Series Resurrecta - Tales of a Reporter

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The following information has not been confirmed by Volition
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe. Also, it may contain spoilers regarding Series Resurrecta campaigns.

Tales of a Reporter was the name initially given to the cycle of fictions of a Series Resurrecta campaign, Gehenna's Gate, released as part of the Shadows of the Great War collection. Unlike most fictions in SerRes, which tend to vary a lot in terms of content and timeline, Tales of a Reporter told a story parallel to the main plot, from the perspective of a civilian journalist onboard the GTD Veritas, the player's base of operations during the entire campaign.

These texts were feared to be lost, so campaign designer author Mobius created a completely new set of fictions for the campaign, which is the one that players will actually get to read before each mission. However, at some point during the process of getting Gehenna's Gate back into working status, Tales of a Reporter texts were rediscovered and added as entries of species.tbl, meant to be unlocked progressively during the campaign. Due to space limitations, each story has been split into two sub-entries; team member lordhood117 handled the proofreading part. Moreso, the final debriefing of the campaign is meant to be the last entry to this story, and encourages the player to read the other entries in case he missed them.

It's worth noting that Jericho, the planet mentioned multiple times throughout this story, was once part of a work in progress continuity within the Inferno universe, and supposedly played the role of the main Terran colony in Delta Serpentis, with unique characteristics.

The story of Hristian Boinovski

Tales of a Reporter - Part I

  • 14/4/2335
  • GTD Veritas
  • Delta Serpentis
  • 0325 hours

Hristian Boinovski, a journalist working for 'The Messenger of Jericho', was partly enjoying his first few hours spent aboard the GTD Veritas.

Because the recent collapse of the Sol jump node has brought chaos to Terran space, his director asked him to write a number of articles about the military forces fighting the Shivans to raise the morale of the population. Those warriors were less concerned than expected about the jump node, as they were far too busy planning and executing missions of vital importance to defeat the Shivan forces once and for all.

Without the Lucifer, the Shivans lost their known tactical abilities and quickly turned into easy prey for the GTA and PVN. While the general consensus is that their capacities are lost forever, the skeptic argues that in a relatively short amount of time they may be able to regroup and strike again. Nevertheless, what remains of the Lucifer's fleet must be destroyed as soon as possible.

The officers and crewmen Boinovski met were kind and available for short interviews; the first article for the Messenger, 'Jump node's collapse: Perception of the Military', was ready to be delivered to his director to Jericho.

Rebecca Kanyeba, director of the Messenger, chose Boinovski because of his 'previous experience with the military'; the fact is that other than visiting an Arcadia and a cruiser in late 2334, Boinovski had no experience with the military. Moreso, the assets he visited a few months before were hardly involved directly in fights, unlike the Veritas which was taking an active part in the battle against the Shivans in Delta Serpentis.

Tales of a Reporter - Part II

He knew perfectly that he lacked experience with one of the aspects of military life: the death of other people, especially those known.

When he arrived aboard the Veritas, he was informed that the destroyer hadn't been facing Shivan forces for quite some time, but there were still lost pilots and crewmen to replace. He could barely notice it when a... gunner was ordered to lead him to his quarters, and he could notice that more people than those he actually saw were supposed to be aboard the destroyer. These 'ghosts' weren't frightening, but led Boinovski to think about how cruel war is and how many lives it can take. As a civilian, he used to read many death tolls, but he was lucky enough not to have lost a friend or relative in war so he didn't have a fully realistic perception of conflicts.

Hristian transmitted the article at 0326 to the Veritas' central net, which would have later sent the message to Jericho. While he was reading the article again to make light changes to it, he could see three transports arriving.

'Transports on final approach stage, transports on final approach stage.'

A loud voice, probably coming from Control, informed the crew of the imminent landing of those transports, which were very likely to bring replacement pilots and crewmen.

'Who knows, maybe interviewing one or more of them may be a good idea', said Boinovski to himself. Afterall, Admiral Kezhedub allowed him to invite available crewmen and pilots to his quarters for interviews.

News of a Shivan cruiser which has been giving a lot of problems to the GTA and PVE, however, attracted his attention.

Tales of a Reporter - Part III

  • 14/4/2335
  • GTD Veritas
  • Delta Serpentis
  • 0555 hours

The engagement with the Malebranche bombers resulted in a mix of terror and excitement for Hristian.

