who was now in charge of this ragtag, with Mordecai and a few others came to visit. I didn’t know what to expect, but they wanted me to take command. I once again told them there’s nothing to take command of. Sure, I could command the vessel; but to what end? To do what?

Mordecai then provided me with the one piece of information that changed things completely: the Interplanetary Peace Force is no longer taking its orders from the PAN, nor reporting to it. The decision to not fight the alien raid and everything that followed was made by the chiefs of staff. So, in short, the military has effectively made a coup.

I announced to the ship that I took command, that we’re working for the PAN and were heading into unknown and most likely hostile territory for a scout mission. My decisions would stand without exception, and we were not having traitors onboard.

A few developments.
Dr Alexandra had opened one of the cryo tubes. She freed a semi human female. In short she’s the daughter of some kind of emperor ruling an empire of over 20 worlds. The other tubes hold her guards; they will remain there for the time being.

The princess has a procedure to link minds and teach someone a language quickly. In the end it became necessary to take a risk and have this done. No ill effects for now, but time will tell.

We traveled to the suspected alien home world, only to discover an immense space station with over thirty ships docked, circling over barren rock. This is Morrs’ Station, a privately owned space station owned by what I would call a mob boss. Everything is for sale there; weapons are not permitted onboard. He gave me important intel, in exchange for revealing our home world. in the end that information is not important; they will find out about us in the long run anyway. Better to make friends then having no friends at all.

  • Earth has been declared off limits by the empire; none may come there
  • Earth has been ignored by the empire each time they expanded, for some reason
  • he gave me a set of two coordinates for Troodon worlds; he doesn’t know where their home world is.

While we were there a Troodon vessel docked. I ordered Shade to observe them unseen. Among other things, they were selling human slaves, and he sent me pictures. I made the mistake of showing these to scientist Manson, thinking he would cross-reference them with our database without me telling him exactly that. He started handing them around, and of course Whiny recognized his daughter.

So now I was left with one of my men who was sure to contract the Blue Flue in a matter of minutes unless I found a way to deal with it. I asked Ideas on what could be sold for a serious amount of cash, and confiscated the pictures. Freakshow said he had an idea ‘if I would let him see the pictures’. I was not about to change my chain of command into a zoo, so I told him he could tell me his ideas right there and then or gtfo my bridge. Apparently he had blueprints for building a portable railgun. No idea how or where he got that, but if it would sell I would take it.

I made some cash, enough to buy one slave but that would have to do for now,but the slaves had already been sold. I talked to the person collecting them, and arranged to meat with the person he was working for. That man is an imperial governor ruling a remote part of the empire; a very corrupt man, interested in slave, drugs and other debaucheries.

I did have my meeting and managed to buy that girl, and again I had to reveal our home world to get it done. But at least I managed to avert a breakdown in my command structure.

Our doctors found out the girl has a nano hive in her brain; tiny robots that are altering her brain in some way with no way to stop this for now. Our only chance to save her for now was putting her in one of the two spare cryo tubes. The only place where they can remove this cyberware safely is in an imperial hospital. So, that will have to wait for now.

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The unknown
Commander's log, Stardate 21520111

I’ve never been one to keep a diary or a personal log, but recent event, not the least being my promotion to second in command aboard the PAN SS Intrepid, call for a log of the events unfolding.

My name is Commander Alexis Palmer and this log will detail the events of our, possibly suicidal, mission to retrieve the people kidnapped from our homeworld. It will explain our actions and the reasons behind them, so that if these records are ever recovered, people might understand why we did what we did.

I will not bore you with the details of the alien attack on our solar system, you can look that up in the history pages. It might not tell the entire story, but I don’t have all the answers either, except that the military had been covering up, and that i could understand their reasoning. All of that has changed over the past days however.

With a small group of students we travelled to pluto to investigate an artificial signal recorded there by voyager 1 some 150 years ago. Once there we located a derilict alien ship. We managed to get it back in working condition and headed back to the lunar base to hand it over to our leaders. We were intercepted and debriefed as expected. Some days later a group of students led by ex-general Mordecai came on board under the guise of having been on a field trip. Some of them informed us of what the military were planning with us and wanted to get us off the ship. With limited options, most of us decided to take the chance. So we commandeered the experimental FTL scoutship made by earth and fled. For the second time in a week I found myself in command, not a place i relish to be, i’m a fighter pilot, not a commanding officer. But apparently I’m the only one in our little group capable of making hard and fast decisions, so there you have it.

