Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Tale of Two Captains

Everyone has gathered near the launch platforms, according to status and function. You can each see the colors of the other officers around you: blue for navigation, orange for engineering, green for science, white for medics, yellow for comms, and far to the right, black for security, as well as a sea of crewmen and women in gray uniforms behind you. There are about 300 officers present, and more than 3,000 men and women total.

Meanwhile, it's been a long morning. Admiral Ackilo has been droning on for the last two hours, and he's the third speaker of the day. Thankfully, he seems to be wrapping up, so you force yourself to tune back in, in time to hear: "...make... us all... proud." He peers out at the crowd from under his bushy eyebrows, and a tired but hopeful smattering of applause breaks out.

From his seat on the stage, Captain James Montegue Harrison III, Earl of Shaftesbury, steps forward, salutes Admiral Ackilo, then replaces him at the podium. There's a bit of a groan as everyone realizes they have to sit through yet another speech. He begins: "Welcome, Officers, crewmen, and passengers. As you well know, we are journeying into deep space, on a mission to map the stars. If we are indeed successful, we will be the first of many to cross Dark Space. Our mission will face grave danger, and untold wonders."

He clears his throat again, raises his fist in the air, and shouts, "Greatness awaits!"

There is a moment of uncertain silence, but the confusion is quickly discarded when everyone realizes they don't have to stand through another two hour droning lecture. The applause is deafening.

After the ceremony, the gang was sent on an escort mission - bring a large number of citizens to a covert base in the middle of nowhere, to protect them from the upcoming crisis. The trip there was largely uneventful; their ship landed in one piece, and the citizens were entirely unharmed. That was only the beginning, however. The next part of the mission required driving the civilians in old, beat-up hover trucks a good few hundred miles away. For the most part, the mission went well, and they avoided anything too nasty - or, things that were too nasty got the hot end of a flamethrower. After finishing off a few creatures, they ran into a pirate barge; their highly skilled sniping managed to finish off most of the crew, and the few left died when the ship fell out of the air, courtesy of a couple missing engines.

After fighting off a trio of multi-legged lizards, they finally got the civilians to their base. After a quick escape, they made their way back to earth... only to learn that Smooth Criminal's girlfriend had been captured!

Free from their mercenary responsibilities, they rolled up their sleeves and did a bit of investigating. In the girlfriend's apartment, they found a jack-booted Al-Sec agent, one Captain Daneel Kaspar. He, of course, turned out to be a hologram. Somehow managing to stay legal, they shot up an automatic turret, stole a car, and left most of their illegal gear in a parking garage. Later, they returned to collect their stuff - after the cops had left - and headed towards their next lead.

Finally, they made it to a black-ops bunker, built inside a warehouse of some kind. After fighting a few goons (and a turrent inside a polie car), they pushed farther inside, splitting up to cover more ground. The West crew found a tech, manning some monitors, and decided to save his life; the East crew surprised a room full of goons, and left a grenade behind. The tech, of course, ended up being one of the bad guys, and after nearly killing one of the West Crew, was laid to rest in pieces. The East crew, somewhat perforated by a minigun nest, finally met up with the others to face a large robot and another hologram of Kaspar. Though one of the crew died in the mission, Smooth Criminal's girlfriend was rescued, and Kaspar's plans were once again foiled.

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