Canopus Station
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The Good Ship Santa Claus

Posted on Thu May 26th, 2022 @ 2:25am by The Narrator & Major Tatiana Skobelova & Major Samuel Braddock & Lieutenant Commander Amie Cerys

Mission: S2:4: If Not Like A Mirror
Location: SFMCS Normandy, Task Force Hecate Parking Swarm
Timeline: MD-2 1500

Chief Mathias, being a Tellarite, didn't turn green with nausea. But his leathery skin did grey a little, and the coarse fur/hair atop his head had that look of dampness only a flop sweat could generate.

"Don't know why they have to set the Task Force ships so far from Canopus Station. We live nearly in the 25th century we have transporters," he grumbled to himself. The shuttle ride from Canopus wasn't long nor time-consuming in the least, but now in the final minutes of their approach to the Overlord class planetary assault ship, the pilot seemed to be taking every opportunity to roll them left to right. The deck lurched slightly, and the Deck Chief for the Canopus Airwing came close to opening the folded paper bag he held in his stubby fingers.

"Normandy has us in its docking tractor," the pilot said from the controls.

"Thank the small god of smaller mercies," Mathias gulped, looking to the others in the shuttle. "What? I fix these things, I don't fly them."

"I've been on enough rough rides in my career, but sometimes it hits wrong." Amie glanced to Mathias. "But I get it. Might want to ask for some anti-nausea medication before you have to take off again?"

"Maybe I'll just ask for a transfer to the Normandy," Mathias thought aloud.

Gunnery Sergeant McCord looked at Tatiana. "Thanks for bring me along, Major. I forgot how much I hate landing on flight decks." He told her.

"Shut it, Fender." Tatiana snapped back. "Keep that mind of yours focused on the task at hand. And no, you can't take a side trip to the ship's lounge." She informed the NCO as she looked over a PADD.

The shuttle rocked as the guide tractor brought it into the starboard flight pod and past the atmosphere retention field. The shuttle was still moving, being tractored along to a patch of deck plating assigned to keep it out of the way. Once settled there the rear hatch opened, and the sounds of a busy hanger deck filled the air. The roar of sunlight engines being tested, the tromp of boots hitting deck plate, and the echo that no amount of sound baffling could fix.

At the bottom of the ramp was a side part of Marines and Aviators, with a Starfleet captain and a Marine Major standing out as the top of the food chain.

Stepping off of the aft ramp of the shuttle, Sam snapped off a sharp salute as was customary for Marines when coming aboard a vessel, even though Starfleet personnel considered themselves above such ceremonies.

"Major Braddock, Major Skobelova, welcome aboard the Starfleet Marine Corps Planetary Assault Ship Normandy," the Captain in the Fleet uniform said, gesturing to the Major. "This is Major Standish, CO for the 14th Expeditionary Company aboard. I'm just the driver of the bus. Thought I'd welcome you aboard myself before Major Standish can tarnish the ship's good name too far."

Standish was short, barrel-chested, thick muscled arms, and looked like he did reps with Atlas on his off days.

"You'd not need to worry about that Captain Stines. From the request filed through my admin chain these two have come looking for toys," Standish grinned. "And the 14th Ex is not beyond sharing the good stuff."

Sam smiled deviously. "I'll bring the birds if you bring the fireworks, Major. Just so you know, we're going to need everything but the sock drawer."

Amie hated everything about the Marines and the saluting, but had been dealing with them so much lately, it barely phased her. Still, listening to them as she gathered her PADDs annoyed her. The everything but the sock drawer caught her attention slightly but not enough to be bothered. She knew why they were there.

"Oh, we have something for your flyboys as well. Of course, most of it is designed for Marine space aviators who like playing down in the sticks and muds with the honest working folk. But I'm a sucker for sob stories," Standish grinned. Captain Stines had departed with a nod, only to be replaced by the electric whir of coutergrav cart. The bench seating along the side suggested it was for personnel transfer and not munitions, not that the barely-there padding did much to sell that aspect.

"We're gonna start off with the Marines and the Intel departments first Major. Not because they're women, this is the 25th century after all, but because I can't stand showboating fliers," Standish grinned as he hopped up onto the padding. "That and the 14th Ex's flight hanger is at the far end of the flight pod, and the Well Deck is on the way."

The cart began moving, hovering a few inches off the ground as it came up to a brisk walking speed. It slowed as it approached what looked like an open area of missing deck, only for that deck to rise from below as an elevator platform. On that deck rested a squat, angular wedge of Starfleet grey armour plate the size of two shuttlecraft side by side. Like the old Galleiao shuttles it had an odd tripod landing gear system, with two at the fore corners and one at the back, but no nacelles.

"Ground Support Vehicle, GSV. It's got a design number and all but we've come to call it the Mongoose. Two-inch think tritanium-B laminate armour, with an active energy defence screen that activates prior to contact. Meaning it's shielded only when it needs to be, or if you toggle a big rocker switch in the driver's pod. Saves on power, and lowers the overall energy signature of that thing to nothing unless you get run down by it. A modular pod on the back can be fitted with a number of fun extras, from infantry support weapons to a really niffy photon charge launcher. Even had this command variant we can spring out with all the bells and whistles. Fit in the carry space of a Danube class Runabout, so it can be airlifted in and out. Carries 10 marines, plus a driver and weapons operator," Standish went on. "Comes with a cup holder so I'm told, but I have no idea where it is."

