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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Imperium of Man - Updates
« on: July 12, 2020, 06:56:21 PM »
The Imperium of Man – An Official History

Prologue
World War III began in August 2034. How the war started or who fired first are details lost to history. What is certain is that no one won. Humanity was cast down into a dark age, known as the Long Night. A radioactive cloud blocked the sun for many years and ice storms tore across the entire world. Almost all those that survived the immediate aftermath fell into barbarism, with only a few pockets of civilization holding out in isolated, fortified locations.

In the centuries that followed, some semblance of the previous civilisation returned with the transformation of the civilised areas into small city states. Despite the collective human memory of the Long Night in the form of myths and legends, humanity was fractured and small, low technology wars still broke out over territory or resources. Gradually, the city-states grew larger, conquered their neighbours or merged with each other, until a single world-spanning entity was created – The Imperium of Man. The Imperium was ultimately ruled by the Emperor, an enigmatic figure rumoured to be extremely long-lived but rarely seen in public. The sole religion of the Imperium treated the Emperor as a semi-divine figure, although to what extent this was encouraged by the Emperor himself remains unknown. The day to day government was provided by the Lords of Terra, a council of twelve members, each with their own area of responsibility.

Trans-Newtonian technology was discovered in the latter decades of the twenty-fifth century. Industry was converted to the new technology, shipyards were constructed and spacecraft were built, although they initially remained in Earth orbit. The Emperor decreed that the Imperium would not venture into space, even to the rest of the solar system, until humanity was more prepared for whatever it might encounter. While he did not provide any direct evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence, the Emperor stated that hostile aliens awaited humanity in the depths of space and the Emperor’s word was law. By January 1st 2500, the first warships were in service and the Imperial Navy stood ready to defend Terra.

Campaign Notes: I am not going to mirror the armament of Imperial Navy vessels as closely as I did in the Crusade test campaign, although I will still observe the same nomenclature. This is for a couple of reasons. I am using a normal start, so I won’t have the same research and build point benefits that allowed such a diverse armament. Secondly, with all spoilers enabled and five NPRs, I need reasonable starting designs ?

Starting Setup
Known Systems
Two Billion Pop
200k Tech, 160k Build
5x NPR at 30-75 LY
30% Ruin Chance

The Early Imperial Navy
The Dauntless class light cruiser and the Sword class frigate formed the core of the Imperial Navy as the Imperium took its first steps into space. Both were ‘bare-bones’ functional designs intended for either close combat or torpedo defence and mounted a mixture of AK-15 and AK-10 weapon batteries. At this early stage in its life, the Imperium did not possess any torpedo-armed warships but was well aware of the potential. In fact, council records show that, based on the warning given by the Emperor, the Lords of Terra debated the merits of postponing exploration plans until better technology was available. Eventually, they agreed by majority that the benefits of locating new resources outweighed the risks involved. There is evidence to suggest that some members of the council remained unconvinced by the warning and believed the warships to be an expensive distraction. In any event, the Emperor was content for the exploration to begin.

Dauntless class Light Cruiser      15,000 tons       457 Crew       2,178.8 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,500    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 6-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 92      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 12      PPV 72
Maint Life 2.32 Years     MSP 1,089    AFR 150%    IFR 2.1%    1YR 274    5YR 4,114    Max Repair 375.00 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (2)    Power 1500.0    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750.00    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 601,000 Litres    Range 22.1 billion km (51 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-15 Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 90,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 9-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10 Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-16 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 48.9    Exp 5%

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 6     Range 3.4m km    MCR 304.7k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Sword class Frigate      7,500 tons       229 Crew       1,079.3 BP       TCS 150    TH 750    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 4-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 52      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 36
Maint Life 2.14 Years     MSP 359    AFR 112%    IFR 1.6%    1YR 105    5YR 1,573    Max Repair 187.50 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-375M (2)    Power 750.0    Fuel Use 46.19%    Signature 375.00    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 410,000 Litres    Range 21.3 billion km (49 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-15 Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 90,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 9-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10 Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-12 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 24.2    Exp 5%

MK I Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 6     Range 3.4m km    MCR 304.7k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

The Endeavour class Light Cruiser and Falchion class Frigate were jump-capable ships based on modified Dauntless and Sword hulls respectively. To create space for the jump drives, the AK-15 weapon batteries and associated reactors and fire controls were removed from both designs. In compensation for the loss of offensive firepower, the Endeavour and Falchion provided the Imperial Navy with tactical and strategic flexibility.

Endeavour class Light Cruiser      15,000 tons       410 Crew       2,133.9 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,500    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 6-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 72      Sensors 2/3/0/0      DCR 12      PPV 24
Maint Life 1.96 Years     MSP 1,111    AFR 144%    IFR 2.0%    1YR 379    5YR 5,689    Max Repair 396.8 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RJ-150M Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 15000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (2)    Power 1500.0    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750.00    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 536,000 Litres    Range 19.7 billion km (45 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-10 Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-12 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 24.2    Exp 5%

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 6     Range 3.4m km    MCR 304.7k km    Resolution 1
MK I Small Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 3.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  13.7m km
MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 2.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  12.5m km

Falchion class Frigate      7,500 tons       204 Crew       973.2 BP       TCS 150    TH 750    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 4-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 42      Sensors 2/3/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 12
Maint Life 2.10 Years     MSP 364    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 111    5YR 1,659    Max Repair 187.50 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RJ-75M Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 7500 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Ravenor Drive Systems RD-375M (2)    Power 750.0    Fuel Use 46.19%    Signature 375.00    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 405,000 Litres    Range 21 billion km (48 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-10 Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-12 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 12.1    Exp 5%

MK I Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 6     Range 3.4m km    MCR 304.7k km    Resolution 1
MK I Small Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 3.0     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  13.7m km
MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 2.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  12.5m km

The Tempest class survey frigate was a further modification of the Falchion. The two RD-300M engines were replaced with a single RD-336E that required twenty percent less space. All armament was removed, along with all but the bare minimum of armour. Even the active augur array was replaced by a less capable version. The available space was used to greatly expand the engineering decks, crew quarters and fuel capacity and to mount two geological and two gravitational sensor systems. The result was a capable survey vessel with great endurance, that would be almost helpless if it encountered any hostile forces

Tempest class Survey Frigate      7,500 tons       193 Crew       972.5 BP       TCS 150    TH 336    EM 0
2240 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-34       Shields 0-0       HTK 47      Sensors 1/1/2/2      DCR 10      PPV 0
Maint Life 6.35 Years     MSP 810    AFR 45%    IFR 0.6%    1YR 35    5YR 519    Max Repair 117.6000 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RJ-75M Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 7500 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Ravenor Drive Systems RD-336E (1)    Power 336.0    Fuel Use 14.97%    Signature 336.00    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 1,001,000 Litres    Range 160.5 billion km (829 days at full power)

MK I Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 1.8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  10.6m km
MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 1.8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  10.6m km
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

Imperial Navy Starting Forces
12x Dauntless class Light Cruiser: Advocate, Aegis, Bellerophon, Bloodhawk, Cerberus, Dauntless, Divine Crusade, Guardian, Hammer of Truth, Havock, Luxor, Ravenor
4x Endeavour class Light Cruiser: Endeavour, Leonid, Sacrament of Judgement, Sanctis Legate
12x Sword class Frigate: Achilles, Drusus, Excalibur, Final Silence, Heroic Endeavour, Mariatus, Night Stalker, Order Absolute, Raven's Spear, Silent Fire, Sword, Valiant
4x Falchion class Frigate: Claymore, Falchion, Khopesh, Scimitar
8x Tempest class Survey Frigate: Acta Sanctorum, Ascension, Covenant, Emperor's Light, Evening Star, Morning Star, Tempest, Vita Brevis

At the start of the exploration of the solar system, the tonnage of non-military forces vastly outweighed that of the Imperial Navy. The main commercial vessels and space stations were as follows:

10x Carrack class Freighter: 46,147 tons, 1950 km/s, Standard Cargo Hold.
5x Caravel class Colony Ship: 46,854 tons, 1920 km/s, 100,000 Cryogenic Capacity.
6x Cetaceous class Troop Transport: 59,598 tons, 2516 km/s, 20,000 tons Drop Troop Capacity, Armour 5.
4x Orca class Troop Transport: 45,000 tons, 2333 km/s, 10,000 tons Troop Capacity, Jump-capable.
4x Brigantine class Replenishment Ship: 48,000 tons, 2500 km/s, 7.8m fuel, 8,000 MSP, Jump-capable.
4x Empyrean class Jump Tender: 64,183 tons, 2103 km/s, 130,500 tons Jump Capacity.
4x Goliath class Tug: 125,572 tons. 4778 km/s, Engine Power 12,000.
4x Gateway class Stabilisation Ship: 82,571 tons, 1816 km/s, Stabilisation 180 Days.
5x Ambrosia class Fuel Harvester Station: 129,094 tons, 50 Sorium Harvesters.
5x Gaia class Terraforming Station: 126,557 tons. 5 Terraforming Modules.
5x Hephaestus class Orbital Mining Platform: 127,645 tons. 25 Orbital Mining Modules.

Ground Forces
The Imperium ground combat forces were known as the Imperial Guard. The primary manoeuvre formation was the Imperial Guard Regiment, which comprised two thousand four hundred guardsman armed with lasguns, one hundred and eighty Chimeras (light vehicles armed with automatic bolters), four Vox Caster squads for liaison with orbital fire support, thirty supply vehicles and the regimental HQ. The regiment required 20,000 tons of transport capacity. When multiple regiments were deployed together, they were organised into Corps formations. Each corps consisted of up to four regiments plus corps-level assets including one hundred and twenty heavy mortars, one hundred and fifty supply vehicles, twelve Land Crawler construction vehicles and the corps headquarters. The corps assets required similar transport capacity to a regiment.

The infantry-based Imperial Guard formations were supported by a number of Light Armour Regiments, each of which comprised one hundred and eighty Hellhound Anti-Infantry Tanks, armed with twin automatic bolters, two Salamander command vehicles, which provided both the headquarters and a Vox Caster capability, and twelve supply vehicles. The Planetary Defence Force formations provided surface to orbit defensive capabilities and comprised four Medusa planetary weapon batteries, equivalent to the AK-15 weapon battery of Imperial warships, and eight Hydra planetary defence batteries, equivalent to the AK-10. Planetary Defence Forces were primarily intended to protect Terra should any hostile force penetrate the shield of the Imperial Navy, but were also used to secure the sites of new colonies.

In addition to the combat forces, three other Imperial formations existed at the start of the 26th century; the Ordo Xenos, the Ordo Mineralis and the Ordo Machinum. The Ordo Xenos was intended to investigate any alien artifacts or ruins that were discovered during the exploration of the galaxy. The standard Ordo Machinum formation included thirty Land Crawler construction vehicles for various tasks, including recovery of any alien installations identified by the Ordo Xenos. Finally, the Ordo Mineralis would conduct ground-based geological surveys where the orbital survey found evidence to suggest further mineral deposits might exist.

Records from the time show that plans were in motion for more capable ground forces, with two approaches under consideration; the development of superior infantry forces using genetic enhancements and improved armour, intended for use in specialist missions, and a series of larger and more destructive armoured vehicles. Both would require some time due to the research requirements.

Starting Ground Forces
12x Imperial Guard Regiment
3x Corps Assets
4x Light Armour Regiment
4x Planetary Defence Force
2x Ordo Machinum
2x Ordo Xenos
2x Ordo Mineralis

January 2500
The eight Tempest class Survey Frigates began a survey of Sol on January 1st 2500. The gravitational survey revealed four jump points; one just inside the orbit of Mars, two not far beyond the orbit of Saturn and the fourth close to the orbit of Uranus. The geological survey was generally disappointing, with the exception being four million tons of accessibility 0.9 Sorium in the atmosphere of Jupiter. Ten million tons of accessibility 0.9 Duranium was discovered on Mercury, but the only other two minerals on the planet were at minimal accessibility. The Hephaestus orbital miners were deployed to the comet Tempel 1 which had a few thousand tons of high accessibility deposits. The limited mineral deposits on Earth would only last a few years with the voracious demands of Terran industry so, given the lack of any significant deposits in Sol, locating new mineral sources was the highest priority for the Imperial Navy.

Jupiter Survey Report
Sorium:   3,861,000   0.90

Mercury Survey Report
Duranium:   10,078,254   0.90
Mercassium:   1,100,821   0.10
Vendarite:   262,554   0.10

Tempel 1 Survey Report
Duranium:   49,224   0.80
Neutronium:   22,066   1.00
Sorium:   49,669   0.70
Gallicite:   13,781   0.50

On June 10th 2500 the survey frigate Ascension discovered the ruins of an alien settlement on Pluto, way out at six billion kilometres from Terra. This was the first confirmation of the Emperor’s prophecy that humanity would encounter alien life and resolved the debate within the Lords of Terra regarding the level of resources dedicated to military expansion. While terraforming Pluto was not a serious option, the ruins themselves were a potential gold mine of technology and alien installations. Two Order Xenos formations were transported from Terra to conduct a xenoarchaeological survey. They completed their task in January 2501, revealing thirty-six potential recovery sites. Two Ordo Machinum formations were moved to Pluto to begin recovery operations.

In July 2500, Omega Squadron, comprising the Sword class frigates Achilles and Drusus and the Falchion class frigate Claymore and led by Commander Malphas Domor on the Drusus, was ordered to investigate the four jump points discovered in Sol and scout the systems beyond. The third and fourth jump points led respectively to the planetless red dwarf systems of V1216 Sagittarii and Wolf 359, shortened to simply Sagittarii and Wolf for common usage.

Jump point two connected to Proxima, a red dwarf with two colony cost 2.00 terrestrial planets. The outer planet was a huge high gravity world with a dense atmosphere that included 0.3 atm of Carbon Dioxide, making it difficult to terraform. The inner planet, similar in size to Mercury, lacked an atmosphere and had a temperature of -69C. However, the small size and the presence of ice sheets covering twenty-eight percent of the surface made it a possible terraforming site. The only minerals comprised two minimal accessibility deposits. A colony was established in late 2500.

Jump point one led to Lalande, a red dwarf system with five planets and thirty-seven moons. Lalande III was a frozen, high gravity world with a nitrogen atmosphere. The existing atmosphere and ice sheets covering more than sixty percent of the surface made the planet a potential terraforming target. A geological survey revealed deposits of eight different minerals at minimal to low accessibilities. A small colony was established on Lalande III shortly after the discovery of the system.
 
Lalande III Survey Report
Duranium:   37,758,050   0.40
Neutronium:   41,964,484   0.30
Boronide:   28,015,849   0.10
Mercassium:   9,492,561   0.10
Vendarite:   25,563,136   0.10
Uridium:   47,238,129   0.40
Corundium:   99,856   0.10
Gallicite:   898,704   0.10

By May 2501, known space had expanded to thirteen systems. Surveys of Lalande, Sagittarii and Wolf all revealed one additional jump point, leading respectively to the systems of Macharius, Aurigae and Aeolus. All three were generally unremarkable, except for the innermost of six planets in Aurigae. The geological survey revealed three mineral deposits, including eight million tons of accessibility 1.0 Duranium, plus a huge alien construct of unknown origin. Two Ordo Xenos formations were dispatched on a pair of Orca class troop transports to investigate. The planet lacked both water and an atmosphere and the temperature was 282C, so terraforming would be a major undertaking.

Aurigae I Survey Report
Duranium:   8,602,952   1.00
Neutronium:   2,039,184   0.40
Boronide:   5,664,400   0.60

Two new jump points were discovered in Proxima, leading to the planetless brown dwarf systems of Equinox and Solstice, each of which also had two outward jump points. The Solstice jump points connected to the planetless systems of Meridian and Epsilon Indi. Given Proxima itself only had two planets, the area beyond Sol’s second jump point seemed to be a barren region of space. On May 29th 2501, Omega squadron conducted its twelfth jump point probe as it investigated the inner of two jump points in Equinox. The system beyond, named Caliban, comprised an M0-V red dwarf with eight planets and seventy-five moons. Caliban II was an ocean world with a nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere of 0.48 atm, including 0.074 atm of oxygen, and a temperature of 59C. It was by far the best terraforming candidate to be discovered so far.

As with previous system scouting missions, the jump-capable Falchion class frigate Claymore remained on the jump point while the Sword class frigates Achilles and Drusus conducted a sweep of the inner system. As they passed within the orbit of the fifth planet, two hundred and seventy million kilometres from the star, four alien ships were detected. All four ships were of different classes, designated Cairn, Khopesh, Reaper and Scythe. The Reaper was 14,196 tons, slightly smaller than a Dauntless class light cruiser, the Cairn was 7081 tons and the Khopesh and Scythe were both 7069 tons. The aliens were on an intercept course at 4959 km/s. Commander Malphas Domor ordered Achilles and his own ship Drusus to run for the jump point while attempting communication. The Sword class frigates had a top speed of 5000 km/s, giving them a very small edge over the aliens.

Thirty minutes after the initial contact, with the aliens on the edge of sensor range at thirty-eight million kilometres, two wave of eight size-5 torpedoes were detected, travelling fifteen seconds apart at 33,280 km/s. The aliens were immediately classified as hostile. Each Sword was armed with four Astaroth AK-15 and four Astaroth AK-10 weapons batteries. Each battery could fire four simultaneous rounds, with the more powerful AK-15 recycling every fifteen seconds and the AK-10 every five seconds. In total, the two frigates could fire a total of sixty-four shots against the inbounds with a tracking speed of 5000 km/s. That proved sufficient to destroy all sixteen torpedoes.

For the moment, Claymore, under the command of Commander Apollo Septimus, remained on the jump point; partly because her jump drive was the only way that Achilles and Drusus could leave the system and partly so she could provide intelligence on the alien capabilities in the event she was forced to run for home. Twenty-two minutes after the first attack, two more salvos of eight torpedoes appeared on sensors. Once more the frigates survived without taking a hit.

Four more similar attacks were launched by the aliens; every twenty-two minutes two more salvos of eight torpedoes arrived. A torpedo from the sixth wave penetrated the point defence and narrowly missed Drusus. Shortly after the sixth attack, the alien ships ended the pursuit and moved back toward the planet. The Cairn class remained on sensors due to its powerful active sensor. Despite this apparent retreat, a seventh attack occurred twenty-one minutes after the previous one and was far more sustained. Eight salvos of torpedoes arrived in fifteen second intervals. Achilles was struck by a torpedo from the third salvo, suffering armour damage. All the other torpedoes were destroyed by point defence. Achilles and Drusus joined Claymore at the Equinox jump point without further incident. Omega squadron moved through Equinox and into Proxima, where they raised the alert. Stabilised jump points, such as the one connecting Sol and Proxima, allowed the transmission of messages

Lord Admiral Constantine Phaeron was the head of the Imperial Navy and one of the twelve Lords of Terra. While some of his fellow Lords wanted him to mount an immediate large-scale attack, using the inability of the aliens to destroy two Sword class frigates as their reasoning, Phaeron was wary of potential unknown dangers. The Imperial Navy warships had a very slight speed advantage over the aliens, which allowed the frigates to remain at long-range and defeat the inbound torpedoes. However, the fact that the torpedo salvos were relatively small suggested that only one or two alien ships were firing, which meant the others could be armed with energy weapons. The Imperial Navy might be able to defend against hostile torpedo fire, but if the alien ships had longer-ranged energy weapons, it would take too much time to run them down. Closing each 10,000 kilometres of difference in range would require four minutes.

Lord Admiral Phaeron convinced his fellow Lords of Terra that more intelligence on the numbers and capabilities of the aliens was required, before risking a substantial part of the Imperial Navy. However, the Navy did not possess ships that fulfil a small-scale scouting role. Therefore, a new concept was created in the form of Project Thunderhawk; a series of small 1000-ton vessels would be designed to fulfil a variety of different roles, including scouting, surveying and combat. The first design was the Thunderhawk-S Scout, intended for long-range, independent scouting missions. The jump-capable Thunderhawk-S was equipped with the same active augur array as the Sword class frigate, thermal and EM passive sensors and four torpedo box launchers, which would be used for the newly designed augur torpedoes. Although slower than normal warships, the Thunderhawk-S would rely primarily on its small size and long-ranged drones to avoid detection.

Thunderhawk-S class Scout      1,000 tons       23 Crew       121.2 BP       TCS 20    TH 75    EM 0
3753 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 1-8       Shields 0-0       HTK 5      Sensors 2/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 3
Maint Life 2.19 Years     MSP 18    AFR 32%    IFR 0.4%    1YR 5    5YR 76    Max Repair 37.50 MSP
Magazine 20   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RJ-10M Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 1000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1
Ravenor Drive Systems RD-75M (1)    Power 75.0    Fuel Use 103.28%    Signature 75.00    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 61,000 Litres    Range 10.6 billion km (32 days at full power)

Torpedo Box Launcher (4)     Missile Size: 5    Hangar Reload 111 minutes    MF Reload 18 hours
Augur Torpedo Fire Control (1)     Range 14.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Augur Torpedo (4)    Speed: 5,000 km/s    End: 3.3d     Range: 1,440m km    WH: 0    Size: 5.00    TH: 16/10/5

MK I Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 2.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  12.5m km
MK I Very Small Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 0.6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  6.1m km

MK I Augur Torpedo
Missile Size: 5.00 MSP (12.5 tons)      Warhead: 0    Radiation Damage: 0    Manoeuvre Rating: 10
Speed: 5,000 km/s     Fuel: 800     Flight Time: 80 hours     Range: 1,440m km
Active Sensor Strength: 0.6   EM Sensitivity Modifier: 6
Resolution: 120    Maximum Range vs 6000-ton object (or larger): 5,280,028 km
Thermal Sensor Strength: 0.25    Detect Sig Strength 1000:  3,952,847 km
Cost Per Missile: 1.98     Development Cost: 198

Until the first Thunderhawk was available, a squadron of warships compromising the Dauntless class light cruisers Advocate and Aegis, the Endeavour class light cruiser Leonid and the Sword class destroyers Excalibur and Final Silence, would guard the Equinox – Caliban jump point. Omega Squadron headed home for repair, resupply and overhaul. Eight days after the alert was raised, the Navy was boosted by the construction of the Sword class frigates Destiny’s Hand and Pegasus.



Omega squadron returned to service in September 2501 and began a new series of exploration missions. As a result of the alien encounter in Caliban, the squadron was reinforced with the Sword class frigate Silent Fire. As before, Claymore would remain at the jump point in newly discovered systems, but now three frigates would conduct the in-system reconnaissance. Single jump points in the Aeolus and Aurigae systems led respectively to Groombridge and R Coronae Australis. The former was an unremarkable system comprising an orange K8-V primary and six planets. The latter, which dropped the R for common usage, had a white A5-II supergiant primary twenty-one million kilometres in diameter, plus seven planets and seventy-five moons. The innermost planet was at four point five billion kilometres with the outermost at one hundred billion. The system would be hard to survey due to the distances involved. Even the gravitational survey would need to cover an area forty billion kilometres in diameter.

While Omega squadron was conducting its new exploration missions, the first Thunderhawk-S arrived at the light cruiser squadron guarding the Equinox – Caliban jump point. After refuelling from the replenishment ship Brigantine Amethyst, the Thunderhawk entered Caliban on November 24th, and proceeded in-system. The likely location for any alien colony or base was the second planet, which was an ocean world with a nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere. However, Caliban III was a colony cost 2.00 planet so that was also targeted by an augur torpedo. Both torpedoes were launched while the Thunderhawk was well over a billion kilometres from the inner system. The four alien ships were detected in orbit of Caliban II. Before the augur torpedo could move close enough to the planet for thermal readings, it detected three small thermal contacts at very close range. Moments later the torpedo was destroyed by a strength-1 torpedo detonation. The aliens had torpedoes intended to destroy other torpedoes; an anti-torpedo torpedo. The second torpedo arrived at Caliban II without detecting any further alien presence.



With confirmation that only four ships were present in Caliban, the Lords of Terra discussed an operation to eliminate the threat. Lord Admiral Constantine Phaeron still feared the threat of longer-ranged beam weapons, against which the Imperial Navy did not yet have an effective counter when facing ships with near-equal speed. However, he believed the ships already in Equinox would be sufficient to defend the Caliban jump point against the alien forces should they attempt to transit. Therefore, he proposed containment in the near-term while Terran scientists developed the next generation of weapon batteries and an offensive torpedo capability. After a vote, the Lords accepted that proposal.

Omega squadron moved into the chain of systems beyond Proxima to investigate single new jump points in Equinox and Meridian and three in Epsilon Indi. A second force, Phoenix Squadron, was formed and sent through Lalande into Macharius to explore a jump point found by the recently-completed gravitational survey. The number of available Sword class frigates was running low with three in Omega squadron and two more with the guard force in Equinox, so Phoenix squadron comprised the lead ship of the Falchion class plus the Sword class frigates Destiny’s Hand and Heroic Endeavour.

The transit revealed Nocturne, a red dwarf system with five planets. None of the planets were habitable, although Nocturne II had oceans covering 80% of the surface and a temperature just within the upper end of the human tolerance range. Unfortunately, the 0.53 atm atmosphere was ninety-five percent methane. The entry jump point was over a billion kilometres from the star so Commander Gabriel Trajan on the Falchion ordered Destiny’s Hand and Heroic Endeavour to head in-system while his own ship remained at the jump point. Two-thirds of the way to their destination, the frigates detected sensor emissions from an alien Cairn class at sixty million kilometres. Both frigates reversed course and headed back to the jump point.

Falchion transited back into Macharius to send an update to Terra via the stabilised jump network before returning to Nocturne. The presence of the hostile aliens in a system far from the previous contact was extremely concerning. It was possible that Caliban and Nocturne had a jump point connection, but in any event the Imperium was dealing with a multi-system hostile alien race. The priority of military development increased even further.

Thirty-four minutes after initial contact, the frigates detected several waves of inbound torpedoes. Unlike the attack on Omega Squadron in Caliban, there was no delay between salvos. Within a period of a few minutes, fifteen waves of four torpedoes attacked Destiny’s Hand and Heroic Endeavour. A single torpedo from the fourth wave struck Heroic Endeavour. The rest were all destroyed by the frigates’ weapon batteries. The two Sword class frigates continued on course for the jump point while the Cairn continued to pursue. There may have been other alien ships present but the Cairn was outside active augur range and only detected by its own emissions. Thirty minutes later, a second attack was launched with only three waves of torpedoes. All were shot down. The Cairn continued to shadow the frigates, losing ground very slowly.



Two days later, Destiny’s Hand and Heroic Endeavour rendezvoused with Falchion at the Macharius jump point. The Cairn was still in pursuit at sixty-six million kilometres. During that time, Falchion continued to transit back into Macharius every few hours to send updates to Terra. Lord Admiral Phaeron directly ordered Commander Gabriel Trajan to remain on the jump point unless he believed his ships were in danger of destruction. Phaeron wanted to avoid giving away the jump point location unless absolutely necessary and to gain additional intelligence on the alien forces.

The emissions from the Cairn class halted at forty-eight million kilometres, just outside active sensor range. Twenty-two minutes later, more inbound torpedoes were detected. Eighteen waves of four torpedoes attacked in total and all were destroyed by defensive fire. As the squadron was stationary the torpedoes were arriving ten seconds apart, which meant the AK-15 batteries did not have time to recharge between salvos. However, Falchion added four more AK-10 batteries to the defence, which compensated for the reduction in AK-15 fire. It appeared that there was at least one other ship besides the Cairn and the two ships had different engagement ranges for their torpedoes, which was a potential alien weakness to be exploited in future engagements. After the second engagement concluded, the emissions from the Cairn retreated toward the inner system and soon vanished from Imperium sensors. Lord Admiral Phaeron ordered the squadron to hold position in Nocturne while he sent forward the second Thunderhawk-S.

Six days later, the aliens were back. A squadron with the same composition as the alien force encountered in Caliban, the Cairn detected earlier plus a Reaper, a Khopesh and a Scythe, moved into sensor range. None of the aliens had detectable sensor emissions until they reached twenty-five million kilometres, when the Cairn and the Scythe both went active. Commander Trajan believed that an immediate retreat would go against his orders, so he decided to defend against the probable torpedo attack and hold his position. If his ships began taking damage, he would pull back into Macharius and hold the far side of the jump point. That calculation changed when thermal emissions from a wave of twelve torpedoes appeared at one point six million kilometres. Given their stationary position and therefore reduction in fire from the AK-15s, Trajan was no longer confident of withstanding the alien attack without significant damage. On that basis, he ordered a retreat into Macharius. The three ships transited before the arrival of the first wave of torpedoes. There was no pursuit.

Despite the need to withdraw, Commander Trajan’s decision to wait until the last moment yielded valuable intelligence. It now appeared there were three alien ships firing torpedoes, with apparently different maximum ranges. Given the equal size of the salvos, it was reasonable to assume the three 7000 ton designs were the source. In Caliban, an augur drone was struck by an anti-torpedo torpedo (ATT), so unless the smaller ships carried two different types of torpedo, which seemed unlikely, the ATT probably originated from the Reaper. That analysis led to the conclusion that all four ships in Caliban plus the known squadron in Nocturne were probably all armed with torpedoes, rather than energy weapons. Of course, it was possible the alien ships had a secondary energy armament or even that the Reaper had a main energy armament with the ATTs as a secondary, but the probability of a significant long-ranged alien energy capability was far less than before the events in Nocturne.

With the new intelligence provided by Phoenix Squadron, the Lords of Terra decided to launch a large-scale operation against the alien force in Caliban. There was no intelligence on the total alien force in Nocturne so that was not an option until the Thunderhawk completed its scout mission. Two Dauntless class light cruisers and two Sword class frigates were already on station on the Equinox – Caliban jump point, along with an Endeavour class light cruiser for jump support. Four more Dauntlesses and two Swords were dispatched from Terra, along with a replenishment ship that would arrive in time to refuel them after the battle. The six Dauntlesses represented fifty percent of the Imperial Navy’s combat cruisers. The other six remained to guard Terra, along with three Endeavours, five Swords and three Falchions.

On February 12th 2052, the Imperial Navy transited into Caliban. The force, officially known as Battlefleet Caliban and under the command of Captain Vulkan Taurus, comprised the Dauntless class light cruisers Advocate, Aegis, Bellerophon, Bloodhawk, Cerberus and Dauntless and the Sword class frigates Excalibur, Final Silence, Mariatus and Night Stalker. The jump point was three point seven billion kilometres from the primary so it took nine days to reach the inner system. The orbit of the fifth planet, site of the engagement with Omega Squadron, was passed without incident. At sixty-five million kilometres from Caliban II, Battlefleet Caliban detected active emissions from the Cairn class ship. Thirty minutes later the fleet was attacked by twelve waves of four torpedoes each. The massed Imperium weapon batteries easily dealt with the threat.



There were no further torpedo attacks as Battlefleet Caliban closed the range. Captain Taurus assumed the aliens had decided to stop wasting torpedoes given the ease with which their first attack was defeated. That situation could not last however. It was unlikely the aliens would simply let the Imperial warships move into energy range without hindrance. At four million kilometres from Caliban II, a population signature was detected. With a thermal signature of strength-60 and an EM signature of strength-50, it was a few small installations at best.

At five hundred thousand kilometres, thermal sensors detected torpedo launches from the alien warships. Twelve were strength-8 and eighteen more were strength-4. Captain Taurus knew the large signatures matched those from the torpedoes that had previously attacked Battlefleet Caliban. The smaller ones were probably the ATTs that had taken out the augur torpedo three months earlier. Taurus ordered the fleet to continue closing. While that reduced the effectiveness of the AK-15 weapon batteries because they would not recharge in between waves, his ships had to get within their 90,000 kilometre weapon range to force the issue.

The smaller torpedoes had a speed of 72,000 km/s, making them very difficult for point defence to engage. Battlefleet Caliban had a total of sixty-four AK-15 weapon batteries and sixty-four fast-firing AK-10s, which could provide over five hundred simultaneous point defence shots when all were fully charged and half that when just the AK-10s were firing. The torpedo waves came in fast and close together, with the larger torpedoes and the smaller ATTs often arriving at the same time due to the short range. The massed weapon batteries held the alien torpedoes at bay as Battlefleet Caliban advanced without suffering a single hit. However, it was not enough to just defend; the warships of the Imperial Navy also had to fire on their enemies. Captain Taurus ordered every ship to target the 14,000-ton Reaper, source of the ATTs, with their AK-15s as soon as they were in range, while retaining the AK-10s for point defence.

The diversion of effort, accompanied by the delays caused by crews facing their first test of battle as the fleet readjusted its targeting, had immediate results, with Dauntless taking nine hits from ATTs. In response, the light cruisers Advocate and Bellerophon and the frigates Excalibur and Night Stalker inflicted sixty-six strength-1 hits on the Reaper. The four alien ships immediately broke orbit, trying to hold the range open. Battlefleet Caliban pursued, continuing to fire on the Reaper at 70,000 kilometres while the AK-10 batteries tried to hold back the torpedo onslaught. Two separate waves were shot down, then both types of torpedoes arrived simultaneously. Dauntless was shook by six strength-6 hits and two strength-1. Her armour was holding.

A hail of fire continued to batter the Reaper. In total, it suffered more than three hundred strength-1 hits within a thirty second period. The number of ATTs being launched dropped to nine and then five, before the Reaper suddenly disintegrated, leaving only wreckage. The three smaller ships turned and charged at Battlefleet Caliban. There was no reason for the torpedo-armed warship to close in, other than a potential ramming attack. Captain Taurus ordered his ships to hold the range open to 30,000 kilometres and target the Cairn. Once again the change in firing orders caused disruption in the point defence fire and Dauntless suffered a further four strength-6 hits. Taurus resolved that in future he would ensure his crews were better trained and would advise the creation of a pure escort class.

