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Not with a bang but a whimper

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  • Not with a bang but a whimper

    The massive MC80 ship hung in the vast nothingness of space, engines running but not propelling it anywhere. There was not a single thing in visible range of the starcruiser except for the stars many, many lightyears away. If ever there were a time to be keenly aware of one’s aloneness, this was it.

    Inside a vast hangar bay of the CRS Payback, Matt stood in a loose circle with his six chief deck officers. They rattled off summaries of supplies of food, ammunition, and equipment. Logistics were not the glitziest part of the military, but they were critical nonetheless. This was a routine status meeting and one of the most enjoyable for Matt. He new the Payback’s technical crew were the best of the best, and there were never any unpleasant surprises. Attending meetings such as these might have been a formality at this point, but Matt enjoyed getting facetime with the crew. He strode off to the bridge.

    He knew this was not many cadets’ ideal assignment. The Payback was patrolling deep space in the Outer Rim. This was the fourth year of the assignment. There were no enemy or hostile engagements to speak of, and really, very few encounters with anyone at all. The crew had each other, and they had the HoloNet, but little other contact during their tours of duty. It was more effective to shuttle crew and supplies to and from the Payback than it was to fly the hulking cruiser back to the core worlds. Sometimes these older starcruisers were treated more like space stations than battleships.

    Matt enjoyed working with the technical crew because they enjoyed the challenge of operating a cruiser so isolated. The logistical challenges were many and they were interesting. The MC80 had many older parts and systems requiring regular upgrades, and there were no shortages of routes to plan for sending personnel on missions and leaves. Perhaps most of all, the technical crew were happy to have a safe assignment. There had not been a casualty in years. But the combat crew were another story.

    Hotshot pilots. Rugged infantry. Hotheaded cavalry. They were bored. Unlike the technical crew, the combat crew did not have much in the way of duties. The Payback did not have combat crew staffing levels it once did, but the New Republic was not about to let a warship go understaffed. The combat crew trained and ran drills but still had a lot of downtime. Many did not last long before they began to petition for new assignments.

    They all wanted to shoot that Imperial ace out of the sky and chase stormtroopers out of Imperial strongholds. Matt understood. He wanted the same things when he was younger and inexperienced. There were still many days when he would like to jump in his old A-Wing and take on some TIE Fighters. But that was not his role anymore.

    The Fifth Fleet’s Battlegroup One disappeared four years ago. How do three Star Destroyers go missing? The New Republic launched a full inquiry. But the trail went cold, and it was not long before resources had to be diverted to more pressing issues. Navy High Command decided to consolidate the remaining Fifth Fleet battlegroups into the New Republic’s Third Fleet. Acquiescing to Matt’s persistent demands, the Third Fleet High Command allowed him to continue the search for Grand Admiral Michael Simon and his missing battlegroup.

    To say the investigation had not been fruitful was an understatement. The Payback’s crew had scoured the last logged location of Battlegroup One. They interviewed crew members’ families, bribed criminals for information, and even followed up on farfetched rumors. With nothing to show for it. It was almost as if Battlegroup One did not want to be found.

    The typical subdued buzz of the bridge greeted Matt when he arrived. The watch officers were dutifully about their work. But for the first time in months, Com-Scan’s indicators glowed unexpectedly to life. "Shields," Matt croaked, out of practice, "to maximum!" He noticed a watch officer had already activated the shields, probably before Matt had said anything. After an anxious moment, Com-Scan identified the ship that had dropped out of hyperspace as the BB Zentar.
    Matt Sifi
    HA/CC Matt Sifi/CRS Payback (OOJ:JM/MoC) (NAC:MNT) (NRN:ADIR) (RDC:ADIR)

    "When this war is over, I am going to remove my medals and stars and leave only my jacket on and they all can kiss my ass."

  • #2
    Surprise at the sight of the Bulwark Battlecruiser's rusted hull flashed across the High Admiral's face. The familiar ship instantly calmed some of Matt's nerves, but he wasn't granted time to wonder what it was doing here. "Sir, a transmission coming from the Zentar," announced the alert watch officer he noticed before. Matt quickly approached as she continued. "'Comms damaged, internal damage, need units to board and assist.'"

    Heat filled Matt's face as he quickly shouted commands, falling into old routine, and the bridge came alive for the first time in a long while.

    90 minutes later..

    "Why? Just.. why?" asked Matt, a look of exhaustion on his face.

    Comm gave a tired shrug in response. "Figured I could get you to do a whole bunch of unnecessary paperwork. Reading over and signing all the logs and reports from those launches earlier. Seemed funny at the time."

    "It still seems rather funny now, sir," added the Lt. Commander who had accompanied Comm off the shuttle. Matt didn't recognize the younger officer, but an opinion of him was quickly formed.

    Comm rolled his eyes, then told the Lieutenant to give them a moment, leaving the two High Admirals alone in Matt's office.

    "They want you to come back. It's been long enough already, they think." Comm told his old friend bluntly.

    Matt gave a soft chuckle. "Do you think I really have any interest in doing that? I'd rather retire than go back."

    "Everyone on the council knows that. But with no results to show.." Comm looked away, sighing. "Admiral Chum wanted me to try and talk you into coming back now, on your own. He doesn't want to have to keep fighting to keep assets moving in and out all the way here." Comm paused again. "They want your crew and supplies, really.. not you."
    Last edited by Commy; May 18th, 2018, 09:49 PM.
    High Admiral Commy
    ID: HA/FXO Commskywalker/BB Zentar (OOJ:JM/HoC) (NAC: DIR) (NRN:ATH)