Hopefully this is the right section for this...

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Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Piero on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 0:36

Hopefully this is the right section for this.

I'm currently working on a fanfiction project I started in October. It's not a GSG fanfic, it's for a series called Macross Frontier (what a surprise...). The big reason I'm posting this here is because while this isn't a GSG fanfic I think some of the people here might be able to offer me some advice on dealing with an issue I will soon have to deal with when writing this fanfic.

Now a little bit of background on this fanfic: it's an OC oriented fanfic concentrating on pilots of two New UN Spacey fighter squadrons stationed aboard Battle Frontier. Battle Frontier is a large battleship/carrier that serves as a mobile headquarters and spends most of it's time docked with Island One, the Frontier fleet's largest civilian colony ship.

What I am trying to figure out is how often personnel stationed aboard Battle Frontier might be able to leave the ship (and under what circumstances they could do so) and also what sort of recreational opportunities might be available on board. There are quite a few future scenes for which this information could become relevant, but the first one involves a squadron celebrating the fact that one of their pilot's made ace status. I'm trying to figure out where this celebration would be held and also how soon after the mission it might be held.

Anyone got any suggestions?

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Kiskaloo on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 0:53

I would imagine "shore leave" would be back to the city ship. And since the vessels are usually docked, I'd look at Naval Installation or a Ship in Port regulations on leisure time as that would be more relevant than a ship at sea rotating through.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Officer_Charon on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 2:40

Piero: are you familiar with the novel "Piece of Cake" by Derek Robinson? He writes about a fictional British Hurricane squadron during the first year of World War II. In this, especially during the Battle of Britain, there's a couple instances of the squadron going out for "a thrash," sometimes as soon as the all-clear is sounded, when night falls. As soon as the pilots can get into a service uniform from their flight gear, they pile into a car and head to the local for a pint or ten.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Nachtsider on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 2:54

Piero wrote:What I am trying to figure out is how often personnel stationed aboard Battle Frontier might be able to leave the ship (and under what circumstances they could do so) and also what sort of recreational opportunities might be available on board.
Depends on how strict squadron regulations are. Or how adept the pilots are at evading the MPs.

If 'on board' refers to the civilian colony ship, then there probably would be everything from innocuous cafes to S&M brothels.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Piero on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 3:48

Charon -I imagine they'd probably have to check out somehow when they did that, although that is kind of what I'm looking at. I'm thinking that once these guys are off duty after their mission they're going to (if possible) drag their new ace out to a bar and get him drunk (he's a pretty small guy so he will get drunk). What complicates things is that they're technically posted aboard a ship even though Battle Frontier spends almost the whole series docked with Island One (in addition to being the largest and most powerful warship in the fleet Battle Frontier is also the location of the military's general headquarters and is the place the senior civilian leadership is evacuated to if things are looking particularly dicey -hence why it's kept in close proximity to the main city ship).

Is there technically such a thing as being "off duty" for military personnel? I'm under the impression working hours is a much more nebulous concept for them then it is for civilians.

Nacht -By "on board" I meant recreational facilities aboard Battle Frontier itself. I'm pretty sure a ship of that size would have some sort of recreational facilities aboard (I would assume it's capable of long term deployments even if it's role keeps it from being sent on them). Whether they're actually used very much probably depends on whether personnel can leave the vessel very easily when it's not their watch aboard because there's no way a battleship's rec hall is going to be able to compete with what a city ship with five million people aboard can offer.

Kisk -I tried looking up some stuff on Ship in Port regulations but unfortunately most of what I found seemed to be articles about port security.

Thanks for the advice you've offered so far guys.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Officer_Charon on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 4:53

Piero: Even in a combat zone, all personnel are not kept on a combat-ready status at all times - units get rotated to the rear to allow for downtime for repairs, upkeep and training.

In a fighter squadron, this is represented in the form of an "Alert" or "Duty" flight, who is kept at the ready for a period of time, usually 24 or 48 hours. At the end of this time period, that flight is stood down to stand-by mode, and another flight is placed on Alert status.

For example:

A Flight: Active
B Flight: Stand-by
C Flight: Reserve

In the event that A Flight is on-mission and another mission comes up, B Flight becomes activated, and C Flight becomes Stand-by. If they are on R&R at the time, Shore Patrol goes through the bars and other facilities, enforcing a recall order that would be put out over a PA system (Didn't the original Macross have something like this happen, as well?)

