EV/EVO Chronicles: The Burden of Command, Part 2

A small ramp had been placed to make boarding the U.S.S. Tempest more convenient. I stepped inside and looked around. It was a bit cramped and most of its space had been reserved for drilling equipment and cargo. Its lack of comfort was quickly forgotten when I saw how every piece of bulkhead was shined up so much that you could see your reflection in the metal. It was obvious that the ship was new. Not only was it shiny, but it held the newest and most advanced technologies. It even had that "new ship smell."

I made my way to the cargo hold in the aft section of the Courier vessel. The large doors swooshed open revealing a very large space for samples and a brand new drilling rid on the opposite side of the bay. Two doors connected with the bay. One was marked "Warning - Hazardous Material." I attempted to open it, but it was securely locked with a high level clearance code. I assumed it was probably for a good reason and decided to move on.

The other door connected to the engineering section. Upon walking inside I was immediately startled by the chief engineer who formally introduced himself as Jax. "She really is a fine piece of work this ship, although the cloakin' device does confuse me a bit."

I looked at his inquisitively, "Did you say cloaking device?"

He leaned in close and lowered his voice to a whisper, "Yeah, I was out on the docks and overheard some Confed officer talkin' bout the importance of this here mission. He said that the Confederate military paid for the whole thing, includin' the ship." I just nodded and told him to carry on with his duties. "Aye, sir," he replied.

As I walked through the corridor to the bridge, I figured the whole thing out, or so I thought. The only logical conclusion that I could draw at the time was that we were retrieving ore for the Confederate Military and that cloaking device was for our protection from Rebels who might want to stop our operation.

Although the rest of the ship looked very high tech, the bridge looked like an average Courier command center. Stations for two helmsmen, a tactical and science officer, and... the captain.

There it was, the "big chair." I never thought I would be sitting in it this early in my career. It felt more comfortable than I had ever imagined. After a moment of reflection I stood up and proceeded to my cramped little ready room.

I sat down and activated my Desktop Information Processing Unit. "Computer, pull up all files and background information on the crew of the U.S.S. Tempest," I ordered. The cold voice of the computer replied, "Processing..." Within twenty seconds or so a complete list of names and background information of my crew filled the screen.

Chief Engineer: Jax
Rank: Ensign
Birthplace: New Japan
Employed by: Astex

First Officer: Hetson, John
Rank: Commander
Birthplace: Earth
Employed by: Astex

Commander: Pike, Christopher
Rank: Captain
Birthplace: Earth
Employed by: Astex

Tactical Officer: Reed, Robert
Rank: Restricted
Birthplace: Restricted
Employed by: Classified

All the other crew members were assigned to drilling and were all rookies, classified as expendable. I found it kind of odd that the information on my tactical officer had been restricted. Restricted by whom? And for what purpose?

Suddenly a loud beep from my communicator startled me and interrupted my train of thought. I pushed the 'receive' button on the keypad and was greeted by the familiar voice of the Astex official that had met me at the landing pad.

"Captain, we would appreciate it you came with the rest of your crew to the control center for your mission briefing," he said.

"On my way," I replied.

The briefing room was quite large, consisting of a gigantic oval table meant to seat thirty or so. At one end of the table stood a mobile viewscreen, most likely used to present visual aids.

"Take a seat Captain," said the Astex official. I sat and looked around, realizing that I was the last person to arrive and the briefing had been waiting on me to start. The only person not there was Mr. Reed, the tactical officer.

I cleared my throat loudly, "Excuse me sir, where is Mr. Reed?"

The Astex official spoke very plainly, "He's finishing work on the ship." That was a lie, I knew it by the way he said it.

"...But I was just on the ship a few minutes ago so..."

I was cut off by the official in the middle of my sentence and he purposely ignored my comment.

"All right then, lets start this briefing shall we?" I sat back in my chair, arms folded, slightly agitated now. "Ladies and gentlemen, your mission is simple. You are to proceed to DSN-5326 to the galactic west of Ruby and drill thirteen samples of element 732 from the planets crust. You will find suitable drilling coordinates programmed into your NAV computer..."

Element 732? All the way out there for that? Why would the Confederates need us to drill them such a common element? I spoke outloud without thinking, "Why do the Confederates need such a common element?"

The Astex official stopped talking and gave me a threatening stare. "Who said anything about the Confederates, captain?"

I stumbled for words, "...Uhhh, nevermind, I'm just not thinking straight. Continue your briefing." He shrugged then picked up right where he left off.

Something really wasn't adding up. There was definitely more to it than a simple mining operation...

...And I planned on figuring out what as going on.

(This message has been edited by moderator (edited 09-03-2002).)

Bum bum bum... The plot thickens. Good work, again, Tempest!

All h(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url)r fri(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url)nds in school w(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url)r(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url) non-conformists, so sh(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url) b(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url)cam(url="http://"http://www.EVula.com")e(/url) a non-conformist too.
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Thanks Rawzer. Yeah, I read your story. You are good at writing stories. BTW, Entry Buzzard is just my fancy name for a doorbell, hehe.


thats good work tempest, when can we expect the next installment?