Ghosts of the Federation

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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby SmoothPapaJ » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:09 pm

Brant braced for the worst. There was no good place for a bomb to blow up onboard, but some were worse than others. As the transport signature of an incendiary showed up, she reflected that some were much worse than others. If they flamed their O2 controls now, with ship atmosphere already dropping, this would very quickly turn into a very bad day.
The ship shook, and the console warned of fire onboard. The medbay.
"Oh thank God," she muttered. The relief quickly dissipated as she thought about the bomb, that it was either a miss or a deliberate preparation for a boarding action. In open space where scanners could determine the composition of the enemy crew and the capabilities of their shipboard defense systems, fighting the enemy on their own turf was still a frightening proposition. In the blindness of the nebula, it was nearly suicidal, but manageable if proper care had been taken to soften the enemy up. Was that what was happening? Was a crack squad of marines and drones going to materialize on the bridge any second now? Or was this a deliberate fake-out, tricking her to keep her skilled combatants in reserve instead of sending them in?
Through the scrambled visuals, she saw several blasts pepper the Cormorant from her own salvo. A few hits to shields, light damage to engines, and a grazing shot here and there on the hull, with the rest of their shots flying off into the void. Ahab was no joke in the gunner’s chair, but Toh was right – their pilot knew how to move. She scowled and hoped she’d missed something.
“Ahab, report.”
“The data is hard to read, captain, but I make out light damage to shields and engines…ah, wait…yes, I believe one of our rockets has disabled their transport beam.”
Oooh. “Now, when you say ‘believe…’”
“80% sure, captain.”
Brant nodded. On the one hand, she could ignore their medbay for the moment, letting the fires gutter out on their own without ordering crew from their posts to hastily repair it, and the vacuum the fire would leave behind would be contained rather than further taxing the ship’s oxygen supply. On the other hand, if these pirates did not have a crack squad of boarders ready to go, then they might prioritize repairs to the transporter, and she’d really be caught with her pants down.
“Oxygen at 60%, captain,” 78 said.
She cursed. They couldn’t keep the fight up for long. She could alternate power from engines to life support, but that would only make it easier for the Cormorant to lock on. She could do the same with weapons, but they already had barely enough firepower to win. More than likely, the pirates would just charge their jump drive and slink off to safety before they could be fully defeated, and she’d have nothing to show for all this effort. There had to be a better way. Andrews would have found a way.
And then she remembered. Andrews had found a better way. She remembered what he’d taught her that day, and she closed her eyes in disgust at what she knew she had to do.
“Cease fire,” she muttered to Ahab.
“…pardon, captain, there must have been some interference. Could you…”
“I said cease fire, Ahab. Charge and target, but hold.” She keyed a few commands into her console, power allocations and brisk written orders to certain crewmembers – there were some who might find the course of action she was about to take highly disagreeable, and she didn’t want to vocalize anything yet. “Switching power from beam to life support and engines.”
“Of course, captain,” Ahab said calmly, pleasantly. Possibly he had great faith in her and trusted what must have seemed like a foolish move, or possibly he was making plans to end her incompetent command at the earliest convenience and add her eye patch to his little memento chest – you just couldn’t tell with him. And considering that she might have just killed them all, she wasn’t sure she could blame him if he was planning the latter.
She breathed in deep as the air rattled back on, calming herself. Then she opened a comm channel to the Cormorant with her console.
145 answered almost immediately, his face screen glowing a delighted blue.
“Captain Brant. Are we to engage in playful banter as we rend at each other, or do you need another copy of my demands?”
“Neither. I’ve instructed my gunner to cease fire. I want to make you an offer.”
“Ha ha. Battle hardly over. Surely overly optimistic if you think we are considering surrender so soon.”
“I don’t want you to surrender,” Brant said, almost growling. She breathed in and out. “I’m offering something that only I can offer you.”
Toh slowly turned his head and gave her a suspicious look. She ignored him and kept her focus on 145, whose screen broke into brief, confused static.
“You signed up for a reason. You abandoned your post, betrayed your fellow soldiers, yes, and I get that. I don’t know that I could ever really forgive it, but I get it. Everything seemed to be falling apart, and everything seems so hopeless now. You got spooked, you did something stupid, and you have to live with that. But you signed up. What was it – did the Feds save your hive from the mantis? Free you from slavers? Or was it just the offer of purpose?”
145’s face was a black slate. She’d expected mocking laughter. He just stared at her.
