Sunday, April 15, 2018

Wasting Away Over Peraspera

The Boxing Kangaroo’s superficial armor damage was repaired in a single shift, but the crew found them question, and giving statements to be sent to the Imperial court at Prometheus. Everyone was thoroughly questioned, and it came through the information was correct. The Ministry of Justice’s freelancer was telling the truth, and the Delights and its’ crew were a Rule of Terra cell intent on running a number of car bombs on Prometheus. It was adding up, and the embarrassed Commander Lord Wood decided to conduct a thorough security review. At least the next courier would take the request off to Counter Intelligence on Terra. It would be up three weeks before the investigators arrived, but the compromised spacer was locked up. A series of statements were recorded, with the command staff’s being the longest. The crew was largely ready to get back to patrols.
            The ship departed the orbital complex early in the morning and went into the three-watch rotation. The first two were largely uneventful, but early in the third watch, GM2 Chishan noticed something off with one of the planetary navigation satellites. Calling for Spacehand Owen, his current messenger, he said, “Look at this, one of the local nav sats is on the fritz. Normally, we’d just report it, and the locals would fix it, but we have to play nice around here. Get the skipper,” taking a second to look at the roster, “Afari, and Brand, we gotta fix the thing.”
            Owen replied, “Tell the CO, Engineer and boat pilot there’s a problem with a local navigation sat, and we’ll need to fix it.”
            Brickley was in his stateroom relaxing, while Brand was supervising the cleanup of the mess deck when Owen found them. Afari, though, was taking a nap in the boat. The last to get to the bridge, he subconsciously adjusted his uniform. Addressing the group, Brickley said “Now we’re all here, what’s your suggestion, OOD?”
            “Sir,” Chishan replied, “I recommend the offgoing section take the boat and repair it. The local nav sat’s error codes, checking in our database, are pretty routine. It looks like it’s a simple computer failure. Nothing unreasonable.”
            “Why the boat?” Afari challenged.
            “It’s more maneuverable in getting to a sat. Also, if there’s a problem, we can recover it back to the Kangaroo and it will fit. It’s a cubic meter, plus arrays. If there’s a problem calling for the Kangaroo, there’s no problem with life support,” Chishan explained. “Should I make the 1MC for the offgoing section to muster in the rec room for briefing?
            “Make the announcement. I’ll give the plan,” Brickley stated.
            A few minutes later, Lieutenant Brickley, MM1 Brand, BM3 Zabiyah, Spacehand Hall, Corporal Afari, and Marines Franke and Fini were in the Kangaroo’s bunkroom. On the monitor set up for movies, there was a watchbill that read: Satellite Repair Operations.
MM1 Brand
CPL Afari
Boat Crew
Mne Franke
EVA Supervisor
BM3 Zabiyah
EVA Tech
Spacehand Hall
EVA Support
Mne Fini
            Brand stood up in front of the group, and explained they were going to repair a malfunctioning navigation satellite, and what each person’s job would be. Afari and Franke would be operating the Ship’s boat. She and Hall would be performing the actual repair. Zabiyah would be ensuring that safe operations occurred. Fini was to be the general assistant. Everyone quickly understood their role, and what malfunction it was. The section mustered at the boat, and performed a quick inventory of equipment. Vacc Suits, tool kit, and some spare parts. Brickley went up to the bridge after the boat was sealed.
            Boxing Kangaroo, this is Joey,” Afari said to Chishan, testing the comms. “We are ready to deploy on your orders. Over.”
            “Understood Joey. Standby for my order to deploy. Over,” was the reply as Chishan noted the captain entering the bridge. “Sir, the boat is ready to deploy.”
            “Understood; I’ll give the area warning, you perform the boat ops,” Brickley replied.
            “Aye-aye sir.”
            “All ships, this is Imperial Naval Ship Boxing Kangaroo. We are conducting boat operations in support of navigational maintenance.” Brickley said to anyone listening on a guard frequency. Not that there was much traffic in the area.
            Joey, this is Boxing Kangaroo. Releasing you on my mark,” Chishan examined his board for status information from the Ship’s Boat. “Mark!” as he entered the command to deploy the small craft.
            Boxing Kangaroo, I am making way under my own power. Over,” came Afari’s reply.
            Joey, understand. Carry out your repairs. Boxing Kangaroo out.” Chishan replied. The boat went off to rendezvous with the damaged satellite. Matching orbits, Afari effortlessly got the boat to a position 50 meters from the damaged satellite. Setting the boat to keep station automatically, he got up from the small flight deck to speak with the party in the main cabin. Franke stayed at his console, monitoring comms.
            “MM1, the show’s yours. We’re about 50 meters off the satellite, so it should be nice and easy,” Afari spoke to her.
            “Good work, but there’s no such thing as an easy spacewalk,” she replied. Her and Hall’s vacc suits were ready to go except for their helmets. “My first deployment, we almost lost a spacer on one. We’ll have 200 meters of recovery line linking us to the boat, so Boats can pull us back in. If that happens, remember we don’t have compensation, so take it easy.”
            “Aye-aye MM1. I’ll be standing by here,” Afari responded. “You ready for this?”
            “One last check here,” Brand responded to Afari’s question. “Boats, go through the checklist one last time, then helmets on,” she ordered as they went down, checking tool inventory, diagnostic computer, and suit status. Satisfied, Zabiayah and Fini placed the helmets on Brand and Hall. Once the seals were good, the two suited figures gave the traditional thumbs up gesture, and carefully entered the airlock. It cycled, and they floated out. Connecting the line to the two spots on the outer hull, Brand and Hall made it to the satellite. Brand hooked the diagnostic computer up to it, and got the readouts for the failure code. A recent event caused its’ simple computer to fail. The work was handed over to Hall, and they reset the program to ensure it operated correctly. The reset worked, and the satellite returned to normal operations. Once they returned to the boat, Afari returned it to the Boxing Kangaroo without incident.

            A few days later an unknown ship entered the system. Zabiayah was on the bridge, when he noticed a jump flare alert. Noticing the sensors, it was a ship coming in system, with the origin system masked, and at 80,000 km away, too far to do anything. He called for Brickley, who was in his office.
            “OOD, report,” was the captain’s command as he came into the small bridge.
            “Bogie detected, bearing 305 range 80k, origin system masked, sir,” was Zabiayh’s practiced response....

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