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From the Adventures of Jon Smithe, Imperial Scout

Spinward Scout

SOC-14 5K
(Sound of his throat clearing)
Testing. Testing.
Is this thing on?
This is a test.

This is the first log entry of the Scoutship Bright Horizon.

This ship is so old. I can't believe it's still functioning, but they tell me everything has been replaced or refurbished or updated to modern specs or is going to be and will work fine. We're gonna find out for sure and we'll make sure it's running.

This ship's name is the Bright Horizon. It's a very old Ross-class Scoutship from a couple hundred years ago. They have the logs they transferred to permanent storage, so I guess I can read them when I'm bored. And she's surprisingly still part of the Scout Service.

This is a 'new' ship for me, tho. After I was part of the crew of the ANNIC NOVA - a ship not from around here, I tried to get my old Scout back but they already posted it to someone new.

So they gave me this old thing. Repainted and such. Devinitely smells like fresh paint.

I miss the ANNIC NOVA somedays. Maybe we'll run into each other again.

As far as who 'we' are, there's myself, of course: Senior Scout Jon J. Smithe. Ship Commander. Pilot and Astrogator. Space Explorer.

The Ship's Main Computer is called Archi, an Archimedes 5700 - Rating 5/bis system, and his voice interaction and activation unit is touchy sometimes. We will see how it goes.

Then, there's my Domestic Servant robot Buddy. He's a good chap. Does pretty much anything I ask him to. He has to tie my shoes for me some days. He makes a great Bloody Mary and I think he let's me win at Chess. He finds the best Entertainment and Food when we're Dirtside. Just so I'm not bored in JumpSpace.

And we got the little stowaway from the ANNIC NOVA: a Tree Kraken. I just call him Goober. He doesn't get into too much trouble. Buddy chases him around a lot. It keeps Buddy busy and it's fun to watch. He seems to like surprisingly similar food and I'll keep searching for a better food for him. But what he's eating so far he seems to like. It doesn't disagree with him so far. I've got to find a good encyclopedia entry on Tree Kraken: care and feeding. I want to build him something to climb on.

I think we all get along just fine. I guess that's it for now.

End Log Entry, Jon Smithe Commanding.
Jon Smithe flipped on the auxiliary lights in the Engine Room. He walked over and hit the 'activate' button on the Fusion Power Plant console. The console controls lit up with a slight hum and a beep.

As he began the start-up sequence, he said: "Archi, could you pull up the main power plant systems on the second screen, please?" When the screen came up, the Ship's Computer, 'Archi' said in a slightly mechanical voice, "Screen up."

He began the Startup Sequence and to crosscheck the power system operation, to bring the Power Plant up to Full Power.

As Smithe worked, the power on the console level indicator rose until after a couple of minutes, the Power Plant showed Full Power. A low rumble started, but Smithe adjusted a control and the rumble stopped.

* Start up Power Plant and Bring Power up to Full
Routine (6+)
Engineer (Power) check, EDU
Warm Start - less than 8 days powered down
1D x 10 Seconds

System Crosschecks on Asterisked Tasks
Increase Difficulty by 1 - Average (8+)
Increase Timeframe by 1 - 1D Minutes

Roll 3 + 4 + Engineer-0 + EDU (+2) = 9 (Success!)
5 Minutes

(A Cold Start - 8 days or more powered down
1D Minutes)

(Not doing System Crosschecks causes the following:
A Mishap or Malfunction occurs later on this Ship's System)

He brought up the normal lighting and turned off the auxiliary.

Going over to the Main Drive, he activated those consoles.

Working at the Maneuver systems for a few minutes - checking and cross-checking, he stepped back. Smithe then reached over to another screen to engage the Main Drive.

The dual thruster indicators turned Green.

* Prep and Engage Main Drive
Routine (6+)
Engineer (M-Drive) check, EDU
1D x 10 Seconds?

System Crosschecks on Asterisked Tasks
Increase Difficulty by 1 - Average (8+)
Increase Timeframe by 1 - 1D Minutes

Roll 3 + 6 + Engineer-0 + EDU (+2) = 11 (Success!)
2 Minutes

(Not doing System Crosschecks causes the following:
A Mishap or Malfunction occurs later on this Ship's System)

Satisfied that everything was set correctly in the Engine Room, he made his way to the Bridge, stopping by his Quarters for a few Groat Stix for himself and as a treat for Goober.

As he walked onto the Bridge, Buddy said, "All systems activated. Life Support function nominal. The Main Drive shows full thrust at your command, Sir."

