Logbook entry

Elderrook / 09 Sep 3305
The Gathering Storm

There's been a lot of activity at ElderRook LLC recently. It seems as though most of my time has been spent sitting behind my desk instead of sitting in the cockpit, but it's certainly paying off in a big way.

We reached a huge milestone this week. Our company assets have surpassed a billion credits. It seems like a lot, but we're still a fairly small, independently owned operation. Only a portion of that is liquid. Most is tied up in contracts, investments, and equipment. Still, it's nice to see how much we've grown over the last five years.

My personal goal was also achieved earlier this month when I purchased a Beluga Liner from Saud Kruger. They certainly know how to build a luxurious vessel. I've hired a veteran captain and allowed him to hand pick the crew, as we'll be looking to break into a higher clientele than what we're used to serving. If all goes….

Wow! I can't believe how close that was! A ship just came screaming into the hangar bay and just missed my building by meters. It was on fire and trailing smoke and debris. How the hell did that pilot manage to keep it together? Looks like he managed to make it to a pad nearby. His canopy is gone, so he must have been trying to dock before his life support failed.

Sorry to interrupt the regular log, but that was something to see! I'm going to put this on hold and go check on the pilot and make sure they're okay.

-  -  -  -

I'm continuing this log entry from the bridge of the Jurassic. I've used my position with the Federal Navy Civilian Reserve Corps to put out a call for assistance in dealing with a situation that's come up. I'm happy to say that my call was answered. Along with my Anaconda, I have five members in various ships joining me in a wing.

The pilot who made it back to the orbital in the badly damaged fighter came under attack not far from here. He reported that a large group of raiders had gathered near the system entry point and were attacking any ship they found. We're on our way to put them out of commission. Hopefully, I can say more after we've dealt with them.

-  -  -  -

Commander Jackson throttled his Python-class light corvette in an effort to avoid the incoming fire, but his shield indicator showed he'd taken several more hits. One more volley and they'd fail altogether. He'd certainly not expected this when he answered the call.

A few minutes ago he was on patrol with the other two members of his wing. They were one of four wings currently patrolling the Shinrarta Dezhra system when the call came in that a raider group was attacking ships as they arrived in-system. All twelve system defense ships showed up to put a stop to it. Typically, such an overwhelming show of force would end the situation without a shot being fired.

This was anything but typical. They arrived to find almost two dozen raiders attacking every ship that arrived. There was debris, cargo capsules, and escape pods floating everywhere. They wasted no time engaging the enemy. Now they were down to just six ships remaining, and outnumbered  better than two-to-one. He was doing everything he could, but the faster and lighter ships were wearing him down.

They raiders weren't organized, but each fought with military precision. He suspected this was some sort of mercenary unit but didn't have time to dwell on that. Another volley of charged plasma projectiles slammed into his Python's shields, and then scorched the hull as those shields failed completely.

He was fighting a losing battle and he knew it. Being this close to the primary star had required him to eject several heat sinks already. If he'd used the shield capacitors his whole system would have overheated even worse than it already was. He had to use controlled bursts from his laser cannons in order to keep the temperature in check.

The raiders weren't taking prisoners. He'd already seen them blast on escape pod out of the sky. This was a fight he had to stay to finish one way or the other. He swung the heavy ship out of the line of fire and vented his last heat sink.

More yellow blips appeared on his HUD. Several civilians had arrived and engaged their gravity drives in order to escape the conflict. The number of red blips practically drowned out the green of the remaining system defense vessels.

'At least I was able to save a few lives.' he thought. He waited to see the five new blips depart, but they didn't. His comm crackled to life with an open band message from one of the five new arrivals.

"System Patrol, this is Commander Elders with the FNCRC. Broadcasting Friend or Foe identification now. We're here to assist." The new blips turned to green, nearly making it an even fight. Still, they were only Civilian Reserve Corp. He wasn't sure that would be enough to turn the fight in their favor.

Then they were beside him. An Anaconda-class light frigate and a Krait gunship lead the way. 'Maybe we might survive this yet.' he thought hopefully.

-  -  -  -

The raiders have been dealt with. It was a pretty intense fight. I'm not sure how a group that large was able to arise without someone knowing about them, but these weren't from any faction or organization that any of us were able to identify. They fought to the last man, which makes me think they were some sort of paramilitary outfit.

We were lucky that the system defense forces were on hand as well. Quite possibly they were just as lucky that we showed up. The sheer number of raiders was staggering. It was the largest engagement I've fought in since my time in the service, and even then I don't recall a battle quite as big or chaotic as this one was.

The system defense ships were outnumbered and fighting a losing battle when we arrived. Our numbers were enough to nearly even things out, but they weren't ordinary raiders. We lost several ships in the encounter. The Jurassic took a lot of damage, but managed to make it through the fight.

Speaking with the others afterwards, it's clear to me that I was definitely being targeted by more than my fair share of raiders. I was on the defensive almost the entire time. We also noticed that the raiders were relying heavily on Plasma Accelerators. That's an unusual choice for raiders. They're costly, take skill to use, and require skilled technical maintenance.
I've called headquarters and asked them to send all available ships here to salvage what they can while I continue with the rescue and recovery effort. It's my hope that examining the wreckage might provide some answers. Who were these raiders? What was their goal? Most importantly, who was financing them?

-  -  -  -

I've had time to analyze the wreckage of the attacking raider ships. They were a pretty mixed lot, but better maintained than I would have expected. One thing really stood out to me. Each of the plasma accelerators they used had been modified from factory standard. I recognized the mods. It was almost certainly the handiwork of Bill Turner, one of the 'Engineers'. His signature was all over them. Having worked with him, it was easy for me to spot.

The question now is why he was helping a bunch of raiders? I'm going to have to look into this.

-  -  -  -

On a side note, I've been contacted by the Federal Navy liaison here on Jameson Memorial Orbital. I've been promoted to Post Captain. There's a bit of a story here.

The FNCRC, or Federal Navy Civilian Reserve Corps, began as a kind of social club. Members would gather at what was usually a converted bar or restaurant in order to share stories, ideas, and drink. These would later be called 'Posts'. Base and Fort were already used by the actual military, so this eventually became the way a FNCRC gathering point was identified.
Each Post would tyically have someone in charge of things. Often, it was simply whoever owned the establishment. Some Posts would hold elections, others would simply follow whoever seemed the most capable of organizing things. When FedNav decided to actually give a nod of approval to the FNCRC, they stepped in and made the positions of Post Commander and Post Captain more official. As a veteran of two separate skirmishes where I led others into battle, they've decided to award me the rank of Post Captain.

That actually means a lot. It's usually the highest rank a member of the FNCRC can attain. The admiral ranks lie beyond it, but in order to attain that, you have to do something very significant or else be a former veteran of the Federal Navy, which I am not. I'm honored by their faith in me.
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