Ascent to Greatness: A Junior Officer\'s Tale
2000 point game
+50% Construction rate
Negative scores in most other categories except attack and defense.
Chapter 1 – All Hands
The shipyards of the kingdom, and their dignitaries, the shipwrights, surpass all who came before and all who would deign to compete with them. King Aya the 8th, like his predecessors, pays close attention to the concerns of the Shipwright Federation. Aya’s succession to the throne was supported by the group, because they knew of his work as prince, when he supported the construction of ships surpassing the 10 kiloton mark. In the decades since, experimental models broke that barrier and then the 100 kiloton mark.
I am Count Dorn, 2nd Lieutenant in charge of the missile crew on the Alba Lulia, a space station which provides repair, retrofitting and limited shipwrighting from orbit. The single missile bay onboard is my responsibility, and I serve Captain Moran in this respect to the best of my ability. I am third cousin to the King, hence my noble title. To be precise, my great-grandfather is his grandfather.
I have four troopers under me, Ensigns Julian, Hal and Vorn, and Ensign First Class Pai. The Alba was assembled in orbit from the 12th to the 14th. We arrived on the 15th, with the executive officers arriving the day after that, that is yesterday. As of yet, the crew has not met with him.
My office and quarters were assigned just up one floor from the missile bay, and in the same section of the station, meaning I only have to run down one set of stairs and across the hall if I am needed. The desk is steel and built into the wall, with locked compartments containing computer equipment and stationary. The compartments are locked for the same reason they are on naval vessels, sudden ship movements would break some things and scatter the rest across the floor.
While some of my desk chores are done through intership memos, which can be handled electronically, Aya has kept many of our daily tasks bound to paper forms and letters. I pulled out a sheet of stationery, which carried an insignia unique to my rank along with my name and position:
[img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Dagger.gif[/img] [img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Dagger.gif[/img] Count Dorn
In the other room, past a curtain that seperated it from my office, a cot, and sink competed with a window looking into space. I had none of my personal effects, it was discouraged, since it increased the payload of military vessels ferrying their crew to ship or station. The stationary, which everyone onboard received, was a reminder of who we were, and a comfort when away from home. Rank, as iconified by its symbol, was a reminder of identity and civic purpose.
My present concern was compiling a report on the discipline of my ensigns while onboard the transport Onirin. This would be valuable early information into the character of everyone working in the missile bay. Not every ensign could get such a posting, because of its security classification, the administration didn’t want anyone they didn’t trust inside the bay mucking things up. Only the well qualified ensigns were assigned, but they would continue to be evaluated by me and by the evaluation unit onboard.
Captain Moran and the Evaluation Unit
In reference to the request for discipline evaluation of my unit while onboard Onirin and the past two days onboard Alba Lulia, I have the following to report on each member of my unit.
Ensign First Class Pai
Leadership – B
Pai failed to raise her leadership beyond that which is expected of an Ensign First Class, she failed to respond to a dispute between ensigns Julian and Vorn, until it was too late and the two were warned for poor conduct. Proper conduct would have forced her to intercede immediately and prevent dishonoring the missile bay unit.
Personal Evaluation – A+
Pai behaved with the utmost discipline onboard Onirin, acting as an examplar of proper military behavior and responding to all orders promptly and without wrongful attitude.
Evaluation – C
Julian argued with ensign Vorn over seating arrangements onboard the transports. The dispute was not tabled as it should have been, but instead flared up, until another ensign assigned to another unit calmed the two.
Remind Julian that military service is not the proper place to air out personal disputes nor to insist on personal idiosyncratic notions. Disallow Julian from visiting the observatory for the next two weeks.
Evaluation – A
Hal maintained discipline and followed all orders succinctly, Hal immediately took to responsibility once onboard the Alba Lulia.
Pending exemplary service over the next two months, promote Hal to Specialist – Technical Leader of the missile bay.
Evaluation – D
Vorn refused Julian’s request to sit near a window, despite having no interest in observing space himself. While Julian was undisciplined for demanding personal preference, Vorn erred more greatly in intentionally starting a dispute without any grounds whatsoever.
Demote Vorn to Spaceman and remove him from the missile bay unit, providing a more disciplined ensign the chance to transfer to this unit.
2nd Lieutenant Count Dorn.
