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Tall Tales (Chapter Cover Art)


Story By JA Baker[]

Jonah
Facts
Author JA Baker
Series Name Tall Tales
Alternate Universe Name
Year Written August 13th, 2020
Story Era Dark Age Era





Oh, a visitor?

Forgive me; it's been... well, a long, long time since I last saw someone who wasn't a guard. They keep me in solitary confinement you see? Most I usually see are a couple of guards when they take me to the yard for exercise or come in and rip my cell apart, "looking for contraband", or so they claim.

Why don't I believe them? Lady, this prison doesn't officially exist. It's built on an airless rock in an uninhabited system that's only visited by military traffic. This is the deepest of deep holes, somewhere where the squeaky clean Republic of the Sphere can keep all the prisoners it doesn't want to admit it has. The inmates here are here because we're too dangerous. One way or another to have in even a regular prison and too potentially useful to just kill.

Me, for example: a former assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations for the Word of Blake.

Oh, I was completely loyal to the Order and its stated goals, but I'm also a realist. Which is why I was taken alive and why I've never told the nice people with the electrodes and the buckets of water everything I know.

Yeah, they torture us here. We're all legally dead, held in a prison that doesn't exist. So they can do what they damn well please.

So, what brings you all the way here from Terra?

Project Jonah? Well, I figured it was only matter of time before someone came asking about that. You won't need to call in the guards with the rubber sticks to "encourage" me to talk. It's actually an interesting story to tell.

I don't know who first came up with the idea, but I do know that they'd been planning something similar for a long, long time. Like, based on some of the files I saw, before the Clan invasion. No, I have no idea how they knew about it, but apparently someone in pre-schism ComStar had an inkling. But the original plans were more... traditional, shall we say? Go in, take control of the ship, and use it as a massive kinetic impactor, take out the capital. No, it wasn't until we started reactivating the old yardships that the plans crystallized into Project Jonah: to go in and steal the Prinz Eugen from right under the nose of the Clans.

What? Yes, I know what the history books say, but I also know that history is written by the victors. The last thing they want is to admit that someone waltzed into the supposedly most secure system in Clan space, pulled their collective pants down, and committed an act of Grand Theft Battleship. I don't know where they got another Texas from, but the one the Cloud Cobras destroyed over Tanis was not the Prinz Eugen.

Texas (Delranes Fighting Ships 3061)

Texas Class Battleship, Prinz Eugen

Anyway...to call it audacious would be an understatement. You don't just walk in and take 1.5-million tons of Battleship, not even one that's been converted into a prison. And that's leaving aside the fact that no yardship built could supposedly jump while holding something that size. But, well, someone did some math, and a stripped-down hulk of a Newgrange-Class Yardship, the SLS Medway, was selected for the mission. No, she never appeared in any lists of our ships. This was completely off-the-books, blackest of the black-ops planning. I only know because they needed the CNO to provide Pocket Warships for escorts and marines for the boarding action.

I wasn't on a mission. I was staff, not operations, but I did get to see the mission reports. Which was including hull camera footage from the ships that took part.

I have no idea where they found the navigator for the mission, because they were either certifiable insane or a genius. They jumped the Medway through a temporary null point only twenty meters wider than the ship was long, caused by the interactions of Strana Mechty, its two moons and the systems primary, a pointed that only lasted for thirty seconds. Must have surprised the crap out of the defense staff, because it took them longer than anticipated to even get the alert fighters in the air. That's another thing. They had no standing CAP, over their CAPITAL WORLD, where most of their leaders were assembled. I've heard of pride going before a fall, but we could have taken out pretty much every Khan and saKhan still in the Kerensky Cluster with just a single strike. There would have been nothing they could do but bend over, stick their heads between their legs and kiss their arses goodbye.

Well, while they were still running around like headless chickens. The Medway deployed her DropShips and fighters, and started burning hard for the Prinz Eugen.

Oh, I would have loved to have seen the look on their faces when that big bastard came bearing down on them. The repair bay opening up like the mouth of some giant sea monster. Yeah, that's where the mission got its name, if you hadn't already guessed. Fighters staffed the Prinz Eugen, disabling the few weapons it had left. Then left to help the Pocket Warships dead with the fights and DropShips that were finally responding. We'd expected to find at least one other warship in orbit, but aside from the McKenna's Pride, nothing.

Again, the worst rear-echelon security EVER.

Couple of people had championed trying to board and steal the Pride as well, or, at least, putting half a dozen nukes into it as the Medway passed, but the CNO vetoed it. Said there's sticking you head into the tigers cage, and then there's kicking him in the balls while you do it. I think he had a point.

I don't know exactly how they did it. You're not supposed to try and dock any ship with a yardship while one of them is pulling 1.5G's of acceleration. Certainly took a helmsman with balls the size of Mammoths, but somehow they just scooped the Eugen up without even chipping the paint. Old girl must have rung like a bell, but they were able to secure the hatch and connect the umbilicals while moving towards the second pirate point.

Yardship Docking with Texas Class Battleship

The Medway "scooping" up Texas Battleship, Prinz Eugen.

That's how I know that the navigator was bat-shit insane or blessed by God, because they plotted a jump in a moving ship. Something that has never to the best of my knowledge ever been done before. Fighters and Droppers performed combat redockings with seconds on the clock. Even as the marines were cutting their way into the Prinz Eugen. And then, just like that, they were gone. Less than an hour in system, beginning to end. Pure lunacy, and that's why it worked.

But that... that's where my knowledge of the mission ends. I know that the pocket warships and marines were returned, and they confirmed that the Prinz Eugen was taken relatively intact, but we certainly never saw her or the Medway ever again. Caused a lot of arguments among the brass, but whoever it was that was behind the mission, they had enough pull that word came down from the very top, from the Master himself, to let it drop.

So yeah, that was the end of Project Jonah. We got some exciting footage and an insight into just what's possible with a pirate point, and someone else got themselves a free Texas and a Yardship, courtesy of the Word of Blake.


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