Author Topic: Nemesis Campaign  (Read 15080 times)

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Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2010, 07:05:53 AM »
September 2203

September 1st  0820 hours/Patrol Vessel 17

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 sensed the drive engage and felt the acceleration of the ship. Combat Group 2 was complete now.  Six Patrol Vessels, two Combat Vessels, and Assault Vessel 2.  They would spend time now cruising through space towards their destination.  They were bound for the inner system.
   First they would pass by the planet where first contact with the new race had been made, and where the small colony had been destroyed by the enemy race.  They would then proceed to bend their course off of its gravity and continue on to the great gas giant of this system.  The race had been detected and fought here.  The Commander remembered the battle he had fought amongst the moons of that planet and the small scout craft that had been destroyed.  It had been his first time facing the new race.  It had been a draw, with Patrol Vessel 17 withdrawing without permanent damage, and the native race had held the planet and its moons.  His second contact had been less successful, and remembering the death of the colony at the hands of this strange race still caused him to emanate waves of hatred that the crew could sense.  But they had been there also.  Many among the crew shared his anger.
   The great planet would bend their course again until they would pass through this system's debris belt near where the latest conflict with the new race had been fought. Two more Patrol Vessels had been lost in that engagement.  The Combat Group would search to see if the native race had holdings in that area before moving on.  The next stop would be the closest planet at that time.  It was the third one in distance from the star in this system.  They would then pass the fourth and second most distant as they bent the Group's course around the star.  They would make a pass by the innermost planet before turning back out system.  They had ample supplies, but would not be able to linger indefinitely in the inner system.  After the sweep of the inner planets, they would have to return.
   The Commander hoped they would find the home or homes of this race.  He would enjoy seeing them destroyed.


September 3rd  1600 hours/Beijing, China

   Minister Po toured the research facility.  The day had been nothing but tours, well into the night.  He hoped that it was nearly finished.  The progress on the industrial expansion was admirable, and necessary in light of the alien threat.  The progress on the research into the alien field technology was less inspiring.  The facilities were simply too limited to do much of what was required, without going through large, and expensive, modifications to accommodate the necessary systems.  Personnel were also difficult to find with the required skills and background.  Po was sure that most countries would find themselves at a loss to come up with experts in the fields of the alien's technology, so China was no worse off than any other government in that respect.
   Tomorrow would see a sub orbital flight in a cargo lifter.  Po knew that the lifter was 'scheduled' to drop off parts and pick up equipment at the Queensland Corporation Center.  Actually it was to allow him to tour the facility that the FSC was using to research this same technology.  Hopefully they were having greater success than what the facilities in Beijing were showing.  Regardless, it would be a long time, and many visits, before this system would be fully developed.
   When it was, it would change the face of space warfare for all the governments of the Earth.


September 6th  0020 hours/Kestrel, Ceres Colony Distribution Station

   The Dutchman monitored the progress of the docking between the Kestrel and the Mary Reed.  The Kestrel was to drop off supplies for the Mary Reed and Marie Celeste, but she would also allow The Dutchman a chance to transfer to the ships that would be staying here in Chinese Space.  Not that he liked the idea of staying here under the Chinese Government's nose, but the Cartel had given him no choice.  The pay wasn't bad for a babysitting job either.  So long as the aliens didn't show up.  Of course if they did, it looked like even they might be in for some problems of their own.
   The Dutchman had never seen a ship as large as the one on the display now.  It was obviously Chinese in design, but it dwarfed even the large Euro Q.E. in Earth orbit.  It was just huge.  The two Strike Vessels with it made the group only more formidable.  All three of the FSC's armed ships together would have no chance in a battle against that monstrous ship.
   Yes, babysitting with that monster nearby to crush any alien problems sounded like easy money.


September 11th  2345 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Titania orbit, Uranus

   The Commander tried to control his rage at sensing the ruins on the moon below, but it was almost impossible.  He could feel his crew struggling also.  The other ships nearby radiated the magnetic waves of their crews.  Hate, anger, disgust.  The race that had caused this would be made to pay.  
   Sensor returns indicated none of the enemy's vessels were near this planet.  A sweep by the scout craft failed to find any in the space nearby.  The Combat Group engaged their drives and set course for the giant planet closer to the inner system.  The native race had been found there also, but not lately.  They were slowly being forced into the inner system, and likely closer to their home.  Soon the Combat Group would find that home.  Then this race would cease to exist.


September 18th  1205 hours/Science Vessel Discovery, Mars Transfer Station

   Captain Jeremy Leffler looked over the itinerary of the Discovery for the rest of the month.  They had just finished escorting a civilian colony ship to Mars, and were now drawing supplies at the Mars Transfer Station.  The US Task Force 1 was conducting training at the moment, and their maneuvers caused constant sensor returns to pop up on Jeremy's monitor.  He simply keyed them off as they showed up.  He didn't want to override the inputs, for fear that the aliens actually showed up.  It wasn't likely, and the Space Station, Ground Monitoring Stations, and ships of Task Force 1 would all be aware of alien movements.  They would notify the Discovery, but Jeremy wasn't interested in overriding those returns yet.
   The Discovery was still assigned to Convoy Escort duty, although it was obvious now after reviewing the data and reports that they would have little chance in combat against an alien ship.  At best they would slow down an alien pursuit of the freighters they were to accompany.  It was going to be a large group this time.  Four civilian cargo carriers and a single passenger liner with 50,000 colonists bound for the Euro portion of the belt.  All the ships were US registered, but would take business from anyone willing to pay the fee.  Regardless, for the next several days the Discovery would accompany them.  It would be a slow trip as the passenger liner was limited to less than three percent of the Discovery's standard acceleration.  They would take time to come up to speed.  They would also be very vulnerable if the aliens were to attack.
   It seemed so strange for a Science Vessel to be a convoy escort, but times were hard.  Jeremy settled back into his station and waited for the resupply to be completed.


September 23rd  0005 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, dark side of the Asteroid Belt

   The Combat Group was now only 15 light seconds from the main belt of rocks and ice that drifted through this system between the largest planet and inner rocky planets.  The Commander of Assault Vessel 2 had ordered the group to decelerate until they matched the orbital speed of the majority of the debris nearby.  The native race seemed to make homes amongst the rocks and ice.  The immense amount of debris would make finding the enemy more difficult.  It was also ideal for the native race to set ambushes in, as had been seen in the attack on Combat Group 1.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 ordered his three scout craft to launch.  The Commander could sense the other Patrol and Combat Vessels doing the same.  The 24 small craft formed up in a tight formation and set off toward the debris.  Orders came from the Assault Vessel for Patrol Vessels 6 and 9 to follow and support the scout craft.  The Commander could sense the two ships engage their drives and follow the scout group.  He monitored the group through Patrol Vessel 17's sensors as they reached the debris field and began to fan out.
   They were going to move through the debris toward where the ambush of Combat Group 1 had occurred.  If the enemy maintained a staging area for combat vessels in this area, it was to be located.  The Combat Group would then destroy it, and any ships or habitats this race had here.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could sense the waves of anticipation and fear ripple through the ship.  The ship and its crew had fought this race before.  They knew as well as any that this race could be dangerous.  It had to be exterminated.  And that it would not perish without a fight.


   0455 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, dark side of the Asteroid Belt, 8 light minutes from Ceres

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon kept a close eye on the sensor returns.  The three cargo liners she was guarding had no tightbeam communication system, and the only way to keep track of them was to monitor them closely.  Messages were passed by ship's boat only.  Broadcasts would alert alien ships to the group's presence. Brenna had been assigned convoy escort duty for months now, but the regulations gave her a great deal of leeway in how she conducted her operations.  In fact, there was very little spelled out in black and white about how to conduct escort ops.  She had spent most of her time over the last two months plotting routes along the asteroid belt, and developing communication protocols for the various Battle Groups to study and employ.  Brenna knew it would be hard to give up all the years she had spent as a trainer, or maybe impossible.  She enjoyed teaching too much.  She knew the civilians hated her for putting them behind schedule, but they had no choice.
   She plotted courses so a group would navigate the belt until they approached their destination.  They would then move out of the belt and bee line for wherever they were going.  During the trip, the freighters would always remain inside the belt to better disguise their sensor returns, while the 3rd Battle Group would operate several light seconds outside of the debris fields.  This allowed the Battle Group to best use their sensor suites, and made them the easiest sensor targets.  Alien ships would hopefully spot the Battle Group, and fail to see the freighters.  The 3rd Battle Group would move off or engage the alien ships, while the civilian vessels would slip away in the asteroid fields. So far they had never had to test it, but it was the best plan she had managed to devise.
   "Admiral, we have a new contact.  Bearing two four one degrees, minus 6 degrees ascension.  Distance to contact eight point two five light seconds.  Sensor returns confirm contact as US Science Vessel.  Course plots transferring to your monitor."  The Sensor Officer was already locking his station.  The rest of the bridge crew began to follow suit.  
   "Helm, bring us to a stop with relation to the contact.  Comm, attempt tightbeam comm link with target."  Brenna knew that the US had a convoy due to pass through the area, and it was possible they were using this ship as an escort.  It might be on other business or enroute out system.  The Pan Euro and US were enjoying good political relations at the moment, but that didn't mean US ships could come and go as they pleased.  It was in Euro Space and would need to account for itself.
   Brenna waited as time passed.  It was only a minute before the comm link lit up on her monitor.

   THIS IS US SCIENCE VESSEL DISCOVERY, CAPTAIN J LEFFLER.
   CURRENTLY ESCORTING CIVILIAN CONVOY REGISTER NO.  12647.
   DESTINATION HYGIEA COLONY.
   CONVOY BEARINGS TO FOLLOW.
   REQUEST PERMISSION TO ENTER PAN EUROPEAN SPACE.

   Brenna nodded to herself.  It was the US convoy.  They must also be using the belt to hide their civilian ships and employing other ships as sensor bait. Brenna keyed in a response granting the US ship permission to proceed.  They were still quite a ways from their destination, and would likely have to leave the belt when they reached the section under Chinese control around Ceres.  Checking the convoy position and manifest as it came through she noted a passenger ship with a full load of colonists.  All bound for Pan Euro Hygiea Colony.  She keyed in a second note for transmission.

   GOOD LUCK.


   0725 hours/Science Vessel Discovery, Asteroid Belt, 6.75 light minutes from Ceres

   Captain Jeremy Leffler felt that he was finally over the shock of meeting the Pan Euro 3rd Battle Group.  It had been a rude surprise when the transmission had come in.  It definitely showed that the Discovery's sensor suite was aged compared to the newest generation.  Jeremy knew that the Mk IIa's had upgraded their sensor equipment months ago.  He hoped it was as good as the Euro's.  It had convinced him to change his tactics in escorting.  Sitting out in the open didn't seem so good if everyone could see you, but you couldn't see them.  After rechecking the reports on engagements with the alien Alpha Class ships, Jeremy realized that they were firing on each other at ranges his sensor suite couldn't even resolve a ship at.
   Since then he had closed the gap with the freighters.  If fired on, he would just have to charge the enemy ships while the civilian ships ran for it.  Not much of a strategy, but all he would be able to manage.  The entire group's best hope was to avoid detection in the first place.
   His thoughts were cut short.  A red light flashed on his monitor.  Contact. He accessed the sensor data even as the Sensor Officer reported.
   "Captain, single contact designating as One at one point seven light seconds. Bearing two two seven plus one zero.  Course upload to your station sir.  Appears to be some form of small ship's boat or lifter."
   Jeremy looked at the returns.  The little boat was moving toward them.   It wasn't reacting to their presence, and wouldn't catch them at its current speed.  He remembered the aliens used small craft in several of the encounters to date.  Might just be a Euro miner out prospecting.  Maybe not.
   "Captain, second contact designating as Two.  Bearing three three zero plus nine.  Parallel course and velocity to Contact One."  Jeremy watched as the Sensor Officer looked back at him from his station.  This wasn't a mining sortie.
   "Lock stations.  Comm, broadcast to the convoy to continue on current course at best acceleration.  Open broadcast our position and contact data.  Request assistance.  Helm, engage drive when all stations clear.  Bring us sixty degrees port.  Weapons crew, get me a firing solution on Contact One."  The Discovery didn't have the latest sensors, but the laser battery on board was state of the art.  Whether it could target something that small effectively was anyone’s guess.  He hoped it could.
   His monitor registered the stations locked and then the drive engaged.  The grey blue haze set in as the ship tore forward, then vanished as the drive dropped so maneuver thrusters could correct.  Jeremy saw the prompt on his screen that a solution had been plotted.  He keyed the command to fire.


   0727 hours/Patrol Vessel 6, Asteroid Belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 6 ordered all scout craft to come about.  Three of the small ships had lost contact already.  None had reported any enemy contact at all.  Whatever was destroying the scouts was giving their sensors no time to see an inbound, and was too far or too small to register.  Patrol Vessel 6 had been assigned 12 of the craft.  Losing three was unpleasant, but not unexpected.  The little things had many uses, but in a war were expendable.  Much quicker to build, and using far less resources than any other space going ship, they would be used to locate the enemy.
   The Commander altered the field on his station's panel and felt the drive engage.  The ship's sensors still weren't registering any contacts, but the scouts had been five light seconds ahead.  Sensor readings at that distance were clouded by so many false contacts that they were meaningless.  
   No.  A ship drive was being tracked.  The false contacts were making a constant sensor lock impossible, but the intermittent readings were enough to plot a course and speed.  Whatever it was, it was accelerating.  It had passed beyond the line of scouts, and would pass between Patrol Vessel 6 and 9 soon.  It was already moving to fast to intercept, and the poor sensor quality made a targeting solution impossible.  The weapon would wander off on one of the false returns.  Following the enemy ship seemed unwise.  The enemy race had used this ploy to position an ambush already.  
   If the group continued on its current course, the enemy vessel may have broadcast Patrol Vessel 6's course.  An ambush could be waiting if they followed the enemy ship.  Or continued on.  Patrol Vessels 6 and 9 would have to alter course, but would not follow the contact.  A report was transmitted to the Assault Vessel, but would take some time to reach it.  A reply would take even longer.


   0730 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna,  9.25 light minutes from Ceres

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon quickly read through the transmission from the Discovery.  She quickly plotted the course the alien scouts had been on.  They were far astern.  She keyed orders for the ship's boat to launch. It would carry orders for the freighters to engage drives in ten minutes. They would accelerate to 4500 kilometers per second for the next two hours. They were to move to maximum acceleration if they encountered any contacts.  
   "Helm, plot a course to intercept the Discovery.  Comm, let the Attack Escorts know that we need to spread out.  Interval of 8 light seconds.  That US ship will be hard enough to spot.  We will be able to sweep more area if we don't park one on top of the other.  Lets see if we can find her."
   Adding the US ship to her group would help.  Her monitor showed that the destroyed alien ships would have eventually crossed with Ceres.  The little ships couldn't be out here alone.  Whatever was with them might still stumble across the Chinese colony.  And who knew what was with them.
   "Lock stations.  All ships to general quarters."  Then, thinking of the destruction of the Pallas Colony, "Comm, tightbeam to Hygiea Colony.  Let them know we may need the 2nd Battle Group.  Then let the Chinese know we are coming."  
   'We don't need them shooting at us also', Brenna thought.  'I have a bad feeling we are going to be shot at enough today.'


   0735 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres Colony orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji locked his station.  The US and Euro transmissions had just been translated.  It could be anywhere from two hours to twelve hours before ships reached Chinese Space.  There simply wasn't enough information to be sure.  Keeping the crews on alert that long would be terribly fatiguing.  He would wait for at least two hours before he ordered general quarters.  After that, the wait would begin.  The Missile Frigates were still testing their sensor equipment and training with it.  Prepared or not, they would have to use it.  
   "Comm, translate for the two FSC vessels here.  Let them know we may have need of their weapons before this day is out."
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2010, 05:21:03 AM »
September 2203  part 2  (The Battle of Ceres)

September 23rd  0749 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters reviewed the transcripts of the messages the Discovery had transmitted.  There was nothing he could do.  People would be clamoring for some sort of action, but the closest help was the Task Force here at Earth.  Moving them was not an option.  The next closest was Jack Ryan's group at Mars, but at best speed they would still take over 8 hours to reach the area the Discovery was now in.  They would likely burn out the engines of at least one of the ships on the trip if they tried it.  No, the Discovery was on her own.  He keyed into his monitor for the crew list and convoy number, just in case.
   The display showed a passenger liner with 50,000 on board.  Admiral Walters keyed the intercom.
   "I need the Euro Space Station on a comm link.  Attention Admiral Kushnir."


   0807 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir reviewed the transmissions and messages she had on her monitor.  The US was asking for assistance in rescuing a passenger liner by supporting the US Science Vessel Discovery out in the belt.  Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon had made a transmission to Hygiea Colony that she was moving toward where the Discovery was already.  Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery was stationed at Hygiea and requesting guidance on deployment of the 2nd Battle Group - were they to remain at the colony, or assist 3rd Battle Group.
   Too much was happening, and Jude knew at this distance any decision she made would reach its recipients based on a situation over 45 minutes old.  She keyed in orders for Elizabeth to use her best discretion in the disposition of 2nd Battle Group.  As for 3rd Battle Group, there wouldn't be any stopping Brenna now.  She would already be wherever she was going by the time any message reached her.


   0809 hours/Science Vessel Discovery, 8.5 light minutes from Ceres

   Captain Jeremy Leffler was actually relieved to have been 'surprised' by the Pan Euro 3rd Battle Group.  The transmission from Rear Admiral Muldoon had left him a little less excited though.  She had ordered him to join her group.  Could she actually do that?  Not that he had much choice.  Jeremy knew he was in Pan Euro space, and the 3rd Battle Group could destroy his ship from farther out than he could even detect them.
   The Discovery was now just off the flank of the Attack Escort Catherine.  The course they were on, and the speed they were going,  would take them right back into the small craft he had just escaped from.


   0815 hours/Assault Vessel 2, dark side of the Asteroid Belt

   The Commander of Assault Vessel 2 transmitted the orders for Patrol Vessels 6 and 9 to return to their original course.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 6 was correct that this would likely place them in harms way.  It was obvious that the enemy valued this area of the debris fields, and regularly placed combat vessels here.  That meant somewhere they would likely find more fleet elements or a base.  In that event, the Patrol Vessels were to withdraw, and attempt to lure a pursuit.  Combat Group 2 would destroy any ships following the Patrol Vessels, and then move to destroy any stationary elements.  
   But first they needed the enemy's ships to reveal themselves.


   1410 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, 3.23 light minutes from Ceres

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon checked the sensor returns on her monitor.  It was definite that at least one alien ship was almost dead ahead.  The magnetic field glared out through even the asteroid field's distortion.  It also appeared that they were unaware of the 3rd Battle Group following them.  They were making no attempt to change either their heading or speed.
   Brenna keyed in the orders for maximum combat acceleration.  She wanted to come in as close to dead astern of the contacts as she could.  
   She just hoped there weren't to many of them.  


   1418 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, 3.21 light minutes from Ceres

   Brenna unlocked her station and stood on the deck.  She had ordered emergency repairs on all vessels.  She had authorized the tightbeam transmission to Hygiea Colony and 2nd Battle Group of the situation, and that all ships except the Isabelle were standing down from General Quarters for the next hour.  They had gotten the jump on two of the alien Alpha Class vessels, but they hadn't gone down without a fight.
   The alien ships had been separated by almost 2 light seconds when the 3rd Battle Group had reached a range that the sensors could distinguish individual contacts.  Both of the alien ships had started to come about, but the first salvos from the 3rd Battle Group had left the nearest contact without its protective fields, and venting damage.  The Discovery had bore straight in and actually fired before the 3rd Battle Group's missiles had made intercept.  The fact that the alien ship started venting almost immediately had made Brenna take notice.  Whatever the fields were, they didn't do much to stop a laser.
   The aliens didn't seem to like that though, and the first launch had savaged the US ship.  It had managed to fire twice more as it limped away, but it wasn't fit for combat at the moment.  The 3rd had finished off the first contact, and then turned on the second Alpha Class.  It had started to turn away even before the first Alpha had been destroyed.  What followed had then turned into a long-range duel.
   The Alpha had lost its protective fields over the first minute of the exchange, but Brenna had ordered the Catherine to drop back after the second launch from the alien ship had ripped through her hull and left her crippled.  The next two minutes had seen a number of exchanges, with the Alpha failing to make any successful intercepts while it had slowly been pounded by the launches of the Tatianna and Isabelle.  At the end the alien ship had been coasting through the asteroid field, its drive having failed.  Even so, its last launch had managed to tear into the Tatianna even as the Alpha was destroyed.  
   'Two of the alien ships have been destroyed, but my Battle Group is pretty much out of the fight.  Over half of our payload of missiles are gone, and three of the four ships are badly in need of repairs.' Brenna moved to see if she could help with any of the repairs.  
   She hoped this was all that the aliens had in the area.

   
   1428 hours/Assault Vessel 2, dark side of the Asteroid Belt

   The Commander of Assault Vessel 2 ordered the Combat Group to begin moving toward the area where the engagement with Patrol Vessels 6 and 9 had occurred.  They would have to be presumed destroyed.  The last transmissions had indicated that they were engaged with four enemy vessels, and had damaged at least two of them.  That was the last they had broadcast.
   The scout craft had scattered.  Reports were that they had not detected the enemy craft at all.  If the enemy had been aware of them, they would surely have begun hunting them down.  The scouts could still be useful to identify further targets.  He adjusted the fields at his station to relay the message to the scout craft to continue their sweep.  
   The enemy had to be nearby.  If only they could be pinned down and engaged.


   1705 hours/Mary Reed, Ceres orbit

   Contact warnings flashed on his monitor.  Multiple contacts!  The Dutchman wheeled his station about to lock it, and keyed the sensor returns through to his display.  They were close, and small.  Three of them, no four.  They would be on top of the colony before the ship would be able to lock stations.
   "Get me firing solutions, NOW!"  The stations didn't have to be locked to fire the laser battery.  He could feel the ship hum as the capacitors charged.  The sensors tracked several of the Chinese fast missiles as they tried to intercept the small, nimble targets.  The Mary Reed's laser discharged, but the small craft kept coming.
   Damn it.  The computers weren't programmed to engage targets like this.  Twice more The Dutchman watched as the capacitors discharged, with no effect.  The missiles of the huge Chinese ship were only a little more effective, destroying one of the small ships as they streaked by.
   The Dutchman thought about ordering a pursuit.  The small ships would never be able to outrun the Mary Reed and Marie Celeste.  It was too late though.  The location would have been broadcast.  For all he knew, the Mary and Marie would be following the alien ships into an ambush.
   No, all he could do was wait.  And let the weapon crews know that if they didn't work on the targeting program fast, they would wish the enemy had killed them before this was over.


