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Pacific Quest: On Patrol

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Post time: 2015-12-17 05:31:45
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You are LTJG Jonas Walters, currently assigned to manage the shipgirl compliment of the STEC fleetgirl tender Osage-well, when they arrive.

Your knuckles pop as you grip the railings and stare out at an endless puffy whiteness. You aren't the officer on watch, but everyone insisted that when the Osage finally sliced her way through the fog you would definitely want a front-row seat. After an eternity of waiting you spot a fuzzy glowing red ball that had to be the morning sun. Then you see the buoys, all of them lit up with varying colors like someone had strung up Christmas lights on the ocean surface. At last you see the naval base, or at least an odd blur in the vague outline of a base. Small specs dance in the water, most likely shipgirls. At this distance you can't tell if they're playing hooky or trying to sneak in some extra training.

Well the view was pretty, but so far Avalon was nothing to write home about. You're about to say as much to the deck watchman when it happens. The strange shimmering shield around Avalon nabs the light from the sun at just the right angle and explodes with color. For a split second the base is doused in a red tint, and then it shifts to orange. After working it's way through all the colors of the rainbow you are left speechless. Osage angrily rocks in the waves, getting an encore light show every few minutes.

You whistle involuntarily. You suddenly feel inadequate here in your (mostly) clean wash khakis. Heck, every bit of rust and plywood on the Osage felt out of place next to the quasi-magical marvel that was STEC's HQ.  

The view almost made up for the near-constant stream of bad news you received on your command. Ajax was so sick she needed to be quarantined; Cowpens was dragged off on some flag officer's "secret project;"  Canberra was still undergoing some experimental refit and so on until they finally whittled down your full compliment of nine to almost half that number. Still you had some measure of freedom when settling on your final roster.

Pick one from each category. Langley is automatically on your team.

Destroyer
[ ] Mahan: You aren't sure of the details, but it seems she's being rotated out into the field early after "vandalizing sensitive equipment." Still, she seems to know her business even if she is a little hard to control.
[ ] Shaw: Shaw hasn't been avoiding field duties on purpose, but her ability to heal has kept her off work boat rotations for far too long to ignore.
[ ] Edsall: After hearing Langley was assigned to you Edsall volunteered. Edsall also seems to be the most "combat ready" of the destroyer options, although that hopefully won't come into play.

Light Cruiser
[ ] Raleigh: Raleigh's file notes that she undertakes any task with eagerness and her popularity among destroyers.  While she has been cleared for field duty, Raleigh still seems to have a slight cough.
[ ] Marblehead: Sought after due to her ability to make paperwork disappear, although that also means having to put up with several months of puns, poetry and bad jokes.

Heavy Cruiser
[ ] Chicago:  Chicago has been placed on work boat duty as punishment, although for what isn't exactly clear. She does seem desperate to prove herself and get back in STEC's good graces.
[ ] Looey Lewy Looa Lulu: Louisville has volunteered to go on this assignment, allegedly to get away from her sisters' constant ribbing. She also brings a solid record of consistent performance.

Submarine
[ ] Sculpin: Her upbeat and cheerful demeanor seems to contrast her ability to sneak past innumerable enemy pickets. It should be noted that both she and her twin are currently distraught at being separated.
[ ] Sailfish: While not as stealthy as her sister, Sailfish is an excellent mechanic and can help with maintenance and repair on the ship's systems.  

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 Author| Post time: 2015-12-18 09:17:21
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[x] Mahan
[x] Marblehead
[x]Chicago
[x] (write in) Dolphin

You continue gazing at Avalon for a few moments. If you played your cards right on this assignment you could get transferred to a place where you wouldn't need a tetanus booster every time you leaned up against a bulkhead.

"Hey LT, I see 'em coming up." The watchman's call snaps you out of your reverie. You walk briskly to the seaman's side. Diaz hands you his pair of binoculars as he points out anincoming supply boat flanked on all sides by shipgirls. If Avalon had one minor oversight it was that it's docks couldn't handle ships as large or as old as the Osage and thus relied on smaller watercraft for loading and unloading.

The fifth is standing on the small craft next to several crates. Dolphin, you recall.Standing next to crates full of supplies and the shipgirl's personal effects she looks ready to pop a blood vessel as she barks orders to each of the girls. Mahan seems to be struggling to outpace the boat. As soon as she starts slowing down the craft starts kicking up a bigger wake as if it was getting ready to ram her. Dolphin seems to be laughing whenever that happens so you assume it's some sort of punishment.

As you get ready to hand the binocs back to Diaz you notice something strange. You don't remember the buoys in that area being blood red. It's not until the tinny roar of miniaturized TBD Devastators rush by that the pieces start falling into place.

"Is there supposed to be a training exercise today?" you turn to ask Diaz.

"No, they're not supposed to have them when-" he chokes when he notices the red lights. "Mother of God." he mutters as he starts fumbling for his signal flare.

Taking one final look through the lenses you see that the shipgirls haven't noticed the impending disaster. The deck watchman's hands tremble as he snaps the tube open and tries to insert a flare.

[ ] Everyone needs to know that something is wrong now and Diaz is panicking. Snatch the flare gun away from Diaz and send up a signal yourself.

[ ] The girls need clear and accurate information and the flare won't give them that. I get to the Radio and signal them so they can watch for incoming planes and take evasive action. I trust Diaz to get the flare up on his own.

[ ] Whoever is controlling those planes needs to know the range isn't clear. I get to the Radio and call Avalon so they can stop the problem. I trust Diaz to get the flare up on his own.

[ ] Other (Write in)

Votes will be called in about 24 hours.

