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Codex Entry 001: The United Confederacy.
-Summary: As of the time of this writing, the United Confederacy is currently made up of only one species, its founder Humanity. However, there are currently negotiations ongoing into accepting another race into their fold; along with heavy debate within their congress to amend the constitution to give the possible new members full rights under their space…
Skipping to section 17… "Military capabilities and ship classes."
-Ship Classes: -Patrol Torpedo (or PT) Boats, these are the smallest ships in the entire Union navy. They are also, in my opinion, the deadliest vessels, only behind their Fleet Aircraft Carriers, and the smaller and cheaper Escort Carriers. Shaped somewhat like a human beer bottle, (see pg. 70 for more information) "PT" boats are known for being incredibly fast and hard to hit.
At only 40 meters in length, PT boats are barely considered warships; in contrast to the "Destroyer Escort" class, which are typically 200 meters long. "Prowler" class vessels are slightly smaller, often being 150 meters long.
With a rather large engine, it can do miniature "Warp" jumps (see pg. 5, FTL capabilities) from its original position to right next to its targeted ship. The PT boats carry eight 40mm "Bofors," guns for point defense and support fire. These are housed in four duel mounts, each able to swing 270 degrees in any direction for overlapping fields of fire.
The real "punch" of these PT boats lies in their 4 torpedoes however. Each torpedo packs the equivalent of 4535 kilograms of explosives. One torpedo can down a cruisers shields, and a second would rip a massive hole in its hull; effectively disabling it. And each torpedo is incredibly strong, able to withstand a Guardian Laser point blank without shields. With shields, they are nearly indestructible. That being said, they do have their limits, hence the reason why PT boats oftentimes close to within "knife fighting" range in order to maximize the chances of their torpedoes hitting their mark.
Despite their fearsome reputation, PT boat duty is largely seen as dull in the Union navy; both in peacetime and in war. Crewed with 10-15 people, PT boats are cramped and only meant to leave their bases for short periods of time. One week being the longest before the crew has to return to port. PT boat home bases are rarely on planets, most of the time they can be found in asteroid belts, small moons, or on space stations (the last of which is considered the best out of the three.)
They are crewed almost always by sailors either seen as too inexperienced or too undisciplined to serve on larger warships. The officers in turn, are either freshly minted ones in charge of their first "commands," or older ones that failed to distinguish themselves and are close to retirement.
The most common usage of PT boats during peacetime is something humans call "picket duty." A small group of typically three PT boats will sit on station in an uninhabited system on the border of their territory, looking out for Pirates or secessionist rebels.
It was one of these picket groups that ended up being mankind's first contact group…
Lieutenant junior grade Benjamin McHale sat in his captain's chair, trying his best to not let his boredom show on his face. He hated picket duty, everyone hated picket duty; the only person who didn't hate it was Captain Robert Carpenter. Their "illustrious" commander officer hardly ever bothered to leave their home base, and Picket duty was his favorite punishment assignment.
PT boats living conditions would have made the sailors of the mid-20th century diesel subs feel like they were living in luxury. The "Bridge" was the second biggest room of the boat; a captain's chair in the center, the helmsman's/communication station to his left, the navigation/weapons systems station to his right. Five were always in the engineering space, making sure the engine and warp drive still worked. The last seven were either manning one of the guns, which could be switched from automated to manual control at will; or they were in the "galley" sitting on their asses and trying to pass the time.
He wiped the sweat from his brow, knocking his officer's cap loose. Sweat stained his tan uniform, thankful that he could roll up the sleeves. He had removed his black tie a while ago and placed it in his breast pocket.
That damned heater, Screw you insulation; He thought. The heater had broken, and was now dumping heated air all throughout the boat. The insulation was doing its job at keeping the heat inside, so as a result it was a sweltering 101 degrees Fahrenheit in the PT boat. He suspected that if he would let them the crew would strip naked, or at least down to their skivvies, just to cool down a little.
He picked up his iPad and began cueing up a game of solitaire to pass the time. As the CO of the boat, he rarely got any off time; he didn't even have his own quarters. Just a bunk set aside from the others, with the Chief engineers bunk above him, with a small curtain to give the two officers some privacy. The crew didn't even get a curtain; all their bunks were crammed together out in the open.
