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This is Admiral Charles Decker, stand by for authentication of your Jasmine transmission... authentication is alpha-niner-zero-niner-tango-four-eight-hotel-sierra.

WhateverEdit

Given the Jasmine coding for this transmission, I assume that this is the Lexington, you've been out of touch for quite some time. Since our last communication with you, we came across a potential threat for the success of the mission. I need to talk to Captain Dayna right away.

Captain Dayna is dead, as the rest of the crewEdit

Edit

The whole damn fleet for this one. The heavy cruisers Midway, Iwo Jima, Otawa are already departed. They're being escorted by one of the Lexington's sister ships, the Concord and a squadron of destroyers.

You can start by telling me about the missionEdit

18 months ago one of our unmanned IX probes was mapping new jump points around the star Omicron Eridani. The probe found a jump point that took it 68 light years away from Earth, to an unexplored star system with 7 planets. The probe begun a routine orbital survey of the planets and then abruptly returned to known space years before its mission was scheduled to end. When the probe got within range with a Tachyon Relay Beacon, it sent home a series of burst transmissions describing an anomaly under the surface of the 6th planet. The probe scanners had found a huge metal structure that could only be the result of intelligent construction. Now the Alliance was keenly aware of the implications; this discovery was strong for the existence of an alien intelligence. The potential existed for finding advanced technology or a spacefaring alien civilization on the site, the results could tell the balance of power in the war with the UN. Preparations for an expedition to the mysterious planet, now called Pandora was started in the utmost secrecy. Finally, 4 months ago, the Lexington and the USS Jericho departed for Persephone from the Eisenhauer orbital docks around Titan. The only people on the two ships who knew the true nature of the mission was Captain Dayna, Captain McKain, and Lieutenant Commander Tran.

Were any more signs of ET activity discovered?Edit

None. The installation on Persephone is it as far as I know.

So what was the purpose of the expedition? What were the mission objectives?Edit

The Jericho was outfitted with an array of sensors and special instruments to be used to gather data on the alien installation. She is also carrying a planetary lander adapted specifically for the harsh conditions on Persephone. Captain McKain was going to use the lander to go down to the surface of Persephone with a team of scientists.

Now these are the mission goals: To land on Persephone, and see if the builders of the installation are still around. If so, initiate first contact, and establish a basis for ongoing communication. If not, explore and gather data on the installation and attempt to find out if there is any exploitable technology, gather samples and return to [[Earth] with the information.

How did the UN find about the mission?Edit

Darned if I know. Obviously we got a heck of a leak.

Why the Lexington?Edit

The Lexington was the logical choice as an escort for a number of reasons: she was a combat tested ship, with perhaps the finest captain and crew in the fleet; she's one of the fastest ships we have; she's also been outfitted with an experimental weapons control system.

Tell me about the new weapons systemEdit

Don't get any ideas, Lieutenant.

Just tell me about the systemEdit

The system is a prototype, the first of its kind, and it's not battle tested. It also has some serious operational flaws. Th... the purpose of the system is to put humans back in a loop during combat. The system has two components: a neural link from the operator to the ship's main computer, and a drug which actually acts on the brain to allow a direct interface with the computer. The drug speeds up certain brain function to allow real-time control of weapons during ship to ship combat.

Sounds promising; why is a link needed?Edit

As you know, up to now combat is happen much too fast to be managed by human beings; battles in space have been resolved by unmanned autonomous drones that can accelerate at a 100 gravities, turn on a dime and deliver serious load of ordnance on target. These drones are prepped with smart computer systems capable of assimilating data and executing complicated strategies in a blink of an eye. The drones being carried aboard starships crewed by people who make the initial decision of out how to arm and deploy the drones. Once released, the drones are pretty much on their own. For the last 10 years of the war, there's been a race on both sides to improve the battle management software that runs on the drone computer hardware. A crew of Alliance techies in Singapore decided that if it were at all possible to speed up human reaction times, a human brain in a loop could give one-sided tremendous advantage in battle.

You would have to speed up thought processing and reaction time by orders of magnitude.Edit

You're correct, Lieutenant. The solution was a drug called "Hype". Hype is actually a concoction of neuro-transmitter chemicals, micro-machines and genetically engineered viruses. This stuff actually re-wires your brain to make it faster and more efficient. Well, faster and more efficient for the purposes of managing a ship-to-ship encounter real-time... The drug also creates the nerve pathways to the forebrain needed for a direct neural link to the computer.

Are the changes reversible?Edit

Now that is one of the problems of the whole system. No, the changes aren't reversible, but at this point it doesn't even matter if they are reversible.

What do you mean?Edit

The drug has a nasty side effect. The modifications Hype makes to the brain begin decaying after a few days, the results are loss of faculties, hallucinations, wild emotional swings, dementia, and finally, inevitably, death.

But does the whole system work? For the week that you can function without impairment?Edit

Two test subjects volunteered to try it, both were able to outthink and outfight the best battle management algorithms in simulated encounters between equal forces of evenly matched drones. The combination of the human brain and the central computer and the battle management software on the drones seems to convey a significant advantage in combat.

Why did you deploy a prototype before operational testing?Edit

As you know, the war isn't really going on our way. At some point we realized that we might have to deploy the Hype system even if it was still an early prototype. We knew we would have to begin recruiting volunteerts to operate the system in battle over the objections and many principle naval officers

I didn't know the war was going badly. What's happening?Edit

The conflict has turned into a war of attrition. The UN has more resources and more production capacity than we do. They can outproduce us 10 to 1. We have a tactical edge, but we are being slowly beaten into the ground

How bad is it?Edit

If things continue at the current pace, we'll lose the war within 5 years.

Are there any other Alliance ships equipped with the Hype system?Edit

There are no other Alliance ships equipped with the Hype system

Does the UN have an equivalent weapon system?Edit

The UN doesn't have anything like the Hype system.

The new weapon system sounds like the answer to my problem. If it really provides significant advantage I can take the UN commanders by surprise They won't even be expecting a fight.Edit

Don't even think of it. Besides, I have no intention of giving you the release codes you'll need to activate the system.

Would you rather see me die with no chance at all?Edit

Goddarn, Lieutenant, you are an irrational insubordinate stubborn son of a bitch. I don't know how you got passed the darn psycho files.

I think my irrational, insubordinate, stubborn streak is why Dayna picked me to finish this mission even though I have no combat experience or piloting skills. Let's work on the other seemingly intractable problem for a moment. I'm a thousand meters away from the Jericho and the lander. I need to get to the landerEdit

Lieutenant, you are not going anywhere without the intership shuttle. You already told me that you barely have enough oxygen to contact an EVA to fix the comm system.

Is there any way to get me from one ship to the other?Edit

I don't know of any way to cross between the ships without an EVA maneuverable suit. No, I dont think so.

Can I bring the lander to the Lexington?Edit

Now, if the Jerichos computer is slaved to that of the Lexington's, you might be able to jack into the lander's on-board computer and deploy it automatically. Then you could fly it over to the Lexington by the uplink.

Well, it's a start. I think you can see a plan forming here. Howe about the release codes?Edit

You win Lieutenant. By God, I would court-martial you and have you shot if you actually could make it back. But... good luck and Godspeed son. If you do manage to pull this off the Alliance and potentially all of humanity will be in your debt. Stand by for a data transmission with the information you'll need about Hype and the weapon systems. Decker out.

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