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Intrepid Corsair
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re: Obsidian Precipice

Chapter 1

Suspended in the black vacuum of space, engines powered down while the science station consumed the bulk of resources, the Obsidian Precipice, a Carrack class research vessel, poised itself in relation to its target. The white hot blast of propulsion from positional thrusters, the only thing obvious on the otherwise obsidian black hull, illuminating the ominous hulking asteroids as it periodically adjusted attitude in an attempt to aim the main sensor spike toward Osiris I. Etos, as it was called in scientific circles, was a barren planet on the surface. Underneath the crust, however, it teemed with life.

Since the Massacre of Garron II, very few UEE sanctioned missions have been authorized to Etos so the signed and stamped paper in Captain Foster's hand could almost be considered a collector's dream among the relics that compose UEE history. In fact, a friend had already sent the Captain a message through his Mobi requesting the document after its completion. Smiling slightly to himself, he carefully slid the document back into its retaining sleeve and placed it back in the vault.

A knock on the door preceded the entrance of his first officer.

Chapter 2

Lt. Shastra Simone stood in the doorway looking as if he had seen a ghost. His face was white and pinched and he had an air of quiet intensity about him. Forcing himself to remain calm, the Captain inquired with his usual non-verbal eye contact. Lt. Simone nodded and entered the small, cramped space someone "intelligent" decided would serve as a ready room. He ducked his head to avoid the jutting bulkhead frame and placed an Info-film on the Captain's desk. The small, translucent film, a print out from the central core ship data banks, serves as an evident readout of specified data. Designed to use minimal materials but withstand monumental destructive forces, the Info-film is the go to form for all on-board data delivery and, incidentally, legal judiciary review.

His self control nearly breaking, Lt. Simone barely let the Info-film settle on the desk before clearing his throat.

"The sensors have picked up an unusual anomaly near our closest jump point." A single drop of sweat trickled down his brow slowly, inexorably giving in to the effects of the artificial gravity as the shipped hummed with pulsating power through the bulkheads. "It appears we will be having company within moments. Sgt. Rafferty insisted that all defensive stations be manned before she undocked the Silver Fox. Johnston is furious. He's in the starboard turret screaming at anyone who gets in earshot."

"I'll speak with Johnston. Secure the science station, reroute power to weapons and shields and drop sig. I'll be at the helm momentarily." The Captain picked up the Info-film and followed his first officer out of the ready room. By the time he reached the starboard turret, his ear-com was picking up chatter from each station on board as the Obsidian prepared for war....

Chapter 3

*Obsidian Precipice* 003

Indiscernible words were echoing off of the honeycomb plasticore walls along with the solid clang of metal upon metal as Captain Foster rounded the corner and stepped through the emergency blast doors to the starboard turret shaft. Johnston shifted in his turret control chair when the doors slid open with a brief sound of air. Each compartment with a blast door has its own life support control. In the catastrophic event of a hull breach, the rest of the ship would operate normally. The unfortunate side effect is that each compartment generally has minute differences in atmospheric pressure so that when an unsuspecting visitor opens the door, they are greeted with a rush of air. Sometimes this force of air can be staggering. The Captain, knowing his ship like the back of his hand, knew that the Starboard turret compartment was one such area so he braced himself before entering.

The compartment, usually tidy and uncluttered was a debris field unrivaled by any battle the Captain had ever seen. Tools and equipment were scattered all over the floor. Usually a breach of ship protocol, Captain Foster chose to ignore the mess on the floor and focus upon the mess in the turret chair. Johnston, usually calm, collected and quite reserved, sat stiffly in front of an immense gun battery staring off into the oblivion of space. His face, red and slightly damp with sweat, focused upon nothing externally. The Captain quietly stepped up to the view port and looked outside maintaining the tense silence.

"She had no right to take my ship, leaving me here inside this ridiculous deathtrap." Johnston's voice reverberated in the dense atmosphere. The Captain said nothing choosing instead to listen. A concept that escapes most people. A moment passed and Johnston took a deep, shuddering sigh. "I'm sorry, sir. The Obsidian is a good ship. It's just not what you hired me to do. I'm a pilot, not a gun jockey."

Captain Foster, keeping his eyes pointed toward the viewport, gave a brief nod. "Understood, Lieutenant. Keep in mind, however, that you are new here and she has been in charge of the Obsidian's security going on five years now." The Captain turned at this point to face the young Johnston who eyed him warily. "Man this turret, son. We have incoming hostiles and I'm counting on you to keep us out of harms way."

