Monday, 6 March 2017

Operation Mollusc: The Heikegani Incident (pt III)

14th February 3303: Unknown location, NULL steering council

"It has begun."

The silence among the group ran on for longer than was comfortable, as all present reflected on what that meant.

"How are they doing?"

Charybdis pulled back the memory of his visit a few hours earlier and relayed it concisely back to the group. The Orbis station had already developed a noticeable precession off the main axis that added some risk to any approaching ship. Tech crews were working under dangerous circumstances to bring that back under control, and two people had already lost their lives after a key safety system had failed under alien influence. They were still cleaning up that mess.

Internally the station was running on emergency power, and air recycling was laboured and barely sufficient. Hydroponics had failed and along with it so had all self-sufficiency. The commodities market was open to emergency food supplies only, while the remainder of station services had been shut down for safety. Non-essential personnel had started evacuation, but there were few ships now entering and leaving the stricken station.

"The Chief of Operations is taking it hard. She's done everything by the book, and even added a few pages to it as well, but it hasn't changed the outcome. The station is now in need of a greater resourcefulness and assistance, something I think we can provide."

The room broke out into a conflicting storm of voices. Outrage expressed at the attack on the station, offers to track down those who had created the harm, or locate and buy more meta-alloy to stem the damage. Bringing in food and supplies to the stricken station was called for, as well as helping to safely carry those who were able to leave.

One seasoned tactician leant forward, breaking through the noise with the hardened accent of an isolated southern continent in Sol system: "We know what we have to do. They have taken us in, supported us, and we have a care of duty towards these people."

There was a strong murmur of assent from those tele-present and the room took on a determined resolve while the rescue operation was planned. Ships changed course, their previous missions abandoned, and pointed as one towards a single small volume of space around a star 500 light years distant.

The battle for Bartlett Gateway was joined.