Author Topic: Nemesis Campaign  (Read 14894 times)

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Offline procyon

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Nemesis Campaign
« on: January 10, 2010, 03:28:12 AM »
This campaign was something I put together for my wife, oldest son, oldest daughter, and middle son.  It was based on slightly modified Starfire Ultra rules as the oldest boy had just gotten them and wanted to try them out.  It is currently on turn 91.  This is part of the opening of it that was considered to be part of the pre-turn 1 game.  We decided to game out some of the background to get used to the rules.  If folks are interested in reading it I will try to write up the old turns as I get the chance.

As background, it is based on Earth with the pre turn part taking place in the final months of 2202.  Earth is divided into three major power blocks. The Pan European Consortium (my wife) which includes all of Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East is the first.  The second is the United States Space Association and Holdings (my oldest son) which includes all of North America, Brazil, and Japan.  The last major power is the Chinese Socialist Republic (my middle son) comprising most of eastern Aisa and the south Pacific.  A last power of only about half the economic influence of the others is the South Seas Free Space Consortium (my oldest daughter) which includes some of South America, Southern Africa, India, and Australia.

There are colonies on Mercury (Pan Euro), the moon (Pan Euro), Mars (US Space), Ceres (O2m in the AB - China), and small colonies scattered in the asteriod belt for the Pan Euro and US Space.  

The drive in use is the charged particle drive, which is a reaction drive and can only change speed by one per round - and has a safe cruising speed of one.  The weapons available are sprint missiles (only China), 'long range' missiles, and lasers.  The Pan Euro is EL1, the others are all Ind2.  China is SL2 in construction, US Space is SL1 in Electronics and SL2 in Lasers.  Warp points are unknown with science instruments only for planetary survey.  Missiles can be used in a "conventional" sense or nuclear, which will be revealed in the stories.  Conventional use scored normal damage vs the non drive field Cp drive, while nukes score the x3 damage of ultra vs non drive field targets.

Prior to the beginning of the game no colonization beyond the asteriod belt was allowed per the Treaty of L2 in 2153.  All space born weapon use was forbidden withing 15LS of Earth (the Pax Terra), and each major power block was allowed 2 armed ground installation on earth.  No other space borne weapon use was to be allowed within 5LS of any other habitat although space stations were permitted to be armed within that radius for protection of the population against any violations of the treaty.  Civilian smuggling and piracy is not unknown (although it is usually funded by one of the power blocks).

With the beginning of 2203, the Treaty of L2 will lapse and the battle for the outer system will begin.  All the power blocks know that four of Jupiter's moons are colonizable - with Calisto being particularly so as it is outside of the radiation belts (considered a mT).  In Jupiter's orbit, at its lagrange points, are also the Trojan's - a second asteroid belt of thinner composition but valuable none the less.  Everyone is well aware that control of the Jovian orbit is the gateway to the outer system....
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline ZimRathbone

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2010, 05:19:33 PM »
Interesting startup - I'd certainly like to see the turn reports
SlĂ inte,

Mike
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 04:19:34 AM »
Having a slight problem at the moment.  It logs me off faster than I can type in the info.  Maybe five minutes at best. Not sure how to attach a file or to get around this.  Suggestions???
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline Hawkeye

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2010, 10:25:36 AM »
Well, I usually type longer posts in notepad and copy/paste them into the text window. Not sure this will work for an AAR or story though as there will probably be some editing to do.
Also, if this is due to the line being cut (my router will disconnect me if there is no traffic for 30 seconds, I have a download manager running at the slowest speed setting DLing a file, I uploaded to rapidshare, just to keep the connection (yes I know, I could reconfiger the router, but I am one laaaazy guy :)
Ralph Hoenig, Germany
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2010, 12:10:38 PM »
This is a test post.
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2010, 12:12:33 PM »
Posted on behalf of Procyon.

   Commodore Brenna Muldoon sat back and reveiwed the duty log and sensor reports.  Patrols in the Pan Euro section of the asteroid belt were generally an exercise in monotony.  Once in a great while a smuggler mining in a restricted section was found.  Nothing more. She turned off her monitor and looked around.   Brenna knew that her presence on the Heavy Escort Tatianna was making it's Captain,  Keely Sereg nervous.  Perhaps an inspection was in order.  She hadn't been out of her chair for six hours now and a little activity might be just what the day needed.
   No sooner had the magnets of her boots snapped onto the floor than the command deck was bathed in red light.  Her monitor sprang to life in a dozen flashing colors.  There was no siren, no loud alarm.  The deck was in vacuum, as always.  But her comm channel repeated in a metalic, sterile voice"... New Contact...New Contact..."
Activating the section of her monitor she took in what the sensor con anounced to the ship.  "Three new contacts.  Chinese Strike Vessel times one, Convoy Escorts time two.  Bearing two four zero degrees at ascencion plus three two degrees at four point five light seconds.  Current speed two three zero zero k - m - h.  Zero delta vee. Course zero zero 5 dergrees at one one dergees ascencion."
   Brenna's comm lit up with a message from the captain's chair.  She knew what it would be even before she openned the channel.  "Commodore Muldoon, they have no business out here, but I have no authority to engage Chinese military vessels without authorization.  That is going to take almost half an hour to get, at best."
   Brenna thought about what it was that had brought her into the combat space service so long ago.  It had been an accident.  She had been paralysed.  Her life would have consisted of being fed through a tube, breathing with a tube, and cleaned by aids and family. And it would have been a short life at best.  The combat space service was the only place to get a full cyborg conversion.  Only her brain and a few remnants of her nervous system remained.  Even those were meshed through with thousands of monomolecular strands. But so was all of the crew.  That was 52 years ago...
   Brenna keyed her comm.  "Intel says that Chinese sensor arrays don't have the range of ours.  I think if they knew we were here they would be doing something.  But I don't want any suprises.  Bring us to battle stations.  Lets coast for another 60 seconds just to make sure they can't see us.  Then engage the drives and bring us around behind them.  We'll see what they want out here."
   Brenna locked herself into her station as Captain Sereg announced battle stations.  She watched as the crew quickly locked themselves into their stations and waited for the green light on her monitor to show.  The drive would not engage until the stations were all locked or the captain overrode the lock. A crew member not locked into their station would become a dangerous projectile when the drive engaged.  A potentially ship killing projectile.
   Brenna tried to prepare for when the drive engaged.  She had never gotten used to it in all her years of service.  She wasn't sure that anyone could.  She could feel the hum of the particle accelerators warming up.  Shortly they would fire streams of hydrogen atoms at nearly the speed of light.  Those streams would converge at 90 dergee angles at a single point.  The same point two dozen small chemical lasers were all focused on.  And then that point would become a fair approximation of hell.
   The 3rd Battle Group was all based around the same basic materials and design.  The Heavy Escort Tatianna boasted heavier plating and baffles to protect her than the Attack Escorts Catherine and Isabelle that accompanied her.  But that was pretty much all that was different.  They were all composed of monomolecular chains formed into composites that all had one thing in common.  They were designed to withstand the fury of a nuclear explosion. But only on one vector.  And just barely. Baffles and shunts could create a small amount of manuverability, but miniscule.  What it could do was shunt a great deal of thrust forward or backward per se, braking or increasing the ships speed in the one vector that could stand the stress.
   The acceleration against the solar wind caused a static charge that was turned into a magnetic field that was used to reduce the felt acceleration of the cyborg bodies to less than one percent of the hulls acceleration.  This was still almost 1000 G's.  No human body could withstand combat acceleration.  Any lose material would become a bullet punching through anything in its path.  Even an atmosphere in the ship would be crushed and compressed to the rear of the compartments.  Even if the hull could withstand the compressed air, it would shatter when the drive cut out and it explosively re-expanded.  No. This was no place for any normal person.
   That same static charge limited the ships maximum speed.  Anything much greater and the dynamic forces and static charge would overload the ships' abilities to withstand it.  Accelerators could be red lined for brief moments to achieve a small amount of extra thrust and speed, but only for a short time.
   The drive engaged.  Brenna's vision greyed as the acceleration started. Even with the monomolecular mesh her brain still was affected by the stress.  Then a blue halo ringed the outside of her vision.  She had been told that it was the effect of the magnetic field used to counter the acceleration.  It interacted with the brains own electronic fields, the two crossing at right angles or some such thing. "Still a nusance." she thought to herself.  Then it stopped as the drive cut out.  Manuvering thrusters fired, changing the ships attitude.  Then the drive engaged again.  Twice more this cycle went on.  Finally the drive cut out and the sensor con announced it had reaquired the contacts, dead ahead.  "Closing at one zero thousand k - m - h.  Distance to contact, four point five light seconds and closing."
   Brenna keyed the comm officer.  "Broadcast to contact this.  Identify vessels and reason for presence in Pan Euro sector.  Do not change heading.  Initiate braking at this time.  Any other action will be considered as hostile."  Repeat back to me all before sending.  The comm officer verified the message and broadcast it.  Brenna thought that ever since the accident she had been living on borrowed time.  Although her three escorts outsized the small convoy escorts, the strike vessel was much larger than any ship she had there.  Perhaps her time was up today. They would know quickly enough.

