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1
New Cold War / Re: Cold War Comments Thread
« Last post by Gyrfalcon on August 13, 2022, 06:47:13 AM »
Nice to find out the Mintek are controlled by a Precursor AI. While there is a grim humor in the Mintek struggling with a technological assimilation hostile, I think the AI will win and they’ll become an even bigger threat by showing up, offering performance implants that directly brainwashes new civilizations.
2
New Cold War / Cold War: Mintek Months 206-210
« Last post by Kurt on August 12, 2022, 09:17:38 AM »
Month 206, Day 10, Mintek Prime, Mintek Universal Union
Minister Turval, arguably the most powerful Mintek in the government, was perplexed.  For the last month the Mintek had been cautiously sending pilgrims and advocates into Ascendancy space to begin preparing the way for the Shiba’s enlightenment.  Per the decision he and the Chancellor had made just last month, they were proceeding slowly, to avoid provoking a war with the new race.  However, he had just read the latest report from the Trade Facilitation Teams assigned to the Shiba trade system, and it just didn’t quite make sense.  He had highlighted several entries as he read the report, and with a touch of a key he brought up the excerpts, all from first-hand reports from interactions with individual Shiba. 

Report #307A, Trade Station 2, Month 205, Day 3, Pilgrim Leader Forsk
“I spent most of First Day with a low-level Shiba administrator, as per exchange learning project Alpha-2, learning their job.  Administrator 1134 (our designation for an unpronounceable Shiba name) is a second-tier administrator on the local city manager’s staff, responsible for a team managing relations with Shiba citizens.  My observations were consistent with those previously logged, in that Administrator 1134 is honest and hard-working, and seems to truly believe in the Shiba government and people.  Of particular interest was the effectiveness of the administrator’s implants in the daily execution of his job.  The implants gave him nearly instant access to information stored externally, and allowed him to store additional information locally for immediate use.  The comms function seemed particularly useful, and quite often the Shiba seem to commune wordlessly with their implants, rather than speak out loud.”

Minister Turval had thought that report was mildly interesting, mainly because it confirmed what others had observed, that the Shiba government was in the main honest and effective, and had the broad support of the people.  This would have implications for the approach his people would have to take towards undermining the Shiba people’s support for their government.  The segment about the implants was particularly interesting, as his Ministry was currently investigating the utility of the Shiba technology and its possible applications in the Universal Union.  Still, this report was only interesting in light of the later reports from the same pilgrim. 
 
Report #310A, Trade Station 2, Month 205, Day 4, Pilgrim Leader Forsk
“Today, as part of the exchange program, Administrator 1134 spent the day with me while I performed my duties at the Trade Station.  As per the standard operating procedure, the day included classes and meetings focused on fostering understanding and acceptance of the Universal Union.  Administrator 1134 was open and accepting during the classes, and participated eagerly in the group discussion meetings with pilgrims assigned to this station and with other selected members of the Shiba population.  Administrator 1134 asked numerous questions that indicated a true curiosity about the Universal Union and its meanings for both the enlightened and those who have yet to be enlightened.  In particular, I was struck by his ability to relate the tenants of the Universal Union to events in Shiba history.  When I remarked on his apparent encyclopedic knowledge of Shiba history, he stated that his implants give him access to the collected works of Shiba history, along with a powerful search engine to find information useful to him at the current moment.  Administrator 1134 stated on several occasions during the day that he could see multiple ways that the tenants of the Universal Union would benefit the Shiba people should they be put into practice in the Ascendancy.  I evaluate Administrator 1134 as a good candidate for further indoctrination and full conversion to the tenants of the Universal Union once the limitations currently placed on this mission are lifted.”

In Turval’s experience, reports like this one were pretty much standard for the early indoctrination process, which was aimed at identifying persons at every level of the targeted society who would be susceptible to indoctrination and integration into ongoing efforts to convert their society.   Again, this report was only of interest in light of the follow up report. 

Report #312A, Trade Station 2, Month 205, Day 5, Pilgrim Leader Forsk
“I had a very concerning meeting with Administrator 1134 today.  As previously arranged, I met with Administrator 1134 to discuss his continuing education in the tenants of the Universal Union, which he had stated he wished to undergo at our earliest opportunity.  However, when I arrived, he claimed to have no memory of agreeing to additional training, and clearly stated that while he was mildly interested in learning additional details, he did not think that the Universal Union had any application to the Shiba way of life.  This statement was completely at odds with nearly everything that he had said in our prior meeting, and he seemed legitimately confused that I would have a different memory of his statement.  It is my opinion that he was not lying or dissembling, but that he truly had no memory of those events, although he did remember meeting with me, and the general course of the events of our meeting.  When I pointed out this considerable discrepancy, he dismissed my memory as being fallible as it depended on organic tissue instead of the superior Shiba technology.  I will continue my contacts with Administrator 1134; however, I now evaluate him as a poor candidate for further education.”

This report had been highlighted by the station chief, and when Turval checked there were several other similar reports of Shiba who appeared initially to be good candidates for education and indoctrination, but who then subsequently completely changed their minds on the subject without showing any awareness of the change.  There was something strange going on with the Shiba, and Turval was determined to get to the bottom of it. 

After having his staff sift through all of the reports relating to the Shiba since first contact, numerous anomalies had been discovered. Turval was certain that they had something to do with the implants.  The Shiba claimed that the implants were merely data storage and short-range communications devices, however, there were too many instances of Shiba changing fundamental positions without any apparent awareness of a change for it to be a coincidence.  Turval was beginning to strongly suspect that the implants were something much more than the Shiba were willing to admit. 

One week later, while Turval’s Ministry was still trying to come to some sort of coherent strategy in regards to the Shiba, a Shiba governmental delegation arrived on their trade-colony from their home system.  The delegation immediately approached the Mintek delegation on the colony and offered a joint scientific program to allow the Mintek insights into Shiba implant and supporting medical technology.  The Shiba government officials stated that the central government was delighted at the progress of their trade relationship with the Mintek, and wished to capitalize on that relationship to bring the two races closer together. 

The Mintek government, always eager to form closer relationships with other races, immediately agreed and began putting together a scientific task force to meet with the Shiba and begin working on the project.  As was standard with any contact with a foreign power, the Ministry of Inclusion was placed in charge of the project, regardless of its stated goals, as the Mintek goal was always to educate and integrate foreign races in the ways of the Universal Union.  Given Turval’s suspicions, he viewed this project more as a way to find out what was going on in the Ascendancy than as a true attempt to transfer technology, no matter how potentially useful such technology might be.

The Shiba and Mintek teams would begin working together beginning in Month 207.   

Month 207, Day 15, Mintek Prime, Universal Union
Minister Turval read the report’s synopsis yet again.  The joint scientific team had been working for several weeks now, and the initial results were very interesting.  The science of the Shiba’s implants were beyond him, but his inquisitors knew what he was interested in, and it wasn’t the science.  One sentence in the report kept coming back to him.  Prime Inquisitor Justram reported that the Shiba claimed that the implants absolutely could not be used to control an individual directly, and that Mintek scientists preliminarily concurred with that claim after reviewing the data and the implants themselves.  However, Inquisitor Justram, one of Minister Turval’s most trusted agents, pointed out that if someone was able to manipulate the data available to the implant, it would be child’s play to manipulate the user.  Minister Turval was very familiar with this concept, as the Universal Union had avoided direct control of its subjects from the first, as direct control bred inevitable resistance.  Instead, the Universal Union led by example and by discrediting the newly acquired population’s former rulers, something that had proved all too easy to do over the years.  Part of this was the subtle manipulation of the data available to subject worlds, but this always had to be very carefully done, given the multiplicity of sources of data that were available to most advanced populations.  After some thought, Turval dictated a message for Inquisitor Justram, ordering him to inquire into the Ascendancy’s data storage techniques.  Once the message was encoded and dispatched, he stepped over to the far wall of his office, and, at a signal from his comm unit, a door opened to reveal an elevator.  The door was unobtrusive, but not actually hidden.  Those who had noticed it upon visiting Turval’s office usually assumed that it was a personal express elevator, and indeed it acted as such on occasion, however, it had another use.  Minister Turval’s office was on the top floor of the Ministry’s tower in the capital city, and indeed the elevator would take him to both the shuttle pad on the roof and the aircar park in the basement.  However, unlike any other elevator in the massive complex, this one continued on down, past the various sub-basements, deep into the crust of the planet to a deeply buried complex.  Only a very few Mintek knew of the existence of this complex, and the current Chancellor, and his oldest friend, was not one of them.  Turval stepped inside the elevator and with a coded pulse from his comms unit the elevator started down. 

