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ComNet > Imperial Navy > Archived Naval Story Board > VEN: Heart of the Fleet
Topic:  VEN: Heart of the Fleet
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  VEN: Heart of the Fleet
June 19, 2012 10:02:49 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Heart of the Fleet - an ongoing run-on for all members of the Vast Empire's Navy

This thread is designed to allow ongoing, persistent character development and recurring interaction between Navy player-characters, all within an official, primarily non-combat Navy story.  If you’re ever stalled for ideas in whatever story or stories your unit is currently working on, you can always post something here to stay active.

This thread will feature stories (single posts or multi-post plot arcs) set aboard and around the flagship of the VEN, the Executor-class star dreadnought Atrus (a modified “Super Star Destroyer”).

The OOC discussion thread associated with this open-ended story thread can be found here.

INSTRUCTIONS AND GUIDELINES for posting to this thread:

1.)  Posts must conform to the following structure:
First - a brief OOC note indicating the location or locations where the post takes place (Atrus exterior, main hangar, crew quarters, a particular bar/cantina, etc.) and the character or characters featured in the post (including NPCs, if any),
Second - the body of the post,
Third - a closing OOC note incorporating a word count (of the body of the post, not including the OOC notes) and a summary of the action.

2.)  All posts must be longer than 500 words, not including OOC notes.

3.)  The focus of storylines in this thread should NOT be combat.  Take advantage of the storytelling potential of a single-ship setting that’s 19 kilometers long and contains almost 300,000 people and droids.  This is a chance to build relationships between your player-character and other members’ player-characters, even with folks who aren’t in your unit or even your branch of service (Starfighter Corps, Fleet Command, VENI).  Feel free also to develop NPCs here.  Often, official unit missions are action-heavy, with scarce opportunities to role-play deeper interactions.  This thread is designed to redress that imbalance.

4.)  The temptation to god-mode should be weaker with these stories, since they won’t be about combat, but still: make sure to justify your authorial choices.  Answer why and how: why is your character doing what he or she is doing, and how does he or she do it?  If it sounds far-fetched to you – even a little bit – then go back to the drawing board and rethink the scenario: brainstorm ways to write the kind of exciting plot you crave, without violating verisimilitude.  This thread is about writing believable, slice-of-life stories featuring military personnel on active duty deployment; realism is paramount.

5.)  Before using another member’s player-character, as well as any NPCs he or she invented/developed, you must obtain permission from that member.  OOC communication is highly recommended to coordinate cooperatively-written plot arcs.

6.)  Writing collaboratively is HIGHLY encouraged.  Seek out your wingman or crewmate, and whip up some interpersonal conflict or a storyline where the two characters bond.  Better still, find a Navy member or two who aren't in your unit, and write a few tag-team posts with them!

7.)  You can also write self-contained stories, on your own, in single posts or over the course of multiple posts.

8.)  Time should not be specified too much in your stories on this thread.  Try not to nail down EXACTLY when the events of this thread take place, so that everyone can interact as needed with everyone else.  Use vague language to indicate a rough chronology when necessary (as in, "Ever since the disastrous Battle of Belgaroth, Drac had been suspicious of his former friend," or, "It'd been long months since Trykon was promoted to Chief of Naval Training, and longer still since he'd flown a starfighter into combat."), but try to avoid definitive statements here (as in, "Three days after the Battle of Abrae, the members of Tuk'ata squadron gathered in the simulator room," or, "The year was 12 ABY.").  Every individual writer getting too specific with dates and times in every individual post will impede the primary function of this thread, which is to allow drop-in opportunities for interaction and joint storytelling, ongoing and at all times, for all members of the Navy.

9.)  Double-posting is still a faux pas, but will be permitted in this thread if 48 hoursgoes by without any activity.  In other words, if you post, and two days later no one else has posted, you may feel free to post again to the thread.

10.)  As ever, have fun. 
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SCAP/LTJG Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/LTJG Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE


[This message has been edited by Trick (edited June 19, 2012 10:03:53 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited June 19, 2012 10:37:59 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited June 19, 2012 10:38:30 PM)]
[This message has been edited by StOrMz (edited June 24, 2012 11:38:44 AM)]
[This message has been edited by StOrMz (edited June 24, 2012 11:40:35 AM)]
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
June 19, 2012 10:04:23 PM    View the profile of Trykon 
Location(s): Atrus exterior
Character(s): Trykon, NPCs

The tri-wing shuttlecraft knifed through space, flanked by two dart-like TIE interceptors on either side.  Ahead, the massive flagship of the Vast Empire’s Navy – the nineteen kilometer-long star dreadnought Atrus – loomed.

A high-pitched whine at the very edge of the audible range filled the shuttle’s cockpit, as the communications gear established a connection with the super star destroyer’s bridge.  “We have you on our screen now,” a professional-sounding voice said in the clipped tones of an Imperial Center native.  “Please identify.”

Lieutenant Wyl Trykon watched in silence as the shuttle’s crew went through the ID protocols.  First, the pilot turned over control to the co-pilot, who would maintain course and speed.  Then, he signaled his operations technician to open comms.  That man thumbed the transmit key on his console, and then pointed at the pilot when the channel was open.  “This is Shuttle Turminium, requesting deactivation of the deflector shield and permission to board,” the pilot drawled, his accent instantly betraying his rural roots on Tadath.

“Shuttle Turminium, transmit the clearance code for shield passage,” came the standard response from the Imp Center man.

“Transmission commencing,” agreed the Tadathan.  The pilot then nodded at the operations tech, who proceeded to type a short sequence of commands on his keyboard.

As they waited for confirmation – sometimes a long process, given how many small support ships were coming from and going to the massive flagship at any given moment – the crew fidgeted, impatient to finish their run.  Trykon, from his position seated in the back of the cockpit at one of the auxiliary stations, watched them all.  The technician was competent, if unimaginative, and the pilot seemed well-liked by his team, but in general they seemed to have allowed military discipline to fall by the wayside.  Trykon made a mental note to mention the untidy uniforms and regulation-defying hairstyles to the crew’s superior officer, but then he noticed the co-pilot’s skillful-yet-understated flying.  He seemed to fly... casually, and Trykon admired the deft handling so much that he canceled his own mental note.  They’re getting the job done, Trykon thought to himself.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Another whine preceded a question: “Shuttle Turminium, what is your cargo?”

“Part, replacements, and the Chief of Naval Training,” the pilot responded, glancing back surreptitiously at Trykon.

That got the attention of the Atrus’s communications officer: “Shuttle Turminium, deactivation of the shield will commence immediately,” he said hurriedly.  “Continue on your present course.  You are cleared to land in the forward hangar bay.”

“Much obliged, Atrus,” the pilot signed off.

Behind, Wyl Trykon allowed himself to smile.  There were undoubtedly perks that came with a position in the Naval High Command.  “Signal our escort, Crewman,” Trykon commanded the ops man.  “I want them in a parade-standard triangle with us for the entire landing.”

The pilot whirled around in his seat.  “The forward hangar’s too small for that,” he objected.

Trykon crossed his arms over his chest, and froze.  He stared the man down, one eyebrow arched quizzically above dispassionate grey-green irises, unmoving.  After a beat, the pilot slumped, and spun his chair back around to face forward.

The ops tech took the hint, and sent word to the two student pilots flying the TIE Interceptors: “Raptor Three, CNT says you’re to follow us in.  Parade-standard triangle formation, the whole landing.”

“Copy that, Turminium,” the element leader’s youthful voice responded.  “We’re dropping back into formation, now.”

