Aurora 4x

Fiction => Starfire => Topic started by: procyon on January 10, 2010, 03:28:12 AM

Title: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 10, 2010, 03:28:12 AM
This campaign was something I put together for my wife, oldest son, oldest daughter, and middle son.  It was based on slightly modified Starfire Ultra rules as the oldest boy had just gotten them and wanted to try them out.  It is currently on turn 91.  This is part of the opening of it that was considered to be part of the pre-turn 1 game.  We decided to game out some of the background to get used to the rules.  If folks are interested in reading it I will try to write up the old turns as I get the chance.

As background, it is based on Earth with the pre turn part taking place in the final months of 2202.  Earth is divided into three major power blocks. The Pan European Consortium (my wife) which includes all of Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East is the first.  The second is the United States Space Association and Holdings (my oldest son) which includes all of North America, Brazil, and Japan.  The last major power is the Chinese Socialist Republic (my middle son) comprising most of eastern Aisa and the south Pacific.  A last power of only about half the economic influence of the others is the South Seas Free Space Consortium (my oldest daughter) which includes some of South America, Southern Africa, India, and Australia.

There are colonies on Mercury (Pan Euro), the moon (Pan Euro), Mars (US Space), Ceres (O2m in the AB - China), and small colonies scattered in the asteriod belt for the Pan Euro and US Space.  

The drive in use is the charged particle drive, which is a reaction drive and can only change speed by one per round - and has a safe cruising speed of one.  The weapons available are sprint missiles (only China), 'long range' missiles, and lasers.  The Pan Euro is EL1, the others are all Ind2.  China is SL2 in construction, US Space is SL1 in Electronics and SL2 in Lasers.  Warp points are unknown with science instruments only for planetary survey.  Missiles can be used in a "conventional" sense or nuclear, which will be revealed in the stories.  Conventional use scored normal damage vs the non drive field Cp drive, while nukes score the x3 damage of ultra vs non drive field targets.

Prior to the beginning of the game no colonization beyond the asteriod belt was allowed per the Treaty of L2 in 2153.  All space born weapon use was forbidden withing 15LS of Earth (the Pax Terra), and each major power block was allowed 2 armed ground installation on earth.  No other space borne weapon use was to be allowed within 5LS of any other habitat although space stations were permitted to be armed within that radius for protection of the population against any violations of the treaty.  Civilian smuggling and piracy is not unknown (although it is usually funded by one of the power blocks).

With the beginning of 2203, the Treaty of L2 will lapse and the battle for the outer system will begin.  All the power blocks know that four of Jupiter's moons are colonizable - with Calisto being particularly so as it is outside of the radiation belts (considered a mT).  In Jupiter's orbit, at its lagrange points, are also the Trojan's - a second asteroid belt of thinner composition but valuable none the less.  Everyone is well aware that control of the Jovian orbit is the gateway to the outer system....
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: ZimRathbone on January 10, 2010, 05:19:33 PM
Interesting startup - I'd certainly like to see the turn reports
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 12, 2010, 04:19:34 AM
Having a slight problem at the moment.  It logs me off faster than I can type in the info.  Maybe five minutes at best. Not sure how to attach a file or to get around this.  Suggestions???
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: Hawkeye on January 12, 2010, 10:25:36 AM
Well, I usually type longer posts in notepad and copy/paste them into the text window. Not sure this will work for an AAR or story though as there will probably be some editing to do.
Also, if this is due to the line being cut (my router will disconnect me if there is no traffic for 30 seconds, I have a download manager running at the slowest speed setting DLing a file, I uploaded to rapidshare, just to keep the connection (yes I know, I could reconfiger the router, but I am one laaaazy guy :)
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: Erik Luken on January 12, 2010, 12:10:38 PM
This is a test post.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: Erik Luken on January 12, 2010, 12:12:33 PM
Posted on behalf of Procyon.

   Commodore Brenna Muldoon sat back and reveiwed the duty log and sensor reports.  Patrols in the Pan Euro section of the asteroid belt were generally an exercise in monotony.  Once in a great while a smuggler mining in a restricted section was found.  Nothing more. She turned off her monitor and looked around.   Brenna knew that her presence on the Heavy Escort Tatianna was making it's Captain,  Keely Sereg nervous.  Perhaps an inspection was in order.  She hadn't been out of her chair for six hours now and a little activity might be just what the day needed.
   No sooner had the magnets of her boots snapped onto the floor than the command deck was bathed in red light.  Her monitor sprang to life in a dozen flashing colors.  There was no siren, no loud alarm.  The deck was in vacuum, as always.  But her comm channel repeated in a metalic, sterile voice"... New Contact...New Contact..."
Activating the section of her monitor she took in what the sensor con anounced to the ship.  "Three new contacts.  Chinese Strike Vessel times one, Convoy Escorts time two.  Bearing two four zero degrees at ascencion plus three two degrees at four point five light seconds.  Current speed two three zero zero k - m - h.  Zero delta vee. Course zero zero 5 dergrees at one one dergees ascencion."
   Brenna's comm lit up with a message from the captain's chair.  She knew what it would be even before she openned the channel.  "Commodore Muldoon, they have no business out here, but I have no authority to engage Chinese military vessels without authorization.  That is going to take almost half an hour to get, at best."
   Brenna thought about what it was that had brought her into the combat space service so long ago.  It had been an accident.  She had been paralysed.  Her life would have consisted of being fed through a tube, breathing with a tube, and cleaned by aids and family. And it would have been a short life at best.  The combat space service was the only place to get a full cyborg conversion.  Only her brain and a few remnants of her nervous system remained.  Even those were meshed through with thousands of monomolecular strands. But so was all of the crew.  That was 52 years ago...
   Brenna keyed her comm.  "Intel says that Chinese sensor arrays don't have the range of ours.  I think if they knew we were here they would be doing something.  But I don't want any suprises.  Bring us to battle stations.  Lets coast for another 60 seconds just to make sure they can't see us.  Then engage the drives and bring us around behind them.  We'll see what they want out here."
   Brenna locked herself into her station as Captain Sereg announced battle stations.  She watched as the crew quickly locked themselves into their stations and waited for the green light on her monitor to show.  The drive would not engage until the stations were all locked or the captain overrode the lock. A crew member not locked into their station would become a dangerous projectile when the drive engaged.  A potentially ship killing projectile.
   Brenna tried to prepare for when the drive engaged.  She had never gotten used to it in all her years of service.  She wasn't sure that anyone could.  She could feel the hum of the particle accelerators warming up.  Shortly they would fire streams of hydrogen atoms at nearly the speed of light.  Those streams would converge at 90 dergee angles at a single point.  The same point two dozen small chemical lasers were all focused on.  And then that point would become a fair approximation of hell.
   The 3rd Battle Group was all based around the same basic materials and design.  The Heavy Escort Tatianna boasted heavier plating and baffles to protect her than the Attack Escorts Catherine and Isabelle that accompanied her.  But that was pretty much all that was different.  They were all composed of monomolecular chains formed into composites that all had one thing in common.  They were designed to withstand the fury of a nuclear explosion. But only on one vector.  And just barely. Baffles and shunts could create a small amount of manuverability, but miniscule.  What it could do was shunt a great deal of thrust forward or backward per se, braking or increasing the ships speed in the one vector that could stand the stress.
   The acceleration against the solar wind caused a static charge that was turned into a magnetic field that was used to reduce the felt acceleration of the cyborg bodies to less than one percent of the hulls acceleration.  This was still almost 1000 G's.  No human body could withstand combat acceleration.  Any lose material would become a bullet punching through anything in its path.  Even an atmosphere in the ship would be crushed and compressed to the rear of the compartments.  Even if the hull could withstand the compressed air, it would shatter when the drive cut out and it explosively re-expanded.  No. This was no place for any normal person.
   That same static charge limited the ships maximum speed.  Anything much greater and the dynamic forces and static charge would overload the ships' abilities to withstand it.  Accelerators could be red lined for brief moments to achieve a small amount of extra thrust and speed, but only for a short time.
   The drive engaged.  Brenna's vision greyed as the acceleration started. Even with the monomolecular mesh her brain still was affected by the stress.  Then a blue halo ringed the outside of her vision.  She had been told that it was the effect of the magnetic field used to counter the acceleration.  It interacted with the brains own electronic fields, the two crossing at right angles or some such thing. "Still a nusance." she thought to herself.  Then it stopped as the drive cut out.  Manuvering thrusters fired, changing the ships attitude.  Then the drive engaged again.  Twice more this cycle went on.  Finally the drive cut out and the sensor con announced it had reaquired the contacts, dead ahead.  "Closing at one zero thousand k - m - h.  Distance to contact, four point five light seconds and closing."
   Brenna keyed the comm officer.  "Broadcast to contact this.  Identify vessels and reason for presence in Pan Euro sector.  Do not change heading.  Initiate braking at this time.  Any other action will be considered as hostile."  Repeat back to me all before sending.  The comm officer verified the message and broadcast it.  Brenna thought that ever since the accident she had been living on borrowed time.  Although her three escorts outsized the small convoy escorts, the strike vessel was much larger than any ship she had there.  Perhaps her time was up today. They would know quickly enough.

   Onboard the Chinese Attack Frigate Jiang, Captain Thich Hanh sat bolt upright.  "Give me a bearing on that signal.  Where are they dammit !  All crew, all ships, battle stations.  Prepare ships to engage drives as soon as possible."  Worrying about where they had come from and how they had found them was a problem for later, if they survived.  Captain Hanh knew that they must not find out why they were here, or where they were going.  Even if it meant losing the three ships under his command, and his life.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 13, 2010, 06:26:09 AM
October 17th 2202 (part 2)

   Commodore Brenna Muldoon waited impatiently.  It would take the Chinese ships a few moments to get their crews locked in before they could activate the drives.  But during this time she was beginning to close the distance between them.  In a few moments she would enter the range envelope of her battle group's missile.  Probably the Chinese missiles also.  And with the drives on the Chinese ships down, they would be able to deploy their missiles without worrying about the drive bloom of the engines.  And the crews wouldn't have to be locked down to launch.
   "All ships Battle Group Three.  Sensor Conn establish radar and lidar locks.  Weapons Conn, plot firing solutions for all targets.  Priority of fire to Chinese Convoy Escorts."  It still amazed her how her voice sounded the same after all these years.  Synthesized from a variety of recordings from before her accident, it would always sound the same.  Sterile and emotionless.  Anything but how she felt right now.  If the Chinese turned out to be hostile, she would have to take out the Strike Vessel's Escorts quickly.  If they were gone she might have a chance.  They were smaller, with less protection.  Intel said the Strike Vessels plating and stand-off baffles would soak at least one of her missiles with the primary and secondary safeties released.  Maybe two of them.  And she was sure it packed a lot more firepower than her vessels.
   Suddenly the sensor officer hit the override comm.  "Aspect change on all three contacts.  Nuclear drive bloom times three."
   Brenna cut him off.  'All ships, primary missile safety release.  Target contact designated Escort two.  Deploy now."  It was done.  The Chinese were not going to stop.  They had cleared their drive blooms so they would be able to fire.  It was going to take them a few minutes to come up to combat speeds,  and that would give her battle group an edge.  The question was would it be enough.
   The Tatianna barely shuddered as the single missile deployed from its launcher.  It would drift a second on its manuver thrusters before engaging its drive.  A smaller version of the ships' drive, it was run by batteries instead of a small fusion reactor like the ships' were.  Just enough to get it started.  The static generated against the solar wind would power the lasers and particle accelerators for the rest of the journey.  With no crew it had no need for the magnetic dampening system. It would also take the locomotive sized weapon and drive it to a speed of nearly 50,000 kilometer per second in the space of only 10 seconds.  Almost a quarter of light speed.  As it neared its target it would arm.  With the primary safeties released it would simply use its manuver thrusters to spin, and then would break up as it reached intercept.  Inside the missile were 10,000 metal cylinders, each about 50mm across and half that thick.  They would spread over space due to the spin of the missile and cover an area several kilometers wide.  It was like a giant shotgun.  The hope was that some of those cylinders would make impact with the target.  Mis-timing the intercept by a few thousandths of a second was all it took to miss.
   Brenna heard Captain Keely Sereg on the comm.  "Helm, attitude change.  Bring our bearing about to match the Chinese ships.  Engage drive.  Match speed.  Don't let them close."  Brenna keyed the comm.  "All ships. Change bearings to match Tatianna."  She was glad the captain was covering all the bases.  She might have to keep an eye on her if this actually flared up into a shooting war.
   Captain Thich Hanh listened as the sensor officer reported.  The Pan Euro vessels had closed within his sensor envelope, but not his weapons range.  The short range missiles of the escorts and frigate could not reach them.  Neither could the heavy laser mounted on the frigate.  He had begun manuvers to correct that, but the Euro vessels were already at battle speed, and just as manuverable as his ships.  And now the Euro vessels had launched on him.  
   "Indicate as target the Nan King captain."  Thich began to worry.  The Jiang could take some of the pounding those missiles would inflict, but the escorts were little better than trash cans with firepower.  The missiles they carried delivered several times the payload of a Pan Euro missile, but had a much shorter range.  The ships though were little more than a launcher with a drive system and crew.  The one set of stand off baffles would not save them.

   In the darkness of space three missiles completed their final spins and released their payloads.  Thousands of metal disk rocketed through the void.  As did the Chinese Convoy Escort Nan King.  Then one of the disk made contact with the ship.  The velocity of its impact instantly turned the cylinder and the plating it struck into a jet of super heated gas and molten metals.  The violent impact and expansion of the gas shattered plating and pressurized the baffle.  The second disk struck the forward section crushing more high pressure gases into the space.  The hull cracked and the forward maintenance hold was filled with the searing gases and molten fragments.  Then a third disk hit.  Plating ruptured across the ship and the cabin space ruptured.  Flames with the heat of a star scorched controls and crew alike.  The Nan King's drive automatically started an interupt cycle to prevent the ship's destruction, while the onboard computers released a torrent of compressed argon to vent any debris from the ship.  
   Thich listened as the reports came back.  The Nan King was venting and her drive had re-engaged.  Auxillary Weapons Conn was responding and the launcher was undamaged.
   But they would never survive another volley, and it was a long way to close to effective range.  But maybe he could draw them in close enough for the escorts to start the battle. He keyed the comm and issued the orders.

   Brenna listened as the Sensor Officer reported in. "Escort two venting.  Drive bloom still present.  Wait.. Target aspect change.  Strike Vessel vectoring away and accelerating.  Convoy Escorts times two coming about on intercept course and accelerating."  The Chinese commander was hedging his bets.  If they pursued the larger ship, they would be forced to close with the escorts.  The lack of return fire indicated that at the moment they either didn't have the range or the sensor resolution to fight back.  But if they closed that would change.  If they changed course to avoid the escorts the Strike Vessel would accelerate past sensor range and then cut its drives - disengaging and effectively disappearing.  "Continue fire on Escort two.  Course to maintain current range to the Strike Vessel. Prepare lasers on all ships and plot firing solutions."
   Captain Thich listened as the reports came back.  The Euro vessels were closing with the escorts.  They were continuing to launch on the crippled Nan King.  She would never survive to fire, but her sacrafice would allow the other escort to make it into range.  Its crew of 34 would perish without ever having fired a weapon. But his frigate wasn't going to be able to shake the Euro Escorts.  They were staying in their weapons range.

   "Convoy Escort Two shows loss of containment.  No drive bloom.  Escort One continues to close. Drive bloom on number one down.  Drive re-engaging.  Detection of new drive accelerating.  Sensors indicate missile inbound."  Brenna tried to brace herself, but it was fruitless.  She was already locked into place.  All she could do was wait.  

   The missile streaked across the depths of space with a speed that exceeded even the Euro missiles.  Over 75.000 kilometers a second.  But it wasn't going to release a hail of metal cylinders.  All the safeties had been removed.  As it approached intercept the particle accelerators released a torrent of hydrogen into the drive.  And the missile disappeared in a blast of light and heat that fueled a sun.  Even as the heat pulse radiated out the nearly plasma hot remains of the missile hurtled forward with the momentum the missile had imparted on them.  The heat pulse could buckle any plating, and the wave of super heated particles could rip apart a ships hull with pathetic ease.  But the timing was off.  The range had been to long and the tremendous speeds left little ability to correct any course errors.    And the Euro ships passed on unharmed by the missile's fury.

   Brenna would have breathed a sigh of releif if she could have.  But the battle wasn't over.  "All ships. All weapons target remaining escort. Primary safety release only.  Lasers full spread."  The Chinese had violated treaty by detonating the drive of the missile inside the asteroid belt, but she didn't want to have to answer for that offense.  Not yet at least.  The drive on the Tatianna stopped to allow the missiles to deploy and the laser optical cavities and output couplers to align.  The lasers engaged the que and fired as the ships coasted.  Not the small beams of a personal laser or manufacturing style, its beam was lensed to be almost a hundred yards across at the target range with full spread.  Powered by the fusion plant and set for a short pulse, it destroyed ships by rapidly heating the surface, flash expanding it and creating shock waves through the hull.  Not burning a hole in it.  Although with proper lensing that could be possible.  Just impractical for targetting a ship moving at combat speeds.  The missiles from the Euro ship struck even as the crippled Chinese Escort vented to try to deal with the debris of the laser impacts.  Only one cylinder struck home.  It was enough as the hull splintered and disappeared as the drive shield lost containment.
   "Now" Brenna thought, "just that big SOB to deal with."

   Captain Thich Hanh watched as the Escort Saigon was destroyed.  The Pan Euro ships were not showing any signs of damage, or of breaking off.  "We won't die running away.  Helm, bring us around and plot an intercept course for the Euro Heavy Escort."  He knew they would never reach them.  "Communication, transmit on narrow beam to Ceres station all information on engagement thus far.  Continue until unable."  They were going to die out here, but maybe those deaths would help save others when the treaty lapsed in only a few months.
   "Redline the drives.  Let see if we can close this gap."

   Chinese Fleet Admiral Hu sat in his office.  The space station had gravity in the ring, and his office was one of those privledged few to be located there.  He went over the information on the monitor again and again.  Three ships lost.  One a frigate.  No enemy losses or recorded damage.  If this had happened in a few months... but he dismissed that thought.  It wouldn't.  
   The other file showed that the base in the asteroid belt had successfully tested a long range deep space missile.  Equal in range to the European missiles used in the engagement.  Chinese sensors may be a little less precise, but we will be able to shoot back now.  The base had scuttled before the Europeans had been able to locate it.  Their would be no evidence.  And the Europeans would not risk a shooting war just before the treaty expired.  It was simply another incident in deep space. What was outside in the construction docks was more imporatant.
   Floating outside in slip two was a ship over twice the size of the Jiang.  With more long range missile tubes than an entire Euro Battle Group.  It had necessitated the Strike Vessels' redesignation to a Frigate.  The Cruiser Mao Tse Tsung would change the balance of power in the war that was to come.  And here at Venus, the Euro and US would have no warning of its existance.

Overview of the battle.
This was a rude suprise for my middle son when his ships were manuvered against and destroyed at ranges he could not respond.  He hoped that his more powerful weapons and larger ship would carry the day.  He immediately began a redesign of the frigates in light of this and replaced the lasers with missile launchers.  
My wife, the euro player, realized more quickly that with the reaction drives it was going to play out like an airplane dogfight.  Position and speed was going to be everything.  She got the advantage and never let go.

Ship designs
Heavy Escort Tatianna      CT   16HS
[2]A A A A H Mgs La Ra Qa (cpCp) [6/1]  salvos 18

Attack Escorts Catherine , Isabelle   ES   12HS
[2]A Hs Mgs La Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1] salvos 18

Attack Frigate Jiang      FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A A Hs Qa (Cp) La Mgs Ga Ga Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Convoy Escorts Nan King , Saigon    EX   7HS
[2]A H Qa Ga (Cp) [6/1]
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 13, 2010, 06:28:51 AM
Thanks Hawkeye.  Copy and paste worked like a charm.  
My kids often remind me that I have only evolved a little past chisels and stone blocks....guess they might be right.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: mavikfelna on January 13, 2010, 01:41:57 PM
Nice. I think it's cool your family is all playing together and it looks like a an interesting campaign.

Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 16, 2010, 06:23:16 AM
December 4th, 2202

   Captain Jack Douglas sat and wondered how long they would keep up the pretense that the three US Space Interceptors were out here in the asteroid belt on a 'customs' patrol.  Everyone knew that after the "Chinese Incident", tensions were running high.  With the end of the L2 treaty in less than a month, hostilities were becoming a very real possibility.  Jack looked over the current event stories that the news services were carrying on his monitor.  Most of the Chinese space fleet had put into their ports for 'annual maintenance'.  More likely drawing full supplies and upgrades for extended combat in the outer system.  The Pan Euro had unveiled a new vessel, the 'Red October'.  It was supposedly as large as a Chinese Strike Vessel and had made its maiden voyage from Mercury to the asteroid belt in record time.  If the press was to be believed, it had gone faster than even his Interceptor, the JFK, could make the trip.  The fact that it met up with Pan Euro Battle Group 3 out here in the belt was just a little sideline.  If he had hair on the back of his neck, Jack was sure it would be tingling now.  He could feel the war looming ahead.
   But for the moment they were simply out here to monitor the traffic passing through the transfer stations in the US Space sector of the belt.  Other than a small lifter moving off into the belt, returning to its mining colony, nothing was on the sensors.  About a half dozen small craft or freighters made stops at each of the three transfer stations per day.  At least to make it look like a customs mission they had split up the three interceptors among the transfer stations. The JFK was in the middle at Transfer Station 2.  "Enjoy the boredom while you can, in a month we might very likely be dead."  The Comm Officer looked up from his station at Jack.  Jack shook his head and the Comm Officer just nodded, then turned around to continue monitoring radio traffic.  Guess it's not a secret to anyone.
   On board the 'redesignated' freighter Marie Celeste, Captain 'Dutchman' locked himself into his station.  The rest of his crew were doing the same.  A few thousand kilometers away the 'Mary Reed' would be doing the same thing.   A month ago they had been able to "acquire" a number of heavy lasers for use on combat ships.  Although the Free Spacers didn't officially maintain any military shipyards or construction facilities, there were other ways to get your hands on weapons for those who wanted them and were willing to pay the price. Now it was time to pay off the debt for the weapons.  The dealer who provided them and the facilities to install them had asked for a low price in cash, but had wanted to make sure that the US Space folks would be too busy watching their own backyards to be able to send off any ships in the next few months.  In particular, he wanted Transfer Station 2 to be unable to fulfil its duties of shipping supplies back to the core, or to the outer system, for the forseeable future.  "Bring us in at standard cruise.  Weapons ready, but I don't want any acitve targeting yet."  No sense looking like anything but a pair of freighters until the last second.  The US folks will figure it out as their station begins to break apart around them.

   "Captain Douglas, I'm tracking a pair of inbound freighters.  I've signaled for flight log numbers and vessel registry numbers, but what I'm getting back isn't listed on any of the logs."  The Sensor Officer had turned his chair around to look at the captain.  Their could be no expression on the metal face screens, but his posture gave away a certain uneasiness.  Captain Jack Douglas felt it too.  Everyone was being overly careful, doing everything by the numbers to avoid being blown out of space right now.  This didn't add up.  "Ship, this is Captain Douglas.  All crew to stations.  Lock for acceleration.  Warm up the capacitors of the main laser batteries."  
   "Captain Douglas, I have drive blooms on both freighters.  They are on a direct course for the Transfer Station. Current range of three point five light seconds, directly ahead."  
   Jack watched as the crew hurriedly tried to lock themselves into stations.  It was going to slow.  They had been scattered about the ship attending to dozens of tasks to pass the time.  In a few minutes this could all be over and they would never have pulled away from the station.  Let alone defended her.
   "Captain.  Laser batteries one and two reporting weapons ready."  Jack's monitor sprang to life with energy states and tracking information from the sensors.  Targeting solutions were already being laid in to the system.  "At least we won't go down without a fight."  The US Space Interceptors had the best laser technology hands down of any spacefaring power.  The Japanese had come up with adaptive lensing paired with a very high output medium.  The result was a weapon with over 30% greater range than any other in use.  If the ships coming in had missiles, they would have already fired.  Jack noticed that the light for 'all stations locked' was on even before engineering was able to report it.  "Engage drive, full power.  Fire on target designated contact two as soon as they are in range."

   The Marie Celeste shuddered as the drives shut off and the automatic venting cycle purged any loose debris from the forward holds.  The Dutchman watched as damage reports streamed across his screen.  The forward holds and bulkhead had sustained considerable damage.  "This isn't a warship.  She won't take a pounding like this for long" he thought to himself.  "Weapons, when will we be in range of that damned US ship."  No one had bothered mentioning that the US was garrisoning its transfer stations out here.  He had been forced to abandon guile and try to rush into weapons range before the US warship would be able to react.  That plan was already shot.  Now he needed to silence its weapons before they tore his converted freighter apart.
   "We will reach weapons range in thirthy seconds sir."  replied the midshipman.  

   "Bring us sixty degrees starboard, minus ten ascension."  They've already got a large advantage in velocity,  we cant't let them get in behind us and park there. Sensor Conn anounced urgently "Contacts one and two coming about.  Contact two dead astern. Contact one..." The report was cut off by the sudden drive cut out and purge cycle indicating the ship had been hit.  "Dampers overloaded.  Thermocoulplers and hull sensors show damage to hull plating and to all external baffles."  Weapons announced "Unable to target contact two, solution for contact one now online."  
   "Fire on contact one!"  Jack was cursing his luck.  His ship could outrun these hostiles, but they had already built up speed, and he had only started to accelerate.  He couldn't keep both out of the blindspot caused by his drive bloom.  Now he was unable to concentrate fire on the ship that was already damaged.  At least it had been obliged to keep its distance when it fired from behind them to avoid the heat and radiation pulse from the JFK's drive system.  Jack saw the readouts that contact one was stuttering its drive and venting in response to the JFK's laser fire, but the warning lights flashing across his monitor's screen as contact one returned fire horrified him.  But only for a moment as the cabin rutured and pieces of the hull rocketed through the command section.  His body was one more piece of debris vented by the automatic computer response.

   The Dutchman had to hand it to American ingenuity.  That ship had just taken a pounding that would have destroyed either the Marie Celeste or Mary Reed.  And its drive was still blazing away as it picked up speed.  They were going to have to turn around to finish the US ship off.  Their combined velocity had pulled them out of weapons range.  "Bring us about.  This isn't over.  Get me back in weapons range now."

   Chief Engineer Jack Ryan quickly tried to grasp everything on his monitor.  HE was now in command??  What the hell was happening?  These were supposed to be freighters!  Laser battery one was giving no readings but battery two looked to be functional.  He keyed the monitor prompt for computing a firing solution.  Only one target in range, contact two.  The other had carried to far beyond and was continuing on toward the base.  He keyed the firing prompt as he issued orders for the engineering section to continue full acceleration away from the contacts.

   Dutchman felt the Marie Celeste shudder as the US ship once again tore into her hull with its lasers. "I don't care what the reactor output says!  Get me in range!"  Damage readouts on the monitor showed that the Marie Celeste was being torn apart, but both of the lasers looked to be operational.  "Mary Reed, fry that station."  He knew he didn't need to give that order.  They would be looking for revenge after the raking their ship had taken.  "Time to make those Amercans pay for this!"

   Jack Ryan watched as contact two began to pull up on the JFK, and then felt the ship shake as the pulses of light shuddered her hull, vaporizing bits of its composites and explosively expanding others.  The last laser battery signaled the output coupler was off line.  That was it. The JFK was out of the fight.  But the drive still worked.  Somehow it was holding together.  They might make it out of here.  Checking what sensor readouts he could access Jack Ryan confirmed that most all of the small craft at the station were scattering in a dozen different directions.  At least they had bought enough time to let the crew of Transfer Station 2 escape.  The station itself was not likely to be so lucky.  Jack keyed in for redline acceleration on the drive.  "Lets see if a freighter hull can match this."  'Just please hold together' he thought to himself.

   Admiral Hu read the news reports that the US Transfer Station 2 had been destroyed by unknown terrorists, and that the culprits were going to be hunted to the fullest extent of US abilities and brought to justice.  "Good."  The US vessel JFK had survived, but only barely by the sound of it.  Selling the surplus lasers on the black market from the frigates refit had born unexpectedly good results.  "Very good" he thought to himself.  In a few months the Jovian systems will be securely in Chinese control.


Where the previous battle had been the pregame warm up for my wife and middle son,  This battle pitted my oldest son (US Space) against my oldest daughter (Free Spacers).   The oldest boy had thought he had an easy victory in store.  He was a little upset that his younger sister managed to beat him with worse ships and crews.  He didn't change his design strategy, but did decide that splitting up his ships was a bad idea.
My oldest girl was pleasantly suprised with her victory.  She had expected to be forced to break off and run away.  (She always sells herself short)

Interceptor JFK         CT   16HS
[2]A A A H (MNE) Qa Lb Lb (cpCp) [6/1]

Converted Freighters Marie Celeste , Mary Reed       FT2   16HS   both crews considered poor (shakedown cruise)
[2]H H H A H H La La Qa (Cp) [6/1]
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 19, 2010, 04:33:19 AM
January 2203 (turn 1), part 1

December 29th, 2202,  0800
   Fleet Admiral Hu reviewed the orders he had sent an hour ago.  Events seemed to be conspiring against him.  The Cruiser Mao Tse Tung would not be ready to leave for Jupiter, and the government ministers wanted the ship to remain at Venus for the next few months to shakedown and train the crew.  She was going to be needed out there at Jupiter!  Only a fool would tie her up for months here!
   Admiral Hu looked over the ship roster he had just ordered to begin the movement to Jupiter.  The Attack Frigates Hunan, Anhui, and Hubei would be the main combat ships.  The Convoy Escorts Canton and Jinan would accompany them, spaced out from the main body to alert them to any hostile contacts.  Also going would be the Armed Colony ships Manchuria and Korea.  They carried the same armament as the escorts but lacked their speed.  The science vessel Marco Polo would go to verify the previous moon surveys, and to carry extra munitions in its holds.  The most valuable asset was actually the newest ship, the Zhuang.  It was a smaller version of the shipworks here at Venus mounted into a hull larger than even the frigates.  The hull was more fragile, not having been designed for combat, but it would allow the Chinese to repair damaged ships without having to remove them from the combat zone.  That could be a valuable strategic advantage.
   Perhaps the most valuable thing was going on right now though.  The Euro and US were clamoring and pressuring for a continuance of the Pax Terra.  The Chinese wanted it also, but were not letting anyone else know that yet.  The other powers would hold their fleets in defense of their populations, and especially the earth so long as the danger of all out war remained.  The Chinese fleets would be leaving for Jupiter within the hour.  They should arrive there days before the other powers would even consider releasing their ships.  The Pan Euro ships with their longer engagement range had proved particularly troublesome, and with the Tung left at Venus, this advantage could prove disasterous.  But if our ships can arrive at Jupiter first, we might be able to force a battle at close quarters. And win...

January 2nd, 2203,  0637
   Admiral Jude Kushnir sat back in her station aboard the Heavy Interceptor Anastasia.  She wondered if promoting Commodore Brenna Muldoon to Rear Admiral and giving her command of 3rd Battle Group was the best choice.  She had handled herself well in the engagement against the Chinese a few months ago, and whoever commanded that group was going to end up fighting the Chinese again very soon.  But Brenna, for all her good qualities, had previously been assigned to Training Command Center for the space fleet.  Well educated, capable, and with decades of experience... but little actual command time on a war ship.
   'It will have to do.' she thought to herself.  There isn't enough time to replace her, or anyone else more qualified. 'And I can't leave Earth.'  Even though the various governments had reaffirmed the Pax Terra only hours before its expiration on New Years morning,  everyone Jude knew agreed that the best way to keep the peace was not to leave the space around earth unguarded.  That meant 1st Battle Group would have to stay here.  2nd Battle group was guarding the shipyards at Mercury and couldn't be spared from that location either.  Leaving the belt colonies unguarded after the incident in US Space was distasteful,  but regrettably necessary.  And now there was the complication with the civilian freight lines.  With the end of the L2 treaty and impending hostilities, the civilian freighters were refusing to pass the belt. Worse -they insisted on escorts when moving through the inner system.  Convoying the damned 'civy' freighters and detailing escorts had gutted the roster of spare vessels that should have been going to Jupiter with Brenna.  Three of the five armed exploration vessels were now doing time as convoy escorts, and the two Attack Escorts due to come out of the earth shipyards at the beginning of next month would have to be pushed into that role also.  What a waste.
   The one saving grace of all this might be the accord reached with the US.  With one of their six 'known' Interceptors down for the forseeable future for repairs,and their ability to move supplies beyond the belt crippled by the loss of the transfer station closest to Jupiter, they had reached an agreement.  The US would support the Euro with two of their remaining five operational Interceptors.  They would be attached to 3rd Battle Group under command of Rear Admiral Muldoon.  The US would also support the Euro claim to Jupiter and its moons for a share of the colonizable asteroids in the Trojan belt.  Maybe the Chinese would back down when they were faced with both US and Euro ships at Jupiter...  No, they wouldn't.
   'Brenna needs to come up with a crushing victory, something that will bring the Chinese to the table for a serious treaty negotiation.'  Jude thought.  'Because the only other thing that would force a negotiation is a crushing defeat for us.  Otherwise this whole situation will cripple all of our economies.  Maybe even spell the end of the human race if it spreads out of control.'
   Jude pushed the key to verify the transmission of the orders on her monitor.  Orders sending 3rd Battle Group to enforce the Pan Euro's claim to Jupiter and her moons.  It also authorized the release of all safeties on munitions and any force required to enforce the Pan Euro's claim to the Jovian system.
   She wondered if she would see her old friend Brenna again.

January 3rd, 1735
   Captain Jack Ryan closed the comm link to Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon.  'What am I doing here? All I did is run away from getting killed and they went and made me a hero! Now I've been promoted to captain and given the Interceptor Hamilton as MY ship!  And to make it even more surreal, the big boys at home have ordered me to take orders from from some limey brit and risk my life helping them claim a planet and moons for the Euro!'  Jack turned his chair in its station to look out over the command cabin. Nervous? Scared? Cocky?  It is hard to tell how the crew feels when they all wear metalic bodies and use synthesized voices.  They were all volunteers.  Volunteers without a choice.  A life as a cripple, or a terminal cancer patient, or some other horrible fate.  Who would turn down the opportunity to live for decades more if they could? If their was someone, it hadn't been him he thought.
   OK, down to business.  If I'm going to have to do this, I might as well try to do it right.  Jack keyed the all ship comm link. "We have our orders.  We will be locking stations in thirty minutes and engaging the drive.  We will be accompanying the Pan European 3rd Battle Group on a little trip to Jupiter."  He paused to let the words sink in.  "We will likely meet the Chinese there.  Whether when we get there or sometime after, it doesn't matter.  When we do, you know what will happen.  We have the most advanced lasers in use on any ship.  But we will be in range of the Chinese missiles when we use them.  And the Chinese will be detonating the drives on those missiles."  One more pause.  "Over the next few days we need to make sure every system on this ship gets checked and double checked. We are going to need everything this ship can give us so that we can bring it, and ourselves, home after this is done. This is Captain Ryan, out."
   He wasn't sure if that was the pep talk everyone needed, but it was his first as a Captain.  'Hope I get the chance to make MANY more.' he thought to himself.

January 5th, 0210
   The Dutchman eased back into the command station on the Kestrel.  He had been able to slip the Marie Celste and Mary Reed back into earth space where they couldn't be fired on, and get them landed at South African and Chilean spaceports for repairs.  But even though the US wouldn't be able to destroy the ships, it didn't mean they wouldn't try to send someone after him if he landed dirtside. The Pax Terra didn't cover machine guns or gernades...
   The Kestrel was smaller than the other two ships, and had only one laser mounted on board.  Not that they would need it.  Right now they would blend into the merchant convoys and pick up some cash running 'honest' runs.
    There was no way they would be able to get the Marie and Mary back up in space anytime soon.  That US Interceptor had torn up both of the ships badly.  It was a choice of repairing them or abandoning them.  To much money tied up to abandon them.  But now that they were on the earth there was no way the US Interceptor Franklin would let them back out into open space.  They were to slow to outrun it.  And once outside the Pax boundary of 15 light seconds, the Franklin would use its higher speed and more advanced weaponry to destroy them.
   That is why right now they are having some of their cargo sections converted over to passenger sections.  If this 'war' drags out, all the powers will start looking for armed colonization ships willing to make the runs to the outer moons.  The civilian ships will never do it.  And when they need us, those powers that would right now like to see us destroyed, will be more than happy to hire us to do the dirty and dangerous work of hauling colonists into contested zones.  For a healthy fee of course.
   The Dutchman keyed the comm. "OK, we've got our log and orders.  The Euro lifter will begin loading cargo within the hour...."
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 23, 2010, 10:20:40 AM
January 2203, part 2

Battle of Jupiter's Moons

January 8th, 2203  0110

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked at the sensor returns as the range to Jupiter grew smaller.  The plot on her display was a maze of criss crossed objects and vectors as the maze of moons around the giant planet crowded the screen with numbers and information.  It looked like nothing so much as a minefield.  If the Chinese were here already, they could be hiding behind any one, or several, of those rocks.  'That gas giants magnetic fields are going to make it all but impossible to identify any vessels without coming in range of a thrown rock.' she thought.  'How in the world did I draw this assignment.  I should be back at the academy examining activities and training plans. If I send everyone in as a group I risk losing most if not all the ships at one time.  If I send in scouts to check the moons and sweep the area, they are almost certainly doomed.'  She looked hard at the monitor as the distance shrank.
   Brenna keyed the channel to the Comm Officer. "Give me all ships."  She waited until the monitor showed green for the link to all the ships in her task force. "In less than thirty minutes we wll enter the outer orbits of Jupiter's moons.  All ships are to come to general quarters at this time.  Exploration Vessel Da Vinci will engage drive and move to a position five light seconds ahead of the Heavy Interceptor Tatianna, on the same heading.   Attack Escorts Isabelle and Catherine assume standard attack formation on the Tatianna.  Armed Exploration Vessel Louis and Rodney, engage drives and take positions at two light seconds bearing sixty degrees and three hundred  degrees respectively from the Tatianna, also on a parallel heading.  The Red October will assume a position one light second behind the Tatianna on the same heading.  US Space Interceptors Hancock and Hamilton,  take positions alongside the Red October at two thousand kilometers bearing ninety and two seventy degrees.   Planetary Survey Vessel Michaelangelo take position at two light second behind the Red October, same bearing.  All missile ships, remove primary and secondary safeties.  Rear Admiral Muldoon, out."
   'We are coming right down the orbital path' thought Brenna.  'Most of the small outer moons are scattered in various orbits away from our approach, but three of the four largest are close to the orbital.  They are the prime real estate here.  The battle is for them.  Calisto and Ganymede are both on this side of Jupiter, each thirty degrees off the orbital on opposite sides.  Io is directly on the orbital on the far side of Jupiter.  Europa is ninety degrees off the orbital on the dark side of Jupiter.  With just a slight bend in course we can make a close sweep of all four, plus get a slight peek at the inner four moons, all in just one pass.  If they are clear, this is where we will arrange our defense.  But they won't be.  Somewhere out here the Chinese are waiting.  I'm almost sure of it.'  And the minutes crawled by.

   On board the Exploration Vessel Da Vinci, Lieutenant Commander Gustav Schimmelpfennig watched as the various readouts about the moons scrolled across the screen.  They had drawn point, a competely unarmed vessel.  He could see the reason, if they were lost it would not affect the combat capabilities much if at all.  They had passed by Calisto and Ganymede without any anomylous readings, and had just received orders to alter course by sixty degrees to port.  The helm made the change without a word.  After Admiral Muldoon's radio command, any repeating of it was just unnecessary.  It was regulation to give the orders himself, but the helmsman knew his commander better than that. The new course brought them directly toward Europa.
   Suddenly the sensor returns blazed in red and orange.
      'Chinese Strike Vessel detected.  Location - Surface of Europa. Range 0.75 LS.
      Bearing 02 Asc +03


   Gustav barely had time to key the sensor transmit before his ship was torn apart by multiple drive detonations.  Forty five seconds later the debris would become part of Europa as it impacted on the surface with a force rivaling the explosions that had destroyed the ship.

   Brenna's screen sprang to life with the transmissions of the Da Vinci and sensor readings of the missiles that destroyed it.  A second set of readings showed a launch from Ganymede of a single missile targeted at the Armed Explorer Rodney.  The Rodney fared much better.  The missile passed into the hellish exhaust of the Rodney's drive and was consumed before it could detonate.  Brenna was amazed at the almost immediate response of the Rodney's crew as they launched in return, their missile churning up clouds of dust on the moon's surface.  The missile had detonated its drive well above the moon's surface, but the heat pulse and kinetic energy of the molecules that had once been the missile had ravaged the moon.  The Red October had the most advanced (and experimental) sensor array in the fleet.  They showed that the hostile launch had come from a vessel landed on the moon's surface.  A vessel now obscured by the fury of the Rodney's missile detonation.
   The other ships seemed to respond painfully slow as they struggled to gain sensor locks and plot targetting solutions to the contacts that were springing up across her monitor.  The Red October had originally been designed as a large scientific and exploration vessel.  The two missile bays were almost an afterthought.  And her targetting computer seemed to crawl through the computations.  The sensor returns showed a vessel had lifted off the surface of Calisto and swung into an orbit that had taken it behind the moon, hiding it from her ships.  On Ganymede, unbelievably a drive bloom was appearing from out of the dust cloud.  Sensor returns also showed three Chinese Strike Vessels and a single Convoy Escort had lifted off from Europa and were moving to put Jupiter between them and her group. At their current acceleration they would be able to succeed before her lead ships would be able to bring them into range.  Only god knew what other ships were hiding amongst these moons.
   "Fleet, alter course sixty degrees starboard.  Clear your drive paths, I don't want anyone frying our own ships. Then engage drives, full accelleration." She needed to make sure they didn't get to close to the Chinese Vessels. Only the superior range of the Euro's missiles had carried the last engagement.  "Blow that damned ship from Ganymede off my map NOW!"  She couldn't change the way her voice sounded, but she could definetely up the volume.  Almost as she said it launches from the Rodney, Catherine and Isabelle converged on what sensors were reporting as a colony vessel.  'A damned heavily armed one if it is.' she thought as the missile's detonations obsured the ship's sensors momentarily.  Afterward only shattered debris remained. 'Payback for the Da Vinci.'
   She checked ship positions quickly. "Michaelangelo, turn around and get out of here.  Rodney come sixty degrees port."  The Rodney was the extreme right of her formation and she didn't want to put it out of range of the fight, or the rest of the group if they needed to support it. The comm link suddenly showed the Louis had managed to gain a tenuous lock on the Chinese Convoy Escort and had launched.  But it had been at the extreme end of the ship's range and the missile lost tracking before it could make intercept.
   A flashing light showed that the US Space Interceptors Hancock and Hamilton had suddenly broken formation and turned to port.  She realized that they only carried lasers and would not be able to engage the Chinese vessels at this range, but why try if they could be destroyed without danger?  She wanted to open the comm link with the US ships but knew she didn't have time.  She needed to command her own ships and try to win this battle. Comm returns from the Rodney indicated a second Chinese Convoy Escort was moving behind Jupiter on a course to try and intercept the Rodney.  But for the moment the Chinese ship had manuvered behind the small moon Metis and the Rodney was unable to get a sensor lock.  These damned moons could be the death of them.
   "Tatianna group, port sixty degrees to parallel the US ships. Follow Rodney's tracking.  When that Chinese Escort appears, fire.  Armed Explorer Louis, starboard another sixty degrees.  Your walking right into that Chinese Escort."  Moments after the Louis had come about The Chinese Convoy Escort appeared from behind the small moon and launched.  Heartbeats later the Tatianna group fired on the Chinese Escort.  The Louis had put just enough distance behind it that the Chinese missile's guidance was unable to correct for the small inaccuracies in its targetting - a victim of its own breakneck speed and mass.  The plume of superheated particles passed harmlessly out into space.  
   The Tatianna had been refitted following the first Chinese incident, removing her one laser emitter and relacing it with a second missile bay.  Now that extra long range firepower would come into play.  The Heavy Interceptor Tatianna and the Attack Escorts Catherine and Isabelle all launched on the small Chinese vessel.  Brenna watched the four missiles on her display as they moved to intercept.  Then the inevitable sensor disruption as the drives detonated in a long string along the course of their target.  Then the sensors registered a fifth detonation of immense size as the small ship's drive lost containment and consumed the ship. 'Two down, how many left?'
   The Sensor Comm brought Brenna out of her little reverie as he keyed her that the three Chinese Strike Vessels and the single Convoy Escort with them had appeared.  The Chinese group's trajectory and the Red October's move out and around the planet had brought them into view.  Then the Chinese ships disappeared behind the moon Amalthea.  It was considered a minor moon, but with a length of over 120 kilometers it was more than massive enough to hide a group of ships.  The Chinese groups were on a course that would allow them to also use Metis to hide their approach, but the manuvers would cost them speed.  Enough that they shouldn't be able to catch the Euro ships and bring them into range.
    " Tatianna, come about sixty degrees starboard, we need to keep away from those Chinese Ships. Louis, come about onto the same course as the Tatianna. Rodney adjust course to maintain missile range to the Chinese Strike Vessels"  Then keying the comm to her own helm Brenna added, "Bring us about to port, I want to see how well these new targetting arrays work on this ship."  Brenna had received reports that the Red October's sensor array should allow an almost forty percent increase in engagement range. "Bring us up to full combat speed."  She also knew that the systems on the Red October should allow for a greater maximum combat speed than what the rest of her ships would be able to maintain.  Maybe if she could show the Chinese that they had no chance to catch her, and she would be able to engage tham at ranges they wouldn't even be able to track her, they might decide to withdraw.  Maybe.

     Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji considered the situation carefully.  He knew that he had lost the Convoy Escort Canton, and the Armed Colony Ship Korea.  He had also been forced to have the Armed Colony Ship Manchuria disengage when the bulk of the Pan Euro ships passed between it and the rest of the fleet.  The Manchuria had relayed that it had momentary contact with a Pan Euro vessel moving back along the orbital path away from Jupiter, but had been unable to identify it.  He had placed the Mobile Construction ship and the Marco Polo at fifteen light seconds from Jupiter on opposite sides to try and relay comm signals to the various ships, as the moons were making consistent communications difficult.
   He also had some strange sensor returns indicating the larger Euro vessel, assumed to be the Red October, had reached a speed that was unprecedented in any space going vessel. The US Space Interceptors were continuing on a course to intercept his Attack Frigates, and the Pan Euro Armed Exploration Vessel bearing two seven three was on the edge of their missile range.  They would hold fire until they cleared the moon Metis and then fire.  They Euro ships would likely be unprepared for the longer range of the new launchers the Attack Frigates carried.
   "All Frigates, target the Euro Armed Escort bearing two seven three.  Launch when clear of Metis."  The little escort would easily be able to disengage, but the US ships would take time to come about.  Their inertia would carry them into easy range and the new missiles would make it impossible for them to escape.

   Captain Jack Ryan ordered the Hamilton and Hancock forward on an intercept course with the Chinese Strike Vessels.  Only six hours ago a coded broadcast from Command had arrived. Intelligence had confirmed the two vessels that had attacked the Interceptor JFK in the belt had been carrying Chinese lasers. Of the entire crew, many his friends, only six had survived.  Today he would see them avenged. His lasers should be able to tear apart the Chinese vessels from a distance their short range missiles and outdated lasers woud be unable to reach.  
   "Target the lead Strike Vessel.  Radio our intentions to Rear Admiral Muldoon." It was time to light up their world.