   Onboard the Chinese Attack Frigate Jiang, Captain Thich Hanh sat bolt upright.  "Give me a bearing on that signal.  Where are they dammit !  All crew, all ships, battle stations.  Prepare ships to engage drives as soon as possible."  Worrying about where they had come from and how they had found them was a problem for later, if they survived.  Captain Hanh knew that they must not find out why they were here, or where they were going.  Even if it meant losing the three ships under his command, and his life.
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2010, 06:26:09 AM »
October 17th 2202 (part 2)

   Commodore Brenna Muldoon waited impatiently.  It would take the Chinese ships a few moments to get their crews locked in before they could activate the drives.  But during this time she was beginning to close the distance between them.  In a few moments she would enter the range envelope of her battle group's missile.  Probably the Chinese missiles also.  And with the drives on the Chinese ships down, they would be able to deploy their missiles without worrying about the drive bloom of the engines.  And the crews wouldn't have to be locked down to launch.
   "All ships Battle Group Three.  Sensor Conn establish radar and lidar locks.  Weapons Conn, plot firing solutions for all targets.  Priority of fire to Chinese Convoy Escorts."  It still amazed her how her voice sounded the same after all these years.  Synthesized from a variety of recordings from before her accident, it would always sound the same.  Sterile and emotionless.  Anything but how she felt right now.  If the Chinese turned out to be hostile, she would have to take out the Strike Vessel's Escorts quickly.  If they were gone she might have a chance.  They were smaller, with less protection.  Intel said the Strike Vessels plating and stand-off baffles would soak at least one of her missiles with the primary and secondary safeties released.  Maybe two of them.  And she was sure it packed a lot more firepower than her vessels.
   Suddenly the sensor officer hit the override comm.  "Aspect change on all three contacts.  Nuclear drive bloom times three."
   Brenna cut him off.  'All ships, primary missile safety release.  Target contact designated Escort two.  Deploy now."  It was done.  The Chinese were not going to stop.  They had cleared their drive blooms so they would be able to fire.  It was going to take them a few minutes to come up to combat speeds,  and that would give her battle group an edge.  The question was would it be enough.
   The Tatianna barely shuddered as the single missile deployed from its launcher.  It would drift a second on its manuver thrusters before engaging its drive.  A smaller version of the ships' drive, it was run by batteries instead of a small fusion reactor like the ships' were.  Just enough to get it started.  The static generated against the solar wind would power the lasers and particle accelerators for the rest of the journey.  With no crew it had no need for the magnetic dampening system. It would also take the locomotive sized weapon and drive it to a speed of nearly 50,000 kilometer per second in the space of only 10 seconds.  Almost a quarter of light speed.  As it neared its target it would arm.  With the primary safeties released it would simply use its manuver thrusters to spin, and then would break up as it reached intercept.  Inside the missile were 10,000 metal cylinders, each about 50mm across and half that thick.  They would spread over space due to the spin of the missile and cover an area several kilometers wide.  It was like a giant shotgun.  The hope was that some of those cylinders would make impact with the target.  Mis-timing the intercept by a few thousandths of a second was all it took to miss.
   Brenna heard Captain Keely Sereg on the comm.  "Helm, attitude change.  Bring our bearing about to match the Chinese ships.  Engage drive.  Match speed.  Don't let them close."  Brenna keyed the comm.  "All ships. Change bearings to match Tatianna."  She was glad the captain was covering all the bases.  She might have to keep an eye on her if this actually flared up into a shooting war.
   
   Captain Thich Hanh listened as the sensor officer reported.  The Pan Euro vessels had closed within his sensor envelope, but not his weapons range.  The short range missiles of the escorts and frigate could not reach them.  Neither could the heavy laser mounted on the frigate.  He had begun manuvers to correct that, but the Euro vessels were already at battle speed, and just as manuverable as his ships.  And now the Euro vessels had launched on him.  
   "Indicate as target the Nan King captain."  Thich began to worry.  The Jiang could take some of the pounding those missiles would inflict, but the escorts were little better than trash cans with firepower.  The missiles they carried delivered several times the payload of a Pan Euro missile, but had a much shorter range.  The ships though were little more than a launcher with a drive system and crew.  The one set of stand off baffles would not save them.

   In the darkness of space three missiles completed their final spins and released their payloads.  Thousands of metal disk rocketed through the void.  As did the Chinese Convoy Escort Nan King.  Then one of the disk made contact with the ship.  The velocity of its impact instantly turned the cylinder and the plating it struck into a jet of super heated gas and molten metals.  The violent impact and expansion of the gas shattered plating and pressurized the baffle.  The second disk struck the forward section crushing more high pressure gases into the space.  The hull cracked and the forward maintenance hold was filled with the searing gases and molten fragments.  Then a third disk hit.  Plating ruptured across the ship and the cabin space ruptured.  Flames with the heat of a star scorched controls and crew alike.  The Nan King's drive automatically started an interupt cycle to prevent the ship's destruction, while the onboard computers released a torrent of compressed argon to vent any debris from the ship.  
   Thich listened as the reports came back.  The Nan King was venting and her drive had re-engaged.  Auxillary Weapons Conn was responding and the launcher was undamaged.
   But they would never survive another volley, and it was a long way to close to effective range.  But maybe he could draw them in close enough for the escorts to start the battle. He keyed the comm and issued the orders.

