MISSION 1 DEBRIEFING
It's quiet in the conference room. All the cryo survivors from the Huhoba Qitsit mission are milling about, quietly discussing things with each other, when a loud voice interrupts their discourse.
"SCAMPS here. Looks like most of you managed to hobble in, so let's get started."
SCAMPS is immediately assaulted by a chorus of disorganized voices demanding answers.
"Shut up and sit your asses down,"
SCAMPS barks impatiently. The inmates gradually do so. "I'm short on time and shorter on patience, and already pushed past my limits and pissed off. I will say, though, some of you performed beyond expectations. Others made me wish you'd stayed out there and died. Most of you did both. I'd love to space you guys - especially Beta,"
he growls in passing, " - but we'll get to that later. For now - "
At that moment, Sukava marches in, swinging her hips and showering those seated with a charming smile; an ostentatious entrance.
"Ah, a glorious new arrival,"
SCAMPS mocks caustically. "And I already loathe you, too. Cut the shit and sit down with the others. After I'm done, your teammates can fill you in - or grunt at you, if they don't have the capacity for that."
A quick flash of rage flashes across Sukava's face, but it is gone in an instant; she smiles pleasantly at the other sectionmates and takes a seat. "Hold up, before you go any farther, rust-bucket," Vynkor calls out, leaning back in her chair. "I think we deserve an explanation of what actually
happened here." The rest of the crew has other questions, but they don't even have a chance to speak up.
"Wait, time out. Vynkor, right? Are you serious?"
After a moment, she nods expectantly. "Did you assholes pay NO attention to the reports I put on your PDAs? Okay, fine: who wants to join Vynkor over in the retard corner for the rest of the debrief?"
One by one, nine hands hesitantly raise around the conference table.
"Really? Fukc you guys! Okay, fine! Strap in and let's get this over with."
The hands lower, and SCAMPS begins anew. "For those of you that don't know how to read: We have a mole somewhere on board, and we've known it for months now. We've held regular screenings but never managed to catch the guy. Things break at random, intel leaks, and morale drops. As some of you noticed, we don't have much beyond rations, and we haven't for a while; the better food we had actually got ruined in an explosion in the kitchens a few weeks ago. That was the mole, and it had a huge hit to morale as well. Up until a few weeks ago we just thought they were an annoyance, and the former captain, Machellan, kept our goals private - only the top staff knew where we were going, or why.
"Unfortunately, they all died right as we arrived over Nanyej, thanks to the Outer World League - a bunch of ragtag, anarchist alien scum with less cohesion than a swarm of roaches in an antimatter explosion. We would've made short work of them if the mole hadn't shown his true potential. Just as the League dropped out of warp, our shields went down and a series of explosions fukced up our right nacelle. The bridge was immediately destroyed by a hail of fire from their spinal cannons, killing Machellan and the crew - the bridge shields were down too. It was a total clusterfukc. Our main fighter crew took out our best CASKETs to defend, but they went down in minutes. The League wasn't there to accept surrender. They were there to obliterate us.
"According to Tartarus Inc. protocol, in the absence of higher staff, I'm in charge. With hull breaches everywhere, the warp engines decimated, and our shield cores gone, I made the call to break atmo, trying to put us down on the planet's surface. We only barely managed the landing, but we escaped their fleet. After that, you know the rest - well, most of it."
There's a slight pause - just enough to give the inmates a chance to question what they knew, and wonder how it related to their mission.
"Morale was shot. With half the crew dead, MIA, or wounded, and the prospect of only 72 hours before the planetary defense forces from North Hsalte arrived, sleep was off the table. Surrender wasn't an option either - not to Squids. We potentially had time to get a makeshift artigrav generator hooked up, patch our holes, fix the engines and get into space, but with half the surviving crew wanting to give up? Fukc no. If we were going to get this trash heap off the ground, I needed a way to raise morale. Lucky me: it wasn't long before we found the cryopods hidden in our port nacelle - and that's tech humanity hasn't even invented yet."
SCAMPS pauses again and goes on, "Gonna be clear here - the docs knew your brain scans were normal. Our top engineers understood that even if you got the stellaplex from the colony, there was no way they could get it hooked up in time for us to get out of here. We swore them to secrecy and spread the news to the rest of the crew, all the way up to the acting captain - a mythlike tale of inmates kept alive for hundreds of years with impossible technology, possessing the combat experience of the most seasoned of generals. What do you think that did for morale? Sending you out gave the crew the boost they needed to finish up with the basic repairs in record time, sparing our top guys for work on the artigrav fields. In short, it worked.
"Honestly, what surprises me most is that you believed any of it yourselves. I told you last briefing that Tartarus Inc's staff is comprised entirely of former inmates that completed their tour of duty - why the fukc would we send you out there for a critical mission instead of them? When it came down to it, you were no different than any other REKT recruits. ...Or, that's what the docs assumed, anyway.
"I fully expected most of you - if not all of you - to die,"
SCAMPS asserts in a dispassionate tone. "I really did. I gave the order not to station CASKETs as comm relays specifically so that no news of your inevitable demise would make it back, but somehow you managed to bring home 9 of 13, or about 70% of everyone we sent in. I would applaud you, but half of you don't even deserve it! And that finally brings me to reprimanding Beta."
His voice takes on the slightest note of satisfaction as he says this last.
((Pausing briefly to give you guys a quick chance to respond/ask stuff, and then SCAMPS will continue.))