   Brenna looked at the various reports on her monitor, and the transmission from Captain Ryan.  "Tatianna group, target the Convoy Escort.  All other vessel target the lead Strike Vessel." She watched the tactical display as the escorts of 3rd Battle Group launched their missiles one after another.  Then she felt the Red October's drive cut out to allow her to deploy missiles from its twin bays. 'This is the first time this ship has launched a weapon in anger' she thought.  Then her display lit up with new contacts.  Three of them.  Each of the Chinese Strike Vessels had launched an as yet uncataloged missile. Targeting seemed to be the Rodney, but at 2.5 LS she should be out of range for any known Chinese ordinance.  But these weren't known.  Even as her sensors confirmed the destruction of the Chinese Convoy Escort, and that the lead Chinese Strike Vessel was stuttering its drive and venting repeatedly to clear debris from the repeated hits of missile blasts and lasers - it also showed the destruction of the Rodney as it registered the drive field losing containment.
   "Tatianna, shift fire to the lead Strike Vessel.  Ryan GET OUT OF THERE NOW."  The Chinese vessels weren't up to full combat speed yet, but it wasn't going to make any difference.  The US ships were way to close.  As were half of the Euro ships.

   Captain Jack Ryan barely had time to react.  The orders to come about and red line the drives had been given, even as the sensors reported a total of nine inbounds.  He had seen that his first pass, along with the Euro missiles, had caused the lead Chinese vessel to shudder and vent repeatedly.  Its drive bloom was significantly reduced indicating that some of the particle accelerators had been damaged. But it was still launching three missiles. And then the sensors cut out as the drives detonated again and again on the Chinese missiles.  He had keyed the monitor to fire the lasers of the Hancock, hoping that hurried fire solutions might find the damaged Chinese ship. But their own red lined drive emissions made a lock on the Chinese ship tenuous at best.  As the sensor returns began to come back up he saw the only thing worse than having died in that awful exchange.  The Hamilton was still with them.  Its drives had cut out to prevent the ship from detonating, but the three scorched setions of its hull were tumbling wildly through space.  Anyone left alive in the ship was doomed.  There could be no rescue in that field of debris with the tumbling sections of hull.
   He had ordered the charge into this.  Now his only hope was to try and get them back out.

   Vice Admiral Rongji considered the unthinkable.  "Comm, radio the Euro vessels.  State that we intend to withdraw and stand down all weapons if they will cease fire." The last minute had been a brutal exchange.  The Attack Frigate Hunan had come apart under the pounding of the Euro missiles, and his own vessel the Anhui had taken damage to its outer plating in the combat.  They had come up to full combat speed and woud likely have been able to destroy the last US Interseptor and Euro Armed Explorer, and even been able to engage one of their Attack Escorts.  But the other Attack Escort, the Heavy Escort, and that last ship that had been launching at him from farther than his sensors coud even track, were beyond his engagement envelope. That had made the decision inevitable.  If they destroyed the last US ship it would have been an exchange of the two long range missiles that his vessels could deploy, against the Euro's ability to deploy six or seven. It would only have served to lose the last two Frigates he had under his command, and to make any negotiations more difficult as the Euro losses mounted.
   And against a ship that could fire farther than his could detect, there would have to be negotiations.

January 26th, 2203

   Admiral Jude Kushnir relaxed aboard the Euro space station. Her ship, The Heavy Escort Anastasia was preparing for the same refit that her sister the Tatianna had undergone.  The last ship of the class, the Rebecca, was docked at the Mercury station for just the same reason.  Eight hours ago the various nations of earth had signed a new treaty. The Treaty of Mare Serenetatis, named for the location it had been signed on the Euro colony on the moon.
   The new treaty reaffirmed most of the limitations of the Treaty of L2, and had given the Pan Euro claim to Jupiter and all her satalites, plus half of the Trojan belt.  China had accepted Saturn and her satelites, while the US claimed Uranus, Neptune, and the last half of the Trojans.  All bodies of the Kuiper belt and scattered disk were to be claimed by the first nation able to place a permanent colony of 50,000.  It would be a long time before anyone had to worry about that though...
   At least the worries of war were over for the moment....

In the late twentieth century a group of astronomers posited that the periodic extinctions of earth's prehistory were the result of a red dwarf star far beyond the scattered disk.  It would orbit Sol, and the elliptic shape of its orbit woud dislodge comets and asteroids from the Oort cloud and scattered disk, sending them careening into the solar system periodically.  Named for the periodic extinctions it would cause, the astronomers dubbed it Nemesis.   Its low emisions, possibly less than 1 percent of Sol, coupled with other factors would make it troublesome to identify.  As the years and decades went by, research for Nemesis was dropped.
   But it existed.

It was a small star even as red dwarfs go, with output barely 0.2% of Sol.  As its fusion reaction and emissions were driven by convection, it never 'flared' to life and cleared the dust of its formation from its galactic neighborhood, making it nearly invisible - and particularly uninteresting.  Its only gas giant was a slow orbiter, with a mean density even lower than Saturn, leaving little oscilation in it's emissions to garner attention.  It's other four planets were even smaller, and very cold. Invisible.
   But it managed to harbor life.

Life had evolved on a moon of a more distant planet.  It had learned to tolerate intense cold, and even to hibernate for the days or weeks that its orbit would pass behind the planet it circled, cutting it off from the faint warmth of its star. It became several types of life, and each in turn became more intelligent.  They worked together and reached a point where they could reach out to the other moons of their planet, and then to the other planets of their system.  And they readily found homes on all of these moons.  Even in the tiny asteroid belt that circled their sun.  And then space began to run out.
   And the various races learned of war.

It was a total war of species against species, with only extermination viewed as victory.  In the end only one of the races survived. And only just.  But they rebuilt, and grew again.  Until space once again grew to small for new growth.
   And then they looked out.

Space held several stars nearby.  Proxima Centauri, Sol, and others.  But these two were the closest.  Both were just short of a light year away.  To far to travel and keep the crew fed, maintained, and alive.
   But they could hibernate.

And so the first colony ships were built.  It would be dozens of lifetimes for them to make the trips.  And the first would go to Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star like their own.  Eventually the first ships were finished and launched.  For a great time afterward more ships were built and sent to the distant star.
   And then it was time to turn to the bright star Sol.

And the armada of ships was built and launched, with more built and following the first to leave. And this continued until it was time to turn to another star.
   And the crews slept as the ships passed silently through space.

It would take the ships 91 earth years to make their trip of 50,000 AU.  And then the systems began to wake the crews back up.  As the race that inhabited the Sol system battled around its fifth planet, the last of the first wave of colony ships was completing their surveys - and emplacing populations. On the bodies in the cold region of space they would call home.  The star was bright, but their were many, many places that they could live quite easily.
   But they had not forgotten the war that consumed their home system.
   And they brought the warships they had learned to use.
   And they knew that coexistence was futile.....

This first turn was an eye openning experience.  Up to this point my family had played RPG and worked together or their starfire races all tended to cooperate.  This was the first time I had seen them go after each other with such energy.  And it brought a new meaning to the word 'espianage'. Any stray scrap of paper or unattended trash can was fair game.  Eavesdroppping was rampant. It was this way the US player learned of the Chinese involvement in the attack on the JFK. It was a long while before they would begin to trust each other, even in the face of a common enemy.  It definitely slowed their ability to respond to external threats.

For those interested, here are the ships that took part in the battle.
EURO (Admiral Brenna Muldoon - Average)

Science Vessel Red October         FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A H Qa Mgs Xp (cpCp) Ra Ra Ya Qa (Cp) [7/1]

Heavy Escort Tatianna            CT   16HS
[2]A A A A H Mgs Ra Ra Qa (cpCp) [6/1]

Attack Escorts Catherine , Isabelle      ES   12HS
[2]A Hs Mgs La Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Armed Explorer Rodney , Louis         EX   7HS
[2]A Hs Qa Ra (cp) [4/1]

Exploration Vessel Da Vinci         FT0   7HS
[2]A H Xp H Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Planetary Survey Vessel Michaelangelo      FT0   7HS
[2]A (BbS) Xp H Qa (Cp) [6/1]


Interceptor Hancock , Hamilton         CT   16HS
[2]A A A H (MNE) Qa Lb Lb (cpCp) [6/1]

CHINA (Admiral Zhu Rongji - Average)

Attack Frigate Hunan , Anhui , Hubei      FG   22HS
[2]A A A A A A A Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ga Ga Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Convoy Escort Canton , Jinan         EX   7HS
[2]A H Qa Ga (Cp) [6/1]

Armed Colony Vessel Korea , Manchuria      FT2   16HS
[2]A H H H H H Qv Qv Qv (BbS) Hs Mgs Ga Qa (Cp) [4/1]

Survey Vessel Marco Polo         FT0   7HS
[2]A Hs (BbS) H H Xp Qa (cp) [6/1]

Mobile Construction Ship         FT4   30HS
[2]H H H Qa (Cp) (SYM0) [2/1]
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: Beersatron on January 24, 2010, 02:04:16 PM
Good read, keep it up! :)

I have never played Starfire, is there a handy - and easy to read - site were I can figure out what exactly the ship designs are made up of?
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: Hawkeye on January 24, 2010, 02:43:47 PM
Quote from: "Beersatron"
Good read, keep it up! :) (
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 26, 2010, 02:21:42 AM
I don't know of any online sites for the rules.  Pretty sure that SDS would worry about copyright issues if there was.  Wish I could help more.  Anyone have any suggestions out there?
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 26, 2010, 02:23:07 AM
February 2203   part 1

February 2nd
   Admiral Jude Kushnir stood at the viewing plate looking at the progress.  Early this morning the Heavy Escort Tatianna had arrived at the Pan Euro Spaceworks.  She was docked in slip two, beside the Anastasia docked in slip one.  A last minute change in directives had brought the Tatianna in from the belt colonies.  It was planned for all the Heavy Escorts to refit the compartments holding the laser equipment over to long range missile bays. After the Red October's successful demonstration of the new sensor array's combat capabilities, it was decided that the Heavy Escorts should also be equipped with this new sensor package while they were in for refits.  It should significantly increase their combat effectiveness should hostilities flare again.  The Rebecca was undergoing the same upgrades at the Mercury Spaceworks.  The sensor array would end up weakening the outer plating and baffles due to its need to pass through these areas, but it would make little difference if it enabled them to engage targets at a range the enemy would be unable to respond at.  It would take most of the month to complete, but would be worth it.  The Chinese were still licking their wounds and were unlikely to try anything this soon.  
   'It will also give me a chance to talk to Captain Keely Sereg, and get a more personal first hand account of what happened out there.' she thought.  After Action Reports and ships logs were well and fine, but you could never replace the personal view and sense for the battle.

   Captain Jack Ryan looked about the bridge.  It was the first time he had set foot back on the JFK after he had been rescued from the damaged hull.  That had been when he and his five shipmates had managed to limp her back into the Martian Shipyards.  When he had left, he was simply the senior engineering officer.  Now he was going to be her Captain.  Jack didn't recognize any of the names on the ship roster, but there had been a flurry of new faces over the last month.  With the new treaty, perhaps there would be a chance to get to know these new shipmates.  If he got to stay.  Rumor was that he was to remain at Mars and await the rest of the newest US Task Force.  Joining him would be the newest Interceptor, the B. Franklin.  With her would be the two new missile ships of the Raptor class.  They were based on the Euro's Armed Explorer class that had performed well in the support role over the last few months.  They didn't have a lot of combat durability, but were quick to produce and put into action.  In a fleet with no active missile component, something to fill that role was needed.
   Rumor also had it that he would once again be promoted.  'What a farce.' Jack thought.  'They are calling me the hero of The Battle of Jupiter's Moons.  It was a catastrophe for us, and it was my fault for rushing in and not letting the Euro ships with their missiles do what they seem so good at.  Now after riding a wreck into Mars, and then getting another ship destroyed, they might promote me to Rear Admiral and give me a Task Force.'  Jack shook his head.  
   At least the task before him was something he could sink his teeth into.  Taking out a ship for a shakedown cruise, to see if the repairs and new systems were up to snuff.  Fixing the inevitable problems and breaking in the newbies.  Now he just had to do it on a much larger scale.

February 3rd
   Admiral Hu walked through the compartments of the Cruiser Tung for the second time today.  If she was still at Venus, they would have to suffer his attention on a regular basis.  The reports that had come back from the ships returning from Jupiter made it look like the Tung may not have done very well in that engagement.  Her sensors were no better than the Frigates, and would have been just as ineffective.  The short range missiles were powerful, but it was almost impossible to close to effective range for them.  There were already rumors that the Ministers were going to have the short range launchers replaced with the new longer range versions.  What wasn't rumor was what was happening in the work bays of Venus Station.  The first pieces of the hull of another cruiser were being fabricated.  She would eventually join the Tung, but would not be operational for quite a while.  For the time being, they would have to manage with the six Attack Frigates of the fleet.  They were dispersed at the moment, with two each at Earth and Ceres, and the last two split up between patrols around Venus and escorting the survey vessels bound for Saturn.  With no other colonization opportunities, expansion would have to wait for the surveys to be completed.

February 7th
   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked over the training schedule for the day.  Scrolling through the listings on her monitor made her feel at home.  Training Command had been her first and only assignment when she had been posted after her training cruises.  Brenna's quarters here on the Cynthia were almost cramped compared to even the Tatianna, let alone the Red October.  But the Red October and Tatianna were both back at Earth, and she had six ships to look after and train.  Two were the newest Attack Escorts, the Boudicca and the Cynthia.  With them were the Armed Explorers Louis, Cornwallis, Cromwell, and Wellington.  They had been formed into the Pan Euro's newest combat formations, the 1st and 2nd Light Battle Groups.  It was her job to get them combat ready in as short a time as possible, just in case.  She had never seen so many ships in one place, even if they were small. She wished it was for a parade, and not such a necessity.
   She was also responsible for reviewing and in a remote way, supervising, the training of the Catherine and Isabelle while they were on patrol at Jupiter.  They were the security element for the three science vessels currently surveying Callisto. Current colonization efforts were aimed at the asteroid belt, but that would change as soon as the surveys were completed and the results compiled.

February 18th  
   Commander Larry Jessup wondered how long they would be out here.  The Outreach and her four 'dingies' had been compiling information on Uranus' moons for the last week.  It had been rather productive.  Several of the moons were showing rich deposits that the US would be able to exploit when colonies were emplaced on these moons.  But it would be in the far future.  That was why the Outreach was alone out here while the Discovery and all the small support vessels were working in the Trojans.  The environment was rich here, but extreme.  Most of the moons only hovered a few dozen degrees Kelvin above absolute zero.  A man could survive down there, but only with a lot of equipment and support.  It had also been interesting to study the planet, the thin rings, and moons.  They were unique in that the planet's poles for rotation were pointed in line with the sun instead of at some close approximation of 90 degrees from it.  At some distant time in the past something had tipped the planet.
   "Sir, I have a new contact.  Wait, three contacts.  Transferring data to your monitor."  The sensor officer was already prepping his position to lock for acceleration.  The monitor screen lit up with information.  How had they gotten so close?  Hold on, they were little things.  Ships' boats or such.  The sensor returns were not identifying the manufacturer, but with the plethora of civilian models that wasn't unusual.  What was very unusual was to see them out here!  They might occasionally make a run from the belt to Jupiter and back it the orbits coincided, but this was way too far for them to make it on their own.  Somewhere there had to be a vessel they were associated with. A vessel that had no commercial reason to be this far out.
   Commander Jessup keyed the all ship comm. "Outreach, lock and prepare for acceleration.  Landers one and two return to your bays.  Landers three and four move to intercept and identify the new contacts.  Sensor Conn download bearings and coordinates for contacts designated one and two.  Communications try to raise the new vessels.  Request immediate identification and reason for being in US controlled space.  Weapons crews, prep the laser for employment, just in case."  
   Jessup hoped in his gut (although he knew he didn't have one) that they weren't Chinese.  He had heard the Euro was doing training patrols.  Maybe they were part of some Euro group.
   "Sir, they aren't responding to any of our signals.  All contacts are engaging drives and maneuvering.  Contact Two is approaching Lander Four.  Contact One is coming about one two zero degrees to our bearing one seven five.  Contact three coming about onto our bearing one two two."  The Sensor Officer’s report cut out as Communications cut in. The comm link crackled with the static of a poor transmission.  "This is Lander Four.  We are trying to hail Contact Two but are getting no response.  We will pass at range of two seven thousand clicks from contact in thirty seconds. Will attempt identification at that time."
   Moments passed and the sensor readings from Lander Four began to fill Commander Jessup's screen.  They didn't make sense.  Drive bloom was of unknown manufacture, hull fit no known design scheme.  The civilian ships often were hard to identify, but there were only a few proven designs for the drives that would work on ships that small, and all the manufactures were registered and cataloged.  Same with ship hulls.  Unless they were a new military prototype. Then it wouldn't be listed anywhere in their records. And military meant trouble.
   "Drive engage, full acceleration.  Bring us about for a bearing to the nearest belt colony.  Euro or US, I don't care which.  Communications begin transmit of all information gained so far on Contacts to Mars Command.  Landers return to Outreach now."  Jessup hoped the base vessel for these boats wasn't to close.  The Outreach was a military design at heart, and capable of the same acceleration and speed as an Interceptor.  They just needed time to reach speed and a clear path.
   "Commander, new contact designated four.  Currently at six light seconds.  Unable to identify at this range.   Drive bloom present.  Um, there's more.  Transferring all contact information from sensors to your screen now."  The Sensor Officer, Lieutenant Commander Yanik, was a veteran of 22 years of service.  He didn't say um.  Not on contact information.  Jessup was getting more concerned.
   The screen showed that the contact was 60 degrees off their stern, but already moving at the maximum speed that the Outreach could achieve.  It would be hard to outrun them, but possible.  Kind of a gamble of who would burn out a particle accelerator or hit a piece of space debris first, but they would run just as much of a chance as the Outreach, if they decided on an extended pursuit.  They had to be using those ships' boats to check for contacts farther out than their sensors could reach.  What was strange were the magnetic readings from the ship.  All ships under combat acceleration projected sizable magnetic readings as they tried to compensate the acceleration's effect on the crew.  These magnetic fields and emissions could often be used to identify a vessel.  But this ship's readings were off the scale.  It would have to be the size of some of the smaller moons they had looked at to need this large a magnetic signature.  And then it would be much more diffuse.  This was so concentrated that it would cloud any attempts to identify the ship. They would have to get closer to get clear radar and lidar readings for a clean ID.
   "Sir, new contact.  Fast.  Probably a missile.  Inbound from Contact Four."  The Sensor Officer cut off any musings that Jessup had over the unknown contacts.  Jessup keyed up the readings.  It was too far.  Contact Four was still over five light seconds from the Outreach.  Even the reports from Jupiter of the Euro's new ship hadn't seen launches at ranges over four and a half light seconds.  Maybe they hadn't tried it at its longest ranges. Yet.
   The Outreach shook as the drive cut out.  Sensor readings showed a drive detonation at an unusually long distance from the ship, and a strange magnetic signature that had directed the superheated particles. The ones that had shredded the outer plating and ruptured the hull of the forward Lander Bay.  Bright red and white letters showed that Landers One and Two had been damaged, jettisoned, bay was venting, drive re-engaging.  Jessup keyed the comm link.  "Communications, send everything we've got and everything on the sensors and ship's log as it is recorded.  Also distress signal on all open frequencies."   Jessup knew the other ship was moving faster than him, and he was already in range.  His laser would never reach a target at this distance with any more effect than that of a flashlight.  "Bring us around.  Let’s see if we can get close enough to at least get an idea of who this ship belongs to before they kill us."
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 29, 2010, 01:48:36 AM
February 2203   part 2

February 20th
   Captain Jack Ryan 'felt' the clicking of the magnets on his feet as they snapped onto the deck of the JFK.  He paced anxiously as he awaited the reply from US Space Command and Control in Houston.  He had received the distress call from the Outreach over 30 hours ago.  The first US ship to receive it had been the Outreach's sister ship the Discovery, out surveying the Trojans.  She had repeated the transmissions and boosted the signal as both she and the Outreach had been on sun grazing lines to Earth.  The solar interference was going to give them problems with transmissions.  To make it worse, Mars was actually in direct opposition to Earth, and had to relay any coded messages through links in the belt, slowing response time.  The delays were almost as maddening as the responses.
   His first request, and that of the Discovery, had been to request permission to attempt a rescue.  The Discovery was close, but not really meant for combat.  The JFK was the next closest combat vessel that could intercede.  Jack knew that regs would require a cruise speed that would make the trip to Uranus almost two weeks long.  But Jack knew the JFK, and knew her engines better than anyone.  He had also graduated first in his class at Annapolis in Astrogation.  He had already plotted a course that would get them to Uranus in less than six days without putting the engines over regulation limits on operation.  He had cleared it with Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon (sometimes it helped to know someone), to enter Euro space and use Jupiter to assist in the trip, making a slingshot maneuver using the great planet's gravity to take stress off the engines.
   That request had been turned down flat.  He had resubmitted it citing that the transmission had encountered interference.  The second response was the same as the first.  His last transmission had been a request to allow them to move to the Trojans to assist in guarding the Discovery and her tenders in case they were to be attacked.  The Martian shipyards had extensive defenses and shouldn't actually need the JFK to babysit them.
   The Comm Officer waved to let Jack know that the reply was coming in.  Jack quickly moved to his station and keyed the comm link on his monitor, not even bothering to sit down.  His hopes sank as he read the message.  There would be no rescue attempts.  No ships were to move from current stations.  The Discovery and her group would attempt to stay hidden among the asteroids of the Trojans while surveying.  Other ships were to remain where they were and prepare for possible hostilities. Neither Chinese or Pan Euro warships were to enter US space and any violation was to be considered an act of war.  Any unlogged ship movements were to be intercepted if possible, and reported to Earth if unable.  If attacked, close at max acceleration and transmitt all sensor data to Mars for relay.
   Jack sat heavily into his station.  He had thought that the risk of war had been avoided.  Someone out there still wasn't done.  What did command know that they weren't sharing?

3 hours earlier
   Admiral Bradley Walters shoved the portable monitor screen across the briefing room table and watched as it crashed on the floor.  "All right people.  You are supposedly the best out there. WHAT HAPPENED?!"  Admiral Walters knew that they weren't going to see any emotion on his faceplate, but that should have gotten their attention.  Over half the people in the room were from ground stations and had no cybernetic enhancements at all.  The others were all Space Fleet officers and wore the same cyborg body as he did.  They had been in this small corner of the US Space Station for the last 16 hours and he still didn't know what to make of it.  
   "Who the hell do we think is responsible for this?"  The flat monotone of the voice synthesizer didn't convey the frustration he felt, but it was all he had to work with. Half a dozen defense advisers all proceeded to put in their opinions, but not one had a real - solid - answer.  And there wasn't going to be any response other than waiting until there was an answer.
   "All right, enough with the opinions, they don't seem to be changing or getting any better over time.  What does analysis of the data downloaded from Mars indicate."  It had been the one gamble that the US had taken.  They had sent a troop transport out beyond the Pax line to get the downloads directly from Mars.  With the red planet on the wrong side of the sun, they had been forced to risk the transport's interception or destruction to get the data from Mars. A relay through the belt would risk interception by the other governments of Earth, or of its being compromised at the Transfer Station in the belt that would have to make the relay.  Both possibilities were unacceptable.
   "Sir."  Addressing the Admiral was a new face.  A human looking one.  'Ground lover.' thought Bradley.  "We have only a little information to work with but here are the conclusions we have been able to get from the two and a half minutes of encrypted transmissions we received.  The aggressor seems to have a targeting system beyond that of any currently known US ship.  It could be European.  If it were Chinese it should have seen employment at Jupiter, otherwise it is too new for them to be employing at that great a distance from any of their known production facilities.  They wouldn't have had time to get it out there without having been able to get it to Jupiter also.  And the magnetic emissions of the vessel would have made it difficult for them to employ a new sensor or targeting system without interference issues.  What the magnetic emissions are we don't know yet.  Current theory is looking into the possibilities of a targeting countermeasures system, or it might be part of a new drive acceleration compensator allowing for even greater short term acceleration in regard to the crew."
   "Who the hell are you."  Admiral Bradley began moving toward the new visitor.  This was the first bit of real information they had heard in almost 10 hours. And this visitor didn't look scared of an approaching cyborg.  Brave, foolish, or maybe used to the appearance.  Time to find out which.
   "Sir, Lieutenant Meagan Ryan reporting, sir."  Damn, it was Captain Ryan's daughter.  He had heard she had passed out of Annapolis with almost as good of marks in engineering as her dad.  Apparently she had found a job in the R & D sections. That explains why a cyborg doesn't bother her.
   "Sit down.  What else can you tell me."  Bradley moved close to her as she sat and slipped a small chip into the side of the only other monitor left on the table.  She began to key up the contents onto the screen.
   "Admiral Walters, we don't know for sure who this technology belongs to.  If it is European, we could be looking at the new owners of space.  We don't have anything close to field tests that can match this.  Here are the sensor readings on the missile.  For those of you in the room who can't see or don't know what you are looking at, let me summarize.  This engagement range is just outside the theoretical maximum range of the US Hera Class Deep Space Missile.  The hostile ship's magnetic distortion may make that reading inaccurate.  Or Euro deep space missiles' may have a slight edge on ours.  Here,"  Lieutenant Ryan pointed at the monitor, "is what is most disturbing.  The inbound seems to generate a strong magnetic pulse DURING the drive detonation.  This results in a much greater focus of the charged particles and ionizing radiation than anything we currently employ.  It would result in much greater on target energy delivered.  It would require an increase in current warhead yield of a factor of eight to achieve an equal on target yield."
   Several of the advisors in the room rose or sat back hard.  Several started to speak, but Bradley held up his hand and the room again fell silent. "You said eight times?" Bradley looked down at the Lieutenant.  She was biting her top lip, then nodded.  Bradley looked hard at the screen.  It didn't all make sense to him, but the young woman didn't look like a liar.  There was no way that the US could employ a missile with that warhead size.  Not in any short time frame.  And not against a power that already had a combat effective system.  Chinese short range missiles were rumored to have that level of yield, but payed for it in poor maneuverability.  And it had been shown rather conclusively that those short range missiles were not capable of this sort of long range engagement.
   "Sir, whoever is in control of this ship has a mastery of magnetics that we haven't even begun to consider.  At combat speeds, unless this aggressor was surrounded so that it was unable to gain an engagement range and hold it, all simulations have shown that it could likely destroy the US fleet.  If it's ammunition stores were adequate."
   "Are you referring to a one on one engagement?" piped up one of the other earthbound advisors.
   "No sir. This one ship should be able to engage the assembled fleet. And win." Lieutenant Ryan looked at Admiral Walters with a pale and cold look on her face. "The only simulations that showed any chance against the aggressor were ships in support of the US Ground Defense Grid and Martian Space Station.  The additional range of the ground based sensor stations allow us to use the current Hera missiles to almost their theoretical max range.  The aggressor only employed single launches on the three occasions it fired on the Outreach.  The US Grid can manage tracking on ten missiles simultaneously, while the Martian Station can guide six.  If the aggressor chose to stay in engagement range of those targets an Interceptor may be able to force an engagement on favorable terms.  This all hinges on the fact that the ship can only manage to control single or perhaps double launches.  The Euro Red October was capable of double launches at Jupiter, but is easily large enough to hold a third.  Unless this magnetic system uses up a substantial amount of ship volume.  We don't know.  But we do know that the Red October has been in Earth Space ever since her return from Jupiter."
   "Is it possible that the Pan Euro could build a ship this sophisticated at their Mercury shipyard's?"  Bradley bent close to Lieutenant Ryan, placing his faceplate just inches from her face. He could see the sweat beginning to bead on her forehead.
   "We don't know sir, but I would have to guess based on current information that yes, they could."  She stared back hard into the cold faceplate, refusing to flinch.
   "Order the fleet to hold stations.  We aren't going to abandon the belt now, but make sure the two Interceptors out there aren't together.  Send them coded orders for the captains' only.  If attacked to close at maximum acceleration and transmit on coded channel all sensor data to Mars. Make sure you receive that data Lieutenant Ryan."  As he stood back up and walked away he knew that everyone in the room knew that the belt and Trojan ships were being offered as bait to gain information.  But without that information, they were doomed to lose this war.

February 24th
   Admiral Hu sat in the fleet officer station onboard the Cruiser Tung.  It didn't make sense.  The open distress signal of the US Vessel Outreach had been received by the Attack Frigate Yunnan guarding the science ships at Saturn.  They had only been on station a few days when the message had arrived.  Admiral Hu knew that it wasn't a Chinese attack.  And the lasers sold on the black market were still trapped in Earth space, only safe because of the Pax Treaty.  Were the Euro and US fighting?  Was it a US ruse to lure other ships into a trap?  The later seemed possible as no US ships seemed to be responding to the distress call.  Why would they stay in port if one of their own were in distress?  Even if it were just to analyze the wreckage? Unless it was a trap.  Or they were that scared of the Europeans?
   With the Chinese fleet under strength, it was unavoidable to order the return of the Yunnan to Ceres.  A single Attack Frigate had proven to be ineffective against Euro ships, and even in groups they were hard put to meet them on even terms.  It was unlikely that they would violate the Pax Terra if it was the Euros' who were behind this, but Ceres was a rich piece of real estate, and the Euro was rumored to have a large number of ships in the belt for 'training'.  Under command of the now veteran Admiral Muldoon. That was a dangerous combination.
   Venus was also at risk, but as Admiral Hu looked about the bridge, he thought that the Euro might just regret trying to attack these shipyards.  The Venusian Shipyards were well armed, and with the Mao Tse Tung and Frigate Shangxi, they might be more than even the Euro could handle.  They were safe for the moment.  If the Pan Euro were to strike it would be in the belt, to cut China off from its one off-planet income source and holding. And if the Euro was just trying to exercise rights to all the bodies beyond the belt, they would find no Chinese ships to engage at Saturn.  Not yet.

February 28th
   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon had transmitted to Earth that she had given permission for the Interceptor JFK to transit the Pan Euro's space near Jupiter.  Admiral Jude Kushnir wouldn't have let her, but it was done now.  What was curious was that no one had moved through Euro space. Jude fiddled with the monitor's keys.  It was an old habit she hadn't left behind with the rest of her body.
   The Heavy Escort Tatianna had left two days ago to join the rest of 3rd Battle Group at Jupiter.  With her new sensors she should be able to provide a decisive edge if anyone attacked the ships currently out past the belt.  The Heavy Escort Anastasia was due to be released for space duty in only a few hours.   With the 1st Battle Group, the Red October, and the Pan European Earth Defense Centers together, there was no chance of any realistic attacks on the Euro holdings inside the Pax Terra line.  The Mercury Spaceyards were equally as safe with the release of the Heavy Escort Rebecca to the 2nd Battle Group five hours ago.  Only the belt and Jupiter were vulnerable, but that couldn't be changed.
   Jude stepped off the GTO Lifter into the Loading Bay of the Red October.  An Honor Guard was waiting on her, as was Captain Robert McNeely.  If the Chinese and US were at war again, it would only be a short time before the Euro was pulled into the hostilities.  And this time she wasn't going to sit on the safety of the Euro space station inside the Pax line.  The Red October was a science vessel, but she was also a combat proven vessel.  And she would be Jude's flagship if all this went to hell.

Later... in the space beyond Uranus
   The Dutchman sat locked into his station on the Kestrel.  The message of the Outreach had found him unloading a Euro cargo to one of their colonies in the belt.  He had thought if he could 'rescue' a few of the US crew members, that perhaps the US could be persuaded to let the Mary and Marie exit from Earth space undamaged. His momma hadn't raised a fool though, and he wasn't the type to just rush in.  'Enough folks out there want my hide, and I’m in no rush to give it to them.' he thought.  The Kestrel had passed beyond Uranus and come back towards the planet from the out system side.  And well off the ecliptic.  With her engines shut down, drifting through space like any other rock.  When a contact sprang to life on his screen he had thought he was a goner.  The Kestrel was as fast as any warship he knew and faster than some.  But it still needed time to come up to speed.  And the contact had been too close.  Barely two light seconds.  But it had turned out to be a ship's boat.  But not a US design as far as he could tell. And it didn't seem to know that the Kestrel was there, or at least that it was a ship.  So he had waited.
   Then the other contact had arrived.  The signature was unreal.  And not worth dying for.  It definitely didn't look like IT needed rescued.  The Kestrel had engaged its drives and red lined them.  The contact had activated it's drive also, but had been on a poor vector to pursue and had been unable to close.  It was a few minutes after the contact had dropped off of sensors that The Dutchman had ordered the course change that would hopefully confound any pursuit.  Then he had shut down the drives.  Invisible he hoped.  But still locked into his station.  As were the rest of the crew.  And they would be staying there for at least the next eight hours, maybe twelve.  What his sensors had recorded would probably be worth a lot of money to the right people.  If he lived to sell it...

Also near Uranus.....
   The ship came about and sent the message and data back to the colonies.  They had been seen and the contact had escaped.   Hours later the message to return to the nearest colony had arrived.  Their was no reason to die defending this empty planet. Return to base of operations.  The ship’s commander ordered the scout vessels to return, and then to engage drives for cruise speed and a bearing for their new home.

   The crew on the ship had evolved on a moon with less than one hundredth of a percent of the light earth receives.  But the planet and moon both had strong magnetic fields. It was in the pitch dark and vacuum of their home they evolved to use these magnetic fields to see, and eventually to communicate - manipulating the metallic hydrogen that was part of their metabolism.  They could even use it to manipulate other objects if the fields were right and the range close enough.  With no light, and living in near vacuum. the magnetic fields were everything to survival.  This new race used magnetic fields also, but there were also other emissions.  None had proved harmful, though.  But the first ship had turned and rushed at their ship after it had been damaged.  Perhaps it did carry some form of weapon, and this race understood war.  The drive systems were very similar between the races.  Maybe they had meant to use it to burn or irradiate them and cause damage.  It didn't matter.  They would never get that close.  And they would all perish, as the other races had....

I had seen the paranoia of my family during the pre game turns and first turn, and being your average space master, decided to run with it.
We have family game nights once a week, just so that we actually see each other occasionally.  With a family of two parents and six kids - four of which are teenagers, schedules can keep us apart quite a bit. Its not always the same game week to week, but something.
This night I had decreed that family game night would actually have everyone SEPARATE.  My wife was skeptical, but even she wanted to get onto the next turn (she loves it when she is winning).  I justified it by telling them that their were accounting inconsistencies on the first turn reports they had turned in, but nothing earth shaking.  I just wanted to go through turn twos sheets with them to make sure it was all getting done correctly.  No one wanted to have their turn sheets come up for public scrutiny so each happily went off to separate rooms - with instructions to finish up turn 2 and I would get to each of them a couple of times.  - Everyone out there can see where this is going I'm sure.
After correcting the few errors there had been, the oldest boy - who was already regretting focusing on a short range weapon only strategy in an environment where long range weapons could do as much damage at greater range - got to find out that his ship Outreach had made contact.  After each turn with him I went off to another room.  This had him fairly well convinced that another player was running the other side of it (we have a bunch of hex maps and counters from several editions of the game).  When his ship was about finished, he declared he would make an open broadcast distress call, so that everybody would know.  When the other players found out no one was in a hurry to respond.  Only the oldest girl decided to be nosy and sent her little ship Kestrel.
When we closed the turn and the players had done everything they wanted and gotten all the info I decided they had available, they were free to leave their rooms.  Then the fun began.
For days they would gather as a group or in ones and twos to discuss what had happened or what they thought had happened.  They occasionally asked me, and I only told them to go back to any notes they had made, or answered simple game mechanic questions if they had one. After a week they still were not sure what was going on and none of them trusted each other.  I think even if they had revealed their turn sheets, it would have kept going with them accusing each other of creating fake sheets for just such an occasion.  
No one even considered an outside force had arrived.
Kind of a sad social commentary when you come to think of it.  A family failing to work together.
But it sure was a fun start.

The ships involved at Uranus are as follows,

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

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

And for those who are curious
-House rule for population growth was 10 turn rule (only growth on turns ending in 0) with slow growth set at 1.5% per 10 turns.
-FT leased earn 3/4 normal income (instead of 1/4 as normal for cruise speed 1).  Just enough to cover maint, but not as good as IU per MC.  But with war shutting down the CFN reliable FT to carry maintenance for ships was necessary.
-Escape/life pods just weren't really believable with the tech explanation. Out in a gig or not at all.  And you couldn't go faster than the gig for launch/recovery. Looked to be hard on the admirals you wanted to save.
-And everyone wanted the civilian structures from the Elite rules for Galactic Starfire included, just so they could pick on each others infrastructure. Or exploit their own when the opportunity arose.
-System generation was thrown out for Sol, with actual distances and orbits used as possible, although I have to admit that my math for predicting planetary position in 2203 leaves a little to be desired, but the major planets should be close to where they are supposed to be.  The moons were gauged off of internet engines for 2010 because I don't have enough accurate data on them all.  And all the dwarf planets are placed as accurately as I could manage with what little data I was able to amass or was available in some cases.  The Trojans are a half density field of 16 LM x2 with no impact on other bodies income and only half the normal pop cap.  For a moon to qualify for colonization it had to pass 500 km diameter or have a real good argument for inclusion.  Ceres counts as an O2 moon in the belt.
-And yes my majors in college were Chemical Engineering and Physics. Not English.
-Player start up was a modified version of NPR generation per the player's request.  They didn't want to all start the same.
-Don't ask about the pop. divisions on earth, it was a little complicated with players PU totaled for planetary PU total, and then the PTU divided up with the thresholds for a population level divided by four, etc, etc.  But the players were ok with it, and it seemed to work most of the time.
-Charged Particle drives aren’t supposed to be able to ‘detune’ for extra speed, but that seemed unrealistic, so we allow red lining of the drives to increase max speed by one with the same effect on targeting and turn mode. Its dangerous as the ships only carry half the number of engine rooms as an I or J equipped ship and burning one out would be close to a death sentence.  Seemed fair to us.

Turn 2
Pan Euro (EL1)   Confederacy      China (Ind 2)  Socialism   
GEV 1135.0MC            GEV 1241.5MC
Red October      FG x1      Cruiser Tung      CL x1
Heavy Escorts      CT x3      Attack Frigates      FG x6
Attack Escorts      ES x8      Convoy Escorts      EX x0
Armed Explorers   EX x4      Armed Colony Ship   FT2 x1

US Space (EL1)    Rep Democracy   Free Space Consortium (Ind 2) Anarchy
GEV 1059.5MC            GEV 215.8MC (not a typo, she wanted a small power that played pirate)
Interceptors      CT x5      Dutchman Class   FT2 x1
Exploration      ES x1      Kestrel Class      FT1 x1

Nemotians (EL2)
GEV 1156.2MC

At this point, with their over 3 to 1 advantage economically, if they would have trusted each other, the interlopers wouldn't have stood a chance.  But more ships were on the way. And like I said at the beginning, we are past turn 90 now.

PS, thanks to those who read all this so far and have said you like it.  Definitely makes it worth the effort. Hope you enjoy the rest as I get to it.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on January 30, 2010, 07:49:23 AM
March 2203 part 1

March 3rd  0520
   Dust swirled up from the Chilean street as The Dutchman stood in the dark alley.  The world had been a collage of green for the last two hours as he had switched over to the high gain circuit on the visuals.  He had adjusted the magnetics several times but just couldn't find a setting that didn't attract the dust to his faceplate.  He pulled the large hat down low to try and block the wind as his long duster flapped from the gusts.    Full cyborgs were almost unheard of in this part of town, and The Dutchman wanted as little attention as possible.  His left hand loosely held the grip of the MP71K under his coat as he scanned the darkness. The weapon was an antique by now, but the low noise signature of the carbon dioxide pulse laser was too useful to discard for this sort of work.
   A figure moved in the street.  Switching to thermal filter, The Dutchman could see the IR shape of the man as he approached.  Good.  No combat armor or cyborg,  just as he had told them.  He switched back to high gain as the figure drew closer to the alley.
   "Stop where you are, unless you want to die here."  The Dutchman had the uplink from the weapon tied into his visual and watched the targeting cross float on the man's chest.  "Why are you here."  He spoke in plain English, as he had indicated that he would.
   "I have confirmation of the Log Codes and frequencies for the Mary Reed and Marie Celeste.  They are even now enroute off the planet and into space.  Both the US Interceptors are docked at the US Space Station for 'repairs', as we said they would be.  We verified that the first 3 seconds of sensor data you delivered were real.  If you can deliver the rest of what you say you have, I can guarantee that the US Interceptors will remain in dock and your ships will not be followed.  Otherwise..."  the stranger let the sentence trail off.
   The Dutchman dropped a small package on the ground between them.  "The chip with the sensor logs is in the package.  So is eight ounces of complex B.  If my ships report any movement form the station, a signal will detonate that package. Our business here is done.  Go now."
   The man bent and picked up the package as The Dutchman backed into the alley even deeper.  Fifteen minutes later he set foot on the bridge of the Kestrel in orbit over South America.  "Lock stations. We're getting out of here before they figure out how to get that bomb defused."

March 4th  2215   
   Lieutenant Ryan sat in the briefing room with Admiral Bradley Walters and three other defense advisors.  She spoke as she pulled up information on the monitor screens.  "Gentlemen, the data from the sensors has been authenticated, but we can't be sure we are the only ones looking at this.  Our source is not what you would call 'exclusive'.  We have been able to get some more information from this, but not a great deal more than what we already knew. What's sure is that the unknown ship contact remained in the area of Uranus, and appears to have been using its small craft to perform surveys and reconnaissance of the moons there.  We have also been able to identify that the vessel does not seem to be able to accelerate more quickly than our Interceptors, and it maneuverability is not much better either.  The vessel making the recording was able to accelerate away from the contact before it could correct it's course and come up to speed."
   She looked up from the screen at the Admiral as she went on. "What we don't know is anything more about its combat capabilities or if it remained at the planet after the informant had left.  We also don't know who it belongs to for sure, as the magnetic distortion is causing issues we have not yet resolved.  Other sources of information confirmed that the Chinese have both of their Strike Vessels here at Earth docked in their shipworks and undergoing extensive refits.  We don't know what these refits are, or are for.  The Euro Fleet has not changed their deployment visibly, but have been tracked sending a large number of shipments that would seem to be bound for Mercury, although they could be diverting mid trip.  There is no indication that either group is preparing for an offensive inside the belt, while the Discovery and her escorts have reported no activity in the Trojans. That is all I have to brief on in this area."
   "What other information would you have to brief on Lieutenant?" the admiral said as he leaned forward in his chair.
   "Sir, we have been able to reverse engineer some of the data the Hancock gained on the Red October during the Battle of Jupiter's Moons.  Merill-Dupont is projecting that we will be able to deploy for field testing and use a sensor system based on the one employed on the Euro ship.  Initial testing looks very promising.  I have the initial test data transferring to your monitor now for you to review."  Lieutenant Meagan Ryan almost looked pleased with herself.
   "Alright, keep me up to date on any other information that we come up with in these areas.  For the moment you have been transferred to my staff while this situation is resolved.  You will make daily reports on the status of this new system, any new information on the unknown contact we can discern, progress reports on the refits of the JFK and Franklin, and any other tasks that Lieutenant Commander Jacobs details for you. Dismissed."  Admiral Walters looked at her as she rose and left.  When this was done, he might have to see about getting her transferred permanently.  She seemed competent, and was one of the few people he had met that did not seem intimidated addressing a cyborg.

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan wondered how much less sense things could make before he started questioning his sanity.  He had just gotten done checking out the repairs on the JFK, the Franklin had just arrived fresh out of the 'yards from Earth, and now they would both be going back in for another round of refits.  The only operational ships at Mars would be the two new Raptor Class Missile Escorts, small ships with crews as green as spring grass.  'Thank god the Martian Spaceworks can protect themselves, their going to have to for a while.' he thought. 'Well, at least I will be able to concentrate on training up these two new ships, and learning just what the Hera class of missile can do before they install a bay of them on my JFK.'  He went back to checking the various news channels, looking for anything that might tell him where this 'war' was going.  

March 7th  0320
   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon unlocked her station on the Heavy Escort Tatianna.  They had entered a stable orbit around Callisto five minutes ago, and checked out the new sensors in Jupiter's magnetic and radiation belts.  Readouts had been adequate, and a massive improvement over the former sensor suite the ship had mounted.  She still regretted leaving the two new Light Battle Groups in the belt.  She would just have to oversee their training from here.  The brass had decided the risk to Jupiter was just to great, and that she should be redeployed out here.  With no idea what was going on with the US, and the possible disappearance of the Outreach, they didn't want to take any chance that someone was up to no good out here beyond the belt.  The Trojans were an excellent place to hide a Battle Group if they were planning on making an attack on Jupiter.  She pulled up the patrol and general quarters rotation schedule for the 3rd Battle Group and began to make changes now that the Tatianna  had returned.

March 15th  0735
   Commander Rachel Pierce looked over the sensor returns as they came in.  A small mining craft had reported a contact here in the belt. The fact that the area was not yet open for civilian mining and exploration had missed the civilian crews' attention, but a contact in a restricted zone needed to be checked.  Particularly when the zone was only one and a half light minutes from Chinese held Ceres.  The Chinese had occasionally tried to sneak mining vessels into this section of the belt, but with the current situation, she needed to make sure.  She checked status reports on all three of her ships, the Attack Escort Boudicca, and the Armed Exploration Vessels Wellington and Cromwell.  All were currently at general quarters and primary safeties were released.  "Communications,  let the Chinese know we are patrolling this section of the belt.  No sense taking any chances they might overreacting to our presence if we surprise them.  It might get any small mining vessels out of the belt if they know we are here."
   "Commander, new contact, designating as alpha, bearing 057 at ascension minus 15, five point two five light seconds, heading one two zero plus three. Drive bloom detected, accelerating.  Hold, second contact, resembles inbound. Intercept in eighteen seconds."  The sensor officer continued to forward data to Rachel's monitor as she keyed for firing solutions.  The computer returns that the contact was beyond effective range made her heart sink.  "Engineering, full acceleration.  Comm, have the two Explorers..."  She never finished her command as the bright wave of superheated plasma washed across the space that the Attack Escort Boudicca hurtled through.
   Rachel's faceplate optic interface flashed wildly and then stabilized.  She watched as the computer vented the bridge compartment.  A hail of debris was thrown out into space by the torrent of argon.  She could just make out that it included the other 16 crewmembers of the bridge, her monitor, part of her station and her left leg.   Damage readouts on her faceplate had just shown that it was damaged and not responding.  Seeing it fly away gave her a sick feeling.  But her station had somehow survived.  She locked her fingers into the station link and saw a ship status readout begin to fill her view.  It was slow compared to the monitor, and she was forced to key with her left hand (it had always struck her as odd that even in a mechanical body the brain still tried to favor one hand), but she began to get results.  All weapons on the Boudicca were off line or destroyed, the magazine had vented, about the only thing still working were the particle accelerators in the heart of the ship and the drive shield that kept the nuclear bloom from consuming the ship.  A short range comm link still worked and she menu selected courses for her ship and the two Explorer's.  The Cromwell and Wellington were still undamaged, and after accessing their sensor returns, she gave orders to begin closing on the hostile contact. She selected a course away from the new contact and felt the ship lurch as the drive cut out and maneuver thrusters began the attitude change.  Only after did she realize that the sensors from the other ships had indicated another inbound on the Boudicca, one that had missed as she began her maneuver sequence.  The contact was following her as she moved away, and the two Armed Explorers closed with it.  As they reached effective range they launched on the contact, but seemed to have little effect.  She noted that during the exchange a third inbound had attempted intercept on the Boudicca and failed to damage her.  But how long would her luck hold?
   Rachel keyed the over ride from her ship and released the secondary safeties on the missiles onboard the Cromwell and Wellington, even as the Cromwell disintegrated under the impact of the detonation of the hostile contact's missile.  The Wellington managed one more launch before the link to the Boudicca cut out.  Rachel knew that both of the Armed Explorers were gone.  She selected for red line acceleration on the menu for Engineering, and felt her station vibrate ever so slightly as the engines drove the ship even farther from where the contact had last been.  She was almost six and a half light seconds from the contact before red lining the engines.  They should be able to keep out of weapons range now. She keyed the relay to download her log to the closest of the belt colonies.