   1729 hours/Ceres Colony,  Huangdi Habitat

   Colonel Liang gave the order. "Fire!"  The surface of the asteroid lit up as every trooper in the 18th Powered Armor Brigade fired into the darkness above.  With the low surface gravity, even small arms would have escape velocity.  The tungsten and bismuth projectiles would have little effect, but enough might bring down one of the alien ships.  For the last two minutes the Tung, Anhui, and Hubei had let lose with everything they had.  Flashing stars appeared and died in fractions of a heartbeat.  The FSC ships were up there also.  Whether they were having any luck was anybody's guess.
   "Sir, we have fifteen tangos inbound. Orders?"
   Colonel Liang keyed the comm open.  "MLOW's track and fire on any targets."  The small missiles would deploy hundreds of small charges that would track and detonate as any ship came near.  The large ships were fairly safe from the small EFP's, but small craft could be destroyed by the one kilo chunks of copper moving at several kilometers per second.  They were meant to engage enemy armor, but could be used to try and destroy the  small ships if they committed to bombing runs.
   The sky was criss-crossed by hundreds, then thousands of small trails.  Bomblets flashed as small craft flashed across the sky. The bright flashes as ship-launched missiles detonated over the surface caused the Colonel to flinch.  'Damn they are cutting it close.'  The darkening of the lights in the habitat behind him was proof the civilians weren't hardened against the EMP.  
   The ground was ripped away from him as his screen blacked out.  The left side of his armor felt painfully hot and vertigo swept over him as his armor bounced along the icy surface.
   He stopped hard against a solid surface and used his chin to operate the filters on his helmet.  The HUD showed a few small leaks, but he had several minutes before they would become an issue.  He pulled the tape patches from his right leg and started fixing what leaks he could see.  
   As he looked up, he could see the habitat wasn't blacked out anymore.  The glow of orange and blue balls of fire lit the wreckage that had held 100,000 people only moments ago.


   1731 hours/Heavy Escort Rebecca, near Hygiea Colony, Asteroid Belt

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery switch off the all ships comm link.  The orders were given.  Now she would have to hope she had done the right thing.  The broadcasts from Ceres Colony in Chinese space were horrifying.  Nearly a third of the habitats were destroyed.  Others damaged badly.  None of the Chinese ships had been damaged, but they had expended almost half of their on hand ordinance in defense of the civilians.  
   Elizabeth knew that it wasn't her responsibility to guard the Chinese colonists, but they were people.  Just like the ones that had been on Pallas.  And she wasn't going to let them die if she could help it.  She locked her station as the ship prepared for acceleration.
   She hoped Brenna would understand.  Damaged or not, she had ordered the 3rd Battle Group to make best speed for the Chinese Colony.  They would help however they could.  For as long as they could.
   If they could.

   1737 hours/Patrol Vessel 17,  Asteroid Belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel the thrill and anticipation of the crew.  Another victory.  Costly, but a victory.  Eighteen of the 21 scout craft had perished in the attack, but the enemy home had been heavily bombed.  It was now time to finish the job.
   Transmissions had indicated the enemy had five combat ships near the colony, and that one massed close to that of the Assault Vessel.  That had to be an exaggeration born of the excitement of battle, or clouded sensor returns.
   Regardless, the Combat Group had changed course.  Hunting crippled enemy ships could wait.  They had a better target now.


September 2203  part 3

September 23rd  2045 hours/Heavy Escort Rebecca, Near Ceres Colony

   Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat reviewed the latest transmission she had received.  For once it was good news.  The Queen Elizabeth was enroute with Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery onboard.  They were still two and a half hours out, but at least help was coming.  Hopefully they would be here in time.
   The Pan Euro 2nd and 3rd Battle Groups had been forced by the Chinese to deploy at 1 light second from the Colony.  It had nothing to do with tactical position; the Chinese simply did not want them close enough to get detailed scans of the huge ship that was circling close to Ceres.  It was enormous.  Easily three times the size of her Heavy Escort.  Larger than the Q.E. even.  Where they had come up with the designs to construct a ship that large - that was stable under acceleration - was a mystery.  A mystery they didn't want to share.
   The 3rd Battle Group looked to be in sore condition.  After docking and redistributing missiles from the 2nd Battle Group, the Pan Euro’s ships only carried enough for a dozen launches each.  The Tatianna's magazine space had been damage and she would be carrying only enough for ten launches.  At least both of her bays were functioning.  But the crews of the 3rd Battle Group were close to exhaustion.  They needed rest.
   They had the US Science Vessel Discovery in tow, but she was a wreck.  Her laser battery still worked, but not much else.  It would take little to make her come apart.  The FSC had two ships here, and they claimed to mount a single long range missile bay and one laser emitter each.  That would help, but they claimed to only have five missiles onboard each of the ships.  Not much, but if they could get close the lasers didn't need ammunition.
   Worst was the Chinese declaration that their ships had only enough for six salvos each.  If this turned into a long range duel, that meant the Pan Euro ships were the ones who would stay behind to cover the colony while the other ships withdrew with empty magazines.  Not that she intended to leave Esme thought, but any fire would be concentrated on her ships as the others withdrew.
   From what Brenna had passed on, after reviewing the engagement records, and listening to the Chinese accounts, it sounded like a large number of alien ships were present.  If the Discovery had destroyed three small craft, and the Chinese claimed to have destroyed 18 of 21 small craft, that didn't look good for the future.  Brenna said that the Alpha Class looked to carry three of the little ships, and that would indicate at least eight were present.  The 3rd Battle Group had destroyed only two.  That would leave six left.  And it didn't seem likely they would send eight Alpha's without sending a few of the bigger Delta's with them.  If they showed up, it would be a bloody fight.
   Even from one light second away, Esme could tell from the sensor returns that it had been a horrible fight already.  Clouds of debris and wreckage still floated near the colony.  Fires burned out of control on the surface of Ceres.  Only three of the small habitats appeared to have power at the moment.  The Chinese had one ship that resembled the Pan Euro's Mobile Shipyards in orbit, assisting in the efforts to restore power on the surface.  Helping to repair damaged habitats.  Saving the countless workers and families trapped here.
   No, leaving wouldn't be an option.  The aliens would return.  And she would do whatever it took to stop them.


   2350 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, close orbit of Ceres Colony

   Admiral Zhu Rongji keyed in for transmission of the orders releasing the two FSC vessels to accompany the US ship.  They all carried lasers, and would do a better job supporting one another than the FSC ships could do supporting the Chinese group with their single launcher each.  Their light construction also put them in danger trying to orbit in the debris floating near Ceres.  The Europeans had posted the US laser ship with the undamaged Battle Group, while the damaged Battle Group had formed up on the newest arrival.  The Euro called it the Queen Elizabeth.  Each group was cruising in a circle at one light second from the colony, and on opposite sides.  They would be easier to pick up on sensors, but no one here was hiding anymore.
   Repairs on the surface of the colony were progressing, but they would need more time.  Much more time.  The inventory of missiles was low, with only six salvos on any of the Chinese vessels.  Worse was the state of the high speed missiles.  There were only nine left.  Three per bay on the Tung.  The Tung, Anhui, and Hubei could launch from ten separate long range bays, but the two Missile Frigates were still training with the new sensor equipment.  Launches would be at less than full effectiveness.  They would try to save the high speed missiles for close defense of the colony from the little bombers, but may have to divert long range ordinance to that role if the colony was attacked with a large number of the small craft.  If the long range missiles were also running low, it would be up to the emplaced defenses of the colony (which were almost nonexistent) and the two brigades of troops on the surface.  The soldiers had survived almost completely intact, protected by their combat systems and the fact they had emplaced at a fair distance from the habitats.  The hope had been that if the soldiers were targeted, the habitats would suffer only minor damage.  It seemed the aliens were uninterested in attacking planet bound military targets.
   Hopefully the Euro and (small) US support would keep that from becoming a problem.  Zhu wondered if he should broach the subject of trying to improve Chinese and Euro relations following this (if he survived).  The Euro had deployed over half of their known fleet here to protect Chinese civilians, and left their own belt colonies at risk in the process.  Perhaps a less tense peace could be achieved.  Assuming there was anyone left when this was all done.


September 24th  0210 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Asteroid Belt

   The waiting was horrible.  The Commander of Assault Vessel 2 had stopped the Group just over one light minute from the target.  He wanted the local enemy support vessels to have time to arrive.  At first it had made no sense.  Destroy them quickly before they could prepare.  The Assault Commander wanted to draw out the defenders.  This could not be the only holding of the native race.  They would have to draw from their reserves for the defense of this colony.  Leaving less to face later.  Better to face the reserves a little at a time, than to quickly destroy each habitat, and give the native race a chance to concentrate their reserves in a final defense.  It also forced the defenders to tire their crews maintaining an extended defense - if they tired.  It made sense, but did not make the waiting any easier.
   The fields on the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17's station changed.  The order had come.  They would make the final approach.  Soon they would destroy their enemies home and ships.


   0404 hours/Heavy Escort Rebecca, 1 light second from Ceres.

   Contact warning lights flashed on Esme’s console.  A magnetic signature detected at over 7 light seconds.  The sensors were unable to resolve individual ships, but the aliens had returned.  And these weren't the small ships.
   They were moving quickly, perhaps 9000 kilometers per second.  Exact speeds were difficult to determine with the interference of the dust and debris of the belt.  Tightbeam transmissions were already away, but the Chinese and 3rd Battle Group would become aware of the alien contacts within the next 30 seconds or so regardless.
   Return transmissions indicated that Vice Admiral Avery wanted the 2nd Battle Group to decelerate and wait for the rest of the Euro ships to reach them.  That was going to take time.  Making the orbit at one light second from the colony would take the Q.E. and 3rd Battle Group nearly three minutes to reach the 2nd Battle Group.  The aliens would reach weapons range of the colony and its defenses in less than two.  The civilians would be butchered, and the Chinese forced to fight unsupported while the Q.E. and two Euro Battle Groups got in position.  If it was only a few alien ships, maybe the Chinese could hold.
   Less than a minute after first sensor contact, Esme had her answer.  The alien ships had resolved.  Four Alphas, two of the Deltas, and one big ship that would rival the Chinese vessel orbiting the colony.  The Chinese must have picked that up also.  They were moving away from Ceres.  The Chinese would be trying to intercept the alien ships before they could reach the colony.  But they would be alone, outnumbered, and out classed.  Their crews had been on alert for too long.  They would never be able to effectively respond to the alien ships.  They would be destroyed, and with them any chance of stopping these damned aliens.
   Elizabeth technically was senior, but today it wasn't going to be her decision.  Esme knew her ships were in position, her crews the most rested, and they were going to need the big Chinese ships, the Q.E, and the experienced 3rd Battle Group to have any chance at all of stopping the alien ships. What they didn't have right now was the time to draw up an effective battle line so they could coordinate and concentrate their fire.  And do that at a distance from the colony.  The 2nd Battle Group could buy them that time.  The 2nd could also draw the alien's fire, allowing the Chinese ships and Avery's command a chance to target the alien ships and launch before the aliens could return fire.  Esme keyed in the orders for the 2nd Battle Group to accelerate towards the enemy formation.  She couldn't order the US and FSC ships to follow, but hoped they would.
   The next minute crawled by as the 2nd Battle Group and the alien ships closed.  The FSC and US ships were still in formation with the 2nd Battle Group.  They had to know they wouldn't survive, but she was glad of the help.  A third order from Vice Admiral Avery came onto Esme's monitor.  The first two had been to hold position.  She glanced at the latest.  Good hunting and she hoped to see her at Esme's court martial.  Esme wished she could have smiled at the humor of it.  Elizabeth had to know she wouldn't be going home.
   Esme's monitor lit up with damage indicators as the Rebecca lurched.  What in the hell?  Where were the inbound indicators?  There.  They were just appearing.  What had hit them?  The Rebecca's missile bays and sensors were still online.  She keyed in for a firing solution on the nearest Alpha.  They didn't have the firepower to take out one of the big bastards, but they could kill or cripple her escorts.  And the big ships were firing, giving the Chinese and Elizabeth's ships the targeting data they would need.
   Esme watched as the alien inbounds, eight of them, raced toward her group, detonated one after another.  And the Rebecca was still here.  Maybe god was going to be on their side this day.     Esme watched as the four missiles of the 2nd Battle Group and the two FSC missiles tracked the Alpha she had chosen. Sensor returns showed the targeted Alpha lose its magnetic signature.  Vent.  Hot damn, the drive never came back up. The alien was coasting now, an easy target.  What really held Esme's attention after that were the contacts she was tracking even now.  Chinese and Euro missiles.  Eighteen of them!  Fifteen seconds later the big alien bastard lost its magnetic field, and was even venting!  Yes!  They might just be able to beat these aliens yet.
   Esme's sensors never picked up the two chunks of metallic hydrogen moving at nearly the speed of light that turned her ship into one more nuclear detonation in space.
   The rest of 2nd Battle Group and the Marie Celeste followed her into oblivion thirty seconds later.


   0408 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near enemy colony

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 strained to monitor the events unfolding around his ship and direct his crew at the same time.  Several enemy ships had charged their formation and crippled, then destroyed as they passed, Patrol Vessel 10.  Four of the six enemy ships had been destroyed for the loss of one Patrol Vessel, but now the remaining two were behind the formation.  The Combat and Assault Vessels could not target their mass drivers anywhere but in the direction the ship was moving.  Worse, the two enemy ships that had moved behind the formation were using some form of weapon that could pierce the magnetic shielding and damage the ships directly.  The damage was not catastrophic, but it tore into the ships nonetheless.  One attack had even pierced through the plating and baffles to cripple one of Combat Vessel 5's particle accelerators.  It would be able to continue at its current speed, but full combat acceleration would now be impossible.
   Most distressing was the damage that the Assault Vessel was absorbing.  The enemy weapons had ripped through her shielding and baffles, tearing into the hull and internal systems.  The enemy had brought out their own version of an Assault Vessel and Combat Vessel that were pouring destruction upon Assault Vessel 2.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 targeted one of the two small ships behind the formation and watched as the torpedo found its target.  The enemy ship disappeared as some fusion plant lost containment and consumed the vessel.  Moments after that the Commander shuddered in recognition of the Assault Vessel disappeared as an enemy weapon detonated too close to its hull.  The leader of the Combat Group was gone.  It would now be up to the Commander of Combat Vessel 5 to take control.
   But even now the enemy Assault Vessel was bearing down on the two Combat Vessels.


   0409 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, 2.75 light seconds from Ceres

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji knew he only had one choice.  The enemy 'Delta Class' (as the Europeans called them) had closed to within weapons range of the colony.  He had to give them a target they COULDN'T ignore.  The Tung, Anhui, and Hubei had bore full down upon the two largest of the alien ships.  The three smaller escorts had broken off.
   Two hits tore into the Tung as they closed.  Plating and baffles were torn away.  Forward crew work spaces were breached.  But the Tung had been designed to weather far worse.  At only half of a light second from one of the Deltas, Zhu ordered the ships to launch everything they had.  Ten long range missiles followed the three high speed short ranged weapons as they streaked through space to intercept the alien Delta.  Heartbeats later the first intercepts were made.  The high speed missiles had shattered the magnetic fields and torn into the Delta's hull.  The following detonations left the ship a wildly tumbling hulk, drifting uncontrolled through space. 
   It came with a price.  The remaining alien escorts had launched on the Tung and two of the three missile had made intercept at this close range.  Zhu could feel the ship slammed by the hammers of the alien weapons.  Damage lights flashed across Zhu's screen.  All the short ranged launch bays were out of commission, along with two of the four long range bays.  The sensor arrays were shredded and the ship was flying almost blind.  Two thirds of the particle accelerators were damaged or had overheated.  They could still maneuver, and even launch using second hand readings from the Missile Frigates and the missiles onboard guidance system.
   But for all intents, the Tung was out of the fight.  The Anhui and Hubei were still out there, and undamaged.  The launches from the Euro ships and the lone FSC ship had further damaged the last of the alien Deltas.  The three Alphas were disengaging as rapidly as they could.
   Zhu keyed in the orders to bring the Tung around.  Get her out of range of the enemy Alphas.  Get the big girl home.


   0415 hours/Mary Reed, 3.5 light seconds from Ceres

   The Dutchman was amazed he was still alive.  They Mary Reed had managed to come through it all untouched.  This was good.  A single hit had torn the Marie Celeste in half.
   Status displays showed the Mary Reed had only a single Scorpion Missile left on board.  The laser capacitors were using the heat sinks to maintain operating temperatures, but were far from overheating.  Only two of the alien Alpha Class ships had managed to disengage.  No one was ordering a pursuit.  The Dutchman knew he wasn't going to go on one anyway.
   Hopefully the aliens didn't have any more ships nearby.  The Chinese Cruiser was HEAVILY damaged (Just how did it take such a pounding?  At least four enemy hits, each powerful enough to DESTROY the Mary Reed), one of the Frigates had been damaged finishing off one of the Alphas, the US ship was gone, the Euro had lost the ENTIRE 2nd Battle Group, and the Queen Elizabeth had been hit dueling with the last of the enemy Delta Class ships.  The Euro 3rd Battle Group had started the whole thing damaged.  Of all the ships present, only the Mary Reed, Chinese Frigate Hubei, and Pan Euro Attack Escort Isabelle were undamaged.  Not much to put up a defense with if the aliens came back.
   That was assuming they could make a defense.  The Chinese had to be almost out of missiles, and the Euro wasn't much better off.  The Dutchman didn't figure his single missile was going to make any real difference.
   If the aliens did come back with more ships, it was over.  If they didn't, they were all heroes.


   0457 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 18.75 light seconds from Ceres

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 sat as still as death.  The battle had been a horrible loss.  Assault Vessel 2, Combat Vessels 5 and 7, and Patrol Vessels 10, and 11 had been destroyed.  Patrol Vessels 6 and 9 had been destroyed in an earlier engagement.  Only Patrol Vessels 15 and 17 had managed to disengage.  But the stress on the drives during the final escape had been too much for Patrol Vessel 15's particle accelerators.  They had burned up the superconductors.  It had finally coasted to a stop here.
   The crews were finishing transferring the remaining torpedoes and supplies of Patrol Vessel 15 to Patrol Vessel 17.  The crew of 15 would then transfer onboard when that was finished.  A torpedo would be left to remotely arm and detonate after the two ships had undocked and separated a safe distance.
   Patrol Vessel 17 would be the ONLY vessel to return from Combat Group 2.  It would be the responsibility of the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 to relay to the elders the events that had unfolded.  The catastrophe.
   This would be no short war of extermination.  This would be a war fought for survival.
   A survival the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 no longer assumed was certain.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2010, 04:23:32 AM by procyon »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2010, 12:21:32 AM »
September 2203 part 4

September 27th  1420 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, 1 light second orbit of Ceres

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon wished she could get sick.  Or cry.  Or something other than sit in the small cabin she had to herself on the Tatianna.  But she couldn't.  Her body wasn't designed to do anything like that.  Anything to help her let out how she felt.  The decades she had spent as a cyborg hadn't helped her to cope, just to shut herself off from anything but her work.  She couldn't do that anymore.  This war was just pushing its way in.
   Her private room had a monitor.  It said she was to receive an award for her actions in the belt and here at Ceres in defense of the Chinese colonists.  That she would be among the guests of honor at several functions.  Rumor even had it that she would be up for promotion again.
   The only reason she was up for promotion was that Esme was gone.  Along with the 196 crew members of the 2nd Battle Group.  She had lost 16 crew in the earlier engagement.  She would be a guest at those ceremonies also.  The medals.  The funerals.  The families left behind.  All those who would cry.  Could cry for those that were gone.
   She shut off her monitor and laid her head down on her desk.  The Chinese relief group had arrived.  The Euro ships would be leaving for Earth in two hours.
   'I can't feel my head on the desk.  Why do I have to feel anything else?' Brenna wondered.


September 29th  1600 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir just looked at the orders she had received.  They had just transferred her to the Queen Elizabeth.  The Q.E. hadn't been back from the belt for over an hour and they had transferred her.  She was sure that Vice Admiral Avery would be taking command from the Red October now.  Elizabeth would lead the 1st Battle Group back to the belt soon.
   Jude knew that the 'honor' of being transferred to the Q.E. had more to do with the fact that the ship would be in for repairs for the next month or so.  A pleasant excuse to keep her here at Earth while the hearings continued.  The hearings seemed to be dragging out forever.  Talking about the same things day after day.  As if it was going to somehow change if they kept talking about it.
   This wasn't the time to spend day after day talking.  The Pan Euro had just lost a WHOLE Battle Group!  The aliens had taken a hit too by the sounds of it, but this was no time to sit around talking about something that couldn't be changed.  No one was going to win this war sitting around waiting for the aliens to come back and attack again.  Eventually someone was going to have to find out where they were coming from and take the fight to them.  And the Red October would be the ship to do it.  The aliens hadn't shown a ship faster, and nobody on Earth seemed to have a better sensor array or scientific suite available on a war ship.  Somebody needed to get out there and find them before they came back.
   Elizabeth, Brenna, and the Chinese had stopped them this time.  They might not be so lucky the next time.
   There was going to be a next time unless someone stopped the aliens.

   2000 hours/Commander's Boat, Venus orbit

   Admiral Hu looked out the viewing port of the small ship's boat at the Tung.  She was a wreck.  The Mobile Construction Ship Zhuang had managed to get one of the two damage launch bays for the long range missiles working, one of the short range bays, some rudimentary sensors, and enough life support to get a cyborg crew home.  Not much else.  Even those systems were going to need a major overhaul.  Estimates were that it would take at least 3 months to get her back in service.  'Three months.' Hu thought.  'Do we have that much time?'
   The Anhui had suffered much less severe damage.  The Frigate's heavy plating and numerous baffles had spared her from serious damage.  The hull had been breached, but the internal damage had been light.  She would need a few weeks for repairs but would be out of the slip before the end of October.  The Hubei would take up duties escorting convoys for the moment.  Her crew had seen enough combat over the last year.  A few lazy cruises and down time would do them good.  Hopefully they would get more rest than the US convoy escort had.
   The Cruiser Chiang Ki Shek and Missile Frigates Henan and Shangxi would be on station now at Ceres, overseeing repairs.  Reports were indicating that although the damage was severe, it could have been worse.  Dead were estimated at just over one million.  But the defense of the colony, and hard work from the crews of the Zhuang and many ground support workers had kept the other two million alive.  
   Folks were going to have to look at the bright side in this war, because the dark side didn't bear much scrutiny.


September 30th  0630 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters watched as the staff filed into the briefing room.  Most looked tired.  Those that didn't looked like cyborgs.  They were tired too, they just wouldn't look it.  The last few days had been long and busy.
   Debates over recommendations to the Defense Department on ship construction seemed endless.  The first of the new Interceptor Mk IIa's would be coming into service in the next few days.  That was good news.  Plans had been to build more until the close of the year.  That was getting debated heavily.  Some groups and staff wanted plans for a newer faster Interceptor, a Mk III.  Something that could better dictate the tactical situation or disengage if needed.  But they would be expensive and some sacrifices would have to be made for the extra engine power.  Others wanted a new class altogether.  A larger ship to better deal with the alien Deltas and the big SOB they had rolled out for this latest attack.  Intel was designating the new ship as a Beta Foxtrot.  Rumor said the code name came from some Intel officer saying it was a 'Big F***ing' ship, and the initials had stuck.  Nice to know that some idiot in Intel still had a sense of humor during a disaster.
   The last group wanted to replace one of the Interceptors slated for construction with a new Science Vessel.  The destruction of the Discovery had cost the US its last operational Science Vessel.  That hurt.  Problem was, the Discovery Class was severely under gunned and outdated for combat against the aliens.  And every ship right now was a combat ship, like it or not.
   The Discovery had gotten close enough to one of the Deltas to get information on the mystery weapon system that Lieutenant Meagan Ryan had first identified.  The Discovery had closed to barely 70,000 kilometers after the Delta had lost its magnetic shielding, and got a load of data on what was obviously a very powerful and sophisticated mass driver.  It had cost Captain Leffler his life, but the information was priceless.  Analysis was already identifying many of the weapon's capabilities, and more importantly - limitations.  Lieutenant Ryan would be giving the brief on that today.
   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan's source of information seemed to have dried up of late, but there was already so much data to sift through that it would take months.  If the source was still alive, perhaps they would make contact in the next few months.
   What none of the staffers knew, and had just been passed to Admiral Walters this morning, was that the Euro and US had just signed an agreement to begin joint research into the alien's protective system.  How long it would take no one knew.  Without it though, the aliens had an almost unbeatable advantage.  Unless someone could come up with the secret of how they did it, there was only one way this war was going to end.  And it wouldn't be in humanity's favor.