“I don’t know. Whatever it was, you signed up. And then you deserted. You could have found quiet in the outer systems or gone to your home worlds, but you went pirate instead. And I get that, too. This?” She gestured at the Federation starburst on her uniform. “This means more to me than anything, and I’ve never met as sailor in the fleet who felt different. And if ever in some moment of weakness, if ever in some moment of need or fear, if I turned my back on my fleet when it needed me – I don’t think I could ever go home after that. See, I want to think that you’re a monster, that you’re slime, that you’re beneath me and that you and I have no common frame of reference, but I think you and I have the same problem.”
She paused to feel this out and see if she needed to hastily order the beams back online. This was more than enough time for the Cormorant’s weapons to have recharged, but 145 seemed to be hearing her out. He stared with the same black, empty face for a moment. “And what is that, Captain Brant?”
“We both have a conscience. And the problem with a conscience is once you’ve done something unforgiveable, then you can never see yourself as a decent person again. Every time you look in the mirror, you see the things you’ve done, and the only way to live from there is to be the sinner you think you are. Is that why you’re still out here in a stolen Rebel boat while their whole fracking fleet sweeps across the system? I’m sure you tell yourself you’re going to feed off the chaos they leave in their wake, but I bet that somewhere in your subroutines, you’re hoping they find you, and that you get the violent end that you have coming to you.”
145 stared. Eventually, he clicked in disapproval. “Chatty, aren’t you? I have enjoyed the diversion and armchair psychobabble, but…”
“Join us. By the supreme authority given me for this mission, I grant you and your crew absolute pardon, and offer you reinstatement into the service of the Federation.” She rose from her chair. “We need you. We are carrying encrypted intel back to high command, and we have reason to believe it will turn the tide – even at this late hour, there’s a chance, but we need you. So there it is. I do not request your surrender. I offer you redemption, captain.”
They must have stood there staring each other down for at least a solid two minutes. Brant tried to read that inscrutable machine face for the first half, but then her mind started to wander to considerations like “Am I actually going to crap my pants,” “Did Andrews ever actually crap his pants at times like this,” and “I wonder if the engi have a fear response at all like crapping your pants.” Two minutes is a long time to just stand there.
There was a voice from off-screen, the quick chattering of engi speech, but 145 shouted it down in the same tongue. Brant made a mental check that the pilot was also an engi – that would be three engi in the group if they actually joined up. How would 78 take that, she wondered. God, how would Kat?
“Interesting…” 145 began. “Your analysis of situation is…childishly simplistic. Naïve.” A flash of static on his face. “Appealing. In fairness, was only recently made aware of the size and thoroughness of incoming Rebel fleet – have considered retreating to quieter space. Still…interesting…but…”
Brant nodded thoughtfully. Calmly, she returned to her seat. “My mentor, Damion Andrews, taught me by example. He spared an enemy once, and he welcomed her aboard and gave her a post. Imagine that, a mantis serving faithfully on a Federation vessel!” Brant flicked the console, redirecting power from engines to the teleporter. She looked up at 145 and smirked joylessly. “Actually, captain, you don’t have to imagine it.”
Suitable distracted by her offer, 145 was taken wholly unaware as Katarek materialized behind him. He only had time to flash red and yellow in terror as she stabbed and ripped and shot pointe black into his back, then gripping him fast to herself as the off-screen pilot reacted too late and began shooting. Several rounds detonated against 145’s chest, but Kat held him steady as she returned fire, screeching an alien battle cry.
Toh looked back at her again, now in horror. Again, she ignored him. The smirk fell away as she found she took no actual joy in this, but she did feel at least a little righteous. “How are you liking the redemption, traitor?” she asked. “Bittersweet, I’m sure, but like you said – dying at your post is so very noble.”
145 tried to reply, but all that came out was squeals and sparks. A burst and a howl off-screen signaled the death of the pilot. Katarek threw the engi captain aside and looked around.
“Bridge secure, captain.” The mantis reached to one of her bandoliers, and Brant’s screen switched to a view from Katarek’s own camera. “I’ll have a look around, see if they have any auto-pilot worth speaking of.”
“Check life-signs, too. We need to know how many more of them are on-board.”
“Copy.” Katarek stalked over to 145’s console; without his authority, she wouldn’t be able to manipulate the console at all, but she could still see its readouts plainly enough. Brant looked them over, still coming through spotty, but clear enough to read.
And apparently, it was that easy. At first glance, there were no additional life signs, and Katarek commenced with the bellyaching about how she’d gotten all set for a fight and blah blah blah.
Then they saw one faint human male signature in the brig. And Katarek commenced with the giggling.
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby DarkPhoenix141 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 3:36 am