   The commander watched as sensor returns tracked the damaged enemy ship, then it's drive bloom consumed the vessel as its shielding's integrity failed.  That was the last of them.  They had learned much on this patrol.  The enemy had weapons and could fight.  The first detonations of their missiles had caused two small particles to cross the bow shock of the magnetic field shielding the ship.  The field had been able to easily shoulder the particles aside, as they had picked up a substantial electric charge hurtling through the solar wind.   The last detonation had been much more violent, causing fuses to burn out and half the safeties to activate.  But the field had withstood the impact of charged particles with no real damage to the vessel.  The fuses would be fixed within the hour and the field returned to full strength.  
   The engagement showed that the Patrol Vessels would have to be more careful, as the enemy craft might be able to damage them if given enough opportunity. But the Combat Vessels should have no problem with the small vessels that this race used, and the short range and ineffectual weapons that they employed.  The commander doubted the enemy ships had even realized that they were escorting a mining ship here in the belt.  They would return to their new home now, early, but with a substantial cargo acquired from the asteroids of this sector.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 02, 2010, 01:29:45 AM
March 2203  part 2

March 16th  1000 hours
   The dead silence of the vacuum on the Red October's bridge was all that Admiral Jude Kushnir wanted to hear right now.  She was tired of requests from both Rear Admiral Muldoon and Commander Giovanni Vetra to attempt rescue operations in the belt near Ceres.  If it was the Chinese that were behind this, then they would simply be getting themselves killed, and losing combat vessels that the Pan Euro couldn't afford to be without.  If it wasn't the Chinese, then they would be risking another incident with them by operating so close to one of their colonies.  It would be better if a single science vessel were to analyze the transmissions and any wreckage that could be recovered.
   Jude had learned that the Attack Escort Boudicca had managed a short, very poor quality transmission before it had lost contact.  It's close proximity to Ceres meant there was a substantial chance that the Chinese had heard the broadcast, but it would take them a while to decode it if they had.  Currently the only ones possessing a copy of the transmission were the Belt Transfer Station and colony at Pallas, the ships of 2nd Light Battle Group run by Commander Vetra, and the 3rd Battle Group, which had managed to intercept part of the transmission.  The transmission had been immediately classified and rebroadcast forbidden due to the chance of interception.  The Red October would be in the belt in three days, and her onboard instruments and labs would begin analysis of the transmission at that time.  They might also scan for debris or survivors at that time, depending on the contents of the transmission.
   Until then, all that anyone could do was wait for the results.  Then they would take action.

March 17th  1225 hours
   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon looked over the results of the analysis that Survey Vessel Raphael had performed on the short broadcast they had received from the Boudicca.  She knew she was violating regulations by releasing the transmission to the Raphael, but the scientific instruments she carried onboard would be able to make some sense of what had been broadcast.  The preliminary results were on her monitor now.  And they still didn't make sense.  But it was enough to send a cold chill down what was left of her spine.  One ship had destroyed an entire Light Battle Group.  One hit had taken the Attack Escort Boudicca out of the battle before she even reached engagement range.  And it appeared she was the only ship to survive an impact.  Barely.  The group's missiles didn't seem to have had any real effect on the hostile contact.  The battle had lasted less than four minutes from the first sensor contact to the last transmission of the Boudicca.
   What she was about to do would definitely violate regulations.  She could be court martialed, stripped of all rank, even executed.  She finished typing, and then pressed the transmit button, over riding the Comm Station and directly patching through to the tight beam transmitter on the Heavy Escort Tatianna.  
   It was done.

   1350 hours
   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan looked at the transcript of the message that had been received at the Martian Shipyard.  It had been transmitted in two sections.  The first had been an unencrypted memo from Pan Euro Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon saying that the second transmission was for Captain (she obviously hadn't heard of his recent undeserved promotion) Jack Ryan's eyes only.  The Sensor Conn had a running bet it was cyborg porno or some such, but Jack didn't think Admiral Muldoon was the type.  It had been sent in the old encryption protocol used between the US and Euro ships during the battle out at Jupiter, but the cipher was still in the JFK's memory banks.
   What was in the second half of the message was nothing he could have ever expected.  He had seen the Euro ships in action.  That three could be destroyed by a single ship was unthinkable.  And what in the hell was this other ship.  And why was it so close to Chinese held Ceres.
   Jack sat on the bridge of the Missile Escort Raptor, and keyed the comm switch.  He took the second transmission, returned it to its original encryption, and then subjected that to the current encryption protocol.  That would take anyone who intercepted it a while to figure out.  Jack had just gotten the note from his daughter yesterday of her reassignment.  To Fleet Headquarters and Admiral Walter's staff.  He added a small personal note, and sent the message forward to his daughter.  Anyone who got it would be less likely to try to decode what looked like a personal message between family.  Jack hoped they wouldn't, at least.

March 19th  0220 hours
   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan loved reading the notes she got from her father, but what was likely a congratulations note on her assignment had fallen on the back burner so to speak.  Her life had become very busy of late.  Very busy.  To busy for an 'I'm happy to hear it' note from dad.
   Now she wished she had opened it earlier.  The happy to hear it part was there, but what had been attached was not a cute little note.  Not at all.  It was obviously a sensor data record of a second contact with the hostile vessel.  And the analysis was horrifying.
   She keyed the comm link on her personal work station through to Admiral Walter's Administrative Assistant.  "This is Lieutenant Ryan.  Get the Admiral in his office in five minutes!  Do you understand me?!"  The babbling on the other end did nothing to impress Meagan.  "GET HIM NOW! THAT'S AN ORDER!"  She keyed off the comm and grabbed her dress uniform jacket.  She would have to leave making the uniform look good for later.  She downloaded the file on her personal chip, and ran from her room towards the Admiral's Office.

   0255 hours
   Admiral Walters looked at the staff that had hastily assembled in the briefing room. Since Lieutenant Ryan had arrived, they had added seven more analysts and two of the defense advisors that were still onboard the station.  If what they were saying was true, this would go a long ways toward explaining why the Pan Euro's Red October had left Earth Space so quickly late on the 15th.  And it made it look like the Chinese had a lot more up their sleeves than anyone could have imagined.  
   "Admiral, I think we have something you need to look at."  Lieutenant Ryan said, pointing at her monitor screen.  The Admiral moved around the table to see what it was she thought was so important.  "Sir, the magnetic signature that we were unsure of.  I think we have begun to figure it out.  The transmission is poor, but the field is unmistakable on this hostile contact the Euro ships engaged. Its the same as the ship that engaged the Outreach.  Now here, where the two small missile ships launched, that's what is interesting.  The field seems to fluctuate some, but returns to its prior emission state in a few moments.  But here, just before the Euro Attack Escort loses contact with the second missile escort, is what looks important.  There is a few seconds of sensor data following that ship's missile detonating its drive.  Right here."  She pointed at the monitor again.
   "Tell me what I'm looking at."  Admiral Walters said flatly, in the monotone only a cyborg could manage.
   "The field seems to have lost almost half of its strength signature.  It might be a defensive system.  Just like the Earth's magnetic field protects it from the charged particles the sun sends out, only this ship seems to have a much more localized and powerful field.  It's like nothing we have, even on the drawing boards."
   Admiral Walters stepped back.  "So you are telling me that this ship has a way to 'stop' a nuclear blast from reaching the vessel?"  Lieutenant Ryan looked squarely at the Admiral.  "That's what it would appear as Sir. But it looks like it might have a limit to the amount of energy it can redirect before it overwhelms the field generating system.  And, theoretically, it should also be transparent to our laser emitters.  Light is magnetically neutral and should pass through the fields with almost no distortion.  You just need to get close enough."
   Admiral Walters moved back around the table and sat down.  "Lieutenant Ryan, where did you say you got this transmission from again?"
   Meagan looked down at the table for a moment, but only a moment.  "It was in a transmission from my father.  He indicated that it had been sent to him from Jupiter, or on that bearing. He didn't say who had sent it to him."
   Admiral Bradley Walters thought. Someone out there was sticking their neck out a long way, and they were probably in as much danger from their own folks as they were from whoever was running these 'unknown' ships.  But they also appeared to be on the same side.  And a small thank you might be in order.
   "Clear the room.  Ryan, you stay."  As the room emptied out, Meagan looked at the cyborg across the table from her with some concern.  She didn't think he was aware that the message had sat in her files for almost two days before she opened it.  Was there something else he could be concerned about?
   "Lieutenant Ryan," the Admiral started, "I want you to send a message back to your father with only the basic findings we have on this field and its vulnerabilities, but no technical data.  I also want you to indicate that this 'hostile' is what destroyed the Outreach.  And that he is to return this information to where ever he received it from.  And indicate that any more data would be welcome.  You are to tell no one of this.  Do I make myself clear?"
   "Crystal, Sir."

March 21st  0800 hours
   The science quarters on the Red October were abuzz with activity.  The data from the transmission was of maddeningly poor quality, and the data on the contact that had apparently destroyed the 1st Light Battle Group was something that made no sense whatsoever.  It was becoming the general consensus that interference had garbled the data gathered on the contact.  But some of it had to be real.  Something had destroyed an entire battle group out here in the belt.  But what was leaving the entire staff on edge was Admiral Jude Kushnir's obsession with finding who was in control of the vessel that had destroyed the ships of 1st Battle Group.  Her insistence on almost hourly updates concerning the progress of the science team was leaving them no time to complete the work that they needed to accomplish for any sort of meaningful analysis.
   That and the fact that the data simply made no sense...

    1645 hours
   Brenna sat at her station reviewing the transmission that had come in a few hours ago.  It left little question as to what the contact data meant, and that the US was most likely well ahead of the Euro in analysis of what this new hostile contact was.  The Outreach must have transmitted more useful data than the Boudicca had, but that only made sense coming from a science vessel.  Regardless, if the Chinese had a vessel like this it would make the Treaty of Serenetatis worthless.  There would be little to stop the Chinese from trying to exert control over the outer system.  She had taken what she could of the message, and passed it on to the Raphael.  Perhaps with the insights in the message from Rear Admiral (congratulations again) Jack Ryan, they would be able to come up with something that would enable the Pan Euro ships of the 3rd Battle Group some hope of combating this new ship.  Now the challenge would be passing on this information to Admiral Kushnir without ending up in a planet side prison awaiting execution.

March 25th 0620 hours
   Admiral Hu reviewed the last exercise between the Cruiser Mao Tse Tung and the Attack Frigate Shangxi.  This would be the last training mission for the two before the Shangxi went in for refits.  The two Frigates at Earth would be done with their refits in the next month.  The remodeling of the bays would allow them to deploy three of the long range Dragon Missiles in each volley.  This would hopefully balance the scales in future encounters between the Chinese Forces and the US and Euro ships that had defeated them in the regions beyond the belt.  Rumors were all that could be found in the weeks following the broadcast from the US ship Outreach.  It seemed the US and Euro were waging a secret war over the outer system.  It looked to be a war of unpublished engagements and unknown victories and losses.  But with proper positioning, the Chinese might be able to secure a better position in the outer system if one were just to wait until the Euro and US had exhausted themselves on one another.

March 29th  2205 hours
   The briefing room was quiet and empty. The advisors had all left a few minutes ago. The news had been mostly good for a change.  It seems the field tests of the new sensor system had been a resounding success.  They were claiming that it would be ready for installation on combat ships at the beginning of April.  Four of the Interceptors were scheduled for refits, to include Jack Ryan's group.  He's probably beginning to wonder when we will let him take his ship out of dock.  At least when he does, it should be the equal of any ship in service. Two more of the Raptor Class Missile Escorts had cleared the yards here at Earth, and would complete the 2nd US Task Force.  Tactically,  the combination of advanced Interceptors - now designated the Mk IIa - with smaller missile support ships would enable them to deal with the new Chinese threat ship.  At least that was what everyone hoped.
   At least the news was mostly good.  There was one bad point.  A message had been received from Pan European Cargo Freighter 017 enroute from Belt Transfer Station Pallas to Jupiter with maintenance supplies.  It was a normal commercial run, logged with all the necessary licenses and flight logs.  It had made a broadcast in the clear to any ship able to assist in range. It had indicated that it was under attack by an unknown vessel.  It had only been able to broadcast for about 30 seconds before it had been cut off.  Sensor logs that it had transmitted were sketchy and unclear, but it appeared the aggressor had been the same class of vessel that had engaged the Outreach and Pan European 1st Light Battle Group.  It was obvious whoever was in control of the vessel - most likely the Chinese - was making it clear that they would tolerate no ships beyond the asteroid belt.  It was probably only a matter of time before they challenged the veteran Euro 3rd Battle Group at Jupiter, and claimed the outer system exclusively.  It would probably be soon after that they would try to exercise the same control over the inner system.  God help them all when that came to pass.
   The problem right now was that the civilian news services had caught the transmission, and the news of 'unrestricted war beyond the belt' was spreading.  The civilian lines were already canceling any shipping beyond the belt, and filing the legal injunctions to require armed escort in the inner system.  This would strap the already thin forces of the US Space services and make any sort of effective resistance to this new problem even more difficult.  At least the Discovery had almost finished its work in the Trojans and would be able to dispatch one of its tenders to carry the maintenance normally carried by the civilian lines.  They just needed to hurry up and get home.

March 31st  1400 hours
   The Dutchman wondered if this would be a good deal or not.  He had just accepted a sizable payment to carry supplies from the Euro belt to Jupiter.  It would definitely help to defer the expenses of maintaining his ships, but it was obviously dangerous territory.  Ships were disappearing, and not all unarmed cargo ships.  The Mary Reed, Marie Celeste, and Kestrel would all be making the run to Jupiter.  Together they were more than a match for most combat ships of the major powers.  But something had changed.  He couldn't put his finger on what it was, but space was changing, and not for the better.  Perhaps the Pan European Confederacy would be willing to divert some funds to having the group remain with the 3rd Battle Group as support.  For the right price.  Assuming they actually made it to Jupiter.  The Dutchman  keyed the comm link to have the crew check all systems again.  For the fifth time...


This month saw most of the players waiting for a big attack at the beginning of the month, and when it didn't materialize, they began a bunch of hasty refits.  They had all hedged their bets by issuing the orders for the refits to begin several days into the month, assuming they could cancel them if a war blossomed early on.  The mid month attack on the Euro was run in the same way as the attack on the US the previous month, but now they were beginning to suspect breaking the group up indicated an attack by an anonymous player. They still weren't sure what was going on.
A small amount of discussion between my wife and oldest son began to crystallize into the thought that the Chinese were behind the attacks.  They seemed to be behind in every way, but both knew that everyone had been offered a selection of advantages in the pregame setup to chose from.  No one knew what China had chosen (except the boy running China), and they wondered if he had a different weapon system of some type, other tech system, or maybe had 'discovered' alien technology and was using some alien ship while he researched the systems. Lots of theories, and planning to try to counter the 'Chinese threat'.
The player for the Chinese was happy to let the other players fight it out - he thought - while he tried to play catch up with the other powers.  He had decided his big ship was going to be an expensive target until he got better tech for his fleet, and was willing to wait it out.

The battle between the Nemotian Patrol Corvette and the Pan Euro 1st Light Battle Group was not a planned encounter, but a lucky (unlucky?) roll by the group as it patrolled the belt.  House rules require that a planet have a freighter link to an asteroid belt to get the belt bonus to income, and the Nemotians had dedicated a FT for this.  The 1st LBG rolled a 01 and made an intercept.  The rest is history.

The Patrol Corvette also rolled to see if it could make any commerce raiding and managed to snag a single FT that I declared to be one bound for Jupiter, as it was on the same radian at that time.  Bad month to be the Euro.

Good times for the US though.  The players that had started as Ind 2 had received a random number of RP toward EL1 like any generated NPR.  The very first month (Jan) had seen the US make its roll and get to EL1 right off the bat.  March saw them make a critical success (another 01 in one month) in sensors and got their operational Ya in the first month it had been possible to receive.  Lots of refits, but rapid ship advancement in tech. They also choose to receive double RP for normal cost over the next three months in sensor research. It would chafe my wife no end later to find out that the oldest son had achieved in three months all her pregame advantages.

Next month would see the fated confrontation between the Euro 3rd Battle Group and its Admiral Brenna Muldoon, and the new race.  It did not disappoint.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 05, 2010, 05:28:23 AM
April 2203

April 1st 2203   0315 hours

   Admiral Bradley Walters toured the Interceptor Lincoln less than one hour after her arrival in the Earth Shipworks.  She, along with her sister ship the T. Roosevelt, were the first Interceptors to undergo refits to the new Mk IIa standard.  With the improved sensor suite, Hera Missile bay, and extended magazine they would be the equal of any ship in use, with the possible exception of these unknown (Chinese?) contacts.  The other two Interceptors of Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan would soon be undergoing similar refits at the Martian shipyards.  They already contained the Hera Missile bays, but would benefit from the new sensors and extended magazine space.  The last two Interceptors were performing duties as convoy escorts and patrolling the US portions of the asteroid belt when they were able to.  They would be the last to undergo the refits to the Mk IIa class, starting in early May.  
   For the moment that was all that could be done.  Research into the new magnetic systems would likely take years to complete. This war would have to be fought with the technology being installed on the Interceptors now.  It would have to be enough.

      0630 hours
   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan wondered if the brass back at Earth ever intended to let him command another ship, or if he was just supposed to supervise a constant stream of refits.  These were supposed to make the Interceptors into the new Mk IIa class, but it made little difference if the crew never actually got to fly the damned thing.  If the US was going to win whatever it was that was going on out beyond the belt, they would have to take their ships out of the slips eventually.
At least it was giving him a chance to write to his daughter more often than he had in years.  It was a shame that she was now the one who was to busy to write back.

April 3rd 2203  0600 hours

   Admiral Jude Kushnir signed off on the orders that would direct the Attack Escorts of the 1st and 2nd Battle Groups to report to the shipyards at Earth and Mercury for refits. They would remove the chemical pulse laser onboard, and fit the new sensors in the space provided.  They would also see a generous augmentation of the plating and baffles mounted on the vessels.  The Boudicca's failure under a single strike from this unidentified aggressor had made the shortcomings of the current design all to apparent.  With the new sensors and stronger defenses, they should be better able to engage this new class of vessel.
   The research occurring on the Red October was a less productive matter.  The data transmitted by the Boudicca before she lost contact with the belt colony was only of marginal use.  It was obvious that after this first month of analysis that it would take more accurate and complete sensor readings to try and identify the craft, it's weapons, or it's capabilities.  The Red October was going to remain in the belt for the next month continuing the research on the data it had, but this had more to do with the 2nd Light Battle Group having been reassigned from the belt to convoy duty.  The Red October had become the new patrol ship for the belt colonies.  Jude actually preferred this post to her one on Earth.  She had better communication with the belt colonies and the 3rd Battle Group at Jupiter.  This seemed to be where the worst of this situation was occurring, and it was just where she needed to be to keep some control of it.
   And just maybe the Red October would have better luck if she had to engage one of these craft.  With her better sensors and scientific equipment, she could possibly get the information they needed to identify this new vessel.  Until they knew who was employing this new ship, they had little or nothing they could do.  And doing nothing did not set well with Jude.

April 5th 2203   1320 hours

   The Kestrel undocked from the Euro Heavy Escort Tatianna.  The Dutchman checked to make sure the thrust vectors were correct as the ships separated.  He had tried to discuss with the Admiral out here that arrangements could be made for his ships to linger in Pan Euro space to help should 'problems' arise.  Assuming proper monetary compensation was arranged between their various employers.  She had been uninterested, and truth be told that suited The Dutchman just fine.  Rumors were beginning to spread that an entire Pan Euro Battle Group had fallen off the civilian resupply schedules.  That was more than very unusual.  And ominous.  A war was being fought out here, even if no one was talking about it.  And The Dutchman had no interest in being caught in the middle of it.  A war was a good chance to expand his business, but not at the cost of getting killed.  And folks were dying out here, he was sure of it.  The Dutchman didn't plan to be one of them.  Locking himself in his station he keyed the orders for all three of his ships to engage drives for standard cruise.  In six days they would be back at Earth, and this new cash would provide for some enjoyable shore leave.  There might even be some left for improvements to the old girls.  They might be needing some improvements in the days to come.

April 6th 2203  2245 hours

   Technician Harold Jager finished his calculations on the field strength distortions versus the sensitivity of the new sensor array, and tried to tune his small receiver set to the proper calibrations.  After a few attempts (one ruined by the firing of the maneuver thrusters jostling the equipment at his work station), he was sure he had the proper settings.  The Raphael had been intended as a planetary survey ship, but the instruments were also working quite well on this new field reception application of the current passive sensor array.  The instruments had originally been intended to do a thorough study of Jupiter's magnetic and radiation belts prior to colonization of her moon's.  But it worked well for this new project also.  Probably better than Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon had anticipated.  As he downloaded the settings and data into the Raphael's memory, he wondered if this work might be worth a raise in the near future.  It would definitely help his family back on Earth.  The disruption of the civilian freight lines out here in space was giving the economy back home quite the hit.  A couple extra Euros a month would be wonderful.

April 7th 2203  0110 hours

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon went over the result of Tech Jager's work again.  It was very impressive.  He had managed to take the small amount of data that the Boudicca had transmitted, coupled that with his limited understanding of what was supposed to be the highly classified workings of the new Phoenix Sensor Array, and come up with a method that would be able to discern the magnetic distortion of this new defense system at a range twice that at which it could detect the drive bloom of a ship.  It should be able to detect the magnetic distortions at a range of 15 light seconds.  A warning that early would allow the ship to easily lock stations and accelerate to combat speed before weapon exchange was begun.  They would be prepared for combat, or able to avoid it, whichever they chose.  The only drawback that the Tech had passed on was that the sensors would only be detecting the distortion.  If multiple ships remained close to each other, they would only appear as a single distortion.  They would have to close to conventional sensor ranges to allow the array to distinguish individual ships.
   He had shown that the launch from these ships carried its own distinctive distortion that even the standard sensor arrays aboard the Attack Escorts could use to target counter launches.  The final intercepts would have to rely heavily on the internal guidance systems of the Scorpion missiles, and would have a much lower interception chance.  But even a low interception chance was better than no targetting solution at all.  Brenna knew that they were out here on borrowed time, and that eventually they would have to face this new class of ship.  With this information, she began to see a strategy forming that might give them an edge in the coming engagement.  Assuming that the new defenses truly were vulnerable to their current weapon systems.  

April 19th 2203  0905 hours
(Date  37-17429  time 17468)
The Second Battle of Jupiter's Moons

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 assessed the sensor readouts of this systems largest planet and its many moons.  Its powerful magnetic fields reached out to him, and he could sense its presence even without the ship's arrays.  Just as he could sense the ship, and all of its crew around him.  He manipulated the metallic hydrogen throughout his body, using the magnetic flux to issue orders to the crew throughout the ship, and activate systems at his station.  There was no need to identify who gave the orders, they would know.  Each crew members' magnetic field was as distinct and individual as they were.  Any communication carried the field signature of the one who created it.
   Moments later he could sense the deployment of the three scout craft from their bays.  Later they passed beyond his ability to sense the small magnetic fields they generated, but he could still sense them through the sensor array of the Patrol Vessel.  And he monitored them as they proceeded toward the great planet.  The planet carried almost half the mass of the entire system that he had come from.  But that would have been many lifetimes ago now.  This giant system with its wealth of planets and moons was their new home.
   One of the other giant planets had been the site of the first contact with the race that inhabited this system.  The indigenous race seemed to be very primitive and of little threat.  But Patrol Vessel 14 had reported that one of the small ships this race used had deployed a weapon that had damaged it's field generators.  So caution had been ordered with all Patrol surveys.  Where this race originated from in this system (the thought that they may come from another system was unimaginable) was still unknown, and surveys would continue until all infestations were identified.  Another Patrol Vessel was even now surveying the giant ringed planet to see if more ships were to be found there.  Patrol Vessel 17 was to assess this planet for infestation of the native race.  That would begin with the scout craft.
   Time crawled by as the craft slowly closed with each of the moons, slowly working their way in toward the giant planet itself.  The slow pace was only compounded by the delay in communication caused by the distance.  The Commander reached his four 'arms' across the various panels in front of him.  Manipulating the fields he gave orders and activated systems to bring them into a slow declining orbit of the planet, just slightly off the equatorial plane.  It would take time to complete the sweep, and the small craft could not gain all the information that command would want.  Only the Patrol Vessel could gather the detailed scans that would identify hidden outposts or colonies.  Patrol Vessel 17 descended inside the outer most moons’ orbits, and began to scan for any signs of this new race.
   Reports returned that as Scout Craft 2 approached the large moon orbiting at about one and a half light seconds, a weapon was deployed against them with a large heat pulse and nominal magnetic signature.  It had failed to damage the craft, and Scout Craft 2 had disengaged from the area with no other weapons reported.  The weapon's launch site was unknown, as the small craft had sensors only able to track items of such low signature out to about one light second.  They had been about two light seconds from the moon when the weapon had detonated, but the trajectory seemed to indicate a planetary launch.  Then Scout Craft 3 reported a similar incident as it approached the large moon at 2.25 light seconds from the planet.  Only this time two launches had been detected.  One had pulsed fairly close to the Scout Craft, but still had failed to damage it.  That Scout Craft had also disengaged from the area of the moon.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 gave orders for the Scout Craft to return to their bays.  They were not combat vessel, and had served their purpose well.  With signs of two separate planetary launches, they may have located the first of the new race's habitats.  He again manipulated the panels and ordered the Patrol Vessel to change to an orbit that would take them in an arc at 6 light seconds from the moon that Scout Craft 3 had detected the two launches from.  That would be the extreme range that the Patrol Vessels sensors should be able to resolve any alien habitats.  In that no indigenous craft had deployed a weapon at a range of over 3 light seconds, six light seconds should be adequate distance to safely conduct the survey.  They were a Patrol Craft after all, and not here to engage in combat activities unless forced or favorable.  In fact, six light seconds was slightly greater than what even Patrol Vessel 17 could deploy a weapon too.  Not the greatest range the weapon was capable of, just what the on board sensors could manage.  Following the scan of that moon, they would alter course to conduct a pass at the same range of the moon with the single launch.  No other moon had displayed this activity, although the four tiny inner moons had never been approached.  At six light seconds they would be able to easily identify any alien ships and either destroy them or accelerate to leave this planetary system safely.  Assessments had shown the alien ships to be clearly identifiable at ranges of over 8 light seconds.  Well beyond any weapon range they should be capable of.
   The commander felt the magnetic fields around his station strengthen as the ship began to accelerate.  The ship's systems easily compensated for the acceleration, making the antiquated restraints that had been used unnecessary.  He closely monitored the sensor returns as they began their approach.  He didn't want to be surprised by any indigenous ships hiding in the magnetic belts of this planet.

      1032 hours

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon felt as tense as an over wound spring.   She had been expecting the new ships to barge right in like the contact had done with the 1st Light Battle Group in the belt near Ceres.  No....  Instead they sent in these little craft scooting all over.  She was glad that she had ordered the Michelangelo, Raphael, and Rembrandt to land on Callisto to perform their surveys.  Hopefully they hadn't been spotted.  For the rest of the ships she wasn't so sure.  Probably not, but no knowing for sure.  The Chinese likely purchased their ships' boats from civilian makers, just like everyone else did.  The sensors on most of them were just enough to get from point A to B, and little more.  Most couldn't recognize another ship at ranges past one half to one light second.  There just wasn't any need.  The Catherine had identified the first of the small boats at 1.5 light seconds, and Brenna had ordered them to launch on the contact immediately.  The launch had little hope of destroying the thing.  Scorpion missiles were not designed to track a target that small, so onboard computers had to handle the intercept.  With the almost 4 second time lag between sensor readings and transmissions to the missile, the precise targeting needed to hit something moving at five thousand kilometers per second was just about impossible.  At least the small ships had gotten the idea and turned tail when shot at.  Two minutes later and the Tatianna was in the same situation, launching on a second craft at just over two light seconds.  That was all the farther the new sensors could identify the small contacts.  She had been hoping to see the magnetic signature of an attacker at 15 light seconds, not a scout at two.  This changed everything.
   She quickly keyed orders to the Attack Escorts Catherine and Isabelle to land on opposite sides of the moon Io, which was the closest sizable body to them.  The large Mobile Shipyard 1 that accompanied them was to pick a point on the surface of Io facing Jupiter itself.  At least a ship would have to pass between the two bodies to spot their support and repair vessel.  She also ordered the ships to shut down all non-essential systems. Maybe they would be able to hide until the contact was close enough to launch on.
   She ordered the Heavy Escort Tatianna to move toward the small moon Amalthea.  She wanted the ship stationed only 200 meters above the surface and motionless in respect to the 120 kilometer long chunk of rock.  At that short distance they should be invisible to even the new sensors on the Tatianna.  All the ships had now moved from their original locations, but were still close enough to get a shot if someone came close enough to see what had launched the missiles.  Kind of like waiting in the deer stand with her dad when she had been little, hoping that something would come close enough to shoot.  Only now the deer would shoot back if they missed.  Maybe more like hunting tigers.  Brenna wondered if they had tigers in China.  What bothered her the most was that the Chinese had used the same tactic, hiding among the moons, and it hadn't worked so well for them.  She wasn't sure it would do any better this time.
   The minutes dragged by.  Then the contact they had been waiting on finally arrived.  She had them designate the contact as Alpha.  Seemed appropriate. Sensor readings showed it was at 15 light seconds and closing.  Slowly.  And moving so as to begin a slow arc around the inner moons.  Searching.  This tiger wasn't going to just come in and get itself shot.  It was hunting too.  And well beyond weapons range.  Perhaps they just needed a little bait.


   Midshipman Roberts wondered how he had gotten picked for this duty.  Sending out a little ship to scout around when you didn't know what was there made sense (if you didn't have to be the one on the scout). Going out to look at something you already knew was there and hostile in a little unarmed boat was suicidal.  What the hell was the Admiral thinking?!  Didn't matter now.  He was already half way to the vessel he was supposed to make a fly-by on.  Not that he could tell.  This French crate was blind as a bat at that range.  Tightbeam laser communication was what guided him toward this death sentence.
   Suddenly warning lights flashed on the monitor.  "!! COLLISION ALERT !!"  He didn't need the Tatianna to tell him what to do now.  That wasn't another ship, it was a launch.  He keyed the attitude thrusters and then the drive.  This crate was small, blind, and slow compared to a combat ship.  But what it was, that the other ships weren't, was maneuverable.  Her low mass gave her a low moment of inertia, and allowed much quicker course corrections.  
   Even the blind crate's sensors registered the heat pulse of the weapon detonating.  But he was still here.  That was proof enough that it had missed.  He continued with the course corrections, trying to damp his current velocity,  turn back toward the Tatianna, and not run in a straight line, giving the folks trying to kill him a chance to do it easily.  But it took time.  And he was still in range.
   "!! COLLISION ALERT !!"  Here came the second one.  Midshipman Roberts tried frantically to work the attitude thrusters and drive to change course and velocity once again.  A second heat pulse and still he was here.  He found himself gong over the Hail Mary as he tried to get the crate pointed back to his ship.  He had lost communication with the Tatianna shortly after the first launch.  The tightbeam would never be able to follow the rapid course corrections, and she would never broadcast in the open and give away her position.  As far as he was concerned he didn't care what they had to say.  He was getting the hell out of here and going somewhere safer. The Tatianna wasn't safe, but at least she could shoot back.
   "!! COLLISION ALERT !!"  Damn, damn, damn!  A THIRD ONE!  Were the Chinese that scared of an old French ship's boat? One that was RUNNING AWAY?!  Keying the controls madly, trying to be unhittable, he waited for the inevitable impact.  They weren't going to miss forever.  Then the sensors registered a third heat pulse.  And he was STILL HERE!  Running the drive to max output, he had come full about.  He prayed that he would at least make it back to land on his ship.
   Ten minutes later he stepped off the little crate and ran to his station and locked himself in.  He had never imagined anyone could be so grateful to be onboard a ship that was about to go into combat.

      1056 hours

   Where the small craft had come from was of great interest to the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17.  It was to small to track at its current projected range, and had proved particularly elusive to the torpedoes that had been launched against it.  But they had been necessary.  It was possible that the small craft was actually a weapon system, designed to track another ship and detonate as it drew close.  But it had fled.  That proved the crew valued their own lives, if it had a crew.  The three torpedoes launched were almost 20 percent of the onboard munitions, but it was not a great concern.  They were not here to engage in combat, simply identify targets.  It was important to locate where it had come from, as that would lead them to any possible populations of the indigenous race.  But it was not worth risking the Patrol Vessel to track.  There were weapon stations located here somewhere, and possibly the small ships this race used.  The Scout Craft would be called on again to follow this contact.  They wouldn't be able to follow it directly, but would approach the last known contact points and bearings.  The Patrol Vessel’s pass by the moon at 2.25 light seconds from the planet was proving it to be a lifeless contact.  If it had hidden bases, then the launch signatures as they fired on the Scout Craft would be traceable by the onboard sensors at this range.  If they did not launch, then one of the Scout Craft would pass low over the surface, or even land to begin a search for any installations.  It was possible that there had only been mobile units here, and they could have disengaged before Patrol Vessel 17 had reached detection range of them, but it would be unimportant.  They were here to locate any populations, not just ships.
   Moments later the three small craft were away and heading in toward the moons of the giant planet.

      1109 hours

   The contact hadn't taken the bait, just shot at it.  It was still drifting out there and might eventually be able to resolve the signature of the Tatianna against the small moon.  The ship's boat had returned and was already secured.  They must not be able to track a boat that small at the current range of 7.25 light seconds, or they would have done something when the little craft had landed.  At least she thought they would.  Maybe they were just waiting to see it there were any other ships before moving in.  If it was the Chinese they were well aware of how easy it could be to hide a number of ships on the moons out here.  And they knew that one ship did not make a Pan Euro Battle Group.
   The Sensor Conn's announcement caught her off guard.  New contacts!  Three of them at one point five light seconds.  Bearing two three eight, ascension plus zero point six.  Course and speed followed but Brenna ignored them.  Damn it ! Those damned little craft. They had approached from behind Europa until they were just on top of the Tatianna.  The other ship had to know they were here.  Why chose the course that was blind to the Tatianna otherwise.
   "Weapons Conn, Iaunch on the closest of the three small contacts, all safeties off.  Engineering, engage drives and Helm plot for a course to put Io between us and contact designated as Alpha."  She hoped this enemy contact didn't know that the other ships were there.  If it would just follow the Tatianna, maybe they would be able to beat this ship.  But she knew it wasn't going to.  Whoever the Chinese Captain was on that ship, he wasn't a fool.  "Captain Sereg, handle communications with the Catherine and Isabelle.  Give them what our sensors can see.  Coordinate with them if it looks like we can get in a decisive launch."
   The sensor returns indicated that the lead small craft following them had been destroyed.  The second was changing course to put Europa between it and the Tatianna.  The last was still bearing down on the Tatianna.  'We are the deer now, and the hounds just flushed us out. Time to run and hide like one.'

      1110 hours

   The Commander assessed the returns as they came in.  The time lag would leave them moments behind what their opponent was doing, but it was unavoidable.  The sensors had detected two launches from one of the small inner moons orbiting this planet.  Then they had confirmed the destruction of Scout Craft 2.  The detonations of these weapons were not as focused as the torpedoes the Patrol Vessel carried, but the wide burst of the detonation worked well enough to destroy the small craft.  The Patrol Vessel was able to track the enemy vessel as it moved from its location, and sensors seemed to indicate it was attempting to place the large moon at 1.5 light seconds from the planet between the Patrol Vessel and itself.  Scout Craft 1 was moving to inspect the moon it had been assigned, but was also putting itself behind the moon to avoid the launches from the enemy ship.  Scout Craft 3 was attempting to do the same with the small moon the enemy ship had been floating beside.  It was almost safe when the fourth launch found its mark.  The enemy ship had already launched eight weapons, which was equal to half the payload of Patrol Vessel 17.  If they were responsible for the earlier launches on the Scout Craft, they may be running low on weapons to deploy.  Perhaps not.  Regardless, they had not attempted to launch at the Patrol Vessel.  
   The enemy ship had been too far out for the sensor returns to confirm if it was one of the known contacts, or a new class altogether.  Not that it was the most important information they could gather.  It was now becoming obvious that this race placed ships near the large outer planets for some reason, but none so far had been inhabited by the race.  Curious.  These ships had to be coming from somewhere.  Was it possible that they lived in the inferno of the inner system of this star?
   The Commander manipulated the fields on the panels again.  He had seen enough to decide that the race here did not possess longer ranged weapons, or they would have used them.  The destruction of an enemy vessel would bring glory to him and his crew, much as the other Patrol Vessels that had engaged the enemy now enjoyed.  But the Commander had no intention of losing his ship.  He ordered the Patrol Vessel's crew to bring the ship about and plot a course around the moon the enemy ship had fled behind. The arc was to be at the extreme range limit of the Patrol Vessel's torpedoes to engage a target.  He then began the wait to see if the scans of this second moon would reveal any of the populations that had to be somewhere in this system.  If that enemy ship ran again, they might be able to destroy it.  Scout Craft 1 was already landing on the moon to begin magnetic readings at surface level to try and find any hidden installations.  
   This race could run and hide for the moment, but its days were numbered now.

   1121 hours

   Brenna hated losing sensor contact with the hostile vessel.  Moving behind Io had blinded them.  Deer that didn't know where the hunter was tended to end up badly.  Brenna noticed a comm request from Captain Keely Sereg and opened the internal link.  "Do you have any good news, I could use some now."  Brenna transmitted as she opened the comm line.
   "Admiral, I have managed to establish a tightbeam link with the Michelangelo on Callisto, and they are running a second link to the Catherine on the far side of Europa.  It seems that Contact Alpha has closed to five point two five light seconds from Europa, and is just on the edge of the Catherine's sensor pick up.  The sensor returns are over twenty one seconds old by the time we receive them, but the ship appears to be holding its course.  We should be able to predict its location in our time by the sensor returns we are getting."
   "Excellent Captain.  If you can keep this going, maybe we won't end up as a collection of space debris."  Brenna studied the returns and plot of Contact Alpha.  It was holding just beyond the maximum range that the Tatianna could target another vessel.  How much did they know about her ship and its capabilities?  Were the Chinese spies as effective as rumors held?  How could they know the engagement range on a new sensor system only months after it had been deployed?  Not even all the Euro ships were informed of its capabilities and limitations.  It didn't matter.  She needed to get closer to that ship.  And she needed to do it when her whole Battle Group was together if possible.
   They hadn't chased a little bit of bait, Perhaps a larger morsel would interest them.
   "Captain Sereg, raise the Mobile Shipyard on the surface below us.  Inform them that they will be lifting off and making a run for it."

   1123 hours

   When the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 sensed the returns coming in he was shocked.  The vessel clearing the space behind the moon they were circling was as large as a Combat Vessel.  Twice the mass of his Patrol Vessel.  The moon appeared to be uninhabited so far.  Why place a vessel this large out here then?  And what weapons did it carry?  The twelve weapons it had launched might be only a small portion of its complement.  It was running away though.  Perhaps the ship realized it would be unable to engage the Patrol Vessel and was trying to accelerate out of range before the Patrol Vessel could respond.   This contact information could be vital. The Commander issued orders to transmit all data gained so far.
   More fields?  Three more?  Three new vessels had appeared, two from behind the moon and a third lifting off the surface.  Two were of a class that Patrol Vessel 14 had first encountered.  The third contact was new and massed as much as the Patrol Vessel.  It had also just launched two weapons toward the Patrol Vessel?  From five light seconds? He ordered the ship to deploy a torpedo as sensors tracked the inbound weapons.  The Patrol Vessel was firing its drive to make intercept for the weapons more difficult, but one refused to lose its lock.  The detonation registered on the panels as several of the field generators activated their safeties or burned out fuses.  Sensor returns indicated the enemy ship that had launched was now venting gases and debris from the impact of the torpedo's wave of plasma.
   Moments later the sensors also registered that the other two ships had launched moments after Patrol Vessel 17 had.  The Commander ordered Patrol Vessel 17 to begin an attitude change and accelerate to take them away from the three contacts. A second detonation blew the last of the field generator fuses, leaving the ship's hull naked against any following blasts.  The Commander relaxed as he registered that none of the four vessels were attempting to pursue.
   The field generators would take hours to bring back online, and until then, they would be vulnerable.  But Patrol Vessel 17 had sustained no permanent damage.  And the data they had gained was possibly much more valuable than any that had been gained to date.  This new race was not as helpless as had been suspected.  They could build ships equal in size to the Combat Vessels, and could engage a target at combat ranges.  They had been unable to damage the Patrol Vessel though, and a Combat Vessel was much more powerful.  This race would still perish.  But it would be more difficult than had been anticipated.
   But there was one last detail to take care of.  A painful one, but necessary.  The Scout Craft contained a single weapon intended to be dropped on enemy populations.  Its core would generate a fusion reaction like the one the ship drive used.  It was very effective against planet bound populations.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 manipulated the field of his panels one last time and remote detonated the device on board Scout Craft 2.

   1220 hours

   Brenna reviewed the sensor logs again.  She had contacted the Red October in the belt, and in another hour would receive confirmation that they would be able to begin tightbeam transmission of the data they had gained. They would also have to await orders of what to do in the aftermath of the battle.  Contact Alpha had fled, but it's magnetic field had actually collapsed after the launches from the Catherine and Isabelle (thank you Tech Jager, without the ability to target the launch signature, the Attack Escorts would have been useless). They had been able to get some accurate sensor data on the vessel they had fought, but it raised more questions than answers.  It didn't look to be Chinese.  Hell, it might not even be human.  But it's one launch had torn through the Tatianna's plating and baffles, shredded the supply sections, the forward magazine, and cracked the hull on the bridge.  Only six of the crew had died, but Captain Sereg was unresponsive and would need better care than could be provided by the ships at Jupiter.  The Mobile Shipyard was currently making emergency repairs to restore the bridge to a minimal level of function again, but the Tatianna would need extensive repairs to reach full combat effectiveness.  The repairs could be done here at Jupiter, but would take time for the limited facilities onboard Mobile Shipyard 1 to complete.  Probably months.  They really needed be redeployed to the inner system.  Everyone was considering the engagement a victory, but it didn't feel like one to Brenna.  If that ship came back they were probably sunk.  It was only a victory in that they survived - but they had, and it was the first time a group of ships had done that.  In the end though, it had taken an entire Pan Euro Battle Group to combat a single vessel.  God help us if there are more....
   She had one more task to take care of.  Someone had given them a tip that had likely saved the lives of her entire Battle Group.  She would repay that favor now.  She keyed the command override of the comm station and again transmitted a coded message to Mars.  She then erased the transmission from the ships log and returned to waiting for the reply from the Red October.

   1445 hours

   Admiral Jude Kushnir reviewed the sensor data and ship logs.  She knew that leaving Brenna out there had been condemning her to face this new class of ship, but she was the most experienced flag officer in the Pan Euro Fleet at the moment, and the 3rd Battle Group was her command.  The news that Captain Sereg had been injured was grave, as a full cyborg could shrug off almost any damage unless it involved the nervous system, the only human components left.  The data they had gained during the battle was invaluable, and now made risking the Euro's most experienced group a winning gamble.  It would be weeks before the full analysis of the data was complete, but it proved the defensive screens could be overwhelmed, and the ships were not invincible.
   It also had some disturbing information, as the ship seemed to follow no known construction pattern.  Brenna did not come out and raise the question of this vessel being non terrestrial in origin, but she definitely walked around the subject several times in her After Action Report.  Jude would wait for the analysis, but it sure didn't look like anything she could imagine the Chinese using.  The weapon system the contact used definitely had only one launcher on the ship that Brenna had fought, but a single impact had almost taken the Heavy Escort out of the fight.  A second impact would have torn the Tatianna apart.  Jude doubted if the Red October would be able to defeat this vessel in a one on one fight.
   For now they would have to be happy with the fact that the 3rd Battle Group was still intact.  The crews and commanders would be the new heroes of the Pan Euro.  If the news was released.  If this new class of ship was an alien, the 3rd Battle Group may become more than the Pan Euro's heroes.  If that was the case, humanity may need something to rally around in the coming months.  Actually defeating one of these ships looked like it would be a bloody hard affair.
   Right now they just needed to get back home.

   2305 hours

   Admiral Bradley looked up at Lieutenant Ryan again as she went over the newest data that had been gained on whatever it was these new ships were.  Whoever was funneling information to Meagan's father deserved a medal, if they didn't get executed for high treason.  The data was amazing, and terrifying.  But without it they would have no hope of combating these ships.  It would also accelerate work on the systems that these ships used.  What these ships were, and where they were coming from, was only becoming more of a mystery.  For the moment, this newest data was the most valuable to date.  It would take weeks to analyze it, but even the initial work was going to make a difference in how the US approached the new ships.  And its policy towards the other powers of Earth.

April 24th 2203  1530 hours

   Admiral Hu reviewed progress updates.  The Attack Frigates Anhui and Hubei were due to finish their refits on the 25th, probably late in the day.  They would be redesignated to Missile Frigates after their release from dock.  They would begin month long training cruises following that, undergoing maneuvers with the Tung in preparation of a return to space beyond the belt.  China would reassert her control of Saturn, but the ships needed to be prepared for the eventual conflict with the Euro or US as they continue to fight for a monopoly on the outer system.  For the moment China had no intention of contesting the Treaty of Serenitatis, but if attacked on Chinese territory, they would do what was necessary to ensure the safety of Chinese holdings beyond the belt.  Even if it meant expelling the other powers.
   To ensure that China would be victorious, progress on the Cruiser Chiang Ki Shek was moving along.  She was due to be operational in July or August, and would be joined by two more Missile Frigates.  The first would be the Shangxi, and the second would be new construction.  The last two operational Attack Frigates would remain in service without the upgrades, serving as convoy escorts.  They would also be useful for ground bombardment with the heavy payload and yield of the shorter ranged missiles.  Hopefully that capability would never be needed.

April 30th 2203  0210 hours

   Commander Jeremy Leffler gave the order to ease the ships of his survey group out of the Trojans, and into clear space.  The survey of the US portion of this asteroid field was complete, and the data transmitted to Earth, but now the hard part would begin.  A coded transmission from Earth had indicated that if the ships of the Discovery Survey Group were approached beyond the asteroid belt, that they were to engage drives and avoid any contact within five light seconds.  Any attack was to be avoided if possible, and met with force if not.  Any data gained on an aggressor was to be transmitted in real time to the nearest colony in tightbeam with full encryption protocols.
   A war had broken out while they were hiding in the rocks of the Trojans, and now they would have to sneak through it to get home alive.

This month again saw everyone parked in their own little rooms while we ran the month.  China (the middle boy) continued to do its own thing trying to catch up to the others and get ready for when he thought he would be able to challenge the others.  The Free Spacers (the oldest girl) planned on hiding from anything that looked like a fight and just try to get extra cash where she could (I reminded her that she had chosen this path).  My wife and oldest boy (the Euro and US respectively) were beginning to believe that something was going on that didn't add up, and could be found in quiet discussions when I wasn't around (amazing how quickly the 9 year old boy and 5 year old girl would rat out their family when I would make cookies - grin).  
They had come up with a nasty surprise for me though.  They had really gotten down and read the sensor rules.  ALL of them.  Even the little footnotes by the charts.  They discovered that a ship could return fire on another ship that had fired on it at -2 to hit if it was within the limits of the WEAPONS range, not just the sensors targeting range (page 300).  That was how she managed to get the Attack Escorts into the fight at Jupiter, and knock down the Patrol Corvette's shields, obliging it to retire from the fight.
They were all beginning to gear up for a war, but my wife and oldest son were beginning to realize this war wasn't going to be a simple affair of fighting each other.  

