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Post Spotlight – Obsidian Command

For a satellite stationed in orbit, Obsidian Command has seen quite a bit of action. Having been recovered from a spacial void only one IC week before the events in this post, it’s also now enduring an attack by a coalition of enemy forces who committed themselves to taking out the Federation outpost before it could be properly repaired, staffed, and defended. It’s commander, Captain Corvus DeHavilland, has had the indignity of her command center being left disconnected from the rest of the station, and leads her mostly junior officers towards the safety of a Marine unit below decks. But to get there, they have to make their way past the most intense fighting between Marines and boarding parties in the Engineering levels. Rather than risk the engagement inside with their inexperienced staff, Captain DeHavilland elects to take a space walk along the hull outside while a ship-to-ship battle rages in the skies surrounding Obsidian Command.

The Captain of Obsidian Command went above and beyond in this composition, creating a gripping scenario with action, suspense, pain, and loss, and going beyond just GMing events for the sim by supplying a personal account from the Captain’s perspective in an intensely charged situation and paying off the entire set up as a major turning point in the story. It’s exemplary in characterization, in content, and in craft and demonstrates genuine investment in the story, the characters, the setting, and the sim as both a GM and a writer.

A Walk Among the Stars

Posted on 28 Feb 2021 @ 3:15am by Captain Corvus DeHavilland

Mission: M1 – Emergence
Location: Marine Checkpoint
Timeline: Immediately Following The Best Worst Idea
3020 words – 6 OF Standard Post Measure

”Alright, everyone. Listen up!” Captain DeHavilland called out, her voice amplified in each individuals helmet as clearly as if she was standing next to them. She’d ordered everyone to suit up and get ready to move and now that they were, they were assembled by the Jeffries Tube hatch that would lead them through to one of the external hatches and out onto the hull of the station. “We’re going to form up in four six man groups. Let’s line up right here,” she pointed in front of her, “Lieutenant Sakander, Lieutenant Vijay, Petty Officer Tarelk and myself will be each lead a team of six. Leaders front and center,” she ordered, waving to her right for the other three she’d named to line up. “Everyone else, line up with one of the leaders,” she declared, waving for them to all get moving.

The Marines, already close in on DeHavilland to begin with were the first two in line while the rest of the assembled officers shuffled in behind someone to make their group of six. Corvus pointed to Parmath who was looking as worried as the nerdy kid in kickball, not about to get picked by either team. She pointed to him and then pointed in front of her. He sighed with relief and hurried over to line up behind Ensign Tao. Crewman Grimly filled out the group.

“Ma’am,” Lieutenant Sakander asked, glancing back at Calliope at the end of her line. “Why is Command Zahn not leading one of the teams?” She asked, her thick Catalonian accent making the simple question difficult to understand. Corvus knew she’d learn the tricks of her vocal cadence in time but for now it took a solid five seconds for the statement just to process.

“Commander Zahn’s going to divert to a different task once we’re EVA,” she explained to her and the other leaders. “The rest of us will continue on to Medical via the central shaft underneath the utility ring,” she smiled, taking a moment to ensure everyone was together. “Alright,” she called out loudly again. “We’re going to go one group at a time. Lieutenant Sakander’s group first, then Vijay and Tarelk. I’ll follow last to make sure everyone’s out,” she explained. “Noa, when you get to the external hatch, you stop. Arjun, you’ll join Sakander’s group and seal the hatch behind you. Once her group is out, you’ll seal the hatch and let your group in. Tarelk, you’ll do the same with your group. We make sure everyone’s out safe and then the next group comes in. Got it?”

All three of them nodded their heads, “Yes, ma’am.”

Corvus held up the tether clip on her belt, “Leaders onto the hull first. And as each person comes out, you latch in. No one moves without a tether. We clear everyone. No one,” she declared emphatically. Heads nodded all across the deck. “Alright. Noa, move your team out,” Corvus ordered and bent down to open the hatch for her.

“Team Sakander with me,” the Lieutenant ordered, looking back at her crew and waving. She moved resolutely forward and lowered herself into the hatch and down the ladder.

Corvus watched them go, counting in her head that there were six, giving Calli a reaffirming smile and nod as she went through last in that group. “Arjun,” she waved for the next group. Lieutenant Vijay nodded waved his team forward. She watched them go, waved for Tarelk and once her team was through she waved for Eindorf to lead the way down. He shook his head and sent Parveaux first, then the rest of the team, going in last and waiting at the top of the ladder as if to make sure Corvus didn’t pull a fast one on them and lock them out.

DeHavilland looked around one last time, making sure there was no one that slipped her count and rethinking if there was anything else they needed to carry. She’d already laden herself with some extra emergency equipment and the two Marines were carrying some heavy weapons of their own. They were definitely a little overburdened but they weren’t willing to leave it behind. With a profound sigh filled with worry and a fair bit of fear, Corvus turned to the hatch and made to climb down. Eindorf shifted down out of the way for her. She closed the hatch and sealed it closed, then followed the group now crawling their way through the tubes towards the external hatch.