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 Author| Post time: 2015-12-19 10:00:47
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You bolt into the ship's superstructure and force your way up to the bridge, pushing your way past a few bewildered and angry crewmen on your mad dash. You arrive just in time to see Diaz's flare shoot off into the morning sky.

"Where's the captain?" You say trying to control your breathing.

"He's with the XO. What's going on?"

"Some idiot's using the range while our girls are in it!" you turn to the radioman. "Can you tell Avalon? Maybe they can make them knock it off."

"On it." Bennings replies. You think that's the radioman's name. Ben King? Cummings? Whatever.

Realizing you still have that set of binoculars you take another glance back at the shipgirls. Thankfully they seem to have started zig-zagging just in time as you see a spread of quicksilver trails slip between the shipgirl formation and right past the boat.

Another flight of torpedo bombers zooms in on an attack vector, but moments before the fairies release their payload they break  off and turn back towards Avalon. Not all seems to be well however as you see the small craft kill it's engines and Dolphin take a dive into the water. The seaman piloting the craft also exits into the arms of Chicago, who turns and carries the Coxswain bridal-style back to Avalon.

"What the hell happened out there?" you ask.

"Don't know, sir. At least they stopped." Bennings replies.

"I don't think we're out of it just yet. They just bailed out of the supply boat."

"You might want to go tell the captain, sir." the radioman offers.


[ ]Yes, whatever's going on out there can wait until I've had a chance to inform the Captain.

[ ] Not yet, I'm going to meet with the shipgirls and find out what's wrong before I tell the captain.

[ ] Other (write-in)

Longer voting period over the weekend this time!

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 Author| Post time: 2015-12-22 07:58:21
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[*] Write-in accepted!

You take a quick look around the bridge and spy a pair of seaman milling about on the bridge, coffee in hand and standing slackjawed at the crisis around them. You can't remember their names, but you're pretty sure machinist and electrician's mates shouldn't be in non-snipe country.

"Not a bad Idea. You two." you point at the  pit-snipe "Stop your flirting and tell the captain we need him up here." The pair look confused for a moment before they turn to leave, muttering about "junior officer pukes" all the while.

"Has Avalon pulled their heads out of their asses yet?" you ask Bennings. Looking out at the deck you see Diaz lower the ramp to let the shipgirls come aboard.

"Not 100% clear yet but they're saying some of the CVE girls were using the range without permission."  

"You can't be serious." The portly radioman shrugged in response. "Please tell me this doesn't happen often."

"Well from what I've heard they try to encourage-hang on." Bennings pauses as he starts fiddling with the console. "Marblehead's saying there's a torp stuck in the side of that boat. Not sure if it's a dud or still live. Give me a sec and I'll get Avalon to send out some EODs."

Frustrated, you turn away from the radioman. Cummings wasn't responsible for the accident and if you stayed put you would start venting at him.

You weren't expecting to come face-to-face with someone who looked like she belonged on the set of some western than a navy vessel.

"USS Langley CV-1, reporting for duty sir." she states with slight twang and crisp salute that you return.

"Lieutenant Jonas Walters. Where's everyone else?" you ask the blonde frontierswoman.

"This way, sir." she leads you off the bridge and back towards the open air, arriving just in time to see Dolphin snatch an unfired flare off the deck and start lecturing Diaz, almost immediately Langley rushes over to try and play peacemaker. Mahan and Marblehead slowly back away, taking the opportunity to escape from the sub's wrath.

[ ] Call out the escapees to Dolphin.

[ ] Get the Duo's attention and beckon them over.

[ ] This is amusing. I want to know where those two will try to hide on a ship this small.

[ ] Other ( Write-in)

Next update should be on Wednesday (GMT-6).

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 Author| Post time: 2015-12-22 07:59:20
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Edited by MrCorsair at 2015-12-24 06:48

  • Get the duo's attention, beckon them over.

    Dolphin wasn't technically a chief, almost all of the fleetgirls didn't have ranks and aside from being attached to certain officers they were in administrative limbo, to say nothing of the command chain. It was something that had been a source of confusion since the girls' appearance.

    "OH, YOU DROPPED IT! WELL SEAMAN BUTTERFINGERS, WHEN YOU'RE DONE LUBING UP YOU CAN AT LEAST NOT LEAVE FLAMMABLE MUNITIONS LYING AROUND ON DECK! NEXT YOU'LL TELL ME YOU DROPPED MORE THAN ONE BEFORE YOU FINALLY MANAGED TO SHOOT OFF!"

    Dolphin, meanwhile was demonstrating the difference between having an NCO rank and being an NCO.  You don't have much experience  but one of the first things almost everyone learned was to let the angry chief shout himself tired before interrupting.  Everyone learned that except Langley, it seemed.

    "Dolphin! We have young ladies present!" If the carrier was intimidated at all she didn't show it. You'd guess she was a nightmare at a poker table.

    "LANGS, THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE COMPANY OF SAILORS FOR ALMOST HALF A CENTURY." Without looking, the gruff sub gestured at the empty space formerly occupied by Mahan and Marblehead.  Amazingly Dolphin's tone began to soften in Langley's motherly presence. "I'm sure it's nothing they haven't heard before."

    Feeling bolder, the two refugees from Dolphin's wrath fully turn away from the argument and bolted, almost colliding with you. Thinking quickly you open up the door to the superstructure and motion for them to follow you. They dash in as fast as they can without making too much noise and you shut the door behind them.

    The gratitude and near-worshipful expressions on their faces fade when they realize their "rescuer" is their new CO. The two snap off a hasty salute.

    "USS Mahan DD-354" The small teenager with a blue beret announced herself first.

