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Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation - Updates
« on: May 03, 2018, 10:28:04 AM »
January 26, 2125: The Corporate Federation announces the finalization of design for a survey ship equipped with the latest TN technology.  This miraculous ship will be capable of moving at a top speed of 1,973 kps and will be able to remain away from Earth for up to twelve months surveying the Solar System for deposits of TN resources.  Construction won’t start until the capacity of the Butcher Co., Ltd. Orbital yards are enlarged to the point that they can handle this massive 5,700 ton ship.   

June 1st, 2125: CEO Allan announces that construction has started on the Neil Armstrong, the Federation’s first TN tech survey ship.  Construction is projected to be completed in 2127. 

November 16, 2125: Earth’s first TN tech ships are launched from the orbital yards.  Five Long Haul class freighters are now available to begin expanding mankind’s presence throughout the Solar System.  The Federation announces that the ships will be put to use expanding the Copernicus colony.  This announcement stimulates a rush of speculation across the Earth as there have long been rumors of what Eleanor Holden and her research team has been working on since they led the way to the breakthrough in TN tech. 

August 25th, 2126: Two People Mover class ships are launched from the orbital yards.  Publicly available information on these ships describe them as personnel transports designed to rapidly transport high-priority corporate personnel to any location in the Solar System.  In reality these deceptively named ships are troop transports.  The Federation Board of Directors has become worried that the more distant colonies on Mars and Ganymede are considering declaring independence.  While there is no real unrest, the Board feels it’s prudent to begin relocating Enforcement Battalions to potential trouble spots before they become actual trouble spots. 

October 1st, 2126: Four Conestoga class colony transports are launched.  All four are immediately put to work expanding the Copernicus research colony on the Moon. 

December 4th, 2126: The Federation, in a great fanfare, announces the expansion of the Copernicus research labs, and a global hunt for qualified technicians, engineers and scientist to serve in the newly enlarged labs.  The research conducted by the Copernicus labs is still shrouded in secrecy. 

January 14, 2127: The Neil Armstrong is launched six months early.  The CEO extols the improvements to the orbital yards that contributed to the early launch at the launch ceremony, which was broadcast across the Earth and Luna.   The Armstrong will be setting out on her maiden exploratory voyage under the command of Captain Jessica Chapman (yes, of those Chapmans)

April 1, 2127: The Armstrong is currently in the Asteroid Belt, surveying the asteroid Erminia, orbiting 439 million kilometers from the Sun.  The ship and crew have been in space away from Earth for two and a half months, the longest duration space mission ever outside of the Earth-Moon system. 

May 30, 2127: The Armstrong returns to Earth after four and a half months in space to a huge celebration.  The Federation declares Friday, May 31th, to be a holiday.  The Armstrong has completed surveys of the inner system, including a significant portion of the asteroid belt, and Jupiter and its moons.  The Federation releases basic survey info to the public, although more detailed (and useful) information is classified.  Venus apparently contains massive deposits of duranium, Uridium, and Corundium at useful availability levels.  Luna contains several resources at good availability levels as does Ganymede.   Mars has a large deposit of Sorium, but it is present at a very low availability level.  Several asteroids have useful deposits at high availability levels as well.   

July 5, 2127: Her crew fresh from being feted on Earth, the Armstrong leaves orbit to finish its survey of the Solar System’s planets, moons, and asteroids. 

January 5, 2128: The Armstrong returns to Earth for rest, refueling, and Overhaul.  Once that is complete, the ship will be refitted with newer, more powerful engines.  The new engines will increase the Armstrong’s maximum speed by over 50%.  When she is ready again, the intrepid ship will be dispatched to Neptune and then Pluto.  Once the survey of those planets and moons is complete, the ship will continue to survey the Oort cloud.

June 9th, 2128: The Copernicus Research Labs finally achieve a breakthrough in interstellar travel, developing a workable theory on jump point travel.  The lab immediately begins exploring the specific technologies that would be needed to construct a “jump drive”.  The Federation decides to keep this development a secret, with only the personnel needed to develop technology and systems for interstellar travel told, along with the leading CEO’s of the Federation (so of course the news began circulating almost immediately).  Copernicus Research & Development receives additional funding from the Federation for a massive expansion of its research facilities. 

October 1, 2128: The Armstrong is launched from the orbital yards fresh from refitting with her new engines.  Captain Chapman immediately sets course for Uranus. 

January 11, 2129: The Armstrong has completed its survey of the Solar System.  While there are a few distant objects that will not be surveyed, every sizeable object out to about six billion kilometers from the Sun has been surveyed. 

May 22, 2129:  The Copernicus R&D facility has completed development of a jump drive capable of transporting a 10,000 ton ship to another star.  The scientists and engineers believe that the new drive will be capable of holding the jump point open long enough for other ships to transit before the ship containing the jump drive jumps, meaning that not all ships will have to be equipped with the new drive.  This is good, as the new drive is mass-intensive, requiring 25% of a 10,000 ton ship’s mass to accommodate the drive.  Work on the new ship will begin as soon as the yards have been enlarged enough to accommodate the massive new ship.  In any case, the new gravitic survey ships won’t be launched until early 2130.  Work on the expensive, and large, new jump tenders won’t start until the new ships have confirmed that there are jump points in the Solar System.  In the meantime, Copernicus R&D labs has begun work on a jump drive suitable for civilian ships. 

December 18, 2129: The Copernicus R&D Labs complete development of increased efficiency jump drives.  Rather than design a new generation of jump drives the team is put back to work increasing the efficiency of the drives. 

January 5, 2130: Two Far Seeker class gravitic survey ships are launched from the orbital yards.  While not a secret, the Federation has decided to keep these ships on a low profile out of fear that they may find no jump points in the Solar System.  The two ships set out without fanfare to begin surveying the system. 
 

Offline Kurt

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Re: Corporate Federation - Updates
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 01:03:27 PM »
The state of the Federation as of December 31, 2130 (the opening of the Interstellar Age)

The Federation has colonies on two moons and one planet in the Solar system.  In addition, the Federation maintains four mining outposts in the Solar System.  The bulk of humanity is still located on Earth, but the research colony on the Moon has grown by leaps and bounds as the Federation has invested vast sums in the Copernicus R&D Labs, which are the sole owners of the jump drive secrets. 

Earth:
Population: 5,328,070,000
Construction Factories: 4,500
Ordnance Factories: 649
Fuel Refineries: 2000
Mines 4,500
Automated Mines: 491:
Research Labs: 220
Financial Centers: 449
Military Shipyards/Slipways: 4/7 (Largest 11,888 tons)
Civilian Shipyards/Slipways: 10/23 (largest 71,921 tons)
The Earth is the center of the Federation, and aside from Copernicus R&D Labs on the Moon every important and powerful corporation is based here. 

Luna:
Population: 81,620,000
Research Labs: 25
Automated Mines: 480
Copernicus R&D labs dominates the colony on the Moon.  Twenty-five million scientists, engineers, and technicians work directly for the corporation, and the bulk of the remaining 56 million people on the Moon work in related support industries.  While Copernicus R&D Labs does not outright own the Moon, they do effectively control it, especially considering their position on the Federation Board of Directors.  In light of this reality, when Shehua Energy wanted to place automated mines on the Moon to exploit its large reserves of Duranium, Corbomite, and Tritanium, they negotiated directly with Copernicus R&D for the “mineral rights”, an effective admission that Copernicus R&D controlled access to the Moon.  Copernicus R&D has reached its maximum size in its currently configuration and is looking to expand its operations by recruiting more leading research scientists.  Searches have begun for compatible R&D corporations located on Earth to acquire.   

Mars:
Population: 3,200,000
The colony on Mars was started before TN technology became a reality and has been largely ignored since.  Mars contains large deposits of two TN resources, but at very low availability levels, and has had no other features to interest the large corporations on Earth.  Because of this the population of Mars has been largely made up of pioneers and those that wanted to escape the corporation dominated culture on Earth.  The Martian population has been restive under Federation control.  Their pioneer self-image is at direct odds with the Federation’s corporate culture.  Worse, they view the major corporations that form the bulk of the Federation as grasping octopi and their senior executives as corrupt politicians only interested in collecting more and more wealth.  Only the fact that the Federation has been relatively uninterested in Mars has kept things calm. 

This is likely to change in the near future, though.  United Hyundai Heavy Industries, a large corporation that owns a significant percentage of the ship building capacity in orbit around Earth, has recently been investing heavily in terraforming research and has commissioned several feasibility studies looking at the costs associated with moving their operations to Mars.  While very expensive, many of the largest corporations on Earth envy the benefits that controlling access to the Moon has given Copernicus R&D.  These calculations may be thrown off by the discovery of a near-habitable planet by Foster Interstellar through Sol’s innermost (and most accessible) jump point. 

Ganymede
Population: 740,000     
Like Mars, this colony was started as a scientific outpost before TN tech was discovered and has languished ever since.  Unlike Mars, Ganymede has exploitable deposits of several TN resources, but to date none of the corporations have been interested as closer or larger deposits were exploited.  The population is similar in makeup to Mars.  A large military listening station has been built just outside of the main colony’s domes.

Federation Government
In its original form in the late 2000’s and early 2100’s, the Federation was organized as a sort of “UN” where the most powerful corporations could get together and coordinate their activities to avoid conflict both between themselves and with the small regional successor-governments that govern the Earth.  Over time the Federation has grown into a true government, with its own bureaucracy, most of which is beholden to one of the corporations on the Board.  This expanding bureaucracy has required increased reliance on taxes on the regional governments, which has increased unrest at the bottom as the new wealth and prosperity of the early 2100’s starts to fade.  Worse, as the average person on Earth sees his or her position slipping, they can see the corporate elite living in almost unbelievable luxury. 

In spite of this unrest is low, crime is almost forgotten, and people still clearly remember the time of troubles in the 21st century.  They have no wish for unrest or uncertainty to return, and as long as things don’t get much worse they will continue to back the system. 

Federation Military
The Federation has been actively anti-military since its inception, both because of the popular perception that large organized militaries caused the national collapses of the 21st century, and because the people controlling the corporations that ran the Federation had no interest in paying for a military or in creating a threat to their power.  To that end the Federation Board, in the aftermath of the 2109 coup attempt, banned large military or para-military corporations.  Instead, the Federation authorized member Corporations to form their own militias and agreed to directly pay for a number of mercenary brigades that would be used to patrol Federation colonies and cities.  By the end of 2130 the Federation’s military is as follows:

Earth
Federation Board Corporate Military forces
(Note: Enforcement Battalions=Mobile Infantry, Special Enforcement Bat.=Assault Battalions)
Glencore -Vale Space Minerals: 2xBrigade with 5 Enforcement Bat. and 2 Special Enf. Bat. 
Kiewit-Turner Space Construction: 1xBrigade with 3 enforcement Bat. And 1 special enf. Bat.
SIM Engineering: 1xBrigade with 3 enforcement bat. And 1 special enf. Bat.
Space Systems, Inc.: 1xBrigade with 3 enforcement bat. And 1 special enf. Bat.
Copernicus R&D: 1xBrigade with 2 enforcement battalions, 9xConstruction brigade

Other Corporate Forces
UHHI: 1xBrigade with 3 enforcement bat. And 1 special enf. Bat.

Forces controlled by the Federation:
Local Defense Corporation Luna: 1xBrigade with 2 enforcement battalions
Local Defense Corporation Mars: 1xbrigade with 4 enforcement battalions
Local Defense Corporation Ganymede: 1xBrigade with 4 enforcement battalions

Local Militias
Earth Provincial Militias: 22xgarrison battalions

In February 2130, in response to the discovery of the first jump point in the Solar System, the Federation reversed its long-held position against large-scale organized militaries.  This decision was made in recognition that interstellar travel not only meant access to nearly unlimited resources and colony sites, but to additional risks that did not exist in the Solar System.  The Board was loath to trust those out of its direct control with nuclear weapons capable of destroying civilization, though, so initially, at least, only five PDC’s were authorized, one for each of the Board members.  Built with Federation funds, they would be directly controlled by the Board Corporations and crewed and officered by those hand-picked by the Board from their own companies.  In addition, the Board has authorized the creation of an armed patrol force in the form of chartered corporations, and a reserve force directly controlled by the Federation.  It will take some time before these forces become a reality, as the Federation has neglected its naval shipbuilding capacity, nearly all of which has been coopted by the new survey companies. 
 

Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation: 2130-2131
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2018, 11:39:56 AM »
February 4, 2130: The Far Seeker Magellan sends a momentous message to the Federation Board of Directors announcing their discovery that the Solar System has at least wo jump points.  One of the jump points is in the asteroid belt, while the other is just inside of Jupiter’s orbit.  The Board immediately releases the information publicly, stimulating a massive wave of investment in technologies and corporations likely to benefit from expansion into other system. 

Behind the scenes, the discovery of jump points in the Solar System has settled a long-running debate amongst the members of the Board.  The bulk of the Board members have steadfastly resisted calls to rebuild military capabilities ever since the foundation of the Federation.  The public has long viewed institutional military organizations as dangerous and largely responsible for the troubles of the 21st century and the ultimate collapse of the old order.  For their part the Board is distrustful of large-scale organized militaries, especially since the attempted coup in 2109.  Now that interstellar travel is nearly a reality the Board can no longer relegate the military to theoretical design studies and R&D.  Therefore, in the aftermath of celebrations marking the opening a new interstellar age for human-kind, the Board quietly authorizes the formation of several types of defense-oriented corporations.  These corporations will be organized several different ways, depending on the circumstances.   

The deciding factor for several Board members is the prospective of massive amounts of money being moved through their corporations for the defense build-up. 

March 26, 2130: The Magellan reports finding a third jump point located inside of Uranus’ orbit. 

April 6, 2130: With great fanfare construction begins on two massive jump tenders in the United Hyundai Heavy Industries Orbital Yard #5. 

May 6, 2130: Yet another jump point has been found, with this one located almost directly between the orbits Saturn and Uranus. 

July 16th, 2130: A fifth jump point has been discovered in the Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune.   
 
August 12, 2130: Copernicus R&D agrees to license its jump technology to Tyler Systems Development on Earth.  Tyler SD, in association with Copernicus R&D, is working on a concept to design and build jump gates, which would allow movement between the two ends of a jump line without resorting to ship-mounted jump drives. 

August 13, 2130: The newly formed Foster Interstellar, Inc., announces that the gravitic survey of the Solar System is complete, and that six jump points have been found.  The sixth is 5.5 billion kilometers from the sun.  Foster Interstellar has purchased all of the existing survey ships, and one of the two jump tenders under construction.  The other jump tender, and the survey ships currently under construction, belong to Interstellar Explorations, Ltd., another newly formed corporation.

September 13, 2130: Copernicus R&D completes work on its new jump drive.  This design is much more efficient than the older, first generation model.  The new drive is only 68% the size of the older model, meaning that the space saved can be devoted to newly developed sensors and the new, more efficient, engines.   

September 28, 2130: Construction work begins on four PDC’s on Earth, and one prefab PDC to be transported to the Moon. 

December 30, 2130: Two first-generation State class jump tenders are launched from the orbital yards.  After some wrangling Foster Interstellar and Interstellar Explorations come to an agreement.  The six jump points in the Solar system will be split between the two companies, and their jump ships will probe the three assigned to their company.  Once the probes are complete the two companies will share their information.  The only reason Interstellar Explorations agreed to this was because their survey ships are still in the yards and will not be complete until the middle of the year.  Their original plan was to turn around their jump tender as soon as it was launched and put it back into the yards for a refit with the latest jump technology, however, that would mean Foster Interstellar would be able to probe all six jump points and would be able to keep the information to themselves. 

January 2, 2131: The Foster Interstellar Survey Group jumps through Sol’s innermost jump point and discovers a K3-V star system.  Initial probes determine that the system contains two terrestrial planets three super-Jovian planets, a gas giant, an asteroid belt, and several icy dwarf planets. The innermost terrestrial planet is amazingly earth-like, with a gravity of .81, an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, and liquid water.  The atmosphere is too thin for humans, at a pressure of .2, but aside from that it is nearly perfect.   Mission Commander Brennan, the commander of the survey group, decides to detach his survey ships to begin the survey of this system while his jump tender continues on to complete the probe of the other jump points. 

January 3, 2131: The Interstellar Explorations jump tender transits through to a G6-V system with several gas giants and a single super-Jovian planet.  Several of the moons that are near habitable, including one stupendous moon of the super-Jovian that is actually larger than Earth.  One of the terrestrial planets actually has a breathable atmosphere, but it is far too cold for Earth-like life. 

January 9, 2131: Foster Interstellar discovers a planet-less G4-V star through Sol’s third jump point.  The jump point in the new system is 1.5 billion kilometers from the primary.  Interestingly enough, the jump tender North Carolina detects a gravitic anomaly approximately 300 million kilometers beyond the system primary.  The anomaly’s presence is noted for further study.   

January 16, 2131: The Interstellar Explorations jump tender discovers a quaternary system through Sol’s fourth jump point.  This system consists of a two G class sub-giant stars orbiting each other fairly closely, separated by a mean distance of only 15 AU’s.  This pair is then distantly orbited by a K5-V star.  A fourth star, a K8-V, closely orbits the third star.  The second pair of stars is so distant that it is unlikely that human ships will ever visit them.  It would take IE’s jump ship, the Madrid, almost ten years at its best speed to reach the pair of stars.  There would be little reason to go, even if it was possible.  A single, lonely, terrestrial planet orbits the fourth star, and that planet is scathingly hot and has only a trace atmosphere.  The two inner stars have four terrestrial planets and two moons between them.  None of the planets are particularly habitable, though. 

February 6, 2131: The Madrid discovers a G0-V star through Sol’s sixth jump point.  This new system contains three terrestrial type planets that would be excellent candidates for colonization, if only they had atmospheres.   With its jump point probes finished, the Madrid sets out for Earth. 

Later in the day the Foster Interstellar jump ship probed the last jump point in the Solar System, discovering a K0-V star orbited by a super-Jovian planet, three gas giants, and two terrestrial planets, along with several dwarf planets and numerous moons.  The North Carolina returns to the Solar System and heads for the innermost jump point, to reestablish contact with its survey group. 

May 4, 2131: Two asteroid mining ships are launched from the UHHI yards in orbit.  Both mining craft belong to Glencore-Vale Space Minerals, and are immediately dispatched to the comet Borrelly, which has small deposits of three TN resources at high availability levels. 

May 20, 2131: The Foster Interstellar survey ship Armstrong completes its geo survey of the Washington system.  (After some debate, and much acrimony, the Federation has decided to name newly discovered start systems after cities.)  The Armstrong transmits the results of its survey to the jump ship North Carolina, which then transits back to the Solar System and re-transmits the info, encoded, to a small satellite orbiting in deep space.  That satellite will then rebroadcast the information to Foster Interstellar’s home office.  The results are disappointing.  The Armstrong discovered several moderate deposits of resources, but none fell within the range that would be considered profitable to extract.  The news causes consternation amongst Foster’s senior executives.  If the Solar System, which is fairly rich in exploitable resources, is atypical, then the exploration companies are going to have a hard time turning a profit, as will the mining companies, which will be the exploration company’s primary customer. 

July 10, 2131: The Foster Interstellar survey group returns to the Solar System.  Low on fuel, and with the crews tired and in need of R&R, the group returns to the Earth for a well-earned overhaul.  Interstellar Exploration has attempted to contract with Foster to use its jump ship to transport Interstellar’s newly constructed survey ships through one of the jump points, but Foster proves to be uncooperative.  Interstellar was hoping to get a jump on its survey effort before its own jump ship finished its refit in September, but Foster is smarting after its near-fruitless survey of the Washington system, and is focused on its own efforts. 
 

Offline Kurt

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Battle of the New York System
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2018, 11:15:38 AM »
August 28, 2131: 14:57 hours, New York System
Ship CEO Mason’s interest was caught when he saw his Joe Berg tense over his board and begin frantically typing.  They were twenty-three hours into their forty-three-hour voyage to the New York system’s inner planet, where they would begin their survey efforts.  It had been a boring trip so far, but unless he missed his guess that was about to change.  He wasn’t wrong.

“Mike, I’ve got a thermal contact approximately 3.5 million kilometers away and closing.  The contact is strength 704, approximately twice our own signature.”

Mason felt his mouth hanging open and hurriedly shut it hoping no one else had noticed.  There was only one thing this could be.  “Helm, all-stop.  Jenny, send a contact report to Allan on the North Carolina and begin transmitting first contact messages to the contact.”

The bridge crew hurried to their tasks and Mason grinned in spite of the tension that had settled in with the contact report.  They were a good crew.  Not much spit and polish, of course, but a good crew.  In a few seconds the Armstrong had come to a halt and messages were winging their way to their destinations.  It took another ninety seconds before the sensor operator could provide additional information.  “The contact is closing at 3,910 kps along a bearing of 291 degrees, relative.”  There was a stir around the bridge as the crew took in the fact that the alien ship was faster than they were. 

“Jenny, has there been any response to our hails?”

“Nothing at all.” 

“Jenny, what is the round-trip message time to the North Carolina?”

“Ummm…one six nine six seconds.” 

“Very well, continue to update the North Carolina on our status, and continue to broadcast first contact messages to the unknown.”  At the rate the alien ship was closing it would be on them in less than fifteen minutes, substantially before their message would reach the North Carolina.   

The minutes passed, with everyone on the bridge watching the display showing the alien ship closing on them.  Finally, as it passed the one-million-kilometer marker, Ship CEO Morgan spoke.  “Raise the shields.  Continue attempting to establish contact on all frequencies.”

The alien ship continued to close.  Finally, at the 500,000 kilometer mark, Ship CEO Morgan had had enough.  “Min, plot a course directly away from the alien.  Let’s keep some distance if we can.  Maybe that will demonstrate to them that we won’t let them run up on us.”

“Yes sir, the course is plotted and laid in.  Engaging now.”  The Armstrong came around and began moving away from the alien ship. 

With the reality that the possibly hostile alien was closing on them settling in, the crew was becoming more formal, a first in Ship CEO Morgan’s experience.  The outfit ‘Admiral’ Foster had put together wasn’t very military, but then nothing really was these days.  That had been alright with just about everyone, until now.  Mike Mason was beginning to wish that the Federation had a military, and that some of them were here right now. 

Unfortunately, the Armstrong was 800 kps slower than the alien, so the alien ship was still closing.  Ship CEO Morgan was hoping that a physical demonstration would ‘communicate’ with the aliens, where their communications attempts had not. 

“Sir!  I have multiple contacts on the thermal sensors, closing fast!”

Ship CEO Morgan paled as the implication slammed home.  “Communications, continuous stream to the North Carolina for as long as you can!  Helm, evasive…”  He broke off as the ship shuddered around him and the lighting dimmed. 

“Shields down to 20% strength!  Minor shock damage!”  The engineer’s voice held a little panic in it, and Morgan couldn’t blame him.  They had no weapons or defenses.  Nothing with which to reply to this senseless attack. 

“Communications, tell them that we surrender!  Tell them that…”

“Second launch detected!”  The thermal sensors were detecting the alien weapons barely before they hit his ship.  This time the shaking was much worse.   Morgan could feel the sweat pouring down his collar as he looked around his bridge in shock. 

The engineer turned from his panel, pale as a ghost.  Morgan was shocked to see tears pouring down his face.  “Sir, the engine is down!  They are all dead down there.   We are dead in space.”

Ship CEO Morgan hesitated for a second, but his duty was clear.  “Abandon ship!  All hands to the life pods!”  Alarms began sounding throughout the ship as the survivors ran to the closest pods.  By the time the third missile salvo roared in there was no one left on the ship. 

Approximately fifteen minutes later, on the North Carolina at the jump point…
“Sir, message from the Armstrong!  It’s coded red priority and in the clear!”

