Author Topic: Nemesis Campaign  (Read 15616 times)

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Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2010, 02:23:07 AM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2010, 01:48:36 AM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2010, 07:49:23 AM »
March 2203 part 1


March 3rd  0520
   Dust swirled up from the Chilean street as The Dutchman stood in the dark alley.  The world had been a collage of green for the last two hours as he had switched over to the high gain circuit on the visuals.  He had adjusted the magnetics several times but just couldn't find a setting that didn't attract the dust to his faceplate.  He pulled the large hat down low to try and block the wind as his long duster flapped from the gusts.    Full cyborgs were almost unheard of in this part of town, and The Dutchman wanted as little attention as possible.  His left hand loosely held the grip of the MP71K under his coat as he scanned the darkness. The weapon was an antique by now, but the low noise signature of the carbon dioxide pulse laser was too useful to discard for this sort of work.
   A figure moved in the street.  Switching to thermal filter, The Dutchman could see the IR shape of the man as he approached.  Good.  No combat armor or cyborg,  just as he had told them.  He switched back to high gain as the figure drew closer to the alley.
   "Stop where you are, unless you want to die here."  The Dutchman had the uplink from the weapon tied into his visual and watched the targeting cross float on the man's chest.  "Why are you here."  He spoke in plain English, as he had indicated that he would.
   "I have confirmation of the Log Codes and frequencies for the Mary Reed and Marie Celeste.  They are even now enroute off the planet and into space.  Both the US Interceptors are docked at the US Space Station for 'repairs', as we said they would be.  We verified that the first 3 seconds of sensor data you delivered were real.  If you can deliver the rest of what you say you have, I can guarantee that the US Interceptors will remain in dock and your ships will not be followed.  Otherwise..."  the stranger let the sentence trail off.
   The Dutchman dropped a small package on the ground between them.  "The chip with the sensor logs is in the package.  So is eight ounces of complex B.  If my ships report any movement form the station, a signal will detonate that package. Our business here is done.  Go now."
   The man bent and picked up the package as The Dutchman backed into the alley even deeper.  Fifteen minutes later he set foot on the bridge of the Kestrel in orbit over South America.  "Lock stations. We're getting out of here before they figure out how to get that bomb defused."


March 4th  2215   
   Lieutenant Ryan sat in the briefing room with Admiral Bradley Walters and three other defense advisors.  She spoke as she pulled up information on the monitor screens.  "Gentlemen, the data from the sensors has been authenticated, but we can't be sure we are the only ones looking at this.  Our source is not what you would call 'exclusive'.  We have been able to get some more information from this, but not a great deal more than what we already knew. What's sure is that the unknown ship contact remained in the area of Uranus, and appears to have been using its small craft to perform surveys and reconnaissance of the moons there.  We have also been able to identify that the vessel does not seem to be able to accelerate more quickly than our Interceptors, and it maneuverability is not much better either.  The vessel making the recording was able to accelerate away from the contact before it could correct it's course and come up to speed."
   She looked up from the screen at the Admiral as she went on. "What we don't know is anything more about its combat capabilities or if it remained at the planet after the informant had left.  We also don't know who it belongs to for sure, as the magnetic distortion is causing issues we have not yet resolved.  Other sources of information confirmed that the Chinese have both of their Strike Vessels here at Earth docked in their shipworks and undergoing extensive refits.  We don't know what these refits are, or are for.  The Euro Fleet has not changed their deployment visibly, but have been tracked sending a large number of shipments that would seem to be bound for Mercury, although they could be diverting mid trip.  There is no indication that either group is preparing for an offensive inside the belt, while the Discovery and her escorts have reported no activity in the Trojans. That is all I have to brief on in this area."
   "What other information would you have to brief on Lieutenant?" the admiral said as he leaned forward in his chair.
   "Sir, we have been able to reverse engineer some of the data the Hancock gained on the Red October during the Battle of Jupiter's Moons.  Merill-Dupont is projecting that we will be able to deploy for field testing and use a sensor system based on the one employed on the Euro ship.  Initial testing looks very promising.  I have the initial test data transferring to your monitor now for you to review."  Lieutenant Meagan Ryan almost looked pleased with herself.
   "Alright, keep me up to date on any other information that we come up with in these areas.  For the moment you have been transferred to my staff while this situation is resolved.  You will make daily reports on the status of this new system, any new information on the unknown contact we can discern, progress reports on the refits of the JFK and Franklin, and any other tasks that Lieutenant Commander Jacobs details for you. Dismissed."  Admiral Walters looked at her as she rose and left.  When this was done, he might have to see about getting her transferred permanently.  She seemed competent, and was one of the few people he had met that did not seem intimidated addressing a cyborg.

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan wondered how much less sense things could make before he started questioning his sanity.  He had just gotten done checking out the repairs on the JFK, the Franklin had just arrived fresh out of the 'yards from Earth, and now they would both be going back in for another round of refits.  The only operational ships at Mars would be the two new Raptor Class Missile Escorts, small ships with crews as green as spring grass.  'Thank god the Martian Spaceworks can protect themselves, their going to have to for a while.' he thought. 'Well, at least I will be able to concentrate on training up these two new ships, and learning just what the Hera class of missile can do before they install a bay of them on my JFK.'  He went back to checking the various news channels, looking for anything that might tell him where this 'war' was going.  


March 7th  0320
   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon unlocked her station on the Heavy Escort Tatianna.  They had entered a stable orbit around Callisto five minutes ago, and checked out the new sensors in Jupiter's magnetic and radiation belts.  Readouts had been adequate, and a massive improvement over the former sensor suite the ship had mounted.  She still regretted leaving the two new Light Battle Groups in the belt.  She would just have to oversee their training from here.  The brass had decided the risk to Jupiter was just to great, and that she should be redeployed out here.  With no idea what was going on with the US, and the possible disappearance of the Outreach, they didn't want to take any chance that someone was up to no good out here beyond the belt.  The Trojans were an excellent place to hide a Battle Group if they were planning on making an attack on Jupiter.  She pulled up the patrol and general quarters rotation schedule for the 3rd Battle Group and began to make changes now that the Tatianna  had returned.


March 15th  0735
   Commander Rachel Pierce looked over the sensor returns as they came in.  A small mining craft had reported a contact here in the belt. The fact that the area was not yet open for civilian mining and exploration had missed the civilian crews' attention, but a contact in a restricted zone needed to be checked.  Particularly when the zone was only one and a half light minutes from Chinese held Ceres.  The Chinese had occasionally tried to sneak mining vessels into this section of the belt, but with the current situation, she needed to make sure.  She checked status reports on all three of her ships, the Attack Escort Boudicca, and the Armed Exploration Vessels Wellington and Cromwell.  All were currently at general quarters and primary safeties were released.  "Communications,  let the Chinese know we are patrolling this section of the belt.  No sense taking any chances they might overreacting to our presence if we surprise them.  It might get any small mining vessels out of the belt if they know we are here."
   "Commander, new contact, designating as alpha, bearing 057 at ascension minus 15, five point two five light seconds, heading one two zero plus three. Drive bloom detected, accelerating.  Hold, second contact, resembles inbound. Intercept in eighteen seconds."  The sensor officer continued to forward data to Rachel's monitor as she keyed for firing solutions.  The computer returns that the contact was beyond effective range made her heart sink.  "Engineering, full acceleration.  Comm, have the two Explorers..."  She never finished her command as the bright wave of superheated plasma washed across the space that the Attack Escort Boudicca hurtled through.
   Rachel's faceplate optic interface flashed wildly and then stabilized.  She watched as the computer vented the bridge compartment.  A hail of debris was thrown out into space by the torrent of argon.  She could just make out that it included the other 16 crewmembers of the bridge, her monitor, part of her station and her left leg.   Damage readouts on her faceplate had just shown that it was damaged and not responding.  Seeing it fly away gave her a sick feeling.  But her station had somehow survived.  She locked her fingers into the station link and saw a ship status readout begin to fill her view.  It was slow compared to the monitor, and she was forced to key with her left hand (it had always struck her as odd that even in a mechanical body the brain still tried to favor one hand), but she began to get results.  All weapons on the Boudicca were off line or destroyed, the magazine had vented, about the only thing still working were the particle accelerators in the heart of the ship and the drive shield that kept the nuclear bloom from consuming the ship.  A short range comm link still worked and she menu selected courses for her ship and the two Explorer's.  The Cromwell and Wellington were still undamaged, and after accessing their sensor returns, she gave orders to begin closing on the hostile contact. She selected a course away from the new contact and felt the ship lurch as the drive cut out and maneuver thrusters began the attitude change.  Only after did she realize that the sensors from the other ships had indicated another inbound on the Boudicca, one that had missed as she began her maneuver sequence.  The contact was following her as she moved away, and the two Armed Explorers closed with it.  As they reached effective range they launched on the contact, but seemed to have little effect.  She noted that during the exchange a third inbound had attempted intercept on the Boudicca and failed to damage her.  But how long would her luck hold?
   Rachel keyed the over ride from her ship and released the secondary safeties on the missiles onboard the Cromwell and Wellington, even as the Cromwell disintegrated under the impact of the detonation of the hostile contact's missile.  The Wellington managed one more launch before the link to the Boudicca cut out.  Rachel knew that both of the Armed Explorers were gone.  She selected for red line acceleration on the menu for Engineering, and felt her station vibrate ever so slightly as the engines drove the ship even farther from where the contact had last been.  She was almost six and a half light seconds from the contact before red lining the engines.  They should be able to keep out of weapons range now. She keyed the relay to download her log to the closest of the belt colonies.