    "USS Marblehead CL-12. Is there something you needed sir?"  Marblehead pulled her sunhat over her eyes.

    "You can tell me what happened out there."

    "It's my fault." Marblehead admits. "Mahan's been made Dolphin's chew toy you see. Those were the Admiral's exact words. Dolphin had the supply boat nipping at her heels, so I gave the pilot my best puppy dog eyes and begged him to cut across the edge of the torpedo range instead of going all the way around it. He threw me a bone and agreed."

    You nod slowly. While whoever was controling those planes certainly has their share of blame they aren't your responsibility.  Marblehead's actions can't easily be ignored.  It wouldn't be the first time someone tried to cut corners for a friend and had it blow up in their face, but it was still boneheaded enough to almost get people killed.

    Two votes this time!

    Marblehead's punishment is in your hands. Her actions ignored safety rules and both endangered personel and damaged equipment.

    [ ] Let it slide. You're the only one who knows and Marblehead was looking out for a friend.

    [ ]  Stick to the books. For the first offense of this nature it's usually a written reprimand.

    [ ] Capta-er Lieutenant's mast. As an O-2 you can dock a week off her pay or give her two weeks of extra duties.

    [ ] Get creative. Dolphin's got two chew toys now.

    [ ] Other (write-in)

    What else do you want to ask the girls? As Sune pointed out, these are two of Avalon's smarter individuals.

    [ ] (Write in)
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     Author| Post time: 2015-12-29 07:27:39
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    [*] Let it slide, You're the only one who knows and Marblehead was looking out for a friend.

    You look over the duo. Both are fidgeting nervously, suddenly finding every spec and ruffle on their uniforms endlessly fascinating. You recognize the feeling. Hell, who hadn't screwed up bending the rules? What had happened would mostly likely scare her straight and it wasn't worth the effort to start turning anyone into a blue falcon.

    "Marble I have no idea what you're talking about." you say while glancing around. Satisfied that nobody is listening in you continue. "If there's an investigation and it gets back to us, then we'll talk punishment. If not you can carry on."

    The duo stand slackjawed for a moment before looking at each other to confirm if what they heard was true. Mahan maintains her poker face, but Marblehead is beaming.

    "You know, since we're going to be think as thieves for the foreseeable future, you girls mind explaining why the Admiral thought it would be a good idea to burn our mutual friend here, Mahan into Dolphin's black book?"

    For the first time Mahan is visibly disturbed. She adjusts her glasses before replying.

    "I accessed Avalon's systems without the requisite authorization. There was mission critical information that my  commanding officer needed in that operation. This may have allowed other unauthorized intrusions."

    Mahan must have noticed the blank look on your face as she speaks up. "She hacked the base's computers and embarrassed some senior officers. Her hacking may have also let someone else in accidentally."  A brief awkward silence followed.

    "They gave me a choice between dismissal or Dolphin."  Mahan cotinued. "She then insisted that we get underway on the next Fleetgirl tender."

    "Hey, admiral?" Marblehead blurted out. "Why did you sign up with STEC? I mean, if you don't mind me prying."

    You could tell she was trying to change the subject away from their disciplinary record, but it was still a good question. Why did you join STEC?

    [ ] Curiosity. Some things didn't add up to you. You dug until STEC would either have to recruit you or 'disappear' you.

    [ ] Rivalry. You needed to rise up the ranks as fast as possible, and STEC promotes talent.

    [ ] Novelty. You joined the navy to get out of your Podunk home town and have an adventure. Joining a covert research group seemed the thing to do.

    [ ] Other (write in)

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     Author| Post time: 2015-12-31 10:18:28
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    [*] Curiosity. Some things didn't add up to you. You dug until STET would either have to recruit you or 'disappear' you.

    The memories of your first real deployment were fuzzy, and for good reason. From what you have been able to piece together you served on a guided missile cruiser, sent out to help the coasties track drug runners and human traffickers.

    Halfway through the operation you started noticing that your memories didn't resemble anything your comrades described. They insisted you were drinking with them when you know you were on watch. An atheist crewmate swore he was with the chaplain. The strangest were arguments between crewmates over what they had just eaten. The vivid nightmares were the last straw. You started comparing notes with everyone who would listen to you. Despite the funny looks most humored you enough for you to get a clear picture. Most of these missing or scrambled memories centered around an impossibly beautiful (and impossibly young) senior officer.

    She laughed when you confronted her. Apparently it wasn't the first time you had done so. She insisted that you had been bothering her with questions ever since she had stepped aboard even if you couldn't recall ever speaking with her. Still, she saluted your determination and decided that you would be a fine addition to her organization. It was not how you were expecting things to go, to say the least.

    Mahan clearing her throat brought you back from your reverie.

    "Lets just say curiosity killed the cat." you say, finally answering Marblehead's question. "Listen, if you two haven't had breakfast yet, go get some. I'll start handing out your duty rosters as soon as everyone's eaten and had a chance to settle in." You dismiss the girls and rest your head against a cold pipe for a few minutes, letting the sound of the waves mix with Dolphin and Langley arguing from the other side of the bulkhead. Trying to remember much of anything from that time gave you migraines. Still, you had work to do.

    Heading back to the deck you see Chicago and a RHIB close in on the supply boat. Langley and Dolphin don't seem to be on speaking terms at the moment while Diaz franticly searched for something while on his hands and knees. It finally sinks in that this is going to be your life for the foreseeable future.

    End prologue, no votes today! Feel free to discuss where you want our story to go, argue or criticize. Especially criticize, letting me know what I'm doing wrong always helps.

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-5 04:42:13
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    Jarvis Island, one of the appropriately named Guano Islands was officially home to little more than unoccupied research centers, abandoned mining colonies and endless legions of seagulls. Unofficially the island was home to an unmanned STEC monitoring station.

