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A note from Necrontyr525

In retrospect, a better title might be "Starlift", but I'll stick with my orgional title anyhow.

The Situation Room

Day Zero

Pipeweed smoke choked the air. Three Generals sat at the same table as the First Minister of the Alliance. The task at hand was the spinne's blockade of Achten. Despite their nominal place within the Alliance, their ideology often put them at odds with their erstwhile partners. The blockade was undoubtedly a diplomatic maneuver prompted by the Alliance's attempts to rebuild the economy of Achten and the einwohner people in general. But with so many armed forces in the area, it had definite political and military components as well.

"Sir, we have three options in the face of this blockade. As you know, our troops in the occupied city of Achten are surrounded and cut off from any land or sea resupply, and the spinne have cut power from their portion of the city. With that in mind, option one is to pull our troops out of Achten and regroup. Option two is to stay in Achten until the local einwohner people forces us out due to food and fuel shortages. Current estimates but that at happening in no more than four to six weeks. The third, and in our opinion best, option is to form an armored convoy to force the blockade open. The documents in these chip-folders give the details, but the sooner we have your decision, the sooner we can begin to act."

The First Minister exhaled a long plume of smoke and stared, almost glared, at his Generals. "We stay in Achten. When the spinne tried this in the past we resupplied our troops from orbit. I suggest you look to do the same here."

The Generals were aghast at the command. One of their number began to sputter "Sir, that was for an isolated spearhead formation, not even an entire Army, much less a city. We don't have the ground-to-space lift capacity in the area to even begin..."

The third, lowest ranking General in the room raised his hand, "perhaps we don't Sir, but the humans do. We ran the numbers for Achten in a rationing drill a few months back, which is were the supply estimates in option two came from. Achten would need thirty-five to forty thousand tons of food and fuel per local day to at least subsist and keep our troops in fighting shape. Maastricht Starfield would be our only landing zone, poor though it may be, and that can only handle cargo shuttles. Using the humans fleet of OC-47s, we would need around one thousand five hundred flights per day just to meet that number."

The First Minister nodded slowly, "Difficult is not the same as impossible. We all learned that lesson fighting alongside humans against the einwohner in the last war. Get with the human commanders and make it happen."

Human Navy Auxiliary Ship (HNAS) Gargant, Merchant Marine Panamax-6 class Deep Space Cargo Ship

Day Zero

The Cargomaster leaned against the hatch frame of the captain's office, "Sir, I think the First Minister may have finally lost it. Have you seen our load schedule? We are slated to load a full eighty-thousand ton load of food and fuel for transport to Achten, unload it in two days, then turn around and do it again. Our OC-47s will be lucky to move that much cargo in eight days."

The Captain shrugged, "not ours to wonder why Cargomaster. LogCom has a bee up its backside over this. The grapevine has them already searching for a General to head up this whole airlift operation. We have troops, and more importantly people, waiting for our cargo."

The Cargomaster shrugged and turned to leave, "they may be einwohner, Sir, but I concede the point. No one deserves to starve to death. We'll get it done."

Maastricht Starfield Orbital Flight Control Tower

Day Six

"HNAS Gargat to Maastricht OFCT, do you copy?"

The einwohner flight controller reached out and opened a com channel. Hunger and depression slowed his hands, but didn't stop them, "Maastricht OFCT here, we read you Gargat, go ahead."

"Maastricht OFCT, we've got eighty thousand, I repeat eight zero thousand, tons of food and fuel to unload ASAP. We're requesting flight paths for every OC-47 we've got to get it to you."

The flight controller sat a bit more upright, "I hear you Gargant. I'm clearing my board now, and I'm kicking this up the line to my boss. What's your unload window?"

"As Soon As Possible Maastricht OFCT. HNAS Goliath is two days behind us with the same orders, and HNAS Hercules is two days behind Goliath. Help has arrived."

HNAS Gargant

Day Twenty

"HNAS Gargant, this is LogCom OFCT. Welcome home! You're later than expected, so you've got some paperwork to fill out."

"Sigh We hear you LogCom OFCT. Be advised that we'll also be requesting six replacement OC-47s and crew to replace crash losses, as well as obscene overtime for all of our surviving air crews. HNAS Goliath was just starting to unload when we left, and I expect her crew is going to be in the same boat as we were."

"Gargant, I just got handed a slip here. LogCom brass wants your Cargomaster to report for a debrief. It seems like Maj. General Henry wants his observations and input on how to speed up this process. Pertinent to that, I'm sending you a flight path to Orbital Eight. Expect a crash-priority refit of some sort."