Smithe sat down at the Pilot console. Breaking a piece of Groat Stix off and handing it to Goober, he said: "Thank you, Buddy." Goober chomped loudly, but slowly on the meat stick, not leaving a single bit on the floor plates. His tentacles meticulously getting every little piece.

Smithe pressed a button, which opened a VoiceComm Channel to the Scout Base Traffic Control: "This is Scoutship Bright Horizon requesting clearance for Liftoff"

Requesting Clearance for Liftoff from a Starport
Routine (+6)
Electronic (Comms) check, EDU
1D Minutes

Roll 3 + 1 + Electronics-0 + EDU (+2) = 6 (Marginal Success)
4 Minutes

After a few minutes of waiting, "Sorry Horizon, the pattern is full. We can put you on the list for an hour from now."

"Very well, thank you. Bright Horizon out." he said and closed the channel. "Archi, make a log entry, please" he said out loud.

The Ship's Computer, 'Archi', said in a slightly mechanical voice, "Ship's Log open."

"Ship's Log
Date 012-1107 Imperial
1910 Regina Subsector/Spinward Marches

First Flight Departure from Regina Scout Base
Approximately one hour.
Course plot outsystem to Jump point
Jump to Jenghe system at hex 1810 for Class II reSurvey
Exploration should only take about 1 week after Jump Exit
All supplies have been loaded. Fuel is full.
All crew and passengers accounted for.

End Log Entry
Senior Scout Jon Smithe Commanding
IISS surplus Scoutship Bright Horizon."

"Ok, we've got a little time. Let's take a look at your new list of Entertainment for the Jump over, Buddy."

About an hour later, the Comm whistled with an incoming call: " This is Traffic Control. Bright Horizon is cleared for Liftoff. Clear Skies, Horizon!"

"Thank you, Control Tower," Smithe said.

He pressed a few buttons on the console and the Bright Horizon began to lift off the ground.

Initiate Thrust - Liftoff and Hover
Average (8+)
Pilot (Spaceship) check, EDU
1D x 10 Seconds?

Roll 3 + 5 + Pilot (Spacecraft)-3 + EDU (+2) = 13 (Success!)
20 Seconds

The ship raised up about 2 meters off the ground and began to turn, rotating to the position needed to place the ship in the correct orbit. Once the ship got to the right spot, Smithe hit the thrusters and the ship took off into the clear blue sky towards space.
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Commentary: Have to keep Jon in the loop! You can have this arrive whenever it fits into your timeline, but probably a few weeks after the send date. This puts it well before the current date in this thread's timeline.

Reference: META-GAMING ALERT: Participants in the Boughene Station Blues/Victoria Mission PbP threads do NOT know this message was sent, nor its contents.






Jon; greetings. I hope this message finds you well and in good spirits.

Unfortunately, I have to start with unpleasant news: General Shipyards here on Boughene Station destroyed the drives on the Annic Nova while attempting to overhaul the ship. None of us were injured, and everything below the Maker Device Deck survived largely intact, as did the pinnaces. Everything else is just gone.

The shipyard's insurance has provided a replacement: Albatross, a Shugushaag-class Distant Merchant (J5/2G, 600Td). Its refurbishment is scheduled to start next week; we take delivery two weeks after that. This is a temporary loan until the Annic Nova is rebuilt, also paid for by the shipyard's insurance. They're saying it'll take about nine months to fix her, as major components must be shipped in from Rhylanor/Rhylanor.

As always, you're welcome to come back at any time. We have tentatively hired a replacement navigator, but we'll find you a position.

That's all I can say in cleartext. Eyes-only details are inside the bitlock.
Download the encrypted attachement to a secure burner device before decrypting and opening it.
Wipe and destroy the burner device after reading.

Flat space and favorable vectors,

Remember, this is eyes-only. Trash this file and whatever you opened it on as soon as possible.

Jon, the replacement navigator might be the former Baroness-Regent of Kinorb -- either that or she's an astonishingly brazen identity thief. Tenya says it's her because of voice matching. Biometrics will tell, tomorrow.

<Very long text file made up of strings of 6-digit numbers follows.>

Jon looks at the numbers, then brings up his copy of Type S Scout/Courier, Suleiman Class: Operations and Maintenance Manual, 1105 Edition and starts counting number blocks based on some quick math with the date of Tomos' message. The book cipher works.

shipyard says sabotage stop
this neutralize self important dog engineer theory about power source stop
separate detail scouts push small distress female on crew stop this is within tolerances stop

Commentary: Next spoiler is just for editorial effect, rather than any in-universe encryption or the like.
Ok, "small distress female" is Ms. Ketonic, Jon thinks. Tomos is ok with her being pushed on the crew. But, "self important dog engineer theory"? Something's wrong there -- he wouldn't call Zaz a dog!