We flew the ship to Neptune, where we were supoosed to be dropped off by the cruiser and waited to see who was supposed to pick us up. While there we retrieved Lego and the alien spaceship. And a good thing too. Another PAN military cruiser showed up, one called Titan, so not one of the official fleet, and destroyed the container we had been supposed to be in.
After they had departed me and Mordecai went to have a talk with Lego, as I’m a firm believer that he should be in charge of this mission, so together we convinced him to take command of the ship. As the military is no longer following orders from the PAN governement, Lego agreed. We’d not be breaking the rules as we’d still be working in the best of interests of the PAN. Whatever makes you sleep at night I guess. His first decision was to give rousing speech, one I hope had an impact. His second was to promote me to second in command, not something I was relishing, but i guess there was no other choice.

So then we headed off after the aliens, arriving in the next system where we found a huge spacestation commanded by some freebooter independant captain. Very Totuga like. Captain Lego made some good progress in finding information and even managed to get one of our people back. I knew it was a good choice to put him in charge, even if he thinks i’m the only one who is ready to follow his commands.

As far as our companions aboard the ship I have mixed feelings. Mordecai has taken a step back and is letting us do our jobs while just being there for the occassional advice. Freakshow seems to have a lot of trouble taking orders, how he has managed to stay in the military for so long is beyond me. He’s openly defied or questioned order twice in the space of a single day. I wouldn’t be surprised he ends up in the slammer.

Alexandra has turned over command of sickbay over to Dawn, a veterinary of all things, I wonder why really. Alexandra has shown herself to be competent, if a bit emotional.
Matt is also a new face. A scientist who seems to be good at what he does. Of all of them I probably like him best. Whiney, our other scientist, on the other hand is way too emotional, making rash decisions at every turn without thinkign about it. Like freakshow, he’s not really suitable military material in my opinion, but well, we’re in deep space so what choices do we have.

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When it rains...

I decided we’d head off to the Empire planet I’d received an invitation to and meet the ambassador. I figured it was a good spot to try and find out more information.
But before we could get on our way, our systems began sputtering and shutting down. It turned out we were emitting some kind of electromagnetic field, and it was gradually growing. Our scientists deduced the field resembled the readings they get from a coronal mass ejection in a star. And engineering found a machine attached to our FTL drive which had turned on and was slowly charging, and which they couldn’t identify. The machine was labled ‘Scimitar’, and more researched showed this is a weapon that had been activated by a transmission we’d received.

This weapon causes a star to emit a coronal mass ejection and then jumps the ship to the next system, repeating this process every six hours.

So I has my team try and remove this device.

In the mean time our sensors detected a battle at the edge of the system, and some time later our ship was boarded. These soldiers had approached unnoticed and put up quite a fight, but we managed to beat them. One died on the spot and we took five prisoners. These guys were soldiers from the PAN; our very own people. They didn’t want to give any information. I was stuck with the dilemma of what to do with them. After much deliberation I decided to go by the military code. My reasoning here:
1) after the Troodon attack we’re at war until further notice
2) these soldiers belong to a mutinous faction who broke their oath to uphold the constitution of the PAN and to defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic
Given these facts I decided it’s within my right as commanding officer of this vessel to condemn these men to death. And seeing we don’t have the resources to keep them locked away indefinitaly I did as such. So I started spacing these men.

The last soldier to be spaced started pleading for his life, and wanted to talk. He gave me more information, and I’ve spared his life for the time being. He remains locked in the brig for the time being.

After this we made our way to that remote system and I asked for an audience with the ambassador.
He agreed for us to be there, and I used one of my bottles of Whiskey as a present, which seems to have been appreciated.
He even agreed for our wounded to be treated in a local hospital.

We stayed there a time, giving me the opportunity to gather more intel; ansd alowing our wounded to heal up.

I learned some disturbing news. The empire is over 60 milion years old. It orriginated on Mars; and when that planet became uninhabitable humanity spread across the galaxy. Sol system has always been off limits because the cradel of the empire is private property of the emperor. They just never bothered to make contact because we were incapable of FTL.

The emperor has died, and now the empire is ruled by the chancelor while the princess is missing. Tradition holds that the chancelor is succeeded by his son or daughter (which has happened); he too will be succeeded by a descendant who then will become next emperor.

I also learned that the ship used to attack us is specifically used by the imperial guard. They have been eliminated by the chancelor because they remain loyal to the princess and wanted to continue searching while he wanted to move on. Figuring in the fact that one of her guards was taken out of cryo, I have to wonder what our military has been doing.