   Brenna listened as the Sensor Officer reported in. "Escort two venting.  Drive bloom still present.  Wait.. Target aspect change.  Strike Vessel vectoring away and accelerating.  Convoy Escorts times two coming about on intercept course and accelerating."  The Chinese commander was hedging his bets.  If they pursued the larger ship, they would be forced to close with the escorts.  The lack of return fire indicated that at the moment they either didn't have the range or the sensor resolution to fight back.  But if they closed that would change.  If they changed course to avoid the escorts the Strike Vessel would accelerate past sensor range and then cut its drives - disengaging and effectively disappearing.  "Continue fire on Escort two.  Course to maintain current range to the Strike Vessel. Prepare lasers on all ships and plot firing solutions."
   
   Captain Thich listened as the reports came back.  The Euro vessels were closing with the escorts.  They were continuing to launch on the crippled Nan King.  She would never survive to fire, but her sacrafice would allow the other escort to make it into range.  Its crew of 34 would perish without ever having fired a weapon. But his frigate wasn't going to be able to shake the Euro Escorts.  They were staying in their weapons range.

   "Convoy Escort Two shows loss of containment.  No drive bloom.  Escort One continues to close. Drive bloom on number one down.  Drive re-engaging.  Detection of new drive accelerating.  Sensors indicate missile inbound."  Brenna tried to brace herself, but it was fruitless.  She was already locked into place.  All she could do was wait.  

   The missile streaked across the depths of space with a speed that exceeded even the Euro missiles.  Over 75.000 kilometers a second.  But it wasn't going to release a hail of metal cylinders.  All the safeties had been removed.  As it approached intercept the particle accelerators released a torrent of hydrogen into the drive.  And the missile disappeared in a blast of light and heat that fueled a sun.  Even as the heat pulse radiated out the nearly plasma hot remains of the missile hurtled forward with the momentum the missile had imparted on them.  The heat pulse could buckle any plating, and the wave of super heated particles could rip apart a ships hull with pathetic ease.  But the timing was off.  The range had been to long and the tremendous speeds left little ability to correct any course errors.    And the Euro ships passed on unharmed by the missile's fury.

   Brenna would have breathed a sigh of releif if she could have.  But the battle wasn't over.  "All ships. All weapons target remaining escort. Primary safety release only.  Lasers full spread."  The Chinese had violated treaty by detonating the drive of the missile inside the asteroid belt, but she didn't want to have to answer for that offense.  Not yet at least.  The drive on the Tatianna stopped to allow the missiles to deploy and the laser optical cavities and output couplers to align.  The lasers engaged the que and fired as the ships coasted.  Not the small beams of a personal laser or manufacturing style, its beam was lensed to be almost a hundred yards across at the target range with full spread.  Powered by the fusion plant and set for a short pulse, it destroyed ships by rapidly heating the surface, flash expanding it and creating shock waves through the hull.  Not burning a hole in it.  Although with proper lensing that could be possible.  Just impractical for targetting a ship moving at combat speeds.  The missiles from the Euro ship struck even as the crippled Chinese Escort vented to try to deal with the debris of the laser impacts.  Only one cylinder struck home.  It was enough as the hull splintered and disappeared as the drive shield lost containment.
   "Now" Brenna thought, "just that big SOB to deal with."

   Captain Thich Hanh watched as the Escort Saigon was destroyed.  The Pan Euro ships were not showing any signs of damage, or of breaking off.  "We won't die running away.  Helm, bring us around and plot an intercept course for the Euro Heavy Escort."  He knew they would never reach them.  "Communication, transmit on narrow beam to Ceres station all information on engagement thus far.  Continue until unable."  They were going to die out here, but maybe those deaths would help save others when the treaty lapsed in only a few months.
   "Redline the drives.  Let see if we can close this gap."


   Chinese Fleet Admiral Hu sat in his office.  The space station had gravity in the ring, and his office was one of those privledged few to be located there.  He went over the information on the monitor again and again.  Three ships lost.  One a frigate.  No enemy losses or recorded damage.  If this had happened in a few months... but he dismissed that thought.  It wouldn't.  
   The other file showed that the base in the asteroid belt had successfully tested a long range deep space missile.  Equal in range to the European missiles used in the engagement.  Chinese sensors may be a little less precise, but we will be able to shoot back now.  The base had scuttled before the Europeans had been able to locate it.  Their would be no evidence.  And the Europeans would not risk a shooting war just before the treaty expired.  It was simply another incident in deep space. What was outside in the construction docks was more imporatant.
   Floating outside in slip two was a ship over twice the size of the Jiang.  With more long range missile tubes than an entire Euro Battle Group.  It had necessitated the Strike Vessels' redesignation to a Frigate.  The Cruiser Mao Tse Tsung would change the balance of power in the war that was to come.  And here at Venus, the Euro and US would have no warning of its existance.


Overview of the battle.
This was a rude suprise for my middle son when his ships were manuvered against and destroyed at ranges he could not respond.  He hoped that his more powerful weapons and larger ship would carry the day.  He immediately began a redesign of the frigates in light of this and replaced the lasers with missile launchers.  
My wife, the euro player, realized more quickly that with the reaction drives it was going to play out like an airplane dogfight.  Position and speed was going to be everything.  She got the advantage and never let go.


Ship designs
EURO
Heavy Escort Tatianna      CT   16HS
[2]A A A A H Mgs La Ra Qa (cpCp) [6/1]  salvos 18

Attack Escorts Catherine , Isabelle   ES   12HS
[2]A Hs Mgs La Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1] salvos 18

CHINESE
Attack Frigate Jiang      FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A A Hs Qa (Cp) La Mgs Ga Ga Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Convoy Escorts Nan King , Saigon    EX   7HS
[2]A H Qa Ga (Cp) [6/1]
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 06:28:51 AM »
Thanks Hawkeye.  Copy and paste worked like a charm.  
My kids often remind me that I have only evolved a little past chisels and stone blocks....guess they might be right.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline mavikfelna

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2010, 01:41:57 PM »
Nice. I think it's cool your family is all playing together and it looks like a an interesting campaign.

--Mav
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2010, 06:23:16 AM »
December 4th, 2202

   Captain Jack Douglas sat and wondered how long they would keep up the pretense that the three US Space Interceptors were out here in the asteroid belt on a 'customs' patrol.  Everyone knew that after the "Chinese Incident", tensions were running high.  With the end of the L2 treaty in less than a month, hostilities were becoming a very real possibility.  Jack looked over the current event stories that the news services were carrying on his monitor.  Most of the Chinese space fleet had put into their ports for 'annual maintenance'.  More likely drawing full supplies and upgrades for extended combat in the outer system.  The Pan Euro had unveiled a new vessel, the 'Red October'.  It was supposedly as large as a Chinese Strike Vessel and had made its maiden voyage from Mercury to the asteroid belt in record time.  If the press was to be believed, it had gone faster than even his Interceptor, the JFK, could make the trip.  The fact that it met up with Pan Euro Battle Group 3 out here in the belt was just a little sideline.  If he had hair on the back of his neck, Jack was sure it would be tingling now.  He could feel the war looming ahead.
   But for the moment they were simply out here to monitor the traffic passing through the transfer stations in the US Space sector of the belt.  Other than a small lifter moving off into the belt, returning to its mining colony, nothing was on the sensors.  About a half dozen small craft or freighters made stops at each of the three transfer stations per day.  At least to make it look like a customs mission they had split up the three interceptors among the transfer stations. The JFK was in the middle at Transfer Station 2.  "Enjoy the boredom while you can, in a month we might very likely be dead."  The Comm Officer looked up from his station at Jack.  Jack shook his head and the Comm Officer just nodded, then turned around to continue monitoring radio traffic.  Guess it's not a secret to anyone.
   