After descending for quite some time the elevator came to a halt and Turval exited.  Anyone else would have been struck by the change in architecture and design, so unlike that of the Mintek, but Turval was very used to it and walked down the dimly lit corridor without really seeing his surroundings.  Instead, he was absorbed with the problem of the Shiba and their apparent resistance to the Mintek’s usual approach to suborning alien governments.  He was sure it was all to do with their implant technology, but was unsure of what could be done about it.  Indeed, their resistance to the normal procedures that the Mintek used to subvert and convert a population was very disturbing, and his anxiety had steadily been growing over the past several weeks.  The Universal Union demanded progress. 

Finally, he came to a heavy door set into the wall at the end of the corridor.  At his approach the door swung open, revealing it was very thick and made of some metal that Turval was sure would defy the best efforts of Mintek scientists to analyze it, should they be given the chance.  Turval shook his head at the thought.  They never would be given that chance, of course.   Turval entered the chamber revealed by the opening door and ignored the door as it shut behind him.  The first time that had happened he had panicked, but that was a long time ago, and he had come far since then.  He walked to the center of the room and stood before a large holo display.  As always, the holo was set to show a chamber much like the one he was in, but this one was filled by an alien machine, perhaps a computer.  The alien computer emitted a strange green glow that seemed to pulse, and even after all of these years he found the image entrancing. 

“What have you to report, my friend?”

Turval bowed low, showing a reverence that would have shocked anyone that knew him.  “Master, the first reports from the exploratory mission to the Shiba have come back.  They deny the implants could be used to control a person, but there is no other explanation for their resistance to our usual techniques.  I suspect that the Shiba are manipulating the data available to their citizens to influence their behavior and exert control over them.  We do not yet understand their technology.”

The chamber was silent for a few minutes, and Turval patiently waited.  The alien device steadily pulsed within its green glow, before speaking again.   “You must obtain for me examples of their technology.  Eventually, I will need implanted subjects to examine.  I believe that this could be used to our advantage.”

With this statement Turval’s heart unclenched and he felt relief flooding through his body.  He straightened up and looked at the display with hope and belief.  “It shall be done, master.  We will have the examples available for you to study before the end of the month, but actual implanted individuals will take longer.”

“Time is as it is.  Bring me the technology first, and I will begin my studies.  Now go, and strengthen the Universal Union as you always have, my friend.”

Turval turned and exited the chamber through the slowly opening door, feeling much better than he had when he entered.  Very few knew it, but the actual architect behind the expansion of the faith of the Universal Union was behind him, a long-buried alien device that had revealed the truth of the Universal Union to Turval’s predecessors decades ago. 

Behind him the holo display flickered out, and the room was silent once again. 

Month 207, Day 28, Mintek Prime
The first examples of the Shiba implant technology procured by the research team arrived on the home world on this day.  Most of them were dispersed across the planet to various research centers.  Several units, though, disappeared into Turval’s Ministry, not to be seen again. 

Month 208, Day 10, Mintek Prime
Minister Turval read the reports from the Shiba research team avidly.  Five Mintek volunteers had been implanted with Shiba tech, and were reporting significant improvements in efficiency and productivity.  Additionally, their team leads were reporting test results that indicated that the volunteers were scoring higher on standardized tests than prior to their implantation, and the entire team was reporting that there was no noticeable change in their behavior.  The Shiba were particularly pleased in showing off their technology, and were excited to expand the program. 

Several of the volunteers were sent back to the Mintek home world for testing.  One entered the headquarters of the Ministry of Equity and Inclusion and never left again. 

Month 209, Day 15, Mintek Home World
Minister Turval bowed low as he entered the buried chamber and stopped before the central holo unit.  “I am here, master.”

“Rise, my friend.  I have completed my analysis of the implant technology, and of the implanted officer you provided.  The technology is most interesting.  Clearly, the Shiba intend to suborn the Mintek, much as the Mintek have done to the other races.”

Turval frowned.  “We do what we have done, with your help, for the good of all.  The Universal Union brings peace, good governance, and prosperity to all.  For what reason to the Shiba seek to expand?”

The holo continued to show an alien machine with a pulsing green glow emanating from within.  As always, Turval found the glow comforting and entrancing.  “Unknown at this time.  Almost certainly their drive to expand and control relates to their leadership’s primitive and self-destructive desire to expand their personal power and control of their own society.  The implant technology is just a refinement of this basic urge that is common to most regressive societies.”

“Can we counter their attempt to suborn our society while maintaining contact and furthering our goal of inclusion, or must we either break contact or resort to military conquest?”

“Military conquest is inadvisable, in light of the current demands on the Mintek Starfleet.  I believe that we can use their implant technology against them.  The principles on which this technology operates are known to me, and I believe that I can use their technology against them if we allow them to move forward with their plans.  To them, it will appear that their plan to suborn our people is working.  But in reality, it will be our plan that is moving forward, not theirs.”

“Is there a risk?”

The pulsing green light didn’t change, but somehow Turval detected a change in tone.  “There is always a risk in life.  No matter how my creators attempted to limit or eliminate that risk, it never goes away.  Witness the fact that my creators no longer exist.  However, there is also always hope.  In this case, I have survived to bring wisdom developed in an earlier age to benefit the new races that have arisen since the Great Fall.”

Turval was entranced.  The Master rarely gave hints as to its history, or how he had ended up here, buried on the Mintek home world.  All of his attempts to learn more had been politely diverted, and Turval, as always, was loath to disturb the guiding intelligence of the Universal Union.  Truly, it was the buried Master who more than any being had guided the Mintek to greatness.  The buried Master analyzed the alien races they had met and gave the Mintek the tools they needed to suborn their corrupt governments and incorporate them within the Universal Union, for the good of all.  The buried Master was linked to all governmental databases and kept watch over the Universal Union’s government, rooting out corruption and inefficiency, ensuring the continuance of the benign rule of the Universal Union over all of its subjects. 

After a few seconds of silence, the buried Master spoke again.  “You will allow the Shiba’s proposal to implant more of your personnel to move forward.  They will wish to concentrate their efforts on Ministry personnel, as controlling persons of authority will be paramount to their plans of subversion.  As their plans move forward, opportunities for myself to influence the operation of their implants will increase.  As they believe they are gaining control over us, we will be gaining control over them.”

The buried Master fell silent, and Turval bowed low again, before withdrawing.  They were embarking on a dangerous course, again, but the potential gain was staggering. 
3
New Cold War / Cold War: Alliance Far Frontier Sector
« Last post by Kurt on August 11, 2022, 10:25:51 AM »
4
New Cold War / Cold War: Month 209, Alliance Rallying
« Last post by Kurt on August 10, 2022, 02:58:04 PM »
Month 209, Day 17, Alliance Kawasaki system
The fourteen ships of the Alliance 3rd Fleet approached the warp point to the Rehorish home system, and the assembly point of the D’Bringi ships that had been prevented from transiting the Rehorish home system.  The D’Bringi fleet remained divided, with the three battlecruisers that had declared for the empire on one side, the cruiser that had declared for Skull-Splitter on the other, and the remaining eight ships in the middle.  All three groups were out of range of each other, as none of them trusted the other. 

As the 3rd Fleet approached, ships from the 1st Fleet, based in the Rehorish system, began transiting into the Kawasaki system.  Soon, there were twelve cruisers and light cruisers in the Kawasaki system, supported by seven light carriers, in addition to the approaching 3rd Fleet forces.  The D’Bringi ships watched as the two groups of Alliance ships merged, and then came to a halt ten light seconds from the outermost D’Bringi ships, which happened to be the three imperial battlecruisers.  After a few seconds, the D’Bringi ships began receiving a message from the assembled Alliance ships.