He does a quick text search in the manual. "Your selection, 'Vargr': 0 found." Well, maybe he had to. Still, there's no way he'd call him self-important... It hits him. He's telling me he's lying. It wasn't sabotage, and Chief Doen's theory about the drives is correct. Theory. What theory? He's COTCO, so he thinks any super high tech is The Ancients doing. And he's right -- it IS Ancients? Wow.

Further commentary:
1. Only Jon and the Scouts security guard from Feri would know what Tomos meant by "small distress female" (it's naming Ms. Ketonic by reference to the "Ghost Story" event, which only the three of them witnessed personally.)
2. Vargr are, by nature, as self-important as they can make themselves (it's the CHA stat thing). Chief Doen... very much is not. If all you knew about him was his race, you'd miss the negation this implies.
3. Conclusion: Captain Puch wanted to make sure that even if someone cracked the encryption, they wouldn't intercept the message he was sending to Jon.
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Travel to Orbit
Routine (6+)
Pilot (Spaceship) check, EDU
25 minutes at 2G from Size 7 World (MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia)

Roll 2 + 3 + Pilot (Spacecradt)-3 + EDU (+2) = 10 (Success!)
25 minutes

Starshlp Encounters: Check for a starship encounter during this journey

Almost a half an hour later, just as the Bright Horizon reached Orbit around Regina, a squadron of six Imperial Rampart-class Fighters flew past. Smithe flipped his ship's running lights on and off several times.

"All Hail Emperor Strephon!" Smithe said out loud. Buddy had been instructed to respond with "Hail!" after the first time it happened. Goober tried to imitate Buddy with "aaoow."

The Sensors showed Regina's Highport off in the distance. And looking in that direction Smithe saw the large station. It stood out among the starview with a slight blue and red nebula behind it.

He carefully pulled Goober from the side of the Co-Pilot's chair he had climbed up on and set him on the upper part of the console so he could see outside the viewport. His tentacles gripped the surface very tightly as the Tree Kraken had never been up there before.

"See the Highport, Goob?" he said to the little creature.

Goober gurgled. It sounded like: "Tooo-dooo-looo."

"Yeah, Goober, Toodaloo. See them next time." He patted Goober on the head, and pulled up the scanner screen on his console.

Travel to 10 Diameters
Starshlp Encounters: Check for a starship encounter during this journey.

A Sensor Scan for Ships in the flight path:
Routine (6+)
Electronics (sensors) check, INT or EDU
1D x 10 minutes

Roll 1 + 5 + Electronics (Sensors)-1 + EDU (+2) = 9 (Success!)
10 Minutes

The EMS Array scanned ahead for a few minutes. On their course was a large Merchant. The scanner identified it as:

2,000 dTons
Cargo Transport
7 Weapon batteries
2 Sandcaster batteries
Type TI Frontier class
Number 447
20 Crew
Captain Julius Esteban

"Julius!," Smithe yelled, spooking Goober.

Goober tried to climb down the console, but Smithe had to catch him before he fell. He set the little guy gently on the floor. Smithe hit a few buttons on the console to open a VoiceComm channel. He flipped the RadioComm on a Broadcast frequency and keyed the mic.

Imperiallines Frontier Transport 4-4-7, Imperiallines 4-4-7, Imperiallines 4-4-7
This is:
Imperial Detached Scoutship Bright Horizon, Bright Horizon, Bright Horizon

Horizon, this is 4-4-7.
Shall we switch to channel 20196 tight beam?

Switching to 20196

Ship-to-Ship Holographic Image LaserComm Tight-Beam
Average (+8)
Electronic (Comms) check, EDU
1D x 10 Seconds

Roll 6 + 4 + Electronics-0 + EDU (+2) = 12 (Success!)
10 Seconds

Smithe switched channels to the requested one. And after a few seconds, a hologram popped up next to his console with the Captain of the 4-4-7. When the Captain saw who it was, he yelled, "Smitthy! How the heck are ya?!?"

Smithe smiled and chuckled a bit as Goober went scrambling back behind the Co-Pilot chair.

"Just heading outbound, Julius. New assignment to shakedown this ship. Class II reSurvey of Jenghe." Smithe said to his old friend.

Julius looked at a screen to his side. "Wow, that's a pretty paintjob on that old thing. Hope it doesn't give you trouble."

"Me too, " Smithe said back. "Where are you coming from?"