Johnston dropped his eyes and took a deep breath. "Yes, sir. I'll do my best sir."

"I know you will. Your father would be proud." Johnston looked back into the Captains eyes. Searching. Hoping. "You'll have your chance, Carl." Captain Foster continued, "You're dad always spoke highly of you."

Johnston's eyes teared up as the Captain turned and left the turret compartment. The squawk on the com channel in his ear continuing unabated as the Obsidian plummeted into the darkness that came with signal drop. Life support dropped to minimums, capacitors and batteries, always kept full, were shielded from external scanning and would breath life to minimal but primary ship components. The dull roar and vibration that lulled the Captain to sleep on most nights was reduced to a quiet vacuum as the engines and powerplant were taken off-line. The hiss of life support his only companion, the grim Captain briskly made his way to the bridge.

Chapter 4

*Obsidian Precipice* 004


Dust doesn't settle on asteroids in quite the same way that it does on planets large enough to retain an atmosphere. The gravity is so low on some of them that it can take thousands of years for the dust to settle where it remains for another thousand years. Untouched, unnoticed. Until, of course, it meets with a 180,000 kg obsidian hulled ship settling tightly between multiple rocky capital ship sized chunks of compressed quartz, feldspar and biotite. With directional thrusters blasting space dust into oblivion and small, unfortunate asteroids into molten lava balls, the Obsidian Precipice slowly inched her way back into the brightest area of one of the bigger asteroids in the vicinity.

At first glance, you might think that it would make sense to hide a ship the color of night in the dark shadow of one such asteroid but the problem is not so much visual as it is thermal. Even running silent, a term used to describe how 20th century naval warships would mask their engines when running in water to elude enemy detection, the Obsidian still produced a good sized thermal signature. The heatsinks can only handle so much before meltdown and they have to be dumped. The problem with that is when an enemy is actively searching for you, they always look for thermal spikes which is exactly what happens when you dump a heatsink, especially in the cold shadow of an asteroid.

Captain Foster knows the tactics of enemy scout ships and he also knows that a slow thermal vent on the hot side of an asteroid, the side directly facing the sun, wont be easily detected. It seems to go against logic to hide in plain sight but that is exactly what the Obsidian intends to do. The dark hull, specially designed to absorb heat, disperses the thermal signature as efficently as it absorbs the entire visual spectrum of light. From a distance, it would look like a hole in the side of the rocky facia thereby blending perfectly into its surroundings.

The heat inside, however was stifling. Sweat dripping off of his chin, Lt. Simone stood at the observation deck looking out the scattered view ports of the canopy cover, his hands gripping the railing tightly.

"Contact." Ensign Alexsey Ivanenko stated in his even toned but deeply accented voice. "Multiple bogeys 700 km off our port bow. Closing."

"Copy that, Ensign. Can you determine a pattern?"

"Negative. Just looks hot, Sir."

"Understood. Keep yours scans to a minimum. They'll make their presence knows soon enough." Simone stepped back to the science station where Dr. Amarasa Seltu sat impatiently staring at the sheets of info-film in front of her. "We have to get in closer to the anomaly, Lieutenant. These readings are amazing." A high born Terran with a sparse frame and narrow face, Amarasa was no beauty queen but she made up for that in intelligence, wit and an unwavering sense of adventure. She and the Captain did not get along the moment she stepped on board. A staunch pragmatist, Captain Foster put theoretical nonsense and the naive enthusiasm for adventure in the same category of a bug hunt in the complex innards of a jump drive. His words. Even though Simone was on edge, he found Amarasa's magnetic, buoyant personality somewhat calming.

"This is just a precaution, Doctor, I'm sure that the unknown ships approaching will be nothing more than innocent harvesters intent on the asteroid field. We'll be back to full funtionality in no time."

Amarasa looked away from her info-films, directing her deep blue eyes at Simone. "I certainly hope so. These things are typically brief in nature and I would hate to miss the opportunity to study it for a long as my grant allows me to."

Before Simone could reply, Captain Foster stepped onto the bridge with a distasteful look on his face. "Your grant, Doctor, gives you exactly twenty six more Terran days on the Obsidian. I'm sure that is long enough." Without missing a beat, he looked at Simone. "Situation report, Lieutenant." Feelings being mutual, Amarasa turned her attention back to her info-films ignoring both Captain and Lieutenant alike.