And I thought Brant was a good character for a second.

As a suggestion for her or anyone in a similar position:
You're not Gabriel Angelos, you can't pull that off.
It's still amazing though.
This is no easy mission...


And remember:

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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby FSS-killemdead » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:40 am

wow kinda thought the dicision was stupid she could've let him join her got access code for the sector data then gotten bio and codes for the prisoner and the brig lock then killed then looted the ship and extracted information from the prisoner (I don't have to explain how) then scraped the ship. Boom goes the dynamite.
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby stylesrj » Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:25 am

FSS-killemdead wrote:wow kinda thought the dicision was stupid she could've let him join her got access code for the sector data then gotten bio and codes for the prisoner and the brig lock then killed then looted the ship and extracted information from the prisoner (I don't have to explain how) then scraped the ship. Boom goes the dynamite.

Or you could send in a Mantis and disable the ship so you can do whatever you want with it. Now that there's no opposition, you can take the data from the ship's console and decode it later.
How many times have you played FTL and not accepted the enemy's surrender and instead sent in your Mantis warriors to finish the job?

Plus it means free ship, free scrap and not actually have to fulfil any demands. The Federation is getting desperate for victory after all.

Oh and good job Smoothpapaj. Keep it up!
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby FSS-killemdead » Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:22 pm

hmmmmm seems legit I was probably over thinking it
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby SmoothPapaJ » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:44 pm

I rushed this section out a little. The version on clarifies Brant's strategy at least a little more: she didn't know what their shipboard defenses were like. She wasn't betting on 145 actually accepting her offer. She was just hoping to distract him enough that Katarek could take him out quick and distract their pilot long enough for Ahab to score a few good hits in and force a surrender. It turned out to be much easier than that, but Brant had no way of knowing that at the time.
And you can be sure the prisoner will factor in to the next installment.
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby FSS-killemdead » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:01 pm

I cant wait for the next chapter and wait hold on THEIR IN THE CABI-(gets eaten by mantis)
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby FSS-killemdead » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:04 pm

on another note I need some opinions. engis are technically drones right? and auto assaults are drones sooo should the anti drone be able to disable them or am I just crazy.
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby dark33hawk » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:17 pm

Well...... The nano bots are more like the shell hiding the organs (which are bionic). So yeah I think so. But the key word here is technically
I've grown Scales since I left. But now I'm soaring again. Off to save the Federation and have fun!
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Re: Ghosts of the Federation

Postby cometbus » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:00 pm

Just found this thread and wanted to say...Wow, great story! Especially like the way that real FTL tactics are involved in the narrative. Subtle things like keeping engines at 90% and life support off while fully powering weapons, making sure to keep the beam weapon powered just in case there was an opening in the enemy's shields. And the fact that since they were in a nebula, the enemy (not being slugs) couldn't detect the mantis moving into the teleport room as happened previously with Slokran.

Keep up the fantastic work, and I can't wait for the next installment!

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