Trykon gave a nod of approval, and settled back into his seat.  Already, the air of boredom had disappeared from the cockpit, replaced with a mounting sense of anxiety.  Excellent, the CNT thought to himself.  We’ll see how well the student pilots are coming along in their instrument-flying, and how well this shuttle crew performs under pressure.  After all, he reminded himself, when it comes to evaluating proficiency, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned pop-quiz.

645 words.

Summary: Lieutenant Wyl Trykon, the Chief of Naval Training, arrives at the Atrus aboard a Lambda-class T4a, escorted by two student-pilots from Raptor Squadron.  He orders the students to follow the shuttle in for landing to the small forward hangar, in a very close-quarters formation, which will be very difficult - perhaps even dangerous - for all involved.
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SCAP/LTJG Wyl Trykon/SMC Surprise/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/LTJG Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE


[This message has been edited by Trick (edited June 19, 2012 10:04:45 PM)]
[This message has been edited by Trick (edited June 19, 2012 10:07:17 PM)]
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
July 3, 2012 7:57:55 AM    View the profile of Serpent 

Location: Atrus Conference Room Besh, plus Atrus Hangar
Character(s):  Serpent, Echelon, various NPCs

Warrant Officer 2nd Class Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail glanced up from the datapad clutched in his right hand.  He was only halfway through the report that was written upon it, yet already he had lost the audience.  His eyes swept over the conference room of bored Petty Officers and Warrant Officers, most of whom clearly wanted to be anywhere but here.

He resisted the urge to sigh and decided to just continue reading, referring at times to a hologram of charts and data analysis that hovered just behind him at the head of the long table.  Zail’s mouth felt dry, so he took a swig of the sweet fruit-flavoured drink that he had on hand.  The one good thing about his visits to the Atrus was that the flagship always seemed to serve nice drinks.

It was at times like this that he regretted becoming Naval Intelligence’s Fleet Liaison.  He had secretly hoped that the position would give him more contact with (and thereby the notice of) the higher-ups of Naval Command.  Alas no.  His briefings were not with Vice Admiral Stormz of his circle of intimates, but rather Serpent found himself talking to middle-ranked individuals of little importance.

Hardly the career boost he had been after.

“Okay,” He said, some weariness in his voice.  “Next issue.  VENI has noticed that there was a successful rebellion on Agreedis IV.  The rebels have successfully driven the Imperial Remnant from their world, and as if in confirmation that they were covertly aided by the New Republic, the rebels have now petitioned Coruscant for membership.”

A Petty Officer 1st Class nearby, an olive-skinned human with curly jet-black hair, yawned emphatically, making no effort to hide the gesture.

Zail felt a flash of annoyance, and decided to vent his anger by calling the young man out.  “Petty Officer Juul,” Said the VENI Liaison sternly.  “Perhaps you can tell us all why the Empire’s loss of Agreedis IV is of significance to us?”

Juul’s eyes widened at the mention of his name.  Seeing that he had been noticed, he adjusted his posture from a slouch to sitting fully upright in his chair.  “I... er... I didn’t think that there was a significance.  Agreedis IV is the far side of the galaxy, out by Hutt Space, isn’t it?”

Serpent raised an eyebrow.  The youngster knew his galactic geography at least.

Suddenly another voice spoke up.  “Is it to do with Agreedis’s large deposits of zersium?”

“Thank you, Warrant Officer Bandoran,” Said Zail with approval, thankful that Echelon was present.  At least one of his audience was paying attention.

Turning to the now embarrassed-looking Petty Officer Juul, Serpent elaborated on the point with a deliberately condescending tone of voice.  “Zersium is used to make armour and building materials, Mr Juul.  The Imperial Remnant clearly needs the substance in abundance and only have a few worlds that produce it.  With one source of it now denied to them, they will look at other worlds to conquer to gain access to more.  The VE has several worlds with zersium deposits, so what does that mean for us?”

“That... that they may make an attempt to conquer some of our zersium-rich worlds?” Replied Juul stutteringly.

“Exactly.  And since the Second Battle of Belgaroth the Empire have been looking for a reason to pay us back for their defeat there.  This is the excuse they need to sate their egos’ demand for revenge.”

“Understood,” Said Juul.

Zail cast his gaze around the room carefully, noticing that everyone else was now sitting a little straighter and more attentive in their seats.  Pleased that he had made an example and a point, Serpent continued the briefing.

“Next I want to discuss the impact of the recent assassination of a politician on Corellia...”


The briefing came to a close and Serpent was relieved to get out of the conference room.  He had to keep reminding himself to be patient in these meetings.  Zail was trained by VENI to see patterns in data and predict changes in the Galactic Civil War, but these other non-coms were not.  He wished that they would just listen, and then maybe they could see and understand so much more.  He prayed for the sake of the Navy that they learned to see the big picture sooner rather than later.

Lost in his thoughts, he wandered through the massive Super Star Destroyer, on his way to one of the Atrus’s many docking bays.  His business on the flagship was complete, and he was looking forward to a quiet evening back in his quarters on the Halcyon Warrior reading a good book.

He turned off a corridor and through a set of doors into a colossal hangar bay, and paused to take in the sights.  He admired the racks of TIE fighters and polished reflection in the deckplates at his feet.  Ah, this was a capital ship!

Seeing something approach, he shifted his gaze to the large bay entrance, and there noticed an incoming shuttle, escorted by a duo of TIE Interceptors.

And who is this arriving now?  He wondered.

849 words.

After Action Report:  Serpent is giving a briefing about galactic event to some officers of the Atrus, acting in his role of VENI Fleet Liaison.  Following a trying meeting (where most people, save Echelon, ignored him), Serpent proceeds to the hangar to take his leave of the flagship.  There he notices the arrival of Trykon’s shuttle.
MS/WO2 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / LCR Courage/TF: TH/3Flt/VENA/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
July 19, 2012 6:39:19 PM    View the profile of Hades 
Was it sadness he was feeling? Hades had rarely been attached to trivial items, but he'd been assigned to the Atrus since he had graduated the Naval Academy. That was a different time and if he looked at a holo of him then, he would see not a hardened Chief Petty Officer, but an innocent young Crewman who came from an unpleasant background. Well, his background had been more pleasant than some others to be sure – he hadn't lived in poverty for long, and usually had enough to get by. Most of all he'd been able to help people who had been in a similar position, and give them hope. Maybe he could do the same here – give people hope – but he doubted it. While the Vast Empire was rather uniform in its traditions, appearance and.. well, most things really, he knew that the pilots and Capital Ship staff alike loved their navy and were, by and large, fiercely loyal. He counted himself among them, and was loyal to the Vast Empire without a doubt. More than that, he was loyal to his Squadron, his wingmates, no matter how disturbed they might be. At this thought, his mind drifted to Ryn. She'd been wounded in battle but had also suffered some sort of mental trauma that had led her to be, well, less of herself. A grimace crossed his features and the young CPO closed his eyes. It seemed just yesterday that she had come to 'rescue' him from the prototype Star Destroyer, giving him all kinds of hell for crash landing like that. In the end, though, he'd rescued her.

She would dispute that. Well, she would have disputed that a few weeks ago. The incursion changed all of that. Hades let out a sigh.. He wondered if other people had similar problems. His wondering was quickly ceased as he realised that Ryn had almost been killed and Maroy had lost her husband. Husband? Or fiance? Hades could scarcely remember, but he remembered the man's name alright.  Cayden Tavers. He had been a legend in the Starfighter Corps not too long before Hades had signed up.. Or so he heard. Not having met the man or seen him in battle, Hades could not testify as to his legendary status. He was told that he was gaining status within the navy too. At this Hades would simply shake his head and smile, saying 'I'm too young to be a legend'. It wasn't that he lacked the skills, the leadership or the motivation. It's just that he disagreed with the very concept of being a 'legend'. Legends were what you told your children at night to scare them or inspire them, not what belonged in a Starfighter corps. Pilots needed icons and role models; non-existent entities were like the ancient tales of Lord Nyax, originating from Correllia.. He only made you afraid if you believed in him.