The Cairn took fire for just ten seconds at a range of 25,000 kilometres, receiving almost a hundred strength-3 hits before being destroyed by a large secondary explosion. Taurus left the frigates to provide point defence fire and ordered the cruisers to target the Scythe. The end came quickly with the Scythe and then the Khopesh blown apart at close range while the frigates dealt with the last desperate salvos. Caliban, apart from the surface of Caliban II, was now Imperium territory. Dauntless had suffered substantial armour damage, but otherwise Battlefleet Caliban had survived intact. The Endeavour class light cruiser Leonid had remained at the jump point throughout the action and now relayed news of the battle to Terra via the stable jump network. Captain Vulkan Taurus requested ground forces to secure the small alien colony.

At the far side of known space, Thunderhawk-S 002 rendezvoused with Phoenix Squadron in Macharius and shortly thereafter transited into Nocturne. The jump point in Nocturne was a little over a billion kilometres from the inner system, which meant the Thunderhawk could launch its drones immediately after transit and return to Macharius within a few minutes. Several hours after transit, Commander Gabriel Trajan of Phoenix Squadron sent a message to Terra, informing Imperial Navy Command that Thunderhawk-S 002 had not returned and should therefore be considered lost in action. He also pointed out that given the small size of the scout and the location of the jump point, she would have remained undetected unless an alien force was very close to the jump point, most likely the same four ships that attacked his own squadron. On that basis, Commander Trajan recommended a large-scale assault through the jump point to destroy the alien squadron at close range. The Lords of Terra agreed. Battlefleet Caliban was ordered to return to Terra for refuel and resupply, leaving two frigates to watch over Caliban II, and prepare for an assault on Nocturne. A Falchion class was dispatched to Caliban to create a full frigate squadron with jump capability.

While that operation was being prepared, Omega Squadron was exploring the three new jump points in Epsilon Indi. The first led to Corinthis, a binary system with an orange K7-V primary, an M0-V red dwarf companion and eleven planets, nine of which orbited the primary. Corinthis-A III was a cold, super-terrestoid world with a dense nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere and ice sheets covering all but six prevent of the surface. The atmosphere was 2.23 atm with an oxygen content of only 0.089 atm, making it close to the breathable range for humans. Despite the 23,000 kilometre diameter, the world could be terraformed relatively easily. The temperature of -42C would need to be increased, although, as the planet was tide-locked, once the atmosphere was breathable the colony cost would only be 0.27. Corinthis IV was even closer to breathable, with 0.097 atm of oxygen in an atmosphere of 0.32 atm. It was far colder though at -97C.

Jump point two connected to Medusa, a red dwarf system with three planets, including one remarkably similar to Corinthis-A III. Medusa II was a super-terrestoid world with a nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere of 2.55 atm, including 0.077 atm of oxygen, and a temperature of -46C. Even the gravity was similar at 1.5G and 1.6G respectively. The only significant different was that ice sheets only covered a third of Medusa II. Omega Squadron headed in-system, leaving Claymore at the jump point, three hundred million kilometres from the primary. After moving one hundred and twenty-million kilometres, the three Sword class frigates detected four alien ships of the same types that had been encountered in Nocturne and destroyed in Caliban. Whoever the aliens were, they seemed to be present in a concerning number of systems close to Terra.

The frigates, Achilles, Drusus and Silent Fire, reversed course and headed for the jump point. The aliens pursued at a distance of thirty-eight million kilometres but did not open fire. Six hours later, with the frigates twenty million kilometres from Claymore on the jump point, thermal sensors detected a salvo of four torpedoes. Point defence crews stood ready but the torpedoes passed the frigates on their port side at a distance of two hundred and fifty thousand kilometres. At first, Commander Domor thought the torpedoes had somehow lost guidance. Then he realised the target was Claymore. If the aliens in different systems were somehow communicating, then they would have a good idea of the point defence capabilities of his three Swords and probably realised it would be difficult to score hits. Claymore was alone on the jump point which made her a much better target.

Only one salvo appeared to be in flight, but Commander Domor saw no point in taking chances. He ordered Claymore to retreat into Epsilon Indi and return when the three Swords were due to reach the jump point. The squadron re-assembled on the Medusa side of the jump point just over an hour later. The four alien ships moved to within thirty-five million kilometres and held position without opening fire. The remaining Thunderhawk class scout was ordered to Medusa so augur torpedoes could be launched at the inner system. If the defences were light, Medusa would become the next target after the conclusion of the planned operation in Nocturne.

Battlefleet Caliban arrived at Terra on March 19th 2502 and completed refuelling and resupply. Dauntless entered the orbital shipyard known as the Cain Graving Dock for three weeks of work to repair her armour. The Endeavour class light cruiser Leonid and the Dauntless class light cruisers Advocate and Aegis had been on station in Equinox for several months prior to the arrival of the rest of the fleet so they all began an overhaul. The fleet was also short of the two frigates left in Caliban. To compensate for the loss of several ships, Battlefleet Caliban was reinforced by the Dauntless class light cruisers Divine Crusade, Havock and Ravenor, the Endeavour class light cruisers Endeavour, Sacrament of Judgement and Sanctis Legate and the Falchion class frigate Scimitar. The presence of the three Endeavours and the Falchion would allow the six Dauntlesses and the two Swords to conduct a simultaneous jump assault in four groups. As Captain Vulkan Taurus commanded the Advocate, which had left the fleet, command of Battlefleet Caliban now fell to Captain Remus Horst of the Endeavour.

On March 28th, Thunderhawk-S 001 arrived in Medusa and joined Omega Squadron. Commander Domor believed it was unlikely the aliens would detect the small ship but even so he ordered Lieutenant Commander Malik Orion to take the Thunderhawk further away from the star, keeping Omega squadron in-between, then circle around to launch his augur torpedoes so that they would not pass within range of the anti-torpedoes on the Reaper. Unfortunately, it appeared the aliens could detect the Thunderhawk. An hour and twenty minutes after the small ship left the jump point, a wave of four torpedoes passed close to Omega Squadron, but not within weapon range. There was no chance for the Thunderhawk to return to the protection of the squadron, so Domor ordered Lieutenant Commander Orion to try to outrun the torpedoes while he took Omega Squadron toward the aliens in an attempt to force them back. The alien ships maintained their thirty-five million kilometre range and began moving further away from the jump point.

Sadly, the desperate tactic did not work. Four torpedoes struck and destroyed Thunderhawk-S 001. The ability of the aliens to detect and destroy a 1000-ton ship at fifty-five million kilometres indicated a higher level of technology than the Imperium, despite the similar speed and size of their ships. Two more of the small scouts had recently been constructed, but the class was not faring well. Both originals had now been lost. Commander Domor abandoned his pursuit of the aliens and moved to pick up the life pods from the destroyed ship. Lieutenant Commander Orion was one of only five surviving crew from the complement of twenty-three. The aliens continued to shadow Omega Squadron without taking offensive action.

Battlefleet Caliban joined Phoenix Squadron at the Macharius – Nocturne jump point on April 6th 2502 and divided into four squadrons for the assault, three of which comprised two Dauntless and one Endeavour each with the fourth comprised of a Falchion and two Swords. Phoenix Squadron was also comprised of a Falchion and two Swords. The five squadrons launched the assault into Nocturne om April 6th 2502.

As predicted, the four alien ships, a Reaper, a Cairn, A Scythe and a Khopesh, were all on the jump point and they immediately began launching torpedoes as soon as the Imperium ships arrived in Nocturne. The immediate problem was jump shock, which prevented fire controls from locking targets, including inbound torpedoes, until it wore off, which could be as long as thirty seconds. A second concern was the aliens getting out of range within that time, so two light cruiser squadrons targeted the Reaper, the third cruiser squadron targeted the Cairn and the two frigate squadrons targeted the Scythe and Khopesh. All squadrons would pursue their targets. AK-15 weapon batteries were committed to offensive action with the AK-10s on point defence duty.

All the alien torpedoes were targeted on the Dauntless class light cruiser Bellerophon, which by some minor miracle had already recovered from jump shock when the torpedoes arrived. Even so, the point defence crews targeted the faster ATTs and only managed to destroy four. With no other ships able to aid her with point defence, she was struck by ten torpedoes with strength-6 warheads and fourteen of the ATTs with strength-1 warheads. While Bellerophon didn’t suffer internal damage, her armour was penetrated in two places.

The area around the jump point was chaotic as the alien ships attempted to open the range while the five Imperial squadrons tried to maintain as a close as range as possible and waited for their fire controls to recover. Ten seconds later Bellerophon was hit again, this time by fifteen ATTs, as she was still the only ship able to fire. Moments after the torpedo strike, the light cruisers Bloodhawk and Divine Crusade and the frigates Destiny’s Hand and Mariatus all recovered from jump shock simultaneously and opened fire at close to point blank range. Each was in a different squadron and therefore tracking a different alien ship. Every shot was on target and the alien ships suffered a total of ninety-six strength-3 hits. The Cairn class was left dead in space.

A salvo of twelve anti-ship torpedoes, launched while the alien ships were under fire, attacked Bellerophon, but with Bellerophon and her squadron mate Bloodhawk both recovered from jump shock, every inbound torpedo was destroyed. A follow-up salvo of ATTs was engaged by several ships but due to the high speed six struck Bellerophon. One torpedo penetrated the armour without inflicting any permanent damage. The cruisers Cerberus and Havock and the frigates Heroic Endeavour and High Stalker recovered from jump shock and targeted all four alien ships. The Cairn exploded and the other took sixty-four hits between them. Five seconds later, Bellerophon exacted her revenge by destroying the Reaper. With most Imperial ships now in the fight, the torpedoes from the last two ships could not penetrate their point defence and the battle was almost over. The Scythe was obliterated by hail of fire from Divine Crusade, then Bellerophon scored her second kill and destroyed the Khopesh. The battle lasted forty-five seconds.

With the jump point secured, Bellerophon was sent back to Terra for repairs with Sanctis Legate as escort to provide jump capability. Captain Remus Horst requested one of the new Thunderhawks to be dispatched from Terra. As it would take twenty-four days for the scout to arrive, he considered sending Phoenix Squadron to complete its original mission in the system, while holding his other ships at the jump point. However, despite leading a jump point assault with only partial intelligence, Captain Horst was a conservative tactician who would not risk lives needlessly. Given the hard evidence of an alien presence in Nocturne and no knowledge of what awaited them in the inner system, he decided spending the time rather than risking the frigates was the better option.

To avoid similar dilemmas in future, Horst made a recommendation to Imperial Navy Command that the Falchion class jump frigates should be modified to allow them to fire the same augur torpedoes as the Thunderhawks, which would improve the capability of frigate squadrons during jump point exploration missions. That recommendation was quickly accepted. A new Falchion-S design was created by removing one of the four AK-10 weapon batteries and replacing it with five torpedo box launchers and an appropriate fire control. The Octavian Shipbuilding orbital shipyard was already tooled to build Falchions and would easily be retooled for the new design. As the shipyard had only a single slipway that was already occupied by the construction of the sixth member of the Falchion class, it would be July before any refits could begin.

Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2020, 06:57:21 PM »
On April 12th, a Cetaceous class troop transport delivered the 1st Cadian Regiment to Caliban II to secure the alien colony. There were no inhabitants, only installations; two deep space tracking stations, a refuelling station and an ordnance transfer station. As the planet was nine billion kilometres from Terra, it would provide a useful forward base if any new jumps point were discovered. A few days later, the survey frigate Emperor’s Light completed the orbital geological survey. Although only three minimal accessibility deposits were found, the frigate discovered the ruins of an outpost that the alien warships were apparently guarding.

Thunderhawk-S 003 arrived in Nocturne on May 1st and launched augur torpedoes at the second and third planets. The torpedo heading for the third planet arrived first, on May 3rd, and found nothing. Two hours later the second torpedo detected four alien ships of two new classes in orbit of Nocturne II. Designated as Shroud and Cartouche, both were slightly over 14,000 tons. The torpedo was destroyed by an ATT almost two million kilometres from Nocturne II, so at least one of the new classes was designed for anti-torpedo defence.

Given the newly detected forces were larger than the alien squadron defeated at the jump point and that Battlefleet Caliban was understrength due to the detachment of Bellerophon, Captain Horst requested reinforcements before approaching the planet. Lord Admiral Phaeron was still wary of longer-ranged beam weapons, but so far the aliens had shown only torpedoes as weapons. Also, it seemed the new alien ships were happy to remain at the planet even while the defenders of the jump point were being blown apart by Battlefleet Caliban, so it was possible they were some form of orbital base.

Terra was guarded by seven Dauntless class light cruisers, two Endeavours and five Swords. Two more Dauntless class would be launched within two weeks, followed by two Swords in October. However, Bellerophon was undergoing repair and three other cruisers were in overall. Phaeron decided that a small amount of risk was acceptable, so he was prepared to dispatch two Dauntlesses and two Swords to Nocturne, but only once the overhauls and repairs were complete. Captain Horst was informed that once the reinforcements were available, Battlefleet Caliban should cautiously approach the planet and determine the strength of the defenders. He was to disengage if he judged there was a serious risk to his ships.

One other matter was an official designation for the alien race present in Caliban, Nocturne and Medusa. While they were still simply referred to as ‘The Aliens’ in almost all official correspondence within the Imperial Navy, it was possible there would come a time when the Imperium encountered one or more additional alien races. There were also a number of colourful names given the aliens by the officers and crew of Imperial warships and Imperial Navy Command was keen to ensure that one of the more lurid options did not become the de facto designation. Therefore, given the aliens were apparently defending dead worlds, based on the ruins in Caliban and the lack of any population signature in Nocturne, they were designated as the Necrons. One odd thing that had been noted about the Necrons was that they never left life pods and their ships never vented atmosphere when hit. There was considerable speculation that they were some form of artificial or robotic life, which made sense if they were guarded ruins that could be centuries or even millennia old.

The new Dauntless class light cruisers Unbroken Vow and Vengeful Martyr joined the Imperial Navy on May 12th 2502, taking the number of ships in the class to fourteen. Bellerophon was repaired on May 18th while Advocate, Aegis and Leonid completed their overhauls on May 28th. With the forces at Terra back up to strength, the Dauntless class light cruisers Advocate and Aegis and the frigates Pegasus and Valiant were sent to reinforce Battlefleet Caliban.

The frigate squadron that had been left in Caliban after the system was secured, now known as Lexus Squadron, was in need of shore leave and overhaul, so it was recalled to Terra. A new formation, Azure Squadron, was formed at Terra and sent to Caliban, which meant all five Falchion class frigates were now on deployment; one each with Lexus, Omega, Phoenix and Azure squadrons, plus the frigate Scimitar which was deployed with Battlefleet Caliban to assist the jump point assault on Nocturne. With Omega squadron holding the jump point in Medusa and Phoenix Squadron assisting Battlefleet Caliban, there were no squadrons left for jump point explorations. Therefore, Scimitar was sent back to Terra from Nocturne to form the basis of a new squadron once Sword class frigates were available.

The reinforcements arrived in Nocturne on June 18th 2502 and joined Battlefleet Caliban. The two Sword class frigates from Phoenix Squadron were added to the Battlefleet, while the frigate Falchion remained on the jump point to relay information back to Terra, in case the battle did not go well. That gave Battlefleet Caliban the Dauntless class light cruisers Advocate, Aegis, Bloodhawk, Cerberus, Divine Crusade, Havock and Ravenor, the Endeavour class light cruisers Endeavour and Sacrament of Judgement, and the Sword class frigates Destiny's Hand, Heroic Endeavour, Mariatus, Night Stalker, Pegasus and Valiant; nine cruisers and six frigates in total. Captain Remus Horst gave the order and the fleet set course for the inner system.

Contact was re-established with the four Necron ships, or possibly bases, at 18:30 on June 20th. Three hours later Battlefleet Caliban halted for two hours at ten million kilometres to await any movement or other reaction from the Necrons. None was forthcoming, so the fleet began closing again. At eight point four million kilometres, weak active emissions were detected from the same type of sensor on all four ships. With such a low strength the sensor was probably intended for torpedo detection. At four point eight million kilometres, a ground force signature of 17,000 tons was detected by the MK I Torpedo Detection Augur Arrays on the Dauntless light cruisers. Given that ground signatures were reduced in the case of fortified units, that could indicate anything between 50,000 tons and 100,000 tons in reality. There was also the possibility of ground-based energy weapons, although they could at least be avoided by pulling back out of range. At four point three million, a similar population signature was detected to the one on Caliban II. There was still no sign of offensive action.

At one point seven million kilometres, thermal sensors detected a wave of seventy-eight inbound anti-torpedoes moving at 72.000 km/s. Captain Horst ordered a course reversal until he could determine his fleet’s ability to deal with that number of fast-moving torpedoes. Forty ATTs were hit by point defence. The other thirty-two struck the frigate Heroic Endeavour, penetrating her armour and knocking out her primary fire control. The frigate reassigned all her weapons to the secondary fire control. A second wave came in ten seconds behind the first and the fleet’s point defence fared even worse. Heroic Endeavour suffered thirty-nine strength-1 hits and lost one of her two R-12 reactors. Her armour was barely holding together, with penetration to the inner hull in seven places and less than half the overall strength remaining. Destiny’s Hand was hit four times, taking minimal armour damage.

It was now obvious the Necrons had led fire until Battlefleet Caliban was well within range. The third and fourth wave of torpedoes were already on sensors. Forty-four ATTs from the third wave struck Destiny’s Hand, which survived without internal damage, although her armour was holed in two places. The AK-15 weapon batteries had not been recharged in time and the sheer speed of the torpedoes was overwhelming the Imperium point defence. The AK-15s were available for the fourth wave, reducing the number of hits to thirty-three, twenty-nine of which were on Destiny’s Hand. The frigate lost more of her armour and suffered minor damage to crew quarters. It was extremely fortunate that neither frigate had lost an engine. The other four hits from the fourth wave were on the light cruiser Advocate.

The fourth wave was the last. Captain Horst’s quick decision to reverse course even before the first wave arrived had avoided a potential disaster. Even so, two frigates had suffered significant damage and the level of potential threat posed by the Necrons had just been upgraded considerably. More than a few officers of the Imperial Navy had breathed a sigh of relief when the barrage ended and would not take the Necrons so lightly in future. Battlefleet Caliban headed back to the jump point, where Destiny’s Hand and Heroic Endeavour, both members of Phoenix Squadron, were reunited with Falchion and sent to Terra for repairs.

While it was obvious there was no way to successfully attack Nocturne II with the Imperial Navy’s current strength and technology, at least not without committing its entire strength and leaving Terra uncovered, there was still a known Necron squadron in Medusa, holding position thirty-five million kilometres away from Omega squadron on the jump point. The problem was the near-equality in speed. With only a 41 km/s speed advantage and the Necrons having a 35m km head start, it would require a chase of more than four billion kilometres to run them down and they were only three hundred million from the inner system. That would be a problem if more Shroud and Cartouche class ships were waiting. Even so, the Imperium needed to know what it faced.

Lord Admiral Constantine Phaeron ordered a light cruiser squadron comprising the Endeavour, Advocate and Aegis to remain in Nocturne to watch for any other Necron ships that might try to attack the Imperium. The rest of Battlefleet Caliban would return to Sol for resupply, shore leave and overhaul. A second light cruiser squadron, comprising Bellerophon, Guardian and Leonid would be formed at Terra and sent to Medusa to relieve Omega Squadron. Their mission would be to push the Necron squadron away from the jump point and investigate the inner system. Once the cruisers arrived, Omega Squadron would investigate the remaining unexplored jump point in Epsilon Indi, the system before Medusa in the jump chain, before returning home for overhaul.

The Tempest class survey frigate Red Dawn was constricted on July 4th 2502. Lord Admiral Phaeron ordered the ship to proceed to Nocturne and conduct whatever survey operations were possible without moving within ten million kilometres of Nocturne II. Endeavour, Advocate and Aegis would monitor Red Dawn’s progress from their position on the jump point, but would be too far away to intervene if an unexpected threat materialised.

The ruins on Pluto were fully exploited by early July. The most useful recovery was a spaceport, followed by a terraforming installation. The rest included five plasma carronades and four shield generators, both more advanced than Imperium technology, plus a collection of factories, mines, fuel, maintenance supplies and minerals. The two Ordos Xeno formation had long since moved on to Aurigae I to examine the ancient construct on the planet. After months of research, they concluded it was intended to boost research into energy weapons. Any Imperial research facilities moved to the planet would produce double their normal output when working in that field.

Bellerophon, Guardian and Leonid arrived in Medusa on July 18th and set source for Medusa II, suspected base of the Necron squadron. Omega squadron transited into Epsilon Indi and headed for the unexplored jump point three. As the senior officer of the cruiser squadron, Captain Callisto Florian, was on the Leonid, the temporary squadron was designated as Leonid Squadron. As the squadron headed sunward, the four alien ships retreated in the direction of Medusa II, with no attempt to fire on or interfere with the approaching Imperial ships. Eighty-five million kilometres from the planet, Leonid Squadron detected active emissions from a new type of Necron ship, designated as Jackal class. Learning from the experience in Nocturne, Captain Florian halted his ships and waited. The Necron squadron continued on course and vanished from sensors.

After waiting ten hours, Captain Florian gave the order to advance until the planet was within maximum sensor range. At fifty-two million kilometres, Leonid Squadron detected the four ships of the Necron squadron that retreated from the jump point, plus the Jackal, a Shroud and Cartouche. The size of the Jackal was 14,030 tons. With their mission complete, the three Imperial cruisers reversed course and headed back to the jump point. At sixty-one million kilometres from the planet they detected an inbound wave of twenty-nine anti-ship torpedoes comprising two salvos of four, a salvo of ten and a salvo of eleven. The two waves of four were most likely from two of the frigate sized warships. It was unlikely the Shroud and the Cartouche had such a large anti-ship torpedo capability or they would have used it on Battlefleet Caliban, which meant the other twenty-one torpedoes were almost certainly from the Jackal. Given its size, that meant it was most likely an orbital base with no engines.

In total, Bellerophon, Guardian and Leonid had sixteen AK-15 weapon batteries and twenty-four AK-10s, which would be barely enough against such large torpedo waves. The point defence exceeded expectation by destroying all twenty-nine torpedoes and all but a single torpedo in wave two that struck Bellerophon. Wave three inflicted eight strength-6 hits, split equally between Bellerophon and Guardian. Guardian suffered a single hit from each of the fourth and fifth waves, then eight torpedoes from the sixth wave penetrated Imperium defence and struck Leonid. Several torpedoes hit in the same place, leaving a huge crater in her armour than almost reached the inner hull.

The attack ceased after the sixth wave, but restarted at seventy-two million kilometres from the planet as Leonid Squadron continued to run for the jump point. This time, the waves comprised twenty-five torpedoes, reinforcing the intelligence that the frigate-sized Cairn, Scythe and Khopesh classes had different fire control ranges. There were seven waves in the second attack, but the smaller wave size made defence easier. The only additional damage was two hits on Bellerophon and Leonid. That was the last attack. Twelve hours later all three light cruisers made it to the Epsilon Indi jump point. Despite the initial success in Caliban and at the Nocturne jump point, the war against the Necrons was no longer going in the Imperium’s favour.

Although all three members of Leonid Squadron needed repairs, Lord Admiral Phaeron did not want to give up the jump point. Therefore, he ordered the damaged cruisers to hold position until a relief squadron arrived. In both Nocturne and now Medusa, the Imperium held the entry point to each system, but did not have the strength to defeat the Necron forces in the inner systems. For now it was a stalemate.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2020, 10:13:47 AM »
July 2502
On July 26th, the Necron mobile forces in Medusa, comprising a Reaper class escort cruiser plus Cairn, Scythe and Khopesh class destroyers, appeared on Imperium sensors heading for the three damaged cruisers on the jump point. They closed to twenty-five million kilometres, activated their own active augur arrays, then retreated back out of sensor range.

Three days later, Omega Squadron transited the remaining unexplored jump point in Epsilon Indi, adjacent to the Necron Medusa system, and discovered Hesperus, a red dwarf system with two terrestrial planets and a dwarf planet with two moons. Hesperus II was a small tide-locked world with a 0.022 atm nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere, fifty percent ice sheets and a temperature of -83C. With 0.063 atm of oxygen already in the atmosphere, it was a good terraforming target.

On September 7th 2502, a group of six Gaia class terraforming stations in orbit of Corinthis-A III detected the thermal emissions of an alien ship from a new race, just eight million kilometres from the planet, approaching from sunwards. There were no tracking stations on Corinthis-A III, although a Carrack class freighter bringing one to the planet was already in the system, so the only sensors available were those on the terraforming stations. One terraformer engaged its small navigation augur array and confirmed the size of the ship as 8000 tons. With no way to run, the terraformers hailed the alien ship, designated by their small tactical computers as Galleath class.



Corinthis was four transits from Sol via Proxima, Solstice and Epsilon Indi. Epsilon Indi also connected to Medusa, where a light cruiser squadron comprising Hammer of Truth, Luxor and Sanctis Legate was holding the jump point against Necron forces, and to the newly discovered system, of Hesperus. As well as the terraforming stations and the Carrack class freighter en route to Corinthis-A III, there was a Goliath class tug and the survey frigates Acta Sanctorum and Black Star in the system. Small Imperial populations of 310,000 and 180,000 were present on the third and fourth planets respectively. The jump tender Empyrean Maelstrom was stationed on the Corinthis – Epsilon Indi jump point to facilitate commercial traffic into the system and her sister ship Empyrean Vortex fulfilled the same role on the Epsilon Indi – Solstice jump point. Those two ships were used to relay a message into Solstice, from where it could be sent across the stable jump network.

Within minutes of the initial contact, Imperial Navy High Command, Lord Admiral Phaeron and the Lords of Terra were all aware of the situation. The first order issued was for the tug to reverse course and go back to collect the Gaia class terraforming station it had just left at Corinthis-A III. Two more tugs were dispatched from Terra to begin the process of moving the other stations. The two survey frigates in the outer system were ordered to continue their gravitational survey. A single new jump point had already been discovered. The freighter was ordered to continue its mission and deliver the deep space tracking station to Corinthis-A III.

The alien Galleath class ship continued toward the planet at 4902 km/s. With no warships in the system, there was nothing that could be done to save the valuable terraforming stations if the alien was hostile. Fortunately, that was not the case. The alien sent an unintelligible response to Imperium hails then passed within seven hundred thousand kilometres of the planet before coming to a halt at one point five million kilometres. Despite the lack of immediate hostility, Lord Admiral Constantine was taking no chances. His first objective was to secure the two Imperial colonies in Corinthis and demonstrate Imperial control of the system, closely followed by probing the unexplored jump point in the system.

Unfortunately, the aftermath of the recent actions against the Necrons left the Imperial Navy stretched. Five frigate squadrons had been formed; Omega, Phoenix, Lexus, Azure and Gold. Azure was guarding Caliban II against any further Necron activity in the system. Gold was in Damocles; a new system it had recently discovered at the end of the jump chain Sol – Wolf – Aeolus – Groombridge – Damocles. Lexus and Phoenix were both in overhaul, with the latter closer to completion, while Omega had exceeded its deployment time and was heading home to begin an overhaul. A new squadron, Crimson, was formed from Katana, a Falchion class jump frigate constructed in July 2502, and the frigates Mariatus and Sword and sent to Corinthis to explore the recently discovered jump point, plus any others the survey might uncover.

Three light cruiser squadrons had been formed, each comprising an Endeavour and two Dauntlesses. Endeavour Squadron was on the Nocturne – Macharius jump point, preventing any Necron forces leaving Nocturne. Hammer Squadron was performing the same task in Medusa, making it the closest force to Corinthis. Leonid Squadron, which had damage to all three ships, was heading back to Terra for refuel, resupply and repair. That left the ships in orbit of Terra, which comprised eight Dauntless class light cruisers, a single Endeavour and a single Sword class frigate. Lord Admiral Phaeron formed Cerberus Squadron, comprising the Endeavour class light cruiser Sacrament of Judgement and the Dauntless class light cruisers Bloodhawk and Cerberus and under the command of Captain Leman Brom on the Cerberus. Cerberus Squadron was given the task of heading to Corinthis and defending the two colonies if hostilities broke out. Warship reinforcements would be sent once available, but for the moment the defences of Terra comprised six light cruisers and a frigate. What Phaeron could send was three troop transports with the 2nd and 3rd Cadian regiments, the Golokov light armoured regiment and two planetary defence regiments. They would be based on Corinthis-A III to defend the colony and provide additional point defence if needed.

After waiting a full day, the alien ship moved into orbit of Corinthis-A III but still took no hostile action. This was a very different situation to the Necrons who immediately opened fire. Lord Admiral Phaeron ordered the construction of a small diplomatic station that would be towed to Corinthis in an attempt to establish communication and some form of diplomatic relations. While the Imperium was wary of all aliens, due to the Emperor’s warning, gaining intelligence without the need for combat would be of benefit whatever the eventual situation. Communication attempts continued between the alien ship and the terraforming stations with moderate progress being made. Soon thereafter, the Galleath moved to Corinthis-A I and then vanished from sensors before reappearing a day later. The appearing and disappearing continued for several days, almost as if the alien was keeping on the move to avoid attack. Communication attempts were hindered by the intermittent contact. The tracking station was delivered to Corinthis-A III on September 22nd, which improved the Imperium’s ability to monitor the movements of the elusive alien ship, but the innermost planet was still out of range.

By the time Crimson Squadron arrived in Corinthis, a second jump point had been discovered. As this was much closer to the Epsilon Indi jump point, the squadron probed that first, transiting on September 30th. The system was named Greyshroud and comprised a red dwarf primary, six unremarkable planets and a sparse asteroid belt. Crimson Squadron conducted a sweep of the inner system without detecting any alien presence.

Meanwhile, Cerberus Squadron arrived in orbit of Corinthis-A III to guard the planet, which prompted the Galleath to cease its movements between the colony and the innermost planet and instead head outward in the direction of the Lagrange point of the sixth planet. Sacrament of Judgement was detached from the squadron with orders to shadow the movements of the alien ship. The Galleath halted again at one hundred and thirty million kilometres from the planet. Sacrament of Judgement halted her own approach ten million kilometres from the alien ship in the hope it would remain stationary for communication attempts. The situation only lasted a few hours before the Galleath moved back to the colony and then to the Corinthis I. Captain Leman Brom ordered Sacrament of Judgement to move into orbit of Corinthis I to extend sensor coverage. Otherwise the light cruiser would run out of fuel chasing the alien ship all over the system.

While the focus of the Imperium was on the events in Corinthis, life continued as normal in other areas of known space. In Caliban, Azure squadron was guarding the small, recently-founded imperial colony on Caliban II while Emperor’s Light and Evening Star conducted a survey of the system. A jump point was discovered two hundred and forty million kilometres from the primary so Azure Squadron moved to investigate. The jump point led to Leonis, a red dwarf with four terrestrial planets. Two were colony cost 2.00, but only because tide-locking reduced the impact temperatures of -84C and -127C. Both had ice sheets but no atmospheres. Azure squadron conducted a sweep then returned to Caliban II.

In Corinthis, communication attempts had made minor progress but there was no sign of a breakthrough. On October 10th, a second alien ship was detected. Designated as Ores Elleath class, it was encountered by the survey frigate Black Star, which was engaged in a gravitational survey of the system. The Ores Elleath was 8400 tons with a speed of 2782 km/s and appeared to have the same mission as Black Star, which meant it was only a matter of time before the aliens located Epsilon Indi. Unless a way could be found to communicate, there would be no way to warn off the aliens from that course of action.

The chance of successful communication was improved by the arrival at Corinthis-A III of the first Ambassador class Diplomatic Station. The Ambassador was approximately 2000 tons, sufficient to include a diplomatic module and minimal sensors. The Goliath class tug that delivered the station began towing one of the Gaia class terraforming stations out of the system. The diplomatic station was commanded by Lord Captain Lilith Alastor, who was the Imperial Navy’s foremost linguistics expert. She was disorganised and intolerant of others and lacked any diplomatic skills whatsoever. For the moment though, establishing communication was the priority. Once that was done, the diplomats could be brought in.

Ambassador class Diplomatic Station      2,046 tons       66 Crew       405.7 BP       TCS 41    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 15      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 123    Max Repair 300 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 1   BRG   DIP   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months   

MK I Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Unfortunately, within two days of the station arriving the Galleath vanished again, heading in the general direction of the second unexplored jump point. Sacrament of Judgement was dispatched to try to locate the alien ships, but was running low on fuel. The light cruiser was almost at the jump point when the Galleath reappeared in the inner system and resumed communication attempts. Captain Brom ordered Sacrament of Judgement to move to Corinthis I and remain there regardless of the alien ship’s meanderings.

Crimson Squadron arrived at the second unexplored jump point in Corinthis on October 25th and found another alien ship, an Ilfannor class of 6177 tons, already on station. It seemed the unknown alien race had a significant presence in Corinthis. Crimson Squadron transited into the Minerva system, a binary with a G1-V primary slightly larger than Sol and a red dwarf companion at seven billion kilometres. The primary was orbited by a single, barren terrestrial world, while the companion had another terrestrial and a superjovian. Neither rocky planet had either water or atmosphere, although the one near the primary was colony cost 2.00. The Minerva side of the jump point was already stabilised, which meant the aliens had stabilisation technology or a third alien race was active in the vicinity.