Mission Executive Brennan allowed himself to wonder what the hell Morgan was up to as the message was routed to his station.  The message was brief.  Brennan settled back into his chair in shock.  After a few seconds he shook himself.  “Comm, the Armstrong is setting up a continuous data stream.  Route the stream to memory and monitor in real-time.  Send an acknowledgement to the Armstrong and coordinate the data stream.  Sensors, go active on the sensors and perform a full 360-degree spherical scan.  Helm, prepare a course through the jump point.  We’ll be jumping out and then returning as soon as possible.” 

For a few seconds the crew hesitated, then they began scrambling to obey his orders.  Brennan looked around in pride, and then keyed the general all-ship communicator.  “This is Mission Executive Brennan.  Ship CEO Morgan of the Armstrong has just reported that his ship has made contact with an alien ship which is closing on his position.  He is attempting to make contact.  We will be returning to the Solar System to report our discovery, then we will return here to monitor the situation.  All hands to their stations!” 

There was a general scramble as additional crew entered the bridge and took their stations.  After a minute the sensor officer turned from his station.  “Scan complete, sir.  No contacts out to fourteen million kilometers.  We are clear.”

“Very well.  Maintain continuous scans.  Comm, send messages to the Vasco de Gama and the Marco Polo.  They are to reverse course and rejoin the North Carolina at the jump point.  Send immediately.  Helm, take us through the jump point.” 

The North Carolina nosed through the jump point as the messages were speeding away.  Brennan felt a brief, momentary discontinuity, and then they were in the Solar System.  Fighting the disorientation that was normal for a jump, he turned to his right.  “Julia, package the Armstrong’s original message along with the data stream to the point we jumped.  Encrypt at the highest level and dispatch to satellites alpha and bravo.  Send when complete.”

“you’ve got it.”  She hunched over her station.  Brennan settled into his seat as the helm officer brought the North Carolina around to return through the jump point.  The satellites were part of a quartet of satellites that Foster Interstellar had scattered throughout the asteroid belt for just this occasion.  Proprietary communications could be routed through these satellites instead of being sent directly from the jump point, making them much harder to intercept.     

“Message sent.”

“Very well.  Helm, take us back through the jump point.”  The North Carolina was already lined up on the jump point and so it took only seconds for the ship to jump out.

Back in New York and recovering from the jump effects, Jim Brennan ordered the comm tech to reestablish contact with the Armstrong’s data stream.  Julia nodded and turned to her station.  After a few seconds she turned back.  “Jim, contact with the data stream re-established.  The contact has closed to within one million kilometers and Ship CEO Morgan has ordered his shields raised.”  The comm officer stopped and lowered his head as he listened to something.  After a few seconds he blanched and looked up.  “Sir, I’m getting a verbal report from Blake Whitby, the Armstrong’s communications tech.  The alien ship has closed to within 500,000 kilometers and Ship CEO Morgan has ordered the Armstrong to retreat from the alien.”

Mission Executive Brennan leaned forward.  “Put the Armstrong transmission on the speakers.”

Julia punched a button and the Armstrong’s communication tech began speaking from the speakers set around the bridge.  He sounded painfully young. The North Carolina’s bridge crew fell silent as the drama that had occurred 250 million kilometers away unfolded.   

“…continuing with first contact protocols, Ship CEO.”  There was silence for a few seconds, then Whitby spoke again.  “North Carolina, we have begun moving away from the aliens but they continue to close.  We are broadcasting first contact messages on every band but they haven’t answered.  I…wait!  We…what!”  There was a crashing noise in the background and indistinct voices could be heard.  “North Carolina!   The aliens have launched some sort of weapon at us!  Our shields are almost down.  I’m routing all sensor information to the stream so that you can see what we are seeing.  I’m going to…wait, more missiles are incoming!”  There was another crash, this time louder.  There were gasps around the North Carolina’s bridge as Blake Whitby continued.  “That’s it.  Our shields are down and the engine is out.  CEO Morgan has ordered us to abandon ship.  I’ll set the computers to continue broadcasting for as long as…”  The audio cut out. 

The silence on the bridge was deafening.  Brennan looked around his bridge and could see that his crew was stunned.  “Alright everyone.  We are going to jump back to the Solar System to inform them of the fate of the Armstrong.  Then we are going to jump back to monitor the situation until the De Gama and the Polo return.  Then we will all jump out.  Together.  Understood?”

“yes sir!”  They all chorused, and then turned to their stations.  Once again, the North Carolina jumped back to the Solar System.  This time Brennan appended his own report to the broadcast, informing CEO Foster of his intent to remain at the jump point in the New York system until the two gravitic survey ships returned and they could all jump out.  Their ETA to the jump point was approximately 22.5 hours at maximum speed.  At 1540 hours the North Carolina jumped out of the Solar system.  It never returned. 

 

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Battle Aftermath
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 10:32:47 AM »
September 1, 2131: Copernicus R&D Research Facility, Luna
CEO Sarah Allen looked around the Copernicus R&D Boardroom, taking stock of the room.  The Boardroom was richly appointed, with very expensive wood paneling everywhere, and a large, antique-looking table dominating the center of the room.  The table looked antique, but it decidedly was not antique, as it incorporated the latest display and information technology to service the board members of the Solar System’s most powerful R&D corporation who normally did business in this room.  All along one wall were thick transparent panels giving a panoramic view of the Copernicus crater and the Earth beyond.  The boardroom sat on top of a high structure that jutted above the low-lying lab complex and its associated dome-city that dominated the crater.  CEO Allen looked briefly out of the windows, looking over the sprawling city that had grown up around the labs.  Copernicus City now housed approximately 75 million people out of the Moon’s 90 million citizens, and the city was visible from Earth’s surface, a constant reminder of humanity’s spread to the stars.  CEO Allen was distracted, though, and she didn’t really see much of the city as she looked out of the windows.  Instead, her thoughts were of the people in the room with her, and on the alien threat that had so suddenly been thrust upon them.  Sitting closest to her, on her right, was the CEO of Glencore-Vale Space Minerals, William Wright.  The Glencore-Vale CEO was engaged in a hushed but urgent conversation with the person sitting to his left, K&T Space Construction CEO George Little.  CEO Wright was tall and spare, every inch an English gentleman of the old school, while CEO Little was short and pugnacious, the very image of an American steel worker, for all that he was dressed in an expensive suit and boasted the very best in body augmentations.  CEO Allen couldn’t hear what they were talking about but it was apparent that Little didn’t like whatever it was that the Glencore-Vale CEO was trying to tell him.  Allen kept her face expressionless as she covertly observed the two.  CEO Wright was on her side, she was sure.  While what she was proposing went against everything they had stood for over the last eight years, he was a very conscientious person and she knew he would recognize what was likely their only hope of surviving this emergency.  Little, on the other hand, tended to be stubborn and rooted in the past.  She knew he was one of the obstacles that she would have to overcome.   She sighed.  As CEO of the Federation she was merely first among equals, and barely that.  If she could get the board on her side then that would be merely the first battle, not the last.  The Federation could barely lay a claim to being able to manage its constituent corporations, and, by design, there was little it could do to reign in its more fractious members.  A small grin flickered across her face.  At least she could count on her fellow board member’s greed to motivate them. 

As she was watching the two, the door on the far side of the room opened and their two missing members entered.  CEO Allen nodded to SIM Engineering CEO Oscar Hunt and Copernicus R&D CEO Charlotte Potts.  CEO Hunt was a gorgeous man, as beautiful as the very best and most modern gene-sculpting and body engineering techniques could make him, while CEO Potts seemed dim standing next to his beauty.  CEO Potts was tall, with striking red hair, but on first glance appeared average looking.  It was only if a person looked twice that they saw her penetrating, intelligent eyes.  She was in every way a striking woman but standing next to the perfection that was the SIM Engineering CEO she tended to fade into the background.  As did most people.   CEO Little looked up from his conversation and frowned.  “It’s about time!  Oscar, what kept you?”

CEO Hunt smiled as he took his seat.  “Well, George, as you know my schedule is full dealing with everything that’s going on.  I got here as soon as I could, just as you did.”  He turned to CEO Allen and frowned.  “Sarah, I’ve heard some disturbing things about what you and your people have been up to.  Why have you called us together?”  He paused, taking the temperature of the room.  “Well, aside from the obvious, I mean.”

CEO Allen nodded to CEO Hunt.  “Thank you, Oscar.  As you noted momentous things are happening, and they deserve a momentous response.  But first, I’ve asked Director Avasarala of the Federation Intelligence Service to brief us.”  She touched her communicator and behind her the door opened.  She turned and gestured to the table to her left.  “Director?”

The small, skinny Indian woman smoothly moved to the table and looked around at the most powerful people in the Solar System.  If she was impressed she did a pretty good job of keeping it to herself.  “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know how much you all know about the events of the last several days, so I will begin with the basic facts and work from there.”  Looking around and seeing no dissent she continued.  “On August 27th, at approximately 1400 hours standard time, the Foster Interstellar Explorations Survey Group jumped into the system we have designated as the New York system.  The group consisted of a single 10,000 ton North Carolina class jump tender, the geological survey ship Armstrong, and two Farseer class gravitic survey ships.” 

For a second Director Avasarala paused as she leaned over and typed something into the keyboard inset into the table in front of her.  After a few seconds a holographic display of the New York system sprang into existence over their heads.  The display showed a single yellow star in the center of the system, with orbital shells for seven planets stretching around the star.  A hazy asteroid belt orbited between the second and third planets.  Each was accompanied by small boxes with information relating to the system body.  With the wave of a hand any of them could expand any of the boxes to view as much information as they desired.  The third planet was a super-Jovian class planet, over a tenth the size of the system primary and orbited by four moons.  Off to one side, not too far from the fifth planet, an orange dot blinked, representing the jump point leading to the Solar System.  The jump point was 479 million kilometers from the primary, just outside of the orbit of the fifth planet. 

Director Avasarala pointed at the jump point, and the display shifted, centering on the jump point, with the fifth planet far too one side but still visible.  “The Foster Interstellar group appeared here, at the jump point.  Following their standard procedure, the group waited on the jump point for one hour, to “get the lay of the land”, as CEO Foster told me.  Once the hour was up the group separated, with the two gravitic survey ships headed out-system from the jump point, and the geological survey ship headed in towards the first planet to begin its survey.  The group’s jump ship, the North Carolina, remained at the jump point in overwatch position.  Approximately twenty-four hours later, the ships were in this position.”  She punched a key and four blinking green dots appeared.   One was on the jump point, two were out-system of the jump point, and the fourth was in-system.  “At this point the Armstrong was nearly 250 million kilometers from the jump point.”  Again, she punched a key, and a blinking red dot appeared close to the dot representing the Armstrong.  “It was at this time that the Armstrong’s thermal sensors detected an alien ship approximately 3.5 million kilometers away and closing at a rapid rate.  The Armstrong’s commander, Captain Morgan, ordered his ship to come to a halt, and sent a contact report to the North Carolina.  Once that was done, Captain Morgan began trying to establish contact with the alien ship.  Admiral Brennan, commander of the Foster Interstellar group, acknowledged the Armstrong’s report, and then ordered his command to activate its sensors, to ensure that no alien ships were sneaking up on the jump point.  He also ordered the two gravitic survey ships to return to the jump point.  Finally, with the area around the jump point clear, he ordered the North Carolina to return to the Solar System.  Once here, he sent a contact report containing all of the information that they had gathered to the Foster Interstellar command center, then returned to New York.”

“Captain Morgan allowed the alien ship to close on his position for fourteen minutes, until the range had closed to approximately 200,000 kilometers.  At that point the aliens had not responded to any of the Armstrong’s hails.  In the hope that it would show the aliens that they did not want them to close any further Captain Morgan ordered his ship to retreat at full speed, which, unfortunately, was 800 kps less than the alien ship.  The alien ship closed to nearly point-blank range, at which point it launched a salvo of four missiles at the Armstrong.   The Armstrong had nothing in the way of defenses, and Captain Morgan ordered his crew to abandon ship after one of the missiles destroyed the Armstrong’s single engine.  After receiving the Armstrong’s last message, the North Carolina jumped back to the Solar System and updated their first contact report.  They then jumped back, to join with their gravitic survey ships before retreating from the system.  Admiral Brennan stated that it was his intention to keep his sensors active, and that he planned to jump out at the first sign of an alien ship, and that he would order the gravitic survey ships to scatter before jumping.”  She waved her hand and the display zoomed out to show the whole system.  “That was the last communication we had from any of the Foster Interstellar ships.  The gravitic survey ships should have rendezvoused with the North Carolina by mid-day on the 29th and they should have returned.  If there was some delay the North Carolina would have jumped back into the Solar System to inform us, but she has not.  At this point they are overdue and must be considered as lost.   We know very little about the alien ship or its capabilities.  The alien ship had a thermal signature that was larger than that of a North Carolina class jump ship, indicating that it was larger than that class, or at least that it had larger engines.  The top speed of the alien ship was 3,910 kps, which was faster than anything we have but the latest version of the North Carolina class.  The alien missiles were 37% as large as one of our planetary defense missiles, and the Armstrong’s thermal sensors were able to determine that their speed was 18,600 kps.”  Director Avasarala stood back from the table.  “Are there any questions?”

CEO Wright nodded.  “What do you think happened to the North Carolina, director?”

Director Avasarala looked quickly at CEO Allen, who nodded.  She then turned to the rest.  “We can only speculate, as we have no hard information.  However, it is the consensus of our analysts that the North Carolina was likely destroyed by missiles launched from beyond her sensor range.  Her primary active sensors have a maximum range of 14.3 million kilometers.  If the enemy launched from beyond that range her sensors would have provided no warning, until the missiles were close enough to appear on her passive sensors.  At that point it would almost certainly be too late for her to jump out.  The remaining gravitic survey ships may still be there, but we have no way of knowing and they cannot return without the North Carolina.” 

The room was silent as they all digested that bit of analysis.  Finally, CEO Allen nodded to her and the Director left the room as the assembled CEO’s looked at the holo display of the New York system.  Once the Director had left CEO Allen turned back to her compatriots.  “We have a problem, and we are ill equipped to deal with it.”

CEO Hunt frowned as he looked at the display.  “They could be here, in our own system, already.  We don’t have anything on the jump point that would warn us of whether they had jumped in or not, right?”

CEO Allen shook her head.  “No, we don’t.  And right now the only thing we have orbiting Earth is the three newly launched survey ships belonging to Interstellar Explorations.  I’ve reached out to Ethan Reynolds myself.”

CEO Little barked out a laugh.  “I bet Reynolds loved hearing from you!”

CEO Allen kept her face impassive.  “CEO Reynolds was…less than enthusiastic about sending one of his brand-new ships to picket the jump point.  Especially given how ill-suited they are for the job.”

Hunt’s gaze sharpened.  “Did he come around?”

“Mr. Reynolds agreed to send one of his ships to picket the jump point until the next jump ship comes out of the yards.  That jump ship belongs to Foster Interstellar, and CEO Foster has volunteered that ship to picket the jump point for as long as necessary.”

CEO Hunt settled back into his chair.  “Foster volunteered, did he?”

“Yes, he did.”  CEO Allen sighed and gestured for the display to turn off and for the lights to come up.  “He also refers to the aliens as ‘those bastards’, but one of his people has been calling them the ‘Obscura’, which seems to have caught on.  Probably inevitable, given how little we know about them.  Let’s get down to the bottom line.  We have no military to speak of.  We have no armed spacecraft whatsoever, and if the aliens come here we can’t stop them unless they come close enough to Earth for our planetary defenses to engage them.  And if their missiles out range ours then we are finished as we have no anti-missile defenses.”  CEO’s Little and Hunt looked like they were going to interrupt but she kept speaking.  “I know, I know.  I’m not placing blame here, we all agreed on this course of action, but now things have changed.  We are very fortunate that the majority of us agreed to fund continuing R&D to keep our military technology up to date.  If we hadn’t we’d be in an even worse place than we are in now.”  She hesitated, then plunged on.  “Things are going to have to change, though.  If we are going to survive then we must drastically expand the shipyards, and we’ll have to build an actual military force.”

The others looked at each other.  Oscar looked like he had swallowed a lemon, while George Little had a pugnacious look on his face.  Of course, that was his resting face, so that meant little.  Potts and Wright both had admirable poker faces and showed nothing of what was going through their heads.  Finally, Oscar spoke.  “I don’t like it.”  He paused and looked around.  “I don’t think anyone here likes it.  But no one can deny that we are under threat, and that we have to respond.  We have to build a military force, something the world hasn’t seen, at least in large scale, in over fifty years.  The question is, what form will our response take?”

CEO Potts leaned forward hesitantly, uncharacteristically for her.  “Can we do what we’ve done with the ground forces?  Keep them broken up into small, independent organizations that can watch each other and are individually easy to control?  That would work, right?”

CEO’s Allen and Wright shook their heads.  After a second, when Allen didn’t speak up, CEO Wright stood up.  “That’s my first inclination, but no, I don’t think it will work.  If we have too many small organizations there will be too much disorganization when we try to get them to work together, too much incompatibility.”

Oscar Hunt stood.  CEO Allen frowned imperceptibly.  Here it came.  If there was going to be opposition it was going to be Hunt or Little.  CEO Hunt stepped back from the table and swept his immaculately clad arm across the display of the New York system.  “We don’t have time for this!   The aliens, these Obscura if you insist, are there, and they could be coming here.  We must prepare.”  The others around the table were looking at him in near shock.  Of all of them he was the most opposed to any change that he hadn’t initiated himself.  “Oh, come off of it.  I can see when a critical problem has arisen in one of my subsidiaries and this is about as critical as they come!  We have to react to this effectively, and if building a military for the Federation is the best way forward, well, then, we’ll all just have to get on board.  One thing, though.  We can’t tell the people.  If we do we risk a panic, or worse, the rise of nationalism and jingoism.  Once those terrors are out of the bag we will lose control in short order.”

George Little was frowning.  “You mean, keep this a secret?  Can we?”

CEO Allen had recovered her balance after the shock of Hunt actually being reasonable.  “Yes, I think we can.  We’ve already announced that we were planning on building a patrol force now that we’ve been expanding into interstellar space.  We’ll put this military expansion under that header and downplay it.  After all, who really cares what goes on out past Earth’s atmosphere?”

They would discuss the details, but the Federation Militia was born then and there.  Former CEO Foster would be offered command, and the military buildup would be hidden under the guise of the construction of a patrol force.  They agreed to meet in a week, after they had had enough time to have their respective staffs begin working on the details of what would be needed to build a force to oppose the Obscura. 

Federation CEO Allen was elated.  Her measure to create a new military force had flown through the board without a hitch.  Only later would it occur to her that it would be much harder to dismantle a military than to create it.  The measure to keep the new aliens, and the new war, a secret passed as well.  No one wanted this to get out. 

Exactly one week later they met again in Detroit, the capital of the North American regional government.  The city was home to 3.5 million people and was the home city of SIM Engineering.  The meeting took place in SIM Engineering’s boardroom, which was much like Copernicus R&D’s boardroom.  This time the five CEO’s entered the room together, and CEO Allen got right to business.  “Oscar, can you brief us on any designs you and your company might have for military ships?”

CEO Hunt smiled as he stood up.  He punched a key on the table in front of him and a sleek ship appeared over the table.  “Several years ago, we developed a proto-type design for a patrol ship, named the Enterprise class.  The ship was 11,200 tons and would have been armed with lasers as its primary weapons and had a gauss cannon turret for missile defense.   We updated the design recently to include modern drives, shields, weapons, and sensors.  I’ve spoken to my people and based on recent developments I’m sure we can update our designs again to make it an even more capable warship.”   

George Little had a sour look on his face.  “How long before we could put one of these into space, Oscar?” 

CEO Hunt hesitated for a few seconds, then looked around at the rest of them.  “Well, if we started immediately…” 

Whatever CEO Hunt was going to say was lost when CEO Allen spoke over him.  “We couldn’t put one of these into space until sometime in early to mid-2133.”  CEO Hunt had a sour look on his face but said nothing.  After a few seconds CEO Allen continued.  “We only have three yards that could build something that big, and none of them are configured correctly to begin construction any time soon.  I spoke with Mr. Cho yesterday.  We are in an extraordinarily bad situation in terms of yard space.  Both of the yards that are large enough to build the Enterprise class are in the middle of being enlarged.  This is both good and bad.  Obviously, we are going to need the increased yard space, but this also means that we cannot retool the yards to build the Enterprise class until the expansion is finished.  We can discontinue the expansion, but that would be very expensive, and could lead to long term capacity problems.  Fortunately, the work on one of the two yards will be complete in several months.  The other yard expansion won’t be finished until April of next year.”

CEO Potts leaned forward.  “You said there were three yards.  What is the third?”

CEO Allen That would be United Hyundai #5.  That yard is set aside for constructing our jump ships.”

CEO Little broke in.  “What about those three newer yards we funded over the last couple of years?”

“None of them have enough capacity to build anything the size of the Enterprise.  It is clear that if we are going to have any defense for the Solar System against these aliens that we are going to have to come up with a new approach.”  She paused and took a breath.  “I’d like you, Charlotte, and you, Oscar, to put your people together and come up with new ideas to get something into space that is able to face these aliens in a reasonable time frame.” 

Oscar looked thoughtful, while Charlotte kept her face expressionless.  After a second, she spoke.  “We will need considerable R&D support.  To achieve this, we are going to think outside of the box, move in ways we haven’t thought of.  All of that means that we are going to have to develop new systems at a frightful pace.”

CEO Allen nodded.  “I’ve already spoken to the heads of the other R&D groups.  You’ll have whatever you need.  Schedule a meeting with them as soon as is convenient.  They will work with you.”   CEO Allen continued.  “We have no idea what we are up against here.  I’ve gone over the data with Director Avasarala from beginning to end.  We just don’t know that much.  The fourth planet in the New York system has an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere but was not considered a particularly good candidate for colonization based on the limited data we had.  The planet is frigid, with an average surface temperature of -91 degrees.  Aside from that it would have been nearly perfect, with a breathable atmosphere and gravity that is 92% that of Earth.  It is certainly possible, maybe even likely, that these aliens originated there, which means that they may not have any idea about jump point travel.  That would certainly be fortunate for us, as it would give us time to get up to speed.  On the other hand, they may not have originated on the fourth planet, or even in that system, which would mean that they already know about jump point travel as there are no other planets in the system capable of supporting life as we know it.  While that is bad, it might not be too bad.  It might be that we have encountered a single exploration ship far from home.  If so, then it might take them some time to respond.  No matter what we are going to need every second we can get.”  She stopped and looked around the room.  Seeing nods from her fellow CEO’s she continued.  “George, William, what do you have?”

The two looked at each other and after a second George nodded.  William stood, tall and urbane, and his cultured, even tones made them all want to trust what he said.  They were all aware of what he was doing, of course, they couldn’t have gotten to their level if they hadn’t seen it a million times, but it was like watching a master at work.  William, when he was at his best, could get a hostile boardroom on his side in nothing flat.  “George and I have been focusing on rationalizing our shipbuilding.  We are working with Oscar and Charlotte to coordinate our plans, so that they can design ships that will fit in our yards, and so that we can expand the yards in a useful, logical manner.”  He paused, frowning.  “It’s going to be expensive, though.  Frankly, the sums that Mr. Cho at Hanjin is throwing around are staggering.  We are going to have to cut into our reserves.  Perhaps drastically.” 

All of the CEO’s looked interested, and perhaps a little alarmed.  The Federation’s financial reserves had been built up painstakingly over decades.  Still, it was an emergency, and, even better, they all knew that if the reserves were going to be spent, likely a lot of it was going to end up being spent on their companies, in one way or another.  CEO Allen adjourned the meeting and they agreed to meet in two weeks to discuss matters at that point. 