Another sigh escaped his lips and he sat up on his bunk. A dull throbbing was inside his skull and his throat was parched, but he'd had worse hangovers. Much worse hangovers. He'd once woken up in a local prison. Now that.. that was a hangover to remember. This would probably just fade into obscurity like so many of his hangovers heretofore. Hades was young – 22 in a few months – but he had seen more than the mean 21 year old. And a lot of that included alcohol, so he definitely knew what a hangover was. He hadn't quite mastered the art of preventing them yet, though. Sobriety worked, but when you were sober.. You woke up in the morning feeling as good as you would feel throughout the entire day. Insobriety on the other hand.. Hades grinned to himself and hopped off his bed, shirtless, and walked over to the small 'fresher that was assigned to this room. The other bunk was currently empty, for whatever reason Hades did not care. He almost gasped when he saw himself in the mirror. His eyes were bloodshot and his short hair was in absolute disarray. Hades leant down and turned the sink on, splashing water over his hands and in turn, over his face. Ah, Hades thought with some relief. Much better. Looking at himself again, he saw that his face was less pale now, and his eyes slightly less bloodshot. Time for a shower, methinks, he ran a hand along his jaw, feeling day-old stubble. And a shave. He grinned charmingly at his own reflection before closing the door to the refresher.

15 minutes later

His boots clicked against the hard, immaculately polished floor belonging to one of the Atrus' thousands of corridors, helmet under his left arm and rucksack on his back. ...Tuk'ata is reassigned to the Halcyon Warrior, effective immediately...the words flashed before Hades' eyes as he re-read the message in his mind. They had received the memo yesterday, all of the members of Tuk'ata, just after the briefing. The briefing itself had told them of it, but the memo was an official notice, per se. Hades had rolled his eyes at the complexities of administration. Then again, subterfuge was equally complex. Hades pulled out his datapad and almost immediately, the small device beeped gently. A message, just as he got it out? Someone favours me today. He opened the message, but it stopped him with an impersonal and abrupt 'CALLSIGN, PASSWORD, AUTHORITY'. Hades dutifully relayed the request and waited. The message opened. It was from VENI. I should have known, the pilot thought grimly. He skimmed the message, as it was marked as a low priority memo.

[ Job well done on Ord Vaug. Further assignments will be forthcoming. ]

The message was succinct – short and to the point, wasting no formalities. Each VENI member knew that a VENI message contained no padding. It was all simple, and all of it had a point. The message was from a single recipient 'Grimm'. Hades smiled to himself. 'Grimm' was the codename that both of the brothers used. They were twins, the ones who had sent Hades on the Ord Vaug mission, known to most of the VENI members as 'the brothers Grimm'. Another beep emanated from the small device and Hades frowned. Surely not VENI again? He wondered, but his question was quickly answered when no verification warning came up before the message. It was from the Naval Platform Cappadocious, the Commander of Naval Training Lieutenant Wyl 'Trick' Trykon no less. Or at least, it came from his office, which suggested it was written and sent by some undersecretary or other, requiring only Trykon's code to send it.

[ Chief Petty Officer Aita,

We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted as a training officer with the Vast Empire Naval Academy, Starfighter branch.

Further details will be sent to you soon, until then your duties are unchanged.

Office of the Commander of Naval Training

Hades' frown deepened, his brow knitting together further. Despite the surprise, he could not help but grin. I thought they'd shoot it down outright, me being me, Hades said this as he did not exactly have the best reputation with his commanding officers. Bar fights, crazed – although effective – maneuvers, a playful attitude and more all added to his list of cons. Gammorreans do fly after all, the rogueish CPO mused. Not bad. Hades stopped suddenly and realised he was in the hangar. He had been walking and reading, not paying any heed to his progress yet subconsciously knowing exactly where he was going. With a sigh, Hades' gaze ran over the empty rack where his personal fighter had once been. It was on Abrae, now – there wasn't enough room for it on the Warrior – but his VE fighter was still there, woefully grey and black, with the exception of the Tuk'ata symbol and more than a dozen various sigils with slashes through them. They counted his kills.  The CPO descended the short flight of stairs and walked across the catwalk toward where it hung. Behind him, arrayed in a column that held three additional fighters, stood three additional pilots.

Eli 'Bolts' Long was one – the tall Falleen stood out mostly anywhere. He almost recognised the one with a scowl on his face, that marched off as he appeared, but the final one he did not. Actually, he did, but only in passing. Darian.. or something like that. He had seen him at the briefing. Hades nodded at them both, members of Besh flight. The second flight of Tuk'ata. My flight.. Hades reminded himself curtly. His eyes lingered on the Falleen. He showed promise. Well, with a Squadron Commander like Wager – whom was absent from the hangar at this time – most people had potential. But the Falleen was different. Hades could tell he would do better than some. Than most, he corrected himself. A month or so out of flight school and already he's fiercely loyal to his squadron. Yes, he would definitely go further than the one who had just stormed of. Skree, was it? No, Skree was a creature that they encountered while aboard the Surprise. Ah, Hades thought with a grin, Scral. That was his name.

Well, Scral wouldn't be going anywhere soon with the attitude he'd just seen. Eli approached him. “Senior Crewman Eli-”

“'Bolts' Long,” Hades finished for him. “Yes, I know. No need to salute, I'm just a Chief Petty Officer.” He waved away the salute with his own. “You've proved to be reliable, Crewman. See that your reliability persists.” Hades remarked with a wry smile. Eli nodded slowly, understanding much quicker than his nod let on.

Wordcount: 1,624

AAR: Hades does some thinking about issues in his and his Squadron's past, present and his thoughts on the move from the Atrus to the Halcyon Warrior

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Chief Petty Officer Demetrius "Hades" Aita, Flight Leader & Training Officer
FL | CPO "Hades" | B-1 | S:26 "Tuk'ata" | W:58 "Javelin" | ISD Halcyon Warrior | TF:Besh | 1st Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
TO | CPO "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE

[MC1] [CBV] (=SWC=) [CAR] [BWC] [HNS] [SWC]
{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA} {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}

"There's not a finer sight in the galaxy than gassed rebels running out of a cave into the waiting blasters of your own battalion. Well—perhaps sunrises. But for those, you have to wake up early."
~Surveillance Officer Trech
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[This message has been edited by Hades (edited July 19, 2012 6:40:39 PM)]
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
July 22, 2012 2:05:10 AM    View the profile of Eli13778 
Eli sat on his bunk absent mindedly. Ender, Eli's pet scurrier, began to shuffle the sheets around to make a comfortable resting spot. For some reason, the rodent had the audacity to choose his spot right in the middle of the bed. No matter how many times I reprimand him for that he still does it... Whatever, it doesn't matter..., Eli's distant thoughts came sluggish and spaced out. The Falleen was deciding his future in the Navy. Eli was an exceptional engineer, specializing in the TIE craft domain. As it had turned out, he was also a fairly decent pilot. He enjoyed both, but was worried that he could only choose to do one. His training officer had once promised to consider allowing him to follow both paths, but the man had never followed up on it. So Eli now found himself between the proverbial 'rock' and a hard place. Eli loved working as an engineer. He had also flown in the Battle of Abrae, had made a friend of a fellow pilot named Dawn, and had proven to be very devoted to Tuk'ata squadron in a sim labeled 'Trust Fall'. In short, he was torn.