   On board the 'redesignated' freighter Marie Celeste, Captain 'Dutchman' locked himself into his station.  The rest of his crew were doing the same.  A few thousand kilometers away the 'Mary Reed' would be doing the same thing.   A month ago they had been able to "acquire" a number of heavy lasers for use on combat ships.  Although the Free Spacers didn't officially maintain any military shipyards or construction facilities, there were other ways to get your hands on weapons for those who wanted them and were willing to pay the price. Now it was time to pay off the debt for the weapons.  The dealer who provided them and the facilities to install them had asked for a low price in cash, but had wanted to make sure that the US Space folks would be too busy watching their own backyards to be able to send off any ships in the next few months.  In particular, he wanted Transfer Station 2 to be unable to fulfil its duties of shipping supplies back to the core, or to the outer system, for the forseeable future.  "Bring us in at standard cruise.  Weapons ready, but I don't want any acitve targeting yet."  No sense looking like anything but a pair of freighters until the last second.  The US folks will figure it out as their station begins to break apart around them.

   "Captain Douglas, I'm tracking a pair of inbound freighters.  I've signaled for flight log numbers and vessel registry numbers, but what I'm getting back isn't listed on any of the logs."  The Sensor Officer had turned his chair around to look at the captain.  Their could be no expression on the metal face screens, but his posture gave away a certain uneasiness.  Captain Jack Douglas felt it too.  Everyone was being overly careful, doing everything by the numbers to avoid being blown out of space right now.  This didn't add up.  "Ship, this is Captain Douglas.  All crew to stations.  Lock for acceleration.  Warm up the capacitors of the main laser batteries."  
   "Captain Douglas, I have drive blooms on both freighters.  They are on a direct course for the Transfer Station. Current range of three point five light seconds, directly ahead."  
   Jack watched as the crew hurriedly tried to lock themselves into stations.  It was going to slow.  They had been scattered about the ship attending to dozens of tasks to pass the time.  In a few minutes this could all be over and they would never have pulled away from the station.  Let alone defended her.
   "Captain.  Laser batteries one and two reporting weapons ready."  Jack's monitor sprang to life with energy states and tracking information from the sensors.  Targeting solutions were already being laid in to the system.  "At least we won't go down without a fight."  The US Space Interceptors had the best laser technology hands down of any spacefaring power.  The Japanese had come up with adaptive lensing paired with a very high output medium.  The result was a weapon with over 30% greater range than any other in use.  If the ships coming in had missiles, they would have already fired.  Jack noticed that the light for 'all stations locked' was on even before engineering was able to report it.  "Engage drive, full power.  Fire on target designated contact two as soon as they are in range."

   The Marie Celeste shuddered as the drives shut off and the automatic venting cycle purged any loose debris from the forward holds.  The Dutchman watched as damage reports streamed across his screen.  The forward holds and bulkhead had sustained considerable damage.  "This isn't a warship.  She won't take a pounding like this for long" he thought to himself.  "Weapons, when will we be in range of that damned US ship."  No one had bothered mentioning that the US was garrisoning its transfer stations out here.  He had been forced to abandon guile and try to rush into weapons range before the US warship would be able to react.  That plan was already shot.  Now he needed to silence its weapons before they tore his converted freighter apart.
   "We will reach weapons range in thirthy seconds sir."  replied the midshipman.  

   "Bring us sixty degrees starboard, minus ten ascension."  They've already got a large advantage in velocity,  we cant't let them get in behind us and park there. Sensor Conn anounced urgently "Contacts one and two coming about.  Contact two dead astern. Contact one..." The report was cut off by the sudden drive cut out and purge cycle indicating the ship had been hit.  "Dampers overloaded.  Thermocoulplers and hull sensors show damage to hull plating and to all external baffles."  Weapons announced "Unable to target contact two, solution for contact one now online."  
   "Fire on contact one!"  Jack was cursing his luck.  His ship could outrun these hostiles, but they had already built up speed, and he had only started to accelerate.  He couldn't keep both out of the blindspot caused by his drive bloom.  Now he was unable to concentrate fire on the ship that was already damaged.  At least it had been obliged to keep its distance when it fired from behind them to avoid the heat and radiation pulse from the JFK's drive system.  Jack saw the readouts that contact one was stuttering its drive and venting in response to the JFK's laser fire, but the warning lights flashing across his monitor's screen as contact one returned fire horrified him.  But only for a moment as the cabin rutured and pieces of the hull rocketed through the command section.  His body was one more piece of debris vented by the automatic computer response.

   The Dutchman had to hand it to American ingenuity.  That ship had just taken a pounding that would have destroyed either the Marie Celeste or Mary Reed.  And its drive was still blazing away as it picked up speed.  They were going to have to turn around to finish the US ship off.  Their combined velocity had pulled them out of weapons range.  "Bring us about.  This isn't over.  Get me back in weapons range now."

   Chief Engineer Jack Ryan quickly tried to grasp everything on his monitor.  HE was now in command??  What the hell was happening?  These were supposed to be freighters!  Laser battery one was giving no readings but battery two looked to be functional.  He keyed the monitor prompt for computing a firing solution.  Only one target in range, contact two.  The other had carried to far beyond and was continuing on toward the base.  He keyed the firing prompt as he issued orders for the engineering section to continue full acceleration away from the contacts.

   Dutchman felt the Marie Celeste shudder as the US ship once again tore into her hull with its lasers. "I don't care what the reactor output says!  Get me in range!"  Damage readouts on the monitor showed that the Marie Celeste was being torn apart, but both of the lasers looked to be operational.  "Mary Reed, fry that station."  He knew he didn't need to give that order.  They would be looking for revenge after the raking their ship had taken.  "Time to make those Amercans pay for this!"

   Jack Ryan watched as contact two began to pull up on the JFK, and then felt the ship shake as the pulses of light shuddered her hull, vaporizing bits of its composites and explosively expanding others.  The last laser battery signaled the output coupler was off line.  That was it. The JFK was out of the fight.  But the drive still worked.  Somehow it was holding together.  They might make it out of here.  Checking what sensor readouts he could access Jack Ryan confirmed that most all of the small craft at the station were scattering in a dozen different directions.  At least they had bought enough time to let the crew of Transfer Station 2 escape.  The station itself was not likely to be so lucky.  Jack keyed in for redline acceleration on the drive.  "Lets see if a freighter hull can match this."  'Just please hold together' he thought to himself.

   Admiral Hu read the news reports that the US Transfer Station 2 had been destroyed by unknown terrorists, and that the culprits were going to be hunted to the fullest extent of US abilities and brought to justice.  "Good."  The US vessel JFK had survived, but only barely by the sound of it.  Selling the surplus lasers on the black market from the frigates refit had born unexpectedly good results.  "Very good" he thought to himself.  In a few months the Jovian systems will be securely in Chinese control.


