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ASF/CSF Captain Drakons Reports from the Front | |PX| Clan
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ASF/CSF Captain Drakons Reports from the Front

Captain’s Log: April 20th, 2749

Well, well… haven’t things changed? You’ll have to pardon the noise in the background; I do believe there is a party being thrown down in the mess. Why that is I’ll get to in a moment. First let me record some of the day’s earlier events. We had problems with pirates all morning, first of all. They kept playing cat and mouse with the CWO. In and out of sensor range… taunting and sneering but never quite in gunning range… without his usual cup of coffee the frustration really wasn’t hidden. Barracudas arrived to back the buggers up at one point. Seemed as though Mr. Hockardy was finally going to get some well-deserved kills, but good timing on the part of our allies sent them bugging out before anything further could develop. Hyogo was joined by RNS Bregenz, a cruiser, and three Rhinelander gunboats. For the remainder of the voyage to Planet Hamburg we were not interrupted by any enemy sightings.

Once the carrier had docked I sent Yechelvsky out, into the city to address the problem we’ve been encountering with the Bounty Hunters Guild. A certain Axel von Lahr was located in a local tavern. He happened to have access to one of their more influential leaders. Slipping him 700,000 credits under the table entirely changed the dynamic in this system as far as they were concerned. Surely Command would approve of such measures. From then on there were no problems with bounty hunters. To further cement the new relationship I agreed to take the carrier on a special assignment for him. It turns out that just a week or so ago a Unioner shot to dead one of his colleagues on Freeport 2. A little retribution was in order. Since the targets in question were already on Rhineland’s wanted persons list, the pirates seemed perfectly appropriate to engage and apprehend.

Back on the bridge, I ordered the helmsman to take off from the planet and set his heading for the Nordheide. Military Valkeries relayed to Lt. Com. Takuro the last-known coordinates of the pirates. At the site only a couple of flights of Unioner raiders were encountered. All hawks. None of them were particularly skilled pilots, so it was a cakewalk really. Our reputation with the Guild was secured. I then ordered a four-point patrol around the asteroid field’s perimeter to pick off any stragglers that may have been left undetected before. Two majors were brought aboard, amongst others. Orders came in from Command at about that time. For a few hours the ship operated in Bering. Flights of Laggs patrolled the trade lanes and dealt harshly with all hostile contacts encountered.

Once back to Planet Hamburg that evening, our Rhinelander escorts got diverted to another assignment. An armored transport rendezvoused with us in orbit and took aboard all the prisoners. Security personnel were elated about this. Confederate servicemen and women are notorious escapists, naturally, and nobody wants an attempt to break out to happen during their watch. Looks terrible on one’s record, really… anyway… The boat did bring us some additional supplies. Basic things like compressed oxygen, food rations, and water. This in itself was rather ordinary, but this is where the excitement developed.

So I go back up to the bridge. The AT crew is given a friendly sendoff by Brookes while the Lt. Com. brings us a little further from the planet. Our orbit had been mishandled by the nav. computer. No surprise there. Course adjustments took us a bit further out. Probably should have ordered Yechelvsky to keep a squadron on standby, but just like the rest of the crew I had been lulled into a false sense of security by our proximity to Hamburg. Professor Kalian suddenly announces four new contacts on our scopes. Three hawks and a Saracen are closing fast – undoubtedly some sort of CSF raiding party. I ordered Mr. Hockardy to raise shields and power up the guns. The ensign calls in to the planet to solicit support. Com. Kakogi follows through with my issuing of a red alert.

Fighters cannot be scrambled for at least ten minutes with the present state of things on the flight deck, and reinforcements from Hamburg could not arrive much faster. Thought maybe a bluff would buy us time, and so I had Brookes put me through with the enemy flight leader. What an unpleasant surprise. Strategist, general, and infamous scallywag Lucy was on the other end to greet me with some very brief and colorful metaphors. I order the Gunnery Control to open fire. The inbound fighters respond in kind. Before they have a chance to close in, one of the hawks was critically damaged. Its pilot rammed us along the port side, causing massive shield failure. Mines got dropped. They almost immediately struck the Hyogo.

