Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 08:00.   Posted by Traveller Referee.Group: 0
Ash Tescali
 player, 546 posts
 Traveling through J-space
 isn't like dusting crops
Tue 5 Jan 2016
at 07:16
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 12:35
Ash nods quietly to all of the suggestions made.  All were good - he only wished that he might have thought of one of them.  But, he noted with a touch of chagrin and a slight shrug of the shoulders to no one in particular - especially since he never actually vocalized any of the words, I never have been the brightest bulb on the tree...

He dutifully read off the distance to the asteroid as well as the ETA.  Then he double-checked the projected approach vector to floating, rocky mass.  The lanky navigator pushed plot up on to the tactical screen and then started to peruse the spectrographic readings on the mineral composition of the asteroid, just in case they needed to be aware of any anomalies that might affect their ruse.

The gaunt ex-Squid glanced nervously at gaggle of civilian ships trying to desperate reach the Shata Lunoqi and escorts before the squadron of Swordie fighters reached them.  "I hope we are in time..." Ash muttered pensively.  This was one of the things that he had always found extremely disconcerting about battles in the Deep Black, the distances were unfathomable.  And death - while no less real - was often surreal.  Beautiful blooms of color from explosions masked the utter silent destruction that lay beneath.

Destruction that seemed more often than not to happen either instantly or in excruciating slow-motion.  Crews were often dead before they knew it.  Or tortured with the eternity of inevitability that Newtonian physics often wrought.
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1088 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Tue 5 Jan 2016
at 18:56
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:15
Shui makes her way across to the Passenger side lounge, where she finds the passengers - Corlan, Eneris, Keryn and Covan Draik - already out of their cabins and talking among themselves.  They don't appear particularly distressed, with the exception of Draik, who has perhaps realised that the Sword Worlders would like to get their hands on a man who holds (or soon will hold) a major supply contract with the Imperial Navy.

He holds back his questions though, as Corlan requests that the feed be transferred to the lounge.

"Twenty minutes," Jago announces.  "Fighters are still holding course for the civilian ships.  Should reach them some time after the wave-front of our transmission."

"Oh... that's interesting!"
and the tone of his betrays his excitement, "Shata Lunoqi just launched... let's see... eighteen missiles.  That's overkill, unless they're expecting to miss with a few."

On the display, a new cluster of traces begin to generate vector lines which fan out towards the fighters.
Tylen Orgesh
 player, 1099 posts
 Gunner and former scout
 Who the hell is Will?
Tue 5 Jan 2016
at 19:00
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:15
"Beat me to it." Tylen grumbles.
Shui Tiesi
 player, 1583 posts
 Quiet doctor,
 helpful steward.
Tue 5 Jan 2016
at 19:18
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:15
Giving quiet greetings to all and sundry, Shui moves around offering sandwiches and taking orders for drinks.  She has most of them prepared, but it's possible someone will want something different, and there's the nervous Covan Draik to consider.  At Corlan's request, she patches in the feed.

Moving to the new passenger, she leans over to speak more quietly.  "As you can see, we are well-out of the danger area.  Captain Lanza's first priority is the safety of his passengers and crew - this ship.  If it were not safe, he would not be making an attempt to obfuscate the situation to give the Imperials assistance."

Leaning back, she studies the imagery for a long moment before turning away.  Every line is a potential death at its terminus.  And there will be deaths, no question.  The ship is taking no chances with the fighters - hardly surprising, given those fighters' targets.

Even so, lives will soon be lost.
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1089 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Sun 10 Jan 2016
at 14:30
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:35
"You'll get your chance Tylen." Jago comments, watching the display intently.

Time passes, as Shata Lunoqi's missiles bear down on the fighters, and Profit Margin moves towards the asteroid.

Data from Ash's analysis of the asteroid appears in a window next to the trace which represents the rock.  Silicates, with high levels of iron, nickel and carbonates.  Nothing unusual there.

Further off, the two fleets are moving closer, but still aren't within effective range...