There was a knock at my door as I finished writing the letter.
“Come in,” I said.
It was Colonel Tal, leader of the combat operations group and my superior.
“The Captain arrived a few hours ago, he wants to have an all hands meeting in the auditorium.”
“3rd floor?” I asked, not knowing the ship well beyond my own section of it.
“2nd floor, lieutenant, read the blueprints when you get the chance,” he said as we left my office and walked down the hall. Buckets, presumeably left by sanitation workers, were filled with soapy water by the entrance to the elevator.
Shiny metal would be the best way to describe the ship overall, and the elevator was no exception, it was gleaming, with solid brass buttons for each floor mounted to one side.
The Auditorium took up much of the second floor, as it was designed for meetings such as this one. Plush seats were arranged in tiered rows, and the place could likely support entertainment on the giant video display as well as diagrams and plans. As department leaders, Tal and I sat in the first, though the captain and his commanders were at the podium.
The rest of the rows quickly filled up with the crew coming from each of the ten floors of the station. Captain Moran began to speak. The auditorium quickly became quiet.
“Welcome to the Alba Lulia!”
The two commanders on both sides of the captain began to clap, and we all rose and gave the station a standing ovation.
“Many of you are ensigns fresh from the academy, making a start in this new vision in space, so I will tell a few things about myself and our commanders before getting into the meat of things.
I am Captain Moran, duke and cousin of our King Aya. I served as commander onboard the supersub Gemarran during the rebellions. After the war I led the test pilot team as the shipwrights went from 1 kiloton ships, 10, 100, 150 and now today, 200 kiloton warships, as of two weeks ago. The King wanted to establish a station in orbit to service damaged warships and their crews, and to construct new vessels in orbit using a limited shipwrighting facility onboard. This station weighs in at 500 kilotons or half a megaton!”
Once again the crew applauded for few minutes at that statement.
“I would like to welcome our first ever military commissioned shipwrights, stand up if you would. Give them a round of applause.”
About half the auditorium stood up, and the rest of us clapped for them, and then they sat down.
“Commander Nelville, to my right, is your Service Operations Commander. He is in charge of shipwrighting, ship repairing, station cleaning and docking on this station. Lets first turn to him, to hear what he has to say about these important functions.”
Moran backed up and Nelville took the mike.
“We are the premier repair service in orbit, in fact, we are the only repair service in orbit.”
The crew laughed along with the commander.
“We will have ongoing construction assignments in addition to any repair work and also hospitality for our guests onboard whether they be ship captains or King Aya himself. I would like to introduce to you our group leaders who will be working with me and with those of you who are part of my command.
Lieutenant Commander Skeen, shipwrighting, please come to the podium,
Lieutenant Commander Joram, repair, come to the podium,
Colonel Allan, hospitality, come to the podium,
Colonel Mel, sanitation, come to the podium,
Colonel Jordan, docking, come to the podium
Give a round of applause for your group leaders, Service Crew!
We will be meeting here tommorrow at 0700 for a more detailed presentation of Service crew responsibilities. Now back to the captain.”
“In addition to performing the tasks this station was built for, we must also operate the station and its systems such as environmental control. Commander Lal, to my left, is our Internal Operations Commander. He is in charge of engineering, station repair and maintenance, combat operations and the bridge.”
“I would like to introduce group leaders of internal operations as well.
Lieutenant Commander Samuel, bridge crew,
Lieutenant Commander Vanessa, engineering,
Colonel Tal, combat operations,
Colonel Melissa, station repair and maintenance
We will be meeting here tommorrow at 1500.”
“Thank you both. Now I’d like to say a few words in general about being a crewmember onboard this station. I expect everyone to perform up to the highest standards, and I appreciate you for doing so. The vessels constructed by this station's shipwrights will require crews of their own, and many of these ensigns, on their first assignment like many of you are now, will take your example as model of their own.
In addition, civillian vessels will be docking here for repair and retrofitting. It is important to set a good example for the military as a whole. With this in mind, I would like to give you the most important rules onboard this ship.
First, no fraternization with civillians. In so far as your work involves contact with civillians onboard, you may maintain contact, but only in a professional manner. Second, crew may only fraternize within rank group. These are Ensign through Specialist First Class, 3rd and 2nd lieutenants, 1st lieutenant through Lieutenant Commander, and myself and both commanders. Recreation and Cafeteria facilities are designed with this purpose in mind. Enlisted facilities, Junior officer facilities, Senior officer facilities, Command facilities are marked as indicated and open only to these groups, with the exception of those working in the facilities.