"I'm inbound from Ruie with some Howood they were able to transplant from Pretoria." Julkius shook his holographic head, "I'm telling you Smitty, it's bad on Ruie. There are Zhodani everywhere. And Ine Givar scum giving me the eye every time I left the Starport. I was lucky to get out of there with my cargo haul. I'm surprised that Imperiallines is still sending us there."

"Well, it is an Amber Zone world and not even in the Imperium. Can't you refuse the cargo run?" Smithe asked him.

"I'd probably lose my bars and be forced to retire. Conduct unbecoming or somesuch. Anyway, we're about to hit atmosphere. I'll catch up with you soon, my Friend. Be safe out there. I fear something terrible is coming," Julius warned him.

"You be safe too, Captain Esteban. Try the Norfe truffles at Jocco's while you're at the DownPort. And I have a bottle of Wine waiting for you. Take care. Horizon out," and closed the channel.

Smithe saw the ship turn for the landing sequence on his rear view screen. There was atmospheric vapor around the edge of the Freighter which started to glow from friction.

And a few seconds later...

...the Imperiallines ship exploded!
This next post is going to be a little slow.

Just operations up to the night before Jump Entry. And commentary from Smithe about losing his friend.
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Travel to 10 Diameters
Easy (4+)
Pilot (Spaceship) check, EDU
1 hour and 12 minutes
- 1.2 hours at 2G from Size 7 World (MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia)

No Roll Needed
- Automatic Success with Skill and Attribute bonuses
Pilot (Spacecradt)-3 + EDU (+2) = 5 (Success!)
72 minutes

"I just talked to them, just before... I... I saw it on the viewscreen." Smithe said to Captain Arossat of the System Defense Boat Swooping Raptor. "Julius was telling me about all the Zhodani and Ine Givar at Ruie. Do you think... Could someone have set..."

"A bomb?" The Captain asked.

"Yeah. Julius didn't get scared just for nothing. And something really bothered him while he was there." Smithe shook his head.

"Well, we were at High Guard when it happened and had you both on our sensors. We know nothing came from your ship and the Scout Base showed you on the Base's tarmac before that. Plus we have what you sent us from your files and scans. If you can think of anything else..." the Captain trailed off.

"I'll send you an X-Mail," Smithe said in response. "Horizon out."

"I can't believe he's gone. Not even time to get into their Lifeboats, from the looks of it," he said to Buddy.

Buddy processed for a moment and said, "I can pull up contact information, if you would like to send a sympathy note or letter. The ship is on AutoPilot. I can set up some dinner for you, Sir."

Smithe thought for a moment. "Yeah, I probably should. Why don't you grab a Traveller Food Module - just pick the top dinner. And the bottle of Atrake Wine I was saving for Julius. I'll meet you in there. I'm going to adjust our course."

Plotting Course to a Jump Point
Forgoing Travel to 10 Diameters
Using a Regina's Gas Giant for a Gravity Slingshot:
Difficult (10+)
Astrogation check, EDU
1D x 10 minutes

Roll 1 + 6 + Astrogation-2 + EDU (+2) = 11 (Success!)
20 minutes

Travel To 100 Diameters
Starship Encounters: Check for a starship encounter during this journey
Easy (4+)
Pilot (Spaceship) check, EDU
10 hours (+1G from Gravity Slingshot)
- 10 hours at 3G from Size LGG World (MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia)

No Roll Needed
- Automatic Success with Skill and Attribute bonuses
Pilot (Spacecradt)-3 + EDU (+2) = 5 (Success!)
9 hours and 57 minutes

After setting up the maneuver, soft music was playing as Smithe walked into the lounge and said, "I should have set it up before, but it will get us to the Jump Point faster." He shook his head. If he had set it before, he probably wouldn't have talked to Julius.

He sat down just as the 'Bot finished setting up the table. Buddy popped the cork on the wine bottle and Goober tried to imitate the tok-tok-tok sound the wine made pouring out of the bottle.

Buddy took the plate over to the food heater and pulled out the tray. Cutting up the main dish, he put some in Goober's dish along with some vegetables. He arranged the rest of it on the plate then brought it back to the table. It was some kind of meat, which usually tasted like chicken to Smithe.

Smithe took a bite. It was really good.

'Formulated by the best chefs to taste like a gourmet meal.'

It was usually the sauce that made it taste so good. He tossed a bit of pepper on it.

Buddy cut Goober's meal into small tentacle-sized pieces to make it easier for the little guy to eat and set the meal on the floor next to a cup of water. Goober was waiting for the 'Bot to put it down and jumped right in.

A pitcher of water is what Buddy used to water the plants in the lounge and hallway, while they ate. The plants were all Pysadi Trakes. Smithe traded the berries for a discount on the wine.