   The commander watched as sensor returns tracked the damaged enemy ship, then it's drive bloom consumed the vessel as its shielding's integrity failed.  That was the last of them.  They had learned much on this patrol.  The enemy had weapons and could fight.  The first detonations of their missiles had caused two small particles to cross the bow shock of the magnetic field shielding the ship.  The field had been able to easily shoulder the particles aside, as they had picked up a substantial electric charge hurtling through the solar wind.   The last detonation had been much more violent, causing fuses to burn out and half the safeties to activate.  But the field had withstood the impact of charged particles with no real damage to the vessel.  The fuses would be fixed within the hour and the field returned to full strength.  
   The engagement showed that the Patrol Vessels would have to be more careful, as the enemy craft might be able to damage them if given enough opportunity. But the Combat Vessels should have no problem with the small vessels that this race used, and the short range and ineffectual weapons that they employed.  The commander doubted the enemy ships had even realized that they were escorting a mining ship here in the belt.  They would return to their new home now, early, but with a substantial cargo acquired from the asteroids of this sector.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2010, 01:29:45 AM »
March 2203  part 2

March 16th  1000 hours
   The dead silence of the vacuum on the Red October's bridge was all that Admiral Jude Kushnir wanted to hear right now.  She was tired of requests from both Rear Admiral Muldoon and Commander Giovanni Vetra to attempt rescue operations in the belt near Ceres.  If it was the Chinese that were behind this, then they would simply be getting themselves killed, and losing combat vessels that the Pan Euro couldn't afford to be without.  If it wasn't the Chinese, then they would be risking another incident with them by operating so close to one of their colonies.  It would be better if a single science vessel were to analyze the transmissions and any wreckage that could be recovered.
   Jude had learned that the Attack Escort Boudicca had managed a short, very poor quality transmission before it had lost contact.  It's close proximity to Ceres meant there was a substantial chance that the Chinese had heard the broadcast, but it would take them a while to decode it if they had.  Currently the only ones possessing a copy of the transmission were the Belt Transfer Station and colony at Pallas, the ships of 2nd Light Battle Group run by Commander Vetra, and the 3rd Battle Group, which had managed to intercept part of the transmission.  The transmission had been immediately classified and rebroadcast forbidden due to the chance of interception.  The Red October would be in the belt in three days, and her onboard instruments and labs would begin analysis of the transmission at that time.  They might also scan for debris or survivors at that time, depending on the contents of the transmission.
   Until then, all that anyone could do was wait for the results.  Then they would take action.


March 17th  1225 hours
   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked over the results of the analysis that Survey Vessel Raphael had performed on the short broadcast they had received from the Boudicca.  She knew she was violating regulations by releasing the transmission to the Raphael, but the scientific instruments she carried onboard would be able to make some sense of what had been broadcast.  The preliminary results were on her monitor now.  And they still didn't make sense.  But it was enough to send a cold chill down what was left of her spine.  One ship had destroyed an entire Light Battle Group.  One hit had taken the Attack Escort Boudicca out of the battle before she even reached engagement range.  And it appeared she was the only ship to survive an impact.  Barely.  The group's missiles didn't seem to have had any real effect on the hostile contact.  The battle had lasted less than four minutes from the first sensor contact to the last transmission of the Boudicca.
   What she was about to do would definitely violate regulations.  She could be court martialed, stripped of all rank, even executed.  She finished typing, and then pressed the transmit button, over riding the Comm Station and directly patching through to the tight beam transmitter on the Heavy Escort Tatianna.  
   It was done.

   1350 hours
   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan looked at the transcript of the message that had been received at the Martian Shipyard.  It had been transmitted in two sections.  The first had been an unencrypted memo from Pan Euro Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon saying that the second transmission was for Captain (she obviously hadn't heard of his recent undeserved promotion) Jack Ryan's eyes only.  The Sensor Conn had a running bet it was cyborg porno or some such, but Jack didn't think Admiral Muldoon was the type.  It had been sent in the old encryption protocol used between the US and Euro ships during the battle out at Jupiter, but the cipher was still in the JFK's memory banks.
   What was in the second half of the message was nothing he could have ever expected.  He had seen the Euro ships in action.  That three could be destroyed by a single ship was unthinkable.  And what in the hell was this other ship.  And why was it so close to Chinese held Ceres.
   Jack sat on the bridge of the Missile Escort Raptor, and keyed the comm switch.  He took the second transmission, returned it to its original encryption, and then subjected that to the current encryption protocol.  That would take anyone who intercepted it a while to figure out.  Jack had just gotten the note from his daughter yesterday of her reassignment.  To Fleet Headquarters and Admiral Walter's staff.  He added a small personal note, and sent the message forward to his daughter.  Anyone who got it would be less likely to try to decode what looked like a personal message between family.  Jack hoped they wouldn't, at least.


March 19th  0220 hours
   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan loved reading the notes she got from her father, but what was likely a congratulations note on her assignment had fallen on the back burner so to speak.  Her life had become very busy of late.  Very busy.  To busy for an 'I'm happy to hear it' note from dad.
   Now she wished she had opened it earlier.  The happy to hear it part was there, but what had been attached was not a cute little note.  Not at all.  It was obviously a sensor data record of a second contact with the hostile vessel.  And the analysis was horrifying.
   She keyed the comm link on her personal work station through to Admiral Walter's Administrative Assistant.  "This is Lieutenant Ryan.  Get the Admiral in his office in five minutes!  Do you understand me?!"  The babbling on the other end did nothing to impress Meagan.  "GET HIM NOW! THAT'S AN ORDER!"  She keyed off the comm and grabbed her dress uniform jacket.  She would have to leave making the uniform look good for later.  She downloaded the file on her personal chip, and ran from her room towards the Admiral's Office.

   0255 hours
   Admiral Walters looked at the staff that had hastily assembled in the briefing room. Since Lieutenant Ryan had arrived, they had added seven more analysts and two of the defense advisors that were still onboard the station.  If what they were saying was true, this would go a long ways toward explaining why the Pan Euro's Red October had left Earth Space so quickly late on the 15th.  And it made it look like the Chinese had a lot more up their sleeves than anyone could have imagined.  
   "Admiral, I think we have something you need to look at."  Lieutenant Ryan said, pointing at her monitor screen.  The Admiral moved around the table to see what it was she thought was so important.  "Sir, the magnetic signature that we were unsure of.  I think we have begun to figure it out.  The transmission is poor, but the field is unmistakable on this hostile contact the Euro ships engaged. Its the same as the ship that engaged the Outreach.  Now here, where the two small missile ships launched, that's what is interesting.  The field seems to fluctuate some, but returns to its prior emission state in a few moments.  But here, just before the Euro Attack Escort loses contact with the second missile escort, is what looks important.  There is a few seconds of sensor data following that ship's missile detonating its drive.  Right here."  She pointed at the monitor again.
   "Tell me what I'm looking at."  Admiral Walters said flatly, in the monotone only a cyborg could manage.
   "The field seems to have lost almost half of its strength signature.  It might be a defensive system.  Just like the Earth's magnetic field protects it from the charged particles the sun sends out, only this ship seems to have a much more localized and powerful field.  It's like nothing we have, even on the drawing boards."
   Admiral Walters stepped back.  "So you are telling me that this ship has a way to 'stop' a nuclear blast from reaching the vessel?"  Lieutenant Ryan looked squarely at the Admiral.  "That's what it would appear as Sir. But it looks like it might have a limit to the amount of energy it can redirect before it overwhelms the field generating system.  And, theoretically, it should also be transparent to our laser emitters.  Light is magnetically neutral and should pass through the fields with almost no distortion.  You just need to get close enough."
   Admiral Walters moved back around the table and sat down.  "Lieutenant Ryan, where did you say you got this transmission from again?"
   Meagan looked down at the table for a moment, but only a moment.  "It was in a transmission from my father.  He indicated that it had been sent to him from Jupiter, or on that bearing. He didn't say who had sent it to him."
   Admiral Bradley Walters thought. Someone out there was sticking their neck out a long way, and they were probably in as much danger from their own folks as they were from whoever was running these 'unknown' ships.  But they also appeared to be on the same side.  And a small thank you might be in order.
   "Clear the room.  Ryan, you stay."  As the room emptied out, Meagan looked at the cyborg across the table from her with some concern.  She didn't think he was aware that the message had sat in her files for almost two days before she opened it.  Was there something else he could be concerned about?
   "Lieutenant Ryan," the Admiral started, "I want you to send a message back to your father with only the basic findings we have on this field and its vulnerabilities, but no technical data.  I also want you to indicate that this 'hostile' is what destroyed the Outreach.  And that he is to return this information to where ever he received it from.  And indicate that any more data would be welcome.  You are to tell no one of this.  Do I make myself clear?"
   "Crystal, Sir."