The ships designs can be found as follows.
Heavy Escort Tatianna      CT   16HS
[2]A A A H Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1]

Attack Escorts Catherine , Isabelle
end of January 2203 part 2

Nemotian Patrol Corvette 17
end of February 2203 part 2

This month also saw Brenna improve to BG +1 (veteran - to our group)

It will be a while before I can write more.  H1N1 has hit its third wave in our area, right on top of the seasonal flu.  I will be spending the next week putting in extra time on the Peds unit helping out with the big influx of patients.  
Take care to all out there and thank you for reading.
Back soon…..
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 08, 2010, 04:22:38 AM
May 2203

May 2nd  1015 hours

   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan keyed in the order for the JFK to engage drives.  The world became grey with a faint blue halo as the nuclear drive bloom began to push the ship faster.  In a few minutes either the ship would reach full combat speed, or come apart under the stress of the acceleration on the new components and fixtures.  If a single missile was loose in its launch rack, or a baffle had a poor fit or seal where the new sensor array was placed, then the JFK would become so much debris orbiting the sun.  The fact that he would be part of that debris always bothered Jack.
   Three minutes later, the monitor displayed that the JFK had reached maximum combat speed.  Jack keyed in the orders for the sensor and engineering crews to begin diagnostic checks.  They were just out of the docks and the new equipment would need to be checked under full stress.  For the next eight hours they would all be locked in their stations while every system that operated was checked for function and safety.    He felt the ship lurch for a seconds and then resume as it had.  The drive was going through combat cut outs and restarts that would allow deployment of weapons, venting of debris, or attitude thrusters to make course corrections.
   The next few weeks would be full of these exercises, checking out the JFK and Franklin, and making sure they were ready for combat.  Jack wasn't sure he was ready to get back into the fight, but he had no doubt that was where he would end up.  At least he wasn't stuck on the space station orbiting Mars, wondering if he would ever be able to get back on his ship.

May 5th  1300 hours

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon watched the metal cylinder drift out into space through the viewing window.  The sun glinted off the silver Pan Euro emblem on the side.  She could hear Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat saying something in the background, but she wasn't listening anymore.  She was back in the infirmary, listening as Captain Sereg's grown son and 17 year old daughter were told that their mother was never going to wake back up.  The injuries had been too extensive and there was nothing that could be done. She had watched as the son had signed the forms that would allow the doctors to let his mother die.
   The son and daughter were on the podium to accept the medals their mother had been awarded.  The Pan Euro Distinguished Cross was presented, along with the Order of the Star of Romania from her home country.  No pieces of fabric and metal would be able to replace their mother.  How many more funerals would there be?  When would it be her turn?  This war was only starting....

May 6th  0255 hours

   Commander Giovanni Vetra looked out from the small viewing port at his ship, the Attack Escort Cynthia, as workers crawled across her hull.  They had docked at the Mercury Shipyards six hours ago, and already crews were everywhere on the ship.  He knew why they were out there in such numbers, and the haste that was being used to refit his ship.  The two Armed Explorers of this Battle Group had been released as convoy escorts, but the Cynthia was slated for upgrades.  With the rumors of what was happening, he was glad to see his ship in the docks getting her plating reinforced, and an extra blast baffle added.
   But what kept catching his eye was in the slip next to the Cynthia.  He had never seen a hull that large.  They had been informed that they would not be released from the shipyards until that ship was complete.  Then the 2nd Light Battle Group would be assigned to this new ship as escorts.  He didn't know what it was or what she would carry, but she was a whole lot bigger than his Attack Escort.  And it might be nice to have that big of a ship around in the next few months.

   1200 hours

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery finished her transmission to Admiral Jude Kushnir and keyed off the comm link.  The 1st Battle Group had arrived in the belt, but was still an hour away from arriving at Pallas Colony.  When they arrived she would leave the Heavy Escort Anastasia and report in to Admiral Kushnir onboard the Red October.  The original orders had only been to report to the Pallas colony and Admiral Kushnir, but she was sure they wouldn't be headed back to Earth anytime soon.  The 3rd Battle Group was there right now, waiting on repairs to the Heavy Escort Tatianna.  And it hadn't looked like that ship would be out of dock anytime soon.
.  The 2nd Battle Group of Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat had also settled into orbit around Earth.  Two Battle Groups was a lot of ships for a weapons free zone.

May 15th  0340 hours

   The Dutchman climbed back into his station and locked it.   The status display showed the Kestrel was ready for acceleration.  They would be unable to utilize the full power of the drive here in Earth's atmosphere, but the short stutter of bursts that it would use to reach orbit still generated enough force to throw the crew around the cabin if they weren't locked in.
   The Chinese surplus laser emitter had been replaced over the last two weeks with a bay filled with the new Devil Class Long Range Missiles that Australia had managed to develop - without the major space powers knowing.  Soon the Marie Celeste and Mary Reed would undergo the same refits.  The surplus lasers would be set aside for use on new vessels that might be built or converted over.  The Queensland Cartel apparently was looking to begin construction of warships to hire out as merchant escorts.  The other space faring groups would be needing their precious ships for the fighting, and would be willing to pay to be able to free up their combat ships from escort duty.
   The South African Corp that held The Dutchman's charter was more interested in arming commercial vessels that would both carry merchant cargos and serve as convoy escorts, whichever was needed - or both at the same time if possible.  The South African Corp held the rights to the lasers, but money was what made the world go round in the free wheeling world of the South Seas Free Space Confederation.  The Dutchman was sure if Queensland wanted to pay the right price, they would be quite welcome to use the old Chinese weapons.
   Just not on his ships.

May 21st  1100 hours

   Minister Po stepped out into the twilight of the evening.  He waited for the transport that would carry him home from the Ministry Building in Beijing.  It had been a long and difficult day. 'Have we made the wise decision.' he wondered to himself.  He doubted it, but it was done.  
   In just over 48 hours the Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, and the Missile Frigates Anhui and Hubei would leave Venus and begin the voyage to Ceres.  At Ceres they would be joined by the Marco Polo Survey Group and the Mobile Construction Ship Zhuang.  At Earth, the Armed Colony Ships Manchuria and Vietnam would load the 18th Independent Powered Armor Brigade and the 6th Cyborg Regiment - along with supplies for extended combat operations.  They would arrive at Ceres a week after the Tung.
   It had been decided that China would begin to assert its control of space beyond the belt.  The Tung, Anhui, and Hubei would accompany the survey group to Saturn, while the two Colony (Troop Transport) Ships would remain at Ceres.  It any armed vessel contested Chinese controlled space outside the belt, the Chinese would use troops to invade the belt colonies of that government.  The Armed Colony Ships, with their powerful short range missiles, would provide heavy support should the troops need bombardments to allow them to complete their missions.  The ministry would have to issue orders to allow the bombardment of any civilian structures, but that could easily occur if hostilities flared.
   He hoped that it wouldn't.  Once the bombs started falling on populations, it would only be a matter of time before they began to fall on Earth.

Date 38-17429  time 23258

   Commander of Combat Vessel 7 assumed his station for the first time.  His four legs readily found their divots and he adjusted the magnetic field to activate his panels.  He could feel the magnetic waves of information wash over him, carrying data on the status of every system on the ship.  They all signaled readiness, as did the crew.  He reached out with his four arms and began to adjust the fields on the panels in front of him.  The particle beams began to accelerate, and field generators spooled up to create the protective bubble that would surround the ship.  In moments they would join the three Patrol Vessels in orbit of this moon.  Then the group would begin the training series laid down generations before.  The same training that had allowed their ancestors to defeat the other races that had fought with them over control of their first home.
   Now they would use this training to fight the new race.  A race that was quickly showing itself to be far more dangerous than had originally been thought.  This race had fought twice against the Patrol Vessels, and had even disabled one ships protective generators.  But they had only faced single Patrol Vessels so far.  Now he would show this new race that they had no hope of surviving.  Combat Vessel 7, along with Patrol Vessels 14, 15, and 16 would become the 1st Combat Group.   And they would destroy the simple ships of this new race.  And then they would destroy the populations of their homes.  
   And for a second time his race would assume their proper place as the dominant one of the system.  For only one could survive.

(I got a few hours down time [aka:  standby] on Peds,)

This month actually had no combat, mostly shifting about of forces and refitting of ships.  I was fairly sure that the Euro and US were preparing for a patrol into the outer system to see if they could find anything that didn't belong to one of the players.  How they were going to go about it was a mystery as yet (the 5 and 9 year old spies that I employed had their limits).  The middle boy (China) had told me he was planning on returning to Saturn in June, and that he was ready for a fight if there was going to be one.  My wife and older son (Euro and US) had tried to talk with him when I wasn’t close enough to hear - likely about what they had going on and knew - but he trusted them like a lion trusts jackals.  
The oldest girl was trying to figure out how to make a buck without seeing her ships trashed.  She knew she couldn't fight the others, but was worried if she helped one - the others would toast her.  The Euro and US saw her as an ineffectual power and didn't even discuss what they were up to with her (probably, I might easily have been wrong about that - I seem to have a talent for being outsmarted by the rest of my family).

By now the Nemotians had pretty much settled in, the first wave of ships was done, and defenses set.  With the failure of Patrols to clear the outer system, it was time to use a combat group to clear away the problems.   I was concerned at this point that if the players didn't get their acts together, this game might be over before turn 15, maybe sooner.  (which after all the work I had put into it, didn't appeal to me)  The players’ ships had proved to be a lot more fragile than I had anticipated.  
But the next couple of turns would begin to see several swings in the tide of events, kind of like an out of control see saw.

The Chinese curse, May you live in interesting times, would definitely have applied to the year 2203.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: cjblack on February 08, 2010, 04:17:02 PM
Very interesting, and I look forward to finding out what happens next.

I think I can clear up the question of why the human ships seem excessively fragile, too.  You are looking at it backwards, actually.  It's not that the ships are too fragile, but rather that the alien weapons are more powerful than they are supposed to be.  Specifically, torpedoes, unlike missiles and kinetics, are not supposed to cause triple damage to unshielded / drive-fieldless targets.

Of course, you can just retroactively houserule this away, and it will have little bearing if the players switch to non-Cp drives.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 09, 2010, 01:18:11 AM
Your very sharp CJ.  That didn't come up for us until turn 21 or 22 (I don't have my notes/records on those turns with me here at the hospital - got stuck here at work d/t the snow storm).  It became a several hour discussion on that subject.  In the end we decided/house-ruled that if a kinetic weapon does damage from plasma striking a target much like a torpedo, and the in game expanation for us was that the torpedo used the same energy source as a missile (detonating the fusion drive) - but simply used the magnetics to focus it, that they would all get the x3 damage bonus.  That, and no one wanted to redo the previous turns.  The +2 to hit vs non drive field and triple damage made the weapon system horribly powerful.
That combo made the higher tech Nemotians feel a lot more dangerous (of course that was because they were). And it made developing shields very important to the players.
Thank you for reading, hope you enjoy the turns to follow  (assuming I ever get away from work).
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: Sotak246 on February 09, 2010, 06:05:02 PM
Please do continue writing when you get the chance, work comes first but, hurry.  I have gotten hooked on your write-up and can't wait for the next installment.

Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 12, 2010, 07:30:27 PM
June 2203

June 1st  0720 hours/US Space Station

   Admiral Bradley Walters dismissed the staff from the briefing room.  He hit his comm link, "Petty Officer Hansen, notify Lieutenant Ryan to meet me in my office in ten minutes."   "Yes, Admiral.  Right away."   Petty Officer Hansen was always so cheerful in the mornings, although the long hours of the past few months had begun to wear on even her youthful enthusiasm.  But she was a damned good organizer.  'Which is good, because I'm not.  And the amount of work coming through here isn't helping matters either.' he thought.  Right now there was one thing to worry about that wasn't work, and time for it was getting short.
   "Good morning Lieutenant Ryan."  Admiral Bradley returned her salute, but didn't offer her a chair.  "You have done an excellent job here, and I appreciate it.  I can't give you any details, but if you have anything important to say to your father, you need to do it soon.  Within the next few hours.  You won't ask any questions why or act as if anything is going on.  Do I make myself clear Lieutenant?"  The Lieutenant's eyes had grown only slightly wider, but she nodded.  "Yes, Admiral.  Very clear, sir."  
   "Then you are dismissed.  That is all until the 1500 briefing."  He returned her salute and watched as she left the office.  She had managed to do his command a number of favors.  It was time to repay that to some small degree.

   1015 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan looked over the orders that the Comm Officer had sent to his monitor.  He had transmitted to Command that the JFK and Franklin had cleared their trials and were fit for duty just 17 hours ago.  It didn't take them long to respond.  As he read through the body of it, he decided that sitting on the Mars Station or putting the JFK and Franklin through a shakedown cruise wasn't so bad.
   "Comm, signal all ships of Task Force One.  All ships are to dock at the Orbital Transfer Station.  Draw fuel, supplies, and maintenance equipment for a four month period.  All ships are to lock stations and be prepped for drive engagement at 1200 hours.  Communications silence other than tightbeam ship to ship within the task force to commence at 1202. Rear Admiral Jack Ryan, out.  Regular encryption protocols."  Jack turned in his station and looked around at the cabin.  'Guess this will be home for a while,' he thought.  'But where the hell are we going.  The course bearings and waypoints take us nowhere.  Just out beyond the belt.  We won't be close to anything.'
   He looked hard at the coordinates again.  'Maybe that is what they want.  If we aren't close to anything, nobody will see us go.'
   'This can't be good.'

June 3rd  1645 hours/Baoji Military Barracks, China

   Senior Colonel Liang checked the status of his brigade on the ship's monitors.  The 18th Independent Powered Armor Brigade would be finished loading onto the Transport Vietnam within 90 minutes.  The operations were ahead of schedule by 22 hours at the moment.  Soon it would be up to the 'borg ship jockeys to keep them on schedule.  He hated that part.  Climbing into the fluid hydrocarbon chambers that they would sleep in.  First they would have to be hooked up to a number of tubes that would feed them, keep them asleep, and take care of other functions that he didn't care to think of until he had to.  What he hated most was having to breathe in the fluid before going to sleep.  It felt wrong.  Without the fluid they would be crushed by the acceleration of the transport, but the Colonel still hated it.  Even with the fluid the ship was limited to only about 10 percent of its normal acceleration.  Any faster and it would kill the entire Brigade.  He doubted the 'borg crew would worry about that if they came under attack though. Their orders probably even specified that the troops were expendable.  The other transport, the Manchuria, would be carrying a cyborg unit.  They would be able to survive the acceleration and still deploy, so his brigade, the powered armor troops, was less valuable.
   His troops would show them what valuable was if they ever made a drop.  Nobody was better.  Even those bodiless bastards in the next ship.  They would see what his troops could do.

June 4th  2050 hours/12 Light Minutes sunward from Vesta 4, Asteroid Belt

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan glared at the monitor.  "Comm, all ships, general quarters.  Prep weapons and drives for combat.  Sensor Conn, give me a firing solution on that big son of a bitch.  Helm, bring us about to bearing one two two at ascension minus one zero."  Jack looked at the sensor returns again.  'Where in the hell did those ships come from and why are they out here in the middle of nowhere.  They haven't changed course yet so maybe they don't know we are here.'  "Sensor Conn, do you have identification of the contacts?"  He knew they didn't for the big one, but maybe the other returns were something they would be able to recognize.
   "Sir, contacts designated as Two and Three read as Chinese Attack Vessels.  Contact One is not currently in memory for the ship."
   Jack studied the returns again.  Whatever Contact One was, it was huge.  Probably massed more than his entire task force.  If China was behind whatever the small ship was that had destroyed so many US and Euro vessels, he sure as hell didn't want to tangle with its big brother.  It was obvious China had at least one ship that was off the logs, and it was something no one else could even approach deploying right now.  The thought that they were behind the combats over the last few months was beginning to look more realistic.
   "Communications, process sensor data for transmission.  Full encryption protocol."   The Chinese ships were passing by, and Task Force One's heading change was taking them away from the contacts. Allowing Task Force One to slip behind them.  "Prepare for tightbeam transmission to Mars in thirty seconds.  Continue to transmit all sensor data on Contacts One through Three until they pass beyond sensor range."  'We aren't supposed to break comm silence, but they are going to want to know about this back at home.'  Jack was sure of that.

June 5th  0830 hours/Heavy Escort Anastasia, Station Keeping near Pallas 2 Colony

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery couldn't believe what she was reading.  Admiral Kushnir had personally handed her orders and files an hour and a half ago.  Personally.  That didn't happen.
   Now she saw why.   Everyone had heard rumors of troubles here in the out system areas, but that was to be expected.  Treaty or not, there was bound to be a little jostling for position when it came down to it. Everyone was worried that it would spread, but concern was low back at home on Earth.  If they knew what was in these files, there would be uproar.  Chaos.   Rumor had the 1st Light Battle Group off spying on shipping in Chinese and US space.  Destroyed?  By one ship?!   The 3rd Battle Group fought to a stalemate by a single ship?  The US Outreach presumed destroyed?   This was unreal.  It wasn't jostling.  It wasn't even a war, it was a slaughter.  The entire 3rd Battle Group had only managed to knock down whatever those magnetic fields were, but the sensor returns didn't even show any damage to the enemy ship's hull after multiple intercepts with drive detonations.
   Her orders were to report to Pallas Belt Transfer Station and draw supplies for an extended deployment, and then engage drives and cruise toward Earth.  But that wasn't where they were going.  They would double back through an uninhabited section of the belt and take up station on the leeward side of it.
   Why?  Were they bait?
   It didn't make sense.  She keyed in orders for the ships of 1st Battle Group to move to the Transfer Station and dock for resupply.
   Sense or not, she had her orders.

June 6th  2255 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October,  2 Light Second dark side of Pallas 2

   Admiral Jude Kushnir watched as her monitor displayed the progress of the transmission to the 1st Battle Group and Vice Admiral Avery.  These orders would start a new age in relations between the Pan Euro and US Space Fleets.  Hopefully a good one.  The 1st Battle Group would soon make contact with and join US Task Force One.  Peacefully.  They were to begin a sweep that would take them back to Jupiter, across the US held section of the Trojans, and then out to Uranus and Neptune.  They would be searching for information, but that was only a secondary part of the mission.  The orders had made that very clear.


Vice Admiral Avery would know that included the survival of 1st Battle Group.

(Thanks for the encouragement.  It is much appreciated.)
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 12, 2010, 07:32:42 PM
June 2203   part 2

June 9th  1600 hours/Mercury Shipyards

   Commander Giovanni Vetra watched from the viewing port as the two Mobile Shipyards worked in space near the station.  They were churning out a large number of prefabbed systems and components for the hull that was being finished in the slip beside the Attack Escort Cynthia.  Giovanni wasn't an engineer or specialist in ship construction, but he knew the components that were being stacked up along side the station.  Sensor array sections, plating, particle accelerators, and several missile launchers.  More launchers than his entire 2nd Light Battle Group.  This wasn't a science ship, it was a warship.  A big one.
   There was only one reason to need a ship that big, and it wasn't for parades and photo ops.  The rumors were true.  A war was being fought.  One that needed more firepower than what the current three Battle Groups and his Light Battle Group could muster.  Something which could fight a ship that could destroy a Light Battle Group by itself.
   Giovanni could still remember the transmission of the Attack Escort Boudicca as the 1st Light Battle Group was destroyed.  The helpless feeling as the transmission cut out.  A transmission that had been classified even before he began analysis of it.  What the ship was that had killed his friend, Commander Rachel Pierce, was a secret.  Secret or not, he wanted to see the giant in the slip before him crush it.  
   Their were rumors on the station, and a name.  The name whispered the most was the Queen Elizabeth.

June 12th  0230 hours/ Queensland Corporation Shipworks, Australia

   Chairman Mukata looked over the blueprints, and then at the assembled design team.  "You think this design will be able to compete with current warships in service? Or am I looking at an expensive way to place more debris in orbit?"  The look on the chairman's face was not a happy one, and disdain dripped from the statement.  His lack of faith in the design was obvious.
   "Honorable Chairman, we have high confidence in the components of the sensor system that were 'acquired' from American sources.  The Devil Class missiles have been calibrated to use the targeting data it will supply.  It should be capable of engagement ranges comparable to the best US or European vessels, and greater range than most of the older ships in service."   Several of the design team members nodded in agreement, weak smiles trying to convince the chairman that they had as much faith as what they said.  
   "So what does the test data show?"  The designers' weak smiles evaporated.  The lack of field trials was a glaring omission in the design, and the Chairman wasn't impressed.  Mukata looked over the group assembled around the table.
   "We will have adequate funds available for a prototype to begin construction, here in Queensland, within the next few months.  I will expect successful field trials of the systems, and a multi-role vessel that can be fielded before years end.  Understood, gentlemen?"   Chairman Mukata's expression let everyone know that failure would be a very unhealthy result.
   The designers breathed a sign of relief as the Chairman left the room.

June 18th  1320 hours/ Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres Colony orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji unlocked his station and keyed the order for all ships to shut down their drives.  The Tung hummed as the banks of particle accelerators powered down.  A short distance away the Missile Frigates Anhui and Hubei followed suit.  A late addition, the Attack Frigate Hunan had been detailed to join the group and would also stand down.   A few light seconds further the three ships of the Marco Polo Survey Group, plus the Mobile Construction Ship Zhuang, had been preparing to begin the journey to Saturn also. Now they would remain at Ceres for however long the Ministers chose.  'If only I had this group when we fought the Euro at Jupiter.'  Zhu mused.   But the time for that may yet come again.
   The Transports Manchuria and Vietnam had arrived four hours before.  Along with the Attack Frigate Jilin, they would have been responsible for defense of the colony here at Ceres. Now the entire Tung Group would be joining them. The two brigades of troops would off load for extensive low G combat training.  If they were called on to assault a US or Euro colony, the training available in the belt would be invaluable.  For ground troops, the low G training at Earth was both limited and expensive.  In the belt it was all there was.
   Zhu wondered to himself if all this was actually just China claiming her sovereign territory.  It would take little to change this 'defensive deployment' into an assault.  After the defeat at Jupiter, and the shameful return, a chance to redeem honor would be welcomed.  A chance to prove to the other powers of the world that China was not so easily dismissed.  But why stop the ships even as they were preparing to leave?
   The return to Saturn was China’s only real chance to expand into the outer system and establish new colonies, but for some reason it was now on hold.  It made no sense to deploy this many ships to the belt in secret, just to let them sit.  Unless the belt had been their destination all along.
   Perhaps the intended expansion had never been planned for Saturn, but here in the belt?

June 23rd  0922 hours/ Heavy Escort Anastasia, 30 Light Seconds sunward from Uranus

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery keyed the 'all ships' comm link, "First Battle Group, Lock Stations, General Quarters.  Standard Attack Formation.  One quarter light second interval."  Elizabeth knew that the Attack Escorts Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots would already be prepared for battle.  They had done this before at Jupiter, and several times while sweeping the US portion of the Trojans.  Any location that contact had been made before, or could hide a vessel the size of Contact Alpha.  Uranus was the first site where Contact Alpha had been recorded.  It was of prime interest.
   The US Interceptors were forming up in a tight formation one half light second astern of the Anastasia, far enough back to be safe from the drive blooms of the 1st Battle Group.  Another half light second behind the Interceptors were the US Missile Escorts, small ships with little design difference from the Pan Euro Armed Explorer Class.  The Missile Escorts would only be capable of two thirds the maximum combat speed of the other ships, and were detailed to keep the area directly astern of the attack groups clear.
   The US commander Commodore (Elizabeth hated the term Rear Admiral Lower Half, it sounded ridiculous) Jack Ryan had proved invaluable on the patrol this far.  His understanding of Astrogation was simply astounding.  Elizabeth knew that her Navigator and Helmsman were tired of having their course plots corrected by the US Admiral, but his understanding of trajectories, gravity wells, and engine tolerances were uncanny.  He had probably reduced the travel time to reach Uranus by at least fifty percent.  In the next fifteen minutes the planet would enter the extreme range of her sensors.  Then they would know if this planet's space was also empty.

   0930 hours/Heavy Escort Anastasia

   "Contact detected, bearing zero zero two at ascension minus one point five.  Range to contact unclear, but no less than one four light seconds.  Contact appears to be in station keeping orbit with respect to Uranus, or at a velocity to low to register at this range.  Magnetic signature verifies contact as Alpha."
   Elizabeth looked at the Sensor Officer's report as it scrolled onto her monitor.  They had found their quarry.  Elizabeth had no intention of playing the cat and mouse game that Rear Admiral Muldoon had.  Her ships (and she was assured the US ships also) were state of the art.  A wolf pack.  And it was time to run their quarry down and bring it to bay.  It would not have the chance to slip away this time.
   "Comm open link to all ships.  Engage drives, full combat acceleration, secondary safety release.  Begin plots for firing solutions. Launch as soon as we enter range."  Elizabeth watched the world go gray as the drives shoved the ships forward through space.  The next few minutes would find out what this Contact Alpha could do.

   0933 hours/Patrol Vessel 17

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 rapidly began manipulating the field on the panels of his station.  Half his crew was dormant now, it was going to take precious time to get them to their stations.  The ship would be able to begin acceleration and maneuver, but he could not begin to plot the firing solutions and activate weapon systems at the same time.  He would needs his crew to control all the system.  The contacts were closing terribly fast, and they outnumbered his group by over three to one.  Two to one if you counted Defense Station 3 in orbit above the new colony.  The Station had only finished construction a few weeks before. Its systems were not fully tested, and the crew was still engaged in training.  The Station had field generators half again as powerful as the Patrol Vessels, but it would be unable to maneuver against the enemy vessels.
   Worst was the small colony on the fourth moon of this planet.  They had only recently settled on their new home, and had only the most basic of defenses.  There were 370,000 lives in the newest colony.  All of their fates would be decided in the next few minutes.  It would come down to Base Station 3, and Patrol Vessels 17 and 18 to protect them.  The two colony ships were also still on the moon's surface, and would need to try and leave the combat area without being detected.
   The Commander felt the drives of Patrol Ship 17 and 18 as they engaged, and the ships began to pull away from each other.

   0934 hours/ US Interceptor Mk IIa JFK

   "Resolving now, three contacts.  Contacts designated One and Two at seven point seven five light seconds, drive blooms detected.  Contact Three magnetic signature between eight point five and nine point five light seconds. Unable to resolve for drive bloom at this range.  Transferring contact data and vectors to your station Admiral."  
   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan considered the plot.  Three contacts?  No one had ever seen more than one.  Or even considered trying to fight more than one at a time.  With the Missile Escorts falling behind, the opening volleys would be fought at odds of 5 on 3.  So far no one had successfully engaged this type of contact at odds of less than three to one. 'We won't even have two to one for the first minute or so.'  Jack thought.  This tactic of charging straight in seemed awfully familiar, and it didn't work so well for him at Jupiter.  The plot showed the contacts were pulling apart, on trajectories separated by almost 120 degrees at the moment.  If the US and Euro ships could swing to one side and hold the range open, they may be able to bring the full power of the combined groups to bear on a single contact before the others were able to come about and assist.  Jack keyed in the course adjustments, a quick overview of his plan, and then transmitted to Vice Admiral Avery.
   Five on one sounded a lot better to him.  This fair fight thing sounds good in theory, but in practice you could get hurt doing that.

   0935 hours/Patrol Vessel 17

   The Commander struggled to control the fields on his panels.  The strain of maintaining this level of flux was draining.  The sensor returns drove him to even greater lengths as the crew of Patrol Vessel 17 tried to overcome the limits of the ship that carried them.  The enemy vessels had changed course and turned away from Patrol Vessel 17 and the Defense Station.  Patrol Vessel 18 would be forced to face them nearly alone.  The station would be able to engage targets at the projected ranges, but just barely.
   Sensor returns suddenly showed the eruption of contacts from the enemy vessels as they attacked.  Patrol Vessel 18 was trying to turn away, keep the range open, but the enemy vessels were already at combat speeds.  Patrol Vessel 18 managed to launch before the enemy contacts could intercept her, but it was going to be a lopsided engagement.  The Commander tried futilely to force Patrol Vessel 17 to turn faster than it would ever be able to.  Tried to will it to move faster.
   The Commander could sense as the field around Patrol Vessel 18 collapsed.  The sensors showed she was venting debris.  One of the smaller enemy vessels in the lead group was also venting and losing its position in their formation, but the enemy vessel's drive reengaged and it corrected course.  Patrol Vessel 18's torpedo must have impacted the craft, as the Defense Station's torpedo had obviously lost tracking.
   A single hit wasn't going to save them though.  Patrol Vessel 18 wasn't going to be able to survive another exchange like that.  

   /Heavy Escort Anastasia

   Admiral Avery tried to key commands into the comm system and monitor the situation at the same time. It was maddening, too much information, too much to do, and only so much she could control.  The Attack Escort Victoria was reporting extensive damage, but her missile bay was still operational.  Contact One had lost its magnetic signature, and was even venting!  Contact Two was altering course and would be in position to come around behind the 1st Battle Group in the next few minutes.  The last Contact hadn't even moved?  It was close to the moon Titania, perhaps it was a base?
   She finished keying in the orders to come about 60 degrees to starboard and continue fire on Contact One.  If they could just keep away from Contact Two.  If the US Missile Escorts could tie it up, hold it off for a few more minutes.  But no time to send that message, new inbound contacts flashed on Elizabeth's monitor.  And how the hell was Contact Three engaging them at a range of over six light seconds?  

   0937 hours/US Missile Escort Falcon

   Lieutenant Commander Justin Reynolds keyed in orders for the third launch on Contact Two.  The onboard sensors could barely resolve the contact, and hadn't been able to plot a firing solution until it had launched.  At least the range seemed a bit on the long side for Contact Two also, as its first two launches had mis-timed the intercepts.  Contact One was being reported by the JFK as destroyed, and the main group of US and Euro ships was coming around to make a pass on Contact Three.  
   Justin knew this was the real battle though.  Maneuvering five large combat ships on a stationary contact was one thing.  Fighting this contact with the two smallest and slowest ships of the US Task Force, to keep it from getting behind the main group.  A position that would force the group to break up, so their sensors would be able to target the contact around the group's drive blooms. Then they would be maneuvering to try and avoid each other's drive blooms.  It would leave the main group scattered and vulnerable.  And these ships were too dangerous to take on piecemeal.  Too dangerous to take on with a pair of pip squeaks, also.  But that was he had.  This right here was where the true battle was at.  
   The second salvo from his ship and the Missile Escort Raptor had managed to cause Contact Two's magnetic signature to shift, but not disappear.  Now they were closing on each other.  This third salvo would be within range of the Missile Escorts' onboard sensors to guide.   Contact Two wasn't changing course though.  It wouldn't break off from trying to get behind the Interceptors.  They would have to stop it.  He watched the monitor indicate " MISSILE AWAY " as the sensors picked up the third launch from Contact Two.

   0939 hours/US Interceptor Mk IIa JFK

   Jack wanted to cringe.  The Euro Attack Escort Victoria had been destroyed as they had closed on Contact Three.  Sensors had confirmed it had been a stationary base of some type, and the Interceptors had been able to close to laser range before the contact had blossomed from internal explosions.  Now the Falcon was confirming that the Raptor had been destroyed, and the Falcon was fighting alone against Contact Two.  The Euro ships had detected two more large ships moving away from Uranus, larger than any ship in the US fleet.  Admiral Avery had given orders for a pursuit of these new contacts, Four and Five.  At least Contact Two was accelerating away from the battle, no longer maneuvering against the main group of ships.  Jack keyed in commands for Falcon to break off.  Return to the main body as best it could.  Get the hell away from that monster it was chasing alone.  But it was going to take time for the message to reach them.  Time for them to come about.  Time for them to extend the range beyond Contact Two's ability to fire on them.  Too much time.
   Jack watched as sensor returns tracked a fourth launch from both the Falcon and Contact Two.  The returns were of things that had happened almost half a minute ago.  Ancient history in a space battle.  Pride flooded through him as he saw returns indicating that Contact Two's magnetic field had collapsed.  Then a fifth launch between them.  The Falcon was banking hard, trying to follow Jack's orders it had received perhaps a minute ago now.
   Jack watched as the missiles crossed and time crawled by.  The JFK was fast.  The distance between the JFK and Falcon getting longer.  In moments they would have to rely on transmissions from the Falcon as they went beyond sensor range.  Then Uranus passed between them.
   Agonizing minutes passed.  Contacts Four and Five were drawing closer.  They were moving with barely one third the speed of the US and Euro ships.  They also had none of the magnetic fields surrounding them that the first three contacts had displayed.   And they weren't launching on the group either.  Some uncataloged and huge variety of unarmed freighter perhaps.  Then the orders from Vice Admiral Avery arrived.  The US Interceptors were to close on Contacts Four and Five.  To destroyed them by laser fire if they did not shut down drives and surrender.  She was conserving the missiles.  Leaving his comrades on the Falcon behind.  If they were even still alive.
   Then the two Euro ships came about to port and began to sweep wide of Contacts Four and Five.  Clearing the area behind Uranus.  Making sure that Contact Two wasn't coming up behind them after it had destroyed the tiny Falcon.
   The comm link relay surprised him. The Heavy Escort Anastasia was downloading sensor returns.  Then the Comm Officer broke through on a priority link.  The Falcon was transmitting!  They were still there!  How in the hell?!  Sensor files were showing that a sixth launch from the Falcon had left Contact Two venting and crippled!  Somehow the Falcon had survived seven separate launches from Contact Two! Not only had they kept Contact Two off the main groups tail, they had actually out fought the damned ship.  Talk about David and Goliath.  'Reynolds is definitely going to be getting a promotion and a big medal if I have to kick asses all the way up the chain of command.' Jack thought to himself.  They tried to call me a hero.  Now they've actually got one.
   "Communications, get that data sent out now.  All of it.  The folks back at home are going to want to hear this."
   The ship lurched and hummed as the drives cut out and the laser output coupler lined up Contact Four.  'These two ships will be following Contacts One and Three into oblivion soon enough thought Jack.'

   1000 hours/Patrol Vessel 17

   The Commander all but shook with fury, and the magnetic pulses from the crew made it clear that they shared in the rage.  They had destroyed two of the smaller enemy vessels, but LOST both a Patrol Vessel and Defense Station.  Patrol Vessel 17 wasn't returning with glory.  It was with shame and damage.  The signals from the colony on the planet were making it clear that this race also understood that coexistence was futile.  With the second ship of the Commander's Patrol group gone, there was nothing left but to volunteer his ship to join the Combat Vessel when the time for retribution came.  Patrol Vessel 17 would see this enemy race pay for the lives they were taking.

   1005/Heavy Escort Anastasia

   The transmission to the Red October should be done now.  They should be moving away from here.  Waiting for confirmation of receipt of the transmission and further orders.  The US ships and their actions were holding them up.  Forcing them to continue the data transmissions.  This changed everything.
   Putting an armed base station beside a moon tended to indicate that there was something there to defend.  A pass had picked up unusual energy signatures from the surface.  Active scans showed structures and movement.  Not human structures.  A ship's boat had performed a low pass on the moon and actually drawn fire from small ground based weapons.  The pass had confirmed that what was down on the surface of Titania wasn't human though.  Elizabeth wasn't sure what the hell they were, but they weren't even remotely human.
   There wasn't going to be much studying them.  When the US Interceptors had returned, Commodore Ryan had ordered the two ships two close to 10,000 kilometers above the moon's surface.  Then the laser batteries of the ships had begun raking the surface.  Superheating the crust of the moon. The structures and creatures not instantly vaporized had perished as the heat explosively expanded rocks and ice, hurling them for kilometers across the surface.  Using the missiles the Interceptors carried may have been slightly quicker, but no more effective.
   When Elizabeth had tried to stop Commodore Ryan, questioned what he was doing, the reply had been short and curt.  This race had never attempted to communicate, and every time a contact had been made, this race had attacked.  They had no intention on living peacefully together.  And Commodore Ryan had no intention of negotiating for ownership of what amounted to seized US territory.
   Elizabeth knew she wasn't going to try and intervene.  But she didn't like where this was going.  Even if she agreed with what Commodore Ryan had said.

June 25th   0200 hour/150 meters below the surface of Titania

   The Outpost Commander received the news that the enemy ships were no longer in orbit.  Barely 7000 had survived the bombardment by the alien weapons.  Huddled here in the subsurface shelters, they would await relief from the other colonies.  They would also begin to ration what supplies they had, training soldiers to protect the survivors, and prepare for a possible alien invasion of the outpost.  Many had already stepped forward, hoping for a chance to avenge dead family and loved ones.  The Outpost Commander hoped that it would not come to that.  There would be enough challenges to just surviving, let alone combat against some strange foe.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 15, 2010, 08:59:43 AM
June 2203 part 3

June 26th  0325 hours/ Armed Science Vessel Red October, Pallas 2, Asteroid Belt

   Admiral Jude Kushnir reviewed the transmission from the Heavy Escort Anastasia again.  The techs were busy going over the data, analyzing the wealth of new information that had been gained.  Proof that another life form was behind the attacks was undeniable.  The actions of Rear Admiral Ryan had cost them the opportunity for study of anything other than sensor data and ruins, but she couldn't waste time fretting over that.
   The combined Pan Euro / US Task Force was now deep out system,  They had lost two of their combat vessels, and with them 25 percent of the groups' long range launchers.  The remaining ships were at less than two thirds of their initial load out of missile.  Complicating matters was the indication from the US that if the group was to continue operations, the US Missile Escort Falcon would be off loading its last remaining missiles onto the Interceptors JFK and Franklin.  It would then return to the inner system.  This would reduce the launchers available to the group by almost 40 percent - down to only 5 launch bays - although the US missile load out would improve slightly.
   With no way of knowing what lay farther out in the system or of what may even now be closing in on the ships near Uranus (if anything), there was only one option.  Jude keyed in the orders for the 1st Battle Group to return, and sent them to the comm section for transmission to Vice Admiral Avery, with a copy forwarded to the US Space Station at Earth.
   With the knowledge that the enemy wasn't China, she also keyed in a request to Euro Headquarters that disclosure of available data be made to the Chinese.  The Earth may need all its governments to fight this new foe, and the eruption of a war between them now could be disastrous for them all.

   0650 hours/ US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan rubbed her eyes and tried to focus on the monitor.  The amount of data that the Interceptor JFK and Franklin had gathered was enormous.  She was amazed her father had managed to get his ships this close to both an alien base station and settlement.  The sensor's ability to scan for data at these short ranges was much greater than what could be obtained at normal combat ranges.  But Admiral Walters had ordered a briefing at 0800 and she needed to get everything she could together that had been analyzed.
   The base had sustained severe damage by the time the Interceptor JFK had closed with it, but the weapon system it used had still been operational, and data on the 'missile' when it was deployed was giving great insight into its capabilities and design.  The JFK had also managed to pick up active emissions that appeared to be part of a sensor and targeting system.  It was based on entirely different principles of operation, and would merit a great deal of study.
   Also scanned was the surface of Titania, and what were definitely alien structures and creatures.  The resolution of the creatures was very poor, as they seemed to be poor heat emitters, somewhat transparent to radar, and the light gain on a moon so far from the sun made enlarging the visible light pictures very grainy.   The dust and debris from the strikes on the planet made things even worse.  What was most important was simply that they were alien.
   But possibly the most important information that had been gained, was what the close range scans DIDN'T show.  Although the alien nature of the base and settlement made the last conclusion uncertain, it seemed impossible for the base, settlement, or two large unarmed vessels to have facilities capable of building or maintaining the two (now) Alpha Class vessels or the base, let alone the two large vessels that had been scanned and destroyed.  Somewhere, there had to be facilities capable of building and maintaining all of them.
   And if a moon incapable of doing that merited two Alpha Class vessel and a defensive base station, Meagan dreaded what would guard the facilities that COULD build them....

June 30th  1500 hours/Mobile Construction Ship Zhuang, Ceres Colony, Asteroid Belt

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji listened as the engineers aboard the Zhuang went over the work list for the coming month.   All combat ships of the Tung Group would be down for one week each over the coming month.  Apparently the design teams back on Earth had come up with a sensor system they felt would be able to compete with the European's.  Each of his ships would have the new equipment installed as quickly as possible.  The hasty nature of the work, and alterations to the ships' layouts bothered Zhu though.
   The Cruiser would see some of her internal magazine space filled with the necessary equipment, and her armor was substantial enough that the arrays would make little difference in her protection.  It should vastly increase her force projection if the sensors work as well as the engineers say it will.
   The Missile Frigates and Attack Frigate are smaller, and internal space is at a premium in their designs.  Work to fit the sensor systems internally would take months per ship out here in the belt.  So a 'compromise' had been made.  The engineers called it a 'field expedient' design.  That would be the nice way to say 'cobbled together'.
   The equipment would be housed in the space allocated to the inner most protective baffle.  Instead of a gap to allow for expansion of superheated gasses and particles, it would be filled with the sensor equipment.  Which meant the sensor array would be in a rather vulnerable position.  The Attack Frigate mounted considerable plating and baffles and only one long range missile bay, so the long range sensors would be fairly safe, and their loss would only slightly decrease its (alas, limited) combat effectiveness.  The Missile Frigates' refits had already necessitated a decrease in the number of baffles to accommodate the two long range missile bays, so the sensors on these ships would be particularly vulnerable.  Loss of these new sensors would severely impact the long range combat designs.
   Not having the sensors at all would leave him at a great disadvantage though.  A vulnerable system was better than none at all.  He signed the work orders.

To those who noticed the big typo in June part 1, sorry and it’s fixed. (My wife has already chastised me for posting after work without allowing her to proof read.)
I will also apologies for the large number of typos in the early months.  My lunch breaks & stand by time were when I wrote them, and my workstation only has WordPad - no spell check. I don't plan on going back to fix them any time soon as I would rather keep writing than fixing.
With that done, on to the meat of the month...

China had planned on going to Saturn, but successfully rolled to develop the Ya, and felt it was worth stopping the Tung Group for the refit before they left.  His refit really is a desperate one, as the Zhuang can only work on 4 HS a month - so it had to be a one HS project on each ship.  I OK'd the four projects for one construction complex as they wouldn't exceed capacity, and he would have to put an entire group down for two months (1 for refit, 1 for shakedown), for a really less than ideal fix.  It kind of stretched the rules to let him do all this, and stop mid month, but China had been left on the back burner for a while and I figured he could use a break.

The Free Spacers also managed to develop the Ya in the same month, but were in no position to capitalize on it.  The oldest girl just added it into the warship designs she was looking at and kept saving her cash (so to speak).  She picked up a little extra money providing convoy escort for the Euro that month, so her mom could free up ships.  

The Euro and US (my wife and oldest boy) worked together again this month - sort of.  They were both sure if they went looking for their "Alpha Class" target, they would eventually find it.  They were also sure it wouldn't likely be alone.  Whether it would be with Chinese ships, or alien, it would probably have buddies.  Neither wanted to try and take on a couple of advanced ships alone, so they teamed up.  But not without friction and deceit.  
Each wanted the other to bring a ship with science instruments, in case they ran into something to do with a warp point, or some other situation they would be beneficial in.  The Euro wanted the US to bring the Discovery; the US wanted the Euro to bring the Red October.  Neither wanted to risk their last armed science ship.  So in the end neither did.
The US got a lucky random event (Crack Leader discovered), and the oldest boy asked if he could just move Jack Ryan up to BG +1.  I saw no reason not to, and it furthered the story and his attachment to the character, so I ok'd it.  (I must have been in a really good mood this turn.)
But my wife had the senior admiral, even if only BG +0, and wouldn't give the US the initiative roll (she wanted to be able to roll for advancement if a battle occurred, and didn't want to give the oldest boy the chance to get a BG +2 admiral if he got a lucky advancement roll).  This caused more than a little grumbling, especially when the battle occurred.
The battle saw a bunch of bad rolls from all sides (Patrol CT 17 got one hit out of 8! launches, the base and CT 18 got one each before they were destroyed. At least 7 of the launches had 70% chances of hitting. The Mary QoS was BG +1 and only got one hit in 6 launches)  The only lucky roller was the little EX Falcon - with three hits on CT 17 in 6 launches, most with 20% or less to hit odds.   It then went on and got one last good roll and made its advance to BG +1 (which everyone thought only appropriate).  First time (only time?!) I've ever seen someone do a victory dance because their EX made BG +1.
The oldest boy must have also been the one who did the most research on the sensor tables, as he made sure to get into scan distance of everything he could (the base, colony, FT's).  He passed it off as wanting to use his lasers and save missiles during the fight.  Afterward when mom wasn't around, he brought it up and asked for the info he wanted based on turn notes from the battle.

Notably - Tech data on Plasma Torpedo d/t base launch
Facilities on the planet (PDC, SA, RDS)
General systems on the FT's several times over - he took his time destroying them. Notably SYM

He must have been a little miffed with his mom on the admiral issue, as he shared NONE of this info.  
Both I and my wife were surprised when the oldest boy decided to genocide the colony.  When asked he was very straight and to the point (surprised me actually).  'They never attempted contact, always fired first, and I'm not negotiating for something that's already mine'.

For those curious for the ship designs that took part, here they are...

US Task Force 1 (Admiral Jack Ryan BG +1, Navigator)

Interceptors Mk IIa  JFK , Franklin (BG -1)   CT   16HS
[2]A A A H Mgs Qa Ya Lb Ra (cpCp) [6/1]

Missile Escorts Raptor , Falcon         EX   7HS
[2]A Hs Qa Ra (cp) [4/1]

Pan Euro 1st Battle Group (Admiral Elizabeth Avery BG +0 - commanding)

Heavy Escort Anastasia            CT   16HS
[2]A A A H Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1]

Attack Escort Victoria , Mary QoS (BG +1)
[2]A A A A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Nemotian Patrol Group 1

Patrol Corvettes 17 , 18            CT   16HS
[2]S S A A Hs (BbS) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1] gig x3

Defense Base Mk0 #3 (BG -2)         BS0   15HS

Colony Ships 3 , 4            FT4   30HS
[2]A H H A H H Qv (x15) H H H H H H H Qa (Cp) [2/1]

Once again, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 17, 2010, 06:37:03 PM
July 2203  part 1

July 4th  0900 hours/US Space Station

   'It's unusually quiet' thought Admiral Bradley Walters.   In the absence of a 'formal' war, the observance of the holiday was going on as usual.  All non essential work was cancelled and the crew given a day to rest, or in rare cases a furlough to the surface.  The station was a veritable beacon of radio transmissions as many took the opportunity to contact friends or family.
   'The Joint Task Force won't be much of a beacon.  They haven't been heard from for the last seven days. The communication black out will last for another 24 hours or so, until they pass inside of the belt.  Until then, the only assurance we have that they still exist is the fact that they haven't transmitted any sensor readings of contacts - or distress calls.'  Admiral Walters changed from one display on his monitor to another.  Status reports, progress reports, theories on the data transmitted by the JFK.  It all left more questions, and not comfortable ones.  The chief question among them - 'Is this the last days of the human race?'
   The US combat ship roster was terribly limited.  If you included the ships of Task Force 1, it mustered only six Interceptor Mk IIa's, and five Missile Escorts.  With no way of knowing what the enemy held in reserve, that roster was going to have to expand.  When it did, the cat would be out of the bag.  The folks at home would quickly realize that the rumors were true, and that a war was being fought.  Shortly there after, they would find out who the real enemy was and all hell would break loose.  For the moment, only military ships and personnel knew the truth, and not even all of them.  None of the governments had released the information to the public.
   'No matter how good the lies, this secret is going to be too big.  Yes, it is unusually quiet today."  Admiral Walters thought again as he tried to relax.

Also that day/Combat Vessel 7, Titania, Uranus

   Commander of Combat Vessel 7 monitored the progress of the evacuation.  The colony ship was nearly finished loading the last of the survivors from the moon's surface.  The three Patrol Vessels and their nine scout craft were involved in forming the mobile 'umbrella' covering the rescue.  If any of the enemy combat ships were in the area, or tried to intercede, they would be detected and destroyed.  
   The devastation on the surface of the moon was too precise, and the energy emissions from the ruins ruled out the weapons that this race typically used.  There had been short transmissions from Defense Station 3 before it was destroyed, reports of impacts in the absence of any inbound contacts.  Perhaps this race used some form of energy emitting weapon.  If so, it would seem to be a short ranged weapon, as its use against combat vessels had never been recorded.  It would not matter.  Combat Group 1 would find this race's homes and destroy them.  Just as this race had destroyed the helpless lives on this moon.
   As soon as the survivors were safely off this moon, Combat Group 1 would turn toward the inner planets of this system, and one by one clean any infestation from them.  Soon.....