Feelings were mixed, and risking to lose his life. He wrote an article about the engagement, 'The Spawn of Malebranche', but upon reading it Boinovski realized how nonsensical most of its parts were. It was the result of adrenaline flow, with poor reasoning and very limited effectiveness at actually describing the engagement.

'This is not an article', he added at the end, and placed the whole thing in a supersecret folder named 'SCRAPYARD', accessible only with a password. He scrapped many articles during the 5 years spent working as a journalist, but he's never deleted one of them. Without anyone knowing, Boinovski kept the articles to learn from his errors.

The fact is, Boinovski experienced something new during the engagement. He could clearly see two allied cruisers being stormed by Shivan bombers, which later engaged the Veritas wave after wave. It wasn't a direct approach to see people dying, but the risk that battle implied had certain effects on his psyche. There was something unusual in not risking to die alone, but with many thousand people; sharing the risks and fate with people he didn't even know resulted in the most intense experience of his whole life.

Boinovski was supposed to deliver an article every two or three days, and he already made two in six hours. One of them, however, was already scrapped. The will to write something was strong, and a lot of ideas about possible articles stormed his mind. He was seriously taking in consideration the possibility of writing an entire book about those brave members of the military who faced the Shivans in their effort to bring peace. He also thought the Shivans were on the verge of being eliminated, effectively reducing the time he had at his disposal to write the book. Not that he wanted the war to last longer, of course.

It probably wasn't a good idea.

Tales of a Reporter - Part IV

While thinking about his possible ambitions, Boinovski watched yet another transport arriving and for a moment wondered about what it was supposed to do. He was told some workers were on their way to the Veritas to conduct repairs, so that would explain the presence of that transport. There were six fighters guarding it, and their class - at least according to his increasing, but still insufficient knowledge of GTA forces - was the GTF Valkyrie. Fast, agile, and quite effective: he could see some of them during the previous engagement, and described their maneuvers in 'The Spawns of Malebranche' without even mentioning their class.

One more reason to consider that article badly written, and hardly helpful at describing the Malebranche engagement.

All of a sudden, two people requested permission to access Boinovski's quarters. Judging from their uniforms, they were communication officers. One was a young man, probably a rookie, while the other was a woman in the 30s who brought baggage with her.

'My name's Aia Gordo. I'm at the fourth month of pregnancy and have to leave the Veritas with the transport that is currently landing. It will depart precisely at 0705 hours.'

Boinovski did not understand it. Why would she come to him to say that?

'I was told you were there and are interested in interviewing personnel, providing that they're available. Well, I am currently available.'

The journalist kindly accepted the request, and Christie moved in while the other comms officer, who didn't even tell his name, went away as soon as he got the chance. An interview with a pregnant officer was both interesting and original: it would have proved that, after the annihilation brought by the Shivans, there was still enough place for the words 'life' and 'birth'.

Tales of a Reporter - Part V

  • 14/4/2335
  • GTD Veritas
  • Delta Serpentis
  • 1210 hours

A few hours back, Boinovski learned that the attempt to seize full control of the Ross 128 jump node failed, at least partially: the node is secure and allied advance to the system beyond it is imminent, but a number of Shivan ships passed through the blockade and regrouped. Five wings of combat spacecraft, both Terran and Vasudan, were deployed to that position to neutralize the targets with ease, but something happened: before the strike force could approach its target and attack, it was destroyed.

All 12 fighters and bombers were annihilated in no time, effectively turning the strike into a total failure. A second strike was planned, and Boinovski got the chance to write something about the first one.

'Are the Shivans getting the upper hand once again? Some of their forces managed to pass through the blockade and rally deeper in the system. The first strike on these assets resulted in 100 percent casualties, with 21 combat spacecraft lost. The attack was a joint Terran and Vasudan effort, and its defeat kind of suggests that the Shivans may be ready to crush both species soon if allowed to regain power.'

Hristian commented on recent developments in his notes, to keep record of them for the next article.

'The deployment of forces from Ross 128 and the consequent victory over our blockade force can only be explained by taking in consideration the possibility that our nemesis is planning another attack on our home systems.'

Boinovski hesitated for a moment, then resumed.

Tales of a Reporter - Part VI

'Also impressive is the fact that the equivalent of an entire squadron plus an additional wing have been wiped out in their effort to neutralize the ships which passed through. The Shivans are probably using that environment to their advantage, and will probably deploy more forces from the Ross 128 system for a more aggressive incursion here in Delta Serpentis.'

