USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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The Test

Posted on Wed Oct 4th, 2023 @ 12:59pm by Rear Admiral Yoshi Minawara

Mission: Shakedown Shake-Up
Location: Iota Station - Delta Quadrant
851 words - 1.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Vireon is the test pilot through the gravitational catapult

In the pale light of a Type G star, two sleek forms pushed away from a platform and each other. Hulls like marble gleamed in the starlight, their hulls lined with weapons intended for broadsides rather than the more three dimensional combat one expected from space. These had been built to put on a show, to hold their might. More importantly, these were proud battleships of the Republic of the First Worlds. The station they pushed away from, by comparison, looked hideous and blocky. It was constructed with rings around its edges, placed for starships to park and be repaired after a long transit. It was distinctly not of the same origin as the ships, and faintly bore the name "IOTA STATION" on its hull. Not three years ago, this had been the primary Federation presence in the Delta Quadrant, the prime starbase of Pegasus Fleet as their action into this region of space. More importantly, it also possessed a control centre - the control centre for the nearby Graviton Catapult.

The catapult was a massive structure, over three kilometers across, and hung in space like a giant ring. Along its edges several spines stuck out, stretching into the stars, these were the graviton emitters. The system was simple, in the principal of the way some things are when said plainly. In reality they needed to be carefully calibrated to ensure they didn't rip the ship apart as they entered. Several probes had met such a fate as the Ziapteryx and their subservient scientists had worked to try and figure out the Federation system. It had taken them the better part of the last three years to repair the damage to the station and catapult, and the last six months had been sent trying to get the system to work. But now they were ready for the test.

Vireon was fitted inside the cockpit of his small test ship. The belief of the Ziapteryx was to simply make a small jump, with the system calibrated and tested to launch the ship towards a nearby outpost. Now they had three probes go through easily, with the latest arriving without even the smallest signs of gravitational stress. Now was time to test a real ship. The test ship was little more than a modified shuttle, with the cockpit installed being a single seat unit, and a small survival module in the back in case they missed and needed to wait to retrieve the pilot. The only change now, between the probe and the new ship was a federation transponder, stolen from a heavily damaged and abandoned shuttle in the hangar of the station. If they encountered any remnant Federation, it should allow them to blend in from a distance and sneak away before they even realized.

"Station control to Pilot Vireon, come in," came the call over comms. Vireon reached up from his controls, reaching up towards the comms controls. He was laid out in the cockpit, spread as though he himself were gliding through the air.

"Station Control, this is Pilot Vireon, go ahead."

"Vireon, our systems are good here, we are prepared to launch the test vehicle. Are you ready?" Came back the reply. Vireon felt a smug satisfaction, it was true that the Ziateryx were destined to rule this corner of space, and that this last abandoned piece of Federation ruin was going to ensure it.

"Test vehicle is ready to go."

There was no need for further response, all the procedures were baked in and ready to go. From the station, a series of controls were activated, starting the process of launching the ship. Automated controls took over the shuttle, and from his position near the station he began his run up, accelerating towards the gateway. It almost looked perfect, until the gate started to move. Vireon's heart started to hammer, it had taken months to figure out how to aim the system and now it was realigning itself without any input. "Control?" he squawked, trying to get their attention.

"Test vehicle, abort your approach," someone called over the line, and Vireon wrenched hard, with no response. The gate continued to move, and the input approach curved him along, following the new vector as it did. The catapult had full control over his systems and he was at it's whim. The graviton emitters came to life, glowing an eerie green in the run up, and tractor systems locked onto his shuttle. The warp system came online, creating a stable warp bubble around his ship, watching as the system now fed the targeted data into his navigational computer. If Vireon hadn't been fighting the system, and trying to wrestle control, he might had forwarded those coordinates to the station, letting them know where it was taking him. But he didn't notice, and didn't have time to send it as his ship accelerated to the speed of light and beyond. From the perspective of onlookers one moment he was there, the next he was gone.

And to where, no one knew.


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