September 22, 2131
They had all reconvened in the Copernicus boardroom, and it was a somber group that looked out over the Moon.   There had been no further encounters with the aliens, but it had now become clear to all that the Foster Interstellar group was lost.  CEO Allen nodded to CEO’s Hunt and Potts to begin their presentation.

CEO Hunt stood up.  “We have had our people working non-stop on this, and I feel that we’ve made some progress.  First, we developed guidelines for our future armed ships based on the capabilities that the aliens have demonstrated.  While we know very little, we do know that they employ missiles capable of speeds up to 18,600 kps, and that the one ship that we’ve seen was capable of moving at 3,910 kps.  Therefore, any ships, weapons or defenses that we come up with will have to be capable of dealing with those capacities.”  He made a gesture and a missile appeared over the boardroom’s central table.  “This is a proto-type design for an anti-missile missile.  It will be capable of a maximum speed of 21,000 kps and would be capable of intercepting the Obscura’s missiles.  It wouldn’t have a very good chance of hitting the Obscura’s missiles, as they are every fast, but these are small and anything we design can probably mount a lot of launchers.  Of course, this is a totally new weapons system so we are going to have design sensors capable of detecting the incoming missiles, targeting systems, and launchers.  That’s a lot of R&D.” 

CEO Potts nodded from her place at the table.  “I’ve spoken with people at all of the relevant companies.  We can get started on this almost immediately.”

CEO Allen nodded.  “Very good.  Oscar, why don’t you continue?”

“That will take care of defense, although we will be able to count on other defenses, such as CWIS and gauss cannons as well.”  He paused and glanced at Charlotte Potts, who merely nodded.  “This next item is still somewhat controversial.  We had decided, as a matter of policy, to avoid deploying large numbers of missile systems in the past.  As effective as these might be, they are also weapons of mass destruction and the temptation to use them in ways we might not approve of might be too much for some people.  Therefore, we had researched more limited systems, such as the anti-ship torpedo system, which is essentially a very short-ranged missile.  While potentially very destructive, it is also very short-ranged and thus would not be a threat to our planetary populations, as our PDC’s could wipe any ship mounting these out before it could close to firing range.  Unfortunately, this torpedo system would likely not be very effective against the Obscura.  It is too short ranged, and we must assume that their missiles have at least moderately long range, given the presumed destruction of the North Carolina.  Therefore, we must be able to deploy weapons that can engage on a more or less equal footing with the Obscura, and our torpedoes will not be able to do so.  For some time, we examined the concept of deploying planetary missiles on board our ships, but that had drawbacks.  The standard torpedo launcher we designed for our ships is very large, around 800 tons, which means that any ship small enough to fit in the yards we have would not be able to mount more than a very few of them, and they have a very slow reload rate.   After some experimentation we decided that a much smaller missile and launcher combo would serve our immediate needs.”  He stopped and nodded at CEO Potts, who stood. 

“While we will have to devote some R&D resources to get the new missiles and launchers to deployable status, we recognize that we need a better solution for the long term.  In particular, we need a solution that will let us deploy useable combat units that are 1,000 tons or smaller, so that we can utilize the large number of smaller yards that we have or can build.  To this end we are proposing a longer-term research effort aimed at reducing the size of missile launchers and standard energy weapons.  While it appears that any reduction would be achieved with a concomitant increase in reload times, the advantages should be obvious, at least in terms of the capabilities of smaller combat units.”

CEO Allen looked at George Little, who was frowning in thought.  “George, assuming that they are able to deliver a design for the new, smaller missile and its launchers, how long would it take for us to get something into space?”

“Well, Hanjin Yard #4 could begin rolling out medium sized units in a fairly short amount of time.  Unfortunately, it only has one slipway, but it is new so it would require little in the way of retooling.”

CEO Hunt stepped forward.  “Our design teams have been modeling some mid-sized warship designs.  They won’t be tremendously capable, but if they are present in large enough numbers they might be able to do the job.”

CEO Little frowned.  “Might?”

CEO Potts jumped in before Oscar Hunt could get worked up.  “George, there is just so little that we know about the aliens.  By necessity there are going to be a lot of unknowns, and a lot of guesstimates.  We are just going to have to do the best we can.”  Little settled back with a pugnacious look on his face. 

Seeing that they were about to start going in circles, Sarah Allen stepped in.  “Look, we are going to have to accept that anything we put into space now, or in the near future, is going to be a marginal warship at best.  We just don’t have the experience, or technology, right now to do any better.  This is what I propose.  Oscar and Charlotte, and their teams, are putting together the best designs that they can.  These designs will be limited to either off the shelf tech, or tech that can be developed in a matter of months.  In addition, the designs will be limited by the size of the yards that we have available.  We will begin building these ships, these compromise designs, as soon as possible.  Once launched, we will be able to begin putting crews and commanders on the ships and they can begin getting practical experience.  In the meantime, we will be working to expand our shipyards and research new technology that can be developed in the medium term.  This new tech must be things that will increase the combat capabilities of our new ships, so that they can be refitted into designs that are capable of defeating the Obscura.   Once the new ships are present in large enough numbers and have been refitted with the latest technology to make them into viable warships, then we can take the offensive to the Obscura.  Until then we will have to stand on the defensive.”

There was some debate, but once again there seemed to be no other way forward.  The contracts for the new military would be divided amongst the board members, enriching them all.  In the meantime, the public would be kept ignorant of both the growth of a new military force in the Solar System and the existence of an alien enemy. 
 

Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation 2131
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 10:04:53 AM »
August 28, 2131: The Battle of New York

September 1, 2131: The meeting of the CEO’s in the aftermath of the battle

September 6, 2131: The Federation CEO contracts with Interstellar Explorations for their planetary survey ship.   IE is reluctant, but the CEO threatens to seize the ship, so in the end IE agrees.  The new planetary survey ship is dispatched to picket the jump point to the New York system. 

September 12, 2131: The first of the upgraded North Carolina class jump ships is launched from the orbital yards.  This ship belongs to Foster Interstellar and is now their only ship.  CEO Foster has agreed to put this ship to use as a picket for the jump point to New York system.  Unlike the survey ship currently posted at the jump point, the new jump ship has active sensors.  The ship sets out for the jump point shortly after launching.   

November 29, 2131: With the Foster Interstellar jump ship on-station picketing the jump point to the New York system, Interstellar Explorations is given the go-ahead to begin conducting survey operations in the other unexplored systems.  The IE squadron sets out for the San Francisco system on this date. 

July 3, 2132: The Corporate Federation launches its first warship.  There is no fanfare, as the Board has not announced the destruction of the Foster Interstellar Survey Group in New York, much less its decision to create a new military force.  The new missile frigate is turned over to the Federation Militia, commanded by newly frocked Admiral Foster, and immediately dispatched on a training cruise.   
   
April 12, 2132: New World’s, Inc., receives its first three terraforming ships from the orbital yards.  While there are better targets for terraforming available, no one could match Copernicus R&D’s bid and as a result the terraformers are dispatched to the Moon immediately after launch. 

December 20, 2132:  Admiral Foster, CO of the Federation Militia, makes a formal proposal to the Federation Board for a mission into the New York system to recover any remaining Foster Interstellar personnel still alive.  The Federation Militia consists of two 15,000 jump ships, equipped with defensive missiles, three 10,850 ton Enterprise class patrol ships armed with lasers and defensive gauss cannons, one 6,000 ton missile frigate, and two 2,250 ton missile boats.  Admiral Foster has been pushing the board and the Federation CEO for some time to allow him to jump into New York to recover his lost personnel, but the board has been cautious, especially as until now they have only had unarmed jump ships available to escort the combat units into New York.  That has changed now with the launch of the two 15,000 ton jump ships, but in spite of this the board and the CEO turn down his proposed plan.  The Federation Militia is too new, to untried.  They are unwilling to risk it in an attack without adequate support.  In private Admiral Foster is enraged, as his personnel, if any are still alive, will run out of food and water sooner or later.     

June 2, 2133: Interstellar Expeditions Planetary Survey Group #1 probes the sole jump point discovered in the San Francisco system.  The IE group is led by the jump ship North Carolina II, which was launched shortly after the presumed destruction of the original ship of that name.  The North Carolina II jumped alone, leaving the rest of its group on the San Francisco system.  As the ship’s crew recovered it was treated to several surprises.  The first was that the jump point on the far side was surrounded by a massive construction that was recognizable as a jump gate, albeit of alien design.  The second surprise came as the ship’s computer began processing the data from the various sensors as they scanned the system.   The new system has a G0-V star orbited by a terrestrial planet, a dwarf planet, and two gas giants, one of which is classified as a super-Jovian.  There is also a small asteroid belt orbiting in between the inner planet and the system’s sun.  The terrestrial planet has an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and an average surface temperature of 23.6 degrees.  Unfortunately, the atmosphere is thick, at 3.1 standard atmospheres, and there is too much oxygen for Earthlike life.  In addition, the planet is completely covered by water, with numerous small islands dotting the surface.  The surprise was that the ship’s sensors clearly showed a massive hulk orbiting the planet.  Whatever it had been it was clearly non-functional now. 

Between the jump gate of alien manufacture and the wreck, the commander of the survey group, Admiral Bevan, decides that discretion is the better part of valor and jumps out to rejoin the rest of the group.   They immediately set their course for the Solar System. 

June 19, 2133: The IE Planetary Survey Group returns to the Solar System from their probe of the Philadelphia system.   The Federation Board is shocked to learn of evidence of potential hostiles in yet another system. 

July 5, 2133: The IE Planetary Survey Group jumps out of the Washington system into a G3-IV orbited by four terrestrial planets and a dwarf planet.  Astonishingly, three of the four terrestrial planets have oxygen-nitrogen atmospheres, while the fourth is Venus-like.  One of the three is remarkably Earth-like, with atmosphere and gravity well within normal ranges for human-like life.  The planet’s one drawback is its temperature – it is too hot with an average temp of 61.3 degrees.  One of the other two has gravity that is far too heavy for humans, with the third is too cold, with an average temp of -132 degrees.  Admiral Bevan dispatches one of his planetary survey ships to probe the habitable planets.  The probe takes sixteen days, but in the end the Magellan confirms that all four planets are vacant and Admiral Bevan sends in the rest of the survey ships to begin the geo survey of the system.   

October 3, 2133: The Interstellar Expeditions Grav Survey Group probes a newly discovered jump point in the Boston system.  The new system is designated as the Honolulu system.  The group discovers a K2-V primary with four planets, two terrestrials, a gas giant, and a dwarf planet.  One of the terrestrial planets possesses an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, although it is far too cold for comfortable human habitation.  Following IE’s standard procedure, a single survey ship is dispatched into the inner system to probe the habitable planet, while the remainder of the group waits at the jump point. 

October 8, 2133, 22:28 hours: The passive EM sensors on the jump tender Madrid detect a ship 224 million kilometers away.  After a short period of time the Madrid’s computers are able to determine that the alien ship’s s EM signature matches that of the Obscura, and that the new contact is moving at 3,911 kps, close to the speed observed by the Foster Interstellar ships in the Chicago system.  Admiral Bevan, on board the Madrid, makes a difficult decision.  He orders the Far Seer class survey ship Cabot, which had nearly reached its target in the inner system, to hide in orbit over the habitable planet while the rest of the group returns to the Solar System for help.  Shortly after sending the message the Madrid and the other three Far Seer’s jump out.  It will take them just over three days to reach the Solar System. 

October 12, 2133: The Interstellar Expeditions Grav Survey group jumps back into the Solar System and immediately sends messages to not only IE’s HQ, but also to the Federation’s new Militia Command Center.  It took almost five hours for the message to reach Earth, but when it arrived everything changed.  Militia HQ immediately recalled the squadron drilling in the inner system.  All ships were fueled and loaded with the latest missiles in the Earth’s stockpiles. 
 

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The Battle at the Honolulu Jump Point
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2018, 12:03:21 PM »
October 13, 2133, Copernicus R&D, Luna
“Send CEO Foster in.”

The five CEO’s that ran the Federation settled back into their chairs, their faces studiously neutral.  CEO Foster entered the room.  He was wearing a dark blue outfit suspiciously close in design to the ‘uniforms’ that the old militaries used to flaunt.  They stirred uncomfortably.  They had heard rumors of Foster resurrecting the old militaries ways, and they didn’t like it.  As long as there were enemy aliens at their door they’d put up with it, but Foster’s time was limited.  Whether he knew it or not. 

CEO Allen took the lead, as usual.  “CEO Foster, you have a proposal for us?”

Foster, a tall, rugged, spare man known to be parsimonious with his words, nodded.  “I want to send the fleet to Honolulu.  We owe it to the survey ship in the inner system there.”

CEO Allen looked at the other CEO’s flanking her, then back at Foster.  “We’ve denied your requests to send the fleet into the New York system.  The fleet isn’t ready.  Too many ships are in refit, and we’re just finishing the final weapons and defense designs for the fleet.  Why do you think the situation in Honolulu is different?”

CEO Foster looked down at his notes for a second, gathering his thoughts.  Then he looked at the five people arrayed before him.  These were the most powerful people in the Solar system.  But all he saw were five deeply scared children, desperately grasping resources to themselves for no better reason than petty greed.   They had authorized the creation of a military force for the Federation, in secret, out of fear of alien invasion, but then had constantly hampered his attempts to make his ships into an effective combat force.  He took a deep breath.  “This isn’t just a rescue mission.  I believe that this mission will have several benefits to our overall plan.  Unlike the situation in the New York system, we have an emergent situation in the Honolulu system.   The Obscura haven’t had time to fortify the Honolulu system, as they have New York.  If we respond quickly we can rescue our stranded explorer and get some precious combat experience for our fleet.”  He leaned forward and looked the other CEO’s in the eyes.  “You’ve allowed me to recruit some of the best, but none of them really know what they are doing.  None of them have any experience.  This will get them experience, hopefully in a relatively low-risk situation.”   Oscar Hunt, next to CEO Allen, looked like he was going to speak, but Foster continued before he could.  “My people need experience.  In a real situation.  Not simulations.  Not safe training situations where they know they’ll be okay.  The more experience we have before we go into the New York system, the better off we’ll be.”  He stood back and looked at the five CEO’s expectantly. 

CEO Allen, Chairperson of the Board, looked at her fellow directors.  CEO’s Little and Potts clearly didn’t care and would leave the decision in her hands.  They had made that clear before the meeting.  CEO Wright was in favor and nodded at her now.  That left Hunt.  He was frowning, clearly unsure.  Finally, he spoke.  “Admiral.  That’s what they call you now, isn’t it?  A little archaic, don’t you think?”   

They had all heard the rumors.  Hunt just wanted to make Foster uneasy.   Foster merely looked at CEO Hunt, waiting.  After a few seconds Hunt flushed.  “If we agree to this, how much of the fleet are you sending?”

Foster cocked his head to the side, quizzically.  “All of it, of course.”

Hunt stood and slammed his hand on the desk in front of him.  “Unacceptable!  You would send the entire fleet two jumps from the Earth?  While the Obscura are next door?”   

CEO Foster watched Hunt yell, thinking furiously.  He knew the Board thought their PDC’s were sufficient to defend Earth, so it couldn’t be that they wanted his ships for defense.  He had known that they would oppose sending the entire fleet, and that he wouldn’t be able to override them.  As he watched Hunt he realized that while there were good arguments against sending the entire fleet, Hunt, and presumably the rest of them, just didn’t want that much of the fleet out of their sight, and control.  Seeing that Hunt had run down, he stiffened.  “Sir, anticipating your objections, I have prepared an alternate plan.  I’d like to send the two jump cruisers, the patrol cruisers, and the missile frigates to the Honolulu system.  Those units are slated to be our offensive force anyway, and it would leave the missile boats here for system defense.”

CEO Allen looked at CEO Hunt.  Seeing that he had run out of objections she nodded.  “Approved.  Except the jump cruisers.  You can have one, the other stays here.  We can’t risk both on this mission.”

Foster took a step forward.  “But ma’am, that’s…”  He stopped and swallowed.  “Ma’am, that leaves the force just one jump ship.  If something happens to that ship in Honolulu then they won’t be able to get back.  They need both ships.”

CEO Allen shook her head.  “You’ve got one, that’s it.  This matter is closed.”

CEO Foster nodded and left the room.  The strike force left shortly after.  It’s ETA to the Honolulu system was sixteen days. 

Strike Force Honolulu:
Strike Force Executive: Ship CEO Buckley (Enterprise)

1xTennesse Class Jump Cruiser (Bihar)
6xEnterprise r2 Class Patrol Cruisers (Assistance, Enterprise, Intrepid, Leviathan, Swiftsure, and Victory)
4xBrooklyn Class Missile Frigates (Brooklyn, Cairo, Shanghai, and Tokyo)

October 29, 2133, 5:39 hours:
Ship CEO Rachel Buckley, standing on the bridge of the Patrol Cruiser Enterprise, took a deep breath.  This was it.  The main plot in the center of the bridge showed a graphic representing the jump point with her ship off center and to the side.  Next to her cruiser was her sister ship, the Assistance.  They both flanked the larger Bihar, the jump ship which would convey them to the Honolulu system. 

Ship CEO Buckley shook her head to clear the haze that seemed to have settled down on her as they had approached the jump point.  She had to keep telling herself that this was real.  That she commanded a real warship and was really going to jump into a hostile star system.  In fact, she not only commanded a real warship, but she was the senior officer in the squadron!  She was in command of the entire group!  She shook her head.  Only ten months ago she was ‘commanding’ a Long Haul class freighter and the worst thing she had had to worry about was docking and loading/unloading schedules at the various ports she visited.  She wasn’t cut out for this military stuff.   As that thought wandered through her mind she looked around at her officers and realized that they were all in the same boat.  None of them were military, really, they had all been serving on a freighter or colonization ship until just recently. 

“Ma’am?”  When she didn’t respond the communications officer said again, “Ma’am?  The Bihar is standing by.”

Ship CEO Buckley shook her head again, then looked at her communications officer.  “What?  Oh, the Bihar.  Right.”  She stopped for a second.  This was it.  When she gave the order, they would be jumping into a hostile system.  Still, she thought, most likely the Obscura had cleared out after encountering their survey ships.  It will be okay, she thought.  Briefly she thought about giving a rousing speech to her crew, but she dismissed that thought almost immediately.  She was pretty sure that in her current state the crew would all think she was a blithering idiot in short order.  “All right.  Communications, confirm that everyone has their shields up and sensors active.  Once confirmations are received, we will jump.”  She hesitated for a second, then, “Oh, and order the rest of the fleet to remain on guard here until the Bihar returns to ferry them through the jump point.  Please tell them to avoid shooting the Bihar when she comes back.” 

“Yes ma’am.  The Bihar and the Assistance confirm that they are at general quarters and ready to jump.” 

“Very well, order the Bihar to take us through.” 

On the plot the icon for the Bihar began moving forward, followed closely by the Enterprise and the Assistance.   On the bridge’s main view screen, the jump point, normally invisible, flared briefly with inconceivable energies.  It seemed like it reached out to them as they raced into it and vanished from the Boston system.

Ship CEO Buckley’s senses reeled as, just for a nearly imperceptible fragment of time her mind and body were subjected to a universe that they were never meant to inhabit and then they cleared the jump.  She looked around the bridge blearily, desperately trying to make sense of the crazily flashing lights and apparently random sounds emitted by computers and consoles that were just as confused as she was, if not more.  Finally, things seemed to come into focus and she got herself under control.  “Helm, move us away from the jump point.  Communications, get status reports from the other ships.”

“Yes ma’am, I…”  Whatever she was going to say was lost when alarms began blaring. 

“What’s going on?”  Ship CEO Buckley looked around wildly, trying to figure out what had triggered the alarm.  Her eyes settled on the plot, which had just updated to show a trio of red icons sitting almost on top of the jump point.  Just as her mind began to work through that the sensor officer’s voice called out. 

“Multiple contacts close aboard!  Three contacts on passive sensors 8,000 kilometers away, bearing 189 relative.”

Ship CEO Buckley stared at the plot blankly.  She really hadn’t thought that they Obscura would be sitting on the jump point.   

“Orders ma’am?”

Buckley stared blankly at the plot.  She couldn’t think!  What could they do?  What should she do?  Her instincts were screaming to run as fast as they could, but that couldn’t be right, could it?

“Ma’am, the Bihar and the Assistance are requesting orders?”

Ship CEO Buckley took a deep breath and tried to center herself.  “I guess…”  She trailed off and looked around the bridge.  The officers were all looking at her, and most looked as panicked as she felt.  She realized that they were all looking at her to make this right.  She straightened.  “We’ll fight.  Tell the Bihar and the Assistance to get their weapons and defenses on line and to engage the enemy closely!”

The three Obscura ships immediately begin moving away from the Federation ships.  Fifteen seconds later the Enterprise shuddered as a missile salvo slammed into her shields.  Ship CEO Buckley gaped as the ship bucked under her feet.  Gasps sounded on the bridge as the crew realized they were under fire.  Finally, the shaking stopped.  Ship CEO Buckley turned to her damage control officer.  “What’s…”  She realized that her voice was pitched way too high and started over.  “What’s our status?”

The crewman turned from his console.  “Ma’am, our shields are down.  Sixteen missiles hit us, and one strength six missile impacted to our armor, but there are no penetrations.”

Fear began creeping into her mind.  She turned to the officer in charge of the ships sensors.  “Louis, get those sensors up!  We need to see!   Get me my weapons and engines!”

“I’ve got them up!”  The sensor officer turned in triumph as the plot table began updating with information from the active sensors.  The plot table showed that the three Obscura ships, now moving away from the jump point, were each 9000 tons and moving away at 3,911 kps. 

Fifteen seconds after the first salvo hit the Enterprise the Bihar reported that it had been hit by nine missiles, reducing her shield strength to 37%.  Ship CEO Buckley paled as she realized that the only ship that could get them out of the system, or get reinforcements into the system, was under threat.   As she grappled with that realization, the communications officer shouted from her station.

“Ma’am, the Bihar reports another missile salvo inbound.  Twenty-nine missiles incoming, and she is launching anti-missiles.” 

Ship CEO Buckley sank back in her chair as a distant high-pitched whining signaled that their gauss cannon turret had just gone into action.  The crewman in charge of coordinating the ship’s defenses turned to the Ship CEO.  “Ma’am, the Bihar’s anti-missiles got four of the incoming missiles, and the gauss cannon turrets got another four.  Seven missiles hit the Bihar.”

“Ma’am, the Bihar is reporting that their shields are down.  No penetrations on their armor.”

That was enough for Buckley.  Two of their three ships had lost their shields, the enemy was out of range of their lasers, and she hadn’t even been able to get her ships moving yet.   “Signal the Bihar and the Assistance.  The Bihar she is to escort the Enterprise and the Assistance back through the jump point as soon as possible.  We will take up a defensive stance on the far side.”  She tried to project confidence but knew that she was failing miserably. 

“The Assistance confirms her orders.  No confirmation from the Bihar.  There seems to be some...confusion over there.” 

“Well, keep after them until they confirm my orders!”

“Twenty-nine missiles inbound.  The Bihar is launching against the incoming salvo.”   Once again, the patrol cruiser’s gauss cannon turrets spat their pellets at the incoming missiles, trying vainly to intercept the inbounds before they could hit the Federation ships.  This time the Federation AMM’s knocked out five of the Obscura missiles and the gauss cannons knocked out another four.  The Bihar was hit by ten missiles, knocking out her vestigial shields and savaging her armor.  Nothing penetrated her thick armor, though. 

Ship CEO Buckley leaned forward in her chair, silently urging her squadron to begin moving towards the jump point.  On all three ships the officers and engineers struggled to respond to confusing commands from the bridge and get their jump-addled ships moving. 