Overview

Where the previous battle had been the pregame warm up for my wife and middle son,  This battle pitted my oldest son (US Space) against my oldest daughter (Free Spacers).   The oldest boy had thought he had an easy victory in store.  He was a little upset that his younger sister managed to beat him with worse ships and crews.  He didn't change his design strategy, but did decide that splitting up his ships was a bad idea.
My oldest girl was pleasantly suprised with her victory.  She had expected to be forced to break off and run away.  (She always sells herself short)

US SHIPS
Interceptor JFK         CT   16HS
[2]A A A H (MNE) Qa Lb Lb (cpCp) [6/1]


FREE SPACER SHIPS
Converted Freighters Marie Celeste , Mary Reed       FT2   16HS   both crews considered poor (shakedown cruise)
[2]H H H A H H La La Qa (Cp) [6/1]
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2010, 04:33:19 AM »
January 2203 (turn 1), part 1

December 29th, 2202,  0800
   Fleet Admiral Hu reviewed the orders he had sent an hour ago.  Events seemed to be conspiring against him.  The Cruiser Mao Tse Tung would not be ready to leave for Jupiter, and the government ministers wanted the ship to remain at Venus for the next few months to shakedown and train the crew.  She was going to be needed out there at Jupiter!  Only a fool would tie her up for months here!
   Admiral Hu looked over the ship roster he had just ordered to begin the movement to Jupiter.  The Attack Frigates Hunan, Anhui, and Hubei would be the main combat ships.  The Convoy Escorts Canton and Jinan would accompany them, spaced out from the main body to alert them to any hostile contacts.  Also going would be the Armed Colony ships Manchuria and Korea.  They carried the same armament as the escorts but lacked their speed.  The science vessel Marco Polo would go to verify the previous moon surveys, and to carry extra munitions in its holds.  The most valuable asset was actually the newest ship, the Zhuang.  It was a smaller version of the shipworks here at Venus mounted into a hull larger than even the frigates.  The hull was more fragile, not having been designed for combat, but it would allow the Chinese to repair damaged ships without having to remove them from the combat zone.  That could be a valuable strategic advantage.
   Perhaps the most valuable thing was going on right now though.  The Euro and US were clamoring and pressuring for a continuance of the Pax Terra.  The Chinese wanted it also, but were not letting anyone else know that yet.  The other powers would hold their fleets in defense of their populations, and especially the earth so long as the danger of all out war remained.  The Chinese fleets would be leaving for Jupiter within the hour.  They should arrive there days before the other powers would even consider releasing their ships.  The Pan Euro ships with their longer engagement range had proved particularly troublesome, and with the Tung left at Venus, this advantage could prove disasterous.  But if our ships can arrive at Jupiter first, we might be able to force a battle at close quarters. And win...

January 2nd, 2203,  0637
   Admiral Jude Kushnir sat back in her station aboard the Heavy Interceptor Anastasia.  She wondered if promoting Commodore Brenna Muldoon to Rear Admiral and giving her command of 3rd Battle Group was the best choice.  She had handled herself well in the engagement against the Chinese a few months ago, and whoever commanded that group was going to end up fighting the Chinese again very soon.  But Brenna, for all her good qualities, had previously been assigned to Training Command Center for the space fleet.  Well educated, capable, and with decades of experience... but little actual command time on a war ship.
   'It will have to do.' she thought to herself.  There isn't enough time to replace her, or anyone else more qualified. 'And I can't leave Earth.'  Even though the various governments had reaffirmed the Pax Terra only hours before its expiration on New Years morning,  everyone Jude knew agreed that the best way to keep the peace was not to leave the space around earth unguarded.  That meant 1st Battle Group would have to stay here.  2nd Battle group was guarding the shipyards at Mercury and couldn't be spared from that location either.  Leaving the belt colonies unguarded after the incident in US Space was distasteful,  but regrettably necessary.  And now there was the complication with the civilian freight lines.  With the end of the L2 treaty and impending hostilities, the civilian freighters were refusing to pass the belt. Worse -they insisted on escorts when moving through the inner system.  Convoying the damned 'civy' freighters and detailing escorts had gutted the roster of spare vessels that should have been going to Jupiter with Brenna.  Three of the five armed exploration vessels were now doing time as convoy escorts, and the two Attack Escorts due to come out of the earth shipyards at the beginning of next month would have to be pushed into that role also.  What a waste.
   The one saving grace of all this might be the accord reached with the US.  With one of their six 'known' Interceptors down for the forseeable future for repairs,and their ability to move supplies beyond the belt crippled by the loss of the transfer station closest to Jupiter, they had reached an agreement.  The US would support the Euro with two of their remaining five operational Interceptors.  They would be attached to 3rd Battle Group under command of Rear Admiral Muldoon.  The US would also support the Euro claim to Jupiter and its moons for a share of the colonizable asteroids in the Trojan belt.  Maybe the Chinese would back down when they were faced with both US and Euro ships at Jupiter...  No, they wouldn't.
   'Brenna needs to come up with a crushing victory, something that will bring the Chinese to the table for a serious treaty negotiation.'  Jude thought.  'Because the only other thing that would force a negotiation is a crushing defeat for us.  Otherwise this whole situation will cripple all of our economies.  Maybe even spell the end of the human race if it spreads out of control.'
   Jude pushed the key to verify the transmission of the orders on her monitor.  Orders sending 3rd Battle Group to enforce the Pan Euro's claim to Jupiter and her moons.  It also authorized the release of all safeties on munitions and any force required to enforce the Pan Euro's claim to the Jovian system.
   She wondered if she would see her old friend Brenna again.

January 3rd, 1735
   Captain Jack Ryan closed the comm link to Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon.  'What am I doing here? All I did is run away from getting killed and they went and made me a hero! Now I've been promoted to captain and given the Interceptor Hamilton as MY ship!  And to make it even more surreal, the big boys at home have ordered me to take orders from from some limey brit and risk my life helping them claim a planet and moons for the Euro!'  Jack turned his chair in its station to look out over the command cabin. Nervous? Scared? Cocky?  It is hard to tell how the crew feels when they all wear metalic bodies and use synthesized voices.  They were all volunteers.  Volunteers without a choice.  A life as a cripple, or a terminal cancer patient, or some other horrible fate.  Who would turn down the opportunity to live for decades more if they could? If their was someone, it hadn't been him he thought.
   OK, down to business.  If I'm going to have to do this, I might as well try to do it right.  Jack keyed the all ship comm link. "We have our orders.  We will be locking stations in thirty minutes and engaging the drive.  We will be accompanying the Pan European 3rd Battle Group on a little trip to Jupiter."  He paused to let the words sink in.  "We will likely meet the Chinese there.  Whether when we get there or sometime after, it doesn't matter.  When we do, you know what will happen.  We have the most advanced lasers in use on any ship.  But we will be in range of the Chinese missiles when we use them.  And the Chinese will be detonating the drives on those missiles."  One more pause.  "Over the next few days we need to make sure every system on this ship gets checked and double checked. We are going to need everything this ship can give us so that we can bring it, and ourselves, home after this is done. This is Captain Ryan, out."
   He wasn't sure if that was the pep talk everyone needed, but it was his first as a Captain.  'Hope I get the chance to make MANY more.' he thought to himself.