Ender finally finished digging in the bed, thus ended the incessant scraping noise that had become a regularity to Eli. Almost immediately afterward, Eli's datapad beeped, informing the Falleen that he needed to report to the hanger. Javelin wing was moving to the Halcyon Warrior, the Imperial Star Destroyer under the command of Captain Drac, a Mon Calamari. Apparently, this Drac figure was a brilliant military strategist, and Javelin was being moved there to see more action. That meant a move on cramped transports with the odor of one part bad man smell, and two parts really bad man smell. All summed up, the transports tended to smell like heavy and extra salty sweat. Joy, Eli thought glumly. He could barely imagine how difficult the move must be for the SCs, XOs, and FLs. For the WC, however, Eli felt no remorse

The datapad beeped again, informing Eli that a half an hour had passed as he made his observations. Slowly the Falleen rose and began to made his way to the hangar, still in deep thought.

After the Battle of Abrae, Eli have received a promotion and a Merit Cross. He was also informed that, due to his performance in the battle, some higher-ups were watching him. Eli had no idea how high up or how close the watching was, though he was able to deduce from the promotion and award that he was being watched because his performance in the battle was considered good. However, the fact that they were watching him couldn't necessarily be considered good. 

Eli arrived in the hangar and stood at attention with Besh 2, Darian. Hades, Besh's Flight Leader, stood before them, watching intently, as Scral sulked up and nearly immediately stormed away. Bemused, Eli watched him leave with his peripheral vision. Only after Scral was out of sight, did Eli notice Hades's intense stare upon him. Eli had once- not too long ago, in fact- made a mental note to not cross the man. But due to Demetrius's stare, Eli feared that he may have already inadvertently done so. So, Eli decided to make an attempt to get a clue and, if Hades was reminiscing on something Eli had done wrong, to take it of the man's mind. The Falleen approached Hades, saluted, and began, "Senior Crewman Eli-"

“'Bolts' Long,” Hades finished for him. Eli nearly winced at the 'Bolts' part. It reminded him too clearly of his engineering days at Sinear. “Yes, I know," continued Hades. "No need to salute, I'm just a Chief Petty Officer.”  He waved away the salute with his own. 

No matter what your rank is, you are my superior, Eli thought. The Falleen was slightly shell shocked, though he didn't let it show. Eli had never met a higher ranking officer that didn't openly accept being saluted for a few moments at least. Or however long they could pretend not to notice it without looking vain.

“You've proved to be reliable, Crewman. See that your reliability persists,” Hades finished with an... interesting smile. Instantaneously, several things fired off in Eli's mind. A: Hades was not at odds with him, B: Hades's opinion could reflect that of the 'higher-ups', C: If Hades only had to manage three pilots, and he found nothing wrong, then those busier 'higher-ups' almost certainly couldn't, D: if Eli's performance was viewed at as acceptable, maybe he would be allowed to double as a pilot and engineer. As all these points clicked for Eli, he nodded slowly. And the Falleen could see in Hades's eyes that the Human knew that Eli understood more than his meager nod let on, i.e. what he had just been told.

Still, the extent of the Flight Leader's knowledge was unknown, and, refusing to underestimate the man, Eli had to assume Hades knew it all. The Human was sharp as a vibroblade and just as quick witted. There would be no test of knowledge, no battle of wits that Eli could win against Hades. And, to the Falleen's advantage, Eli knew it. 

Word count: 864

AAR: Eli also mainly does some thinking.
FM/SCW/Eli Long/B-4/S:26 "Tuk'ata"/W:58 "Javelin"/ISD Halcyon Warrior/TF:Besh/1Flt/SFC/VEN/VE [MC2] [MiD]

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Post Number:  1807
Total Posts:  3784
Joined:  Feb 2011
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
July 22, 2012 3:18:53 AM    View the profile of Trykon 
Location(s): Atrus hangar, and conference room
Character(s): Trykon, Serpent, Denethor, StOrMz, NPCs

The student pilots acquitted themselves well.  There was one tricky moment, when the trio of spacecraft turned toward the rear of the hangar bay, all on their repulsorlift engines, that was done rather sloppily – the student in the port side Interceptor hesitated too long before starting his turn, and then overcompensated when he realized his error, almost veering into Trykon’s shuttle – but in general the bit of impromptu formation flying was executed very well indeed.  Trykon smiled as the shuttle touched down lightly on the hangar deck, and stood up with an exaggerated grace and dignity.

The shuttle’s pilot proffered a compliment: “Pretty impressive, for trainees.”

“Thank you,” the Kuati-born Chief of Naval Training replied simply, and then he strode purposefully out of the cockpit.

At the foot of the boarding ramp, he was greeted by a familiar presence.  “Greetings, Mr. Zail,” Trykon said warmly.  “What brings you to the Atrus today?”

“VENI briefing, sir,” the Alderaanian said with a respectful nod.  “But, you probably knew that,” he added playfully.  When he raised his head, he was grinning.

Trykon couldn’t help but smile back at his former Executive Officer.  “Now that you mention it, I may have read something about that in my daily brief, yes.”  He shook his head ever so slightly as he thought of the massive changes the preceding year had wrought for him and his career, and for the VE in general.  About a year before, the Naval Commander in Chief and the Chief of Naval Operations – two of the most powerful beings in the Vast Empire – had approached Trykon in secret, and tasked him with reforming the Vast Empire’s Naval Intelligence service from the top down, in the wake of the disastrous failure to predict or prevent the terrorist attack which had decimated the Navy’s officer corps.  Trykon had reluctantly accepted the challenge, and soon uncovered the identity of the VE’s foe: the poisoners had been working for the Imperial Dominion, a rival faction.  Over the next months, Trykon had coordinated a massive campaign to manipulate everyone – enemies, allies, and even some of his closest personal friends – into unwittingly participating in the climactic Battle of Belgaroth, wherein both the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant lost most of their local fleet strength.  Assuming the VE was critically weakened as well in that clash, the Imperial Dominion – encouraged by VENI agents in strategic, influential positions – chose that moment to attack the Vast Empire directly, prompting the Battle of Abrae, which, only weeks before, had ended in a one-sided Vast Imperial victory.  Finally, just before the Battle of Abrae, Wyl had been allowed to step down from the exhausting post of CNI.  He was a changed man, even skinnier and more sickly-looking than he had been when he was appointed to the position, but the sacrifices he’d been forced to make made him even more proud of his accomplishments.  And apparently, the new CNI agreed that all he’d done was worthy of pride and recognition: the new Chief had seen fit to keep Trykon on as an honorary “Grey” agent, complete with security clearance to view daily Intel briefs.  So, yes, Trykon knew that VENI’s liaison – Pherik Zail – was scheduled to give a routine briefing on the flagship that day.  “How’d your meeting go?” he asked.

“Oh, you know,” Zail said noncommittally, “it takes a certain sort of mind to appreciate the finer intricacies of galactic econo-political realities.”

Trykon harrumphed sympathetically.  “Copy that.  Well, you’re doing good work, Mr. Zail.”  Trykon tried to soften his formal mode of address with another grin.  “Carry on.  I’ve got a meeting with the brass…” he trailed off, glancing past Serpent’s shoulder.

“Aye sir.  Thank you sir,” Zail said, saluting.

Trykon returned the gesture, then walked briskly out of the hangar.

Many minutes later, he reached the conference room directly aft of the massive super star destroyer’s bridge.  The guard detail outside snapped to attention as he passed through the doorway, and then Trykon found himself face to face with two Vice Admirals, and it was his turn to come to attention and salute.  “Lieutenant Trykon, reporting as ordered, sirs,” he said.

Vice Admiral Ph’rranix Krazanr was the first to salute back, his massive furry paw snapping off the movement informally.  He growled in Shri’wook, and Wyl winced slightly.  Though he knew the sound to be a friendly greeting in the Wookiee’s native language, it was still a jarringly loud noise all the same.  The other Vice Admiral, the only-recently-recovered Kam Vox, was slower to salute, and much more precise.  “Come in, Lieutenant,” the previous NCC said.