The head, which sat between the bridge and engineering spaces, was nothing special; a small door, a toilet, and a shower was all it contained. PT boats were more like submarines from the 20th and 21st century, if Ben was honest with himself. Only a small window in front of him let him and the rest of the crew know there was a universe outside.
The torpedo room was in the "neck" part of the ship, the part that looked like a neck of a bottle. The bridge was where the neck met the rest of the bottle. The crew spaces, the galley the head and the bunks made up the rest of the space. The last 40 ft. of the 130 ft. boat was the engineering space.
The lack of privacy would have made any civilian, hell even some more squeamish sailors puke. But on PT boats, the crew was family; everyone had been together or would be together for one to two years. No one had any shame whatsoever.
"Excusez-moi skipper? I have a minor problem." A musical voice came from behind him. The sound of water dripping on the bulkhead was quite audible.
Case and point, the beautiful Frenchwoman behind him. This was a common prank; steal the sailor's clothes while they were in the shower to force them to talk to the CO naked. In the regular navy, this was sexual harassment and hazing. On PT boats, this was just a way to pass the time. All PT boat crews did this sort of thing, and it wasn't a female thing only, oh no. A lot of guys would get to show off just how big of a gun they were packing.
Ben turned and looked at the annoyed raven haired woman behind him. He didn't even look at her naked body and just looked her in the eyes. He'd had this happen 6 times already, and it was only 3 months into his 1 year deployment as PT boat commander. First time had been a guy, and he'd made the mistake of not looking up from his iPad before he turned around.
New sailors would be left alone for the first few months, or at the very least until they witnessed it happen; at which point someone would explain the prank to them. Then they were free game. With four women and eleven men on the crew, counting himself of course, they were a close net family. The chief engineer, the only other officer on board typically played the mother role; while the CO played the father. All the enlisted people were their children, like brothers and sisters to each other.
His chief engineer, Ensign Krystina Brozek, was a young woman from Poland. Ben was the oldest person onboard at the ripe old age of 23, Krystina was 22; the rest of the crew ranged from 17 and a half to 19. It wasn't uncommon for PT boat officers to become romantically involved if they were female and male.
Ben raised an eyebrow, "Do you know which one did it Torpedo woman Macron?" not even bothering to ask why she was naked, having done this routine several times now.
She nodded, "Oui lieutenant, Machinist mate 3rd class Halleck sir."
Ben nodded, and hit the intercom button on his chair. A whistle came over the COMM, and he said "Machinist Halleck and Ensign Brozek report to the bridge please."
He sat there and looked back down at his iPad, unhappy that his solitaire game had been interrupted. The dripping water off of Macron was a little distracting, but Ben ignored it.
"How was your date sir?" he heard her ask.
Ben smiled a little bit, and straightened his cap. "It went well, talked about a lot of things; and we also talked about how you guys are the best crew officers could ask for. Minus a few hiccups of course."
He didn't even need to look at her to tell she was blushing a little. The crewman at the helm and the crewwoman at the weapons both laughed.
"Damn girl, you got a nice set there I gotta say. If I was a lesbian I'd try and bed ya the second picket duty was over." Weapons joked.
"And if I wasn't gay I'd join right in." Helm jumped in.
Ben rolled his eyes as Krystina and Halleck entered the bridge, cramping it even more.
"Krys, we got a code nude; please enact standard operating procedure." He ordered.
Krys smiled warmly, and said "Tak porucznik" She turned to Macron, "Don't worry sailor, we'll get this all straightened out." She said in a motherly tone.
She turned to Halleck, "Machinist mate 3rd class William Halleck. Torpedo Woman 3rd class Angeline Macron has accused you of implementing a Code Nude, how do you plead?"
"Guilty." he responded, as was the norm. This was how the prank always went.
"Then you accept the charges and punishment entailed?" She asked, trying to keep her voice level and her face straight. Ben couldn't do it; he was smirking as we watched the exchange.
"I do." He said, now smiling in a shit eating grin.
"Then strip naked sailor." Krys ordered, her voice wavering now.
Halleck immediately did so, standing at attention next to the still naked macron.
A low whistle came from both Weapons and Helm. "Damn you packed the big guns didn't you?" Weapons asked.
"Not the biggest I've seen, but it's pretty high up there; you should be proud Will." Helm said in an admiring tone.