The message showed Tai-shu Okada, who was one of the most senior officers in the Alliance, and greatly respected across all of the national fleets.  After a few seconds he began speaking.  “Officers and crewers of the D’Bringi ships of the 3rd Fleet.  I speak to you now as your commanding officer.  The Alliance is in dire straits.   The ICN has been disabled, interstellar communications are corrupted and unreliable, and the Alliance itself is fractured.  All of this has left us vulnerable to outside threat, and if what communications we have received are to be believed, there is a Union fleet occupying one of our systems as we speak.  If the instabilities in your home system had remained an internal matter, then my race and the T’Pau would have allowed you to resolve your issues on your own, without interference, however, this is not the case.  We cannot, and will not allow D’Bringi ships of uncertain loyalty and intent to wander around the Alliance.  Therefore, I order you to drop your drive fields and turn yourselves over for internment.  Your ships will be impounded and your crews will be interned until arrangements can be made to return you to your home system.  You have ten minutes to comply, after which my orders will be carried out by force.  Please do not force Alliance ships to fire upon you!  We are all part of the Alliance, and we want you to remain in the Alliance as a valued ally as well.”

The commanders of the D’Bringi ships debated the issue for a few minutes, and the captains of the imperial battlecruisers ranted and raved towards the Rehorish and T’Pau ‘betrayers’, but in the end they all dropped their drive fields.  It was inevitable, really, as they were deep within Rehorish space, blocked from returning home without going through a home system’s heavy defenses, and really had no where to go.  Even fighting would have little result, as they were outnumbered, and although the three battlecruiser captains pushed for a united front, many of the other commanders had already decided to accept internment. 

The Rehorish and T’Pau ships then proceeded to transfer the D’Bringi crews to their ships and then jumped back to the home system, where the crews would be transferred to a camp on Rehorish Prime.  As the transfers were taking place, transports jumped into the Kawasaki system with skeleton crews for the D’Bringi ships, which would be taken back to Rehorish Prime. 

Month 209, Day 20, Alliance Chruqua Nexus
The Alliance 4th Fleet took up stations in the system, with detachments at all of the warp points and the fleet assembled in the inner system, ready to respond to any location in the system if necessary.  The detachments had orders to stop all freighters and transports transiting into the system and conduct searches for contraband, which was defined as military equipment.  Any ship refusing to be searched was to be interned.  The inspections started immediately. 

Month 209, Day 23, Rehorish Prime
Once again Skull-Splitter arrived over Rehorish Prime to be met by Tai-shu Okada.  This time they met on one of the orbiting shipyards, which had copious space available for such meetings. 

Okada welcomed the D’Bringi leader into the room, then got down to business.  “What have you found on your colonies?”

The gruff old warrior smiled.  “The Aomori colony has been liberated from the usurper’s forces.  A rebellion appeared almost as soon as the usurper declared his empire, and truthfully, they were on the verge of victory when I contacted them.  I think the thing that most surprised me was that they were fighting in my name, having received my message of opposition to the empire.”

Okada dipped his antenna in acknowledgement.  “And Sasebo?”

“Remains under the control of the usurper, however, there is some evidence of a resistance movement.  I had no troops, or warships, though, so I had no way to influence events on the ground.”

“Events have moved forward here, as well.  The 3rd Fleet has been recalled to this system, and the D’Bringi ships you attempted to recruit in the Kawasaki system were interned.  Their crews are being held in camps on the surface, and their ships are in orbit.  Our original plan was to return the crews to the D’Bringi home system, and keep the ships here until the situation was resolved.  However, as we develop a clearer picture of the state of the Alliance, my government has decided that the situation must be resolved by any measures necessary, as quickly as possible.  By withdrawing our fleets to restore control to our critical territories, we have stripped our defenses bare.  Should any of our enemies become aware of this development, we would be vulnerable.  We have to resolve our problems, as quickly, before anything else happens.  Therefore, the decision has been made to turn all of the interned ships to over to your control.  You will be allowed to recruit as you wish from the officers and crewers interned on the surface of our planet.  We do this so that you can restore order to the D’Bringi portions of the Alliance, while our fleets deal with more immediate problems.” 

Skull-Splitter was overjoyed at this decision.  “This is a momentous day.  What can you tell me of the situation as we now understand it?”

Okada brought up a map of the Alliance on the room’s holo display.  At this level of display, there were no system names visible, just bubbles representing systems and lines showing warp routes.  The system bubbles were in three colors, denoting their sector affiliation.  The Core Sector contained the home worlds for the three member races, and what was the Rehorish colonial territories prior to the amalgamation.   The planets of this sector were primarily settled by the Rehorish, although there were some D’Bringi colonies established on the inhospitable ST type planets, once they were opened for D’Bringi colonization.  The Core Sector was by far the most populous and productive sector in the Alliance.  The Chruqua Defense Zone was located on the map just above the Core Sector, and was connected to the Core Sector via the invaluable Chruqua Nexus.  The Chruqua Defense Zone contained the Phyriseq Fortress system, which was a known contact point with the Mintek home system, and the home worlds for both the Torqual and Doraz associate member races.  The sector was primarily populated by the T’Pau and D’Bringi, although the Rehorish had a heavy presence in a few systems, and it was their colony system of Kumamoto that had been selected as the Sector capital.  The last sector was the Far Frontier Sector, with its capital in the system of Stahat.  The Far Frontier Sector had many small, new colonies, and had a mix of all three of the primary races of the Alliance. 

The holo map showed the Core Sector in green, the Chruqua Defense Zone in blue, and the Far Frontier Sector in red.  Okada pointed to the Core Sector.  “We have good intelligence and control within the Core Sector.  Our couriers will reach most of the colonies within the sector by the end of the month.  The couriers will re-establish contact with the local governments and destroy the old ICN buoys, which will be replaced with new buoys next month.  Aside from Sasebo and Aomori, all of the D’Bringi colonies within the Core Sector are four or more jumps from here, so we won’t have confirmation of their status for some time.” 

Okada pointed to the Chruqua Defense Zone.  “Our couriers have begun re-establishing contact with the colonies in the Defense Zone, and destroying the old ICN, but the effort there has just begun.  We have re-established contact with the 4th Fleet in Phyriseq, and I can confirm that the D’Bringi colony there remains firmly in your camp.  Until the couriers spread throughout the Sector, though, we know little about what is transpiring on the colonies there.  However, there is the D’Bringi colony in Nagasaki.”

Skull-Splitter’s eyes narrowed.  “If I remember correctly, Nagasaki is the location of my race’s most populous colony.”

“That is correct, and better, it is rated as a ‘rich’ world.  My intelligence team has analyzed everything that has been sent from Nagasaki since the announcement of the establishment of the D’Bringi Empire, and they believe that the Nagasaki colony is against the empire.  Although everything that came through the old ICN is suspect, there were some early statements expressing doubt about the empire from the leaders on Nagasaki.  After a few days those messages disappeared, replaced by generic statements of support for the empire similar to those being sent from all of the other D’Bringi settlements and colonies.  My intelligence people believe that those messages were generated by whatever is controlling the ICN, and that Nagasaki may be in opposition to the empire.”

Skull-Splitter considered the map.  “And the Far Frontiers Sector?”

“We know very little of what is happening out there.  My intelligence people believe that the sector capital at Stahat is the center of support for the new Empire, and we recently received word that the courier we sent to the 6th Fleet was stopped short at the edge of the Stahat system and seized.  We must assume that the D’Bringi colonies there are firmly in support of the new empire, or have been isolated and will remain out of contact, at least for now.  In addition, the Dether system is in this sector, and has apparently been occupied by the Union, although as always, our intelligence about this must be considered suspect.  I have dispatched a squadron of the 1st Fleet along the alternate warp chain to Dether to determine the truth of the situation, but it will not arrive until month 111.  Worse, the Union embassy in the CFS is refusing contact with our ambassador, at least for now.”

