Community Event / Creation The Return (A Dramatic account of the Live Stream 13/06/2017)

(Just a quick Note. I've pulled this together quite quickly so I apologize for any bad speelign or grandma errors in advance)

The Return.

‘Davie!’ The shout came from the Asp’s upper bridge. ‘Get your ar*e up here.’

Davie Thronton, who was dozing in the crew lounge, snapped himself awake. Shaking his head, to clear it, he unbuckled himself from the comfortable couch and swing his feet onto the floor. The Mag boots clicked as they made contact to the metal floor. Stifling a yawn, he started to make his way to the lower bridge of the ASP.

Davie, being the co-pilot and shareholder of the ASP Explorer class vessel ‘Sanctimonious’, wondered what had got Commander MacTaggert’s knickers in such a twist. There hadn’t been the pant wetting lurch of an attempted interdiction and they weren’t due to make their delivery of food in the Maia system for three more jumps. He arrived at the lower bridge and went through the rigmarole of climbing into the crew member seat, putting a leg either side of the com’s panel, strapped himself into the crew seat and then grabbing the throttle and control yoke on either side of the console. As soon as he did the, instrumentation holograms faded into life around him, giving him a full status of the ship and access to the Sanctimonious weapons.

He noticed that there was a steaming coffee held in a zero-g cup which was attached to the side of the seat. He smiled to himself knowing that Mooka, the Sanctimonious’ third crew member, would have got it ready for him in the time he sauntered up to the bridge. Mooka had been rescued two years ago from a slave transport by the Sanctimonious. Since then both Mac and Davie had adopted the young imperial girl as a new crew member, thus avoiding her return to Imperial Servitude. The girl, now thirteen, was growing up to be one of the most competent crew members that Davie had ever flown with.

‘I’m here.’ Davie said into his headset with a groggy tone in his voice, ‘What’s up?’

The control panel between his legs burst into life, showing a picture of a middle age man with intent dark eyes, a thin face and brown hair. Mac was sat in a sat in a similar seat about five meters above him in the upper cockpit of the ASP. Davie found preferred the old ASP design where both pilot and co-pilot where side by side on a one level but he couldn’t deny the extra visibility that the new design gave the crew.

‘Look at the latest entry in the message queue.’ Mac said urgently.

Davie called up the list.

‘Have you been involved in a ship accident that wasn’t your fault?’ he replied, looking confused at the message from Cowel and McGrath.

‘No,’ Mac sighed. ‘The urgent one from Palin below it.’

Davie allowed himself a small smile, he knew that Mac would be telling Mooka to update the mail filters again. In more than 1300 years, you’d think they’d have worked out a way to stop spam clogging your message queue. He selected the message from Professor Palin, whom he considered a conspiracy theorist crank, and the message appeared as a hologram in front of his face.

‘Got it.’ Davie told Mac.

‘Have a read and tell me what you think?’

Davie Scanned the message;-

‘Over the last few days, I’ve asked several commanders to help collate data on the sightings of unknown ships which have been intercepting vessels near Maia. It was successful and I’d started to number crunch the data when my base was raided by a Federal Strike group. They stole the data and started to make for Federal space. However, my software had tracking worms embedded in it but those have lost track of the task force somewhere in the HIP 17044 system. I’m also receiving reports of a Federal Distress signal somewhere in that system and something about Asterope. I’m offering a reward for information about what’s happened to those Feds.’ {*}

‘What do you think?’ Asked Mac. ‘We’re only one jump over.’

‘What?' Davie found himself sorting in derision. 'Do a mission for that Tin Foiled crank?’

‘It’s not just that.’ Mac’s tone of voice changed a little urgent.

Davie understood at that point, it was a federal strike force. Mac was ex Federal Navy. Those would be fellow sailors, soldiers and pilots he would be thinking of, not some the spaced out whack job. If it was something that would cause a fleet that big to send out a call for help, then its something that everyone should know.

‘Normally I’m the impulsive one that doesn’t think this through.’ Davie replied, trying not to smile as he imagines Mac’s reaction, if he’d made the request.

‘Yeah Well.’ Mac said, sounding almost bashful.

‘Fine By me.’ he said reluctantly.

He heard Mac asking Mooka in the background, even as the ship changed course to the new System.

With a flash of motion, the Sanctimonious arrived around the star of HIP 17044. As they hadn’t been anywhere near this system before, Davie knew Mac’s routine well enough to cover his ears. The low honk of the ships’ discovery scanner resonated through the ship. A couple of seconds later, planets, moons and asteroids appeared on the console displays. Davie frowned, it was a large system which would mean a long search. He also noted that there were a couple of other ships in the area, also involved in their own searches.

‘Looks like it’s getting busy.’ He said into the comms unit. ‘Any Ideas where to start looking?’

‘There’s nothing obvious on the scanner.’ reported Mooka, ‘No unidentified signal sources and no Nav Beacon in system.’

‘Well, ‘ Mac paused thinking, ‘After a big jump, the capital ships would have to wait for the smaller ships to catch up. Normal standard procedure is to rendezvous around the largest planet that's closest to the central star and then head out to the next target star system.’

‘Sensors are saying that the HIP 17044-2 is a gas giant.’ Interrupted Mooka.

‘That will be it.’ Mac announced. ‘Then they would travel in real space until the Capital Ships Jump drives would be ready for another jump.’

‘So they were coming in from Astrioa and heading into the 2nd gas giant to meet up?’

‘That’s my guess.’ Mac confirmed. ‘Somewhere on the approach to the 2nd planet from Astoria, we’ll hopefully find our missing fleet.’