January 5th, 0210
   The Dutchman eased back into the command station on the Kestrel.  He had been able to slip the Marie Celste and Mary Reed back into earth space where they couldn't be fired on, and get them landed at South African and Chilean spaceports for repairs.  But even though the US wouldn't be able to destroy the ships, it didn't mean they wouldn't try to send someone after him if he landed dirtside. The Pax Terra didn't cover machine guns or gernades...
   The Kestrel was smaller than the other two ships, and had only one laser mounted on board.  Not that they would need it.  Right now they would blend into the merchant convoys and pick up some cash running 'honest' runs.
    There was no way they would be able to get the Marie and Mary back up in space anytime soon.  That US Interceptor had torn up both of the ships badly.  It was a choice of repairing them or abandoning them.  To much money tied up to abandon them.  But now that they were on the earth there was no way the US Interceptor Franklin would let them back out into open space.  They were to slow to outrun it.  And once outside the Pax boundary of 15 light seconds, the Franklin would use its higher speed and more advanced weaponry to destroy them.
   That is why right now they are having some of their cargo sections converted over to passenger sections.  If this 'war' drags out, all the powers will start looking for armed colonization ships willing to make the runs to the outer moons.  The civilian ships will never do it.  And when they need us, those powers that would right now like to see us destroyed, will be more than happy to hire us to do the dirty and dangerous work of hauling colonists into contested zones.  For a healthy fee of course.
   The Dutchman keyed the comm. "OK, we've got our log and orders.  The Euro lifter will begin loading cargo within the hour...."
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2010, 10:20:40 AM »
January 2203, part 2

Battle of Jupiter's Moons

January 8th, 2203  0110

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked at the sensor returns as the range to Jupiter grew smaller.  The plot on her display was a maze of criss crossed objects and vectors as the maze of moons around the giant planet crowded the screen with numbers and information.  It looked like nothing so much as a minefield.  If the Chinese were here already, they could be hiding behind any one, or several, of those rocks.  'That gas giants magnetic fields are going to make it all but impossible to identify any vessels without coming in range of a thrown rock.' she thought.  'How in the world did I draw this assignment.  I should be back at the academy examining activities and training plans. If I send everyone in as a group I risk losing most if not all the ships at one time.  If I send in scouts to check the moons and sweep the area, they are almost certainly doomed.'  She looked hard at the monitor as the distance shrank.
   Brenna keyed the channel to the Comm Officer. "Give me all ships."  She waited until the monitor showed green for the link to all the ships in her task force. "In less than thirty minutes we wll enter the outer orbits of Jupiter's moons.  All ships are to come to general quarters at this time.  Exploration Vessel Da Vinci will engage drive and move to a position five light seconds ahead of the Heavy Interceptor Tatianna, on the same heading.   Attack Escorts Isabelle and Catherine assume standard attack formation on the Tatianna.  Armed Exploration Vessel Louis and Rodney, engage drives and take positions at two light seconds bearing sixty degrees and three hundred  degrees respectively from the Tatianna, also on a parallel heading.  The Red October will assume a position one light second behind the Tatianna on the same heading.  US Space Interceptors Hancock and Hamilton,  take positions alongside the Red October at two thousand kilometers bearing ninety and two seventy degrees.   Planetary Survey Vessel Michaelangelo take position at two light second behind the Red October, same bearing.  All missile ships, remove primary and secondary safeties.  Rear Admiral Muldoon, out."
   'We are coming right down the orbital path' thought Brenna.  'Most of the small outer moons are scattered in various orbits away from our approach, but three of the four largest are close to the orbital.  They are the prime real estate here.  The battle is for them.  Calisto and Ganymede are both on this side of Jupiter, each thirty degrees off the orbital on opposite sides.  Io is directly on the orbital on the far side of Jupiter.  Europa is ninety degrees off the orbital on the dark side of Jupiter.  With just a slight bend in course we can make a close sweep of all four, plus get a slight peek at the inner four moons, all in just one pass.  If they are clear, this is where we will arrange our defense.  But they won't be.  Somewhere out here the Chinese are waiting.  I'm almost sure of it.'  And the minutes crawled by.

   On board the Exploration Vessel Da Vinci, Lieutenant Commander Gustav Schimmelpfennig watched as the various readouts about the moons scrolled across the screen.  They had drawn point, a competely unarmed vessel.  He could see the reason, if they were lost it would not affect the combat capabilities much if at all.  They had passed by Calisto and Ganymede without any anomylous readings, and had just received orders to alter course by sixty degrees to port.  The helm made the change without a word.  After Admiral Muldoon's radio command, any repeating of it was just unnecessary.  It was regulation to give the orders himself, but the helmsman knew his commander better than that. The new course brought them directly toward Europa.
   Suddenly the sensor returns blazed in red and orange.
 
      'Chinese Strike Vessel detected.  Location - Surface of Europa. Range 0.75 LS.
      Bearing 02 Asc +03

      ! MISSILE LAUNCH DETECTED !   INBOUND X3

   Gustav barely had time to key the sensor transmit before his ship was torn apart by multiple drive detonations.  Forty five seconds later the debris would become part of Europa as it impacted on the surface with a force rivaling the explosions that had destroyed the ship.