Skull-Splitter sat, lost in thought for several minutes as both leaders considered the map.  Finally, he sat forward.  “I have had much to think on since the events in the Aomori system.   Truly, I had thought that the message I sent from Phyriseq system in opposition to the empire would be lost in the ether.  But what I found in the Aomori system told me different.  As I suspected, there are many D’Bringi that are willing to fight for the changes that the empire wants to roll back, but they need a unifying cause.  A leader.  And although I am not sure I should be that leader, I am the leader that they have.  So, today I will announce the formation of the D’Bringi Loyalist Union, with myself as Warlord.  The position of Warlord has a deep history with my people, as one who steps forward at a time of great need to lead his people out of darkness.  The position carries great responsibility and power, however, there is also an immutable custom that the Warlord, at the resolution of the emergency, will step down from leadership for the rest of his life, never to interfere with D’Bringi politics again.  I fully intend to follow that custom, as the last thing my people need is to substitute one dictator for another.”

Okada looked on with approval.  “I think this is the right move.  Your people need a unifying force, and you are the only one that can provide that now.  What will be your first move?” 

“With your permission I will go to the surface and begin recruiting among the officers and crewers there.  I suspect I will get enough who are willing to serve that I will be able to crew all of the interned ships, albeit at reduced crew levels.  Once that is done, I will record another message, to be sent out across the Alliance to all of the D’Bringi colonies that we can reach, calling for them to join my cause and free our people.  Once that is complete, I would like to begin moving the forces loyal to me to begin unifying loyal colonies, however, I must ask something of you first.”

“Yes?”

“Currently, the D’Bringi ships I withdrew from Phyriseq are stationed in the T’Pau home system; under a commander I knew the T’Pau would trust.  I sent them there to reinforce the T’Pau defenses, in case the false-emperor tried to attack from the D’Bringi home system, or by other forces loyal to him from outside the T’Pau system.  I would like to withdraw those forces, and relocate them to the Nagasaki system, as a first move towards establishing a secure base of operations.  However, I do not wish to deprive the T’Pau of strength that might be vitally important to the defense of their home system.”

Okada waived his antenna in amusement.  “We have already decided.  The Alliance Strategic Reserve will be redirected to the T’Pau system to reinforce the T’Pau home fleet, while the 3rd Fleet, which is currently here in this system, will be dispatched down the alternate chain to the Dether system, to ensure that the Union, if they have occupied the system, doesn’t advance down the chain to the Core Sector.”

“Very well.  I will issue orders to my ships in the T’Pau system to wait for the 3rd Fleet to relieve them, then to set out for Nagasaki.  I will also send my son as my representative, to lead the fleet.  His orders will be to build an organization of D’Bringi colonies to resist the empire, and to provide an alternative for our people.”

“And what will you be doing?”

Skull-Splitter hesitated for a moment.  “I will take the ships you give me, and I will take them to Stahat, to determine the truth of the situation.  If it is indeed their capital, then I will deprive them of it.  And if the imperial’s have provoked a war with the humans, as you suspect, then I will end it, one way or another.  I would appreciate the assistance of the ships you have available.”

Okada swiveled his antenna in negation.  I have no ships that I can send away from the Core Sector at this time.  I may be able to free up some ships at some point next month, but that is not guaranteed.  What I will do is send a communique for the commander of the 6th Fleet to assist you in any way she sees fit, based on our overall stance towards the empire.  Our orders for the 6th Fleet have been stopped short because they have to go through the Stahat system.  If you can break into Stahat, and clear a way to the Villiers system, then you will have your support.”

The two leaders parted, each to their own missions. 
5
Terpla'ns / The Hokum - Chapter 7.25
« Last post by Zume on August 07, 2022, 05:27:35 PM »
Free from pursuit and undetected, the Axis raiding force entered the Com-10 system via the Com-22 warp point. Finding no Hokum scanner buoys within a one light-minute radius the force headed to a spot from where it could reconstitute its fighter and small craft strength. After six weeks the work was complete. The commander decided to head for the Com-10/Com-6 warp point with the intent of entering Com-6 to resume raiding.

Since Com-6 was part of a route that connected Com-1 to Com-18 (Cain system) the commander had to take it as a given the Com-6 side of the warp point would be guarded. To that end he sent in two regular pinnaces to reconnoiter the immediate area around the warp point. Both pinnaces came back. In the immediate vicinity of the warp point were 30 weapon buoys in six distinct subgroups. The pinnaces couldn’t detect if there were mines, but no doubt there were mines along with a control base or ship. Beyond the warp point at 2 light-second range were 6 escorts and 6 frigates. Both were known classes, and the Axis commander drew up a plan and executed it within an hour.

As for the Hokum they had not been idle. The Com-22 warp point was sealed off with mine patterns and weapon buoys, kept watched by an attending control ship. Com-3, already heavily mined, was made even more so due to its proximity to the Whel system. Six new-commissioned Type A frigates, intended for Frontier Fleet, were diverted to Com-6 to guard the Com-6/Com-10 warp point along with six Turtle escorts from Tire Iron. All ships were assisted by tugs as to arrive at Com-6 faster. Once done the tugs retired to Cain for the time being. Light minefields continued to be sowed in systems connected to Com-6 with further reinforcement planned when the raider force was finally detected.

It wasn’t a long wait. Six Axis cruisers emerged from the warp point, facing the Hokum defenders directly. Transit addled capital force beams from four of the cruisers only managed one hit on a frigate, demolishing half of its shields. The anti-mine rounds on the extra racks performed much better, knocking out 8 patterns in the targeted section, leaving just 22. In reply two frigates became active, their needle beams inflicting three hits while a sole escort fired its CAM and laser. With shields down the cruiser was revealed to be a freighter as much of its internal volume was devoted to cargo holds. As for the control base, located 8 light-seconds out, its crew was quick on the mark, priming the 30 force beam buoys but holding fire in case there was going to be a second wave.

There was no initial second wave, as the cruisers stayed to dilute the effects of buoy fire, but two of the cruisers launched a squadron of Hatchet fighters each. They were upon the frigates as the first one fired its needle beams against the shields-down cruiser. It missed the force beam mount but wrecked the targeting scanners, curtailing its effectiveness for minesweeping. Three cruisers fired back as one, finishing the frigate’s shields and shattering the armor. At this point all thirty force beam buoys fulfilled their role and fired. Due to ECM two of the cruisers retained some shields, but two more were revealed as freighters while one that launched fighters showed it had no other weapons.

The Hatchet fighters fired their lasers and half of their FRAMs, taking down two frigates. One active frigate took out the force beam and targeting scanners of another cruiser. The Turtles moved as a group and closed on the warp point, now only 1.5 LS distant. Three of the cruisers came about and transited back to Com-10 when the fighters stuck again, taking down one more frigate with another severely crippled. Revenge came sweet as the two remaining frigates removed the force beams and targeting scanners of two other cruisers, meaning none of the three still in the system had an offensive weapon. The three cruisers transited out, leaving the fighters on their own… for now.

The three remaining frigates split up, enabling them to provide mutual coverage of their blind spots against the Hatchets. The cripple frigate was dispatched in short order with the initial one taking internal damage. Two Hatchets were splashed by point defense fire while the Turtles, while urgent, missed with their lasers. Combined, the ten Hatchets fired again, their lasers finishing off one of the two remaining frigates while only losing one of their own.

As if on cue the Axis force sent in their second wave, comprised of all three of their Pinyon Jay carriers and three Fishing Hawk carriers. The Jays only fired their HET lasers, targeting one of the Turtles now that they were only 1 LS out. A single hit was scored, removing half the armor. For their part the Turtles were now all active, firing on one Jay. The remaining CAMs and the sole Type A’s needle beams took down 75% of the shields while the Turtles’ lasers burned off half the armor. Unengaged, the 9 Hatchets attacked the Type A, burning away its armor and inflicting internal damage.

As the remaining three Fishing Hawks made transit the second wave ships, now with stabilized fire control systems, engaged the Turtles with external nuke-armed CAMs, hetlasers and plasma guns. The Jays also launched their Stiletto shuttles, and with the 9 Hatchets obliterated the Turtles and the last Type A. As for the Hokum control base the crew abandoned it, the fleeing shuttle just escaping the demolition charges. In short order the Stilettos destroyed the spent force beam buoys while the present Axis ships reloaded their external racks with mine clearance charges. Joined by the three Balm CA-hulled repair ships, now armed with mine clearance charges on undamaged racks, 12 additional patterns were dispatched, leaving only 10 in the patch selected earlier. Waiting only long enough to equip EDMs, the Jays, three Fishing Hawks and the Balms entered the patch and swept the remaining patterns.

