Dec. 17th, 2016 12:05 am
tracker7: (Gaming)
Flight Officer's Report, action of [date], Onderon system

Per Commodore Sougal's request, I am submitting my account of the engagement identified above.

Transmissions intercepted by Whisper Base indicated a small Imperial convoy entering Onderon system would be carrying several hundred tons of parts and supplies for the Imperial ordnance station near Iziz, and that the convoy's assigned escort cruiser had suffered a severe drive failure and would be unable to travel with the convoy during its final leg. Sector Command hastily organized a strike force of two Nebulon-B frigates, Archer and Seven Bells, the CR90 corvette Tarafa, and the starfighter and armed transport complement from Canval Base.

The Imperial vessels exited hyperspace near the edge of the system's gravity well, following procedure for entry into a safe system with high levels of civilian traffic. Our frigates immediately deployed their starfighters and moved at best speed to intercept the Imperial freighters. As expected, there was a small escort force still present - a pair of Raider-class corvettes and a small starfighter complement.

Within a matter of minutes, the Alliance frigates had the freighters under their guns and were preparing to launch boarding parties. A number of Imperial ships broke away from the main body, and Commodore Sougal directed the closest Alliance ships to intercept and prevent them from escape.

Tarafa led this hastily-dispatched force, consisting of my element of A-Wings, an element of X-Wings from Canval, and two armed transports, the Leap of Faith and Tilted Heart. The breakaway Imperial force consisted of one of the Raider corvettes, six TIEs of mixed type, and a Lambda-class shuttle. Captain Gerb, commanding Tarafa, ordered the starfighters to engage the TIEs escorting the shuttle, under his corvette's support and directed the transports to harass the Raider. Gerb stated his belief that the shuttle was carrying high-value personnel and that it should be the primary target for our part of the engagement.

Just before the transports entered weapons range of the Raider, the Imperial vessel suffered a series of explosions in the drive section and broke apart. The transports did not fire on the Raider; I believe that the ship had been struck by turbolaser shots from one or both of the Alliance frigates and incurred greater damage than initially identified.

Five of the TIEs - four G/T models and an Advanced - moved quickly to screen the shuttle and engage Tarafa. Captain Gerb maneuvered to keep his ship between the TIEs and the smaller Alliance ships. A single Interceptor flanked our starfighter formation, making no effort to join the other Imperial fighters. Tarafa fought well, damaging or destroying the TIEs and firing on the shuttle. The shuttle proved to have been outfitted for combat with a heavy cannon, however, and coordinated with the TIEs to deliver heavy fire to Tarafa. The Imperials overcame our corvette's defenses and Tarafa's drive section began to fail. With the ship's maneuverability and speed greatly reduced, it was an easy target for the remaining Imperial ships and was destroyed.

When Tarafa was destroyed, the shuttle and TIE Advanced moved to disengage and escape. We destroyed the remaining TIE and landed enough shots on the shuttle to collapse its shields, but the vessel ultimately made a jump into hyperspace. Our detachment assembled into formation and rejoined the main Alliance force.

I can find no fault with the conduct of the detachment, and credit Captain Gerb with preventing the destruction of a number of starfighters and armed transports. We enjoyed the great fortune of the early destruction of the Raider; I feel certain that that vessel would have inflicted severe losses on our detachment. Of particular note, one of Canval Base's X-Wing pilots, Jaina Pelar, performed extraordinarily well. Officer Pelar flew aggressively, keeping her fighter closer to my A-Wings than I would have expected. Pelar displayed an uncanny ability to coordinate her own weapons fire with that of her fellow pilots. Her piloting skill is notable, but she is a superlative gunner. While the loss of Tarafa and most of her crew will be keenly felt, I expect that Sector Command will soon replace the ship, likely through the method of stealing an equivalent Imperial vessel.

I am available for further discussion and evaluation of the events of this action, at your convenience.

J. Battin, Flight Leader, Nightside Squadron, Seven Bells

May Day

May. 1st, 2015 03:23 pm
tracker7: (Default)
Papers have been submitted, exams taken. The academic year is over. Still don't know which campus I'm going to be on in the fall, so I'm starting to assume that I'll be back on Belknap. Not thrilled, if that's the case, but I'll handle it and just kick ass on Gray Street later.

Christ, but I travel a lot when I go see Mom&Dad. Friday, drove to Liberty. Saturday, drove to Frankfort for an X-Wing tournament (more on that in a moment). Sunday, drove to Louisville and back to Liberty. Monday, ran around Casey County, knocking out some errands with Dad. Tuesday, drove Mom&Dad to Lexington for Dad's examination and some shopping for Mom, then back to Louisville that night. It means time with the family, though, so it's absolutely worth it.