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

This was a horribly busy and stressful month for all the players.  Nobody got out without a fight.  Only China didn't lose a vessel, but having the Tung down for three months was almost as bad.

China finally did make its roll to reach EL1, so the middle boy was looking forward to better income in October, and the chance to make real progress in research on shields.  But he was sweating bullets during the defense of the Ceres Colony.  He had horrible luck trying to shoot down the alien's gigs, and nearly lost the Tung in the final battle.  One more hit and she would have gone down.  If I had known that during the battle, I would definitely have pressed the attack one more round.  His luck during the last battle was good though, and he had string after string of rolls that put almost all of his missiles on target, even with the two Frigates effectively Poor grade due to the prior month's refits.

Momma (the Pan Euro) had quite the roller coaster for the month.  She was so excited by her early battle that took out two alien Alphas without her losing a single ship. She spent two days with a smile on her face talking to any of the kids about it that would listen.
Her smile went away when she helped the Chinese and ended up losing the entire 2nd Battle Group in two rounds of combat.  After that the Q.E. and 3rd stayed back at long range and poured in missiles.  She didn't want to get so close she couldn't get out.  She also knew that the Tatianna and Catherine would be out with single hits.  When the aliens did start to close, she put the Q.E. into their effective sensor range and kept the 3rd back.  I decided the extra +2 to hit was worth not shooting at cripples ( a 5 vs. a 3 on to hits).  The Q. E. picked up some armor damage, and the 3rd survived.  Still no smile though.
   Failing her roll for a focus breakthrough on shields didn't help.

The US (oldest boy) spent his first encounter scared, but managed to take out three of the alien gigs in three rounds with the little Discovery. He didn't have sensor range to spot the two alien CT's, and managed to zip right out between them and got away.  He got brave with the later battles and paid the price with the Discovery taking one hit in the battle helping the 3rd against the two CT's, and then lost her when he made a run on a Delta.  He did manage to help cripple a CT with a long range shot, and then got two in on a Delta - with the second being a close shot that he had skip armor for internal damage - and took out the only forward engine.  Every other system up front would have had no impact on the battle.  I was actually kind of glad when the pesky (and lucky) little ship finally bought the farm.  The boy was sure proud of his contribution, and tried as often as possible to inflate his impact on the battles.
   He finally succeeded on his last science research project (Y SL1), which opened up his SA, and was looking forward to trying for the breakthrough on shields the next month.  He made an agreement with the Euro that whoever got the breakthrough first, would share it with the other.

The oldest girl was perhaps a little overconfident, and was in shock when the Marie was taken out in a single hit.  She fought out the rest of the battle, but tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. She also had a string of really bad rolls.  She is quiet by nature, but after the battle disappeared for a long time, and then came back to mom and her older brother looking for advice on a small but more durable warship she could build, especially when the shields became available.  She had ideas, but wanted input from folks who had done more fighting with the aliens.

As for the Nemotians, they had a rough month.  I really hadn't anticipated the players being as successful as they were.  They had really worked it out during the last battle at Ceres (I think it was mostly the oldest boy who is the math whiz) that if they started with all but a few little ships beyond sensor combat range, and only shot with the little ones up front, the big ones in back were safe from return fire until they had ALSO shot.  The player ships outnumbered the Nemotian ships, and the little group up front had just enough ships to force the Nemotians to fire all of their ships (as the sides alternated) without being able to target the large ships in back that had never shot.  When all the Nemotian ships had fired, then the Tung group, QE and 3rd BG cut loose.  That long range fire at -2 crippled the Nemotian CL before it could ever fire on any of the larger human ships.
The 2nd BG, Discovery, and two Mary's got tore up drawing the entire Nemotian group's fire, but crippling the CL (dang the Chinese' lucky rolls) and a CT in the first round really cinched how the battle was going to go.  It also made me decide that if all the players got together for a battle and came up with a plan, I was really going to have to be on my game or I would lose.  Bad.

That CT 17 was the only survivor was a really bad roll.  I had red lined (aka detuned) the three surviving CT's to get the extra one speed to disengage.  The CT's had split up and I was fairly sure all the players were hurting bad enough they wouldn't want to chase, just in case I had anything left in hiding in the belt. (I am unfortunately known to my group for my tendency to bait and drag my opponents if I can)  The players managed to blow out one CT's engine before it got away, so that left me with two.  I then rolled poorly and burned out one of the last CT's engines.  Sadly, with CP drives, the little ship only had one engine room.  Emergency repairs won't fix a burn out, and the repair ship I had brought along to help emergency repairs between battles wasn't going to park for a month by Ceres to do repairs and hope no one noticed.  So CT 15 was scuttled after offloading everything I could.  I took nine ships in system and lost eight.  I was really kind of ashamed of myself for a while after this battle and swore to be more careful and cunning the next time.

Thanks for reading, and for those curious - here are the ships that took part in the battles for September.

US Ship Roster (Captain Jeremy Leffler BG)

US Exploration Vessel Discovery            ES   12HS
[2]A A (BbS) H (BbS) Xp Lb Qa (Cp) [6/1]  gig x4


Pan Euro Ship Roster (Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery BG - on board QE)

(Destroyer) Queen Elizabeth (BG -1)         DD   30HS
[2]A A A A A A A Hs Qa Mgs (Cp) (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (Cp) [6/1] gig x1

2nd Battle Group (Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat BG - on Bec)
Heavy Escort Rebecca               CT   16HS
[2]A A A H Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1] gig x1

Attack Escort Sheeba , Sorcha            ES   12HS
[2]A A A A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

3rd Battle Group (Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon BG +1 - on Tati)
Heavy Escort Tatianna               CT   16HS
[2]A A A H Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1] gig x1

Attack Escort Catherine (BG +1) , Isabelle (BG +1)   ES   12HS
[2]A A A A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]


FSC Ship Roster (The Dutchman BG +1 - on M. Reed)

Converted Freighters Marie Celeste , Mary Reed       FT2   16HS   
[2]A Qv Qv Qv H H La Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1] gig x1


Chinese Ship Roster (Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji BG - commander at Ceres battle - on Tung)

Cruiser Mao Tse Tung                CL   45HS
[2]A A A A A A A A A A H Qa Qa Mgs Ya Ga Ga Ga (cpCp) (Cp) Ra Ra Qa Ra Ra (CpCp) [6/1]
gig x1

Missile Frigate Hubei (BG -2*) , Anhui (BG -2*)      FG   22HS
[2]A A A A Qa Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ra Ra Ya (Cp) [6/1] gig x1
*Adjusted for shakedown period following refit.

Plus 6 Qv of troops and 60 PU on Ceres (treat as O2m)


Nemotian Ship Roster (Commander Assault Vessel 2 BG)

Assault (Light Cruiser) Vessel 2            CL   45HS
[2]S S S S A A A H Qa Qa (cpCp) (M1) Mg Mg Mg Mg Kb+ Kb+ (Cp) Qa Pta Ya (CpCp) Pta [6/1] gig x1

Combat (Destroyer) Vessel 5 , 7            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

Nemotian Patrol Corvette 6 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 15 , 17      CT   16HS
[2]S S A A Hs (BbS) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  gig x3

(Engagements with CT 6 and 9 detached vs. 3rd BG or Discovery were conducted with no flagship penalty of -1 to Initiative)

Post Script

I've thought about putting it on its own fiction forum so I could put in a comments thread without the clutter in the story.  I could also see if a comments thread could be added to the open forum.  Either way is fine with me.  Preferences anyone?

As for the hits on the Tung, the ship layout is above.  Two Kb hits, two Pta hits (we still did Pta having x3 on no drive field).  She was running with only the last two Ra's and last engine room.  Emergency repairs got one Qa working or she would never have made it back to earth.  If I had only known.

As for the family working together, it was split into two sides.  China-FSC and Euro-US, with snide comments from China that they planned to genocide anyone to close to Venus (or other spots), and the US-Euro always making sure they kept full battle groups at Earth to nuke the chinese if they sneezed wrong.  The oldest girl was looking often with the Kestral for a convoy that she could hit without getting caught, but she is a wary little thing and was worried that the US-Euro could take her out of the game with the groups they kept at earth if she stepped to far out of line.  Such a loving and trusting little family we are.
The only thing they agreed on was that trashing dad's aliens was a good thing.  That and working together allowed them to get a good look at each others ships and what they could do.

As for Patrol Vessel 17, yep, they have led a charmed life to this point.  Except for advancement rolls, which had been bad.  This month was the first time they finally advanced - to a whopping BG +1 (Veteran in our parlance)

The Discovery was a stout little boat.  And she went down fighting - hard. She pretty much doomed the DD that she took out the engine on.  As I said above, the oldest boy sang her praises for a long time.  Still will if you bring the battle up.  Has even named another ship in a second campaign for her.  That boat has been just as charmed.  51 turns so far, and it is also an ES.  In an EL8 game now with DN running around.

As for ammo, yes - all LRW except K have ten loads on-board at the launcher.  K is unlimited.  The Chinese and FSC ended up so low starting the last battle because they fired A LOT at the little gigs.  The middle boy had heard about Pallas, and he didn't want that to happen at all.  Every gig that didn't make it home wasn't coming back for a second strike.  So they shot them coming in, and going out. The Mary's actually made a short pursuit to use their La's one extra time.   The battle with the combat group left them all running on empty.

So glad you enjoy.  Will try to start/post Oct before the weekend.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2010, 02:31:58 AM »
October 2203

October 1st  0050 hours/Ceres Colony, Asteroid Belt

   Major Hsieh had his orders.  They were unusual, but nothing he couldn't handle.  The Senior Colonel had given him direct orders to locate a fifteen-year-old boy and his mom, then take them into custody.  No questions, no bargaining.  The fact that deadly force was authorized to protect the two was a strange point, but the 6.5mm Pulse Rifles would be able to handle anything that might become an issue.  He had also been authorized to requisition or seize any equipment necessary to conduct the operation.  It had crossed his mind to ask why, but he had thought better of it.  Easier just to do his job.  Safer also.
   The lifter touched down near the habitat where the two lived.  Or had lived.  Close detonations from both alien and Chinese nukes had left the habitat without power, and damage was evident in several areas.  It looked better than the other two habitats in sight.  Both of them were blackened and twisted masses of metal and rock.  Hopefully they hadn't been killed in the attack.  That would make this mission rather difficult to complete.
   Major Hsieh checked in with the Administrator for the habitat, and found that the woman was one of the mining workers, and had been active lately in rescue efforts for trapped colonists.  She was currently supposed to be off shift and in her apartment.  Major Hsieh and his four team members brushed past the man and moved toward where the two subjects were supposed to be.
   Damage in the colony was light, but as they climbed the stairways to the upper levels (the lifts were still down, or considered unsafe), the damage became more prominent, with evidence of repairs and other measures taken to keep the habitat intact and sealed.  Major Hsieh located the apartment and knocked on the entrance.  There was no answer, but that wasn't unusual for this time of day.  He directed two of the troopers to breach the doorway.  In their powered armor, it took only seconds to turn the entryway into scrap.  As soon as they were in, the four troopers with Major Hsieh fanned out through the house, and returned with a rather irate middle-aged woman, and a very sleepy and slightly belligerent boy.  Hsieh motioned for them to take the two outside.  Moments later the two civilians were loaded onto the waiting lifter and were bound for the FSC freighter Mary Reed.
   Why, Hsieh had no idea.  But it was done.


October 3rd  0400 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, 6 light seconds from Mars

   Rear Admiral (not lower half now) Jack Ryan worked on the progress report for Admiral Walters.  The new Interceptor, the Eisenhower, had cleared the slip two days ago, and was undergoing her shakedown cruise.  It wasn't going so well.  Someone back home wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to what they were supposed to be doing.  'Maybe more than one.' thought Jack as he looked at his new rank on the top corner of his console.  The Eisenhower’s crew was giving it their best.  Some were even volunteers who hadn't been crippled or terminal when given full cyborg conversions.  The war drive at home was actually picking up some public support.  Folks liked heroes, and the last few months had produced a few off them.  'All they had to do was die in some useful way.' thought Jack.  'Hope I never get the chance.'
   The Eisenhower had a number of glitches with faulty hardware in the sensor arrays.  Granted it was new equipment, but someone had decided to try and save a buck and changed the production slightly.  Damned ship could hardly find its way back to dock, let alone target something moving a couple thousand km per second.  What was worse, the slip was already busy fabricating the basic parts of the hull for a new Interceptor.  They couldn't even get the Eisenhower in to try and overhaul or replace the defective parts.  The Euro had stepped up and offered the use of their Mobile Shipyards - huge ships with heavy equipment for working on space going vessels.  They were twice the size of the JFK.  Problem was, the Euro had only two of them.  One was at Earth, taking care of the newest Interceptor there.  The other was coming in from the belt to escort the other Interceptor from earth back to the belt while it worked on the ship enroute.  
   Here at Mars, they were going to do their best with what they had.  Jack was actually kind of proud of himself.  He and a few of the engineers from the other ships and Mars Station had gotten together and cobbled up a set of bypasses that allowed the standard civilian navigation arrays on the Eisenhower to feed to the Targeting Computer.  Wasn't much, but the crew could train on a ship that could find her way from point A to point B, and could even target other ships at short ranges.  Wouldn't do for combat, but the crew wasn't ready for that yet anyway.
   Jack finished up the progress report and transmitted it to the Comm Station to be logged and sent.  Then he pulled up the letter from Meagan again, and tried to figure out what he should write to her.  She had been happy with her current assignment, until now.  It seems her boyfriend/fiancée had decided that she might not be coming home anytime soon, and had sent her a Dear John letter.  They had been together for 4 years and she was taking it pretty hard.  Meagan even wrote that she had put in for transfer.  It had of course been denied.  As had her request for leave.
   He wanted to tell her it would be all right.  But how.
   Jack flipped up a second screen and started to fill out deployment and training logs, and requests.  Jack was sure he could oversee the training of the Eisenhower from a distance.  He hadn't taken a few days off for a while.  Might be nice to see a planet that wasn't red for a change.
   Might be easier to forget finding the right words, and just be there.


October 4th  1420 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked out the viewing port at the blue and white planet below her.  It looked so peaceful.  It was nice to have a chance to relax.  The meeting with Admiral Kushnir had went well.  Jude had wanted a personal briefing on what had happened out in the belt.  It hadn't been an order, or even scheduled.  Just a chance to talk about the events of the last few months.  That had started at about 09, and had just turned into a long talk about the years they had served.  Brenna could remember when a Lieutenant J Kushnir had gotten her first space side post, and had submitted her Commander's training plans on a civilian shipping site.  Brenna had helped her to straighten out the issues after the fact.  That had been almost 40 years ago.  Admiral Kushnir had come a long way after that first mistake.  From a green Lieutenant on the Isabelle to commanding all of the Pan Euro's space combat assets.
   It sounded like they were going to let Jude get back to command again.  The Q.E. was supposed to clear dock in the next two weeks, and Jude was supposed to be taking her out.  The Tatianna would be done about the same time.  Then the Catherine would start her repairs, and hopefully be done by the end of the month.
   Then in November, they would set back out for the belt.
   Brenna had asked Jude if there was any chance she would be able to transfer back to TRADOC.  Brenna hadn't said it, but she wasn't sure she could keep doing this indefinitely.  Or maybe just much longer.  Circumstances had just pushed her into it.
   Admiral Kushnir had told Brenna that transfer wouldn't be possible.  Brenna would be getting promoted before the end of October, and hailed as a living hero of the Pan Euro.  She would also have to take part in the ceremonies for the 2nd Battle Group and Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat.  After that they would set out for the belt.  And after that...  well Jude wasn't saying much.  Which meant it wouldn't be good.
   Brenna came back to the present.  It was nice to watch the clouds drift below.

   1845 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, Earth orbit

   The Dutchman wondered what this whole trip was about.  NO one paid for the transit of a space vessel from the belt to Earth for just two passengers.  Let alone an armed freighter.  The Mary could carry nearly 15,000 colonists.  Carrying two was a waste.  Usually.
   The Chinese Cargo Lifter would be docking in 2 minutes.  After that The Dutchman would get paid.  Then leave, quickly.  A Chinese Strike Vessel was less than 200 meters away, on station to escort the Lifter down.  The Dutchman didn't want to hang around to see if they started shooting.  This was a bad situation, and he wasn't going to stick around any longer than he had to.

October 5th  0730 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China, Earth

   Jeng still felt mad.  He didn't want to be here.  He couldn't see the sky, and his things were not here.  He didn't get to see his mom, and he didn't like having to sleep on the big ship in the icky tank.  At least they had lots of pretty numbers to look at.  They had gotten very close to the pretty bubbles, and had new numbers.  The other people here couldn't understand the numbers,  but Jeng thought maybe he could.  They didn't make a pretty picture yet, but they looked like they could.  It would just take time.  When he was done he would go and see his mom.  His tummy felt funny and she always helped him feel better.
   The numbers were more fun now.  Time to make the pretty picture.


October 8th  1210 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan was mad.  Really mad.  The dumb bastard who had tried to cut costs on the new sensor production had cost the US way too much to fix.  It was cutting into the research funds that she needed.  The morning briefing had been tied up with just trying to figure out how to get around this production problem and fix it before the next three Interceptors cleared the yards.  Her presentation had gotten cut short, and then Admiral Walters raked her over the coals for the lack of progress!  Now when she needed to get back to work, some idiot was here to interrupt.  Without a doubt some staffer from the briefing come to pick at what little information she had to give.  Meagan keyed the release to open the door to her office.
   She focused on her monitor, trying to let whoever it was know that she was busy.  Maybe that would get them to leave, or at least cut this short.  She doubted it, but was in too bad a mood to be polite.
   Whoever it was, they were awfully quiet and patient.  After several minutes of tapping at the monitor, she'd had enough.  Putting on her best 'If this isn't good your going to regret it' face, she turned and stood to face whoever had interrupted her.  It was a cyborg.  Unusual, but not that unusual here on the station.  'Oh s**t, he's an Admiral' she thought as she saw the rank.  She glanced at the name on the uniform out of habit, as all the cyborgs looked pretty much the same.  And she stared.
   "Daddy?"
   Maybe she had time for lunch after all.  Maybe a long one.


October 12th  2145 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China, Earth

   Jeng was tired.  Very tired.  And his tummy felt bad again.  It had been better for a few days.  But now it was bad again.  The doctors had come bunches of times.  Jeng didn't like the doctors, and they had given him shots.  They had even stuck needles in him and left them with bags of water attached.  He pulled the needles out when they weren't looking.
   The funny men that weren't men came all the time.  They liked his numbers.  He still couldn't make the pretty picture fit all together, but they liked what pictures he could make.  They didn't understand.  Jeng was sure of that.
   The funny men said his mom was sick like him, and that was why she wasn't coming to see him.  They had let him talk to her on a big picture screen.  Mom looked pale, and had dark eyes.  But she still smiled and said she loved him.  Jeng still wasn't sure what that was, but as soon as he made the pretty picture he would go see her.  But the picture was so hard.  And he felt so very tired.


October 17th  0815 hour/Attack Escort Cynthia, Asteroid Belt

   Captain Giovanni Vetra looked at the monitor.  They were on a routine patrol.  The Anastasia was in the lead, and the Red October was following several light seconds behind.  Everything was just routine, except the place.  And the way Giovanni's thoughts wouldn't stay on what they were supposed to.
   This was where the battle had taken place.  A few light minutes from Ceres.  So many people had died around this place.  But right here was the last known transmission of the Boudicca.  It had been months now, but Giovanni could hear the transmissions clear as day.  Clear as the day his Rachel had died.  Right here.
   The Q.E. hadn't come out, but that didn't matter.  If the aliens showed up, the 1st Battle Group would fight.  Whatever it took to make them pay for what they had done.  Someday they would be back.  Now the Cynthia was in the belt.  It was her turn to hurt them.  Let them come.

October 24th  0335 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China, Earth

   Jeng was glad it was done.  He was too tired to work anymore.  But the pretty picture was done.  And the funny men had said such nice things.  But his tummy felt bad.  So did his head.  Dizzy a lot.  
   The pretty picture had been so hard, because it wasn't a pretty bubble.  It was lots of them.  One after another.  Each would grow out behind the other, then start over. Many layers of bubbles inside bubbles.  All moving.  It was so pretty.
   They had let him come to see his mom.  She was sleeping now.  He had touched her arm, and pushed it, but the men said she was too tired.  He was tired too.  He just wanted to lay down.  They had let him.  Mom would help him feel better when he woke up.  She always did.  Jeng was so tired.  He could sleep here....


October 25th  0600 hour/Beijing, China, Earth

   Minister Po listened to the report from the Research Facility.  The boy was dead, but the work had gotten done before he had expired.  He had seemed driven they said to complete the work.  Had managed to stay alive past the projections of his radiation poisoning for days, in spite of the infection complicating his condition.
   The researchers said it would only take a few more months to build an operational field generator, now that they knew the principle of how the fields were produced.  The harmonics were what was disrupting the sensor returns so much. Multiple dynamic fields had been the answer.  Each expanding before starting over they said.
   No matter.  What was important was that they would be able to begin production within the next few months.  This put them well ahead of even the FSC Queensland Facility.  Perhaps the Queensland Facility would have to suffer an 'unfortunate' setback in their research.  Perhaps one that would stop their ability to perform research for the foreseeable future.  That would have to be addressed at the next meeting of the ministry.
   The boy, what was his name again, had done something that might have just saved the human race.  It was a shame that no one would know who he was.  No one could even know that he existed outside of the Research Facility.  Not for a long time.  Maybe someday his contribution would be known.  Perhaps not.


//////////////////////////////////
Overview
Sorry it is a little short, I could have done a lot more with this month.  But we are running low on wood at the house and momma likes to stay warm.

This month was fairly quiet.  None of the players were in a hurry to risk losing any more ships, and the Nemotians were going to need time to unmothball enough to be able to afford to make an attack.  

Highlights (or lowlights for the US) of the month included a bad random event for the US.  Seems karma had caught up with them from their earlier gain in regards to Jack Ryan.  This month they had a production issue causing problems.  I skipped part of the random determination, and decided that the sensor array would be the only system without a long track record and that the newest ships would be the victims.  The Euro stepped up and offered the Mobile Shipyards without even asking for the US to pay for the maintenance on the ships the US was borrowing.  How nice of mom.

For China the big event was a first roll success on the shield research.  (I was about ready to confiscate his dice.)  One down, and one to go.  He was doing his best to hide the fact from his big sister, and everyone else for that matter.  He even asked for how many RDS facilities the FSC had, and if it would be possible to perform hostile espionage on the site, or if a lifter with a bomb on board would be able to shut down/destroy the facility.  So much for the siblings working together nicely.

As this was the tenth month, they all were busy working out if any leaders advanced grade,or disappeared (we always do the 10% chance of losing a leader every ten months), and figuring up their population growth.  
For the Euro, earth's governor (government) went to BG +1, and both Brenna and Jude went to Elite.  She was very tickled.  Since Brenna is a trainer, she could get to work in earnest.
For China, the earth government went to BG +1 also (two healthy jumps in income over two months, he was also happy).  His leaders didn't go anywhere though.  I decided to leave his dice alone.
The US had no luck on the governor roll, but Jack Ryan also made it to Elite.  Promotion to Rear Admiral followed immediately. That kind of helped to make up for the faulty ships.
The FSC had no luck what so ever.  And with the middle boy (China) looking to take her out, she could really have used some luck.