Shui does her best to field questions from the passengers. mainly Covan Draik, who doesn't seem entirely convinced that he isn't about to be captured by the Sword Worlders.  "Yes, I understand that the Captain's priority is to protect this ship and the people aboard it.  But would he give one of us to the enemy to protect everybody else?"

Right on time, Profit Margin reaches its closest approach to the asteroid.  Jago say, "Now Tylen.  Hit the switch and give them a couple of seconds of telemetry, then knock it off again.  And while your at it, target a couple of fighters that you like the look of and send a spread of missiles their way."

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:37, Tue 12 Jan 2016.

Shui Tiesi
 player, 1584 posts
 Quiet doctor,
 helpful steward.
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 13:13
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:35
Shui juggles questions, allowing the imagery to do most of the answering for her.  Davik's question is mildly irksome - the mere idea! - but none of that shows on her face.  Part of her composure is due to training, the rest coming from understanding the reason behind Covan's nervousness.  Or, at least, the apparent reason: it's possible there are others.

"There is no cause for concern on that front, Mr. Davik," she reassures him.  "Captain Lanza would never consider such a trade.  If my word upon that is not sufficient - and you do not know me, so I would not think it an offense were that the case - please consider that if things came to the point where such an appalling act might be on the table, we would likely already be in the grip of the Sword Fleet."  She offers a small, sad smile.  "They would never release us; in fact, such an act would likely only garner their curiosity as to what we were trying to hide."

A touch on his lapel, then, for reassurance.  "No.  It will not happen.  Not due to that logic, even if that logic might reassure.  It will not happen because Captain Lanza and the crew will never consider such a crime."
Tylen Orgesh
 player, 1100 posts
 Gunner and former scout
 Who the hell is Will?
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 13:29
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:35
Tylen smiles tightly.  He has already picked out a specific fighter as a target, and has the launcher locked onto it, just waitng for the command.  From this distance, targetting and trajectory will look the same, no matter where it comes from, so it doesn't really matter what he chooses as targets.  Indeed, the chances are that the fighter will have been picked off by yhr imperial fleet well before his missiles get there.

Reaching down under his seat, Tylen flips the switch  to turn the beacon on, then fires the missiles.  Almost immediately he reaches down and nturns the beacon off again.  Missiles, source, base telemetery and then disappeared again.  Being so close to the asteroid should confuse the Sword Worlders, but the data from the beacon should give the Imperials just enough information  to work out waht has happened.

"Missiles away, Boss." he calls across the bridge as he settles back to watch the action.
Saskia Blake
 player, 578 posts
 I'm going to need a
 much bigger hammer.
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 23:52
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:35
"Eighteen missiles?" Saskia's brow furrows as she tries to remember details of the ship she served on more than four years ago.  Then she smiles as she works it out

"Full salvo.  Six turrets with three launchers each.  And yes, the skipper and XO always ordered extras launched.  They always allowed for misses and duds.  Was a bit of a running joke with other ships' crews."
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1090 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Tue 12 Jan 2016
at 17:36
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:40
"Thanks Tylen.  Keep an eye open for any retaliation.  Don't use any defences unless I tell you to though.  I'd prefer not to give away any more information on our position.  Fighters would have picked up our burst by now.  And they didn't like it."  The display shows the fighters starting to turn, thrusting hard to adjust their vectors.

A bad move.  Shata Lunoqi's salvo catches up with them, and over half the fighters vanish very suddenly, while three others are still there, but without thrust.  Only four of them remain in operational condition.

"Nice.  Main fleet should be getting the burst about... now."

Covan Draik murmurs a "Thank you." to Shui though, in all honesty it's hard to tell if he's more impressed by her conviction, or by the overtly hostile expressions of the other passengers.  Keryn, in particular, seems to be developing a sudden interest in cutlery.

Jago is dividing his interest between the display and his other instruments, and asks, "Run-time on our missiles?"
Tylen Orgesh
 player, 1101 posts
 Gunner and former scout
 Who the hell is Will?
Tue 12 Jan 2016
at 18:10
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:40
"Ten, Fifteen minutes.Something like that." the gunner responds with a shrug, as he goes back to watching the displays.

