Obsidian Command

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Testimonies: Hawthorne and Tobias-Hirsh

Posted on 18 Nov 2023 @ 3:44pm by Lieutenant Tobias Hirsh & Captain Markus Hawthorne

Mission: M4 - Falling Out
Location: OC, Diplomatic Conference
Timeline: M4 D5
2579 words - 5.2 OF Standard Post Measure

.: Day Five- Diplomatic Convention: Testimonies:.

Tobias-Hirsh dwarfed most of the people assembled, but still felt smaller than he usually did in the impressively scaled meeting hall. Auditorium, maybe, except for the more ovular and centered orientation of the space. He entered slowly, noting a few familiar faces of other officers, some he knew personally, and others were senior staff he saw every day in passing in the CiC. Nature dictated he find the familiar forms of other grazerites, and so he spied the famous poet and laureate of letters, Ernesh-Ibrin. Tobias wasn’t himself much of a poet or an intellectual, but he’d become aware of the figure who had arrived with the Diplomatic entourage and couldn't help being curious.

Ernesh had a similar frame to his own, but the differences ended there. For starters, the older Ernesh was respecting the Grazerite tradition of peace and wearing a horn covering where Tobias had long since foregone that formality, after his singular experience changed his mind on such things. Ernesh had enjoyed many a fine dinner and looked it. Tobias had been making sure to augment with protein intake and kept a strict workout routine since he was a kid. And he also looked it. It wasn’t long until he caught Ernesh’s attention and Tobias supposed it was for the same reason of first noting one’s own kind, but Ernesh rose from his place at the table (no small feat with the bulk of him) and intercepted his countryman.

“The darkest days do forge souls of iron and the mountain calls to its own kind, indomitable and true.”

Tobias was uncertain what type of greeting to account this as. Subconsciously, he shifted his stance, in case he was being challenged.

Ernesh absorbed the meaning of the instinctual gesture and made a gruff noise in his throat. “Oh you are made of the ancient stuff then, from the days when the mountains folded under the will of the Grazerites. Before cities, in the time of the great clansmen.”

“I do not know you.”

“I know of you,” Ernesh said, a grin crossing his muzzle. “In so much as you were called to give testimony today, that is. As to what you are to testify, none would say. But that you are a provisional officer, provided from our own defense force, shows in your mettle and carriage." Ernesh half motioned towards Tobias' uncovered horns, the end of one of them broken away, perhaps in some aggressive undertaking. " It does seem those of our kind who goad most under the oaths of non violence, tend to find a path to the defense force.”

“Horns must have a purpose.” Tobias’ eyes seemed to flash, and Ernesh instinctively lowered his own eyes from the look. While it was common enough to see it in the eyes of the other races he worked with, to see it in the face of a fellow Grazerite discomfited him. “Or we will be sheep to the slaughter.”

The poet now recognized there was something quite dangerous in Tobias-Hirsh. Anger, and no passing cloud of the mind. What he had taken for the strength of a defender was not the quiet stance of a sentry, prepared to issue restrained and limited defense only. It was the kind of anger that was fomenting into a hidden rage, and Ernesh’s own nostrils twitched with the instinct of fear in the presence of it. He kept his head low, almost bowing in non-confrontational deference towards the younger man, but motioned with his hand like a teacher, with something very important to remind him of. “Dal-Gimone’s treatise on the cyclical propagation of violence would remind us that the seeds of our own destruction lie in the—”

“Don’t quote Gimone to me.” Tobias said simply and pressed past Ernesh. While he strode with confidence, secretly, he was trying not to shake. He’d been brought up on the words of the great philosophers. Typically Tobias would have allowed someone like Ernesh to simply finish his admonitions and feel good about themselves. But the reason Tobias had been called to give testimony was the same event that underpinned his deepest pain. And to do it justice, he must share the story, reliving it as he did so. The words of the philosophers were salt in the gaping wound of his heart.

