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Contact report

posted Dec 31, 2012 02:55:39 by TheoBrinkman
This is the story of my first 'real' mission. We had almost a full crew, with Science doubling up as Captain due to the 4-station Wi-Fi bug.

We tried our *very first* difficulty 4 mission, in a Scout, and our Comms officer took the liberty of telling all the stations to build us nukes. Even after I'd had a discussion with the entire crew about how we couldn't *use* nukes. :DOH!: (But more on that later.)

Our first two fights were *supposed* to be against single ships, but it turned out that they were two (or three) ships, packed so tightly that Science couldn't distinguish them, even on maximum zoom. That also meant Weapons couldn't actually *choose* a target, so we ended up using far more missiles than we should have needed. We're restocking after every fight, and sometimes taking quick breaks from fights near out station to restock *during*. It's tight, but going well. Our first carrier contact gives us grief because, *again*, they're packed too tight to actually pick a target, and he seems to be on the 'bottom' of the stack.

Anyway, we find ourselves short on munitions, with two enemy fleets approaching our last two stations, *both* less than 5K out from their respective targets. In desperation, we managed to taunt the two fleets away from their stations, only to realize that, while it may have bought the station crew some time to evacuate, it wasn't going to be good news for our poor ship. We were now being chased by a 12-plus ship fleet, complete with 3 carriers.

Obviously, they were going to be too much for our tiny vessel to take in a straight fight, with only a single ECM and two Mines left, and no station which could survive a fight long enough to restock us. Half the engineering board was blinking in 'festive' colors (aka: purple), and we had *literally* a single crew-person left alive from our dam-con teams. Let me tell you, that fellow deserves a medal. He got our warp drive limping again, beams back online, and bought us some desperately needed space.

Having kited the enemy fleet far enough from the stations (about 10K) to give us some thinking room, we had just settled on a desperate plan of "rush them at high warp, stop at the nearest station briefly to recharge and rearm, leave them to die, and move to the other station (DS 2) for our last stand", when an entire Skaran fleet pops out of a nebula, less than 2K off our port bow. Shields still aren't back up, but our dam-con miracle worker is on the job.

In a piece of half-blind luck, Helm manages to maneuver us away from the Skarans, but they're very nearly keeping pace, and now the three fleets have merged, for an enemy armada of 15 vessels. The really bad news is we've lost Warp again. The good news is we now have 3% shields. The bad news? Front only. :sigh: I figure half our ship was open to space, with that one damned miracle worker stringing duct tape and 20-gauge wire to keep us in one piece. He probably used enemy beams to spot-weld some corridors back into place.

The enemy fleet finally starts ignoring our taunts, and moving to attack DS3. And suddenly we have Warp again! (That dam-con miracle worker again.) Figuring that all was lost anyway, I tell Weapons to load up a mine, and Helm to set course at maximum Warp straight into the middle of the enemy armada. (15 ships strong, remember.) By the gods, we were going to take some of them with us. We drop out of warp, less than 200 meters in front of the lead ships of the armada, drop the mine, and flee at maximum impulse. (We'd lost Warp. Again.)

Staring at the sensors in disbelief, we see that the enemy armada has been reduced to 3 vessels, and start getting optimistic again. Then engineering reports that nearly every system is purple. We have just enough impulse to limp into the nearby nebula, and hope we can get enough of our ship put back together to fend off the last three enemy vessels. Then, Science reports that two of the 3 survivors were from the Skaran fleet, and the other was a carrier. We're done. Doomed. There's no way we can survive that fight. A lone marine with a pistol could strip our ship down to the deck plating before we could mount a meaningful defense.

I ask for the tactical map to be put on screen, and spot something. We have a mine field. Poorly placed, opposite where the enemy fleets has approached, but we had a mine field. Passing close enough to DS3 to see their panicked faces in the windows, we limp 'south'. Just before they leave weapons range, we get an update from Comms. DS3 has been destroyed. Science reports that the enemy fleet seems to be turning toward DS2. Once again, we get another miracle from dam-con. We have Warp again. We make a bee line for DS2, hoping to provision and be able to take on those enemies before they can hit us.

This is where I discover that the station has no missiles for us. 8 Nukes in stock, and not a single missile. O_o :twitch:

One ECM, and one mine in a scout ship with no meaningful defenses, against 2 Skaran Elites, and a carrier. There's no way this ends well. Am I right?

Nope. Believe it or not, we actually came out of that cluster**** alive. And DS2 survived as well. Without so much as a scratch, if you'll believe it.

"How?", you ask.

Because this, *THIS* is when our Science officer pipes up, asking what the weird circles are on her map. It seems we have a singularity less than 3K past the mine field I mentioned earlier. It was never mentioned, and I'd never asked for long range sensors to be put on screen, relying on the tactical map for an overview of our immediate situation whenever I wanted one.

So, we limp toward the singularity, barely keeping the newly angry (and freshly taunted) enemy fleet out of range. Helm skirts slightly too close to one of those mines (remember the mines?), and suddenly our lone dam-con crew member has a whole new set of priorities. We have no shields, no weapons, no torps, and two (count them) *two* white dots on the engineering screen, both impulse.

We barely make it behind the singularity before the enemy fleet comes in weapons range (about twice what ours would have been, if we'd had weapons). Engineering has to redirect power to warp to keep us from sliding in past the event horizon, but we manage it. Unfortunately, so does one of the Skarans. But only one.

Now things are getting *really* interesting, because the Skaran is gaining on us. Weapons informs me that we have one mine in the tube, and I'm torn. At this range, we're likely to be destroyed, but if we don't shoot *soon*, we're going to be destroyed anyway. I give the order to fire, and call for maximum speed just as engineering reports that we have warp again. We scram out of there, just barely catching the blast wake, and watch as the crippled Skaran ship is slowly pulled into the singularity. He, too, had avoided most of the blast, but he'd chosen to dodge in the wrong direction and paid the price.

I order up the status screen, call up the forward view on one of the stations, and the crew (still a bit adrenaline- and endorphin-drunk from the victory) stares in stunned horror at our final disposition. We have 3 hull remaining, and 12 energy. We've lost 3 stations. But we're alive. Somehow, against all odds, our inexperienced crew is still alive.

Our next game was difficulty 5, with the *big* ship. That game took 15 minutes, and 6 nukes. Glorious, but not *nearly* as interesting.

Oh, and that single-person dam-con crew? They survived as well. I hope he gets a medal, but I can't decide whether I want him to retire, or be *permanently* assigned to my vessels.

So, unless you can top that, and back it up with sensor logs, you're buying me and my crew drinks tonight. I hope you have a lot of credits, because after that mess, there's not a sober one among us.
[Last edited Dec 31, 2012 03:00:23]
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4 replies
Charlie said Dec 31, 2012 06:30:46
stringing duct tape and 20-gauge wire

Go duct tape!
EricWethington said Dec 31, 2012 12:53:31
Ahhh, yes.... I have flown the Scout at level 6 and 7. You need to make use out of singularities and mine fields. Maybe even draw a monster into a enemy fleet....
"... ooops!"
Last words of Captain Phour Phazier Phred from Phremont
ThomRobertson said Dec 31, 2012 15:01:11
What a great report! Thanks!
Creator of Artemis
TheoBrinkman said Jan 01, 2013 22:27:03
It was quite a lot of fun to play. We followed it up with a level 6 mission using the *big* ship. That one took us about 10 minutes, because we had nukes. We felt like *gods* in comparison, but the scout mission is definitely the one we'll talk about.

Haven't convinced them to try Jump Drive yet. (Maybe one of these days when there's a TSN carrier, and we can pretend it's Galactica.)
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