Taking stock, the Axis commander sent four of his Fleet Tracker scouts out to investigate Com-6’s three other warp points and the direct routes between those three. He took his force to a spot that placed him on the far side of the Com-12 warp point. From there repairs could be conducted while waiting word on what the scouts have found. His plan was to stage a probe into Com-12, using practically empty CA-hull freighters to coax the Hokum to focus their attention there. With the rest of the force, he planned to enter Com-11 to get to Com-7 and finally into Com-2, giving him the choice to enter Com-8, thus threatening the Stonewash system, or Com-9, blocking the way into former Eletoshani space in general and the Bandstand system in particular. The commander hoped that for every additional month his force was loose in abom-controlled space would tie down more Hokum ships looking for him. Seeing it that way, failure wasn’t even possible.

********

Tecutani Minter, owner of a greeting card and stationary shop in the city of Deep Bay on Eletoshani Prime, stepped off the bus two stops short of his destination as usual. Over the years he found that he could reach his shop faster on foot due to the increased congestion at crosswalks and vehicular traffic further down the route. The shop was owned by his family for six generations. Despite the Axis occupation and depredations of the Anti-Abomination Security Police business remained good. At this time of the year university graduations were coming up and was one of the few occasions his shop earned a notable profit.

It was then Minter felt a pressure on this back and caught a glimpse of the Eleto that had somehow snuck up behind him. “Good morning, friend,” the strange Eleto said from his left mouth in a low tone. “May I suggest a new route to your shop this morning? They say it promotes brain activity from all the new stimuli experienced.”

Certain that it was indeed a gun against his back Minter let the stranger guide him across the street and through a back alley. If it was a mugging then it would be a poor take for Minter never had more than a typical day’s expense on his credcard. After five minutes of brisk walking both Minter and the stranger entered the back of a building and ascended three stories. From there they went into a hallway and finally a room. It was an apartment, judging from the furnishings, and the two windows were closed with drapes drawn, except for a tiny sliver at the bottom of one of them. What appeared to be a pen attached to a clamp was on the sill of that window, peering outwards.

“Okay, you can take a seat, Mr. Minter,” said the stranger. With that the shop owner sat in the nearest chair, finally getting a good look at the man. He was not that much older, but it was clear he had experienced rough times as there was more scales that fur at the top of his head. “Sorry for bringing you here in a dramatic way.” The stranger showed the object that was pressed into Minter’s back. It was a tube of candy, one that the stranger opened and dispensed the contents, offering some of it to Minter. The shop owner politely refused. “You can call me Lake, Mr. Minter, and I have just saved your life.”

“Pardon me for not taking that seriously, Mr. Lake,” Minter said. “Unless you’re saving me from having that final bowl of sweet stew that will collapse my intestines either take my credcard, blackmail, torture or kill me.”

“Well, Minter, if I was a collaborator working for the ASP then I would do all that except blackmail as that would be redundant.” Lake produced from a belt pouch a tiny viewscreen the size of a credcard. He gave it to Minter. It was on, and what he saw was a view of his shop’s exterior. “We’re in the apartment building across the street and a block down from your shop. To be blunt, you’ve been a subject of interest for the Resistance for some time. Things are coming to a head regarding the Axis presence here on our planet. Your printing service would be useful when it came time to spread the word of open resistance.”

Minter heard the words but was fixed on the screen. Two ASP vans pulled up to the shop and out came ASP agents. They simply broke down the front door with axes, the bipeds barging in like bandits. A crowd of Eleto began to gather at some distance, wary as ASP agents formed a perimeter with weapons drawn. In short order agents carrying boxes exited the shop, shoving them in one of vans and heading back inside to get more.

“You’re wondering why your shop is being raided, Mr. Minter. It seems a peculiar thought entered what passes for brains of those boneheads at ASP HQ. They believe your cards with musical chips are sophisticated spyware models. A few of your cards were found at or around Bonehead terminals.”

“Preposterous!” Minter exclaimed from both mouths. “Those chips barely have enough memory to play a 10 second tune, and they’re officially sanctioned by the government.”

“Indeed, Mr. Minter. Those chips are the same as those used in simple calculators. I would be amazed if the ASP doesn’t raid the manufacturer. All the same they’ll come up with a convoluted theory to self-justify their actions. After all,” Mr. Lake said past his two smiles, “we Eleto can be a devious bunch.”

“What will happen next?” Minter asked as he watched as more boxes of cards being hauled away.

Lake wolfed down another piece of candy. “Your shop will be impounded, and a complete search will be conducted. This will entail all your walls being stripped, flooring pulled up, and pipes removed, among other things. All your inventory will be searched and then burned, as with all furnishings. Of course, you and your immediate family will be arrested, interrogated and then sent to a labor camp.” Seeing Minter visibly shake Lake raised a forestalling hand. “Do not worry. Your wife and son have been picked up by my fellow confederates thirty minutes ago. In a week you’ll be with them.”

Minter looked dejected and resigned. “So I’m to become a member of the resistance by default?”

“Regretfully so. Everyone we rescued has contributed in some form or another.”

Looking back at the screen, Minter saw a commotion. An elderly Eleto male, distinguished by his grey tuff of fur on his head, was arguing with an ASP agent, both mouths speaking at the same time, something that the boneheads considered to be disgusting. That alone was enough to send someone to interrogation, but it was worse for Minter saw it was a relative. He showed the screen to Lake. “It’s my great uncle. He worked at the shop as a boy, before he signed up to join the Army during the war with the Axis. This was his weekly visit.”

“Regrettable, Mr. Minter. That means he’ll be on their database, as all surviving members of the Army and Navy were made to serve in labor battalions for ten years after the war. He’ll be sent to a labor camp after questioning.” Lake placed his hand on Minter’s shoulder. “I’m sorry. We only had a six-hour notice of this raid, and we only had assets available to pick up you, your wife and son.”

Minter sighed. “He has terminal cancer, as the boneheads have denied advance treatment to all veterans. I think he did this as a final act of defiance. Too bad there’s no sound. I’m sure he’s venting his spleen, as was his wont in private conversation.”

Lake removed the miniature camera, taking it to the bathroom along with the view screen and depositing both in the sink. After filling it halfway with water he added a tablet from the very bottom of the candy tube. In an hour the camera, screen and their electronics would be totally dissolved. “Let’s go, Mr. Minter. It will take the better part of today to get to the first safe house.”

********

Lord Admiral Jocelin, commanding Frontier Fleet, was considering his options to enter the Axis system of Iron Sky. Thanks to previously captured records he knew Iron Sky’s other warp point linked to an uninhabited cul-du-sac system, designated Com-34. As for Com-30, linked to the Geode and Iron Sky systems, there was a short chain comprised of Com-31 and 32 (itself a cul-du-sac), and Com-33, leading into former Eletoshani space.

While mining the Iron Sky warp point and leaving a detachment behind was appealing there was a problem. Iron Sky had a population of 4 million at the start of the war along with six lunar outposts across the system. Given time, a raiding force, like the one bedeviling the systems between Cain and Doorstop, could be constructed and sent into Com-30 to prey upon Frontier Fleet’s supply lines. So, after the sixth pinnace probe, all of them being singular armed pinnaces equipped with external sensor packs, Jocelin learned what comprised the defenses, and devised his plan accordingly.

After the initial Hokum advance towards Iron Sky was halted and then recalled the AFC decided to fortify the warp point beyond its initial set of bases. Joined by a mobile shipyard, the space station over Iron Sky produced nine type-4 bases, equally split between fighter, beam, and capital missile types. Along with the twelve type-3 and three type-2 bases the fixed defenses were augmented monthly with automated weapons. As of now 480 patterns of mines and 180 reusable weapon buoys ringed the warp point, joined by a CAP of 7 squadrons of Hatchet fighters and a handful of escort shuttles. 23 more Hatchet squadrons waited in their hanger bays, all armed with antimatter close attack missiles. A very thin shell of mines filled the 0.75 light-second distance between the warp point belt and close in bases. In a few months three more fighter bases would be complete. What resources not being used for construction and maintenance were stored until such time the route back into Axis space was clear. After splashing five consecutive abom pinnace probes the warp point defenders steeled themselves for an attack that surely was imminent.

