Adventures Of The Starship Durandal: Prologue - Zu behaupten, die Sterne



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ADVENTURES OF THE STARSHIP DURANDAL<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

Prologue: Zu behaupten, die Sterne

It was the Durandal’s big day, the day of her launch and the ceremony was in full swing. It was nearly an hour in and Nick was already getting tired. Admiral Harper had been dominating the event with his speech.<o:p></o:p>
The ship’s launch party was not actually being thrown on board. With the amount of VIPs that had come up from Earth and it was decided to hold it on one of the station’s exhibition decks. The panoramic of the Earth in the background only helped the scene. To only make matters worse the media was present, broadcasting the event live across the entire system.<o:p></o:p>

The crew of the ship was also present for the most part. Some were on board, prepping for the launch but the rest were “encouraged” to come. For the most part the crew had spent anywhere between a week and six months preparing for their assignment and getting to know their peers. Nick had arrived six days before and knew next to no one still.<o:p></o:p>

Finally the Admiral had finished and Nick did his best to stifle a yawn. He had to look like he did more than respect the rank despite the man’s political intentions. Nick was sure that Admiral Harper was upset with the fact that the Durandal was not assigned to the Home Fleet and that Admiral Thompson was rubbing it in his nose.<o:p></o:p>

Still the good Admiral was finished and he had a chance to chat with some of the other officers now as they waited for their table to be called by the Master of Ceremonies to go eat. “And here I thought it would never end…” He let slip, without thinking.
In all the years I've been in the Navy there's one thing that is a definite certainty: all officers O-6 and above have the gift of the silver tongue. A sign of a good officer and of a liar.

God knows I've heard so much bullshit from the brass hat fucks. I guess something happens when men surpass the O-5 pay grade that turns them into pompous asses. As for me, I can't wait till I advance to E-7.

Chief Petty Officer. That's when I get that gold, fouled anchor with silver, superimposed SCN. My father made Chief and so did his father. It's damn near a prerequisite for this family. The old man finally finishes and I let out a sigh of relief.

"Finally... Fuckin' windbag..." I muse, adjusting my dixie cup hat. The uniform I wear has remained unchanged for centuries. I guess it's just for tradition's sake. I wait for an opening then head back to the ship. The quarterdeck's manned but they let me onboard with no problems. I find no problems in getting to the armory, closing the mankiller door and latching it shut. As long as the door's latched no one can get in, particularly since I've got both the lock and the key.

See I like to drink alone. In the months leading up to all this I'd been taking great care to build and disguise a still in the armory. I like to call it 'Gun Monkey Whisky.'

"There's a few brain cells that need killin' and some product that needs testing." I muse, pouring myself a shot. I make a salute and down it.

"Good stuff..."
Seeing that the galley was in shape, I fiercely hoped my cooking would be accepted by the crew. None of them really had any inkling why I jumped at the chance to join the Durandal as Executive Chef. See, I have this unrelenting desire to serve a master or mistress (hopefully a human), and this was a good way, so I thought, to gain one. This was my chance to find what some would call, and what I would come to call, my owner.

I ran my hand along the wall, walking slowly and thinking of the things that had lead me to this point, and then I noticed the first crew member to board. A strong looking human male... The sight of someone aboard set my mind, and my ears to tingling. I immediately began to prepare the first meal to be served aboard this ship.

It is well known that food-synths cannot possibly recreate the quality meals that a Spacing Crew needs, but fortunately, the SCN hires the best chefs they can find. I would use the food-synths to create the elements from which I would create my recipes.

My non-human status made it difficult to climb through the ranks, but I made it, and the SCN called me up, and gave me the job. Still, some humans don't seem to trust us Nekojin, even though we have fierce loyalty. That will always confuse me.
Admiral Harper's speech ended at last, and Victor clapped politely with the rest of the guests and crew. He was no stranger to these sort of things. He attended gatherings similar to this ceremony regularly with his parents, but they never got any less boring. Still, although he couldn't speak for the crew, he knew that to many of their guests, appearances were everything. So... gut in, chest out, head held high, look cool, look in control, especially for the cameras... The applause died down and the guests began to splinter into various cliques, and Victor feigned a polite cough to cover a yawn. The Lieutenant Commander of the Durandal, Nick Hamilton, was seated next to him.