Smithe finished the meal and stood up. He refilled his glass with the sweet wine. Atrake Wine wasn't quite as good when it was grown offworld. Something about the sunlight on Psyadi, he remembered. But most people couldn't tell the difference.

He walked over to a viewport and looked out into space. After a moment, he lifted his wineglass up and said, "To the Captain and crew of Imperiallines Frontier Transport 4-4-7 - Clear Skies in the next life. Goodbye Julius, my friend. I will try to find who did this."

"Buddy, let's take a look at some condolence X-Mail. I'd like to send them before Jump. I also want to send a message to the folks on the ANNIC NOVA."

Buddy projected a holoscreen in front of him and pointed out several formats. Smithe selected several and personalized them. He only knew a couple of people Captain Estevan also knew, but word would get around.

"Ok, Buddy, send those," Smithe said. Buddy said, "Yes, Sir. Accessing XMail Service." The holograph displayed:


"Messages sent," Buddy said.

"Ok, Buddy, please transcribe the following: 'Hello Captain Puch and my former crewmates.'" Smithe spoke about Courage and Friendship in space. How this can be a dangerous life. He talked about his friend Julius who he met in School. About the last things Julius said. About his suspicions of the Zhodani and Ine Givar.

"'Maybe he was right. Maybe something is coming. I don't know. Either way, be safe out there. Jon Smithe out."' Send that now, Buddy" Smithe finished.

He drank the rest of the wine in the glass and put a stopper in the bottle, then put the bottle in the refrigeration unit.

Smithe walked to the bridge to check the Autopilot. Everything looked nominal. The ship would be reaching the Jump Point in about 9 hours. 'Everything else can be finished tomorrow', he thought.

He walked over to his Stateroom. Buddy and Goober followed behind.

"Buddy," Smithe said. "Could you walk around and check every compartment, please? Just make sure everything seems secure. Let me know if anything's wrong. Thanks."

Goober clung to Buddy as they walked away and the Stateroom door slid closed. Smithe sat on his couch. He picked up the entertainment control and resumed the 'last played'

The recent 'Fusion Gun Kelly' concert came up on the screen. Loud as it was, he hit 'Mute' for a moment.

"Archi," he said. "Wake me in 8 hours please?"

"Of course," the computer said.

Buddy and Goober came in later, after walking the ship. Buddy plugged himself in to recharge and Goober climbed above Smithe's head to lay down.

Smithe fell asleep before the show ended.
Sorry I haven't been back to this. Still dealing with my eye, but it's better. Been distracted with some other stuff and just got a bit bored with the story. I do want to come back to it. Having Smithe's friend go was a bummer and put me in a bit of a funk for the ongoing story.

I'll get back to it soon.
Sorry I haven't been back to this. Still dealing with my eye, but it's better. Been distracted with some other stuff and just got a bit bored with the story. I do want to come back to it. Having Smithe's friend go was a bummer and put me in a bit of a funk for the ongoing story.

I'll get back to it soon.
A suggestion, that you don't have to pick up on: Vengeance is a fine motivator. Define what Smithe would consider appropriate payback, and how he'd go about it. What help would he be able to call upon?

Side note from the Boughene Station timeline: Those guys are going to have a somewhat slower trip down toward the rimward end of Regina subsector than I'd plotted out originally. They're not having the best of luck in the starship category lately, alas. (It's about to turn around, though!)
Thanks for the idea!

I've been tumbling that around my head but couldn't make it fit without Smithe going AWOL. I think I need to send him on his Mission and see what happens then. I already wrote a little bit of his Class II reSurvey of Jenghe. Maybe I can come up with something while he's in Jump Space.
Thanks for the idea!

I've been tumbling that around my head but couldn't make it fit without Smithe going AWOL. I think I need to send him on his Mission and see what happens then. I already wrote a little bit of his Class II reSurvey of Jenghe. Maybe I can come up with something while he's in Jump Space.
He's not active IISS at this point, correct? In Detached Duty, he's setting his own priorities. I'd think that as long as he's generating Interim Mission Reports for the Scouts, he can follow his own interests wherever they lead (always in the service of Empire, of course), unless directed otherwise.

Detached Duty is the ultimate Busman's Holiday. (Wiktionary.org)

If he's going off to chase down terrorists, he might want to check in with the Detached Duty Coordinator at the nearest Scout Base, though.
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He's on a Detached Duty Mission as part of the shakedown of the refurbished ship. About a week in JumpSpace, and a week doing the reSurvey. Then... I'm assuming he can go wherever as long as the ship works.