Trykon obeyed, and sat, after the two Navy greats did so themselves.  Despite all he had done since joining the Vast Empire, and indeed in spite of his own position on the Naval High Command as Chief of Naval Training, Wyl found he was nervous, being called before these two beings.  He forced himself to breathe regularly, and folded his hands on the conference table, waiting for an explanation.

It wasn’t long in coming.  [[Tell him,]] Krazanr rumbled.  Vox nodded.

“Your request has been approved,” the Human Vice Admiral said primly.  “Since you seem unsatisfied with 'the life of a schoolteacher’ – well, since you want to do more than run the Academy, your request for an advanced role in Fleet Command has been approved.  You’re being bumped up to Executive Officer of Task Force Besh.”

Trykon bristled a little, inwardly, at the characterization – after all, he loved his work at the Academy, it was just that he also wanted to feel like he was part of the front-line action, too – but externally, he rejoiced, cracking a wide smile.  “That’s wonderful news, sir.”  He turned to address Krazanr.  “Thank you, sir,” he said, making sure to make eye contact with the Wookiee as he said it.  “What’s the word on Surprise, then?” he asked, focusing again on Vox.

“You took her right to the edge, Trykon,” the new Chief of Naval Operations said, his tone edged with reproach.  “She’s salvageable, but she’ll be in drydock five months at least.”

Trykon frowned.  “I’m glad to hear the ship’s not a complete loss, but I’m confused.  How can I serve as Task Force XO without a ship?  Will I just be stationed on the Halcyon Warrior, as Drac’s direct adjunct?”  His voice sank, and his frown deepened.

[[Just because you won’t have that ship,]] Vice Admiral Krazanr barked, [[that doesn’t mean you won’t have a ship at all, Trrrick.]]

“A new command, then,”  Trykon said, his tone one of resignation.  He had grown to love Surprise.  “Very well.  Which of the other Strike-class Cruisers is available?”

“For a man who successfully hoodwinked three separate galaxy-spanning militaries, you can be pretty dense when you want to be, Trick,” Vox said wryly, taking his cue from the NCC and using Trykon’s callsign.  “None of the Strikes are available, as you very well know.  They’re out on patrols.  We’re forced to entrust you with something else.  We were thinking, the Brilliant.”

Wyl sort of hiccupped, in an abortive, nervous chuckle.  “The Brilliant,” he repeated stupidly.  “THE Brilliant, the Vic Star Deuce.  That’s… heh.  That’s, well, it’s brilliant!”  Suddenly, he realized he was standing, hands clasped together gleefully.  “I was born the same week that ship was launched!” he tried to explain.  “It’s Kuat-built.  It’s a Star Destroyer,” he exclaimed, as the realization hit that he’d be captaining one of the most iconic symbols of Imperial might.  “And besides that, Brilliant itself is a legend.  It’s…” he trailed off, as he saw the expressions on his superiors’ faces.

Both Vice Admirals were regarding Trykon with half-smiles, but their bemusement was tempered with obvious impatience.  One of Vox’s eyebrows was raised quizzically.  “I’m glad the assignment is amenable, Lieutenant,” he said mildly.

“Yes sir,” Wyl replied sheepishly, sliding back into his seat.  “Quite.  I won’t let you down.”

[[You never do, Trrrick]], Krazanr purred, [[but we need you up to speed with the new ship and crew as soon as possible.  Morrre than ever, we need SCAPs of your caliberrr.  The Navy is restructurrring after the recent battles with our enemies, within and without, and soon, we’ll be going on the offensive.  Brilliant – and you – featurrre heavily in those plans.]]

“Aye sir,” Trykon said, his moment of childlike anticipation already forgotten as the realities of his new assignment began to sink in.  “We’ll both be ready.”

1,406 words.  Been a while since I could just write a big, meandering, dialogue-heavy CD piece.  Not the tightest thing I've ever written, but it'll do.

AAR: Trykon exchanges a few brief words with the VENI liaison, Pherik "Serpent" Zail, and reflects on his brief-but-eventful tenure as CNI.  I've also made it clear that Trykon, over the past year (while he was secretly running VENI), has gotten ever-more skinny and sickly-looking.  He's not well, physically.  Then, he meets with Vice Admirals Krazanr and Vox, who give him his new assignment: Task Force XO under the CNW, in personal command of the famed Victory II-class Star Destroyer Brilliant.  It's the realization of a major goal for Trykon, so he celebrates, before refocusing on the task at hand.
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SCAP/LT Wyl Trykon/VSD Brilliant/TF:B/1Flt/FC/VEN/VE
CNT/LT Wyl "Trick" Trykon/PLF Cappadocious/VENA/VEN/VE


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[VE-NAVY] Warrant Officer 2nd Class
Post Number:  479
Total Posts:  1214
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
September 18, 2012 8:16:41 AM    View the profile of Serpent 

Location: Atrus Grav-Ball Court
Character(s):  Serpent, Simon Gradesh (NPC), various other NPCs.

Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail recoiled as an upside-down member of the Halcyon Warrior’s engineering crew impacted against the reinforced window in front of him.  He was in no danger, of course, but the brutality of the way the man crashed caused Zail to flinch.  It had been a long time since he had last watched a grav-ball game in person and the physicality of it was far more real up close and personal.

Beyond the window stretched the court, where two teams of six people bounced in zero gravity off the walls, ceiling and floor, attempting to wrest control of a ball from each other and score valuable points.  Serpent had come to watch, as had several dozen others from across the fleet.  Only the Atrus had the luxury of having its own on-board court complete with spectator seating, so it was here that Naval personnel came to satisfy their urge to compete.

Normally Zail would be too busy to take time out of his schedule to watch sports, but he had just finished a meeting right here on the flagship and, since it was a team from his old ship the Halcyon Warrior, he figured he would take some time to relax and watch.

At his side sat his old friend Simon Gradesh.  Once Serpent’s roommate, the young Senior Crewman had languished at the lower ranks while Zail himself had risen swiftly to command of his own ship, the corvette Defiance.  The two set rank aside instantly upon seeing each other, and now eagerly discussed the match they had both coincidently turned up to watch.

“Oh, no way!” Roared Simon, as the other team scored.  “Geez, that Neimoidian on the other team is fast!”

“Too right he is,” Observed Pherik, impressed by the rival’s star player.  “What ship did you say these guys were from?”

“Some of Captain Gorma’s boys,” Replied Simon.  “Their team is ranked 17th in the Fleet League.”

“And our people?” Asked Zail, unsure of the current rankings in the League.

“A lot lower,” Replied Simon sadly.

The Fleet League was a strange entity.  Teams were formed at random, just made by friends in the Navy who wished to play together.  Some smaller ships and squadrons had no representatives in the League, whereas massive ships (like the Halcyon Warrior or indeed the Atrus itself) had several.  Matches were arranged ad hoc, whenever all six members of a team could arrange time to get over to the court on the Super Star Destroyer, and so rarely planned more than a day or two in advance.  Some members of the Fleet followed said matches with great interest, and results were posted throughout the Navy.

Serpent was originally of the belief that the matches were intended to serve as points of pride and morale boosts for the crews.  Instead it was more about gambling, and the League table itself was compiled to make calculating odds easier.  Not that he cared, though.  Gambling was not one of his vices, but he knew that everyone needed a hobby.

“So tell me, Simon,” Asked Pherik as one of their side intercepted a clumsy pass and made a dash for the scoring zone, “Do you play?”

“Me?” Replied Simon, a little shocked.  “Nah, I’m way too fragile.  C’mon Pherik, look at my face, I’m gorgeous.  I’d never risk my good looks in a contact sport!”