Hits shattered parts of the ship’s belt armor and ruptured a lateral water tank. Damage control got on it immediately, but every second that passed meant the loss of hundreds of liters of fluid. Hockardy finally got his act together and bagged two more bad guys. With a gesture of my wrist I ordered all guns to concentrate their fire on Lucy’s Saracen. She ducked and weaved for awhile, but once that little ship’s shields were down the game was over. Missiles struck us first, though. A workshop alongside the hangar got busted up rather badly. It instantaneously decompressed, but nobody was inside at the time. The fires were contained before they could spread to adjacent compartments and threaten any ordinance or H-fuel. Dr. Hans rushed to the infirmary to treat the wounded while the turrets annihilated their target. Lucy barely ejected in time.

The Rhinelander fighters arrived too late, obviously. By the time they arrived our shields were nearly back up to 30%. A Serafina was launched to recover the pods of two Confederate sergeants. Command hailed us, however, and instructed that we not to take the general aboard and into custody. They preferred to send a specially-purposed vessel to retrieve her later in the hour. That was that. From there I ordered that Lt. Com. Takuro bring us in for a landing to commence repairs. Nothing else to say for today, save that this unexpected turn of events will almost certainly be a crippling blow to enemy morale. Anyway, it is time to go down to the mess. My presence there is desired. Something about a donkey, evidently… don’t ask. End recording.

Captain’s Log: April 21st, 2749

What an outrage! Lucy escaped once again! Chatter intercepted over the comm. by Brookes indicated that a Rhineland gunboat had captured her escape pod. Opening it, they discovered only a witty self-penned note and a large number of carnivorous insects. The latter of these swarmed the cargo hold and maimed several crewmen. Now the whole damned ship is in quarantine somewhere in Frankfurt. She must have had help on the inside, but how this stunt was pulled is beyond any of us. Whatever her means of escape, I know in my gut that Lucy will be back one day to enact revenge. In the meanwhile, though, repairs are coming along well.

Teams here have patched up the tank and are now working on the segment of the breached hull aside the worship. The site of impact is rather far astern… a bit further down and the missiles would have damaged the engines, and possibly Hyogo’s reactor core. A commodity dealer here on Hamburg has refilled our water reserves and brought the tech crews new spacecraft hull panels and engine parts. These have been stowed away in the hold for now but will later be moved. As a side note, the dealer’s company was paid quite adequately for their services. Now pardon the interruption, but I have a holoconference holding on Line 3 that really cannot wait. End Recording.

Captain’s Log: April 22nd, 2749

Today went rather well I think. With the repairs now complete I accepted new tasking from local authorities. A CSF refueling depot had been located inside the Nordheide, at a position somewhat near the Bering jump hole. Resistance turned out to be light but I took all due precautions nonetheless. Once Takuro had brought the ship to the edge of the asteroid field I ordered Mr. Yechelvsky to have his squadrons take out the base. Two Hades bombers and four phoenixes were launched for this purpose.

Bundshuh Stilettos discovered the Hyogo and attacked during the mission. Our escorting fighters dealt with them handily. The station itself was defended by Falcons and Hawks… numbering four each. Once these were downed, the fighters drew fire from the station away from our bombers. They delivered their payloads without incurring any casualties. A company of marines was sent to the wreckage via a Serafina to verify that none of the enemy personnel survived. After they all got back I ordered the carrier to the Bering System. Com. Kakogi was given the con while I returned to my cabin to rest. It took awhile to arrive at Freeport 2. Early in the evening, when Kakogi was relieved, I was briefed by our resident professor on the situation.

Scanners had been following the movements and content of cargoes of all ships passing by the station. Zoner fighters frequent the area. An ALG tanker bearing H-fuel went by, and a Spa and Cruise convoy with luxury food was shadowed by an escort of bounty hunters. Nothing suspicious, really, just another day in “indie” space. For all the rumors flying around about the Confederates being on the war path, there sure haven’t been many run-in the with them thus far. If anything there has been some action in California, or so the saying goes. Can probably speak for the rest of the crew when I say that we will all be mightily displeased if the next battle ends up unfolding over there. No one takes kindly to chasing after ghosts, and if the enemy fleet is really out there somewhere we want to be first in line to greet them at the door. End recording.