Even as Crimson Squadron was heading in-system to check the primary planet, yet another alien ship was detected in Corinthis. A Larshi class ship of 7274 tons and a speed of 3216 km/s moved into orbit of Corinthis-A I. The Galleath had disappeared once again. Shortly afterwards, Omega squadron, diverted from its planned overhaul, transited into Corinthis via the Epsilon Indi jump point. The reinforced frigate squadron, with a Falchion and three Swords, would monitor any alien approach to the jump point. The ground forces sent from Terra arrived on Corinthis-A III on November 2nd. After spending more than a week at Corinthis-A I, the Larshi moved to Corinthis-A II. Imperial Intelligence designated the class as a geological survey vessel.

On mid-November, a fourth jump point was located in Corinthis. Crimson Squadron had returned from Minerva without incident and moved to investigate. The system beyond, Phaeton, comprised a red dwarf primary, a Venusian world and a small asteroid belt clustered around the star. Meanwhile, the Larshi moved into orbit of the Imperial colony on Corinthis-A III. The aliens had proven to be non-hostile so far, so the Lords of Terra had decreed they should be allowed to move around freely while communication attempts continued.

That decision bore fruit only a week later when full communication was established. The alien race described itself as the Tau Empire and revealed that the Ilfannor class ship on the Minerva jump point was a Diplomatic Vessel. The Tau were tall, blue-skinned humanoids, with a wide mouth and nose and a curious long, narrow, vertical slit between their eyes. The Lords of Terra were keen to stake a claim to Corinthis now that communication was possible, although with only two very small colonies it seemed unlikely the Tau would accept. The priority now would be building up the system while maintaining friendly relations with the Tau. The fact the diplomatic ship was on the Minerva jump point suggested that was the direction of their home world, so once the survey in Corinthis was completed, that would be the direction in which Imperial survey frigates would focus their efforts.

There would be no attempt to prevent the Tau entering Epsilon Indi as the system was empty, as was Solstice which lay between Epsilon Indi and Proxima en route to Terra. Epsilon Indi also led to Hesperus and Medusa and the latter system contained a Necron presence. If the Tau were to enter that system, the Imperial Navy would monitor their combat abilities and they might even damage the Necron forces. In the meantime, the frigate Silent Fire was detached from Omega Squadron on the Epsilon Indi jump point and ordered to picket the Minerva jump point. Lord Captain Lilith Alastor was thanked for her efforts in facilitating communication then replaced as the commander of the diplomatic station by Lord Captain Uziel Paidar, the Imperium’s foremost diplomat.

In January 2503, Crimson Squadron was still stationed on the Corinthis - Phaeton jump point, waiting for the survey frigates to locate new jump points to explore. The Tau Galleath class, which was on one of its regular absences from the inner system, appeared at the jump point and transited into Phaeton. The Tau gravitational survey of Corinthis was obviously progressing. Imperial Intelligence designated the Galleath as a scout. Meanwhile, Phoenix Squadron replaced Omega squadron on the Corinthis – Epsilon Indi jump point, allowing the latter to return to Terra for overhaul.

The next three months were relatively quiet in Corinthis. The last pair of Gaia class terraformers were removed from the system by Goliath class tugs and towed to Caliban II. The other terraforming stations had been moved to Aurigae I. The frigate Excalibur replaced Final Silence at the picket station ten million kilometres from the Minerva jump point where the Tau Ilfannor diplomatic ship still held position. Imperium and Tau diplomats were primarily involved in improving relationships with neither side ready to lay claim to Corinthis. A second Larshi class survey ship and a second Galleath class scout had both been detected in the system, with the Galleath emerging from the Minerva jump point and confirming that as the most likely direction of the Tau home world.

With the survey of Corinthis completed in mid- February, the survey frigates Acta Sanctorum and Black Star moved into Minerva to begin a new survey, resulting in the early discovery of a new jump point. Crimson Squadron moved into Minerva and conducted a probe mission on April 1st 2503. The system beyond, named Scarus, had an orange K3-V primary, four terrestrial planets and a small gas giant. Two of the terrestrial worlds had water and atmosphere with trace amounts of oxygen but neither seemed to be a likely home world. There was also a Tau Larshi class geological survey vessel on the Scarus side of the jump point, the third unit of that type to be identified so far. The Falchion class jump frigate Scimitar remained on the jump point while the Sword class frigates Mariatus and Sword headed in-system to conduct a reconnaissance sweep, during which they encountered another Larshi and a Galleath class scout ship, both of which indicated the Tau had only recently discovered Scarus.

Meanwhile in Nocturne, Red Dawn completed her gravitational survey of the system, finding two new jump points. One was on a similar bearing to the Macharius jump point but seven hundred million kilometres further out. The second was just 100m from the star, inside the orbit of the fifth planet. Red Dawn began a cautious geological survey while avoiding the Necron bases in orbit of Nocturne II. On April 6th, Lexus Squadron arrived to probe the two jump points. The outer system jump point led to Stygia, a binary system comprised of a dim red dwarf, a brown dwarf and a tide-locked superjovian.

On April 18th, Scimitar detected four Tau ships transiting into Scarus from Minerva, all of which were new types. By far the largest was a Larshivre class of 68,439 tons, accompanied by a Kirqath class of 15,970 tons and two Sketheqan of 7977 tons. The Tau squadron remained on the jump point. The senior office of Crimson Squadron, commander Azrael Lazerian of the frigate Sword, believed the large vessel was probably a stabilisation ship, as the Minerva side of the jump point was already stabilised, which meant the smaller ships could be escorts. Mariatus and Sword joined Scimitar at the jump point, having completed their sweep of the inner system, and the whole squadron transited back into Minerva.

Back in Nocturne, Lexus Squadron had held station with Leonid Squadron on the Macharius jump point for a month, awaiting the arrival of the replenishment ship Brigantine Diamond. On June 6th 2503, the squadron probed the jump point in the inner system, less than one hundred million kilometres from the four Necron bases in orbit of Nocturne II. The system beyond was Typhon, comprising an unremarkable red dwarf, three planets, seventeen moons and a scattering of comets. The squadron conducted a reconnaissance sweep then headed back through Nocturne into Stygia where Red Dawn had located two new jump points. The first probe revealed Malagant, a white dwarf – brown dwarf binary with a single frozen terrestrial world with eight moons, an unusually large number for a rocky planet. The second led to Aurelia, a red dwarf binary with eleven planets, none of which were close to habitable

Omega squadron conducted a probe of a newly discovered jump point in Coronae Australis and found a planetless red dwarf, which was named Graildark. The gravitational survey of the huge supergiant system had been underway since October 2501 and was still only half completed. The Graildark jump point was located six billion kilometres from the entry point from Aurigae, which was actually relatively close when considering the overall size of the system. Beyond the previous Necron-occupied Caliban system, Emperor’s Light and Evening Star had completed a survey of Leonis, finding two jump points. Azure Squadron transited the first on July 19th 2503 and found Piscis Austrini, an unremarkable system with six planets. The second led to Valon, a red dwarf orbited by a single Venusian world. While Imperial survey forces were discovering a significant number of new systems, the value of those systems was limited.

The two Ordo Xenos expeditions on Caliban II completed their survey of the alien ruins in September 2503, identifying eleven sites for potential recovery. Over the following few weeks, several factories and mines were recovered along with sufficient infrastructure to house three million colonists.

Relations with the Tau remained stable throughout the remainder of 2503. Imperial colony ships and freighters had been steadily building up the population on Corinthis-A III and it was close to four million by January 2504. In the adjacent Minerva system, which was believed to be in the direction of the Tau home world, the survey frigates Acta Sanctorum and Black Star completed their gravitational survey in January 2504, finding a total of five jump points, including the connection to Corinthis and the jump point to the Scarus system, which was probed in April 2503 by Crimson Squadron. Crimson Squadron had to depart shortly thereafter for overhaul and the many demands on Imperial naval forces meant a replacement frigate squadron had not been immediately available. Eight months later, Omega squadron was en route in Minerva to probe the three unexplored jump points. The Lords of Terra were ready to stake an Imperial claim to Corinthis, but wished to know what lay beyond the jump points before informing the Tau Empire of that claim.

The Dauntless class light cruisers Vanguard and Vigilant were launched in late January. Three Sword class frigates, Rapier, Sabre and Strident Virtue, and the Falchion class frigate Flamberge had also been constructed in the preceding months. Due to the development of new weapon batteries with increased range, the Eisenstein Shipyard which built the Dauntless was undergoing retooling to build a new Dauntless II design. The upgraded Dauntless replaced the eight AK-10 weapon batteries with ten of the new AK-10Bs, which had a maximum ranges one third greater than the original design, and replaced the eight AK-15 weapon batteries with six AK-20s. The new design maintained similar offensive damage output, with an increase in range from 90,000 km to 160,000 km, while increasing overall point defence capability. The first Dauntless IIs would be laid down when retooling was completed in May 2504.

Dauntless II class Light Cruiser      15,000 tons       456 Crew       2,389.6 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,500    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 6-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 88      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 72
Maint Life 2.19 Years     MSP 1,095    AFR 164%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 307    5YR 4,598    Max Repair 375 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (2)    Power 1500    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 608,000 Litres    Range 22.3 billion km (51 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (6x4)    Range 160,000km    TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 12-4     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (10x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5        MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s   
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s     
R-18 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 54    Exp 5%

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Omega Squadron arrived in Minerva and moved to the first unexplored jump point, which was the only one that had not been stabilised. The transit took place on February 2nd 2504 and was the first new system probe in six months. The result was disappointing; a planetless red dwarf system designated as Lorentian. The second transit was far more interesting. The Taros system had a yellow G0-V primary, nine planets, fifty-eight moons and one hundred and forty asteroids. Three moons of the innermost planet, a gas giant, were colony cost 2.00 but lacked water and atmosphere. Omega Squadron was short on fuel and the jump point was five billion kilometres from the star, so the normal inner system sweep was not possible. Instead, Omega Squadron headed for the remaining unexplored jump point and a rendezvous with Brigantine Amethyst for refuelling, while Acta Sanctorum and Black Star moved into Taros to begin a geological survey. The final probe revealed Ophidian, a red dwarf system with four unremarkable planets. There was no evidence available as to the direction of the Tau Empire so Omega Squadron headed back to the Corinthis jump point.

In mid-March 2504, the Lords of Terra agreed to present a diplomatic message to the Tau Empire, claiming Corinthis for the Imperium. The message was polite and simply requested that Tau forces leave the system. The Tau diplomatic ship that had been in Corinthis had departed some months earlier for reasons unknown, so the message was passed to one of the Galleath class scouts that regularly appeared in the system. The Tau were well aware of the Imperium colonies and stated they had no significant interest in Corinthis. They would therefore accept Imperium control and withdraw their forces.  Shortly after the agreement, the Ilfannor class diplomatic ship reappeared on the Minerva jump point so that diplomatic relations could be maintained.

Beyond Sol’s outermost jump point there was a chain of four systems starting with Wolf and leading in turn to Aeolus, Groombridge and Damocles. Each system had only a single outward jump point and the four systems together had become known as the Damocles chain. The fifth system in the chain was Ursae Majoris, discovered in January 2503, and a recent survey had found two outward jump points. Lexus Squadron, fresh from overhaul, probed the new jump points in February and March. The first led to Gethsemane, a brown dwarf system with two planets. The second connected to Prometheus, a much larger system centred on a yellow G8-V primary.

Prometheus had twelve planets, with the outermost at fifty-five billion kilometres, seventy-nine moons and over two hundred asteroids. The first four planets were all Venusian worlds. Prometheus V was a gas giant with seventeen moons, the fifteenth of which was the only colony cost 2.00 world in the entire system. The moon was Earth-sized, with a temperature of -26C and seventy percent ice coverage. The atmosphere of 1.4 atm was mainly nitrogen with four percent methane and a trace of ammonia, but was still a good terraforming prospect. A second, much smaller moon of the same gas giant was colony cost 2.73 but lacked water and atmosphere.

Lexus Squadron comprised the Sword class frigates Final Silence and Night Stalker plus the Falchion-S class jump frigate Gladius. The Falchion-S was a modification of the original design that replaced a weapon battery with five box launchers for augur torpedoes. The only other Falchion-S was the recently constructed Flamberge, which was part of Battlefleet Terra. All three ships moved in-system to the seventh planet, which was nine hundred million kilometres from Prometheus V, and held station while Gladius launched an augur torpedo. Two days later, the augur torpedo moved into range of the fifteenth moon of Prometheus V, with extremely concerning results.

A huge Necron fleet was in orbit of the moon, including many new types of ships. Five were known bases; two Shroud, two Cartouche and a Jackal, with the first two being defensive and the last armed with anti-ship torpedoes. Two others were known ship types; a Reaper class escort cruiser and a Khopesh class destroyer. The new types comprised three 21,252-ton Dirge class, three 13,828-ton Ankh class, a single 7099-ton Catacomb, four 7054-ton Sautekh class and six 7047-ton Phaeron class. For now, the Imperium was unable to clear Medusa and Nocturne, which had far smaller Necron fleets, so Prometheus posed a massive potential threat if the Necron forces from that system moved further down the Damocles chain. The only good news was that Necrons seemed closely tied to the systems they were apparently defending. Of course, the other question was what was so valuable in Prometheus to warrant such a large fleet? The augur torpedo was destroyed by a Necron anti-torpedo so Lexus Squadron headed back to Ursae Majoris to inform the rest of the Imperium.



The Imperium took a major step forward in dealing with the Necrons and any other hostile alien races with the launch of Imperial Wrath, the first Lunar class cruiser. At 30,000 tons, the Lunar was double the size of the Dauntless class light cruiser. The weapon battery mix of sixteen AK-20s and eight AK-10Bs provided a much greater offensive focus than the smaller Imperial warships, while the small number of torpedo box launchers gave the Lunar a limited long-range reconnaissance capability. Finally, with the recent development of boarding technology, which would be seen in other new Imperial designs, the Lunar was given its own inherent troop capacity to guard against hostile boarding. The troop detachment could also serve to secure small alien outposts without the need for dedicated troop ships.

Lunar class Cruiser      30,000 tons       868 Crew       4,665.1 BP       TCS 600    TH 3,000    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 8-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 169      Sensors 10/6/0/0      DCR 22      PPV 139
Maint Life 2.13 Years     MSP 2,138    AFR 327%    IFR 4.5%    1YR 632    5YR 9,484    Max Repair 375 MSP
Troop Capacity 500 tons     Drop Capable    Magazine 20   
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (4)    Power 3000    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,157,000 Litres    Range 21.3 billion km (49 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (16x4)    Range 160,000km   TS: 5,000 km/s    Power 12-4     RM 40,000 km   ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (4)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-22 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (4)     Total Power Output 88.8    Exp 5%

Torpedo Box Launcher (4)     Missile Size: 5    Hangar Reload 111 minutes    MF Reload 18 hours
MK I Torpedo Fire Control (1)     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
MK I Augur Torpedo (4)    Speed: 5,000 km/s    End: 3.3d     Range: 1,440m km    WH: 0    Size: 5    TH: 16/10/5

MK I Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 12960     Range 70.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Large Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 10     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  25m km

The troop detachment for Imperial Wrath would be an assault force of Space Marines. The Space Marines were a new type of genetically enhanced infantry unit, equipped with heavy powered armour and a new weapon known as a bolter that was equivalent to a crew-served weapon for the Imperial Guard. Each Space Marine was approximately ten times harder to kill than a Guardsman and had six times the firepower. While the cost of training, enhancement and equipment was in line with that improvement in capability, the great advantage of the Space Marines was that they each required only 2.4x the transport capacity of a Guardsman. For situations when space was at a premium, such as guarding a warship or taking part in a boarding action, the Space Marines provided far more firepower and capability per ton of transport lift. The assault force that would be deployed on Imperial Wrath comprised forty-two Space Marines, including two officers.

After informing the Imperium of the massive Necron fleet in Prometheus, Lexus Squadron moved into Gethsemane, which, like Prometheus, was connected to Ursae Majoris at the end of the Damocles chain. The survey frigate Covenant was in the midst of a gravitational survey of the brown dwarf system, with one new jump point discovered so far. Lexus Squadron carried a probe, finding a red dwarf with five planets, three of which were colony cost 2.00 and two of those had water but no atmosphere. The system was named Benediction. The entry point was three billion kilometres from the star so Lexus Squadron headed in-system to a point from which Gladius was able to launch augur torpedoes at the second and third planets. No alien presence was detected so the squadron set course for the Gethsemane jump point.

By the time the squadron transited, Covenant had found another jump point in Gethsemane. Lexus Squadron conducted a new probe and discovered the system of Sigma Draconis. The entry point was less than a billion kilometres from an orange K0-V primary, orbited by seven planets and more than four hundred asteroids. The second planet was a hot, desert world with minimal water and an atmosphere of CO2 and Nitrogen, but was still the most likely location for any alien colony. Gladius launched one of her two remaining augur torpedoes and confirmed the planet was uninhabited. The squadron then conducted a sweep of the inner system to be sure and then returned to Gethsemane, by which time the survey was complete with no further jump points discovered.

The Damocles chain now extended to seven transits with the three unsurveyed systems of Prometheus, Benediction and Sigma Draconis between seventeen and nineteen billion kilometres from Terra. The Lords of Terra decreed that further expansion of the chain should be put on hold for a while as there were systems much closer to Terra without gravitational surveys. Covenant would conduct geological surveys of the latter two systems while her fuel lasted then return home for overhaul. With no prospect of further probes, Final Silence, Night Stalker and Gladius headed back immediately.

The geological survey of Sigma Draconis yielded several valuable discoveries, especially on the innermost world, which had eight mineral deposits with medium to high accessibility. Sigma Draconis I was an airless and barren dwarf planet but would be relatively easy to terraform due to its diameter of two thousand four hundred kilometres. The second planet, target of the augur torpedo from Gladius, had all eleven minerals, although the average accessibility was lower. Sigma Draconis IV, a frozen, airless world with an ice sheet covering a quarter of the surface and a colony cost of 4.89, had ten million tons of accessibility 0.7 Duranium plus seven other mainly minimal-accessibility deposits.

Sigma Draconis I Survey Report
Duranium:   1,451,808   0.70
Neutronium:   5,184   0.90
Tritanium:   1,354,896   0.90
Mercassium:   156,816   0.80
Vendarite:   32,400   0.40
Sorium:   1,218,816   0.80
Uridium:   1,354,896   0.60
Corundium:   992,016   0.60

Sigma Draconis II Survey Report
Duranium:   871,200   0.40
Neutronium:   527,076   0.60
Corbomite:   2,205,225   0.80
Tritanium:   3,059,001   0.10
Boronide:   7,144,929   0.50
Mercassium:   4,356   0.10
Vendarite:   10,036,224   0.70
Sorium:   314,721   0.60
Uridium:   736,164   0.10
Corundium:   314,721   0.60
Gallicite:   2,832,489   0.10

Sigma Draconis IV Survey Report
Duranium:   10,071,072   0.70
Neutronium:   6,125,625   0.10
Corbomite:   3,059,001   0.10
Tritanium:   10,246,401   0.10
Vendarite:   980,100   0.60
Sorium:   2,108,304   0.10
Corundium:   17,424   0.30
Gallicite:   627,264   0.10

Ship production was gaining pace as the shipyards expanded. By the end of December 2405, The Lunar class cruiser Imperial Wrath, seventeen Dauntless class light cruisers and nineteen Sword class frigates formed the core of the Imperial Navy. Jump support was provided by four Endeavour class light cruisers and seven Falchion class frigates. The completion of Vox Caelus in October 2503 and Constantia in April 2504 had increased the number of survey frigates to twelve.

Six Thunderhawk class assault transports were also completed in late 2405. For the moment they would be based at Terra, but eventually they would be carried into action by Strike Cruisers, the first of which was under construction. The Thunderhawk-A was designed to close with hostile warships and board them, generally in support of a fleet action rather than on independent operations. A Space Marine Assault Force would be embarked on each transport.

Thunderhawk - A class Assault Transport      1,000 tons       23 Crew       122.5 BP       TCS 20    TH 180    EM 0
9003 km/s      Armour 1-8       Shields 0-0       HTK 4      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
Maint Life 0.26 Years     MSP 7    AFR 80%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 27    5YR 412    Max Repair 90 MSP
Troop Capacity 500 tons     Boarding Capable   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 days    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-180B (1)    Power 180    Fuel Use 533.33%    Signature 180    Explosion 20%
Fuel Capacity 14,000 Litres    Range 0.47 billion km (14 hours at full power)

The Fury class Interceptor, fourteen of which had been constructed by December 2504, would also be transported by motherships. The single Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery of the Fury would allow it function in both a long-range strike role and as a defensive boost to an Imperial battle fleet.

Fury class Interceptor      500 tons       21 Crew       112 BP       TCS 10    TH 88    EM 0
8757 km/s      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 3      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 3
Maint Life 1.56 Years     MSP 40    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 19    5YR 284    Max Repair 43.75 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 days    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-87B (1)    Power 87.5    Fuel Use 764.95%    Signature 87.5    Explosion 20%
Fuel Capacity 26,000 Litres    Range 1.22 billion km (38 hours at full power)

Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (1x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 8,757 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
MK I Fury Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 8,800 km/s     84 69 53 38 22 6 0 0 0 0
R-3 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 3    Exp 7%
MK I Fury Active Sensor (1)     GPS 3     Range 2.1m km    MCR 192.7k km    Resolution 1

With the potential threat from the Tau now diminished, the Imperium focused on improving Imperial colonies. Corinthis III and Caliban II were both designated as fleet bases with their own maintenance and refuelling facilities. The two colonies had populations of four million and three point four million respectively in January 2505. Corinthis III could maintain up to 32,500 tons of military ships; while that was insufficient for the cruiser squadron stationed at the planet, the base would soon grow. Caliban II was much smaller for the moment and only able to support one of the three frigates stationed at the colony

Another colony which had seen recent growth was Aurigae I, two transits from Sol via Sagittarii. The planet had both an ancient alien construct that aided energy weapon research and eight million of accessibility 1.0 Duranium, plus two other mid-accessibility deposits. The first research facility was delivered in October 2504 and by January 2505 the population was three point six million. Four other, much smaller, colonies existed on Lalande III, Proxima I, Corinthis IV and Hesperus II, with populations of 590,000, 540,000, 120,000 and 110,000 respectively. The Lalande colony was adjacent to Sol, while four of the other five out-system populations lay beyond the Sol – Proxima jump point. Caliban was reached via Equinox and the colonies in Corinthis and Hesperus were accessed via Solstice and Epsilon Indi.

While the build-up of the colonies continued, Lord Admiral Constantine Phaeron began to look at the potential for a return to Medusa and Nocturne. A second Lunar, the first pair of Dauntless II class light cruisers and a Sword were due for completion in March 2505, following by a third Dauntless II and the first three Sword IIs in August. The growing strength of the Imperial Navy and the improved relations with the Tau Empire meant the chances of a successful operation against the Necrons had increased considerably.



Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2020, 08:42:16 AM »
1st / 2 Posts today

Jan 2505
In June 2505, the atmosphere of Caliban II, an ocean world formerly occupied by the Necrons, became breathable and the colony cost was reduced to 0.182. The Gaia class terraforming stations would remain in orbit for some time as they needed to add Frigusium to bring the temperature down from 59C into the habitable range. Once that was complete, they would start extracting water vapour from the atmosphere in an effort to lower sea levels. The surface of Caliban II was 99.8% water, which greatly limited the population capacity of the planet.

The first pair of Orion class salvage ships were launched in July 2505. The Orions would be used to recover minerals, intact components and technical information from the wrecks of Necron spacecraft in Caliban and Nocturne (and eventually in Medusa once the system was liberated).

Orion class Salvager      46,000 tons       368 Crew       1,164.4 BP       TCS 920    TH 2,400    EM 0
2608 km/s      Armour 1-114       Shields 0-0       HTK 83      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 15    Max Repair 200 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Salvager: 2 module(s) capable of salvaging 1000 tons per day

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-300C (8)    Power 2400    Fuel Use 3.30%    Signature 300    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 500,000 Litres    Range 59.2 billion km (262 days at full power)

MK I Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

The first Starhawk bombers were also completed in mid-2505. The Starhawk was a very different proposition than the similar-sized Fury class interceptors. Although the engine was the same size in both craft, the Ravenor Drive Systems RD-87B of the Fury was boosted to double normal power while the RD-52B had only a 20% boost, resulting in lower speed but much higher fuel efficiency. The Starhawk had triple the range of the Fury, allowing long-range independent strikes, and carried twelve light torpedoes with strength-4 warheads, the first operational anti-ship torpedoes in the Imperial inventory. There were no carriers available to transport the Starhawk, at least not in the short term, so the initial production run of sixteen bombers would operate from Terra.

Starhawk class Bomber      500 tons       5 Crew       62.9 BP       TCS 10    TH 53    EM 0
5260 km/s      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 1      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 4.56
Maint Life 2.72 Years     MSP 40    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 8    5YR 116    Max Repair 26.25 MSP
Magazine 30   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 15 days    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-52B (1)    Power 52.5    Fuel Use 186.65%    Signature 52.5    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 19,000 Litres    Range 3.7 billion km (8 days at full power)

Light Torpedo Box Launcher (12)     Missile Size: 2.5    Hangar Reload 79 minutes    MF Reload 13 hours
MK I Starhawk Fire Control (1)     Range 21.4m km    Resolution 125
Light Torpedo (12)    Speed: 26,000 km/s    End: 13.3m     Range: 20.7m km    WH: 4    Size: 2.5    TH: 86/52/26
MK II Starhawk Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 900     Range 18.5m km    Resolution 125

The map of known space underwent a radical revision on August 7th 2505 when Azure Squadron probed a jump point in the Carpathia system. Carpathia was six transits from Sol via Proxima, Solstice, Meridian, Cygnus and Monoceri, with the last three systems each having a single outward jump point. The gravitational survey of Carpathia was still underway when Azure Squadron transited the newly discovered jump point and appeared in Sol’s asteroid belt. The home of humanity now had a fifth, previously unknown, jump point. If Carpathia turned out to have any more jump points, the systems beyond would be become the focus of the Imperial survey effort.

Several new warships were completed between March and August 2505, including the Lunar class cruiser Retribution, the Dauntless II class light cruisers Abdiel, Uziel and Warrior Knight and the Sword class frigates Centaur, Resolute and Revenge. The Imperium was facing a severe financial crisis due to rising cost of shipbuilding, so the strength of the Imperial Navy would not increase significantly for some time. Therefore, the Lords of Terra decided it was time to launch operations against the Necron forces in Medusa and Nocturne.

The previous attack on Nocturne was carried out by Battlefleet Caliban, comprising nine light cruisers, including two Endeavours, and six frigates. After defeating a defending Necron squadron in a jump point assault, the fleet moved in-system and encountered four orbital bases, split between two Shroud and two Cartouche class. Battlefleet Caliban faced four waves of seventy-eight anti-torpedoes that caused significant damage to the frigates Heroic Endeavour and Destiny’s Hand before the fleet retreated out of range, with approximately half the incoming torpedoes penetrating Imperial point defence. With that encounter in mind, the new attack force would be double the strength of the previous one.

The only engagement in Medusa was by a light cruiser squadron that retreated after coming under torpedo attack from a Jackal class base and supporting destroyers. The total Necron force in Medusa comprised three bases (a Jackal, a Shroud and a Cartouche), a Reaper class escort cruiser and three destroyers of the Scythe, Cairn and Khopesh classes. A light cruiser squadron comprising the Dauntless class light cruisers Bloodhawk and Cerberus and the Endeavour class light cruiser Sacrament of Judgement remained at the Medusa – Epsilon Indi jump point

The assault force, named Battlefleet Nocturne, was assembled in orbit of Terra. The fleet comprised the Lunar class cruisers Imperial Wrath and Retribution, the Dauntless class light cruisers Advocate, Aegis, Bellerophon, Dauntless, Divine Crusade, Guardian, Havock, Ravenor, Unbroken Vow and Vanguard and the Sword class frigates Absolution, Achilles, Drusus, Excalibur, Pegasus, Rapier, Rubicon, Sabre, Silent Fire and Valiant. That gave Battlefleet Nocturne a strength of two cruisers, ten light cruisers and ten frigates. Battlefleet Terra would be reduced to eight light cruisers, including two Endeavours, and eight frigates, including three Falchions. Nocturne would be the first target as it was on the stabilised jump network, allowing the two cruisers to enter the system. The cruisers would not be able to take part in the attack on Medusa as the jump point was not stabilised and would be replaced by the light cruisers already in that system. Command of Battlefleet Nocturne fell to Captain Lucifer Ravenor, brother of the famous propulsion scientist Luther Ravenor.

A month after the discovery of the link between Carpathia and Sol, another connection brought Terra closer to the frontier. Aurelia was a system five transits from Sol via Lalande, Macharius, Nocturne and Stygia. The survey frigate Red Dawn was in the midst of a gravitational survey and had found two jump points so far. Phoenix Squadron conducted of the inner new jump point and arrived in Wolf, the system which lay beyond Sol’s outermost jump point. The second new jump point in Aurelia led to Alpha Centauri, a system very close to Sol in real-space terms but now the forty-seventh to be discovered via jump point exploration.

Alpha Centauri was a binary, comprising a G2-V primary similar to Sol and an orange K1-V companion orbiting at three point five billion kilometres. The entry point from Aurelia was close to the mid-point between the two stars. Four planets orbited the primary and five orbited the companion star, most of which were unremarkable. Alpha Centauri-B III, an Earth-sized world, had a breathable atmosphere of .0.44 atm and ice sheets covering fifty-seven percent of the surface. While the temperature of -114C was a problem, it was still a good terraforming prospect. Phoenix Squadron comprised the frigates Heroic Endeavour and Destiny’s Hand, both of which were damaged during the engagement in Nocturne but were now fully repaired, plus the jump frigate Falchion, which was equipped with augur torpedoes. The squadron moved close enough to Alpha Centauri-B III to launch a drone. There was no sign of any alien presence.

Battlefleet Nocturne arrived in the Nocturne system on September 15th 2505. Captain Lucifer Ravenor ordered his ships to head straight for the second planet. As the fleet moved within five million kilometres, sensors confirmed that the ground forces signature of 17,000 tons detected during the previous engagement was still present. Once fortification was considered, the actual size of forces could be between 50,000 tons and 100,000 tons. Battlefleet Nocturne passed one point seven million kilometres, the range at which Battlefleet Caliban had come under attack, without incident and continued closing.

The bases launched seventy-eight anti-torpedoes as the range fell below 500,000 km. Battlefleet Nocturne fared far better than Battlefleet Caliban, with only three anti-torpedoes penetrating the massed point defence and striking Dauntless. The second wave arrived at 375,000 km. The slower firing AK-15s and AK-20s were not recharged and the AK-10s proved insufficient. Imperial Wrath was hit by thirty-nine strength-1 warheads. Simultaneously, the light cruiser Guardian suffered four strength-4 energy impacts from ground-based weapons. Captain Ravenor was shocked and concerned about the power of the ground-based weapons. Fifteen had fired in total, even though only four hit, and if they could inflict strength-4 hits at 375,000 km, their damage potential at the much shorter ranges required for effective railgun fire would be considerable. The signature of the STO weapons was 1700 tons, or about ten percent of the ground forces.

By the time the third salvo arrived, the larger calibre railguns were recharged and every torpedo was shot down. The fourth, at 300,00 km, inflicted a further thirty-three hits on Imperial Wrath. The ability of the fleet to defend against the small 72,000 km/s torpedoes was plainly less than had been hoped. Battlefleet Caliban had been retreating before the salvos, which allowed time for slower-firing weapons to recharge, whereas Battlefleet Nocturne was charging into them. With all weapons recharged once more, the fifth wave of torpedoes was eliminated without further hits. The sixth wave arrived with the fleet at 200,000 km. The cruiser Retribution had not used any of her weapons against the previous, so the addition of her batteries reduced the number of hits on Imperial Wrath to twenty-three.

Moments later, the surface-based energy weapons fired again, forty seconds after their previous attack. Even though the fleet was still 175,000 km from Nocturne II, outside the range of the AK-20 weapon battery on the cruisers, Dauntless was shaken by six strength-10 hits, two of which punched through her armour, damaging a weapon battery and one of her two Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M engines. She fell out of formation with her speed reduced to 2500 km/s. Captain Ravenor considered ordering her to run for safety, but she would be well within hostile torpedo range for some time so he ordered Dauntless to continue closing on the planet at her best speed.

Imperial point defence was back to full strength by the time the seventh wave of anti-torpedoes arrived. No hits were scored. The two cruisers were at extreme AK-20 range and the smaller ships would move into AK-15 range within fifteen seconds, so Captain Ravenor ordered all ships to use only AK-10Bs weapon batteries for point defence. It would weaken Battlefleet Nocturne’s point defence, but to win the battle the bases and the surface-based weapons had to be destroyed. The cruiser Retribution had not fired on the seventh torpedo wave, so she opened fire with her AK-20 weapon batteries at 125,000 km, scoring eleven strength-1 hits on Shroud 001 and fifteen hits on Shroud 002. To avoid the confusion and delays involved in changing targets at energy range, all four bases had been pre-targeted by different ships before the fleet moved into range, with the cruisers each targeting two bases. The result of the diversion of point defence was forty torpedo hits on Imperial Wrath from the next salvo. Her armour was holding, although it had been penetrated by more than sixty percent in two places. The cruiser returned fire, scoring a total of thirty-two strength-1 hits on Cartouche 001 and 002.

Battlefleet Nocturne halted eighty thousand kilometres from the planet. Based on the size of the waves of torpedoes and the likely portion of the bases dedicated to armament, Captain Ravenor believed that only two of the bases were firing the torpedoes. The logical function of the other two would therefore be some type of energy-based point defence, as torpedoes or longer-ranged energy weapons would already have fired on the Imperium fleet. With that in mind, Ravenor did not want to risk moving within their range. The light cruisers and frigates opened fire with the AK-15 weapon batteries, inflicting between sixty-four and eighty-nine hits on each base.