"And here I thought it would never end..."

True, but hardly professional. Victor glanced quickly over his shoulder to see if anyone important had heard his superior before responding.

"Yes, Lieutenant Commander..."
Asami stood in the back of the room, her arms crossed as she looked at the other crew members. She hadn't understood more then a couple of words in the speech but she didn't really care, after all it was her job to maintain security, not to talk to the other members. She was more then grateful for the chance to work on the ship, especially at such a young age. She hadn't spent much time getting to know the crew and in fact this was only her third or fourth time seeing the ship up close, having spent most of her time in various martial arts classes keeping her skills up to snuff. She was told, by a translator, that her second in command would be around somewhere. One of the staff for the meeting hall came over and blathered on about something, seeing Asami's blank stare she gestured eating and pointed towards an empty chair.

"Okay." Asami nodded and followed the woman as she led her over to a seat next to Victor and made sure to wait for Asami's order. "Me...rike...sushi..." She stumbled over the language and the blank stare of the waitress caused a sigh from her. "" The woman finally put it together and bustled off. Asami turned her gaze to the two men and nodded to them before looking down at her hands, not wanting to stumble over more of the language.
Chris muttered a curse as he removed a panel off of the wall, reaching in with a gloved hand. He had been present on the ship for what, one? Two weeks? Chris didn’t pay much attention. The systems on the ship had been his main concern as they prepped for the launching ceremony.

Ever since the reactor had come online there had been minor issues and breaker burnouts across the ship. Sure, the Daedalus power plant plenty of power. But that was the main issue; it provided too much power with not enough regulation for where it went. As a result, as least once a day a handful of technicians had to go to different decks and replace burnt out breakers and fried power couplings.

“‘Couse, this wouldn’t happen if the bloody AI was online to regulate the grid.” Chris said under his breath as he yanked out the blackened circuit breaker. He was at least thankful it was the smaller breakers and power couplings. Some of the larger components required several man hours to replace.

Quickly he finished up replacing the fried breakers and closed up the panel again, ignoring the fellow crew members that passed by him. Still, he was annoyed that he got picked for the task, it was boring and simple as hell. Pulling a PDA out of his pocket he marked the task as finished and looked at the next one. “Ah great… kitchens…”

Scanning the small screen he moved quickly, his head down, not watching where he was headed.
Space Marine

"That's a somewhat disturbing concept, Asami. What I eat I generally prefer dead and unable to retaliate."

Roland "Filth Hound" Macer, occasionally referred to as "Broland" by his friends,
didn't have a very nice voice. It always seemed to hide something behind it's implied swagger, oddly reminiscent of being growled at by a large dog being restrained by its owner. It was how he often spoke: crystal clear and razor sharp. Some said he was a man of a constantly foul nature, others of a predatory one. The latter group he found himself agreeing with more, although it wasn't Asami's flesh he desired. If most, it was a piece of her mind. He didn't hate her, but he was a man who went around and came around. Cultured he may not seem, but he did what he could to experience of the great wide world.

He'd arrived a few seconds after her, seemingly popping out a crowd. He laughed inside his head; he imagined the two saw him as some pop-up of a paper monster in old children's books. Yet they didn't really seem to pay attention to him. Or didn't catch him. In spite of his towering physique, he had an eerie sense of movement. Even when casually strolling, he had away around crowds, parting through them as a slim eel does through reeds. In the eyes of many, he was more often than not a simple blur of whit flesh and gray-black combat fatigues.

"And greetings to you too, Mr. Hamilton," he said, raising his head and reducing his voice to a somewhat lower and noticeably less grit-drenched tone "May we travel far and wide, forge a name for human kind, and in the proccess of that, make at least make one fear-mongering dictator-warlord's life very miserable."

He threw in a mock bow, raising both arms, one higher than the other. It ressembled some sort of strange prayer gesture of some asceitc monk fused with the fighting stance of some east-asian martial artist, yet he pulled this off with a surprising sense of class. Breaking from it suddenly, he sat up straight and pat the shorter man on the shoulder.