So, perhaps foolishly, I got an iPod Nano. Good grief, this thing is tiny. Less than a quarter-inch thick and can hide completely behind my index and middle fingers. Weighs approximately nothing. And I am just charmed that it has an FM receiver built-in. Something like 1800 tracks on it at the moment. I know it's impractical - I could just use the iPhone. Don't care. I like it.

The X-Wing tournament day kicked off with a couple of league matches, and it looked like a pretty good day. But then, nerdrage hit. Tournament play requires each player to provide his own components - dice, movement templates, etc. One guy showed up with just his ships and their cards. His first opponent, I guess, shared these components, and neither mentioned it to the tournament organizer. Guy draws me next, and I notice that, well, he's undersupplied. When I ask about this, he says "I'll just use yours." Doesn't ask, doesn't add "if you don't mind." Just says he's going to use my components because his first opponent let him. This ... does not sit well with me. A casual game, sure. A league game, more than likely. But not a tournament. First, it's a violation of tournament rules. And, as I told the guy, I'm under no obligation to provide an opponent with the tools he's going to use to compete against me. I called over the TO, explained the situation, and guy was disqualified. Threw a fit. Guy's 30 years old, and he behaved like a damned toddler. No sympathy, and no one was impressed.

Nerds, man.

A related discovery - I'm starting to find serious aiming-for-big-tournament-win play boring as hell. A couple of guys (known quantities) at last night's league night were testing builds and strategies for some upcoming regional championships. I've flown against one of them a couple of times, and he's probably better at the game than I am, but he builds and plays under the assumption that everyone he goes up against has optimized his build. He doesn't adapt well to those of us who fly pretty much for the fun of it, and mess around with our ship lists for the sake of doing it. Man, watching these two play was damn near sad. No attempts to recover from early losses, fly unconventionally, anything. Just replicate strategies popular in the tournament circles. I don't really want to take my fun that seriously.

Today's Oaks Day, sort of the opening act for tomorrow's Kentucky Derby. Not going to any of the races, but there are parties tonight, and tomorrow night, I'll probably find myself walking the Highlands. Six years ago, I wound up there, completely unexpectedly, and it was one of the greatest nights of my life. I don't expect lightning to strike again, but there will be a lot of fun to be had.
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Yesterday was the last day of classes for the spring semester. I'm still in limbo about the fall - hoping that I'll get to start the MPH, afraid that I'll have to spend another year in the undergrad program.

I have four finals, beginning with tomorrow's public policy exam. That's the class I'm most concerned about, as far as my final grade. I've enjoyed the class, and feel that I've learned quite a bit, but I've struggled with the exams. Communications looks to be the GPA booster I expected it to be. Epidemiology's been tough, and the most valuable class of the semester - again, as I expected. 430 and 405, though ... there's a lesson somewhere here. I'm borderline A/B in 430 and have a high A in 405, and I've done no honest work in either course. In fact, my work in 405 is arguably fraudulent (as is the entire course, in my opinion). I've abandoned much of the team-based work in 430 - not because it's been difficult, but because I just haven't cared about the course and the lack of learning it's offered. Frustrations abound.

I've used my old iPhone as a slightly heavier iPod for a while, and I've gotten used to having the dedicated device. Doesn't make sense, sure - means carrying around a second device instead throwing music and podcasts on the iPhone in my pocket. But I liked continuing to get some utility out of the old phone, and having nothing else on it meant lots more space for music. A few days ago, the home button stopped working, which made the whole thing just about useless. About $40 to repair it, assuming the screen doesn't have to be replaced as well - it's cracked along the top. Irrational as anything - if the screen has to be replaced, too, I'll just set resources aside for a Nano, I think.
tracker7: (Default)
Saturday was a long one. One of the jagoffs that bailed on us was scheduled to work the booth with FI in the afternoon. I filled the spot, meaning that I was in the Exhibitor's Hall for eight hours. Ended with some very hurty feet, friends and neighbors. Another soak, then pizza from Hot Box, some card games, and then bedtime.

Sunday saw very good end-of-show sales at our booth. Little Wizards moved for real, an there was a surge in Mistborn AG sales. Had to deal with some drama on the team, and that'll probably result in at least one member not being invited back for 2014. Was drafted into an early-morning meeting with our distributor, and got word on some upcoming products and promotions.

So much more to report.