Third, drills will be run daily for those crew members assigned to departments which do not have a full task load. This primarily applies to internal operations, especially the Combat Operations group. It is important for those groups which do not have regular daily workloads to continually train for when they are needed.
Now, on to current assignments, the shipwrights will be immediately assigned to construct the Zalau frigate, which will be the first warship to enter service. The crew of that ship will be arriving within two months.
Thank you all, and goodnight.”
The captain stepped away from the podium and the hospitality group leader stepped up to the podium.
“Cafeterias will be open for the next two hours, and then closed until morning.”
The crew left row by row, with the officers leaving last. I followed the line out of the auditorium and waited for almost 5 minutes at the elevator as each one was full of crew members heading to cafeterias or their quarters. Finally I entered the elevator and hit the 6 button. I was pretty sure the Junior Officer cafeteria was on that floor. Signs on the floor directed me to it, and I went inside.
A digital menuboard displayed:
Welcome Junior Officers
2400::04::17 time - 1930
Chicken and Rice with brocolli
The Captain has authorized a dispensation of red wine to commemorate the start of operations onboard.
I waited in line and was handed a plate and at the next window the wine. I looked for a spot to sit. I sat down with a trio of 2nd lieutenants across from me.
“I don’t trust something like wine as far out as we are, it must have been on that transport for quite a while and with all that shaking and shimmying. I’m Jon, shipwrighting engine construction unit,” he said shaking the hands of the other three of us.
“Its better than lemonade, Dorn, missile bay unit,” I said in response. The others seemed to sway backwards at that.
“There’s lots of 1st lieutenants who would love your assignment, yet alone among our ranks,” another officer at the table said, “I’m Keith, shipwrighting structural integrity unit.”
The only female officer at the table said nothing until the rest of us had introduced ourselves, then she spoke, “Val, shipwrighting life support construction unit.”
“Fancy that, four of us all in different units when my unit has 6 lieutenants in it alone,” Jon said.
“We want to hear from you in the future Dorn, sit here more and we can share our comiserating. By tommorrow we’ll be busy with the Zalau.”
Dinner was silent after that, and after leaving, I checked in on the missile bay which was on the 7th floor. Access to the bay was protected by keycard, and only the internal operations commander, the captain, my superior officer and my unit were allowed into the bay. I entered my keycard into the opening and it clicked open only long enough for me to pass through.
The launcher itself was on the far end from the entrance. It was a cylindrical block partly inside the ship and partly outside, but it was sealed except when a missile was launched. A latch opened up half of the launcher, and missiles could be loaded using a small crane from the missile storage box in the corner on my left. The small crane system could load missiles at a rate of about one per minute, but they took two more minutes to activate before launching because guidance and thruster control had to come online inside the missile.
These missiles could do substantial damage to a vessel and totally destroy anything smaller than 60 kilotons or so. It would take about 10 to destroy the space station itself. The missile storage box was loaded from below where a much larger warehousing facility on the sixth floor contained many pallets of missiles which could be loaded one pallet at a time into the missile bay itself. Security for the warehousing area was another unit under Corporal Tal.
In the center of the room the missile control system stood. EFC Pai was standing at the control system, which had a display showing diagnostic and control information on the missile systems. Hal was taking inventory of the storage box. Missiles came 8 to a pallet, and if not there would be hell to pay.
“Sir!” Pai said, saluting.
“Situation Normal?” I asked.
“Aye sir, diagnostics have been run on the launch system using dry runs, launch was successful and ship integrity uncompromised. Live missile was replaced after test. Julian and Vorn were both transfered. A message arrived from the commander, would you like to view it.”
She stepped aside, turning the display over to me. I pressed the messages button and entered my code. The message read:
To: 2nd Lieutenant Dorn, Missile Bay Unit
Tommorrow at 0700, 0730 and 0800 three applicants will be applying for the positions vacated in your unit, in person at your office. Please interview them and request further applicants if not all positions are fill at that point. Usual standards of conduct for highsec appointments apply.
Commander, Count Lal,
OTR – Welcome to the service, cousin.