"You're a bit new to this, executive command deal, aren't you, Hamilton?"

Looking off to the side, one of the waitresses came his way, but before she could say a thing, Roland spoke fast. All that anyone would have heard would be him asking for "The Nuclear Death" along with a few other this-and-that's. The waittress looked at him rather awkwardly, wondering if she was being toyed with, but Roland's gaze offered little for interpretation outside of the genuine and the serious.

Turning back to his exec-commander, he began to reach unto his marine-issue black vest, going for one of the four knives strapped unto it. In particular, he chose one of the smaller ones, its blade roughly half the length of his arm. Twriling it in his left hand, he stuck it forward, blunt end first to the exec.

"Bit of a habit of mine. Commanders always, at least once in their career, run into at least one situation where they find themselves in need of a very sharp object with which to slash and-or stab something, occasionally to death. More often than not, that object is rather lacking in physical proximity."

Leaning back as one of the waitresses put some alcoholic refreshment at the table, he raised his glass to roughly chin level.

"Yet this knife is also a sign, Hamilton. Of trust, command, and...-"

He paused for a few seconds, leaning his head sideways, noticing a few oddly darker coloured spots on the knife.

"...Oh, well, excuse those. Long story short... 'extreme gardening' on planet Morbius. But yes, trust, command, and comraderie. You may be new to this whole job, but new blood is needed, both to lead and likely to be drawn."

Raising the glass high, his voice boomed, free of the ribbing humour and crude gruffness.

"To your iron command and our crushing success, aye."
Lyekka hated the press. Well, hate was perhaps a strong word. She disliked the press, with its habit of being in her face right whenever she was doing something private.

Like now, for instance. She wanted to enjoy a nice quiet meal on board her new ship and get to know the various crewmembers she'd be spending her time in the near future.

Instead she was getting seated at the whole dignitaries table with a Nekosan representative and one of the more alien-friendly human diplomats. They were great people, but not the ones she wanted to deal with...

So she excused herself at a pause in their conversation, and took some time to look around the room. There was a Nekosan standing off in one corner, and he was in uniform, so she decided to talk to him.

Lyekka walked up to Ren, with two of the reporters following. "Hello there. I'm Lyekka...are you on the crew here?"
As the Lieutenant-Commander's table were told to make their way to the mess station, all but one member stood, the remaining seated member, Wearing a black Overcoat of a New Soviet Counter Admiral over his Helmsman rank BDUs, snored gently, his chin resting on his chest, but as the others passed him, he stirred, and woke with a snort
"Is Admiral windbag finished?" he muttered as he rose, stretching his arms before shuffling after the others, massaging the back of his neck

"So, what do we have to drink on this tub" he asked but if anyone responded he didn't hear them, noticing as he did two non-human crewmembers surrounded by press
совокупляться, иностранный. я ненавидеть иностранный." he muttered to himself with a scowl, his psych profile mentioning his deep distrust for anyone or anything abhuman, a product of former New Soviet indoctrination, and even though the New Soviet Empire was long since annexed with the signing of the Solarian compact, old habits died hard.
"I'm definitely going to need more vodka" Dimitri Arkaydivich Portnov grumbled to himself.
Ren stared at the human-looking Gaian, and said, "H-hello, Lyekka. I am pleased to meet a Gaian representative. What may I serve you?"

He stepped behind the serving line, and suddenly noticed the smoking foodsynth in the corner. Cursing in the feline tongue, he leapt to the device and hit the power-stop button, disconnecting it from the power. "DAMMIT!" He yelled. His baby, the thing that helped him cook was dead.
It took Chris a while to realize that the kitchens in question on the PDA were not actually on the ship itself, instead on the station. Attempting to make up for time he quickly he pushed his way through the crowds of crewmembers and VIPs that were now filtering onto the ship. He figured that the ceremonies on the station side must have ended, possibly why the foodsynth failed.