July 7th  0450 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon wondered how long this assignment would last.  The 3rd Battle Group had been assigned to convoy escort duty.  'Not that I mind.' she thought, 'but this isn't going to last.  The repairs are complete, and soon they will give us another combat posting.'  The 1st Battle Group had 'reappeared' at the Pallas Colony about 3 hours ago.  Rumor had it they were a ship short of what they had left with.  The commercial channels were full of speculation over what was going on, and where the possibly 'missing' ship could be, and what it was up to.  Brenna knew that it wasn't going to return.  She had no firm reports of what had happened, but she knew.  No one who went beyond the belt and turned up ''missing' was ever coming home again.  That would raise the Pan Euro's losses to two Attack Escorts and two Armed Explorers.  Over two hundred crew.  Someone was going to start asking questions.
   She hoped that someone would actually have answers then, and not just guesses.
   "Admiral, we have Cargo Liners 012 and 137 on the sensor track.  Time till departure for Mercury, 3 minutes."
   "Thank you Petty Officer.  Helm, plot escort course and upload to my station."  Brenna turned back to monitoring the civilian channels, looking for something she wasn't sure of, but was sure she would know when she found it.

July 8th 1620 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral (Lower Half) Jack Ryan could almost feel his metallic and composite body relax as his ship settled into orbit.  He had been on edge ever since leaving, and had never worked so hard trying to plot the best and fastest course back to this red ball of dust and rock.  It had felt like hounds had been on his heels the whole way.  Mars Station packed more firepower than his whole Task Force, and with it near he felt safe.  For the first time in nearly a month, safe.
   Unlocking his station, he gave the order for the crew to stand down.  Soon they would dock with Mars Station, and begin resupply.  The crew would be hoping to get off the ship, but that wouldn't happen for days.  A great deal of debriefing, and many meetings, would have to take place before the crew would be allowed to step foot off the ship.  Most of the crew by now had heard that a new race had been discovered, and that wasn't something command would want talked about willy-nilly.  If at all.
   But he was home, after a fashion, and that was enough for now.  He decided as soon as he could, he'd write a note to his daughter to let her know that he was alive.  No business, just a chance to let her know he was still here, and looking forward to hearing from her.

   2240 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji checked progress reports.  The Missile Frigate Anhui had just finished with the installation of the new sensor system.  The function checks looked good.  The increase in range and sensitivity was impressive.  More than double the capabilities of the other ships in the group.  The only problem was the interface to the weapons station.  Calibrating the new returns for targeting solutions was slow and imprecise.  That would hopefully change as the crew grew more accustomed to the new system.
   The Missile Frigate Hubei was currently beginning the installation process for the new system.  It should go more quickly, as the work crews now had a better feel for what they needed to get done.   Next would be the Attack Frigate Hunan.  The last to undergo the 'upgrade' would be the Tung.  It had been decided that the Cruiser would be last, as it would be the most capable at defending itself should the US or Euro attack, even without the new system.  The smaller ships would have more to gain from the new system.  They were also more expendable should the new system prove to be less successful than projected.
   For the moment, it looked to be a valuable addition, and should prove to be a rude surprise for the US and Euro should they decide to challenge Chinese sovereignty.

July 11th 0210 hour/Heavy Interceptor Anastasia, Mercury Shipyards

   Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery had been briefed on the ship currently under construction at the Mercury Shipyards, but actually seeing the Pan Euro's newest combat vessel was a stirring sight.  She was fully twice the size of the Anastasia, and packed twice as many launch bays.  She should help tip the balance of power in future engagements against the Alpha Class ships this new race used.  Word had it that the Queen Elizabeth would clear the slip by the end of July, and that the 1st Battle Group would join her during the shakedown and training cruise.  It was a shame she hadn't been ready a few months earlier.  Perhaps the Victoria would still be here.
   More stirring was a quiet rumor that Liz would be transferring her flag to the Queen Elizabeth when she started operations.  To be the first Admiral to command her would be a great honor.  There were rumors that Rear Admiral Muldoon, or perhaps Admiral Kushnir would claim her as their flagship.  Liz was sure that Brenna was to junior of an officer to be placed on the Q.E.   Admiral Kushnir might transfer to the Q.E., but Liz doubted it.  The Red October was going to be the fastest ship in service for some time, and it allowed her to respond to situations more quickly than this ship would.  The Red October was also more flexible in deployment as a science vessel.  This ship was going to be a pure combat vessel.   Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat of 2nd Battle Group was the only other serving combat ship flag officer, and she had yet to receive a combat assignment.
   No, the Q.E. was going to be Liz's ship.

   0315 hours/Attack Escort Cynthia, Mercury Shipyards

   Commander Giovanni Vetra looked over the order again.  The Cynthia was to be assigned to the 1st Battle Group.  That could mean only one thing.  The Attack Escort Victoria was gone.  Whatever had destroyed the Boudicca had claimed the Victoria also.  Maybe the Anastasia and Mary Queen of Scots had been able to make it pay in blood for that victory.  He hoped so.
   Regardless, he was no longer commander of the 2nd Light Battle Group.  It was being disbanded.  The two Armed Escorts, the Louis and Cornwallis, would be performing convoy escort duties for the next few days as they made their way out to the Pallas Colony.  They would join the Red October and be the combat portion of a new science and survey group.  A rather heavily armed one.
   He didn't want command though.  He wanted to see whoever had murdered the 1st Light Battle Group brought low.  Whoever had killed his Rachel was going to pay for that.  He didn't want to die.  But if that's what it took to stop the killing...

July 17th 0735 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, near Pallas 2

   Admiral Jude Kushnir tried to calm her racing mind.  Her fingers were nervously and aimlessly tapping at the keys.  Her old habit was displaying itself with a vengeance.  The last few hours had been a blur of activity.  Now she had to think, and clearly.  Her next few choices would affect many more lives than those aboard her ship.  Too many lives had already been lost this day.  More were going to be.  But a mistake now....
   The Red October had been hit.  The plating and baffles had kept the impact from breeching the hull, but only by the smallest of margins.  She could still fight, but the next blast would rip through her.  Definitely cripple her.  Possibly destroy her.  By herself she was no match for what was chasing her.  In her current condition, she wouldn't last two minutes.  The only thing keeping her alive was her speed now.  For all of their power, the ships chasing her were no faster than a standard Pan Euro combat vessel.  The little scout craft they used had no chance of keeping up.  They had been left far behind.  It was only the largest of the ships now, all slicing through the asteroid field.  Darting by ship killing rocks and debris fields.  Risking death to escape, or catch their prey.
   Two hours ago a transmission had been picked up by the Red October.  A Chinese Civilian Heavy Lift Cargo Vessel was enroute to the Pallas Colony Distribution Depot for a routine pick up of ore.  The Chinese still honored the trade agreements of the Treaty of Serenitatis, and the arrival of a trade ship occurred regularly.  Ceres was only a few light minutes away from Pallas at the moment.  The freighter had reported contact with a small ships' boat and was requesting verification of ownership.
   Jude remembered authorizing the transmission to the Chinese ship.  Telling them to accelerate to their best speed and try to outrun the small craft.  Then losing the freighter's signal minutes later.  She wasn't sure if the ship had even had time to receive her transmission.
   She had ordered the three small science ships and the Mobile Shipyard to engage drives and make best speed for Earth.  The Chinese ship had been less than a light minutes from Pallas 2, and the danger was too great to risk the ships needlessly.  'They could always be ordered to return to the belt' she had told herself.  If only she had known.  But no, she wouldn't have done anything differently, even if she had known what was coming.
   The Red October, Louis, and Cornwallis had positioned themselves close to the surface of Pallas, trying to hide their presence.  She had sent orders for the colony to shut down all non-essential systems. Cut all broadcasts.  'Turn out the lights' as it were.  But the Distribution Depot wasn't going anywhere.  Even with all systems off line, it still floated in a slow orbit of the giant rock.  And it was obviously not a natural object.
   It had been twenty two minutes later when the single small craft had appeared on her sensors.  It was going to pass within 70,000 km of Pallas 2.  It would easily see the station floating in space near the great asteroid.  Then it would notice the colony there.  A colony of one million souls.  It could not be allowed that close.
   The Red October had launched on the small ship, but it was nimble.  The asteroids had clouded sensor returns, fooled terminal guidance systems.  Four separate missiles had detonated near the craft, but only the last made intercept.  The small craft had been over a light second from the colony, but it had over 30 seconds to broadcast what was happening.  It had only been a matter of time before the larger ship that carried it would arrive.  But the Red October and two Armed Explorers could handle an Alpha Class ship and protect the colony.  She had been sure of it.
   What had arrived wasn't one Alpha Class, it had been three.  The other ship with them didn't even have a designation yet.  It massed more than the Red October.  It was nearly equal in size to the ship Jude knew was being built at Mercury.  The Red October had detected the magnetic signature of the ships at just less than 8 light seconds.  The asteroids made detection even at that short range difficult.  They had come in slowly, circling the area where the small craft had been fired on.  They were just over 4 light seconds out when the small craft had come pouring at them.
   Ten of the small ships had made a bee line for the colony's location.  The group must have been able to detect the Depot station at that range, and had sent the small ships in to see what it was.  They were close enough for the Red October to see the four large ships on her scanners, but to far for the systems to plot targeting solutions through the rocks.
   When the small ships had closed to one light second, the entire group had opened fire and engaged drives.  Jude had no illusion of her chances, and had ordered her group to accelerate away from the enemy ships.  She had hoped to draw them away from the colony.  It had worked, to a degree.  The three Alpha Class had launched only once on the Distribution Depot as they passed it.  That had been enough to destroy it utterly.  The large ship was easily big enough to mount several launchers, but it only made single launches at her group.  The large ship and three smaller Alpha Class vessels had launched five salvos on her group.  Both the Louis and the Cornwallis had come apart after single intercepts by the enemy's missiles.  Even the Red October had taken a single impact as she came up to speed.  The return fire of her group had managed to collapse the field around one of the Alpha Class ships, but Jude couldn't stay within range to pit her two missiles against the launchers of these four alien ships.  She could only run.  But the ships had followed her, and not stayed to attack the colony.
   The cries for help, and distress calls, had come as a horrible shock.  The small craft that were left behind had begun deploying small munitions on the colony.  The bombs didn't have to be big to pack a nuclear payload.  The sealed habitats of the colony were terribly fragile in the face of such an attack.  The Red October had been able to detect 18 separate detonations across the surface before the range grew too far.  The few transmissions as the Red October had pulled away made it clear that at least 90 percent of the population had been killed.  Ninety percent of one million people.  The rest were doomed.
   The Red October was a good ship with a good crew, but she was damaged.  Her drives would likely give out long before her pursuers.  She would hit a rock, of burn out a particle accelerator.  The drive shield may give out if it was damaged too much in the attack.  She would need to do whatever she could in the next few minutes.  It would all be over after that.  The speed she was going made a clean transmission on a tightbeam impossible in this asteroid field.  The colony had broadcast on broadband waves though.  In less than an hour the Earth would hear the cries of the dying colony.  Know that a million people had died.  The secret was out now.  It was obvious that mankind would have to face this truth or perish.  She keyed the link to the communications officer.
   "Radio in the clear, no encryption.  Tell the Chinese at Ceres colony they are going to have visitors in the next few minutes.  If they have any warships there, to get them to battle stations now.  Then transmit everything we've got on these damned ships.  Tell them I'm going to lead them right to them.   And let them know to blow the bastards to hell."
   Ceres colony held nearly 3 million Chinese nationals by the last estimates the Pan Euro had.  They were also less than 3 light minutes away from Pallas now. These alien ships were going to find them soon enough.  Maybe if the Chinese knew they were coming, they might have a chance.  If she could lead the aliens into some ambush. She hoped the Chinese had something there to defend that colony.  She didn't want to be the one responsible for what would happen otherwise....
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 24, 2010, 01:56:38 AM
July 2203 part 2

July 17th  0740hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres Colony orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji looked at the transmission that had just been translated and forwarded to his station.  A large number of transmissions had been intercepted, all originating from the area of the Pan Euro Colony on Pallas 2.  Some disaster was befalling the inhabitants of the colony.  Zhu couldn't understand any of the languages, but the fear was obvious.  Initial translations tended to indicate the colony was under attack.  That would bode poorly for the future.  If the US was willing to attack civilians in the belt, it would only be a matter of time until it spilled over onto Earth.  The loss of contact with Chinese registered Heavy Lift Freighter 02 in the area of Pallas Colony tended to indicate the US wasn't too worried about whether the Chinese became involved.
   "Admiral, you need to see this."  The Communications Officer, Xiao, seemed insistent.  He seldom spoke to the Admiral directly, using the proper channel of directing information to the Captain, and allowing the Captain to choose what was pertinent for a Flag Officer's review.  Zhu nodded to the Comm Officer, and then looked at the monitor as a new message translation was displayed.


   "Xiao, it this translated correctly?  What do you mean 'alien'?  Do they mean 'foreign'?  Helm, plot their course and send it to my station."  Zhu looked at the Captain, who was busy sorting through a number of other translations on his own monitor.  If the Euro was leading US ships into Chinese space, they would be destroyed along with the ones pursuing them. Whatever was going on, it didn't make much sense.
   The plot of the Euro ship and its course appeared on Zhu's monitor.  'Damn, they will pass within 10 light seconds of the colony itself, and they will be here in less than an hour.  We will have to intercept them before they get that close.'  Zhu turned and locked his station.  "Comm, signal all ships to battle stations."
    Zhu watched the bridge as the moments passed.  The ships signaled all stations locked.  "Captain, order the Attack Frigates and the Armed Colony Ships to make intercept. Drive detonations authorized."  Zhu quickly sent the Euro ship's course plot and the intercept point he wanted to Captain Qin.  There would be time to worry about the details of the intercept shortly.  Right now he wanted the Sensor Officer's input on the data that was streaming in to the comm station, and then to his monitor. Zhu keyed the link to the sensor station and began the download of the data that was coming in.  "Sensor Conn, what do you make of these logs."
   "Admiral, I'm not overly familiar with the European data string, but the sensor returns seem similar to the new systems on the Missile Frigates.  I can identify some US and Euro ships on this first file, along with what has to be the planet Uranus and its moons. These other contacts, and what looks like some type of colony on a moon....  Admiral, I don't know what to make of them. Other than the fact that they are willing to shoot at both the US and Euro ships.  We could tune our sensors to look for this magnetic distortion, but I don't know what they are.  These files will take months to analyze, Admiral."  The Sensor Officer left the channel open, but silent.
   Zhu looked hard at the various translated transmissions on his monitor.  If these Euro transmissions were to be believed, these ships weren't human.  The Euro Admiral didn't say what they were, where they came from, or how they knew about them.  The files and transmissions could be fabricated, but it seemed unlikely.
   It didn't feel like a Euro ruse.  Why give away an attack by silencing a freighter early?  Why create all the false transmissions and warn your enemy of an approach?  Why not simply attack us when we were unprepared?  Perhaps they hoped to draw the ships away from the colony?  It didn't add up. Unless this European Admiral might be telling the truth.
   Zhu didn't like it, but this would have to take place within sight of Ceres itself.  They couldn't leave the colony unguarded.  They didn't have to be obvious though, and they didn't have to send all their ships.  The two Attack Frigates were quite capable of moving out to the point where the Euro ship indicated it would pass.  The two Armed Colony ships could join them.  Hiding in the debris fields near Ceres, they would be invisible until a hostile ship was within range of the powerful short ranged missiles that all four ships carried.  
   Zhu wished he had more time.  He'd had days to prepare for the battle at Jupiter.  Now he only had a few minutes to get his ships positioned and ready.  What happened in the next hour here at Ceres would likely decide the shape of the war to come for the Chinese people.

   0802 hours/Combat Vessel 7,Asteroid Belt

   The Commander of Combat Vessel 7 tracked the sensor returns of the 'fleeing ship'.  It was obvious from the initial readings that it could outrun the Combat Group if it chose to.  It had been tracked at a speed the group could not match.  Yet it still stayed just inside of sensor range.  It was obviously leading them somewhere.  That somewhere would have a number of this race's combat ships waiting.  That would be sure.  There was no other reason for this course of action.  
   The entire Combat Group could not be risked in this pursuit.   They would compensate for this ship's actions.   The Commander adjusted the fields of his station's panel.  Patrol Vessel 14 maintained its position in respect to the alien ship, while the rest of the group began to drop back.  Patrol Vessel 14's protective field generators had failed in the initial contact with the alien race. This race had tried to protect their colony, and failed.  The small scout craft had deployed the bombs that had proved so capable in the past.  Leaving the small craft behind had been regrettable, but they could return to pick them up later.  The small craft could survive for an extended time on their own.  
   Patrol Vessel 14 would be able to restore part of the protective field's function shortly, but for the moment it was the most expendable vessel of the group.  All the crews knew this was a battle group, and that they might be called upon to die for their race.  And that this was what had to be done.  He hoped they wouldn't have to make that sacrifice though.
   Combat Vessel 7 and the two other Patrol Vessels reached a point six light seconds behind the fleeing ship.  They were far enough back now that the enemy ship could no longer be tracked on Combat Vessel 7's sensors.  These asteroids created too much interference.  But Patrol Vessel 14 was able to keep track of the enemy, and transmit the data to the rest of the group.  Patrol Vessel 14 would also transmit when they made contact with additional enemy vessels.  It would then return to the group (hopefully), and together they would destroy this race's ships once again.

   0835 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, vicinity of Ceres

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji issued the order for the Missile Frigates Anhui and Hubei to stand down from Battle Stations.  The Tung would stay at general quarters for the next seven hours.  It would be longer if he could, but even a cyborgs' human components could tire if kept active for too long.  The human brain still needed to rest and sleep.  Sleep wouldn't come easy for some time though.  The 'alien' ships had been gone for fifteen minutes now, but the memories would haunt him for the rest of his life, Zhu thought.  In only two minutes, he had lost four ships.  Nearly twenty five percent of the Chinese Fleet was now fragments scattering through the asteroid belt.
   Zhu replayed the sensor record from the Jilin again.  It had broadcast right up to its last moments.  Initially the Pan Euro Red October had rushed past the two hidden Attack Frigates and Armed Colony Ships.  Then the second contact had appeared, rushing after the Euro vessel.  It had been obscured in some magnetic interference, but that hadn't stopped the rush of the Chinese short range missiles.  The Euro vessel had come about, probably to launch on the alien (he was sure it couldn't be human now) ship, but too late.  The six high speed missiles from the Chinese group had ripped the vessel apart.  Unbelievably, the ship had managed to launch a missile of it own, but the weapon had lost tracking shortly after the destruction of its mother ship.  
   The Jilin's sensors could not pick up the other vessels that the Euro ship had indicated were chasing it.   The Euro vessel continued a constant stream of transmissions, just as it had done during its entire trip to Ceres.  It was broadcasting the enemy's position, and had begun to try and move towards them.  It was here Zhu remembered keying in the orders for the group of four ships to accelerate at maximum rate towards the enemy ships' reported location.  The Tung and the two Missile Frigates had remained in an orbit of Ceres nearly brushing the surface.  
   Less than a minute later the three remaining alien ships had appeared on the Jilin's sensors.  Two were the size of the Euro's Heavy Escorts, the last somewhat bigger than the Attack Frigates.  Not as large as the Tung, but larger than anything the US or Euro claimed to be flying.  A first launch from the ships had destroyed the Armed Colony Ship Manchuria with only a single intercept!  The Attack Frigate Hunan had been crippled, with its long range missile bay and half of its particle accelerators down.  The return fire of the long range missile from the Jilin and two from the Euro ship had managed to cause one of the smaller ships to lose its strange magnetic signature.  The Euro ship had also accelerated to the speed that its government had bragged about, moving faster than anything Zhu knew about in the Chinese forces.  The next sixty seconds were a blur even on the Jilin's sensors.  The Hunan and Colony Ship Vietnam had broken up before they ever got in range to launch on the alien ships.  The Jilin and Red October had launched on the vessel that had lost its magnetic fields, and the strange ship had even cut out its engines and vented in response to the damage the missile detonations had caused.  But the exchange had left the Jilin crippled.  Its plating and baffles had been shredded before an inbound contact had even been identified.  How??!  A laser could damage a ship without a sensor contact, and at close range could even begin to rival the damage the long range missiles could cause with all safeties off.  But the Attack Frigates had been designed to withstand a near space detonation of the short range missiles.  It should have shrugged off a laser and continued to fight.  SEVERAL lasers.  The Jilin had been breached like its plating had been tissue paper.  The follow up missiles had gutted it.  Her captain had tried to bring the crippled ship about.  The Euro ship had continued to pour missiles back at the alien ships as it accelerated out of the area.  The Jilin had lost contact moments later.  That has been the last reported contact with the alien ships.
   'We destroyed one of their smaller vessels when we surprised it.  The others were outnumbered five to three, and destroyed every ship we had without losing a single ship more.  If they come back, I don't know if even the Tung, Anhui, and Hubei will be able to stop them from destroying the three million people on the colony here on Ceres.'
   Zhu keyed in for the tightbeam transmission to Venus of all the data he had gained.  And hoped the three alien ships didn't come back.
   But he knew, sometime, they would.

   1020 hours/Combat Vessel 7, dark side of the Asteroid Belt

   The Commander wondered if he had acted rashly.  Had it been a mistake to pursue the enemy ship?  Should they have broken off and continued looking for this race's homes.  No.  The ship he had followed would only have followed him.  Broadcast his position.  The ambush would still have occurred.  Perhaps with worse results.  Although that might be difficult to imagine.
   Patrol Vessel 14 had been destroyed rapidly by this race's weapons.  Patrol Vessel 16 had sustained so much damage that it would have never been able to survive the return trip.  There had been no other choice but to transfer the surviving crew and scuttle it.  With the loss of two ships, half of the group's scout craft had no landing bays.  The crews of six of the small craft had been transferred and the small ships destroyed.  His Combat Group had managed to destroy six enemy ships, but had lost two in the process.  It sounded like a victory, but if this race outnumbered them by more than three to one, then this was no victory.  The broadcast had already been made.  The elders would have to decide the next step.  It was time for Combat Vessel 7 and Patrol Vessel 15 to return home.

   1025 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October

   Admiral Jude Kushnir unlocked her station.  The two Alpha Class contacts and the 'Delta Class' contact had fallen behind over an hour ago.  The drive was showing the wear of the last few hours.  A slow cruise back to Earth might be all the overheated particle accelerators could handle without failing.  She knew her nerves couldn't handle much more.  She also knew that she would have a great deal to explain when she got back to Earth.  The open and unencrypted transmissions.  The loss of Pallas 2 colony.  The destruction of the Armed Explorers Louis and Cornwallis.  Not to mention two Chinese Strike Vessels and Colony Ships.  The intentional violation of Chinese space.
   No.  Jude was in no hurry to get home.

July 25th  2000 hours/Ceres Colony

   Jeng didn't like people.  He knew they didn't like him either.  He didn't care, so long as they left him alone.  When he had been on Earth, they had called him names.  Some of the other kids had even tried to hurt him.  The kids had called him retard, or weirdo.  The adults had said he was slow, or different - but not in a nice way.  The doctors had used big words he didn't understand.  He was sure that it all meant the same thing.
   He knew his mom loved him.  He wasn't quite sure what that was, but it meant that she hugged him and yelled at him.  It didn't make sense, but it was supposed to be a good thing.  That was why she said she had moved them to this new home.  He hadn't liked coming here, but she said maybe they wouldn't be mean to him so much.  They still weren't nice here either.
   But there was a good thing here.  His mom said they made more money.  He wasn't sure what that meant, but it did seem to mean he got more things to play with.  He liked the things, and helped her find ones he liked.  On Earth he only had little things to look in the sky, and they didn't work good.  Here he had much better thing to look at the sky.  Some could even see things he couldn't.  He liked his things.  And his mom let him spend all the time he wanted to with them.
   A few days ago, his things had picked up strange things in the sky.  He had seen ships come and go, even on Earth.  But these were different.  And someone had been talking a lot on a radio.  It didn't make sense at first.  The words were funny.  He always had problems with words.  There had been numbers too.  He liked numbers.  He liked them as much as he liked looking at the sky.
   The numbers had been different.  But a pretty kind of different.  He had stayed up for days trying to figure out the pretty numbers. His mom had told him to sleep, but he couldn't.  Not until he knew how the numbers were pretty.
   Then he found it.  The pretty bubble the numbers made.  The pretty bubble his things could see around the strange new ships.  The ships that had come and gone so quickly.
   He had been so excited.  He even showed his mom.  She had always tried to act like she liked the things he saw and found.  He didn't think she really did, but she said she did - so he showed her.  She didn't act like she liked it this time.  She acted scared.  Real scared.  Like he felt when the other kids hurt him.  She had looked, but she was scared.
   The next day, funny men that weren't men had come and talked to his mom.  They had said funny things.  They had even looked at the things he had found.  Then they had talked to him.  He didn't understand much, but they had said they would come back with more numbers.
   He really liked the numbers and looking at the sky.  He hoped they would come back with more numbers soon.

July 28th  0430 hours/US Space Station

   Lieutenant Meagan Ryan looked over the data again.  She wondered if anyone else had noticed the tiny anomalies on the data transmitted by the Pan Euro Red October while it had been in Chinese Space.  It was obvious the Pan European Admiral was trying to assist the Chinese by broadcasting the readings her ship was taking, as the Red October most likely mounted far more sophisticated systems than what the Chinese ships carried.  It hadn't helped the Chinese much.  They had lost every ship that had engaged these alien aggressors.  Everyone now knew of the destruction of Pallas 2 Colony, and that it wasn't anything human that was responsible.  In all the uproar and meetings to cope with the public outcry and concern, analysis of the data had taken a back seat.  At this point in time though, Meagan had a few moments to herself.  She also had a 0600 briefing for Admiral Walters.  She needed to know what was in that data stream the Red October had sent.
   At first it had looked like a normal engagement.  Further analysis seemed to show damage to both of the Chinese Strike Vessels prior to the alien missiles making intercept.  It might have been a beam weapon.  If it was, the power output made even the advanced US Laser Output Couplers and Capacitors look puny.  Three to six times the on target energy at ranges the US lasers couldn't reach.  It seemed unreal, but so did everything about this new race.  Then as Meagan had run the magnetic analysis, a few blips had shown up.  They were very weak, almost sensor ghosts.  The asteroids made analysis very difficult.  Many of the asteroid debris fields in the area also had radioactive decay signatures that clouded any returns.  But two had occurred just before the Strike Vessels had suffered impacts with no intercepts.
   Meagan then began to sort the data for any of these 'sensor ghosts'.  She weeded out a number of false readings, and managed to come up with three more of the anomalies.  All near the Red October as she disengaged from the alien ships.  Resolving the sensor returns had been a chore.  The 'blip' finally resolved into a tiny magnetic signature attached to an object not more than 5 cm across, 45 cm long, and weighing a few kilos at most.  Awfully small to resolve, even without the asteroid field to interfere.  What had made it almost invisible hadn't been its size though.  It was the fact that it had passed the ship at 98.7 percent of the speed of light.
   The next to last one had passed within 10m of the Red October.  They never knew how close they had come to being destroyed.
   Admiral Walters would be interested in this.  Not happy, but interested.  This war only seemed to get worse.


Sorry it took a bit.  Someone must have had a real big party about 9 months ago because we have been swamped with babies.  Glad I wasn't there.

This month came as a rude shock for the Euro and China (my wife and middle boy).
For the Euro
The destruction of the two little ships was no big deal.  Almost losing her flag ship and senior admiral shook her a little.  Losing 2% of her income with the destruction of the colony definitely hurt. At the rate she had been colonizing the belt, it would take her 20 turns to recoup.  She decided (and told me) that this wasn't going to be a 'nice' game.  'Dirty' was the word I think was used.  There really didn't seem to be a good point to the month for the Euro.
For China
The loss of his last colony ships and the two attack frigates hurt.  That, along with paying for the CFN FT lost was going to take a lot of time and resources to rebuild.  The middle boy also realized he was probably the only Ind 2 player left, with the smallest fleet (other than his oldest sister), and little hope of making up ground.  His ships he had hoped to leave in the belt where their short sensor range might not be such a disadvantage had been trashed.
His one silver lining was a lucky roll on an attempt at a random breakthrough.  He paid for just one, and actually got it.  All the players have to keep a list of no less than six areas they would like a breakthrough to occur, and I randomly roll which one they get.  He just happened to get shields out of all 'wish list'.  What he didn't have was going to be the excess of cash to research a technology higher in level than he was - along with rebuild his crippled fleet.  Tough decision.  He surprised me with the solution he came up with for month 8 (August).
For the US and FSC
The oldest boy and girl got a free ride for the month, and after hearing what happened to their mom and brother were glad of it.  Both had small fleets and couldn't afford the losses that China and the Euro had soaked.  

The Nemotians Combat (Destroyer) Vessel mounted a single plasma launcher, and a single kinetic weapon.  I know that you are supposed to have a drive field to use a K type weapon, but that is to penetrate another drive field protected ship.  When nobody uses that tech, well....   A race that is good with magnetics and cryo super conductors OUGHT to have been able to create a particle accelerator/mass driver that would work, and work well.  The players didn't like the fact that it filled in the bad guys gaps in weapon coverage.  They had figured out that the Plasma Torpedoes were weak up close or at the end of their range.  The K weapon compliments that gap quite well with an almost double the chance to hit at close and long ranges.  The damage was pretty hard to shrug off also.  The players were maybe a little miffed.
But anything gotten easy is taken for granted, and a dear victory is well savored.

For those curious about the ships, the Chinese Attack Frigates Hunan and Jilin and Armed Colony Ships Manchuria and Vietnam are identical to those used at the First Battle of Jupiter's Moons.  The Red October and Armed Escorts Louis and Cornwallis are identical to earlier ships listed of that class.  As are the Patrol Vessels #14,15,16.  The new one is the Combat Destroyer.

Combat (Destroyer) Vessel 7      Class:  DD      30HS
[2]S S S A A H Qa (BbS) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  gig x3

And for those who were thinking it, my family also thought after the first shock of a K weapon that it wouldn't be that bad.  They would simply maneuver around its limited ability to target another vessel.  It was the middle boy (China) who pointed out - since he was already looking at the big ships in the near future in his fleet - that any ship from explorer to heavy cruiser would have the same speed and turn radius with the engines they were using.  A heavy cruiser dog fighting with the corvettes didn't appeal so much anymore when the big ship could maneuver just as well as the little one.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on February 28, 2010, 02:44:34 AM
August 2203

August 1st 0430 hours/New Delhi, India
   Chairman Mukata stood and addressed the board. "Gentlemen, we are faced with a choice that is unprecedented. We have conducted 'business' with Chinese interests on several occasions, but never of this magnitude. The Chinese Government has discreetly passed to us data that would indicate they have discovered how the aliens are able to erect the magnetic barriers around their ships. They only need facilities to create operational prototypes."
   Mukata looked at the passive faces of the assembled group. None flinched in the least at what had been said, but none would. Dealing in life and death was what these people did on a daily basis. Board member Tehk raised the question that was on everyone’s' mind. "What are the arrangements of this? What will it entail?" What he meant was 'what was in it for the corporation and him, and what were the risks'.
   "Gentlemen, they need more 'capable' facilities than they have available to them at the moment. They have the capital, but lack adequate research facilities to develop a system in an acceptable time frame. In return for our assistance, they will allow us full rights to deploy the system on any of our ships. They will also provided monetary assistance to start the project totaling the equivalent of two hundred and fifty million, in US dollars. We will be provided all of the data they have at the moment. The requirement is that none of this data be provided to other governments outside the FSC. We will also not deploy a ship with the system before the Chinese have done so. If we accept and fail to meet our obligations, well, the Chinese deployment of a Strike Vessel in orbit should clarify that."
   Tehk again questioned him. "A quarter of a billion US seems lacking. A system like this could take billions to develop. Are we sure that this is worth the investment we will have to put into it? It would put our deployment of any new vessels from Queensland or South Africa on hold indefinitely."
   Mukata turned to face Tehk. "The investment could be more substantial, but the rewards of a successful system are great. It would place us in a position to demand greater recognition from the US and Pan European power blocks. It would also give us a powerful ally in the future if we continue to support Chinese interests. Developing and deploying ships without these systems will be fruitless when the Chinese, or other powers, manage to develop this system. We lack the quantity of close sensor data the other powers possess. Without assistance we will be left far behind in the current arms race. With this arrangement we stand to profit greatly both materially and politically. If we can deploy ships with this system before the US and Pan Euro, they will find hiring our vessels to protect their interests a necessary situation. Not pursuing this is unthinkable. Shall we move forward on this?"
   A low murmur finally turned into a quiet but general approval by all of the board members present. Tehk stood. "It is decided. Mukata, make the necessary arrangements."
   Mukata nodded and pressed a key on his console. "Get me the South African Cartel. They need to get their man Dutchman to Earth now."

August 2nd 0800 hours/Chinese Space Station, Venus orbit
   Admiral Hu reviewed the progress reports. The Cruiser Shek was undergoing the same sensor refit the Tung had, while all the Missile Frigates were undergoing work to place the sensors in a more protected location inside the hull. The battle near Ceres had shown that the sensors would be quickly destroyed in the current location on the Frigates. The innermost baffles were compromised by single impacts of the alien weapon system. Losing the sensors that quickly would be devastating. They had to be moved.
The aliens had lost one ship, and another was damaged. If the Euro transmissions were accurate, they had lost two other combat ships in June. If they had any depth of reserves, they would likely have deployed them already. This was possibly the best opportunity for taking the ships out of service, while the aliens were reorganizing. It was worth the risk.
   The fact that the Cruiser Mao Tse Tung and the Attack Frigate Yunnan were the only operational ships was the terrible consequence of this rapid upgrade. The aliens couldn't come back now. If they did, this war would be over for the Chinese.

August 4th 0205 hours/Patrol Vessel 17
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 assessed the sensor returns. The repairs of his vessel were complete, and for some time they would verify that the systems were functioning properly. It would take time, but they had more than adequate time. The race that inhabited this system had never been seen this far from their sun.  It was strange to consider a race that could live in the inferno so close to a star.
   For now they had joined three other Patrol Vessels, and two Combat Vessels. This was the beginning of the next Combat Group that would destroy the native race's homes and ships. Nearby, at the station in orbit of the largest moon of the nearby planet, was the vessel that would complete the Combat Group. It was one of the Assault Vessels that had accompanied the colony ships on the long trip through space. The Assault Vessel was massive compared to the simple Patrol and Combat Vessels. The native race had managed to destroy two of the last Combat Group's Patrol Vessels. They would stand no chance against the power of an Assault Vessel.
   The Commander looked forward to again finding the native race. They would pay for the many lives they had destroyed. This group would see to that.

0600 hours/Pan European Space Station, Earth orbit
   Admiral Jude Kushnir walked through the Red October. Repairs of the plating and baffles were progressing, but not scheduled to be done until late in the month. The repairs would probably be done long before Jude's boards of inquiry were done with her. They had allowed her to continue serving as the Senior Pan European Space Fleet Officer.  She knew it was because the turmoil of relieving her at the same time as they were dealing with the uproar from the public concerning the destruction of Pallas 2 Colony would be too much. For the moment she was the only officer they could hold up as having faced the aliens - openly. Even if it wasn't a victory. They were going to have enough problems explaining that all the 'missing' ships were gone. She had exercised her authority, and it had stirred a small amount of controversy.  None of the civilian groups had attempted to challenge it though.  She had given the order that all engagements, unless the contact was confirmed as human, were to be engaged with all safeties released.  No sense wasting time or missiles anymore.
   The Queen Elizabeth had arrived in Earth orbit two days ago, along with 1st Battle Group. They were flying the flag to help the folks at home feel safe. The ground based silos were probably better protection, but the ships were far more visible. Vice Admiral Avery was flying the flag on the Q.E. for now. Jude knew she was in to much hot water to take command of the Q.E. while the Red October was down for repairs. That was ok with Jude for the moment. The Q.E. was destined for combat, and Jude had seen enough of that for the moment.

August 6th 1615 hours/Kestrel, approaching Earth orbit
   The Dutchman wondered what could be going on. He had been involved in a number of unusual situations over time, but this was unreal. NO ONE who wasn't a Chinese combat vessel docked at the Chinese Space Station. The Chinese Transfer Station would accept civilian ships and cargos, but the Space Station was a military structure. The Chinese Strike Vessel shadowing the Kestrel at only 1000 meters proved that. 'The pay for this had better be incredible' he thought as he approached the station.
   The Dutchman had received orders to report to the Chinese Space Station and pick up a 'cargo'. He was then to descend to the Queensland facility and deliver the 'cargo'. Any vessel attempting to intercept him was to be avoided. If The Dutchman was unable to avoid being boarded, the 'cargo' was to be destroyed by any means necessary. Including scuttling the Kestrel. He had been warned that if he didn't, the Chinese would take care of that detail for him. It shouldn't come to that. The Kestrel was as fast as any ship in service, with the possible exception of the Red October if the Euro hype was to be believed. But the Red October was in for repairs.
   Hopefully this would be a routine pick up. They seemed to be having a large number of dealings with the Chinese of late. The Mary Reed and Marie Celeste were headed for Ceres to act as troop transports and convoy escorts for the Chinese. The Dutchman wasn't sure if he liked the idea of siding with the Chinese. They were an awfully big brother to have watching over your shoulder.
   And The Dutchman didn't like anybody watching him.

August 12th 0830 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit
   Admiral Bradley Walters watched as the members of his staff assembled for the morning briefing. They would each come with some new concern or development, but little of it could be dealt with from the station. Civilian issues were the problem now. Lots of them. At least they had loosened up the purse strings on the budget for the military.
   They were still only frameworks, but in the two slips outside were what would become a pair of Interceptor Mk IIa's. The slip at Mars was likewise occupied. And after these three were completed, another three were to begin construction. The work would be rushed, but the plan was to double the number of Interceptors in service by the beginning of next year. It was a rather optimistic timeline, but any new ships would help. The sad truth was that they were horribly outclassed by the alien ships, but they were the best the US had in service right now. The best they might have for some time to come.
   Although many alien systems and weapons had been identified, progress in research was painfully slow. Developments that were likely to have any impact on the war were possibly years away. Lobbying for increased research funding was rampant, but throwing money at this was of little help. Facilities, personnel, and just plain luck was what were needed, and the US was painfully short on all three.
   At least US Task Force One was back up to full strength. The completion of the Missile Escort Owl had filled out the roster. The ship would be going through its shakedown cruise, but was combat capable in a pinch. Hopefully they would share the luck the Falcon had enjoyed.
   Admiral Walters settled back for another long day. Hopefully it would be uneventful.

August 17th 2120 hours/Heavy Escort Rebecca, near Pallas 2
   Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat looked at the visuals of the ruins of the Pallas Colony. Whatever these aliens were, they were thorough. And heartless. To destroy so many unarmed civilians. To destroy warships was one thing. To kill a million colonists was another. She had orders to scan the ruins, transmit the data to Earth for study. It was pointless. There was nothing to study. Scorched rock and structures. Shattered debris floating in a cloud around the asteroid, a million tiny moons circling, colliding. No grave stones. No memorials or statues. Just destruction.
   She had heard the transmissions from the colony. The transmissions from the Red October. She knew that the ships the alien race used were more dangerous than anything she had in her group. And that the 2nd Battle Group's new post in the belt put her where the aliens would show up first. Her crews were well trained, her ships in top condition. The question was, would that be enough to stop the aliens when they came back?
   She had a bad feeling she would find out. Sooner than she would like. But enough or not, scared or not, Esme knew she wouldn't run. She wouldn't leave another colony behind. Not to face this fate.  
   Not while she lived.

This month gave most folks a chance to rest.
The big events were between China and the FSC (middle boy and oldest girl).  China decided that getting the R&D on shields (SL 1) was going to be pricey as he was Ind2.  It was also going to take longer.  He didn't want to go to his mom or older brother (Euro or US) as they would only gain a larger edge on him.  If he was going to be competitive with the other big powers, he decided he couldn't give this one away.  His older sister wasn't a threat, but after talking to her he found out she was EL 1, and would be better able to do the research.  So he offered to pay most of the verification costs of the new tech for her (she couldn't have put together the money for months), and enter into a defensive military treaty (per se), so they could assist each other with the development.  She was small in size, so the percentage of total income cost for the research was only a tiny part of his resources.  His research had to deal with his larger resources (higher cost by percentage), and the doubled cost of being an EL behind.  He would simply funnel her the cash. It was win-win for them.
China also took a big gamble putting in all but two ships in for refits.  That gamble would be tested in September.

The US and Euro were trying to figure out how they could make a sortie/attack into the outer system.  They knew that they weren't going to win waiting on the other race to attack them, but neither could come up with a way to free up the ships to do anything.  Both wanted to keep their colonies protected, and refused to be the one to leave any unguarded.  The US started to build up ships for an offensive, but the oldest boy knew that his little Interceptors and Missile Escorts were going to have a rough time of it against the alien ships. He wanted mom to commit her destroyer (the QE) and he would support it, but she didn't want to risk losing it right away (or maybe at all).

As for the Nemotians, I had decided they were going to step up the level of combat power coming into the system, but they were going to need a month to unmothball one of their bigger ships so it could relieve one of them currently guarding the colony 'worlds'.

September would see a large number of plans collide.  A lot of cards were played that folks had hoped to keep held for a while.