Another wave of torpedoes struck, inflicting forty-two hits on Imperial Wrath. Simultaneously, her sister ship Retribution scored a total of twenty-eight strength-2 hits on the two Shroud class bases. Five seconds later Imperial Wrath battered the two Cartouche class bases with thirty-seven more hits. Captain Ravenor considered moving his ships closer to increase the damage caused by their weapon batteries, but decided to hold the range. The bases were relatively easy to hit and Battlefleet Nocturne was putting out a considerable weight of fire already. Ravenor did not want to increase the effectiveness of the powerful ground-based energy weapons. Instead he ordered all ships to change targeting to the surface-to-orbit weapon if their current target was destroyed.

The Necron ships did not stream atmosphere when damage penetrated their armour, making it difficult to directly estimate the effect. Only changes in capability would indicate internal damage. Therefore, the crews of the Imperial warships were gratified to see that the next torpedo salvo comprised sixty-nine anti-torpedoes rather than the previous seventy-eight. Fifty were destroyed by point defence, leaving nineteen to strike Imperial Wrath. Even as the Necron torpedoes were blasting increasingly deep holes in the cruiser’s armour, the smaller Dauntless and Sword class ships of Battlefleet Nocturne fired their AK-15 weapon batteries. The four bases were temporarily obscured by the bright flashes from than three hundred strength-1 impacts.

The powerful Necron energy weapons on the surface fired again. Dauntless, now caught up with the rest of the fleet, was blown to pieces by twelve strength-24 impacts; she was the first Imperial warship to be lost in combat. The cruiser Retribution, an appropriate name under the circumstances, responded with a volley of fire that destroyed one Shroud and damaged the other. The aliens were down to three bases. Those Imperial ships that had targeted the Shroud changed targets to the surface-based energy weapons. Moments later, Imperial Wrath destroyed both Cartouche class bases in a single devastating volley. The rest of the fleet blasted apart the remaining Shroud and targeted the deadly surface-based energy weapons, killing eight of them in a hail of fire. Even that required over two hundred surface impacts. For a smaller fleet, the Necron ground-based defences would be a deadly opponent.

The battle reached its dénouement as the entire fleet pounded the surface, destroying the remaining surface-to-orbit weapons before they could recharge. Their presence on the surface also vindicated Lord Admiral Constantine Phaeron’s earlier caution regarding the Necron possession of long-ranged energy weapons. Necron warships mounting the same calibre of weapon would cause an Imperium fleet serious problems due to the minimal speed difference between Necron and Imperial warships.

While Nocturne was now free of Necron ships and bases, the surface of the planet was still occupied by Necron ground forces and a small population signature was present. With the destruction of the STO weapons, the ground forces signature was 15,200 tons. The fleet could attempt to destroy the ground forces with orbital bombardment, but that would be far harder against hidden forces than energy weapons that revealed their position when they fired. Also, any valuable installations on the surface would be destroyed by collateral damage. The alternative was a ground assault. That might also destroy installations and there was no knowledge of the Necron ground forces technology, but would at least provide some intelligence on the latter.

The first Mordian Iron Guard Regiment was already en route to Nocturne on a Cetaceous class troop transport and would arrive within three weeks. Lord Admiral Phaeron ordered four other Cetaceous class to bring the other three Mordian regiment and the Mordian corps assets. Two smaller Orca class transports loaded the Pardus Light Armoured Regiment and the Kataran Lancers Light Armoured Regiment. It was immediately obvious that the Imperium had a serious deficiency in troop transport lift. There were only six Cetaceous and six Orcas in service with a total lift of 180,000 tons. The Imperial Guard infantry regiments could only be transported by a Cetaceous and a full Imperial Guard Corps required 100,000 tons, or five of the six Cetaceous. The total transport requirement for the Imperial ground forces was 750,000 tons and growing, so only a small portion could be moved at once, even when all available transport was used. A new, larger troop transport was required. Unfortunately, the Imperium was undergoing a severe financial crisis, so adding that capability would take some time.

For the moment, Battlefleet Nocturne would remain on station to support a ground assault, with the exception of Imperial Wrath and the light cruiser Guardian which would return home due to their armour damage. Imperial Wrath had lost thirty percent of her armour, which was almost penetrated in three places. Repair would be impossible until the Cain Graving Dock completed work on the third Lunar class cruiser in September 2506. Dauntless, lead ship of her class, was the only total loss, with just one hundred and nine surviving from her crew of four hundred and fifty-eight. Imperial Wrath picked up her survivors, including Captain Argel Alaric, before departing for Terra.

In mid-October, Tau scout ships were detected in Proxima, Meridian and Cygnus. In early November, the Tau arrived in Sol via the Proxima jump point. While the Tau had accepted that Corinthis was Imperial territory, the ships that had already moved beyond that system continued to explore Imperium space. Given the amount of Imperium traffic in the systems around Proxima, the Tau scouts and survey ships were probably detecting new jump points by observing the transits of Imperium ships. Despite the apparently aggressive exploration, the Tau were otherwise maintaining the peace. Relations seemed to be improving and the Tau granted trade access soon after the visit to Sol. Analysts at Imperium Intelligence theorised that perhaps the Tau weren’t leaving Imperium space because they were unable to do so. While the Imperium mounted jump drives on all survey ships, perhaps the Tau did not. In that case, as the Corinthis – Minerva jump point was not stabilised, the Tau had no way to return home. The Lords of Terra ordered the jump point to be stabilised to test that theory. Otherwise, action to restrict further Tau exploration might have to be considered.

On November 5th, the Mordian Iron Guard Corps, comprising four infantry regiments and the corps-level assets, plus two light armoured regiments landed on Nocturne II. Battlefleet Nocturne provided orbital fire support. In total, the Imperial force comprised approximately ten thousand Imperial Guardsmen, seven hundred and two Chimera light attack vehicles and three hundred and sixty Hellhound anti-infantry tanks. The initial estimate of the Necron forces was around three thousand six hundred combat robots of various types, reinforcing the view that the Necrons were a non-biological race.

The most common Necron unit was designated as the Centurion, a humanoid sized robot armed with the equivalent of the crew-served anti-personnel weapon used on the Chimera and the Hellhound, albeit with fifty percent greater penetration and damage which made a huge difference in capability. The armour of the Centurion was less advanced, with perhaps a twenty percent advantage over the Guardsmen. Recently developed equipment for the Imperial Guard would reduce the difference in quality in the future, but that didn’t help the Guardsman facing the formidable Centurions in the here and now. More fearsome was the Praetorian Combat Mech, a walking tank with two arm-mounted weapons; a medium anti-vehicle cannon and the same anti-personnel weapon as the Centurions. The armour was considerably better however. Based on the initial exchanges it was twenty-five percent stronger than the Hellhound tank, which made the Praetorian very hard to kill.

There were two variants of the Praetorian; one armed with just the anti-vehicle weapon, which was possibly some form of command mech, and the Decurion, which was armed with two medium anti-air weapons. With the overall strength of Necron weapons, the Decurion was very effective against ground targets as well. The Necrons also had a static artillery unit that was about fifty percent more powerful than the Mordian’s heavy mortars. In addition to the combat forces, there was a Centurion-sized robot without any weapons that probably served a logistics function, and a large unarmed vehicle used for construction.

The intense combat in the hours following the dawn landing was nothing short of brutal, with the 1st Mordian Iron Guard Regiment taking massive casualties. In the first eight hours, nine hundred Guardsman were killed and seventy-six Chimeras destroyed, which represented forty percent of the regimental strength. The regimental headquarters was overrun and destroyed. The Guardsman did not die easily though. Between the four front-line regimental, the two light armoured regiments, the corps-level heavy mortars and the orbital bombardment support, the Imperial Guard destroyed two hundred and fifty Centurions, three Decurions and a single Praetorian. The Praetorian and one of the Decurions were killed by the Hellhounds of the Pardus Light Armoured, with the second Decurion was destroyed by orbital fire support and the third by a heavy mortar. The massed Guardsman did not destroy a single heavy mech.

In the afternoon of the first day, the 2nd Mordian pushed hard to draw attention away from the gravely wounded 1st regiment. They succeeded in that goal but the regiment paid for their assault with the lives of more than six hundred guardsmen and the destruction of forty-four Chimeras. The 2nd killed thirty-seven Centurions by itself and its attack allowed the combined Imperial force to destroy more than two hundred Centurions in total. The infantry still failed to take down any of the large Mechs, although two Praetorians and two Decurions were destroyed by orbital fire support and the light armoured regiments accounted for one Praetorian each.

Fortunately, it appeared the initial hostile force estimate had been on the high side. Updated intelligence suggested perhaps a thousand Centurions remaining, along with a hundred Praetorians, forty Decurions and forty artillery pieces. As night fell, the 3rd Mordian became the target of a Necron counter-attack, losing than five hundred guardsmen and thirty-eight Chimeras. The determined Guardsman of the 3rd held their ground, killing twenty-seven Centurions, and even brought down a Praetorian, the first of four to fall that night. In total, a hundred and sixty-four Centurions were destroyed, half of them by the two light armoured regiments.

The battle continued to rage for the next two days, with the Guardsman acquitting themselves well against the Centurions, which were superior in both weapons and armour but went down under sufficient fire, while finding it very hard to destroy the Praetorian combat mechs and the Decurion anti-aircraft mechs. There seemed to be three distinct Necron formations, a frontline combat unit, a smaller combat force held back behind the lines, possibly the guard force for the energy weapons, and a support force with artillery and supply. 

Three hundred Centurions, mainly from the frontline force, were killed during the second days fighting but only around sixty were destroyed on the third day. The Necron guard force was holding back and the frontline force was running out of Centurions. Intelligence believed the frontline force had around seventy Praetorians remaining, perhaps half that number of Centurions and approximately twenty Decurions. The smaller combat force had only been partially involved in the battle and still had more than three hundred Centurions. Over a thousand guardsmen were killed during the fighting on the second and third days. Vehicle losses included over a hundred Chimeras and twenty-seven Hellhound tanks.

As the days passed, the nature of the battle changed. Instead of large-scale assaults, the Imperial Guard regiments were trying to corner and destroy the Praetorians. The combat mechs were hard to destroy, but there weren’t enough of them to inflict mass casualties on the Imperial forces. Total Imperial losses during the fourth and fifth days included two hundred and seventy-five Guardsman, fifty Chimeras and ten Hellhounds; far less than the preceding two days. Necron losses were much lower too; thirty-four Centurions and twenty-one Praetorians.

As the Necron frontline strength was slowly ground down, the Centurions that had guarded the surface-to-orbit weapons were drawn into the fighting and casualties rose once more. Day six saw almost three hundred Guardsman killed, more than double each of the previous two days, as they engaged the reserve Centurions. The Mordian Guard corps assets also came under attack by a Necron force that somehow penetrated the front lines, but fortunately only five heavy mortars were lost. The climactic battle happened on the morning of the seventh day when the Necron lines were completely sundered by an all-out Imperial offensive. All six Imperial regiments achieved a simultaneous breakthrough and wiped out more than three hundred centurions for the cost of one hundred and eighty lives.

After that decisive engagement, the battle became a search and destroy mission, hunting down the deadly Praetorians while trying to get past them and attack the remaining artillery and supply units. By the end of the second week, the last of the large combat mechs had been destroyed, so Battlefleet Nocturne departed for refuel and resupply at Terra. It took another few days to eliminate the artillery, supply forces and two large leader-type units. Three weeks after landing, the planet was declared secure. The small population detected during the battle no longer existed due to collateral damage from the battle. However, an orbital survey by the survey frigate Ascension revealed the ruins of an ancient alien city on the surface.

The cost of victory for the Imperial ground forces was high. The Mordian Iron Legion lost four thousand Guardsman out of nine thousand six hundred engaged, a casualty rate above forty percent. The casualty rate for the 1st Regiment was sixty percent. Three hundred and sixty Chimeras were destroyed, which was half of the starting force. Only one of the four regimental HQs survived. The two light armoured formations fared better, with forty-four Hellhounds lost from three hundred and sixty engaged. Eight heavy mortars were also destroyed when Necron forces reached the rear areas. In recognition of those losses, and the loss of the Dauntless, the Nocturne Campaign Medal was awarded to all participants in either the naval or ground actions to secure the Nocturne system.

The 4th Mordian Iron Guard Regiment was the least involved in the fighting, suffering barely more than ten percent casualties. Therefore, the commander of all Imperium ground forces, Lord General Dante Sicarius, decided to break up that regiment to provide replacements for the 1st and 2nd regiments. His preference was to retain the battle-hardened formations rather than use them as replacements. Even after that, the 2nd was still understrength and the 3rd was at half strength. Lord General Dante Sicarius decided to leave them understrength for the moment and ship replacements out from Terra. The Mordian Iron Guard would remain on the planet it fought so hard to secure, while the two light armoured regiments would be shipped back to Terra.

In late 2505, there were two major economic concerns for the Imperium. The first was a financial crisis. Expenditure had significantly exceeded income for several years as the Imperial Navy and its supporting infrastructure grew to meet the alien threat. Steps were being taken to address that problem, with the development of new economic technology and the construction of new financial centres, but wealth reserves were virtually exhausted. Warship construction had been reduced, with three slipways for Swords, one of the Dauntless slipways and both survey frigate slipways lying empty, and expansion of many shipyards halted. Commercial construction was also cut back, with no new colony ships or freighters being laid down.

The second problem was the state of the mineral deposits on Terra. Eight of the eleven deposits were already at reduced accessibility, four were at ten thousand tons or less and Boronide and Uridium would both run out within a few months. The Imperium had struggled to find suitable new mining locations. Aurigae I, now the long-term base for energy weapon research due to the ancient alien construct, was the best nearby option for manned mines due to eight million tons of accessibility 1.0 Duranium and a colony cost of 2.00. However, only two other mid-accessibility deposits were present. Sigma Draconis I, an airless and barren dwarf planet with terraforming potential, was another option but required a thirty-four billion kilometres round trip from Terra so it could not be developed quickly.

Aurigae I Survey Report
Duranium:   8,602,952   1.00
Neutronium:   2,039,184   0.40
Boronide:   5,664,400   0.60

Sigma Draconis I Survey Report
Duranium:   1,451,808   0.70
Neutronium:   5,184   0.90
Tritanium:   1,354,896   0.90
Mercassium:   156,816   0.80
Vendarite:   32,400   0.40
Sorium:   1,218,816   0.80
Uridium:   1,354,896   0.60
Corundium:   992,016   0.60

The recent connection between Carpathia and Sol opened up another potential route to nearby minerals, if more jump points were found by the ongoing gravitational survey. The geological survey of Carpathia itself had continued after the connection was made and a very useful discovery was made on the eleventh moon of Carpathia VI. While the moon was not suitable for terraforming due to a colony cost of 9.67, it was barely more than a billion kilometres from Terra due to the position of the jump points. An automated mining colony could be setup, or orbital habitats could be constructed at Terra and towed to the moon, once that technology was available.

Carpathia VI – Moon 11 Survey Report
Duranium:   1,143,072   0.80
Neutronium:   746,496   0.90
Tritanium:   227,529   0.90
Vendarite:   156,816   0.90
Uridium:   245,025   0.70
Corundium:   585,225   0.70
Gallicite:   2,025   0.90

The downside to all three locations was a lack of Gallicite. The potential solution to that problem was the fourth moon of Aurelia VI, which had substantial accessible deposits of Duranium, Boronide and Gallicite, plus smaller or less accessible deposits of five other minerals. A connection had recently been made between Aurelia and Wolf, the system beyond Sol’s outermost jump point, which had reduced the distance from Terra to the Aurelia-A system to less than six billion kilometres. The moon was in the companion solar system, which was eight billion kilometres from the primary, but orbited a gas giant with a Lagrange point. If a Lagrange point was added to one of two gas giants orbiting the primary, the distance between the two stars would no longer be a problem. Once again, the colony cost was too high for terraforming but the moon had the same automated mining and orbital habitats option as the eleventh moon of Carpathia VI.

Aurelia-B VI – Moon 4 Survey Report
Duranium:   2,420,000   0.70
Neutronium:   48,400   0.10
Corbomite:   17,424   0.60
Tritanium:   853,776   0.10
Boronide:   4,743,684   0.80
Mercassium:   108,900   0.20
Uridium:   2,371,600   0.10
Gallicite:   2,509,056   0.80

At the end of 2505, the stabilisation of the Corinthis – Minerva jump point was completed. Over the next few weeks a number of Tau scouts and survey ships moved through Corinth and into Minerva. It appeared that Imperium Intelligence was correct in its assumption that the Tau ships did not have jump drives and were therefore unable to leave Imperium territory without a stabilised jump point.

On January 18th 2506, the first Dread Argent class strike cruiser was launched from the Valentinian Shipyard. The primary mission of the Dread Argent was to conduct boarding assaults on hostile ships using its three Thunderhawk-A assault shuttles, each with an assault force of forty-two Space Marines. The strike cruiser also mounted four AK-20 weapon batteries, intended to blast holes in enemy armour to speed-up the penetration of the Space Marines once they landed on the hull. Unlike other Imperial warships, the strike cruiser did not mount any AK-10 series weapon batteries for defensive purposes, so it would operate as part of a fleet or with frigates for escorts. The first boarding-trained Space Marines would not be available for some time, so the Dread Argent would remain with Battlefleet Terra for the moment. A second strike cruiser was laid down.

Dread Argent class Strike Cruiser      15,000 tons       350 Crew       2,112.8 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,500    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 5-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 78      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 28
Maint Life 1.99 Years     MSP 968    AFR 164%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 326    5YR 4,885    Max Repair 375 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 3,000 tons     
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 60    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (2)    Power 1500    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 536,000 Litres    Range 19.7 billion km (45 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 160,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s    Power 12-4    RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s     96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61
R-8 Boosted Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 16.4    Exp 7%

MK I Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Strike Group
3x Thunderhawk - A Assault Transport   Speed: 9003 km/s    Size: 19.99

Battlefleet Nocturne returned to Terra for resupply and a brief overhaul in preparation for the assault on the Necron-held Medusa system. The light cruiser Guardian, damaged in the battle in Nocturne, completed repairs and returned to the fleet. The cruiser Retribution was transferred to Battlefleet Terra as the Epsilon Indi – Medusa jump point was not stabilised and the largest Imperial jump drive had a maximum capacity of 15,000 tons. The light cruiser squadron already in Medusa would join Battlefleet Nocturne when it transited into the system and the fleet was also reinforced by the light jump cruiser Endeavour. Endeavour’s commander was Captain Remus Horst, who previously commanded Battlefleet Caliban during the jump point assault on Nocturne in March 2502 and the subsequent encounter with the bases in orbit of Nocturne II. Horst was senior to Captain Lucifer Ravenor, commander of the Advocate, so he would take command of Battlefleet Nocturne.

The replenishment ship Brigantine Amethyst transited into Medusa on January 29th 2506, three days before the scheduled arrival of Battlefleet Nocturne. Twelve hours later, the sensor emissions from a Cairn class destroyer were detected approaching the jump point from the direction of Medusa II, the Necron-occupied planet only three hundred million kilometres distant. It appeared the Necrons were investigating the new arrival. At fifty-three million kilometres from the jump point, the Necrons entered active augur range, revealing that a Reaper class escort cruiser and two more destroyers, a Khopesh and a Scythe, were accompanying the Cairn. The Necrons closed to ten million kilometres, well within their torpedo range, before reversing course without firing. For the next three days they manoeuvred within Imperium sensor range. As soon as the eleven light cruisers and ten frigates of Battlefleet Nocturne transited into Medusa, they ran straight for the planet.

Captain Remus Horst was happy to let them depart. Battlefleet Nocturne’s minimal speed advantage meant he couldn’t catch them short of the planet anyway and he wanted to refuel before proceeding. The fleet set course for the planet on February 6th and arrived within active augur range of the planet fourteen hours later. The four ships that had recently moved close to the jump point were in orbit, along with three bases; a Jackal, a Cartouche and a Shroud.  The Jackal was armed with twenty-one anti-ship torpedo launchers and, based on intelligence from the engagement in Nocturne, the Shroud was armed with thirty-nine anti-torpedo launchers. The armament of the Cartouche was unknown.

As Battlefleet Nocturne moved within five million kilometres of the planet, a ground force signature of 17,300 tons was detected, similar to that on Nocturne II and possibly indicating the presence of surface-to-orbit energy weapons. The fleet closed to five hundred thousand kilometres before the Necrons opened fire. The initial launch comprised fifty-seven anti-torpedoes moving at 72,000 km/s and thirty-three anti-ship torpedoes moving at 33,280 km/s. The speed difference meant that the two torpedo types from each wave would arrive at different times. However, as subsequent waves were launched it was likely the torpedoes and anti-torpedoes from different wanes would arrive simultaneously.

All of the first wave torpedoes, arriving in two groups, were destroyed by point defence. The anti-torpedoes from the second wave scored six strength-1 hits on the light cruiser Advocate at 375,000 km. Captain Horst was far more concerned by thirty shots from surface-based energy weapons. Fortunately, all missed, but the presence of twice as many STO weapons as in Nocturne would make the approach extremely dangerous. As in the engagement in Nocturne, all Imperium warships were ordered to engage surface targets as soon as their primary target was destroyed.

Apart from the six anti-torpedoes striking Advocate, Imperium point defence proved very effective on the run-in to the planet. Three hundred and twenty torpedoes of both types were shot down between 350,000 km and 200,000 km, including two combined salvos of ninety. That luck ran out at 175,000 km when the surface-based energy weapons fired again. Twelve strength-8 hits skewered Advocate, four of which penetrated her armour and disabled both Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M engines, leaving the light cruiser dead in space. It was a remarkable coincidence that Advocate was now in a dire situation due to the loss of engines designed by Luther Ravenor, who was the brother of the ship’s commander, Captain Lucifer Ravenor. Advocate fell astern as the rest of Battlefleet Nocturne continued to close on the planet.

The next torpedo wave was wiped out by point defence, including fifteen anti-ship torpedoes and three anti-torpedoes targeted on Advocate, all which were destroyed by the crippled light cruiser’s own weapon batteries in an exceptional display of accuracy. Unfortunately, the next wave of anti-torpedoes was entirely targeted on Advocate and her AK-15 weapon batteries had not recharged. She suffered fifty-four strength-1 impacts, which caused extensive internal damage, including the loss of four weapon batteries and a reactor.

The Necron focus on Advocate allowed the rest of Battlefleet Nocturne to close to the pre-designated distance of eighty thousand kilometres from Medusa II, before halting and opening fire with AK-15 weapon batteries. The AK-10 batteries were out of range and dedicated to point defence. Three hundred and forty hits were scored on a total of four targets; the Shroud and Jackal class bases, the Reaper class escort cruiser and the Cairn class destroyer. A wave of anti-ship torpedoes passed the fleet and attacked Advocate. She destroyed seven but the other twenty-six blew her to pieces. Captain Ravenor, the commander of the successful campaign in Nocturne, was killed by a direct hit on the bridge.

A wave of anti-torpedoes engaged the main body, which had only half its normal point defence due to the loss of Advocate and the assignment of all AK-15 weapon batteries to offensive action. Sixteen ATTs struck Endeavour, flagship of Captain Remus Horst. Simultaneously, the Necron mobile forces started to move away from the planet, taking them out of range of Battlefleet Nocturne’s AK-15 weapon batteries. Captain Horst decided to close the range to 60,000 km from Medusa II, where the AK-15 batteries would be more effective against the three bases still in orbit. He was concerned about the power of the surface-based energy weapons and the reduced point defence capability of his fleet and wanted to destroy the Necrons as quickly as possible. Horst ordered those ships that had been targeting the Reaper and Cairn to fire on the surface targets.

Even with the Necron ships separated from the bases, both forces were close enough for a combined torpedo salvo to reach Battlefleet Nocturne at the same time. The fleet’s AK-10 weapon batteries were completely overwhelmed. The flagship Endeavour was struck by twenty-five anti-ship torpedoes with strength-6 warheads and nineteen anti-torpedoes with strength-1 warheads. Considering the incoming weight of fire, she was very fortunate. More than half of her armour was destroyed, her jump drive was disabled and one of her two fire controls was knocked out. Otherwise, she retained full combat capability. The Reaper class escort cruiser and three Necron destroyers, maintained a distance of 110,000 km, outside the range of the AK-15 weapon batteries. Battlefleet Nocturne continued directing a hail of fire on the Shroud and the Jackal class bases, ignoring the Cartouche as it had not yet fired. Four light cruisers and three frigates fired on the surface, taking out three of the surface to orbit weapons. A fifth Dauntless and two more frigates were retargeting but had not yet opened fire.

The Necron surface-to-orbit weapons fired again with devastating results. The Dauntless class light cruiser Vanguard took nine strength-33 hits before being torn apart by a strength-79 secondary explosion. Her sister ship Aegis simply disintegrated after fourteen strength-33 hits. Three of the original twelve Dauntlesses in Battlefleet Nocturne had now been destroyed and one of the two Endeavours was badly damaged. Another wave of anti-torpedoes arrived, with twenty-two out of fifty-five penetrating the rapidly diminishing Imperium point defence and striking Endeavour. She lost sensors and non-combat systems, but was still able to fight.

Battlefleet Nocturne fired again and the Jackal class base exploded. Three Dauntless class light cruisers continued targeting the Shroud, while the other four, plus the ten Sword class frigates, targeted the STO units. The Endeavours were dedicated to point defence only as they lacked AK-15 weapon batteries. The four Necron ships began opening the range. Fifteen seconds after the destruction of the Jackal, the Shroud was finally taken out as well. Unfortunately, despite the hail of fire against the surface, only one further STO had been destroyed, leaving twenty-six in action. Two more had been hit but survived. The dominant terrain on Medusa II was Taiga, which meant the Necron STOs were harder to hit and more heavily fortified than on Nocturne II, reducing the potential kill rate by sixty percent. To make the situation worse, a hit did not mean a kill. Due to the lower damage of the weapon batteries at 60,000 km, the STOs would survive a hit more than half the time.

Captain Horst considered ordering the fleet to close to 45,000 km or even 30,000 km. The former would increase the damage of the AK-15 weapon battery while the latter would also bring all the AK-10 weapon batteries into play for offensive action. With the Jackal and Shroud both destroyed, the majority of the Necron torpedo capability was eliminated, so a change to all-out offence was an option. The mobile units, now at 280,000 km from Battlefleet Nocturne, continued to launch both types of torpedoes with minimal effect, but that would change if the AK-10s moved to offence. However, the Cartouche was almost certainly armed with energy-based point defence and, given the Necron tech advantages, it seemed unlikely to have less than 40,000 km of range. A 14,000-ton base entirely dedicated to fast-firing point defence would be able to inflict considerable damage. Therefore, Horst decided to err on the side of caution and ordered the fleet to close to 45,000 km.

The Necron surface batteries fired again as the fleet reached 45,000 km. A total of twenty-three strength-37 hits obliterated the light cruiser Guardian and the frigate Drusus. Return fire resulted in over four hundred ground-based impacts and eliminated five Necron energy weapons. The battle was reaching a critical phase. Four Imperium light cruisers and a frigate had now been destroyed in exchange for two Necron bases and nine STO installations. The four Necron mobile units were unharmed and continuing to launch missiles from outside Imperium weapon range. The Cartouche class base was still in orbit, but apparently no threat at the current range. Captain Horst decided to fight on. His ships were now at a range where they were more effective against the STOs and would fire twice more before the STOs completed their forty second recharge cycle. Imperium losses were almost certain to increase, but he believed he could still win the battle.

Battlefleet Nocturne continued to rain fire on the surface, trying to take out the heavily-fortified Necron energy weapons hidden among the snow-covered forests, while the AK-10 weapon batteries held off torpedo fire from the Reaper and the three destroyers. One by one, the STO installations were taken out by sheer weight of fire. By the time they recharged only five remained. The light cruiser Bellerophon was shaken to her keel by four strength-37 impacts that punched straight through her armour. Both engines were destroyed, along with nine of her sixteen weapon batteries and both primary fire control systems. Finally, thirty seconds after the strike on Bellerophon, the bombardment eliminated the last surface-to-orbit weapon. The fleet changed targets to the Cartouche class base and blew it to pieces with a single volley.

The Reaper class escort cruiser and the Cairn, Khopesh and Scythe class destroyers had moved to 700,000 kilometres from Battlefleet Nocturne. Captain Horst was tempted to give chase, despite the minimal speed advantage, but he could not do so without exposing Bellerophon. For the moment, he decided to hold position and defend against the torpedo attacks from the Necron ships. Three minutes after the destruction of the Cartouche, the Necron ships ceased fire but kept moving away. It was probable they had run out of ordnance, but Horst saw no reason to risk leaving Bellerophon. Battlefleet Nocturne was still 45,000 km from the planet, so the Necrons would have to come to him if they wanted to reload.  Three hours later the Necron squadron left Imperium sensor range heading in the opposite direction to the jump point.

The battle for orbital space around Medusa II had been won, but at high cost. The Dauntless class light cruisers Aegis, Advocate, Guardian and Vanguard and the Sword class frigate Drusus had all been destroyed. Bellerophon was a crippled wreck and Endeavour was badly damaged. Battlefleet Nocturne retained eight intact light cruisers, one of which was an Endeavour, and nine Sword class frigates. A Necron ground force of similar size to that encountered in Nocturne remained on the surface and four Necron warships remained at large somewhere in the system. Captain Horst detached the light cruisers Bloodhawk, Cerberus and Divine Crusade and sent them to the jump point to escort Brigantine Amethyst to Battlefleet Nocturne’s position. The maintenance supplies on the replenishment ship would be needed to repair the damage to Bellerophon and Endeavour

Meanwhile, life in the rest of the Imperium continued. The newly formed Knight Squadron travelled through Sol’s newest jump point to explore a jump point found by the now-completed gravitational survey of Carpathia. The probe revealed the Eridani system, a trinary with an orange K-class primary, a white dwarf companion orbiting at sixty-three billion kilometres and a red dwarf orbiting the companion star at five billion kilometres. Eridani had ten planets and almost seventy moons in total between the three stars, most of which were unremarkable, and each star had a Lagrange point. Eridani-A III was a massive, super-terrestrial world with a diameter of 30,000 km, gravity of 2.01G, a dense nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere of 3.8 atm and ice sheets covering half the planet. Even if the gravity had not been too high, the oxygen content was 1.3 atm, making the world extremely difficult to terraform given the surface area.

In Medusa, ten hours had passed since the four Necron ships left Imperium sensor range. The Reaper class escort cruiser suddenly reappeared, heading back toward the planet without the three destroyers. Captain Remus Horst had no idea why the Reaper had detached itself from the destroyers or where the other Necron ships were heading. Regardless, he was happy the enemy was sending in ships piecemeal. The Reaper opened fire with a volley of eighteen anti-torpedoes at 467,000 km and kept closing. The defences of Battlefleet Nocturne were far less capable than when the fleet entered the system, with five ships destroyed and three more detached to escort Brigantine Amethyst from the jump point. They were still more than enough to defeat the wave of anti-torpedoes. More salvos came in every ten seconds as the Reaper continued to close the range. At 70,000 km every AK-15 weapon battery in Battlefleet Nocturne opened fire. The Reaper staggered under a hail of fire before being ripped apart by two huge secondary explosions.

A month passed without further contact. Endeavour and Bellerophon repaired their internal damage using the supplies provided by Brigantine Amethyst, then headed home for repairs to their armour. Bloodhawk and Cerberus also departed as they had been deployed in Medusa for ten months prior to the arrival of Battlefleet Nocturne. They required overhauls and shore leave for their crews. The Endeavour class light cruiser Leonid arrived in Medusa in early April, allowing Sacrament of Judgment to also return home for overhaul. Five light cruisers and nine frigates remained near Medusa II, waiting for the Necron destroyers to reappear.

On March 1st, Emperor’s Light completed a geological survey of Gothic II, a dwarf planet five transits from Sol via Proxima, Solstice, Epsilon Indi and Hesperus, revealing large quantities of six accessible minerals, including more than four million tons of accessibility 0.8 Duranium. Although the planet did not have an atmosphere, it had ice sheets covering two thirds of the surface and was relatively fast to terraform as it was slightly smaller than Terra’s moon. There would be no immediate colonization due to the lack of stabilised jump points in Hesperus and Gothic, plus higher priority projects closer to Sol, but it would be a very good long-term prospect.

Gothic II Survey Report
Duranium:   4,572,288   0.80
Neutronium:   2,742,336   0.90
Corbomite:   171,396   0.80
Tritanium:   1,205,604   0.90
Mercassium:   1,920,996   0.10
Vendarite:   2,862,864   1.00
Sorium:   291,600   0.80
Corundium:   5,184   0.40

A few weeks later, Aurigae I reached a population of ten million, the first extrasolar colony to reach that milestone. Four research facilities were already in place to take advantage of the ancient construct dedicated to energy weapon research. The planet also possessed a deposit of eight million tons of accessibility 1.0 Duranium and large, mid-accessibility deposits of Neutronium and Boronide.

Aurigae I Survey Report
Duranium:   8,602,919   1.00
Neutronium:   2,039,171   0.40
Boronide:   5,664,380   0.60

In mid-May a newly discovered jump point was explored in Eridani, two transits from Sol via the recent connection to the Carpathia system. A probe revealed Cypra Mundi, a red dwarf binary with the stars five billion kilometres apart. The M5-V primary was planetless. The slightly smaller M6-V companion was orbited by six planets and a large asteroid belt. Cypra Mundi-B II was a Terra-sized world dominated by Taiga, with 40% ice sheet coverage and a nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere of 0.148 atm. The planet was a good terraforming prospect but hard to reach, especially as its parent star was four point eight billion kilometres from the entry jump point and moving further away in its orbit.