Entering the mess hall it suddenly occurred to Chris that he was severely underdressed. On all sides there were officers, VIPs, and crewmembers. All dressed in their best neatly pressed and cleaned uniforms or suits.

There he was, dressed in a rumpled work stained jumpsuit. A black utility belt haphazardly strapped across his waist at a rakish angle, and worn work goggles draped around his neck. To top it all off his orange hair stood out like a lit torch in the mess hall lighting.

Chris fought the urge to reach into his pocket for a cigarette and ignored the slight twinge in color that rushed to his face. So he was surrounded by a bunch of bigwig hobnobs and ego driven officers that wouldn’t even address him. So what he quickly reasoned to himself, not like any of these people would remember him anyway or regard him as important. He swallowed and pressed on towards the galley and the serving line, sticking close to the wall.
Keeping a straight face while Asami ordered was a struggle for him, but Victor returned her nod with a crisp salute all the same. A quick glance at the stripes on her arm and the badge on her chest told Victor who she was, and he would have formally introduced himself had it not been for Roland's rather surprising entrance. Victor sat quietly, and slightly horrified, as the man made his introduction, but when it came time to toast their leader, with some hesitation, he raised his own glass of wine.

"Da, to your.. iron command and crushing success commander."

The appearance of Asami brought a bit of a smirk in humor to his lips. Judging off of what he had read up on the crew, he assumed she was the ship's chief of secuirty. Still the file had not prepared him for the real thing as it made no mention of her lack of proficency with English. They were no doubt going to have an interesting time at future briefings.

Then the marine came up. Ordering a dreadful sounding dish, or drink, or whatever it was. Once the waitress had left and his attention returned to Hamilton, Nick could only wonder how he was able to get past security with the blade. As the man mentioned Morbius shivers went down Nick's spine.

"To your iron command and our crushing success..." Nick heard echoed by a few voices around him. While he was unsure as to the apropratness of a toast to his command he still raised his glass, staying silent for the first part out of a mixture of humility and position. After all, he was not the captain. The marine who offered up the toast however, he didn't doubt his words for one second, the ones about needing something sharp.

"Gentlemen, I thank you for you kind words." Nick commented, grasping the hilt of the blade with a nod to Roland. "Now if you'll excuse me I think I need to tack down our wayward Captain. She seems to be running late to her own party and I am sure that the Admiral would have some parting words before we leave Dock." He continued, finishing his drink and setting it on the table before departing.

As the others responded to the Marine's toast, Dimitri withdrew a flask from the inside pocket of his greatcoat, unscrewing the lid before raising the flask as Nick made to leave
Да. к дроблению успеха и обильной водки! Comrade Lieutenant Commander! and To our continued health and pay!" he said emptying the half full flask in a hit

"On the note of continued health, Where can i get more wodka?" he mumbled as he joined the others in sitting.
Asami was being spoken to and again her difficulty with the language was shown. She had absolutely no clue what anyone around her was talking about and as she sat there in silence, showing no expression on her face her order had returned relatively quickly, a good spread of sushi. "こんにちは 警部" Asami nodded to Victor after the other men did, what she could only assume was a toast, but to whom she had no idea. With a sigh she continued eating in a stern silence.
The uniform of the man who was just seated was unmistakably that of a an officer in the New Soviet Fleet, and Victor could only barely contain a scowl. He hadn't though it would be so hard to maintain his composure here, but then he hadn't counted on the Durandal being full of such.. characters. The New Soviet Empire had been at odds with the traditional White Russian Empire, of which Victor belonged, for a long time. Often, this rivalry would lead to violent confrontations between the two powers. Sure, this was all in the past considering the New Soviet Empire had collapsed, but seeing this man brought back bad memories.

"Ahem, hello.. comrade," was Victor's introduction when the man took a seat.
When Ren received an order for Nuclear Death, he recognized the nickname of a dish that came from his homeworld of Nekosa. Why the hell would a human order something that spicy? Most Nekosans don't even like it!" Nevertheless, he made it. He was a bit surprised that the foodsynths knew what the components were.

Once the dish was prepared, he turned his attention to the Gaian. "Milady, what would you have to do with a Nekosan? All I can do is cook."