The attack came in the form of 400 objects, apparently pinnaces, with interpenetration claiming 60 of their number. Given the violence of their destruction it was clear they carried antimatter ordnance, and with passage through the mines a further 49 were claimed. The CAP Hatchet squadrons, along with the Stiletto shuttles, stayed at the warp point, tasked to attack any transiting ships. Meanwhile the objects made a direct line for the fighter and capital missile bases, passing the ‘north’ close in bases, comprising of a BS4 and 4 BS3s. Only the BS4 was able to achieve battle stations and fired all weapons at the objects, eliminating 4.

Sensor technicians on all the bases were perplexed that the objects didn’t broadcast on the expected fire control frequencies. Given the numbers involved, two of three close-in base groups could’ve been invested and dealt mortal damage. Moving at full pinnace speed, it would take the strange objects under two minutes to reach the fighter and capital missile bases. In that time the other two fighter bases have the chance to crash-launch their remaining Hatchets as well as the small BS2 to flush out its Stiletto shuttles…

With fire control systems stabilized and targeting profiles engaged the Hokum missile pods launched their deadly munitions, 861 missiles in all. In the face of this massive wave the defense computers on the BS4s and BS2s, acting on a contingency program that point defense operators couldn’t override, had their point defense engage those missiles that directly threatened their individual units. For each base an above average number of missiles were dispatched, and EDMs (2 from each base) culled more, but the outcome was the same for all. The six BS4s and 3 BS2s were destroyed utterly. An additional BS4V did manage to crash launch its fighters in the moments before its death, as well as the BS2 containing the Stiletto shuttles and another arming the 90 reusable laser buoys. However, with no life support packs and no hanger bays within range meant that in a few scant hours all the spaceborne Hatchets had to be abandoned.

All 69 Stiletto shuttles engaged in SAR operations, and after 36 hours it was decided to stop, sending 24 of them to rendezvous with a tug that held station one light-minute from the warp point to transfer survivors. The attack had rattled the defenders to their core, solace only coming from the observation that if the abom Hokum had more of the new weapon they could’ve destroyed more bases.

The Hokum returned 40 hours later as if a psychic button was pushed. 200 more pods emerged from the warp point, this time heading ‘south’ through the minefields. After interpenetration and minefield attrition only 141 remained. This time, however, the CAP of 11 Stiletto shuttles followed. Three managed to engage with their point defense but missed. Aside from that, the pods were uncontested as they were outside the engagement envelope of the southwest and southeast base groups.

As the pods continued south the first wave of ships arrived; four Turtles and two Rodeo Clowns. Each ship upon entrance started to turn for their exit vector. A BS4 fired, destroying one Turtle with external CAMs and dousing a Rodeo Clown with capital energy beams and a spinal force beam. Having been armed previously, the 90 reusable laser buoys fired, destroying the remaining Turtles and all but removing the armor on the BC-sized minesweepers.

Then the pods fired. Programmed to engage any BS3 within 4 light-seconds, the eight BS3s were swarmed by antimatter-armed SBMs. Only the two engaged anti-fighter BS3s survived, but without passive defenses and some internal damage. A northern plasma-gun armed BS3 fired and destroyed one Rodeo Clown. As for the rest, only the two damaged anti-fighter BS3s managed to engage with their HET lasers with one missing.

The surviving minesweeper finished its turn as the second wave completed entry. Three Indomitables were followed by two Imperial Valors and one Cain assault carriers. One of the Indomitables was a converted Axis dreadnaught, guaranteed to be the focus of fire from all Axis units. The 11 CAP escort shuttles had turned about and closed on the warp point but were out of range for their FRAMs. Those crashed launched shuttles from the first wave didn’t engage, thought they combined on the warp point and waited for the order. With all available active bases the converted dreadnaught was destroyed while only light shield damage to the second dreadnaught. In turn transit-addled energy and needle beams and nuke CAMs destroyed the passive defenses of one plasma BS3, burning out its overload dampeners in the process.

As the minesweeper transited out the carriers launched their fighters, 19 squadrons strong. 10 went towards the northern bases with 3 each going to the remaining southwest and southeast bases. Three squadrons remained on the warp point to engage the escort shuttles, now totaling 23. Following the exiting minesweeper was the Cain; the two Imperial Valors were still coming about to achieve their exit vectors. The second Indomitable was the initial focus of fire, and when its last engine room was lanced by needle beams all it took was the CAMs from the finally active southeast BS4 to kill it. Fire then shifted to one Valor, and it barely held on after both remaining rooms remained active despite precise hits from needle beams.

That was the best the Axis defenders could do for all the remaining bases succumbed to the lasers and antimatter attack missiles of the Spear fighters. As for the escort shuttles, armed with standard nuclear attack missiles, they went after the damaged carrier, but its strong armor held true. Only three Stilettos remained, and they left the warp point, came about and tried to ram the carrier. Again the strong armor held firm, and with that last act of defiance the Hokum claimed the warp point. Only two Spear fighters were lost. While the remaining 112 began removing the weapon buoys six Implacable DNs transited in and began to fire mine clearance charges, creating a lane for a task group to enter.

Preceding the task group was a reinforced Greyhound element. In short order they found the retiring tug and escort of 24 Stilettos. Covered by AFHAWKs the Spear fighters took down the shuttles with light losses, allowing the ships to close in to fire their anti-drive missiles and lancing internal systems of the tug with needle beams, leading to a speedy boarding action and capture. The task group in the meantime reach Iron Sky, finding only a fighter groundbase and an orbital station with the mass equivalent to three dreadnaughts and three unfinished BS4Vs sans fighters. Backed by fighters and AFHAWKs the task group closed to within missile range of the station and bases, destroying them. As for the groundbase it was wiped out with antimatter warheads, and a carrier element was left behind to keep watch, along with a freighter loaded with kinetic bombardment satellites to discourage the Iron Sky inhabitants from rebuilding the base or any orbital works. Scouts kept tabs on the lunar outposts and one was sent into Com-34 to lay scanner and com buoys at the warp point and to investigate the system. Back in Com-30 Frontier Fleet reassembled and entered the Com-33 system, further advancing into Axis territory.

********

Emperor Valsur had two guests in his office on the space station Orbit-1. Admiral Crunan, head of the Imperator of the Navy’s staff, and the Minister of Arms. After giving a critical eye to what he read on a datapad Valsur turned to Crunan. “Admiral, what is the Navy’s consensus on the deployment of missile pods?”

“Highly favorable, Sire,” Crunan replied. “The damage inflicted measurable surpassed losses we incurred, though I must point out that in each instance the Axis forces involved weren’t able to communicate knowledge of the missile pods to higher authority.”

“Indeed, Admiral. The bases destroyed in Solid State amounted to nothing more than shooting boars in a pit, and Com-14 was against a mobile enemy. However, I question the deployment of the pods in Iron Sky. With the pods on hand, Admiral Jocelin could’ve destroyed all the close-in bases, waited a few days, and then gone in with his assault carriers and pinnaces. At least three waves of carriers could’ve entered and launched their fighters by the time the first crashed-launched Axis squadrons reached the warp point.”

Crunan was briefed that he could expect such a question, so he tried to be neutral in his response. “Sire, Jocelin deployed his forces in the battle to preserve his fighter, pinnace and assault carrier strength for future operations deeper into Axis territory. The losses we sustained in Iron Sky are more sustainable for Frontier Fleet than the potential loss of three assault carriers.”

Valsur turned his gaze towards the Minister of Arms. “Yes, about sustainability. Arms, how long will it take to build up the stock of the newer second-generation missile pods?”

“It’s a matter of budgeting, Sire,” Arms said. “All of our stock of second-generation pods were used in Solid State. Those that were recovered have been slated for use in an operation to deal with the Axis force moving about the various systems between Whel and Cain. There are no more first-generation pods. As of now, we can only afford to build and arm forty second-generation pods per month.”

“We’re that limited?” Valsur questioned.

