Author Topic: Concordance (Episode II: Personal matters)  (Read 1090 times)

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Offline Theodidactus

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Concordance (Episode II: Personal matters)
« on: February 17, 2014, 10:37:16 PM »
25th April, 2135, Deep orbit of Monticello


The story went like this:
Back in 2123, when he had first taken power, Gabriel Franca had gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress his demons. He'd done a remarkable job. There were no cults of personality, no military purges, no secret police like in the days of old. He did not kill off old enemies, he ABSOLUTELY did not reward close friends. In fact, he'd done everything he good to remove the contaminating influence of his power from the lives of the citizens of the nine worlds...he'd packed up his entire government, and boosted it into orbit.

That wasn't the story though, the story was that he'd allowed himself one indulgence, one raw, unadulterated display of the power he now controlled. maybe it was some brilliant symbolic gesture, maybe Franca simply made this one, tiny thing a personal matter: Government officials had been pressured, curators had quietly been reassigned, and for whatever reason, one priceless artifact, the rightful possession of some-or-other Terran museum, now sat in his office, inside a slim wooden cabinet, barely large enough to hold a photograph. The record of what it was had long been suppressed, there was endless speculation among his senior staff. Lieutenant Commander Reece Potter, Public affairs officer of the command fleet, fought the urge to open that cabinet now. Due to a strange confluence of events, he was now alone in Franca's office. Perhaps only for a minute. The office was strictly for meetings like this, a diplomatic symbol full of hand-drawn starmaps and elegant, lacquered tables. There were no classified documents in the desk, no vital statistics displayed on any of the monitors. The only thing worth examining, unattended, was whatever was inside that cabinet...but Potter fought the urge, because Potter was a good officer...and besides, Gabriel Franca, Concordant of the most powerful starfleet in known space, could return at any moment. What was keeping him?

***
"This is a classified meeting then?" One advisor asked.
"You'd better believe it." Another responded, "No one would believe this anyway."

Then the meeting began:

"The Sun Yat Sen went quiet seventeen minutes ago." Duke Tikomirov said. Behind him, angled screens displayed the schematics of the ship in question, as well as its current position. In both questions, the diagrams were accurate to the millimeter. The command staff in the war room knew its exact coordinates within the Epsilon Eridani system, as well as the precise location of the weakest point on its internal magazines...which is why a defection made no sense. Still, Tikomirov argued, things did not have to make sense.
Code: [Select]
Statesman class Missile Cruiser    25 000 tons     525 Crew     4653.54 BP      TCS 500  TH 2625  EM 0
5250 km/s     Armour 7-76     Shields 0-0     Sensors 14/55/0/0     Damage Control Rating 20     PPV 55
Maint Life 2.03 Years     MSP 2327    AFR 250%    IFR 3.5%    1YR 753    5YR 11295    Max Repair 840 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Spare Berths 0    
Flag Bridge    Magazine 1545    

Concordance Council Standard Fusion Drive (7)    Power 375    Fuel Use 74.24%    Signature 375    Exp 12%
Fuel Capacity 5 250 000 Litres    Range 50.9 billion km   (112 days at full power)

Anjo Antimissile Weapons System (2x6)    Range 1000 km     TS: 16000 km/s     ROF 5       Base 50% To Hit
Patel-Brusilov Polaris Launcher (10)    Missile Size 10    Rate of Fire 300
Cruzada Missile Launcher (5)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 10
Bloomberg-Gavilon Anitmissile Scanning System (1)     Range 9.2m km    Resolution 1
Concordance Council Missile Launch Center (1)     Range 101.2m km    Resolution 30
Polaris Missile (142)  Speed: 45 000 km/s   End: 36.7m    Range: 99m km   WH: 20    Size: 10    TH: 150/90/45
Crusader Antimissile Missile (125)  Speed: 80 000 km/s   End: 4.8m    Range: 23m km   WH: 1    Size: 1    TH: 266/160/80

SCEPTRA Systemwide Scanning Suite (1)     GPS 84000     Range 924.0m km    Resolution 100
Concordance Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 14     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  14m km
E.Y.E. Mk. II Electromagnetic Sensing Suite (1)     Sensitivity 55     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  55m km

ECCM-2 (1)         ECM 20

Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes
Classified schematics of the "Sun Yat Sen"

"And there is no possibility that this could be a malfunction?" Captain Fu Dai Shu responded. "A volley of cobalt torpedoes, striking them amidships, could cripple or completely destroy the ship, surely your hypothetical defector would know that."