Yet another missile salvo raced in as the Bihar and her two consorts maneuvered towards the jump point.  Antimissiles took a toll on the incoming salvo, as did the cruiser’s gauss turrets, but as before they couldn’t stop the Obscura missiles.  Ten missiles got through the Federation defenses and this time the Bihar’s armor was penetrated, however, no real damage was done.  The ship’s luck couldn’t last, though. 

Because of the opening range the Bihar was able to get two sets of AMM’s off against the next salvo, killing eight of the Obscura missiles.  The two patrol cruisers switched their big lasers over to point defense mode, but their tracking systems couldn’t handle the missile’s speed and they got no hits.  On the other hand, their gauss cannons were getting the measure of the Obscura missiles and took out six of the small targets.  Only six missiles hit the big jump ship, but this time they got through the ship’s armor.  An antimissile missile launcher was destroyed and the ships engines and jump engine took minor damage.  Immediately after the explosions cleared the Bihar jumped out with its two escorts close behind.   

Ship CEO Buckley wasted no time on the far side of the jump point.  She immediately ordered the entire squadron to bracket the jump point and engage anything that followed them.       

After waiting for several hours, with no sign of the Obscura coming through the jump point, Ship CEO Buckley decides to return to the Solar System to repair and regroup. 

Aftermath:
While CEO Foster came under some criticism for the defeat, his position had been from the first that the Federation fleet was inexperienced and unready.  The events at the jump point in the Honolulu system merely confirmed what he had been saying.  The Federation fleet would not only need better technology to defeat the Obscura, but better officers and more experience.  After much debate the Board agreed.  CEO Foster would be given access to more officers for his fleet, and would be allowed, finally, to institute a formal rank system, much that of the old militaries.     The Board was beginning to realize that solving this problem wouldn’t just be a matter of throwing some money at it. 
 

Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation 2133 to mid-2134
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2018, 11:42:42 AM »
October 29, 2133: Battle at the Honolulu jump point.

November 2, 2133: The Fleet returns to the Solar System.  The Board is shaken by the news of the retreat, but after some debate endorses Captain Buckley’s decision to retreat from the Honolulu system and return to the Solar System.  Planning is begun immediately to deal with the weakness in jump point assault capabilities reveal by the abortive attack. 

In light of the fact that the Obscura have been positively identified in two different systems, and a possible threat has been found in a third, the Board orders a halt to all further exploration until escorts can be built for the survey groups.   The survey groups are hideously vulnerable, and too many survey ships have been lost to continue as they have in the past. 

November 30, 2133: The Mars, the first of the Planet class battlecruisers, is launched.  It immediately returns to the yards to be refitted with the latest technology.   

January 8, 2134: All three construction ships belonging to Deloit Space Construction Conglomerate set out for the Washington system through the newly built jump gate on the Solar System side of the jump point.  The ships will begin construction of gates on the Washington side of the jump point to Sol, and at the jump points to the Denver and Seattle systems.  CEO Foster warns, yet again, about the dangers of building what are essentially highways directly into the heart of their civilization, but the Board shuts him down, and when he continues to protest what he calls “dangerous and reckless expansion”, they reprimand him and warn him that continuing will cost him his position.  The Board is squarely behind this expansion, and the board members and their companies are all positioned to take a dominant position in the colonization and resource exploitation efforts in Denver and Seattle. 

April 17, 2134: At 07:47 hours sensors began alerting across the Solar System as an unscheduled jump flare occurred at the jump point to the Washington system.  This set off alarm bells throughout the upper reaches of the Federation’s government and military.  Eighty-seven days ago, three construction ships had jumped into the Washington system to begin construction on jump gates on three of the system’s jump points, including the jump point back to the Solar System.  None of the construction ships had jump capability, and there was no way they could have finished the gate yet, so it couldn’t be the construction ships returning, and the Federation had no other ships in the Washington system.  The Washington system and all three systems beyond it had been surveyed and contained no life, so whatever had jumped into the Solar System had come from beyond those systems.  Federation Militia HQ immediately sent recall orders to the Militia group in the inner system on training exercises, and orders to prepare to move out were sent to the second Militia group in orbit over Earth.   Twenty-five minutes later planetary sensors picked up the contact.  The contact was strength 304, which was approximately two thirds that of a Federation missile frigate.  This indicated either that the new contact was small, or that it had reduced-emissions engines.  At this point Militia HQ ordered Militia Group #1 to intercept the contact while the 2nd Group returned to Earth. 

Within five minutes the planetary sensors determined that the new contact was moving at 3533 kps, and that its signature didn’t match that of the Obscura. 

The Federation Board puts together a team of officers, along with intelligence, computer, and linguistic experts to attempt to establish contact with this new race.   Shortly after entering the system the contact begins moving out-system, away from the Federation ships pursuing it.  The main Federation group, composed of the jump ship Bihar, the patrol cruisers Swiftsure and Victory, and the missile frigates Cairo and Tokyo, is over 600 kps faster, but the alien ship has a significant lead.  If it continues on its current course it will take the Federation ships just over nine days to close to point blank range. 

April 22, 2134:  At 10:57 hours the alien ship came to a halt in deep space, nearly two billion kilometers from the Sun.  The lead group of Federation ships had closed to 210 million kilometers, trailed by a group of missile boats and a lone scout that was barely faster than the alien ship.  The alien contact crew, which had had some success by that point, theorized that the alien ship was a gravitic survey craft, and that that was why it had headed out-system and then suddenly stopped. 

At 23:57 hours the lead Federation group reaches active sensor range of the alien ship and is able to determine that it is an estimated 4,300 tons.  On April 23, at 02:587 hours, the leading Federation group reaches its stand-off range and comes to a halt.  Given the communications team’s promising progress so far, the Federation Board has ordered that the group merely shadow the alien. 

May 12, 2134: Full contact is established with the aliens, who call themselves the Dregluk Imperium.  The Dregluk agree to further peaceful contact.  The Federation Board orders the fleet to return to Earth to continue refitting for the planned assault on the Obscura.   By this time there are multiple Dregluk survey ships in the Solar system.
 
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Corporate Federation: The Incident over Earth
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2018, 11:28:18 AM »
May 12, 2134
The Board had been meeting regularly ever since the aliens had entered the solar system.  Their initial fear of an invasion from the new aliens had faded quickly when it became clear that the aliens were willing to talk.  And now they had the keys to untold wealth in their hands.

CEO Allen nodded at the officer on the display in front of her.  “Very well, we will record a message.  What is the time delay?”

“Ma’am, the transmission delay is approximately 25 minutes, each way.”

“Very well.  We will have the message ready for translation in a few minutes.  Send it as soon as you translate it into their language.”  She glanced at her colleagues, then back at the viewer.  “This will be classified at the highest level.  The contents of any communication between the board and the Dregluk will be considered privileged information and is not to be revealed to anyone without the Board’s permission.  Understood?”

Colonel Sinclair, the senior member of the diplomatic and translation team, stood to attention.  “Understood, ma’am.”  The colonel hesitated, then said, “Ma’am, the team asked me to make sure you understood the ramifications of our breakthrough.”  He waited until she gestured for him to continue.  “Unfortunately, the term “full communications” is very deceptive.  The translation programs developed by our team are capable of translating what the Dregluk say, but divining their intent is more a matter of finesse than anything else.  We understand very little about the Dregluk at this point.  We just wanted to make that clear.”

CEO Allen nodded.  “We understand.  Thank you.”  With that she broke the connection.  She was sure that Colonel Sinclair would obey her.  Just as she was sure that that last bit was just the team covering their butts if there was a misunderstanding over the translations.  Sinclair had been drawn from her own corporate militia and was personally loyal to her.  He would do what she told him to do.  She turned to the other CEO’s.  “Well, you heard his report.  The team is confident that the last few difficulties impeding clear communication with the Dregluk have been cleared away.  What are we going to say to them?”

George Little, CEO of K&T Space Construction, shook his head.  “We need to tell them to get out of our system, first!  Those ships flitting around the outer system are driving my people nuts.  They are all afraid of alien monsters boarding their rigs and eating them.  And I can’t say as I blame them, given how the Dregluk look.”  The Dregluk were hideous to human eyes.  They were tall and heavily muscled, with a long skinny ‘head’ split by a very large tooth-lined mouth.  The mouth was so large, and the head so skinny that the contact team speculated that the Dregluk’s brain must be housed elsewhere in its body.  The Dregluk possessed two large horns that sprouted from their head, and no visible eyes or other sensory organs.   Their appearance was very off-putting to everyone who had to deal with them in any way. 

The short CEO shuddered, then looked around.  “United Hyundai and Hanjin Heavy agree with me.  I’ve had both their CEO’s on the line in the last two days reading me the riot act for allowing aliens into this system where they can get at their yards!  We depend on those yards and they are hideously vulnerable.”

CEO Wright stood and walked to the refreshments set aside for their meeting.  “Now George, really, the yards are all under the guns of our planetary defenses.  They have nothing to worry about.  Especially now that the Dregluk are talking.”

Little shook his head again.  “I’ve told them that, and they don’t care.  No one knows what kind of tech the aliens have, and they are worried.  And when they worry, so should we!”

CEO Potts, head of Copernicus R&D, jumped in.  “That’s just it George!  Think of the technology they must have!  Why, even if they aren’t ahead of us in general there must be thousands of things that they’ve thought of that we haven’t.  Millions of things that they do better, or worse, than we do.  Think of the trade possibilities!”

CEO Allen saw the speculative looks on the faces of her fellow CEO’s and knew it was time to strike.  “The possibilities for trade are tremendous.  George, next time Cho from Hyundai or Pembroke from Hanjin call you, try dangling the prospect of acquiring advanced construction techniques from the Dregluk in front of them.”  She looked around the table and saw the looks on their faces.  They weren’t hooked yet, but they could taste the bait.  “Think about this.  We control contact with the Dregluk, and that’s not going to change.  Control of communications will equal control of the trade.  Every deal we make with the Dregluk will flow through our companies.  I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the wealth that will mean?”

That did it.  Their seats on the Board already meant they had access to the best contracts, and they all leveraged their position to be included in the best jobs out there.  As long as they weren’t too overbearing the other corporate heads would put up with it.  The potential of a new trade deal with the Dregluk, though, was something completely different.  This could mean untold wealth and power for them, if they handled it right, and they all knew it.  It took very little debate to determine the nature of the message to the Dregluk.  The important points were as follows:
1.   The leaders of the Dregluk Imperium were invited to a meeting in the Washington system at a time and date convenient for them, to discuss trade opportunities and areas of control;
2.   Until the time of the meeting the Board requested that the Dregluk remove their survey ships from the Solar System, and that the Dregluk would refrain from sending any other ships into the Solar System;
3.   Until spheres of influence were formally determined at the meeting to be held in the Washington system, the Washington system and all connected systems, excluding the Solar System, would be considered open to both races. 

One hour after sending the message a response was received from innermost Dregluk survey ship.  The Dregluk response was somewhat cryptic: “We survey.  Others will discuss possible transfers of goods and knowledge after meeting and agreement.” 

No matter how the Board tried to convince the Dregluk to leave they apparently could not understand the request and merely continued their survey.  When the Board asked the Dregluk when the ‘others’ would arrive, they were told: “Those who decide will arrive soon”.  The contact team warned the Board that their translations were approximate, and open to some interpretation.  For instance, the portion of the message “discuss possible transfers of goods and knowledge after meeting and agreement” was translated in several different ways by the software.  The translation given to the Board was considered by far the most likely interpretation by the software and the team, but there were other interpretations, some of which were quite ominous.  After some debate the Board decided to await “those who decide”. 

Commander Sarah Norman, second in command of the contact team, was very concerned by this development.  She had warned Colonel Sinclair, the CO of the team, that the Dregluk were being evasive.  In addition, she believed that the more ominous interpretations of the last message were more likely than the computers were rating them.  Colonel Sinclair refused to pass her concerns on to the Board without actual evidence to back them up.  Commander Norman, a former employee of Foster Interstellar, took her concerns to Admiral Foster as soon as she could.  She had faith in Admiral Foster, and she felt that if he knew what was going on behind the scenes, he would do what was right. 

Just over a month later, on June 20th, five Dregluk ships jumped into the Solar System from the Washington system.  Three of the ships had thermal signatures more than twice that of the Mars, which at 15,150 tons was the Federation’s largest warship.  Admiral Foster contacted the Board immediately, to request permission to consolidate his forces and sortie against the intrusion, but he was told that he could increase the readiness of his forces, but that he could not sortie his fleet.  In addition, the Board refused to allow him to recall the group of warships in the inner system on training exercises.  Admiral Foster protested, but the Board explained that the Dregluk were here on a trade mission, and that if they were hostile the planetary defenses of Earth would be more than sufficient to deal with them. 

Shortly after that an unarmed exploration ship was dispatched to meet the Dregluk with a delegation of negotiators.  The exploration ship met the Dregluk squadron ten hours later, but the Dregluk would only respond with platitudes and, when asked to stop, refused to answer or stop.  At this point Admiral Foster again asked for permission to consolidate his forces, but again the Board denied permission.  Shortly after that four small Dregluk ships jumped in from the Washington System and moved out-system, likely to continue the jump point survey.  Admiral Foster watched all of this with increasing concern.  By this point active sensors had been able to determine that the three larger Dregluk ships were 28,650 tons, while the two smaller Dregluk ships were 19,100 tons and 9,550 tons.  That meant that they out-massed the armed Federation ships in orbit over the Earth by about four times.  Admiral Foster felt a sinking feeling that only got worse as the Dregluk continued to approach, and the Board continued to ignore or brush off his warnings. 

On June 20th, at just after 1:30 in the morning, the Dregluk had closed to within a million kilometers of the Earth without transmitting anything substantive or responding to requests or orders in any way.

In a command center, outside of Detroit, North America…
“Colonel Sinclair, have they said anything else?”  CEO Allen was trying to hide the concern that was growing within her, but she feared she wasn’t controlling her emotions as well as she should be. 

The Colonel on the view screen grimaced.  “No, ma’am.  They just keep responding with ‘Those who decide are here’.”

“Well get something else out of them.  And tell them to stop outside the orbit of the Moon!  Again!”

“Yes ma’am.” 

CEO Allen turned away from the screen and looked at her fellow CEO’s.  “For heaven’s sake, what do they think they are doing?”

Oscar Hunt, suave and urbane manner slipping, shook his head.  “I don’t know.  Maybe…maybe we should have listened to Admiral Foster?”

George Little stirred in his chair.  “Those are some pretty big ships out there.” 

CEO Allen opened her mouth to reply, but before she could say anything the screen in front of her chimed and one of the Board’s executive assistants appeared.  “Ma’am, Admiral Foster is calling.”

CEO Allen looked at her fellow CEO’s.  They were worried, and they clearly wanted the Admiral to solve this problem.  “Yes, Admiral?”

Admiral Foster was in another command center far removed from the Board’s, and behind him she could see aides and officers all in frenetic activity.  “Ma’am, the aliens have broken the million-kilometer line and are continuing to close.”

CEO Allen felt fear coil within her.  “Admiral, they have ignored multiple commands to stop.  I want you and you fleet to stop them.  Now.”

Admiral Foster shook his head, his face grave.  “Ma’am, the time for that has passed.  They are too close to Earth now.  Any mistake, any misstep, and they could strike at the Earth before we stop them.  That’s why I wanted to meet them out there, away from our home planet.”  He stopped and looked across the room at the large plot table showing the approaching alien ships.  “They haven’t done anything hostile yet, aside from not stopping, and they may not consider something like that a problem in their culture.  I suggest we wait and see what they do next.  My ships are all at general quarters and squared away for battle, and I assume your PDC’s are too.  If they do something clearly hostile then my fleet will lead the battle against them, but until then I recommend we wait.  As far as they are concerned we invited them to talk.  Attacking them might be considered the basest betrayal.”

CEO Allen shut down the comm line without any further words.  “Foster won’t do anything.  What now?”

In the command center Admiral Foster stared at the monitor in disbelief.  The Board had ignored the warnings of its own diplomatic team about the possible alternate meanings of the Dregluk messages.  Fortunately, Commander Norman had alerted him to the other possible translations.  One of the alternates implied that ‘those who decide’ were coming to decide whether humanity would be incorporated into the Dregluk Imperium!  He had been against letting the Dregluk into the system in the first place, but now that they were so close to Earth they had to be careful.  Very careful.  He turned from the monitor towards the plot table in the center of the room.  The five icons representing the Dregluk ships were light blue and headed steadily towards the Earth in the center of the plot.  Turning, he punched the key that connected him with Captain Law, the commander of the Federation warships in orbit. 

Within seconds the monitor showed the jump ship Bihar’s bridge, with Captain Law looking into the pickup.  “Yes Admiral?”

“Alex, the Board is getting nervous.  Be prepared, but do not fire first without my orders.  Understood? You are authorized to return fire immediately should the Dregluk fire first.”

“Understood, Admiral.  We’ll be ready, no matter what.”

Admiral Foster felt like pounding his head against the wall in front of him.  The Board had invited the Dregluk here, and now they were panicking.  This situation was going to go from bad to worse, he just knew it. 

In the Board’s command center outside of Detroit, the Board was working assiduously on making things worse.  “What the hell do the Dregluk think they are doing?”  CEO Little gestured at the plot table.  The Dregluk ships were now inside of the orbit of the Moon and were…doing something.  They’d move forward, stop, and then move away from the Earth.  Then they’d move in circles for a while.  It was almost like a dance.  “That’d just be weird if it was happening at the jump point, but they are way too close to us!  We have to do something!”

CEO Allen could feel her control of the situation slipping away as the panic built within her.  She looked at the others and saw the same panic on their faces.  All except Charlotte Potts, who looked nearly as serene as she always looked.  “Charlotte, what do you think?”

“I think we have no choice at this point.  The Dregluk have demonstrated that we cannot productively deal with them.  That option is gone.”

CEO Allen felt the floor drop away under her feet.  “But…but war?  How can we…”  Her voice trailed off as the immensity of it all fell on her shoulders. 

CEO Potts shrugged.  “Think about what a war will mean.  Think about the power that will accrue to those who lead the Federation through that conflict.  A conflict not only with the Obscura but with the Dregluk as well.  The other corporations won’t just rely on us, they will need us, desperately.”

CEO Wright jumped to his feet.  “Yes!  We can make this work!  The public doesn’t need to know anything about this, but the other corporations will, and they will recognize the terrible situation we are in!  They will give us anything we say we need, and we will need everything there is to meet this threat.  The buildup to defeat the Dregluk and the Obscura will ensure our positions for the rest of time.  We will be the most powerful people, the most powerful corporations, in history.”

The others were looking at Wright with hope in their eyes for the first time since the Dregluk jumped into the system.  CEO Allen stood.  “Very well.  We all agree?”  They all signaled their assent and CEO Allen stabbed the comm button.  In seconds the screen cleared to show a trim woman in Federation Earth Defense Force greens standing in her PDC’s command center.  “Defense Commander Russell, this is Federation CEO Allen.  Do you recognize me?”

“Yes, ma’am, I do.”

“I hereby authorize you to destroy all Dregluk ships in close proximity to the Earth.  The Board has agreed on this action.”  One by one the Board members stood and agreed.   

Commander Russell began to turn away, then hesitated.  “Ma’am, you understand, the Dregluk are too close to Earth.  I cannot guarantee that we can destroy them before they can get a response off.”

“We understand, Russell.  You have your orders.”

“Yes ma’am.”  She snapped off a salute and turned away. 

Admiral Foster was standing over his plot table when a technician handling sensor inputs to the command center began frantically pointing at one of the sensor displays on the center’s wall.  “Sir, the PDC’s are preparing to fire!”

“What!”  The exclamation was torn from him as he turned to the display.  Sure enough, the signals were clear.  The PDC’s had acquired their targets and were preparing to fire.  “Comm’s, route this through the Dregluk translation routine.  ‘To all Dregluk ships!  You are to leave Earth space immediately!  Withdraw to fifty million kilometers from Earth and await contact.  Do it now!’”

“On the chip and sending!”  A few tense seconds passed as they watched the Dregluk ships do their baffling dance in between the Earth and the Moon, then the tech paled.  “Sir, we have a response.  It reads – Those who decide have arrived.”

Admiral Foster looked at the communications officer blankly.  “That’s it?  That’s all?  For the love of god, they have to withdraw.  We have to…”  His voice trailed off as the four Federation Board class PDC’s on Earth began launching massive Bludgeon anti-ship missiles at the Dregluk ships.  Foster was shocked for a few crucial seconds, but then turned to his comm officer.  Whatever he was going to say was lost when the comm officer bent over his console, listening to something.  Foster held off until the comm officer turned to him. 

“Sir, the Board of Directors is on the line.  They say…”  The junior officer looked pasty and greenish.  “They say that you are to surrender yourself to Federation Marshals that are on their way.  You have been removed from command.”

Admiral Foster looked around the command center in shock.  The Board was insane.  They had just provoked a war with an alien race of unknown strength and then, just to put the cherry on the cake, removed the head of their mobile forces at the same instant that those forces were needed to engage an enemy within firing range of Earth.  For a few seconds he actually considered ignoring the order from the Board, but as he looked around the command center he realized that the confusion he would cause would be worse than whatever actions the Board had taken.  He bowed his head for a second, then looked at his subordinates.   “Captain Law is in command of the orbital forces.  Do your best to support him and coordinate between the orbital forces and the PDC’s in my absence.”  His toneless voice firmed up.  “Remember, we serve the people of the Federation!  We are all that stands between them and the Obscura, and now the Dregluk!  Do your jobs!”  With that he turned and walked out, returning to his office.  The marshals would be there soon. 

Even as Admiral Foster gave his people a pep talk, CEO Allen was in communication with Captain Alex Law, CO of the Bihar and senior officer in orbit.  “Captain Law, Admiral Foster has been removed as Admiral.  You are in command now.  You will engage the Dregluk along with the PDC’s and end the threat to Earth!  Do you understand?”

Captain Law looked at CEO Allen with confusion.  “You relieved Admiral Foster.  But…”

CEO Allen broke in before he could finish.  “That doesn’t matter now, Captain Law!  Engage the enemy!”

Captain Law had a dozen questions, but this wasn’t the time.  “Yes ma’am.  Orders understood!”  CEO Allen broke the connection and Captain Law turned to his command team.  The orbital units were at alert stations, of course, but no one had expected the battle to begin like it had.  He had work to do.     

The first Federation orbital unit to fire was Missile Boat #007, a first-generation missile boat equipped with five reduced-size, slow-loading missile launchers firing Thunderbolt II anti-ship missiles.  The Thunderbolt II was the Federation’s latest missile design, capable of a top speed of 25,600 kps, a range of 22.1 million kilometers, and mounting a strength six warhead.   The 1st generation missile boats were a compromise design, intended as nothing more than a stop gap.  The final design, intended to engage the Obscura, was the Missile Boat refit 2, equipped with five Lord Ordinance Heavy Box Launchers capable of launching Bludgeon Planetary Anti-Ship Missiles.  These monster missiles had a speed of 20,000 kps, a range of 41 million kilometers, a strength 24 warhead, and were equipped with armor and ECM.  The box launchers would take a long time to reload, of course, but the Bludgeon anti-ship missiles would give the small ship quite a punch.  The 007 hadn’t been upgraded yet, though, so she was still equipped with the older launchers and the smaller missiles.   

The lead Dregluk group, composed of the two smaller Dregluk ships, was just 54,000 kilometers from the Earth when the Federation units fired, and so it was hit first by the incoming missiles.  Both Dregluk ships were destroyed by the avalanche of heavy missiles, although the larger of the two, designated as the Demon class by Federation Militia intelligence, managed to intercept four of the Bludgeon missiles before they could hit with point blank point defense fire. 

