Ajay's Story 2.0: The Intermission
Author's Warning And Notes: This chapter contains no action at all. I was just itching to write something for the story.
Some real people (or at least their RP characters) are mentioned in the story. Feel free to point out any mistakes I might make in their portrayals.
I also might be venting too much of my feelings into this, and probably I'll delete this soon. Read at your own discretion.
-Canteen, I finished my report. Here to present it in person, as by your request. - I said, entering Flyagin's office on Coalition HQ.
Neither of us have been aboard Coalition HQ for quite a while. However since the plans for a new IC operations have surfaced, he opted to return to desk job, using direct access to Coalition HQ's mainframes to compile data from recon pilots such as yours truly.
-I'm glad to see you, Ajay. How's your shoulder?
The shoulder in question got nearly busted during Operation SANRAI by an inside fragmentation. Closer to the end of the operation, I ended up separated from the group and ambushed by a Warrior gunboat and her escorts. With no way of escaping them I had to fight them back and managed to destroy all attackers even despite a piece of inner hull casing lodged in my shoulder. I ended up spending couple of hours in infirmary aboard Dark Phoenix ship the Salah-Ed-Deen. (Though K-719 also participated in the operation, it was decided that it should run silent in the area and get out on its own. Flying with the rest of the group would attract too much attention, and Baneblade had important cargo onboard as well as rescued personnel from the escape pods. I made sure that these brave people were safely delivered to Planet New London later on.) The wound wasn't deep, but I still had to scrub Stranger's cockpit floor to get rid of the blood.
By itself Operation SANRAI was pretty fun. The downside that during the actual "saving the world" part I was forced to land the Stranger on the board of the K-719 and spend the operation coordinating actions between my comrades from Sirius (a number of Dark Phoenix pilots, two of their battleships, some people from other clans and a few freelancers) and comrades of Coalition (My CO Flyagin and Baneblade's captain Strakhov).
-Fully healed - I replied. - Though I managed to keep being active even quite a while after that.
-Yeah, such as running recon missions... - Canteen said. - Or guiding a notorious smuggler through Inner Core.
-Notorious or not, I helped Revan run a few missions in the hostile space. We destroyed a few patrols, raised some hell in Ryssk, captured a few items of Great Doms weaponry. Not much in terms of gaining actual tactical advantage, but we were going somewhere. Then she set off and I didn't hear of her ever since.
Last time I heard of her, she was going to bring the captured guns to Starforge in order to use its facilities to hack the gun cameras and collect any intel. I'm sure she wouldn't share, so I didn't tell Flyagin about that. He might get nosy - we're Intelligence, it is our flakking JOB to be nosy - and indirectly cause an international scandal and it'd all be my fault, so flak that.
-Still, I hope she's okay - I added. - Regardless of tactical advantage gained, the more skilled pilots we have fighting the aliens in the Core, the better.
-And I hoped you got your private life fixed...
-My private life is dead, Igor. Dead and buried - I glared into my commander's eyes. - My private life has been dead long before you noticed my skills and got me into Intelligence Directorate. What happened after the reconnaissance trip through Transdimensional Rift didn't help that. And I don't think there is a way to bring it back. And even if there is, I don't feel the need to bother. I am too busy for that stuff.
-You'll wish you'd bothered about that in the future - he said.
-I need to live long enough to see said future first - I countered.
-Back to topic - Flyagin decided to pull the brake on that unproductive train of thought that apparently headed to the station called "Ajay's Self Loathing Town". - I skimmed through this report. I can't help, but even knowing of your Sirius-side contacts, I am surprised to see how many notable people you know. Galaxy Rangers, clan leaders, well-known pilots... There's still no Edison Trent in that list, but I guess them's the breaks...
-To be honest? - I asked. - I myself am surprised to see how many wonderful people I know. Now... there's something more. Any update on the Datapad Of Doom situation?
-The [DATA EXPUNGED] is cleaning up - Canteen said. - Or so it seems. The [DATA EXPUNGED] is supposedly MIA. I've also had some insider information of [DATA EXPUNGED] activity on LD-14 station in Leeds system. Then there was a reactor meltdown. Current situation with the Coalition Rogues and their intel suggests that the entire stuff was [DATA EXPUNGED]'s own initiative. So far Internal Affairs and Security Service have it contained, and it's not Intelligence's beeswax...
-But you were too nosy to trust it? - I said.
-We're Intelligence - Flyagin reminded. - But they indeed have it contained.
I sighed with relief.
-Oh, and there is something more - Canteen said as I was going to leave. - I will try to get more support for this operation you speak of, but no promises. Besides, if we'll get too involved, the Alliancers might think we're trying to put ourselves in charge. We should be there to help, not to steal the show.
-But we still need to help - I said. - Establishing that base will be the largest defensive effort. It must succeed.
-Exactly. This is why the Baneblade is still on duty. I will arrive there myself soon. You can leave, Ajay.
-You know, Canteen, you also reminded me of something - I said, remembering a little detail I noticed after Operation SANRAI. - Do you happen to know what the flak Strakhov and his guys and gals are working on in Baneblade's Bay 12 on Delta deck?
(What did I tell you about being nosy?)
-Bay 12, Deck Delta, CNS K-719 Baneblade? - Canteen asked again.
-Yes. My personal surveillance suite can't get there, it appears to be electromagnetically shielded, and there are supspatial jammers... it's a flakking black box for nearly all sensors I have. What I have, however, is quadruply reinforced structure of the walls and triple blast doors. It also has plasma vents from the Baneblade's secondary reactors, ready to flood the entire room with hot plasma - I started telling about my findings, thinking how to explain the next part. - I have also taken a liberty to... "research" Strakhov's expenses on ship upkeep. Soon after the Operation SANRAI, supply agent in Edinburgh received a shipment of ready materials, which includes nearly all sorts of passive radio-electronic warfare devices and systems, requested by 2nd Rate Captain Oleg Strakhov of the Coalition Navy, on your behalf.
Flyagin raised an eyebrow.
-I decided not to bother Fear about this, because I am sure he signed disclosure papers about that. Normally I'd be okay, but I feel that someone's playing something behind my back. So I decided to ask you if you happen to know anything about it.
-Yes, I do. However, this is beyond your clearan...
-It is what I think it is - I simply said.
-I know what I am doing, Ivan. Trust me - my CO replied. - I know what I'm doing. Strakhov knows what he's doing. It will not go live unless I want it. And I will want it only in the most desperate of situations. Scenarios "Disorder", "All Fall Down", "Time Back" and "Double Cross".
-That's exactly what I am afraid of - I said as I turned away and headed to leave.
-Oh, and by the way, seems like you have become a decent Intelligence agent - Flyagin said.
-Thanks, Canteen - I added and left.
1) A reference to Kommander Oleg Strakhov from Warmachine.