March 21st  0800 hours
   The science quarters on the Red October were abuzz with activity.  The data from the transmission was of maddeningly poor quality, and the data on the contact that had apparently destroyed the 1st Light Battle Group was something that made no sense whatsoever.  It was becoming the general consensus that interference had garbled the data gathered on the contact.  But some of it had to be real.  Something had destroyed an entire battle group out here in the belt.  But what was leaving the entire staff on edge was Admiral Jude Kushnir's obsession with finding who was in control of the vessel that had destroyed the ships of 1st Battle Group.  Her insistence on almost hourly updates concerning the progress of the science team was leaving them no time to complete the work that they needed to accomplish for any sort of meaningful analysis.
   That and the fact that the data simply made no sense...

    1645 hours
   Brenna sat at her station reviewing the transmission that had come in a few hours ago.  It left little question as to what the contact data meant, and that the US was most likely well ahead of the Euro in analysis of what this new hostile contact was.  The Outreach must have transmitted more useful data than the Boudicca had, but that only made sense coming from a science vessel.  Regardless, if the Chinese had a vessel like this it would make the Treaty of Serenetatis worthless.  There would be little to stop the Chinese from trying to exert control over the outer system.  She had taken what she could of the message, and passed it on to the Raphael.  Perhaps with the insights in the message from Rear Admiral (congratulations again) Jack Ryan, they would be able to come up with something that would enable the Pan Euro ships of the 3rd Battle Group some hope of combating this new ship.  Now the challenge would be passing on this information to Admiral Kushnir without ending up in a planet side prison awaiting execution.


March 25th 0620 hours
   Admiral Hu reviewed the last exercise between the Cruiser Mao Tse Tung and the Attack Frigate Shangxi.  This would be the last training mission for the two before the Shangxi went in for refits.  The two Frigates at Earth would be done with their refits in the next month.  The remodeling of the bays would allow them to deploy three of the long range Dragon Missiles in each volley.  This would hopefully balance the scales in future encounters between the Chinese Forces and the US and Euro ships that had defeated them in the regions beyond the belt.  Rumors were all that could be found in the weeks following the broadcast from the US ship Outreach.  It seemed the US and Euro were waging a secret war over the outer system.  It looked to be a war of unpublished engagements and unknown victories and losses.  But with proper positioning, the Chinese might be able to secure a better position in the outer system if one were just to wait until the Euro and US had exhausted themselves on one another.

March 29th  2205 hours
   The briefing room was quiet and empty. The advisors had all left a few minutes ago. The news had been mostly good for a change.  It seems the field tests of the new sensor system had been a resounding success.  They were claiming that it would be ready for installation on combat ships at the beginning of April.  Four of the Interceptors were scheduled for refits, to include Jack Ryan's group.  He's probably beginning to wonder when we will let him take his ship out of dock.  At least when he does, it should be the equal of any ship in service. Two more of the Raptor Class Missile Escorts had cleared the yards here at Earth, and would complete the 2nd US Task Force.  Tactically,  the combination of advanced Interceptors - now designated the Mk IIa - with smaller missile support ships would enable them to deal with the new Chinese threat ship.  At least that was what everyone hoped.
   At least the news was mostly good.  There was one bad point.  A message had been received from Pan European Cargo Freighter 017 enroute from Belt Transfer Station Pallas to Jupiter with maintenance supplies.  It was a normal commercial run, logged with all the necessary licenses and flight logs.  It had made a broadcast in the clear to any ship able to assist in range. It had indicated that it was under attack by an unknown vessel.  It had only been able to broadcast for about 30 seconds before it had been cut off.  Sensor logs that it had transmitted were sketchy and unclear, but it appeared the aggressor had been the same class of vessel that had engaged the Outreach and Pan European 1st Light Battle Group.  It was obvious whoever was in control of the vessel - most likely the Chinese - was making it clear that they would tolerate no ships beyond the asteroid belt.  It was probably only a matter of time before they challenged the veteran Euro 3rd Battle Group at Jupiter, and claimed the outer system exclusively.  It would probably be soon after that they would try to exercise the same control over the inner system.  God help them all when that came to pass.
   The problem right now was that the civilian news services had caught the transmission, and the news of 'unrestricted war beyond the belt' was spreading.  The civilian lines were already canceling any shipping beyond the belt, and filing the legal injunctions to require armed escort in the inner system.  This would strap the already thin forces of the US Space services and make any sort of effective resistance to this new problem even more difficult.  At least the Discovery had almost finished its work in the Trojans and would be able to dispatch one of its tenders to carry the maintenance normally carried by the civilian lines.  They just needed to hurry up and get home.


March 31st  1400 hours
   The Dutchman wondered if this would be a good deal or not.  He had just accepted a sizable payment to carry supplies from the Euro belt to Jupiter.  It would definitely help to defer the expenses of maintaining his ships, but it was obviously dangerous territory.  Ships were disappearing, and not all unarmed cargo ships.  The Mary Reed, Marie Celeste, and Kestrel would all be making the run to Jupiter.  Together they were more than a match for most combat ships of the major powers.  But something had changed.  He couldn't put his finger on what it was, but space was changing, and not for the better.  Perhaps the Pan European Confederacy would be willing to divert some funds to having the group remain with the 3rd Battle Group as support.  For the right price.  Assuming they actually made it to Jupiter.  The Dutchman  keyed the comm link to have the crew check all systems again.  For the fifth time...


///////////
Overview

This month saw most of the players waiting for a big attack at the beginning of the month, and when it didn't materialize, they began a bunch of hasty refits.  They had all hedged their bets by issuing the orders for the refits to begin several days into the month, assuming they could cancel them if a war blossomed early on.  The mid month attack on the Euro was run in the same way as the attack on the US the previous month, but now they were beginning to suspect breaking the group up indicated an attack by an anonymous player. They still weren't sure what was going on.
A small amount of discussion between my wife and oldest son began to crystallize into the thought that the Chinese were behind the attacks.  They seemed to be behind in every way, but both knew that everyone had been offered a selection of advantages in the pregame setup to chose from.  No one knew what China had chosen (except the boy running China), and they wondered if he had a different weapon system of some type, other tech system, or maybe had 'discovered' alien technology and was using some alien ship while he researched the systems. Lots of theories, and planning to try to counter the 'Chinese threat'.
The player for the Chinese was happy to let the other players fight it out - he thought - while he tried to play catch up with the other powers.  He had decided his big ship was going to be an expensive target until he got better tech for his fleet, and was willing to wait it out.

The battle between the Nemotian Patrol Corvette and the Pan Euro 1st Light Battle Group was not a planned encounter, but a lucky (unlucky?) roll by the group as it patrolled the belt.  House rules require that a planet have a freighter link to an asteroid belt to get the belt bonus to income, and the Nemotians had dedicated a FT for this.  The 1st LBG rolled a 01 and made an intercept.  The rest is history.

The Patrol Corvette also rolled to see if it could make any commerce raiding and managed to snag a single FT that I declared to be one bound for Jupiter, as it was on the same radian at that time.  Bad month to be the Euro.

Good times for the US though.  The players that had started as Ind 2 had received a random number of RP toward EL1 like any generated NPR.  The very first month (Jan) had seen the US make its roll and get to EL1 right off the bat.  March saw them make a critical success (another 01 in one month) in sensors and got their operational Ya in the first month it had been possible to receive.  Lots of refits, but rapid ship advancement in tech. They also choose to receive double RP for normal cost over the next three months in sensor research. It would chafe my wife no end later to find out that the oldest son had achieved in three months all her pregame advantages.

Next month would see the fated confrontation between the Euro 3rd Battle Group and its Admiral Brenna Muldoon, and the new race.  It did not disappoint.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2010, 05:28:23 AM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2010, 04:22:38 AM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline cjblack

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2010, 04:17:02 PM »
Very interesting, and I look forward to finding out what happens next.