Tobias passed before captains, admirals, ambassadors, and delegates. He paused before the marvelous illuminated tank, the crystal clear water sparkling around the bejeweled, alien aquatic representatives and he stared them directly in their dark, seal-like eyes. Their world had experienced the same savagery as he had witnessed on the Grazerite Colony. In them he felt a kind of solidarity. But was it solidarity enough for which he would wish to go to war? His own homeworld would be one of the first to be exposed to the enemy…

Tobias took a seat where his name was set into the display of the table. To his left was Captain Markus Hawthorne, and as everyone in the room settled into their seats and the lighting was dimmed in the aisles, Hawthorne was preparing to speak.

.:Testimony- Markus Hawthorne:.

The holoprojector came to life and a tall, thin Starfleet Captain with gray hair parted neatly to one side and cold, calculating blue eyes. He was frozen in place for a long moment before someone finally engaged the holo-recording and he came to holographic life.

“Good morning. I’m Captain Markus Hawthorne of the USS Ardeshir, currently acting Captain of the USS Alexander. I was asked to give a testimony of an interaction I had with a vessel now known to have been from the Pyrryx Imperium,” Hawthorne explained. He had a data PaDD in hand and was consulting it now before he went on. “For background, this was a little over two years ago, and the Ardeshir is a Luna-class vessel,” he said, clearing his throat. “During a routine science patrol near Catus eleven’s and Camp Falkirk’s area of operations, we encountered a spatial anomaly. It appeared to be a ‘void’ in space. Our initial estimates were that this void could be a rift into subspace, or even fluidic space. Nothing about the data we were seeing matched anything we had in the database,” he went on, pausing to consult his notes further.

“I ordered the ship to warp to the signal location and take more direct scans. It was still within our patrol area and, to be honest, it’d been a pretty boring patrol,” he smirked slightly as he went on. “Upon arrival we discovered that the anomaly was not a hole in space, but a very well concealed vessel trying to pretend to be that. The vessel did not respond to hails, and was heavily shielded against all non-invasive scanning. Our assessment was… whoever they were… they didn’t to be bothered. So we made ready to be on our way, logging it in the charts so that one else came and bothered them,” he went on, consulting the PaDD.

“Just as we were preparing to get underway, we detected another anomaly. This one of a very different variety. It was subspace in nature and resolved into a vessel exiting a form of subspace faster-than-light travel we now know to be the means by which the Pyrryx travel between systems,” Hawthorne said, now throwing up data telemetry and a visual of the vessel that had exited the ‘wormhole’.

“The vessel exited and immediately set its eyes on the one that had previously been ignoring our hails. The smaller, poorly armed vessel was built for speed and stealth while this one was clearly meant for battle,” he explained. “Immediately they asked for our help. We hailed the newly arrived ship, but they answered with weapons fire. No answers to hails. My Chief Operations officer indicated that, per his scans, they didn’t even have comm’s capabilities turned on. If they had them at all. Meaning, they weren’t ignoring us, they simply didn’t care to listen.”

“The smaller vessel ran while the Ardeshir attempted to cover their escape. We took steady, heavy damage, but were able to cover them long enough for them to make their faster-than-light jump. The battleship fired a volley of torpedoes with tech that violates the Khitomer accords,” he said, now showing more telemetry that the engineering and weapons folks would recognize as being about as bad as it got. “It caused an uncontrollable subspace rift that prevented all of us from making a jump.”

“My Chief Engineer is one hell of a genius,” Markus smiled proudly, “Doctor Oakheart, on the fly, devised a way to effectively ‘reverse’ the rift by rigging the Luna-classes sensor pods. The only problem with that was trying to out maneuver a battleship in a vessel not meant for that task,” he explained, pointing to the hologram of the Pyrryx ship. “Look at this thing. It’s meant for war. But look at it critically. The weapons positioning is off, there’s no forward deflector, no aft emitters or torpedo bays. Take a look at the engine spacing and orientation,” he said, giving the watcher the chance to form some of their own conclusions that they might not have before. “Starfleet ships are built following generations of trial and error. We’ve learned the best way to do it to maximize efficiency and function. But these guys,” he said, pointing to the ship. “They just strapped every gun they could to an aggressive looking spaceframe and sent it out,” he explained. “They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re just bullying their way through it.”