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Nachtsider on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 6:49

Piero wrote:I'm pretty sure a ship of that size would have some sort of recreational facilities aboard (I would assume it's capable of long term deployments even if it's role keeps it from being sent on them).
Personally, man, I doubt there'd be much in the way of recreational facilities on board a military vessel apart from one or two common rooms with television sets in them, a gym (which may or may not have an attached swimming pool), a skeet shooting alley and a small library. Hope the pilots at least are allowed their own personal electronic devices like laptops or Game Boys.


Last edited by Nachtsider on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 8:22; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Alfisti on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 7:14

Nachtsider wrote:
Piero wrote:I'm pretty sure a ship of that size would have some sort of recreational facilities aboard (I would assume it's capable of long term deployments even if it's role keeps it from being sent on them).
Personally, man, I doubt there'd be much in the way of recreational facilities on board a military vessel apart from one or two common rooms with television sets in them, a gym (which may or may not have an attached swimming pool), a skeet shooting alley and a small library. Hope the pilots at least are allowed their own personal electronic devices like laptops or Game Boys.
I too am dubious about the idea of extensive recreational facilities on a warship. I mean, take for example the classic "holo-deck"... that's a lot of valuable hull volume that could be taken up with extra magazine space, bunkerage or other things more useful to pursuing the ship's primary function. As for where you'd take someone onboard to get drunk... If it's a carrier I'm sure there'll be a "dirty shirts" mess around somewhere.

I'd reccomend looking up a book called "Ghostrider One" by Gerry Carroll. It's based around a squadron of A4s operating in Vietnam and goes into the intricacies of shore leave and so on. Carroll himself I believe was a naval aviator, so the descriptions should be resonably accurate (if amusingly embellished).

Also, I think I remember galatia9 saying something about having spent a few years in the Navy, might be worth talking to her as well.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Piero on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 17:21

Nacht and Alfisti -I didn't say they'd be extensive recreational facilities, but I'm pretty sure that any battleship that is over a mile long and likely has a crew numbering in the tens of thousands is going to have some sort of facilities, and I thought it would be worth considering what those might be. And yes Battle Frontier is in part a carrier, although it's not a pure carrier.

Charon -Good to know, although I wonder if it would be acceptable for the rotations to be managed on a squadron level to some degree. There are scenes with individual flights on a mission but I already wrote a few scenes that involve entire squadrons deployed together. (Including one where a squadron shows up to reinforce a convoy that is under attack.)

As for contacting personnel who may be on R&R at the time, I suspect they'd rely on paging rather than PA announcements unless things got really dire. You don't want to disrupt a city of five million people just to get in touch with four. On a related note, given that this is Macross Frontier I should really be giving some consideration as to what kind of cell phones the main characters in this story have. I'm actually somewhat tempted to give one of the Meltrans in Banshee squadron a cute iSlug like Ranka's. Laughing

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Awinnell on Thu 2 Dec 2010 - 17:52

The Royal Navy still issues 2 cans of beer a day to its sailors

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Piero on Sat 8 Jan 2011 - 3:17

Okay, I've sort of got some of these issues more or less dealt with for the time being (though there's some stuff which may become more of a problem again later) but I've also got a couple new issues I wanted to ask some advice on.

One is that I'm trying to work out how an ace pilot from one squadron could help a moderately accomplished pilot from another squadron improve. The issues are that technically this is something said ace decided to do personally, not a formal assignment. Second is that the lesser pilot isn't exactly green -he's gone through proper training, he flew for nearly two years before war broke out, and he has a few actual battles under his belt. He knows the basics, so I think he might not gain too much by simply talking to the other pilot -I think some hands on training is required. Problem is getting ahold of the necessities for hands on training. Part of me was thinking of making some use of connections to try to get some extra simulator time, but with a war going on I suspect the demands for simulator time are going to be pretty high.

The other issue is just figuring out whether these pilots tend to carry their service sidearms off duty. It's an issue that could become relevant in some later parts of the story. However I should decide on whether or not they do soon because well... there's a scene in a coming chapter where a female pilot has some guy offer to escort her when she goes somewhere late in the day. She's amused by the idea, and depending on what the answer to this issue is she's either amused by it because she's packing heat or because she's a particularly tall woman and he's a particularly short guy, so she's actually a lot bigger than he is. Laughing Well, possibly both but I do kind of need to decide on that issue.

Also toying with whether I should post a link to the parts of the story I've put up online so far.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Nachtsider on Sat 8 Jan 2011 - 4:22

1. Mock dogfights. Lots of 'em. That's how things were done back in the day, at any rate.

2. As far as I'm aware, the only firearms a serviceman is allowed to carry off duty are personal possessions, not the stuff the military issues to him. Needless to say, he must have a concealed weapons permit to carry said personal firearm(s).