I'll post an addendum for October with an overview of the various powers financial status starting the next ten turns, and a fleet list.  Anything else you would want to see let me know and I'll see what I can do.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2010, 02:32:44 AM »
Empire states beginning turn 11

Pan Euro  (EL 1)
Holdings - Mercury, Earth, Luna, Colonies on +/- 4LM of Main Belt
GEV  1235.4 MC
Treasury from turn 10  124.4 MC

SS w/ SY x2 at Mercury
SS w/ SY x2 at Earth
PDC x2 on Earth

Pan Euro Senior Admiral/Jude Kushnir (BG +2)

1st Battle Group (Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery BG)
H. E. Anastasia (BG)
A. E. Mary Queen of Scots (BG +1)
A. E. Cynthia (BG) [Cpt Giovanni Vetra]
A. E. Suzette (BG -2/shakedown)

3rd Battle Group (Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon BG +2/Trainer)
H. E. Tatianna (BG +1) [Cpt Stephan Vasilakos]
A. E. Catherine (BG +1)
A. E. Isabelle (BG +1)
A. E. Elise (BG -2/shakedown)

Independantly Assigned Vessels
Destroyer Queen Elizabeth (BG)
Armed Science Vessel Red October (BG +1) [Cpt Robert McNeely]
Mobile Shipyard 1
Mobile Shipyard 2
Survey Vessels Michaelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt


China  (EL1)
Holding - Earth, Ceres
GEV  1409.1 MC
Treasury from turn 10  171.7 MC

SS w/ SY x2 at Venus
SS w/ SY x2 at Earth
PDC x2 on Earth

Chinese Senior Admiral/Admiral Hu (BG +1/Decisive)

Tung Group (currently Admiral Hu)
Cruiser Mao Tse Tung (BG)
Missile Frigate Anhui (BG)
Missile Frigate Hubei (BG +1)
Mobile Construction Vessel Gaoshan

Shek Group (Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji BG +1)
Cruiser Chiang Kai Shek (BG -1)
Missile Frigate Shangxi (BG)
Missile Frigate Henan (BG)
Mobile Construction Vessel Zhuang

Independantly Assigned Vessels
Attack Frigate Yunnan (BG)
Survey Vessels Marco Polo Class x2


United States  (EL1)
Holdings - Earth, Mars, Colonies on +/- 4LM of Main Belt
GEV  1129.5 Mc
Treasury from turn 10  51.4 MC

SS w/ SY x1 at Mars
SS w/ SY x2 at Earth
PDC x2 on Earth


US Senior Admiral/Admiral Bradley Walters (BG +1)

Task Force 1 (Rear Admiral Jack Ryan BG +1/Navigator)
Interceptor Mk IIa JFK (BG)
Interceptor Mk IIa B. Franklin (BG)
Interceptor Mk IIa D. Eisenhower (BG)
Missile Escort Falcon (BG +1)
Missile Escort Owl (BG -1)


Task Force 2 (Rear Admiral Matthew Thomas BG)
Interceptor Mk IIa S. Grant (BG -1)
Interceptor Mk IIa A. Lincoln (BG)
Interceptor Mk IIa T. Roosevelt (BG)
Missile Escort Hawk (BG)
Missile Escort Eagle (BG -1)

Task Force 3 (Rear Admiral Joshua Campbell BG)
Interceptor Mk IIa T. Jefferson (BG)
Interceptor Mk IIa J. Hancock (BG +1)
Interceptor Mk IIa J. Adams (BG -1)
Missile Escort Vulture (BG)
Missile Escort Condor(BG -1)

Independantly Assigned Vessels
Survey Tender 01 , 02


South Seas Free Space Consortium (FSC)
Holding - Earth, small undeclared Main Belt Colony
GEV  266.9 MC
Treasury from turn 10  8.8 MC

Ground Based Industry equal to SY x1

Senior Space 'Officer'/ 'The Dutchman' BG +1

Vessels
Converted Freighter Mary Reed (BG +1)
Fast Freighter/Armed Kestrel (BG)

Nemotian Consolidate
Holdings - Eris/Dysnomia, Orcus, Sedna, Triton(Neptune)
GEV  1266.4 MC
Treasury from turn 10  12763.6 MC

SS w/SY x1, Base Station Model 1 x3 at Eris
SS w/SY x1, Base Station Model 0, Base Station Model 1 at Orcus
SS w/SY x1, Base Station Model 0, Base Station Model 1 at Triton
Base Station Model 1 at Sedna

Fleet One - Eris
Assault Vessel 1
Combat Vessel 1
Patrol Vessels 1 , 2 , 3
Mobile Repair Ship 1 , 2

Fleet Two - Triton
Assault Vessel 5
Combat Vessel 2
Patrol Vessels 4, 5, 12*
Mobile Repair Ship 3, 4

Fleet Three - Orcus
Assault Vessel 3*
Combat Vessel 3
Patrol Vessels 7 , 8
Mobile Repair Ship 5

Patrol/Escort Group 1
Patrol Vessels 13 , 17 (BG +1)

Combat Group 3 (incomplete)
Assault Vessel 4*
Assault Vessel 6*
Combat Vessel 4*
Combat Vessel 6*

*all ships BG -2/shakedown

Mobile Repair Ships 6 - 10 / in mothballs
Survey Vessels 1 - 5

///////////////////////
To those who caught the typo in October with the extra zero on the Reed's passenger cap, oops.  My wife also chastised me for posting without her assistance in proofreading.  She only proofreads the story though, so errors here are purely mine.

I also didn't list the various ground troops, supplies, and locations.

Due to impending spring break and an influx of free time for my kids, November 2203 part 1 may not show up for a week or so.  The group is currnetly getting ready for a big offensive and are spending more time running mock combats - testing ships designs/groups to try and work out the assault/campaign.  They tend to ho through at least three times as much effort testing/planning as they do running the battle.  Can't blame them.  They tend to do a good job.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2010, 05:09:43 AM »
November 2203  part 1

November 2nd  0315 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Triton orbit, Neptune

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 was disgusted with how the Elders had viewed his continued survival.  They treated it as if the ship had returned this many times only due to cowardice.  That they had survived where others had died was shameful.  The sensor and ship logs clearly showed that they had been anything but cowards.  They had engaged the enemy on no less than three occasions.  They had destroyed two enemy ships and damaged two others.  They had even taken damage from enemy fire. How could that be viewed as cowardice?  Only Patrol Vessel 14 had destroyed more of the native race's ships than Patrol Vessel 17, and they had died following an enemy vessel through the debris fields near what was now known to be an enemy home.  Perhaps dead heroes were all that the Elders wanted.
   The assignment that they were on now was a punishment.  Perhaps a suicide mission.  They were to accompany Patrol Vessel 13 to the enemy home in the debris field and release the scout craft on board.  The scouts were to attempt to destroy more of the enemy on the small planet in the debris fields.  The Patrol Vessels were then to return to the fleet base for their next assignment.  Assuming they weren't found by the natives and destroyed.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 was senior, and would command the mission.  But this mission would not go how the Elders had ordered.  The Commander had needed every bit of control not to betray what his plans were to the Elders.  They would have easily sensed the intentions of a lesser Commander.  Time had hardened him, taught control in the face of fear and death.  The Elders would find out what Patrol Vessel 17 was capable of.  That, or Patrol Vessel 17 would not return.
   The Commander altered the fields around him.  The crew responded and the ship began to pull away from the moon that had become one of their race's new homes.  Soon they would show the Elders that they were no cowards.

November 5th  1030 hours/Queen Elizabeth, 18 light seconds from Earth

   Admiral Jude Kushnir locked her station and began to key in orders.  She was surprised how good it felt to be on board a ship.  Not to long ago she had wondered if she would ever be allowed to command again.  For the moment, it was only training.  Not the nerve rattling flight through the asteroid belt that had been her last experience on a vessel in space.  Just the check out cruises for the 3rd Battle Group and the Q.E. after their repairs.  That, and following the new training protocols.
   Brenna had been busy during her stay on the Euro Space Station.  Relaxing for her involved doing what she enjoyed, which was working on training and teaching.  She had put together a new training and doctrine outline in three weeks, all based on existing protocols updated with her (sizable) experience dealing with deep space combat.  Although Brenna was the most junior of the space side admirals, she was undoubtedly the most experienced.  Also one of the most successful.  'To her credit', Jude thought, 'she has never lost a ship from her Battle Group.  Whether fighting the Chinese, or aliens, she has acquitted herself well.'
   Brenna had insisted on her new training protocols being passed on to the US, so as to help coordinate activities between the two powers in joint operations.  Jude had required several endorsements to get that request ok'ed, but it had finally passed. Brenna didn't know it, but with the beginning of the new year, the US and Pan Euro were to begin joint operations in an attempt to locate the alien's base of operations and transition to the offensive.  Better coordination between the two groups might save many lives.  Brenna had no way of knowing about the plans, as only Jude, the Defense Council, Ministry of Defense, and Lord High Admiral were aware them.  Jude wondered how the UK had managed to hold onto its position controlling any 'navy', and the Chain of Command.
   That control was also reflected in the name of the Q.E., and the newest ship under construction at the Mercury Shipworks.  The Queen Mary was already beginning to take shape, and would likely be ready for service early in the next year.  'Together with the US push to increase its force of Interceptors, we might just have a chance to make a successful offense in the near future.' thought Jude.  'If things will just keep going our way.'


November 6th  2235 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan began to upload the new training protocols into the JFK's memory.  The Euro Rear Admiral Muldoon was good, and it came through in her training plans.  Jack felt himself fairly accomplished at training his Task Force, but he had to admit that Muldoon knew a whole lot more about training than he did.  Tactically that was.  Getting from point A to B in the best time had been omitted from her training regimen though.  Getting to where you needed to be, in time to be useful was another part of that, but Jack had a good handle on how to do that without the Euro Admiral's help.
   The visit with Meagan had been too short, but had been so good for the both of them.  Meagan seemed to be doing better with her situation, and appeared to be a rising star amongst Admiral Walter's staff.  The fiancé problem was still a problem, but looked to be getting smaller as the days passed.  She was still young and - god willing if they were all still alive when this was done - would have plenty of time to find someone new.  Jack had even heard that she would be up for promotion soon, and was in line for a decoration for her work in analyzing the alien technology.  She had grown up too fast.  Jack wished he had been able to spend more time with her while she was little.
   Jack felt refreshed after the break from the routine at Mars.  Things seemed clearer.  Easier.  Better.  Seeing home and his daughter had given him new strength.  It also reminded him how important all this was.  It was easy to despair of the routine.  Get too focused on the danger.  The seemingly impending doom that hung over them.  To forget what it was that you were fighting for, and how much more important that was.  Jack had decided to request that his group be rotated to Earth for a short while after the Interceptor being built here at Mars was clear of the dock.  It would do his crew a world of good.  Especially since his daughter had passed on to him they were the most likely group for the next deployment out system against the aliens.
   Going out system could only end up one way, with ships trading death across the long dark spaces.  Seeing his daughter's smile had convinced him that it was better that happen for him, in the depths of space, than anywhere near Earth and his little girl.


November 7th  1405 hours/New Delhi, India

   Chairman Mukata reviewed on his console the progress reports from the Queensland Facility.  They had made great strides with the information the Chinese had provided them.  The Chinese had been terribly silent about their own progress.  That could be due to a number of situations, or simply their distrust of the FSC.  Regardless, steps would be taken to create back up copies of any results and discoveries made.  The project was too vital for it to suffer any setbacks.  Many of the separate cartels had diverted funding to assist the project.  The Chinese were too large of a power to openly contest, but quiet measures would be adequate to safeguard the information.  Sometime within the next year the FSC should be able to field the first working prototypes of this new technology.  Then they would be in a better position to negotiate with the Chinese.  A more lasting and profitable relationship might be reached.
   The board had directed Mukata to again visit the facility in Australia and ensure that the reports were accurate, and the staff 'inspired' to perform at their best levels.  While he was there, he would ensure that they were no longer the only repository for the information they were gathering.  It was a security risk to duplicate the information, but one well worth the dangers.  Loss of this project would be disastrous.  The board would not have to be made aware of this.  Only if the original data was compromised would the copy ever reach the light of day.  For now, it was the Chairman's concern.  And this was his decision.


November 9th  1950 hours/Beijing, China

   Bao moved along the darkened street.  His cell had been activated, and it was time.  For years he had posed as a simple maintenance worker here in Beijing.  His entire cell had spent many years forming lives here. That would all have to be left behind soon.
   The handler had made contact, given the orders.  Now they would have to plan, and then act.  This was going to be far more difficult than Bao had ever imagined.  Gathering information on people and events had been easy enough.  Penetrating into a Chinese Military Facility was not.  The risks were great.  The reward was an end to the charades.  A chance to live a real life in a free country, with enough money to never need to work a low and menial job again.  The years of training would finally be put to the test, pay for all the suffering he had endured.  If they lived.
   The beginnings of the plan had been laid.  Tonight Bao would begin shadowing one of the lab assistants for the Facility.  Learn his routines.  His weaknesses.  Find out how they could use that to get access to what they needed.  Tonight they would start a course that would decide all of their fates.


November 11th  2320 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Asteroid Belt, 12 light minutes from Ceres

   The Commander monitored the scout craft as they moved away from the Patrol Vessels.  Followed them until they disappeared even from the extended range he could sense through the ship.  It would take time for them to reach the enemy colony.  Time for them to make their attack.  Die there most likely.  The native race would be gaining skill in destroying the small ships with every encounter.  Six of them would pose little problem.  Perhaps the small ships would actually be able to inflict some damage.  Most likely not.
   The Elders had ordered this, letting it be known that they wanted the enemy to concentrate on this colony.  Keep his ships there.  Limit the native race's ability to maneuver and react.  It would take time for a new Combat Group to be formed and readied.  The enemy could not be allowed to use that time to attack.  They would be given reason to stay with their colony.
   And the crews of six scout craft would perish to do that.  Perhaps they intended for the crews of the Patrol Vessels to join them.  To die here in this floating mass of rocks.  Dueling with the enemy ships that would comb through the area looking for the vessels that had deployed the scout craft.
   It wasn't going to happen that way.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had studied the engagements with the enemy.  Tracked their movements.  Tactics.  And the Commander had come to a conclusion.  The enemy vessels were difficult to track, and had been able to intercept Patrol and other vessels with alarming accuracy.  Perhaps the native race had learned to track the magnetic signature of the Patrol and Combat Vessels.  If this was true, it would make operating the protective fields unwise.  Operations would be much more dangerous with the fields down.  But if the alternative was giving the enemy the ability to track the Patrol Vessels while the enemy remained invisible, the fields would have to be turned off.  At least until the battle was joined.  The theory would have to be tested though.
   Orders had directed the Patrol Vessels to remain at a 'safe' distance from the scout craft, monitor their progress, and transmit the results to the Fleet Base.  That would have to be changed slightly.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 changed the fields on his station and the crew responded.  The protective fields shut down.  Then the two Patrol Vessels began to move.  If the Commander was right, the enemy would suffer for it.  If the Commander was wrong, well, the Elders would get what they wanted.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 04:20:19 AM by procyon »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2010, 06:36:42 AM »
November 2203  part 2

November 13  0010 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Ceres orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji brought up the sensor readings on his console.  Contact at two and a half light seconds.  Unable to identify.  Closing.  They had to be small craft.  Anything larger would have been picked up long ago.  Zhu keyed open the comm link and gave the order for all ships to battle stations.  The bridge crew of the Shek was already locked into stations, as they had been on watch for the last two hours.  Systems ready lights began to flash across Zhu's screen as the ship came on line.  The Missile Frigates were slower, and still seemed to be struggling to get all their systems on line and crew locked down.
   Zhu's screen flashed again.  The contact had resolved into six separate ships.  All were the small alien bombers that had attacked Ceres barely two months ago.  At least it wasn't twenty or so like that time.  Zhu watched as the weapon crew's targeting solutions registered on his screen.  They were ready for them this time.  Then his screen flashed again.  New contacts.  Two.  At just over 5 light seconds.  The magnetic signatures had just appeared.  Those weren't the little ships.  They were too far to resolve, but they were out there, and they were big.
   Realization suddenly came to Zhu.  The aliens had discovered that they were being tracked by their magnetic signature.  It would have only been a matter of time before they discovered it, but so soon?!  Damn.  The aliens had him in the same position that they had been in two months ago.  Zhu knew that if he fired on the small craft, the larger ships would target his launch signatures and have missiles inbound on the Shek before he could respond.  Assuming the Shek's long range missiles would even be able to target the alien ships at so great a distance in the asteroid belt.  Five light seconds was their limit even in clear space.  They would never hold a target lock for that long in the debris.  He hoped the aliens would have the same problem.  He would have to fire on the bombers.  Six was still enough to kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of colonists on the surface of Ceres.  The damned aliens knew they had him over a barrel.  Why turn on the magnetic shields now, before they had launched, other than to rub it in!
   He didn't have to give away the whole situation though.  Zhu keyed in for a tightbeam link to the Henan and Shangxi, and then ordered them to maneuver for the far side of Ceres.  That would keep them safe while they brought their systems online, and keep them hidden from the aliens in case the big ships could be lured in.  They wouldn't be able to fire on the small craft that were closing from a position on the far side of Ceres, but it didn't look like they were going to be ready anyway.
   Zhu watched as the small craft closed.  Three hundred thousand kilometers.  Two hundred thousand.  One hundred and fifty.  There was no sense in firing early.  It would only give the aliens more of a chance to target the Shek before the little ships got into effective range.  At one hundred thousand kilometer Zhu keyed the order to fire.  All seven bays released their missiles and seven drive blooms flared to life.  The Shek's drive blazed also - hopefully they would have a harder time tracking the ship if she didn't hold still at this range.   Missiles detonated around the small craft as sensor alarms flashed that two inbounds were closing.  Zhu watched in satisfaction as four of the alien bombers lost their drive blooms or were consumed by them.  Four out of the six, and there would still be time for one more launch before the little bastards reached the colony.  The satisfaction disappeared as he realized that the two inbounds had lost tracking on the Shek, but he had lingered too long by the giant asteroid.  The two alien missiles slammed into the surface of Ceres even as the Shek pulled away.  Tense moments passed as Zhu waited for the fireballs to dissipate.  Both had detonated on uninhabited portions of the surface.  He keyed over to progress on the next launch in time to see the reports as seven more missiles left their bays.  The Shek's crew had only been on board for a few months, but they would make any commander proud.  Sensors indicated two more inbounds, but the Shek was clear of Ceres now, and nothing could be done about them for the moment.  Zhu watched as the Chinese missiles followed the small craft as they approached Ceres.  Detonations clouded the returns for a few heartbeats.   One of the small craft had broken apart, and the other was tumbling wildly.  Yes, both were down.  Oh no.  Zhu watched as the tumbling craft bore straight in on Ceres.  He knew what was going to happen even as the infantry's weapons fired at the damaged craft.  The detonation as it slammed into Ceres was bright even at over 100 thousand kilometers away.  And this one had been headed right into the main concentration of habitats.
   Zhu reflexively tried to brace himself, even though he was locked into his station.  The two inbounds closed, and then passed.  Zhu checked the weapon crew’s status and wanted to curse as they seemed unable to get the systems to plot a solution on the almost invisible launch signatures.  It was just too far.  But not for the aliens.  A third set of inbounds sprang to life on Zhu's monitor.  Eventually the aliens were going to get lucky.
   Zhu ordered the Shek to come about 130 degrees onto heading 010 at minus 0.5 ascension.  The drives cut in and out as the big ship struggled to come about.  The bridge became a kaleidoscope of colors as the grey and blue flashed over and over.  The third pair or inbounds lost tracking as the ship turned onto its new heading and the drives blazed.  But the sensors were already registering a fourth pair.  This couldn't go on forever.  If the aliens didn't hit her, the big girl would come apart under the stress of combat maneuvering.  The new heading would bring her on a course away from the aliens though.  They would have to follow and perhaps come into range of the Missile Frigates, or break off.  Colors flashed again as Zhu ordered the Shek to bring her bow down hard.  The fourth pair of alien missiles passed over the Shek, tracking some sensor ghost.
   Zhu watched the monitors as the alien contacts moved to follow his ship, and then changed course.  Over the next two minutes the aliens accelerated out and away from the Shek, and then disappeared as the magnetic fields dropped.  The aliens were now as invisible in the belt as any other ship.  As Zhu brought the Shek around and rejoined the Shangxi and Henan, he knew this was only the beginning.  The aliens had tested them.  And he had failed.  The next time the aliens returned, it wouldn't just be a pair of ships, and just two missiles at a time.  It wouldn't be just six little bombers.  It would be dozens.  And the Chinese ships would have the choice.  Die defending the colony, and have the colonists follow them into oblivion.  Or abandon the colonists to the bombers, and try to engage the alien ships.
   There wasn't really any choice.  But Zhu didn't want to be the one to have to make it.


   0025 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, vicinity of Ceres

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 felt some satisfaction.  There was disappointment also, but satisfaction none the less.  They had engaged the enemy again, and it appeared that one of the small craft may have completed its mission.  It also appeared that two of the torpedoes had managed to strike the colony out of pure luck.  Damage to the enemy was impossible to determine at this distance, but that could not be helped.
   The fact that the single enemy vessel had managed to evade eight of the torpedoes was frustrating.  The Commander had been tempted to pursue the fleeing ship, but had decided the risk of ambush was too great.  What he had wanted to accomplish had been done.  The native race seemed to have difficulty tracking the Patrol Vessels if the magnetic fields were down.  They could be fired on at ranges that they seemed unwilling or unable to respond.  This would be a great advantage.  The next assault on the enemy colony here would destroy it.  Of that the Commander was sure.  Now all that was left was to test the new tactics in open space.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel his crew's approval as he ordered them to change course.  They were heading in toward the blazing star.  Perhaps more of the enemy's homes and ships could be found.


November 14th  2050 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China

   Bao moved down the stairway.  His maintenance job gave him access to many areas.  None inside the main research sections, but many that were connected.  He stopped inside the stairwell at one of the electrical junction boxes.  The one supplying power to the security checkpoint into the main research bays.  Bao pulled the small charges and detonators out of his pocket and affixed them to the power cables.  He then set the timer and tucked it away neatly in the recess behind the fixtures.  Stripping off his maintenance uniform, he pulled the laboratory assistant's clothes out of his tool pouch.  Changing quickly and putting the identity badge on, he headed back up the stairs.
   He had to be the one to do this.  The other three members of his cell were all enhanced with cybernetic implants.  They would have set off the alarms long ago.  It had to be someone purely human.  No extra metal or synthetics.  Nothing to set off the X rays or scanners.  Nothing to help him against the cyborg security guards and automated defenses except surprise and skill.  Man against metal.
   Bao stepped out of the stairwell and into the hallway leading to the research wing.  Sliding the ID through the lock, he watched the light change from red to green.  One hurdle down.  Moving forward into the checkpoint he watched the two cyborg guards as they watched him.  That wasn't right.  Only one was ever on guard.  They had been talking.  Perhaps one had lingered after his shift.  This would make things much more difficult.
   The lights went out as the charges cut the power.  Red lights flickered to life as Bao sprang toward the nearest guard.  Bao pulled the backing off of a metal disk and stuck it to the guard’s chest.  The powerful EMP pulse was silent, but shorted out the cyborg's circuits immediately.  The other was moving quickly though, and Bao didn't have another pulse grenade.  Bao backed away from the desk as the cyborg shoved it towards him.  The desk crashed into the wall as the borg struggled to keep his balance.  They were strong, but still only weighed a couple hundred kilos.  The desk had been heavy too.  Bao lunged forward and slipped under the cyborg's arm.  Bao whipped off his jacket and wrapped it around the borg's head.  Blinded for a moment the guard swung wildly.  Bao slammed a chair into its legs and knocked the guard to the floor.  Shoving him across the floor while trying to keep the jacket in place, Bao reached the entryway.  Pulling the manual lever for the doors, Bao watched as the powerful hydraulic pistons slammed the blast doors shut.  The cyborg's legs were crushed and pinned.  Bao ran across the room and out the far door.  Down the hall were the main labs, and his goal.


