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Title:   Hallowed Be Thy Hills
Pairing:  UsUk, CanPru, and other assorted pairings.
Genre:  UsUk LJ Com's Spring Ficathon
Rating: R
Summary: Federation of United Planetary Nations is the order of things now.  After a bitter twenty year war - the War of Re-Conciliation - the Federation has defeated the opposing  factions, made up mostly of various systems and planets along the outer system clusters.   After the outer system cluster alliance had been roundly defeated at the Battle of Brussia, and one of the last Brain Stations wiped out, the Alliance had sued for Peace.  Nearly every Planet signed the treaty within a year of the Battle.  Only the Rus-1 System Cluster has yet to sign the treaty binding every planet, system cluster and station to one united entity.




Chapter 3: Journey into the Black

You may plan all you want, but here's the truth – no plan ever lasts the first ten seconds of a battle. Once you engage, it's out of your hands. It won't matter how well you planned, or how much information your Diplos have given you, or even the quality of your troops. It's not going to matter how often you ran drills, or how many times you went over your plans.

Here's the truth – your opponent has a plan and it isn't yours. Here's another truth – being able to be flexible, and change your entire outlook in a split second will keep you alive.

….....

My first encounter with Capt Arthur Kirkland of the Windsors, EU1 clusters, was on board the ISO B3 station. While the mission would later go do in the history books, and the partnership between us as an example of how to salvage a mission, at the time I couldn't stand him. I had preconceived notions of Kirkland as an arrogant Alliance rebel, angry he'd lost, and with a history of outbursts. Walking on to the deck of the E3BH, I had expected to see much the same. I walked on the deck of the E3BH, I felt I knew more of what was going on then what any other crew member did, and that arrogance almost cost myself the entire mission.

A rule for all who are reading this: Never let your own arrogance get in the way of what the facts say. The facts can be wrong, and often are. Be open and willing to change.

    • Surviving Life: A basic primer for Diplomatic Services” Cmdr Alfred Jones-Williams, ret. Federation of United Planetary Nations, Diplomatic Division. Scholastic Books 5063

The E3BH was, despite what Alfred had called her, anything but a rust-bucket of a survey ship. She was in fact an elegant, well trimmed ship, with engines that purred like a contented kitten, and moved like a fish through water. Alfred did his best to not drool all over the engine room during their brief tour, but obviously wasn't hiding his covetous looks very well from the smug expressions of the pit crew. He got his revenge on his brother later, when Matthew was introduced to the charts labs.

Alfred had been fortunate enough to fall in with a select crowd during his Academy days. Lt General Kiona Wild of the NORAM cluster's Independent Indian nations ruled her Dark Horses with iron fist. She pushed them into learning not only the required classes, but also branching out and becoming multidisciplinary students Almost all of the Dark Horses went into the Diplomatic services, but often had very different backgrounds. Alfred,for example had gone into an engineering major, but was also qualified as a field medic, and could hold his own in a Biochemist lab. Matthew was on record as officially having gone the Exploratory route, but was a qualified engineer and linguist.

Wild was very big on her Dark Horses being able to do anything and everything at any given time. She'd seen too many operatives crash and burn or fail a mission because they couldn't adapt and survive. To her there was no excuse for that, and she impressed that on everyone.

Alfred was very grateful for all that training now more then ever. Both he and Matthew had to be fitted into the already existing command structure of the E3BH, and duty rooster. As the newest members of the crew, and the least likely to remain on-board past this mission, they were not going to receive the best crew assignments. As Captain Kirkland had said, going over their history and experiences, “This is a working ship, and everyone pulls their own weight on board.”

He'd been surprised to learn that even the Captain worked beyond the duties required of any ship captain. He was a skilled linguist, and a decent engineer, but he took his on board duties working in the Hydroponic labs. Given the skill sets available, Matthew ended up taking duties in the chart labs, while Alfred took a shift in engineering. Matthew worked Beta shift, while Alfred, having insulted the Captain and his ship, in their first meeting, was put on Gamma shift.

It worked better then they'd expected. Matthew had expected that Captain Kirkland would go the route that so many often did when faced with a Diplo pair on board – give them lip service and try to keep them isolated from the rest of the crew. He'd long ago come up with ways on how to deal with that situation, and had already selected one particular plan to be implemented. Kirkland stomped all over that with his very first order to the first officer once they'd come aboard, “Find a job for them to do. I will have no deadweights on this ship.” By being included in the crew, Captain Kirkland not only solved the problem of having to deal with the cost of having two highly trained, more then slightly dangerous, and in all likelihood, bored Diplomatic agents on board, but also got a very handy way of being able to keep tabs on them.

In layman's terms – he took the opportunity to put them to work, thus saving him the cost of filling two positions, especially since their pay didn't have to come out of the ship's budget, but was instead coming out of the Diplomatic Service's budget. No one was more surprised then Matthew at just how well it was working. For his part, Kirkland seemed to be rather disconcerted at how well Matthew and Alfred were fitting into his crew.

Alfred, always at heart, an engineer, someone who loved to tinker with whatever he had available, took to the gruff engineering crew like a duck to water. The rate of mild thumps and smoke coming from the engineering deck had increased potentially, but at the same rate, the engineering crew had also increased efficiency of the shields and engines by almost twenty percent since Alfred had joined. It was starting to become a common occurrence for Alfred to spend all of his time with someone from engineering, mumbling over schematics.

Kirkland couldn't stay angry at someone who was so dedicated to working on improving his beloved ship, his Bess, even if it was more of an accidental, can-we-make-this-go-faster type of thing.

Matthew had for his part discovered the survey logs had been all but ignored for the past two years. He'd been going through each log, carefully transcribing the notes and uploading them to the massive database. According to the ship's second in command, Survey Command was in shock at the sheer size of each packet – they'd never gotten such well organized data packets from the Bess before.

Kirkland also couldn't stay angry at someone who'd tackled the one project every other person had avoided and done it in a way that had gotten the crew a commendation from their command.



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