    From what you could understand from Mahan's overly wordy technobabble, these stations picked up interdimensiwhatsit disturbances, and by judging the time it took for a disturbance to register in a station and it's strength, Avalon's MERLIN system could guess where the abyssals were arriving and how many. MERLIN really only needed a handful of these stations, but more input allowed faster and more accurate estimations.

    None of this made you feel better about getting up early to visit the isle of bird poop.

    The station on Jarvis had been on the fritz for months sporadically hopping in and off the system. For the past week it had been completely silent. The station's equipment had most likely given up the ghost and since Mahan was one of the few people who fully understood how the technology worked Osage was tasked with repairing it.

    "Lieutenant?" Chicago tromps up the loading ramp and snaps off a salute, tossing seawater everywhere. All of the fleet girls you've seen could turn heads, but Chicago was a magnet for wandering eyes. Her bold "uniform" was in direct contrast to her hyper professional demeanor.

    "You can relax, you know." you return her salute before looking back out towards the reef. "How were the seagulls?" you tease, determined to get some form of emotion out of her.

    "I didn't see any, sir." Chicago's reply was a perfect deadpan. So much for emot...wait.

    "Now that can't be right." you turn to the fleetgirl. She bites her lip nervously as she tries to keep standing ramrod straight. Chicago had just come off the nightly patrol shift. The woman was exhausted and probably starving.

    "Sir? Permission to scout ahead there. Something doesn't feel right. Please?"


    [ ] Granted. Give me a full sweep of the area before we send out the repair team.

    [ ] Denied. I need my heavy hitter on stand by. If you're worried we'll have Langley send out scout planes.

    [ ] Denied. Get some chow and rack time. I need my heavy hitter at 100 percent. I'll send out someone else to scout. (specify who)

    [ ] Other. (Write in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-7 08:14:36
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    [X] Write in accepted!
    "Denied. Get some chow and rack time. You're exhausted and I need my heavy hitter at 100% if we run into any trouble out here. Listen, it's important that everyone gets enough rest, if you think you're not getting enough you can talk to me or your fleetmates, we can work out new shifts if it isn't working out right now."

    "Sir, I don't need coddling. I'm a fleetgirl." Chicago replies. "We can keep  cruising for days if we have to. A few hours won't even faze us." Somehow you aren't fully convinced. There's a big difference between simply cruising back to base and actively keeping alert for danger.

    " You don't have to shoulder too much on yourself, try to save some of that energy for the Abyssals."

    "If you say so, sir."  she grumbles, not moving. You ignore her and wave over one of the crewmen. It's Diaz.

    "Diaz, go get the rest of the fleetgirls. Tell Langley I want her to send out some scout planes over the island. Get Marblehead, Mahan and Dolphin in the water. I want them close for now until we get a report from Langley's scouts. Is that clear?" Sending this many fleetgirls is usually overkill, but since you aren't sure what you're getting into you'd rather be ready for anything.

    "Uh, is..."  Diaz clears his throat as color drains from his face "Is that wise, uh, sir?"

    For the first time Chicago's stoic demeanor crumbles as she chuckles and playfully punches the fresh-faced seaman in the arm. "Going to interrupt Dolphin's beauty sleep? You've got more balls than I thought."

    You check your watch. The fleetgirls have a standard schedule of light duty (typically deck watch, maintenance, or mess) patrolling, personal time (which despite the name is mostly for catching up on work) and sleep. Dolphin isn't technically supposed to be up for about another thirty minutes before she starts her duty shift.

    A) That's right, Diaz. You're a braver man than I. Get to it.
    B) Cut him some slack. Wake up Dolphin yourself.
    C) You know what? We can proceed without her for new.
    D) We can wait for Dolphin to get up and get ready on her own.
    E) Other (Write-in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-9 09:38:29
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    B) Cut him some slack. Wake up Dolphin yourself.

    Diaz lets out a long sigh when you let him off the hook. Chicago's playful grin has already faded as she starts moving towards the mess. You take a deep breath, say a quick prayer to whatever god will listen and head belowdecks. Terrifying as snipe country could be it couldn't hold a candle to the fleetgirl's quarters. Tiny men the size of beer cans scurried around the floor.

    You had heard the rumors from the rest of the crew. Don't make eye contact, but don't look away. Do either and they might get offended. Bad things happened if they're snubbed. Make regular offerings of milk and bread if you're able. Check your pockets after seeing one to make sure they haven't stolen anything.

    You had absolutely no idea how much was superstition, how much was hazing and how much was real. Doing your best to not step on any of  them you ploddingly make your way past the modest shipgirl armory and into their quarters. Then a flying pillow slaps you upside the head.

    "Scum sucking son of a bitch! Say that to my face!" Dolphin mumbles as she kicks into the air and turns in her sleep.

    A) She's having a bad dream. Tiptoe into the lion's den and wake her gently.
    B) Use her military demeanor against her. Be firm, direct and commanding! And shouting. Lots of that.  
    C) Enlist the fairies. Yeah, they might ask for your firstborn but right now you're willing to risk it.
    D) Backtrack all the way to the mess and grab some coffee as an offering. Maybe she won't tear your head off.
    E) Other (Write-in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-12 14:06:14
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    E) Write in!

    You let your face stare into the ceiling and place your hand over your face. You didn't know that a pillow fight could give you whiplash. The rational part of your mind is desperately trying to remind you that a shipgirl could tear you limb from limb without even trying, but you aren't anywhere near a rational frame of mind right now.