   2215 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon listened to the report of an overdue passenger liner.  It had been Pan Euro No.  0127s, returning from the belt to Mercury Colony.  It had been carrying 35,000 passengers.  And it was over 10 hours late.  Too late.  Brenna knew down deep that those people were gone.  And that the aliens were back.  There had been no warning.  Nothing.  And it would have been less than twelve light minutes from Mercury when it last checked in.  That meant the aliens were at least that close to Mercury.  To the one million plus colonists living there.  And the Pan Euro's only shipyards away from Terra herself.  Yards that were unguarded right now.   And over eight hours away even if the 3rd Battle Group were to push their engines to their limit.
   But they wouldn't be leaving Earth behind unguarded.  No way would they leave billions unguarded for the sake of a million or so.  No, Mercury Station was on her own.
   Brenna wished she could just for once cry.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2010, 05:29:38 AM »
November 2203 part 3

November 16th  0224 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Mercury orbit

   Commander 'Jimmy' Hirsch staggered away from the console as the station shook from the impact.  'Damn it! This isn't a warship!  We aren't made for this!'  Sweat poured from his forehead and stung his eyes as he grabbed for the chair at his station and began to key in new commands.  He wished he had time to strap the harness on, but there wasn't going to be any spare time.
   The planet side colony had given them barely a minute of warning that there were contacts approaching before the first launches had come.  The station didn't have the new Phoenix Sensor Array.  Hell, they were getting half of their targeting data through an uplink from the colony.  The station had six launch bays, but could only bring half of them to bear on a target at a time.  When the target was farther out than the station's outdated sensors could see, that just made the whole situation worse.  The fact that the six Military Modules affixed to the core were a whole lot more fragile than any of the warships was just icing on the cake. 'We're not just a sitting duck, we're a sitting eggshell.' he thought.
   But Jimmy had proved the station wasn't just a sitting duck.  He knew that they were only there due to good luck and desperate management of the few systems the station had available.  The civilians on board were clutching anything they could as the ride had been violent.  That the first impact the station had taken was on the third launch from the alien ships was due to the wild gyrations the station had managed.  Even now the station was rotating hard on its axis to bring the damaged module away from the alien ships.  Anyone in the outer ring was in for a 3 G ride for the next thirty seconds or so.  Nothing compared to the warships, but still rough on the flesh and blood crew of the shipyards and modules.
   Jimmy also knew he was running out of tricks.  As the first salvo had closed the station had jettisoned every spare bin or piece of metal that could be thrown out of an airlock.  The cloud of 'chaff' had managed to buy them time as the first missiles had detonated some distance out.  Jimmy had managed to get the station maneuvered just enough to put them between the inbounds and the sun on the second alien salvo.  The missiles lost tracking with the huge energy signature of Sol only a few light minutes away.  The third alien salvo had been launched as the alien ships' courses took them to the far side of Mercury.  Jimmy had managed to get the station far enough that one of the inbound missiles had been caught by Mercury's gravity well and had been bent off course.  The other had managed to leave Module 3 venting air into space as the breaches in the hull spewed out atmosphere and crew.  The status bar on the screen showed the missile bay in Module 3 was still capable of remote launch, and the laser capacitors were still online, but Jimmy wanted that Module away from the fight.  'One more good hit there and this whole thing might come apart.'
   The station had managed three return salvos, and one of the alien Alphas had lost its protective magnetic field.  That they hadn't just shut it off wasn't certain, but the ship was moving away from the planet regardless.  The other Alpha was more relentless.  The colony on Mercury was reporting that it was accelerating to move around the planet and clear its field of fire on the station.  
   Jimmy only had one trick left, and less than a minute to play it if the colony's sensor returns were correct.  He keyed the comm link to the station core open.  "Lieutenant Commander Schafer.  Channel three now."  Seconds passed as Jimmy waited.  Then came the answer. "Yes Commander."  The cyborg's voice was always so flat it was almost unnerving.  "Schafer, grab deck crew four and get the Mary undocked and into this fight.  NOW !"  Jimmy knew his voice carried more than a little emotion at the moment, but unless something changed in the next few minutes, the station and everyone on it would be gone.  Deck crew four was the EVA crew, cyborgs one and all.  They would be able to survive the acceleration of a warship.  Most were military, or at least had a very good idea how the systems on board the Queen Mary would work.  Whether or not 27 cyborgs could run a half finished warship meant to hold a crew of 156 was the question of the day.  "Uh, yes Commander." was the only answer as the link closed.
   Praying wasn't Jimmy's style, but it was all he could do for the next few seconds that might make any difference.


   0226 hours/Queen Mary, near Mercury

   Lieutenant Commander Rolf Schafer locked the captain's station and keyed the monitor over to combat settings.  The last and only assignment he had on a combat ship had been as the Sensor Officer on the Attack Escort Catherine years ago.  That had only been for six months.  Before and since he had been in Engineering and Construction.  He had only done the combat post to help his chances at promotion.   A few other cyborgs were locking themselves into stations on the bridge.  Too few.  Barely enough to control the few systems that were coming online.  
   The status bar showed only a few of the particle accelerators were functional.  The ship would barely be able to manage one third of the acceleration she should be capable of.  Far less than what the alien ship was doing right now.  A ship that was already up to combat speed.  The Mary would never be able to outmaneuver it.  Three of the four launch bays had come on line.  The fourth was still in the process of fitting the internal linkage.  At least the new Phoenix Array was on line.  Sensor data, WAY MORE sensor data than what Rolf was used to seeing, was flooding the monitor screen.  Whoa.
   Rolf saw that the ship was registering locked stations for everyone he knew was on board.  He keyed the over ride and then the emergency undocking prompts.  The ship shuddered as mountings were blown free and the ship began to drift.  'The helmsman must have some experience' Rolf thought as plots began to file along the side of his screen.  Keying in for a course, he felt and sensed the ship's drive engage as the world went grey, then the blue halo formed. 'I wonder how many on board have only heard about this.'
   Those thoughts vanished as the Mary cleared Mercury.  Warnings flashed for a contact, then inbound.  Rolf worked the keys as fast as he could.  He knew how to plot a targeting solution, and the three missile bays were reporting ready status for launch.  It wasn't fast enough.  The Mary heaved as the drive cut out and the alien warhead slammed the ship with a wave of superheated particles.  Damage indicators sprang to life.  Most of the forward hull had been savaged.  The Mary didn't even have the most rudimentary of plating in place yet.  The thin plasma wave had fried wiring and struts.  At least the forward compartments had been the least finished.  Rolf finished the solution and launched.  It was hurried.  Poor.  The missiles were away, but lost tracking after only a short distance.  The alien ship was too fast.  Too quick to react.  This wasn't going to work.  Even with the Mary's three launchers to the Alpha's one, they were going to lose.  Then the sensors registered a fluctuation on the Alpha.
   Yes.  The station was clearing the planet also.  Between the three missiles of the Mary and the three of the station the Alpha was struggling to thread a clear path through the blasts.  Rolf keyed into the sensor link to start on new firing solutions, but found the Alpha had moved out too far.  They couldn't lock the missiles on at that range.  The alien ship was just to fast, and the sensor link was to slow with such a limited crew.  Inbound sensors flashed.  Rolf felt the ship pitch and strain as the drive cut in and out.  The helmsman was doing his best with what little thrust the Mary had to make her a hard target, and still get her in range of the elusive enemy ship.


   0230 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near Mercury

   The Commander strained to hold onto his station as the ship's drive cut in and out.  Even with the stations' magnetic assistance, the Commander could feel the crew straining to keep at their stations.  The appearance of the enemy Combat Vessel had changed everything.  Torpedo after torpedo sped in toward the enemy ship as the enemy weapons raced toward Patrol Vessel 17.  At this range keeping the weapon's lock was difficult to begin with; the hard maneuvers of combat were making it impossible.  The defense field generators had all burned out, the plating was damaged, the cargo section compromised, and the last of the ship's torpedoes was ready for launch.  The Commander had ordered Patrol Vessel 13 to fall back when its field generators had gone down. She still had torpedoes on board, but was too far out to be of any assistance.   This battle was going to be over as soon as the last torpedo was away.
   The Commander sensed as the torpedo left its bay and began to bring Patrol Vessel 17 about.   The enemy Combat Vessel had proved a difficult target, and the Commander had decided to have the last torpedo track the larger of the two platforms orbiting the fiery planet.  He felt satisfaction as the last torpedo slipped past the Combat Vessel and detonated near the platform.  The sensors showed more debris and gases venting from the structure.  It was far from destroyed, but the damage would have to be extensive.
   As the ship accelerated away from the inferno of heat that this system's star was, the Commander wondered what the Elders would think now. He had failed to obey the intent of their orders, but had gained so much of value.  He was sure they wouldn't like it anymore than the request he would be sending - that a Mobile Repair Vessel be sent in system with supplies to effect repairs at the giant gas planet.  It would be just as quick as the trip out to the fleet base.  
   They had managed to damage the enemy colony in the debris fields while engaging an enemy Assault Vessel, destroyed a lone enemy ship, located a second enemy colony, damaged an enemy Combat Vessel and orbital platform, and discovered why the native race had so easily been able to ambush the previous Combat Groups.  Let them try to call us cowards now.


November 17th  0605 hour/Beijing, China

   Bao tried to rest, relax.  It was just impossible.  They were hunted men now.  What they had taken...
   Bao only knew a little about the ships in space.  About the aliens.  But what he could understand of the data he had stolen - of the equipment he had seen - was terrifying.  The Chinese would stop at nothing to get this back.  It was too valuable.  And now it was in Bao's hands.
   Two of the cell members had died helping Bao escape from the Research area.  The last was wounded.  Dying.  He had maybe a day left.  Maybe two.  But he was in a lot of pain.  And there was no place they could go to for help.  If they were going to do anything, it would have to be soon.  The handler had made contact again.  They were to try and get out on a lifter from Tianjin, in 18 hours.
   Bao hoped it worked.  They had to get out.  If this didn't get out of China, the world would change.  It was going to change anyway.  But if only China had this, then the whole world would be China's.
   And Bao had hated China his whole life.
   Eighteen more hours.....


   0800 hours/Queen Elizabeth, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the reports.  It was bad.  Even so, it could have been much worse.  The Mercury Station had two of its Military Modules damaged, and the Queen Mary would be months behind schedule on her deployment.  But they were both still there, and the colony on Mercury had been unharmed. The construction facilities at Mercury Station were also unharmed.  A small pile of recommendations for awards were waiting for her to review.  A lot of them would actually deserve them.
   Alien ships in the inner system were the real problem.  Patrolling the belt was one thing.  Guarding everything was going to be impossible.  The offensive was going to have to be moved forward.  If they just waited, they were going to be picked apart.  Right now the aliens had almost no reason to tie down assets guarding their homes - where ever those were.  That was going to have to change.  Soon.
   A lot of people were likely to die when they found one of those homes.  A lot of ships wouldn't come back from an offensive against the aliens.  But it was the only game in town right now.  That, or die waiting.
   Jude wasn't interested in waiting.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2010, 02:34:06 AM »
November 2203 part 4

November 18th  0800 hours/near Rizhao, China

   Bao tried to calm his breathing.  He was tired and his legs hurt.  Things were not on schedule. At least he was on the way to the pick up point.  In the next few hours he should be able to get out of China.
   The last two hours had been busy.  The last member of his cell had died giving Bao a chance to escape.  While Bao had used the maser to take out the electric substation to the airport (and the only local radar station), his friend had driven up to the front of the airport at Tianjin.  The Astrolite-1-5 in the trunk should have taken the front off of the terminal.  The fire had sent plumes of smoke up into the sky.  Bao had then used the maser to take out several of the fence mounted cameras, and then cut part of the fencing and wires on the perimeter.  He had then climbed back on his scooter and left.  The police and military should spend hours going through every plane and vehicle near the airport.
   Bao was now near Rizhao.  He was to meet a contact on the coast.  But he was late already.  A roadblock had forced him to abandon the scooter, and he was now on foot.  Bao crept through the underbrush as he neared the beach.  He held the maser low, trying to keep it hidden.  It was definitely not a precision weapon and its range was only about 50 meters, but the microwaves were very damaging to electronics and flesh.  Cyborgs would ground out the beam with a great deal of sparks, but nothing else.  He hoped there were no cyborgs.
   Bao saw the boat on the shore, and two figures crouched beside it.  He flashed the small laser sight on the maser across the rocks on the beach in front of the pair, as he had been instructed to do by the handler.  Two flashes from a small flashlight let him know that he was to approach the boat.  Clutching the satchel with the data cards inside it, he moved forward.  Soon he would be away from China.

   0830 hours/Beijing, China

   Minister Po sagged against his desk.  He would be sacked, or killed.  Regardless, his life was over as he knew it.  The Research Facility had been breached, and although they could find nothing that had been taken, they would have to assume the project had been compromised.  Thankfully the two prototypes had been undamaged.  Only hours before the break in, they had managed to conduct the first small scale test of a field generator.  It had been a resounding success.  A full sized generator had been constructed, and was now being disassembled for shipment on five separate cargo freighters bound for Venus.  It could not wait.  They could not chance that it would be intercepted before construction and installation of the units began.  In only a little over a month, the Tung group would have the first generators fitted and operational.  Assuming nothing else went wrong.
   Po looked up at the monitor.  Steps were being taken to contain the leak.  To try and prevent any further damage to the project.  Perhaps they could catch the thieves.  Perhaps not.  Several were already dead, another had died sabotaging a costal radar suite.  The Attack Frigate Yunnan had moved into orbit over the area to provide sensor coverage.  But the lookdown capability was limited by ghosts and clutter caused by ground interference.  Maybe all of the spies were dead.  Po didn't think so.
   He laid his head down on his desk.  The next few days would be long.  If he survived them.


November 21st 1750 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon watched her monitor screen.  The external pickup was showing her a view of the two latest Attack Escorts to be built.  Both were still docked at the Pan Euro Station, but word was they would be released for trials in the next few days.  She looked hard at them.  Even now the names had been stenciled on.  The Rachel Pierce and the Keely Sereg.  They were the first to bear names of commanders who had died fighting the aliens.  They had originally been intended to be convoy escorts, and not belong to any particular Battle Group.  It didn't look like that was the plan anymore.  Their was no 'official' word on what the deployment plans were for the pair, but rumor said they would be going out past the belt to try and locate the alien's bases and colonies.
   Brenna was fairly sure that they wouldn't be going alone.  Whether they accompanied the 1st or 3rd Battle Group was anybody's guess.  Brenna was fairly sure that she would be the one to have the chance to see space out beyond the belt once again.  But if she didn't, it wouldn't bother her.
   It looked like the US was getting ready also, with two of the latest Interceptors under construction at the US Space Station.  If she was the one who was making the schedule, the group wouldn't be hanging around much longer.  They would get to celebrate Christmas out in space, far from any home.
   Brenna looked at the ships.  She wondered if Keely's kids would get to send her ship off.


November 24th  0755 hours/USS Tacoma, Sea of Japan

   Captain Russel Goehring looked over the reports from the Communication Officer.  The transmission had come through, and encryption had verified the content and sender.  "Bring the ELF cable in.  We're heading home."  The sub commander knew this was not the safest place for a US sub, and with the package delivered, it was time to get back to the States.  It would take a week or so, but they couldn't risk surfacing with the information that they had just received.  It would wait till they were in port.


November 30th  2335 hour/Queensland Corporation Airstrips, Australia

   Bao stepped off the small plane onto the landing strip.  He had finished his mission.  In a few more weeks he would be able to take a flight to the United States and start a new life.  He had risked his life, and spent weeks hiding and running.  They had managed to get the data transmitted to a waiting contact only a few days ago.  The two men who had accompanied him the whole time had looked Chinese, but were actually US Seal Team members.  One was even a pilot.  They had managed to 'acquire' a small plane and had flown it to the FSC in Australia.  Although the FSC was on friendly terms with China, they had no extradition.  In a short time it wouldn't matter.  It was raining lightly, but the breeze and rain felt good.  He felt clean, and for the first time, free.
   At that moment the Queensland Research Facility disappeared in a nuclear fireball.


///////////////////////////////////
Yes, you read right.  That was the shocker for month 11.  Just when it looked like the Earth (and the players) really were getting to where they had a good chance against the aliens, it fell apart.

We have some old house rules for espionage that we made up years ago for a 3rd Ed. game, and have just kept them.  You can pay a paltry 1MC(each) to keep an espionage cell in place on anyone you had a trade agreement or better with.  For this game they could have one on any or all the other players.  They all had some in place.  For another amount, you could activate them to try and accomplish certain tasks.  The harder the task, the bigger the minus to the roll.  I keep a chart that gives results for the rolls, and I (or whoever was the SM) made the rolls secretly.  In this case, the US activated a cell in China.  This was actually a case of real world espionage carrying over into the game.  Let me explain...

The middle boy (China) had a favorite chair that he likes to sit in and do his turns in.  It has its back to the wall, and a small light beside it.  He kept his turn sheets with him most all the time, even taking them to school (paranoid huh, apparently with good reason).  The only thing behind the chair is a steep stairway to the boys' bedrooms upstairs.  The nine year old always goes up to get his pajamas around 8 pm or so.  The oldest boy (US) bribed the nine year old and slipped him a small digital camera one day (or so I'm told).  The nine year old managed to take a few pics of the middle boy working on his sheet for turn 11.  The oldest boy then blew up the pics on his computer and managed to make out that China was in the middle of researching shields.  Knowing that China had made the breakthrough, he decided to activate his cell and try to get any info he could before the middle boy got too far ahead.  (Back to the saying that for $100 anyone can be James Bond anymore.)  Now we get back to the espionage sheet.

The roll for the cell indicated that it was destroyed, but succeeded in getting one piece of information on the targeted area.  The lowest level of info would be the breakthrough, so that is what the US got.  The roll also gave China the information that they had been compromised, the area that had been breached, but not who had done it.  The middle boy decided that his sneaky older sister was the only one who would know that he even had shield technology, and must have been after tech data or copy info to speed up her research.  Well then (he figured - I think) she must be close, and maybe even got a working copy.  He decided he needed to stop her from finishing it, and slow up her ability to field it as she was the only other one with the breakthrough (this is all conjecture on my part - maybe he was just mad at his sis and decided to nuke her only RDS because he could).

Regardless, you can see where this is going and will lead.  The next few months will be difficult times for humanity.  I actually wondered at times if they were going to be able to survive each other, let alone the aliens.

As for the combats, the Nemotian ships had the worst rolls I have had for a long time.  Granted I needed ones against the Chinese to hit the Shek, so eight misses wasn't a big surprise.  Against the base, they needed a three to hit.  They launched 15 torpedoes and only managed 3 hits.  Not the best of luck.  The Euro station and ship usually needed 2's or ones to hit the patrol ships and managed 5 hits in the same amount of time.  Kind of disappointing.

China also had a roll to see if they succeeded on their second shield research project as the middle boy had accelerated the RDS as much as he could.  He had a whole 10% chance.  I made him use my dice.  He rolled a 01.  I gave up - no fighting good luck.  He now had shields, and took a focus breakthrough to double the RP's at normal cost for the next 3 turns on getting shields to regenerate every hour project.    -China was on a roll.

For those curious, here are the stats for the active ships this month.

Chinese Ships
Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek (BG -1)
as Mao Tse Tung (Sept 2203 pt 4)

Missile Frigates Shangxi , Henan
as Missile Frigates (Sept 2203 pt 4)


Nemotioan Ships
Patrol Corvettes 13 , 17 (BG +1)
as Patrol Corvette (Sept 2203 pt 4)


Pan Euro Ships
Destroyer Queen Mary (BG -3/incomplete)   DD   30HS
[2} o o o o o o o o o o o Qa o Ra Ya Ra Ra (Cp) [2/1]
each o is an empty hull space taking 1/4 pt of damage each.  
each system has a 3.3% chance times the # of days into the month of working the first time used.

Mercury Space Station
Core         SS   82HS
  • (SY1) H Qa (SY1)

Military Modules 1-6 (BG -1)   SS   12HS
  • A A H Qa La Ra


and for those who like to blow up human ships
Pan Euro Pass FT 0127s   FT1   12HS
[2]A (BbS) Qv Qv Qv Qv H Qv Qv Qv Qa (Cp) [4]/gtos x1

Thanks for reading, and please don't think my family is as dysfunctional as it sounds.
We really do love each other (most days).
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 04:15:53 AM by procyon »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2010, 04:14:49 AM »
December 2203

November 30th  2337 hours/Queen Elizabeth, 1 light second from Earth

   Admiral Jude Kushnir stared at her monitor as she slammed her station into its locked position.  It just wasn't possible.  The sensor flash had been so brief, but it was sure.  The Chinese Strike Vessel had launched one of their short range - high speed missiles.  The detonation had been over Australia.  It couldn't be a mistake as sensors and ground sites were tracking Chinese aircraft moving in strength towards both Australia and India.  It was war.
   It felt as if the world was crawling by.  The systems on the Q.E. were taking too long to come on line.  They had been looking out from the Earth, not back at it.  The Rachel Pierce and Keely Sereg were blowing their mounting struts to the Pan Euro Space Station.  Crews that had been on board for only hours were now struggling to come to battle stations.  The US was no better off as the two Interceptors there were just now freeing themselves of the US Station.  The Pan Euro 3rd Battle Group and US Task Force 2 were both at Earth, and the Chinese had only a single Strike Vessel.  That could only mean they intended to use the ground based weapons to engage the Euro and US ships.  And that she would have to give the order to launch missiles in return, to rain death on the Earth.
   Jude checked the status reports, and saw that the Chinese Strike Vessel was closing down against the atmosphere over Australia.  They were going to use the planet as a shield.  It would block missiles from one direction, and misses from the other could easily destroy the population below it.  Damn.  Now she saw why they weren't coming out to attack the US and Euro ships.
   A transmission was appearing on her monitor.  It was a broadband transmission from the Chinese.  Well, if they weren't going to start the shooting from ship to ship, and the 3rd Battle Group wasn't all at Battle Stations, she might as well read whatever excuse they had for dooming the human race.

   TO THE UNITED STATE AND PAN EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS
   WE ARE EXERCISING OUR RIGHT UNDER THE TREATY OF SERENITATIS
   SECTION 3A.127.001C OF PAX TERRA
   REGARDING RENEGADE NATIONS AND VIOLATIONS OF NATIONAL SOVREIGNTY
   THE SSFSC HAD VIOLATED CHINESE TERRITORY AND PROPERTIES
   THE SSFSC HAS ENGAGED IN TERRORIST ACTS UPON CHINESE SOIL
   WE EXERCISE OUR RIGHT UNDER SECTION 3A.127.001C TO DEFENSE OF STATE
   WE WILL ENGAGE IN CONTINUED EFFORTS TO ENSURE THE SECURITY OF CHINA
   NO ENGAGEMENTS OF US OR PAN EURO FORCES WILL BE PURSUED
   WE SHALL INTERDICT ALL SSFSC SHIPPING WITHIN THE PAX LIMIT AS PROVIDED
   BY SECTION 3A.127.016A,B,C,D,E,F,G,S
   ANY ATTEMPT TO INTERVENE SHALL BE VIEWED AS AN ACT OF WAR UNDER
   SECTION 3A.122.003.D

   The Chinese were claiming that the FSC was a terrorist nation?  Jude sat and looked at the monitor for a long time.  The Chinese weren't launching, and the US ships weren't either.
   Jude hated politics, but it looked like this was about to become just that.


