Author Topic: Nemesis Campaign  (Read 15615 times)

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Offline procyon

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


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 »
... 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

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 »
« Last Edit: March 26, 2010, 04:20:19 AM by procyon »
... and I will show you fear in a handful of dust ...

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Re: Nemesis Campaign
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2010, 06:36:42 AM »
... 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.

   BY SECTION 3A.127.016A,B,C,D,E,F,G,S
   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.

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 »
... 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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