   Brenna's screen sprang to life with the transmissions of the Da Vinci and sensor readings of the missiles that destroyed it.  A second set of readings showed a launch from Ganymede of a single missile targeted at the Armed Explorer Rodney.  The Rodney fared much better.  The missile passed into the hellish exhaust of the Rodney's drive and was consumed before it could detonate.  Brenna was amazed at the almost immediate response of the Rodney's crew as they launched in return, their missile churning up clouds of dust on the moon's surface.  The missile had detonated its drive well above the moon's surface, but the heat pulse and kinetic energy of the molecules that had once been the missile had ravaged the moon.  The Red October had the most advanced (and experimental) sensor array in the fleet.  They showed that the hostile launch had come from a vessel landed on the moon's surface.  A vessel now obscured by the fury of the Rodney's missile detonation.
   The other ships seemed to respond painfully slow as they struggled to gain sensor locks and plot targetting solutions to the contacts that were springing up across her monitor.  The Red October had originally been designed as a large scientific and exploration vessel.  The two missile bays were almost an afterthought.  And her targetting computer seemed to crawl through the computations.  The sensor returns showed a vessel had lifted off the surface of Calisto and swung into an orbit that had taken it behind the moon, hiding it from her ships.  On Ganymede, unbelievably a drive bloom was appearing from out of the dust cloud.  Sensor returns also showed three Chinese Strike Vessels and a single Convoy Escort had lifted off from Europa and were moving to put Jupiter between them and her group. At their current acceleration they would be able to succeed before her lead ships would be able to bring them into range.  Only god knew what other ships were hiding amongst these moons.
   "Fleet, alter course sixty degrees starboard.  Clear your drive paths, I don't want anyone frying our own ships. Then engage drives, full accelleration." She needed to make sure they didn't get to close to the Chinese Vessels. Only the superior range of the Euro's missiles had carried the last engagement.  "Blow that damned ship from Ganymede off my map NOW!"  She couldn't change the way her voice sounded, but she could definetely up the volume.  Almost as she said it launches from the Rodney, Catherine and Isabelle converged on what sensors were reporting as a colony vessel.  'A damned heavily armed one if it is.' she thought as the missile's detonations obsured the ship's sensors momentarily.  Afterward only shattered debris remained. 'Payback for the Da Vinci.'
   She checked ship positions quickly. "Michaelangelo, turn around and get out of here.  Rodney come sixty degrees port."  The Rodney was the extreme right of her formation and she didn't want to put it out of range of the fight, or the rest of the group if they needed to support it. The comm link suddenly showed the Louis had managed to gain a tenuous lock on the Chinese Convoy Escort and had launched.  But it had been at the extreme end of the ship's range and the missile lost tracking before it could make intercept.
   A flashing light showed that the US Space Interceptors Hancock and Hamilton had suddenly broken formation and turned to port.  She realized that they only carried lasers and would not be able to engage the Chinese vessels at this range, but why try if they could be destroyed without danger?  She wanted to open the comm link with the US ships but knew she didn't have time.  She needed to command her own ships and try to win this battle. Comm returns from the Rodney indicated a second Chinese Convoy Escort was moving behind Jupiter on a course to try and intercept the Rodney.  But for the moment the Chinese ship had manuvered behind the small moon Metis and the Rodney was unable to get a sensor lock.  These damned moons could be the death of them.
   "Tatianna group, port sixty degrees to parallel the US ships. Follow Rodney's tracking.  When that Chinese Escort appears, fire.  Armed Explorer Louis, starboard another sixty degrees.  Your walking right into that Chinese Escort."  Moments after the Louis had come about The Chinese Convoy Escort appeared from behind the small moon and launched.  Heartbeats later the Tatianna group fired on the Chinese Escort.  The Louis had put just enough distance behind it that the Chinese missile's guidance was unable to correct for the small inaccuracies in its targetting - a victim of its own breakneck speed and mass.  The plume of superheated particles passed harmlessly out into space.  
   The Tatianna had been refitted following the first Chinese incident, removing her one laser emitter and relacing it with a second missile bay.  Now that extra long range firepower would come into play.  The Heavy Interceptor Tatianna and the Attack Escorts Catherine and Isabelle all launched on the small Chinese vessel.  Brenna watched the four missiles on her display as they moved to intercept.  Then the inevitable sensor disruption as the drives detonated in a long string along the course of their target.  Then the sensors registered a fifth detonation of immense size as the small ship's drive lost containment and consumed the ship. 'Two down, how many left?'
   The Sensor Comm brought Brenna out of her little reverie as he keyed her that the three Chinese Strike Vessels and the single Convoy Escort with them had appeared.  The Chinese group's trajectory and the Red October's move out and around the planet had brought them into view.  Then the Chinese ships disappeared behind the moon Amalthea.  It was considered a minor moon, but with a length of over 120 kilometers it was more than massive enough to hide a group of ships.  The Chinese groups were on a course that would allow them to also use Metis to hide their approach, but the manuvers would cost them speed.  Enough that they shouldn't be able to catch the Euro ships and bring them into range.
    " Tatianna, come about sixty degrees starboard, we need to keep away from those Chinese Ships. Louis, come about onto the same course as the Tatianna. Rodney adjust course to maintain missile range to the Chinese Strike Vessels"  Then keying the comm to her own helm Brenna added, "Bring us about to port, I want to see how well these new targetting arrays work on this ship."  Brenna had received reports that the Red October's sensor array should allow an almost forty percent increase in engagement range. "Bring us up to full combat speed."  She also knew that the systems on the Red October should allow for a greater maximum combat speed than what the rest of her ships would be able to maintain.  Maybe if she could show the Chinese that they had no chance to catch her, and she would be able to engage tham at ranges they wouldn't even be able to track her, they might decide to withdraw.  Maybe.

     Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji considered the situation carefully.  He knew that he had lost the Convoy Escort Canton, and the Armed Colony Ship Korea.  He had also been forced to have the Armed Colony Ship Manchuria disengage when the bulk of the Pan Euro ships passed between it and the rest of the fleet.  The Manchuria had relayed that it had momentary contact with a Pan Euro vessel moving back along the orbital path away from Jupiter, but had been unable to identify it.  He had placed the Mobile Construction ship and the Marco Polo at fifteen light seconds from Jupiter on opposite sides to try and relay comm signals to the various ships, as the moons were making consistent communications difficult.
   He also had some strange sensor returns indicating the larger Euro vessel, assumed to be the Red October, had reached a speed that was unprecedented in any space going vessel. The US Space Interceptors were continuing on a course to intercept his Attack Frigates, and the Pan Euro Armed Exploration Vessel bearing two seven three was on the edge of their missile range.  They would hold fire until they cleared the moon Metis and then fire.  They Euro ships would likely be unprepared for the longer range of the new launchers the Attack Frigates carried.
   "All Frigates, target the Euro Armed Escort bearing two seven three.  Launch when clear of Metis."  The little escort would easily be able to disengage, but the US ships would take time to come about.  Their inertia would carry them into easy range and the new missiles would make it impossible for them to escape.

   Captain Jack Ryan ordered the Hamilton and Hancock forward on an intercept course with the Chinese Strike Vessels.  Only six hours ago a coded broadcast from Command had arrived. Intelligence had confirmed the two vessels that had attacked the Interceptor JFK in the belt had been carrying Chinese lasers. Of the entire crew, many his friends, only six had survived.  Today he would see them avenged. His lasers should be able to tear apart the Chinese vessels from a distance their short range missiles and outdated lasers woud be unable to reach.  
   "Target the lead Strike Vessel.  Radio our intentions to Rear Admiral Muldoon." It was time to light up their world.

   Brenna looked at the various reports on her monitor, and the transmission from Captain Ryan.  "Tatianna group, target the Convoy Escort.  All other vessel target the lead Strike Vessel." She watched the tactical display as the escorts of 3rd Battle Group launched their missiles one after another.  Then she felt the Red October's drive cut out to allow her to deploy missiles from its twin bays. 'This is the first time this ship has launched a weapon in anger' she thought.  Then her display lit up with new contacts.  Three of them.  Each of the Chinese Strike Vessels had launched an as yet uncataloged missile. Targeting seemed to be the Rodney, but at 2.5 LS she should be out of range for any known Chinese ordinance.  But these weren't known.  Even as her sensors confirmed the destruction of the Chinese Convoy Escort, and that the lead Chinese Strike Vessel was stuttering its drive and venting repeatedly to clear debris from the repeated hits of missile blasts and lasers - it also showed the destruction of the Rodney as it registered the drive field losing containment.
   "Tatianna, shift fire to the lead Strike Vessel.  Ryan GET OUT OF THERE NOW."  The Chinese vessels weren't up to full combat speed yet, but it wasn't going to make any difference.  The US ships were way to close.  As were half of the Euro ships.

   Captain Jack Ryan barely had time to react.  The orders to come about and red line the drives had been given, even as the sensors reported a total of nine inbounds.  He had seen that his first pass, along with the Euro missiles, had caused the lead Chinese vessel to shudder and vent repeatedly.  Its drive bloom was significantly reduced indicating that some of the particle accelerators had been damaged. But it was still launching three missiles. And then the sensors cut out as the drives detonated again and again on the Chinese missiles.  He had keyed the monitor to fire the lasers of the Hancock, hoping that hurried fire solutions might find the damaged Chinese ship. But their own red lined drive emissions made a lock on the Chinese ship tenuous at best.  As the sensor returns began to come back up he saw the only thing worse than having died in that awful exchange.  The Hamilton was still with them.  Its drives had cut out to prevent the ship from detonating, but the three scorched setions of its hull were tumbling wildly through space.  Anyone left alive in the ship was doomed.  There could be no rescue in that field of debris with the tumbling sections of hull.
   He had ordered the charge into this.  Now his only hope was to try and get them back out.

