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Chapter 2 - Emergenace[]


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Neptune Mothball Yard
Sol System, 2760-06-14


The K-1 DropShuttle carrying the initial boarding and reactivation team coasted slowly past the vastly larger vessel, allowing Noriko Murakami to examine the outer hull of the old cruiser. The vaguely wedge-shaped Aegis class cruiser was in remarkably good shape despite being over three centuries old. Her paint was faded, but was still recognizably the Terran Hegemony’s greys, her name marked clear for Noriko to see: THS Sybil Ludington.

Things weren't all sunshine and roses, though. So many of the Ludington’s turret mounts sat empty, stripped of their class-10 naval autocannons. Noriko didn’t know if they'd been salvaged to serve as spares for some other WarShip, removed for replacement, or in prep for the 2582 refit of her sister ships, but if that had ever been documented, the fact was lost to time. From the looks of it, though, Noriko and her team would have their work cut out for them.

“Pardon my saying so, but she looks like a bit of a mess, Admiral,” her staff officer, Lt. Commander David Carpentier, said to her as they approached the Ludington’s shuttle bay.

Noriko nodded. “Good news is the area around the transit and KF drives looks intact. If the worst we have to do is requisition new guns for her mounts, then we'll be ahead of the game. I'm more concerned with the old girl’s existing computer network. Assuming the fiber optic lines and backup wires are intact, and all we have to do is swap in the new gear, I’ll be happy. Having the turrets empty may simplify fitting the control gear there, anyway.”

“Laser mounts look intact. Missile tubes, too. Surprised the lasers weren't salvaged,” Carpentier commented.

“We'll need to give those a going-over,” Noriko replied. “Missile tubes should be fine, they're simple enough, but those lasers haven't been touched in two hundred years. Who knows what shape they're in? That might explain the autocannons, too...”

“Ma'am?”

“If they weren’t pulled later as part of the refit, the ship had come in for mothballing, and maybe hadn't been service for a while,” Noriko said, thinking out loud. “Since her last service records got lost in thr shuffle, there’s no record of when her NACs were last rebarrelled, they might have been past due. They may have planned to swap new Class-10s in and just never got around to it.”

Carpentier shrugged. “And for all we know, they could all be sitting in the cargo hold.”

The shuttle’s pilot, Jack McCorkell, while focused on not colliding with the cruiser, asked, “Admiral, looks like the boat bay isn't active, but we should still be able to dock to one of her collars, even with the power off. Do we know if they turned on the life support?”

“Supposedly,” Noriko replied. “We'll see how well they did their job soon enough. Dock up, then suits on. Let's not take any chances.”

McCorkell eased the DropShuttle back around to head back to a docking collar, then lined up the shuttle’s own docking mechanism and eased the 200-ton sphere closer until it got a good latch on the gargantuan WarShip. “Docking complete, good deal. Reading normal atmospheric pressure on the other side. Bit chilly, though, only about 15 degrees. Well above freezing, but colder than operating temp.”

“Suit up anyway. I don’t want to take the chance that we’ve got some gas or other particulates until we can thoroughly test air quality.”

Heading down to the main crew deck, Noriko found her boarding team had already begun suiting up. Of course, her entire team were engineers, and thus their standard duty uniforms doubled as spacesuits, meaning “suiting up” simply meant donning their helmets.

Once her team was finished, they assembled at the DropShuttle’s docking port, swiftly verified the seal once again, then filed into the airlock. Her engineering chief, Lt. Commander James Montgomery, turned to Noriko and said, “We're set, Admiral. Would you do the honors?”

“Certainly,” Noriko agreed. The two of them opened their airlock doors, confirmed the readings on the other side once more, then opened the outer door for the Ludington’s own airlock door. Satisfied that no unexpected rush of air occurred in any direction, Noriko pushed off from the DropShuttle, into the WarShip’s airlock.

As Noriko did, Montgomery swiftly joined her, announcing, “Admiral arriving, SLS Sybil Ludington.

Noriko smiled. “Let's get to work.”


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