The twelfth part of my UNSC Space opera. Please remember that I am looking for an editor, so if you find any errors, please kindly let me know in the comments with a excerpt of the effected part, and I will correct it once I find your comment. For now please enjoy!
UNSC CAPTAINS LOG – SARAH KEYS CH.12
United Naval Space Corps
The next morning, I quickly get dressed once I get out of bed. Dressing in plain clothes, I grab my wallet and badge and make my way out of the ship. Once in the dock yard, I take one of the Invictus’ shuttles that had been pulled from the hold to make room for work and make my way down to the surface of Jericho.
Landing the military shuttle in one of the many urban public landing pads got me a few funny looks, but I had thankfully taken the time to cover any identifying marks on the shuttle before making the trip to the surface. After paying the parking fee, I watch as the landing pad slides into an elevator shaft with the shuttle still on it, to be stored in one of the underground storage spaces.
Turning away once the shuttle slips out of site, I make my way to street level, then make my way to a specific dark alley. Stepping between the hulking frames of two local gang members, I make my way towards a desolate and dirty little store front.
A lonely little bell rings gently as I step into a shop that is even filthier that the alley way it resides in. nodding my head towards the only other person in the store besides myself, I make my way towards the man behind the counter.
“We don’t serve Feds around here.” The man says with a broken and gravelly voice.
“I’m looking for a gun. Something customized… Something… fun.”
“Don’t make me repeat myself. We don’t serve Feds around here, and we don’t make illegal weapons.”
“I’m not a Fed. I’m Navy.”
“I don’t want any trouble with the spooks.”
“I’m not bringing you any trouble. I want to pick up a custom piece that I ordered over the phone. And pick up an order for a few more cases of those shotgun shells I seem to like.”
I get a moment of silence as the old dirty man behind the counter looks closer at me. Finally, he raises his eyebrows in recognition. “You’re the Metal Bitch, aren’t you? I’ve got your order. The Feds have been sniffing around me for a while, I think they are trying to make a bust.”
“You know I can get the spooks to make you an official unofficial supplier? One of our black-market arms dealers for one offs or undercover operations?”
“What? And deal with those spooks? They are even worse than the Feds. I think I’ll take my chances on my own. Though your continued business has gotten me the support of the Jericho Blues, and the Mayhem Ringlets.”
“Those didn’t look like Blues out there in the alley way…”
“Well they aint no Blues. They are part of the local chapter of Reds. They think that if they hang around here they can attract the Feds and get me shut down. They keep harassing my customers though, and it’s not good for business.” The old man complains as he stacks the boxes of special ammunition on the counter. “Here’s the gun you requested. I added a few accessories this time as a frequent customer bonus. I filled the case with the final box of shells to make it easier to carry out.”
“You know it’s illegal to openly carry a weapon on the streets?”
“No one will question your authority about it once they realize who you are. And if they don’t recognize who you are? Just point the business end of this little puppy at them. That will jog their memory really quick.”
I turn over the offered weapon, looking at its components. Noticing the oversized forward grip, I ask the shop keeper about it.
“Oh that? I decided to extend the forward grip to make room for a little surprise. It contains a power cell designed to either give more punch to a standard sabot shell or give a stunning effect to standard buck shot. Though I programed it to disarm when you chamber one of your specials. Don’t want one of those to go boom in the barrel.”
“That’s a good idea… You said it works with buck shot, but do you think it could work with something much lighter? Something like bird shot?”
“It will stop what ever you hit for a second, but all it really does is piss off whatever you are shooting at.”
“Sometimes a second is all I need. Now how much do I owe you?”
“About one point four million credits for the cannon. And another one hundred thousand for the ammunition that goes along with it.”
“Ouch… Don’t you think that’s a bit steep?” I ask, somewhat surprised at the astronomical price tag.
“Yeah, I do think its steep. However, it was that dam barrel. Just getting the damn thing made cost a fortune. Apparently, combining a rifle caliber of that magnitude to a shotgun barrel is no easy task. Then I one upped the process by making the shotgun barrel an accelerated barrel. But I knew that the person that would come buy this monstrosity would be happy with her purchase.”
“It was that much trouble huh?”
“Well you know you pay for the good service. Has any of my guns let you down?” The gun smith asks.
Well now that I think about it, I don’t think I have ever had a problem with your gun’s. Anyways, ill pay the price. I was never questioning your workmanship nor the price. I know what it takes to make a completely reliable weapon. This bad boy right here will serve me a very long time.”
I hand over my credit chit, confirming the transfer of one point six million credits.
“I threw in a little tip. Keep up the good work”
The old man looks down at his new balance, smiling at the extra thousand he made in tips. “You can take that hand truck there in the corner. Just leave it in the parking garage when your done with it. I’ll have one of my grandsons pick it up later.”
“Thank you.” I say, before I start stacking the boxes of ammunition on the hand truck.