A note on July and the destruction of Pallas 2 colony.  Some folks have noticed that a bunch of gigs did in a settlement.  The rules don't allow it, but it has been a house rule for so long that it never occurred to me to be a 'house rule'. Bombs are 1 MC for 10 and each occupies 2 csp.  Shuttles and Assault Shuttles can drop them (as can big ships), and Gunboats/Fighters can carry them on external points.  Gigs have had a cargo capacity of 5 csp in our other games, and we always allowed the slow little buggers the ability to carry a pair of the bombs.  Makes them a little more useful, and harder to ignore.  Otherwise the only use they serve is to move admirals from ship to ship generally.  This was how Pallas 2 died.  The ten gigs of the Nemotians dropped the bombs that killed the colony.  Didn't surprise any of the players, but did draw some questions from folks out there.  Hope that answers the questions.  Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy.  September will take a bit to put together - maybe three parts.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 02, 2010, 07:05:53 AM
September 2203

September 1st  0820 hours/Patrol Vessel 17

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

September 3rd  1600 hours/Beijing, China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

   0727 hours/Patrol Vessel 6, Asteroid Belt

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

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

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

   0735 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, Ceres Colony orbit

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji locked his station.  The US and Euro transmissions had just been translated.  It could be anywhere from two hours to twelve hours before ships reached Chinese Space.  There simply wasn't enough information to be sure.  Keeping the crews on alert that long would be terribly fatiguing.  He would wait for at least two hours before he ordered general quarters.  After that, the wait would begin.  The Missile Frigates were still testing their sensor equipment and training with it.  Prepared or not, they would have to use it.  
   "Comm, translate for the two FSC vessels here.  Let them know we may have need of their weapons before this day is out."
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 04, 2010, 05:21:03 AM
September 2203  part 2  (The Battle of Ceres)

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

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

   0807 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, Earth orbit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   1705 hours/Mary Reed, Ceres orbit

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

   1729 hours/Ceres Colony,  Huangdi Habitat

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

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

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

   1737 hours/Patrol Vessel 17,  Asteroid Belt

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

September 2203  part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   0408 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near enemy colony

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

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

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

   0415 hours/Mary Reed, 3.5 light seconds from Ceres

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

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

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 sat as still as death.  The battle had been a horrible loss.  Assault Vessel 2, Combat Vessels 5 and 7, and Patrol Vessels 10, and 11 had been destroyed.  Patrol Vessels 6 and 9 had been destroyed in an earlier engagement.  Only Patrol Vessels 15 and 17 had managed to disengage.  But the stress on the drives during the final escape had been too much for Patrol Vessel 15's particle accelerators.  They had burned up the superconductors.  It had finally coasted to a stop here.
   The crews were finishing transferring the remaining torpedoes and supplies of Patrol Vessel 15 to Patrol Vessel 17.  The crew of 15 would then transfer onboard when that was finished.  A torpedo would be left to remotely arm and detonate after the two ships had undocked and separated a safe distance.
   Patrol Vessel 17 would be the ONLY vessel to return from Combat Group 2.  It would be the responsibility of the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 to relay to the elders the events that had unfolded.  The catastrophe.
   This would be no short war of extermination.  This would be a war fought for survival.
   A survival the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 no longer assumed was certain.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 11, 2010, 12:21:32 AM
September 2203 part 4

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

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

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

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

   2000 hours/Commander's Boat, Venus orbit

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US Ship Roster (Captain Jeremy Leffler BG)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nemotian Ship Roster (Commander Assault Vessel 2 BG)

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

Combat (Destroyer) Vessel 5 , 7            DD   30HS
[2]S S S A A H Qa (BbS) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  gig x3

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

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

Post Script

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

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

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

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

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

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

So glad you enjoy.  Will try to start/post Oct before the weekend.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 16, 2010, 02:31:58 AM
October 2203

October 1st  0050 hours/Ceres Colony, Asteroid Belt

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

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

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

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

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

   1845 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, Earth orbit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 25th  0600 hour/Beijing, China, Earth

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll post an addendum for October with an overview of the various powers financial status starting the next ten turns, and a fleet list.  Anything else you would want to see let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 16, 2010, 02:32:44 AM
Empire states beginning turn 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Independantly Assigned Vessels
Survey Tender 01 , 02

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

Ground Based Industry equal to SY x1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*all ships BG -2/shakedown

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

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

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

Due to impending spring break and an influx of free time for my kids, November 2203 part 1 may not show up for a week or so.  The group is currnetly getting ready for a big offensive and are spending more time running mock combats - testing ships designs/groups to try and work out the assault/campaign.  They tend to ho through at least three times as much effort testing/planning as they do running the battle.  Can't blame them.  They tend to do a good job.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 19, 2010, 05:09:43 AM
November 2203  part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 7th  1405 hours/New Delhi, India

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

November 9th  1950 hours/Beijing, China

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

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

   The Commander monitored the scout craft as they moved away from the Patrol Vessels.  Followed them until they disappeared even from the extended range he could sense through the ship.  It would take time for them to reach the enemy colony.  Time for them to make their attack.  Die there most likely.  The native race would be gaining skill in destroying the small ships with every encounter.  Six of them would pose little problem.  Perhaps the small ships would actually be able to inflict some damage.  Most likely not.
   The Elders had ordered this, letting it be known that they wanted the enemy to concentrate on this colony.  Keep his ships there.  Limit the native race's ability to maneuver and react.  It would take time for a new Combat Group to be formed and readied.  The enemy could not be allowed to use that time to attack.  They would be given reason to stay with their colony.
   And the crews of six scout craft would perish to do that.  Perhaps they intended for the crews of the Patrol Vessels to join them.  To die here in this floating mass of rocks.  Dueling with the enemy ships that would comb through the area looking for the vessels that had deployed the scout craft.
   It wasn't going to happen that way.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had studied the engagements with the enemy.  Tracked their movements.  Tactics.  And the Commander had come to a conclusion.  The enemy vessels were difficult to track, and had been able to intercept Patrol and other vessels with alarming accuracy.  Perhaps the native race had learned to track the magnetic signature of the Patrol and Combat Vessels.  If this was true, it would make operating the protective fields unwise.  Operations would be much more dangerous with the fields down.  But if the alternative was giving the enemy the ability to track the Patrol Vessels while the enemy remained invisible, the fields would have to be turned off.  At least until the battle was joined.  The theory would have to be tested though.
   Orders had directed the Patrol Vessels to remain at a 'safe' distance from the scout craft, monitor their progress, and transmit the results to the Fleet Base.  That would have to be changed slightly.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 changed the fields on his station and the crew responded.  The protective fields shut down.  Then the two Patrol Vessels began to move.  If the Commander was right, the enemy would suffer for it.  If the Commander was wrong, well, the Elders would get what they wanted.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 20, 2010, 06:36:42 AM
November 2203  part 2

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

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

   0025 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, vicinity of Ceres

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

November 14th  2050 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China

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

   2215 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon listened to the report of an overdue passenger liner.  It had been Pan Euro No.  0127s, returning from the belt to Mercury Colony.  It had been carrying 35,000 passengers.  And it was over 10 hours late.  Too late.  Brenna knew down deep that those people were gone.  And that the aliens were back.  There had been no warning.  Nothing.  And it would have been less than twelve light minutes from Mercury when it last checked in.  That meant the aliens were at least that close to Mercury.  To the one million plus colonists living there.  And the Pan Euro's only shipyards away from Terra herself.  Yards that were unguarded right now.   And over eight hours away even if the 3rd Battle Group were to push their engines to their limit.
   But they wouldn't be leaving Earth behind unguarded.  No way would they leave billions unguarded for the sake of a million or so.  No, Mercury Station was on her own.
   Brenna wished she could just for once cry.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 21, 2010, 05:29:38 AM
November 2203 part 3

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

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

   0226 hours/Queen Mary, near Mercury

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

   0230 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near Mercury

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

November 17th  0605 hour/Beijing, China

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

   0800 hours/Queen Elizabeth, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the reports.  It was bad.  Even so, it could have been much worse.  The Mercury Station had two of its Military Modules damaged, and the Queen Mary would be months behind schedule on her deployment.  But they were both still there, and the colony on Mercury had been unharmed. The construction facilities at Mercury Station were also unharmed.  A small pile of recommendations for awards were waiting for her to review.  A lot of them would actually deserve them.
   Alien ships in the inner system were the real problem.  Patrolling the belt was one thing.  Guarding everything was going to be impossible.  The offensive was going to have to be moved forward.  If they just waited, they were going to be picked apart.  Right now the aliens had almost no reason to tie down assets guarding their homes - where ever those were.  That was going to have to change.  Soon.
   A lot of people were likely to die when they found one of those homes.  A lot of ships wouldn't come back from an offensive against the aliens.  But it was the only game in town right now.  That, or die waiting.
   Jude wasn't interested in waiting.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 22, 2010, 02:34:06 AM
November 2203 part 4

November 18th  0800 hours/near Rizhao, China

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

   0830 hours/Beijing, China

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

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

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

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

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

November 30th  2335 hour/Queensland Corporation Airstrips, Australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Space Station
Core         SS   82HS

Military Modules 1-6 (BG -1)   SS   12HS

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

Thanks for reading, and please don't think my family is as dysfunctional as it sounds.
We really do love each other (most days).
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on March 26, 2010, 04:14:49 AM
December 2203

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

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

   BY SECTION 3A.127.016A,B,C,D,E,F,G,S
   SECTION 3A.122.003.D

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

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

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

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

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

December 4th 0230 hours/Rhienmein Airbase, Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   0645 hours/Mary Reed, 2.5 light seconds from Earth

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

December 24th  2210 hours/Beijing, China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 01, 2010, 12:32:50 AM
January 2204

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

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

   1420 hours/Venus Station, Venus orbit

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

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

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

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

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

   1330 hours/Attack Escort Cynthia, Asteroid Belt

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

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

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

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

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

January 12th  0945 hours/Wiesbaden, Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next month (Feb 2204) is the one to watch.  It’s plain to see that the pieces are set.  The boxers have run the first few rounds feeling things out.  Bloodying each other’s noses.  Now the battle would begin in earnest.  Most of the turns up to now were done in a few days.  Never much more than a week.  Even the big battle for Ceres hadn't gone much longer than that.  Turn 14 took over a month.  A month of long faces, quiet conversations amongst the players, and back room deals and compromises.  This month will not be done in one post, or two.  I'm not sure how many it will take, but I plan to try and take my time and do it well.  Hope you enjoy reading it as much as the players struggled with playing it.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 03, 2010, 02:08:08 AM
February 2204  part 1/Prelude

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

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

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

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

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

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

   1947 hours/Missile Frigate Anhui, asteroid belt near Ceres

   Captain Chen Ming keyed in orders for the helm to bring the ship hard about.  The contacts had come from nowhere.  The Frigates were supposed to have waited in the belt near Ceres, while the Tung had remained near the colony.  If the aliens had returned in force, the Tung would have fallen back and drawn the aliens into an ambush by the Missile Frigates.  But the Tung hadn't made first contact, and it was the ambushers who had been surprised.
   Worse, Chen knew that assuming the contacts had been aliens traveling with their protective fields down was a mistake.  Moments after the Frigates' protective fields had been raised the contacts had begun open radio broadcasts.  The encryption was undecipherable, but it was undoubtedly Euro or US transmissions.  To make bad into horrible -  the resupply vessel had just arrived when the contacts had showed up.  It was now running with the Frigates to avoid the pursuing ships.
   The contacts were too far back in the asteroid field to identify who they were, or even how many there were accurately.  They were persistent though.  For the last 10 minutes they had chased the Frigates.  Even turning off the magnetic generators hadn't thrown them off the trail.  Luckily the civilian freighter was a fast model and had been able to keep up.  Admiral Zhu would have ordered it destroyed if the small ship had been too slow.  Admiral Zhu had given a new order though.  One that was forcing the Anhui and Hubei to change course drastically.
   They were to break out of the belt on the dark side and make a run for deep space.  They were to see how far this US or Euro patrol would pursue them.  Hope that the group would worry about an ambush in deep space, or that they were leaving their colonies unprotected.  Much like Ceres and the Tung would be now.  Every moment took the Frigates farther and farther away.
   Captain Chen hoped there weren't any real aliens close by.  It was complicated enough at the moment.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 10, 2010, 01:31:33 AM
February 2204 part 2  /Of Stars and Shattered Ships

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

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

   0341 hours/Interceptor MkIIa S. Grant, near Neptune

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

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

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

   0345 hours/ Space near Neptune

   The wreckage of two battle groups drifted as a pair of ships moved away from the planet Neptune.  Four missiles slipped silently through the debris and dispatched the last drifting ship of the race that lived on the moon there.  Amidst the shattered ships lay the shattered hopes of two races - hopes that this war could be won quickly and decisively.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 11, 2010, 04:37:52 AM
February 2204  part 3/ Interlude

February 2nd 0910 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna

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

   1235 hours/US Space Station

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

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

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

February 3rd  0540 hours/Queen Mary, Earth orbit

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

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

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 waited as the last of the ships finished loading supplies from the mining vessel.  Soon they would begin the offensive against the native race's homes.  Word had been received of the attack at New Home 3, and that they had succeeded in protecting the colony, but at great cost.  A second Assault Vessel had been destroyed by the enemy.  That such a thing could happen was just unthinkable.  
   It made this offensive all the more important.  The native race had to be kept from attacking New Home 3 before more ships could be moved to protect it.  This race had to be destroyed before it was able to attack any more settlements.
   And Combat Group 3 would have to do it.  Because there simply weren't enough ships left to continue the attack if they didn't.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 12, 2010, 01:55:07 AM
February 2204  part 4

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

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

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

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

   0612 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

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

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

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

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

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji keyed in the authorization and transmitted the orders.  Admiral Hu may protest, or even sack him.  But it would have to wait.  Some things were too important right now to worry about what might be a problem later.  
   The Chinese had intercepted the Euro transmissions.  The aliens had returned and attacked the Pan Euro colony on Mercury.  Devastated it by the sounds of the messages.  That was some distance from Ceres, but still important.
   What concerned him was that the aliens had yet to attack the inner system without attacking Ceres.  It concerned him enough to send the orders diverting the Shangxi and Henan from their convoy escort duties, and transfer them to the Tung Group at Ceres.  Hopefully four Missile Frigates and the Tung would be enough to face down any alien attack.
   If it wasn't, this war was over.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 18, 2010, 10:43:26 AM
February 2204  part 5/ The Destruction of Ceres

February 10th  0100 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, 4 light seconds from Ceres

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji moved to lock his station.  His monitor had lit up with comm uplinks from Ceres.  The colony was showing a single magnetic signature on the far side of Ceres at over 8 lights seconds.  The other sensor report couldn't be right.  Couldn't.  The Tung was too far away to resolve the contacts.  Zhu keyed the prompt for all ships to lock stations and prepare for acceleration.  The combat ships were to come about toward Ceres, while the Zhuang was to move farther out into the belt and try to disengage.  If the reports from Ceres were correct, then it would make no difference what any of them did.
   As the Tung drew closer to Ceres, the truth became horribly obvious.  The launches from the ground troops and defenses left hundreds of sensor tracks on Zhu's monitor, as did the five detonations from what had to be small alien craft being destroyed.  Next were the detonations of nuclear bombs the small ships were releasing.  Several, then dozens.  In less than a minute over one hundred detonations had rippled across the surface of Ceres.  There would be no survivors this time.  No valiant defense.  Only debris and burned wreckage.  Launches from the alien combat ships were destroying the Transfer Station in orbit of Ceres, along with two civilian cargo ships that were just now firing up their drives to try and escape.
   The alien combat ships were close enough that if the Chinese ships were to fire on the small craft, the aliens would be able to target the launch signatures.  But at this range they would find it difficult or impossible to lock onto the ships' drive or hull signatures.  There were just too many false contacts.  The aliens were not hiding their magnetic fields this time though.  It was as if they were daring anyone to attack.  How many ships would it take to launch that many small craft?  Zhu wasn't sure, but if they weren't going to rush his group, he would follow the aliens until they did.  Perhaps something could be learned of the alien fleet and its plans.  Something that could help to avenge the millions who had just died.

   0335 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 32 light seconds from Ceres, Asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 wondered if the Commander of Combat Group 3 was either very brave, or just reckless.  It was obvious that combat ships of the native race were following the forward detachment as they returned to the reserve element.  Many of the small craft had already landed on the vessels of the forward detachment, but most were still waiting to return to the pair of Hive Vessels in the reserve group.  Each Hive Vessel carried eighteen of the small craft.  Of the sixty small craft that had attacked the enemy settlement, only five had failed to return.  It had been a resounding success.  The first test of the new ships had showed that they were effective.  Now it was time to find another target.  To continue destroying this race until there was nothing left.
   But the ships that were shadowing the group concerned the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17.  This enemy had shown it was capable of gathering its strength for a battle, and could launch vicious ambushes here in the debris fields of this system.  They were not to be underestimated.  But the Commander of Assault Vessel 4 had decided that chasing the native vessels would only allow them to choose the location and timing of the next battle.  The enemy ships were as fast and maneuverable as any ship in the Combat Group, and they were out of range.  Chasing them would not bring them in range, and would only stress engines for no gain.  If the native race attacked, they were to be engaged and destroyed, but there would be no more pursuits.  Any battles would be fought where the Combat Group chose to move.
   This sounded good, but the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 still worried.  If they were following the group and not hiding, it was because they thought that they could fight, and possibly win.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had seen this 'backward' race destroy too many ships not to take them seriously.
   For the moment there was nothing that could be done but wait, and prepare for the next target.

   2120 hours/Interceptor MkIIa J. Hancock, 10 light minutes from Ceres, Asteroid belt

   Rear Admiral Joshua Campbell read the transmission on his screen twice.  It would be nearly twenty minutes before the message would reach Earth, and another half hour for any response to return this distance.  With the Earth on the far side of the sun, it would simply take too long.  The decision would have to be made now.  Could the Chinese be trusted or not.  If this was a ruse, then US Task Force 3 would be leaving the belt colonies undefended.  If it was true, then the threat was too great to ignore.  Joshua didn't want to make this decision, but it had to be made now.  And there was no one else who could make it.
   The Chinese had broadcast about 15 minutes ago that they were following a group of alien ships which had destroyed Ceres. Destroyed?  A few garbled messages had been received, and it had been unusually silent.  But they could still be experiencing issues with damage on that colony, or simply cutting down emissions to make it harder for the aliens to relocate the big asteroid.  Regardless, the Chinese were now broadcasting that the alien ships had cleared the debris field and were headed in system.  The course was on a bearing that could either take them to Mars, Venus, or both.  Mars was the closest though.  With US Task Force 2 gone, it was nearly undefended.  The Mars Station was armed, but the Pan Euro Station at Mercury had also been armed - and destroyed.  Mars also had over 6 million colonist.
   There wasn't really any choice.  Joshua began to put together the message for Admiral Walters back at Earth.  Joshua hoped his only choice wasn't the wrong one.

   2200 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters read the situation reports for a second time.  It couldn't get much worse.  It was far too late to have his office crammed with staff, but it was.  They weren't making it easier to evaluate the situation.  Not that much could be done.  Just analysis and planning for the moment.
   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan was currently 30 hours out from Neptune, and the alien colony on Triton.  With luck it hadn't been reinforced and he would be able to deal with the stationary defenses.  An attack would incur losses though, and if the aliens had reinforced, Task Force 2 could be destroyed.
   Now Rear Admiral Joshua Campbell had reported that he was moving Task Force 3 out of the belt to engage a possible alien contact that the Chinese were tracking.  A contact that could be headed towards Mars.  An unconfirmed, but if real very dangerous alien contact.
   No one had any information on the current disposition of the Chinese fleet, or the status of the colony on Ceres.  What was slowly being analyzed didn't look good though.  Relays from the Pan Euro Hygeia Colony had picked up fragments of broadcasts from Ceres that had indicated the colony was under attack, but nothing since then.  Civilians under attack were a noisy bunch, and unless the communication arrays had been knocked out, it was just too quiet out there.  Unlike in peace time, no news was seldom good news during a war.
   If the aliens had a fleet that could destroy the colony on Ceres in only a few minutes, then Mars was in real danger.  And so was Task Force 3.  It didn't matter if it was aliens that destroyed Task Force 3, or the Chinese if this was some terrible ploy.  With Task Force 3 gone, the US would have no real combat forces left inside the belt.  That would change everything.
   It would be better to have as much firepower as possible to combat a sizeable alien fleet, and the Mars Space Station carried as many long range missile bays as an entire US Task Force, and more laser batteries.  It would be a valuable addition to any combat situation.  Could they permit an alien fleet that had the ability to destroy a colony of over 2 million in minutes that close to Mars?  That was the question that would need answered.
   If the Chinese were being honest, the aliens could reach Mars in 9 hours.  Task Force 3 could intercept in just under 8.  The transmission delay meant there were only six hours left to decide what to do, and where to do it.  The room quieted as Admiral Walters stood.  "I need someone to contact the Chinese Admiral out there, and find out if he knows what the hell they are following.  And then I need to know if there is ANY ship that can get there and verify if this is really happening.  And it needs to be done in the next two hours.  Does everyone understand that?"  
   The room emptied slightly as several bodies left.  Admiral Walters sat back down.  The training updates showed that Task Force 3 was one of the best groups, US or Euro, out there, but Josh was new to command.  He was sharp, but was that going to be enough?  
   In chess, the winner is the one to make the next to the last mistake.  The US couldn't afford a mistake now.

   2335 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Venus

   Admiral Hu locked the Flag Officer's station on the cruiser and approved the request for acceleration.  It was unfortunate and would put the Shek's refit behind schedule, but the alien ships were too close to remain at Venus.  The Shek was nowhere near combat ready, but was still capable of cruising.  They would simply have to finish the refit at Earth Station in the empty slip there.     Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji had been in constant communication with both the Venus Station and the US ships near Mars.  It would appear that the US group was going to assist the Chinese ships in an attack on the alien group, but the Euro group was not moving from Earth orbit.  The large Euro ship there would be of great assistance in the battle, but they seemed unwilling to leave their current positions.  The smaller US ships would have to do.
   The last hour had made the alien's course more definite, and the probability that they were moving toward Mars was over 90 percent. The US commander wanted to intercept the aliens several light minutes from Mars, which was understandable.  Dealing with the mass of small craft and the larger ships at the same time would be almost impossible.  Current estimates had the Tung Group and US Task Force meeting at 0540, with the engagement to occur no later than 0600.  Any alien course alterations might change that schedule, but only by a few hours.
   The problem was the size of the alien group.  The Tung had been unable to close sufficiently to resolve the individual ships without risking an engagement.  But if the reports of 60 small craft had been accurate the alien armada would be of immense size, unless they had deployed a new 'carrier' class of vessel.  The planned engagement might not be able to stop the aliens, even with the new protective fields on the Chinese ships.  If that was the case there were less than 24 hours at standard cruise between Mars and Venus.  The Shek could not be left in a vulnerable position, so it would be moved to Earth.  If the Tung Group was able to withdraw from an unfavorable engagement successfully, they would move to support the Venus Station defense.  The US would have to manage the defense of Mars on their own.
   The world turned grey and blue as the Shek's drive engaged.

February 11th  0315 hours/Interceptor JFK, 13.5 light minutes from Neptune

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan waited impatiently.  Every hour lost was another hour the aliens could improve the defenses of Triton.  Stopping Task Force 2 at this time would do nothing to affect the events elsewhere.  Jack wondered what could have inspired such an order.
   The message had come in only minutes ago, and gave no reason for the halt.  It was only a few light minutes distance to reach the rendezvous with the surviving Survey Tender and two Pan Euro Attack Escorts.  Jack could see no reason to delay the meeting, and the combined group would be better able to defend itself than they would be separate.  It was unlikely the Euro Red October would stop simply because the US group had received orders to do so.  Jack ordered the message from Earth logged and to send a request for retransmission of the orders for US Task Force 2, to confirm what they had just received.  It would take over 4 hours for the request to reach Earth, and another 4 for the retransmit to reach the JFK.  More than enough time to reach the waiting ships, and cover over one third of the remaining distance to Neptune.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 21, 2010, 05:42:00 AM
February 2204  part 6/ A Clash of Arms

February 11th  0505 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon sat at her station.  The whole crew was awake, even though they were not scheduled for 'At Stations'.  Brenna figured everyone who could was listening right now.  The engagement wasn't scheduled to take place for about an hour, and it would take another 22 minutes after that for it to reach Earth.  But the world was listening - at least those who could translate the encoding.  The US and Pan Euro forces would listen to the broadcasts from Task Force 3, while the Chinese would most likely be listening to the transmissions from their ships.  
   With the attack on Mercury and destruction of the shipyards there, and the apparent destruction of Ceres, this alien group seemed to be either powerful or lucky.  No one seemed to know its exact composition.  It was a deadly enigma that was now bound for Mars.  If the alien fleet wasn't stopped it would only be a matter of time before they reached Earth.
   Brenna looked around the bridge.  The crew was clustered in threes and fours.  Talking.  Waiting.  All thinking the same thing.  Was this battle going to come to Earth?  Brenna got up from her station and walked to the group at the Comm Station.  They must have felt the magnets in her feet snapping to the decks as she approached, as they all came to attention.  With a wave and quick "As you were" she settled in among them.  For the moment she was just one more person waiting to see what card fate dealt.  And she didn't feel like waiting alone.

   0555 hours/Interceptor MkIIa J. Hancock, 3.25 light minutes from Mars

   Rear Admiral Joshua Campbell looked over his sensor returns.  The Chinese ships were now settled into formation with Task Force 3.  The large Chinese ship was the center of the formation, with four Strike Vessels around it.  Task Force 3 had separated into two groups and taken up position on the flanks of the Chinese formation.  The aliens group had separated into two sensor returns.  The forward return had resolved into a number of ships.  A disturbing number of ships.  Two Foxtrots, two Deltas, and four Alphas were approaching at just over 2000 kilometers per second.  The second return was distant, only the magnetic signature was visible.  But the presence of more ships than what was already in front of them was at best ominous.  Realistically, it was disastrous.  Joshua had studied the engagement records, and if there was anything more than support ships in the second group, this engagement was likely doomed.  But other than the battle at Uranus, no one had ever recorded the presence of support ships with the combat ships.
   The combined US and Chinese group was passing in front of the alien group.  Several hundred years ago this would have been the ideal location. 'Crossing the T' as they called it.  Limiting the opponent to only his forward batteries while your own ships could fire full broadsides.  Now with launch bays that could deploy weapons in a nearly 360 degree arc, it was no better than any other position. The range was too great for any of the missiles to lock on, but the aliens had started accelerating.  The range would shrink now until that was no longer the case.   The Chinese vessels were beginning to accelerate, and had changed course.  Joshua keyed in for the helm to follow suit when the new course plots lit up on his monitor.  'I hope I can do as well as this crew does,' thought Josh as he keyed in to accept the new course.
   The blue halo disappeared for a second as the drive shut down and the maneuver thrusters fired.  Then the grey and blue halo reappeared as the drive kicked in.  The new course had turned them almost directly away from the aliens.  They could just track the alien contacts past the nuclear inferno of their own drive blooms.  Targeting solutions were beginning to fill Josh's monitor, but the aliens were still over a minute away from being in range at the current velocities and rates of acceleration. 'In one minute the fates of nearly six million people will be decided,' Josh thought.  'Most likely not for the better.'
   Joshua's monitor lit up with new magnetic readings.  "What the hell."  The Sensor Officer caught himself before he could say more.  Joshua checked the readouts. The contacts were to close. 'How did they get so close without us knowing?'  As he checked the bearings and signatures it became clear.  The Chinese ships were the ones that had deployed the magnetic fields.  The implication of that in the long term was almost as ominous as the alien fleet bearing down on Mars.  But for the moment it meant that six million people might have a chance of being alive tomorrow.  
   Joshua watched his monitor as the crew brought the Hancock into the fight.  They were one hell of a crew.

   0558 hours/Cruiser Mao Tse Tung, 3.12 light minutes from Mars

   Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji felt the Tung shudder as the drive cut out, then flared back to life.  Damage readouts showed that the magnetic protective field generators had gone off line, and the outer plating was damaged, but the hull hadn't been breached.  The Tung had passed through four detonations with only minor hull damage.  Four impacts had nearly destroyed her in the engagement against the aliens at Ceres.  The new fields were proving their value.  But they weren't invulnerable.  The lead alien cruiser was showing that.  The first volley of missiles had collapsed the field surrounding the alien ship and caused it to shut down its drives and vent in response to the damage.  When the drive had come back online the bloom had lost almost two thirds of its thermal signature.  The alien ship was losing speed.
   The Tung lurched again as another alien inbound detonated to close.  Damage reports lit up Zhu's console.  An auxiliary missile storage and the external sensor array had been damaged.  The internal system was still up, but fire control would be degraded.  One of the short range launch bays had also taken damage, but at this range those missiles were all but worthless.  The four long range bays and all particle accelerators for the drive were still online.  'Five impacts and we are still in this fight.'
   The sensor readings showed a large detonation nearly 4.5 light seconds away as the lead alien cruiser lost containment on the drive or some internal reactor.  One of the mid sized ships had also lost its magnetic field and its drive never restarted after shutting down.  'The aliens won't find this quite as easy as they had hoped.'
   Zhu watched as the third volleys crossed in space between the fleets.  The aliens had changed their targeting.  As one of the smaller US ships and then one of their Interceptors broke apart under the detonation of alien weapons, Zhu wondered if the US ships would break off and disengage.  But as the moments ticked by the US ships were actually coming about and racing toward the alien group.  Brave, if perhaps foolish, mused Zhu.
   Returns showed another of the alien ships had been unable to restart its drive after several intercepts.  It was one of the smaller alien ships, but it was one less to deal with now.  The aliens were suffering in this exchange.  As Zhu watched he realized that both of the coasting alien ships were launching.  'Their weapon bays must be hardened to survive for this long.'
   The Tung lurched again as the next wave of alien missile detonated.   As the drive restarted warnings flashed on Zhu's screen that nearly two thirds of the Tung's particle accelerators were off line - she was slowing.  Readouts showed that all of the short range launch bays were off line and one of the four long range bays was damaged.  'We've taken six hits and survived, but we can't do this much longer' he thought.  We aren't going to be able to get away either.  The sensors were showing that one more of the US Interceptors had exploded as its drive shield failed.  They also showed that another of the small alien ships had been damaged enough it had failed to restart its drive.  For a moment three alien ships were coasting through space, until a US missile destroyed one of the smaller contacts. 'Just two floating targets now.'
   Zhu transmitted the orders for the Missile Frigates to maintain their current speed as the Tung fell out of formation.
   A moment later a two kilo chunk of metallic hydrogen struck the Tung's drive shield and the ship disappeared in an enormous flare.

   0600 hours/Interceptor MkIIa J. Hancock 3 light minutes from Mars

   Joshua was amazed at the crews of the US ships.  Amazed and proud.  They were taking it to the alien ships, without the magnetic shielding the heavy Chinese ships had.  Josh watched the sensor track as the missile from the Hancock intercepted and destroyed one of the drifting Alphas, and then saw that the laser battery had actually forced the alien Foxtrot to stutter its drives to vent away shattered plating as the beam shattered the ship's outer skin.  The Adams had also managed to scorch the large ship, even as one of the missiles from a nearby Delta had ripped into the Adams hull.  The targeting computers had never been designed to plot multiple target solutions simultaneously.  Somehow the crew was managing to get more out the Hancock than had ever been intended.
   The Hancock staggered as the drive cut out and then restarted.  'Where did that come from?'  Then Josh saw it.  The rear alien contact had closed and two more Alphas were launching on the US ships.  The Interceptors had gotten around the big alien vessels so that they would be unable to use the mass drivers they carried, but the two Alphas in the rear had closed and begun to launch.  Two other ships were with the Alphas.  Smaller, and not cataloged.  Not launching.  Joshua saw that the Sensor Conn had already logged the contacts and transmitted initial readings towards Mars.
   Then the sensors showed that the Adams had been hit by a second launch from an Alpha and been destroyed.  The Alpha was breaking away from the Foxtrot and trying to move behind the Hancock.  It was too late to do anything about that now.  Firing solutions were already locked in on the Foxtrot.  The ship lurched slightly as the drive cut out to allow missile deployment and the laser output coupler to line up on the big alien ship.

   0601 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 2.97 light minutes from Mars

   The Commander or Patrol Vessel 17 strained at the fields on his station.  The crew was doing all they could to bring the ship in line but it was too late.  The Commander could feel through the sensors as Assault Vessel 6 was damaged by the enemy weapons.  One detonated against the magnetic fields, while the other seemed to be able to pass right through them and shattered more of the ships hull.  A torpedo left the launch bay of Patrol Vessel 17 moments later and the Commander noted with satisfaction as the weapon shattered the enemy ship's hull, destroying it.
   Three of the unshielded enemy ships had been hit or destroyed by Patrol Vessel 17's torpedoes in this engagement.  The Commander would congratulate the crew later, if they survived.  The large enemy ships had deployed protective magnetic fields also.  How could they have managed to come up with them so quickly?  It was simply unthinkable that they could copy and adapt so rapidly.  The enemy Assault Vessel had been destroyed, but the other four smaller enemy ships still had protective fields up.
   The last of the unshielded enemy ships had been destroyed, it was only the four shielded vessels left.  But every launch from them was 12 weapons, and they had stayed distant enough that the Assault Vessels and Combat Vessels had been unable to employ their mass drivers.  Only five torpedoes were being launched for every 12 of the enemy's weapons.  The Commander followed the torpedo from Patrol Vessel 17 as it raced across the gap between the two fleets, and sensed the native ship lose the protective field as the torpedo intercepted the ship.  As the next torpedo deployed, the Commander tensed as the Assault Vessel was struck by one enemy weapon after another.  The protective field collapsed under the onslaught, and the ship vented again and again as it tried to clear the debris and damage from its hull.  The Commander's hopes fell as the great ship's drive never re-engaged.  It hadn't been destroyed, but the next wave of 12 weapons was already inbound.  It would never survive another intercept.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 noted the message from the Commander of Combat Vessel 6 as the larger ship passed overall Command of the Combat Group to him.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 hated to do it, but the group would never be able to reach the nearby planet without being destroyed.  The Hive Vessels were still intact, and the Combat Group would find another way to destroy the native race.  There was nothing to be gained here anymore.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 ordered the surviving elements of Combat Group 3 to reverse course and disengage from the enemy.
   As Patrol Vessel 17 changed course, the Commander noted that the enemy ships were not changing course to pursue.  The one that had lost its protective fields was showing signs that it had been damaged.  Perhaps the last torpedo from Patrol Vessel 17 had also found its target.  The Commander decided that later the records would have to be analyzed for that little bit of information.
   It had been a horrible day for Combat Group 3.  It had lost both Assault Vessels, one of the two Combat Vessels, and three of the six Patrol Vessels.  But it still had both Hive Vessels, and one enemy colony had been destroyed while another was in ruins.  The enemy now knew how to create the protective fields, but did not seem to have them on all of their ships.  The Combat Group would have to strike again before the native race could correct that situation.   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 vowed to himself that the two bombed colonies would not be the only losses to the enemy's homes that Combat Group 3 would inflict before they returned to base.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 22, 2010, 05:32:30 AM
February 2204 part 7

February 11th  1345 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October

   Captain Robert McNeely looked at the message from the US Rear Admiral again.  It wasn't an order.  Not at all.  It had just been a message to inform the Pan Euro ships of what had happened, and what was going to happen.

   MARY QoS.

   Bob was sure the message had likely been abbreviated for transmission to the Pan Euro ships, but it wouldn't make any difference.  Without the US ships there was nothing the Red October and two Attack Escorts could do against the alien defenses near Triton.  The US Survey Tender and all of the supplies would also be returning to Mars so remaining was pointless.  The group was now less than one days travel from Neptune, but it would make no difference.  The alien colony was as safe as if the ships had never made the journey at all.
   "Comm, request course plots for return to Mars from US Interceptor Hancock.  Looks like we are going home again."

   2215 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters looked over the reports.  One of them kept drawing his attention, but for once he didn't know exactly what to do about it.  Doing nothing for the moment seemed to be the best plan.  The two Missile Escorts of Task Force 2 hadn't gone beyond the belt, but they had now turned up conducting humanitarian operations in support of the surviving population on Mercury.  Pan European population.  The fact that the FSC Mary Reed was with them only complicated matters more.
   In fact they had successfully transported 15000 stranded colonists out of the wreckage and were currently returning for more.  Those Missile Escorts should be at Mars providing additional defensive firepower to the colony there.  But the public acknowledgement of the effort to save the Pan Euro colonists was gathering a great deal of publicity and public support.  The fact that the only off world US shipyards were at Mars seems to have escaped the publics' notice.
   The Missile Escorts had proved to be terribly vulnerable to the alien weapons, and perhaps their contribution to the defense of Mars was much less than the contribution to the morale of the people on Earth.  The Pan Euro was already sinking into a recession, and morale was sinking just as quickly.  The loss of two out of three US Task Forces wasn't likely to help morale on the home front.  Perhaps the little ships should be allowed to continue their 'humanitarian' mission for the moment.  Staving off the hopelessness he saw in his staff daily would be more valuable than two more ships at Mars.  
   Bradley shut down his monitor and decided that it was late enough to get some rest.  Tomorrow would bring more pressing problems than the whereabouts of a pair of Missile Escorts.  'Why shouldn't it, every other day this month has.' he thought to himself as he left the office.

February 13th  1750 hours/Missile Escort Falcon, 2 light minutes from Mercury

   Commander Justin Reynolds checked his monitor again.  Four hours ago they had been in orbit of Mercury.  The FSC Freighter Mary Reed had managed to fit another 15000 refugees from the stricken planet in her hold.  This was the third time the ships had managed the journey.  Now it would be their last.
   The radio traffic had been brief, only a few minutes, but there had been no doubt of what had happened.  The aliens had returned to Mercury.  If there were any survivors, they were unable to send any sort of signal.  But there wouldn't be survivors.  Not this time.
   It was also obvious that the aliens hadn't been driven off.  Hurt, but not beaten.  And now nearby.  Only four hours ago the Falcon had been at Mercury.  Four hours that separated the alien ships from the rag tag US/FSC group.
   Justin checked the sensors again.  The refugees on the Mary Reed had only narrowly escaped death just now.  Justin hoped their luck would hold out just a little longer.  Maybe they would all make it home.

February 14th  0800 hours/Queen Mary, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked out the viewing port at the giant Chinese ship in the dock of the station in orbit below.  Right now the Chinese ship was nearly helpless, with the bulk of her plating removed and many of her internal systems scattered about in orbit beside the slip.  In a month though, that ship would likely be more powerful than the entire Pan Euro Fleet.  Perhaps the combined Euro/US Fleets.  The possession of the magnetic fields by Chinese ships changed the balance of power in a significant way.  Possibly world changing.
   'If we were to strike now, we could destroy the ship before it was operational.  But that could easily doom the human race as the Chinese possession of protective field technology was what most likely saved the Earth only a few days ago from the aliens.' Jude thought.
   'We need everything we can get against the aliens.  The failure of Pan Euro and US ships to inflict any damage on the alien colony at Triton shows that the current designs are inadequate.  The Chinese ships could easily have fought to a different conclusion out at Neptune.  The Earth will need those ships in the months to come.  The Pan Euro and US Fleets are spent, and won't be able to carry the fight to the aliens for months.  We don't have months.  We might not have weeks.'
   Jude remembered the last brief transmissions from Mercury.  'Perhaps we don't have long at all.'

February 16th  1205 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 pondered the display of the inner portion of this system.  The destruction of the survivors on the innermost planet had been satisfying, but not of any great value.  The enemy colony had already been in ruins, and was left unguarded.  The native race was obviously placing their assets to guard the most valuable colonies.  And the planet Combat Group 3 had failed to reach had displayed the most formidable defenses of any planet so far.  Defenses that indicated it was a worthwhile target.
   But to continue rapid attacks would only exhaust the crew and leave the native race wary and always on alert.  The debris fields seemed an appropriate place to rest and perform routine maintenance on the ships.  Soon enough they would turn toward the fourth planet of this system, and this time they would reach it.  But for now, rest.

February 20th  0245 hours/Interceptor MkIIa J. Hancock, 24 light minutes from Mars

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan looked over the screen.  It showed that less than 24 hours now remained before the group would reach Mars.  No more human colonies had been attacked, and perhaps the aliens had left the inner system to resupply or regroup.  Regardless, they were returning to Mars, Fleet Base for Task Force 2.  It had been home for some time now and Jack was actually looking forward to getting off the Hancock.  Perhaps he would be able to manage another visit to his daughter.  If not at least hearing from her would help.  Knowing that she was alive and safe made the days a little easier.
   Just another day left and they would be home.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 23, 2010, 05:28:51 AM
February 2204  part 8 / Whatever the cost

February 22nd  1410 hours/Interceptor MkIIa JFK, 1light second from Mars

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan pushed off from the sensor console hard and flew toward his station.  In micro G it was faster to push, or in this case hurl yourself to your station.  The Sensor Officer had reported intermittent faint contacts, and Jack had gone to make sure the array wasn't shorting or damaged and creating sensor ghosts.  When the mass of small craft had appeared, along with magnetic contacts farther out, Jack knew it wasn't ghosts.  And it wasn't good.
   Jack locked himself into his station as the crew sprang to life throughout the bridge.  The Sensor Officer had already broadcast for lock stations/battle stations.  Jack's monitor flashed to life as he finished locking himself down.  It always seemed unusual to get ready for a fight by making anything but the smallest finger movements impossible.  A power-armored trooper or cyborg soldier would have greater overall strength, but nothing matched the power/hydraulics/composites applied to Space Model Cyborg's fingers.  They were designed to maintain control of the ship's systems even under stresses or 1000 G's.  A power-armored trooper may be able to pick up the front end of a tank, but Jack knew his fingers would be able to dig divots into its armor.
   Jack took in the sensor returns.  They were coming in at over 4000 kilometers per second.  This always seemed to be the aliens' initial engagement velocity.  The Interceptors could easily reach them long before the alien ships got to Mars, but they would be unsupported by the Mars Station's weapons at that point.  Of course if they stayed closer to Mars, they would have to give up accelerating - and the aliens would be in range to launch on the colony.  Except the aliens had never seemed to directly attack a colony.  Jack plotted a course and quickly transmitted it to the rest of the Interceptors, and then used the Mars Station to relay the course to the Pan Euro ships parked on the far side of Mars.  The Red October and the two Pan Euro Attack Escorts had stayed at Mars while Task Force 2 waited for the little Missile Escorts to come home.  As much as he loved the crews of his own Missile Escorts, Jack was glad to have the larger Euro ships right now.  Especially with what the sensors were showing.
   The sensor returns had resolved.  'The forward group is composed of.... oh mother of god 48 small craft.'  The more distant return was one Delta and three Alphas.  'That second group we have a chance against.  How are we ever going to hit that many small targets and still shoot at the big ships?!!'  Jack thought.  The JFK was already coming about and looping away from the alien ships.  Jack hoped they thought that his group was retreating.  He doubted it.  By looping away and then back he could come up to combat speed and still not pull away from the Mars Station.  With that many alien ships, they would need all of the station's launch bays and laser batteries.
   As the Interceptors pulled out and away from Mars, the sensors picked up the Euro ships mirroring them.  The two groups would meet by the planet just as the aliens drew in range - if all went according to plan.  The sensors picked up a pair of contacts lifting off from the surface of Mars.  The Survey Tender and Pan Euro Mobile Repair Ship were both using the planet to shield them from the aliens as they began to accelerate away. 'Why didn't I think of that' Jack wondered.
   The JFK was coming around toward the planet now.  The laser batteries on the Station were already firing on the small craft as they reached 2 light seconds from the planet.  A pair of small detonations as the alien craft passed through the invisible pulses were the only warning the aliens would have had that the station was firing. Moments after the detonations, the small craft began accelerating.  Readings of nearly 7000 kilometers a second began to appear.  Jack decided the small ships were either far more advanced than anything the US possessed or were pushing their drives to the limit.  
   The Pan Euro ships had pulled slightly ahead of the US Interceptors Jack noticed as he saw launch indicators spring up on his display around the Red October.  The Mary Queen of Scots and Rachel Pierce were also launching.  Then the alien launch signatures began to light up Jack's monitor.  The US ships were still out of range, but their laser batteries could easily begin firing on the approaching small craft.  The JFK stuttered her drives as the laser couplers aligned and discharged, as did the rest of the Interceptors, but only one alien ship broke up.  Then another as the station discharged its batteries.  'Its not going to be enough.  We aren't destroying them fast enough.'  The sensor returns showed that the small ships would reach Mars in a little over one minute.  Far to quickly.
   Jack checked the sensor returns as the alien weapons approached.  It was now obvious they were homing in on the Pan Euro ships.  The four detonations were followed by the Red October shutting down her drives and venting damaged plating, but her drive restarted moments later and a second launch left the Euro ship's two bays.
   The next few moments became a blur of action.  Firing solutions lit up the monitor as the enemy vessels came in range of the JFK's missiles. Detonations lit up around the alien Delta as Pan Euro and US missiles strained to make intercept, and the large alien ship's protective field failed. Then it began to slow as its drive bloom lost strength.  An outer module on the Mars station blew apart without warning and began to spin away out of orbit.  No warning whatsoever - damned alien mass drivers.  Small alien bombers shattered as lasers found their targets.  The Red October began to vent again as alien missiles detonated along her path.  When the big Euro ship restarted its drive it had also lost much of its strength.
   Jack tried to sort through the information splashing across his monitor, appearing and scrolling away.  Changing. Flashing.  It was almost impossible.  But the crew kept on fighting, each doing their jobs as Jack watched.  The Red October was coming hard about, probably trying to put Mars between her and the aliens.  She was still launching from both of her missile bays, but must be damaged badly to try and withdraw now.  The Pan Euro Attack Escorts were both falling into formation with the Interceptors though.  And then the Franklin disappeared as an alien missile detonated far too close for any ship to survive, and the Eisenhower began stuttering her drive and venting to clear damage she had sustained.  But the alien and US ships had been rushing together.  An alien alpha began to vent as the Truman passed by and discharged its laser.  Another vented as the JFK's laser shattered the outer plating from its hull.  Sensors also showed that Mars was launching everything it had from the surface defense batteries as the alien bombers descended toward the planet.
   Then the detonations began to ripple across the surface of Mars. Points of light and swirls of dust.  The Mars Station was firing on the small craft with everything it had.  There were only 20 or so small craft left but they continued to bank across the surface - hunting for habitats to destroy.  Then Jack's attention was drawn away from the planet as the sensor returns recorded the destruction of the alien Delta as its drive shield failed.
   The Alphas were beginning a high-speed bank to disengage and Jack seized the chance to try and assist the planet.  The Eisenhower broke into thousands of pieces as an alien missile managed to find the US ship.  The JFK's laser tore into the alpha it had already damaged as the aliens pulled away.
   The next few minutes were spent firing on the small craft as the alien ships accelerated away and disengaged.  The small alien bombers tried to scatter, but to no avail.  Lasers and missiles found them one after another as they tried to pull away from the planet.  Jack knew that they would have hunted them down, even without the desperate calls of the civilians below - crying out for help as their life support and homes failed from the damage the aliens had done.
   Jack looked at the status reports as they updated on his monitor.  Only two of the Interceptors had been destroyed.  The Red October was damaged, but still operational.  The colonies had been savagely attacked, but it looked as if over two thirds of the habitats had survived undamaged.  But the destruction of the Eisenhower and Franklin was half of the US Interceptors at the moment.  And the aliens would be back.  They would know they hadn't finished the job, and they would return.
   Jack unlocked his station and thought for a moment.  'Is there any hope for my little girl?'  He looked at the visual pick up and watched smoke drifting across the surface of the red planet below.  'Is this all that we have waiting for us.'

February 24th  0400 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Lieutenant Commander Meagan Ryan tried to relax.  For the last two nights she couldn't sleep.  To many nightmares. She know her dad was alive.  The aliens hadn't killed him.  But it didn't happen that way in her dreams.
   She looked over the reports on her console.  She was getting a little bleary eyed, but really didn't want to lie back down.  It was just easier to try and get ready for the morning briefing for the Admiral.  He had been in a terrible mood.  At least she had some good news.  The techs on the ground finally had a successful test of a full-scale magnetic field generator.  Granted everyone in orbit would have been able to see it on their sensors, but at least it had been successful.  It would be better if there were more ships to fit them onto when production started, but at least the ships they had left should be able to deploy the system in the coming weeks.
   The test had also been very informative.  It had generated a wealth of data on the system and on magnetic fields in general.  Meagan had been working on some of the corollaries herself for the last few hours.  It seemed the alien ships had slight variations in their magnetic signatures that were almost like fingerprints.  You could track an individual ship by the perturbations of its field.  It wouldn't be useful in combat as it took to long, and was impossible at longer ranges, but could possibly identify something useful on the alien's deployment.
   The data on every engagement was available to Meagan on her databases, and the crunching of the data would be done soon.  As the results began to list out, Meagan began to feel a cold chill creep through her.  Her nightmares weren't going to get any better.  Not now.
   She hadn't woken up the Admiral in months, but she keyed open the comm to his office.  He needed to see this.

   0445 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters looked at the data.  "Your sure this is accurate."  The pale girl with dark circles wearing into her face just nodded back at him.  She hadn't even gotten into her full uniform.  She thought this was real.    That meant there was every chance that it was.
   She had been to trying to analyze alien ship signatures, and see if she could find out something about alien ship dispositions and deployments.  She had only a small amount of success in that.  But she had managed to find something else.  Something very disturbing.
   The article of interest was a return designated contact two, as it had been the second recorded contact of the aliens made.  The first had been the fleeting sensor data gained by the Outreach.  This 'Contact Two' kept turning up.  Over.  And over.  It had been at almost every engagement that had been recorded.  
   It had been part of those responsible for the initial attack on Mercury and in the later destruction of the station and colony there.  It had been at Uranus and destroyed ships there.  It had been at Jupiter, and in the belt, and at Mars.  Engagement records showed it had destroyed 7 US and Euro ships and damaged at least four others.  No other alien ship even came close to that total.  This was the alien's Red Baron.  And as long as it was out there, well... they couldn't let that happen.
   "The Chinese aren't exactly on friendly terms, but they might want to know about this.  If this alien ship has destroyed 7 of ours, they have probably lost some to it also."  Bradley looked up and saw Meagan nod in agreement.
   "This ship needs to be destroyed.  Whatever the cost."
   Bradley couldn't have believed that the girl in front of him could have turned whiter.  He was wrong.
   He knew what she was thinking, and what that cost would be.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 27, 2010, 12:17:18 AM
February 2204 part 9/And the pieces move into place

February 27th  0255 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon stood and looked up at the stars.  A vast gulf of them all around her.  She looked aft and could see the engineering crews doing their regular checks on the hull and drive shield.  Walking along the smooth skin of 'Anna and calibrating the sensor array pick-ups.  It was a privilege of rank to be able to come out here on the hull.  So long as you stayed on the dark side of the hull or the backside of a planet it was no different than the hard vacuum of the cabin.  But inside 'Anna, the walls could begin to feel like a prison.  It already felt as if her soul was locked in the body she now wore, with no way out.  Out here she felt less trapped.
   The devastation on Mars was just beginning to be grasped.  Over two million died in the attacks.  More would die in the days to come.  It never seemed to end.  Pallas.  Mercury.  Ceres.  And now Mars.  "How will it end?"  She looked at the millions of lights surrounding her.  "Will this be the site of our last stand?  The end of the long years I've seen?"
   "I love to look at this.  How many times do I have left?"
   She looked at the great gulf below her, falling away to the blue green planet below.
   "Are we worth saving?"

   0800 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Earth orbit

   Admiral Hu sat and looked at the console.  The Shek was nearly ready.  Only a few hours left and she would clear the dock.  And he would go with her.  Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji was gone, and there were no other Fleet Officers to take command.  The Cruiser would be his.
   The US had sent data that had indicated one of the alien ships was beginning to become the main threat.  Chinese analysts had looked over the data but were unable to correlate it with the combat records.  The belt had made it almost impossible to get clear readings of the ships or of which one launched what weapon.  They may have lost ships to this alien vessel, but there was no way to tell.  But it was a small ship, no threat to the Chinese group.
   What was important was the data the Pan Euro had sent.  The source was unclear, but the data was crystal clear.  An alien colony had been identified on Triton near Neptune.  The US and Euro had failed to destroy it, and lost several ships in the attempt.  Their losses weren't important.  The target was.  The aliens would find this Cruiser much more difficult to stop than the fragile ships of the other nations.  
   The scientist had come up with a way to bleed off the feed back from impacts with the protective fields into a magnetic loop capacitor.  The fields would no longer burn out the generator and need repaired at a shipyard.  They would be reset within an hour or two by simply replacing the capacitors when they burned out.  Much like a fuse burning out and being replaced.
   'Revenge is a dish best served cold it is said, and they have picked a very cold home.'

February 28th  0415 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 checked on the status of the transmission to the elders.  The attack on the enemy colony had inflicted damage on the habitats there, but had failed to destroy it.  The last Combat Vessel had been destroyed.   Patrol Vessels 19 and 12 had sustained damage to the outer plating.  And only one of the scout craft had managed to find its way home to the hive ships.
   Repairs were being made to the damaged vessels, and new scout craft would have to be sent.  The four Patrol Vessels would remain here in the debris belt of this system while preparations were made for the next attack on the enemy home.  The Commander intended to stay here and continue attacks on the native race.  Patrol Vessels 17 and 13 would be able to make harassing attacks to keep the enemy tied down here by their homes, and unable to attack New Home 3.
   All of their race would know of the feats this Combat Group had attained.  And of the destruction Patrol Vessel 17 had unleashed upon this enemy.  But now he was no longer just the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17.  He would be the Commander of all Vessels that would come to the inner part of this system.  And the Commander intended to see this enemy race destroyed.

Overview part 1
Yes, I am going to need more than one part to take a good look at what happened in this month, but here it goes.

First the tale of the tape.  It was a bad month for humanity.  
Really bad for the Euro.  
Horrible for the US.  
The FSC already has it so bad it was hard to get worse.

Worst news first.
The US started the month with 12 Interceptor MkIIa's and 6 Missile Escorts in three battle groups.
The US finished the month with 2 Interceptors, and 2 Missile Escorts.
The Mars Station also lost one of its Military Modules.
That was 80 percent of the US fleet in combat HS's.  Ouch.
Add to that the loss of two admirals.  
They also managed to lose 43 PU on Mars in the attack at the end of the month.
Double Ouch.
You don't really want to know what someone's mood was like that month.