December 2nd  0315 hours/Chinese Space Station, Venus orbit

   Admiral Hu scoured the reports coming through.  Sleep was going to be in short supply for some time to come.  The invasion of the FSC was just starting, but the six divisions had gotten a foothold in both Australia and India.  South America and Africa were being ignored for the moment due to the risk of accidental acts against the US or Euro.  It was good enough to keep their ships tied up at Earth right now.  Especially with only two Chinese ships not tied down for refits.  And one, the Attack Frigate Yunnan at Earth, was woefully obsolete now.
   The only other ship not in for repairs or refits was the Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek.  Facilities to start refits on her away from Earth just weren't available.  So she was now a convoy escort.  But there were actual convoys to escort now.  Before, patrol vessels simply moved through the areas of freighter traffic, ready to respond to distress calls as the shipping lines maintained their regular schedules.  Not now.  There would only be four main ship movements this month, and all would be accompanied by the Shek.  The chance of the armed FSC ships engaging a convoy with her along would be remote.  And disastrous for the FSC.
   At Ceres were the two Missile Frigates Shangxi and Henan, and both were off in the belt some distance from the colony undergoing refits by the two Mobile Construction Ships.  Both would have the new magnetic field generators installed before the month's end.
   The Anhui and Hubei were both undergoing refits here at Venus, with the last part of the Tung's repairs having been modified to make allowances for, and the installation of, the new field generators.  At the end of the month only the Shek and Yunnan would remain to be upgraded.
   If all would simply go according to plan, at the beginning of the next month China would be the preeminent space power.  Perhaps the next year would see her rightfully controlling the world.
   Then the human race could finally come together to crush the aliens.


December 3rd 1030 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters looked over the information from the morning's briefing.  The US and Euro were using the ships here at Earth to set up a blockade at the 15 light second line set by the Pax Treaty.  No Chinese warships would be let in past the line.  This was due to the Chinese use of a drive detonation inside the Pax line.  The order also forbid the passage of civilian lines owned by Chinese interests, but Bradley was unsure if any of his ships would fire on an unarmed civilian vessel.
   The use of a blockade was covered under the Treaty of Serenetatis, and the sections were fairly broad on their use, but Bradley wasn't sure the Chinese didn't have the legal right to dispute it.  The Chinese were protesting its use already, but hadn't tried to force the issue.  They would eventually have to, as they didn't have the off world ability to support their war fleet without the Earth based industry.  It all depended on how much of a supply base the Chinese had stored off world.
   The two FSC 'warships' (if you could call them that), were parked about 3 light seconds from Earth, with the planet between them and the Yunnan.  Neither side was moving against the other, yet.  The FSC ships had managed to sneak in before the blockade had started.  
   It had been decided, and announced, that any engagement between ships of the two powers inside the Pax line would be tolerated if no drive detonations were to occur, and no launches threatened impact with the Earth.  The US and Euro would not intervene.  But no new warships would be allowed inside the Pax line.  To enforce the 'peace', the Pan Euro Queen Elizabeth was even now on station at 5 light seconds from the Yunnan.  She should be able to take out any of the combatant's ships here at Earth if they chose to violate the limits the US and Euro had set.  Once again Bradley wasn't certain that this whole arrangement would stand up in an international court, but for the moment it was what they had to work with.
   What would threaten the peace was the 'humanitarian support' the US and Euro were sending to Australia and India.  To prevent 'unnecessary civilian casualties', the US was mobilizing the 2nd Armored Division for transport to Australia, while the Euro was mobilizing the German 13th Mechanized Infantry to send to India.  Both were ostensibly there to 'oversee' the conduct of the two combatants, but it was no secret that they would likely enter combat to support the FSC interests.  
   Whether the combat on the ground would spread to space was anyone's guess at this point.


December 4th 0230 hours/Rhienmein Airbase, Germany

   Feldwebel Tanja Frank moved up the ramp onto the waiting transport.  The new Panzersturm Powered Armor was far more comfortable than the earlier models, but that still wasn't saying much.  She locked her PzGw 93 into its mount beside her, and then locked the suit into the attachments on the side of the lifter. 'Two hundred years ago I would have gotten a cotton strap with two hooks to sit in, now they don't even give you the cotton strap.' she mused.
   Tanja wondered if the rest of the division was as scared as she was.  She had new armor, powerful weapons, and wasn't supposed to get involved in the fighting.  The problem was intel showed that the Chinese had the first two, and probably wouldn't pay any attention to the last point.  Their armor wasn't supposed to be as good, but Tanja was fairly sure an old bomb would kill you just as dead as a new one.
   Tanja closed her eyes as she felt the transport shake and lift off.  In two hours they would be landing outside of New Delhi.  Five days ago she had celebrated her 24th birthday.  She really wanted to make it to 25.  She was sure the 8 other soldiers in her squad wanted to make it to their next birthday also.  She was the 'old lady' of the squad, and they were depending on her.
   'If they only knew that I don't have a clue what to do right now.' she thought.


December 9th 1755 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 23 light seconds from Jupiter

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 moved through the ship.  The Mobile Repair Vessel had arrived with more torpedoes, and had commenced repairs on the damage his ship had taken.  Watching the workers as they began to strip away burned and damaged plates and struts was always interesting.  More interesting was feeling the waves come from them as they communicated with each other.  It was nearly impossible to do anything without giving away how one felt or thought.  These workers didn't seem to be concerned if anyone knew.
   The Elders had accused the Commander and crew of Patrol Vessel 17 with cowardice, but that was not what the Commander felt from the workers.  It was more like reverence. Proud that they were aboard the vessel.  Fixing her damage.  Preparing the ship to go forth and destroy more of the hated aliens who inhabited this system.
   The Commander moved on to check out the progress of loading the new torpedoes on board. The crew could feel his pride as he moved among them.  Whether Patrol Vessel 17 survived this war or not, his people knew that he had served and fought with honor.


December 10th 0020 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home One (Eris)

   The Elders reviewed the situation again.  A new fleet of Colony Vessels was even now colonizing New Home Five.  It would be finished soon, and then the creation of the factories and construction facilities could commence to allow them to begin active support of this 'war'.
   The struggle to eradicate the native species had proved more troublesome than expected.  The elders had been forced to activate more ships than was supportable by the current populations.  The elders of True Home had seen fit to equip the colony fleet with a great wealth of supplies, but the current situation was consuming those reserves at an alarming rate.  It was possible those reserves could be exhausted if the native species was not destroyed in the near future.
   To effect that, the new Combat Group 3 was nearing completion.  The three new Patrol Vessels that were now being finished would help to strengthen the group.  The Combat Group would then move towards the inner system, assimilate the two Patrol Vessels there, and begin the destruction of the two known alien colonies.  Hopefully the two ships of the newest class that had been constructed would help to achieve that goal.  Quickly.
   If not, then preparation of defenses to prevent the Elder's extermination would have to be strengthened.  If not destroyed, it would only be a matter of time before the native race again looked for Homes to attack.


December 11th 0600 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan tried to get the last of her data together for the morning presentation.  The development work on the magnetic field generators was progressing, but the data left no doubt that the Chinese were far ahead in the race to field the system.  They would likely be able to field it before the US could.  The essential data for the development had been passed to the Pan Euro, but they would be months behind the US in fielding the system.  If the Chinese managed to install a completed field generator on their huge 'Cruiser' class of ship, the Earth would have a warship capable of fighting the largest alien ships seen so far - on their own terms.  Of course, the US and Euro would have nothing to compete with them other than sheer numbers.
   'If that ever happened, the aliens won't have to worry about killing us all off,' Meagan thought.  'There won't be anybody left.'
   Humans fighting each other had begun though.  Planet side that was.  For the moment.  That would be the big subject for the morning, not the progress on the field generators.  
   The 2AD had been positioned near the Queensland blast crater, to assist in humanitarian efforts there.  The 25 megaton blast had caused a lot of damage to the facility and the surrounding countryside.  Word was that half of the Queensland Corporation Facilities had been destroyed, and the rest damaged badly (it was a very widely scattered complex).  US intel wasn't buying it.  Satellites showed a lot of activity for a destroyed complex.  Odds were that it was more than just a civilian manufacturing plant.
   Regardless, a LOT of people had died.  Estimates were close to 100,000.  Many more were injured or homeless.  The 2nd had set up its TOC there, to better assist in support efforts.  Problem was, it seems the Chinese were also convinced it was more than a civilian work center, and were pretty determined to make sure that it had been destroyed.  When the lead Chinese elements had arrived on the 10th of December, it hadn't taken long for the shooting to start.
   The first reports Meagan had 'overheard' were promising.  The Chinese had grown accustomed to over running the outdated military surplus the Australian Reserve units were using.  Some of the equipment was over 100 years old.  The Ausie's had been fighting hard, but had been losing badly.  The hover and tracked tanks of the 2nd Armored had high energy chemical lasers for main weapons, capable of engaging small craft in LEO.  The Chinese Power Armor Infantry with their support helicopters had taken substantial losses.
   The bad news had been that satellites and images from the Q.E. showed the first Chinese Battalion that had been beaten back was just the tip of the sword.  The 2nd was outnumbered by 3 to 2 in manpower and equipment. Eventually they were going to have to give ground.


December 14th  0540 hours/Near Nepal border, Himalayas, India

   Feldwebel Tanja Frank could hear her heart pounding in her ears.  The filters blocked out enough of the light and sound that the pounding in her ears was drowning out everything else.  Her squad was holding the flank for her company.  She didn't think she was going to be alive to do that much longer.  The three 25mm 'Rollover' missiles for her shoulder mounted launcher were gone, the 100 rounds for her 18mm PzGw 93 had been used trying to counter the Chinese vehicles that had pushed her company's position over the last two hours.  Two of the damned things were burning out there covering the whole area with thick smoke.   She still had the 9mm LE/S Auto rifle mounted in the right forearm of her suit.  But the 9mm AP/HE rounds would be useless against the Chinese armor.  The 18mm API/T rounds hadn't been all that effective. The Chinese vehicles mounted lasers, and they weren't going to run out of ammo any time soon.  But the only hand held lasers out there were still not powerful enough to deal with power armored infantry, let alone a vehicle.  So ammo was still an issue.
   Tanja looked around at her squad.  Four were left alive.  The others had horrible thing happen to them.  Things even powered armor wasn't going to save you from.  Tanja's heart pounded even louder.  She looked back up to where the Chinese positions were on the hillside above her.  She could see the Chinese powered armor venting gouts of hot gas, trying to cool off their circuits and cloud the thermal returns for any Pan Euro weapons targeting them.  It wouldn't be long before they came back and attacked again.
   Warning lights flashed on Tanja's HUD.  Suddenly the ground fountained into the air in dozens of places.  Chinese MLOW's were detonating overhead.  They had been launched over the field or had been loitering for a while now.  Didn't matter.  The bomblets were detonating.  Targeting anything moving/hot/cold/whatever with EFPs that came rocketing down out of the sky.  
   Stars whirled around Tanja as magnesium flares flashed and burned, trying to confuse the airborne bomblets.  Angry fireflies zooming through the thick black smoke.  It took a moment for Tanja to realize that she was the one who had activated them.
   Chinese infantry was moving.  Their suits weren't quite as good as the German's.  They vented heat regularly.  They could only make a jump of about half the distance that Tanja did.  And there were many of them.  Tanja could see over a hundred coming towards her position.  A quick look showed that it nearly was just her position.  Two more of her squad were gone.  At least the last two weren't running.  Tanja could feel the tears burning her eyes, but she wasn't leaving them.  It wasn't courage, she just couldn't leave them.  Not now.
   The world disappeared in a white blaze, then the filters cut in as the world went black.  She could feel herself slammed about.  Then it was still again.  She could taste blood in her mouth.  The HUD was just barely visible.  A faint grey puzzle of lines.  She wondered if this was what it felt like to die.  She could feel herself being tossed around, but it didn't hurt anymore....


   0600 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, 15 light seconds from Earth

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon checked her monitor again.  How much longer would this go on?  It was insane.  Fifteen minutes ago an FSC lifter had passed through Pan Euro airspace and dropped a 2 megaton weapon in the Himalayas.  The Chinese Attack Vessel wasn't doing anything yet, and neither was the US or Pan Euro.  The FSC had dropped it over their own territory to attack the Chinese troops there.  Chinese ground assets had shot the lifter down.  The damage to Chinese troops scattered in the mountains wouldn't be decisive, and the damage to civilians was going to be much worse than anything the Chinese were likely to be doing at the moment.  What was happening to the world?
   The contact light on her monitor caught Brenna's attention.  At least the ships were all at battle stations.  Returns were indicating it was 13 civilian passenger and cargo freighters, and one of the big mothers that the Chinese had.  It wasn't the one that Brenna had seen at Ceres.  That one would still be sporting battle damage.  It hadn't been long enough for a ship that big to be back in service, could it?
   This one wasn't damaged, and it was 28 light seconds from Earth.  She wasn't moving at combat speed, but she wasn't just cruising either.  The Comm station had already sent the message that contacts had been spotted, now it was up to the Chinese.  Would they actually try to run that big ship through the blockade.
   The 3rd Battle Group and US Task Force 2 had over a dozen ships at Earth.  The Chinese Captain had to know he couldn't win.  'Of course that won't do us any good.  We'll be dead before anybody gets organized.' thought Brenna.
   Comm relay updates told Brenna the rest of the 3rd was leaving its posts and forming up with the Q.E., just in case.  Not Brenna.  She was going to stay.  If they were going to play chicken, she wasn't going to run.  She could feel herself relax as the big warship came to a stop.  They didn't want to fight either.
   But the civilian ships were still coming.  Brenna knew she wasn't going to fire on them.  But the FSC ships were still near Earth.  That might be another matter.  And then that big ship might move to assist.  It wasn't quite time to relax yet.


   0645 hours/Mary Reed, 2.5 light seconds from Earth

   The Dutchman was sure they had bitten off more than they could chew, but it was too late now.  The Kestrel and Mary Reed had moved to intercept the Chinese convoy as best they could.  The Chinese ground based installations covered an almost 240 degree arc of the sky.  That only left a small cone on the far side to maneuver in.  But it was enough to get in range of the convoy with the long range missiles the Mary and Kestrel carried.  The Chinese would know that after the various incidents at Ceres.
   The Dutchman hadn't really planned to fire on the civilian ships, but he would have if the Chinese Frigate hadn't come out from behind the planet.  The Chinese Vessel had obliged though.  For the first three minutes it had been a long range duel of the two missiles the Mary and Kestrel could fire against the single one the Chinese ship could launch (thank goodness it hadn't turned out to be one of their long range Missile Frigates!).  Even without drive detonations, the Kestrel had been overwhelmed.  She had her nose to the Chinese vessel to begin the fight, and the first disk that had struck her had devastated her forward cargo section.  The bulkhead had held, but the second impact thirty seconds later had shredded that.  Then the Mary and Kestrel had been forced to turn to avoid the Chinese ground installations, along with the short ranged missiles the Chinese ship was sure to mount.  The next two launches from the Chinese ship managed to shatter the Kestrel's drive shield and the Kestrel had disappeared as the nuclear drive bloom consumed her.
   The Chinese Frigate was working her way around behind the Mary Reed.  She was faster, and The Dutchman wasn't going to be able to keep the Chinese ship out of his blind spot forever.  She would manage to get dead astern of him within the next minute and a half.  The Mary Reed was bigger and more heavily built than the Kestrel, but The Dutchman had no illusions about what would happen if he let the Chinese ship get behind him.
   The Chinese Frigate was bigger than the Mary and much more heavily built.  But she was hurt.  The missiles from the Mary and Kestrel had scored several hits, and the Mary's laser had managed to paint her with twice.  The Chinese ship wasn't firing with its long range missile bay anymore, so that at least had to have been damaged.   The twin launch signatures as it deployed a pair of the short range missiles answered the question about what else she might have on board.
   The Mary Reed heaved about as the drive cut in and out.  Damage reports showed that one of the cargo bays and two of the empty passenger bays were open to space.  The Dutchman keyed in the override and the Mary launched another missile as the drive was off.  The laser battery discharged as the Mary drifted, and the Chinese ship vented as more of her plating was shattered and blasted away.  The Chinese Captain wasn't a fool though, and kept rolling the ship.  Bringing new plates and baffles in line.  The missile from the Mary released its hail of metal disks and again the Chinese ship stuttered her drives.  Yes.  They were coming back on, but the Chinese Frigate's bloom was much weaker now.  One of the metal disks must have struck the ship near a particle accelerator and damaged it.  Maybe the Mary had a chance yet.
   The Dutchman felt the Mary heave again as more Chinese metal slammed into his ship.  The laser battery was still online, as was the launch bay (with only three missiles left), and the main particle accelerators.  The drive shield must be intact he thought as the drive fired again and the Mary sped away from the crippled Chinese ship.
   Entering the override for the drives to red line, The Dutchman checked the targeting plots.  Firing solutions had been plotted again, and The Dutchman keyed the firing prompts.  The Chinese ship was beginning to fall behind.  If they could just get beyond the effective range of the short ranged missiles.  The drive cut out on the Chinese ship again as the laser tore into her, but the missile had been unable to get a lock when the Mary's drive bloom had red lined and masked the Chinese Frigate's signature.  The Chinese ship answered with only a single missile, and it had lost tracking shortly after launch.
   The Dutchman watched as the Chinese Frigate stretched out the distance and disappeared behind the moon.  She was disengaging.  'So is the Mary Reed' decided The Dutchman.  We could fire on her again as she clears the moon, but the odds of a successful intercept at this range are low.  And it probably wouldn't finish off that ship anyway.  The Dutchman had seen how tough the Chinese Frigates were up close at Ceres.
   They Chinese had fought hard today.  The Mary had also.  The Kestrel was gone, but they hadn't been schoolgirls.  They knew the danger.  The US and Euro ships had sat this one out, as had the big Chinese Cruiser out there.  The Dutchman was fairly sure if that Cruiser had wanted to, it could have finished off the Mary and maybe even gotten away.  That Chinese Captain had showed restraint.  As the Chinese Frigate cleared the moon and firing solutions sprang up on The Dutchman's monitor, he decided that might be just what this whole situation needed.  If folks didn't show a little restraint right now, the human race wouldn't need the aliens to finish them off.
   The Dutchman keyed for the crew to unlock stations and begin emergency repairs.  Maybe they could still save the Mary Reed before she came apart.


December 24th  2210 hours/Beijing, China

   Minister Po looked over the reports.  The battles in Australia and India were going poorly.  They could be salvaged, but would cost a great deal and only escalate the possibility of a nuclear exchange here at Earth.  They had lost over twenty percent of their manpower and much more in equipment.  
   The refits were progressing well.  The Tung was the last due to be finished, and she would be ready for trials in the next few days.  The Shek had arrived at Venus and would begin the upgrades as soon as the Tung cleared the slip.  There was no longer a need to keep the US and Euro ships tied up here at Earth.  Nor was there anything to be gained from continuing the ground offensive.  It would only draw away resources better used.
   It was likely the US and Euro had the basic information on the new field generators by now.  The US at least had been right on top of the Queensland facility for weeks now.  They would be too late in developing the technology to make any difference though.
   Minister Po knew he was on thin ice politically, but none of the other ministers were interested in continuing this ground war either.  With the other governments' preparing for their 'Christmas' holiday tomorrow, perhaps a cease fire followed with the complete withdrawal of Chinese troops to Chinese soil, would find them at a weak moment.  He hoped it did.  It was his only hope to regain credibility, and any power in the ministry.


//////////////////////////
Overview
I could have written more on the month storywise, but after looking at the last few multi part months, I decided that perhaps folks might like to see one month finished in one post for a change.  Otherwise, my wife has caught one typo after the fact from November that I will try to find and fix.  She also pointed out that her SS was only BG -1, and that the rules said that was what SS were and I had denied her an advancement roll for the SS because of that.  I do seem to remember her being rather ticked off after that month.

For the US, they got away with it as far as the spying went.  Didn't really help out his sis much when the chips fell on her, other than the small support in Qv for the FSC.  His fleets were about ready for what he thought he would need to go out system, so he stopped his construction and began to consider bigger ship designs.

For China, the middle boy pretty much got what he wanted also.  He figured he had the whole thing wrapped up, other than the aliens that was.  Didn't quite work out how he hoped, but that is a future post.

For the FSC, she was really struggling, and her battle against the Chinese FG almost cost her the only admiral she had.  In the end The Dutchman managed to advance a grade to Elite, and got the Courageous skill as a bonus.  She still wasn't real happy.  Don't give up on her yet.

For the Euro, she was the only one not up to anything sneaky, and seemed to still get the short end of the stick every time she turned around.  It was she who managed to keep the whole thing from turning into a nuclear nightmare for the earth.  Detente had become her forte.

I don't have the ship plans with me tonight at work, as the kids have swiped them to look over for a bit.  I will add them in as an edit in a few days.  Sorry.

Again, thanks for reading.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2010, 12:32:50 AM »
January 2204

January 2nd  0830 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Earth Orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the morning's status reports, and reviewed the previous day's briefings.  The war with the aliens had been horrible enough, now the battles here at Earth were taking a toll on the Pan European economy.  The enormous sums being spent on development of the magnetic protective shields, the cost of the mission to scout for/engage the aliens in the outer system (due to leave within the hour), lingering costs of the deployment of the 13th Mechanized Infantry from Germany, the burden on the civilian sector imposed by the convoying of civilian freighters, the loss of the Pallas Colony, all piled on top of the cost of constructing and maintaining the current fleet levels had combined to send the economy into the beginnings of a bad recession.  Not crippling yet, but if it continued steps would have to be taken to compensate for it.
   Jude sat in her old office on the Space Station and wondered if it was going to be worth the effort to spruce it up.  She was stuck here for the next month, as Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery was taking over the Q.E. for the mission beyond the belt.  Jude should have been on the Queen Mary by now, but the aliens' arrival at Mercury had put that behind schedule by almost a month.  For the moment she would have to make do with her office on the station.
   Jude rechecked the status reports on the fleet.  The only ship taking part in the deployment today was the Q.E.   She would be accompanying the US Task Force 2 from Earth out to the belt.  The US was also sending along one of their Survey Tenders to carry the extra supplies the mission would require for its extended deployment.  The Tender's two small Survey Craft would also come in useful for scouting ahead as the group neared areas the aliens might be located.  The Q.E. and TF-2 would move toward the belt where they would meet with the Pan Euro's 1st Battle Group.  Those were the status reports that interested Jude.  The 1st BG was still drawing extra supplies for the mission.  Supplies still enroute to the belt on civilian cargo liners.  They would arrive only hours before the 1st BG was due to leave the belt.
   The US TF-3 would be responsible for security of both the US and Pan Euro portions of the belt following the departure of the 1st BG.  That was a big risk.  The US and Pan Euro colonies were separated by fairly large distances, and the ability to respond to any crisis would likely take some time.  The presence of the US TF-1 at Mars helped to some degree, as Mars and the Pan Euro's belt colonies were currently in fairly close relation.  But it would still take time to get from Mars to the belt.  That was if the US would even release TF-1 from Mars.
   It couldn't be helped.  The mission to find the aliens was the priority.  Without it, winning was simply impossible.


