Grinder’s Switch – A Good Name


The CSS Marco Polo, a Magellan class jumpship, faded into existence in yet another of the Far Rim's unmarked systems. Her captain gave the order and the manuvering thrusters fired, immediately moving the Polo clear of the jump point. The odds of another ship jumping into this remote system were abysmally low, but there was no point in taking chances.

Then the proximity alarm went off. Another contact, close aboard to port.

Without hesitation, the ComStar captain ordered his ship to battle stations, turning his vessel's armed nose to the unknown...and stopped dead at what he saw. The bridge was dead silent for several long seconds, then the captain keyed his mike. "Guide Verne, lay to the bridge."

Within moments, old Jules, the Switcher guide, arrived. He was from an old merchant family, one of the many Switcher spacers helping the Explorer Corps chart out this godforsaken part of space. His voice was strangely solemn as he smiled through his beard. "I see y'all found why I brought y'all here."

"What is that?" The captain wasn't amused, as he looked out at the hulking shipwreck. It looked WAS a warship. An old, old warship, pierced by weapons fire, its back end gutted by what must have been an engineering explosion. Its class wasn't immediately recognizable, but it was certainly big, a fully armed ship of the line.

"That's a little piece of history, y'all. Somethin' I thought y'all needed ta see." The Switcher was now sitting with his arms folded, looking at the old wreck with a serious, reflective air. The captain had to wonder...what was going on here? What was this old ship, and why was it so important? But before he could open his mouth to ask the obvious question, the Switcher began to speak, in a slow, simple voice.

"This ship used ta be call't the Marseillais. She was launched in 2562. In 2578, under Commodore Vertrieux, she faced down the
Preston. In 2579, she assisted in the recapture of a rebel world, as part of Admiral Estaing's squadron. In 2581, she took action against the Star League invasion, with Admiral Grasse. In 2594, the Rim Worlds Republic changed her name. That same year, she was sent to join Villaret's squadron, escorting a merchant convoy. Well, the convoy met up with Star League warships. Today, here, four hundred and seventy three years ago, after being crippled, with a third of her crew dead, this ship sank with its guns firing, rather than surrender. Her last radio message was Long live the Republic!"

The captain turned and stared, in recognition of the tale from legend, the evidence now floating before his eyes. "The Avenger!"

"Aye, sir," the Switcher replied, "the Avenger. A good name."