A load beeping came from the Helms station, and he reluctantly spun around to look to see what it was. He froze like a deer in headlights. "Sir… I… contact entering the system. They don't register as PT boats; they don't register under any Union navy ship in fact."
That killed the mood; he stood and walked over to look at the readings. Despite the fact it was only a foot away. Ben leaned over and looked at the readings. "1 destroyer class or at least something similar in size; and 2 destroyer escort class vessels skipper. No known registry, power readings are completely different than ours. Holy shit, Skipper, I think these are aliens." Weapons reported.
Ben mulled it over for a moment. "Get me Lt. Cmdr. Praveden on PT 117, Krys get back to engineering. And you two get your damn clothes back on and get to your stations." Ben hit a button as everyone scrambled to follow his orders. The "general quarters" alarm sounded on the tiny boat, even as Commander Praveden appeared on the small holo-tank next to the captain's chair.
"Lieutenant? I just received some strange readings near your ship, would you care to explain?" He asked.
"Sir," Ben saluted, "We just detected three vessels entering the system. They match no known ship designs in Union space. I believe we may be dealing with a first contact scenario sir." He reported.
Three torpedo men ran through the bridge into the torpedo room. Macron followed a few seconds later. She had pulled on her black pants and boots, but neglected to put on her skivvies and light blue blouse. She held her blouse in her hand along with her ball cap, but she made no move to put either on as she ran past.
Ben wiped the sweat off his brow again.
"Sir, I recommend enacting the COLE Protocol." He said.
Praveden nodded. "Agreed son; look I'm going to be honest with you. We can't contact them first under any circumstances. A PT boat isn't meant to do first contact, not considering our respective mechanical problems. The 117's COMM equipment isn't doing too hot, we're lucky we got through to you at all. And you're having problems with your temperature regulators. Hell, we don't even have an AI to try and translate what they say."
Ben took this in silently. Praveden was a fair and level headed man, and one that knew how to think; a rare quality in older PT boat commanders. A thought came to him, and deciding that there was no harm in it he said; "Sir, we're the only two boats here. Since my COMM equipment is working fine, I am willing to stay and shadow the alien craft. You could go back to base and inform the Captain what's happening, and then they can send a proper first contact fleet."
Praveden mulled it over for a few moments. Ben watched him waiting on a verdict.
"I don't like leaving you alone with the wolves Lieutenant, but we don't really have a choice. Very well, hold station; expect reinforcements to arrive within a few hours at most." He said, "Good luck, and God bless all of you."
Nato'Meemor vas Raaleya looked over his navigation officer's shoulder, watching as the two contacts vanished from sensors. They had managed to get a visual on one for a few brief moments before it winked out, but his tech people were still trying to piece it together.
"And you are certain you didn't detect any Element Zero Lieutenant?" He asked.
The navigation officer looked back at him, annoyance shimmering through his visor; "I am certain Captain. Keelah, they barely appeared at all on sensors. I only saw them when they started charging their engines and jumped away. I don't know how they were moving faster than light without 'eezo' but they did it."
Nato mulled it over, his frigates hadn't even detected the small vessels; so all he had was his Nav officers word that something had been there. It couldn't hurt to check, He decided. "Did you catch where they went? The fleet wants to make sure this sector is clear before they move anything in."
The nav officer checked over his readings for a moment. "The furthest one I lost after it jumped. The closer one went the opposite direction of the other; I think it's still in… wait… Got it, Dammit! I lost it again. I'm tracking it by heat sources since it has no eezo I can follow, but the damned thing is slippery. It went into the asteroid belt, and its slipping from heat source to heat source."
Nato gave a small nod, whoever this was must have been a skilled captain. Or very lucky; "How big is it, and can you identify who it belongs too?"
"It's only… Keelah, its only 40 meters in length; That's not a warship, that's a yacht." Nav exclaimed. "As for who owns it I can't identify. These are either council black operators, pirates, or…" he trailed off, lost in thought.
"Or?" Nato prompted, pretty sure he knew the answer.
"Or these are a new race captain." Nav finished. The whole bridge went silent as he said that. Nato mulled over his options for a moment.
"Inform the migrant fleet that we have potentially encountered a new species. Space faring and rather primitive based on the size of their vessels. Send all the relevant data we have on them. Helm, plot a course towards the 'yacht.' I want to see exactly what they are capable of."