YSS Kōkatsu Jiyuu Fleet Depot Spaceport 30日 4月 YE39 Star Army Intelligence didn't have a section set aside for its ships at this particular star port. Black spacecraft emblazoned with a black-white-and-blue seal featuring the Yamatai Star Empire's shadowy version of the Eye of Providence still dotted the concrete tarmac, though. The Outer Colonies region was one of the Kikyo Sector's most unstable, after all, so the Empire's secretive spy bureau had constant business across these stars. Off near the Jiyuu Fleet Depot's western seawall was one such vessel, standing on its landing gear near the hangar bay that'd entombed it until just a few days ago. She was the YSS Kōkatsu, an old Escort Destroyer recently refit and assigned to SAINT, and today her new crew would embark on a mission that'd take them beyond familiar suns. No other ships currently occupied the same area of the port, which left the Kōkatsu in a seclusion that appropriately made manifest the intelligence service's reputation. Chiaki-class Destroyers weren't as fast or nimble as scout ships like the Nozomi or Yui 7. They didn't pack the sensor suite that a Midori would, nor possess the raw firepower and engineering perfection harnessed in the famous Plumeria-class. Nonetheless, Chiaki were an excellent vessel for intelligence operations. Small and nondescript despite their stout toughness and impressive armament, the little destroyers could travel virtually unnoticed through space while staying hidden behind their Joint Stealth System and sensors jamming capabilities. And though SAINT's assets could never truly be called strained—it would be a difficult task for anyone but the Director and Taisho Yui to honestly account for the scope of Yamatai's intelligence fleet—most long-range scouting ships not assigned to dedicated patrol groups were focused toward the Kuvexian War front. Thus, Chiaki filled the gap, making black-hulled Escort Destroyers an increasingly ordinary sight at star bases across the Empire. Here in the home sectors, the class' lack of a Hyperspace Fold Drive made a negligible impact on the clandestine operatives they ferried to whatever problem needed solving. It truly was a perfect troubleshooting ship. The Kōkatsu's captain, Shosa Okano Yoshiko, sat alone on its bridge. She'd been at the helm of ships like this for years. While her ambition undeniably gave her a thirst for something more grand, she was good at being a harrier, and would never think to command opportunities beyond the one she presently held. A SAINT starship operator since creation, Yoshiko knew the ins and outs of solo-ship missions into hostile territory and immersed herself in preparing for what was to come as she waited for launch time from her captain's chair. Everything about the black Chiaki looked new and had been checked and re-checked by the best engineers available, even if most of that immaculate sheen was barely more than a new coat of paint. The Logistics Liaison's Office was long since done with its duty to outfit the ship with arms, supplies, and equipment. Strategists had formulated an airtight operation for the Escort Destroyer to accomplish. All that the Kōkatsu lacked was her crew. But they'd be showing up soon enough, orders in-hand and in-mind, having just debarked from the latest PAINT Starliner to arrive at the Fleet Depot. Other than a stiff, warm oceanic breeze that swept across the expansive landing field, 6 rokugatsu, YE 39 was a pleasant and clear spring day on Jiyuu III. The Kōkatsu's rear cargo bay gate would remain lowered until all hands had reported to quarters and informed the MEGAMI they had come aboard.