    Remembering Diaz's face and Chicago's playful expression you let out a few laughs. The awkward tension leaving your body as you surrender to the primal rage that is instilled in every officer during the first week of their new life. Dolphin was supposed to be a shipgirl. One of the most strict trainers in the fleet. Looking at her sprawled out on the bed you wonder if anyone had ever disciplined her.

    Nonchalantly you reach down and pick up the pillow. Right now you didn't care about the consequences for disturbing her beauty sleep. You didn't care that she was asleep or having a bad dream. You had the bars and you were going to throw whatever small amount of weight that gave you at her. First you have her the pillow, right in the kisser. Then you took a deep breath and let loose ever profane word you'd ever learned. You're fairly certain you could knock squirrels out of trees if you really tried.

    "-SO GET OFF YOUR ASS YOU LAZY FUCKING SUB! YOU WERE NEEDED IN THE WATER FIVE MINUTES AGO!" To her credit Dolphin doesn't utter a sound after she realizes her CO is the one screaming at her. Dolphin leaps out of bed and stands silently at attention for the duration of your tirade. She calmly waits until you manage to let yourself wind down.

    "Sir, I need to get changed." She points out in an uncannily even voice as she motions at her t-shirt and underwear. She's seething with her own anger, but like most experienced Non-Coms Dolphin knows better than talking back to her commanding officer when he's in a screaming mood.

    "Make it snappy." you spit.

    You slam the door to the fleetgirl's quarters behind you. As soon as the door shuts you can hear Dolphin curse as she gets ready.  A small crowd of fairies have gathered near the door. One is munching away on what appears to be a bag of popcorn. The small herd melts away as fairies try to make room for you as you stomp on through.

    You make your way through to the bridge. LCDR Len Tams is there, complete with his"World's best Grandpa" mug firmly held next to his widening midsection. The post captain gives you a lazy nod as you enter.

    "Just in time for the bad news, son." He gestures with his mug at Bennings as she turns up the volume on the speakers. "Care to repeat that for the LT, Langley?"

    "Oh, it's hardly the end of the world." The frontierswoman tries to reassure you. "The recon planes spotted a few pearls is all."

    "Pearls? You're going to have to explain how that's a bad thing." You ask.

    "Pearls is a colloquialism, sir. It's best if you thought of them as abyssal mines." Mahan interjects.  

    "So we have a confirmed Abyssal Contact? How did this thing slip past Merlin?"

    "I believe we're most likely dealing with a pectidae sir."

    "It's a Scallop." Marblehead chides. "C'mon Mahan. Not everything needs to sound like a biology lesson."

    "The pectidae," Mahan continued, trying to ignore her friend "Is easily one of the weakest abyssals on record. So weak, in fact that it can evade detection by MERLIN's sensors. It's  slow, fragile and lacks any offensive capabilities outside of it's 'pearls.' Given that it can take hours to make a clutch of these pearls the Pectidae is largely thought of as little more than a tactical speed bump. While the Pectidae can move via a jet motion from opening and closing it's mouth it prefers to burrow into the sea floor to evade detection."

    "Wait, wait, wait. How big are these clutches?"

    "Roughly a dozen. While the mines could theoretically cause considerable damage so far no fleet girl has ever needed to approach one close enough to set it off as they disappear when the pectidae is killed. "

    "Mahan, what if this thing has had weeks or months to set up?"

    "Well, we could be looking at potentially hundreds of mines and...oh."

    The captain slams his mug like a makeshift gavel. "Bennings, call this in. Walters, do you think your girls can handle this on their own?"



    A) We don't know what's happening yet. Bringing down the hammer on this could be unnecessary or even counterproductive. Besides, you heard Mahan. If we can't handle something this weak on our own we've got bigger problems.

    B) Something's definitely not right here.  We need backup from Avalon. (Note, these reinforcements will NOT be under your command.)

    C) Other (Write in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-14 07:07:17
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    Edited by MrCorsair at 2016-1-14 07:23

    A) We don't know what's happening yet. Bringing down the hammer on this could be unnecessary or even counterproductive. Besides, you heard Mahan. If we can't handle something this weak on our own we've got bigger problems.

    "Yeah." You nod your head in affermation. "We might want Avalon on stand-by in case things turn sour, but If what Mahan says is accurate we shouldn't have any problems, sir."

    "Very well. Walters, have your girls give the area around the ship a sweep while we get her somewhere safe. You're on the leash until then."

    Your subordinates make a thorough check around the Osage. The methodical monotony is only broken by the deep throaty belches of Boeing engines as Langly struggles to keep as many biplanes in the air as possible. After confirming that the tide is moving the pearls away from her hull you are given the go-ahead.

    "Commander," Dolphin reportrs "I'm losing radio contact If I dive deep enough to see the floor. I can look for scallops or keep an eye out for everyone, not both."


    A) You've got free reign down there, Dolphin. Just find and kill the Pectidae and the mines go away.

    B) Keep searching for the Pectidae, but resurface every thirty minutes and report your status.

    C) Try and keep closer to the surface. Making sure nobody blunders into a mine is our top pritority.

    D) Other (Write in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-16 03:40:21
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    B) Keep searching for the Pectidae, but come up every thirty minutes and report your status. (Focus on surviving)

    "Outstanding, Commander." Dolphin half-cackles as she slips beneath the waves. You check your watch. It could be between fifteen to twenty minutes before Chicago's fully topped off and ready to deploy again. Langley remains on the deck, ready for her first flight of scout planes to return.

    Looking out into the ocean you see Marblehead and Mahan speaking to each other. From this distance it's hard to tell from their body language if the two are arguing or conspiring.

    "Marble. Mahan. No passing notes in class. Care to share with the rest of us?" There is a slight 'eep' over the radio.