As the ship adjusted course, Davie took the opportunity to check over the Asp’s weapons. As the ship’s co-pilot and Gunner, he had access to a couple of small beam laser turrets, the missile magazine and the mine launcher, while Mac could fire the modified Main guns. As the Asp wasn’t the most maneuverable ship in galaxy, the turrets were there to deal with smaller and more agile craft. He seriously hoped he wouldn’t need them but, in the void, being prepared for the worst, was half the battle. With the frame-shift drive in super cruise mode, it only took a couple of minutes to reach the Gas Giant. The massive ball, made up of subtly different shades of brown Ammonia gas and Saturn like rings, loomed large in the cockpit. The view shifted again as Mac turned the Sanctimonious towards the Asterope system and Davie was pushed back into his seat as the ship accelerated away from the huge planet.

‘We have a close contact.’ reported Mooka.’ There’s a Fer-Del-Lance ahead of us. Spirit of St Lewis.’

‘Is she turning to engage us?’ Mac asked urgently.

‘Negative.’ Reported Mooka. ‘She’s running a parallel course. About 30 Light seconds ahead of us.’

Davie sighed in relief. Against one of those sleek and heavily armed ships, the Sanctimonious’ only option would be to run. A Fer-De-Lance was twice as big, more manoeuvrable and with enough guns to wipe out a ship like theirs in seconds.

‘Looks like someone else has the same idea.’ He said.

‘No additional contacts.’ Davie knew that Mooka would be staring intently at those scanners. ‘We’re 4000 ls away from the planet.’

‘OK, we’ll hold course until we get to 20,000.’ Ordered Mac.

‘Then what?’ Davie asked.

‘We return to the third planet and then see if they approached on that vector.’

The minutes passed slowly as the stubby craft flew though space. The Fer-De-Lance ahead of them kept a steady distance of 30 ls when the scanner in front of Davie blinked. Four, then five and then six contacts appeared behind them approximately 1000 light seconds away. He was in the process of trying to identify them when Mooka called down.

‘Six contacts.’ she cried, panic rising in her voice, ‘Looks like 3 Anacondas, 2 Asp explorers and a Diamondback Explorer.’

‘Don’t worry,’ Davie tried to reassure her. ‘We’re out of interdiction range, none of those ships could stop us if they wanted to at the moment.’

‘They’re probably looking for this lost fleet too.’ Mac was trying to sound calming but there was an edge in his voice.

The distance counter passed 7,000, 8,000 and 9,000 without incident, but Davie had to catch his breath as more ships appeared on the scanner 3000 to 4000 light seconds behind them.

‘Contact.’ Mooka cried out, causing Davie to put his hands to his ears. ’Distress Signal and unauthorized comms relay detected, thousand light seconds ahead.’

Davie shifted in his seat again as Mac adjusted course. The ‘Spirit of St Lewis’ had also changed course and was still only 30 ls ahead.

‘He’s definitely heading there.’ Davie observed.

‘Yeah.’ Breathed Mac. ‘I need you ready on the guns as soon as we revert to thrusters.’

‘Aye Aye Sir.’

Davie allowed himself a smile because he knew that Mac would be rolling his eyes in exasperation on the bridge.

‘Dropping to real space in 3, 2, 1.’

Davie braced for the usual ship shudder as they dropped out of super cruise. The ASP explorer emerged amongst a fleet of Federal ships. He gripped the flight controls tight as he looked about. Federal Gunships, Corvettes littered the space around them surrounded in a faint green glow. They were just wreaks.

‘What now?’ He breathed.

It took a second to realize that the green glow seemed to emanate from the ships themselves. What looked like a luminous green gunge covered the ships, eating away at the vessel’s hull.

‘Life signs?’ Davie Heard Mac’s voice catching.

Davie was too stunned to move.

‘Life signs!’ Mac ordered, with the full authority of the Post Captain Rank he used to have.

‘No-othing.’ Stammered Mooka. ‘Apart from us and the Fer-De-lance.’

‘OK. Let me talk to the other ship’s commander.’ Said Mac, activating the ship to ship comms.

Davie looked over the wreaked fleet again and felt the knots in his stomach tightened even more. In the distance there where two Intrepid Class Federal Battlecruisers. Both of them covered in the same green gunk, slowly eating away the remains of the massive warships. Whatever Palin had, must had been significant. Just a single one of these mammoth vessels was enough to ‘persuade’ a planet to sign over to the Federation, it was very rare that two would be needed for anything. Davie felt very light headed as he tried to process what he was seeing. Did that mean what Palin had been banging on about was true? Aliens? Davie knew that the neither the Empire or the Alliance had anything that could deal with a fleet like this.

‘I’ve a signal.’ Called Mooka, her voice trembling. ‘It’s coming from a Communications relay by the nearest gunship.’

‘Put it on Speakers!’ Davie said, as Mac was still talking to a Cmdr Lewis on the Fer-De-Lance.

‘Tango, Hotel, Alpha, Romeo, Golf, Oscar, India, Delta, Sierra.’ A synthesized voice cracked over the ship comms. "Romeo, Echo, Tango, Uniform, Romeo, November"

Davie felt his blood go cold as the message repeated over in a Loop. He worked out the message in his head.


Davie looked at the comms panel, Mac’s face reflecting the shock that he was feeling. Davie looked round the wreckage again and knew things would never be the same again.

{*} I Know that the message from the Federal threat that Ed got but ...
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Excellent. These kind on nuggets need to be preserved and not lost in this forum. perhaps it should be part of official lore.
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