OOC: This is report from Fleet-Captain Kuo to Commandant Hogell. His task force arrived back in the system on 3005.2.24, and filed it. The commandant is preparing orders for 3005.3 now, and this intelligence about the Margravate's reactions to the Task Force should be helpful.
Fleet-Captain Kuo’s Log
Captain’s Log, 3005.1.12 - Arrival in Helespont system tomorrow. Crew rosters fully coordinated, and we have spent the past three days running drills - both battle and diplomatic drills. All five Section Heads and all the crew onboard report high levels of readiness, and all systems are Green-three or better. Three crewman are in sickbay for fevers or training injuries.
Personal Log, 3005.1.12 - I can’t help but get nervous as we get ready for re-entry, even after almost fifteen years. Almost a week in the gravity wave-wells of jumpspace makes everyone a little nervous, not knowing how the other ships are faring or how their commanders are running jumpspace drills. Not only that, but our intelligence on the old Margravate is so frustratingly sketchy that the old Commandant couldn’t do much more than wish me good luck. I wish there had been more time to hash out details with our negotiator, and it was damned foolish to not put this mission off the months it would take to fabricate a few fighters to fill our bays. The Commandant was always an optimist, I guess, but I don’t share that quality.
Captain’s Log 3005.1.13 - System arrival mostly without incident at 0400 hours. The rest of the task force was spread out by the gravitic wave structure of the system as we jumped in, and we’re proceeding to rendezvous under conventional drive with an ETA of nine hours. Our sensor systems are detecting drive signatures approaching from in-system.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental - Drive signatures have been identified as belonging to ships of cruiser size or larger. We have instructed the Greeting to increase drive power to rendezvous as quickly as possible, before we enter no-lag communications range.
Personal Log, 3005.1.13 - Gravitic wave structure, right. Section Head Iblis should have been able to predict this dispersal pattern, the man is so unreliable I should have him replaced when we get back, but it won’t happen. His parents are big in Incworld, big holders in a multitrillion ag combine out of Yglesias. Being separated from the task force - and especially from the Greeting - hasn’t done the crew much good to say the least. The only thing to be grateful for is that all the Proxima’s systems are still reporting Green Three.
Personal Log, Supplemental - I have a hard time imagining the ships barreling up from Helespont itself have anything friendly in mind. Sensor readings show they’re big beasts - as big as the Proxima or larger - and our lag-time communications haven’t been returned.
Captain’s Log, 3005.1.14 - At 0100 hours this morning, Proxima engaged hard burn to intercept the Helespont vessels, who have themselves altered course to reach the Ferocious and Marathon before they can rendezvous with Proxima and Greeting. Hard burn will terminate at 0230, and estimated rendezvous is 1630 hours, thirty minutes after the Helespont vessels will intercept the Ferocious. Drive operaring in condition yellow, and lag-time communications with Captains Ortiz and Tychin indicate severe combat preparation deficiencies because neither ship is loaded with a fighter wing.
Personal Log, 3005.1.13 - At this point, I have gotten only a few hours of sleep. My worst fears are being justified - the Greeting says their diplomatic communiques have received a standard violation-of-territory response, and no more. Everyone is at battle drill readiness, but it’s still twelve hours until we can get to the Ferocious and Proxima.
Captain’s Log, 3005.1.14 - At rendezvous, the Proxima found the Ferocious heavily engaged, with several major hull breaches and overstretched point defenses. Enemy vessels were heavily loaded down with fightercraft and near-light missiles, putting Proxima at a range disadvantage. During three hours of combat engagement, the Ferocious and Marathon recieved moderate damage, after which we were able to disengage. The Greeting joined us soon after, reporting no further progress in lagtime negotiations. Setting course for system outskirts and beginning in-field repairs. Estimate casualties on Ferocious and Marathon at one hundred and ninety two crew, including Captain Tychin. Commander Pyra has recieved a field commission to command the Ferocious in the meantime.
Personal Log, 3005.1.14 - I’d forgotten how horrifying combat can really be. It’s a bloody, slow-motion ballet of high-energy lasers and ballistics, maniacs flying high-performance fighter craft, and crew trying to do what they’ve been trained. They were so green, though! If the Helespont navy hadn’t held back - or been commanded by some kind of nervous cunctator - this could have been worse than it was. Those four hours brought me back four years, to my last engagement with pirate raiders off Vega - no sound, only a thousand gyrating displays and barely-controlled, on-edge urgent voices on a dozen comm channels. We have to get back to New Luskana quickly - we’re lucky that the Ferocious didn’t take damage to her central systems hubs and can jump with us, as long as we finish welding her hull shut. I don’t envy the commander deciding what to do at this point...these Margravate ships are nothing to take lightly, it seems like.