"I'm sure the caffein junkies will find the cup holder for their coffee. I know I'll be chugging lots of it on these missions." Fender quipped.

Tatiana looked over the GSV. "Okay, that'll work for now. I'd have liked to run it through some exercises before we put it out into the field, but we might not have time for that. Still, nice to have new toys for the troops to play with. I'm sure they'll be excited to give the buggies a test drive."

"We were. These aren't prototypes, I've personally taken these into live-fire combat on two occasions. Once on Nidyia against Breen pirates, and on the moons of Tri'an Bator against seditionists. They do what they say on the tin, and then some," Standish grinned.

"And next to it, Commander Cerys, is a joint venture between SFMC and SFI," Standish said and gestured to the open deck beside the hulking brute that was the GSV. There wasn't anything there.

Raising an eyebrow, Amie couldn't help but cross her arms annoyed. "Okay...seriously?

"Oh very seriously," Standish grinned and then brought his fingers up to his lips and let out a whistle. There was a metallic clang, and half of a Marine popped into existence three meters in the air. Then the air wobbled beneath him, the shiver slowly resolving into a compact four-wheel drive ATV. Each wheel was independently suspended on a complex suspension beam, giving the narrow angular body of the vehicle the look of a water insect. "The Spectre is fitted with the first-ever legal Starfleet cloaking device. It only has a four-hour battery when active, but it's an all-electric drive system so it's whisper quiet. Inside is room for a driver, Intel officer and a gunner for the weapons pod Specialist Bonsoon is hanging out of there. The real trick of it is the sensor suite built into it, a mixture of active and passive arrays, as well as direct links to the surface and orbital assets. This thing could drive through San Fransico, park in the Academy quad and read the local data sphere of the commandant office without anyone seeing it. Perfect intel ground vehicle."

Tilting her head as the Marine and ATV appeared, Amie walked over for a closer look. "4 hours? Given what this thing is, I guess that makes sense." She looked back at Standish, "Not that I would go read the local data sphere of the commandant office." She shook her head and let him continue on while she looked over the ATV.

"An intel weenie with a sense of decorum, my day gets weirder. And yeah four hours, that's what you get with a fusion battery cell instead of a starships anti-matter reactor. Use it sparingly, let the whisper drive do the work for you. It's a recon vehicle, not a fire support platform." Standish explained.

"Any intel personal attached to a marine detachment are no longer weenies." Tatiana corrected Standish. "Lieutenant Commander Cerys has been in tight spots with us before and handled herself well. She knows we can shoot our way out."

"That so?" Standish asked, appraising Amie again with a nod. "An Armoured Hotdog? Well my day gets weirder and weirder."

Amie crossed her arms. "I don't appreciate the name there, Standish. Been around a lot of strange things in my day, and know how to get myself out of them. This 4 hour thing, running on whisper drive doesn't bother me."

"I take no offence to you taking offence," Standish said with a shrug.

"And because you've been a good boy, sat there with your hands on your lap Major Braddock, we come to your surprise," Standish said and gestured along the hanger deck past the ground vehicles to another underdeck elevator rising from below. On this one was not a ground vehicle, enough though it was perched on four landing legs. At first glance, you'd have thought it was a Gryphon space superiority fighter that had been at the feed line too long. The wings were larger, pushing the longer engine nacelles out to the mid-wing instead of up against the fuselage. The cockpit looked smaller because it was built into a large cockpit, one with a long probe sensor arm coming out of the side of the nose cone.

"R-7 Kiryu. She's slated to take over anti-ship duties for the Peregrine class heavy fighter in the new century, but they delivered the production models to us here along with fabrication plans to make more. Thicker armour, higher warp threshold, and her weapons bay is modular so she can carry pretty much anything. This one for instance is kitted out as a ground support model, with two MkX phaser strips loaded into the belly slot. She goes into orbit over the AO, Marines call in the fire and he Kiryu rains down righteous fire on the ass holes. Wings can be fitted with pylon ordinance and EWS/ECM pods. Pretty much hang a heavy fire platoon off of this thing and you'll not even be tapping what her designers want her to do," Standish grinned.

"And that about wraps it for the tour of the toy shop," Standish said with a sigh. He then perked up, clicking his fingers as the cart came to a halt. "Forget my goddamn hat in the rain I would. There is one last thing."


It stomped out of a side bay, hidden behind the bulk of the Kiryu strike bomber. It stood on a pair of back canted legs, the feet of which were pointed save for the flat single toe providing support. A pilot sat in a harness attached to the chest of the machine, the arms and legs encased in a modular skeletal frame that allowed their movements to direct the legs and the arms. And what the arms carried looked mean: two rotating phaser cannons under each long arm, with a pair of boxy launchers on the shoulders.

"PACS. Personal Armoured Combat System. These are prototypes. Modular arm-mounted weapons pods, this is the standard field kit with anti-personnel phaser canons and smart homing munitions in the launchers. They can be swapped out for a single heavy rail gun, or a rotary grenade launcher that's pretty funny at most ranges," Standish said. As he was speaking the PACS stomped towards them, the pilot moving the large war machine t stand abreast of the cart. It then reached out with its arms, gripped the fender and bumper, and lifted the cart into the air as smooth as a turbolift.

"Thank you Tech Specialist," Standish said with a nod to the pilot. "Bay 12, please."


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