He wonders if one of the fighters that lost its drive was his chosen target, or if any of them are close enough to he targeted spot.  That would be a second unpleasant surprise for them.  However, he starts fine tuning settings, making sure he spots any missiles launched at Margin from those long distances.  Energy weapons he doesn't need to worry about, unless the ships come a lot closer - and those he knows will get spotted.
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1091 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Sun 17 Jan 2016
at 09:07
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:55
Time crawls...

Once he judges enough time has passed, Jago opens up the thrusters again and makes a course correction that accelerates Profit Margin towards the Jump limit again.

In the lounge, Covan Draik responds to the newly discovered coldness of his fellow passengers by watching the battle display silently for a few minutes.  While Eneris also seems transfixed by the slowly moving markers, Keryn and Corlan have their attention divided between gazing at the unfolding battle, and glaring at their new companion.

On the display, three orange circles expand in quick succession.  None of the fighters vanish, but two of the markers change colour and start to blink.  Jago adjusts the volume on the speakers, and a panic-stricken voice hisses through the Bridge, "... einn sjö fimm fjórar - ég hef misst stjórnborđa vél. Engin afstađa stjórn á bakborđa. Virkjunarinnar reikull og helstu tölva útbrunninn... "

"That sounds like a distress call to me.  Nice shot Tylen."

This message was last edited by the GM at 09:11, Sun 17 Jan 2016.

Tylen Orgesh
 player, 1102 posts
 Gunner and former scout
 Who the hell is Will?
Sun 17 Jan 2016
at 09:29
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:55
"Yes it does." the gunner responds to Jago, "Thanks."  There is a quiet sense of professional pride in his tone, but no outburst of celebration.

Killing people is something that has to happen occasionally.  And it is his job to do it.  But fortunately, he hasn't had to do so much killing that it becomes easy to take or something to celebrate.  Enemies they might have been, but they were still someone's mothers, fathers, sons or daughters.
Shui Tiesi
 player, 1585 posts
 Quiet doctor,
 helpful steward.
Mon 18 Jan 2016
at 13:00
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:55
Realizing that people aren't just going to let this go, Shui steps into the breach.  Choosing her moment when nothing seems to be happening on-screen, she speaks in a calm voice that nonetheless carries.  "I ask that everyone consider the gravity of the situation, and the tension it brings.  Under these circumstances - circumstances of life or death that might be novel to some of us - people might say things that do not truly reflect their selves."

She offers a small smile to the room. "I only wish we might all remember this, and that those experienced with..." She waves toward the screen.  "...or other life-or-death situations consider the feelings of those who may not be."

The Steward's attention returns to the screen.  "People are dying.  That is enough sorrow."
Saskia Blake
 player, 579 posts
 I'm going to need a
 much bigger hammer.
Tue 19 Jan 2016
at 00:04
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 13:55
"About an hour until the fleets are in effective range?" Saskia says -- half question, half statement -- "We might just see the start of it, assuming you decide to Jump as soon as possible."

And there's the rub.

"I suppose that you are planning on that, and not on hanging around?"

Traveller Referee
 GM, 1092 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Tue 19 Jan 2016
at 19:55
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:00
"That... was the general idea, yes." Jago confirms, "Unless anybody has a better plan.  One that doesn't endanger the ship, or its passengers.  Or my dinner, for that matter."

"With any luck, though, we might have helped out a bit."


The battle display shows something happening.  The Sword Worlds ships are starting to change course, the lines indicating their projected vectors are starting to fan out.  Some of them even look to be reversing course.  The remaining fighters are, it seems, to be left to their fate...

Things seem to be calming down a little among the passengers.  Shui's plea for cool heads appears to have struck home...
Yasmine Crow
 player, 1206 posts
 Gunner and ex marine
 ''Fire at Will!''
Wed 20 Jan 2016
at 09:40
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:00
"Odd are," Yas says, breaking her long silence, "that the Swordies will playing chicken.  Basically spread out far and wide, even out to the edge of the system, thus tying up all the Navy.  Or play hide and seek in the planetoid belt.  If either side was to strike first now it'd be a massacre and no one wants that.  It'll turn into a waiting game to see who slips up first, but the Imperials will have to hang around to protect the system."