   1420 hours/Venus Station, Venus orbit

   Admiral Hu signed the orders releasing the Cruiser Mao Tse Tung and the Missile Frigates Anhui and Hubei to accompany the civilian convoy to Earth.  The ships were not to activate the new magnetic systems unless fired upon.  From Earth they would accompany a second group of ships to Ceres where they would again resume their post guarding the colony.  The Missile Frigates Shangxi and Henan would then accompany the convoy's return to Earth, and then back to Venus.
   The Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek was beginning her refits to mount the new protective systems, along with an overhaul of her short ranged missile bays to convert them over to the long range missiles.  It was not an extensive plan, but would still take two months to complete.  The Tung was to remain a mixed platform for both short and long range missiles, while the Shek would become a long range platform only.  Although the new protective systems should allow the Tung to close with the alien ships, it was felt that if the engagement was to turn against the Cruisers, that keeping the Shek in a position from which she could disengage would be preferred over losing both of China's heavy ships.
   Repairs of the Yunnan at Earth were progressing slowly, as the damage she had incurred with the two FSC ships had turned out to be extensive.  Installation of the new protective system was also to occur along with the repairs, but was moving slowly due to the need for secrecy.
   Secrecy was a major concern for China, but even within the tight controls of the military some quiet rumors were circulating.  Rumors that the Venus Station would soon begin construction of a third Cruiser to join the first two, and of another Frigate also.  But most interesting were the rumors that Chinese designers were putting together the plans for an even larger class of ship.  That China would build more Cruisers and Frigates was likely.  They were a proven design.  But there was no official word on an even larger ship.  If that was even possible.


January 5th  2050 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters rested in his office.  The day had been long, and the meetings tedious.  Little new was on the table to work with.  Status of the deployment of Task Force 2.  The (limited) progress of the work on the alien magnetic protective fields.  Convoy and resupply updates.  Training updates.  Nothing to raise one's spirits.
   Most concerning was the massive surge in colonists to Mars.  Large bond sales and transfers of assets to civilian interests were funding a large push to increase colonization of the US's largest off world holding.  The number of colonists had increased by 500 percent over the normal rate of immigration to the red planet.  This could help the economy in the long term, but with the deployment of Task Force 2 for the next two months, the ability of the US to defend the rapidly growing colony was in question.  The population on Mars was well over 6 million and climbing.  At least a quarter of a million new colonists were due to arrive in January alone.  If the aliens were to attack there, the results could be devastating.
   It also served to tie down Task Force 1 at the planet.  Leaving the colony and shipyards unguarded was unthinkable.
   The fact that the Pan Euro ship Red October was responsible for the safety of the colonists moving from Earth to Mars left the Admiral more than a little uneasy.  The Euro was already stretched thin financially and militarily.  Would they actually risk the loss of a ship to save US colonist.  Bradley doubted it.


January 6th  0020 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home One (Eris)

   The Elders' greeted the news uneasily.  The communication arrays had been silent for too long.  It was confirmed that no more colonization ships would arrive.  Any ships left would have answered the broadcasts by turning on the support systems and returning signals to the New Homes.  The New Homes were now on their own.
   The colonies had received a fleet equal to the one that had been used to conquer the Home System, enough colonists to emplace five substantial New Homes, and supplies to allow them to establish themselves without drawing unduly on the New Homes' infrastructure.  It had been assumed that this would be enough.
   That assumption had not entertained the thought of a system as vast as the one the colonization fleet had found themselves in.  Let alone the possibility that it could hold a race capable of such resistance.  An Assault Vessel had been lost.  That had never happened in the conquest of the Home System.  Only five of the great ships were left, and two were even now heading towards the inner parts of this new system.  That left two of the newest colonies without the power of an Assault Vessel to protect them.
   The newest Home had finished the emplacement of the population and was well on its way to constructing the factories and industry that would allow it to assume its share of the burden this conflict with the native race was creating.  The colony ships that had brought them were even now scattered out to the various New Homes to be scrapped and salvaged for parts and materials to use in new construction.
   If Combat Group 3 failed in its mission to subdue the native race and exterminate them, it was likely those parts would be needed in the near future.


   1330 hours/Attack Escort Cynthia, Asteroid Belt

   Captain Giovanni Vetra double checked the progress on loading the cargo section.  Any loose materials would destroy the ship when the drive engaged.  And there was a lot of cargo.  Usually the Cynthia only carried enough for current operations, and perhaps an extra week.  They would constantly resupply from civilian ships or at the colonies.  Less in the hold meant less to go wrong.
   This time they were packing in enough to keep the Cynthia going for the next two months solid.  Where they were going there wouldn't be any civilian ships, let alone a friendly colony.  The only thing that might be living out there would be the aliens, and they wouldn't be friendly.  The US Survey Tender was carrying extra supplies in case a ship was damaged and lost the contents of its hold, or if the group was delayed in returning from the outer planets.  Of course if the Survey Tender was destroyed, pickings might get a little thin before they got home.
   The roster of ships setting out on this little excursion was impressive.  More than the Pan Euro and US had gathered together in one place before.  Twelve combat ships in total.  Giovanni had been very satisfied to see that the Queen Elizabeth was also to make the journey.  He had hoped to see the Q.E. crush the aliens ever since he had seen her in the Mercury Shipworks.  This would be that chance.  Between the Pan Euro 1st Battle Group and US Task Force 2 they would be able to face down any alien attack group that had yet been seen.  The one that had attacked the Chinese colony at Ceres would be tough, but Giovanni was sure that they would be able to take it out.  Even without the heavy Chinese ships to support the attack.
   The Pan Euro's Mobile Shipyard 2 had also arrived to make the journey.  It would be able to ensure that whatever ships were damaged would be able to make it back to Earth, if there was any way possible to get that done.  Regardless of how powerful this combined group was, the Earth couldn't afford to lose any more ships than they had to.  Not until the aliens were gone.
   Satisfied that the cargo was secure, Giovanni made his way back towards the bridge.  It would take a bit to double check the astrogation for the upcoming days.  Clearing the asteroid fields was the most dangerous section for the moment.  The time consumed as the group made its way to Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and finally Saturn on the way back would give ample opportunity to check over those sections of the course plot.  For now just getting out of the belt was the important part.  Giovanni wanted to see the alien ships die.  Crashing into a big floating rock wasn't part of that plan.


January 9th  0900 hours/Mary Reed, South African Shipyards

   The Dutchman checked on the progress of the repairs.  The Mary Reed had been handled roughly, and getting her landed in South Africa wasn't one of his fonder memories.  But the ship had held together, and was slowly beginning to look more like her old self.
   She needed to.  She was the FSC's last armed vessel.  Until money was freed up, there weren't going to be any others built.  It had been enough of a battle with the 'company' heads just to get the Mary repaired.  They had even talked of scrapping her to help pay for bills the battles in Australia and India had made.  The Dutchman had promised to scuttle her in the repair hanger before he let that happen.  The possibility of another nuclear detonation at the only remaining FSC construction facility had stopped that talk right quick.
   With the Mary Reed down for repairs, and the Kestrel and Marie Celeste gone, FSC civilian lines had come to an almost complete halt.  The only ships moving were the few that had been able to get into the convoys the Euro Red October was escorting.  Even with the cease fire and withdrawal of Chinese troops, nobody wanted to trust that the Chinese wouldn't shoot a lone FSC cargo ship in deep space.  For the moment the FSC, rich and poor alike, were going to have to live on a shoe string budget.
   The Dutchman didn't mind.  There was little that a cyborg actually needed.  And when he did need something, well, most folks weren't going to argue with a cyborg.  Not if they wanted to live.


January 10th  1055 hours/Queen Elizabeth, 12 light minutes from Jupiter

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery looked over the data displayed on her monitor.  The scout from the US Survey Tender had returned.  It had scanned the space around Jupiter and returned with no findings that hadn't already been cataloged.  Empty moons and space, with a few floating pieces of debris from earlier battles fought around the giant planet.  No alien presence detected in space or on the surface of any moon.  A short scan of the surface of the gas giant itself had even been conducted to ensure that the aliens didn't try to build installations in that god awful environment.
   It had all been negative.  That was good.  That meant the aliens had to come farther to attack the belt or inner planets than the short trip from Jupiter.  The next stop was considerably farther out.  It had also been the sight of an alien contact.  And a battle.  Elizabeth wasn't going to forget June 23rd and the battle that had taken place at Uranus.  She and the 1st Battle Group had won that time.
   She wondered if her luck would hold out if it happened again.


January 12th  0945 hours/Wiesbaden, Germany

   Feldwebel Tanja Frank couldn't remember much.  It was all a blur.  She was somewhere white, with lots of rustling, beeping, and talking.  She could remember a few faces, but no names.  No idea where she was, other than maybe a hospital.
   Her mom had just been here.  That she could remember.  Maybe.  It might have been a dream.  And she wasn't sure everything she saw was real.  Real or not, she was glad to see her mom.
   She hurt all over.  Not just a little.  Tanja was fairly sure that they - whoever 'they' were - gave her medicine for the pain that made things fuzzy.  It sometimes made her feel sick.  She hadn't felt really sick for a while now.  That was nice.
   She tried to sit up and found out she couldn't.  It felt like something was holding her down.  She tried to feel what was holding her and couldn't find anything.  Her hand was so numb it was hard to tell what she was feeling.  She held her hand up and tried to focus on it.  Tried to make the fuzziness go away.
   Tanja saw that she still had her powered armor on.  Why would they leave that on?  Was it stuck?  Burned on?  She looked closer to see if she could tell why it was still on and saw that it wasn't her old armor.  It was a grey-black in color and much less bulky.  She suddenly felt cold as she realized it wasn't armor she was wearing.
   Her mom had told her she would be alright; they had been able to save her.  That she was just glad her little girl was still alive.
   She grabbed the small metal trapeze above her and watched as the metal crushed and twisted in her hand.  
   She stared at the hand.  She wasn't really her mom's little girl anymore.


January 19th  2105 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 23 light seconds from Jupiter

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel the approaching contacts through his ship's sensors.  It was a large group.  The Combat Group that they had been ordered to meet.  Patrol Vessel 17 was repaired now, and going through the proscribed trials to ensure that all the systems worked.  The ships of the Combat Group would stop here for some time yet to allow the newest ships time to finish their trials also.  Then they would be ready to destroy the habitats of the native race.
   The Combat Group would finish trials, and then meet the Mining Vessel that would come in to this system's debris field to gather materials.  They would resupply from the Mining Vessel and then proceed with the attack.  Soon all would be ready.
   Something was different about this Combat Group the Commander noted.  The Commander knew the Assault Vessels, Combat Vessels, and Patrol Vessels he could sense through his ship.  Two of the ships were not any of these.  Or any other ship he had sensed.  They were something new, perhaps made purely to deal with this new race.
   Perhaps this attack would be more successful.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 hoped so.  It had been long since they had defeated the native race.


January 21st  0110 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa S. Grant, 12 light minutes from Uranus

   Rear Admiral Matthew Thomas locked his station on the bridge.  Lander Seven had returned with data showing no further alien presence at Uranus.  The ruins were still there, but no activity was noted anywhere that the Lander had gone.  Granted with the little ship's short sensor range the aliens could have slipped around her indefinitely, with just about any ship they might have at Uranus.  But they couldn't hide the moons.
   Task Force 2 wasn't out to hunt down alien ships.  They would have to deal with the alien ships eventually, but the main goal was to find alien colonies.  These damned things had to be coming from somewhere.  Where was the question.
   Vice Admiral Avery of the Pan Euro was in command, but Matt knew what the next order was going to be.  He didn't see the point in waiting.  He keyed in the order for all ships in US TF-2 to prep for acceleration.  She would want to start the trip to Neptune as soon as she could.  The group had limited supplies, and it was going to be a long trip even if they didn't run into anything.  If the group did find the aliens, it was going to take a bit longer to get home.
   Assuming that they did.


January 26th  0630 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Lieutenant Commander Meagan Ryan made one last check of her uniform, and then started down the corridor for the morning briefing.  She had been promoted, but still had the same lousy quarters.  On the station she was still on the bottom end of the rank structure.  She had never seen so much brass in one place as she did on the station.
   She was actually looking forward to the briefing.  She had good news.  The techs on the ground had made significant progress on the protective field generators.  The techs had started nicknaming them 'shields'.  Apparently old sci-fi movies had something like the alien's system that they called 'shields'.  The name reminded Meagan of ancient warriors.  Whatever.
   Word from TF-2 was that they were finding nothing.  It wasn't making Admiral Walters very happy.  It was hard to tell how a cyborg felt, but she had learned to read her father over the years.  Admiral Walters was different, but she was fairly sure she could tell when he wasn't pleased with how things were going.  This was one of those times.
   It now looked like they would be able to field the new 'shields' in the next two or three months.  That would give the politicians on the ground time to put together the funds and resources to begin the refits that all the Interceptors would eventually have to undergo.
   Meagan also knew that if the US was this close, it was likely the Chinese would field the system soon, if they hadn't already.  She hoped they were as strapped for cash as the US was, and that the defense of Ceres was keeping them tied down.  If they had gotten those big ships overhauled, the US shield project was going to be too little too late.


January 30st 2235 hours/Combat Vessel 2, 22 light seconds from Neptune

   The Commander of Combat Vessel 2 felt the ship hum as the mass driver warmed up.  The native race was learning from their time fighting.  They had sent a small craft ahead to scout for an enemy presence.  The small ship didn't seem to have much sensor range, as the Combat Vessel was only a little over 2 light seconds behind it, and the tiny scout was making no attempts to evade.
   It would have to be destroyed, as it was headed directly toward the Fleet Base at New Home Three.  It could not be allowed to reach the New Home.  The enemy would realize that the area was defended, but would not know what was waiting for them.  Or how valuable the area was.
   The Commander of Combat Vessel 2 felt the immense magnetic 'flash' as the mass driver engaged.  He could not sense the projectile.  It moved to fast for the sensors to track as it moved away from the ship.  It would give the enemy scout no time to signal it had been attacked.  The only indication of its presence was the detonation that the sensors picked up. The enemy craft disappeared in a nuclear detonation caused by the impact.
   It would only be a matter of time before the native race came to see what had happened to their small scout.


January 31st  0315 hours/Queen Elizabeth, 12 light minutes from Neptune

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery could almost feel the crew’s tension.  The US ship's boat should have reported in over an hour ago.  They had not reported any drive problems, or radio issues.   If the radio transmitter was down, they would not be able to broadcast, but that was unlikely.
   The group would wait for the next 24 hours to see if the scout returned, but if it did not it could only mean one thing.  Elizabeth had fought the aliens near Uranus as they had tried to defend a small colony there.  She had seen how hard they fought to protect their civilian populations.  The destruction that the US had rained upon that colony would only strengthen that resolve.  Most likely their defenses also.
   Her thoughts drifted back to September, and the battle that had been fought near Ceres.  How Esme and the entire 2nd Battle Group had sacrificed themselves.  US and FSC ships had joined them in giving the rest of the Euro and Chinese ships a chance to win.  Died to protect those who couldn't protect themselves.
   The aliens had also seen the price of defeat.  She was sure they would be capable of the same sacrifice.



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

Sorry for the wait, this last week holds a pair of birthdays for my family and that takes up one's time.  Pleasantly though.  I enjoy being spoiled.

The ship designs for the battle in December are as follows:

Chinese Ships
Attack Frigate Yunnan         FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A A Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ga Ga Qa (Cp) [6/1]

FSC Ships
Converted Freighter Mary Reed (BG +1)   FT2   16HS
[2]A Qv Qv Qv H H La Ra Qa (Cp) [4/1]

Converted Fast Freighter Kestrel      FT1   12HS
[2]H H H A H H Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

If anyone is interested in battling it out between the Shek/Yunnan/PDC's and the combined Euro/US/FSC group, let me know and I may post those on the comment thread if someone asks. The group tried it once way after the fact, but it ended up turning into a nuke fest of the planet.  Good thing it never happened, huh.

 
This month was the quiet before the storm.
 
The Pan Euro (my wife) continued on her string of bad luck and got an economic recession on the random events rolls.  It cost her 2% of her income, and would continue for some time before it resolved itself.  She still managed to make the necessary expenditures for the 1st BG to travel out system, but she had to sell IU just to make ends meet for the month.  She was looking hard at February - what she could cut out of the budget.  Her end of month roll for December had moved her up to EL2, but it really didn't seem to make much difference with all the prepaid maintenance, recession cost, and convoy costs.  The game wasn't leaving her with a happy face very often.

The FSC was even worse off.  The invasion had shut down her income for a month and left the oldest girl with only her treasury to work off of for the most part.  She even stopped EL Research for January just to make the repairs on the Mary Reed.  THAT was a tough decision.  I am pretty sure she was talking to her mom looking for a loan.  Too bad the Euro was also hurting for MC's.  This made two months lost on shield research for her.  This was the darkest days of the FSC.

The US was holding its own financially and fleet-wise.  They were the smallest of the three powers, but the oldest boy was thrilled when he made one of the rolls for getting shields done.  He knew his younger brother likely had finished, but was hoping he could get finished before China decided it was safe to attack the other players.  He was also making monthly rolls for EL increase, and decided to ramp up colonization to capitalize on any EL increase.  He knew sinking money into Mars was a risk if the aliens showed up, but the returns were worth it to him.  He didn't get to EL2 this month though.

The middle boy (China) was just letting his ships get over the shakedown period before he started his move.  I'm pretty sure he was planning to make a grab for power, but I never did get to find out for sure.  He was definitely in position to do it.  February just got in the way.

The next month (Feb 2204) is the one to watch.  It’s plain to see that the pieces are set.  The boxers have run the first few rounds feeling things out.  Bloodying each other’s noses.  Now the battle would begin in earnest.  Most of the turns up to now were done in a few days.  Never much more than a week.  Even the big battle for Ceres hadn't gone much longer than that.  Turn 14 took over a month.  A month of long faces, quiet conversations amongst the players, and back room deals and compromises.  This month will not be done in one post, or two.  I'm not sure how many it will take, but I plan to try and take my time and do it well.  Hope you enjoy reading it as much as the players struggled with playing it.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2010, 02:08:08 AM »
February 2204  part 1/Prelude

February 1st  0210 hours/Attack Escort Cynthia, 12 light minutes from Neptune

   Captain Giovanni Vetra looked over the sensor returns.  The scout was now overdue.  There had been no word from the crew since departure.  The US crew of Lander 7 had been punctual to a fault in the last two scouting missions.  They were gone.  Giovanni just knew it.
   It would be only a short time before Vice Admiral Avery ordered the group to prep for acceleration.  Only this time they wouldn't set course towards the next planet to be scouted.  They would move toward Neptune.  And whatever had destroyed the US Lander.
   Giovanni looked over the sensor contacts again.  The returns of the ships in the combined US and Pan Euro group dotted the screen.  Small names displayed beside the icons.  His eyes kept straying back to one.  The Rachel Pierce.  She had joined the 1st Battle Group a few days after Christmas.  
   Memories of Rachel haunted him every time he saw her name.  Memories of a time when they had been school mates.  And then more.  Plans that had fallen away after the accident that had left him a 'borg.
   She had volunteered to join the Pan Euro military.  Went through the training to become an officer and then volunteered for space duty.  Giovanni could remember the many times he had tried to talk her out of it.  She had always been stubborn like that.  And she had always been there for him, whatever the cost.
   They had stayed close.  Often served together.  When they hadn't been posted together, they had always stayed in touch.  Took leave together.  Rachel had even been his XO for three years before she got her own command.  Giovanni had never imagined a world without her.
   Listening to her last transmissions had torn away more of him than the accident ever could have.
   Somewhere ahead were alien ships.  Somewhere was the ship that had taken away his Rachel.  If he had to destroy every last alien ship to make sure, he was going to send that ship to hell.


   0715 hours/Queen Mary, Pan Euro Space Station, Mercury orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir sat in her station.  The ship was due to clear the slip within the hour, and she wanted to be on board when it did.  Jude knew she could have waited for the Queen Mary at Earth, but the temptation to take the Q.M. out for her first run was just too much.  Now it would also help to keep her from dwelling on things she couldn't change.
   The transmission from Vice Admiral Avery had been received only minutes ago.  There had been no contact with the US scout.  They were moving towards Neptune to ascertain what had prevented the Lander from returning.  That message was four hours old when Jude saw it.  It would still be another 20 hours before Elizabeth would reach the planet.  It would then take another four hours for the transmissions of what happened to reach the inner system.   The only reason the US Lander wouldn't have returned would be the aliens.  There would be a battle.  And that battle would likely be long over before Jude heard that it had begun.
   Twenty four hours to worry about something she couldn't affect.  Something she couldn't change.  But something that could change everything.
   Jude tapped the arm of her chair.  Twenty four hours.


   1940 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa J. Hancock, dark side of asteroid belt near Ceres

   Rear Admiral Joshua Campbell wondered how badly Admiral Walters was going to chew him out.  He should have checked the convoy flight plans.  It was too late now.  At least he could run the dark side of the belt to try and make it look like he wasn't overlapping security coverage unnecessarily.
   Right now the Pan Euro Armed Science Vessel Red October was just a few light minutes away, escorting a convoy through the belt.  Josh had been rather embarrassed to have 'caught and intercepted' the 'contact' out here in the belt.  He now regretted the hasty transmissions to Earth about finding an 'unknown' contact.
   A new light on Josh's monitor caught his attention.  The Sensor Conn had caught a new contact almost dead ahead.  The Red October would have had to wander quite a bit off course to be out here.  Perhaps the shepherd had lost one of her sheep, and it was a freighter that had strayed off course.  Could be a Chinese ship - they were close to Ceres after all.  Josh keyed in for all ships to lock stations, but decided he didn't need to send off a message to Earth just yet. They had time to get a better ID.
   "Sir, we have an active drive bloom.  Two.  No, three blooms.  Contact is now three contacts.  Contacts One and Two now showing magnetic field deployment."  Josh listened as the Sensor Officer rattled off more data on the contacts, but he wasn't listening.  This wasn't a lost freighter.  And he needed to send that message now.