“Uh-huh,” Said Zail, and wondered at the similarity of Simon to Serpent’s womanising, wise-cracking Com Chief, Dev Mishima.  Probably best if the two men never meet.  There was only so much ego a single vessel could hold...

He turned his thoughts from the nightmare scenario and focused instead on the game.  The three-dimensional sporting encounter was in full swing and the audience were cheering raucously.  In the court beyond the view window, the team from the Halcyon Warrior were dressed in red, their opponents from the Fearless in blue, each trying to out-manoeuvre each other.  Each player held a repulsor baton in their hands, used to catch, hold, and throw the ball from person to person.  Aiming and throwing anything while weightless and disoriented was a challenge, and Zail marvelled at their skill.

Pherik and Simon suddenly winced in unison, as one of the Warrior’s team was tackled in a brutal fashion, hurled into a wall by two of the opposition.  No foul was called and the game continued apace, leading inevitably to the other side scoring.

“This is turning into a massacre,” Observed Mishima.

“Agreed,” Said Serpent.  “Though I must admit, this is quite entertaining.  I wonder if I should give it a go?”  He mused aloud.

Gradesh could not stifle a laugh.  “You, Pherik?  No way, no chance.”

“You don’t think I’m tough enough?” Retorted Zail, annoyed by the other man’s dismissive attitude.

Simon must have realised that he had upset his friend.  “Sorry man, I meant no disrespect.  I just meant that you are way too busy for this nowadays.  I mean, when would you train?  You’d need to work out a lot, and between captaining a corvette and doing... whatever it is you do at VENI, I just can’t see you putting in the time.”

Pherik sighed.  “Yeah, you’re right,” He said, but inside he was not convinced.  His VENI assignments were physically demanding, and in the future they would only get more so.  He needed some way to keep his body as sharp as his mind, and grav-ball might prove to be just the contact sport he needed to toughen up.

They continued to chat until the match ended, and then they slinked away as the supporters from Commander Gorma’s crew cheered their side’s victory.  Zail, despite no longer being in the Halcyon Warrior’s crew, was pretty irked at the result, but his friend seemed to have an idea on how to cheer him up.

“You still have time to kill, Pherik?” Asked Simon.

Serpent glanced at his chronometer.  “Sure.”

The other man’s face split in a big smile.  “Then I have something special to show you!  The Atrus has got something even better than a grav-ball court!  Follow me!”

Intrigued, Zail let his friend lead on...

1023 words.  I mentioned in another post (here) my ideas for introducing some more locations to the Atrus, to provide more interesting chances for Character Development stories.  Here is the first such place, the grav-ball court!

AAR:  Serpent is on the Atrus, and decides to check in on the latest grav-ball match. There he meets his old roommate Simon Gradesh (an NPC from my character’s earliest days in the VE) and they chat while watching the game.  Serpent is intrigued by the sport’s Fleet League and wonders about giving the game a go himself.  Now the two friends are on their way to another interesting location on the Atrus...
MS/WO2 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / CR90 Defiance /TF: TH/3Flt/VENA/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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Imperial Baronet

[VE-NAVY] Warrant Officer 1st Class
Post Number:  528
Total Posts:  1214
Joined:  Jul 2011
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
October 30, 2012 8:55:19 PM    View the profile of Serpent 

Location: Atrus Hologram Games Suite
Character(s):  Serpent, Simon Gradesh (NPC), various other NPCs.

Simon lead Pherik down a corridor on what had been dubbed the ‘rec deck’ by the crew of the Atrus.  It was here that one found the grav-ball court and the bars, and the other places that the quarter million personnel on board gathered to relax.  Gradesh took him to a new door in the recently refurbished hallway, and paused by it.

“What’s in there?” Serpent asked his friend.

Simon grinned.  “A chance to be celebrated, and a chance to be embarrassed!” And with a flick of his wrist, he hit the door release and opened the way to the large room beyond.

The chamber was dark, though not totally without light.  Illumination spilled upwards from large hologram projection units, each one a table several meters in length and far larger than any such device Serpent had ever seen.  Around one such table, a large group of a dozen off-duty personnel had gathered, who were watching intently the images hovering above them.

Quickly, Zail’s eyes locked in on the holograms, recognizing them as far larger and more detailed versions of the tactical displays used on Vast Empire capital ship bridges.  “It’s a tactical game!” He realised with delight.

“It is,” Confirmed Gradesh.  “Like the simulated wargames once used by the old Imperial Naval Academy.  Here people can pit their wits against each other by re-creating the great battles of old.  And,” He added slyly, “Rank is left at the door!  Enlisted crewmen can challenge officers, and reputations for tactical ability are made and unmade.”

Instantly enthralled, Serpent walked into the crowd, pushing his way forward for a better view.  He quickly identified which of the people present were commanding the hologram fleets duelling above.  Sat at consoles at either end of the table, two men glared at each other.  One was a human with the rank of Ensign, and his opposite number was a pale-skinned Arkanian Offshoot with a Warrant Officer’s patch on his uniform.  Zail glanced up, and saw their ships rendered in red and blue, corresponding to colourings on the consoles where the competitors sat.

Serpent studied the types of ships involved and the disposition of the fleets.  “Recognise it?” Asked Simon at his side, his tone indicating it as a genuine question.

Pherik nodded.  “The Battle of Iridonia, from the Jedi Civil War,” He said, quickly spying the hammer-headed Republic ships in use from that ancient era.  “However, this is not how my history lessons say it unfolded...”

Pherik recalled that the battle was a win for the newly formed Sith Empire of Darth Revan, but in this game the scenario was playing out differently.  The Arkanian had abandoned the historical defensive formation of the Republic fleet and instead gone on the attack.  As Serpent watched, the human Ensign was desperately trying to counter and keep his force organised, but it seemed that offense was clearly the best form of defence in this situation.

“Very clever,” Observed Zail, watching the battle unfold.  The Arkanian Warrant Officer was either a keen student of history, or had a great knack for using unfamiliar forces.  He seemed to have correctly analysed the versatility of his fleet, their speed and mobility, and was using it expertly against the bigger Sith ships.

The frustration on the Ensign’s face was palpable, and it brought a smile to Serpent’s lips.  Oh, this is a cruel game!

Pherik began to lose track of time as he watched the intricate encounter unfold.  The simulated battle was moving quickly, the game calculating battle damage and shield strengths at an accelerated rate to allow the holographic encounter to proceed far faster than an actual fleet engagement.

Events unfolded quickly, giving far less time for the commanders to react to each other’s ploys and tactics.  While off to a great start, the Arkanian’s furious attack was now being blunted, and the Ensign was starting to turn the tide.  As other onlookers offered words of advice and encouragement to the competitors, Zail stayed quiet and simply watched, favouring neither man.

“The Ensign is on the offensive now,” Whispered Simon in Pherik’s ear.  “Guess the officer knows his stuff.”

“Perhaps,” Replied Zail, not committing to a firm comment.  “However, look at that,” He said, gesturing to a clock display on the hologram projection table.

“What is it?” Asked Gradesh, seeing the display at five minutes twenty seven seconds and counting down towards zero.

“A feature of the historical scenario,” Said Zail.  “In the actual Battle of Iridonia, the Republic fleet was trying to hold out for reinforcements.  However, by the time they arrived, the battle was over, and the Sith decimated them in an ambush.  I’m betting that this game has those reinforcements too, and when they arrive, my fellow Warrant Officer over there will win.”

“So all he has to do is play for time?” Asked Simon.

“He has been doing that from the start,” Explained Serpent.  “He need only keep it up for five minutes longer.”