“Yes, Sire. The budget is stretched to the limit, despite the slowly increasing revenue from trade with the Terpla’ns. New construction, refitting of both fleet units and captured Axis ships, reequipping and stocking up on the new datalink-equipped armed pinnaces, and prefabricated bases leaves very little in the way of discretionary spending. The figure of forty pods a month I mention comes at the expense of fighter production and stockpiling. If we go with that figure, only five squadrons per month can be built.”

“I see. So Jocelin may have been inadvertently shrewd in Tire Iron, but he will have to be more circumspect when it comes to his next warp point assault.” Valsur raised both of his back pair of hands up on the desk, a visual cue for his guests to pay close attention. “There will be a more rationalized production policy the next time the council meets. For now we will we accelerate the replacement of all F1 fighters within the boarders of the Imperium from one squadron to three squadrons per month, with two of those squadrons being scrapped and one being crated up and stored. Also, all armed pinnaces replaced by the datalink version will be scrapped. All revenues will go towards increased production of missile pods. Arms, you’ll get a written decree on your desk shortly that will formalize what I just said here.”

“Yes, Sire.”

Valsur focused on Crunan. “Admiral, inform the Imperator of the Navy he will also get a decree as well. It will be a balancing act between economy and supply. We must be prudent in choosing our battles for the foreseeable future. While our allies may have the attention of the Axis fleet that doesn’t mean local surprises can’t happen at our various fronts, not to mention the possibility of more raiding groups like the one we’re dealing with now.”

“The I.N. will be informed, Sire.”
6
New Cold War / Cold War: Status Update
« Last post by Kurt on August 07, 2022, 03:34:41 PM »
An update on the progress, or more properly, the lack of progress on the Cold War Campaign. 

First off, the campaign is not dead.  I haven’t posted in a while, largely because of health issues.  I had Covid early in the year, and while it was a relatively mild case, I’ve had some significant short to medium term side effects that are only now beginning to clear up.  Primarily, I’ve had a case of ‘brain-fog’ that has persisted for a while, and it has made writing problematic.  I just haven’t felt cognitively up to writing, and instead have spent a lot of time playing games that don’t really challenge my brain that much.  I believe all of that is clearing up now, though, and I’m feeling much better.  Even better, the urge to write is returning, so I think I’ll start making progress in the campaign again, although it may be a bit before I post anything. 

I’ve decided to make a couple of behind-the-scenes changes to the campaign.  They probably won’t make much difference to the outcomes that will be written up, though, just how I go about resolving things within the campaign.  For one thing, I am going to be changing fighter to fighter combat, as I am very unsatisfied with the standard rules.  I’m working on developing something that I like better, and which is useable with the numbers of fighters that are in use in the campaign currently.  We’ll see how that goes. 

That brings us to something that has increasingly reared its ugly head.  Scale issues.  Part of the reason I haven’t made much progress is because of the brain-fog, but also because, mildly impaired as I was, I didn’t feel like tackling a relatively big battle that was the next thing to be written up.  This battle involves twenty-six capital ships, thirty cruisers and smaller ships, sixty carriers, and eight hundred and eighty fighters.  That is a large number of ships and fighters to deal with, and I’ve been putting off dealing with it, particularly because I wasn’t feeling well. 

However, compared to some of the battles in the later stages of the Phoenix Campaign, that’s nothing.  For example, in the Phoenix Campaign, the ASR was responding to an Eater invasion.  At the time the campaign ended, the ASR was assembling a force to stop the Eaters and then go on the offensive.  While that force would likely never be concentrated in one system, it was massive compared to anything in the Cold War universe.  The ASR anti-Eater fleet numbered one hundred and seventy-two capital ships, one hundred and sixty carriers, three hundred and seventy cruisers and smaller ships, and 4,748 fighters and 2,086 prototype gunboats.  And that doesn’t count in-theater reserves, which were substantial.  On the Eater side, there were one hundred and sixteen capital ships, one hundred and twenty-one carriers, one hundred and ten smaller ships, 3,195 anti-fighter small craft, and 750 armed pinnaces.  Unlike the ASR, the Eaters’ force was assembled in one system, and was a sledgehammer aimed at the heart of an ASR sector.  In addition, the Eater’s had three hundred and twenty-three ships and 4,995 AFSC headed towards the front lines as reinforcements.  Those two forces dwarf all of the combined fleets in the Cold War campaign, which is as intended given the changes I made to the production, growth, and research rules at the start. 

Still, even though the overall fleet sizes are much smaller, a battle with over one hundred ships and almost nine hundred fighters was looking kind of daunting.  I’m feeling much more capable these days, though, so I’m going to begin working my way through it soon.  I might post bits and pieces of stuff going on elsewhere to update everyone as to the goings-on in the universe, hopefully soon.

Kurt
7
New Cold War / Re: Cold War Comments Thread
« Last post by Garfunkel on July 15, 2022, 10:03:49 PM »
D'Bringi civil war flares up for real!
8
New Cold War / Cold War: Month 209, Events across the Alliance
« Last post by Kurt on July 15, 2022, 01:29:10 PM »
Month 209, Day 2, Alliance Kure System
A courier from the Rehorish home world arrived on this date, and new orders were issued to the 3rd Fleet.  The fleet’s original mission was to secure the Kure system against intrusions from either the Union or the Mintek, both of whom had links to the system.  Now, though, there were more important matters going on within the Alliance.  Within a matter of hours, the fifteen ships of the fleet departed, bound for the Kawasaki system, adjacent to the Rehorish home system, and currently location of the D’Bringi ships that had withdrawn from the fleet.  Their ETA was fifteen days. 

Month 209, Day 3, D’Bringi Prime
The emperor’s staff were staying as far away from the throne room as possible.  The emperor had been ranting and raving for hours, ever since the intel chief reported the confirmation that they had been cut off by the T’Pau.  The admiral commanding the imperial fleet feared that the emperor’s vengeance on the T’Pau would be terrible, if he was ever in a position to exact his revenge.  In the meantime, they all stayed out of the emperor’s sight. 

By mid-day the throne room quieted, and by a vote Admiral Blood-Fang was chosen by the Imperial Court to determine the emperor’s state of mind.   The admiral entered the throne room cautiously, but saw that the emperor was sitting on his throne, a pensive look on his face.  Seeing that the emperor was apparently calm, he approached and kneeled.

After a few seconds the emperor looked at the kneeling admiral.  “Well, Admiral?  Can your fleet open up our route of communication with the rest of the empire?”

The admiral knew what the emperor meant, even if he was leaving much unsaid.  “My emperor, I believe we can.  However, is that the wisest path forward?”

The emperor growled low in his throat.  “I want to sweep the treacherous T’Pau aside.  I want my people to regain their place in the center of the Alliance!  I don’t want them to be swept into a corner, forgotten and cast aside!”  His voice had risen in pitch as he talked, until he was shouting the last few words.

“Sire, I and my fleet stand ready to execute your orders.  I believe I have enough strength to force our way through whatever the T’Pau have on the far side of the warp point and then secure their system, but what then?  Can we hold the system in the face of united resistance from the rest of the Alliance?”  The admiral knew the answer to that, and so did the emperor. 

The Admiral’s words stopped the emperor for a few seconds, but then he raised his voice and called across the throne room.  “Where is my intelligence chief?”

Almost immediately that worthy stepped through the doors and approached.  “Yes, sire?”

“It is clear that your plan to control communications across the Alliance has failed, and we are cut off here in the home system.  What is your council?”

It was not lost on the intelligence officer that the plan to disrupt and control the ICN was now, suddenly, ‘his plan’.  Still, he reminded himself, there was no way but forward.  “Excellency, we always knew that it might eventually come to this.  The Rehorish and T’Pau know that the old ICN is compromised, and there was always a chance that they would disable or destroy the network, rather than continue to try to regain control, particularly when their efforts continued to fail.”  The intel chief could see the emperor’s face darkening, a sure sign that his patience with what he viewed as excuses was limited.  “However, we planned for this.  Even now, we have forces in place outside of the Union incursion into the Dether system.  Those forces, once it becomes clear that contact has been lost with the home world, will follow the orders that you, in your foresight, gave them to cover this eventuality.  That will result in the Alliance being at war with the Union, and at that point the Alliance will have to accept our new government so that they can focus on the external threat.  Trust in your plan, Excellency.”