CEO Allen watched the destruction of the two Dregluk ships with fascination, but her concentration was interrupted by an emergency call from Defense Commander Russell.  “Yes Commander?”

DC Russell was seated at her command station.  Her command center was shaking, and dust was falling from the ceiling.  “We are taking fire, Chief Executive.  Some kind of kinetic or energy weapon capable of penetrating the atmosphere.”  The shaking ended and she looked around.  An officer spoke off-screen, barely audible.  She turned back after a second.  “Our armor is intact, but we’ve taken minor shock damage.  We estimate that we were hit by 47 strikes, about a third of which were strength nine.  The rest were strength six.”

CEO Allen’s gaze sharpened.  “They were ready to engage.  They fired immediately after we launched.”

“Yes, they did.  Remarkable reaction times.”  She glanced down.  “We’ll need eighty seconds to reload, so the orbital ships are on their own till then.  Fortunately, they are targeting us.  Our armor can take it.” 

They disconnected as the remaining Bludgeon ASM’s closed on the main Dregluk group approximately 150,000 kilometers from the Earth.   All three Dregluk ships intercepted some of the Bludgeon’s short of their targets but were unable to stop them all.  One of the Dregluk ships was hit by eight of the Bludgeons, another by sixteen, and the third by nineteen.  All were left streaming atmosphere and slowed.  The five Thunderbolt II missiles launched by Missile Boat 007 were swatted out of space by one of the big Dregluk ships before they could hit. 

Admiral Foster sat in his office watching helplessly on his office’s displays as the battle progressed.  A second missile boat launched five more Thunderbolt II’s and he silently willed the other ships in orbit to begin firing as well, but they remained silent.  The sudden and unexpected attack followed by the even more sudden change in command was taking its toll.  There were two 1st gen missile frigates, two 3rd gen patrol cruisers, and four missile boats of various generations in orbit, along with two unarmed scouts and a jump cruiser armed with only defensive missiles.  Admiral Foster felt a burst of frustration as he willed the other ships to begin engaging the Dregluk.  He hadn’t wanted this battle, but now that it was underway there was only one way it could end.  The confusion in orbit was, like so many other things, the Board’s fault.  They siphoned off all of the best officers for their PDC’s and other pet projects.  He had argued, forcefully, after the Honolulu debacle, that he needed more officers, and better trained officers and crews, for his ships, but while they had appeared to listen they only paid lip serve to his arguments.  The Board members were focused on the bottom line and tended to ignore the ‘human factor’ whenever possible, a serious failing, in his opinion.     

Admiral Foster focused on his plot display.  The Cairo, one of the missile frigates in orbit, had launched three Thunderbolt II missiles, while the Missile Boat 009, the first of the new 2nd gen missile boats, had launched five Bludgeon missiles.  While the missile boat was launching more and larger missiles, it wouldn’t be able to fire again for quite a while, while the Cairo would be able to fire again in fifty seconds. 

The Federation Board was watching the conflict on their command center’s displays.  “Ma’am, PDC 001 reports it is under fire again by the Dregluk weapons.  Three strikes only.”  CEO Allen was beginning to sweat, in spite of the rooms conditioned and constant temperature.  The PDC’s failure to destroy the Dregluk ships with their first salvo was shocking, as was the Dregluk’s focus on striking back at the planetary target.    Seconds later, even as PDC 001 reported additional kinetic strikes, two of the missile boat’s Bludgeon missiles hit one of the limping Dregluk ships and completely destroyed it, raising another round of cheers around the command center.    There were cheers amongst the command center’s crew and relieved looks were exchanged between the Board members. 

Seconds crawled by as Federation crews struggled to get their ships under way and the PDC’s steadily reloaded their missile launchers.  Sporadic weapons strikes pounded PDC 001, eventually destroying a missile launcher through shock damage, but the PDC’s armor continued to hold out against the Dregluk weaponry.  Finally, seventy-five seconds after the battle started the Patrol Cruiser Leviathan moved out of orbit as the second missile frigate, the Shanghai, launched its missiles.  Shortly after leaving orbit the Leviathan fired its lasers at long range, missing.  Behind it the Intrepid got underway as well. 

The Leviathan fired shortly after leaving orbit, scoring a minor hit with one of its 150 mm near UV lasers.  Behind the Leviathan the PDC’s launched a second salvo of forty-seven Bludgeon missiles, divided between the three remaining Dregluk ships.  Even as they launched the Dregluk continued to pound PDC 001, destroying another missile launcher with shock damage. 

Eighty seconds after the first salvo, the PDC’s launched a second salvo of the massive Bludgeon AS missiles, wiping the remaining Drgeluk ships out.  The battle was over. 

In his office in the Fleet command center, Admiral Foster watched with relief as the last Dregluk ship exploded.  The officers and technicians in the next room began cheering, more in relief than anything else, but Foster didn’t feel like cheering at all.  The Board had just started a war with the Dregluk that might destroy them all.  As the cheering died down Foster could hear his communicator chiming, and looking down, Foster recognized that it was the Board.  He punched it up.  “Yes?”

The small communicator screen showed the guards at the command center’s entrance.  “Sir, there are Federation Marshals here.  They say they are here to escort you to the Board.   Should we let them in?”

“Yes, of course.  Escort them to my office.  I’ll be ready to go by the time they arrive.”  Foster sat down heavily.  He had no idea of what the Board had planned for him, but he had a sinking feeling that the Dregluk were not going to take this laying down. 

The Federation marshals escorted him out of his command center with a modicum of dignity.  Once in their transport, though, the façade fell away.  They search and cuffed him efficiently, and then bundled him off to a detention center.  He would not see the Board that day, or any day soon. 

In the meantime, CEO Allen wasted no time reaching out to Captain Law.  “Very good job Captain!  Very good.  The Board is pleased at your performance, and the performance of the fleet.”  She paused and looked back at the other members of the Board, visible behind her.  They nodded and she turned back.  “Until the Board makes its decision about the future leadership of the Fleet you are to remain in command.” 

Captain Law kept his face still as his mind raced.  He was as loyal to Admiral Foster as any other officer, but there were currents here he didn’t understand.  It appeared that the Admiral was out, but he had no idea what the man who had single-handedly created the Federation Fleet had done. 

CEO Allen might have seen something in his face, or maybe she just identified his silence as hesitation.  She leaned forward into the pickup.  “Admiral Foster undermined our efforts to defend this planet against Dregluk aggression.  He was fanatically focused on the Obscura to the exclusion of all other threats, and he had to go.  He won’t be back.  You are in change for now.  Here are your orders.  You are to take your fleet out and clear the system of all Dregluk ships.  Once that is completed you are to move into the Washington system and clear it of all Dregluk ships.  Once that is completed, we will begin the search for the Dregluk world.  Is that understood?” 

Captain Law braced to attention.  He had no idea what Admiral Foster had actually done, but it was clear that Foster was out.  “Your orders are understood, ma’am.”

“Captain Law.  Let me make myself clear.  Your campaign against the Dregluk is to be without mercy.  You will chase down all Dregluk ships, whether civilian or military, and either force them to surrender or destroy them.  Accomplish your mission and you will be favorably considered to replace Foster.”

Captain Law saw new vistas open in front of him.  He had grown up in the Texas Autonomous Region, and like most people in the Region, pride was about all they had.  He had risen to attend one of the few astronautical schools in Region through sheer determination, and CEO Foster had picked him out of the school for his burgeoning exploration corporation.  As the key to his and his family’s economic security, Alex Law had been devoted to Foster first in his exploration company and now in the Navy that he had created.   There was no way he was going back to the poverty of his Texas upbringing, though, and near as he could see that was what defying the Board would get him.  “I understand ma’am.  I will rid this system, and the Washington system, of the Dregluk.”  He hesitated for a second and glanced at a screen to his side.  “Uh ma’am, if I might suggest.  There are Dregluk life pods out there from the ships we destroyed.”  He saw the beginnings of a reaction from the CEO and hurried on.  “Rescuing those crews would give us invaluable intelligence on the Dregluk.  I propose taking my ship out to perform the rescues while the rest of the Fleet prepares to sortie.”

CEO Allen looked at him for a minute, then nodded.  “Very well, Captain Law.  That’s a good suggestion.  Make it happen.”  She began to turn away then turned back.  “Oh, and congratulations on your promotion, Rear Admiral.”     

The Board would explain the nuclear explosions in orbit to the public as a training exercise for the planetary defenses.  While conspiracy theories and rumors abounded, for the most part this was accepted. 

Captain Law recalled the ships from the group training in the inner system and dispatched ships to run down the Dregluk survey ships in the outer system.  In addition, he ordered the Bihar to pick up the Dregluk life pods from the wrecks in between the Earth and the Moon.     

After action analysis showed that the Dregluk acted in an incomprehensible manner.  They closed on the Earth without responding to humanity’s obvious and reasonable concerns.  Once they reached approximately 100,000 kilometers, shortly before the first missile launch, they began flying in circles, steadily inching closer to the Earth.  They waited until the PDC’s and orbital units fired before they themselves fired, but they were obviously ready to engage in combat as they responded immediately. 

The strange behavior by the Dregluk continued as the Federation forces pursued the ships in the outer system.  For a time, it seemed that the Dregluk ships welcomed a fight as they rushed inwards, towards the Federation interception groups.  However, after hours of rushing inwards they then turned outwards, before once again turning inwards.   The Dregluk were proving to be completely incomprehensible.

On June 22nd the Patrol Cruisers Swiftsure and Victory chase down and destroy a Dregluk survey ship off of Ceres in the Solar system.  Over the next five days the two cruisers would destroy five more Dregluk survey ships without loss to themselves, or even any sign that the Dregluk saw what was coming for them.  After eliminating the Dregluk ships the two cruisers joined the rest of the Federation fleet at the jump point to the Washington system. 

Shortly thereafter, two Tennessee class jump cruisers jump into the Washington system along with their escorts.  They find no Dregluk ships near the jump point.  The Nimitz, a scout equipped with a very large active array, does not detect any Dregluk ships within 250 million kilometers of the jump point, and the construction ship building the gate on the Washington side of the point reports no Dregluk activity.  The force splits, with some units left to guard the jump point while the remainder return to the Earth in case the Obscura choose this time to attack.   
 

Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation: Timeline 2134
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2018, 09:49:06 AM »
June 20, 2134: The Battle of Earth

July 1, 2134: Captain Alex Law is officially promoted to Admiral and given command of the Federation Militia.  No mention is made of Admiral Foster in the official press releases, and questions are discouraged. 

July 22, 2134: Construction Rig #2, in the Washington system at the jump point to the Denver system, reports that a large Dregluk ship entered the system from Denver and is proceeding into the inner system.  The Dregluk ship ignored the human ship.    Admiral Law, commanding the Federation forces at the jump point to the Solar System aboard the Bihar, orders his squadron to pursue the Dregluk ship, after jumping back to Sol and dispatching a warning. 

July 24, 2134: Construction Rig #1 completes work on the jump gate in the Washington system that connects to the gate in the Solar System, opening two-way transportation between the two systems.  Rig #1 immediately jumps through and sends a completion message to Federation HQ.  In response, Federation Militia HQ dispatches fifteen freighters carrying deep space tracking stations to the Washington system.  The stations will be set up on the moon of one of the Gas giants closest to the inner jump points in the system. 

July 26, 2134: The Federation ships under Admiral Law reach active sensor range of the Dregluk ship and determine that it is 61,950 tons, which would be terrifying if it was a warship.  It appears more likely that it is a jump gate construction ship.  Admiral Law orders the Dregluk ship to cease all activity and leave the system.  The Dregluk ignore all warnings, so four hours later Admiral Law orders one of his missile boats to engage the Dregluk ship.  Shortly thereafter five Bludgeon missiles were launched at the Dregluk ship.  Two of the big missiles were destroyed by point defense fire.  It took all three of the remaining missiles to destroy the Dregluk ship, but after the explosions cleared there was little left of the alien ship.  Admiral Law, concluding that the Dregluk must have originated beyond the Denver system, ordered his ships to the Jump Point to the Denver system to prevent additional incursions. 

August 7, 2134: The new listening post in the Washington system goes online on this date.  Almost immediately the listening posts detects two new Dregluk ships of the same class of suspected gate construction ship detected and destroyed earlier.  Admiral Law, on his way to the jump point back to the Solar system after being relieved at the Denver jump point by a second group of Federation ships, orders his group to pursue the new contacts.  The first of the two is close to the jump point back to Sol and is easily caught, but the second is on the far side of the system, nearly 5 billion kilometers away.  Even with an in-system jump it will take quite a while before the last ship can be caught. 
 

Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation: Battle at the Jump Point
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2018, 08:06:30 AM »
August 15, 2134, Washington System
“Target destroyed, sir.”

Admiral Law settled back into his command couch and gazed at the system plot in front of him.  His force was on the far side of the system from the jump point to the Solar system, just fifty million kilometers from the in-system La Grange jump point that had brought them to this side of the system.  The three Dregluk gate construction ships they had run down and destroyed in this system had been caught in locations that formed a rough triangle with the system in the center of the three points.  His gaze was drawn to a pulsing dot centered on the fifth planet.  The Federation’s listening post on the eleventh moon of that planet was proving to be invaluable.  His scout’s sensors would never have detected the Dregluk ships at system distances, but the listening post was having no problem ID’ing the Dregluk ships and vectoring his squadron in on them in short order. 

There was one blinking red dot left in system, and his eyes were drawn to that dot.  It was on the system’s fourth jump point and was almost certainly yet another gate construction ship.  It was 1.8 billion kilometers from his currently location, and it would take five days for his squadron to reach it, but once it was gone the Dregluk would have been wiped from the system, fulfilling his mandate from the Board.  He had no intention of joining Admiral Foster in whatever hole he was being kept in, so he ordered his ships to intercept the last Dregluk ship.   He was more than a little perplexed about the Dregluk Imperium’s lack of reaction to the Federation’s destruction of its ships.  Surely, they had noticed something was wrong. 

He didn’t have long to wonder.  A bare two hours after his squadron had set out for the fourth jump point and the last Dregluk ship, a warning was received from the listening post.  Eight Dregluk ships had been detected jumping into the system through a previously undetected jump point approximately 1.6 billion kilometers out-system from their current location.  The Dregluk ships were headed in-system at 4,606 kps.  Four of the ships had a thermal signature identical to the 9,550 ton warship destroyed at the battle of Earth, while the other four had thermal signatures matching that of the larger 28,650 ton ships.

Admiral Law began sweating as he considered his situation.   Only two of his missile boats had offensive missiles left, and the Dregluk had a higher speed than his ships.  He punched a series of commands into his console and then relaxed a bit when the projections came up on his display.  In spite of the Dregluk’s higher speed he would be able to consolidate his forces on the jump point to the Solar system well before they arrived. 

“Helm, plot a course to the jump point to the Solar system and initiate as soon as it is ready.  Communications, transmit orders to Squadron #2 at the jump point to the Denver system.  They are to withdraw to the jump point to the Solar system immediately and await our arrival.  We will engage the enemy at the jump point.”

Admiral Law’s squadron turned back and began its run towards the in-system jump point, with the Dregluk in pursuit.  Given the distance that separated the two groups of ships the Dregluk almost certainly had no idea the Federation ships were in front of them, but to Admiral Law and his crewers it felt like the aliens were breathing down their necks. 

Admiral Law’s squadron was two hours away from the jump point to the Solar system when an update arrived from the listening post.  A second group of Dregluk ships had jumped into the system through the fifth jump point.  This group was also composed of eight ships, but all eight were of the smaller 9,550 ton type.  That group was followed three hours later by a third group of twenty-one ships.   Ten had signatures consistent with the 28,650 ton ships, while the other eleven were consistent with the smaller 9,550 ton ships.   Admiral Law now faced thirty-seven Dregluk ships, fourteen of which were twice as large as the largest human warship. 

As he contemplated the situation, he realized that the best hope that they had lay in the fact that the Dregluk were approaching in widely separated groups.  In fact, the lead group of eight ships had separated into two sub-groups of four ships each and were separated by enough space that he almost certainly could engage the lead group of four 28,650 ton ships first, before having to worry about the trailing group of smaller ships. 

After considering the situation, and the ruins of his plans and hopes for the future, he decided.   The Board was almost certainly going to blame him for this fiasco, and he likely would be sharing a cell with Admiral Foster shortly after his return.  If he was lucky.  If, however, his squadron managed to destroy the lead group of Dregluk ships in a valiant battle to delay the dreaded Dregluk hordes, he could spin the situation to his favor, possibly avoiding his otherwise almost certain fate.  After all, a hero is always more palatable, and it was possible that the Board was swallow it.  In any case, he had nothing to lose, except, of course, his life. 

Admiral Law dispatched his empty missile boats back to the Solar system with a warning of the oncoming horde and began to plan his defense of the jump point. 

August 16, 2134, Earth
Joe Foster sat in his cell, contemplating life, and the decisions that had led him to the cell that provided the boundaries of his current existence.  He had little else to do.  While he hadn’t been mistreated, he got two hours of exercise a day, three meals, and very limited human contact.  Someone had looked out for him, though, and provided him with a varied supply of reading material, but that was it.  He had had a lot of time to contemplate things. 

He looked up with interest as he heard footsteps outside his cell.  It wasn’t lunch time, or exercise time.  A variance in the schedule was always interesting.  The door opened and his interest sharpened. 

Two officers in the uniforms of Lieutenant Commanders in the Federation Militia entered his cell.  He knew both of them, they had served on his staff when he commanded the Militia.  Ewan Hargreaves had been his Intelligence Staff Officer, and Aaron Summers had handled logistics.  Both looked uncertain but determined.  Summers spoke first.  “Joe, we are here at the request of the Board.”  He paused and looked nervously at the ceiling of the cell. 

Foster knew that look.  The Board almost certainly had his cell and probably the entire surrounding area wired for sound, vision, and every other thing that modern tech could monitor.    He remained seated and gestured to the two officers.  “Make yourself at home, gentlemen.”  He didn’t know what they wanted, and while he didn’t blame them for his current predicament, he wasn’t going to make it easy on them either. 

The two officers looked around the cell uncomfortably, recognizing that in spite of Foster’s gesture to sit there was no where to sit but on his cot, which he was currently occupying.  Hargreaves, predictably impatient, gestured angrily.  “Joe, we don’t have time for games.  There is a problem.  A big problem.”

Foster sat up, his lazy gaze sharpening.  “The Dregluk.”  It wasn’t a question.

Hargreaves nodded.  “The Dregluk.  There is a massive Dregluk fleet headed for Earth right now.  They are in the Washington system, still days away, but they are coming and the fleet won’t be able to stop them.  Admiral Law is going to make a stand at the jump point and try to slow down or stop their leading elements, but when the main body arrives nothing will stop them short of the defenses on Earth.”

Foster shook his head.  “Admiral Law, huh?”  He leaned back against the cell wall behind him.  “Well, good for him.  I don’t know that meeting them at the jump point is the best decision, but he knows the situation better than I do.”  He looked closely at the two officers.  They were unhappy and on edge.  They clearly didn’t like whatever it was that the Board had asked them to do, but they were doing it anyway.  “The Board must be worried that the PDC’s won’t stop the Dregluk, right?”

They both nodded, and then Summers spoke.  “There are thirty-nine Dregluk ships headed our way, and fourteen of them are their massive 28,550 ton class.  They are split into three groups, the largest of which is twenty-one ships.  The Board is worried either that we might run out of missiles, or that the PDC’s won’t be able to launch fast enough to deal with the larger force before it gets within range of its own weapons.”

Foster grinned.  “I still haven’t heard where I come into this equation.  I’m not so foolish that I think you’re here to offer me my command back.”  The two officers looked uncomfortable and possibly a little ashamed and immediately Foster felt remorse.  These two had nothing to do with his downfall, and there hadn’t been anything they could have done to help him once the Board turned on him.   He held up his hand.  “Sorry.  I…well, just tell me.”

Hargreaves looked determined.  “Joe, the Board wants your help.  They want your suggestions for what we can do to improve our defenses before the Dregluk get here.  You were the architect behind our fleet buildup, and they want you to put that expertise to work defending the planet.” 

Foster’s eyes narrowed.  He had noticed how carefully their request was phrased.  They weren’t offering to let him out, they just wanted his help.  A very childish, petty part of him wanted to say no.  The Board had created this mess, they could damn well get themselves out of it.  He took a deep breath as the two officers looked at each other, wondering what was going through his mind.  If it was only the Board’s survival at stake, he would have let them go down in flames, but he was pretty sure the Dregluk wouldn’t be that discriminating.  He looked up at the two officers.  “I’ll do it.  I’ll need access to the Militia Net, and to all current intel reports and squadron and base status reports.  I’ll need access to my staff, too, of course.”

The two officers smiled and relaxed.  “You’ve got it Joe.”  Hargreaves frowned, then continued.  “You understand, of course, that all of your interactions with people outside this cell will be strictly monitored.  The Board wanted us to make it clear to you that…”

Foster waived him off.  “I get it.  I’ll stay strictly on the subject.  No extracurricular communications.”  He stood up and smiled at the two officers.  “Well, lets get to it!  We don’t have much time.”

Foster was led to a room in the prison complex that had been set up as a work center for him.  He settled right in and got to it with the assistance of his two former staffers.  What he found was dismaying, but not surprising.  More than half of the fleet was in refit, being upgraded to the latest technology.  This wasn’t surprising as it had always been the plan to build the hulls as fast as possible and then later upgrade them to tech that was capable of confronting the Obscura, but with an enemy fleet on the way to Earth it was more than problematic.  The planetary defenses hadn’t been altered since he had been relieved of duty, with the exception that the offensive missile base on the Moon had been completed and stocked with missiles.  While this was helpful, it was clear that the Board was worried that this wouldn’t be enough, particularly for the largest group of Dregluk ships. 

After twenty straight hours of work, Foster had a plan.  It wasn’t a good plan, and Foster didn’t have a lot of confidence that it would materially change the outcome of the upcoming battle, but it was something that would satisfy the Board’s need for action.  Foster’s plan was simple.  The Federation Militia had built up large stocks of pre-built parts for their planned fleet construction and refit projects to speed the final fitting out of the fleet.  These stocks of parts included large numbers of the latest Lord Ordnance heavy box launchers and fire control systems.  It was simplicity itself to put together a rudimentary design for a basic PDC with minimal armor, five box launchers, and a fire control system to handle the missiles.  Such a PDC could be build by Earth’s industrial base in a matter of days, largely because of the large stocks of pre-built parts. 

Privately, Foster didn’t think that the “Final Line” defense stations, as they had become known as the planning process progressed, would really alter the situation much at all.  The Board’s perceived need was for more planetary defenses, but Foster’s review of the state of the defenses revealed that the real need was for more missiles for the existing planetary defenses to throw at the Dregluk.  There was very little that could be done about that problem at this late date, though, so Foster had focused on something that would satisfy the Board and which wouldn’t actually hurt the situation.   During the finalization of the Final Line bases Foster subtly highlighted the missile situation for his former staff officers.  Whether they made the Board, or Admiral Law, aware of the situation was their problem. 

The real problem, Foster thought as they took him back to his cell, was that they really had very little intel on the capabilities of the Dregluk.  He feared that ‘Admiral’ Law was going to find that out shortly.  Just because the Dregluk hadn’t demonstrated any missile launch capability to date didn’t mean that they didn’t possess that capability.  And if their missiles were longer-ranged than the Federation’s, well then…
August 22, 2134, Washington system, at the jump point to Sol
Admiral Law watched the plot narrowly as the timer counted down.  His squadron sat on the jump point, while the lead force, Dregluk Alpha, had broken into two groups, Dregluk Alpha-1 and Dregluk Alpha-2.  Alpha-1 was composed of four 28,550 ton ships, 36.6 million kilometers away and approaching at 4,600 kps.  Dregluk Alpha-2 was composed of four 9,550 tons ships and was 75.8 million kilometers away and was also approaching at 4,600 kps.  His target was the lead group, Dregluk Alpha.   After eliminating that force, he would evaluate the situation before ordering an attack on Dregluk Alpha-2.  Once that was complete his fleet would return to the Earth, if not in victory, then perhaps covered with enough glory that he wouldn’t be summarily removed and imprisoned. 

