I have to say, Faulcon deLacy certainly knows how to build an impressive ship. The Anaconda-class frigate is a remarkably versatile design. The Ordinator had been modified quite heavily by the time I acquired her and I never really got a sense as to what she'd been like when new. Even so, that ship has a special place in my heart.
That said, it was quite a thrill to take possession of the 'Jurassic ', a brand new custom Anaconda built to my specifications. It incorporates the same modular design as most other modern ships, meaning it's a fairly simple process to change the loadout. Sections of the ship are broken into empty bays of varying sizes. In the case of the Jurassic, that includes bays of sizes one through seven. You pick the modules you want and fit them into the waiting bays. It only takes a skilled team a few hours to swap out modules if necessary.
The Jurassic has the modules I wanted, and had enough bays that I had little trouble selecting the loadout. That's the advantage of a multipurpose vessel like the Anaconda. The Federal corvette might be better for combat but it doesn't have the same versatility as the Anaconda. Besides, a properly outfitted Anaconda can give a Federal corvette a hell of a run for it's money in a straight up firefight any day.
The Jurassic has a fuel scoop, a fighter bay, rescue drones for both refueling and repair, state of the art autopilot and docking computers, a cavernous vehicle bay supporting two SRV's, and still has room for over two-hundred fifty tons of cargo. I've decided to forego passenger capability. My desire to be able to engage in any dangerous activity doesn't really work with carrying civilian passengers.
Most of the core modules are class A units, with a few class D due to their traditionally lower mass. As it stands, the Jurassic has no trouble reaching jump distances near thirty light years. That's an impressive number considering my first explorer could only manage thirty-five. I've heard of a few highly modified Anaconda explorer builds capable of reaching as much as seventy light years in a single jump. I may look into that one day.
I'm extremely pleased with the Jurassic. It easily accommodates all my needs which allows me to pursue just about any kind of work that I desire. Perhaps the only drawback to a ship this size is the ponderous handling in supercruise. The Jurassic walRos like the ancient brontosaurus where it draws its name from. A small price to pay for a ship like this.
I currently have a three person crew once again. I utilize a dedicated gunner as well as a fighter pilot in addition to myself as pilot. The current fighter pilot isn't working out very well and will likely need to be replaced. It's entirely possible that I'm simply spoiled after working with Stacey Collins for so long. I'm tempted to steal her back from the Ordinator.
- - - -
Lieutenant Commander Ryan Elders
Federal Naval Civilian Reserve Corps
Upon receiving an encrypted request from Chancellor Aryanna Martinez, I reported to her office aboard the J.F. Kennedy orbital in the Eta Cassiopeia sytem. At that time, I was given an assignment from the Marine Forces Special Operations Command. It would prove to be the most challenging assignment I'd received as a member of the Civilian Reserve Corps.
At 1430 hours, I rendezvoused with two additional members of the Civilian Reserve Corps. The first was a Federal Gunship called Yeoman, the other was a Fer-de-Lance named Trojan Horse. As the ranking officer, I took command of our Wing.
- - - -
The Jurassic dropped out of Supercruise in high orbit of the brilliant blue gas giant 'Between'. Orbiting the super-giant was the terrestrial world known as 'Navy Central', home of the Marine Forces Special Operations Command. The two ships that commander Elders had been ordered to take command of were waiting for him.
The Fer-de-Lance was a sleek and lethal looking combat ship relying on maneuverability over heavy armor for survival. The Federal Gunship was just the opposite, relying on heavy armor to make up for the lack of mobility. It was well designed for its role of combat support.
"This is commander Elders of the Jurassic, please identify and acknowledge."
"Lt. Henlen of the Yeoman at your service." replied the pilot of the gunship. A moment later, ensign Ivanova of the Trojan Horse also acknowledged. The three ships moved into formation and leaped into Witch Space together.