The emperor remained silent for some time, considering what had been said.  Finally, he gestured for the two to rise.  “It will be some time before my plans unfold.  In the meantime, lets consider our deployments for defense of the home system, should that be necessary.” 

Month 209, Day 4, Alliance Sasebo system
Skull-Splitter’s courier arrived in orbit over the D’Bringi colony to find things apparently stable and the colonial government, which had declared for the empire soon after it was announced, in firm control of the surface.  After some time spent gathering information and observing from orbit, it became clear that the situation on the ground was not as clear-cut as they originally appeared.  The colonial government had declared martial law shortly after announcing its support of the empire, and communications and travel between settlements was tightly controlled.  Several smaller outlying settlements had been burned, and the courier’s crew had managed to identify several makeshift camps established in the wilder portions of the colony, away from the main settlements.  They even witnessed a fight between two groups on the ground, although who was fighting, or why, was unclear.  After watching for several days, and with no way to effect events on the ground, Skull-Splitter ordered the courier to head to out towards the D’Bringi colony in Aomori. 

Month 209, Day 8, Alliance Aomori system
Skull-Splitter’s courier arrived over the D’Bringi colony in the system to find it in chaos.  Upon entering the system, the courier had monitored numerous transmissions from the colony.  The transmissions were contradictory and confusing.  The official transmissions from the empire-friendly colonial government claimed everything was normal and under control, while numerous other transmissions indicated that the colonial government controlled very little and chaos had descended upon the colony.  Many of the transmissions were aimed at the neighboring Rehorish colony, which had a somewhat higher population and had been established on the fourth planet, while the D’Bringi colony was on the second.  The Rehorish colony was not only more populous, but richer, as it had a better mineral wealth rating than the D’Bringi colony.  The transmissions from the D’Bringi colony to the Rehorish colonies consisted mainly of pleas for assistance, in the form of food and/or weapons.  Meanwhile, the D’Bringi colony’s imperial government consistently denied there were any problems and threatened to attack the other colony if they interfered with the D’Bringi colony’s internal affairs. 

Skull-Splitter’s courier settled into orbit over the D’Bringi colony, as it had in the Sasebo system, claiming it had messages to be downloaded to the colony’s database.  The colonial government agreed to accept the messages, but refused the courier landing rights, claiming it was dealing with a minor outbreak of a communicable disease.  After just a short time of observing the surface, it was clear that the ‘imperial’ government of the Aomori colony was in deep trouble.  It retained control of only the colony’s capital and one other nearby settlement, while the rest of the colony was either in ruins, or sending troops to attack the government’s remaining strongholds. 

From there it took just a little more work to establish somewhat secure communications with what the courier’s crew had identified as a command post for the troops advancing on the capital.  Skull-Splitter was shocked and surprised after talking to the leaders of the forces on the ground.  It had been his speech of opposition to the imperial government that had set off the rebellion below, and the rebel forces were united their opposition to the imperial government under his banner.  When they realized who was in orbit, the rebel leaders were ecstatic!    They assured him that with Skull-Splitter himself in command, the rebellion, which was on the brink of launching its final offensive, would not fail.

After some thought, Skull-Splitter sent his son down to the surface as his representative to the rebels.  In the old days he would have gone himself, and led from the front, in the hottest fighting, but those days were gone, and his extensive injuries limited his options now.  Even in power armor he needed to limit his activities, at least for now. 

The attack was launched a day later, and as the rebels predicted the government fell soon thereafter.  Five days later the rebels were in firm control of the planet and had declared for Skull-Splitter’s faction.  That left Skull-Splitter elated, but in something of a quandary.  The colony now supported him, but what could he do with it?  After all, he did have any warships in the system, only a single courier, and he had no way to transport troops to or from the colony.  His fleet, such as it was, was concentrated in the T’Pau system, awaiting his decision to assault the home system, or defend the T’Pau system, as needed.  And he still had no way to communicate.  There were almost certainly other colonies out there that supported his cause, or were at least in opposition to the Empire, but if he couldn’t unite them, they would be picked off one by one by the usurpers.  The realization was sobering.  He was dependent on the plan to destroy the old ICN system and replace it, and until that happened the systems that supported him would be cut off. 

Month 209, Day 11, Alliance Phyriseq System
On this date a courier from the Rehorish home system arrived with orders for the 4th Fleet.  The orders were clear and unequivocal.  After detaching a small group to support the fortifications at the warp point to the Mintek home system, the fleet departed, bound for the Chruqua warp nexus. 

Month 209, Day 15, Alliance/Imperial Stahat System
On this date a courier from the Rehorish home system entered the Stahat system, bound for the Villiers system with orders for the 6th Fleet.  Unfortunately, it was met at its entrance point by a D’Bringi picket ship and ordered to halt for inspection.  With little choice, the courier ship complied.  When the D’Bringi captain ordered them to unlock their databanks for inspection of the messages they carried, the courier’s commander refused, causing the D’Bringi captain to seize the courier.  The orders for the 6th Fleet would not arrive.  However, before the imperial forces could board the courier, it managed to launch a courier drone back through the warp point it had entered the system through, meaning that word of its seizure would get back home. 

On this same date, colony transports pressed into service as troop carriers by the Imperial D’Bringi government on Stahat Prime arrived over the colonies of Naia and Roban, both two jumps from Stahat.  Both systems contained D’Bringi colonies with small populations and poor or very poor mineral wealth, and both had gone silent when the new empire was declared, hoping to remain beneath the imperial notice.  That hope had gone unfulfilled as transports landed on both colonies, disgorging security troops that fanned out to take control of the colonial infrastructure.  There was little open fighting, but many of the colonists lived outside the colony’s capital city, on both colonies, and those D’Bringi were not inclined to support the new government.  The newly installed Imperial governors controlled their own city, but little else. 
9
New Cold War / Re: Cold War Comments Thread
« Last post by nuclearslurpee on July 07, 2022, 10:44:57 AM »
A short update, but ominous. The Keepers have created a situation in which natural action and reaction has led to a fragile balance, where any misunderstanding could cause the whole galaxy to go up in flames.

Meanwhile the Bjering will probably continue to win by not doing anything.
10
New Cold War / Cold War: Month 209, Alliance Situation
« Last post by Kurt on July 07, 2022, 10:32:22 AM »
Month 209, Alliance Overall Situation
Couriers are spreading out from the Rehorish and T’Pau home worlds, destroying the old ICN as they go.  By mid-month, the two Alliance partners will have secure comms not only between their respective home worlds, but also to the 4th Fleet in the Phyriseq system and the 3rd Fleet in the Kure system.  By Month 210, additional secure links will be established as well.  On the first of the month the T’Pau destroy the ICN buoys in their system, cutting the D’Bringi home world off from the rest of the Alliance.  The T’Pau government sends a statement to the D’Bringi emperor announcing the joint intent of the Rehorish and T’Pau governments to replace the old, unreliable ICN with a new, secured system.  The announcement allows the D’Bringi government to send messages via CD’s, however, to prevent re-contamination of the Alliance’s communication systems all messages will be required to be in standard Alliance code, and will be downloaded from the original drone, transcribed and re-encrypted, and then downloaded to a new drone before being sent on its way.  Additionally, the T'Pau government announces a reorganization of their system defenses, due to the instabilities in their neighbor, with the bulk of their fleet being deployed to the warp link to the D’Bringi system.  This redeployment is characterized as defensive in nature, intended to interdict any hostile forces that might want to enter the D’Bringi home system, such as rebel or dissident groups.  However, to prevent misunderstandings, the T’Pau government requested that the D’Bringi government limit transits through their system for the foreseeable future, and to arrange such transits in advance. 

New T’Pau Home System Deployments:
5th Fleet, D’Bringi WP Guard: 6xCA, 6xCVE, 6xCTV, 126xF1
Fortifications: 3xBS3, 75xDSB-L, 150xMF

5th Fleet, Ember WP Guard (Closed WP To Union Territory): 3xCA, 3xCVE, 5xCTV, 75xF1
Fortifications: 3xBS3, 75xDSB-L, 150xMF
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