This second round of Jeffries Tube movements was a whole lot harder and much slower. Not only were a few of them laden with extra equipment, the passaged was not one they could traverse standing up. It was a hands and knees crawl through cramped space. Ahead of her, Sergeant Eindorf had taken the heavy weapon he’d brought along off his back and was moving it ahead of him with each ‘step’. From her perspective, it looked exhausting. It wasn’t a straight shot either, the path to the external hatch wound left and right around corners and down two vertical shafts about ten feet long. It felt like it’d been hours when they finally came to a stop and Sakander reported through their comm link that she was at the exterior hatch and about to transit her group out.

It was a waiting game now. Corvus could hear what was going on through the comm, at least for the group still in the tubes. Sakander and her team got spotty as they transited out and left the rest of the group behind. Slowly they moved forward as the next group exited and then the next. When it was finally time for their group to go through, Corvus sealed the hatch behind her so Parveaux could open the access out into the void. They all locked their boots down and held tight as he opened the hatch and the area was depressurized. Then, one at a time they made their way out into the deep dark.

Eindorf held his hand out for Corvus as she started to shimmy out of the access, fighting off the moment of vertigo to have been crawling on the ground and now holding her hand out to a man seemingly standing on what should have been the wall. She took his hand in hers and as he pulled her up, clipped his tether to her waist.

“I’ll lead the way now,” Corvus said after sealing the hatch behind her.

“Lead on, Skipper,” he nodded.

Corvus took a moment to check her suit vitals, then began the slow tromp down the exterior of the station. She tried to measure her breaths evenly and slowly, but despite the weightlessness of gravity it was hard work peeling her boots off the deck and putting them back down. Ahead in the distance, the HUD on the interior of her helmet outlined in green the rear of Petty Officer Tarelk’s group. Crewman Davidson brought up the rear and as he moved, she caught a bit of Petty Officer Parker. Corvus purposely shifted their path at an oblique angle from the rest of the group walking single file so she could visual confirm that everyone was there. The tightness in her chest lessened as she counted all but two, then seized up tighter. She looked around frantically for a moment before she spotted Zahn and Hokir walking together a separate direction. Her heart relaxed at the sight of that and kept on, keeping the rest in sight.

She knew from her training that she needed to find a point to look at straight ahead, to equalize her own mind, but she couldn’t help but look up at the past them all, and the end of the station, to the dark orb of the planet below. Thankfully the home star, Loki, was on the opposite side of the planet not only protecting them from the radiation that star put out from being a direct blast on their EVA equipment, but bathing them in the shade that came with the lack of light, keeping them a little harder to see. A fighter craft streaked by in the distance, near to the bulbous end of the station, drawing Corvus to look up (at least from her perspective) to the battle raging in the space beyond the planet.

Her HUD quickly adjusted to the feed, picking up in greens and reds the Starfleet and enemy vessels respectively. Many of them moved so fast across her view that they were nothing more than green and red blur’s and occasionally their comm’s crackled with the feeds from the ships themselves, doing their best to communicate with one another and keep their tactical formations together. The Caelian and Exeter being the big dogs in the fight, yet for all their size and firepower the sheer numbers of enemy vessels, dated as they might have been, were negating that.

Pathfinder was fighting at the edge of the engagement, and looked to be with the fighters but even from her distance she could tell that the little Nova-class had taken significant damage. The Wasp and the Yellow Jacket were trying to support their larger, but less heavily armored counterpart but they themselves seemed to be barely holding on. This fight was far from over. Even if Calli could get to the transporters and start thinning the herd inside the station, if they were successful in crippling either of the larger Starfleet vessels this battle was going to turn hard. It wouldn’t matter that the Marines had secured the interior. Corvus had to peel herself way from the battle and back to the line of people walking down the hull. Just to settle her mind, she counted them all again.

The transit here wasn’t short. They had to transit across the utility ring and then find a way to access the central shaft from below that before they got too far along the Environmental Ring. Her biggest fear was that they wouldn’t be able to get into the hull from the exterior the way she expected they would. If they couldn’t, they’d have a long walk across the Enviro ring, trying to find another way to access the station lower on the hull. It was making her heartbeat pickup, so she refocused on her breathing and once more counted everyone just to settle her down. Leg up, leg down, leg up, leg down, in and out. She steadied herself as they walked and watched on the corner of her HUD as her heart rate slowed down to a calmer rate.

“Brace! Brace!” Sakander’s voice cut through the comm suddenly. Ahead, Corvus could see everyone drop into a crouch, bending forward and tucking their bodies. She quickly did the same and her team followed suit, though she wasn’t sure why. A moment later the debris reached them, bouncing off the deck, still using up its unspent velocity from whatever explosion had created it. Most of it bounced harmlessly off the deck or off of them. They were all trained for this, to keep the hard surfaces of their suits out to take any debris and the soft surfaces tucked to prevent tears best they could. Corvus watched helplessly as the debris blew past, her eyes locked on the cold dead corpse in a Starfleet uniform that floated by, thunking noiselessly into the hull and then spinning end over end. She couldn’t help but look back as the corpse tumbled in the void, straight into Ensign Parmath. The body hit him and while his boots stayed in place the rest of him didn’t. He flopped back, rooted to his heels on the deck and screamed into the comm’s, trying to get the corpse off him.