- - - -
We proceeded to the Corbin system and entered orbit of the second planetary body, avoiding the local Federal patrols. I organized a search grid approximately forty-five kilometers south by southwest of the Mukai Depot. We were able to locate an unregistered temporary structure in a narrow valley. We set down two kilometers from the perimeter at which time the Commander of the Yeoman and I embarked in our SRVs while the Fer-de-Lance stood by to provide air cover if necessarry.
The approach to the structure went without incident. The structure was defended by four sentry turrets as well as a pair of armed drones. I engaged the drones while my partner hacked the terminal. This was his specialty, and he didn't let me down. He managed to shut down the turrets as well as download the data we came for. He finished just as I was eliminating the last of the drones and we headed back to our ships.
- - - -
The perfect stillness of the regolith-covered surface of the planet was disturbed for the first time in centuries as the six-wheeled vehicle dug deep looking for traction in the low gravity. It bounced over two meters above the surface, skewing hard to the right before correcting itself with the pair of jump jets mounted on both sides. Its chaotic trajectory made it a difficult target for its pursuers, but made it challenging for the driver to hit the drones as well.
Bolts of charged plasma and coherent light shot back and forth until the last drone exploded in a quick electrical burst before slamming into the ground. The SRV's tires ground to a halt as commander Elders gave his glowing cannons time to expel the excess heat.
"Henlen, you get the data?" he called over the tight beam signal.
"Roger that" came the reply. "Let's motor out of here. I made sure the turrets won't trouble us on our way out".
Pleased, the commander led the way back to the waiting ships.
- - - -
The data turned out to be the location of a contact we needed to meet. By now the opposition had decoded the data as well, so time was paramount. We lifted off, heading for the Corbin B A asteroid belt near the secondary star. It was a long flight that required utilizing stealth mode repeatedly. I was glad I'd included a Heat Sink launcher for the Jurassic.
Upon arrival, we located our contact in a Viper Mk IV. He was under attack from several ships and was attempting to elude them among the asteroids. My wing engaged the enemy ships, eliminating them. There were no survivors. We suffered no damage although our contact was in dire straits. I deployed my repair drones to assist him while he delivered the information we required.
- - - -
Kal Barris' thumb repeatedly mashed the thruster boost button while his Covas informed him that his system had yet to recharge. He'd already redirected the power from his damaged weapon systems to the engines so there wasn't much else he could do. His pursuers were closing the net on him. He was running out of time.
'Six months undercover, and it all unravels in the final hours' he lamented to himself. If he couldn't elude these bastards, he'd die without finishing the mission. It would have all been for nothing.
He swerved around another asteroid just barely missing the trailing edge of the spinning rock. Crimson bolts from a burst laser cannon began tracking towards him and he rolled his Viper Mk IV to evade. It nearly cost him his life as he came so close to another rock that his shields crumpled under the impact. He eased out of the roll only to see the enemy fighter still on his tail and realized he just ran out of time. There was nowhere left to run.
Three more ships had somehow gotten ahead of him. His targeting computer detected them as friendly, however, and he shouted for joy as the ship chasing him broke off to engage the new arrivals.
The cavalry had arrived.
- - - -
He'd been undercover and learned of a shipment of illegal Thargoid technological equipment that had been stolen from a Federal research lab. He gave us the rendezvous time and location. It was our mission to recover the stolen material.
With the information we received, we located the Type-10 Transport carrying the stolen goods just as it was meeting a Krait Phantom and another Type-10. Presumably, these were the buyers. Hoping to use the element of surprise, I ordered the wing to attack before issuing a demand for surrender. The Krait and one of the Type-10s engaged while the second transport tried to make a run for it. The battle was short but very intense. Type-10 Transports carry ten weapons mounts, which is a great deal of firepower. Fortunately for me, the Jurassic was more than capable of withstanding it. I crippled his Frame Shift Drive before issuing a demand for surrender. As I was methodically taking out his weapons, he complied.
My wing mates managed to destroy the other two ships, although the Gunship Yeoman took some considerable damage. I deployed repair drones to assist while we retrieved the cargo and crew of the transport. We scuttled the vessel afterwards before returning to the J.F. Kennedy orbital to make delivery.