    "We weren't exactly sure what you wanted us to do, so we were just pitching a crazy few ideas around. Nothing to be worried about." Marblehead replies nervously.

    "I was making an observation about Marblehad's minelaying equipment, Lieutenant."  Mahan cuts off Marblehead's attempts at misdirection."It is possible her fairies could assist in deacivating some of these mines."

    "We haven't exactly done that before, commander." Marblehead insists. "Those mines haven't hurt us shipgirls before but they have torn up fishing trawlers before! I don't even want to think about what they'd do to the little fairies."

    "It is still an option, Lieutenant. I predict they could defuse the mines faster than the Pectidae could produce them."

    After a few moments of thought, you reply:



    A) Mahan and Marblehead will shadow Dolphin's progress through the minefield with Langley's airwings spotting the mines for them. When Dolphin finds the scallop the duo will engage and destroy it. When Chicago's ready she will stay near Osage as a reserve. Langley will keep a flight circling the Osage, but will also placed second-in-command and guide them through the minefield. (Adjutant's Plan)

    B) Mahan and Mablehead will  set up as a mobile reserve outside the minefield. Langley will send her aircraft to scout potential mine clutches and scallop locations. Chicago will join the reserve when she is ready. Dolphin may engage at her discretion, but ideally should draw or drive the scallop into friendly firing arcs. (Sebsmith's Plan)

    C) Other (write-in)

    In addition, Marblehead's Faries could potentially start disarming the minefield. This could drastically change the hunt for the Pectidae. I should also point out that I resolve combat in dice rolls. Do you want to trust the faires to the dice? (1d10. 10 is crit, 1 is critfail, anything in between depends on circumstances)

    1)Yes

    2)No

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-19 06:46:16
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    Edited by MrCorsair at 2016-1-21 07:41

    C) Other (Write in)

    "Mahan and Marblehead, set up as a mobile reserve outside the minefield, Langley will send her aircraft to scout potential mine clutches and scallop locations. Chicago will join the reserve when she is ready." You announce.

    "Dolphin may engage at her discretion, but ideally should draw or drive the scallop into friendly firing arcs, so Stay alert! Dolphin and Langley will keep in close contact, Langly, you're in charge of keeping the Dolphin advised of mine locations whenever she is within contact range." Langley aknowledges, but you can hear her breathing grow heavier. Having large groups of planes in the air seems to be taking it's toll on her.

    "Dolphin will stay within 8 kilometers of the reserve formation by informing them when she's moving on. Marblehead, has permission to attempt to clear the mines-"

    "Commander!" the cruiser gasps. "I can't believe this!"

    "The Lieutenant has made his decision, Marblehead. Sir, I would like permission to study the mine when we deactivate one." the destroyer replies. You can hear a bit of satisfaction in her voice.

    "You just want something to study because you're bored!"

    "Marbs, he said you got permission. Never said you had to." Chicago joins in.

    "Accurate information on our enemies will be vital to winning this war, Lieutenant."

    "Girls, shush! You know better than to argue over the radio like this!" Langley chides. The trio falls silent. "You too, Chicago. You know better than to egg people on."

    "Right, ma." the reply sounded less like an acknowledgement and more like a teen trying to get her parents off her back.

    "Marblehead, staying combat ready and the safety of yourself and the fairies have priority."

    "Yes, Commander."

    "Langley, you have permission to engage mine clutches, just confirm the safety of everyone and the faires before you do so."
    "Yes, sir."

    Next comes the wait. Ninety minutes later and aside from Chicago joining the reserve force not much has changed. It seems both Langley and Marblehead have declined to deactivate or prematurely detonate the mines.

    The monotony is broken by an unearthly high-pitched wailing vibrating through the ocean and into the ship. The scream is soon joined by what sounds like a semi slamming into traffic, followed seconds later by another blood-curdling crunch. Then another. Then another.

    "-ODDAMN SPASTIC PIECE OF JUNK!" Your sub curses as she enters radio range. Dolphins tirade is barely audible over the radio. "Commander I hit it, but the torp failed to detonate. The scallop's running scared."

    She finishes just in time for an ebony mollusk the size of a baseball diamond to erupt from the water. It's jaws opening and slamming impossibly fast as it tries to force water that isn't there through it's system. Your lungs start burning as you realize you can't breathe. Tearing your gaze away from the Pectidae you see the rest of the bridge crew perfectly still as if moving would attract the wrath of a vengeful god. You finger the radio, but are barely able to keep yourself from issuing a retreat order.

    Thankfully the retreat isn't necessary. Your surface combatants open up next. Blazing shells dig themselves into the Pectidae's thick carapace, causing cracks to appear. Tracers arc over the massive clam before landing on a cluster of small orbs growing on the top.

    You had seen a few video clips of shipgirls fighting abyssals during training. You had never seen one explode this violently before. The massive explosion ripples through the water, setting off several clusters of minest that were close to the Pectidae.

    As the scallop burns and dissolves you find yourself able to breathe again. Bennings starts clapping and you hear cheers from the outside deck as Langley confirms that the minefields are also dissolving away.

    That was our first combat, everybody! No vote for this segment, but please offer comments, criticisms or feelings on what you want in the quest or where you might want it to go.

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-21 09:10:31
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    After a few moments the celebrations fade. Captain Tams keeps the crew and shipgirls at battle stations for two hours in case of enemy reinforcements. Satisfied that no abyssal dreadnaughts are going to appear out of thin air and devour his ship he finally orders the crew to stand down.