   Vice Admiral Rongji considered the unthinkable.  "Comm, radio the Euro vessels.  State that we intend to withdraw and stand down all weapons if they will cease fire." The last minute had been a brutal exchange.  The Attack Frigate Hunan had come apart under the pounding of the Euro missiles, and his own vessel the Anhui had taken damage to its outer plating in the combat.  They had come up to full combat speed and woud likely have been able to destroy the last US Interseptor and Euro Armed Explorer, and even been able to engage one of their Attack Escorts.  But the other Attack Escort, the Heavy Escort, and that last ship that had been launching at him from farther than his sensors coud even track, were beyond his engagement envelope. That had made the decision inevitable.  If they destroyed the last US ship it would have been an exchange of the two long range missiles that his vessels could deploy, against the Euro's ability to deploy six or seven. It would only have served to lose the last two Frigates he had under his command, and to make any negotiations more difficult as the Euro losses mounted.
   And against a ship that could fire farther than his could detect, there would have to be negotiations.


January 26th, 2203

   Admiral Jude Kushnir relaxed aboard the Euro space station. Her ship, The Heavy Escort Anastasia was preparing for the same refit that her sister the Tatianna had undergone.  The last ship of the class, the Rebecca, was docked at the Mercury station for just the same reason.  Eight hours ago the various nations of earth had signed a new treaty. The Treaty of Mare Serenetatis, named for the location it had been signed on the Euro colony on the moon.
   The new treaty reaffirmed most of the limitations of the Treaty of L2, and had given the Pan Euro claim to Jupiter and all her satalites, plus half of the Trojan belt.  China had accepted Saturn and her satelites, while the US claimed Uranus, Neptune, and the last half of the Trojans.  All bodies of the Kuiper belt and scattered disk were to be claimed by the first nation able to place a permanent colony of 50,000.  It would be a long time before anyone had to worry about that though...
   At least the worries of war were over for the moment....



In the late twentieth century a group of astronomers posited that the periodic extinctions of earth's prehistory were the result of a red dwarf star far beyond the scattered disk.  It would orbit Sol, and the elliptic shape of its orbit woud dislodge comets and asteroids from the Oort cloud and scattered disk, sending them careening into the solar system periodically.  Named for the periodic extinctions it would cause, the astronomers dubbed it Nemesis.   Its low emisions, possibly less than 1 percent of Sol, coupled with other factors would make it troublesome to identify.  As the years and decades went by, research for Nemesis was dropped.
   But it existed.

It was a small star even as red dwarfs go, with output barely 0.2% of Sol.  As its fusion reaction and emissions were driven by convection, it never 'flared' to life and cleared the dust of its formation from its galactic neighborhood, making it nearly invisible - and particularly uninteresting.  Its only gas giant was a slow orbiter, with a mean density even lower than Saturn, leaving little oscilation in it's emissions to garner attention.  It's other four planets were even smaller, and very cold. Invisible.
   But it managed to harbor life.

Life had evolved on a moon of a more distant planet.  It had learned to tolerate intense cold, and even to hibernate for the days or weeks that its orbit would pass behind the planet it circled, cutting it off from the faint warmth of its star. It became several types of life, and each in turn became more intelligent.  They worked together and reached a point where they could reach out to the other moons of their planet, and then to the other planets of their system.  And they readily found homes on all of these moons.  Even in the tiny asteroid belt that circled their sun.  And then space began to run out.
   And the various races learned of war.

It was a total war of species against species, with only extermination viewed as victory.  In the end only one of the races survived. And only just.  But they rebuilt, and grew again.  Until space once again grew to small for new growth.
   And then they looked out.

Space held several stars nearby.  Proxima Centauri, Sol, and others.  But these two were the closest.  Both were just short of a light year away.  To far to travel and keep the crew fed, maintained, and alive.
   But they could hibernate.

And so the first colony ships were built.  It would be dozens of lifetimes for them to make the trips.  And the first would go to Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star like their own.  Eventually the first ships were finished and launched.  For a great time afterward more ships were built and sent to the distant star.
   And then it was time to turn to the bright star Sol.

And the armada of ships was built and launched, with more built and following the first to leave. And this continued until it was time to turn to another star.
   And the crews slept as the ships passed silently through space.

It would take the ships 91 earth years to make their trip of 50,000 AU.  And then the systems began to wake the crews back up.  As the race that inhabited the Sol system battled around its fifth planet, the last of the first wave of colony ships was completing their surveys - and emplacing populations. On the bodies in the cold region of space they would call home.  The star was bright, but their were many, many places that they could live quite easily.
   But they had not forgotten the war that consumed their home system.
   And they brought the warships they had learned to use.
   And they knew that coexistence was futile.....

///////
This first turn was an eye openning experience.  Up to this point my family had played RPG and worked together or their starfire races all tended to cooperate.  This was the first time I had seen them go after each other with such energy.  And it brought a new meaning to the word 'espianage'. Any stray scrap of paper or unattended trash can was fair game.  Eavesdroppping was rampant. It was this way the US player learned of the Chinese involvement in the attack on the JFK. It was a long while before they would begin to trust each other, even in the face of a common enemy.  It definitely slowed their ability to respond to external threats.

For those interested, here are the ships that took part in the battle.
EURO (Admiral Brenna Muldoon - Average)

Science Vessel Red October         FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A H Qa Mgs Xp (cpCp) Ra Ra Ya Qa (Cp) [7/1]

Heavy Escort Tatianna            CT   16HS
[2]A A A A H Mgs Ra Ra Qa (cpCp) [6/1]

Attack Escorts Catherine , Isabelle      ES   12HS
[2]A Hs Mgs La Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Armed Explorer Rodney , Louis         EX   7HS
[2]A Hs Qa Ra (cp) [4/1]

Exploration Vessel Da Vinci         FT0   7HS
[2]A H Xp H Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Planetary Survey Vessel Michaelangelo      FT0   7HS
[2]A (BbS) Xp H Qa (Cp) [6/1]


US SPACE

Interceptor Hancock , Hamilton         CT   16HS
[2]A A A H (MNE) Qa Lb Lb (cpCp) [6/1]


CHINA (Admiral Zhu Rongji - Average)

Attack Frigate Hunan , Anhui , Hubei      FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A A Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ga Ga Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Convoy Escort Canton , Jinan         EX   7HS
[2]A H Qa Ga (Cp) [6/1]

Armed Colony Vessel Korea , Manchuria      FT2   16HS
[2]A H H H H H Qv Qv Qv (BbS) Hs Mgs Ga Qa (Cp) [4/1]

Survey Vessel Marco Polo         FT0   7HS
[2]A Hs (BbS) H H Xp Qa (cp) [6/1]

Mobile Construction Ship         FT4   30HS
[2]H H H Qa (Cp) (SYM0) [2/1]
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline Beersatron

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2010, 02:04:16 PM »
Good read, keep it up! :)

I have never played Starfire, is there a handy - and easy to read - site were I can figure out what exactly the ship designs are made up of?
 

Offline Hawkeye

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2010, 02:43:47 PM »
Quote from: "Beersatron"
Good read, keep it up! :)

http://18inchfly.net/starfire/tech/index.html
Ralph Hoenig, Germany
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2010, 02:21:42 AM »
I don't know of any online sites for the rules.  Pretty sure that SDS would worry about copyright issues if there was.  Wish I could help more.  Anyone have any suggestions out there?
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

 

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