Maastricht Starfield Orbital Flight Control Tower

Day Twenty-eight

"HNAS Gargant, welcome back! I'm slotting you into your approach pattern now. ETA to unload is ten days, if the weather holds."
"Acknowledged Maastricht OFCT. Be advised, we're it for the next six days. HNAS Titan was behind us, but she's in yard hands getting the same refit we got."
"Oh? Why the delay Gargant?"
"Fresh flight crews, and the launch gear to handle ODC-4 heavy lift shuttles. We've got a cargo of equipment upgrades for you as well Maastricht OFCT."
"Affirmative Gargant. Kick you inventory list over to me, and I'll see that out chief engineer gets it before you make orbit."

Weekly LogCom Report: The Achten Airlift

Day Thirty-five.

The upgrades to HNAS Gargat, Goliath, Hercules, and Titan have proven highly effective. Unload time frames are down to three local days from eight. HNAS Volcano, Atlas, and Marco Polo are slated to receive the same upgrades as soon as the needed ODC-4s become available.

Average cargo delivered per day for days twenty-eight to thirty-five: thirty-five thousand tons.

Weekly LogCom Report: The Achten Airlift

Day Fifty-six.

HNAS Mule has begun her upgrade cycle, and should be ready to depart, fully loaded, by day sixty-two of this operation.

Load and unload times are down to an average of twenty-eight hours across all ten ships assigned to the operation. Particular distinction goes to the HNAS Titan for unloading her one hundred tons of cargo in just twenty-six hours.

Average cargo delivered per day for days forty-nine to fifty-six: sixty-eight thousand five hundred and seventy-one tons per day.

Weekly LogCom Report: The Achten Airlift

Day Seventy.

HNAS Atlas and Titan have been diverted from hauling humanitarian supplies in order to bring in the construction materials and equipment needed to begin rebuilding Achten's infrastructure to the level needed to handle the volume of cargo and relief supplies now flooding into the city. Additional housing is also needed due to the increasing number of einwohner refugees entering Achten from spinne-occupied territory.

Weekly Distinction for Unload Time goes to HNAS Gargant for unloading eighty thousand tons in just ten hours. The Achten Squadron's average time to unload cargo is now just fourteen hours across all ships.

Average cargo delivered per day for days sixty-thee to seventy: one hundred and thirty-seven thousand tons per day.

The First Minister's Office

Day one hundred and five.

The First Minister of the Alliance and the Mayor of Achten sat across from each other. Scattered across the desk were dataslates, chip-folders, and all of the paraphernalia of day-to-day governance. Cameras were in attendance, recording the event for posterity, as well as broadcasting it live to the public. This would be no meeting behind closed doors, no secret agreement made in the darkness and pipe smoke of a back room.

The Mayor Was nervous. He had been fairly elected by the citizens of Achten for the past six local years, but the spinne has prevented him from taking his seat. To be called in to face the First Minister of the Alliance didn't bode well. Nervous, he spoke first, "I owe you the thanks of my city and people for your efforts, and in turn I expect that you will ask some price of us. So many tons of food and fuel, keeping not only your own troops but my own people fed and warm all through the storm season... what that means to us is worth more than words can describe."

The First Minister put down his pipe and shook his head, "there is no price, no catch, no cost for what we have given you. What we give, we give freely, asking nothing in return."

The Mayor was befuddled. He spread his arms wide, searching for words, "but why? You could ask almost anything of my fellow einwohner, and they would willingly give it. Why do you not press your advantage?"

The First Minister shook his head once more, "Because at the end of days, we are all people, and the spinne have forgotten that at their own peril. We both have met the humans, have benefited from their friendship and generosity. We have both also read their history, or at least some of it. Maj. General Henry, the LogCom General in charge of the Achten Airlift, pointed out an echo to this even from human history: The Berlin Airlift. It marked the beginning of a dim time in their past, but those shadows were lit by generosity, charity, and compassion. We, you and I, seek to spark that same light here. If the spinne, or the Alliance as a whole, broke your people, then we would only have another war to contend with. Instead, let us both learn from humanity. I ordered the airlift not for any political reason, but because it was the right thing to do. There is enough food and fuel in this galaxy for us all to live well without needing to fight over every mole of hydrogen. Why should I not make every effort to see that the hungry are fed and the cold are warmed?"

The Mayor shook his head slowly, "Then today, whatever our race, we are both human. let us go forth together, as equal partners, and make this small corner of the Galaxy a better place."

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A note from Necrontyr525

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Necrontyr525

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