    Langley draws most of the returning girls into a group hug, much to their embarassment. Chicago and Dolphin are the first to untangle themselves and head in the direction of the shipgirl's quarters. Marblehead breaks off and returns to the sea as her sea patrol finally begins. Langley finally lets Mahan go and half-trots in the direction of the ship's mess.  Mahan remains on deck as crewmen start loading up the RHIB with crates equipment to repair Jarvis station.

    Non-essential personnel start filing out of the bridge to go about their assigned duties. You will need to write a report on the incident soon, but It can wait for a little while.

    A) No sense putting it off. Paperwork, Ho!

    B) You're worried how Chicago and Dolphin are doing. Head down to the fleetgirl quarters and check on them.

    C) You aren't certain you trust Mahan alone with advanced technology. Get ready to accompany her to Jarvis.

    D) Hold the presses. Langley's headed to the kitchen. Only good things can come from this and I will be first in line.

    E) Other (Write-in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-23 09:29:11
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    C) You aren't certain you trust Mahan alone with advanced technology. Get ready to accompany her to Jarvis.

    You head out to the deck and inform Diaz that you will be accompanying Mahan to Jarvis and ask him to save you a plate of whatever magic Langley was working on in the mess. Langley's occasional forays into the kitchen were one of the few highlights of life on the ship.

    The scuttlebutt said Mahan possessed a "Better to ask for forgiveness" attitude towards anything that resembled science or electronics. The last thing you needed was for her to rewire the thing to pirate TV stations or something. You gaze out towards Jarvis and frown. Of course the universe wouldn't just let you admire the island of bird poop from afar. It needed you to get right in there and take in every detail.

    You slip on a helmet and life jacket before stepping onto the RHIB as crew finishes tying down long thin wooden boxes. You take your seat and the RHIB is lowered bit by bit into the water, each pause feeling like a fender bender. Luckily for your stomach the jerkiness ends as the RHIB rockets off towards Jarvis, sea spray coating everyone on board.

    Mahan sits to your right. Despite the engines you can probably converse without resorting to shouting. You open your mouth to break the ice and say the first thing that comes to mind.

    A) Disappointed you didn't get a mine to examine?

    B) I think Marblehead's going to be pissed at you for a while.

    C) Dolphin still giving you a hard time?

    D) Other (write-in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-26 05:40:15
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    C) Dolphin still giving you a hard time? (+Write-ins.)

    You're about to say something when your stomach growls. You hadn't eaten since yesterday. Battlestations were not the ideal place for breakfast, after all. Looking around you see a small cooler barely within arms reach. You take a peek inside and find several sandwiches. You grab one and take a bite. Smoked turkey and provolone. Definatly Langley's handywork.

    "Mahan, you want one?" you ask, holding one out to her. She takes it greedily and starts taking small quick bites around the crust. The redhead is halfway through the sandwitch before she turns back to you.

    "Thank you." she mumbles before resuming her attack on the tuna sandwich.

    "So, is Dolphin still giving you a hard time?" you ask. Mahan nods but continues to eat rather than reply. You already suspected the answer. It's rare to see the two together without burpees being involved. Small wonder that the girl needed nourishment. Then again it has probably kept her out of trouble. The equipment on the Osage was just there to cover up the shipgirls, but it still worked.

    Mahan pauses for a brief moment after gulping down a mouthful of tuna. "Lieutenant, what is a 'Leg day?' Dolphin said we add them to the training schedule tomorrow." You try explaining, but halfway through "barbell lunge" you notice her eyes gloss over. You aren't certain if it's from boredom at your explaination or terror at her new training.

    "Well, I'm sure you'll do fine." you say, trying to exit the conversation. You reach over and try to pat her head, but with the RHIB's constant shaking it feels more like you're just mashing her hat into her hair.

    "I know how I look, Lieutenant." Mahan says as she brushes away your hand. "But I have worked at STEC for decades. I'm not a child. "

    A) Suuure you aren't. (Tease her.)

    B) You must know a lot about STEC. (What do you want to ask about STEC?)

    C) You must know a lot about the abyssals. (What do you want to ask about abyssals?)

    D) You must know a lot about the other ships. (Ask about which other ship?)

    E) Other (Write-in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-28 09:47:12
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    E) Write-in (Naw, if we're going Shakespere, we're going FULL WEAPONS-GRADE SHAKESPERE!)

    Mahan finishes her sandwich. She looks over at the cooler and then locks with yours, her stern gaze telling you she wants another sandwich. You reach in and grab a salami with provalone. You hold it out to her and as soon as her dainty fingers reach out to grab it you yank it away from her.

    "The poorest service is repaid with thanks; And so shall mine, before you touch the meat."  

    Your lips twist into a shit-eating grin. Mahan's semipermanent frown deepens as she makes another grab at the sandwich. Then another. And another.

    "What,  not a word? Nay, then thou lovest it not." Mahan actually gets out of her seat and takes a few wobbly steps towards you.

    "Lieutenant, I feel the need to remind you that we shipgirls possess vastly superior strength and vigor. Significant injuries have occured from mere "horsing around."

    You shrug. "Have I not heard great ordnance in the field, And heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?" You make a grand gesture towards the clouds. "Have I not in a pitched battle heard Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets' clang?"

    Mahan continues edging towards you, places a hand on your knee and fixes it in a death grip. In that instant you have no doubt that Mahan, as much as she looked like a skinny dweeb, could tear off your leg and pummel you to death with it. To hell with it. If you were going out, you were going out with style.

    "And do you tell me of a woman's tongue, That gives not half so great a blow to hear As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire? Tush, tush! fear boys with bugs."

    Mahan reaches between your legs, into the cooler and plucks out another sandwich. Satisfied, she releases your knee, turns her heels and wobbles back to her seat.