Evidently this fact was not lost on the Ensign, who now pushed hard for the win.  Both forces were now severely battered, entire lines of capital ships decimated and gone from the game field.  However, in this endurance war, the heavier Sith ships had the advantage, and the Ensign’s forces were far healthier than the Arkanian’s.

The timer continued to tick down, and with four minutes left the Sith fleet threw everything at their foe.  Fleet tactics and coherency broke down in the Ensign’s desperate bid for victory, and though sloppy, it was overwhelming.  The Arkanian’s Republic fleet now fell back, fighting a desperate holding action.

With two minutes left the largest of the Republic vessels, an Inexpugnable-Class Command Ship, fell to a two-pronged attack by the Sith force, and Serpent grimaced.  “And it’s over,” He said.

Sure enough, with that loss the Ensign’s remaining ships struck hard.  With a full minute left on the counter, the simulation ended.  The hologram ships dissolved, and replaced instead with aurebesh letters, spelling out that, with over 75% of the Republic force gone, the computer had awarded victory to the Sith.

“I really thought the non-com would pull it off,” Said Simon sadly.

“It’s a tough one,” Said Zail, his tone continuing to be neutral.  “He did well given the forces arrayed against him.”

Meanwhile the two competitors had risen from their consoles and stood facing each other.  Mutual admiration was written on their faces, and the gathered audience applauded as the two shook hands.

“So,” Said Simon as the crowds began to dissipate.  “Is this distraction more to your skill set than grav-ball, Pherik?”

Serpent nodded.  “Oh yes.  This is just the fun I’ve been looking for...”

1112 words.  I mentioned in another post (here) my ideas for introducing some more locations to the Atrus, to provide more interesting chances for Character Development stories.  Here is the second of those, the hologram games suite.

AAR:  Serpent is introduced to the Hologram Games Suite on board the Atrus and watches a non-com and an officer do battle.  They recreate a battle from the ancient Jedi Civil War and Zail watches with great interest.  He will be back to try this himself...
SCAP/WO1 Pherik “Serpent” Zail / CR90 Defiance /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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[VE-NAVY] Lieutenant
Post Number:  743
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
March 14, 2013 10:05:44 PM    View the profile of Serpent 

Location: Atrus VENI Hub
Character(s):  Serpent, Agent Chrome (NPC), Handler Ocean (NPC),various droid NPCs.

Pherik ‘Serpent’ Zail paused by the non-descript door, located halfway along a deserted corridor near the Atrus’s main communications array.  Few crewmen came to this part of the behemoth Super Star Destroyer, and aside from a Mouse Droid, Serpent had seen nothing moving since he left the turbolift three corridors previously.

He looked at the security lock on the door, which appeared to be a standard lock present on any mundane crew quarters, but which Zail knew was anything but.  He typed in a high-level VENI access code and the door opened.

Serpent stepped into a small antechamber, barely a booth with two doors.  Before the door in front opened, he knew that he had to go through a rigorous security scan.  Beams of green light swept over him, checking him for hidden weapons (none), and then a small hatch opened and a retinal scanner appeared.  He bent down close to the device, opening his blue eyes wide, and let it check his unique optical signature.  Only then did the next door open.

Zail stepped through into the series of inter-connected rooms that had recently been granted to Vast Empire Naval Intelligence for its exclusive use.  The central chamber lay before him, barely the size of his old bridge on the LCR Courage.  A raised area in the centre of the circular room had a large hologram projector upon it, and a giant rendering of Vast Empire space rotated lazily overhead.  Studying the image, and several computer terminals dotted around the area, were a group of data analysis droids.

Overseeing the droids were two people.  One was a short blue-skinned Duros with a massive amount of cybernetic implants in his head.  The entire back half of his skull was covered with metal and blinking lights, constantly flashing in complex patterns.  His red eyes had a vacant look to them as he turned to regard Serpent.

Beside the Duros was a human woman with long hair the colour of night, and watery blue eyes that flashed with intellect.  Upon sighting the new arrival she strode quickly up to him and saluted smartly.

“Agent Rain!” She said.  “I am Agent Ocean!  Welcome to the Atrus VENI Hub!”

Zail winced at the name.  Rain was supposed to be a temporary name!  Why does everyone in VENI keep using it?  “Lieutenant Zail will suffice,” He told the woman.

“As you wish, sir,” Said Ocean.  “I take it you have come to inspect the new facility?”

“I have,” Said Serpent, who was the Second Fleet’s VENI Liaison as well as its XO.  “So, walk me through all this.”

“Well we have set up on this deck here, near the main communications array,” Explained the woman.  “The Atrus receives communications from across the Navy, second only to the NHC in terms of traffic.  Copies of all reports come to us automatically,” She smiled and added, “Much to the chagrin of the Atrus’s Com Chief.”

“And other data?” He asked.  “Sensor logs and reports from beyond the VE?”

She nodded.  “The Atrus picks up a lot of non-official traffic too, and we get that copied to us as well.  Out data analysis droids collate and compile the data, under the command of Agent Chrome here,” So saying she gestured to the cyborg, who gave little sign of acknowledgement.  “And then we transmit it all back to the Tower on Abrae.”

Zail nodded, knowing of the concurrent work at the Tower to create a new data analysis suite there.  Only that one would be much bigger than the one on the Atrus.

“And other rooms?” He asked, pointing to the doors leading off the Hub’s main chamber.

“A briefing room for VENI Agents over there,” She pointed, “And a private office over there.  The office has a highly encrypted holotransmitter, so that occupants can speak with Captain Grey in private.”

“And is there an equally secure feed to the Brilliant?” He asked, speaking of his own ship.

Ocean nodded.  “As long as she remains the ship of the Fleet Liaison, yes.”

Serpent took a look at the two adjoining rooms himself, asking pointed questions, to which Ocean gave full and competent answers.  Zail noticed that Agent Chrome, though he shadowed the two, said nothing.  When he drew attention to it, Ocean shook her head sadly.

“He only speaks to the droids,” She explained, “And even then only in binary.  It’s an affect of the brain augments he has gone through.  He holds the rank of VENI Agent, but he’s more of a machine than a man.”

“So you are here as the Hub’s spokesman?” He asked, figuring her purpose.

“Yes.  When the Atrus officers need VENI, they come to me.  When not engaging in meetings I help with the data analysis as best as I can, but the staff process information so quickly that there is little I can do.”

“Sounds like a dull assignment,” He observed.

She shrugged.  “I serve wherever VENI send me - though I could do worse.  The Atrus has its own swimming pool, don’t you know.”

Serpent ran his eye over her body, trim and fit.  “Ah, you like to swim?  Hence the name, right?”

“Guilty as charged.  My family always said I was part fish.”

Zail frowned.  “Don’t we have VENI Agents who actually are fish?” He asked, believing there to be at least one Mon Cal on the roster.

“Yeah, but giving them a name connected to water would just be stupid,” Said Ocean.

“Right...” Said Serpent dryly.  Suddenly all business he announced, “Well, it seems like all is in order here.  I shall let you and your staff return to work, Agent.”

“Very well, sir,” Said Ocean, giving him a salute.  “I hope you found the Hub to your satisfaction.”

“I did indeed,” Zail assured her, returning the salute.  “Thank you for the tour,” And so saying he departed.  He had to get back to the Tower, the centre of VENI, and see to the important work going on there...

1000 words exactly!  There was a suggestion here for a VENI hub on the Atrus, which I have, in my role of Fleet Liaison, now granted!