I think I can clear up the question of why the human ships seem excessively fragile, too.  You are looking at it backwards, actually.  It's not that the ships are too fragile, but rather that the alien weapons are more powerful than they are supposed to be.  Specifically, torpedoes, unlike missiles and kinetics, are not supposed to cause triple damage to unshielded / drive-fieldless targets.

Of course, you can just retroactively houserule this away, and it will have little bearing if the players switch to non-Cp drives.
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2010, 01:18:11 AM »
Your very sharp CJ.  That didn't come up for us until turn 21 or 22 (I don't have my notes/records on those turns with me here at the hospital - got stuck here at work d/t the snow storm).  It became a several hour discussion on that subject.  In the end we decided/house-ruled that if a kinetic weapon does damage from plasma striking a target much like a torpedo, and the in game expanation for us was that the torpedo used the same energy source as a missile (detonating the fusion drive) - but simply used the magnetics to focus it, that they would all get the x3 damage bonus.  That, and no one wanted to redo the previous turns.  The +2 to hit vs non drive field and triple damage made the weapon system horribly powerful.
That combo made the higher tech Nemotians feel a lot more dangerous (of course that was because they were). And it made developing shields very important to the players.
Thank you for reading, hope you enjoy the turns to follow  (assuming I ever get away from work).
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline Sotak246

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2010, 06:05:02 PM »
Please do continue writing when you get the chance, work comes first but, hurry.  I have gotten hooked on your write-up and can't wait for the next installment.

Mark
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2010, 07:30:27 PM »
June 2203

June 1st  0720 hours/US Space Station

   Admiral Bradley Walters dismissed the staff from the briefing room.  He hit his comm link, "Petty Officer Hansen, notify Lieutenant Ryan to meet me in my office in ten minutes."   "Yes, Admiral.  Right away."   Petty Officer Hansen was always so cheerful in the mornings, although the long hours of the past few months had begun to wear on even her youthful enthusiasm.  But she was a damned good organizer.  'Which is good, because I'm not.  And the amount of work coming through here isn't helping matters either.' he thought.  Right now there was one thing to worry about that wasn't work, and time for it was getting short.
   "Good morning Lieutenant Ryan."  Admiral Bradley returned her salute, but didn't offer her a chair.  "You have done an excellent job here, and I appreciate it.  I can't give you any details, but if you have anything important to say to your father, you need to do it soon.  Within the next few hours.  You won't ask any questions why or act as if anything is going on.  Do I make myself clear Lieutenant?"  The Lieutenant's eyes had grown only slightly wider, but she nodded.  "Yes, Admiral.  Very clear, sir."  
   "Then you are dismissed.  That is all until the 1500 briefing."  He returned her salute and watched as she left the office.  She had managed to do his command a number of favors.  It was time to repay that to some small degree.


   1015 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan looked over the orders that the Comm Officer had sent to his monitor.  He had transmitted to Command that the JFK and Franklin had cleared their trials and were fit for duty just 17 hours ago.  It didn't take them long to respond.  As he read through the body of it, he decided that sitting on the Mars Station or putting the JFK and Franklin through a shakedown cruise wasn't so bad.
   "Comm, signal all ships of Task Force One.  All ships are to dock at the Orbital Transfer Station.  Draw fuel, supplies, and maintenance equipment for a four month period.  All ships are to lock stations and be prepped for drive engagement at 1200 hours.  Communications silence other than tightbeam ship to ship within the task force to commence at 1202. Rear Admiral Jack Ryan, out.  Regular encryption protocols."  Jack turned in his station and looked around at the cabin.  'Guess this will be home for a while,' he thought.  'But where the hell are we going.  The course bearings and waypoints take us nowhere.  Just out beyond the belt.  We won't be close to anything.'
   He looked hard at the coordinates again.  'Maybe that is what they want.  If we aren't close to anything, nobody will see us go.'
   'This can't be good.'


June 3rd  1645 hours/Baoji Military Barracks, China

   Senior Colonel Liang checked the status of his brigade on the ship's monitors.  The 18th Independent Powered Armor Brigade would be finished loading onto the Transport Vietnam within 90 minutes.  The operations were ahead of schedule by 22 hours at the moment.  Soon it would be up to the 'borg ship jockeys to keep them on schedule.  He hated that part.  Climbing into the fluid hydrocarbon chambers that they would sleep in.  First they would have to be hooked up to a number of tubes that would feed them, keep them asleep, and take care of other functions that he didn't care to think of until he had to.  What he hated most was having to breathe in the fluid before going to sleep.  It felt wrong.  Without the fluid they would be crushed by the acceleration of the transport, but the Colonel still hated it.  Even with the fluid the ship was limited to only about 10 percent of its normal acceleration.  Any faster and it would kill the entire Brigade.  He doubted the 'borg crew would worry about that if they came under attack though. Their orders probably even specified that the troops were expendable.  The other transport, the Manchuria, would be carrying a cyborg unit.  They would be able to survive the acceleration and still deploy, so his brigade, the powered armor troops, was less valuable.
   His troops would show them what valuable was if they ever made a drop.  Nobody was better.  Even those bodiless bastards in the next ship.  They would see what his troops could do.


June 4th  2050 hours/12 Light Minutes sunward from Vesta 4, Asteroid Belt

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan glared at the monitor.  "Comm, all ships, general quarters.  Prep weapons and drives for combat.  Sensor Conn, give me a firing solution on that big son of a bitch.  Helm, bring us about to bearing one two two at ascension minus one zero."  Jack looked at the sensor returns again.  'Where in the hell did those ships come from and why are they out here in the middle of nowhere.  They haven't changed course yet so maybe they don't know we are here.'  "Sensor Conn, do you have identification of the contacts?"  He knew they didn't for the big one, but maybe the other returns were something they would be able to recognize.
   "Sir, contacts designated as Two and Three read as Chinese Attack Vessels.  Contact One is not currently in memory for the ship."
   Jack studied the returns again.  Whatever Contact One was, it was huge.  Probably massed more than his entire task force.  If China was behind whatever the small ship was that had destroyed so many US and Euro vessels, he sure as hell didn't want to tangle with its big brother.  It was obvious China had at least one ship that was off the logs, and it was something no one else could even approach deploying right now.  The thought that they were behind the combats over the last few months was beginning to look more realistic.
   "Communications, process sensor data for transmission.  Full encryption protocol."   The Chinese ships were passing by, and Task Force One's heading change was taking them away from the contacts. Allowing Task Force One to slip behind them.  "Prepare for tightbeam transmission to Mars in thirty seconds.  Continue to transmit all sensor data on Contacts One through Three until they pass beyond sensor range."  'We aren't supposed to break comm silence, but they are going to want to know about this back at home.'  Jack was sure of that.


June 5th  0830 hours/Heavy Escort Anastasia, Station Keeping near Pallas 2 Colony

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery couldn't believe what she was reading.  Admiral Kushnir had personally handed her orders and files an hour and a half ago.  Personally.  That didn't happen.
   Now she saw why.   Everyone had heard rumors of troubles here in the out system areas, but that was to be expected.  Treaty or not, there was bound to be a little jostling for position when it came down to it. Everyone was worried that it would spread, but concern was low back at home on Earth.  If they knew what was in these files, there would be uproar.  Chaos.   Rumor had the 1st Light Battle Group off spying on shipping in Chinese and US space.  Destroyed?  By one ship?!   The 3rd Battle Group fought to a stalemate by a single ship?  The US Outreach presumed destroyed?   This was unreal.  It wasn't jostling.  It wasn't even a war, it was a slaughter.  The entire 3rd Battle Group had only managed to knock down whatever those magnetic fields were, but the sensor returns didn't even show any damage to the enemy ship's hull after multiple intercepts with drive detonations.
   Her orders were to report to Pallas Belt Transfer Station and draw supplies for an extended deployment, and then engage drives and cruise toward Earth.  But that wasn't where they were going.  They would double back through an uninhabited section of the belt and take up station on the leeward side of it.
   Why?  Were they bait?
   It didn't make sense.  She keyed in orders for the ships of 1st Battle Group to move to the Transfer Station and dock for resupply.
   Sense or not, she had her orders.

June 6th  2255 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October,  2 Light Second dark side of Pallas 2

   Admiral Jude Kushnir watched as her monitor displayed the progress of the transmission to the 1st Battle Group and Vice Admiral Avery.  These orders would start a new age in relations between the Pan Euro and US Space Fleets.  Hopefully a good one.  The 1st Battle Group would soon make contact with and join US Task Force One.  Peacefully.  They were to begin a sweep that would take them back to Jupiter, across the US held section of the Trojans, and then out to Uranus and Neptune.  They would be searching for information, but that was only a secondary part of the mission.  The orders had made that very clear.