“Launching missiles as per plan…now.”

Admiral Law’s gaze shifted to the icons representing his six refit-2 missile boats as they began launching the powerful Bludgeon missiles.  In a few seconds the six boats had launched thirty of the big missiles, targeted on three of the large Dregluk ships in Dregluk Alpha-1.  It took almost twenty-five minutes for the missiles to cover the distance to the targets.  Admiral Law felt satisfaction as the Dregluk failed to employ any active countermeasures against the missiles aside from last ditch CIWS.  The missile icons merged with the icons for the Dregluk ships and disappeared.  Admiral Law felt a slight disappointment that the alien ships had survived, but in the engagement off of Earth they had survived much heavier bombardment, so he hadn’t really thought that ten missiles each would be enough to destroy them, but he had hoped. 

“Damage assessment underway.  All three ships are streaming atmosphere and are slowed.  Ten missiles were intercepted by CIWS, two missed.  Dregluk Alpha-1 continuing on course for the jump point, no deviations.  Dregluk Alpha-1 is splitting up as the undamaged ship pulls ahead.”

Admiral Law settled back into his seat.  The Dregluk seemed to have no idea about concentration of force.  That could have been a fatal error, had he had more ships and missiles to throw at them.   As it was he had too few to do more than pick away at them.  As he watched his six missile boats jumped out, headed back to the Earth to reload their missile cells.  They were out of the battle.  That left him with the Mars, two frigates, and two older missile boats for missile combatants.  They all were equipped with the smaller Thunderbolt II missiles, which the Dregluk had had no problem shooting down during the engagement in Earth orbital space. 

One and a half hours later the lead Dregluk ship was within range of the Thunderbolt II’s that the remaining fleet ships were equipped with.  The first salvo that roared away from the Federation ships was made up of twenty-four missiles, but that was going to be their largest salvo for a while.  The two old missile boats were equipped with the so-called RSSR launchers, for Reduced-Size-Slow-Loading.  The idea had been to pack more launchers on the small frame by reducing the size of each loader, and they had succeeded.  The RSSR launchers were a third of the size of a standard Thunderbolt II launcher, but they took over sixteen minutes to reload.  Worse, a mere five launchers, launching the smaller Thunderbolt II missiles, just wasn’t enough of a salvo size to penetrate the oncoming behemoth’s defenses, not without there being a lot more missile boats, and Law only had two on hand.  Fifty seconds later the Mars and the two frigates launch a second salvo of fourteen missiles, followed fifty seconds later by a third salvo.  After that the launchers fell silent to await a damage evaluation.  Admiral Law didn’t have enough missiles that he felt comfortable wasting them. 

Three and a half minutes after the last salvo raced away, the first closed on its target.  Five of the twenty-four missiles were intercepted short of the big ship, the rest hit to no visible effect.  The Dregluk behemoth continued forging ahead.  The second and third salvoes had a similar effect, or lack thereof.   The Dregluk ships mounted no shielding that the Federation ships could detect, but the Federation’s analysts insisted that they must be massively armored to absorb as much damage as they had.   Admiral Law ordered two more salvoes to be launched, but then, again, stopped as their missile stocks were running low.  The Bihar’s bridge crew cheered when the fourth salvo went home, as the big Dregluk ship was staggered and streaming atmosphere when it emerged from the fireballs.  When the next salvo hit the ship was staggered again, and this time it was slowed, slightly.  The cheers died away when the crew realized that the Dregluk behemoth was still headed towards them and was still faster than the bulk of their fleet. 

Admiral Law’s original hope had been that the missile engagement would eliminate Dregluk Alpha-1, or at least so damage it that the group would withdraw.  The he would order his patrol cruisers to engage Dregluk Alpha-2 with their lasers, perhaps supported by his AMM’s in offensive mode.  Now, though, he was starting to realize that they might be in over their heads.  The four ships of Dregluk Alpha-1, while damaged, were all still faster than his fleet and withdrawal wasn’t an option.  He had to slow down Dregluk Alpha-1 further.  “All missile units, we will launch coordinated salvoes, one targeted on each of the three fastest units Dregluk Alpha-1 units.  Launch when ready.”

A few seconds later the Mars and her consorts began launching missiles.  After three salvoes they fell silent again.  Admiral Law had been watching their ammunition indicators.  The two frigates were out of offensive missiles, while the Mars and the missile boats had one salvo left.  The results of the strike were disappointing.  While two of the three targets suffered additional armor breaches, they weren’t appreciably slowed.  Admiral Law ordered one last salvo launched, the last of his offensive missiles, and then ordered the two frigates to offload their AMM’s to the remaining ships with AMM launchers.  Once that was complete he ordered the missile boats and the two frigates to return to the Earth to reload.  The four ships disappeared through the jump point, leaving the Bihar, the Mars, three anti-missile boats, four patrol cruisers and a scout to face the Dregluk.  The last salvo caused multiple breaches on the Dregluk ship, but again it wasn’t slowed and continued to forge ahead. 

Admiral Law watched as the Dregluk ships approached.  His first instinct was to dispatch his patrol cruisers to engage the strung-out Dregluk Alpha-1 force as far away from his remaining missile defense ships as possible, but he had resisted that urge and held them close during the Dregluk approach to keep them under his anti-missile umbrella.  The Dregluk ships were close enough, though, and he really didn’t want them any closer.  With the lead Dregluk ship now just 4.6 million kilometers away he dispatched the patrol cruisers to engage the Dregluk behemoth. 

Admiral Law watched, fascinated, as the two groups of ships closed on each other.  He was leaning forward with anticipation, watching as the Federation ships closed to within laser range of the enemy, when the icon for the Victory began flashing, a sign that the ship had taken damage.  “What happened?”  He turned towards his sensor and comms officers.

“Sir, signal from the Victory!  They report that they were hit by approximately twenty particle beams.  Their shields are down and they’ve suffered moderate internal damage.  They are pressing the attack.” 

Admiral Law’s face was carved out of stone.  That one alien behemoth was armed with twenty particle beams.  And it was damaged!  Who knows how many beams the damned thing was armed with to begin with.  He came to a realization as he watched his cruisers press the attack.  They weren’t going to win this one.  His four cruisers were armed with a grand total of twelve lasers between them, while that damned Dregluk ship was equipped with at least twenty particle beams that were longer-ranged than his lasers.  He came to a sudden decision.  “All ships in the missile defense group are to engage the lead Dregluk ship with AMM’s.  Immediate fire order!”

The Victory was hit again before it could fire, and this time the ship was ripped from stem to stern.  The hulk tumbled away as her sister ships tried to avenge her.  The three remaining Federation cruisers managed to get two shots off with their 150mm lasers, and one with their spinal 250mm laser, causing multiple hull breaches, before the big ship speared the Swiftsure with eighteen particle beams, knocking her shields down and scoring her armor.  The Swiftsure valiantly returned fire causing a hull breach, and then forty-one AMM’s roared in and struck the embattled Dregluk ship.  Six were intercepted short of the behemoth, but the remaining thirty-five peppered the big ship, causing multiple hull breaches.  The Leviathan and Intrepid fired again as well, causing more damage, followed by the Swiftsure’s lasers.

Admiral Law shook his head as the Dregluk ship absorbed all of the Federation firepower and just kept on coming.  More AMM’s roared in, pelting the big ship, and the Federation cruisers swirled around it, stabbing it with their lasers.  Finally, at last, the Dregluk ship exploded as the Intrepid and the Leviathan’s spinal lasers stabbed deeply into its interior. 

During the battle with the lead ship, two more of Dregluk Alpha-1’s 28,550 ton behemoths had approached to 820,000 kilometers.  Admiral Law orders his cruisers to intercept and turns his anti-missile ships back towards the jump point.  The anti-missile ships began firing as they withdrew.   The lead Dregluk ship was hit by multiple AMM salvoes, and slowed slightly, but then the cruisers came into range.  Before the Federation ships could fire, the Swiftsure was hit by thirty-three particle beams and gutted.  The ship wasn’t destroyed, but it was effectively out of the battle. 

The Intrepid was next, hit while still attempting to close to effective range.  A grand total of fifty-three particle beams hit the Federation ship, and when the fireball cleared there was nothing left but a few life pods speeding away.  That left the Leviathan.  The valiant Federation cruiser began pounding the big Dregluk ship, cycling its lasers as quickly as its laboring crew could recharge their capacitors.  As the cruiser’s lasers stabbed into the Dregluk ship AMM salvoes roared in, pockmarking the big ship with explosions, some of which penetrated its increasingly ragged armor.  Finally, the Leviathan’s luck ran out and the Federation cruiser was speared by a massive particle beam salvo that ripped the ship apart.  The Dregluk ships then swatted the Swiftsure from space as they passed.  The retreating Federation anti-missile ships continued to launch salvoes at the oncoming Dregluk ships.  Admiral Law intended to run his magazines dry, if that was what it took to slow the Dregluk ships enough for his remaining force to escape.  On August 23, at 047 hours, the last Federation AMM hit its target.  Of the three remaining Dregluk ships in Dregluk Alpha-1, two are reduced to 3,909 kps, while the third was capable of 4,048 kps.  That was just enough slower than the Bihar that they would be able to escape.  The Mars was substantially faster than the Dregluk ships, but the Nimitz, their attached scout, was only capable of 3,600 kps. 

Admiral Law, exhausted from the long battle, watched as the screen in front of him cleared and Lt. Commander Ellis Reynolds appeared in front of him.  “Commander Reynolds, I’m sorry to have to do this, but the facts are the facts.  Your ship can’t escape, and we don’t have enough time to take your crew off.”  Admiral Law watched as Reynold’s face went through a number of contortions.  He wasn’t sure what the man was going to say, but in the end it didn’t really matter, so he continued.  “You are ordered to head out-system and go into low power mode and await our return.   It is possible that the Dregluk will ignore you and continue to pursue us.  If not then you are authorized to abandon your ship after leading them away from the jump point as long as possible.  Law out.”

Law watched, detached, as the scout continued in formation with his ships for a few seconds, then turned away.  He grunted and turned to his helmsman.  “Take us home.”  Thirty seconds later the Bihar, the Mars, and three anti-missile boats jumped out the Washington system.  It seemed that Admiral Law wouldn’t be returning with either victory or glory.   
     
 

Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation: Disaster!
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2018, 06:40:26 PM »
August 23, 2134, 049 hours, Sol System
The leading Dregluk ship of Dregluk Alpha-1 was just 840,000 kilometers behind the Federation ships when they jumped into the Solar System.  At their rate of advance they should jump through just 208 seconds behind the Federation ships.  Admiral Law ordered the three anti-missile boats to break off and head out-system.  They were slightly slower than the fastest remaining ship in Dregluk Alpha-1, and perhaps if they headed out-system, away from Earth, they’d be able to escape.  In the meantime, the Bihar and the Mars fled towards the Earth and its missile defense envelope.  Admiral Law and all of the other Federation crewers on the five ships that just jumped in watched the jump point as they sped away.  The timer counted down and, as the human crews watched, the Dregluk failed to appear. 

Admiral Law felt nothing as he realized that the scout in the Washington system was doomed.  He had to get his two major combatants back to safety, and the scout was a small price to pay if it could lure the Dregluk away.   

Seven minutes after the Federation ships entered the Sol system, the first Dregluk ship transited in behind them.  Admiral Law quickly asked his staff for an analysis of the situation, and within minutes course plots came up on the display, with relative speeds and intersection points marked.  The news wasn’t good.  The Federation ships had separated into four groups, as follows:

(Note: mkm stands for “million Kilometers”)
Main Group (Bihar, Mars), 1.7 mkm’s in-system from the jump point, on course for Earth.  Speed 4,144 kps, ETA 22 hours. 
Group #2 (3xAMM Boats), 1.86 mkm’s out-system from the jump point, headed for outer system.  Speed 3,913 kps
Group #3 (Scout), 2.8 mkm’s out-system of the jump point, headed for the outer system.  Speed 3,600 kps
Group #4 (2xMissile Boats, 2xFrigates), 6.3 mkm’s in-system of the jump point, on course for Earth.  Speed 4,000 kps, ETA 15.5 hours.

His group, composed of the Mars and the Bihar, would be caught short of Earth by Dregluk Alpha-2 if the Dregluk ships took a least time course for Earth.  The lead ship of Dregluk-Alpha-1 was headed for Earth but wouldn’t be able to catch his ships unless they managed to repair their engines.  Eleven minutes later the second ship in Dregluk Alpha-1 entered the Solar system. 

Admiral Law watched as the plot updated.  This Dregluk ship had a speed of 4,408 kps, and it immediately turned to pursue Federation Group #2, which was headed out-system.  The plot showed that the Dregluk ship’s course will intersect that of the missile boats in nine hours.  A minute later the last ship in Dregluk Alpha-1 enters the Solar system.  This ship has a speed of 3,909 kps and also goes into pursuit of Federation Group #2. 

Dregluk Bravo and Charlie groups are still in the Washington system, and are not projected to arrive at in the Solar system for three days.  Two hours later Dregluk Alpha-2 enters the Solar system on schedule, and immediately goes into pursuit of the lone Federation scout fleeing from the jump point towards the outer system. 

Just over three hours later Admiral Law and the crews of the Bihar and the Mars were forced to watch as the Dregluk ship pursuing the anti-missile boats caught up with them, shrugged of the last of their AMM’s, and pounded the small ships into scrap.  The Dregluk ship had managed to significantly cut down the pursuit time as it had repaired at least one of its engines.  After destroying the anti-missile boats the Dregluk ship turns to support Dregluk Alpha-2 in pursuit of the scout.  The Dregluk ship pursuing the Federation main group has also repaired its engines, making it faster than the fleeing Federation ships, but the gap between it and its targets has widened enough that it cannot overtake short of Earth.  In addition, Dregluk Alpha-2’s pursuit of the scout has put it out of position to overtake the Federation’s main force, meaning that the Mars, Bihar, and the missile boats and frigates will reach the safety of Earth before the Dregluk can over take them. 

Another three and a half hours pass as the human and Dregluk ships race across the system.  The Federation main group had just overtaken the slower missile ships when Admiral Law realizes that his luck has run out.  The Dregluk ship pursuing them has increased its speed to 4,328 kps, faster than both of the Federation group and moreover, fast enough to catch them short of Earth.  After staring at the plot for a short time, Admiral Law makes his decision.  The two Federation groups merge and turn away from Earth, across the system.  If the Dregluk are focused on Earth then this will take his ships out of their way and allow them to return to Earth after the PDC’s have dealt with the lone Dregluk ship.  Unfortunately, that is not to be.  Their Dregluk pursuer continues to display its singlemindedness and changes course to follow the fleeing Federation ships.  Shortly after that the crew of the fleeing scout abandons ship just ahead of entering their pursuer’s weapons range, and the ships of Dregluk Alpha-1 and Dregluk Alpha-2 turn towards Earth. 

Thirteen minutes later the lead Dregluk ship is within AMM range of the combined Federation group.  Admiral Law had been watching the plot carefully, waiting for this moment.  He turned to the weapons officer.  “Open fire!” 

The Bihar lurched as ten AMM’s sped away.  They didn’t have a lot of AMM’s left, and he was gambling on damaging the pursuing Dregluk ship enough to slow it.  That was all they needed, just a couple of hundred kps knocked of that thing’s speed.  The Federation group managed to launch a massive salvo of forty AMM’s by using every launcher they had, including offensive launchers.  Unfortunately, that salvo comprised more than half of their remaining AMM’s.   As the first massive salvo raced away, Admiral Law programmed the follow-up fire mission for the fleet’s remaining 30 AMM’s.  The Federation ships went to independent fire and in short order exhausted their remaining stocks of missiles.  Everything now depended on the seventy AMM’s racing towards the approaching Dregluk ship. 

The first salvo races in and wreathes the massive Dregluk ship in explosions.  The bridge crew of the Bihar holds their breath as the Dregluk dreadnought emerges from the explosions, then cheers ring out across the deck as the plot updates.  The Dregluk ship has suffered multiple hull breaches and has been slowed to 3,769 kps.  The cheering rises to a roar when the second salvo roars in and causes three secondary explosions, one of which is massive.  The Dregluk ship, clearly staggered, loses its active sensors after the last big explosion.  By the time the last AMM goes home the Dregluk ship is steadily falling behind with a maximum speed that has been reduced to 3,211 kps. 

Admiral Law watches the plot as the crew cheers around him.  He let them celebrate, but all he could think about was how much punishment that Dregluk ship had absorbed.  Those damned ships were almost unstoppable. 

At its closest the Dregluk ship had closed to a bare 1.1 mkm’s, now the range is steadily rising again.  With the threat mitigated, at least for now, Admiral Law orders his ships to resume their course to Earth. 

One and a half hours later the lead Dregluk ship repairs an engine and increases its speed to 3,349 kps.  Five hours later the Dregluk ship restores its active sensors.  Over the next five hours later the lead Dregluk ship increases its speed several times, but now the Federation group is within Bludgeon missile range of Earth, and thus safe.  The Federation crews on board the six Federation ships are too tired from the long chase to celebrate.   

Two hours later, with the Bihar just 10.2 mkm’s from Earth, ten Bludgeon missiles are launched from a PDC on Earth at the lead Dregluk ship, which is well within missile range.  The ten missiles end the long chase, permanently.  Seventeen minutes later the remains of the Federation’s attack fleet arrive over Earth.  Admiral Law expects to be relieved of duty upon arrival, but there are no messages from the Board, merely directives to prepare for the defense of Earth. 

Twenty-eight minutes later the four ships of Dregluk Alpha-2 reached 40 mkm’s of Earth, just within Bludgeon missile range.  Four PDC’s each launch fifteen missiles at the incoming ships.  The missiles take almost thirty minutes to reach their targets, and when they do the destruction is total.  None of the 9,550 ton ships of Dregluk Alpha-2 appear to have mounted CIWS, and none of them withstood more than nine Bludgeon missiles.  The last two ships of Dregluk Alpha-1 are 115 mkm’s out and approaching. 

Earth Defense Command allows the two wounded ships in Dregluk Alpha-1 to approach to 20 mkm’s before firing twenty older Excalibur planetary defense missiles at the Dregluk ships.  The Excalibur is the same size as the Bludgeon, and carries a similar strength 24 warhead, but has half the range and two thirds the speed of a Bludgeon.  In addition, the Excalibur has no armor or ECM.  Earth Defense Command is growing concerned about availability of the Bludgeon ASM’s and has decided to use the Excalibur’s to finish off the wounded Dregluk ships.  The results are disappointing.  Between them, the two wounded Dregluk ships shoot down fourteen of the twenty missiles, and neither of the ships is destroyed by the salvo.  The PDC’s promptly launch another thirty Excalibur missiles at the two ships, which shoot down eighteen and again survive the salvo.  At this point the ships are just 10 mkm’s from Earth, and while both have been reduced to under 3,000 kps, they are both still coming.  Earth Defense Command turns them over to the Fleet, and Admiral Law orders his ships to begin launching Thunderbolt II’s, of which they have a relative abundance.  The officers and crew of the Federation ships and PDC’s watch in awe as the Dregluk ships absorb everything the fleet throws at them and continue to advance.  Finally, after taking everything the fleet could throw at them for quite some time, the two Dregluk ships exploded.  They didn’t reach weapons range of Earth, but they had approached a lot closer than they should have.  Still, the Solar system is now clear of Dregluk, and will be for two and a half days. 

August 24, 2134
On board the Bihar…
Admiral Law looked at himself in the mirror and wondered what he should be seeing.  He had finally gotten some sleep, after the last Dregluk ship exploded, and had eaten and showered.  He had thought that washing all of the fear and stress off of him after the events of the past day might be a step towards feeling normal, but instead he felt even more detached.  He knew he should be feeling something.  He was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Federation crew persons and the loss of multiple ships, and yet he felt nothing.  He had almost been looking forward to arriving in Earth orbit because he had been sure that the Board would have him arrested, which was what he was sure that he deserved.  Instead there had been silence from the Board itself, and every inquiry to the Board or to Militia HQ merely led to repeated commands to prepare the fleet for battle.   After a lengthy time spent staring at his reflection, he turned and left his quarters.  There were preparations to make. 

Federation Board Command Center, outside of Detroit…
“Maybe we should move our command center to Mars.  The colony there…”

CEO Allen sneered at George Little.  “Run away?  To Mars?”  She waived around the room.  “Here we are at the center of the Solar System’s defenses.  The missile defense center on Mars isn’t even complete yet and you want to run there?”

George Little paled and sagged back into his chair.  Oscar Hunt put his hand on Little’s shoulder and stood.  “Now Sarah, George is just trying to find solutions and alternatives.  It seems to us that as the Earth is at the center of the Dregluk Imperium’s focus, it might make sense to move to someplace that is, well, outside of that focus.”

CEO Allen stared hard at Hunt for a few seconds, then relaxed.  “I know, Oscar.”  She waived him to his seat and took hers.  “Look, these last couple of days has been hard on all of us, but all we have to do is make it through the next three days and we are free and clear.”

Charlotte Potts frowned.  “Free and clear?  And anyway, do you think it is such a sure thing that we are going to get through the next couple of days.  There are an awful lot of Dregluk ships on their way here after all.”   

CEO Allen smiled.  “OF course, I’m sure.  Our planetary defenses will wipe them out.   You all saw Admiral Law’s report.  The Dregluk are implacable, sure, but they have no tactical sense.  They haven’t done anything to consolidate their forces, even when it would make the difference between victory and defeat.  And they keep marching into our missiles!  Aside from short range missile defenses they have nothing that can stop our missiles, and nothing to match them.  We’ll destroy them one by one, and then, once the fleet is built up, we’ll hunt them down.”

Oscar and George were looking a little better.  William was keeping to himself but didn’t look like he was going to panic at any second.  Charlotte, though, continued to frown.  “Just because we haven’t seen any Dregluk missiles doesn’t mean they don’t have any.”  As head of the Solar System’s premier R&D corporation, she knew that as well as anyone.  “And what about Law?  He lost all of those ships and put back our timetable for moving against the Obscura.  I want him removed!”

CEO Allen shook her head.  “I agree, but we can’t move yet.  We still have twenty-nine Dregluk ships headed towards us.  Removing Admiral Law right now could lead to confusion and inefficiency in the fleet’s command structure at the very time that we need them.”

Potts frowned.  “But…”

CEO Allen raised her hand.  “Don’t worry, once the battle is done he’s out.  We’ll have to find someone else, but one way or another he’s out.” 

CEO Wright, who had been silently watching the antics of his fellow CEO’s, now spoke.  “Sarah, what about our defenses?  Are we going to be able to get Foster’s “Final Line” PDC’s up and running before the Dregluk arrive?”

CEO Allen didn’t have to consult her notes.  This was her project, and she knew its progress well.  “We will have ten of the new Final Line missile bases online before the Dregluk arrive.  That will give us the capability to launch fifty additional planetary missiles in one salvo, if necessary.”  She smiled.  “Our defenses are strong.  The Dregluk are doomed!”

Meanwhile, in a prison in a remote area…
Joe Foster looked up as a guard entered his cell.  He smiled as he recognized Blake Gordon, one of the friendlier of his guards.  “Blake!  What’s up?”

Officer Gordon smiled.  “We’re moving you, Joe.  You’ve got a new room.”  Gordon waived for Foster to follow him and led him out.  Two guards fell into step behind him and they made their way across the prison. 