"I've been little more than a glorified passenger on many of these 'encounters' and it's a common thing.  Make sure to bring a deck of cards or something if there's a big gathering like this.  Fighters and strike teams, those will operate more freely."

"So much for the Swordies 'stand down now, or else', ha!  The navy backing down, nonsense,"
she finishes under her breath.
Saskia Blake
 player, 580 posts
 I'm going to need a
 much bigger hammer.
Sat 23 Jan 2016
at 14:17
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:00
"That's Navy doctrine, yes." Saskia confirms, "It isn't the first rule in the book, but it's on one of the single digit pages.  Force commanders can't abandon a friendly world or system to enemy units, unless they have absolutely no choice.

"The Swordies' ships are lower tech, and don't use internal volume as efficiently as ours, so they can't carry fuel for a second Jump.  They need to refuel, and the only place they can do that in this system is at Phlume.  They can't leave without fuel, so Captain Zaldana can't take the IN ships out of the system either, unless a courier comes in with orders for her to pull out."


The Engineer shakes her head and sighs.

"Neither side has a clear advantage, so both could be stuck here for the frelling duration.  Or until reinforcements arrive."
Tylen Orgesh
 player, 1103 posts
 Gunner and former scout
 Who the hell is Will?
Sat 23 Jan 2016
at 14:20
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:00
Tylen is happy to let the others chat about naval battle doctrine as he continues to watch his screens -  just in case.  His only comment is a laconic "Nope.  I don't think I have a better plan, Jago."
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1093 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Sun 24 Jan 2016
at 17:16
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:15
In the lounge, things apparently settling down a little.  Covan Draik now seems to be convinced that Jago is not going to sell him to the Sword Worlders to secure freedom for the crew of profit Margin.

Tylen's missiles look to have been the deciding point on that.

Jago is still listening to the comms broadcasts, using a headset, and relaying information to the others on the Bridge.

And then he suddenly snatches the connector out of the board and routes the broadcast to the passengers, as well as the Bridge...

"... on presentation of evidence of appropriate actions."

"Repeat: this is Captain Elta Zaldana, commanding INV Indomitable, in service to the legal government of this region of space, to all civilian shipping in the Phlume system.  By my authority as a duly appointed representative of the Imperial Navy, I hereby authorise any and all civilian ships to engage Sword Worlds vessels currently in the system."

"Captains participating in such activity will receive financial compensation from the Imperial Navy, upon presentation of evidence of appropriate actions."

Shui Tiesi
 player, 1586 posts
 Quiet doctor,
 helpful steward.
Mon 25 Jan 2016
at 12:49
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:15
Pleased that things seem to have been resolved, Shui sits quietly, observing the confrontation.  Certainly it can no longer be named a 'battle', a fact that disturbs her not in the least.  Rather, it adds to her satisfaction.  It seems cooler - or more tactical - heads have prevailed, neither side wishing to fully engage.  This sort of confrontation, she muses, is a knife fight in a closet: the winner will likely find themselves in the hospital...if they're lucky.

Tylen's missiles seem to have done their job as well.  She hopes the casualties are minimal or, better yet, non-existent.

The piped-in broadcast piques her interest a touch, but no more than that.  While they've contributed, and financial compensation would likely cover the cost of the missiles, such information is of little concern to her.  However, she does return her attention to the passengers, smiling slightly.  "One should not assume this message indicates a sudden reversal of Captain Jago's decision to leave the system," she pronounces, intent on heading off any concerns. "Again, the safety of the ship is his greatest concern."
Tylen Orgesh
 player, 1104 posts
 Gunner and former scout
 Who the hell is Will?
Mon 25 Jan 2016
at 13:04
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:15
"Glad we tickled his memory ..." Tylen comments dryly as the Captain promises compensation for civilian ships who engage the enemy.