The Pan Euro started with 2 Queen Class Destroyers, 2 Heavy Escorts, 8 Attack Escorts, and the Red October.
They finished it with 1 Destroyer, 1 Heavy Escort, 6 Attack Escorts, and the Red October badly damaged.
They also lost the Mercury Space Station, with its six military modules and 2 shipyards.
This amounted to over 50 percent of their combat HS's and half of their construction capability.
They also lost an admiral.  And 22.3 PU on Mercury.
Her mood wasn't much better.  Wonder why?....

China lost one Cruiser.  Less than 20 percent of their combat HS's.
The loss of the admiral hurt more.  It forced him to put his only other one into danger.
The loss of 41.5 PU at Ceres was the worst.
China was now the most powerful military for Earth.  
They had nearly as many combat HS as the Euro and US put together.

The FSC didn't lose anything, which was good as they only had one ship left.
With their only population on Earth, if they had lost any this would have likely been the game's last month.

The good news for Earth, although they didn't know it...
This month destroyed just over 60 percent of the Nemotian's mobile combat HS's.

Murphy's combat law says that when both sides think they are about to lose, they are both right.
This was that month.

The other interesting part concerns Patrol Vessel 17.  
This is a danger of paper and pencil games with the dice out for everyone to see.  
The early attack moved Patrol Vessel 17 up to elite.  When the Patrol ships only have one shot, and no datalink, it is pretty easy to figure out which one is hitting on numbers it ' shouldn't ' at a given range.  When it started racking up the kills they decided that they were going to hunt it down.  I heard it muttered often that they needed to take that ship out.

They also mentioned to the middle boy (China) that if he wanted payback for Ceres, that Neptune was the place to go.

The next post will go over the battles and economics to a degree.  If you've got a question, just drop it on the comments.  This was a complicated month.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 27, 2010, 12:19:25 AM
February 2204 part 10

Overview part 2

For the economics

Pan Euro
   The recession was still in effect for the Euro, so she decided to mothball her survey ships to try and offset the costs.  She also sank a fair portion of her income into IU's to try and make up the continuing shortfall.  She continued with a trickle of colonization out to the belt, but began to regret it as the turn went on as she was sure they were just going to become targets as time went on. The Euro progressed to just needing one success left for her shield research before she had the system, and the promise from the US to provide a tech copy was going to help that in March.
   The big hit for her, although it would take time to be felt, was the loss of the shipyards at Mercury.  This would put a crimp on her ability to both refit existing ships while building new ships to replace losses.  The Euro's two Mobile Repair ships with the SYM's would actually become a vital piece of her construction assets for the year or so to come. The time it would take to build a new shipyard - and the shipyard that would become unavailable during that time while it worked on the construction, just couldn't be spared under the circumstances.  She could have used ground construction, but the cost during her current finacial straights was just untenable.

   The US economically had an ok sort of month.  They piled all the money they could into developing shields, and made their last roll this month easily.  They also quietly started working on the breakthru for datalink - but wasn't so lucky with his roll.  He also managed to miss his roll for EL2 which miffed him somewhat.
   He continued a small investment in IU's, and shut down colonization to Mars.  Whether it was a good guess at the next target or just dumb luck, he quit investing in that right before it got hit.  The damage to Mars was substantial, and coming right as he was looking for the PU increase due to a jump in EL hurt even worse.  Each PU lost was lost growth when he made his roll.
   The damage to the SS at Mars did not damage the core, so he retained all three of his SY, which was good.  He had a LOT of rebuilding to do after this month.  But he was also planning on introducing a new model of Interceptor, so it hurt to lose so many ships but did free up the maintenance for new construction.  He grumbled a lot, but was planning just as much.

   This month saw the complete transformation of China from the whipping boy of the other powers at the beginning of the game to the most powerful of the players bar none.  The loss of Ceres hurt, but he had been anticipating it and pouring money into IU at a rate greater than the Euro and US combined.  The loss of Ceres hurt, but the IU bought in February offset nearly one third of the loss.  He also managed to get the success on S regenerating every hour roll this month, after mildly accelerating the research over the last few months.
   Possibly the most game altering event was his rapid and extensive refits over the last two month.  China's FG's now packed as many shields as a Nemotion Assault Vessel (Light Cruiser), and the Tung and Shek would pack almost twice that number.  The Shek's conversion to a pure long range weapon platform put as many R's on it as an entire US Task Force.  His greatest weakness was his limited strategic flexiblity.  He had immense power concentrated in just a few ships (a habit he keeps to this day). He has a big hammer to hit with, but can only drag it to one place at a time.  He understood that he probably had enough ships to pound Triton to rubble, but would have to leave everything unguarded at home if he did.
   He was beginning understand (and discuss with the SM) that he would need the other players to guard his assets while he went of and fought the war.  And that they would have to trust each other for that to happen.

South Seas Free Space Consortium (FSC)
   The oldest girl pretty much had to sit back and hope for the best this month.  Her only ship wasn't fit for the combat going on, and she wasn't in a position to risk it.  So she used it to try and garner a little good will from the other players by taking on the missions they didn't have the assets to cover.  Even if it was a slight risk.  Her mission to Mercury (with US support) managed to rescue 0.9 PTU's for the Euro.  Not a lot, but with the Euro already hurting for cash, it was appreciated. With the FSC supplying the FT support, and loaning her mom (the Euro) the cash for CFN H shortfall, all the Euro had to come up with was the emplacement cost to drop the rescued PTU's into her AB colonies.
   The oldest girl was able to use this to gain a claim to the AB for emplacement of her own colonies (which she had already started - she just failed to mention that),  and emplaced another of her own PTU's to the AB and emplaced a few more IU's on Earth. She also managed to scrape together the funds to begin her last research project on shields. Her growth was slow at this point  compared to the other player, but it was the turning point for the FSC.  Over the coming year, she would find her niche in this game.

   Economically the Nemotians were continuing to grow.  Their war effort took a pounding this month at the hands of the players, but they were a long ways from beaten.  The survival of Triton not only allowed them to keep the income for another month, but allowed the growth off of it as the Nemotions grow by 2% every 5 turns.  To give a little idea of how the Nemotians work, I combined several attributes of both the Ice Life and a Hive Mind with the Colonization random event.  They grow fairly quickly and can ship PTU in much less Qv and H. They can only colonize O1 moons as benign - to me the enviromental difference between Triton and Neptune are WAY to vast for anything to consider both environments as benign.  They also research slowly, although not as slowly as a true hive mind.  I decided that would be unbalanced due to the severely limited PU caps on their worlds set by Ice Life - they get precious few SA and RDS.  Slow it more and there would be no point to even trying to research. I also allowed them some individuality (as per the story) and gave the ships grades as opposed to straight average for all of them.  If would have been too easy for the player to figure out just what they were facing if I didn't mix things up a little.  I wanted them to work for the victrory, as what is gained easily is oft taken for granted.  The players don't spend much time discussing the 'gimme's' of the game, but the hard fought battles that were nearly lost seem to inspire discussion years later.
   What was hurting the Nemotians  was their dwindling saving.  With limited PU available, and maxed out IU (I allowed them to place IU on any pop over 60 as they maxed at 180 for the moment), and FT's actually losing you money with the math we used for our systems, the Nemotians earned over 20% of their income (early on it was over 35 to 40%) from interest on Treasury.  That treasury was dwindling and with it their sustainable income.  They still maintained a treasury of over 11000 MC, but with only 3 SY for building warships and no investment opportunities, it wasn't hard to see that the writing was on the wall for the Nemotians.  Unless the players made some big mistakes.

On a side note, Patrol Vessel 17's move to Elite began to change the players tactics in the coming months.  They realized that the little ships packed just as much firepower as the DD's at long range (both carried only a single Pt), and that some of those little ships were surviving long enough to get better at using that weapon.  They didn't like that idea much.

And now for the ship lists for the battles....

First Battle of Neptune

US Task Force 2
Admiral:  Rear Admiral Matthew Thomas / LG +0

Interceptor MkIIa A. Lincoln (BG+1) , T. Roosevelt , S. Grant (BG-1) , J. Davis (BG-1)
Class: CT      16HS
[2] A A A H Mgs Qa Ya Lb Ra (cpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Missile Escort Hawk , Eagle
Class:  EX      7HS
[2] A Hs Qa Ra (cp) [4/1]
(by now simply called trash cans with firepower)

Survey Tender 1
Class:  FT0      5HS
[2] H (Bsa) H Qa (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Pan Euro 1st Battle Group
Admiral:  Vice Admiral Elizabeth Avery / LG +0

Queen Elizabeth (BG+1)
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] A A A A A A A Hs Qa Mgs (Cp) (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Heavy Escort Anastasia (BG+1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] A A A Hs Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1] cg x1

Attack Escorts Cynthia , Suzette (BG-1) , Mary Queen of Scots (BG+1), Rachel Pierce
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] A A A A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Nemotian Defense Fleet 2
Admiral:  LG +0

Assault Vessel 5
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S A A A H Qa Qa (cpCp) (M1) Mg Mg Mg Mg Kb+ Kb+ (Cp) Qa Pta Ya (CpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x1

Combat Vessel 2
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S A A H Qa (Bsa) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Patrol Vessels 4 , 5
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Defense Base Mk I  (x1)
Class:  BS1      30HS

Note: Kb's are turret mounted on a BS1 so 360 degree fire.

Defense Base Mk 0  (x2)
Class:  BS0      15HS

New Home 3 Shipyards (BG-1)
Class:  SS      82HS

New Home 3 Support Station (BG-2/CFN Terminal)
Class:  SS

(for those who like shooting civilian assets)

Mobile Repair Ships 3 ( 9 , 10 in mothballs in Triton orbit)
[2] H Qa (Cp) (Cp) (Cp) (SYM2) [6/1]
PT x2 on board for detonation

Support Vessels (BG-2)  (x2)
Class:  FT 2      16HS
[2] A (Bsa) H H H A H H H A H H H H Qa (Cp) [4/1]
PT x2 on board for detonation

Small Support Vessel (BG-2)  (x2)
Class:  FT1      12HS
[2] A H H H H A H H H H Qa (Cp) [6/1]
PT x2 on board for detonation

Reduce Combat Vessel and Assault Vessel magazines by the 10 PT on the FT's.
Nemotians may automatically "ram" (see below) to defend populations.

Nepture will fill the hex it is in.
Proteus is an O1m at 2tH from Neptune.
Triton is an O1m at 5tH from Neptune with 180PU, 90 IU, RDS x1.
Triton has planetary fallout shelters for 36PU (you can't nuke 'em).
(Players didn't know about fallout shelters yet)

We had long discussions on ramming in this game, and settled it thus.
In the absence of drive field, not possible for ships of ANY sort to ram one another.
(Players definitely scared of kamakazie attacks.  At the speeds used, if you could ram another ship with yours, direct hits with a missile should be easy.  A direct hit with an X megaton missile would destroy any ship.)  Ramming of planets/pops possible.
Use of large explosion rules allowed, with increased damage for warhead in force for the detonation but FRN.  Ie,  2 PT's would have 2 pts x2 for Lg Exp. damage normally, x3 for our no field mod for 12 damage.  A successful ram roll would inflict all 12 points, a miss would inflict 1/10th (FRN not FRU) for 1 pt
Dumb bombs were ruled to do 1 pt on planet strikes due to precision, not as a ship to ship damage level.  They could do 1 pt base damage - not tripled - on a successful ram.  You'd need a bunch if you missed.
You could load more PT's on the suicide ships if you wanted. The Assault and Combat Vessels carry a BUNCH.
The players still wanted to be able to load ships with missiles from the PDC's and "ram" to defend Earth, but that was about the extent of it.

The aftermath was the loss of all US and Euro ships other than the Rachel Pierce and Mary QoS.
Both advanced with the R. Pierce to BG+1 and the Mary QoS to BG+2.
Triton lost all mobile assets except the mothballed ships, and none of the orbital defenses were touched.  No damage to the moon.

(I will confess to having lost the original ship lists, but know which ships were there by that month's deployment orders.  I am fairly sure of all the ship grades from the fleet rosters that month, but that wasn't recorded on the turn notes.  Sorry.)

The Second Battle of Mercury

Pan Euro Ship List

Mercury Space Station
Class:  SS      162HS

Mercury Station Military Modules 1-6 (BG-1)
Class:  SS      12HS

Mercury Transfer Station (BG-2/CFN Holding)
Class:  SS

Nemotian Combat Group 3 Detachment

Nemotian Patrol Vessels 12 , 13 , 17 (BG+1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3
cg carry bombs x2 each

Mercury has 22.3PTU.
The complete destruction of all population on Mercury is a tactical defeat for the Nemotians as this was an attempt to draw defenses from Ceres. (They wouldn't know these folks don't really like each other.  A race fighting itself, that is just plum silly.....)

The Destruction of Ceres

Chinese Ship List
Admiral: Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji / LG+1

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

Missile Frigates Anhui , Hubei (BG+1) , Shangxi , Henan
Class:  FG      22HS
[2] S S S S Qa Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ra Ra Ya (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Ceres Transfer Station (BG-2/CFN Holding)
Class:  SS

Chinese Light Cargo Freighter (BG-2/CFN Holding)
Class:  FT1      12HS
[2] A H H H H A H H H H Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Mobile Construction Ship Zhuang
Class:  FT4      30HS
[2] H A H Qa (Cp) (SYM1) [6/1] cg x1

Ceres has 41.5PU, and 6Qv of troops with 3H.

Nemotian Combat Group 3

Assault Vessels 4 , 6
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S A A A H Qa Qa (cpCp) (M1) Mg Mg Mg Mg Kb+ Kb+ (Cp) Qa Pta Ya (CpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x1

Combat Vessels 4 , 6
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S A A H Qa (Bsa) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Patrol Vessels 19 (BG-1) , 20 (BG-1) , 21 (BG-1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Hive Vessel 1 (BG-1) , 2(BG-1) - not actually present at battle, hiding in belt 240 tH away.
Class:  ESf      12HS
[2]  (Bsa) x9 H Qa (Cp) [6/1]  cg x18 - these did go to Ceres.

All cg carry bombs x2 each

AB rules for reduced sensors in force.

Notes.  Historically speaking, this battle never happened.  The Chinese simply left the colony to its fate.  But it could have if you want to give it a shot.  You could put bombs in the FT's if you make your roll for the CFN to help (the GaM's would do nicely).  The gtos's speed of one would make it an easy target for big ships but a bomb or two in it wouldn't hurt.  At least it could draw fire.
Trying to save the colony from the swarm of 51 gigs is pretty much hopeless though.
And China wanted some help facing down this group.  What they did is trail the Nemotian Group to keep track of it so they couldn't just show up at Earth or Venus unannounced.
The Zhuang was sent off toward Venus.

The Clash of Arms / Defense of the Inner System

Chinese Ship List
Admiral:  Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji / LG+1

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

Missile Frigates Anhui , Hubei (BG+1) , Shangxi , Henan
Class:  FG      22HS
[2] S S S S Qa Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ra Ra Ya (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

US Task Force 3
Admiral:  Rear Admiral Joshua Campbell / LG-1

Interceptor MkIIa J. Hancock (BG+1) , J. Adams , T. Jefferson (BG+1) , G. Washington
Class: CT      16HS
[2] A A A H Mgs Qa Ya Lb Ra (cpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Missile Escort Vulture (BG+1) , Condor
Class:  EX      7HS
[2] A Hs Qa Ra (cp) [4/1]
(by now simply called trash cans with firepower)

Nemotian Combat Group 3

Assault Vessels 4 , 6
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S A A A H Qa Qa (cpCp) (M1) Mg Mg Mg Mg Kb+ Kb+ (Cp) Qa Pta Ya (CpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x1

Combat Vessels 4 , 6
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S A A H Qa (Bsa) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Patrol Vessels 12 , 13 , 17 (BG+1) ,19 (BG-1) , 20 (BG-1) , 21 (BG-1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Hive Vessel 1 (BG-1) , 2(BG-1)
Class:  ESf      12HS
[2]  (Bsa) x9 H Qa (Cp) [6/1]  cg x18

This happens in deep space, no terrain.  
The Hive Vessels 1 and 2, plus Patrol Vessels 12 and 13 start 16 hexes behind the lead group.
No gigs had been launched.  None were used to attempt "ramming" with bombs on board as that wasn't Nemotian SOP/Tactical Doctrine.  They were to be held for planetary bambardments. The Nemotians actually have about 5 gigs less, as they were destroyed by the PU/Qv on Ceres.  Exact number and which ships were short are unavailable.

Notes.  This battle was fought to a draw, with both sides withdrawing to preserve their remaining ships.  The US Task Force and Tung were destroyed.  Every FG made its advancement roll.  They retreated to Venus to protect the shipyards there and to allow better rolls on the emergency repair of the S's since they would not regenerate at this time.

The Nemotians used this opportunity to lose the constant surveilance of their group so they could attempt a more favorable attack on Mars.  This was the first engagement that the players really noticed PV 17.  Due more to lucky rolls, PV destroyed 2 ships outright, assisted in the destruction of the Tung, and finished or a crippled Interceptor.  After the battle all of the surviving PV's succeeded on their advancement rolls (you need one week of downtime as I read it, so they just hung out in the AB).  The surviving destroyer didn't go up and stayed average.

Although if the Nemotians had won this engagement, the next battle would have looked very different.  In the interlude PV 17 and 12 returned to Mercury to finish its destruction.  They were the only ships present, so I see no point in typing it out as a battle.

The Battle for Mars

Pan Euro Ship List
Admiral:  None.  Senior Captain Robert McNeely of the Red October

Armed Science Vessel Red October (BG+1)
Class:  FG      22HS
[2] A A A A A A H Qa Mgs Xp (cpCp) Ra Ra Ya Qa (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Attack Escorts Mary Queen of Scots (BG+2), Rachel Pierce (BG+1)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] A A A A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Mobile Shipyard
Class:  FT4      30HS
[2] H H H Qa (Cp) (SYM1) [6/1] cg x1

US Ship List
Admiral:  Rear Admiral Jack Ryan / LG+2 - Navigator

Interceptor MkIIa JFK , B. Franklin , H. Truman , D. Eisenhower (BG-1)
Class: CT      16HS
[2] A A A H Mgs Qa Ya Lb Ra (cpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Survey Tender 1
Class:  FT0      5HS
[2] H (Bsa) H Qa (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Mars Space Station (BG-1)
Class:  SS      82HS

Mars Station Military Modules 1-6 (BG-1)
Class:  SS      12HS

Mars Transfer Station (BG-2/CFN Holding)
Class:  SS

Mars has 139.0PU.

Nemotian Combat Group 3

Combat Vessels 4
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S A A H Qa (Bsa) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Patrol Vessels 12 (BG+1), 13 (BG+1), 17 (BG+2)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Hive Vessel 1 (BG-1) , 2(BG-1)
Class:  ESf      12HS
[2]  (Bsa) x9 H Qa (Cp) [6/1]  cg x18

cg carry bombs x2 each

Notes.  The story says 48 gigs, it was really 47.  Oh well.  This is a nasty fight that both sides claimed to have won afterward.  The Nemotians lost the DD and most of their gigs (only one survived).  The US lost two Interceptors and 43PU, plus one destroyed Military Module.  The Red October was hit twice and hid behind Mars - where she shot at the gigs as they attacked.
Neither side was decisively defeated, as the Nemotians withdrew as soon as the gigs started bombing.  
After the battle the JFK finally made it to BG+1.  The rest either didn't or couldn't (already rolled for the month) advance.
This battle singled out PV17.  The DD took out the Mil Mod on the SS, and hit the R. October. I think PV 12 hit an Interceptor.  PV17 put the other hit on the October, finished off the Interceptor, and took out the other MkIIa by itself.  Several were on rolls that 'shouldn't' have hit.
And so began the story of the 'alien ace' that the players claimed was BG+3 or better to start the game.  Little did they know that they helped create it by targeting the big ships.

For some what if scenarios, you could always take the Euro/US group from the last battle (without the SS's) and have them try to crack the defenses of Triton in the battle that got called off. (Would have left the Mars SS alone against the surviving parts of Combat Group 3.)
Another that almost happened was the FSC Mary Reed and US Missile Escorts Falcon and Owl. They could have fought PV 12 and 17 at Mercury.  Both the US ships are BG+1 and the design is covered above.  The PV12 and 17 would be the same as the last battle.  The Mary Reed would be...

Converted Frieghter Mary Reed
Class: FT2      16HS
[2] A Qv Qv Qv H H La Ra Qa (Cp) [4/1]  cg x1

Reallistically, if I were the human player, I would hide on the backside of Mercury and try to force them to close to point blank range for the engagement.  At least the lack of sensors wouldn't make any difference.  It would be better to hope the alien ships would just go away after they kill the PU.

In that this post if fairly immense to stick in the middle of a story, if folks post a fair amount in the comments that they would rather see this stuff moved to the Starfire Scenarios section, I would be willing to do that (so as to not clutter the story to much).  Otherwise I would rather post it where anyone can get to it without having to log in if they choose not to (or aren't registered yet).

Thanks again for reading...
March won't be near so big....(sigh)....
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on April 30, 2010, 10:34:27 PM
March 2204  part 1

March 2nd  0845 hours/US Space Station, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan looked over the status reports on the JFK.  The refits were just starting.  Sections of the outer plating were being removed to provide access to place the conduction circuits that would allow the magnetic field generators to form a protective field around the JFK.  The project engineer talked as if it would only take a little over a week.  Jack thought that was a conservative estimate, looking at the progress reports coming back.  Even if it took two weeks, both of the surviving Interceptors would be able to make the conversion from MkIIa to MkIIb by the end of the month.  Then the trials of the new system would begin.  Assuming that the aliens didn't return while they were docked and down for the upgrades.
   It appeared that there was no plan to refit the Missile Escorts.  Apparently their hull was too small to allow effective emplacement of the field generators.  It was believed that the weak field the small ships would generate would simply collapse, and that the ship would still be destroyed, or so badly damaged that it would be combat ineffective  They would simply have to continue service with the current fragile design.
   Jack switched the console in Engineering from the status of the JFK to the repairs on the station itself.  The crews were finishing up cutting away the remains of Defense Module 2.  There were no plans to replace the destroyed section at the moment.  Perhaps when enough Interceptors had been replaced the station would be repaired and upgraded.  At the moment there simply wasn't enough construction capacity for the project.  That was assuming the US was able to get the upper hand on the aliens for a change.  The way it looked, the days of humanity might be numbered.
   With the JFK down for a bit, perhaps this would be another good chance to go visit Meagan. Her letters made it obvious she was worried and not sleeping so well.

March 3rd  1420 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Earth orbit

   Admiral Hu stepped off of the Captain's shuttle and onto the hard deck of the landing bay.  The tour of the new construction was complete, and now the Shek could begin trials to ensure the new systems were functioning at full capacity.  The new Cruiser, the Ho Chi Minh, would be operational later in the year.  Its design was based on the refitted Shek, and it was intended as a purely long range weapon platform.  The small ship that was beginning to take shape in the slip beside the Minh was almost its polar opposite.  The Matsu was based on a hull much smaller than the Frigates, and it was intended as an assault vessel designed purely for close range work. Only one was under construction for the moment, but three more were planned for the coming months.  They were intended to close with the stationary defenses of an alien settlement and destroy them.  They would also be useful for bombarding alien colonies due to the large drive detonation of the short ranged missiles.  The small ships would mount field generators nearly equal in strength to a frigate.  The fact that the design cost about 40 percent of a Missile Frigate and required much less support made it an attractive design for a ship that would likely sustain substantial losses.
   Admiral Hu had pushed for an immediate offensive against the alien colony the US and Euro data showed to exist at Triton.  Something was needed to disrupt alien operations before they could renew their offensive here in the inner system.  The ministry had not seen it that way.  The loss of the Tung had shaken them, and they seemed unwilling to risk the Shek with the Minh only just beginning to take shape.
   At least the presence of the Shek and the four Missile Frigates here in the inner system had allowed the Yunnan to assume convoy escort duties without weakening the defense of Chinese assets.  Its short range armament actually suited it well for the assault role in reducing alien fixed defenses, but the Missile Frigates had been deemed to valuable to risk on convoy escort duties.  The Yunnan was also undergoing trials and would not be able to engage alien vessels at full effectiveness until the crew had gained more familiarity with its systems, but the magnetic field generators it now mounted should help protect it in the event of alien contact.  So far convoy escort had been an uneventful duty.  The aliens seemed to have no interest in destroying civilian shipping.
   The difficult task for the coming months would be to 'mend the fences' with the other powers.  The US and Euro would be needed to help secure Chinese assets in the coming months, without attacking them.  They would have presented only a small diplomatic challenge, but the FSC could become a problem due to its increasingly friendly relations with those governments.  The invasion of FSC soil and detonation of a missile over a research facility would leave lingering animosity that would be difficult to overcome.  The US and Euro intervention in the ground war had prevented a rapid resolution to the situation.  They would likely continue to intervene if force was used to secure FSC cooperation.  China should be able to resolve that problem with force also, but the damage to Chinese assets and Earth's defenses would leave the planet open to alien attack.
   Time would provide another chance for China to assert its dominance.  But not now.

March 5th  0930 hours/Queen Mary, Earth orbit

   Captain Robert McNeely walked into the quarters and saluted.  Admiral Kushnir returned the salute and motioned for him to be seated.  He looked at Admiral Kushnir's quarters as he sat and noted they weren't any larger than his on the Red October.  The Queen Mary was intended as a front line combat vessel and the layout reflected that.  The Flag Officer's quarters couldn't be too large or it would cut excessively into the space needed for other systems.
   "Admiral Kushnir, repairs on the Red October have begun, and are projected to be finished late in the month or early in April.  The damage was rather extensive, but both launch bays and the Phoenix Array are functional and could support any defensive action here at Earth if needed.  Much of the research equipment was destroyed or lost, and the particle accelerator banks will need extensive work to get online.  I have submitted requests to have the crews of the decommissioned survey ships reassigned to the Red October to avoid the delay of waiting for replacement personnel to be trained and assigned."  Robert sat and waited for the inevitable questions.  Admiral Kushnir always liked to quiz any commanders to try and assess what hadn't made it in to the AAR's.
   "Captain McNeely, what was your assessment of the alien ships' capabilities at the 'Battle of Mars', as it has been designated.  In particular I would like you to address the alien level of proficiency in ship to ship combat at this engagement."  Admiral Kushnir had the same featureless black faceplate as every other cyborg, but Robert was sure he could feel eyes behind it boring into him.  She was after something and Robert wasn't sure he really wanted to address it.
   "Ma'am, our crews' level or training and performance is unparalleled.  I'm sure you are aware it has allowed us to face these alien ships from a technological disadvantage and still be able to manage favorable engagements."  Robert wanted to shift nervously, but resisted the urge.  "I have not been involved in the number of engagements that some other officers and crews have seen, but it would be my opinion that the alien training or doctrine has improved since our initial encounters.  In particular some of the smaller vessels have become more proficient in ship to ship combat."  It was said.  Robert didn't like it, but it was what many of the crew members had been thinking ever since the engagement.
   Admiral Kushnir leaned forward in her chair.  "Captain, how effective do you believe the new alien 'doctrine' or 'training' to be?  How great of an impact do you feel it will have in future engagements?"
   Robert paused.  How do you answer that?  There were just too many variable in combat.  Too much luck.  But Admiral Kushnir cut through his thoughts with a simple "Captain."  Robert decided to step out on a limb and take a guess.  "Ma'am, I think that the crews of the alien vessels were probably combat veterans.  They understood how to maneuver, and how we maneuver.  They seemed to be able to predict our positions and plot appropriate targeting solutions.  I think that they will rapidly be able to engage our vessels on even footing to make successful engagements difficult in the future.  We field smaller ships with weaker defenses, and they will be able to gain a distinct advantage."  Robert knew the only advantage the Pan Euro had was their high level of training, but they were losing their well trained crews.  With that advantage gone, the chances of winning this war were slipping away.
   "Thank you, Captain.  That will be all."

   1110 hours/Missile Escort Falcon, 27 light seconds from Earth

   Commander Justin Reynolds looked over the translation of the incoming message.  Three days ago the Pan Euro Attack Escorts Rachel Pierce and Mary Queen of Scots had joined the Falcon, Owl, and the FSC Mary Reed in protecting the convoys of civilian ships, but this new message was unexpected.  Justin had been excited to add the Euro ships with their long range sensor arrays.  The advanced warning they would provide of alien contacts was invaluable.  This message could provide another valuable addition.  But the problems it could cause might not be worth it.
   Captain Ng of the Chinese Strike Vessel Yunnan (he identified it as an "Attack Frigate") had requested permission to accompany the convoy and to assist in its defense in the event of hostilities.  It was no secret the Yunnan had just come out of the slip at Earth only a few days ago, and likely had the new Chinese protective fields that were like the defenses of the alien ships.  Justin had heard that the US Interceptors were being refitted with a similar system, but it was just rumor at this time.
   The Chinese ship carried significant armament, and the protective fields would make it difficult for even the alien ships to destroy.  But this ship had fought with the Mary Reed only a few months ago, and Justin wasn't too sure how well this would work.
   But the aliens had begun to use their Alphas more aggressively of late, and the close calls at Uranus and Mercury had left him with the feeling that his luck could be running out any day now. The reports were that four of the small alien ships had survived the engagement at Mars and were likely still in the area.  Another ship that could fight the alien Alphas on their own terms was just too good to pass up.
   "Comm, send a message granting the Chinese ship permission to join the convoy.  And let the Captain of the Mary Reed know he has company."

March 6th  1950 hours/Elders Chambers, New Home 3

   The Elders of New Home 3 reviewed the status of the defenses.  Two Combat Vessels had arrived to assist in protecting the settlement, and construction had begun on two defense installations on the surface of the moon.  Prior doctrine had forbidden the construction of defenses based on the New Homes to avoid drawing fire onto the settlements themselves.  But the space based construction facilities were completely committed to replacing losses to the mobile combat assets, and only the planet based construction assets were available to assist in building the defense.  The current situation had proved too hazardous not to use every asset available to strengthen the defense of the colony.  The race native to this system would return and attack New Home 3 again, and more mobile assets would not be available for some time to come.  A great deal of time.  A time might come when the New Homes would be responsible for their own defense.
   One more Patrol Vessel had been detached and was well on its way to joining the surviving ships of Combat Group 3.  That group had now been redesignated Patrol Group 3, and was responsible for scouting the inner parts of this system and identifying any new enemy targets. It was also to attack enemy ships as the opportunity presented itself.  This native race needed to be given every reason to keep its combat assets tied down defending their settlements.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 02, 2010, 06:43:07 AM
March 2204 part 2/ me a hero, and I shall write you a tragedy...(Fitzgerald)

March 11th 1245 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 waited for the ship to react.  The enemy vessel was simply moving in a straight line in front of Patrol Vessel 17, at a distance of 7.5 light seconds.  It was making no attempt to either evade or attack.  The Commander paused.  Over time, several of the enemy vessels had been destroyed without ever firing on the Patrol Vessels.  Perhaps this vessel was like the Support Vessels that brought supplies to the Combat Groups.  Unarmed and with poor sensors.  If this was true then it would be easy to destroy, but would eventually lead them to a settlement of a group of enemy ships.  Either find would be valuable.
   The Patrol Vessels had been combined into a Patrol Group.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had decided that the undamaged Patrol Vessels would divide into two groups to scout for enemy settlements and ships.  New targets for the next attack.  This ship would be easy prey, but could be much more useful for the moment.  
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 adjusted the fields of his station.  Patrol Vessel 17 would follow this enemy support ship.  Patrol Vessel 13 would accompany them.  And perhaps it would lead them to a new target.

March 14th  0830 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters listened as the various members of his staff briefed him on their areas of responsibility.  It was a little different from yesterday.  Lieutenant Commander Meagan Ryan seemed to be in better spirits, if only a little.  The work was definitely taking a toll on the young woman.  Her father Rear Admiral Ryan had arrived on the 13th, and was even seated in the room to give his update on the work at the Mars Station.  Jack seemed awfully interested in the information on the new ship being built here at Earth.  The first of the MkIII's was beginning construction, and would be done late next month.  It was being rushed through due to the need for replacement of the recent losses.  Perhaps Jack and his crew, with their experience, would be a good choice to take out the new ship.  If anyone could find the bugs in her and get them fixed, it would be Jack.
   Meagan would be up next with her information on any progress with the magnetic field generators.  They worked, but were going to need overhauled every time the ship got hit.  That was still better than having to replace the ship, but would still be troublesome.  As the charged particles from a detonation washed past the fields, it generated an electrical charge that would burn out the generators.  Work was being done to try and stop the feedback, or to draw it off, but so far it had proved difficult.  The magnetic field itself was carrying the charge, and trying to keep that charge from damaging the equipment was going to be the trick.
   Perhaps it was time to let the young lady take some leave.  She had been here on the station non stop for quite a while now.  She had even asked for a short leave not long ago.  Bradley decided that would be one of the things that got done today.

March 16th  2250 hours/Attack Escort Mary Queen of Scots, 16 light minutes from Mars

   Commander Ian McTavish locked his station.  Two Alphas had just appeared at slightly over 7 light seconds.  Closing.  A new contact flashed on the screen, but Ian had been expecting it.  The Chinese Strike Vessels at Mars had displayed magnetic signatures like the aliens.  Now this one had also.
   The civilian ships in the convoy had been grouped close together to try and reduce the distance that the escorts would have to cover.  The two little US ships and the FSC ship were up front, while the Chinese vessel and the two Attack Escorts were covering the back half of the group.  All told six armed vessels to protect thirteen unarmed freighters.  But even one Alpha could be dangerous, and there were two.  The US Commander Reynolds was officially in command of the group, but Ian didn't need to be told what to do.  Fight as if your life depended on it, because it did.
   The Mary QoS showed all stations locked and Ian keyed in for combat acceleration.  The group would try to stay together, but being a sitting duck just wasn't going to be part of the plan.

   2252 hours/Missile Escort Falcon, 16 light minutes from Mars

   Commander Justin Reynolds had received the message from the Pan Euro Attack Escorts of the two alien Alphas.  Those long range sensors were such a blessing.  They wouldn't have had time to get to battle stations without the Euro ships. The Falcon's sensors lit up with launch signatures as the two Alphas fired on the convoy.  A firing solution flashed on Justin's screen and disappeared as the ship's drive stuttered and a missile deployed.  Sensors showed all the convoy escorts were launching on the two alien contacts.
   Justin keyed in for the Comm Officer to transmit orders to hold formation.  The Euro ships were sliding forward along the convoy.  They were obviously trying to improve the range for their missiles, but the convoy couldn't afford to be left uncovered.  Justin waited as the alien weapons closed.  Detonations clouded the Falcon's rudimentary sensors for a few moments and then cleared.  It wasn't clear, but one of the alien Alphas seemed to have lost its magnetic field.  Then the sensors picked up the wreckage of the Owl tumbling through space, drifting out away from the convoy.  Damn, the aliens seemed to have learned the small missile escorts were vulnerable to their weapons.
   The Alphas were closing fast, and the lead one had just reached clear sensor range for the Falcon when the next missile finished prep for deployment.  The other Alpha had lost its protective field, but this one was the clear shot.  Justin keyed the firing solution for the second contact and watched the sensor returns on the launch as it sped away.  Sensors showed that the Euro ships were targeting the damaged Alpha, while the Falcon and Mary Reed were targeting the undamaged one.  The Chinese missile seemed to have lost guidance early on and wasn't headed anywhere useful.  As the alien missiles detonated the sensor reports clouded again.  The massive electromagnetic pulse always seemed to overwhelm the arrays.
   As sensors came back on line Justin could see that the exchange had definitely gone against the aliens.  None of the ships in or around the convoy seemed to have been hit, while the lead Alpha was just coasting through space with its drive bloom gone.  The Alpha the Falcon and Mary Reed had targeted had lost its protective field also.  The aliens were taking a pounding !
   The drifting Alpha had moved into range of the Falcon’s sensors and Justin keyed in the firing solution for the crippled vessel.  The other ships had launched on the active Alpha, but Justin knew that if the drifting Alpha hadn't come apart, it would probably still be able to fire.  Sure enough a new contact lit up from the coasting Alpha as it managed another launch.  Justin watched as the missile from the Falcon found its target and the Alpha was destroyed.  The second Alpha stuttered its drive and vented as missiles detonated along its path.  Then it too was drifting without a drive bloom.  Yes !  Only one left to go.

   2253 hours/Attack Escort Mary Queen of Scots, 16 light minutes from Mars

   Commander Ian McTavish watched as the sensors recorded the destruction of the last Alpha.  The laser on the Mary Reed tore the vessel apart as the hull shattered from the sudden expansion caused by the laser's heat.  Both of the Alphas had been destroyed, and the convoy was safe.  But Ian hated this part.  After the battle were the messages sent to let folks back at home know that another ship and its crew had died bravely against the aliens.  It should have been the US Commander's job, but that wouldn't be the case.  The Falcon had been hit by the last launch from the second stricken Alpha.   Ian knew that the loss of the Falcon was going to be a shock for the US, and the Euro.  He had been there last June when the little ship and her crew had managed to fight an alien Alpha to a standstill.  Now not only had the little David faced down Goliath, it had rescued many stranded Pan Euro colonists from Mercury before the aliens had destroyed the colony.  No one back at Earth was going to want to hear that the Falcon and her crew weren't coming home.  
   And Ian didn't want to have to be the one sending the message.  Two of his grandkids had come home from that colony on Mercury.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 03, 2010, 05:09:25 AM
March 2204 part 3

March 18th  0035 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek,  Venus orbit

   Admiral Hu keyed in for the Venus Station's sensor logs to be transmitted to the Shek.  The Shek and the Missile Frigates Shangxi and Henan were detecting no alien presence near the station, and the station itself was reporting no contact prior to the Shek's arrival.  Hu decided the aliens most likely had not come to Venus yet, or they would have attacked.  The aliens had rather quickly attacked, and then destroyed the Pan Euro station at Mercury.   The attack reported by the Yunnan was far to close to Venus for comfort though.  This deployment was necessary.
   The Earth was guarded by a Pan Euro Battle Group, and the Anhui and Hubei.  Add that to the many ground based defenses and the Earth would be able to withstand any alien attack force that had been encountered to date.  Venus was far less well defended, and vital to Chinese interests.  If it was only the remnants of the prior alien group which had attacked, the Shek and two Missile Frigates would be able to easily deal with them.  If it was another group like the one that had descended on Ceres, Venus would have to be abandoned.
   For the moment, deploying the Shek to Venus was both prudent and useful, in that Venus was far closer to Neptune at this time than Earth was.  It would cut nearly two days off the travel time to the out system - should the ministry chose to launch an offensive within the next month or so.  Would the ministry be willing to risk the Shek before the Minh was completed?  That was uncertain.

March 22nd  2255 hours/Queensland Research Facility, Australia

   Chairman Mukata looked over the data on his monitor.  The greatest part of it didn't make sense.  But what did was very intriguing.  It would require some outlay of capital, but could place the FSC in a position to deal with the other governments of Earth from a more favorable stance.  And it would definitely assist against the aliens if it panned out.
   A technician that had emigrated from the Pan Euro after his ship was decommissioned had been pivotal to the project.  A man by the name of Jager.  Regardless, his skill with sensor arrays was remarkable.  He had been able to interface an array with a fire control system in a way that had often been thought of as impossible.  The implications were enormous.  But it would still take time and money to try and create a useful system from the data.  Money would simply have to be diverted in the coming months.  The work on magnetic field generators was progressing rapidly, and should be completed within the next month or two.  At that time all available resources would be put into this project.
   Right now Mukata needed to talk to this Jager.  To ensure that his loyalties remained with the FSC.  And that no one else possessed this data.

March 25th  1750 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 30 light seconds from Earth

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 didn't believe what he was sensing.  The energy signature and flux from the nearby planet was immense.  This third planet from the star was simply unreal.  To have such a large energy signature, this race must be packed onto the face of this planet.  Packed in one upon another in a seething mass.  Like some infestation gone far out of control.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel revulsion well up inside.
   If the energy signature was correct, this planet's population would have to be thousands of times greater than any Home.  The New Homes were only on moons a fraction of this planet's size, but the number of creatures that would have to be involved was unthinkable.  Disgusting.  How could they stand to live in such a way?  There was no way a race like this could ever have been tolerated.  Such vermin were only fit to be exterminated.
   There was no sense in attacking such a nest of the enemy with only two Patrol Vessels.  But if the enemy understood that their true home had been discovered, perhaps they would move more of their ships to this area.  They would become less able to deploy ships to attack New Home 3.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 adjusted the fields around him, and then sensed the torpedoes launched from Patrol Vessel 17 and 13.  Moments later the small ship they had followed for days disappeared in the detonations.
   The race native to this planet would be able to sense that.  And they would know that they had been found.

   1758 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, 5 light seconds from Earth

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon stared at her monitor.  She could see the information sprawled across it, but could only think of one thing.  'They have found Earth at last.  It will only be a matter of time now.  They will attack here also.  And people will die.'   The attack had occurred too far out for any of the sensors at Earth to record the alien ships, only the detonation of the civilian freighter and the magnetic signature of the alien ship or ships.  The aliens had turned on their protective fields for a few minutes, and then shut them off.  Possibly they were afraid of unseen defenses.  Brenna was sure they just wanted to let everyone know that they were there.
   In the next few minutes the civilian news services would have the story, and it would spread to every corner of the world.  The recession already had people on edge.  This could result in much more.  Riots, hysteria.  The aliens would be able to do a great deal of damage without ever having to directly attack the Earth itself.
   But they would attack.  Sooner or later.  And people on Earth would die.  And the panic then could destroy what mankind had taken thousands of years to build.  The alien attack would have to be stopped cold.  It could never reach the Earth.  Stopped with what they had available now, because it may come before anything else would arrive or be built.
   But how?  Brenna stared at her monitor with a new resolve. Scrolling through lists and databases, she started to put together a plan.

March 26th  0610 hour/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan watch as his daughter worked at her desk.  It was as if she was possessed.  She had been up for over 20 hours, and had barely eaten.  She had only eaten a little since the attack on the convoy.  She was to have gone on leave the morning of the 17th, but had stayed to work.  Jack had stayed to try and help her, but her work was nothing that he was used to.  It was worrying.  If she didn't try to rest, she would work herself sick. Perhaps even worse than just sick.
   Suddenly she was standing and pointing at the screen.  "There.  There it is."  She was white and unsteady.  Jack moved over to try and keep her from falling.  Then he sat her back down.  Meagan just kept pointing.
   "What is it honey?  What is wrong?"  Jack knew his voice sounded flat.  It always would.  But it had never bothered Meagan.  She had always seemed to hear the emotion that wasn't there.
   "Its the ship I told you of.  It was here.  At Earth.  I need to tell Admiral Walters."  Meagan tried to get up but Jack simply held her down.
   "No, you won't.  You are going to rest.  I can tell him.  You are going to pack some clothes, and none of them uniforms.  That is an order."  Jack waited until she relaxed to let go.  She nodded weakly.  "But first go lay down.  I'll be back in an hour or so."  He waited until she nodded to leave.

      0625 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters cleared the briefing room as Rear Admiral Ryan waited.  It was unusual for Lieutenant Commander Ryan to be late.  Let alone have her father here instead.  Bradley had intended for her to be on leave now, but she had insisted on staying after the convoy attack.  Her ability to discern a pattern in the alien fields was uncanny, and her input valuable.  Otherwise he wouldn't have let her stay.  Perhaps that had been the wrong decision.
   When the room was clear Rear Admiral Ryan spoke.  "Admiral.  Meagan, I'm sorry, Lieutenant Commander Ryan believes she has identified the vessel that made the attack here at Earth as the Alpha of interest.  The 'alien ace' as rumor has it.  I believe her, but I have ordered her to stay in her quarters and rest pending leave, with your permission of course."  Bradley wasn't sure whether Rear Admiral Ryan was asking him or telling him about the leave, but it didn't really matter.  The only way that girl wouldn't have come to tell him herself was if she couldn't get up and move.
   "Sit down Jack.  Lets talk."  He waited while Rear Admiral Ryan sat at the table.  Cyborgs really didn't need to sit all that much, but it did give Bradley the height advantage, and might make Jack a little less agitated.  "If she said it was the Alpha, it was the Alpha.  Currently, its code-named the 'Baron'.  And it is dangerous.  The freighter will make the eighth ship we can confirm that it has destroyed.  And it would seem to not only have started intercepting commerce, it has found Earth."
   Bradley moved around the table to where Jack was seated.  "Jack, I know you are concerned about your daughter.  And she is going to get some rest.  I guarantee it."  He waited for the words to sink in and hoped Jack was feeling a little more relaxed.  Able to focus on things more objectively.  He was going to need to.
   "Jack, you're not going to be spending any of that time with her.  That ship out there in the slip will be done soon enough.  Then she will be headed for Mars, and you are going to be on her.  When you get there you are to transfer your crew to the new ship and spend whatever time you need shaking her down.  Learn just what is wrong, how to fix it, and how to use her as well as possible.  She is the cutting edge, the best weapon we have in the arsenal right now.  Her name is the 'Yari', and you are going to use her to kill the Baron and whatever son of a bitch is commanding her."
   Bradley leaned over and keyed the intercom.  "Cancel the briefing for this morning.  I have another project on the table right now."
   "Ok Jack, lets figure out how you are going to do this."
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 04, 2010, 02:16:53 AM
March 2204 part 4

Sorry that I couldn't get this on the end of part 3.  It has been a very busy weekend.  We've got more sick babies than well right now. :(

Patrol Vessel 17 managed to snag one of the few unconvoyed ships for the month.  I decided to follow it instead of destroy it.  Random rolls then had it travelling from the AB to earth.  Yippee.  It was destroyed when PV 17 could detect the PU on earth at 120 tH's.  If you feel like shooting it, it was the same as a Std Lift FT above.  For those scratching their heads at the unusual FT sizes in the convoy, we agreed at the beginning of the game to downsize all CFN ships by one due to the fact that not everyone could build FT4's to start (seemed silly for the CFN to be building bigger ships than the player it belonged to), and the generally small CFN (due to the Cp engines) they had to work with.

That's all for March.  Hope to get April out by the weekend.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 11, 2010, 12:27:41 AM
April 2204 part 1

April 1st  0320 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, Earth orbit

   The Dutchman unlocked his station and left the bridge.  He was past due for some rest, and this seemed the perfect time.  The Chinese were now posting two of their frigates to convoy escort duty, while the Pan Euro was pulling all of their ships in for refits and upgrades.  The US just didn't have any ships left to run escort with.  For the Mary Reed to stay out by herself with a pair of Chinese frigates was foolish.  This might be April's Fools day to some, but not for The Dutchman.  The FSC civilian ships had moved out of the convoys, and should be relatively safe from Chinese predation at least.  The aliens were another story.
   And for some reason, the cartels wanted the Mary Reed on hand to keep watch on the airspace over the FSC research sites.  Sounded a whole lot safer than waiting for the aliens to show up and attack a convoy you were guarding.  Why had the aliens started that?  This war was only getting worse.

April 2nd  0800 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan looked out at the vessel docked in the slip.  Sections of the hull were being dismantled while nearby components were being prepped for installation.  "This really lets you know how desperate we are." thought Jack.  
   He wondered how long it would take for the refits to be finished.  They had said at Admiral Walters' morning briefing it would only take two weeks.  That was less than half the time it took to build an Interceptor.  Much less than half.  But had it really come to the point the US needed to arm one of the government passenger transports to perform convoy escort duties?   It would free the US from depending on the Chinese for convoy escorts, and when you're down to your last two ships you definitely need more.  But refitting a freighter?
   Jack turned and left the room.  It was past time to check in on Meagan.  He had forced her to go and get a check up before she went on leave, and it had turned out to be a good idea.  She had managed to acquire a bleeding ulcer.  That explained her poor color and worse appetite rather well.  Instead of leave she was laid up in sick bay, but she needed it.  The last few days she actually had color in her cheeks.  She was to be released soon and sent on her planet side leave.  "Perhaps I could join her," Jack thought.  "It has been years since I walked on something other than a deck."