He was frightened. Even if well protected aboard the Veritas, what happened to the strike force was both horrible and worrying. The officers and crew of the destroyer were also perplexed about that episode, but surely did go so far with imagination.

'Maybe the skeptics are right: the Shivans are being regrouped very quickly by an unknown entity. A second Lucifer? Something far more deadlier? We can only speculate about that.'

At some point, he realized his words were counterproductive. He wasn't authorized to make that kind of assumption regarding Shivan tactics, and he may have spread unnecessary terror among GTA citizens, especially those living on Jericho. Moreso, he was sent to the Veritas to raise people's morale, not to shrink it. Under these circumstances, he thought it would have been much more favorable to interview a squadron leader, providing that at least one of them was available.

Tales of a Reporter - Part VII

  • 18/4/2335
  • GTD Veritas
  • Delta Serpentis - Ross 128
  • 2140 hours

'Jump node's collapse: Perception of the military' and 'The story of Aia Gordo, future mother' were published on April 16th, two days before. The articles were liked by the most, and perhaps effectively contributed to raise the morale of the population. The first one reported many things that were already known, but the second emerged thanks to its originality and the kindness of its words: it filled the heart of so many with hope, a feeling which was apparently doomed only a few weeks before. What the collapse of the Sol jump node was beginning to do to the GTA was impressive, but fortunately didn't constitute an obstacle to joint GTA and PVN operations against the remaining Shivan force.

The Shivans were finally defeated in Delta Serpentis, and the Vasudans preceded the Terrans in advancing to Ross 128 as planned. The Veritas was finally passing the subspace corridor to reach the contested system.

The only systems Boinovski knew were Sol and Delta Serpentis: it was the first time in his life that he went further, and enjoyed the travel as a new experience: afterall, he was only five when he moved from Europa to Jericho in 2316. Pretty much everyone aboard the destroyer was busy working on the imminent arrival to Ross 128, but pilots were relatively excluded from that kind of work. Boinovski got the chance to interview the squadron leader of the 144th Ghost Dolphins, a very effective squadron which has taken part in the key episodes that left him impressed: the Malebranche engagement and the strike on Shivan blockade runners.

'Nice to meet you, Mr. Boinovski. I'm Captain Arne Finsen, squadron leader of the 144th.'

The confidential tone was a good thing for Hristian, as he didn't learn much about military procedures yet when it comes to meetings with ranked officers. Captain Finsen entered Hristian's quarters at precisely 2140, as scheduled during the previous communication he had with the journalist.

'Captain Arne, I don't see why we shouldn't start. First of all, it'd be nice to know where you're from.'

'I'm from Venus.'

'Interesting. Where have you lived in the past years, however?'

'Venus. Probably you didn't get it, but I and most of my squadron have been transferred from Sol to Delta Serpentis only a few hours the Lucifer entered the node. We had to wait a while due to organizational problems, but we've been later transferred to the Veritas. This is our first time outside Sol.'

Tales of a Reporter - Part VIII

It was a bit of a shock for Hristian. Unlike pretty much everyone he knew, Arne was not a colonizer, but a pure Venusian of the 1st Fleet who will probably never see his family and friends again: he was trapped, and had no place to go to. Many of the questions Hristian wanted to ask already found an explanation: it was clear that his squadron became his 'family', and that he could do nothing but focus on the war without distractions. Boinovski's face changed so deeply that Captain Finsen could easily notice it, and react accordingly.

'I'm in some sort of exile, where uncertainty rules, and I learned to deal with it. It caused many issues at the beginning, believe me, and psychologists checked my conditions repeatedly. I'm pretty sure the odds allow me to focus on what's at hand. I've never felt a comparable sense of duty in my entire life, and most of my squadmates share the very same feeling.'

'Those are noble words, Captain Finsen, but let's proceed chronologically. Would you like to talk about the first years of your life?'

They continued for twenty minutes, and only then the interview was finally over. In that very moment, a loud message from the Admiral informed everyone of the imminent arrival to Ross 128.

'This is Admiral Kezhedub to all officers and crew of the GTD Veritas. ETA is precisely one minute.'

'I have to go now, Mr. Boinovski.'

'Sorry if I disturbed you, a rest would have probably been better.'

'It's not a problem, really. Telling my story and sharing my point of view has been quite an interesting experience. I hope I'll see you soon.'