Foster gaped when they entered what he guessed was his new room.  The room was much larger than his old cell, and there were displays mounted on the wall and a workstation with a built-in computer in the center of the room.  He turned to his escorts.  “What the hell is going on, Blake?”

Officer Gordon smiled.  “Those guys that visited you before, the officers?  They arranged for this with the prison administration.  They said you needed to see what was going to be happening.  That you might be of some use.” 

Foster looked at the equipment incredulously for a few seconds.  Behind him, officer Gordon dismissed the other two guards and stepped closer to Foster.  “Joe, I know there is something going on.”  He looked around to see if anyone was close enough to hear, then turned back to Foster.  “Look.  Those Feddie boys, they aren’t saying anything, but we all saw the light show in the sky in May, and now another one just yesterday.  The rumor mill says that it’s aliens, and that they are shooting at us.”  Gordon looked around again and then stepped closer to Foster.  “The rumors say that you tried to stop this, and that that’s why you are here.  Is it true?”

Foster thought for a second.  “Blake, sometimes rumors are just rumors, you know that.”  As he spoke, Foster shook his head, in contradiction to what he was saying. 

Gordon gave him a long, hard look, then ushered Foster into his room.  “Well, you’d best get to it, Joe.  I’ll be around if you need me.”

Foster entered his new cell as Blake Gordon closed the door behind him.  After a few minutes of experimenting he found that he had nearly unlimited access to the Federation Militia’s computer network, but that he was very limited in the data he could send out.  It seemed that, at least for now, someone wanted him to be able to watch as the upcoming battle unfolded but didn’t want him communicating with anyone. 

Twenty-eight hours later…
“Sir, report from the Mars!”

Admiral Law signaled his ensign to continue with her duties and turned and activated his console’s viewer.  Captain Freya Wallace’s scowling visage appeared.  “We’ve got a problem.  We just picked up Dregluk survivors from one of the 10,000-ton hulks out here.  During the standard interrogations one of the Dregluk admitted to being a missile technician.  We got enough out of him to rough out the missile design that they were carrying.” 

Admiral Law felt the blood draining from his face.  Their entire defense plan was predicated on the fact that the Dregluk didn’t use missiles.  If they did…

Captain Wallace saw his reaction and held up her hand.  “It’s not that bad.”  She grimaced.  “At least, not yet.  The missile they were carrying had a range of only 500,000 kilometers.  Our tech & Intel guys are calling it a ‘sprint missile’.  The damned thing has a top speed of 36,000 kps, way to fast for our Aegis II AMM’s to intercept.  Its got a decent sized warhead, and sensor capability as well.  Our patrol cruisers would have a hard time with this thing, but our missile ships out range them.  The intel guys are calling it a Dunkerque anti-ship missile.” 

Admiral Law had gathered his wits as she spoke.  “That missile isn’t going to be a threat to Earth, or, at least, its not going to effect the long-range missile duel.  But…”

Captain Wallace’s eyes glittered.  “But…if they’ve got one kind of missile, what are the odds that they have others?”

Admiral Wallace shook himself.  “Do me a favor, Freya, keep this to yourself.  We can’t do anything about this in the time we’ve got left.  There will be plenty of time to study these missiles after the battle.”

“If we survive.”

Admiral Law nodded.  “If we survive.  Law out.”

August 26, 2134
The eight ships of Dregluk Bravo entered the Solar system right on time, followed three hours later by the twenty-one ships of Dregluk Charlie.  The defenders of Earth huddled at their consoles, watching the Dregluk with fear, resolution, or both. 

Joe Foster, in his prison cell, sat at his console with his displays set to show the system plot from the Earth out to the jump point to the Washington system.  The two groups of Dregluk ships were represented by red icons steadily forging towards Earth.  Three hours after Dregluk Charlie entered the system, Dregluk Bravo, which was now around 215 mkm’s from Earth, turned back towards the jump point.  Foster stiffened as he watched the display.  Either the Dregluk were behaving incomprehensibly, again, or…he frantically typed out a message and sent it through one of the few communications ports he had available. 

Lieutenant Commander Hargreaves paled as he read the message that popped up on his console.  He stared at it briefly, then looked around the command center.  All of the officers present were trying to come to terms with the meaning for the apparent withdrawal of the lead Dregluk force, but, in the main, the primary emotion seemed to be relief.  He got up and walked over to Admiral Law, cutting through the officers surrounding the Militia’s commander.  “Admiral, I have an intel evaluation from Team Zulu.”

Admiral Law turned and his eyes narrowed as he considered the situation.  He waived for Hargreaves to follow him and they moved away from the main plot.  When they were out of earshot of the crowd of officers around the system plot, he nodded for Hargreaves to continue. 

“Sir, Joe sent me a message.  It said only – prepare for missile attack.”

“Damn it!”  Admiral Law nodded and turned back to the system plot.  “All right, everyone!”  He shouted to make himself heard over the babble of voices.  The noise died out quickly as everyone turned to look at the Admiral.  “It’s possible that the Dregluk have turned back for their own reasons, but its also possible that they’ve just launched a missile assault and have turned back to return to their base and reload.”  You could have heard a pin drop as the noise in the room dropped to nothing.  “Commander O’Sullivan, send a probable missile attack warning to the Planetary Defense Command.  Lt. Commander Summers, coordinate with the CO’s of the Militia ships in orbit and ensure that their magazines are topped off with AMM’s.”  The noise level began rising as the staff got to work.  Admiral Law continued issuing orders as he got his command ready for the battle. 

August 26, 2134, 0949 hours
Joe Foster was still crouched over his console when the display in front of him chimed and highlighted an icon that had just appeared.  The voice prompt he had set up spoke: “Passive sensor contact.  Multiple in-bound targets, range 42.7 mkm’s, speed 36,000 kps.  Refining data.”

Foster sat back, profoundly unhappy to have been proved right.  After a few seconds the console spoke again.  “Update, second group of inbound contacts detected.  Both groups are composed of 72 discrete contacts.  ETA to Earth, 19.76 minutes.” 

Foster watched as a new group of missiles appeared at irregular intervals of five to twenty-five seconds.  Most of the groups were composed of 72 missiles, but some salvoes were fragmented, for some reason.  After ten minutes and twenty seconds the stream of missiles came to an end. 

While the stream of missiles headed towards the Earth, Foster punched up an analysis of the Earth’s missile defenses.  There were five Aegis PDC’s on Earth and two on the Moon.  Each Aegis PDC had three fire controls and thirty AMM launchers with a cycle time of five seconds.  The base readouts currently showed that all seven bases had a full loadout of 695 Aegis II AMM’s.  The Militia fleet in orbit currently had four ships with AMM launchers, the Mars with four, the Bihar with ten, and two FFG’s each with one.  The fleet’s AMM launchers had a cycle time of ten seconds, and there were 327 AMM’s in their magazines.  In addition, there were reserve AMM’s in storage dumps on the Earth and on the Moon as well. 

Foster then punched up an analysis of the effectiveness of an Aegis II AMM against the performance profile of the incoming missiles.  The results were not encouraging.  The Aegis II had a top speed of 32,000 kps and a maximum range of 1.3 mkm’s.  At the rate that the enemy missiles were approaching, they’d spend just thirty-six seconds in the engagement envelope of the Aegis II’s, meaning that, considering travel times, the defensive missile bases would only get two intercept chances against the incoming missiles, maybe three.  The computer was giving an Aegis II AMM an approximate 15% chance of intercepting the Dregluk missiles, which meant that even if the defenders launched five AMM’s per incoming missile, they’d only have an approximate 50% chance of destroying the incoming missile. 

Foster leaned back in his chair and stared at the incoming stream of missiles.  There were going to be leakers, and this was going to get ugly.  As the missiles approached, Foster got to work on a list of recommendations for improving Earth’s anti-missile defense capability.  Just in case they survived. 

At 1007 Earth’s PDC’s began launching AMM’s at the incoming missiles.  Unfortunately, the Moon was poorly placed for missile defense, sitting behind and to one side of the Earth, so the initial launches were all from the Earth and its orbiting ships.  Civilian ships and the Federation’s freighters had long since been ordered to clear the area.  The scene was awe-inspiring to the civilians in the same hemisphere as the Aegis bases.  The bases had gone to rapid fire, launching a new salvo of defensive missiles every five seconds.  To the onlookers it was as if a near continuous stream of light was shooting into the heavens. 

The Federation’s defenses were set to fire three AMM’s at each incoming missile, and Earth’s launchers were at full capacity trying to launch enough missiles to saturate the incoming waves.  For many of the Federation’s citizens this was their first warning that something was going on, as the Earth-based defense PDC’s began ripple firing their missiles.  The cracks of the missiles first going supersonic and then hypersonic became a continuous roar as the bases responded to the incoming missiles. 

Foster watched in his cell as the first groups of missiles and AMM’s merged.  When the explosions cleared the computer displayed the results.  The human defense missiles were achieving a 19% hit ratio, which was better than expected but no where good enough.  The seconds sped by as the leading edge of the Dregluk missile wave approached and then broke over Earth.  The ships in orbit managed to destroy several of the missiles as they raced past, but only a scattered few, and the remainder raced passed them and exploded on the surface of the planet. 

Foster’s display dutifully displayed information gained from the impacts.  The missiles had relatively weak warheads, strength 3, and had been targeted on an offensive PDC, which had survived only armor damage.  Foster’s eyes were on the collateral damage, though.  Twelve missiles had gotten through everything the defenses could throw at them, and those twelve missiles had killed millions of people.  He sat back in his chair.  He had warned the Board.  The Dregluk were almost certainly going to strike at their planetary defenses, and with most weaponry this meant collateral damage.  Millions would die, and the public not only didn’t know an attack was coming, they didn’t even know that the Federation had made contact with two different alien races.  If they managed to survive this attack, Foster was fairly sure that an outraged populace would burn the Federation Board at the stake, at the very least.  He watched the second Dregluk salvo slam home on Earth’s surface.  If they survived. 

In the Federation Militia’s command center, Admiral Foster was taking a call from the Board.  “Admiral Law, do something!  This is a disaster!” 

Admiral Law braced to attention.  “Yes ma’am!”  Turning to his staff, he yelled – “Set the fire controls to maximum saturation of incoming missiles.  Five AMM’s to one incoming missile!”  The staff raced to obey as the Admiral watched the seemingly endless wave of missiles breaking over the Earth.  Behind him, forgotten, the Federation Board argued amongst themselves, each accusing the other of being at fault. 

The Earth’s defensive PDC’s increased their rate of fire and Admiral Law leaned forward as the outgoing anti-missiles began taking out the Dregluk offensive missiles.  There was cheering in the command center when the fourth salvo of Dregluk missiles was stopped short of the Earth, but then three missiles from the fifth wave got through and hit the Tennessee, a jump cruiser in the yards for a refit.  The big ship’s armor was scored.  Admiral Law felt mixed emotions when he realized that the Dregluk targeting had shifted.  He didn’t want civilians to die, but his fleet was vulnerable.  The PDC’s had massive amounts of armor to protect them, but his fleet didn’t.

Ten missiles got through from the sixth salvo, heavily damaging a North Carolina class jump ship in the yards for refit.  The Dregluk targeting for the next salvo shifted and the eighteen leakers streaked in and hit an Aegis anti-missile base, destroying a fire control through shock damage and causing significant collateral damage.   

“Admiral, the fleet is running low on AMM’s.  Earth Defense Command reports that their bases are running low on Aegis II’s, and that they are restocking with older Aegis AMM’s.” 

Admiral Law scowled.  This was rapidly becoming an impossible situation.  They were only about halfway through the attack and already they had burned through thousands of AMM’s.  And, while switching over to the older Aegis AMM’s was better than nothing, the older AMM’s would have an even harder time intercepting the fast Dregluk missiles. 

The next several salvoes are targeted on orbiting ships.  An explorer that had recently been converted to a missile barge was damaged, as was an FFG in refit.  A second FFG was completely destroyed by the alien missiles. 

The tenth salvo split up into three groups, one targeted on the Earth, the second targeted on the Moon, and the third racing between the two, targeted on the fleeing civilian ships that had left the Earth when the missiles came into detection range.  All of the missiles in this wave were destroyed, but some of the missiles in the next wave, all targeted on the Moon, got through and slammed into a terraforming ship.  That caused the Board to begin screaming at Admiral Law, again, but he ignored them and closed the communications link.  He was pretty sure he was screwed no matter what happened, and he needed to concentrate.  He had kept the terraformers in orbit over the Moon specifically so that they might absorb some of the missiles that otherwise would have been aimed at his ships.  And it was working.  If the Board didn’t like it they could fire him.  Or shoot him.  He didn’t really care anymore. 

One of the defensive PDC’s on the Earth began launching the older Aegis AMM’s, its stocks of the more advanced AMM’s having run out.  Six leakers from the twelfth salvo slammed into another terraformer as the remaining PDC’s on Earth switched to the slower Aegis AMM’s.   There were eighteen leakers from the next salvo, and a terraformer was completely destroyed by the onslaught.  The older Aegis missiles were having a hard time even catching the fast Dregluk missiles, much less destroying them.   The next salvo is targeted on civilian freighters orbiting the Moon, and several are destroyed. 

The next several waves are targeted at ships orbiting the Moon, or which are fleeing away from the Moon.  The sixteenth salvo, though, is targeted on a Lunar PDC.  The PDC suffers minor shock damage, and seventy-two automated mines are destroyed, but the bulk of the Lunar population is in shelters and there are no deaths. 

The next four salvoes are targeted on the shipyards in orbit over Earth.  Eighty-nine missiles from the four waves get through the defenses.  The damages are relatively minor considering the number of missiles that got through.  Two slipways in a yard building terraformers are destroyed, two slipways building missile boats are destroyed, and a new shipyard devoted to the new 1,000 ton interceptor class ships is destroyed. 

With that the attack is over.  At least for now.  Admiral Law and his people are absorbed with trying to pick up the pieces.  His two remaining active ships, the Mars and the Bihar, are dispatched to pick up life pods from the ships destroyed around the Earth and the Moon.  In addition, they are coordinating with Earth Defense Command to redistribute the remaining AMM’s to all remaining units. 

Ever since Admiral Law cut them off the Board has remained silent in their command center outside of Detroit, much to the relief of everyone.  For his part, Joe Foster has been busy collating information gained about the Dregluk missile attack and formulating plans for dealing with future attacks, should they survive this one.  In spite of the ships lost in orbit, Earth’s offensive strength survived the attack unscathed.  If the remaining Dregluk ships continue to close the odds are that the PDC’s will be able to handle them.  If the Dregluk have expended all of their missiles. 

At 1053 hours Earth’s sensors detect a new wave of missiles headed for Earth.  These contacts are larger than the missiles of the first attack, and slower.  There are 230 missiles in the lead group, speed 25,971 kps.  Admiral Law recalls his ships from their rescue duties, and Earth’s remaining stocks of missiles are redistributed between the PDC’s and the orbiting ships.  The incoming missiles continue to appear on the sensors for 620 seconds, for a total of 4,189 missiles total.  Desperation sets in among Earth’s defenders.  There is a grand total of 4,501 defensive missiles left. 

Admiral Law looked around his command center.  Officers were yelling at each other and pointing at the plot.  The comm channels had gone wild, and it was obvious that Earth Defense Command had gone into meltdown.  They were staring at their doom and everyone knew it.  He could feel the despair himself, but…his eyes were drawn to the incoming missile wave.  They had a duty.  “Stop!  Damn it, Stop!”  At the crack of his voice the yelling in the command center stopped and the officers and technicians turned towards the Admiral.  Panicked babbling could still be heard from the communications lines, but aside from that the room was silent.  He flung out an arm, pointing plot which was showing a huge stream of missiles heading directly for Earth.  “Those missiles are coming, and they are coming no matter what we do.”  He walked forward until he stood in front of the plot.  “No matter what we do now millions are going to die, we know that.  But we can still make a difference.  We can do our best to stop as many of those missiles as we can.  We can do our jobs!”  His voice had risen to a roar.  “We can protect the people of the Earth, and make sure there is something left after this attack.  Something left that can rebuild and take the fight to the Dregluk!”  He looked around the room and saw that on many of the faces fear was being replaced by resolve.  “We can do our jobs!  And if this is our final moment, then we can damn well make it our finest moment!”

The room broke into cheers as the officers turned to consoles and began coordinating the defense of Earth.  Admiral Law walked into his office and prepared to do for Earth Defense Command what he had just done for his staff.  They didn’t have much time. 

At 1125 hours the first AMM’s are launched from Earth.  The few remaining Aegis II AMM’s are quickly used up and the defenders are forced to rely on older Aegis AMM’s from almost the first.  The fact that the Dregluk missiles of this wave are slower than the ones in the first attack help, but not enough.  From the first massive numbers of missiles get through the defenses to strike their targets, and nuclear fireballs begin to blossom all across the Earth and its orbital space.  Earth’s defense missiles achieve an incredible 40% interception rate as Earth’s defenders are forged into a team, working as one, under Admiral Law.  The Board has gone silent in its bunker, and Earth Defense Command has rallied to Admiral Law’s clarion cry for the defense of the Earth. 

The first targets of the Dregluk missiles are Earth’s PDC’s.  While none of the PDC’s suffer an armor breach, two suffer damage from the massive shocks that rain down on them as they are pounded.  The collateral damage to the surrounding areas is immense.  The Dregluk are using big warheads and millions die in the onslaught.   There is a tidal wave of destruction as missiles rain down on the Earth.  Just by random chance, the Federation Board’s command center was completely destroyed by a stray missile.  The bunker underneath was destroyed as well, decapitating the Federation and Earth’s leading corporations.  Nearly 26 million people died along with the Board as Earth’s defenders strive to stop the incoming missiles.   

Ships in the orbital yards for refit come under fire early and many are destroyed by the deluge of missiles.  The jump cruiser Bihar, Admiral Law’s flagship, came under fire in the fourth wave, but the ship’s luck continued to hold and her shields remained up after the explosions cleared.  The Mars came under fire next and the big ship suffered under the avalanche of missiles.  When the explosions cleared the ship was still under way, but it was reporting multiple armor breaches and heavy internal damage. 

It was at this point that the Lunar PDC’s ran out of AMM’s.  Dregluk missiles continued to pelt targets across the Earth and in orbit.  In the sixth wave Earth’s anti-missile bases came under fire, and although their armor held they all suffered minor internal damage from shock.  In orbit the Federation’s last scout fell to the deluge of missiles, disappearing in an intense explosion at the center of multiple missile blasts.    As the attack went on the Dregluk missiles shifted their focus to the units orbiting the Earth, and numerous ships were destroyed, fighting to the last. 

Ultimately the Dregluk missiles shifted their focus to the Moon.  Civilian ships that had returned to shelter in the Moons orbit were the first to die, followed by the terraformers orbiting the Moon.  The attack then changed to focus on the Lunar PDC’s.  By this point Earth’s defenses were faltering as the defensive missiles ran low.  Two of the three Lunar PDC’s were destroyed by the Dregluk missiles, and the third was damaged.  As the PDC’s were destroyed Dregluk missiles began raining down across Copernicus crater, nearly destroying the entire settlement.   

The last wave of Dregluk missiles spent itself on the orbit shipyards, destroying two slipways building patrol cruisers. 

Throughout the attack Admiral Law was in constant motion, issuing orders and coordinating actions between the fleet and the EDC.  To him the attack seemed to last forever, but when the command center fell silent he looked up at the chronometer and saw that it had lasted for only six minutes.  He peered at the system plot.  Eight of the smaller ships from Dregluk Charlie were still headed in the general direction of the Earth, although their course was off to one side of the planet.  Two ships from Dregluk-Bravo were also headed towards Earth, while the remainder of both groups were headed back towards the jump point.  He focused on the Dregluk ships, trying to divine their intentions, but his concentration was broken when Lt. Commander Hargreaves approached him. 

“Sir, we have a problem.” 

Admiral Law chuckled mirthlessly and waived carelessly around the room.  “We have a lot of problems, Ewan.”

Hargreaves shook his head.  “No, I mean an immediate problem.  The Moon got plastered in those last salvoes.  Copernicus is as good as gone, and whoever’s left over there is panicking.  They are broadcasting, in the clear, to everyone in the system that they surrender to the Dregluk and will do whatever they need to do to avoid further bombardment.  The last PDC on the Moon is damaged and has gone over to them.  I get the feeling that their command staff was killed in the battle and whoever’s left there doesn’t really know what they are doing.  Whatever is going on, they’ve commandeered ships in Lunar orbit and are trying to reach the Dregluk fleet to surrender to them.  They are calling on all other colonies and the Earth to surrender alongside them and to end this.”

Admiral Law shook his head.  They had barely survived the attack, and now this.  “What does the Board have to say about this?” 

Hargreaves hesitated.   “Uh, sir, their command center was hit early in the attack, remember?  We’ve dispatched crews to the area, but it’ll be some time before we can determine if anyone is still alive.  They got plastered pretty hard.”

Admiral Law called up an orbital view of the Detroit area and winced.  The entire city had been plastered by nuclear warheads.  The devastation was unthinkable.  Till now. 

Admiral Law stood still for a second, considering the situation, then he walked slowly over to the plot and leaned over it.  The information on the plot wasn’t encouraging.  They had gotten plastered, sure enough.  But they weren’t out of it yet.  Not by a long shot.  “Put me on broadcast, in the clear.  I want everyone to hear this.”  At a tech’s questioning look, he nodded.  “Everyone.  Civilian and military alike.  In the clear.  Send it to the outer colonies as well.”

He waited until a tech signaled that they were ready, then stepped forward into view of the pickup.  “I am Admiral Law, commanding officer of the Federation Militia.  In the absence of the Federation Board and CEO, I am assuming temporary command of all military forces in the Solar System.  We have been attacked by an alien race known as the Dregluk.  Most of you don’t know who or what they are, and that will be addressed in the coming days.  Secrets have been kept, too many and for too long.  In the meantime, though, we have to deal with the situation we have in front of us.  To those of you on the Moon that have reached out to the Dregluk, stand down!  Cease all transmissions and return all ships to orbit.  Do so now.  If you don’t turn back within two minutes I will open fire and destroy any ship still headed out-system.  Admiral Law out.”

Two minutes passed without any changes.  The lunatics in charge on the Moon continued to broadcast to anyone that would listen, and the ships continued to move away from the Earth and the Moon, headed out-system towards the Dregluk fleet.  Admiral Law watched as the chrono counted past two minutes, silently hoping that whoever was in charge on the Moon would come to their senses.  The voice from the Moon continued to plead for surrender to the Dregluk, and the ships continued towards the Dregluk fleet.  Finally, Law ground out the order.  “Open fire.”

EDC, which had acknowledged Law’s assumption of command immediately, launched missiles targeted at the lone remaining PDC on the Moon and one of the ships.  The voice from the Moon faltered, and then stopped when both targets were destroyed.  Two of the remaining three ships turned back to the Moon immediately, and then a new voice called out.  “We give up!  Don’t bomb us any more, for god’s sake!  We just want someone to help us!”

Admiral Law nodded and gestured for an open line again.  “Very well.  Help is on the way.  But first we all need to survive whatever the Dregluk have left.  We’ll be there as soon as we can.”   Admiral Law stood silently for a minute as the command center staff bustled around him.  Finally, he nodded to himself and beckoned Lt. Commander Hargreaves over.  “Ewan, I have a job for you.  Take a squad of security troopers and get over to that place that they are holding Joe Foster.  Spring him and get him back here right away.  We’ve got a lot of work to do.”  Hargreaves walked out of the command center as Admiral Law turned to his operations chief.  “Lucas, those Dregluk ships heading across the system are going to be a problem.  Their projected course takes them outside of Earth’s missile envelope, and who knows what they are up to.  We need to stop them.”

