Crossfire short stories XVI:
Inner Core Logs
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 1:
All ships have completed the jump successfully, a way back, as expected, is not possible. The first scan shows a significantly greater effect of gravity than it is at the edges of the Milky Way. In the central sector of the first system a black hole was detected with three artificial objects symmetrically positioned around it. Two scout ships sent to survey returned severely damaged by the increasing gravity of a black hole. Further exploration of the objects was canceled, sensor data shows that all of these objects draw energy directly of the black hole. It is possible that they are a specific gateway, their function and purpose remains a mystery.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 2:
We discovered a gate that is organic in structure leading to the next system. The structure of the gate has a 98% match with the measured data of the structure of the unknown race ships that are directing the Nomads. The symbols on the gate have been translated as "Venn". The first survey of the area beyond the gate brought surprising findings in the form of a dense asteroid field of red crystals. These crystals were tested as a possible power source for the cloaking devices and the results were amazing - the energy content was more than a hundred times greater than the capacity of crystals found in the sector of Sirius. It looks like a good sign ...
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 3:
The first losses. One of the exploration ships encountered new ships of an unknown race, which immediately attacked. Four of the small attacking ships were destroyed at the cost of two of ours. It was decided to move away from the gate and build the first repair unit.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 4:
We discovered two more jumpgates that are identical in structure as the first. Other results of the survey however were unfavorable. In the Venn system we identified at least six large space stations with significantly different architecture. The differences are so distinct that the possibility that there are three different races present in this system must be seriously considered. The bad news is that our presence was discovered and we have observed significantly higher activity of unknown patrol ships ... not only small fighters, but also large battleships. Our scouts are forced to use their cloaking device all the time.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 5:
The situation in the system has become critical, three of the five scouts equipped with cloaking devices have not returned. It was decided to move to the gate marked with the symbols "Jormdar". The main group was again attacked, we lost three more ships. On the way to the unknown gate we released several repair stations according to our original plans. The enemy has attacked again just before gate, not all of our ships were able to make the jump. We lost another five ships. It is possible that if some of them survived, they will try to use the second gate marked as “Celldra”. All attempts to establish contact with our lost ships have failed.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 6:
Minefields! One ship was destroyed and two others damaged; it seems entering this system is like entering a death trap. The activated repair station was fully utilized. A brief survey of the area revealed the presence of a giant space station rather reminiscent of a medium-sized moon. Unfortunately the bad news is that the sensor system of the station is several orders of magnitude better than anything we have seen so far; one of our cloaked scouts was almost hit by a weapon emitting a green beam similar to the beams emitted by tachyon weapons. The technology used suggests a very technically advanced race. It will be necessary to be extremely careful as we continue the survey of this system.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 7:
The flagship was heavily damaged in the fight with a group of unidentified large ships. Damage Control Technicians worked on numerous repairs for several hours, but in the end it was decided that the ship is no longer capable of sustained operations. The Fleet log, including all sensor data, has been copied and uploaded to the central computers of the all remaining ships in the hopes that at least one will survive. The Flagship was abandoned and the self-destruct system is activated. The remainder of the fleet will continue on, past a central sun towards the newly detected gate.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 8:
* && ^% $ # @ *% ^ y *** record damaged *** &) * Y ^ (* &% # ^% @. Backup record has been made by Cmdr. Wolf: The Fleet was just attacked during the jump to a system marked as "Mepther." The Fleet Commanding Officer, Admiral Forst and his crew were lost when they engaged the attackers with their battleship to draw the enemy away from the jumpgate so that the rest of the fleet would have more time to escape. The fleet lost almost all of the supply ships, including one of two ships that were carrying a very abundant supply of energy crystals. The situation continues to deteriorate; the unknown races are apparently collaborating. In the latest battle there were at least three different species’ ships involved. Fleet strength has been reduced to less than 40%. Of the original fleet only two battleships, three cruisers, three gunboats, eight fighters (scouts) and three supply ships are remaining.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 9:
Three more repair units were placed symmetrically around the center of the system which were tested and are fully functional. The survey has revealed two diverse types of bases, but they surprisingly have some common architectural designs. Enemy activity is gradually increasing. There are reports of the presence of giant ships that remotely resemble a spider in design. The fleet was discovered, but due to early warning from one of the scouts, managed to escape without losses. The supply of energy crystals continues to decline, and another energy crystal field has not yet been found. There were two more gates discovered marked as Pyrrdra and Ryssk. It was decided to continue on using the gateway leading to Pyrrdra.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 10:
Three repair stations were released in Pyrrdra and activated successfully. When we were releasing the fourth one we were discovered again by the aliens and since then we have been only able to run. The cloaking device for the last repair station failed to activate and rear sensors recorded a huge explosion. It is safe to presume that the station was destroyed. Damage to our ships is constantly increasing; one of the battleships and two cruisers have been abandoned due to most of internal systems were no longer able to support life and the engines so severely damaged that they are beyond repair. We also lost two more scouts. The remaining ships of the fleet returned to Mepther and will instead continue on to Ryssk.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 11:
A survey of Ryssk was started. For almost half a day we detected no enemy ships. We only found bases with similar architectural features as the bases in Mepther. The sudden lack of enemy activity seems to point to something about to happen. It was decided to leave the remaining two heavy ships and freighters hidden in the nebula and send out all the scouts.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 12:
The reason for the absence of enemy units was found! In sector F3 the scouts sensors recorded a huge battle. It was a struggle between hundreds of heavy ships; one of the forces involved was clearly identified as the Nomad's masters. The fight lasted for more than ten hours without decreased intensity. It's just a speculation, but what we saw now may very well be the reason why the Nomad's masters so suddenly withdrew from the sectors of Altair and Sirius.
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 13:
The battle has ended. Sensors are not detecting any activity in the target area. The fleet is ordered to make best speed to the place of battle where we will salvage as much of the debris we can and then retreat back into the nebula. Another journal entry will be made after completion of the operation. ...
Reconnaissance Fleet Commanders log: Day 14:
^% ^ & * (! _) * &) *** Propulsion destroyed! *** & ^ (* & ^ (* &) *** Life support off-line *** ^% * $% & ... Ensign Hiro: I'm probably the last living member of a reconnaissance fleet. My ship, class Dragon, codename Katana, is badly damaged, propulsion and navigation systems are destroyed. The operations to salvage debris ended in disaster. The unidentified aliens must have detected us; anticipated we would explore the debris field of the battle and hid their small units among the debris after the battle. Along with their attack came battleships which had the whole area surrounded. We were given orders to separate and make our best attempt to escape on our own. From what I saw, there is almost no chance that anyone else escaped as my ship was the last one able to use a cloaking device. The last area scan showed another gate right in middle of battle area. I wish I would have had enough time to jump through ... $ *** Energy below 2% .... system is shutting down *** &) * @ &) (*………….