A few days later, all six Cetaceous class troop transports and an Orca class troop transport arrived in Medusa to join Battlefleet Nocturne. They carried the four regiments and corps assets of the Prospero Spineguard Imperial Guard Corps, three light armoured regiments and the six Space Marine assault forces. The Terran Praefects Light Armoured Regiment was at full strength with one hundred and eighty Hellhound anti-infantry tanks. The Kataran Lancers and the Pardus Light Armoured had not replaced their losses from Nocturne II, so they were forty-four tanks short in total. Although the Space Marines were ultimately intended for boarding combat, the first six assault forces, comprising two hundred and forty Space Marines, had not received that training so Lord Admiral Phaeron decided to use them to support the Imperial Guard against the Necron ground forces. In total, the Imperium forces comprised approximately ten thousand Imperial Guardsmen, seven hundred and twenty¬ Chimera light attack vehicles and five hundred Hellhound anti-infantry tanks, plus the supporting corps artillery and Space Marines. The ground assault went in on May 22nd.

Fighting in the vast, arctic forests of Medusa II was a very different prospect than the hot plains of Nocturne II. On Medusa II, the Imperium ground forces were not used to the frozen conditions, targets were harder to see, and Necron fortifications were generally stronger. Rather than the mass engagements on Nocturne, the Imperial Guard fought a seemingly never-ending series of small unit actions in dense woodland, suffering steady casualties as they tried to dig out the Necron defenders. After one week, the Imperial Guard had lost fourteen hundred Guardsman, one hundred and twenty-four Chimeras and thirty-one Hellhounds. Necron casualties were estimated at eight hundred Centurions, twenty Praetorian Combat Mechs and fifteen Decurions. Intelligence estimated that accounted for forty percent of the Centurions and perhaps twenty percent of the larger mechs. It was a battle of attrition that appeared to be going in the Imperium’s favour, but the cost of victory would still be high.

During the second week, Imperium casualties dropped by about sixty percent, partly due to the diminishing number of Necron units and partly because the Imperial Guard troops were making use of the terrain to improve their own positions. Necrons casualties were down about forty percent, so the momentum was with the Guard. Even so, they had almost two thousand casualties since they landed, which was twenty percent of the starting force. Mid-way through the third week, with the intensity of combat dropping still further, Battlefleet Nocturne was pulled off orbital fire support. The fleet was burning through maintenance supplies because of the constant wear and tear on weapon batteries, without having a decisive impact due to the difficulty of the terrain.

The Imperium ground forces were also running low on supplies and apparently so were the Necrons, as the tempo of combat fell dramatically during the fourth week of the campaign. Imperial casualties in weeks five through seven were approximately fifty guardsmen and twenty vehicles per week, with Necron weekly losses of around ten mechs, half of which were the larger Praetorian and Decurions. A fresh Necron force, held in reserve until that point, entered the fray in week eight, resulting in the largest clashes since the second week. Two hundred Guardsman were killed and vehicle losses included fifteen Chimeras and fifteen Hellhounds. Necron losses were severe, with one hundred and sixty-eight Centurions destroyed.

At the start of the third month of the campaign, Imperium reinforcements arrived. Three of the Cetaceous class troop transports had made the round-trip to Corinthis on the Tau border, where the Cadian Corps was based, and returned with the 1st and 2nd Cadian regiments, along with the Cadian corps assets. As the Cadians had full supply and the original invasion formations were much smaller by this point due to casualties and their exhaustion of their own supplies, the 2nd and 4th Prospero Spireguard regiments and the three light armoured regiments were all placed under Cadian command. The addition of the Cadians added new impetus to the battle. Over the next three weeks, the last of the Necron Centurions were destroyed, along with thirty-three Praetorian combat mechs and ten Decurions anti-air mechs. Imperial casualties during the period were relatively low, considering the damage inflicted on the Necron force.

By the start of the fourth month, the campaign had been effectively won. The remaining Necron forces scattered into the arctic forests and were hunted down by small groups of Imperial Guard, once again low on supplies and in no hurry to rush into combat. The Cadians boarded their transports and departed for Corinthis III, leaving the battered Prospero Spireguard regiments to pick off the surviving Praetorians one by one. Final victory was declared on September 15th, seventeen weeks after the invasion began. Except for the Cadian Regiments, the Imperium ground forces suffered approximately thirty percent casualties. The 4th Prospero Spireguard and the Pardus Light Armoured were both disbanded and their units reassigned to make up for most of the losses in the other regiments.

By October, most of Battlefleet Nocturne had returned to Terra for resupply and overhaul. A force of six ships, the Dauntless class cruisers August, Divine Crusade and Unbroken Vow and the Sword class frigates Final Silence, Night Stalker and Rapier, was based in orbit of Medusa II. Even though the planet was secure, the Cairn, Khopesh and Scythe destroyers were still at large somewhere in the system so the small fleet provided protection against their return. As the Medusa – Epsilon Indi jump point was not stabilised, the Endeavour class light cruiser Leonid and the jump tender Empyrean Vortex were stationed on the Medusa side to act as a communication relay and provide a jump escort when required.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 08:43:48 AM by Steve Walmsley »
 

Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 08:42:56 AM »
2nd / 2 Posts today

The survey frigate Morning Star arrived in Medusa while the ground combat was still underway and conducted a geological survey of the system’s three planets and twelve moons. A deposit of twenty-six million tons of accessibility 1.0 Duranium was discovered on Medusa II, along with minimal accessibility deposits of Boronide and Vendarite. The orbital survey indicated a high chance that a ground-based survey would find more deposits. Morning Star also located a ruined alien city, similar to that on Nocturne II. Everywhere Necrons had been discovered so far, they were guarding the ruins of past civilizations. After the discoveries in Nocturne and Medusa, the Necron-held planets became known as Tomb Worlds. The xenoarchaeological survey of the ruined city on Nocturne II was completed in July 2506 and identified one hundred and thirty-five sites for potential recovery of installations or useful supplies. The four Ordo Xenos formations on the planet were transported to Medusa II to begin a new survey.

Medusa II Survey Report (Ground Survey: High)
Duranium:   26,572,050   1.00
Boronide:   94,478,400   0.10
Vendarite:   4,665,600   0.10

At the same time as the combat in Medusa, Phoenix Squadron was sent on the long journey to probe two jump points in the Taros system that had been discovered by an earlier survey. Taros was two jumps further out from Corinthis, which effectively served as the Imperium – Tau border, via Minerva. There was still no information on the likely location of the Tau home world so the mission was primarily for reconnaissance purposes. Taros was a large system with the unexplored jump points six and eight billion kilometres from the entry point. Even after refuelling at Corinthis, support from a replenishment ship was needed in Taros before both jump points could be explored. The first led to a red dwarf with two barren terrestrial worlds and the second to a planetless white dwarf. There was no sign of a Tau home world.

A geological survey of Eridani was completed in late 2506, revealing a number of potential mining locations. Most were suitable only for automated mines or orbital habitats, although the first moon of Eridani-A III had some potential to be terraformed and used for manned mining. While it lacked atmosphere and had a colony cost of 5.34, it was only 2200 km in diameter, making terraforming much faster than normal. With over a million tons of high accessibility Duranium and almost four hundred thousand tons of mid-accessibility Gallicite, it would be an ideal future location for the mines extracting Terra’s rapidly-depleting deposits.

Eridani-A III – Moon 1 Survey Report (CC 5.43)
Duranium:   1,219,922   0.90
Neutronium:   12,100   0.90
Tritanium:   12,100   0.80
Sorium:   1,024,144   0.60
Gallicite:   393,129   0.60

Eridani-C I Survey Report (Venusian)
Duranium:   128,128,032   0.90
Tritanium:   82,955,664   0.10
Boronide:   33,856   0.10
Mercassium:   2,166,784   0.10
Vendarite:   8,133,904   0.10
Sorium:   79,637,776   1.00
Uridium:   82,955,664   0.10
Corundium:   17,909,824   0.50

Eridani C IV – Moon 4 Survey Report (CC 8.66, Crustal 28%)
Duranium:   5,551,112   0.70
Corbomite:   4,443,664   0.40
Boronide:   28,900   0.60
Mercassium:   166,464   0.10
Vendarite:   7,963,684   1.00
Uridium:   559,504   0.10
Corundium:   5,035,536   0.10
Gallicite:   93,636   0.80

Eridani C IV – Moon 7 Survey Report (CC 8.61)
Duranium:   156,800   0.90
Vendarite:   305,809   0.70
Uridium:   432,964   1.00
Corundium:   90,601   0.70

Eridani C IV – Moon 15 Survey Report (CC 8.63)
Duranium:   739,328   0.70
Corbomite:   2,427,364   0.50
Boronide:   36,100   0.70
Sorium:   3,396,649   0.40
Uridium:   17,689   0.90
Corundium:   2,732,409   0.40

The ships lost in Medusa were replaced before the end of the year. The Dauntless II class light cruisers Exorcist and Light of Ascension were launched in early August 2506, followed the Lunar class cruisers Holy Flame and Relentless in October. On November 3rd, the first, and probably only, Enforcer class light carrier was completed. The Enforcer had no magazines so was unable to carry Starhawk bombers. Instead, she carried sixteen Fury class interceptors, each of which mounted a single AK-10 weapon battery. With no defences beyond her armour, the carrier would have to rely on her strike group or escorting ships for protection.

Enforcer class Light Carrier      22,500 tons       414 Crew       2,711.6 BP       TCS 450    TH 2,250    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 3-70       Shields 0-0       HTK 108      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 18      PPV 0
Maint Life 2.00 Years     MSP 1,355    AFR 225%    IFR 3.1%    1YR 450    5YR 6,749    Max Repair 375 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 8,000 tons     
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 160    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (3)    Power 2250    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,103,000 Litres    Range 27 billion km (62 days at full power)

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Strike Group
16x Fury Interceptor   Speed: 8757 km/s    Size: 9.99

The first of another new ship type, the Python class scout frigate, also entered service in November 2506. The Python built on the concept of using torpedo box launchers for long-range augur drones that was originally trialled in the Falchion-S and Falchion II class jump frigates. The Python eschewed the weapon batteries of the Falchion in order to mount thirty box launchers. With warship speed, a jump drive and a large drone capacity, the Python was ideal for conducting probes of new systems. The use of frigate squadrons for such probe missions would be reduced over time as more Pythons became available.

Python class Scout Frigate      9,000 tons       217 Crew       1,106.9 BP       TCS 180    TH 900    EM 0
5000 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-38       Shields 0-0       HTK 51      Sensors 10/6/0/0      DCR 9      PPV 22.5
Maint Life 3.41 Years     MSP 691    AFR 72%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 90    5YR 1,357    Max Repair 225 MSP
Magazine 150   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RJ-90M Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 9000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Ravenor Drive Systems RD-450M (2)    Power 900    Fuel Use 36.89%    Signature 450    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 562,000 Litres    Range 30.5 billion km (70 days at full power)

Torpedo Box Launcher (30)     Missile Size: 5    Hangar Reload 111 minutes    MF Reload 18 hours
MK I Torpedo Fire Control (1)     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
Geosurvey Drone (10)    Speed: 2,840 km/s    End: 11.8d     Range: 2,899.3m km    WH: 0    Size: 5    TH: 9/5/2
MK I Augur Torpedo (20)    Speed: 5,000 km/s    End: 3.3d     Range: 1,440m km    WH: 0    Size: 5    TH: 16/10/5

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Large Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 10     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  25m km

On November 30th 2506 the Tau Empire passed a message to the Ambassador class diplomatic station stationed on the Minerva – Corinthis jump point, declaring that Minerva was an important system for the Tau and requesting that the Imperium cease any further movement into the system. As the Tau had abided by a similar request from the Imperium regarding Corinthis, the Lords of Terra agreed to the Tau request. The diplomatic station was exempted from the ban and remained on the jump point.

Shortly afterwards, the long-delayed geological survey of Greyshroud, adjacent to Corinthis, was completed. The standout find was on Greyshroud I, a frozen dwarf planet with barely acceptable gravity and a diameter of 2000 km. Ice sheets covered nineteen percent of the surface. The planet had large accessible deposits of Duranium, Vendarite, Sorium and Gallicite and Duranium, plus small accessible deposits of Tritanium and Boronide. The small size made it ideal for terraforming, although the population capacity was only sixty million.

Greyshroud I Survey Report (2000 km, 19% ice sheets)
Duranium:   1,584,200   0.90
Tritanium:   40,000   0.90
Boronide:   52,900   0.70
Vendarite:   756,900   0.80
Sorium:   792,100   1.00
Uridium:   400   0.60
Gallicite:   448,900   0.90

On January 16th 2507, a Caravel class colony ship in Sigma Draconis arrived at the innermost planet to found a new colony, using the infrastructure placed two weeks earlier by Carrack class freighters. The Caravel’s basic sensors detected a ship of an unknown alien race already in orbit. Sigma Draconis was seven transits from Sol along the Damocles chain via Wolf, Aeolus, Groombridge, Damocles, Ursae Majoris and Gethsemane.  The only other systems in the chain were Prometheus, which was connected to Ursae Majoris and guarded by a powerful Necron fleet, and Benediction, an unremarkable red dwarf system, connected to Gethsemane. No gravitational surveys had been conducted in Sigma Draconis, Benediction or Prometheus so they represented the edge of known space in the Damocles chain. There were no Imperium colonies anywhere in the chain, except for the one about to be founded on Sigma Draconis I to exploit the large, accessible mineral deposits on the planet.

Sigma Draconis I Survey Report
Duranium:   1,451,808   0.70
Neutronium:   5,184   0.90
Tritanium:   1,354,896   0.90
Mercassium:   156,816   0.80
Vendarite:   32,400   0.40
Sorium:   1,218,816   0.80
Uridium:   1,354,896   0.60
Corundium:   992,016   0.60

As Sigma Draconis was on the stabilised jump network, a message was immediately flashed to Terra. After considerable debate, the Lords of Terra decided on a similar approach to first contact with the Tau Empire. A colony would be established at some point on the chain. Once communication was established, the aliens would be asked to recognise Imperium sovereignty and withdraw. Some within the Lords of Terra believed that all aliens should be wiped out, even the so-far-peaceful Tau, but even they accepted the need to secure Imperium territory and learn more about the new aliens before committing to any hostile action.

While Sigma Draconis I could be built up into a larger colony, it was possible the aliens could have entered the area via Benediction into Gethsemane, which would render possession of Sigma Draconic meaningless. Therefore, a new colony would be created on the lone planet in Ursae Majoris. It was a choke point that any alien force would have to pass through to move deeper into the Imperium and it would provide a forward base for eventual operations against the major Necron force in the adjacent Prometheus system. A new force was assembled from Battlefleet Terra, comprising the Dauntless class light cruisers Bellerophon, Bloodhawk and Cerberus, the Sword class frigates Pegasus and Absolution and the Falchion-S class jump frigate Gladius. Designated as Battlefleet Damocles, it would proceed to Ursae Majoris and hold in that system as an immediate reaction force if the aliens proved to be hostile.

For the moment, the colony ship would remain at Sigma Draconis I to maintain communications with the alien ship. The frigate Myrmidon was ordered to head straight for Sigma Draconis and take over the communication effort from the colony ship once it arrived. In the meantime, a new Ambassador class diplomatic station would be constructed to take on the long-term communication and diplomatic efforts. As survey frigates completed their existing missions, they would be sent down the Damocles chain to expand knowledge of the area around Benediction and Sigma Draconis.

On February 26th 2507, the scout frigate Python discovered a new Necron tomb world in Cerix Magnus, two transits out from Nocturne via Typhon and five transits from Sol. Cerix Magnus was a red dwarf star with seven planets, sixty-eight moons and a moderate-sized asteroid belt. The inner planet was a super-terrestoid world 26,000 kilometres in diameter with a dense nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere, gravity of 1.64G and temperature of -72C. The dominant terrain was ice fields, which covered two thirds of the surface. Python remained well over a billion kilometres from the inner system and used her augur drones to detect a familiar configuration of Necron ships. A mobile squadron comprising a Reaper class escort cruiser and three destroyers of the Cairn, Khopesh and Scythe classes, plus Cartouche and Shroud bases, were in orbit of the planet. The scout frigate had to pass through Typhon and enter Nocturne before it could send a message via the stable jump network.

When the Lords of Terra received the new warning of an alien presence on the Imperium’s border, they considered an immediate attack. Similar or more powerful Necron forces had been defeated in recent years. However, the situation was changing as the Imperium had to deal with multiple threats. Three fleets, each composed of three light cruisers and three frigates, were deployed in Corinthis, Damocles and Medusa to guard against the Tau Empire, the new Sigma Draconis aliens and the missing Necron destroyers respectively. A frigate squadron was also deployed in orbit of Caliban II. The four Lunar class cruisers and the single Enforcer class carrier were unable to reach Cerix Magnus due to the lack of stabilised jump gates between Nocturne and Cerix Magnus as the largest Imperium jump drive only had a capacity of 15,000 tons.

That left four Dauntless and five Dauntless II class light cruisers, two Endeavour class light cruisers, the single strike cruiser and a dozen frigates available from Battlefleet Terra. Three of the Dauntless IIs had very inexperienced crews, as the Terran Academy was not keeping up with the demand for trained manpower, and four of the frigates were in overhaul. Even if most of the available forces were sent, that would leave Terra vulnerable in their absence. The Lords of Terra eventually decided to leave the new tomb world alone until more forces were available or the cruisers could join the battle.

A week after the discovery in Cerix Magnus, the diplomatic station on the Minerva – Corinthis jump point detected the approach of five Tau ships, four of which were previously unseen types. The largest was a Kirqath of 16,000 tons, similar to a Dauntless class light cruisers and the fourth unit of that class to be detected. The other four were all approximately 8,000 tons and comprised one Kirshasvre, one Kirla and two Kassal class ships. The small fleet took up station on the jump point, alongside the station, but took no immediate aggressive action.

« Last Edit: August 11, 2020, 08:49:05 AM by Steve Walmsley »
 
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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2020, 11:55:04 AM »
On March 23rd 2507, full communication was established with the alien race encountered in Sigma Draconis. The aliens, who identified themselves as the Tarellian Confederation, resembled large, bipedal reptiles, covered in scales ranging in colour from green to rusty red. Their faces were almost dog-like in shape, while their eyes were slitted, like a snake. Despite their appearance being instinctively dangerous to humans, the Tarellians seemed content to continue communication and improve diplomatic relations. So far, only the single Hunter class ship had appeared in Sigma Draconis.

A few days later, the survey of the ruins on Medusa II was completed. Revealing one hundred and forty potential recovery sites. Work was still underway on the ruins on Nocturne II, so Ordo Machinum formations would be moved over gradually, as the number of recovery locations on Nocturne slowly decreased. Two known Necron tomb worlds remained. The Prometheus system held a very large Necron fleet and would not be attacked in the near future, although an operation to stabilise the Prometheus – Ursae Majoris jump point was successful. Cerix Magnus had a force similar to those in Medusa and Nocturne and would be attacked once the Imperial Navy was able to divert sufficient force away from its defensive commitments.

The whole of 2507 and the first eight months of 2508 were dedicated to a military and economic build-up. A breathable atmosphere was created for Corinthis III, on the border with the Tau Empire, reducing the colony cost from 2.00 to 0.27. As the planet was 23,000 km in diameter it would take considerable effort to reduce the colony cost to zero. Given the planet’s mineral resources were inferior to several other potential mining sites and the infrastructure already in place was sufficient to support a population of thirty-three million, further terraforming was postponed in favour of higher priority operations. The potential population would be able to support a sizeable fleet base, which was the primary purpose of the colony.

The innermost planet of the Greyshroud system, adjacent to Corinthis, became an ideal habitable world in March 2508. Greyshroud was one of several sites designated for future manned mining colonies as the deposits on Terra were fast running out. Greyshroud I was a dwarf planet 2000 km in diameter and barely within the tolerable gravity range at 0.106G. An Aestusium – Oxygen atmosphere of 0.47 atm was created and a small amount of water vapour added to bring the total surface water over twenty percent coverage. The population was less than one million by August 2508 but that would grow over time. Due to the tide-locked nature of the planet, the maximum population capacity was sixty million.

Greyshroud I Survey Report
Duranium:   1,584,200   0.90
Tritanium:   40,000   0.90
Boronide:   52,900   0.70
Vendarite:   756,900   0.80
Sorium:   792,100   1.00
Uridium:   400   0.60
Gallicite:   448,900   0.90

Several new ship classes entered service in 2507 and 2508. The first Dauntless III class, Emperor’s Shield, was launched in July 2507 and was joined by her sister ships Avenger and Burden of Vigilance in February 2508. The Dauntless III was broadly similar to the preceding class, except for new ceramic composite armour and the replacement of two AK-10Bs weapon batteries with two AK-20s to improve offensive capabilities.

Dauntless III class Light Cruiser      15,000 tons       480 Crew       2,473.9 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,500    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 6-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 92      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 80
Maint Life 2.24 Years     MSP 1,133    AFR 164%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 304    5YR 4,558    Max Repair 375 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (2)    Power 1500    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 550,000 Litres    Range 20.2 billion km (46 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 160,000km    TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 12-4     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s     
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s     
R-18 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 36    Exp 5%
R-20 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 20.4    Exp 5%

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

The first four frigates of the Sword III class, Gladiator, Glory, Hussar and Javelin, entered service in September 2507. The Sword III was 9000 tons, compared to 7500 tons for the Sword II, which provided a substantial leap in capability. Armour thickness improved by twenty-five percent, with total armour increased by forty percent. The four AK-15s weapon batteries of the Sword II were upgraded to four AK-20s, while the number of AK-10Bs increased from four to six. A second MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control replaced the secondary fire control of the Sword II.

Sword III class Frigate      9,000 tons       285 Crew       1,498.7 BP       TCS 180    TH 900    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 5-38       Shields 0-0       HTK 60      Sensors 5/3/0/0      DCR 5      PPV 46
Maint Life 2.15 Years     MSP 520    AFR 130%    IFR 1.8%    1YR 151    5YR 2,261    Max Repair 225 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-450M (2)    Power 900    Fuel Use 36.89%    Signature 450    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 401,000 Litres    Range 21.7 billion km (50 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 160,000km    TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 12-4     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (6x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s 
R-17 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 34.8    Exp 5%

MK I Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 6     Range 3.4m km    MCR 304.7k km    Resolution 1
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km
MK I Small Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 3     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  13.7m km

The first pair of Lunar II class cruisers, Righteous Protector and Iron Duke, were launched in May 2508. An upgrade to ceramic composite armour created sufficient internal space to add two Astaroth AK-10B weapons batteries and to replace the 500-ton capacity troop transport bay of the Lunar I with a 1000-ton hangar bay. A Thunderhawk-A assault transport with a space marine assault force was assigned to each ship, although the hangar bay could also carry a pair of Fury class interceptors or a newly-designed Thunderhawk-T, armed with twenty-four light torpedoes.

Lunar II class Cruiser      30,000 tons       894 Crew       4,815.4 BP       TCS 600    TH 3,000    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 8-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 174      Sensors 10/6/0/0      DCR 22      PPV 145
Maint Life 2.18 Years     MSP 2,207    AFR 327%    IFR 4.5%    1YR 626    5YR 9,390    Max Repair 375 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 1,000 tons     Magazine 20   
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 20    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (4)    Power 3000    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,140,000 Litres    Range 20.9 billion km (48 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (16x4)    Range 160,000km    TS: 5,000 km/s    Power 12-4    RM 40,000 km   ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (10x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (4)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
MK II Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-22 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 66.6    Exp 5%
R-28 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 28    Exp 5%

Torpedo Box Launcher (4)     Missile Size: 5    Hangar Reload 111 minutes    MF Reload 18 hours
MK I Torpedo Fire Control (1)     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
MK I Augur Torpedo (4)    Speed: 5,000 km/s    End: 3.3d     Range: 1,440m km    WH: 0    Size: 5    TH: 16/10/5

MK I Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 12960     Range 70.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Large Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 10     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  25m km

On August 13th 2508, the first Dictator class carrier, Archon Kort, was launched by Octavian Shipbuilding. Unlike the smaller Enforcer class carrier, the Dictator had large magazines, allowing it to embark Starhawk class bombers. The Dictator emphasised carrier operations and was unable to either defend itself or withstand a serious attack, so an escort group would be required. The standard strike group would be sixteen Starhawks, with sufficient ordnance for two reloads, plus a pair of Fury class interceptors for situations where an enemy could be killed without the use of ordnance.

Dictator class Carrier      30,000 tons       554 Crew       3,583.8 BP       TCS 600    TH 3,000    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 2-86       Shields 0-0       HTK 145      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 25      PPV 0
Maint Life 2.10 Years     MSP 1,866    AFR 288%    IFR 4.0%    1YR 568    5YR 8,520    Max Repair 375 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 9,000 tons     Magazine 969   
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 180    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (4)    Power 3000    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,454,000 Litres    Range 26.7 billion km (61 days at full power)
MK II Light Torpedo (387)    Speed: 26,000 km/s    End: 19.5m     Range: 30.5m km    WH: 4    Size: 2.50    TH: 86/52/26

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 7200     Range 52.8m km    Resolution 120
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Strike Group
16x Starhawk Bomber   Speed: 5260 km/s    Size: 9.98
2x Fury II Interceptor   Speed: 8758 km/s    Size: 9.99

The second and third Dread Argent class strike cruisers, Eternal Defiance and Angelica Mortis, were launched in April 2507 and February 2508 respectively. They were joined by Vengeance Incandescent, the first Dread Argent II class strike cruiser, in August 2508. The new design used upgraded armour and a small reduction in range and sensor capability to create space for two AK-10B weapon batteries.

Dread Argent II class Strike Cruiser      15,000 tons       368 Crew       2,179.6 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,500    EM 0
5000 km/s      Armour 5-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 80      Sensors 5/0/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 34
Maint Life 2.04 Years     MSP 999    AFR 164%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 320    5YR 4,797    Max Repair 375 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 3,000 tons     
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 60    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-750M (2)    Power 1500    Fuel Use 32.66%    Signature 750    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 535,000 Litres    Range 19.7 billion km (45 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20 Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 160,000km    TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 12-4     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10B Weapons Battery (2x4)    Range 40,000km     TS: 5,000 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s
R-12 Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 24.2    Exp 5%

MK I Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Strike Group
3x Thunderhawk - A Assault Transport   Speed: 9003 km/s    Size: 19.99

During 2507 and 2508, Imperium freighters and colony ships had been building up a colony on Ursae Majoris I so that the Imperium would have a solid claim on the system before any Tarellian ship arrived. Although Ursae Majoris was two jumps from Sigma Draconis, where the aliens had first appeared, it had been chosen as the site of the new colony because it was a choke point through which any invasion force would have to pass to reach the rest of the Imperium. Sigma Draconis and Ursae Majoris were separated by the Gethsemane system, which also had a connection to the unsurveyed Benediction system, so Sigma Draconis could be reached either by ships passing through Benediction and Gethsemane or via a jump point in Sigma Draconis itself, which had not been surveyed. Given that potential, Ursae Majoris seemed to be a safer option. By September 2508, the colony had reached a population of three million and could support 43,000 tons of warships. The planet itself was a hot, barren wasteland tide-locked to the red dwarf primary, but served its purpose as a forward base and in supporting the Imperium claim to the system.

Several survey frigates had been dispatched along the Damocles chain once they completed their existing missions. In September 2508, with the survey of Sigma Draconis 75% complete, the scout frigate Anaconda arrived to probe two newly discovered jump points. The first led to the known Imperium system of Gothic, throwing Imperium maps and the Lords of Terra’s strategy for the Damocles chain into chaos. Before the connection, Gothic was twelve transits from Sigma Draconis, on the far side of known space. Gothic II was home to a small Imperium colony of 460,000 and more importantly one of the future manned mining sites. A single Gaia class terraforming station was already in orbit of Gothic II and the stabilisation ship Arch of Constantine was working on the Gothic – Hesperus jump point.

Gothic II Survey Report
Duranium:   4,572,288   0.80
Neutronium:   2,742,336   0.90
Corbomite:   171,396   0.80
Tritanium:   1,205,604   0.90
Mercassium:   1,920,996   0.10
Vendarite:   2,862,864   1.00
Sorium:   291,600   0.80
Corundium:   5,184   0.40

The jump tender Empyrean Tempest was stationed at the Hesperus - Gothic jump point, allowing commercial traffic to enter Gothic from the rest of the Imperium while the stabilisation task was still underway. The Hesperus system itself had a colony of 160,000 on the second planet, which was an excellent terraforming candidate.  Beyond Hesperus was Epsilon Indi, one of the most important systems in the Imperium. While it had no planets, its four jump points connected to Hesperus, the key frontier system of Corinthis, the recently conquered Necron system of Medusa and the Solstice system, which was two transits from Sol via Proxima. The Tarellians could not be allowed to advance down the chain from Sigma Draconis through Gothic and Hesperus to Epsilon Indi.



The Lords of Terra announced a change to their previous strategy. Rather than holding at Ursae Majoris, the Imperium would focus all its efforts on the small colony in Sigma Draconis I, site of the first contact with the Tarellians, with the aim of claiming and holding that system. A new force of three Dauntless light cruisers and three Sword class frigates, designated as Battlefleet Gothic, was dispatched to the Gothic system with orders to guard the Sigma Draconis jump point.

Meanwhile, Anaconda set course for the second unexplored jump point in Sigma Draconis. She arrived on September 14th 2508 and detected a new Tarellian ship, designated as Stalker class, already on the jump point. Anaconda entered the jump point and emerged in Gryphonne, a system with an orange K0-V primary, nine planets and more than eighty moons. The second and third planets both had nitrogen – oxygen atmospheres. Gryphonne II was a super-terrestrial world with a dense atmosphere of 2.84 atm, including 0.45 atm of oxygen. While the surface temperature was in the habitable range, the planet had no surface water at all. Gryphonne III, despite its temperature of -92C, was actually a better prospect for terraforming. The atmosphere was much thinner, at .0265 atm with 0.06 atm of oxygen, ice sheets covered more than a third of the surface and the diameter of 7800 km meant it was much faster to terraform than its neighbour.

The jump point was four point six billion kilometres from the primary, so Anaconda headed in-system until she was within augur torpedo range, then fired both augur torpedoes and geosurvey drones at the second and third planets. There was no sign of any Tarellian presence. If the Stalker stationed on the Sigma Draconic – Gryphonne jump point was an indication of the direction of the Tarellian home world, then the lack of colonies in Gryphonne was encouraging for the chances of the Imperium securing Sigma Draconis. However, it was also still possible the Tarellians had moved along the chain Benediction – Gethsemane – Sigma Draconis and had only recently found Gryphonne themselves. A second Imperium survey operation would soon begin in Benediction to check for any signs of the Tarellians beyond that system.

On October 28th, the ice caps melted on the sole moon of Eridani III, raising the temperature into the tolerable range. As the atmosphere was already breathable, the moon was now an ideal habitable world. The moon had more than a million tons of accessibility 0.9 Duranium and substantial mid-accessibility deposits of Sorium and Gallicite. Eridani was only two transits from Sol, which made the moon an ideal location for some of the sixteen hundred manned mines on Terra, which were quickly exhausting the last remnants of Terra mineral deposits. Unfortunately, almost all of the Imperium’s colony ships and freighters were engaged in a frantic effort to build a significant colony on Sigma Draconis I, so the relocation of mines to Eridani would have to wait.

Eridani III – Moon 1 Survey Report
Duranium:   1,219,922   0.90
Neutronium:   12,100   0.90
Tritanium:   12,100   0.80
Sorium:   1,024,144   0.60
Gallicite:   393,129   0.60

Terra Survey Report
Duranium:   81,264   0.71
Neutronium:   7,544   0.17
Tritanium:   81,290   0.54
Mercassium:   39,668   0.32
Sorium:   1,512   0.11
Corundium:   22,313   0.34
Gallicite:   10,990   0.20

Several of the Gaia class terraforming stations that had worked in Eridani were towed to the fourteenth moon of the third planet of the adjacent Carpathia system, which lay between Eridani and Sol. The moon also had useful mineral deposits, but was blazing hot and barren. Its small size meant it could be terraformed relatively quickly, although the total lack of water meant it would take at least five years for sufficient water to condense out of the atmosphere to reduce the colony cost to zero.

Carpathia III – Moon 14 Survey Report
Duranium:   3,195,385   0.80
Corbomite:   12,538   0.70
Boronide:   147,452   0.50
Vendarite:   518,398   0.30
Uridium:   984,060   0.50

Carpathia was also home to the primary automated mining colony of the Imperium, on the eleventh moon of the sixth planet. As the moon had a colony cost of 9.67 it would not be terraformed into a habitable world. Instead, five newly constructed O’Neill class orbital habitats had been towed into orbit of the moon, allowing a population of two million to operate manned mines.

Carpathia VI – Moon 11 Survey Report
Duranium:   1,138,904   0.80
Neutronium:   741,807   0.90
Tritanium:   222,840   0.90
Vendarite:   152,127   0.90
Uridium:   241,378   0.70
Corundium:   581,578   0.70

O'Neill class Orbital Habitat      1,002,591 tons       76 Crew       519.6 BP       TCS 20,052    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 57      Sensors 5/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 0    Max Repair 200 MSP
Habitation Capacity 400,000   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

MK I Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

The survey of Sigma Draconis was completed in December 2508. The only outward jump point was to Gryphonne so the survey frigates Covenant and Red Dawn moved into that system to conduct gravitational and geological surveys respectively. An already stable jump point was discovered in February and the scout frigate Anaconda was dispatched to investigate. Meanwhile in the nearby Benediction system, the other survey effort intended to locate the home world of the new aliens found two jump points. The scout frigate Mamba probed both, finding Anubis, a planetless K-class star, and Beta Hydri, a yellow G2-IV sub giant with seven unremarkable planets and seventy-eight moons. Black Star and Morning Star both moved into Beta Hydri.