PAN EURO FIRST BATTLE GROUP TO ENGAGE IN JOINT OPERATIONS WITH US SPACE TASK FORCE ONE.
AUTHORIZATION FOR SECONDARY SAFETY RELEASE.
PAN EURO FIRST BATTLE GROUP TO SEEK / ENGAGE / DESTROY HOSTILE CONTACT NOW DESIGNATED AS ALPHA.
FULL SENSOR TRANSMITS IN REAL TIME.
ALL OTHER PRIORITIES SECONDARY.

Vice Admiral Avery would know that included the survival of 1st Battle Group.

///////////////
(Thanks for the encouragement.  It is much appreciated.)
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2010, 07:32:42 PM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2010, 08:59:43 AM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2010, 06:37:03 PM »
July 2203  part 1

July 4th  0900 hours/US Space Station

   'It's unusually quiet' thought Admiral Bradley Walters.   In the absence of a 'formal' war, the observance of the holiday was going on as usual.  All non essential work was cancelled and the crew given a day to rest, or in rare cases a furlough to the surface.  The station was a veritable beacon of radio transmissions as many took the opportunity to contact friends or family.
   'The Joint Task Force won't be much of a beacon.  They haven't been heard from for the last seven days. The communication black out will last for another 24 hours or so, until they pass inside of the belt.  Until then, the only assurance we have that they still exist is the fact that they haven't transmitted any sensor readings of contacts - or distress calls.'  Admiral Walters changed from one display on his monitor to another.  Status reports, progress reports, theories on the data transmitted by the JFK.  It all left more questions, and not comfortable ones.  The chief question among them - 'Is this the last days of the human race?'
   The US combat ship roster was terribly limited.  If you included the ships of Task Force 1, it mustered only six Interceptor Mk IIa's, and five Missile Escorts.  With no way of knowing what the enemy held in reserve, that roster was going to have to expand.  When it did, the cat would be out of the bag.  The folks at home would quickly realize that the rumors were true, and that a war was being fought.  Shortly there after, they would find out who the real enemy was and all hell would break loose.  For the moment, only military ships and personnel knew the truth, and not even all of them.  None of the governments had released the information to the public.
   'No matter how good the lies, this secret is going to be too big.  Yes, it is unusually quiet today."  Admiral Walters thought again as he tried to relax.

Also that day/Combat Vessel 7, Titania, Uranus

   Commander of Combat Vessel 7 monitored the progress of the evacuation.  The colony ship was nearly finished loading the last of the survivors from the moon's surface.  The three Patrol Vessels and their nine scout craft were involved in forming the mobile 'umbrella' covering the rescue.  If any of the enemy combat ships were in the area, or tried to intercede, they would be detected and destroyed.  
   The devastation on the surface of the moon was too precise, and the energy emissions from the ruins ruled out the weapons that this race typically used.  There had been short transmissions from Defense Station 3 before it was destroyed, reports of impacts in the absence of any inbound contacts.  Perhaps this race used some form of energy emitting weapon.  If so, it would seem to be a short ranged weapon, as its use against combat vessels had never been recorded.  It would not matter.  Combat Group 1 would find this race's homes and destroy them.  Just as this race had destroyed the helpless lives on this moon.
   As soon as the survivors were safely off this moon, Combat Group 1 would turn toward the inner planets of this system, and one by one clean any infestation from them.  Soon.....


July 7th  0450 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon wondered how long this assignment would last.  The 3rd Battle Group had been assigned to convoy escort duty.  'Not that I mind.' she thought, 'but this isn't going to last.  The repairs are complete, and soon they will give us another combat posting.'  The 1st Battle Group had 'reappeared' at the Pallas Colony about 3 hours ago.  Rumor had it they were a ship short of what they had left with.  The commercial channels were full of speculation over what was going on, and where the possibly 'missing' ship could be, and what it was up to.  Brenna knew that it wasn't going to return.  She had no firm reports of what had happened, but she knew.  No one who went beyond the belt and turned up ''missing' was ever coming home again.  That would raise the Pan Euro's losses to two Attack Escorts and two Armed Explorers.  Over two hundred crew.  Someone was going to start asking questions.
   She hoped that someone would actually have answers then, and not just guesses.
   "Admiral, we have Cargo Liners 012 and 137 on the sensor track.  Time till departure for Mercury, 3 minutes."
   "Thank you Petty Officer.  Helm, plot escort course and upload to my station."  Brenna turned back to monitoring the civilian channels, looking for something she wasn't sure of, but was sure she would know when she found it.


July 8th 1620 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan could almost feel his metallic and composite body relax as his ship settled into orbit.  He had been on edge ever since leaving, and had never worked so hard trying to plot the best and fastest course back to this red ball of dust and rock.  It had felt like hounds had been on his heels the whole way.  Mars Station packed more firepower than his whole Task Force, and with it near he felt safe.  For the first time in nearly a month, safe.
   Unlocking his station, he gave the order for the crew to stand down.  Soon they would dock with Mars Station, and begin resupply.  The crew would be hoping to get off the ship, but that wouldn't happen for days.  A great deal of debriefing, and many meetings, would have to take place before the crew would be allowed to step foot off the ship.  Most of the crew by now had heard that a new race had been discovered, and that wasn't something command would want talked about willy-nilly.  If at all.
   But he was home, after a fashion, and that was enough for now.  He decided as soon as he could, he'd write a note to his daughter to let her know that he was alive.  No business, just a chance to let her know he was still here, and looking forward to hearing from her.


   2240 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji checked progress reports.  The Missile Frigate Anhui had just finished with the installation of the new sensor system.  The function checks looked good.  The increase in range and sensitivity was impressive.  More than double the capabilities of the other ships in the group.  The only problem was the interface to the weapons station.  Calibrating the new returns for targeting solutions was slow and imprecise.  That would hopefully change as the crew grew more accustomed to the new system.
   The Missile Frigate Hubei was currently beginning the installation process for the new system.  It should go more quickly, as the work crews now had a better feel for what they needed to get done.   Next would be the Attack Frigate Hunan.  The last to undergo the 'upgrade' would be the Tung.  It had been decided that the Cruiser would be last, as it would be the most capable at defending itself should the US or Euro attack, even without the new system.  The smaller ships would have more to gain from the new system.  They were also more expendable should the new system prove to be less successful than projected.
   For the moment, it looked to be a valuable addition, and should prove to be a rude surprise for the US and Euro should they decide to challenge Chinese sovereignty.


July 11th 0210 hour/Heavy Interceptor Anastasia, Mercury Shipyards

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery had been briefed on the ship currently under construction at the Mercury Shipyards, but actually seeing the Pan Euro's newest combat vessel was a stirring sight.  She was fully twice the size of the Anastasia, and packed twice as many launch bays.  She should help tip the balance of power in future engagements against the Alpha Class ships this new race used.  Word had it that the Queen Elizabeth would clear the slip by the end of July, and that the 1st Battle Group would join her during the shakedown and training cruise.  It was a shame she hadn't been ready a few months earlier.  Perhaps the Victoria would still be here.
   More stirring was a quiet rumor that Liz would be transferring her flag to the Queen Elizabeth when she started operations.  To be the first Admiral to command her would be a great honor.  There were rumors that Rear Admiral Muldoon, or perhaps Admiral Kushnir would claim her as their flagship.  Liz was sure that Brenna was to junior of an officer to be placed on the Q.E.   Admiral Kushnir might transfer to the Q.E., but Liz doubted it.  The Red October was going to be the fastest ship in service for some time, and it allowed her to respond to situations more quickly than this ship would.  The Red October was also more flexible in deployment as a science vessel.  This ship was going to be a pure combat vessel.   Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat of 2nd Battle Group was the only other serving combat ship flag officer, and she had yet to receive a combat assignment.
   No, the Q.E. was going to be Liz's ship.

   0315 hours/Attack Escort Cynthia, Mercury Shipyards

   Commander Giovanni Vetra looked over the order again.  The Cynthia was to be assigned to the 1st Battle Group.  That could mean only one thing.  The Attack Escort Victoria was gone.  Whatever had destroyed the Boudicca had claimed the Victoria also.  Maybe the Anastasia and Mary Queen of Scots had been able to make it pay in blood for that victory.  He hoped so.
   Regardless, he was no longer commander of the 2nd Light Battle Group.  It was being disbanded.  The two Armed Escorts, the Louis and Cornwallis, would be performing convoy escort duties for the next few days as they made their way out to the Pallas Colony.  They would join the Red October and be the combat portion of a new science and survey group.  A rather heavily armed one.
   He didn't want command though.  He wanted to see whoever had murdered the 1st Light Battle Group brought low.  Whoever had killed his Rachel was going to pay for that.  He didn't want to die.  But if that's what it took to stop the killing...