AAR:  Serpent heads to the Atrus to help oversee the new VENI Hub that has just been set up there.  He meets the droid staff, their cyborg co-ordinator Agent Chrome, and the permanent on-site Intelligence officer, Agent Ocean.  Together they discuss what role the new VENI location will play.
SCAP/LT Pherik “Serpent” Zail / VSD Brilliant /TF:Aurek/2Flt/FC/VEN/VE

"It isn't the killing, you know.  It's the beauty of battles that I love - the choreography and the challenge of executing everything
just right - and the challenge of matching your wits against a capable opponent." - Gilad Pellaeon
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Post Number:  971
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  RE: VEN: Heart of the Fleet
March 15, 2013 12:32:56 AM    View the profile of Hades 
Two green eyes surveyed the tactical read-outs, ghostly blue light giving the young figure an almost sickly pallor. Despite the youth in his features, both physical and non-physical factors contributing to this, there was a certain intelligence; not only intelligence but a dead-set maturity. This was a man who knew how to get things done when needed, but knew how to balance leisure and duty.. something that few people knew how to do. The battle unfolded before his eyes; TIE/In Interceptor Squadron vs. TIE/In Interceptor Squadron. It was clear one Squadron was superior, its opposition almost immediately losing their SCO and subsequently Aurek flight in a skilled demolition. The superior squadron lost a man, too, but not before they'd taken out two of Besh flight and one of Cresh.

The TIEs swerved, rolled and dived all to avoid the enemy, but to no avail. Green death spattered across shields that flared before failing, superheated bolts of energy proceeding to rip through the lightly armoured engine units. Before long, the winning Squadron had lost another man - but they had also whittled the opposition down to a single man. Their ace, this lone survivor was the Squadron's rock, someone they could rely on. The Executive Officer, who, despite significant skill - and all of their confirmed kills - could still not evade almost an entire squadron on his own. In a brief escalation of explosions and light, the XO went down in a ball of fire, taking another down with him.

With a small smile, Hades turned from the simulator read-out and exited the control room to enter the simulator briefing room. 24 pilots slowly filtered into the room, 12 of them wearing a distinctive golden stripe down the side of their flight suits, 12 of them wearing the standard, unmarked flight suits of the SFC. Hades waited for all of them to be seated, trained eye scanning the room for signs of dissent or anger. Among the unmarked ones there were a few with sullen expressions, but the gold-stripes seemed unfazed by the entire encounter. All of them wore the badges of NCOs or senior NCOs.

"Well done, ladies and gentlemen." The emerald-eyed Chief of Naval Training began. "Wingmaw Squadron, you had a 12:3 K/D rate.. impressive, most impressive indeed." Some of the unmarked pilots' faces fell, disappointed with their performance. "Surprisingly, though, the most kills went to the XO of Dragonet Squadron."

"Aye sir," the response came from a cocky-looking brown-haired man, seated next to his superior, a grumpy-looking Duros. Hades shot him a look that could have been interpreted a number of ways, but it was meant as an 'I'm not saying everything yet' expression.

"Wingmaw, your teamwork was excellent. But for the three losses, that was a perfect display of tactics and coordination within an Interceptor Squadron during combat. That said, Dragonet Squadron, you are definitely improving. Last time you faced Wingmaw it was 12:0 in their favour, if I recall correctly. Congratulations are in order, but you've got a long way to go." Hades nodded slowly to reaffirm his statement, "Wingmaw and Dragonet, you are dismissed. Kyr'an, stay moment if you would."

Wingmaw and Dragonet filed out, which left Hades and Kyr'an - evidently to the latter's annoyance - alone. A sigh escaped the Ensign's lips as he narrowed his eyes at the SCPO. "Sir?"

"Don't 'sir' me. What was that lone wolf osik I saw out there?"

"Sir, I-"

"No excuses. I recommended your promotion to SXO because I believed you could integrate your significant piloting skills into a team environment properly, not so you could earn yourself glory." Hades cut off the other man sharply, "if you don't even make an effort there's no reason for me to look kindly on your failures as XO. See yourself improve in the teamwork department or see yoursef lowered back to Flight Member. I'm sure many a pilot wishes they were in your place,"

"You too, maybe." Kyr'an muttered. Hades' eyes turned from an annoyed glare into a cold one almost immediately, piercing into Kyr'an at his words.

"Do not mistake appreciation for need, Petty Officer." Hades spoke coldly, icy words cutting into the disrespectful SXO, "I appreciate your talents but they are just as expendable as they were as a flight member. Push your luck and they will be expended. Are we clear?"

"Yessir." Kyr'an had lost his cockiness now, wearing an awkward expression that said he regretted his words.

"Good. Get out." Hades turned from the man, not allowing him the care of a second glance as he pulled up the specs on the datapad. His pet squadron Dragonet needed to shape up.. More importantly, the simulators worked properly, which was a relief. The Atrus had been part of VENA's Simulator Replacement scheme and initially, sims aboard the Cappadocious had malfunctioned. Fearing a similar case here, Hades had come to check it out. Now that the large Squadron Sim was done, Hades decided it was his turn and booted the sim back up. Setting himself up against a flight of TIE Interceptors guarding a transport convoy, Hades let his fingers dance over the keyboard to adjust his settings.

He grinned as the black stripes he loved were recognised by the system, which - knowing Hades, thanks to his additions here and there - upped the difficulty a little. Not that it made any difference.. Settling into the contoured simulator pod, Hades sealed his helmet as a soft numerical countdown began. Simulator begins in three, two, one. Mission start. A grin stretched further across his features as he felt the familiar feeling of being in a TIE Interceptor again, doing a loop-de-loop just to reassert his control over the fighter. Checking his readouts, the highly trained CNT set off at high speed for the enemy formation.

This should be fun.

Hades keyed his concussion missiles into play, as he approached rapidly from the rear of the convoy. Setting up two targets, the CNT fired off two concussion missiles as the Interceptors he faced broke suddenly, missiles easily acquiring a lock. "Dodge that."

The other two fighters had acquired him now and Hades smirked as the challenge really began.. Well, not really a challenge. He keyed in firing solutions for two more concussion missiles, waiting for it to beep at him before firing again. Breaking at the last minute, this manoeuvre combined with the enemy breaking made them lose any semblance of sensor lock they had on Hades. Rising 'up' and away from the fighters that scrambled to get away from his missiles, Hades inverted his ascent to speed downward. Boom, boom, two impacts sent Interceptors into balls of flame. Boom, a third damaged one, while Hades thumbed his laser cannons. Emerald death brighter than his green eyes spat forth in a volley of super-heated energy, ripping through the fourth TIE that had dodged his missile by now.

A wing came off at first and sent it into a spin, but Hades being Hades followed it down and made sure the cockpit exploded too. Leaving the damaged TIE and Hades, the last move had sealed the victory, it seemed. Three down with no damage taken. A subtle voice chimed in.. Pilot joining the sim.

"What the frak?" Hades cursed, searching his sensors. Who in the blazes would be joining now?!

Wordcount: 1,235

AAR: Hades oversees the battle between the elite Wingmaw Squadron and Hades' pet project, Dragonet Squadron. Wingmaw squadron bests them and Hades has a word to Dragonet's XO, who has gotten too cocky. His real purpose was to evaluate the sim, but now he started one himself, easily demolishing opposition before a mysterious opponent joins..

Chief of Naval Training, 50th Squadron Commander

SCO | ESN "Hades" | Cobalt 1 | S:50 "Chlovi" | W:101 "Blade" | ISD Adjudicator | TF:Aurek | 2nd Fleet | SC | VEN | VE
CNT | ESN "Hades" | PLF Cappadocious | VENA | VEN | VE


"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade - make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons, what am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's superior, make life rue the day it thought it could give Demetrius Aita lemons, do you know who I am?! I'm the man who's going to burn your house down - with the lemons!"
-- Hades

{INTER} {SfrM} {XenMA} {GrAt} (=*SWC*=) (=TG=) {AFM} {HypM} {0Gee} {INFL}
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