It seemed like things were going allright for a change. And that’s when Shade had to fuck it up. He found Imperial guard symbols on houses in the slums. And, instead of reporting to me he went to the princess of all things. And he told her everything. So now I had to come clear and tell her what we knew and what I was planning. I told her I hadn’t informed her because I wanted more intel; and i asked her not to leave the ship before we had had a chance to gather that intel. because once she left the ship, the secret would be out and we would loose the advantage. At least she saw the wisdom in that.

I honestly don’t know how some of these people managed to make it through basic training. There is little or no sense of duty among them, let alone some basic knowledge of tactics or some adherence to the chain of command. Shade left me no choice but to react to this act of stupidity which could have cost us dearly. So this time I punished the entire ship except him. Everyone is confined to quarters when not on duty, except for him. And I broadcasted who’s to thank for that. Maybe in doing so I can bolster the team spirit on this vessel. It is a tactic used at military academies for hundreds of years.

We decided to investigate, but before we had a chance to find anything, disaster struck. it came in the form of an all out nuclear attack on this planet, by the PAN military. They sent an unmanned probe armed with numerous nuclear launch tubes. It rained its deadly payloadon the surface and effectively wiped out the planet. We managed to hack it, but too late. We did however manage to prevent it from broadcasting its intended message.

The current head of the PAN military declares a non flying zone, and threatens to wipe out entire planets if his demands are not met. Madness!

i decided to investigate another system, one where the imperial guard would have been strong. i wanted to make contact and see what they want. But we found an entire fleet gathered there, including the PAN ship Titan. I ordered an immediate retrat and doing so avoided capture.

So i decided to try a core planet. It was a gamble, but I didn’t see any alternative. We were greeted by another fleet. All empire now. I went aboard their flagship in hopes of a diplomatic solution. And I took the princess. At least they were willing to listen, and I think I managed to convince the local fleet commander. He agreed to send a message to the imperial guard and ask for negotiations. Now we wait.

Our adversaries managed to etablish long range communications with me and tried to convince me to join forces with them I must say, they do make some good points. And I would be tempted if not for one detail. they crossed a line when they tried to kill us earlier. They had their chance at that point. I was not questioning any orders and would have been on their side. Now, it’s all uncertain. So I have no choice at this point. I’m commited.

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Temptation
Lego's Log 4

A lot of thingshave happened the last few days.
First we received a message on a rarely used frequency. It was a time and a set of coordinates. We went to investigate and were greeted by Morr. He tried to take our ship, but I chose to make a run for it.

When we returned, some Maharak vessels and a few Earth cruisers were there. The Maharak were there to negotiate with the Empire. The PAN admiral was there to talk to us. He tried to convince me of his point and talk us into rejoining the fleet. I told him I understood his point. Up to the point where he opened fire on the container we were supposed to be in I would have agreed with him all the way. He had my complete loyalty. That changed when he opened fire. He lost my trust; and he’ll have to do a lot better then make empty promises before he can regain it.

And this time at the helm of our renegade ship has opened my eyes to the bigger picture. It has forced me to think of the consequences of the actions we take. I’ve been forced to think of the actions the others have taken, and now I can’t simply return to accepting the decisions of my superiors. Not when what they’ve done is in violation of their very oath. Doing that would make me a hypocrite.

At some point one has to decide and draw a line. I a gree that not everything is as black and white as the theory of our military code of conduct would have it be. But at some point the gray becomes so pitch black one cannot deny it anymore. And the admiral has crossed that line. It doesn’t matter how much I would LOVE to go back and rejoin our fleet (and I would love that; after all they’re still our people) at this point I no longer can.

It also became clear the admiral wanted the scimitar. He’s promised a superweapon for the Maharak to use to shorten the war. His plan: blow up the homeworld and both fleets in one move.
So I decided to warn them. I was invited to the talks, we explained his duplicity and his plan, and in one move kicked his feet from underneath him.

I also proposed to look for the regent’s son and propose an abdication of even better a marriage instead of going to war. They agreed to at least wait and see if they could find a trance of him.

By that time our probe had returned from Troodon space. And it came to us instead of the programmed coordinates. It was emiting a strange radiation. Our scientists and engineers went to investigate, and all hell broke loose when one of them disappeared. It took some time to destroy the probe, but we managed. And then the scientist returned. Apparently he’d been teleported or something by Troodons on the homeworld. They’re not the same Troodons as the ones that attacked us. They’ve been around a lot longer and have developed things I can’t even begin to understand; including immortality.

When a spacebattle erupted in our solar system they agreed to teleport our ship. Morr was attacking Earth with an entire fleet of pirates. We engaged his command vessel and the escort ship. We took massive damage, but we did it. Luckily the Troodons teleported us back before the rest could finish us off.

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