July 17th 0735 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, near Pallas 2

   Admiral Jude Kushnir tried to calm her racing mind.  Her fingers were nervously and aimlessly tapping at the keys.  Her old habit was displaying itself with a vengeance.  The last few hours had been a blur of activity.  Now she had to think, and clearly.  Her next few choices would affect many more lives than those aboard her ship.  Too many lives had already been lost this day.  More were going to be.  But a mistake now....
   The Red October had been hit.  The plating and baffles had kept the impact from breeching the hull, but only by the smallest of margins.  She could still fight, but the next blast would rip through her.  Definitely cripple her.  Possibly destroy her.  By herself she was no match for what was chasing her.  In her current condition, she wouldn't last two minutes.  The only thing keeping her alive was her speed now.  For all of their power, the ships chasing her were no faster than a standard Pan Euro combat vessel.  The little scout craft they used had no chance of keeping up.  They had been left far behind.  It was only the largest of the ships now, all slicing through the asteroid field.  Darting by ship killing rocks and debris fields.  Risking death to escape, or catch their prey.
   Two hours ago a transmission had been picked up by the Red October.  A Chinese Civilian Heavy Lift Cargo Vessel was enroute to the Pallas Colony Distribution Depot for a routine pick up of ore.  The Chinese still honored the trade agreements of the Treaty of Serenitatis, and the arrival of a trade ship occurred regularly.  Ceres was only a few light minutes away from Pallas at the moment.  The freighter had reported contact with a small ships' boat and was requesting verification of ownership.
   Jude remembered authorizing the transmission to the Chinese ship.  Telling them to accelerate to their best speed and try to outrun the small craft.  Then losing the freighter's signal minutes later.  She wasn't sure if the ship had even had time to receive her transmission.
   She had ordered the three small science ships and the Mobile Shipyard to engage drives and make best speed for Earth.  The Chinese ship had been less than a light minutes from Pallas 2, and the danger was too great to risk the ships needlessly.  'They could always be ordered to return to the belt' she had told herself.  If only she had known.  But no, she wouldn't have done anything differently, even if she had known what was coming.
   The Red October, Louis, and Cornwallis had positioned themselves close to the surface of Pallas, trying to hide their presence.  She had sent orders for the colony to shut down all non-essential systems. Cut all broadcasts.  'Turn out the lights' as it were.  But the Distribution Depot wasn't going anywhere.  Even with all systems off line, it still floated in a slow orbit of the giant rock.  And it was obviously not a natural object.
   It had been twenty two minutes later when the single small craft had appeared on her sensors.  It was going to pass within 70,000 km of Pallas 2.  It would easily see the station floating in space near the great asteroid.  Then it would notice the colony there.  A colony of one million souls.  It could not be allowed that close.
   The Red October had launched on the small ship, but it was nimble.  The asteroids had clouded sensor returns, fooled terminal guidance systems.  Four separate missiles had detonated near the craft, but only the last made intercept.  The small craft had been over a light second from the colony, but it had over 30 seconds to broadcast what was happening.  It had only been a matter of time before the larger ship that carried it would arrive.  But the Red October and two Armed Explorers could handle an Alpha Class ship and protect the colony.  She had been sure of it.
   What had arrived wasn't one Alpha Class, it had been three.  The other ship with them didn't even have a designation yet.  It massed more than the Red October.  It was nearly equal in size to the ship Jude knew was being built at Mercury.  The Red October had detected the magnetic signature of the ships at just less than 8 light seconds.  The asteroids made detection even at that short range difficult.  They had come in slowly, circling the area where the small craft had been fired on.  They were just over 4 light seconds out when the small craft had come pouring at them.
   Ten of the small ships had made a bee line for the colony's location.  The group must have been able to detect the Depot station at that range, and had sent the small ships in to see what it was.  They were close enough for the Red October to see the four large ships on her scanners, but to far for the systems to plot targeting solutions through the rocks.
   When the small ships had closed to one light second, the entire group had opened fire and engaged drives.  Jude had no illusion of her chances, and had ordered her group to accelerate away from the enemy ships.  She had hoped to draw them away from the colony.  It had worked, to a degree.  The three Alpha Class had launched only once on the Distribution Depot as they passed it.  That had been enough to destroy it utterly.  The large ship was easily big enough to mount several launchers, but it only made single launches at her group.  The large ship and three smaller Alpha Class vessels had launched five salvos on her group.  Both the Louis and the Cornwallis had come apart after single intercepts by the enemy's missiles.  Even the Red October had taken a single impact as she came up to speed.  The return fire of her group had managed to collapse the field around one of the Alpha Class ships, but Jude couldn't stay within range to pit her two missiles against the launchers of these four alien ships.  She could only run.  But the ships had followed her, and not stayed to attack the colony.
   The cries for help, and distress calls, had come as a horrible shock.  The small craft that were left behind had begun deploying small munitions on the colony.  The bombs didn't have to be big to pack a nuclear payload.  The sealed habitats of the colony were terribly fragile in the face of such an attack.  The Red October had been able to detect 18 separate detonations across the surface before the range grew too far.  The few transmissions as the Red October had pulled away made it clear that at least 90 percent of the population had been killed.  Ninety percent of one million people.  The rest were doomed.
   The Red October was a good ship with a good crew, but she was damaged.  Her drives would likely give out long before her pursuers.  She would hit a rock, of burn out a particle accelerator.  The drive shield may give out if it was damaged too much in the attack.  She would need to do whatever she could in the next few minutes.  It would all be over after that.  The speed she was going made a clean transmission on a tightbeam impossible in this asteroid field.  The colony had broadcast on broadband waves though.  In less than an hour the Earth would hear the cries of the dying colony.  Know that a million people had died.  The secret was out now.  It was obvious that mankind would have to face this truth or perish.  She keyed the link to the communications officer.
   "Radio in the clear, no encryption.  Tell the Chinese at Ceres colony they are going to have visitors in the next few minutes.  If they have any warships there, to get them to battle stations now.  Then transmit everything we've got on these damned ships.  Tell them I'm going to lead them right to them.   And let them know to blow the bastards to hell."
   Ceres colony held nearly 3 million Chinese nationals by the last estimates the Pan Euro had.  They were also less than 3 light minutes away from Pallas now. These alien ships were going to find them soon enough.  Maybe if the Chinese knew they were coming, they might have a chance.  If she could lead the aliens into some ambush. She hoped the Chinese had something there to defend that colony.  She didn't want to be the one responsible for what would happen otherwise....
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2010, 01:56:38 AM »
July 2203 part 2

July 17th  0740hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres Colony orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji looked at the transmission that had just been translated and forwarded to his station.  A large number of transmissions had been intercepted, all originating from the area of the Pan Euro Colony on Pallas 2.  Some disaster was befalling the inhabitants of the colony.  Zhu couldn't understand any of the languages, but the fear was obvious.  Initial translations tended to indicate the colony was under attack.  That would bode poorly for the future.  If the US was willing to attack civilians in the belt, it would only be a matter of time until it spilled over onto Earth.  The loss of contact with Chinese registered Heavy Lift Freighter 02 in the area of Pallas Colony tended to indicate the US wasn't too worried about whether the Chinese became involved.
   "Admiral, you need to see this."  The Communications Officer, Xiao, seemed insistent.  He seldom spoke to the Admiral directly, using the proper channel of directing information to the Captain, and allowing the Captain to choose what was pertinent for a Flag Officer's review.  Zhu nodded to the Comm Officer, and then looked at the monitor as a new message translation was displayed.

   TRANSCRIPT AS FOLLOWS:
   THIS IS PAN EUROPEAN ARMED SCIENCE VESSEL RED OCTOBER ESF015
   ATTN COMMANDER CHINESE SPACE FORCES VICINITY OF CERES COLONY
   THIS VESSEL CURRENTLY AT 2.873 LM FROM CERES AT 238.6 DEGREE    
   +.03 DEGREE REFERENCE SOL
   CURRENT COURSE 55.2 DEGREE -.03 DEGREE REF SOL
   CURRENT VELOCITY 14966 KM/S REF CERES
   INTEND ENTER CHINESE SPACE
   PURSUED BY HOSTILE ALIEN VESSEL TIMES FOUR
   VESSELS RESPONSIBLE FOR DESTRUCTION PALLAS 2 COLONY
   ENGAGE AND DESTROY HOSTILE VESSELS
   DATA TRANSMISSION ON VESSELS TO FOLLOW