Once the hand truck is all loaded, I maneuver it out the front door and into the alley way. Stepping back inside, I grab the shotgun and its case and make my way back outside. With the shotgun slung over my shoulder, I set the case across the top of the dolly and drag it down the alley to the main street.
“Halt there little girly. You have to pay our toll before we let you pass.” A mountain of a man exclaims as he steps from the wall he was supporting to block my path. His buddy steps in behind him to completely seal off the exit in front of me.
Not wanting to back down and set the wrong message, I move in closer and challenge the big man’s authority.
“Do you mind stepping off for a bit? I’m trying to walk here.” I challenge, knowing that the thick-headed bastard in front of me wouldn’t move just because I asked him to.
‘You challenging me? Little girl?”
“Now look. I know you’re a red, but in the underworld, its all about the people you know. Now I just so happen to personally know the blues Don. He’s usually one of my drinking buddies when I go planet side. Now if you don’t slack off, and get out of my way, ill see about setting off one of the biggest gang wars seen in history. Because with the blues and the ringlets on my side, I can guarantee your boss isn’t going to be very happy” I start with threats, hoping that nothing will escalate into violence.
The hulking man makes a swing for me. A simple right hook that appears to be moving in slow motion. “Violence always seems to be their first answer…” I mutter while ducking, not caring who hears me.
Once on the ground, I kick my leg out and take out the knees of the first monstrous idiot. As soon as his body hits the ground, I let out a kick into his ribs, hoping to keep him down for a while. Using him as a stepping still, I grab my shotgun off my back and slam the stock into the forehead of the other monster. Spinning the shotgun around, I level the barrel at the second Red while simultaneously pulling my pistol out.
“You morons really don’t know who not to mess with do you?” I step on the first Red’s head as I motion for the second guy to get his hands up. “You do know I’m Navy right? And that means I have a full compliment of marines behind me if necessary.”
Once the second Red’s hands where sufficiently raised, I lower the shotgun.
“Now since only one of you is coherent enough to listen to me, and the other has a massive headache, I want you to deliver this message to your Don. Tell him ill be back in the system in a little while, and ill be looking for payment in blood for this little scene.”
I get off my perch on top of the first Red, and step onto the ground next to my forgotten dolly of ammunition.
“If your Don doesn’t believe my threats, tell him it came directly from the Cold Metal Bitch, and she’s going to make another New Haven around here.”
With a slight motion of my shotguns barrel, the second Red drags his buddy out of the way to let me pass. Grabbing the dolly, I make my way back towards the shuttle parking structure, stepping past a young female police officer who was watching in silence.
Reaching my shuttle and leaving the freshly onloaded dolly in the parking structures lobby, I get my clearance and make my way back to the ship. With the shuttle on autopilot for most of the flight, I idly turn my new acquisition over in my hands.
This gun really isn’t just a shotgun. With a ten-gauge shotgun barrel and auto load mechanism on the bottom, and a dual fed seven point six two barrel on the top, it combines the best of both worlds. The magazines though have an interesting flare to them. With the bulky box magazine for the ten-gauge shotgun shells on the bottom of the gun, the two clips for the standard caseless rifle ammunition is hung out the sides like ears.
With the shotgun barrel being shorter than the rifle barrel, the firing mechanism is placed behind the shotgun. It should be interesting to see how the weapon performs under actual battle testing.
Putting away the gun in the arms locker, I sit back in the piolets seat and take back control of the shuttle and continue my course back to the drydock.
“Captain! The main deck gun fitting has been completed, and the MAC cannon activation is about eighty percent complete!” The ship board dry dock supervisor advises me of our refit status as I board the ship.
“Do we have an ETA? I need to call a few people back to the ship.”
“ETA will be three hours. We can leave the port in five after we stock up on reactor fuel, supplies and munitions.”
“Thank you, commodore. It’s a shame we can’t leave the brick yards already loaded down with everything we need.” I continue my way to my suite, trusting that the flight deck crew will bring my packages to my personal armory.
Just as I step into my office, I see a recognizable figure sitting at the desk going through paperwork. “Robert, I see your back early. I was just about to call you and let you know you need to be back in a few hours.”
My father looks up from his stack of paperwork. “I had the Commodore that oversaw the fitting notify me when we where six hours from leaving dry dock. I wanted to be back in time to get a few reports done before we leave out of dry dock”
I peek over his shoulder and look at the paperwork on the desk.
“Just paperwork regarding the fitting. Some of the fitting teams submitted their finished work lists in physical form. I’m just entering the data into the computers for your review later.”
“Ill show you what to do with all of that data later when we get out of port. You’re earning your pay grade, no matter what anybody says. I just wish I could say the same about my sister…”
“Oh, thank you for reminding me. I got another report about your sister. So far, she has submitted six official complaints against you. I compiled them into one report and left them on your desktop for your review.” Father gestures to my usual spot at the desk, regarding my terminal.