"No chance" Tikhomirov responded. "A vessel does not lose infrared, satellite and laser transponder communication simultaneously. If our intelligence is accurate, he's not planning on surviving this mission. All he has to do is close within 100 mkm of monticello, fire a full broadside of polaris missiles, and incinerate a quarter of the planet."

"Your intelligence is wrong." Fu countered. "The captain of a main line ship does not defect, particularly on such a critical mission."

Both men wore uniforms weighty with epaulets and medals, both bore other, more subtle signs of authority: Tikhomirov, at eighty-one, was the only man in the room with a Russia Surname, he was a relic from the heady days of NATO-Russo primary, when his people were the undisputed masters of Terran space. Fu, while much younger, had clouded, unfocused eyes, the mark of a seasoned planetary explorer, now fighting cataracts after nearly a decade of service in the depths of space. Both men turned to face the man at the edge of the table, who would make the final decision.

The darkness of the situation room highlighted his already chiseled features, which were lit only by wireframe schematics and green-on-blue maps of the depths of space. The Sun Yat Sen was just a tiny yellow point, trailing an insignificant vector-tail behind it. It was currently one hundred and seven million miles away from Monticello and its three billion inhabitants. It was beset by other, slowly moving dots, representing the full might that Franca commanded: two short ranged missile destroyers, a fleet of a half dozen laser attack frigates, several light carriers, and of course the command ship they were on right now. At his command, the Sun Yat Sen could be obliterated within twenty minutes. Franca said nothing, but merely pointed at Umberto Henriquez, his chief intelligence officer, who had called the meeting.

Henriquez looked incredibly nervous, but it passed quickly. He'd been examining the data for the last week, but it was hardly worth mentioning until now. He'd gone into this meeting knowing what Franca would ask. He took the controls to the central display, and called up scans of several handwritten and typed notes which had passed from agent-to-double-to-triple agent over weeks and weeks.

"We've been receiving a steady stream of intelligence for the past few months, mostly handwritten communiques from rebel cells in the Kipling Mountains on Equatorial monticello, suggesting that a captain of a main-line battleship was planning to defect. These communiques have gotten steadily more specific, and frankly implausible, the last few, a week ago, labeled Captain Mark Donnelly of the Sun Yat Sen as the possible defector. The agents that were feeding us this information were discredited, on other matters, months ago, so it didn't bear mentioning until the Sun Yat Sen went quiet...it's why I called the meeting."

"It does seem an astounding coincidence..." said one advisor
"Do keep in mind that these informants were responsible for the 'Agent Graybow' fiasco," said another, "That was a disaster."
"Perhaps its a double blind?" said another "designed to turn us against our own captains."
"What possible advantage would he gain by going quiet?"
"He might only need a few minutes, a less accurate reading on the thermal sensors, an excuse to not respond to a nav becon query..."
"How long until he can get a firing solution on a major city?"
"hell, it could only be a few seconds, if he was willing to leave this much to chance..."

Tikhomirov raised a finger.
Silence.
Then:

"Captain Fu," He said, "I'll defer to your expertise in matters of deep space operations. Tell me: what are the odds that the Sun Yat Sen has suffered a malfunction that crippled its entire internal power systems, including propulsion, computronics, manuvering thrusters, and perhipheral equipment?"

Fu frowned, and swallowed, and told the truth: "basically zero."

"And on top of that," Tikhomirov said "What are the odds that there was...I don't know, a massive equipment failure, or an internal fire, such that no auxiliary equipment, even a personal transmitter, could be tasked to send a distress signal?"