Captain’s Log: April 23rd, 2749

Word now is from Command that the fight is going to be in Texas. With activity so exceptionally… ordinary in Bering, I felt no guilt in relinquishing one of my squadrons to reinforce XOs Daywalker and Ancalagon there. Crysis and seven wingmen flew to Planet Houston in Laggs to assist in whatever way possible. They are also to gather reconnaissance on any Confederate intentions or presence they notice there. In the meanwhile it may be time for the whole ship to pack things up in this system and proceed to Liberty. Shrouds on patrol and on CAP have seen nothing at all out here. There are still a few loose ends to tie up, however, and so we will not be underway for at least another eight hours. There isn’t much I can say on the matter, but it does involve the Zoners.

Been watching the news by the way. What kind of bullshit is Governor Perry peddling now that he’s up for re-election? Succession from Liberty and the Alliance… is he mad? There are protests and riots all over the place as it is. Folks are up in arms over some prison breaks and the CSF employment of a nuclear device in a recent terrorist attack. Why it is that Manhattan is blamed though still eludes me. Where were all of these protesters back when relief aid was being sent in for the Texas Incident? Where were they when President Jacobi presided over Liberty’s victory against the Nomads, hmm? They were sitting in their comfortable duplexes and applauding, that’s where. If they want to roll out the red carpet for the Confederates that’s just fine, but those imbeciles won’t know the meaning of oppressive tax rates and tyrannical government until that day arrives. Probably all a bunch of neo-con fringe activists. Planet Houston is nearly entirely lower and working class. The protesters wish to deny themselves unemployment benefits. Well the ASF isn’t keen on letting any of this happen. I’m sure Texans will protest that, too, but hey… it’s all part of the job description. End recording.

Captain’s Log: April 24th, 2749

It’s now official. XO Ancalagon has informed me that the Confederates have launched a major offensive in the Texas System. Casualties have been staggering and the enemy now holds the high ground there. This comes not a moment too soon. Even as I speak the Hyogo is preparing to jump into the Texas System. Both sides are presently dug in deep. Maybe, just maybe we can sneak in and operate undetected long enough to set up a counter-attack on those invading forces. Come this evening I will conclude this entry – Mr. Yechelvsky is at the door now and wishes to have a few words.

End recording.

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Houston is a wasteland if ever there was one. Expanses of desert are all around for hundreds of miles, and in the center of it all resides this crater-riddled city. The skyscrapers are tattered from aerial bombardment and at least half of the shops are residences have been burnt or reduced to heaps of rubble. An already impoverished city is awash in squalor and homelessness. At the very center of it all rests a fortified complex that withstood all the bombings. It is the Texas-based LPI headquarters, and this is where Hyogo has been landed until Engineering can give me the thumbs-up for a return to orbit. Loose wiring and scrap metal shards protrude from the bulkheads and gasses leak from the pipes. From the outside it is said that we are smoldering just as visibly as the adjacent buildings, but the road that brought the crew and I here was well worth the trouble being experienced in the present.

It all began around noon. The ship was cruising by Planet Houston, and I recall Brookes patching me through with the captain aboard LNS Mississippi. His ship was being used temporarily by the Alliance brass to organize the defense against the incoming waves of enemy fighters. Evidently more than forty ships had been lost on either side during the prior day’s fighting in Texas. ASF losses were steep enough to jeopardize the balance of power here, and there was a lot of tension. Liberty reinforcements had just arrived and now everyone was just waiting. The captain did pass on worries that the CSF might be using Oasis as a staging point for supplies and logistics though. Looking into this, I gave the helmsman our new heading.

We came around between the North Dallas Debris Field and Pequena Negra prior to entry, rounding up and smashing a handful of Liberty Rogue ships along the way. Sure enough, we did find something on the far side of the jump hole. Two convoys of Kishiro transports carrying food rations were destroyed. Also found were 120 tons of cardamine stowed aboard the wreckage of KNS Tamasu. The search continued in earnest. Professor Kalian scanned each gas cloud as we neared it. At one point we found a Zoners depot, but this was benign. Our search was interrupted well before it could be completed.

Turns out a large contingent of TRF fighters hiding in the Badlands had slipped into the Texas System, making their latest move to establish a clear foothold in the area. The XO called in and ordered I move the carrier to the New York jump gate. Lt. Com. Takuro handled the ship well through the debris field, and upon arrival the last of an enemy flight was finished off. Armor plates encircling the engines were damaged lightly by enemy gunfire. Many ASF fighters were present – some had taken off from our own ship just the other day whilst in Bering. Others were in the debris field fighting Confederate raiders. If I am not mistaken Capt. “Spiky” was in charge over there. The main, CSF fleet soon recognized the strength of Alliance defenses. It began to maneuver in the backwater areas of the system where it could take advantage of the terrain.