   1947 hours/Missile Frigate Anhui, asteroid belt near Ceres

   Captain Chen Ming keyed in orders for the helm to bring the ship hard about.  The contacts had come from nowhere.  The Frigates were supposed to have waited in the belt near Ceres, while the Tung had remained near the colony.  If the aliens had returned in force, the Tung would have fallen back and drawn the aliens into an ambush by the Missile Frigates.  But the Tung hadn't made first contact, and it was the ambushers who had been surprised.
   Worse, Chen knew that assuming the contacts had been aliens traveling with their protective fields down was a mistake.  Moments after the Frigates' protective fields had been raised the contacts had begun open radio broadcasts.  The encryption was undecipherable, but it was undoubtedly Euro or US transmissions.  To make bad into horrible -  the resupply vessel had just arrived when the contacts had showed up.  It was now running with the Frigates to avoid the pursuing ships.
   The contacts were too far back in the asteroid field to identify who they were, or even how many there were accurately.  They were persistent though.  For the last 10 minutes they had chased the Frigates.  Even turning off the magnetic generators hadn't thrown them off the trail.  Luckily the civilian freighter was a fast model and had been able to keep up.  Admiral Zhu would have ordered it destroyed if the small ship had been too slow.  Admiral Zhu had given a new order though.  One that was forcing the Anhui and Hubei to change course drastically.
   They were to break out of the belt on the dark side and make a run for deep space.  They were to see how far this US or Euro patrol would pursue them.  Hope that the group would worry about an ambush in deep space, or that they were leaving their colonies unprotected.  Much like Ceres and the Tung would be now.  Every moment took the Frigates farther and farther away.
   Captain Chen hoped there weren't any real aliens close by.  It was complicated enough at the moment.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2010, 01:31:33 AM »
February 2204 part 2  /Of Stars and Shattered Ships

February 2nd  0332 hours/Queen Elizabeth, 8 light seconds from Neptune

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery scoured the sensor returns for any hint of activity.  The readings had shown a large energy signature on Triton, one commensurate with a sizable settlement.  Triton and Proteus both lay on the far side of Neptune for the moment, as the Pan Euro and US groups approached from the opposite side of the planet.  No drive blooms or artificial magnetic signatures were anywhere to be seen, but Elizabeth wasn't ready to believe that the aliens would leave a colony unguarded.  They were here somewhere.  Where was the question.
   Elizabeth keyed in orders for the Q.E.'s ships' boat to be launched.  The aliens had used small craft to flush out hiding ships before, and it worked.  'No reason not to learn from your enemies.' she mused as the sensor returns began to track the small craft on its way towards the planet.
   Elizabeth relayed orders to the comm for the ships of the combined US and Pan Euro group to take up an orbit around the planet at 5 light seconds distance.  Although only cruising at one third of max combat speed, it only took seconds for the new course to bring Triton and its large energy signature back into view.  But still no movement or ships.  Wait.  New returns were coming back.  Elizabeth watched the sensor updates on her monitor as objects orbiting Triton were identified.  The distance was still too great to clearly track what they were, or even how many there were.  But there were objects there.
   Elizabeth had begun to court the idea that perhaps they had caught the aliens with their guard down when her monitor blossomed with flashing lights.  The sensors had recorded a detonation at one and a half light seconds from Neptune, and the ship's boat was gone.  Launches were being detected from just outside the atmosphere of Neptune, and multiple drive blooms and magnetic field deployments were being detected from near Triton.  So much for surprise.  Elizabeth keyed in orders for the group to increase the orbital course out to 6 light seconds, and watched as sensor returns showed three alien weapons detonating well behind the Q.E.
   Sensor returns showed that two of the ships near Triton were Alphas, and that a Delta and Foxtrot class were parked just above the atmosphere of Neptune itself.  The big ships were holding their position, but the Alphas were coming about on an intercept course.  The 1st Battle Group was in the lead, and would enter weapons range of the Alphas within the next 60 seconds.  The two US Missile Escorts were in formation alongside the Q.E., while the US Interceptors were the trailing element.  Distance between the groups was just short of one light second, to avoid the drive blooms of the leading ships from damaging the ones behind.
   The two big alien ships were out of range, but there were five other drive blooms that didn't show the normal magnetic signature of the alien combat ships.  Two had appeared near the Delta, and the other three were moving along with the Alphas.  None had been cataloged before, and the two closest alien vessels weren't firing - even though they were in range.  That wasn't stopping the US Interceptors from launching on the closest alien ships though.  The sensors picked up the drive detonations of the US missiles, and then the detonation an alien ship.  A large detonation.  It was obvious that the 'unarmed' ships were simply flying bombs.
   The Q.E. and the 1st BG had reached 6 light seconds from Neptune,  but the US Interceptors were still lingering at just over 5 light seconds as they continued to launch missiles on the closest 'unarmed' contact.  The alien Delta and Foxtrot were launching on the Interceptors as they lit up their drives and began to pull away from the planet.  The two Alphas were slowing down as the three ships with them continued on towards 1st BG.    It was clear now to Elizabeth.  The aliens were going to use these 'flying bombs' as cannon fodder, to draw the US and Pan Euro fire while the alien combat ships engaged her group.  Long range launches were already beginning to detonate near the US group.
   Elizabeth made a decision.  She keyed in commands for all fire to be directed at the enemy combat vessels.  The unarmed ships were to be evaded but not fired upon at this time.  She noticed the blue-grey haze disappear as the drive cut out on the Q.E. while the missile bays opened and launched.  As soon as the bays closed the drive flared to life.  Elizabeth's monitor showed that 2000 kilometers away the US Missile Escort Eagle had broken apart under the impact of several alien weapon detonations.  If they didn't start taking out the alien warships, the rest of the group wasn't going to end up any better.   Elizabeth watched as the sensors tracked the missiles of the Q.E. and 1st BG as they closed on one of the Alphas and then detonated one after another along the ships course, trying to pinpoint where in space the ship would be as the waves of superheated gases rocketed out from the missile detonations.  She noted with satisfaction that the ship had lost its drive, and was now coasting, and then wanted to curse as the sensors picked up another launch from the damaged ship.
   The US Interceptors were launching on the Foxtrot, but the big ship's protective fields were shrugging off the detonations as it accelerated towards the Q.E.  The Q.E. lurched as the engines cut out.  Lights flashed before Elizabeth and a storm of clouds ripped by her.  As the scene cleared she could see that most of the forward part of the bridge section was gone, and the aft section was a mass of twisted metal.  Only two of the seventeen bridge crew were still at their stations, and one of them couldn't still be alive.  Damn.  How could it get worse?  Elizabeth tried to get her monitor to turn back on, but discovered most of the keypad was missing, along with the lower half of her right arm.  She plugged the auxiliary port on her left hand into the link on her station and hoped the connection was still up.  Lights flooded her sight as the link booted up.  Thank god for small favors.
   As status prompts filled her vision she wondered if ignorance would have been better. Two thirds of the particle accelerators were off line or destroyed, and all four of the launch bays were either destroyed or damaged.  The magazines had vented the last of the missiles into space to allow the drive to reengage.  The comm system was down, as was most of the sensor array. Looking over the damage lists she wondered how in the hell the ship was even still there.  The drive shield had managed to survive, and the ship was moving.  With only her forefinger to control the cursor and prompts, she quickly plotted a course and locked it in.  The drive cut out and maneuver thrusters fired as the ship changed course.  Then blue grey again as the drive fired.  She could see the stars through the gaping hole in the forward section.  The countless points of light were beautiful.  Elizabeth realized that she had been in space for decades now, and had never actually stopped to look at the stars in all that time.
   From the little sensor data she could get, Elizabeth could see that the US Interceptors were closing on the Delta and Foxtrot, but the big ships had been coming about to bear down on the US group.  The US data analysts had shown that those ships packed a powerful mass driver, but that it could only be deployed on the heading the ships' were moving on.  They couldn't be allowed to bring those weapons to bear on the little US ships.  They needed another target, a big important target.  Something that could buy the Interceptors a chance to close, and bring the lasers that would pass through the alien magnetic fields unhindered a chance to fire.  As the Delta and Foxtrot again changed course to face the Q.E. Elizabeth knew it was going to work.  She would never be able to see the incoming death, as it moved to fast for the sensors to track.  The sensors were tracking a number of inbound missiles from the two big ships, and then she realized that three more inbounds were appearing from near Triton.  It appeared that three of the five structures still orbiting the moon were armed.  At least they were firing on the Q.E.  The other Pan Euro and US ships might still have some chance.  Elizabeth felt pride as she noted that the 1st BG had finished off the damaged Alpha, and that the second Alpha was only moments away from joining the first.  Then sadness as she realized the Anastasia was gone.  Her flagship for the last 6 years, and the crew that had worked and trained so hard, were gone.
   The hole in the hull lit up as if a dozen camera bulbs had gone off in rapid succession.  One had been particularly bright.  Then the sensors cleared.
   NO!  WHY!  The little US Missile Escort had cut between the inbounds and the Q.E.  The Hawk had been ripped apart in a storm of fire that would have shredded even the great Chinese ships.  She had died protecting a ship that was supposed to have died protecting her.
   Elizabeth watched, knowing the aliens would have realized that the Q.E. wasn't launching anymore, wasn't a threat.  But they weren't turning.  It was too late for the aliens.  The US ships were already banking hard around the big vessels, giving them no chance to bring the big weapons to bear. One of the alien flying bombs detonated as the Interceptor J. Davis passed, but other than a momentary interruption of the drive bloom, the Davis seemed undamaged.  Then it was the Foxtrot's turn to stutter its drive.  Over and over.  Elizabeth noted with satisfaction that the big ship's protective field was gone, and the ship was slowing and trying to disengage.  The Davis had disappeared as missiles from the bases around Triton tore the ship apart, but the three remaining US ships weren't breaking off.  Her group was being torn apart, but in moments the only alien ship left would be the Delta.
   

   0341 hours/Interceptor MkIIa S. Grant, near Neptune

   Rear Admiral Matthew Thomas had only a moment to note that the Euro flagship was gone.  He was too busy.  He had spent the last few minutes trying to assume command of the battle that was raging.  The Grant now had to both act as flagship and still fight the damned aliens.  The Foxtrot was taking a pounding, and still launching.  But only one missile instead of two, and her heading made it impossible to target the US group with the mass drivers she carried.  Assuming they even still worked.  But the bases close to Triton were pouring in missiles.
   Matt felt the ship stutter as the Grant launched another missile and discharged the laser capacitors.  Sensors recorded the drive interruptions and venting from the Foxtrot as the US ships fired again and again.  The alien ship finally came apart as its drive shield shattered and the drive bloom vaporized the ship.  The T. Roosevelt was also gone though, a victim of its own drive bloom and the alien missiles from the moon.
   Matt programmed in course changes to bring the Interceptors about again, and waited for firing solutions on the Delta to be completed.  The Euro Attack Escorts were turned away from the planet, running before the alien suicide ships.  They were still launching at the Delta, but the rapidly increasing range was ruining their chances of crippling the last alien ship.
   Sensor returns showed that the Lincoln had gotten the firing solution first, as the Delta was venting damage. Her protective field was still up, but the lasers didn't care as the pulse shattered plating and hull.  The Delta vented again as the Grant's laser found her target also.  As Euro missiles detonated around the alien ship, the magnetic signature also disappeared.
   'It's almost over for the Delta now, just a few more minutes', thought Matt.
   The Interceptors Lincoln and Grant disappeared as the next wave of alien missiles detonated around them.


   0343 hours/Attack Escort Cynthia, 7.5 light seconds from Neptune

   Captain Giovanni Vetra watched as three alien ships pursued the remnants of 1st Battle Group while the Delta launched over and over.  The Anastasia had been destroyed in the first few minutes fighting the Alphas, and the Suzette had just been torn apart by attacks from the Delta.  The Q.E. and all the US ships were gone.  It was just the Attack Escorts Cynthia, Mary Queen of Scots, and the Rachel Pierce.  They couldn't win now.  Between the Delta and the three orbital weapons platforms near Triton there was just no chance.  Giovanni seethed inside as he knew all they could do now was disengage and hope to escape alive.
   The damned flying bombs behind the 1st BG were still closing.  They must have their drives running way past what the ships were designed for he hoped.  The Mary QoS. changed course again and the Cynthia followed suit.  Giovanni knew the course changes would only buy them a little more time.  They couldn't outrun the aliens and still launch on the Delta effectively.  Giovanni keyed in orders to the helm and waited.
   The Rachel and Mary pulled ahead slightly as the Cynthia reduced output on the particle accelerators.  If the Cynthia could draw the flying bombs off slightly, it would give the Rachel and Mary a chance to engage the Delta effectively.  The Cynthia suddenly lurched as damage icons sprang to life across Giovanni's monitor.  The hull was breached and the cargo section was venting, but the launch bay was still up.  The three little ships were still closing so it had to be that damned high speed mass driver the Delta's carried.  Giovanni watched the sensor returns as the Cynthia launched another missile at the Delta, and the alien ships closed.
   The sensor returns blacked out as one alien ship after another detonated around the Cynthia.  When only the small backup sensors came on line Giovanni knew that the long range array was gone.  Reports showed that the missile bay was damaged also.  One of the alien suicide ships was still there, but drifting.  Its drive must have burned out as it made the attack run. The Delta was slowing down from the damage the Attack Escorts' missiles had caused, but she was still coming.  Still launching.
   The Cynthia's drive and helm were still undamaged, and Giovanni changed course once again.  The Cynthia was beyond the orbital bases' range - they had stopped launching on the 1st BG several minutes ago, and with no suicide ships pursuing her, there was only one thing left the Cynthia could do.  Giovanni keyed in a course to bring the Cynthia around.  Take the ship right back at the Delta.  Let them know they weren't the only ones willing to destroy their own ship to take out the enemy.  Force the aliens to fire on the only ship that couldn't fire on them.  
   The Delta disappeared as the Mary and Rachel's missiles found their target, but the last alien missile was still bearing down on the Cynthia.  Giovanni waited as the moments passed.  His Rachel was gone, but at least the ship that carried her name would live on to avenge her.

   0345 hours/ Space near Neptune

   The wreckage of two battle groups drifted as a pair of ships moved away from the planet Neptune.  Four missiles slipped silently through the debris and dispatched the last drifting ship of the race that lived on the moon there.  Amidst the shattered ships lay the shattered hopes of two races - hopes that this war could be won quickly and decisively.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #43 on: April 11, 2010, 04:37:52 AM »
February 2204  part 3/ Interlude

February 2nd 0910 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon leaned her head against the monitor screen.  She knew that the bridge crew could see her, but that seemed like such a small concern now.  The message from the Attack Escort Mary Queen of Scots had arrived only a short while ago.  The encryption had taken time to decode, but Brenna had already known what it would be.  The only reason that the Mary QoS would be sending the message was that no one else was left to.  That hadn't turned out to be entirely true, as the Rachel Pierce had also survived, but it didn't really matter.  The 3rd Battle Group was the last Battle Group of the Pan Euro now.  Along with the Queen Mary and Red October, they were all that was left of what had been Earth's premier combat force.  With Vice Admirals Avery and Jurkat gone, Brenna was now second in command of the Pan Euro Space Combat Arm.  Or what was left of it.
   Not that it mattered.  The writing was on the wall for the Pan Euro.  There were no other Battle Groups to take the fight to the aliens.  Even now that an alien colony had been located, there was nothing left that could be spared for an attack.  Not when the largest combined group of US and Pan Euro ships had been unsuccessful and nearly destroyed.  The US still had two Task Forces, but how could one succeed where twice as many ships had failed.  All that could be done now was to protect what was left.  Counter the inevitable alien attacks.  But it could only prolong the end.  
   For the first time Brenna could see the end of her very long life.  And along with it, the rest of the human race.


   1235 hours/US Space Station

   Admiral Bradley Walters looked over every detail of the report from the Survey Tender.  The US Task Force was gone, but so were all of the mobile alien assets at Neptune.  It would take nearly half a year to try and replace the loss of Task Force 2, and even longer to train the crews.  The remaining US Task Forces were spread thin to try and defend against the alien menace.  But the aliens had lost more than just a handful of ships over the past few months also.  They had to be getting drawn thin.  That was the only reason Admiral Walters was even considering this.
   An hour ago Lieutenant Commander Meagan Ryan had come into his office with a coded transmission from her father.  She had looked pale, unsettled, and very concerned.  More concerned than what the loss of Task Force 2 should have meant to a young woman.  Enough that he had looked at the transmission as soon as Meagan had left.
   In the transmission Rear Admiral Jack Ryan had laid out a plan.  A daring and horrible plan.  The risk was great.  Almost too great.  Jack had laid out the course plots to take Task Force 1 from Mars to Neptune in barely 10 days.  Jack had set a new standard at the Academy with his Astrogation Course marks, but even so it would push the ships to their limit.  But they might be able to get to Neptune before the aliens were able to reinforce it.  The data showed only three stationary bases near the moon Triton.  With the two remaining Pan Euro Attack Escorts, Task Force 1 might be able to clear the last of Triton's defenses.  Do what had to be done to shut down the alien's ability to wage this war.
   The Pan Euro was down to its last Battle Group, but they were the best.  They were the ones who would stand between the Earth and any alien attackers.  Task Force 3 would have to guard the belt, while Mars Station would be on its own.  If the aliens were to attack, it would be a poor defense at best.  Unless the Chinese intervened, neither the US or Euro would have the resources to turn an attack back.  And the Chinese weren't likely to help.
   Admiral Walters typed out the orders, and hoped Meagan would forgive him for sending her father to what was most likely his death.


   2015 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, 18 light minutes from Mars

   Captain Robert McNeely stared at the orders on the monitor.  What in the world was going on?  The orders were directly from Admiral Jude Kushnir, so there was no questioning them.  It still didn't make sense.
   The Red October was to reroute the current convoy and proceed to a location in the belt.  A location that was simply in the middle of nowhere.  The Red October was then to wait for further orders.  No, it still didn't make sense.  Redirecting a convoy was nothing new.  Sending them to the middle of nowhere to park was.  Something was up.  Hopefully it wouldn't take to long to make sense.
   Robert plotted the course on his monitor and transferred it to the helm.  Sense or not, they were going.


February 3rd  0540 hours/Queen Mary, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir received the confirmation on her monitor.  The Red October had met US Task Force 1 in the belt.  The US Missile Escorts were to assume convoy protection duties.  The Red October would go with the US Interceptors.  It only made sense.  The Missile Escorts were woefully under engined to make the trip in the time planned.  They had also proved very vulnerable to the enemy's weapons.  The Red October would carry as much firepower as the two Missile Escorts combined, could move much more quickly, and would be more durable in combat.
   It was also the last Pan Euro ship available to perform escort duties.  The Pan Euro would have to depend on the US for its convoys' protection for the foreseeable future.  However long that might be.


   1650 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 23 light seconds from Jupiter

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 waited as the last of the ships finished loading supplies from the mining vessel.  Soon they would begin the offensive against the native race's homes.  Word had been received of the attack at New Home 3, and that they had succeeded in protecting the colony, but at great cost.  A second Assault Vessel had been destroyed by the enemy.  That such a thing could happen was just unthinkable.  
   It made this offensive all the more important.  The native race had to be kept from attacking New Home 3 before more ships could be moved to protect it.  This race had to be destroyed before it was able to attack any more settlements.
   And Combat Group 3 would have to do it.  Because there simply weren't enough ships left to continue the attack if they didn't.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

Offline procyon

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2010, 01:55:07 AM »
February 2204  part 4

February 5th  1745 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, Near Hygiea Colony, Asteroid Belt

   The Dutchman got up from his station to check on the crew.  They should be busy with the trials on the repaired systems, but a little 'face' time always seemed to hurry things up.  Now that The Dutchman could afford a little more time away from the bridge, he could look after some of the smaller chores on the ship.
   Several hours ago they had managed to link up with a Pan Euro and US convoy bound for Hygiea, along with the two US Missile Escorts guarding it.  With the three ships traveling together, a simple eight hour rotation on general quarters could be maintained.  That allowed for much better rest, and more thorough maintenance of the ships.  It was always difficult gauging the reactions of another cyborg, but even the US ships had seemed relieved to have another armed ship around.
   Commerce was moving slowly, but at least it had not shut down yet.  The aliens had yet to target civilian ships consistently. A few had disappeared, but not so many that shipping had shut down for fear of leaving port.  That could all change, but for the moment convoy escort was not the hazardous duty it could be.
   Of course, after losing the last few engagements, the aliens might decide attacking unarmed vessels was more attractive.


February 8th 0605 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 4 light seconds from Mercury

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 watched the sensor returns as the small craft bombed the enemy colony.  The small craft would not have enough weapons to completely destroy the habitats, but the damage would be severe.  Hopefully enough to draw the fleet of the native race to this location.
   The Commander of Assault Vessel 4 had ordered Patrol Vessels 12, 13, and 17 to conduct the raid on this enemy colony.  They were to engage and attempt to destroy any defenses, while the small craft deployed their weapons on the colony itself.  The bulk of Combat Group 3 was still near the debris fields.  The hope had been to lure more of the native race's combat vessels to this location, and then conduct the attack on the other enemy colony in the debris field.  That may not work as well as had been hoped.
   The last attack at this colony had faced both a stationary defensive platform, and a Combat Vessel of the enemy.  This attack had found no mobile assets located here.  The only defense of the colony had been the stationary platform.  That platform had been destroyed by five launches from each of the Patrol Vessels.  The unarmed platform had required another six torpedoes to destroy.  Although it had been as large as the armed platform, it had proved much more fragile.  The small craft would destroy much of the population on this colony.  If the enemy had felt this colony unimportant enough to require mobile combat vessels to protect before, they were unlikely to commit them to protecting it when it was nearly destroyed.
   Regardless, the next attack would still be against the enemy colony in the debris fields.  It wouldn't happen now, but soon.  Hopefully before the enemy could reinforce the defenses.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 doubted they would weaken them to protect the ruins here.


   0612 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon could still hear the broadcasts.  They hadn't needed to be decoded.  Civilians begging for help didn't encode their transmissions.  The whole Earth would have heard the cries for help as the aliens had attacked.
   The latest transmissions indicated that the aliens had moved away from Mercury now.  But the damage was already immense.  The Pan Euro Space Station and Shipyards at Mercury had been destroyed, along with the Transfer Station that the civilian ships used.  Most of the habitats had been destroyed.  The others were damaged, without power in many cases.  Dying.  And there would be no help.  No rescue mission.  A few civilian passenger liners might attempt to pick up some of the population that had survived, but no organized effort would be made.  With US Task Force 1 and the Red October headed to the out system, there was no one to spare.
   Brenna wondered how long it would be until it was the Earth's turn.  Would she be able to do a better job protecting the Earth than the Mars Station had been able to do?
   Brenna looked over the training plans she had been revising.  Was there anything she was missing?  Was there something that would better combat the aliens?  She had always coped by burying herself in her work.  Perhaps this time, she could make that work for her.  And maybe even the rest of humanity.


February 9th  0025 hours/Missile Escort Falcon, near Mercury

   Commander Justin Reynolds watched the sensor returns.  If anything showed up, they would fight.  'It might not be much of a fight' thought Justin, 'but we are going to fight regardless.  Sometimes you just have to draw that hard line'.
   The Missile Escort Owl was on the far side of Mercury to make sure that if the Alphas came back, they would be seen.  At least Justin hoped they would be seen.  The Missile Escorts had never been outfitted with the more capable sensor arrays, and they lacked quite a bit on detection range compared to the Interceptors.  The sensors couldn't even pick up the alien magnetic signature any better than the returns from the alien ships' hulls.  'Its all we have to work with, so it will have to work.'
   On the planet was the FSC Mary Reed.  The damned loon of a captain on that ship had transmitted to the Falcon that he intended to try and rescue whatever colonists he could, as soon as he could -whether the US ships came along or not. Well, it had sounded like a good idea at the time.  Still did really.  It just felt a whole lot more dangerous now that they were actually doing it.  The folks on the planet below didn't even belong to either the US or FSC.  They were just scared, hurt, and desperate.  'Yep, can't think of any place else I need to be right now.  Sure hope Admiral Walters sees it that way.'
   Justin's monitor lit up with signals confirming that the Mary Reed had finished loading.  Fifteen thousand passengers that weren't going to die here.  Not today. At this rate it would only take twenty five more trips.  Justin hoped Admiral Walters didn't start pestering him for convoy reports anytime soon.


   0715 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, 3 light seconds from Ceres

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji keyed in the authorization and transmitted the orders.  Admiral Hu may protest, or even sack him.  But it would have to wait.  Some things were too important right now to worry about what might be a problem later.  
   The Chinese had intercepted the Euro transmissions.  The aliens had returned and attacked the Pan Euro colony on Mercury.  Devastated it by the sounds of the messages.  That was some distance from Ceres, but still important.
   What concerned him was that the aliens had yet to attack the inner system without attacking Ceres.  It concerned him enough to send the orders diverting the Shangxi and Henan from their convoy escort duties, and transfer them to the Tung Group at Ceres.  Hopefully four Missile Frigates and the Tung would be enough to face down any alien attack.
   If it wasn't, this war was over.
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...
 

 

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