"It is possible, but unlikely."

Tikhomirov turned to a shift lieutenant, in charge of preparing the briefing in the first place.

"Lieutenant," he said. "Would you care to give us an estimation on how long before the Sun Yat Sen is in firing range?"

"on inertia alone" the lieutenant said "and including time necessary to re-activate scanners, and spin up missiles, the Sun yat sen will be able to deliver a payload to target within the next twelve to twenty minutes. We could produce a more accurate estimate if we had..."

Tikhomirov interrupted.

"I think that would make our course of action abundantly clear."

He faced Franca

"Sir, our operations in Monticellan space have caused considerable controversy on earth and within this system. The fleet stationed here has enormous sympathy for the planet...which emphatically does NOT want us in orbit around it. There are separatists placed very highly in the Monticellan government, and we have discussed the possibility that some of members of the colonial guard could have divided loyalties...this is simply a manifestation of that.

"This is insanity." Fu Protested, "Donnelly was born, raised, and educated on earth, he would have no motivation to..."

"Captain I will ask you to be quiet at this time." tikhomirov said. "This is a matter for political officers to decide now."

Franca put the tips of his fingers together. The room fell silent again. Finally, he spoke. It was the first time many officers gathered in the situation room had heard him speak.

"How did you know he was from Earth?" He said, looking at Fu.
Fu was momentarily confused, then replied, "Sir, we took astrophysics classes together at the University of Wisconsin."
His gazed turned to his shoes, his shoulders fell "I apologize for making this personal..."
"noted." Franca replied.

***

Twenty one minutes later, Lieutenant Commander potter was still dutifully seated in Franca's office. He hadn't moved an inch. he'd wanted to.

Franca entered, and his military guard departed.

"I apologize for my delay." Franca said, "I know we have a lot to talk about. I was detained."

Potter would never ask why, but Franca seemed compelled to explain "It was nothing." He said, "Just a personal matter."

There was a beep at the intercom, cunningly slotted into the woodwork of Franca's desk. He pushed the button. A bridge officer's voice broke through the stillness of the room.

"Nav deck wanted me to inform you personally that we're getting a morse code signal from the Sun Yat Sen, all crew present and accounted for, but they seem to have suffered a massive power failure."

"We'd discussed that." Franca responded. "Happy to hear my assessment was right."

"As always sir." The officer responded.


« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 05:25:52 PM by Theodidactus »
My Theodidactus, now I see that you are excessively simple of mind and more gullible than most. The Crystal Sphere you seek cannot be found in nature, look about you...wander the whole cosmos, and you will find nothing but the clear sweet breezes of the great ethereal ocean enclosed not by any bound
 

Offline Theodidactus

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Re: Episode Two: Personal matters
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 10:38:39 PM »
*apologies for poor edits and possible stinker lines. I am officially using this forum for my flash fiction practice. I try to write everything in 1-2 hours, straight from the world in my head. It's good training for longer, more focused stuff.*
My Theodidactus, now I see that you are excessively simple of mind and more gullible than most. The Crystal Sphere you seek cannot be found in nature, look about you...wander the whole cosmos, and you will find nothing but the clear sweet breezes of the great ethereal ocean enclosed not by any bound
 

Offline Triato

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Re: Episode Two: Personal matters
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 12:08:19 AM »
I liked it very much. Not to be an spelling nazi, but I thod you might like to know it is spelled Enriquez (unless future spelling is diferent) My english spelling is probably horrible
 

Offline Theodidactus

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Re: Episode Two: Personal matters
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 12:13:02 AM »
talk to steve, all names in all my fiction come from his computerized intelligence


EDIT: Do keep in mind that 20% of the people in space in this setting have Portuguese sirnames. Maybe this is portugese.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 12:22:13 AM by Theodidactus »
My Theodidactus, now I see that you are excessively simple of mind and more gullible than most. The Crystal Sphere you seek cannot be found in nature, look about you...wander the whole cosmos, and you will find nothing but the clear sweet breezes of the great ethereal ocean enclosed not by any bound
 

 

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