The Captain exited the journalist's quarters. Now that the arrival to Ross 128 was imminent, Hristian became frightened once again: for a few dozen minutes, he almost completely forgot that the war wasn't over yet, and the final battle may have been imminent. He knew the sacrifice of so many would have been necessary to end the war and bring back peace. As a distraction, he read the interview and and began to write an article about it.

Tales of a Reporter - Part IX

  • 19/4/2335
  • GTD Veritas
  • Ross 128
  • 0500 hours

Following the discovery of the SD Secleth, a Demon-class destroyer, and the consequent increase of jamming, military operations in the system had somehow 'frozen'.

No one was able to detect any major Shivan assets with the hope that neither the Shivans could detect their enemies. Encounters with the Shivans were sporadic, and always limited to short dogfights between scout wings. It was a confusing situation: even with allied reinforcements, something notable had to happen to proceed with the liberation of Ross 128.

Just like the preparations and travel to reach Ross 128, Hristian Boinovski caught the opportunity to look for someone to interview. He needed someone to interview, someone important but pretty much unknown at the same time: his choice fell to a maintenance worker, tasked to repair combat spacecraft, who seemed available for an interview. His name was Thorsten Favazza, and he was only 22 years old. People like him were truly important as they kept the GTA war machine running, but very little was known about them and they hardly emerged as war heroes. Without them, however, most spacecraft would become useless after just one sortie.

He found the worker near a spacecraft, busy checking it with a variety of instruments as he observed carefully each part of it. For a moment, he thought he had some extra work and was therefore inappropriate to interview it at that time, so he was moving a way. noticed him and called it. Hristian got close and started the conversation.

'If I'm not desired, I can return back later. I'm not here to disturb anyone, so it shouldn't be a serious issue if I-'

'No, it's not necessary for you to leave. Only a few more seconds and my job here will be done.'

Hristian still wasn't familiar with all military designs, but he knew the most important ones. That one must have been a Valkyrie, a key element in fighting Shivan bombers since it entered service. While watching the fighter, he could only but think about 's tone: the worker had a truly mature voice for a person of his age. That tone seemed a sign of experience and a cruel existence, as if he had experienced the worst things a human being could ever witness.

'Malfunctions can be caused by a lot of things. This fighter took part in a dogfight, during which its frontal shields dissipated in a head-to-head approach with a Shivan fighter. The enemy unit was destroyed in the process, and before the shields could regain power some debris impacted the hull of this Valkyrie. Not a real problem, unless...'

The journalist did not understand: what purpose did that phrase have? After a few moments, he realized that was Thorsten's way to start the interview by introducing Hristian to his routine work. Thorsten moved to the left gun of the Valkyrie, watched inside it and removed a piece of hull. It was hardly bigger than four centimeters in diameter, but was ten centimeters long. Thorsten resumed his previous sentence.

'A piece of it went straight inside a laser cannon. It's a miracle the interceptor did not have to fire a shot again, or the whole weapon would have blown up causing extensive damage to the hull.'

Tales of a Reporter - Part X

'That's a proverbial way to show your ability, Thorsten. When did you start working as a maintenance op aboard GTA vessels? I heard it was a bit difficult at the beginning...'

'Yes, my case has been a particular one. My father, the only relative I had back then, brought me with him aboard the GTD Eisenhower. I was privileged enough to stay aboard the Eisenhower and learned a lot from my father since the very beginning. Then, when the destroyer was battling the Vasudans in Vega, a torpedo made it to the Orion and many crew members, including my father, perished. There was a serious need of workers, and despite the odds I was forced to give my best to help. Repairing spacecraft, helping mounting weapons, bringing parts from the reserves, that sort of thing. After the first period of unauthorized but still appreciated service, it became clear that I was not a qualified maintenance op and GTA policies on the matter have always been quite clear. I've been transfered from the Eisenhower, and I have to take that as a blessing because the Eisenhower was destroyed some two weeks later in Vega. In poor words, whoever removed me from that destroyer saved my life.'

'What did you do after that episode?'

'I could only train in record time, and qualified in seven months. Due to my previous experience, I already knew most of the things a worker was supposed to know so it was fairly easy for me to pass. Since my first assignment as qualified maintenance op, things have always been quite regular for me until another twist of fate played around with me.'

'What happened, exactly?'