On February 21st, with Anaconda still en route to the unexplored stable jump point, Red Dawn moved to survey the gas giant Gryphonne VII and its thirty moons. She discovered twenty-one Tarellian ships in orbit of the gas giant. Twelve 73,902-ton ships were designated as Tracker class and were most probably fuel harvesters. The other nine were split between three 13,783-ton Wolf class ships and six 6866-ton Twilight class ships. The size suggested they were warships escorting the harvesters. The Tarellians were present in strength just one transit from Sigma Draconis. Given the stable jump point in the system, it was highly likely that their home world lay somewhere beyond Gryphonne. The more immediate concern was that Gryphonne would have significant value to the Tarellians, which would have implications for the Imperium’s ability to negotiate a Tarellian withdrawal from Sigma Draconis. The events in Gryphonne added even greater urgency to the colony-building project in Sigma Draconis.



Sigma Draconis I already had a population of three million due to the all-out effort during the five months since the Lords of Terra designated the planet as top priority. Around half of the colony ships and freighters that had brought the infrastructure and settlers from Terra had subsequently moved to Ursae Majoris, two transits away, where they would pick up a further one point five million colonists and supporting infrastructure and then return to Sigma Draconis. The Ursae Majoris colony was being cannibalised to speed up the growth of Sigma Draconis I.

The Lords of Terra decided that the Imperial Navy would also make a show of strength in Sigma Draconis to back up the planned negotiations. Two fleets, designated Battlefleet Damocles and Battlefleet Gothic and each consisting of three light cruisers and three frigates, were stationed at the Ursae Majoris – Gethsemane and Gothic – Sigma Draconis jump points respectively. The former was stationed two jumps from Sigma Draconis to protect against a theoretical alien approach through Benediction and Gethsemane. As that was now very unlikely to be the case, Battlefleet Damocles was ordered to detach a frigate as a picket at the Gethsemane – Sigma Draconis jump point and move to colony on Sigma Draconis I. Similarly, Battlefleet Gothic was ordered to leave a frigate in Gothic and move to the colony, creating a combined force of six light cruisers and four frigates.

In case the situation deteriorated, a substantial reinforcement was created from Battlefleet Terra and dispatched to Sigma Draconis. The fleet comprised the Lunar class cruisers Holy Flame and Imperial Wrath, the Dauntless class light cruisers August and Divine Crusade, the strike cruiser Eternal Defiance and the Sword class frigates Night Stalker, Order Absolute, Pegasus and Rapier. All the ships were first generation designs. Newer ships were being added to Battlefleet Terra over time. The Dauntless III class light cruiser The Sword Infernus had joined in December 2508 and the Sword III class frigates Leonidas, Hyperion, Spartan and Spiculum in January 2509.

On February 23rd, the Tarellians sent a diplomatic message to Red Dawn, suggesting that the Imperium leave the Gryphonne system as it was part of their territory. The tone of the message was polite, which did not suggest that any conflict was imminent, but it did reinforce the need to fix the border quickly. The Lords of Terra decided that as soon as the new colonists arrived from Ursae Majoris, the claim on Sigma Draconis would be made. In the meantime, Red Dawn was ordered to avoid Gryphonne VII and its moons but to otherwise continue the survey, so the overall value of the system could be determined. If the Tarellians couldn’t detect the survey ship, they would not complain about its presence. Five days later, Anaconda reached the stable jump point in Gryphonne and transited. She emerged on the edge of Helios, a red dwarf system with eighteen comets but no planets. With no bodies worth scouting, Anaconda returned to Gryphonne and remained on the jump point to monitor any alien traffic.

On March 28th, the second wave of colonists arrived on Sigma Draconis I from Ursae Majoris, taking the population to four point five million. As there would be further colonists in the short-term, the Lords of Terra agreed to send a diplomatic message to the Tarellians, requesting they leave Sigma. The Tarellians responded on April 2nd, stating they had no interest in Sigma Draconis and would accept Imperium sovereignty over the system. So far, apart from the Necrons, the aliens encountered by the Imperium were less hostile than feared by the Emperor.

On April 18th, Anaconda detected three Tarellian ships transiting into Gryphonne from Helios. Two were known classes; a Wolf and a Twilight. The third was Shakar class with a thermal signature strength over one thousand. Anaconda moved away to reduce the chance of further warnings from the Tarellians about the Imperium presence in Gryphonne. Five days later, the peaceful resolution of the border question with the Tarellians was thrown into doubt when the survey frigate Red Dawn found a ruined colony and a dormant construct on Gryphonne II, along with fourteen million tons of accessibility 0.9 Duranium, ten million tons of accessibility 1.0 Corundium and seven other minerals at minimal accessibility. The Lords of Terra decided to launch a survey expedition with the intention of retrieving as much as possible from the planet before it caused a serious problem with the Tarellian Confederation. The ruins on Medusa II were fully exploited by November 2508, which allowed Ordo Machinum formations to be moved to Sigma Draconis in anticipation of a successful survey of the ruins on Gryphonne II.

Gryphonne II Survey Report
Duranium:   13,992,050   0.90
Neutronium:   111,936,400   0.10
Corbomite:   127,012,900   0.10
Tritanium:   64,802,500   0.10
Boronide:   132,250,000   0.10
Mercassium:   80,460,900   0.10
Vendarite:   330,625   0.10
Uridium:   57,608,100   0.10
Corundium:   10,368,400   1.00

On February 23rd 2509, a ground-based geological survey of Asteroth II found several new deposits and raised the accessibility of Duranium from 0.1 to 0.7. The planet had hundreds of millions of tons of minerals, with deposits of every mineral type, including high accessibility deposits of Duranium, Tritanium, Boronide and Gallicite. Unfortunately, Asteroth II was a super-terrestrial Venusian world with an atmosphere of 180 atm so it was effectively impossible to terraform. Asteroth was part of a ten-system loop that included Proxima and Corinthis and was six transits from Sol using two different routes. Given the distance and the requirement for automated mines, it would remain unexploited in the short-term as all Imperium automated mines were being sent to Carpathia.

Asteroth II Survey Report
Duranium:   77,875,200   0.70
Neutronium:   17,305,600   0.10
Corbomite:   75,864,100   0.10
Tritanium:   133,864,900   0.70
Boronide:   40,576,900   1.00
Mercassium:   119,246,400   0.30
Vendarite:   35,760,400   0.10
Sorium:   1,690,000   0.10
Uridium:   43,956,900   0.10
Corundium:   116,424,100   0.10
Gallicite:   14,212,900   0.80

In June 2509, research into Magneto-plasma drives was completed. The next few months saw the development of numerous new engines for Imperial warships, commercial vessels and small craft. Improvements in weapon battery technology were also made, including the development of the new Astaroth AK-25 and range improvements to existing weapon batteries. New fire controls were needed with a tracking speed of 6400 km/s, which would be the new design standard for Imperial warships, and more powerful reactors were available. Finally, breakthroughs in sensor technology allowed longer-ranged augur arrays. For most existing designs, in particular those with composite armour and older weapons, it would cost more to refit the ship to use all the new technology than to build a new one, so two separate construction programs were created.

Brand new designs, including a Sword IV class frigate and Dauntless IV class light cruiser, were created using all the latest technology. These included longer-ranged versions of the AK-20 and AK-10 series weapon batteries, improved sensors and fire controls, new Stellarator fusion reactors and Magneto-plasma drives. The designs would be for new builds only, as refits of older ships would be too expensive.

Dauntless IV class Light Cruiser      15,000 tons       485 Crew       2,896.1 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,920    EM 0
6400 km/s      Armour 6-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 92      Sensors 5/8/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 80
Maint Life 2.15 Years     MSP 1,327    AFR 164%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 385    5YR 5,768    Max Repair 480 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-960M (2)    Power 1920    Fuel Use 28.58%    Signature 960    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 502,000 Litres    Range 21.1 billion km (38 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20B Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 200,000km   TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 12-4    RM 50,000 km   ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10C Weapons Battery (8x4)    Range 50,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 50,000 km    ROF 5       
MK III Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 6,400 km/s
MK III Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 6,400 km/s
R-18 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 56.4    Exp 5%

MK II Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 9600     Range 70.4m km    Resolution 120
MK II Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 574.5k km    Resolution 1
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

Sword IV class Frigate      9,000 tons       288 Crew       1,751.5 BP       TCS 180    TH 1,152    EM 0
6400 km/s      Armour 5-38       Shields 0-0       HTK 58      Sensors 2/4/0/0      DCR 5      PPV 46
Maint Life 2.07 Years     MSP 608    AFR 130%    IFR 1.8%    1YR 190    5YR 2,845    Max Repair 288 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-576M (2)    Power 1152    Fuel Use 36.89%    Signature 576    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 386,000 Litres    Range 20.9 billion km (37 days at full power)

Astaroth AK-20B Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 200,000km    TS: 6,400 km/s    Power 12-4    RM 50,000 km   ROF 15       
Astaroth AK-10C Weapons Battery (6x4)    Range 50,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 50,000 km    ROF 5       
MK III Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 6,400 km/s
R-17 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 34.8    Exp 5%

MK II Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 8     Range 4.5m km    MCR 406.2k km    Resolution 1
MK II Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 5760     Range 54.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Small Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 4     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  15.8m km
MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 2.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  12.5m km

Existing warship designs, including two types of Lunar class cruiser, three versions of the Dauntless class light cruiser and three versions of the Sword class frigate, would each have a bespoke refit design. In each case, the upgrade would replace the engines, reactors, fire controls and augur arrays, but leave the existing weapons, armour and other internal systems. This was necessary due to the design differences in each original class. For example, the Dauntless II had different weapons to the Dauntless I, while the Dauntless III had upgraded armour. Each new design would use the original class designation with an ‘M’ suffix to indicate the upgrade to Magneto-plasma drives. The M refits would take precedence over new construction in order to make the existing fleet as effective as possible. No immediate refits were scheduled for the jump-capable Endeavour and Falchion classes due to shipyard space but they would be refitted eventually.

The survey of Gryphonne revealed five new jump points, complicating the Imperium’s efforts to locate the direction of the Tarellian home world. During the remainder of 2509, Anaconda conducted a series of probes into the systems beyond, encountering Tarellian ships on several occasions. Helios and Moloch were both planetless while Arcadia and Paragon had two and three unremarkable planets respectively. Nostramo was by far the most interesting, with eleven planets and over a hundred moons. Nostramo II was closer to an ideal habitable world than any non-terraformed planet so far encountered. The planet was slightly larger than Earth, although with gravity of 0.91G, and had a breathable nitrogen – atmosphere of 0.83 atm. Seventy-five percent of the surface was oceans while the land was dominated by great forested rift valleys. The only environmental factor outside the human tolerable range was the surface temperature of -16C. A sweep of the inner system found no sign of life on the pristine world, which made it unlikely that was the direction of the Tarellian home world.

The Tarellian Confederation granted trade access in August 2509, then revoked it a month later due to Imperium activity in Gryphonne. The Lords of Terra had decided to exploit the ruins on Gryphonne II and also to survey as far as necessary beyond Gryphonne to locate the Tarellian home world. So far, the Tarellians seemed content to restrict themselves to mild warnings when Imperium ships were detected so Imperium ships were ordered to ignore those warnings, unless they became more serious than the ‘suggestions’ to leave.

Due to a focus on the construction of Gaia class terraforming stations, Imperium terraforming efforts were taking place on several worlds simultaneously, although usually with two main sites dedicated to development within a few years and one or two Gaias assigned to worlds with long-term prospects.  The first moon of Aexe Cardinal III, located five transits from Terra via Proxima, Solstice, Epsilon Indi and Medusa, became an ideal habitable world in November 2509. At only 3600km in diameter, the moon was relatively fast to terraform and already possessed sufficient water. The trace nitrogen atmosphere was boosted to 0.4 atm of aestusium and oxygen, bringing the temperature to 14C, the mid-range of human tolerance.

The moon was a designated future mining location and had large accessible deposits of several key minerals. As the moon required a thirty-four billion kilometres round trip from Sol, sites closer to Terra, such as Carpathia, Eridani and Greyshroud, would be exploited first. Mineral deposits on Terra were close to total depletion so there was great urgency to move Terra’s mines to the closest reasonable location, rather than a better location further away. A more optimum distribution of mining sites would be determined over the long term.

Aexe Cardinal-A III - Moon 1 Survey Report
Duranium:   4,681,800   0.90
Corbomite:   2,862,864   0.70
Tritanium:   1,016,064   0.60
Boronide:   272,484   0.30
Vendarite:   54,756   0.60
Uridium:   374,544   0.20
Corundium:   842,724   0.70
Gallicite:   910,116   0.60

The ancient construct on Gryphonne II was surveyed in late November. Imperium scientists believed it would double any research into defensive systems. While that made Gryphonne II a valuable find, there was no immediate desire from the Lords of Terra to fight for the system. The construct would only be useful if sufficient research facilities could be moved from Terra, which was seven transits and twenty billion kilometres away. With the requirement to move mines from Terra to nearby systems, there was nowhere close to the available capacity required to move several research facilities over such a distance. The 23,000 km diameter planet would also require either a substantial terraforming effort to remove 0.15 atm of oxygen from the dense atmosphere, or sufficient infrastructure to house the workforce for the research facilities. In summary, securing the planet was important, but not urgent. Work on surveying the ruins continued.

In December 2509, construction and training was completed for the Konig Tank Regiment. The new formation was the first of several similar Armoured Regiments. Each regiment comprised sixty 104-ton Leman Russ Battle Tanks, equipped with heavy armour, a heavy anti-vehicle cannon and a heavy bolter, eighteen 132-ton Leman Russ Annihilator Tank Destroyers, equipped with twin cannon, two Salamander command vehicles with both headquarters and Vox Caster capabilities, and eighteen supply vehicles. With much heavier weapons than either the Imperial Guard or light armoured regiments, the armoured regiments would form the offensive arm of any future invasions.

A survey of the ruins on Gryphonne II was completed in April 2510, revealing sixty-five sites with recovery potential. Four Ordo Machinum formations were moved to the planet to ensure that recovery was completed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the orbit of the planet passed within nine million kilometres of the Arcadia jump point, which seemed popular with Tarellian shipping, and the direct course for freighters and troop transports moving between Gryphonne II and Sigma Draconis passed very close to the Tarellian fuel harvesting operation on Gryphonne VII. This situation resulted in regular ‘suggestions’ to leave the system. While the warnings were ignored, they would likely have a cumulative negative effect on relations. Captain Dante Agemann, on board the diplomatic station in orbit of Sigma Draconis I, was in contact with his counterpart, Chu-sa Melati Suyanto, on-board a Tarellian diplomatic ship stationed at the Sigma Draconis – Gryphonne jump point. Captain Agemann was constantly trying to repair relations with the Tarellian Confederation to offset the damage caused by the Imperium activity in Gryphonne.

Encounters with the Tarellians were also happening in the surrounding systems. An Imperium survey frigate observed the creation of a Tarellian colony on the near-ideal world of Nostramo II in May 2510 and was asked to leave shortly thereafter. In October, what appeared to be stabilisation ships with small escort groups were encountered in Helios, adjacent to Gryphonne, and the recently discovered system of Melchior, which was one of five systems discovered beyond Helios. A survey of Melchior IV found a ruined colony, creating another reason for future tension with the Tarellians.

The number of ‘requests to leave’ increased in December 2510, with incidents in both Gryphonne and Nostramo. The situation was eased somewhat by the end of recovery operations on Gryphonne II, although transport of the recovered materials was still underway. Three research facilities, a sector command and various factories were moved to Sigma Draconis I to await transport to Terra once sufficient capacity was available. A quantity of minerals, including several thousand tons of precious Gallicite, was shipped direct to Terra. Construction factories on Terra were building engines to speed up the M-Refits program, which was rapidly depleting the remaining stockpile of Gallicite.

A survey of Paragon, adjacent to Gryphonne, revealed three outward jump points which were probed by the scout frigate Anaconda. Besarife was a planetless, orange K6-V main sequence star. Rasalhague was a larger K-class star with four planets and fourteen moons, several of which were less than colony cost 3.00 but lacked any significant mineral deposits. The most interesting was Cyclopia, named because the system, when viewed from above the ecliptic, looked like a giant eye. The primary was a yellow-white F2-IV sub-giant, fifteen times brighter than Sol. Eight planets, with sixty-six moons, orbited between one and fifty billion kilometres. A huge asteroid belt, stretching between one hundred and eighty billion and two hundred and fifty billion kilometres from the primary surrounded the inner system. The innermost planet, a mountainous world about twenty percent larger than Mars, had a thin nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere of 0.17 atm and ice sheets than covered more than half the surface.

Cyclopia was also of interest because it was the first system two jumps from Gryphonne that had stabilised jump points when it was discovered. Melchior and Soryth, two systems connected to Helios, also had stabilised jump points but those had been stabilised by the Tarellians since their discovery. The partial survey of Nostramo had so far revealed a single outward jump point leading to Athena, a binary system with ten planets, but that was not stabilised either. With the caveat that Arcadia had yet to be surveyed, the only system connected to Gryphonne where that was the case, the weight of evidence was that the Tarellian home world lay somewhere beyond Cyclopia.



2511 was a relatively quiet year, with the industrial effort focused on upgrading the Imperial Navy to new technology and the logistics effort focused on establishing extra-solar mining colonies. Exploration continued in Tarellian space, with fewer incidents as the focus moved out from Gryphonne, and across the other frontiers of the Imperium. There was a particular focus on the area beyond Alpha Centauri, with sixteen new systems explored between 2509 and 2511 and four further unexplored jump points. Imperium survey frigates moved beyond the vast Coronae Australis system for the first time since 2503 and discovered three new systems around Graildark. As of January 2512, known space comprised one hundred and twenty-two systems, of which seven were considered to be within Tau territory and fifteen within Tarellian territory, although in the latter case the Imperium was ignoring the border.

By January 2512, the Imperial Navy had a myriad of different ship classes, as the various generations of cruisers and frigates built before 2509 were undergoing separate M-refits. Four versions of the Dauntless class light cruiser were in service, along with four versions of the Sword class frigate and three different Lunar class cruisers. That would increase further once the first new build Dauntless IV and Sword IV class ships were launched. In total, excluding jump-capable warships, the Imperial Navy had eight 30,00-ton Lunar class cruisers, two 30,000-ton Dictator class carriers, twenty-three 15,000-ton Dauntless class light cruisers and thirty-five Sword class frigates, twelve of which were 9000-ton and the rest 7500-ton, in service. Of those, five cruisers, both carriers, six light cruisers and twenty-one frigates had completed their refit to magneto-plasma drives.

Imperial Navy of the Imperium of Man – January 1st 2012
Lunar II - M class Cruiser: Agrippa, Indomitus Imperious, Iron Duke, Righteous Protector
Lunar - M class Cruiser: Imperial Wrath
Lunar class Cruiser: Holy Flame, Relentless, Retribution
Dictator II class Carrier: Archon Kort, Fortitude
Enforcer class Light Carrier: Enforcer
Dauntless III - M class Light Cruiser: Avenger, Burden of Vigilance, Emperor’s Shield, Emperor's Vow, Kingmaker, Pax Deliveratus
Dauntless III class Light Cruiser: The Sword Infernus
Dauntless II class Light Cruiser: Abdiel, Exorcist, Light of Ascension, Uziel, Warrior Knight
Dauntless class Light Cruiser: August, Bellerophon, Bloodhawk, Cerberus, Divine Crusade, Hammer of Truth, Havock, Luxor, Ravenor, Unbroken Vow, Vengeful Martyr, Vigilant
Dread Argent II - M class Strike Cruiser: Covenant of Blood, Holy Execution, Vengeance Incandescent
Dread Argent class Strike Cruiser: Angelica Mortis, Dread Argent, Eternal Defiance
Endeavour class Light Cruiser: Endeavour, Leonid, Sacrament of Judgement, Sanctis Legate
Python class Scout Frigate: Anaconda, Cobra, Mamba, Python
Sword III - M class Frigate: Daedalus, Gladiator, Glory, Hussar, Hyperion, Immortal, Javelin, Leonidas, Phoenix, Spartan, Sphinx, Spiculum
Sword - M class Frigate: Excalibur, Final Silence, Heroic Endeavour, Mariatus, Night Stalker, Pegasus, Rapier, Raven's Spear, Sword
Sword II class Frigate: Centaur, Myrmidon, Resolute, Revenge
Sword class Frigate: Absolution, Achilles, Destiny's Hand, Order Absolute, Rubicon, Sabre, Silent Fire, Strident Virtue, Triumph of Juno, Valiant
Falchion II class Frigate: Falchion, Flamberge, Khopesh
Falchion - S class Frigate: Gladius
Falchion class Frigate: Claymore, Katana, Scimitar
Tempest class Survey Frigate: Acta Sanctorum, Ascension, Black Star, Constantia, Covenant, Emperor's Light, Evening Star, Morning Star, Red Dawn, Tempest, Vita Brevis, Vox Caelus
9x Thunderhawk - A class Assault Transport
18x Thunderhawk - A III class Assault Transport
8x Thunderhawk - A II class Assault Transport
2x Thunderhawk-S class Scout
12x Thunderhawk - T class Corvette
18x Fury III class Interceptor
2x Fury II class Interceptor
16x Fury class Interceptor
22x Starhawk II class Bomber
16x Starhawk class Bomber
5x O'Neill class Orbital Habitat
49x Ambrosia class Fuel Harvester Station
26x Hephaestus class Orbital Mining Platform
39x Gaia class Terraforming Station
4x Goliath class Tug
4x Gateway class Stabilisation Ship
4x Gateway II class Stabilisation Ship
4x Empyrean class Jump Tender
6x Cetaceous class Troop Transport
4x Cetaceous II class Troop Transport
5x Carrack III class Freighter
4x Brigantine class Replenishment Ship
3x Brigantine II class Replenishment Ship
20x Caravel class Colony Ship
23x Caravel II class Colony Ship
40x Carrack class Freighter
44x Carrack II class Freighter
2x Orion class Salvager
6x Orca class Troop Transport
2x Ambassador class Diplomatic Station:

The total population for the Imperium in January 2512 was two point four billion, of which two hundred and ten million were in off-world colonies. Luna and the habitable single moon of Eridani-A III were the largest colonies, with populations of eight-two million and forty-five million, supporting five hundred financial centres and four hundred manned mines respectively. The other large mining colony was the eleventh moon of Carpathia VI, which was home to three hundred and forty automated mines and thirty manned mines. As the moon was a barren rock only thirty degrees above absolute zero, the population of two million was based in orbital habitats.

Caliban II and Aurigae I had populations of eighteen and sixteen million respectively. The former was a terraformed Necron tomb world that served as a small naval base, while the latter was home to seven research facilities and an ancient construct dedicated to energy weapon research. Corinthis III, the naval base on the Tau border, and Nocturne II, another former Necron tomb world, both had populations of eight million. Lalande III, with a population of seven million, had minor mineral deposits but was mainly the destination of civilian colony ships due to its proximity to Terra. Greyshroud I, an ideal habitable world with sixty manned mines, and Sigma Draconis I, the colony world on the Tarellian border, both had approximately five million inhabitants. There were a further eight lesser colonies, ranging from four million on Proxima I to a small settlement of 120,000 on Alpha Centauri-B III.

In addition to the populated colonies, there were three locations for orbital mining. Five Hephaestus class Orbital Mining Platforms, each with twenty-five mining modules, were in orbit of the comet Tempel 1 in Sol, with a further three in orbit of comet Swift-Tuttle. Both sites were in decline with rapidly depleting deposits. Because of the lack of suitable nearby mining sites, fifteen Hephaestus class platforms had been towed to a comet in the Typhon system, four transits from Sol via Lalande, Macharius and Nocturne, with a further three en route, towed by Goliath class tugs.

Comet Typhon #1 Survey Report
Duranium:   209,273   1.00
Tritanium:   80,070   0.50
Gallicite:   141,000   0.80

The primary objectives for the Lords of Terra in 2512 and beyond were to move the mining capacity of Terra to the extra-solar colonies, complete the upgrade of the Imperial Navy and continue explorations in Tarellian space, as long as that could be done without a major diplomatic incident. Once the M-refits were complete and the first new build Magneto-plasma ships were available, the Necron tomb-world on Cerix Magnus would be conquered. After that point, depending on relations with the Tarellians, the next target would be the huge Necron fleet in Prometheus. Of course, if the situation beyond Sigma Draconis deteriorated, conflict with the Tarellian Confederation was a real possibility

Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2020, 07:50:57 AM »
2512 and 2513 were dominated by the Gallicite Crisis. Shipbuilding and the M-Refits program were halted entirely in mid-2512 when Terra exhausted its stockpile of Gallicite. Supplies were being brought in from Eridani, Greyshroud and the orbital mining platforms in Typhon, but it was nowhere near enough to meet demand. Production of maintenance supplies ceased as Terra already had a substantial stockpile, but that would decrease rapidly over time. Eridani had been the early focus for the transfer of manned mines from Terra, despite only having accessibility 0.6 Gallicite compared to 0.9 for Greyshroud, because it was the closest option. The round trip to Greyshroud was twice as long. A new orbital mining location was setup at a comet in the Hyades system, four jumps from Terra via Proxima, Equinox and Bernard’s Star and a new automated mining colony was created on Asteroth II, two jumps further out via Regulus. Both had high accessibility Gallicite but would take some time to exploit as they were also further away than Eridani.

The Gallicite Crisis meant that refits, when possible, had to take precedence over new warship construction and production of colony ships took precedence over refits. Without colonists, Eridani and Greyshroud could not operate the mines being transferred from Sol. The reduction in shipbuilding and the associated prioritisation of resources meant that only five new warships were completed in 2512 and just one in 2513. The Dictator II class carrier Ultima Praetor was built in April 2512, the first pair of Sword IV class frigates, Hydra and Thunderchild, were completed in July 2512 and the first two Dauntless IV class light cruisers, Unbreakable Might and Vigilance Eternus, were launched in December 2512. Hammer of Justice, the fourth Dictator class carrier, was constructed in August 2513. At the end of 2513, just two warships were under construction, but they were both 62,500-ton Emperor class battleships, the first of their class.

In March 2512, thirty-six Tarellian ships of a new type, designated as Husky class, emerged from the Gryphonne - Arcadia jump point on course for the Gryphonne - Nostramo jump point. Given the size of the fleet and that the class had not even been seen before, Imperium Intelligence revised its previous view that the Tarellian home world lay somewhere beyond Cyclopia. Arcadia was the only system adjacent to Gryphonne that had not been surveyed, so correcting that omission became a high priority. The evidence grew stronger with a steady increase in Tarellian traffic in and out of the Arcadia system.

In August 2512, a jump point was discovered in Arcadia that seemed to be the origin of the Tarellian traffic in the system. The scout frigate Anaconda conducted a probe of the jump point on August 25th, emerging one point four billion kilometres from an orange K3-V star with thirteen planets, sixty-nine moons and a distant asteroid belt. The third planet was the first ideal habitable world to be discovered outside of Sol. The planet had a nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere of 1.2 atm, a surface temperature of 4C and oceans covering sixty percent of the surface. The dominant terrain was forested rift valleys. Anaconda was at extreme augur torpedo range, as the planet was at the far side of the star, so she moved in-system on an offset course to avoid traffic and launched a single torpedo.

On August 28th, a thermal signature of 98,000 was detected on the third planet. In comparison, the thermal signature of Terra was 58,000, which probably meant the Tarellian home world had a population in excess of three billion. One hundred and fifty-six ships were in orbit, most of which were 20,000 tons or less, suggesting warships rather than commercial vessels. The ground forces signature was 478,000 tons, indicating perhaps two million tons of ground forces. The total size of the Imperium ground forces was one point three million tons. Assuming comparative tech levels, the Imperium would need a high multiple of its current ground force strength and the transports required to carry them. The only good news was that the size and location of the threat was now known. If war with the Tarellians did erupt, the Lords of Terra believed the best strategy was to blockade the Gryphonne – Arcadia jump point to cut off the Tarellian home world, while light forces mopped up the surrounding systems. Anaconda departed the system now designated as Tarellia without being challenged.



For the moment, the priority of the Lords of Terra was to end the ongoing Gallicite crisis and complete the M-Refits program. Once sufficient ships could be spared, the Necrons would be removed from Cerix Magnus and potentially from Prometheus too. After that, preparations would be made to support the blockade of Arcadia, should that be deemed necessary or desirable.

A month after the discovery of Tarellia, with the surveys of Arcadia still underway, a large number of Tarellian ships were detected in orbit of Arcadia II. Completion of the geological survey demonstrated the reason or the Tarellian interest; the barren, airless dwarf planet had substantial deposits of accessible Duranium and Gallicite plus mid-to-low accessibility deposits of five other minerals. While the planet would be an ideal mining location for the Imperium, the balance of forces in the area could not support any form of aggressive Imperium move in the near term.

Arcadia II Mineral Survey
Duranium:   3,742,848   0.80
Corbomite:   2,862,864   0.30
Tritanium:   219,024   0.20
Vendarite:   82,944   0.50
Sorium:   46,656   0.30
Corundium:   1,016,064   0.30
Gallicite:   2,340,900   0.90



On May 15th 2513, Gothic II became an ideal habitable world. The dwarf planet now had an Aestusium – Oxygen atmosphere, large oceans and vast expanses of prairie. More importantly, it had large, high accessibility deposits of six minerals, including Duranium. While it would not be an immediate mining target due to its lack of Gallicite, it would be a valuable asset for the Imperium in the long-term.

Gothic II Survey Report
Duranium:   4,572,288   0.80
Neutronium:   2,742,336   0.90
Corbomite:   171,396   0.80
Tritanium:   1,205,604   0.90
Mercassium:   1,920,996   0.10
Vendarite:   2,862,864   1.00
Sorium:   291,600   0.80
Corundium:   5,184   0.40

Later the same month, the ruins on Melchior IV, three jumps out from Sigma Draconis via Gryphonne, and Helios, were fully exploited. Give the sixty billion kilometres round-trip from Terra and other urgent transport commitments, it was not economic in the short-term to divert lift capacity to collect the recovered installations, which included two ground force construction complexes, eleven factories and sixteen mines. However, a large quantity of minerals, including several thousand tons of precious Gallicite, was picked and transported back to Sol. The installations were earmarked for collection once the other priorities were addressed.

With 2513 drawing to a close, the Lords of Terra decided the time had come to eliminate the Necron presence in Cerix Magnus, five transits from Terra via Lalande, Macharius, Nocturne and Typhon. The Necron force guarding the system was similar to those encountered at the tomb worlds at Caliban, Nocturne and Medusa, with a couple of orbital defence bases and a four-ship mobile squadron comprising an escort cruiser and three destroyers. The jump point had been stabilised by a Gateway class ship that had managed to enter Cerix Magnus without discovery, which meant that Lunar class cruisers could lead the assault force. The new fleet, known as Battlefleet Magnus, departed Terra on October 11th 2513 and arrived in Cerix Magnus three weeks later. Battlefleet Magnus comprised four Lunar class cruisers, nine Dauntless class light cruisers of the II-M and III-M variants, two Space Marine strike cruisers and nine Sword class frigates of the I-M and III-M variants.

Battlefleet Magnus
CA Lunar - M class Cruiser: Holy Flame, Imperial Wrath, Relentless, Retribution
CL Dauntless III - M class Light Cruiser: Avenger, Emperor’s Shield, Kingmaker, Pax Deliveratus
CL Dauntless II - M class Light Cruiser: Abdiel, Exorcist, Light of Ascension, Uziel, Warrior Knight
CS Dread Argent II - M class Strike Cruiser: Dread Argent, Vengeance Incandescent
FF Sword III - M class Frigate: Hyperion, Immortal, Javelin, Leonidas, Spartan, Spiculum
FF Sword - M class Frigate: Rubicon, Silent Fire, Valiant
6x Thunderhawk - A III class Assault Transport:

Even while Battlefleet Magnus was closing in on its target, a new Necron tomb world was discovered in Canis Minoris, a system on the edge of the Coronae Sector, six transits from Sol. Until now, the largest Necron fleet encountered was that found in Prometheus, which massed 275,000 tons and so far was deemed too strong for an Imperium attack. The fleet in Cerix Magnus, which Battlefleet Magnus was about to attack, was 65,000 tons. The vast Necron armada present in Canis Minoris was over 900,000 tons. The entire Imperial Navy, including support classes such as survey frigates, scouts and jump ships was only one point five million tons. The planet was protected by ten bases, thirteen warships of the 21,252-ton Dirge class, eight Reaper class escort cruisers and ten Ankh class ships of approximately 14,000 tons and thirty frigate-sized warships. There was also a single Mephrit class of 25,000 tons which had a commercial engine signature. Lord Admiral Constantine Phaeron, Commander of all Imperium naval forces, strongly advised his fellow Lords of Terra against considering any offensive move into the system, at least until the Imperial Navy was either much larger or technologically superior to the Necrons.

