Our correspondent Banton Corvisiero has spent the last six months on patrol with the Rim fleet, doing what they do, here’s his first report on the joys of the Rim.
Everyone thinks of the Rim as a place, in fact, it’s not; it’s a constantly moving line in the sky. The Rim is the edge of the Federation; it’s the systems that face outwards, the last outposts of civilisation. Beyond them is the vastness of the unexplored galaxy. And because there is always another system being discovered, another one to explore, the Rim moves all the time. As soon as a new system is discovered it becomes a Rim system and the one inside it, the one nearer the centre loses the tag as it becomes a mainstream system, a regular part of the federation.
There is a lot of pride in the people of the Rim; people like to say that they live on the edge of everything. The implication is that it’s rough and uncivilised, somehow dangerous because of the fact that beyond it is nothing. But while that’s true in some cases, there is just as much stability in most of the Rim.
I joined the cruiser Hawk after a three-week training spell on Prem, historically the home of the Federation Navy for the last 6,000 years. Basically, the trainers tried to turn me from an out of shape ground-dweller into a Navy space hound. The training got me fit and showed me how not to die in a multitude of very easy ways, or kill everyone onboard with an act of stupidity. Eventually, I was sent off to meet my new shipmates.
Firstly a bit about the Hawk. It’s the result of all the experience that the colonial Support Corps of the Navy, to give them their proper title, have over patrolling the Rim. Just over one Hundred Meters long and manned by a crew of sixty, they also have twenty marines and an officer on board as a rapid reaction force. Hawk has two Marine dropships and two shuttles as well as a large hold with a ramped access for vehicles. It carries basic relief supplies, portable generators and tents for disaster relief. It also has a variety of construction and earth moving gear and spare parts for all manner of equipment. In short, it’s a cross between a police station, a barracks and a builder’s yard.
Commander Devis is a thirty-year man and the Hawk is his ship. He was there when they cut the main beam and has been here ever since. Hawk came out of refit on Prem as I joined; with the regular crew fresh from leave everyone was itching to get going. On the last night before deployment, I took some time to interview Commander Devis.
G: Commander, Firstly on behalf of the magazine; thank you for agreeing to my being on board. How does it feel to be ready to deploy again?
R: Well Mr Corvisiero, you’re welcome to be here, I understand you’ve been put through the same basic training as a midshipman so you’ll have a rough idea of what’s going on. I’ve been itching to get back out there and I think the crew would say the same.
G: What are our orders?
R: It’s all at my discretion, I have a sector to patrol and it’s up to me how I do it. We basically go from place to place in no particular order and make sure everything is alright. In the meantime, if anyone has a problem they call up and we assess and respond.
G: So it could be anything?
R: That’s right, it might be disaster relief, a meteor storm or earthquake or some other natural event. Or it could be a dispute over mineral rights or ownership that can’t be sorted locally.
G: In the past, there was a lot of smuggling and crime from gangs out on the rim, is that still a problem?
R: Not so much now, there is some serious interplanetary crime but the days of what used to be called ‘pirates’ have long gone. That was always worse on the border of the federation and the Independent worlds; our area is on the other side.
G: So we’re unlikely to see any shooting?
R: I won’t say never but we haven’t fired a shot in anger for quite a while, there’s usually a better way.
G: Where will we go first?
R: You’ll find out with everyone else in the morning.
G: Thank you for your time Commander.
And that was that, Commander Devis treated me as he would any Mid and after a sleep in the cabin that I shared with three others we got to learn of our mission at the communal briefing, relayed over the ship’s speakers as we prepared for departure.
“Good morning everyone; Commander Devis here. I’m pleased to see so many familiar faces and I hope you all had a good leave. You might be aware but we have a guest this trip, a correspondent from Galactographic magazine. He has been given basic training but he is not enlisted so bear that in mind. Otherwise, he is to be afforded every courtesy.
Now we are off to Balstan first, we haven’t heard from them in a while and I want to make sure they’re alright. It could just be a faulty comms relay but we won’t know until we get there. Thank you everyone, prepare for take-off and report.”
I found the speech inspiring and exciting, the mids I was bunking with were all second trippers and knew Devis well. They said he was one of the good guys, strict but fair. He was known as someone who seemed to always be where the interesting jobs were and they all agreed that we would have an eventful six months. Stand by for my next dispatch, I don’t know when that will be, it will depend on our schedule and Commander Devis.
That’s the entire article, I need to find the follow up in the archive, as soon as I do I will post it.