“Help him!” Corvus cried out to Grimy behind Parmath. The Tellurian waved to those behind him to come with him, but he only got one step. An explosion blossomed in space to their left as one of the stations fighters won its match. “Move! Move!” Corvus yelled waving her team forward. “Grimly, get him out!!”

Neither Grimly nor Parmath said another word as the debris from the fighter slammed into the side of the station, exploding on impact. The shockwave knocked them from their mag cohesion and several floated into the void freely, Corvus among them. Repressing the urge to scream as she was sent hurling along the hull, her hands scraping for anything to grab. She caught the edge of a recess just long enough to slow herself down and then she managed to get a foot down. Her body was still moving fast, bending over her now planted knee. The overextension tore at her knee and she was unable to hold back that scream. But both she and the mag cohesion, held on long enough to get her other leg down. Immediately she grabbed at her tether and pulled, twisting her body towards the deck to change their momentum, realizing as she did that she was still screaming.

Her yank was enough to pull Eindorf down first towards the hull. He bounced helplessly off it for a moment, and then locked one foot down and pulled Ensign Tao down beside him before locking the second. The Ensign crashed into Eindorf but they stayed on their feet. She locked down beside him, the terror on her face illuminated by the interior lights of her helmet and sending her features into sharp relief.

Corvus bowed forward in pain, clutching at her knee and seeing stars other than the ones in the distant void. It was excruciating; like nothing she’d ever felt before. Eindorf and Tao stomped quickly towards her, giving her a clear sight of the hull where they’d come from. There was now a meters long gash across the hull bisecting their line. She looked desperately up and around for any sign of anyone, praying her HUD would recognize someone else. It came up empty. Her heart jumped into her throat, about to scream again but this time in agony for the people she’d just lost, when it flickered green then disappeared. She focused in on the spot and it flashed green again. It took a moment, but she was able to focus on what she was seeing.

Crewman Grimly was hanging on to a piece of debris lodged into the hull twenty feet away from the plating. He had one hand holding himself in place and with the other he was trying to pull something. Corvus pushed herself to her feet with a screech of pain, and pointed desperately towards it. Eindorf and Tao looked and the Marine nodded.

“I’ll go. You stay with the Captain,” Eindorf ordered Tao.

“No, no, we stay together!” Corvus shook her head, forcing herself onto her feet. She knew she wasn’t fooling anyone from the grimace on her face. But she managed a step forward and they marched towards Grimly.

“We’re coming, Grimly!” Corvus called over the comm.

He grunted back, “I can’t tell if Parveaux’s alive,” he growled back.

“Where’s Parmath, I can’t see him from here,” Corvus countered. “Just hold on to him, we’re almost there.”

There was silence for a moment before Grimly replied, “Parmath’s gone, Captain.”

She grunted with the effort of moving her knee but it was just as much exclamation for the loss of the Ensign. She’d put him in her group to give him confidence, to make him feel like he was going to be safer. All she’d done was put him in the line of fire. She’d done everything she’d been taught to do, leading her group exactly as she would have been expected and he was still gone. She tried to will herself to move just a little faster, to get her feet off the deck and down again that much more quickly.

“Captain!!” Grimly called out desperately. “Captain! Turn back!! Go!!” He bellowed into the comm.

Corvus whipped her head the way Grimly was looking and cried out, “Shit! Eindorf!!”

“They’re too close, Captain! There’s nothing we can do!” Eindorf answered, “Make yourself small as you can, like we’re part of the hull! Get down, Captain!” He barked, stopping dead. The sudden resistance on Corvus’ end stopped her mid-step and she pulled herself down into a crouch hoping that the ship approaching was as old as the others and might not have as sophisticated sensors as a Starfleet ship would. Braving to look, she turned the direction Grimly was looking to see a dark gray mass approaching.

The vessel was wide and narrow. The top was flat and the bottom shaped like the hull of a boat with the sunlight engines the only illumination. It approached slowly like it was biding its time, hugging the hull by the environmental ring and coming right for them. At this distance, there was no way that they were going to miss them, even an NX class would have spotted them. Corvus looked back at Eindorf. “Get ready, Sergeant.” He already had his heavy weapon in hand and just nodded, hoping that he still had the weapon when the transport was over. Of course, that was assuming that they didn’t just blast them off the hull like so many barnacles.

“…. Captain?” Tao called out, her voice rising at the end. Corvus looked back at the woman fearfully to see her leaned with the crown of her head pointed at the deck, like she was reading something upside down. Confused, Corvus looked back to the ship and did the same. There were letters etched on the hull plating, but just as they were starting to come into focus the hum of transporter beam enveloped her.