Commander Stevens looked pensive, and then consulted his tablet.  “Well, all we have operational at this time that could catch them is the 1st Missile Boat Squadron.  They have the speed, but they’ve got no anti-missile capability.”  He swiped his tablet a couple of times, then nodded.  “We could send the Bihar with them.  She’d slow them down, but she could cover them with her missile defenses.”

Admiral Law walked over to the plot and frowned, studying the dispositions of the various forces displayed.  After a few seconds he shook his head.  “No, we can’t risk the Bihar out there.”

Commander Stevens started.  “But sir!  That would leave them uncovered!”

Admiral Law continued staring at the plot.  “I know.”  He turned and looked Stevens in the eyes.  “I know what I am telling them to do.  The Bihar would slow them down too much, and besides, we can’t afford to send the Bihar out with AMM’s that will likely be needed here.”  He turned back to the plot.  “Those Dregluk ships are going someplace, and I want them stopped.  Missile One is the only group we’ve got, so they are up.  Let them know.” 

Commander Stevens took a step back and saluted, then turned away.  Admiral Law continued to watch the plot, trying to divine the intent of the Dregluk ships that were still approaching the Earth. 

Just over an hour later alarms began ringing in the command center yet again.  The long ordeal wasn’t over.  This attack was composed of tiny missiles barely three times larger than the Federation’s AMM’s.   The small Dregluk missiles were hard to detect, and as a result they got relatively close before the Earth’s sensors picked them up. 

Once again, the Earth’s population cowered in fear as anti-missile missiles roared away from Earth to intercept the death reaching out for them.  The first four waves of missiles were targeted on Earth’s offensive PDC’s.  The Earth’s defensive missiles, fired late and slower than the incoming missiles, only managed to take out a few of the incoming missiles, but fortunately the small Dregluk missiles had equally small warheads.  The PDC’s weathered the attack without additional damage, but collateral damage killed millions.  The Dregluk targeting shifted to a jump cruiser being refitted, causing internal damage, and then to a North Carolina class jump ship, which was wiped out.  The attacking missiles then shifted to target the PDC’s again, causing minor armor damage, and a converted exploration ship in orbit.  The new Defender class missile barge survived the attack, although its shields were depleted.  The next several waves targeted the orbital shipyards, but the Dregluk missiles were too small to cause significant damage. 

It was after this attack that Lt. Commander Hargreaves returned with Joe Foster.  Admiral Law met him in his office, which was located off of the command center’s main room.  The office had big windows through which the occupants could look down on the command center and its bustling activity, and that was where Foster found the Admiral as he was ushered into his sanctum.  As he entered the room he could see that Law’s face was haggard, and that he looked like he hadn’t slept in days.  “Alex, you look like hell.  How are you holding up?”

Admiral Law turned from the window and moved forward to shake Foster’s hand.  “I won’t lie, it has been hell.  What do you know?” 

“Well, I assume I’ve got you to thank for the setup they had for me at the prison?”

Admiral Law nodded and gestured at a chair, then took one himself.  “That was me, with Ewan’s help.”

Foster nodded.  “Ewan filled me in on a lot on the way over.  I assume that my being here has something to do with the fact that the Board is gone?”

Admiral Law nodded.  “Joe, I won’t beat around the bush, I need you.  The Earth needs you.  Everything is chaos right now.  Initial information is that around two hundred million have died in the attacks on Earth and the Moon, and that number is going to go up by a lot over the next several days.”  He leaned forward and rubbed his face.  “Here’s the thing.  In the chaos after the big attack, I basically took over.  No one knew what was going on, the Board was gone, Copernicus was gutted, and everyone was panicking.  I went public with the whole thing and assumed command.  I could feel everything flying apart in the aftermath of the worst disaster in the last couple of centuries, so I did what I had to.”  He shook his head and leaned back.  “Thing is, all I meant to do was bring all the military forces under my control so I could coordinate the defense efforts.  That had to be done or we weren’t going to survive.  Fortunately, everyone was scared enough of the Dregluk that they all fell in line right away.  I was worried about Earth Defense Command but with the Board gone they fell right in line.  What I didn’t count on, though, was that we’d start hearing from the various corporations and regional governments out there.  They saw my broadcast and they jumped right on board.  The thing is, either they’ve suffered grievously from the bombardment, or they want to help those who have.”  He leaned forward, looking at Foster intensely.  “Joe, I need you to handle that, while I get our defenses back in shape.  Someone needs to coordinate the civilians, and to coordinate whatever assistance we can give them.  That’s got to be you.  You are going to have a lot of credibility in the coming days, once the truth about the Board and their mishandling of the Dregluk gets out, and that will help you manage the civilians.   I’ll give you whatever I can, but I need to focus on what’s going on in there.”  He gestured to the command center just as an alert popped up on his communicator.  He swiped it and Lt. Commander Hargreaves began talking. 

“Sir, you’d better get down here.  Missile One is under attack.”

“Damn it!  Joe, get to it, I have to deal with this.”  Law ran out of the office, leaving Joe Foster with the weight of the world resting on his shoulders. 

Seconds later Admiral Law entered the command center, and Hargreaves met him at the door.  “The missiles appeared out of nowhere.  Two boats are gone, three damaged and dead in space.  One boat is intact.”   

By then they were at the plot table.  Admiral Law could see that his gamble had failed.  “Ewan, tell the surviving boat to rescue the survivors and turn back.  There’s nothing more that they can do.”  Lt. Commander Hargreaves nodded and moved away to send the orders.  Four minutes later he returned.  “Sir, Lt. Commander Burton on board the MB-012 has, well, she has refused your orders.  She says that they will continue with the attack.”

“God damn it!”  Law slammed his hand down on the plot table.  The sharp crack brought silence to the command center for a few seconds, until the noise began picking back up.    “Tell her to…”  He trailed off and looked at the plot table for a few seconds, then turned to Hargreaves.  “I’ll respond.”  They moved over to the pickup at the comms station.  “Lt. Commander Burton, this is Admiral Law.  You and your people have the thanks of the people of Earth!  Go with god.  Law out.”  He turned and walked away, Hargreaves following. 

“Do you think that they’ll make a difference, sir?”

Law was back at the plot table.  “Hell no.  But they are going to get swatted no matter what they do, and damn me if I won’t support a commander that’s going to get swatted attacking an enemy, rather than running away.”

Thirty minutes later Lt. Commander Burton’s missile boat was destroyed by a salvo of Dregluk missiles.  Shortly after that the crews aboard the crippled missile boats abandoned ship as missiles approached.  Shortly after that the eight ships from Dregluk Charlie that had been arcing across the system turned and began heading directly towards the Earth.  They were 140 mkm’s out at this point. 

Over the next several hours the Earth suffered under sporadic and relatively light missile attacks from the Dregluk.  They wouldn’t have been much of a threat had the Earth’s defenses been in better shape, but there were few anti-missile missiles left and the fleet had been gutted.  Some of the Dregluk missiles were targeted on Earth-based PDC’s, while others were targeted on Earth’s cities.  The last missile fell at 2225 hours on the 26th.  At that point the eight ships of Dregluk Charlie were just 55 mkm’s from Earth, nearly within range of the Federation’s Bludgeon missiles, but that was their closest approach.  All Dregluk ships in the Solar system were now headed out-system, towards the jump point to Washington. 

On August 27th, at 1550 hours, the last Dregluk ship transited out the Solar System.  Six hours later Admiral Law dispatched the Bihar to pick up the life pods from the ships destroyed away from Earth during the Dregluk incursion.  The Mars and the other damaged units are moved into the yards for repair, leaving the Bihar and three older missile boats as the only functional units in the Federation Militia. 
 
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Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation: Timeline Aug-Oct, 2134
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2018, 02:38:58 PM »
August 15, 2134: Detection of the Dregluk fleet in the Washington system.

August 23-27, 2134: 2nd Bombardment of Earth

August 27, 2134: In the aftermath of the battle the Federation develops the Aegis IIm.  This new AMM uses the base design of the Aegis II and reduces space devoted to maneuverability enhancements and devotes that space to additional engines and fuel.  The resulting design has a speed of 44,800 kps and a range of 6.5 mkm’s.  In addition, the design teams begin work on the Bludgeon mLR ASM.  This ASM will have a range of 275 mkm’s and on onboard active sensor, at the cost of the warhead, which has been reduced in size by a third.  These designs are being developed with off-the-shelf technology and are considered stopgaps only until improved technology can be developed. 

The population on Earth and the Moon suffered terribly in the attacks.  While the exact number of deaths will never be known, Earth lost approximately 250,000,000 people, and 100,000,000 were killed on the Moon.  Approximately 2000 industrial facilities were lost on the Earth and the Moon.  Worse, people will continue dying due to the effects of the bombardment on Earth’s environment.  Scientists have calculated that Earth’s average temperature will drop 25 degrees over the next several days. 

Earth Status: -26% ind efficiency, -25 degrees ave temp.   

August 28, 2134: Emergency research on is completed on a hi-power AMM drive.  This new AMM engine, which uses previously researched engine power enhancements, will increase AMM speeds substantially.  In addition, research is completed on an AMM box launcher. 

August 30, 2134: The Bihar returns to the Earth and drops off survivors, then sets out for the Washington system to rescue survivors there.  Unknown to those in the solar system, the Dregluk attack fleet begins transiting out of the Washington system through the jump point to the Denver system, not the previously unknown jump point they entered through.  The Denver system was probed after its discovery in 2133.  The system has an Earth-like planet with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere but there was no intelligent life there at the time of the probe. 

Sept 1, 2134: The Bihar enters Washington.  The listening post reports the disposition of the Dregluk fleet.  The Bihar jumps back to Sol with rescued crews at 0631 hours.  At 1401 hours the last Dregluk warship jumps out of the Washington system, leaving a sole jump gate construction ship on the far side of the system.  JCS Rig #02, lying doggo 260 mkkm’s from the Denver jump point and trying very hard to remain unseen by the Dregluk warships, now powers up its drive and heads back to the solar system. 

Sept 2, 2134: The Bihar returns to the Earth with survivors from the Washington system.   

Sept 3, 2134: A newly launched naval ship, an FFG, is turned around immediately after launch into refit.  All available construction capacity is devoted to munitions factories to boost AMM production (Aegis IIm). 

Planetary defense Review:
5xBoard class PDC’s, 2 have armor penetrations, all five damaged, 2 moderately
5xAegis PD PDC’s, all have armor damage & light to moderate internal damage
10x Final Line PDC’s – undamaged

Joseph Foster is named President of the Interim Council of Sol.  Fleet Admiral Law is put in overall charge of the Solar System’s defenses.  Earth is operating under emergency rules, and everyone fears a return of the Dregluk far more than any fear of a potentially oppressive government.  Privately, Foster and Law hope that the massive missile expenditure by the Dregluk will take time to replace.  In addition, they are worried that the Obscura might choose this time to suddenly appear in the Solar System. 

Sept 8, 2134:
Aegis III developed: Speed 48,000 kps, Range 11.1 mkm’s
The Aegis III design incorporates newly developed engines to improve the missile’s speed and fuel efficiency.  All planetary production switched over to produce the Aegis III.

Sept 22, 2134: The only terraformer to survive the Dregluk incursion goes to work pumping greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere to try to counteract the dust from the bombardment. 

Bludgeon mLRASM developed: speed 20,000 kps, WH 16, Range 276 mkm’s.  This design, like the previous design, mounts armor and ECM.  In a first for the Bludgeon missiles, this design mounts a small active sensor.  This redesign of the Bludgeon missile was done using off-the-shelf components used in the previous design.

September 27, 2134: President Foster and Admiral Law decide to focus on system and planetary defense first, before developing offensive capability.  To this end, systems like fire control and active sensors that will be able to properly utilize the newly developed AMM’s and extended range missiles are under prioritized.  Once they are available, new PDC’s will be built to secure Earth.  Shipyard capacity will be devoted to building new “monitor” classes.  These new classes will be designed to defend the jump point and prevent further incursions. 

All R&D projects have been reorganized and reprioritized based on the overwhelming need to defend Earth.  Short term gains are prioritized over long-term economic R&D and military R&D that can’t be realized in the short term.   

President Foster orders fuel refining on Earth to stop due to low sorium stocks.  The Federation had continued refining in spite of the low stocks as all five Board members had investments in the refineries. 

October 17, 2134:  At 048 hours, the listening station in the Washington system detected six Dregluk warships of the 9,500 ton size transiting into the Washington system through the jump point on the far side of the system.  This is the same jump point that the huge Dregluk fleet used on its way to the Solar system.  The Dregluk ships are on a course to the in-system jump point that will put them in position to either move to the jump point to the Solar system or to the Denver system.  The listening station transmits a warning to the Defender-003, which is sitting on the jump point to the Solar system. 

Thirteen hours later two additional 9,500 ton Dregluk warships jump into the Washington system through the unexplored jump point.  Three hours later fourteen additional ships jump in, bringing the total to twenty-two.  Ten of the newcomers are the 28,550 ton ships, now designated as the Mammoth class BB’s and the remaining four are 19,100 ton ships.  So far, the weapon types of these ships are unknown, but assumed to be missiles. 

Admiral Law orders all Federation controlled non-combatants to relocate to the emergency rally point at the comet Van Biesbroeck. President Foster issues evacuation orders to the area’s most likely to be affected by a planetary bombardment. 

October 21, 2134:  At 0650 hours the lead group of Dregluk warships performs an in-system jump.  The listening post watches carefully as the Dregluk force sets out on a course for the jump point to the Solar System.  A warning is sent to Defender-003. 

Admiral Law requests permission to deploy the fleet to the jump point, to ambush the first wave of Dregluk ships.  President Foster turns him down, pointing out that the remaining active ships in the fleet are mismatched and ill-equipped to counter six ten thousand-ton enemy ships.   

October 22, 2134: The listening post in Washington detects seven more 9,550 ton ships jumping into the system.  No warning can be sent, as the Defender-003 has returned to the Solar System ahead of the oncoming Dregluk fleet now closing on the jump point. 

At 0607 hours the lead Dregluk group jumps into the Solar system.  The seems to be on a course that will take it between Earth and Mars, which is now closer to the jump point than the Earth.  President Foster again denies permission for the fleet to sortie.  He continues to believe that two jump cruisers armed only with AMM’s, two jury-rigged Defender class ships, and three older missile boats will just be destroyed without affecting the enemy at all.  Their target isn’t clear.  After some analysis Fleet intelligence determines that the Dregluk ships are attempting to intercept the slower terraformers en route to their rally point away from Earth.  Admiral Law orders the terraformers to reduce speed to station-keeping, as they are far outside of the Dregluk ship’s active sensor detection ranges.  Shortly after the terraformers reduced speed the alien ships turned towards Earth. 

At 1839 hours the second group of Dregluk ships begins transiting into the Solar System. 
 
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Offline Kurt

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Corporate Federation: Earth Suffers
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2018, 10:35:48 AM »
October 25, 2134, 0150 hours
The incoming missiles were detected by Earth’s thermal sensors 35 mkm’s out.  The missiles had a speed of 36,000 kps, consistent with the smaller missiles used by the Dregluk in the last attack.  With just sixteen minutes before the attack, President Foster broadcast a message to all of humanity as they sheltered in bunkers, or basements, or wherever they could.    “Once again we find ourselves under attack by the Dregluk Imperium.  Once again Humanity’s defenses will be pressed hard.  And once again, people will die, because those defenses are not perfect.”  President Foster’s voice had been grave and solemn, but now it rose.  “But there is a difference!  This time you will all understand what is happening.  You will not cower in ignorance, wondering what is happing or why!  We have been open with you about how the corporations blundered their way into this war, and that openness will continue.  During the battle I will personally ensure that the information that reaches me will also go out to all of you.  Everywhere you might be, as long as the network holds out, you will be able to see the same plot that I will be seeing.  You will know what I know.  Just remember, as you watch, that your defenders are struggling to stop the Dregluk onslaught, and that they do this for us all!  This will not be the last attack!  There will be more, and we must be ready.  Humanity stands on the brink!  Only you can decide, will this be the end, or will this be our finest hour?  Will we rise to this challenge, as we have to every challenge that has risen before us since mankind left the caves of prehistory?  I know what the answer to that question is, but the real question is, do you?  We must unite!  We must move forward to first make Earth an impregnable fortress, one which the Dregluk cannot break.  Once we’ve done that, then we will make the entire solar system into a mighty fortress that the Dregluk, and the Obscura, will find impenetrable.  And once we’ve done that, then we will build a war machine that will take this battle to both of those races, and we will make them regret the day they decided to start this war!  Never again will Earth be threatened!” 

The new planetary anti-missile sensor system achieved target lock on the incoming missiles at 4 mkm’s and the PDC missile defense bases began launching Aegis III’s immediately.  The missile defense PDC’s went into rapid fire mode, launching a new salvo of AMM’s every five seconds to counter the massive waves of missiles headed towards the Earth.  Once again Earth’s people hid in fear as alien missiles approach.  This time was different, though.  During the last attack people cowered in fear because they didn’t know what was going on.  Their government had lied to them, kept information from them.  This time they knew, and President Foster had made sure they understood the stakes.  To show them what was being done in their defense, he broadcast a representation of the sensor plot, showing the red streams of alien missiles reaching for the Earth, and the defensive missiles reaching out to stop them.  The people of Earth shared in their defense for the first time. 

In spite of the improved defensive missiles, some of the Dregluk missiles still got through.  The first leakers impacted at 0207 hours, slamming into civilian freighters orbiting the Moon.   Unfortunately, the enemy’s targeting soon shifted to Earth and nuclear explosions began blossoming across the face of the planet.  The Dregluk were targeting the Earth’s offensive PDC’s, but collateral damage was still intense.  In spite of everything that the Earth’s defenders could do, and all of the civil defense preparations, people were dying. 

The last missile was intercepted short of Earth at 212 hours, just five minutes after the first missile exploded in Lunar orbit.  Four point five million people died in the attack, and thirty-one industrial sites were devastated.  As for the Dregluk’s actual targets, the offensive PDC’s, two suffered minor additional damage.   The nearest group of Dregluk ships, now just 200 mkm’s away, had turned and was headed back towards the jump point.  There were sixteen additional Dregluk ships, in three groups, still headed towards the Earth.  The attack wasn’t over.  While emergency teams raced to help the wounded and rescue those that they could, Earth’s defenders did the best that they could to prepare for the next attack. 

The next attack materialized at 1447 hours.  New missiles appeared on Earth’s thermal sensors 40 mkm’s out.  The bulk of Earth’s population, huddled in shelters, watched as the seemingly never-ending stream of alien missiles reached out towards the Earth. 

At 4 mkm’s the upgraded sensors of Earth’s defense network achieved a target lock on the leading edge of the incoming missile stream, and interceptor missiles began roaring away from bases across the earth.  Once again, the defense bases on the earth went to rapid fire in an attempt to saturate the incoming missile waves.   

This time the Earth’s defenders did much better.  Very few of the Dregluk missiles penetrated to inside of the Moon’s orbit, and of those that did most were shot down before they could hit their targets.  The Dregluk spread their missiles across multiple targets.  The orbital shipyards were hit by several missiles and suffered moderate damage.  Lunar cities were hit again, killing approximately 10 million people.

At this point the bulk of the Dregluk ships are headed back towards the jump point, leaving only two smaller Dregluk warships headed for Earth. 

The final attack started at 1754, and AMM’s roared away from the Earth-based PDC’s yet again.  The target of the Dregluk missiles was Earth’s offensive PDC’s, which suffered very little damage, due to the diligent defense.  The last attack ends at 1804.

Never once during the attacks did the Dregluk try to communicate with Humanity.  They issued no threats, or conditions for surrender.  They just launched attack after attack.  This silence contributed to the unification of Humanity under Foster’s government.  Had the Dregluk issued demands for surrender, there would always be those that would argue for it rather than continued resistance.   The attacker’s silence, though, made talk of surrender useless.  What debate there had been about surrender or appeasement simply went away.  There could be only resistance.  Humanity emerged from the fires of the third assault on Earth united in their goal of first defending their homes, then destroying those that threatened them.  Over the next weeks and months Foster’s Interim Government was overwhelmed with volunteers seeking to join the fight in whatever capacity could be found.  Militia and starship crew training centers sprouted, and the Ecological Recovery Corps, dedicated to dealing with the damage to Earth caused by the Dregluk bombardment, was founded.   

There was one other consequence of the attack.  The Moon was left in chaos in the aftermath of the attack.  While the attack cemented the will of population of the Earth together into an overwhelming desire for revenge, the people of the Moon went the other way.  Shortly after the attack the Lunar Republic declared independence from the Earth and once again began sending surrender signals to the Dregluk.   

The total losses from this attack are much less than those suffered as a result of the second attack.  Earth lost almost nine million people, while the Moon lost over ten million.   

On Earth the Interim government diverts production away from building new missile factories to refurbishing and upgrading the defensive missile bases. 
 
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Corporate Federation: Attack on Venus
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2018, 07:39:26 AM »
October 29, 2134, 2324 hours
New group of seven 9,550-ton Dregluk ships jump into the solar system.  These ships have been designated as Harpy class DD’s.  They immediately head out across the system, not towards Earth.  Their course will take them close to Mars but doesn’t seem to be targeted on anything that the HQ can determine.  Admiral Law and his staff debates the wisdom of sending out a strike force, but in the end, they decide they can do nothing.  Five missile boats won’t be enough to stop, or even slow down the enemy force, even if they manage to get within range of their own missiles.  The situation is dire.  Not only is Mars at risk, but also all of the support ships sent to hide on the far side of the system from the jump point. 

October 30, 1619 hours
The Dregluk destroyers reach their closest approach to Mars, 44 mkm’s, without any sign of attack.  Naval HQ is still unable to determine the Dregluk force’s target as their projected course does not intersect with any system bodies or ships.  Shortly after passing their closest approach to Mars, the Dregluk force turns back towards the jump point.  One hour later the Dregluk force changed course again, now headed in-system, but still not aimed at any particular targets.  Thirty minutes later the Dregluk force again turns towards the jump point.  This mysterious activity continued for days, with the Dregluk force steadily drawing away from Mars, apparently headed nowhere in particular. 

One officer in the naval HQ speculates that the Dregluk are playing games, or training, as their actions seem focused on a single civilian freighter that they constantly are either closing with or moving away from.  By mid-day on November 2 the Dregluk group is well within the inner system, almost directly between Earth and Mars.  Over the next twelve hours the Dregluk force continues to move randomly in the inner system, but always drawing nearer to the Earth. By 2330 hours the aliens are ninety mkm’s from Earth, and the planetary defense network is put on high alert.  If the Dregluk approach to within 40 mkm’s then they will be engaged with Bludgeon missiles. 

At 2354 hours, the small civilian freighter that the Dregluk had been playing cat and mouse with for days suddenly exploded, just 41 mkm’s from Earth.  The Dregluk force turned away shortly after the ship exploded. 

The defense network watches as the Dregluk ships move about, apparently randomly, but drifting steadily towards Earth.  By 0146 hours on November 3, the Dregluk are hovering just over 60 mkm’s from Earth.  Alarms begin ringing, signaling another missile attack, however, it soon becomes clear that this attack is focused on the Venusian mining operation.  Venus is at its closest approach to the Earth, just over 40 mkm’s away, but there is nothing that anyone on Earth can do when the missiles begin slamming into the planet.  Eighty-four Dregluk missiles hit the planet, wiping away all trace of humanity’s mining effort there.  Shortly thereafter, a missile stream is detected headed for Earth. 

At 0201 hours AMM’s began racing away from the defensive PDC’s.  Once again Earth’s population is forced to hide in bunkers, shelters, and basements.  The attack lasts for ten minutes, and the defenders had few AMM’s to counter it.  By the time it ended almost thirty million people on Earth had died and light damage had been done to Earth’s PDC’s.   
 
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