However, his primary thoughts are with his sensors and instruments.  If his missiles can reach an enemy ship, their missiles can cover the same sort of distance - and a fighter at 6G might be able to make it as well.
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1094 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Tue 26 Jan 2016
at 19:53
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 14:25
Jago mutes the broadcast from Elta Zaldana.  Everybody has heard her offer, and should be aware of what's happening.  In her stead, he makes his own announcement.

"According to the Port registry there are enough merchants, miners, and other civilian craft in the system to give the Sword World intruders something to think about.  Nothing to really worry one of their ships, except under very fortuitous circumstances, but a couple of merchants can give a fighter or other small craft, such as a shuttle, a hard time."

"Especially bearing in mind that most Imperial civilian vessels probably have better electronics, sensors and computers than Sword Worlds military ones."


He pauses a moment to let that sink in, before continuing, "In my opinion, the offer of letters of marque is mostly for show.  The Sword Worlders are in Imperial territory, and civillian shipping would be well within its rights to defend itself against what is, after all, an act of piracy."

In the lounge, Keryn asks, "What is a marque letter?"  Then listens as Eneris tries to explain it to her.  "Letter of marque.  It's a kind of licence for a civilian captain to get involved in action against ships allied to a foreign power.  Effectively attaches a merchant or other civilian ship, temporarily, to the Navy."

Jago, meanwhile, continuees speaking.  "I have no intention of putting Profit Margin, or her passengers and crew, any further in harm's way than we already are.  I will, however, authorise all possible defensive measures should anybody attack this ship."
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1095 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Sun 31 Jan 2016
at 16:19
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 15:00
On the display, the Sword Worlds ships spread out, their estimated vectors fanning out across a large proportion of the Phlume system.  The remaining active fighters adjust course to rendezvous with one of the larger ships.

For a short while the Imperial vessels pursue.  But after about fifteen minutes they reverse course and begin to move back towards Phlume, somewhat less quickly than they had pushed out towards the raiders.  For the time being, it seems, they intend to stay close to Phlume, rather than pursuing the enemy all over the system.

And then there is a short pulse among the Imperial ships - tachyons and other, more exotic, particles - and Jago nods.  "One of the smaller ships, probably a Scout/Courier just Jumped out.  My guess would be that it's heading for Extolay to request reinforcements."

It doesn't look like any of the Sword Worlders are close enough to reach us before we Jump ourselves.  So we can stand down."
  He opens up a channel to the passenger side of the ship and announces, "This is Captain Lanza.  We seen to have avoided the danger here, and will be Jumping in about twenty minutes.  It is now impossible for any of the warships in the system to intercept us before we are no longer in the system.  We should now be entirely safe from enemy interference."
Ash Tescali
 player, 547 posts
 Traveling through J-space
 isn't like dusting crops
Mon 1 Feb 2016
at 23:35
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 15:00
Ash sat quietly wondering about motivations as he watched the blips from the two great fleets dance and weave.  At first coming together and then dispersing.  He wondered of that had been the plan all along - push into the system.  Then what?  If you don't win ... remain as pirates?  Get captured by the Imperium?  The Swordies might be proud people, but was their situation really that bad?

He shook his head ruefully, as if to dispel some cobwebs.  With Jago's announcement of the timing, Ash intoned dutifully to those one the bridge, "Calculations are finished from the central core.  Vectors set, I've double-checked them, and am now uploading now to the navi-computer on the jump drive, Boss."

"Everything should be ready and waiting by the time we reach the jump point at the 100D limit." he announced.  Though, any last minute maneuvers or such might require some minor corrections, Ash was supremely confident in his numbers.
Traveller Referee
 GM, 1096 posts
 In space nobody can hear
 you swearing at me.
Tue 2 Feb 2016
at 19:06
Re: Profit Margin - Phlume/Vilis (0801) Date: 297-1107 15:20
Jago taps at the console, and a countdown clock appears in one corner of the display, tracking the time until Jump.

The Captain considers Ash's words and replies, "Thanks Ash.  I'm sure everything is spot on, as normal."

The time ticks down, joined in the last few seconds by an excited vocal accompaniment in the Passenger Lounge.  It hits zero...

And Profit Margin launches itself into Jump.