   "Xiao, it this translated correctly?  What do you mean 'alien'?  Do they mean 'foreign'?  Helm, plot their course and send it to my station."  Zhu looked at the Captain, who was busy sorting through a number of other translations on his own monitor.  If the Euro was leading US ships into Chinese space, they would be destroyed along with the ones pursuing them. Whatever was going on, it didn't make much sense.
   The plot of the Euro ship and its course appeared on Zhu's monitor.  'Damn, they will pass within 10 light seconds of the colony itself, and they will be here in less than an hour.  We will have to intercept them before they get that close.'  Zhu turned and locked his station.  "Comm, signal all ships to battle stations."
    Zhu watched the bridge as the moments passed.  The ships signaled all stations locked.  "Captain, order the Attack Frigates and the Armed Colony Ships to make intercept. Drive detonations authorized."  Zhu quickly sent the Euro ship's course plot and the intercept point he wanted to Captain Qin.  There would be time to worry about the details of the intercept shortly.  Right now he wanted the Sensor Officer's input on the data that was streaming in to the comm station, and then to his monitor. Zhu keyed the link to the sensor station and began the download of the data that was coming in.  "Sensor Conn, what do you make of these logs."
   "Admiral, I'm not overly familiar with the European data string, but the sensor returns seem similar to the new systems on the Missile Frigates.  I can identify some US and Euro ships on this first file, along with what has to be the planet Uranus and its moons. These other contacts, and what looks like some type of colony on a moon....  Admiral, I don't know what to make of them. Other than the fact that they are willing to shoot at both the US and Euro ships.  We could tune our sensors to look for this magnetic distortion, but I don't know what they are.  These files will take months to analyze, Admiral."  The Sensor Officer left the channel open, but silent.
   Zhu looked hard at the various translated transmissions on his monitor.  If these Euro transmissions were to be believed, these ships weren't human.  The Euro Admiral didn't say what they were, where they came from, or how they knew about them.  The files and transmissions could be fabricated, but it seemed unlikely.
   It didn't feel like a Euro ruse.  Why give away an attack by silencing a freighter early?  Why create all the false transmissions and warn your enemy of an approach?  Why not simply attack us when we were unprepared?  Perhaps they hoped to draw the ships away from the colony?  It didn't add up. Unless this European Admiral might be telling the truth.
   Zhu didn't like it, but this would have to take place within sight of Ceres itself.  They couldn't leave the colony unguarded.  They didn't have to be obvious though, and they didn't have to send all their ships.  The two Attack Frigates were quite capable of moving out to the point where the Euro ship indicated it would pass.  The two Armed Colony ships could join them.  Hiding in the debris fields near Ceres, they would be invisible until a hostile ship was within range of the powerful short ranged missiles that all four ships carried.  
   Zhu wished he had more time.  He'd had days to prepare for the battle at Jupiter.  Now he only had a few minutes to get his ships positioned and ready.  What happened in the next hour here at Ceres would likely decide the shape of the war to come for the Chinese people.

   0802 hours/Combat Vessel 7,Asteroid Belt

   The Commander of Combat Vessel 7 tracked the sensor returns of the 'fleeing ship'.  It was obvious from the initial readings that it could outrun the Combat Group if it chose to.  It had been tracked at a speed the group could not match.  Yet it still stayed just inside of sensor range.  It was obviously leading them somewhere.  That somewhere would have a number of this race's combat ships waiting.  That would be sure.  There was no other reason for this course of action.  
   The entire Combat Group could not be risked in this pursuit.   They would compensate for this ship's actions.   The Commander adjusted the fields of his station's panel.  Patrol Vessel 14 maintained its position in respect to the alien ship, while the rest of the group began to drop back.  Patrol Vessel 14's protective field generators had failed in the initial contact with the alien race. This race had tried to protect their colony, and failed.  The small scout craft had deployed the bombs that had proved so capable in the past.  Leaving the small craft behind had been regrettable, but they could return to pick them up later.  The small craft could survive for an extended time on their own.  
   Patrol Vessel 14 would be able to restore part of the protective field's function shortly, but for the moment it was the most expendable vessel of the group.  All the crews knew this was a battle group, and that they might be called upon to die for their race.  And that this was what had to be done.  He hoped they wouldn't have to make that sacrifice though.
   Combat Vessel 7 and the two other Patrol Vessels reached a point six light seconds behind the fleeing ship.  They were far enough back now that the enemy ship could no longer be tracked on Combat Vessel 7's sensors.  These asteroids created too much interference.  But Patrol Vessel 14 was able to keep track of the enemy, and transmit the data to the rest of the group.  Patrol Vessel 14 would also transmit when they made contact with additional enemy vessels.  It would then return to the group (hopefully), and together they would destroy this race's ships once again.


   0835 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, vicinity of Ceres

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji issued the order for the Missile Frigates Anhui and Hubei to stand down from Battle Stations.  The Tung would stay at general quarters for the next seven hours.  It would be longer if he could, but even a cyborgs' human components could tire if kept active for too long.  The human brain still needed to rest and sleep.  Sleep wouldn't come easy for some time though.  The 'alien' ships had been gone for fifteen minutes now, but the memories would haunt him for the rest of his life, Zhu thought.  In only two minutes, he had lost four ships.  Nearly twenty five percent of the Chinese Fleet was now fragments scattering through the asteroid belt.
   Zhu replayed the sensor record from the Jilin again.  It had broadcast right up to its last moments.  Initially the Pan Euro Red October had rushed past the two hidden Attack Frigates and Armed Colony Ships.  Then the second contact had appeared, rushing after the Euro vessel.  It had been obscured in some magnetic interference, but that hadn't stopped the rush of the Chinese short range missiles.  The Euro vessel had come about, probably to launch on the alien (he was sure it couldn't be human now) ship, but too late.  The six high speed missiles from the Chinese group had ripped the vessel apart.  Unbelievably, the ship had managed to launch a missile of it own, but the weapon had lost tracking shortly after the destruction of its mother ship.  
   The Jilin's sensors could not pick up the other vessels that the Euro ship had indicated were chasing it.   The Euro vessel continued a constant stream of transmissions, just as it had done during its entire trip to Ceres.  It was broadcasting the enemy's position, and had begun to try and move towards them.  It was here Zhu remembered keying in the orders for the group of four ships to accelerate at maximum rate towards the enemy ships' reported location.  The Tung and the two Missile Frigates had remained in an orbit of Ceres nearly brushing the surface.  
   Less than a minute later the three remaining alien ships had appeared on the Jilin's sensors.  Two were the size of the Euro's Heavy Escorts, the last somewhat bigger than the Attack Frigates.  Not as large as the Tung, but larger than anything the US or Euro claimed to be flying.  A first launch from the ships had destroyed the Armed Colony Ship Manchuria with only a single intercept!  The Attack Frigate Hunan had been crippled, with its long range missile bay and half of its particle accelerators down.  The return fire of the long range missile from the Jilin and two from the Euro ship had managed to cause one of the smaller ships to lose its strange magnetic signature.  The Euro ship had also accelerated to the speed that its government had bragged about, moving faster than anything Zhu knew about in the Chinese forces.  The next sixty seconds were a blur even on the Jilin's sensors.  The Hunan and Colony Ship Vietnam had broken up before they ever got in range to launch on the alien ships.  The Jilin and Red October had launched on the vessel that had lost its magnetic fields, and the strange ship had even cut out its engines and vented in response to the damage the missile detonations had caused.  But the exchange had left the Jilin crippled.  Its plating and baffles had been shredded before an inbound contact had even been identified.  How??!  A laser could damage a ship without a sensor contact, and at close range could even begin to rival the damage the long range missiles could cause with all safeties off.  But the Attack Frigates had been designed to withstand a near space detonation of the short range missiles.  It should have shrugged off a laser and continued to fight.  SEVERAL lasers.  The Jilin had been breached like its plating had been tissue paper.  The follow up missiles had gutted it.  Her captain had tried to bring the crippled ship about.  The Euro ship had continued to pour missiles back at the alien ships as it accelerated out of the area.  The Jilin had lost contact moments later.  That has been the last reported contact with the alien ships.
   'We destroyed one of their smaller vessels when we surprised it.  The others were outnumbered five to three, and destroyed every ship we had without losing a single ship more.  If they come back, I don't know if even the Tung, Anhui, and Hubei will be able to stop them from destroying the three million people on the colony here on Ceres.'
   Zhu keyed in for the tightbeam transmission to Venus of all the data he had gained.  And hoped the three alien ships didn't come back.
   But he knew, sometime, they would.


   1020 hours/Combat Vessel 7, dark side of the Asteroid Belt

   The Commander wondered if he had acted rashly.  Had it been a mistake to pursue the enemy ship?  Should they have broken off and continued looking for this race's homes.  No.  The ship he had followed would only have followed him.  Broadcast his position.  The ambush would still have occurred.  Perhaps with worse results.  Although that might be difficult to imagine.
   Patrol Vessel 14 had been destroyed rapidly by this race's weapons.  Patrol Vessel 16 had sustained so much damage that it would have never been able to survive the return trip.  There had been no other choice but to transfer the surviving crew and scuttle it.  With the loss of two ships, half of the group's scout craft had no landing bays.  The crews of six of the small craft had been transferred and the small ships destroyed.  His Combat Group had managed to destroy six enemy ships, but had lost two in the process.  It sounded like a victory, but if this race outnumbered them by more than three to one, then this was no victory.  The broadcast had already been made.  The elders would have to decide the next step.  It was time for Combat Vessel 7 and Patrol Vessel 15 to return home.