Canis Minoris Tomb World Fleet
4x ODB Shroud (14,116 tons)
4x ODB Cartouche (14,030 tons)
2x OWP Jackal (14,030 tons)
1x XX Mephrit (25,990 tons - Commercial)
13x XX Dirge (21,252 tons)
8x CLE Reaper (14,196 tons)
10x XX Ankh (13,828 tons)
6x XX Catacomb (7,099 tons)
2x DD Cairn (7,081 tons)
2x DD Scythe (7,069 tons)
6x DD Khopesh (7,069 tons)
14 XX Phaeron (7,047 tons)





Meanwhile, in Cerix Magnus, Battlefleet Magnus moved with augur range of the innermost planet and detected the expected six ships; Cartouche and Shroud class defence bases, plus a mobile squadron comprising a Reaper class escort cruiser and three destroyers. Thirty-five million kilometres from the planet, the fleet came under torpedo attack. Seventeen waves of eight anti-ship torpedoes were easily brushed aside by the massed point defence of Battlefleet Magnus. All the ships were refitted, so it was possible the Necrons were testing the defences of what would appear to be new ship types. The ease with which the Imperial ships destroyed the torpedoes apparently dissuaded the Necrons from any immediate follow-up attack.

As in previous engagements where the Necrons knew the Imperium point defences were too strong to engage at long range, they opened fire with both torpedoes and anti-torpedoes at 500,000 kilometres. This time the Imperium fleet was closing at 6400 km/s, rather than 5000 km/s, and had improved point defence capability compared to the battles in Caliban, Nocturne and Medusa. The downside was that the Imperium weapon batteries had even less time to recharge between salvos. The salvos comprised fifty-seven ATTs and twelve anti-ship torpedoes, arriving both separately and in combination. On the run-in, before Battlefleet Magnus devoted weapons to offensive fire, every single torpedo was destroyed by point defence. Even more importantly, there did not seem to be any of the deadly Necron ground-based lasers on the planet.

The fleet opened fire at 144,000 kilometres, scoring strength-1 hits on every Necron ship. Even with the heavier weapons targeting the alien ships, the secondary batteries of Battlefleet Magnus maintained the perfect defensive record. Not a single Necron torpedo struck an Imperium warship. Battlefleet Magnus fired again at 50,000 km with devastating effect. Both bases, the Reaper class escort cruiser and a Scythe class destroyer were blown to pieces. The commander of Battlefleet Magnus was Captain Azrael Belisarius, commander of the cruiser Imperial Wrath since 2504 and recipient of the Bronze Star in the Battle of Nocturne in 2505, where Imperial Wrath destroyed two Necron Cartouche class bases. Seeing an opportunity, he ordered the fleet to cease fire, except for two Sword class frigates which he ordered to fire a single weapon battery each at the Cairn and Khopesh class destroyers. Battlefleet Magnus included a pair of Space Marine strike cruisers, which were capable of launching boarding operations with their Thunderhawk assault craft.

After a minute of fire, the Khopesh lost its remaining engine, leaving it dead in space. Three Thunderhawk-As carrying the Benedictors, Iron Fists and Shadowhawks, each an assault force of forty Space marines, sped away from the fleet and safely deposited their troops on the stationary hull of the Khopesh. The Cairn continued to follow Battlefleet Magnus in a futile attempt to ram until its own engines were destroyed. The second boarding assault was made by the Blood Ravens, Doom Legion and Fire Angels. Within two minutes, the robotic crews were eliminated and both vessels secured with the loss of one Space Marine from the Benedictors. That single Space Marine comprised the entire Imperium casualty list for the Battle of Cerix Magnus.

The two captured Necron ships, the Cairn and the Khopesh, were both approximately 7000 tons, slightly smaller than an early Sword class frigate, and had magneto-plasma drives and ceramic composite armour. The Cairn appeared to be a standard torpedo-armed destroyer intended for general combat, while the Khopesh had a torpedo fire control and an active augur array that allowed it to engage fighter-sized craft at up to thirty-five million kilometres. That capability had the potential to cost the Imperium dearly, given the fire control of the Starhawk II bomber had a maximum range of twenty-eight million kilometres. Strikes within that range would require an escort of Fury class interceptors for point defence. In terms of technology, the Necrons were still ahead of the Imperium in electronic systems, including active and passive sensor systems and ECM, but the Imperium had caught up with the Necrons in terms of propulsion and armour. The slight Necron advantages were nowhere near enough to deal with the 6-to-1 tonnage advantage that the Imperium brought to Cerix Magnus.

Cairn class Missile Destroyer      7,082 tons       177 Crew       1,143.9 BP       TCS 142    TH 704    EM 0
4970 km/s      Armour 5-32       Shields 0-0       HTK 45      Sensors 11/0/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 20
Maint Life 2.42 Years     MSP 403    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 94    5YR 1,417    Max Repair 176 MSP
Magazine 368   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP352 (2)    Power 704    Fuel Use 67.42%    Signature 352    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 650,000 Litres    Range 24.5 billion km (57 days at full power)

Size 5 Missile Launcher (4)     Missile Size: 5    Rate of Fire 15
Missile Fire Control FC119-R119 (1)     Range 119.3m km    Resolution 119

Active Search Sensor AS103-R119 (1)     GPS 14994     Range 103.3m km    Resolution 119
Thermal Sensor TH1-11 (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
ECCM-1 (1)         ECM 10

Khopesh class Missile Destroyer      7,070 tons       167 Crew       1,161.6 BP       TCS 141    TH 704    EM 0
4979 km/s      Armour 6-32       Shields 0-0       HTK 43      Sensors 11/0/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 20
Maint Life 2.42 Years     MSP 410    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 96    5YR 1,442    Max Repair 176 MSP
Magazine 368   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP352 (2)    Power 704    Fuel Use 67.42%    Signature 352    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 650,000 Litres    Range 24.5 billion km (57 days at full power)

Size 5 Missile Launcher (4)     Missile Size: 5    Rate of Fire 15
Missile Fire Control FC41-R5 (1)     Range 41.5m km    Resolution 5

Active Search Sensor AS35-R5 (1)     GPS 630     Range 35.9m km    Resolution 5
Thermal Sensor TH1-11 (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
ECM 10

The assault transports moved to pick up the Space Marines from the two captured ships, while Imperial Wrath and her sister ship Holy Flame landed their own Space Marine detachments on the planet. There was no sign of Necron ground forces and the eighty marines quickly secured two tracking stations, a refuelling station and an ordnance transfer station. As expected, there were ruins on the surface, albeit only the remnants of a small settlement. What was not expected was that ruins belonged to the same, apparently-dead race as on Nocturne II, two jumps away via Typhon. With existing knowledge of the alien language, Imperium experts quickly identified twenty-five possible sites for recovery operations. The Sword-M class frigates Rubicon, Silent fire and Valiant were detached to monitor the new Imperial colony while the rest of Battlefleet Magnus headed back to Terra. With assistance from the replenishment ship Brigantine Sapphire, the prize crews on the captured Cairn and Khopesh class destroyers began repairing their internal systems.

The newly discovered tomb world in Canis Minoris, guarded by the enormous Necron fleet, was accessed via the Angelis system, which was surveyed in late 2513 and found to have three outward jump points. One led to Canis Minoris while the others led to the planetless systems of Gereon and Voltoris. Gereon became the new focus of the survey effort in the Coronae sector, with the first outward jump point discovered in November 2513. The scout frigate Cobra conducted a probe and emerged less than half a billion kilometres from the M3-V primary of a red dwarf binary system designated as Artemis. Three planets orbited the primary, two of which were rocky and tide-locked while the third was a superjovian with nine moons. Artemis II was a steamy world of 40C, with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, large oceans and vast swamps dominating the land masses. The 0.4 atm atmosphere had only 0.02 atm of oxygen and trace amounts of fluorine, but it was a still a very good terraforming prospect.

Following standard procedure, Cobra fired an augur torpedo at Artemis II. The torpedo entered orbit and detected a ground forces signature of 49,000 tons from a new alien race. There was no sign of any ship or any population beyond the ground forces. Cobra remained at the jump point and hailed the planet. There was no response. Eventually, the survey frigate Morning Star arrived in the system to conduct a survey, including the second planet. There was still no contact from the alien ground forces. The planet itself had ten million tons of accessibility 0.7 Duranium, plus deposits of seven of minerals, two of which were high accessibility.

Artemis II Survey Report
Duranium:   10,580,000   0.70
Neutronium:   11,902,500   0.10
Tritanium:   211,600   0.70
Vendarite:   16,386,304   0.10
Sorium:   541,696   0.10
Uridium:   1,430,416   0.90
Corundium:   1,119,364   0.40
Gallicite:   11,276,164   0.10



The Gallicite crisis began to ease in early 2514, partly due to Gallicite recovered from Melchior and from the newly-liberated ruins on Cerix Magnus I. Production of maintenance supplies restarted in February and new construction was laid down once again, alongside the remaining M-Refits. 2514 also saw a general pull back from the systems beyond Sigma Draconis. With the location of the Tarellian home world now known, the focus of exploration changed to systems within existing Imperial borders. The last discovery of note was Avellorn, a system four jumps beyond Sigma Draconis via Gryphonne, Paragon and Cyclopia, which had a Necron squadron of four ships guarding the second planet. The system was forty billion kilometres from Sol one-way and the lack of orbital bases suggested only a small ruin, so the Lords of Terra decided against mounting an operation.

In May 2414, Hesperus II became an ideal habitable world. The planet had deposits of ten minerals, although with accessibilities or deposit sizes that were generally inferior to other mining locations. The planet was terraformed mainly because it was relatively easy to do so but also because it was on the route from Sol to Sigma Draconis. The remainder of 2514 was relatively quiet. The economy recovered from the Gallicite Crisis, exploration continued at the fringes of known space and shipbuilding continued to increase.

Hesperus II Survey Report
Duranium:   48,050   0.60
Neutronium:   1,615,441   0.10
Corbomite:   4,186,116   0.10
Tritanium:   6,305,121   0.10
Boronide:   4,060,225   0.10
Mercassium:   1,461,681   0.60
Vendarite:   61,504   0.40
Sorium:   4,443,664   0.90
Corundium:   1,537,600   0.10
Gallicite:   1,046,529   0.10

On March 18th 2515, the battleship Dominus Astra was launched from the Cain Graving Dock in Terra orbit. The Emperor class was notable because of its size, more than double that of a Lunar class cruiser, but it was also the first Imperial warship to mount Void Shields, which gave it the ability to absorb incoming fire that would destroy a smaller warship without suffering any permanent damage. Even after accounting for the shields, the armour volume was still sixty percent greater than the Lunar II-M. The primary armament comprised thirty Astaroth AK-25 weapon batteries supported by a secondary armament of twenty Astaroth AK-10C weapon batteries. The Emperor class battleship was intended to lead Imperial assaults on heavily guarded systems such as Prometheus or Canis Minoris and eventually against alien home worlds, should conflict break out. A second Emperor, Divine Right, was launched in July.

Emperor class Battleship      62,500 tons       1,923 Crew       11,282.7 BP       TCS 1,250    TH 8,000    EM 8,280
6400 km/s      Armour 8-140       Shields 276-368       HTK 386      Sensors 10/8/0/0      DCR 60      PPV 300
Maint Life 2.14 Years     MSP 6,769    AFR 521%    IFR 7.2%    1YR 1,986    5YR 29,787    Max Repair 800 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 1,000 tons     
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 20    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-1600M (5)    Power 8000    Fuel Use 22.14%    Signature 1600    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,713,000 Litres    Range 22.3 billion km (40 days at full power)
Void Shield (6)     Recharge Time 368 seconds (0.8 per second)

Astaroth AK-25 Weapons Battery (30x4)    Range 250,000km    TS: 6,400 km/s    Power 15-4    RM 50,000 km   ROF 20       
Astaroth AK-10C Weapons Battery (20x4)    Range 50,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 50,000 km    ROF 5       
MK IV Weapons Battery Fire Control (4)     Max Range: 320,000 km   TS: 6,500 km/s     
MK IV Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 80,000 km   TS: 6,500 km/s
R-30 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (6)     Total Power Output 180    Exp 5%

MK II Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 17280     Range 94.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 574.5k km    Resolution 1
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK I Large Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 10     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  25m km

A second new ship class was launched in May 2516, with the completion of six Thunderhawk-E Intelligence Corvettes. The Thunderhawk-E was designed to conduct espionage operations against Tau and Tarellian populations, using its small size and thermal-reduction engines to remain undetected while its ELINT array analysed electromagnetic emissions. Two groups of three ships were deployed to the naval bases in Sigma Draconis and Corinthis, on the border of Tarellian and Tau space respectively.

Thunderhawk-E class Intelligence Corvette      1,000 tons       27 Crew       189.2 BP       TCS 20    TH 17    EM 0
2401 km/s      Armour 1-8       Shields 0-0       HTK 9      Sensors 2/5/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
Maint Life 3.31 Years     MSP 59    AFR 16%    IFR 0.2%    1YR 8    5YR 122    Max Repair 100 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-48TE (1)    Power 48.0    Fuel Use 53.92%    Signature 16.8000    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 65,000 Litres    Range 21.7 billion km (104 days at full power)

MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 2.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  12.5m km
ELINT Module (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  17.7m km

On June 21st 2515 the survey frigate Black Star was in Athena, three jumps out from Sigma Draconis via Gryphonne and Nostramo and one of the few remaining ships within Tarellian-claimed space. The system had a F7-IV sub-giant primary with six planets, all of which had been surveyed, and an orange K9-V companion at seven billion kilometres. Black Star was in orbit of the fourth and outermost planet of the companion when she detected active emissions from a Necron Cairn class destroyer at forty million kilometres. She immediately headed in the opposite direction but didn’t get far. Twenty-one minutes after the initial detection, Black Star was struck by twelve torpedoes. Only sixty-six from a crew of one hundred and ninety-three made it to the life pods. She was first of the twelve Tempest class survey frigates to be lost in action.

An Orca class troop transport was in orbit of the second moon of the primary’s innermost planet, a large gas giant, awaiting completion of a ground-based survey by the 2nd Ordo Mineralis expedition. The Orca retrieved the ground force and headed for the Nostramo jump point. There was no way the troop transport could reach the survivors without risking its own destruction and even if it could, it was a thirty-seven-day trip. Once the alarm was raised, the Lords of Terra decided against any action. A round trip from Sol to Athena was over sixty billion kilometres, not to mention the risk of the Tarellians detecting a large force of Imperium warships in what they regarded as their territory. With two Necron tomb worlds now identified in the systems beyond Sigma Draconis, it would be very informative to see what happened if the Tarellians fought the Necrons. The Imperial Navy began to consider the development of a long-range, high-endurance observation ship.

Exploration of three new jump points in the Arietis system in June 2515 caused a redrawing of Imperial maps. Arietis was six jumps from Sol via Wolf, Aurelia, Stygia (which also connected to Nocturne), Malagant and Gehenna. The first jump point led to Pindarus, a planetless red dwarf. The other two connected to the known Imperial systems of Carpathia, which was adjacent to Sol, and Sanctum, a system on the frontier four jumps beyond Eridani. Imperial space was becoming a tangled web of loops and crossed-over jump lines,



By mid-2515, an ongoing survey of the Pollux system, with its giant K0-IIII primary, had revealed a single new jump point. The scout frigate Cobra conducted a probe and discovered Macragge, a red dwarf with five planets. The second and third planets both had nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere, with the second close to being an ideal habitable world. The only problem was an oxygen content of thirty-eight percent. The second world was completely covered in ice and the oxygen content was barely one percent, making it far less suitable for terraforming. Cobra fired augur torpedoes at both planets and detected a Necron squadron comprising a Reaper and three destroyers in orbit of the ice-covered third planet.

On July 28th 2515, Battlefleet Macragge, an Imperium fleet of eighteen ships, entered the Macragge system with orders to eliminate the Necron squadron. The fleet comprised eight Dauntless class light cruisers, four each of the III-M and I-MB variants, two Dread Argent II–M class strike cruisers and eight Sword III-M class frigates. There were no ships larger than a light cruiser as the jump points into Pollux and Macragge were not stabilised. The forthcoming battle would be the furthest yet mounted from Terra, requiring a forty-five billion kilometres round trip, which was more than double the fleet’s normal range.

Battlefleet Macragge
Dauntless III - M class Light Cruiser: Avenger, Emperor’s Shield, Kingmaker, Pax Deliveratus
Dauntless I - MB class Light Cruiser: Bellerophon, Bloodhawk, Cerberus, Divine Crusade
Dread Argent II - M class Strike Cruiser: Dread Argent, Vengeance Incandescent
Sword III - M class Frigate: Hyperion, Immortal, Javelin, Leonidas, Phoenix, Spartan, Sphinx, Spiculum
6x Thunderhawk - A III class Assault Transport:

The fleet commander was Captain Morgan Rachmiel of the light cruiser Bellerophon, holder of the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and campaign medals for Nocturne and Medusa. Under his command, Bellerophon had destroyed 35,000 tons of Necron warships and almost four hundred torpedoes. Once the approach to Macragge III confirmed the total Necron force was only four ships, Captain Rachmiel ordered his four Dauntless III–M class light cruisers to each target a single enemy warship, while all the other ships in Battlefleet Macragge provided point defence cover. Rachmiel intended to disable and capture the four ships.

The fleet suffered no damage on the approach to Macragge III, with the massed point defence easily handling the Necron torpedoes. At 140,000 km, the four Dauntless III–Ms opened fire, inflicting multiple hits on all four Necron ships. The Necron squadron immediately broke orbit and ran. Unlike earlier battles against the Necrons in Caliban, Nocturne and Medusa, the Imperium ships had a significant speed advantage and the range continued to fall.

At 70,000 km, the Scythe was destroyed by a strength-48 secondary explosion. Captain Rachmiel ordered the three light cruisers with an active target ships to reduce their offensive fire by fifty percent. After the next Imperium volley, the Cairn was left dead in space, so only two Dauntless III–Ms continued to fire. The Reaper and Khopesh suddenly reversed course and attempted to ram. The Khopesh was destroyed by weapon battery fire at point blank range. The larger Reaper took numerous hits and reduced speed to 3750 km/s. Three Thunderhawks were launched to board the drifting Cairn. Limited fire continued against the Reaper until its speed also dropped to zero and more Thunderhawks were launched. Within minutes, the fleet’s Space Marines captured both ships without any friendly losses. Thunderhawks picked up the Space Marines and landed them on Macragge III to secure the ground-based facilities; a Refuelling Station, an Ordnance Transfer Station and two tracking stations. A geological survey of the system revealed ruined outposts on both the second and third planets.

The Reaper class escort cruiser, a common Necron design slightly smaller than a Dauntless class light cruiser, had eighteen launchers for size-1 torpedoes. Imperium Intelligence believed the Reaper was intended as an anti-torpedo platform, but it also served the Necrons as an offensive platform at short ranges. Once repaired, it could potentially serve the Imperium in a similar way. Interestingly, once the newly captured ships were repaired, the Imperium could now field an ex-Necron squadron comprising one Reaper and three destroyers, similar to the most commonly encountered Necron force.

Reaper class Escort Cruiser      14,196 tons       300 Crew       2,362.2 BP       TCS 284    TH 1,408    EM 0
4959 km/s      Armour 5-52       Shields 0-0       HTK 81      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 8      PPV 18
Maint Life 1.65 Years     MSP 832    AFR 202%    IFR 2.8%    1YR 363    5YR 5,445    Max Repair 385.1 MSP
Magazine 1,296   
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   ENG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP352 (4)    Power 1408    Fuel Use 67.42%    Signature 352    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,350,000 Litres    Range 25.4 billion km (59 days at full power)

Size 1 Missile Launcher (18)     Missile Size: 1    Rate of Fire 10
Missile Fire Control FC29-R1 (4)     Range 29.7m km    Resolution 1

Active Search Sensor AS25-R1 (1)     GPS 189     Range 25.7m km    MCR 2.3m km    Resolution 1
ECM 10

On August 16th 2515, ground construction complexes on Terra completed the first Super-Heavy Tank Battalion. The formation comprised twelve 288-ton Baneblade super-heavy tanks, equipped with two super-heavy anti-vehicle cannon and a heavy bolter, four 168-ton Stormlord heavy anti-infantry tanks equipped with three heavy bolters, two Salamander command vehicles and eight supply vehicles. Several more Super-Heavy Tank Battalions were under construction.

In September, the first Thunderhawk-E intelligence missions began. Thunderhawk-E 002, commanded by lieutenant commander Cleon Alastor, entered the Tarellian home system and took up position in orbit of Tarellia II, a Venusian world dominated by mountains, without being detected. From that position, the corvette could monitor emissions from the huge population of Tarellia III. Two other missions, in Nostramo and Taros, identified alien populations but were detected by Tarellian and Tau forces respectively and asked to leave the systems. For the moment, the ELINT technology would only be useful against large populations where the corvettes could stand-off at a sufficient distance to remain undetected.
 
The Imperium made a number of key technological breakthroughs in 2015, including improvement in both active and EM sensors, the development of Laminate Composite Armour and the creation of the Particle Lance. The latter was the result of years of research on Aurigae I, site of an ancient construct dedicated to energy weapon research. As the population had grown over time, additional research facilities had been transported from Terra. By the end of 2015, twenty were in operation. New versions of existing classes were created to take advantage of the updated technology, plus several entirely new designs were created that would focus on the particle lance. However, it would take some time for shipyards to be retooled and for ships to be either constructed or refitted.

In May 2516, the first Rorqual class Troop Transport was launched. The Rorqual was more than four times larger than the Cetaceous class and capable of transporting and combat dropping an entire Imperial Guard corps in an opposed landing. The new ship was the result of simulations of a potential attack on Tarellia, or a similar size target. Many Rorquals would be needed to carry sufficient force to overwhelm the planet-based defences.

Rorqual class Troop Transport      251,227 tons       1,551 Crew       10,316.3 BP       TCS 5,025    TH 14,080    EM 0
2802 km/s      Armour 8-354       Shields 0-0       HTK 523      Sensors 6/8/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 25    Max Repair 200 MSP
Troop Capacity 100,000 tons     Drop Capable    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 5   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-640C (22)    Power 14080    Fuel Use 2.24%    Signature 640    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 2,000,000 Litres    Range 64 billion km (264 days at full power)

MK II Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1920     Range 31.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK II Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
 
The Thunderhawk-E mission in the Tarellia system generated a considerable amount of useful intelligence in 2516. The population of Tarellia II was estimated at four billion, nearly double that of Terra. Almost four thousand factories and three and a half thousand mining complexes were detected. The Imperium had approximately two thousand three hundred factories and two thousand two hundred mines, including automated, spread throughout known space. Given the huge economic and industrial advantage of the Tarellians, the Lords of Terra decided that the Imperium should avoid a war until it had a significant military or technological advantage.

The situation became even more concerning when the Tarellians removed trade access. There had been no direct contact with the Tarellians for some time, since their diplomatic ship withdrew from Sigma Draconis. In an attempt to improve relations, a Goliath class tug was dispatched to collect the Imperium diplomatic station in orbit of Sigma Draconis I and move it to the tiny Imperium colony of 90,000 on Gryphonne II. The colonists were from a political group of radical expansionists that had been transported to the planet by civilian freighters without permission from the Lords of Terra and had made use of leftover infrastructure from the alien ruins on the planet. The Tarellians occasionally raised a minor objection regarding the colony in what they regarded as their space but the Lords were not prepared to back down now the colony was in place, at least not given the mild tone of the complaints. Besides, the tracking station at the colony provided a huge amount of useful intelligence on the Tarellian traffic moving in and out of the Arcadia system. However, if the situation deteriorated or the Tarellians became more insistent, the colony was not important enough to start a war.

The Imperium had found ancient ruins in every system where it had encountered Necrons. As well as the economic benefits gained from exploiting those ruins, there were also occasional technological discoveries. Given the broad correlation between the size of the Necron forces in a system and the size of the ruins they were guarding, it seemed reasonable to assume the very large Necron force in Prometheus and the vast armada in Canis Minoris would be guarding ruins that were far more extensive than any encountered so far. Exploitation of such large potential ruins could change the balance of power with the Tarellians. Therefore, the Lords of Terra made the securing of those systems the top priority for the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Guard during 2517.

Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Imperium of Man - Updates
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2020, 11:27:29 AM »
The major event of 2517 was the Imperium assault on the Necron-held Prometheus system, as part of the new long-term strategy of increasing scientific knowledge and economic strength in preparation for conflict with the Tarellians. The force dispatched from Terra, known as the Expeditionary Fleet, was the largest-ever deployment of Imperium warships outside the Sol system, totalling over 900,000 tons. The fleet included three Emperor class battleships and six Dictator class carriers, all of which would make their combat debut in Prometheus. The rest of the fleet comprised thirteen Dauntless class light cruisers, four strike cruisers and twelve frigates, including the first two Firestorm class frigates, Firestorm and Thunder, armed with the recently developed Gothicus-Loken GL-12 Particle Lance. The Expeditionary Fleet was commanded by Captain Azrael Belisarius, who had recently moved from his long-term command of the cruiser Imperial Wrath to the new battleship Divine Right. Belisarius also commanded the fleet that conquered Cerix Magnus in 2513. 

Firestorm class Frigate      9,000 tons       281 Crew       1,977 BP       TCS 180    TH 1,152    EM 0
6400 km/s      Armour 5-38       Shields 0-0       HTK 65      Sensors 6/8/0/0      DCR 6      PPV 44
Maint Life 2.38 Years     MSP 823    AFR 108%    IFR 1.5%    1YR 198    5YR 2,974    Max Repair 288 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 18 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-576M (2)    Power 1152    Fuel Use 36.89%    Signature 576    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 416,000 Litres    Range 22.6 billion km (40 days at full power)

Gothicus-Loken GL-12 Particle Lance (2)    Range 200,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 37-5    ROF 40       
Astaroth AK-10C Weapons Battery (4x4)    Range 50,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 50,000 km    ROF 5       
MK IV Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 320,000 km   TS: 6,500 km/s
R-11 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 22.4    Exp 5%

MK II Small Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 8     Range 4.5m km    MCR 406.2k km    Resolution 1
MK II Frigate Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 5760     Range 54.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK II Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Expeditionary Fleet
3x Emperor class Battleship: Divine Right, Dominus Astra, Vae Victus
4x Lunar II - M class Cruiser: Agrippa, Indomitus Imperious, Iron Duke, Righteous Protector
6x Dictator II class Carrier: Archon Kort, Ferrum Aeterna, Fortitude, Hammer of Justice, Rhadamanthine, Ultima Praetor
4x Dauntless V class Light Cruiser: Light of Faith, Righteous Endeavour, Unbreakable Might, Vigilant Eternus
7x Dauntless III - M class Light Cruiser: Avenger, Burden of Vigilance, Emperor’s Shield, Emperor's Vow, Kingmaker, Pax Deliveratus, The Sword Infernus
2x Dauntless II - M class Light Cruiser: Light of Ascension, Warrior Knight
4x Dread Argent II - M class Strike Cruiser: Angelica Mortis, Covenant of Blood, Dread Argent, Eternal Defiance
2x Firestorm class Frigate: Firestorm, Thunder
10x Sword V class Frigate: Hydra, Hyperion, Immortal, Javelin, Leonidas, Majestic, Orpheus, Spartan, Spiculum, Thunderchild
14x Thunderhawk - A III class Assault Transport:
2x Thunderhawk - A II class Assault Transport:
32x Starhawk III class Bomber:
64x Starhawk II class Bomber:
8x Fury V class Interceptor:
4x Fury IV class Interceptor:
3474x MK III Light Torpedo.

The Expeditionary Fleet moved through the systems of Wolf, Aeolus, Groombridge and Damocles, before pausing at the small Imperium colony on the sole planet of Ursae Majoris, adjacent to Prometheus. Awaiting them in orbit was the first Ramillies class station, built in June 2517 and towed to the planet by a Goliath II class tug. The Ramillies was capable of maintaining up to 60,000 tons of military shipping without the need for the manned maintenance facilities used by Imperium colonies. On this occasion that capacity would not be needed, and was far too small for the huge Expeditionary Fleet in any case. However, the Ramillies also had large stores of fuel and maintenance supplies, which replaced the consumables used by the fleet to reach Ursae Majoris. With fuel bunkers full, the Expeditionary Fleet transited the Prometheus jump point and headed for the Necron base on the fifteenth moon of Prometheus V.

Ramillies class Space Station      175,504 tons       1,561 Crew       7,045 BP       TCS 3,510    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 288      Sensors 6/8/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 10,025    Max Repair 200 MSP
Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 1   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Maintenance Modules: 30 module(s) capable of supporting ships of 60,000 tons

Fuel Capacity 20,000,000 Litres    Range N/A
Refuelling Capability: 50,000 litres per hour     Complete Refuel 400 hours

MK II Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1920     Range 31.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK II Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

At 15:18 on November 19th 2517, the Expeditionary fleet entered active augur range of the moon, revealing the same Necron force that was detected during the original reconnaissance of the system in 2504. Five bases were in orbit, including two Shrouds armed with anti-torpedo launchers, two Cartouches armed with close-range defence turrets and a Jackal with twenty-one anti-ship torpedo launchers. The defensive capability was also boosted by a Reaper class escort cruiser. Apart from a single Khopesh class destroyer, known to be armed with four torpedo launchers, the rest of the mobile force, specifically three 21,250 Dirge class, three 13,630 ton Ankhs and eleven vessels in the 7000-ton range, comprised ships with hitherto unknown capabilities.

Necron Forces in Prometheus
2x ODB Shroud (39x ATT)
2x ODB Cartouche
1x OWP Jackal (21x Anti-Ship Torpedo)
1x CLE Reaper (18x ATT)
1x DD Khopesh class destroyer (4x Anti-Ship Torpedo)
3x XX Dirge class (21,250 tons)
3x XX Ankh (13,830 tons)
1x XX Catacomb (7100 tons)
4x XX Sautekh (7050 tons)
6x XX Phaeron class (7050 tons)



All the Necron ships remained in orbit of the moon while the Expeditionary Fleet closed on Prometheus V. At five million kilometres, the fleet held position for a few minutes before the final advance. So far there had been no Necron torpedo attacks. Captain Belisarius assigned targets to each Imperium warship, so that all the Necron ships were targeted. As each target was destroyed, the ships were ordered to target any identified surface-to-orbit weapons on the moon. This strategy was to avoid any confusion caused by changing targets mid-battle. The twelve Fury class interceptors were launched to boost point defence capability and the ninety-six Starhawk bombers were launched in case their motherships were damaged. Belisarius planned to launch the Starhawks’ light torpedoes at 500,000 kilometres to divert Necron anti-torpedo fire. With everything in place, the fleet resumed its advance on the Necron-held moon.

At 19:00, with the Expeditionary Fleet still one point eight million kilometres away, the Necrons began launching torpedoes. A wave of ninety-six anti-torpedoes travelling at 72,200 km/s was in the lead, followed by a wave of sixty-four larger anti-ship torpedoes at 33,280 km/s. The origin of the anti-torpedoes was easily determined, as the Shroud were known to have thirty-nine launchers each with the other eighteen from the Reaper. In terms of the larger torpedoes, the Jackal was known to have twenty-one launchers and the Khopesh had four, leaving thirty-nine in three salvos of thirteen. The three Dirge class seemed to be the likely origin of the latter.



Every anti-torpedo in the first wave was shot down. A second wave of anti-torpedoes arrived at the same time as the first wave of anti-ship torpedoes, creating a combined wave of one hundred and sixty. A wall of fire from weapon batteries destroyed every torpedo short of the fleet. After a second combined wave was eliminated without a single hit, the Necrons ceased fire. While the fleet seemed impervious to Necron attack for the moment, Captain Belisarius was aware that would change when half the weapon batteries changed to offensive fire and the fleet entered energy weapon range. Given the lack of torpedo fire from most of the unknown ships, it seemed likely they were energy-armed.



At 19:02:40, a ground-based active sensor was detected, indicating the presence of surface-to-orbit weapons. At 19:03:45, with the fleet 640,000 km from the moon, Captain Belisarius ordered the Starhawks to coordinate a launch of their torpedoes at just three targets; the two Shroud orbital defence bases and the Jackal orbital weapon platform. Due to inexperienced crews, the launch was delayed until every bomber could report ready.  Fifteen seconds after the order was given, with the fleet at 490,000 km and the Starhawks yet to fire, the Necrons launched a full salvo of torpedoes. Once again, every inbound torpedo was shot down. At 19:04:15, thirty seconds after the order was given, the ninety-six Starhawks launched eleven hundred and fifty-two light torpedoes with strength-4 warheads and a speed of 33,280 km/s. Even as the torpedoes launched, the light cruiser Warrior Knight came under fire from thirty surface-based energy weapons, suffering three strength-4 hits.

The ability of the Necrons to intercept the Imperium torpedoes was seriously over-estimated. Due to the almost point blank launch from less than 400,000 km, only twenty-one were shot down by a single wave of anti-torpedoes. A further three hundred and forty were destroyed by close-range point defence, including several hit by strength-16 energy weapons. The remaining torpedoes completely obliterated their targets, gutting the long-range point defence of the Necron force and significantly reducing its offensive torpedo capability. Seeing an opportunity, Captain Belisarius ordered the fleet to pull back to 600,000 km to assess its options. The Necrons launched several smaller but ineffectual waves of torpedoes as the fleet retreated then ceased fire. So far, the only damage to the Expeditionary Fleet was the minor armour damage to Warrior Knight. 

The Starhawks landed on their carriers and began re-arming; a process that continued for ninety minutes without any interference or further attack from the Necrons. Captain Belisarius considered the alternatives of a second torpedo attack versus advancing into energy range, as the Imperial Navy had done many time before, and destroying the Necron force with weapon batteries. The torpedoes would require significant industrial output to replace, perhaps six months for a single strike at the current production levels, while the weapon batteries were effectively ‘free’ in economic terms. However, during the engagement in the Medusa system against a Necron planet with thirty STO weapons, the Imperium casualties included four light cruisers and a frigate destroyed and two light cruisers crippled, which would be much harder to replace. In the case of Prometheus, there were also a number of Necron ships with unknown armament that could increase the Necron energy weapon capability.