    "Oh, you're no fun."  you remark as Mahan begins unwrapping her second helping.

    "I fear you are spending too much time around Marblehead, Lieutenant. Her literary habits are rubbing off on you." She start tearing into the sandwich as hungrily as the last one.

    "Okay, on a more serious note:if you have been here for ages, how come you are still running around doing fieldwork like a grunt?  Aside from the obvious reason of, I am a Ship Girl and Abyssals need to be defeated by Ship Girls."

    Mahan takes the time to finish her sandwich before she answers you. "Almost all of the shipgirls, save for battleship, fleet carriers and 'those with records of superb battle performance' are required to serve a tour on a shipgirl tender every few years."

    "Ah, so your number came up?" Mahan's nose wrinkles, as if she had smelled something horrible.

    "Not exactly, Lieutenant. Miss Dolphin's number came up. She then volunteered me as part of my punishment."

    "Hang on, wait. Serving on these is a punishment?" You are not quite certain how to feel about that.

    "It's a fairly common perception, sir. Most fleetgirls will try to get out of it or at least put it off as long as possible."

    "Hey back there!" the Coxswain called out. Blonde and short, but all of it muscle. You're fairly certain his name was Bergman. "We'll be on Jarvis in two minutes. Get ready!"

    "How do you feel about serving on the Osage, Lieutenant?"

    (No options. Write-ins only.)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-1-30 08:45:09
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    Edited by MrCorsair at 2016-2-12 11:07

    "Funny you should ask." You stare at Jarvis and wince. You weren't certain which made you more uncomfortable, the upcoming guano reef or talking about  your feelings. Right now things were complicated. You felt relief that no one was hurt, sure. Satisfaction that everybody on your team did their roles to the best of their ability and nobody turned out to be a hopeless screw-up.

    Did she mean working for STEC? That was another question. It was hard to feel good about working for such a secretive organization that gave you no real choice in joining, no matter how noble it's mission. You try not to consider how they fiddled with your mind, or what important memories you might have lost. Like it or not, it was home now.

    You were prepared to give her the same trite lines of bull an officer was supposed to say. You couldn't do it. Not right now. Not after what happened a few hours ago. You didn't lie to someone you'd shed blood with, even if that was over a radio and a tactical display.

    "If you want the honest answer; a little pathetic."

    "Interesting." Mahan replied. There isn't a hint of sarcasm in her voice. You wonder if this is what a shrink sounded like. "Please elucidate. What makes you feel pathetic?"

    "No disrespect to the people putting themselves in harm's way every day, in fact, I am grateful for everything you girls have done for us. Without the shipgirls, I'm sure the world today would have been very different. Like you said Abyssals needed to be defeated by shipgirls. Do you know how hard is it for us humans to be sidelined like that? Some protectors we are. So I did the next best thing I could think of, serve STEC and make sure you girls are as comfortable as possible, whenever you're away from the battlefield."

    "That is a fairly common sentiment. Lieutenant, I believ-"

    "Okay, therapy session's over, we're here!" Bergmann shouts as he kills the engine. The rotten, fishy stench begins to burn your nostrils and eyes. You pitch in, grab one of the crates and begin the hike to the monitoring station.

    The flat, dull landscape and steady sea breeze is almost hypnotic. Twenty minutes inland Mahan drops her crate and hops on one leg for a few moments before crashing into the ground.

    "You okay?" you set down your box and rush to her side.

    "I am fine, sir. I seem to have tripped." Mahan scans the ground and points at a dull brass orb.

    "A doorknob?" You pick it up. Deep claw scars criss-crossed the metal ball. Someone had struggled to get their hands around it before tearing it off. The closest building, the monitoring station was about hundred yards away. You hadn't played much baseball since little league, but whoever threw this had one hell of an arm. Squinting, you can see the front door hanging off it's hinges.

    "Hey, LT?" Bergmann sets down his crate and wipes his forehead. "That looks like all kinds of bad juju."

    "I do not detect the usual abyssal psychic emanations. There is no 'juju' as the chief posits." Mahan notes.

    "Not what I meant, girl." Bergmann sighed. "Should one of us go check it out, LT?"

    A) Mahan is the most survivable. Have her go check it out.

    B) Bergmann is the most expendable. Have him go check it out.

    C) I'll go check it out.

    D) Other (write-in)

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     Author| Post time: 2016-2-2 11:54:27
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    [*] E) Write in
    You casually toss the mangled lump of brass in the air a few times like a baseball, mulling over your options.

    "I believe, this is going to be one of those times whereas a superior officer I will break from tradition and freely sympathize with my sailors.  Bergmann, I got the same feeling too.  So, dearest Mahan." you flash your brightest smile. "Could you kindly accompany us to investigate the disturbance?  Strength in numbers, and worst case scenario, one of us will live to deliver a report.  What do you say?" The rose-haired girl nods at your suggestion. "Alright. Bergmann, you're up with me. Mahan, stay a few steps behind."

    You take slow, measured strides towards the station. As you approach you notice deep, viscious gashes made into the walls around the door. Whoever broke in there really wanted in, and wasn't too subtle about getting in. You grip the remains of the doorknob as you enter.

    Inside isn't much better. Anything mechanical has been smashed and strewn across the floor. Not just the machinery for the abyssal monitor you note as you step over a shattered coffee maker.Bergman starts checking the scrap for booby traps and turns up empty. Mahan's dour expression hasn't changed, but her eyes smoulder with rage as she looks at the destroyed tech.

    A) Mahan, lets get the equipment unpacked and see if we can fix this.

    B) Mahan, start investigating the area.

    C) Bergmann, any suggestions?

    D) Other (write-in)
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