   1025 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October

   Admiral Jude Kushnir unlocked her station.  The two Alpha Class contacts and the 'Delta Class' contact had fallen behind over an hour ago.  The drive was showing the wear of the last few hours.  A slow cruise back to Earth might be all the overheated particle accelerators could handle without failing.  She knew her nerves couldn't handle much more.  She also knew that she would have a great deal to explain when she got back to Earth.  The open and unencrypted transmissions.  The loss of Pallas 2 colony.  The destruction of the Armed Explorers Louis and Cornwallis.  Not to mention two Chinese Strike Vessels and Colony Ships.  The intentional violation of Chinese space.
   No.  Jude was in no hurry to get home.


July 25th  2000 hours/Ceres Colony

   Jeng didn't like people.  He knew they didn't like him either.  He didn't care, so long as they left him alone.  When he had been on Earth, they had called him names.  Some of the other kids had even tried to hurt him.  The kids had called him retard, or weirdo.  The adults had said he was slow, or different - but not in a nice way.  The doctors had used big words he didn't understand.  He was sure that it all meant the same thing.
   He knew his mom loved him.  He wasn't quite sure what that was, but it meant that she hugged him and yelled at him.  It didn't make sense, but it was supposed to be a good thing.  That was why she said she had moved them to this new home.  He hadn't liked coming here, but she said maybe they wouldn't be mean to him so much.  They still weren't nice here either.
   But there was a good thing here.  His mom said they made more money.  He wasn't sure what that meant, but it did seem to mean he got more things to play with.  He liked the things, and helped her find ones he liked.  On Earth he only had little things to look in the sky, and they didn't work good.  Here he had much better thing to look at the sky.  Some could even see things he couldn't.  He liked his things.  And his mom let him spend all the time he wanted to with them.
   A few days ago, his things had picked up strange things in the sky.  He had seen ships come and go, even on Earth.  But these were different.  And someone had been talking a lot on a radio.  It didn't make sense at first.  The words were funny.  He always had problems with words.  There had been numbers too.  He liked numbers.  He liked them as much as he liked looking at the sky.
   The numbers had been different.  But a pretty kind of different.  He had stayed up for days trying to figure out the pretty numbers. His mom had told him to sleep, but he couldn't.  Not until he knew how the numbers were pretty.
   Then he found it.  The pretty bubble the numbers made.  The pretty bubble his things could see around the strange new ships.  The ships that had come and gone so quickly.
   He had been so excited.  He even showed his mom.  She had always tried to act like she liked the things he saw and found.  He didn't think she really did, but she said she did - so he showed her.  She didn't act like she liked it this time.  She acted scared.  Real scared.  Like he felt when the other kids hurt him.  She had looked, but she was scared.
   The next day, funny men that weren't men had come and talked to his mom.  They had said funny things.  They had even looked at the things he had found.  Then they had talked to him.  He didn't understand much, but they had said they would come back with more numbers.
   He really liked the numbers and looking at the sky.  He hoped they would come back with more numbers soon.


July 28th  0430 hours/US Space Station

   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan looked over the data again.  She wondered if anyone else had noticed the tiny anomalies on the data transmitted by the Pan Euro Red October while it had been in Chinese Space.  It was obvious the Pan European Admiral was trying to assist the Chinese by broadcasting the readings her ship was taking, as the Red October most likely mounted far more sophisticated systems than what the Chinese ships carried.  It hadn't helped the Chinese much.  They had lost every ship that had engaged these alien aggressors.  Everyone now knew of the destruction of Pallas 2 Colony, and that it wasn't anything human that was responsible.  In all the uproar and meetings to cope with the public outcry and concern, analysis of the data had taken a back seat.  At this point in time though, Meagan had a few moments to herself.  She also had a 0600 briefing for Admiral Walters.  She needed to know what was in that data stream the Red October had sent.
   At first it had looked like a normal engagement.  Further analysis seemed to show damage to both of the Chinese Strike Vessels prior to the alien missiles making intercept.  It might have been a beam weapon.  If it was, the power output made even the advanced US Laser Output Couplers and Capacitors look puny.  Three to six times the on target energy at ranges the US lasers couldn't reach.  It seemed unreal, but so did everything about this new race.  Then as Meagan had run the magnetic analysis, a few blips had shown up.  They were very weak, almost sensor ghosts.  The asteroids made analysis very difficult.  Many of the asteroid debris fields in the area also had radioactive decay signatures that clouded any returns.  But two had occurred just before the Strike Vessels had suffered impacts with no intercepts.
   Meagan then began to sort the data for any of these 'sensor ghosts'.  She weeded out a number of false readings, and managed to come up with three more of the anomalies.  All near the Red October as she disengaged from the alien ships.  Resolving the sensor returns had been a chore.  The 'blip' finally resolved into a tiny magnetic signature attached to an object not more than 5 cm across, 45 cm long, and weighing a few kilos at most.  Awfully small to resolve, even without the asteroid field to interfere.  What had made it almost invisible hadn't been its size though.  It was the fact that it had passed the ship at 98.7 percent of the speed of light.
   The next to last one had passed within 10m of the Red October.  They never knew how close they had come to being destroyed.
   Admiral Walters would be interested in this.  Not happy, but interested.  This war only seemed to get worse.



/////////////////////////////
Overview

Sorry it took a bit.  Someone must have had a real big party about 9 months ago because we have been swamped with babies.  Glad I wasn't there.

This month came as a rude shock for the Euro and China (my wife and middle boy).
For the Euro
The destruction of the two little ships was no big deal.  Almost losing her flag ship and senior admiral shook her a little.  Losing 2% of her income with the destruction of the colony definitely hurt. At the rate she had been colonizing the belt, it would take her 20 turns to recoup.  She decided (and told me) that this wasn't going to be a 'nice' game.  'Dirty' was the word I think was used.  There really didn't seem to be a good point to the month for the Euro.
For China
The loss of his last colony ships and the two attack frigates hurt.  That, along with paying for the CFN FT lost was going to take a lot of time and resources to rebuild.  The middle boy also realized he was probably the only Ind 2 player left, with the smallest fleet (other than his oldest sister), and little hope of making up ground.  His ships he had hoped to leave in the belt where their short sensor range might not be such a disadvantage had been trashed.
His one silver lining was a lucky roll on an attempt at a random breakthrough.  He paid for just one, and actually got it.  All the players have to keep a list of no less than six areas they would like a breakthrough to occur, and I randomly roll which one they get.  He just happened to get shields out of all 'wish list'.  What he didn't have was going to be the excess of cash to research a technology higher in level than he was - along with rebuild his crippled fleet.  Tough decision.  He surprised me with the solution he came up with for month 8 (August).
For the US and FSC
The oldest boy and girl got a free ride for the month, and after hearing what happened to their mom and brother were glad of it.  Both had small fleets and couldn't afford the losses that China and the Euro had soaked.  

The Nemotians Combat (Destroyer) Vessel mounted a single plasma launcher, and a single kinetic weapon.  I know that you are supposed to have a drive field to use a K type weapon, but that is to penetrate another drive field protected ship.  When nobody uses that tech, well....   A race that is good with magnetics and cryo super conductors OUGHT to have been able to create a particle accelerator/mass driver that would work, and work well.  The players didn't like the fact that it filled in the bad guys gaps in weapon coverage.  They had figured out that the Plasma Torpedoes were weak up close or at the end of their range.  The K weapon compliments that gap quite well with an almost double the chance to hit at close and long ranges.  The damage was pretty hard to shrug off also.  The players were maybe a little miffed.
But anything gotten easy is taken for granted, and a dear victory is well savored.

For those curious about the ships, the Chinese Attack Frigates Hunan and Jilin and Armed Colony Ships Manchuria and Vietnam are identical to those used at the First Battle of Jupiter's Moons.  The Red October and Armed Escorts Louis and Cornwallis are identical to earlier ships listed of that class.  As are the Patrol Vessels #14,15,16.  The new one is the Combat Destroyer.

Combat (Destroyer) Vessel 7      Class:  DD      30HS
[2]S S S A A H Qa (BbS) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  gig x3

And for those who were thinking it, my family also thought after the first shock of a K weapon that it wouldn't be that bad.  They would simply maneuver around its limited ability to target another vessel.  It was the middle boy (China) who pointed out - since he was already looking at the big ships in the near future in his fleet - that any ship from explorer to heavy cruiser would have the same speed and turn radius with the engines they were using.  A heavy cruiser dog fighting with the corvettes didn't appeal so much anymore when the big ship could maneuver just as well as the little one.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2010, 02:44:34 AM »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

 

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