Belisarius decided to use a second Starhawk strike to reduce the threat to the fleet as much as possible so it could concentrate on targeting the deadly surface-to-orbit weapons on its approach to the moon. One option was to use the Starhawks against the moon, but that would also destroy anything of value on the surface so he decided to focus on the Necron warships. With their much-reduced salvo sizes, the remaining torpedo-armed ships were not a serious threat, even if the fleet only used its AK-10 weapon batteries for defence. Based on a review of the Necron defensive fire against the first Starhawk strike, the fleet’s tactical officers had determined that the three Ankh class ships were armed with some form of spinal laser that could inflict up to strength-37 hits, plus eight lasers with a maximum of strength-16 damage. The spinal laser was probably the same weapon as those on the surface. The four Sautekhs each mounted three of the smaller strength-16 weapons, while the Phaerons were an escort design equipped with defence turrets similar to those on the Cartouche. The three classes were designated as light cruiser, frigate and escort respectively. Belisarius ordered the Starhawks to launch an attack on the Ankh and Sautekh class ships.

Although the chosen targets were mobile, which made them harder targets than the stationary bases and would reduce the number of hits, the original targets suffered massive overkill anyway. Belisarius decided to allocate nine bombers to each of the smaller Sautekh class ships and twenty to each of the larger and more dangerous Ankh class. Only nine torpedoes were hit on the run-in by two salvos of eighteen ATTs launched by the Reaper class escort cruiser. A further three hundred and forty-six were struck by energy-armed point defence, including all of the light torpedoes directed at one of the Ankh class light cruisers. The other six targets were all completely destroyed.



Belisarius considered using a final wave of torpedoes, as the Dictator class carriers had sufficient magazine capacity to launch three strikes in total, but elected to advance on the planet instead. Only the AK-10 weapon batteries were allocated to point defence. The AK-25 weapon batteries of the three battleships were targeted on the remaining Ankh class, while all the AK-20 of the light cruisers and frigates were targeted on the STO weapons. The torpedo-armed and point defence ships were ignored except for defensive precautions.

The Expeditionary Fleet advanced through the reduced Necron torpedo waves without suffering a single hit, although Warrior Knight was struck by a single STO weapon at 370,000 km. The battleship Dominus Astra came under fire from the surviving Ankh class light cruiser at 307,000 km. All nine shots missed. The three battleships returned fire against the Ankh at 243,000 km, scoring forty-one strength-1 hits. In response, the Ankh, accompanied by a single Phaeron class escort, began moving away from the planet in an attempt to keep the range open.



At 180,000 km, Dominus Astra took three strength-4 hits from the Ankh, which were absorbed by her void shields. At the same moment, the four Dauntless V class light cruisers and ten Sword V class frigates, armed with the latest Astaroth AK-20B weapon batteries, opened fire on the surface. An estimated eight ground-based weapons were destroyed by almost three hundred surface impacts. The rest of the fleet joined in the attack a few seconds later, with similar success. At 115,000 km, the STO weapons returned fire, scoring nine strength-16 hits on Dominus Astra that reduced her shields to forty-six percent. The three Imperium battleship continued to fire on the Ankh, as the rest of the Necron mobile units broke orbit and followed in its wake.



With the fleet just 68,000 km from the moon, the remaining STO were obliterated in a hail of fire, leaving only the two Cartouche class bases to defend the Necron base. Captain Belisarius ordered the fleet to ignore them and move around the moon in order to pursue the fleeing mobile units, several of which continued to launch futile torpedo attacks. The Ankh fired once again, scoring three hits on Dominus Astra.

At 20:33, the Ankh was hit hard by the pursuing Imperium battleships and its speed fell to 1272 km/s as it broke away from its escort and moved across the path of Expeditionary Fleet. Captain Belisarius ordered his ships to begin limited targeting of the other Necron warships in an attempt to slow them down. The frigate Thunder penetrated the armour of a Dirge class cruiser with the first operational use of the particle lance. With four strike cruisers and a total of fourteen Thunderhawk-A III assault transports in his fleet, including two based on a battleship and a cruiser, Belisarius began to contemplate mass boarding operations.



The Ankh’s engines were completely disabled by fire from an Imperium frigate, but its weapons were still active. As the fleet passed close by the crippled ship, Dominus Astra was struck by one strength-37 and four strength-16 hits, reducing her shields to thirteen percent. Rather than destroy the Ankh, Belisarius orders a Thunderhawk launched to land space marines and return to the fleet during the recycle period of the Necron weapons. The Ebon Knights space marine assault force successfully carried out the order and began fighting the robotic Necron crew for control of the vessel.
 
The single Catacomb class ship, which had never fired a weapon, suddenly broke away from the Necron main body and charged the Imperium fleet in an apparent attempt to ram. It was quickly blown to pieces by the four Lunar class cruisers. Meanwhile, the three Dirge class ships were all damaged and moving at half speed or less. Thunderhawks landed space marine boarders on the two slowest. Despite the boarding action on-board the Ankh, it continued to fire and scored three strength-7 hits on Dominus Astra.

Suddenly, all the Necron ships still under power began converging on the Expeditionary Fleet. The torpedo-armed units were all apparently out of ordnance and were probably trying to ram. The six Phaerons proved particularly dangerous at close range due to their defence turrets. The void shields of Dominus Astra began to lose strength rapidly. Captain Belisarius ordered the destruction of all Phaeron class ships as they could threaten both the fleet and any captured ships with devastating point blank attacks. The focus remained on capturing the Ankh and the three Dirge class.



The Reaper class escort cruiser, Khopesh class destroyer and one of the Phaerons were all destroyed simultaneously. Dominus Astra continued to suffer under a barrage of strength-1 energy weapon impacts and began to take armour damage as her shields failed. The Expeditionary fleet began a series of manoeuvres to escape close range of the Necron ships. A second Phaeron was destroyed and then a third. The hits on Dominus Astra began to subside. A fourth Phaeron exploded and the surviving two were both disabled, with no engine power. Thunderhawks were dispatched to board both ships.

The third Dirge class was finally reduced to an acceptable boarding speed of 1656 km/s and a Thunderhawk landed the sixth space marine assault force to see action. Boarding actions were now in progress on all six surviving Necron warships; three Dirge, an Ankh and two Phaerons. There were also two Cartouche class bases in orbit of the moon. A second wave of four Thunderhawks was dispatched to join the actions on the Dirge and Ankh class ships, followed shortly thereafter by a third. All fourteen of the fleet’s space marine assault forces were in combat.

At 20:38, the last of the Necron crew on board one of the Phaeron class escorts was eliminated. Within seconds, the Ankh opened fire on the captured ship. Fortunately, it was at extreme range and all the shots missed. Belisarius ordered the fleet closer to the Ankh to draw fire. The Phaeron was a pure escort design with two defence turrets that were more advanced than similar Imperium technology due to their high rate of fire.

Phaeron class Destroyer Escort      7,048 tons       162 Crew       1,367.5 BP       TCS 141    TH 704    EM 0
4994 km/s      Armour 6-32       Shields 0-0       HTK 38      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 34.8
Maint Life 2.32 Years     MSP 485    AFR 99%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 122    5YR 1,834    Max Repair 189 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP352 (2)    Power 704    Fuel Use 67.42%    Signature 352    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 650,000 Litres    Range 24.6 billion km (57 days at full power)

Twin Gauss Cannon R400-100 Turret (2x10)   Range 40,000km    TS: 20000 km/s    Power 0-0    RM 40,000 km   ROF 5       
Beam Fire Control R80-TS20000 (2)     Max Range: 80,000 km   TS: 20,000 km/s   
Active Search Sensor AS25-R1 (1)     GPS 189     Range 25.7m km    MCR 2.3m km    Resolution 1
ECM 10

The strategy worked as the Ankh turned its fire back on Dominus Astra, failing to penetrate the battleship’s recharging void shields. The second Phaeron was captured soon thereafter. Finally, the Ankh ceased fire as the marines secured the vessel. It was armed with a single large 37.5 cm spinal laser and eight 25cm lasers. The advanced far ultraviolet technology gave the Necron lasers much greater range than the Imperium’s weapon batteries, although technology under development on Aurigae I would allow the next generation particle lances to match the Necron laser range.

Ankh class Light Cruiser      13,828 tons       453 Crew       2,825.2 BP       TCS 277    TH 1,408    EM 0
5091 km/s      Armour 5-51       Shields 0-0       HTK 98      Sensors 11/22/0/0      DCR 8      PPV 76
Maint Life 2.75 Years     MSP 1,021    AFR 191%    IFR 2.7%    1YR 194    5YR 2,916    Max Repair 176 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 3   BRG   AUX   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP352 (4)    Power 1408    Fuel Use 67.42%    Signature 352    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,300,000 Litres    Range 25.1 billion km (57 days at full power)

37.50cm C5 Far Ultraviolet Laser (1)    Range 320,000km     TS: 5,091 km/s     Power 37-5     RM 50,000 km    ROF 40       
25.0cm C5 Far Ultraviolet Laser (8)    Range 320,000km     TS: 5,091 km/s     Power 16-5     RM 50,000 km    ROF 20       
Beam Fire Control R320-TS5000 (2)     Max Range: 320,000 km   TS: 5,000 km/s   
Stellarator Fusion Reactor R6 (9)     Total Power Output 49.5    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS103-R119 (1)     GPS 14994     Range 103.3m km    Resolution 119
Thermal Sensor TH1-11 (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
EM Sensor EM2-22 (1)     Sensitivity 22     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  37.1m km
ECCM-1 (1)         ECM 10

Two of the Dirge class cruisers fell to space marine boarders within a few seconds of each other. As expected from intelligence reports, the ships were armed with thirteen torpedo launchers and had long range active augur arrays that exceeded all current Imperium ships, although new battleships and cruisers under construction would mount arrays with a one hundred and thirty million kilometre range. The Necron technology advantage was quickly being overcome by Imperium scientists.

Dirge class Strike Cruiser      21,253 tons       527 Crew       3,508.9 BP       TCS 425    TH 2,112    EM 0
4968 km/s      Armour 7-68       Shields 0-0       HTK 120      Sensors 33/22/0/0      DCR 12      PPV 65
Maint Life 1.98 Years     MSP 1,238    AFR 301%    IFR 4.2%    1YR 418    5YR 6,264    Max Repair 348.5 MSP
Magazine 1,217   
Captain    Control Rating 4   BRG   AUX   ENG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP352 (6)    Power 2112    Fuel Use 67.42%    Signature 352    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,950,000 Litres    Range 24.5 billion km (57 days at full power)

Size 5 Missile Launcher (13)     Missile Size: 5    Rate of Fire 15
Missile Fire Control FC119-R119 (3)     Range 119.3m km    Resolution 119

Active Search Sensor AS126-R119 (1)     GPS 22491     Range 126.5m km    Resolution 119
Active Search Sensor AS57-R20 (1)     GPS 2520     Range 57m km    Resolution 20
Thermal Sensor TH3-33 (1)     Sensitivity 33     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  45.4m km
EM Sensor EM2-22 (1)     Sensitivity 22     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  37.1m km
ECCM-1 (1)         ECM 10

The last active Dirge class ship, which had recently repaired an engine and was moving at 2484 km/s, turned toward one of the newly captured ships, with an obvious intent to ram. The captured ship could not move as the boarders needed time to unlock the controls and engage the engines. The Expeditionary fleet opened fire, trying to slow the active Dirge without destroying it and the three assault forces on board. Its speed fell to 1656 km/s and then 828 km/s, before finally being halted just 25,700 km from the captured vessel. Within a minute, the disabled ship fell to its own boarders and the action ceased for the moment. Seventeen space marines were killed in total, six of whom fell on the last Dirge to be captured.

Three hours after the final boarding action, the space marines were all back on their original ships and prize crews were conducting whatever repairs were possible on the captured ships. The Expeditionary Fleet had moved to a position 43,000 km from the Necron-held moon and the two intact Cartouche class bases. Two Thunderhawks with volunteer crews were launched toward the bases at over 14,000 km/s. Both dropped their space marines before the bases could react, then raced back toward their motherships. One landed successfully, but the other was torn apart by the defence turrets of the bases before it could escape their engagement range. Ten minutes after the assault began, one Cartouche was secured with all the robotic crew eliminated. The other base immediately opened fire on its lost companion, tearing it to pieces after only fifteen seconds of sustained fire. The Blood Knights space marine assault force was lost entirely as the base had no escape pods. The second base was captured less than two minutes after the destruction of the first.

Cartouche class Beam Defence Base      14,031 tons       382 Crew       2,876.1 BP       TCS 281    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s      Armour 5-51       Shields 0-0       HTK 78      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 8      PPV 208.8
Maint Life 2.32 Years     MSP 1,024    AFR 197%    IFR 2.7%    1YR 258    5YR 3,864    Max Repair 189 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Morale Check Required   

Twin Gauss Cannon R400-100 Turret (12x10)    Range 40,000km     TS: 20000 km/s     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
Beam Fire Control R80-TS20000 (5)     Max Range: 80,000 km   TS: 20,000 km/s   

Active Search Sensor AS25-R1 (1)     GPS 189     Range 25.7m km    MCR 2.3m km    Resolution 1
ECM 10

With orbital space secured and all ground-based energy weapons eliminated, the light cruisers and frigates of the Expeditionary Fleet, plus the six captured ships, moved into orbit of the moon to join the captured Cartouche and await the arrival of ground forces. The Emperor class battleships, Dictator class carriers, Lunar class cruisers and Dread Argent class strike cruisers, comprising more than two thirds of the total tonnage, set course for Terra.

Nineteen days later, on December 8th 2517, a Necron Mephrit class ship was detected one hundred and twenty-five million kilometres from the moon, midway between the orbits of the fourth and fifth planets. The ship was 26,000 tons but only moving at 2462 km/s. The detection was made with the active augur array of a captured Dirge class cruiser. A force of three light cruisers and three frigates was detached to investigate. The departing capital ships were still in the adjacent Ursae Majoris system so a single strike cruiser was recalled to allow a boarding action.

As the detached force moved into thermal detection range they confirmed the presence of commercial engines. The Necron ship was on a direct course for the moon so Captain Tolim Orcus of the light cruiser Warrior Knight, the senior officer in the system after the departure of Captain Belisarius, ordered one of the light cruisers to disable the engines of the Mephrit. Unfortunately, despite careful shooting, the Mephrit was destroyed by a single hit while still mobile.

Based on the suspicion that the Mephrit was a tanker, Captain Orcus dispatched frigates to investigate the four other gas giants in the system, besides Prometheus V which was the parent body of the Necron moon. The outermost gas giant was Prometheus IX, orbiting four point five billion kilometres from the primary. Eight days after the detection of the Mephrit, the frigate Javelin was one point three billion kilometres from Prometheus IX, when it detected a force of twenty Necron ships. Eight were the familiar Reaper class escort cruiser while the other twelve were a new design of 65,000 tons designated as Cryptek class. The Necron fleet was on a direct course from Prometheus IX to Prometheus V at a speed of 492 km/s. With the much reduced Imperium force and the firepower represented by the combined one hundred and forty-four anti-torpedo launchers of the eight Reaper class light cruisers, the new Necron ships represented a serious threat. The main body of the Expeditionary Fleet was already three systems away in Groombridge and did not have sufficient fuel to return. The strike cruiser Dread Argent had just re-entered Prometheus and represented the only immediately available reinforcement.

Captain Orcus ordered Javelin to shadow the Necron fleet from a minimum distance of fifty million kilometres and ordered Dread Argent to move to rendezvous with the other ships at the Necron moon. Rather than go out to meet the Necrons, he resolved to remain in orbit and use the captured Cartouche class base to boost the point defence of his fleet. His own ships were sat on the Necron source of supply so once they ran out of torpedoes, they would be helpless. Assuming that is, his own ships could withstand the original assault. The chances of that happening were boosted by the arrival at the moon of a second Ramillies class space station, towed from Sol by a Goliath class tug. The station contained fuel for the Imperium warships and maintenance supplies that could be used to help repair the captured Necron ships.

In early January, two of the three captured Dirge class were restored to full engine power and dispatched to Terra to complete repairs. Without torpedoes, they could not contribute the defence of the moon. Both Phaerons restored all their internal systems and therefore could add their defence turrets to those of the Cartouche, although their armour was almost completely destroyed. The Ankh repaired its armament and joined the fleet. Two weeks later a small reinforcement group arrived in Prometheus, comprising two Lunar I-M class cruisers and two Dauntless I–MB light cruiser. The ships were dispatched from Terra while the battleships and carriers were still heading in the opposite direction. Because the approaching Reapers were maintaining the 492 km/s speed of the Crypteks, the Imperium was being given time to prepare for what could have been a very difficult situation.

On February 6th 2518, a geological survey of the captured Necron moon revealed a partially intact, but abandoned, alien colony, plus some form of dormant alien construct. Once the surface was secure, Ordo Xenos formations would be landed on the moon to begin a survey of both. The moon itself had almost thirty million tons of accessibility 1.0 Duranium, plus substantial accessible deposits of Neutronium and Corundium and minima accessibility deposits of four other minerals. A subsequent survey of Prometheus V, the gas giant orbited by the Necron moon revealed two point seven million litres of accessibility 0.8 Sorium. Given the combination of the ruins, dormant construct, excellent mineral deposits and a nearby source of fuel harvesting Prometheus was almost certain to become a key system for the Imperium.

Prometheus V - Moon 15 Survey Report
Duranium:   29,307,168   1.00
Neutronium:   30,360,100   0.90
Corbomite:   3,027,600   0.10
Tritanium:   1,345,600   0.10
Uridium:   12,931,216   0.10
Corundium:   5,116,644   0.60
Gallicite:   121,104   0.10

In mid-February, one Rorqual and eight Cetaceous class ships troop transports arrived in orbit, carrying two full Imperial Guard infantry corps (Stalinvast Grenadiers and Thracian Guard), four armoured regiments (Arcturuan Dragoons, Jantine Patricians, Minervan Tank Legion, Vitrian Dragoons) and four super-heavy tank battalions. The total force included 20,000 guardsmen, forty-eight Baneblade super-heavy tanks, sixteen Stormlord heavy anti-infantry tanks, two hundred and forty Leman Russ battle tanks, seventy-two Leman Russ Annihilator tank destroyers, over fourteen hundred Chimera light attack vehicles and more than two hundred artillery pieces. All in all, a much heavier force than in any previous engagement against the Necrons and using more modern equipment. The approaching Necron ships were still seven hundred million kilometres away. The transports dropped their troops then headed back to the jump point to clear the combat area.

Despite heavy casualties in the hours after landing, the ground battle was never in doubt. The Necrons forces were similar in number to previous engagements and were wiped out within five days. Imperium losses included four thousand Guardsman, one hundred and seventy-eight Chimeras and eleven tanks. Seventy percent of the losses occurred on the first day. All of the super-heavy tanks survived. Approximately two thousand Necron combat robots were destroyed, including perhaps two hundred Praetorians and Decurions. The usual Necron tracking stations and logistics facilities were all destroyed in the fighting.

Shortly after the conclusion of the fighting, the Necron fleet of eight Reapers and twelve Crypteks stopping moving and held a position just over half a billion kilometres from the moon. With no colony to defend, whatever artificial intelligence controlled the Necron ships was probably re-assessing its options. On the basis that the Expeditionary Fleet would likely have to engage the Necrons outside the protective umbrella of the Cartouche and that more time was now available, further reinforcements were dispatched from Terra.

On March 12th, the first pair of Barque class repair ships were launched from the Septimus Shipbuilding orbital yard. Each Barque had commercial hangar decks with a 30,000-ton capacity, allowing for the repair of ships up to cruiser size, including armour repairs. Deployment of Barques to existing naval bases or with expeditionary fleets would allow full repair of ships far from Terra and its shipyards.

Barque class Repair Ship      89,587 tons       765 Crew       4,694.9 BP       TCS 1,792    TH 4,480    EM 0
2500 km/s      Armour 1-178       Shields 0-0       HTK 157      Sensors 2/8/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 20,032    Max Repair 128 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 30,000 tons     
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Flight Crew Berths 600   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-640C (7)    Power 4480    Fuel Use 2.24%    Signature 640    Explosion 4%
Fuel Capacity 1,000,000 Litres    Range 89.7 billion km (415 days at full power)

MK II Navigation Array (1)     GPS 1920     Range 31.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK I Small Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 2.5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  12.5m km

3rd April: Colony of 300k established in Prometheus.

In early April 2518, a cruiser, a strike cruiser and six old Dauntless – MB light cruisers arrived in Prometheus. The Expeditionary Fleet in orbit of the fifteenth moon of Prometheus V now compromised three cruisers, two strike cruisers, twenty-one light cruisers and twelve frigates. Even without battleships and carriers it was still over 500,000 tons. The fleet, commanded by Captain Morgan Rachmiel of the newly arrived light cruiser Bellerophon, broke orbit and headed for the eight Reaper class escort cruisers and the twelve Crypteks, holding position five hundred million kilometres away from the moon. Captain Rachmiel had been the commander of Bellerophon for eighteen years, during which time he had won the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal, destroyed three enemy warships, received campaign medals for Medusa and Nocturne and led the assault on Macragge.

Expeditionary Fleet
Lunar - M class Cruiser: Holy Flame, Imperial Wrath, Retribution
Dread Argent II - M class Strike Cruiser: Dread Argent, Holy Execution
Dauntless V class Light Cruiser: Light of Faith, Righteous Endeavour, Unbreakable Might, Vigilant Eternus
Dauntless III - M class Light Cruiser: Avenger, Burden of Vigilance, Emperor’s Shield, Emperor's Vow, Kingmaker, Pax Deliveratus, The Sword Infernus
Dauntless - MB class Light Cruiser: Bellerophon, Bloodhawk, Cerberus, Divine Crusade, Hammer of Truth, Luxor, Ravenor, Vigilant
Dauntless II - M class Light Cruiser: Light of Ascension, Warrior Knight
Firestorm class Frigate: Firestorm, Thunder
Sword V class Frigate: Hydra, Hyperion, Immortal, Javelin, Majestic, Orpheus, Spartan, Spiculum, Thunderchild
6x Thunderhawk - A III class Assault Transport:

As the fleet closed in, the Necrons held fire until half a million kilometres, then began launching waves of one hundred and forty-four anti-torpedoes. The first wave was met with a hail of point defence fire and every torpedo was shot down.



Captain Rachmiel ordered his ships to reserve their primary batteries for offensive fire so there was no delay once within range. The order caused some confusion in point defence fire, which together with the significant reduction in defensive firepower, resulted in the cruiser Imperial Wrath suffering ninety-one strength-1 hits from the second wave. Her armour was penetrated to a depth of fifty percent in two places. Point defence partially recovered for the third wave, but the cruiser was struck a further fifty-three times and the deepest armour penetration was seventy-five percent.

At 178,000 km, the Dauntless V and Sword V class ships opened fire with their AK-20B weapon batteries and were joined by the two Firestorm class frigates. A single particle lance and thirty-one weapon battery rounds struck several Reapers. Imperial Wrath continued to take numerous hits with forty percent of its armour destroyed, but no internal damage so far. The older Imperium warships joined the fight at 114,000 km, except for the Dauntless – MB class ships which opened fire at 82,000 km.

The sheer weight of fire overwhelmed the Reapers. One was destroyed due to a large secondary explosion and the armour was penetrated on three more. Captain Rachmiel considered a boarding attack but not decided to hold off until the Necron firepower was substantially reduced. The next volley, at a range of fifty thousand kilometres, was devastating. The remaining Reapers suffered over four hundred strength-3 hits. Five were destroyed outright. Rachmiel ordered a ceasefire to examine the options as the two remaining ships, despite retaining most of their firepower, had no chance of penetrating the Imperium point defence.

Once again, boarding was considered. However, as the two Reapers thirty-four of their thirty-six launchers operational, that was deemed too dangerous. Even if the Thunderhawks successfully landed their marines, one Reaper would engage the other as soon as one was captured. Therefore, Captain Rachmiel ordered the cruiser Holy Flame to engage both with her AK-20s weapon batteries, splitting her fire between them. One was immediately destroyed by a strength-38 secondary explosion. The other suffered thirty-one strength-3 hits and ceased fire. A Thunderhawk carrying the White Panthers assault force conducted a boarding operation and the Reaper was secured without casualties. With the only armed Necron ships either destroyed or captured, the six Thunderhawks in the fleet landed their marines on six Crypteks, then retrieved them after successful boarding assaults and landed them on the other six. As suspected, the Crypteks were fuel harvesters. One suffered damage to a harvester module during the boarding operation but otherwise all were intact. The prize crews directed them to Prometheus V where they could provide fuel for the two Ramillies class space stations in orbit of the planet’s fifteenth moon.

Cryptek class Fuel Harvester      64,969 tons       318 Crew       1,253 BP       TCS 1,299    TH 640    EM 0
492 km/s      Armour 1-143       Shields 0-0       HTK 148      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 12    Max Repair 80 MSP
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Fuel Harvester: 23 modules producing 1,288,000 litres per annum

Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive EP320.0 (2)    Power 640    Fuel Use 8.84%    Signature 320    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 850,000 Litres    Range 26.6 billion km (626 days at full power)
Refuelling Capability: 60,000 litres per hour     Complete Refuel 14 hours
CIWS-200 (2x10)    Range 1000 km     TS: 20,000 km/s     ROF 5       

While the Imperium was clearing the Necron presence from the Prometheus system, the situation beyond its borders was becoming more tense. In February 2517, the Tau revoked trade access to their space. A year later, a Tarellian squadron of five warships arrived in orbit of the Imperium outpost on Gryphonne II and requested the Imperium withdraw from the system. The request was repeated every five days. Eventually, the Lords of Terra decided the tiny colony of 50,000 was not worth a war with the Tarellians. The colonists were ordered to destroy the tracking station on the planet and scatter into the cold, desert-like terrain. There was some resistance to the plan, but it was carried out as ordered once the colonists realised the Imperium would not come to their aid.

The Thunderhawk-E class Intelligence Corvette stationed in orbit of a mountainous Venusian world in the Tarellian home system continued to evade detection. Several valuable items of intelligence were obtained by the corvette during 2517 and 2518, including the location of two other jump points in the system and an overview of the Tarellian research establishment. The Tarellians were operating seventy facilities compared to one hundred and ten for the Imperium. The Lords of Terra hoped that over time the Imperium research advantage would start to overcome the Tarellian advantages in population size and production.

The brown dwarf system of Mimir was discovered in November 2517 and subsequently found to link the previously distant systems of Pollux and Morwen. As a result, Mimir could be reached from Sol via two completely different routes; Carpathia – Arietis – Sanctum – Lacaille – Morwen – Mimir or Sagittarii – Aurigae – Taranis -  Pollux – Mimir. A gravitational survey revealed a single new jump point, which was explored by the scout frigate Viper in May 2518. She arrived in Leonis Minoris, a binary with a G8-V primary with six planets and a planetless red dwarf companion. As Leonis Minoris-A III had a nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere, albeit with only trace oxygen, Viper fired an augur torpedo at the planet. Before the torpedo was destroyed, it detected a Necron fleet in orbit, comprising five orbital bases - two Shrouds, two Cartouches and a Jackal – plus eight laser-armed Sautekh class frigates and four Phaeron class escorts. Just as one Necron threat was eliminated, a new one had been discovered.

In June 2518, Endurance and Bellator Stoicus, the first pair of Endurance class light cruisers, were launched from the Valentinian orbital shipyard. The Endurance was the second class to be armed with particle lances and had double the offensive firepower of the smaller Firestorm class frigate, plus twenty percent greater range due to the improved Gothicus-Loken GL-12B Particle Lance. This capability was achieved with a twenty-five percent reduction in the secondary armament of AK-10C weapon batteries, compared to the Dauntless V class light cruiser.

Endurance class Light Cruiser      15,000 tons       481 Crew       3,527.7 BP       TCS 300    TH 1,920    EM 0
6400 km/s      Armour 7-54       Shields 0-0       HTK 98      Sensors 6/11/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 82
Maint Life 2.15 Years     MSP 1,616    AFR 164%    IFR 2.3%    1YR 467    5YR 7,004    Max Repair 480 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 15 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RD-960M (2)    Power 1920    Fuel Use 28.58%    Signature 960    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 542,000 Litres    Range 22.8 billion km (41 days at full power)

Gothicus-Loken GL-12B Particle Lance (4)    Range 240,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 37-5    ROF 40       
Astaroth AK-10C Weapons Battery (6x4)    Range 50,000km     TS: 6,400 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 50,000 km    ROF 5       
MK IV Weapons Battery Secondary Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 80,000 km   TS: 6,500 km/s
MK IV Weapons Battery Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 320,000 km   TS: 6,500 km/s     
R-18 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 37.6    Exp 5%
Emergency Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 0.4    Exp 5%

MK III Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 13125     Range 95.9m km    Resolution 125
MK III Torpedo Detection Augur Array (1)     GPS 21     Range 8.6m km    MCR 771.7k km    Resolution 1
MK III Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
MK II Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

The survey of the ruins on the fifteenth moon of Prometheus V were completed by July 2518, revealing two hundred and sixty-four potential recovery sites. The dormant construct required more time to understand, but was eventually identified as a centre for research into defensive systems. The output of any Imperium research facilities on the moon conducting defence research would increase by up to sixty percent.

On July 15th, a new Imperium colony was founded on Signus II, a planet with both mining and terraforming potential. Signus was six transits from Sol via Carpathia, Arietis, Sanctum, Lacaille and Morwen. There were now twenty-eight Imperium colonies with a total population of five hundred and sixty-eight million, plus forty-nine civilian mining colonies and four Imperium outposts with only automated installations. The population of Terra was two and a quarter billion.

By September 2518, almost all mining activity had moved outside the Sol system. Greyshroud-A I and the sole moon of Eridani-A III were each home to six hundred manned mining complexes with a further five hundred manned mines across the systems of Carpathia, Gothic, Aexe Cardinal, Aurigae and Sigma Draconis. Asteroth-A II had four hundred automated mines in operation, with a further one hundred and twenty-five on the eleventh moon of Carpathia VI. Orbital mining platforms, with a total of eight hundred mining modules, were deployed at comets in the Hyades and Typhon systems. All mining locations are shown below, along with any other important aspect of the colonies.

Eridani-A III – Moon 1: Population 95.6m, 600x Mine, 56,000-ton Maintenance Capacity.
Duranium:   1,124,454   0.90
Sorium:   960,499   0.60
Gallicite:   329,484   0.60

Greyshroud-A I: Population 69.1m, 600x Mine, 8,000-ton Maintenance Capacity.
Duranium:   1,527,153   0.90
Tritanium:   1,803   0.17
Boronide:   12,831   0.39
Vendarite:   706,191   0.80
Sorium:   728,714   1.00
Gallicite:   391,853   0.90

Gothic-A II: Population 13.1m, 160x Mine
Duranium:   4,570,584   0.80
Neutronium:   2,740,419   0.90
Corbomite:   169,692   0.80
Tritanium:   1,203,687   0.90
Mercassium:   1,920,783   0.10
Vendarite:   2,860,733   1.00
Sorium:   289,896   0.80
Corundium:   4,332   0.40

Aexe Cardinal-A III – Moon 1: Population 18.9m, 147x Mine, 40,000-ton Maintenance Capacity.
Duranium:   4,679,186   0.90
Corbomite:   2,860,831   0.70
Tritanium:   1,014,322   0.60
Boronide:   271,613   0.30
Vendarite:   53,014   0.60
Uridium:   373,963   0.20
Corundium:   840,691   0.70
Gallicite:   908,374   0.60

Carpathia-A VI – Moon 11: Population 4.2m, 125x Automated Mine, 31x Mine
Duranium:   1,092,711   0.80
Neutronium:   689,840   0.90
Tritanium:   170,873   0.90
Vendarite:   100,160   0.90
Uridium:   200,959   0.70
Corundium:   541,159   0.70

Carpathia-A III – Moon 14: Population 19.3m, 114x Mines
Duranium:   3,181,056   0.80
Corbomite:   2,055   0.30
Boronide:   138,496   0.50
Vendarite:   513,024   0.30
Uridium:   975,104   0.50

Aurigae-A I: Population 68.9m, 60x Mine, 20x Research Facility
Duranium:   8,599,394   1.00
Neutronium:   2,037,761   0.40
Boronide:   5,662,265   0.60

Sigma Draconis-A I: Population 13.4m, 47x Mine, 176,000-ton Maintenance Capacity.
Duranium:   1,449,544   0.70
Neutronium:   2,290   0.81
Tritanium:   1,351,985   0.90
Mercassium:   154,229   0.80
Vendarite:   31,106   0.40
Sorium:   1,216,229   0.80
Uridium:   1,352,956   0.60
Corundium:   990,076   0.60

Asteroth-A II: 392x Automated Mine. (Asteroth III has population of 11.7m)
Duranium:   77,851,027   0.70
Neutronium:   17,302,147   0.10
Corbomite:   75,860,647   0.10
Tritanium:   133,840,727   0.70
Boronide:   40,542,367   1.00
Mercassium:   119,236,040   0.30
Vendarite:   35,756,947   0.10
Uridium:   43,953,447   0.10
Corundium:   116,420,647   0.10
Gallicite:   14,185,274   0.80
Sorium:   1,686,547   0.10

Typhon Comet Mining Colony: 500x OMM
Duranium:   148,407   1.00
Tritanium:   49,638   0.50
Gallicite:   92,308   0.80

Hyades Comet Mining: 300x OMM
Duranium:   412,197   1.00
Neutronium:   139   0.11
Corbomite:   29,921   0.70
Mercassium:   70,222   0.50
Uridium:   6,109   0.45
Gallicite:   32,749   0.90

 

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