“That’s analysis that you come to after the fact. In the moment though, what I can tell you is that their ships are poorly handled. They can’t maneuver very well and what maneuverability that they do have, they don’t know how to utilize effectively,” he explained patiently. He pointed to it, “This ship should have chewed up a Luna-class and spit it out in minutes,” he said emphatically. “But we were able to out maneuver it, out gun it and hold it off for more than forty-three minutes. Long enough for the Mississippi to receive our hails and come to the rescue. She made short work of the smaller vessel who, rather than be boarded, chose to self-destruct and very nearly opened another rift.”

.:Testimony Tobias-Hirsh:.

Not being much for fancy talk, when his turn to speak came around, Tobias began simply, his voice characteristically low for the men of his race and stature.

“I am Lieutenant Tobias-Hirsh. I am an exchange officer from the Grazerite Defense Force. To those who may be less familiar with Federation cartography, my homeworld of Grazer is one of the farthest member worlds on the distant reach of the UFP border in this region, Galactically north of here by a week at high warp. As far as Kzinti space is to the north west, we are located to the north east.

“Starfleet requested my transfer here under a sealed order, of which I was under strict orders not to speak of. That order has been lifted for the purposes of my testimony here today. I am a survivor of a Pyrryx attack on the Grazerite colony of Fieldmont, to which I had just been assigned, a little over two years ago when it happened…”

Tobias had never been much of a public speaker. Trying not to focus on the hushed crowd of dignitaries and officers seated around, Tobias squared his massive shoulders and leaned towards the recording device on the table in front of him.

“The first thing that went down on Fieldmont were communications. I was not on duty. I can’t say how they were taken out, only that all transmissions were cut. The newly installed colony had a subspace transmitting buoy in orbit that facilitated outgoing comms as well as surface communications. I assume it was struck first. Common emergency frequencies were simultaneously squelched with….” Via memory, Tobias could feel it in his teeth, the pitch that no one could hear, but due to their hornsense, everyone on the colony had been pained by it. “Some type of broad jamming frequencies. We were all comms blind and separated from operational command. Without orders to guide my reaction, I began defense protocols to move civilians to cover. We watched the umbrella of the shield come alive overhead and that was at least reassuring. But it was moments later that the sky seemed to catch on fire.”

“The bombardment was absolutely relentless.” Tobias continued in his testimony. “The atmosphere seemed to be crackling with some kind of reaction. I don’t know what was used, but the bombing was unconventional to my experience. Fieldmont’s shields were one of our newest and highest powered designs. But they fell in under ten minutes. And then the attackers dropped out of the sky like a black rain, crushing everything in their path. When I tried to make out the attacking ground forces through a visual scope, they seemed to change shape. It’s a light shifting technique using… Well we’ve employed it in camouflage as a method of defense. But it was unnatural and fast.

“None of our defensive stun beams had any effect on the Pyrryx ground troops. Our concussive cannons slowed them momentarily, but they simply concentrated on the cannons until they got through. They seemed unconcerned about how many of their own were in the line of fire. They just climbed like a hoard over their incapacitated companions with no concern at all, forming a forward moving wall of their own troops and streaming in behind their own until they could take the cannons. Then they… they found the defensive redoubt and… They made a crater out of the bunker. When anyone ran out of the smoke and the fire… they just…” Tobias’ eyes became unfocused as he thought about the families crawling out of the smoke. “They crushed everyone.”


After several additional speakers and analysis, mostly from the scientists and engineers evaluating Pyrryx ship wreckage, Ambassador Gordon Stillwell sat back, scrubbing a hand through his gray hairs.

The testimony of Captain Hawthorne had given him heart. Learning of the slap dash nature of the Pyrryx ship construction methods meant that there was a technical edge the Federation could hold. But other testimony dulled the shine of that bright spot in the discovery process; the Pyrryx seemed to favor brute approaches whereby they could bum rush anyone. Finesse could only hold up so far against onslaught. The Grazerites were a peaceful race with superior defensive technology. And yet their defensive measures had simply been overpowered by numbers. The Pyrryx consistently showed no concern for the wellbeing of their own soldiers. They were single minded and managed themselves in a horde-like fashion.

Shutting down his padd of notes, Stillwell stood. “I wish to thank everyone for their testimony today. To be sure, these accounts are difficult to give and to hear, but most illuminating to those of us in need of deliberating state action. Let us dismiss and continue this on the morrow.” He tapped a procedural bell which rang out in suspended conclusion.


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