'I was serving aboard the GTC Orff in Betelgeuse when an engine failure suddenly prevented the ship from moving. Me and the other workers were rushed to repair the engines, and in the process I had... uhm... I'd call it intuition, nothing extraordinary. What counts is that my idea worked and the Orff's engines were back online soon afterwards. Following that episode, someone in the higher ranks decided to transfer me to a more important military asset and, after just two weeks, I arrived here on the Veritas. I was told that, without my intuition, the engines may have needed 10-15 more minutes to repair, and that time window may have made the difference between the survival and the destruction of the cruiser.'

'That's outstanding. Readers will be surely astonished by your achievement! Let's talk about your time here on the Veritas: are there any particular episodes you'd like to mention?'

'The Veritas took part in a close engagement for the first time during the battle with the Malebranche bombers: until then, we've mostly repaired and resupplied fighters, and some were even Vasudan. That day I kept monitoring a screen showing all nearby targets, and anticipated what was about to happen when the Malebranche bombers jumped in. Considering the tactical situation, we had to sortie fighters quickly to respond to that threat and also equipped them with Phoenix missiles. The record time we took to equip and sortie those Hercules fighters was worth a commendation after the engagement was over.'

Hristian's eyes were filled with joy. Not only he had learned that Thorsten was responsible for saving his life, but also found out how his articles were harmonically following a course of events where everyone he met had an important role in it. The two proceeded for half an hour, both knowing that they would have been hardly disturbed by any emergency calls.

Tales of a Reporter - Part XI

  • 21/4/2335
  • GTD Veritas
  • Ross 128
  • 1040 hours

For unknown reasons, the destruction of most Doomtrains - that was the name given to Iksuras by Hristian - marked the dissipation of the jamming field in Ross 128. Many regions were still affected by it, but the situation was rapidly returning to its status quo ante. Hordes of strategists may have wasted days speculating on what was happening, but the only thing all Terrans and Vasudans operating in the system were caring about was defeating the Shivans once and for all. At least, strategists all agreed on claiming that the Iksuras were not the only sources of jamming, as something else had been causing it for days.

The journalist double checked and sent his latest articles to director Kanyeba, and went to bed. 'Trapped, but filled with a strong sense of duty' and 'One of our forgotten heroes' were safely delivered and would have surely become great successes. Boinovski thought he may have chosen different names, but that wasn't a serious issue for him: he just wanted to get some rest.

He's experienced many events on his journey aboard the Veritas, and despite having been frightened during the day his dreams have always been calm and peaceful. Hristian missed the beautiful landscapes of Jericho, and that feeling was very well represented in his dreams.

That night, however, things would have proceeded differently. A nightmare, a horrible one, ruined the whole rest.

Once awake, Hristian went to the bathroom and washed his face repeatedly. He didn't remember what he dreamed, but the sense of terror remained.

'It was just a nightmare, but it was real', he said to himself.

A message from the network arrived soon afterwards: it was from director Kanyeba. She liked the articles and expressed her sincere compliments for the great work Boinovski was doing; the message was long, and reading it all would have taken some time.

Tales of a Reporter - Part XII

Before venturing into reading it all, knowing for sure that among the compliments there also were specific requests for future articles, Hristian watched outside. He admired the space, and judging from the perspective he assumed that the Veritas jumped during the rest. Still worried because of the nightmare, he feared that a Shivan could enter his quarters from space and kill him instantly.

That didn't happen, of course, but led Hristian to realize that the nightmare was about the Shivans. Not that there were that many other subjects for a nightmare, obviously. Were they bombarding Jericho during the nightmare? He couldn't know that, and calmed down: he was in Ross 128, and many fleet assets were between the Shivans and Jericho. Those assets would have never gone down without putting up a good fight.

As he tried to convince himself that everything was under control, something far away caught his attention. A huge subspace vortex, followed by many others of smaller size, opened far away.

He could clearly see a Shivan destroyer, a Demon, exiting subspace with a number of smaller ships. It was a Shivan battlegroup, possibly that of the Secleth. For a moment, Hristian thought it was just a hallucination: no warning messages were transmitted, and the Veritas was proceeding on its current heading. It was just an illusion, because a loud voice soon informed the officers and crew of what was happening. It wasn't the voice of Admiral Kezhedub.

'The SD Secleth and its attending warships have jumped in. Repeat, the Secleth and its attending warships have jumped in.'

Upon hearing these words, Hristian realized that a battle was imminent: not a minor engagement, but a real battle between two destroyers and their groups.

A battle in which both sides would have had a good chance to win.