“She also has been getting herself into trouble… two reports of propositioning a crew member, one report of propositioning an officer, and thirteen reports of dereliction of duty.” My father continues his report.
“I need to look into those. There must be a scheduling conflict or communication error to get that many negative reports.”
My father shakes his head. “I’m afraid they are all legit. According to the time stamps on the reports and the computer databases, each of the reports are legit. To verify though, I have scheduled a few quick meetings with the personnel who filed the reports.”
“Doubting their work?”
“No. I told them all that I was just verifying our systems where functioning correctly, and just wanted to cross reference between what they have to say, and the computers are saying.”
“You seem to know what you are doing.”
“I schedule and manage a team of engineers at work. Some of the best engineers tend to be a bit flakey on their punch in and out times. I’m also going to investigate a few other crew members who are having issues on board. Also, it makes it look like I’m investigating the entire system, not just one person.”
“I’ll leave it to you Petty Officer Keys. First things first before you go do those interviews, go check in at the uniform department and pick up your new uniform. All active duty personnel are required to wear their uniforms while on duty. Ill brief you on the specifics later.”
“You need a new uniform with the correct insignia.” I grin at my father. His returned smile lets me know he understood what I meant.
“Aye, aye Captain!” He responds with an age old worn out phrase.
“Don’t get too comfortable with your captain! I don’t want to have to assign you with latrine duty!” I laugh, enjoying our conversation immensely.
After a thorough shower, I return to the desk in uniform and start with my normal daily reports.
“At the rate you and Mia go, I’ll soon have nothing to do.”
“That will just leave more time for you to do inspections… I have been noticing a correlation between all captains in the UNSC. The captains seem to be neglecting most of their inspection duties. Of all the captains, you seem to be the only one who actually gets most of their inspections done… but not by much.”
“And what’s your suggestion?”
“Oh, I don’t have a suggestion drafted up just yet. But it seems that the amount of duties that are assigned to the captain’s accounts for more time than there is in a day. Let alone allowing for healthy sleeping habits.”
“Let me know when you find something. Most captains pass off their neglect as they don’t want to be watching over their crews’ shoulders, but it seems like you found out what’s going on.”
With a nod from my father, we continue our work. Passing the time until we get the undocking call.
“Helm, increase thrusters by point five percent, move forward to clear docking clamps, then reduce power and stand by.”
I watch as my new temporary helmsman navigates the ship out of the tight confines of the docking bay. A random stroke of thought caused me to put my own father behind the controls to a multi hundred trillion credit vessel. Despite an initial reluctance to hand over the controls, the existing helms crew adapted quickly and began teaching my father how to operate the massive ship.
Each checklist he effortlessly checked through, ensuring that the engines where outputting exactly what he wanted, despite the other officers offering to do the cross-referencing for him.
“Engineering, I’m noting a steeper that indicated power increase from the engines. Please reference the reactor output and bring the surge under control.”
“Engineering confirms. Reactor output spiking due to scale buildup in the core. Reducing output to control surging.” Engineering responds to my father’s request.
“Helm reducing power and standing by. Initial drift to a twelve o’clock heading at four meters per second.”
“Copy that helm, reference navigation computers and bring ship about to the indicated course. Proceed at standard port speed.” I continue to let my father navigate the ship through the shipyard, aware that the yard control had been notified of a helmsman in training.
After maneuvering around the yard to test the operation of the ship, we park in a holding mooring to await the final delivery of supplies before we can head out to the front lines.
Motioning to my father to hand control back to the proper helmsman, we head back to work on the reports.
“Good job at flying the ship. I don’t think I have seen a better junior helmsman before. You flew it like it was natural for you.”
“I took your advice and took that shuttle flying class. All I need to do now is get my hours in and I can get my shuttle flying certificate.”
“If you took the test you could probably also get your large ships license. You already have more experience than some of the cadets in navigation school.”
“Why thank you Sarah, but I have no future in having my ships license…” Father pauses for a moment. “Captain, I believe I can take care of the remaining paperwork later. I need to proceed with my investigation, and you need to complete your inspections. You need to get back onto your scheduled inspection rounds before you let this ship fall into disrepair. Any paperwork that you don’t have time for can be handled by Mia and I.”
I grin at my father. “Why thank you Petty Officer Keys, I think I will do just that, and start with my inspections. Thank you for taking care of the discipline investigation for me.”
“Doing it this way will keep the crew from getting antsy around their captain. It allows them to view somebody lesser as the bad guy.”
“Well Keys, dismissed! Cary on!” I announce, before giving a casual salute and turn away to start my inspection.
I start my inspection in the engineering department. Checking over the vital points of the engine and power assemblies. I carefully inspect the ships chassis points where it joins with the massive inertia drive that negates the effects of fast maneuvering.
Continuing through the ship, I inspect some of the vital departments and vital structural points of the ship. Especially any part of the ship that the designers claimed to be a potential issue.