Negotiations were entered between the commanders, and it was agreed to that Texas had been ravaged enough for the day as it was. Instead, attention turned to the Bering System. On its way to Freeport 2 Hyogo was joined by a pair of Kusari destroyers. Daywalker had the lead, assuming control of all friendly units present. Early on before the fighting got underway I do recall sending a bewildered message to the XO regarding the role delegated to the ship and the nature of recent events, but this would be regretted by the end of the day. The crew had been eager to wage full-scaled war. Their moment of satisfaction had arrived. Most of the enemy generals were present and soon a Confederate onslaught befell our stronghold at the Zoners base.

They were outnumbered and outflown this time, fortunately. Yechelvsky scrambled all the ship’s Laggs. Hockardy was busy at his post while Brookes became consumed by relaying the XO’s orders over all Alliance frequencies. First and foremost it was a fighters’ battle. They met and twirled ‘round one another in the asteroids, or between tradelanes, or maneuvering around the superstructure of the civilian space station (which, incidentally, became somewhat damaged during the fray). One of the destroyers got lured out into a trap, and was lost after taking down a few of the CSF pilots with it. The other sustained some grievous hits by mid-battle.

Over time additional forces bolstered both sides. Mr. Argos and Bauer made unexpected, bold appearances. For awhile the carrier remained somewhat in the back and in a supporting niche. When Alliance movements in the area became more aggressive, however, the enemy eventually found my little rust bucket a bit too troublesome to ignore. Gunning by the CWO downed six of them in all. Many of the ASF’s most promising fighter aces did considerably better. This came at a price, of course. Several pilots were killed and many more forced to eject. Hyogo itself suffered major damage to its engines, cargo hold, brig, flight deck, one of the elevator shafts, forward torpedo tubes one and two, reverse-thrusters, and starboard-side facilities – including the laboratory and holding bays for probe and drone suites. The forecastle was hit especially hard. Most of the berths and officers’ quarters buckled in and are now inaccessible. There are still mounds of mangled debris everywhere.

We did survive though… some of us, at least. Dr. Hans reports that ten crewmen have been killed and another thirty-seven injured. There were not enough beds in the infirmary to accommodate this many people. An empty hangar was turned temporarily into a makeshift med center. All this while Takuro struggled to maneuver the ship – what were typically minor problems with the nav. computer now translated into the loss of vital seconds. Contending with asteroids was difficult. Judging from the floor-rattling tremors felt during the battle I can only assume that the ship’s hull is pocketed and at least a little bit cratered. There might even be a few rocks still wedged in there. Heh.

Anyway, where was I? Oh – during the fourth hour of battle something truly quaint happened. With the Alliance fleet holding firm at the only station of importance to us in the system, the CSF decided to attack Pacifica. After how many bad run-ins I’ve had with the Unioners this year I was left wondering whether or not this was some sort of trick. In the end it proved not to be. After damaging the pirate base, the more fragmented and loosely-organized opposition threw themselves at the lines a few more times using fresh strategies. Some of these pilots sure were brave and skilled individuals, but their efforts did not bring us to yield. By the fifth hour Daywalker was content with the state of the battle, and with the degree of casualties inflicted to the enemy force. Some of the men landed on Freeport 2 to see if the Zoners needed any help. The rest of us returned to Planet Houston.

For all sakes and purposes this hunk of plasteel is barely holding together. The mechanics are doing the best they can, but given the dire state of affairs here on the planetary surface I’ll just be glad to have her space-worthy again by weeks end. In the meanwhile I tried to have Brookes patch through a channel to the XO so that I could apologize for my earlier words and congratulate him on today’s victory, but comms. were down for inspection and recalibration. The whole ship smells acrid, there’s a pale haze hugging the deck, and a deposit of yellow film is settling on some of the consoles. These cannot be a good signs – I need some sleep. Leaving Kakogi with the con for now. The senior officers better be ready to brief me tomorrow. There is still a lot to be done here. End recording.