Had a nice talk with James Sutton, the CEO of the current incarnation of FASA Games. He moved to Cincy from New Zealand a couple of years ago following a family tragedy, and is rebuilding his life and that of some game lines at the same time. We're planning to get together sometime in the coming weeks to chat and expand our respective networks a bit.

One of my bosses at Crafty is going to be in NKY for a couple of weeks in late September, helping Twilight Creations to handle some of their suddenly-massive workload. Twilight recently landed a Holy Grail-caliber deal for a small-press game publisher, and with the death of the male half of the husband-and-wife team that makes up the company's permanent staff, they're in a bind. I've been asked to pitch in as well, on a to-be-determined duration. So, hey, that's some kind of good news, right?

I gave in and made a few purchases. A B-Wing, TIE Bomber, and second A-Wing from FFG - still very hard to get my hands on a TIE Interceptor. The Conspiracies Sourcebook for ConX. Universe Guide for DC Adventures. Deadlands Noir and its Companion. The massive Second City boxed set for L5R (MSRP $80, got it brand-new for $25).

Our Spycraft Third games got overwhelmingly positive results. Now that the convention's over, and we've seen that the new edition has traction, we're going to open up beta testing to the general public very soon. This sexy piece of work's coming together at last, alongside Ten Thousand Bullets and a couple of other too-long-delayed products. We're planning to support and promote six lines at next year's show.

I'm off tomorrow to recover and rest up. Planning to binge on Netflix and do little else. Read a little, maybe. Probably not put on pants, unless I get very energetic and go to the grocery.
tracker7: (Default)
As I posted over on FB, ain't no crazy like last-minute convention crazy. Let's start on Monday, about 48 hours before I'm scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis for GenCon.

I started the day off emotionally compromised anyway. Get to work, I'm already in convention/vacation space, have just about completely checked out from the shoulders up. Late morning, one of my volunteers texts me to let me know that he can't make it to GenCon. I immediately check in with my bosses, and we make an emergency plan that arranges for said volunteer to be able to make it, but blackballs him from any future work with us. I pass the first part of this along to said volunteer, he's grateful, and we're ready to move on. So far, so handled. I call around the rest of the team (minus our volunteer coming in from the UK, because), get hotel counts and confirmations (from most, and you can bet that'll be important later), and things look okay. Workday ends, I go play Infiltration, exchange some texts, and sleep like an innocent.

Tuesday, and the e-mails hit. Volunteer CH doesn't like e-mail. Rarely uses it. I wasn't too thrilled with this cat for a couple of reasons - he was added over my objections by one of the company owners, and since we do 95+% of our team communications through e-mail, he rarely checked in. CH had bought his plane tickets to the con with a rarely-used credit card. Round-trip airfare bought on a card that sees very little use? Yep, that'll trigger a fraud alert. And how is the card account set up to send out this alert? You got it - e-mail. THIS HAPPENED IN JUNE. CH didn't find out about until Monday night. After I'd called him. Grr. Then EO e-mails me. Now this mofo I was getting tired of anyway, because he'd started asking if his girlfriend could stay with us, and can we things for her to do at the con because she's not much into gaming and what-the-hell-ever-man. And he can't make it because of "unexpected expenses." I call bullshit, because that's the kind of guy I am.

My bosses are in transit from the West Coast. We communicate as we can, and start to figure out contingencies. The last thing we want to do is cancel events, but all of a sudden we have five games that don't have GMs and two exhibitor spots to fill up and it's less than 24 hours until we start assembling in Indy and the con for-real starts at 10AM Thursday. And this is where stuff starts getting good, and I mean good. I remove the offenders from our e-mail list and send out a call for help. Let the others know what's up, what spots are available, and why. About 75 minutes later, after texts and phone calls and e-mails, the spots are filled. We are set. We are ready to go. And who was the first person to step up? The dude in the second paragraph. You can bet he's now off the blacklist. Karma and shit.

Now, in the course of writing this entry (while I was also ripping and re-encoding Layer Cake and putting it on the iPad) ST texts me. He's overslept and his son has missed his flight to Oregon or Washington or wherever, so our hastily-modified plans to meet him in Louisville have been disrupted. We'll deal. If three dudes can get to Indy in a Civic coupe, three dudes can get to Indy in a Focus wagon. And we're going to. Because it's time for Nerd Prom.
tracker7: (Default)
Sometimes the universe just smiles on you. Bought a couple of books at Joseph-Beth today; it's customer appreciation day, and I had a coupon for 25% off one title. The purchase pushed me past a threshold on my customer rewards account, and I got another coupon for $10 off a future purchase.

I will not lie. I gave thought to taking the new purchases out to the car and going right back in for more books.


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