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by crazyidiot78 on Sat 8 Jan 2011 - 9:28

I like the idea of mock dog fights and simulations but what if you took a nod from the original Macross and used video games. The ones Max and Mirya played on seemed fairly interactive and since this takes place after the original, I'm sure some of the video games might make good combat simulations.
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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Piero on Sun 9 Jan 2011 - 0:30

Well I was thinking the simulators would likely be networked, which would allow both team based and head to head combat practice. I don't think extra training using the real thing is really a viable option because that's not something you can do on a whim (at least not in the time period this particular fic is set in). So the question is really how to get these two access to extra simulator time for the extra training to occur in.

I suppose one option might be to have the more experienced pilot show up at the training sessions the less experienced pilot's flight and/or squadron is involved with. I'd actually sort of like to see some other guys on his flight develop a bit too. Although I really would like to get some one on one in since the major character is supposed to improve the most (plus he's supposed to get to know the more experienced pilot who's helping him).

As for issue two, you're probably right as I do kind of doubt these pilots tend to carry their service sidearms when aboard a friendly city ship. Although it might be worth clarifying what I mean by off duty here. I'm not quite sure if I'm using the right terminology. I'm basically meaning the point where they're not scheduled for a shift, mission, training what have you and are allowed to get some R&R, but are still expected to be in uniform and answer any emergency call ups that come up. As opposed to being fully on leave where you can ditch the uniform and arent' expected back until your leave is up unless something really dire happens (again, my definitions could be off).

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Officer_Charon on Sun 9 Jan 2011 - 0:52

In a situation as you described, sidearms would be retained in a squadron armory, to be drawn by an armorer in the event of a scramble. They wouldn't have them on their persons whilst on libbo.

As far as the training is concerned... I admit, my Macross fluff-fu is somewhat weak, so I defer to those who have a more recent grounding on the subject matter, but it seems to me that the sims are pretty much a "come when you want, just make sure you fill out the log book and take your turn like an adult" type of deal.

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"The two loudest sounds you will ever hear from your weapon are the *bang* when it's supposed to go *click* and the *click* when it's supposed to go *bang*." -Unknown

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Alfisti on Sun 9 Jan 2011 - 1:41

Officer_Charon wrote:As far as the training is concerned... I admit, my Macross fluff-fu is somewhat weak, so I defer to those who have a more recent grounding on the subject matter, but it seems to me that the sims are pretty much a "come when you want, just make sure you fill out the log book and take your turn like an adult" type of deal.
I've never watched Macross, but I remember the approach the Star Wars X-wing books took was that there were official simulators for training. Then those simulator units that were reaching the end of their lives were moved to the mess for pilots to have casual bouts in.

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Piero on Sun 16 Jan 2011 - 0:59

Wow, I really shouldn't neglect people who take the time to reply to my queries like this. sweat Although here I can at least claim to have been spending a lot of time working on the actual fanfic. I posted the fourth chapter today. I've been thinking that maybe I should post a link to the fic here, but I'm not sure how many of you would actually get the thing. It... kind of assumes a certain amount of background knowledge that is specific to the Macross franchise and Macross Frontier in particular (if you've only seen the original you won't know what Vajra are, and you might not realise that a Queadluun-Rhea isn't quite the same thing as a Queadluun-Rau).

Anyhow:

I've only watched the original Macross all the way through once. I don't actually even remember them really using simulators though I do remember mention of Max and the other guy's sim time when they were assigned to Hikaru's command. I guess my feeling in general though is that with this actually being wartime the simulators would be pretty booked up due to all the pilots who want to get a little extra practice in before they end up facing the real thing. Oh well.

As for the sidearms... yeah, that's about what I expected. Probably works better this way anyway. Having a woman point out that she's half a foot taller than the guy who's offering to escort her is probably funnier than having her point out she's carrying her service sidearm don't you think? Laughing

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Re: Hopefully this is the right section for this...

Post by Officer_Charon on Sun 16 Jan 2011 - 1:40

Yeah, the size issue works out better as a gag, especially if she's noticeably broader in the shoulders, too.

The sims were probably applied Handwavium - we know they're there, but they never/rarely get any screen time. On the upside, it means that as long as you can come up with a reasonably sensible-sounding reason for it, and be willing to listen to critique (which you already are,) you should be able to write whatever you damned well please. *grins*

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