"We are settled in for the night, rigged silent and waiting, Sir. Ensign Ivenenko reports multiple bogeys inbound at 700 km port. We expect them within the hour."

The captain stepped toward the observation deck. "Them, Lieutenant?"

"At this point, we are not sure, Sir."

"Let's not make assumptions or invite trouble. Get Sergeant Rafferty on comms for me."

A little deflated but relieved that the Captain was back in charge, Simone stepped over to the communication array. "Aye, Captain."

Captain Foster, not the least bit ruffled, leaned patiently against the balcony railing. Watching. Waiting. Wondering if his past had finally caught up to him. The young man in the starboard turret shaft gripping the controls with white knuckled rage occupying his mind.

Chapter 5

Darkness always exists in the cold vacuum of space but so does light. In a silent battle that wages infinitely on, stars of various size and strength attempt to displace the darkness with brilliant light only to be reduced to tiny orbs of inconsequential beauty by the sheer vastness of nothing. Sgt. Sara Rafferty, unconsciously aiding the battle against light, flipped off the last power switch in her cockpit and leaned her head back against the rocket seat as the control panel went dark. The quiet popping and pinging of rapidly cooling metal and plastics barely an interlude in the thoughts that pummeled through her mind. Her thoughts, straying away from the present, kept revisiting the brief argument she had with Lt. Johnston before he stormed off of the flight deck presumably to the starboard turret room. His departing silence, louder than any spoken words, left her reeling in shock. Though he is technically her superior, when it comes to ship security, she holds the ranking position and, sadly, she had to pull rank on him in order to commandeer the Silver Fox. Why did she do that?
Breaking her reverie, the on-board ship wide computer system announced the completion of the thermal bleed cycle. By sheer muscle memory, she reached up in the dark and flipped the switch thereby jettisoning the heat sink into the hungry maw of space. 'It eats everything.', she thought as she imagined angry ice cold razor jagged shards of teeth chewing on the innards of the heat sink as it tumbled in its infinite loop through the vastness of night. Ships, humans, emotions, hopes and dreams have all been consumed by this voracious opponent of humanity.
The comm light lit up a dim green as Captain Foster's gravelly voice entered her dark world of uncertainty, "Fox, Obsidian."
She depressed the comm trigger, "Go for Fox."
"Prepare for Black Night. Proceed with White Rabbit at your discretion. Over."
"Roger, Obsidian. Any special requests? Over."
"Negative, Fox. Multiple bogies inbound. Visual acquisition only. Keep it tight and don't take any unnecessary risks. Over and out."
As the comm light faded, she reached over and pulled the power plug out of the close-range communication system. In civilian models, flipping the power switch doesn't disable electrical power completely. Minute amounts of radiation can be detected by the most powerful sensors and the only way to thwart that, barring the use of illegal military technology, is to simply pull the plug. In the deafening silence that followed, her mind inexorably shifted inward
Movement. A flickering of light in peripheral sight maybe. Sara's heart started beating a little quicker as she strained her eyes in the black, searching for what she thought was out there. Hoping it was her imagination, she scanned through the starboard canopy searching off center to her line of sight so that the black and white optical receptors in her eyes could pick up the faintest rays of light. There. Just past the angular surface of the massive asteroid she was hugging next to was the movement she perceived. A slight reddish gold glimmer simultaneously set her heart to galloping as her stomach sank to the bottom of her feet. Vanduul.


Last edited by Intrepid Corsair on Oct. 14th, 2015 12:02 pm; edited 3 times in total


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As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. In mind, body and spirit.
Intrepid Corsair
Chief Executive Officer
Elder Jedi Grand Master

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re: Obsidian Precipice

Updated. 09/03/15


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As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. In mind, body and spirit.
Intrepid Corsair
Chief Executive Officer
Elder Jedi Grand Master

Elder Jedi Grand Master
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Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 6784

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re: Obsidian Precipice

Chapter 3 added. 09/05/15


_________________
As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. In mind, body and spirit.
Intrepid Corsair
Chief Executive Officer
Elder Jedi Grand Master

Elder Jedi Grand Master
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Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 6784

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re: Obsidian Precipice

Chapter 4 added. 09/12/15


_________________
As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. In mind, body and spirit.
Intrepid Corsair
Chief Executive Officer
Elder Jedi Grand Master

Elder Jedi Grand Master
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Joined: 19 Apr 2014
Posts: 6784

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re: Obsidian Precipice

Chapter 5 added. 10/14/15


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