   1200 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 seethed.  The orders were clear, but cowardly and foolish.  The Patrol Vessels were to cease all offensive operations until additional support arrived.  Further losses were deemed unacceptable.
   Unacceptable?!  Allowing the enemy a chance to regroup and prepare an attack on New Home 3 was unacceptable!  To sit back and allow them to do this while there were still combat ready ships that could strike the enemy was unacceptable!  How could they justify such a course of action?
   There were only 9 scout craft, and a handful of bombs for them, but they could be used to conduct an attack on the enemy settlement on the third planet of this system.  They could quickly move to attack and then disengage.  It would do little damage, but entailed little risk.  It would help to tie down enemy ships, making New Home 3 safer.
   In the end, the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 knew it was not his decision to make.  The group would wait.

April 5th  1430 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon wondered if the aliens would attack while the refits were underway.  Even the Mobile Shipyards were busy assisting in the overhauls of the ships.  Every ship, every single Pan Euro combat vessel was scheduled to be refitted this month.  First up were the Red October, Rachel Pierce, and Mary Queen of Scots.  Not only were they the first to be refitted with the new 'shield' technology as the US called it, they were to be redesignated as the 3rd Light Battle Group.  
   The Tatianna was the next to have her hull torn apart for installation of the new system.  The Tatianna had needed to wait for the second Mobile Shipyard to arrive before her upgrades could begin.  This new system would change how the battles against the aliens would be fought, and Brenna had tried to account for a system that she didn't have any experience with.  Her training schedules and regimen for the upcoming month should give them an idea of how the system would impact the Pan Euro ships' operations, but the impact on combat was impossible to gauge.
   The Queen Elizabeth class had always been able to withstand a few hits from the aliens, but the smaller ships were seldom able to withstand more than one or two impacts.  The new shields were supposed to allow the Heavy and Attack Escorts to withstand the first few impacts with no real loss of combat efficiency.  It could allow for successful withdrawal of ships from combat, without undue danger to the other ships of a battle group.  It could also allow the US ships to utilize their laser batteries without it essentially being a suicide mission.
   It would likely change how the aliens approached an engagement also.  That would be the most difficult thing to anticipate and compensate for.
   But training was going to be vital.  With the number of new Pan Euro and US ships that were going to be coming out of the yards in the next few months, training would make the difference in whether those ships survived or not.  And ultimately, the survival of all humanity.

April 8th  0445 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Venus orbit

   Admiral Hu reviewed the progress reports on the new cruiser.  The Ho Chi Minh was on schedule, and would be ready for deployment in just over 3 months.  At that point the Shek would likely be on her way to Neptune.  Along with the bulk of the Chinese Fleet.
   The first of the Close Assault Escorts was complete and undergoing trials here at Venus.  Two more were under construction at Earth, while a third was being built at the Venus Station.  When trials of all the Close Assault ships were finished, it would be time to move toward the out system and Neptune.
   But for the moment it was trials and training for the new ships.  The first, the Matsu, would hopefully prove a capable design, as the Taiwan, Penghu, and Kinmen were already under construction.  They had primarily been designed for rapid assembly and ease of maintenance.  Hopefully they would also prove capable in combat.  The sensors and short range missiles were basic and rugged, but had fared poorly against the Pan Euro and US ships in the Battle for Jupiter.  Hopefully with the new magnetic protective field generators they would prove more successful against the aliens.
   The Yunnan had returned to Earth, and would eventually lead the Close Assault Escorts in the move to reduce the fixed defenses around Triton.  The Anhui and Hubei had been assigned to convoy escort duty to ensure that a ship with more advanced sensors was available.  They would also be able to deal with alien 'Alpha' class vessels unsupported by the US and Euro.  The US had withdrawn from convoy escort duties with the loss of its two small missile ships, while the Euro had simply withdrawn for 'refits'.  It was possible the other powers now had the protective field technology available for installation, but it would matter little.  The US and Euro fleets had been reduced to almost token sizes by the aliens.  They would provide no real opposition when the time came to assert Chinese dominion over the Earth.
   But first the other powers would have to believe that supporting China was in their best interests.  The attack on Triton would take all of the Chinese fleet elements, and the US and Euro would be responsible for security here in the inner system.  
   Then the aliens would pay for the lives and ships they had destroyed.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 11, 2010, 12:30:19 AM
April 2204 part 2 / A Gathering Storm

April 11th  2215 hours/Queensland Research Facility, Australia

   Chairman Mukata continued his tour of the research facility, but he had already seen what he had come for.  The work on the protective fields, shields as the US termed them, was progressing nicely.  Within the next month or two the system would be ready for deployment.  The Mary Reed would be the first trial of the new system, to verify that it was compatible with current designs.  After that a second ship might be commissioned for use by the FSC.  But that might be deemed too great a drain on current resources.  It would be addressed at the next meeting of the board.  For the moment it appeared that the US and Pan Euro would be willing to defend the FSC's assets in the event of hostilities.  The rest of the tour would simply be to ensure that the repairs to the facility were complete and satisfactory.  Signs of the damage could be seen outside, but not in the workspaces.  The damage outside had been left to camouflage some of the work done here, and to try and discourage a repeat strike by the Chinese on the complex.  Much of the work had been transferred to the South African research center, but much would still have to be handled here in Queensland.
   The new project had looked intriguing, but whether such a farfetched system would be possible, or cost effective, had yet to be seen.  If the long term implications of the current work panned out, it could have a major impact.  The technician in charge of the system integration, this Jager, seemed to be completely loyal to the FSC, and rather disgruntled with the Euro after having been discharged from duty following his ship's decommissioning.  He was now teamed with the drive design teams to see if a more appropriate platform could be designed for the new hardware.  Current models were completely unsuitable for conversion to this technology, and a new design would be needed for it to be effective.  That was assuming a drive shield of the proper size and capabilities could be designed.  "If it was even possible" had been the design team leader’s way of saying it.
   In two days he would have to present all of his findings here to the board at the meeting in Port Elizabeth.  They would decide the fate of this new project then.  In an unusual move it had been decided to have The Dutchman attend the meeting, to give his input on the new project.  Whether he felt it would be worthwhile.  'For what it is worth, I think that I will support this endeavor.  It would seem to be the one area we may be able to gain an advantage over the other world powers, at this moment', Mukata decided.

April 12  0200 hours/Fulda Gap, Germany

   Feldwebel Tanja Frank moved across the rocky ground quickly.  Far more rapidly than she could have managed in her old powered armor.  This new body was fast, and strong.  It didn't tire.  And it wasn't hers.  She still hated it.
   Crouching in a depression on the rocky slope, she paused while her squad secured the area.  It was only training, but everyone took it so much more seriously now.  Everyone felt like it was only a matter of time before they were fighting again.  Whether against the Chinese or the aliens, on Earth or some other body, it wouldn't matter.  The dying would become close and brutal once again.  The sterile battles across the long dark of space would end with the bitter and close battles fought face to face.  Wars weren't won by owning space, nobody lived there.  You had to own the ground.  Hold it.  And a ship in orbit could only do so much.
   Tanya checked her power and heat output readings habitually.  The PT and OT following her discharge from the hospital had given her that habit.  If either got to far out of limits, she would die as quickly as a normal person running out of air.  It took a lot to overload or overwork a cyborg body, but it could be done.  Particularly if your weapon put a heavy load on the power or cooling circuits.
   The HUD showed that the area was secure.  The squad was moving again.  Upslope to the next objective for the days training.  Tanya got up and began to move with the group.  She was still alive, while the rest of her old company had died there in India.  She wondered if she was the lucky one, or not.

April 15th  0620 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushner watched as the Queen Mary was locked into the slip at the station.  Soon the outer hull would be opened up in several places to allow the installation of the new magnetic field generators.  The ships were being overhauled as quickly as possible.  The goal was to have all of the Pan Euro combat ships done by the end of April, or early May.  It looked like they might be able to make that deadline, but Jude hoped the speed wouldn't leave any of the ships with fatal flaws in the work.  It took only a loose fitting in one place to destroy a ship when the drive engaged.  A small strand of wire coming free as the rest of the ship accelerated at over 1000 G's would be able to tear a ship apart if it struck the right supports or systems.  A generator or hull plate coming loose would easily rip the ship apart.
   Early May would see the first new production for the Pan Euro.  Two new Attack Escorts and a new Heavy Escort would begin construction.  They would form the 4th Light Battle Group and hopefully be ready for deployments in June or July. They would be able to take over convoy escort duty and allow the Pan Euro to avoid the dependence on outside powers for guarding the commerce between the belt and Earth.  They would also free up the Red October to assist the newest US Interceptor in hunting down the alien ships moving through the inner system, and hunting down the alien ship the US had codenamed the 'Baron'.

April 21st  1740 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home 1(Eris)

   The Elders were uneasy.  Great changes were being made to combat this new race.  Soon the first three of the new Attack Vessels would join the three completed Patrol Vessels.  They would accompany the Support Vessels carrying the new scout craft to the waiting Hive Vessels in the inner parts of this system.  Then a new, more cautious offensive could be undertaken.  With the enemy's true home, and true size known, attempts could be made to try and defeat this ominous foe.  The need to design new vessels to combat this race had proved that the original designs were not as formidable as had been thought.
   The ground based defenses were being strengthened, to help them withstand enemy fire.  With the native race now displaying that they were able to deploy protective fields on their ships, the danger of enemy attacks reaching the populations of the New Homes was increased dramatically.  The ground based defenses would need to be substantial to provide the necessary protection that the decreasing mobile assets had once provided.
   The orbital defenses of New Home 4 were also being disassembled for transport and reassembly at New Home 5.  New Home 5 was of far greater importance, and in a much more vulnerable position.  The ground based defenses there were not adequate protection.  Many of the elders disagreed on this point, and their fields still betrayed their agitation, but it had been decided.
   This conflict had become too prolonged.  Steps would now have to be taken to create an offensive and defensive structure that could be supported solely by the resources of the New Homes.  The time when the supplies and materials that had been sent with the colony ships would be exhausted was quickly approaching.  Soon this war would have to be fought with much more limited resources.
   The unease of the Elders would not soon be resolved.  This enemy was proving far too durable.

April 24th  2010 hours/Beijing, China

   Minister Po relaxed at his desk.  His position was once again secure.  The peace with the US and Euro was allowing the Chinese to strengthen their military uncontested by the other Earth nations.  The supremacy of China would only be a matter of time now.
   The massive growth of industry to support the wartime economy was rapidly being emplaced, and morale within China and its holdings was high.  They had shown that their fleets were now the supreme power in space.  Even the large alien fleet had been turned back.  The alien armada had destroyed all of the flimsy US ships, but destroyed only one of the five Chinese ships present.  The loss of the Tung hurt, but as a martyr it was generating great resolve in the people.
   'The massive bond fund I started will be able to cover half of the construction cost for the new cruiser.  Having framed it as a ship to avenge the lost cruiser has gotten a large public subscription to the project,' mused Po.  'With the public supplying half of the construction fees, the investment in this cruiser will be less than the cost of a new frigate.'
   Po leaned back.  It was only a matter of time...

April 27th  1530 hour/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters looked over the morning's reports.  The progress on the protective fields was slowing to almost a halt.  With Lieutenant Commander Ryan gone, the whole project seemed to have lost its momentum.  She wouldn't be available for the next two months, so that could be a problem.  The fields themselves seemed to work well on the Interceptors, but would require overhauls each time the fields encountered any major influx of charged particles.  Devising a way to prevent this, or make it an easily reversed problem, was at a standstill.  Still, Bradley reminded himself, having the shields was a vast improvement in the ships' ability to engage the aliens.
   The newest Interceptor, the MkIII Yari was on her way to Mars with Rear Admiral Ryan on board.  She would join the two MkIIb's at Mars for her shakedown cruise.  With the Euro committing to assist with their Red October in the coming months, this 'Baron' should find surviving quite a bit more difficult.  Two more of the MkIIb's were even now under construction in the yards and would be ready late in May.  With four operational MkIIb's, the MkIII, and the armed freighter Vigilance taking over convoy escort duties, the US might again be able to claim that we have a credible war fleet in space.
   'Perhaps we will be able to defeat these aliens after all.  Assuming we don't end up killing each other in the process.'  Bradley looked over the reports of the Chinese construction over the last two months.  Three craft the size of Euro Attack Escorts, and a big ship well on its way to completion.  And that was just what we can see here at Earth.  Who knows what they have built out at Venus?  The aliens may not be the worst of our problems in the end.


This month was fairly quiet, but everyone was still trying to rebuild/refit.  But the momentum for an offense was building, especially with China.  It wasn't going to take long before the groups came back out swinging.  

For the Euro,
The recession was still siphoning off money from the economy.  Continued colonization into the belt, and investment in IU were offsetting it a little, but it was still making itself felt.  The Euro's research projects were slowly moving along, but nothing was anywhere close to producing useful results for months.  The refit of every ship to using S's was quite the juggling act for the month, with every available asset being brought to bear.  In the end she managed it, but just barely.  It was a massive drain on her assets though, as paying the new class cost on every ship amounted to most of what she made.  She normally liked to carry a treasury balance of about 60-100MC to cover repair costs, etc, that would crop up.  This month left her scrapping the armor she was stripping off the ships just to have single digits in her treasury at the end of the month.
The fact that all of her ships would be Poor grade the next month was worrying her quite a little bit also.

For China,
The middle boy was on a roll.  He was plowing as much into IU as the other were into their fleets.  He was still building ships at the same time though.  He could see the economic boom's end was in sight, as he only had 10 IU left before he had maxed out the Earth.  He was going to need a place to colonize in the near future if he was going to keep his economy expanding, and with Ceres glassed (we use the reduced PU limit if a site is nuked), he was low on options.  Saturn was waiting, the question was if he would be brave enough to stick his neck out and try to settle there.  He knew if he waited too long, the other players were going to catch up.
The random events roll in March for the public subscription paying for half of the new CL (did I get that in the write up???) was still in the works, and I am pretty sure that refund was what he was waiting on to try and prototype a CA.  He didn't want to strap his economy trying to come up with the cost of a prototype hull and new class cost all at once, and the refund would turn the trick by boosting his income for the month.
Dice just seem to love this kid.

For the US,
The oldest boy was doing his best to put a shattered power back together.  He was looking forward to getting EL2 in May to boost his income and build rate.  He even decided that converting a FT was the fastest way to put another combat ship on the line.  With 2 shields, a Ya and an Ra, it would be able to take two hits, and was as effective at range as the Interceptor MkIIa's.  At least it was something, and would be able to free up his real combat ships.
He managed a trickle of investment in IU and colonization this month, but was frustrated by a lack of success on his roll to get the shields to regenerate in an hour.  He had poured a bunch of money there, accelerating it as much as he could.  No luck.  But he was making progress, Mars was still there, and he had all of his SY's.  Could have been worse.

For the FSC,
The oldest girl's luck was starting to turn around, as she made her roll for EL2.  It would make her new research project go even more quickly, if not any cheaper.  She continued her trickle of colonization to the belt, doubled her investment in IU (worse return, but less chance it would get nuked by aliens), and started investing in her new project slowly.  She didn't want to dive in and then not have any money to work with when she got there.  She decided 25 turns was a while, and she would try to build and research together.  Unfortunately she didn't make her roll on S's, so she would have to continue with that expense for the time being.
She could see light at the end of the tunnel now, but it was a long way off, and she wasn't sure if she would make it to the end.

The Nemotians,
The bad guys were definitely working hard to keep an even footing this month.  I decided to pull in PV17 and its group.  They were just getting too thin on ships to keep pushing it.  With reinforcements on the way, there was no sense in risking the ships unsupported.  I decided the Nemotians would also move the bases around Home 4 to Home 5.  Home 5 had three times the income, and was closer to the inner system.  It made little sense to put more protection around the smaller colony.  The downside was that neither was going to get any use from the bases while they were disassembled, shipped, and reassembled.  The risks we take in war......
The gigs were done, the bombs purchased, and the six new ships were finished at the end of the month.  May would see them head on in to join the fight.  The trend toward smaller ships was a little disturbing so early, but it was necessary with the Nemotian's treasury dwindling.  It fell another 1100 this month, and was just going to keep getting smaller.  I had increased the Nemotian's income to its max this month, without population growth.  Growth wouldn't happen again till month 20 (this was 16).  They were going to have to be able to get by on what they had for the time being.  They were rolling for EL3 now, and that would help.
I decided deepen the defenses of the PDC's, and doubled their size this month.  They were cheap to maintain, and almost certain to see use in the coming months.  They might as well be ready for it.

As always, thank you for reading.

Oh, as a warning.  I will be gone with the middle boy on a school trip for the last week of this month and the first week and a half of May.  There won't be any posts during that time, so don't think I've quit.  I'm just going to be a little busy.  A two week trip with over one hundred eighth graders will keep me plenty busy.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 15, 2010, 01:42:06 AM
May 2204 part 1

May 2nd  0715 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home 1 (Eris)

   The elders took note of the new developments.  The elders of New Home 4 had successfully plead their case and convinced the counsel to allow the largest of the orbital defense platforms to remain at New Home 4, while the two smaller platforms would continue to be disassembled for transport to New Home 5.  The elders had also inspected the new surface based defense installations.  The level of protection afforded by the new ground bases was such that another wave of construction had begun.  Plans were to ensure that New Homes 1, 2, 3, and 5 would each have 6 of the ground bases to protect the colonies.  This level of protection, in concert with the orbital defenses, should allow all of the mobile assets to be freed for use against the native race.
   The message had been decoded that the Hive Vessels had received the shipment of scout craft and bombs, and that the group was again at full strength and ready to renew offensive operations.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had requested authorization to begin immediate operations against the enemy near the third and fourth planets.  The elders had deemed this unwise, and had transmitted that all ships were to await the arrival of the three Patrol Vessels and three Attack Vessels, and complete the initial training of the new ships.  After the initial training was completed the group would resume limited offensive operations as directed by the elders.
   Progress was again being made in the war effort, but the enemy was being afforded a rather extended break from attacks.  Hopefully the native race would not be able to capitalize on it to make an attack on New Home 3.  The defenses were still not adequately prepared.  With the enemy having deployed magnetic protective fields of their own, an attack now could be devastating.

May 3rd  1200 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, 20 light seconds from Earth

   Captain Robert McNeely checked over the flight log for the convoy.  He was now in command of the Pan Euro 3rd Light Battle Group, and was in charge of convoy security for the combined civilian shipping of the Euro and US.  But his Light Battle Group had the firepower of the older Battle Groups, and with the addition of the US 'shields', would be far more powerful.  If his crew could just get used to the damned new fangled system.
   The new magnetic system caused no end of false contacts for the Phoenix Array, and the few missile tests had shown that the launches were often 'bent' as the missile passed through the field.  The crew was desperately trying to calibrate the systems so they would all work with the fields up, and still be able to plot accurate firing solutions for targets that actually existed.  Admiral Muldoon had worked out a number of training operations to try and calibrate the systems, and it looked like it would only take a few weeks to get the work done.  So long as the aliens left them alone for the next month, that would be ok.  Of course, the alien's plans might not be so accomodating.
   The convoy did have one 'ace in the hole' as the Americans put it.  The US Q Ship Vigilance was parked in the middle of the convoy.  It looked like another freighter on the sensor returns, but hidden inside the hull was the US equivalent of the Phoenix Array, a long-range missile bay, and a powerful enough 'shield' generator to stop one of the alien weapons cold.  Of course the second intercept by an alien missile would send the fragile hull into a thousand pieces, but it would be a nasty surprise for an alien ship not expecting a fourth armed vessel with the convoy.
   Of course the US ship was having the same problem with their sensors and launches that the rest of the Pan Euro group was having, due to the new 'shields'.

   1530 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan knew that no voice could carry through the hard vacuum of the ship, but he could still hear the grumbling of the crew.  Two crews to be exact.  The crew that had come on the Yari was now being transferred off onto the older JFK, while the JFK's crew had to leave their old and familiar 'girl' for the new and unfamiliar 'gimmick'.  The JFK's crew had learned that if they upped the volume on their voice modulators, that the sound would carry through their feet into the deck and to anyone close by.  The composites deadened the noise after a few feet, but it allowed somewhat private grumbling that wouldn't get put on the comm log.  The newbies of the Yari had figured it out fairly quick after the usual round of hazing by the 'vets'.
   The sensors kept logging contacts close to the Yari, but Jack just kept deleting them from his display.  It was the Mars Station as the work crews began installing field generators on the military modules of the station.  When complete, they should allow the Mars Station to be nearly as powerful as a Task Force of Interceptors.  Of course, the only Task Force was awfully light on ships at the moment.  The crews had even taken to calling it a Task Farce.  'Gallows humor at its best' Jack decided.
   Jack locked his station and opened the All Ships comm link.  "OK folks, lock stations.  We're taking these ladies out to put them through their paces.  To those of you new this, learn from the old hands.  For the old hands with a new dance partner, lets see what she can do.  She's supposed to be the best.  Let's see if that’s true."  Jack keyed in a course and waited for the 'All Stations Locked' prompt to appear.  A few moments later (but still to long as far as Jack was concerned) it appeared on the monitor.
   The world went blue grey as the drive engaged.

May 6th  0700 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Venus orbit

   Admiral Hu approved the orders and requests on his monitor, and then checked the status reports.  It appeared he was going to be at Venus longer than he had anticipated, but transferring onto the station would be no more comfortable than the spartan comforts of a warship.  The station was busy with multiple crews fitting magnetic field generators onto it to provide a greater degree of protection.  When the fleet moved out, the station would be on its own.  Of course, the fleet wasn't going anywhere until the upgrades to the station's defenses were done.  The Ministry had said so, therefore it was so.  Regardless, the station was nothing but activity and noise.  No rest.
   The fleet had gathered at Venus in anticipation of the deployment to Neptune, but now the Yunnan and all four of the Close Assault Ships had been posted to convoy escort duty.  The Ministry had decided it would give the new crews a reason to learn their jobs well.  As if the impending conflict at Neptune wasn't incentive enough.  Perhaps the Ministry didn't trust the US and Euro with Chinese civilian ships and cargos as much as they made public. The FSC would be little danger, their only ship was on the ground at Earth.
   What wasn't common knowledge was the deployment of two other ships.  The two scientific vessels had been dispatched back to Saturn.  They would arrive in about a week.  If the planet had no signs of alien occupation, they were to begin the surveying of the surface of Titan in preparation for colonization.  It would take a great deal of time for Ceres to become habitable, and disputing the US and Euro claims in the belt would be unwise at this time.  But wise courses of action were hard to find, and eventually the belt would have to be disputed.
   Not now though.  For now we sit and wait.

May 9th  2235 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, Mars orbit

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan walked into the shuttle bay and climbed into the little 'dingy'.  Jack hated the little ships with a passion, but docking with the station during the construction was just about impossible.  At least it was for a good reason, or at least good news.  The two newest MkIIb's were already complete, with the one at Mars ready for trials and the second due to arrive from Earth in a few days.  To have five ships in one place would finally make the Task Farce into a Task Force again.
   The newest ship, the Andrew Jackson, would come out of dock in the next hour or two.  Jack was on his way to meet the new Captain, James Gauld.  He had a good reputation in the fleet, and had been the Commander of one of the Survey Tenders for two years.  This would be his first combat post, and Jack wanted to meet the man before they began training.  Jamie had apparently questioned the wisdom of using a Pan Euro Admiral's training doctrine, but so far the Euro's Rear Admiral Muldoon had been the nearest thing to a godsend that Jack had seen in this war.  Without her assistance in training, it wouldn't be a question of how many more ships they might have lost.  Jack knew it was a question of whether there would be a human race or not.  Most likely not.
   Jack was also fairly sure that she had something to do with the leaked information from the Euro, but that wasn't ever going to see the light of day.  The senior Euro Admiral had nearly lost her job disclosing information to the Chinese in an open, and necessary, manner.  Muldoon probably wouldn't fair so well.
   Jack watched the sensor plot as the little ship moved toward the station.  With only four seats, even the senior officers were nearly in the driver's seat.  The sensors showed what Jack had heard rumors of.  The colonization of Mars was continuing.  Even after the devastation of the alien attack, people were still settling here.  Most had been 'encouraged' by the government, but many were still hoping for a better life.  Or perhaps a little more money for the family at home.  Jack wondered how Meagan was doing.  She hadn't written for a few days.  She was out of sickbay now, maybe she was having fun somewhere.  'Lord knows she needs it.'
   The little ship touched down in the bay on the space station.  'Time to get the new Captain on board,' thought Jack as he stepped onto the deck.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 19, 2010, 01:01:41 AM
May 2204 part 2

May 14th  0250 hours/Survey Vessel Marco Polo, 2 light minutes from Saturn

   Captain Jingtsu waited for the transmission from the two small landers.  The small craft should have reached the outer moons of Saturn by now, and would begin low powered broadcasts.  The Marco Polo would be able to monitor the transmissions, but the power would be to low for anyone inside the belt to pick up unless they were specifically looking for it.  Even then, it would resemble some low power static disturbance, most likely a large electrical storm on Saturn or perhaps Titan.  But it would be powerful enough to alert any alien vessels near the planet of the two ships' presence.  Assuming the aliens even monitored for radio transmissions.  None had ever been intercepted from the alien ships, and it was theorized that they used a different method for communication.  Regardless, the small craft would continue to search the area for any sign of the aliens.  When the search was done, the two survey ships would move to Titan, join the landers, and begin what they had come here for.  To find a new colony site for the Chinese to settle.
   Jingtsu's monitor indicated that the transmissions had been picked up by the comm station.  Now they would see if the aliens had settled around the great ringed planet.

May 15th  1310 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, Asteroid belt

   Captain Robert McNeely watched the sensor readings.  Only a light second away four Pan Euro Colony Ships were settled in orbit around an asteroid named Victoria.  It had been identified as a low priority for colonization due to the surface and orbital characteristics it possessed.  It was hoped that would make it a low priority for the aliens to check.  Robert didn't think the aliens would care.
   The four ground to orbit shuttles, or GTOS's, were busy trying to land and emplace equipment for the construction of habitats.  The colony ships held 125,000 people who would try to make a life on this barren rock.  In normal times, they would make large salaries for risking their lives in such a harsh and unforgiving environment.  In the best of times people died in the belt.  Now it was truly a gamble.  The economic times were hard on Earth, but was it worth this?
   The Rachel Pierce, Mary Queen of Scots, and the US Vigilance were all parked with the rest of the convoy less than a light minute away.  The colony was to be a secret for the moment.  The US and Pan Euro were on good terms, but money could still convince many people to share secrets.  China was still not a trusted partner, and the less they could find out, the better.

May 19th  0925 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could sense the new arrivals.  The three new Patrol Vessels and the three new Attack Vessels had arrived.  The Attack Vessels were smaller than a Patrol Vessel and lacked the bay to carry scout craft. They also carried six less torpedoes than a Patrol Vessel.  They did carry the same torpedo launch bay and field generators.  They were designed purely to engage enemy ships.  Nothing else.
   The new ships were engaged in the initial training that all vessels underwent to prepare for service.  They would finish in less than two orbits of New Home 3 around its planet.  For the moment the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 would wait. The new ships would finish preparing for combat, then they would see it.  With nine combat ships, and 54 scout craft/bombers, the native race would find that its time to rest was over.
   The time to die would begin again.

May 24th  1600 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, South Africa, Earth

   The Dutchman looked about the bridge as he unlocked his station.  It would be different when he returned.  The word was that the refits would be extensive.  Rumor also said that the work on the field generators the aliens used had been completed.  The Mary Reed would not only be outfitted with the new defensive system, it would also receive new sensor systems to allow engagements at much greater ranges.
   The Mary Reed would be able to face the alien ships on even terms.  But it was only one ship, and the aliens were seldom found alone.  The FSC would need the US and Euro until more ships could be completed.  But more ships were unlikely.
   Rumor also had it that the initial tests of the new drive shield had been a success.  The new class of ships was coming closer and closer to becoming a reality.  It would take time before the first prototype hull was completed, but when it was, the Mary Reed would become obsolete.
   But that could be years away, and the aliens were here now.  For now, the Mary Reed would have to fight for the FSC alone.

May 26th  0800 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters looked over the information from the morning briefing.  The trials of the MkIII were almost complete.  Its performance had been remarkable.  The ship had managed to record speeds of over 18,600 kilometers a second for a short duration.  It could sustain speeds over 16,000 kilometers a second for combat.  Thanks to Pan Euro Rear Admiral Muldoon's assistance, the crews were quickly approaching their former levels of combat efficiency with the new fields in place.  Her training plan for the crews to calibrate the necessary systems had worked well.  By June all of the Interceptors would be combat ready.  Even the Vigilance was reporting increased success in operations with the shield employed.
   The Mars Station was finished with installing the field generators on the military modules.  Rear Admiral Muldoon had even come up with a way for the various modules on a station to use the field generators to protect other areas of the station.  It was less a technical issue, and more of a way for the modules to position themselves to allow the overlapped fields to protect areas they had not been designed for.  The aliens wouldn't have to simply defeat the shields of one module; they would have to defeat the shields of the entire station to damage it.
   Possibly the most important development had been the completion of the feedback loop conduction link, allowing the field generators to bleed off the feedback of a weapon impact without destroying the field generator itself.  It would take an hour for the conduction loop to be discharged and the field to be re-established, but it would be possible without a return to a shipyard for repairs.  The Interceptors would be capable of extended operations away from the inner system.  The Interceptors and Vigilance would all be refitted at the end of the month, and it would only require a few hours per ship.  A copy of the system would then be sent to the Pan Euro, allowing them to deploy the system on their vessels in the near future.  Bradley wasn't sure that Meagan hadn't been involved to some degree, but she was still on leave and could spend her time as she saw fit.  So long as her father didn't find out.
   The war was beginning to turn around.  Of course that assumed the aliens weren't coming up with any surprises of their own.  The small bombers were problem enough.  Anything else could be disastrous.

May 27th  0915 hours/Queen Mary, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir walked back to her cabin.  Training was only beginning for the day, but Muldoon would handle it.  Jude wanted to get a closer look at the new Attack Escorts.  To that end she needed to get her official dress 'uniform'.  It was only a few items that were attached to the standard cyborg body, but it would allow everyone to know what and who she was.  Most of the workers on the Pan European Space Station were not cyborgs, or even military.  To them, all of the space models looked pretty much the same.
   Jude didn't intend to tour the newest Heavy Escort, the Esme Jurkat, as she was being built mostly on the ground, with the components shipped up to orbit and assembled piecemeal.  The Esme would still need a few more weeks to be ready for her first trials.  The two Attack Escorts were actually ready for their trials, but would wait for Jude's tour before they were released from the station.  These ships were notable - they were the first ships named for men in decades.  The first she would visit was the G. Vetra.  That ship was named for the Captain who had steered his ship back towards Triton and an alien Delta, buying the only survivors of that attack time to escape.  The second ship was even more unusual.  Not only was it named for a man, but one that wasn't part of the Pan Euro or its history.  But he was a hero of the Pan Euro none the less.  The Justin Reynolds had been named to honor the US Captain who not only had taken his small ship against a much larger alien vessel at Uranus, but who had risked his ship and his life to rescue Pan Euro citizens on Mercury.  In the end he had given his life to protect a civilian convoy that contained ships not only belonging to the US and Pan Euro, but the FSC and China also.  'Such selfless acts may be the only hope humanity has' thought Jude.
   Jude reached her cabin and went in.  It was only a few hours of her time, but the civilian news crews would be in attendance.  Jude knew she would need to look her best.  The economy was beginning to pick up, and hopefully morale would follow.  This ceremony would help to both cement relations between the US and Pan Euro, and to give hope to all of those on Earth and in the colonies.  The aliens had killed millions, found Earth, and just seemed to keep coming.  'Unless the tide of the war changes, hope is all we have right now.'

May 30th  1750 hours/Ministry of Defense, Beijing, China

   Minister Po listened to the reports.  Most were good news.  The upgrades to the Venus Station were complete, and the magnetic field generators in place.  The newest Cruiser, the Minh, would be out of the yard in early July.  She would start trials immediately after that.  The economic infrastructure to support the current war effort was completed.  No alien presence had been found at Saturn, and the survey of Titan had begun.  Much progress had been made on many fronts, and would soon bear fruit.
   The questionable news wasn't bad, but the results were still in question.  Before the end of the day, the Admiral Hu and the entire Chinese Fleet would leave Venus Station bound for Neptune.  The aliens had been given time to strengthen the defenses there.  Whether the Chinese Fleet would be able to crack those defenses was still in doubt.  Hopes were high, but nothing was sure.
   Construction would also begin on a new class of ship.  A ship even larger than the Tung class of cruisers.  If it proved possible to construct a ship of the size planned, it could again change the face of combat in deep space.  The heaviest alien ships would pale in comparison to the new class.  That was if the cost of it did not bankrupt the Chinese Empire.  The time it would take to build the ship would also occupy Chinese construction assets for a great amount of time. If replacement ships were needed following the offensive at Neptune, the construction of the new ship could delay them.
   Much would depend on Admiral Hu and the battle at Neptune.  Very much.


This month saw the players trying to get their 'navies' ready for the next month.  The Nemotians were in the same boat.  Once again, the next month would see the fighters come out swinging, with less than predictable results, but that is another part of the story.  I won't be able to fit June into one or two posts, but I will try to get it done before I leave with the middle boy (china) on his school trip for a week and a half.

For the Euro,
The high point for the Euro was that she rolled a one and the recession adjustment ended.  She no longer lost 2% a month of her income.  She immediately re-convoyed her FT's, which took up most of the 'increase'.  She continued her trickle of colonization to the belt, and built a few more IU.  She also built a pair of Attack Escorts, and started a new Heavy Escort.  Slowly she was working toward building up her fleet.  She was looking at adding in larger ships as soon of the 4th LBG was finished, but wasn't sure what she wanted to do.
In research, the Euro continued to work toward S regeneration, and got an early success on Electronics SL2.  Nothing that was going to make a difference in the short term, but it helped to improve her mood as she tried to rebuild.  The oldest boy's (US) decision to send a copy for S regeneration helped.
Perhaps most importantly, she got her ships through shakedown before any combat surfaced.

 For China,
China built the last IU he could fit on Earth this month, and was really wanting to find somewhere to expand.  He started the survey of Triton for two reasons.  He was planning on hitting the other great planets on the way to Neptune, but the orbit of Saturn left it well off the beaten path.  He wanted to try and find if the aliens were  colonizing/based at any of the moons there, and sending the survey ships would allow him to check Saturn without slowing/detouring/splitting up the combat group.  He also reasoned that if the aliens weren't there, his upcoming move on Neptune would keep them from poking around over that direction too much.  Made sense.
He also refitted the Venus SS with shields on the military modules to make it a better protected if the aliens showed up.  He was willing to lose the SS by the sounds of it, but wanted to take some of the aliens with it.

For the US,
The US got a pair of new Interceptors out of the yard, got a success on S's regenerating, got shields on the Mars SS, and the EL increase on his income.  Things were looking much better.  A long ways from good, but at least he had on operational Task Force, a more powerful base, and didn't have to repair his shields after combat.
He continued to build more IU, and put a few more PTU on Mars.  He still had the lowest income of the big three, but was catching up.
His big goal was to find PV 17.  He didn't know the name of it, but he knew it was out there and wanted it gone.

For the FSC,
The oldest girl got a slight boost in income with her EL increase, and managed to succeed on all her research rolls (all two of them).  She got shields, and could now start on her last SL for her pet project.
She put a few more IU on Earth, and moved another PTU to the belt.  She was slowly growing, but was still way behind the other powers.
She wrote out how she wanted the Mary Reed to be refitted, and tried to figure out how she was going to make it happen without shutting down her research for a month.  In the end she decided that she needed a ship with combat sensors and shields more than another month of research at her normal rate.

For the Nemotians,
The new ships had made it to the belt, and just needed to shakedown.  The bigger colonies were building another pair of PDC's on each, but the roll for EL3 bombed.  The roll for shuttles also didn't work out.  The Nemotians were ready for the next offensive, but the momentum just didn't seem to be there.  I didn't want to wait any longer for the next attack, but I had doubts it was going to turn out well.  Of course, sitting around wasn't going to win anything either.

Overall, May was just a month for everyone to brace for June.  June doesn't have quite as many turn notes as Feb did (11 instead of 14), but with the limited resources on hand, I would say it strained the players even more than Feb......

As always, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 22, 2010, 05:32:53 AM
June 2204 part 1

June 1st  0630 hours/Queen Mary,  15 light seconds from Earth

   Admiral Jude Kushnir wondered if this was the right decision.  It was a risk, but would increase the security of the convoys.  It would also allow Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon's plan to be tested.  It just seemed wrong to be the senior admiral of the Pan Euro and be assigned to convoy escort duty, even if she was the best officer for the job.
   Brenna was needed at Earth.  She was easily the most experienced admiral in the Pan Euro, and was needed for the training of the two newest Attack Escorts.  The new Heavy Escort Esme would also be coming into service in the next week or so, and would need Brenna to get started in the right direction.  Leaving the Earth's defense to the most experienced admiral made sense.  Giving her the equivalent of two Light Battle Groups, one of which had just come out of the yard, was more than a bit risky.  The surface launch sites would add more firepower than two full Battle Groups, so Brenna should be able to face down any alien attack.  Nonetheless, reassigning the most experienced ships away from the Earth just felt wrong.  If the aliens were close enough for the surface launch sites to come into play, the aliens were too close to the Earth.
   If this redeployment worked, the aliens should have a hard time getting to Earth.  If it didn't work, well, the aliens would find the Earth a much easier target than it had been 24 hours ago.  Jude looked at her monitor and studied the sensor returns.  They just needed to find the aliens, or hope the aliens found them.

June 2nd  1420 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, dark side of the Asteroid Belt

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan rechecked the course plot.  It was as good as he could come up with.  It would still take nearly two weeks to reach the orbit of Neptune, but no more than that.  They should still be able to reach position well before the Chinese could.  A civilian convoy had intercepted the Chinese ships as they approached the belt, and the projected course for the Chinese group would take until the end of the month to reach Neptune.
   The Red October and two Pan Euro Attack Escorts had met the Yari a short distance from Mars almost 24 hours ago, and outlined a joint mission plan that had been given the go ahead by both Admiral Kushnir and Admiral Walters.  It was risky, and would move assets away from areas that were already poorly defended.  But it was the best game in town at the moment.  Although technically a Pan Euro operation - due to the plan having been devised by Rear Admiral Muldoon and the Pan Euro supplying most of the ships - Captain Robert McNeely of the Red October had turned over command of the group to Jack.  Jack had read enough reports to know that Captain McNeely had seen his share of combat, and that the Pan Euro 3rd Light Battle Group was his command.  Handing over the command of his Battle Group was more than just a courtesy of rank.  Jack intended to make good on the respect he had just been paid.
   'If this works' thought Jack, 'we could finally get the initiative in this war.'

June 4th  0515 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, 7 light seconds from Jupiter

   Admiral Hu openned up the external view from the Shek and panned until he found the nearby planet.  It had been almost two decades since he had seen the great planet.  Hu had been on the first Chinese outsystem probe, and had been the commander of the first small Chinese vessel that had ventured beyond the belt.  That journey had started his career.  It seemed fitting that the next time he saw the great planet it might be the end of his career.
   All the ships were ready for the upcoming battle.  Systems had been checked and rechecked.  The arrays had been calibrated over and over.  The crews knew their jobs.  They were all aware that the aliens crews were just as good.  
   The current course would bring them to Neptune on the 27th.  On that day the fate of the Chinese Empire, and likely all of the Earth would be decided.  History would record the fleet as the heroes of the Earth, and that he had been the man in command of them all.  It would have too.  If the aliens won this battle, there wouldn't be any future for the human race.

June 6th  0200 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna,  3 light seconds from Earth

   Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon watched her monitor as the ships manuevered.  The ships of the 4th Light Battle Group were struggling.  The Heavy Escort Esme, and the Attack Escorts G. Vetra and J. Reynolds tried to match the turns of the Tatianna, Isabelle and Catherine as they banked on opposites sides of the Earth.  The newest ships were trying to keep the planet between the groups and avoid the weapon lock of the more experienced ships.  They would have been destroyed several times over in the last hour.  Drills when the new crews were accustomed to resting made it even harder for them.  This was easy compared to real combat.  They needed to learn.  The billions of lives on the planet floating between the groups depended on them learning their jobs.  Quickly.
   Brenna had a new training plan for the day.  One that even the old hands didn't know about.  One that would push the crews and their ships to the limit.  "All ships, cease current operations.  New course plots will download from my station.  Prep ships for full combat acceleration."  Brenna waited as the 4th Light Battle Group finally started to move on the new course.  It was time to see if the new training would work.  It had taken months to get Admiral Kushnir to sign off on the training, and only the advent of the new shields had make it possible.  With luck, none of the ships would be damaged, or burn their drives out.
   The distance from Earth began to grow.  The Pax line grew closer, and then the ships were beyond it.  Time to download the new block of instruction.  Brenna keyed the transmitt prompt for the tightbeam link, and waited for the crews to process what they were about to do.
   The plan was simple, but would take practice to execute.  It would give the new ships a chance to practice with their weapon locks and firing drills.  It would give the old hands a chance to try and learn to survive.  The Tatianna, Isabelle, and Catherine would take turns being the target.  They would be the first to see if the new drive protocols would be able to defeat an active lock on.
   Brenna openned the channel from the Tatianna to the Esme.  "Captain McWilliams, your are to attempt to mirror our course at a range of three light seconds.  Your ship is to aquire sensor lock, plot a firing solution on the Tatianna,  release primary safeties, and launch a single missile.  Do you understand?"  Brenna waited.
   "Admiral, am I to understand correctly.  You want the Esme to fire on the Tatianna?"  
   "That is correct.  Primary safety release only. We will begin in 45 seconds.  Admiral Muldoon, out."  Brenna closed the channel.  "Helm, a new manuveur protocol is downloading to your station.  As soon as the Esme aquires a weapons lock, implement the new protocol.  Engineering, you will need to be on your toes.  Were going to push the drive.  Don't let the particle accelerators burn out."
   Brenna waited and watched the monitor.  The Esme began to follow the Tatianna as the drives engaged.  The world was a solid blue grey as the Tatianna accelerated to full combat speed.  The Esme began to fall back, but managed to hold on at just over 3.5 light seconds.  Then the sensor conn detected the  lock on and launch from the Esme.  The world turned into a kaliedescope of colors as the drives stuttered, the maneuver jets fired, and the monitor lit up as the particle accelerators were redlined.  
   'I hope like hell this works...'
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on May 26, 2010, 04:48:46 AM
June 2204 part 2

June 7th  1920 hours/Patrol Vessel 12, near Asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 12 waited at the Command Station.  The magnetic field fluxed only slightly as the crew guided the ship just inside of this system's debris field.  The Commander had opted not to travel inside the debris field, to improve the sensor range.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had directed that Patrol Vessels 12 and 23 were to find and destroy any enemy support vessels they could locate.  They were to engage enemy combat ships without protective fields, and evade any that had them.  But finding enemy ships was difficult enough.  In the debris field, it was almost impossible.  The goal was to destroy enemy ships, not just hunt them.
   The field of the Command Station wavered.  The sensors were picking up vessels of the native race.   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 12 altered the field at his station.  The protective field around Patrol Vessel 12 sprang to life, and then so did the field of Patrol Vessel 23 moments later.  The ships altered course toward the enemy vessels as the crews prepared for combat.

   1920 hours/Queen Mary, 12 light minutes from Hygea Colony

   Admiral Jude Kushnir locked her station.  "Alphas times two.  Bearing three zero three.  Ascension minus one three.  Speed two three three zero kilometer per second and accelerating.  On course bearing one eight one degrees zero ascension per respect to Sol. Range eight point two seven light seconds.  Changing aspect."  Jude watched her monitor as the contacts displayed on it.  They were coming about on a course for the convoy, and accelerating.  They didn't have any real speed advantage yet, but that could change quickly.
   "All ships, locks stations, battle stations."  She knew she didn't need to give the order.  All of the crews would already be well on their way to battle stations.  Jude saw several intercept courses plotted on her monitor.  She checked the sensor record and quickly keyed in for the most direct intercept that could be managed. "Helm, plot a course for the convoy to disengage and transmit."  The sensor return clouded as the 'shield'  generators engaged.  Sensor returns then recorded the shields on the Attack Escorts Keely Sereg and Elise engaging, along with the US Vigilance.  'We will find out just how well these systems are going to work', Jude decided.
   The sensor returns showed the two Alphas beginning to turn away from the convoy.  'Don't like to fight on equal terms, do they.'  The trailing Alpha was drawing in range and firing solutions flashed across Jude's monitor.  
   "Two new contacts, inbounds."
   They grey haze cleared for a moment.  Maneuver thrusters fired.  "Missiles away."
   Jude watched the sensor returns as the alien weapons closed.  In a few moments it was clear that the Queen Mary was the target. "I hope like hell the US got these shields right," Jude said to no one in particular. And then the sensor returns clouded as the Queen Mary passed through the wash of superheated particles.  The ship didn't even budge as it passed through the waves of plasma.  "Field generators down to twenty five percent capacity."  Jude heard the update from Engineering on the comm, but still checked her monitor.  Sure enough, the Queen Mary had just been hit twice, and not a scratch on the hull.  
   The monitors were also showing that the trailing Alpha had lost its protective field in the exchange, and had vented to clear damage.  "OK people.  This fight is far from over.  Get that second launch online NOW!"  In the absence of any emotion in the voice synthesizer, volume was just going to have to do.
   The sensors were showing another pair of alien inbounds.  Just as Jude was about to let the crew know that they needed to get their act together, her monitor flashed with firing solutions and then the ship stuttered its drive as the four missile bays deployed.  Seconds later the Queen Mary heaved and stuttered its drive again, this time in response to alien detonations.  Jude checked her monitor.  Only one of the alien missiles had made intercept, but it had managed to force the shield generators off line, and had torn through the outer plating and baffles.  But the defenses had held.  No inner compartments had been breached.  'Ok Brenna, lets see if your tactics will work.'  "Helm, bring us hard about, one eight zero degrees.  Comm, signal the Elise, Sereg, and Vigilance to continue pursuit."  Jude waited through the flashes of grey and blue, then back to normal vision, and back to the grey haze once again.  The plan was that a damaged ship would turn away from combat to extend the range.  If the aliens tried to continue firing on the damaged ship, they would be firing at the extreme end of what appeared to be their effective range.  As that was occurring the other 'friendly' ships would close and fire with much greater accuracy on the aliens.  The aliens would either have to allow the damaged ship to disengage, or face an engagement with unfavorable intercept ratios.  Now they would test that theory.

   1922 hours/Patrol Vessel 12, near the Asteroid belt

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 12 watched as the enemy Combat Vessel began to disengage.  The other three enemy ships that were continuing the pursuit were no larger than Attack Vessels or Patrol Vessels.  The Combat Vessel carried over half of the firepower of the enemy ships.  Its protective field had collapsed, but to continue remaining in range of the Combat Vessel could be devastating.  The Commander decided that engaging the three remaining enemy ships, as the Patrol Vessels attempted to disengage was the better course of action.
   The enemy support ships had been guarded by four escorts, all of which had deployed protective fields.  The enemy had only deployed one ship with protective fields to guard the last group of support ships, and they had never placed protective fields on ships as small as Attack Vessels before.  This would bode poorly for future battles if the native race now equipped all of their fighting vessels with protective fields.  But that was a concern for another time.  Right now they had to survive this engagement.  They were still being pursued by three enemy ships just under five light seconds away, and Patrol Vessel 23 had been badly damaged.  The torpedo bay had been damaged but could still launch, and worst of all its command section had been destroyed and Patrol Vessel 23's Commander killed.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 12 could feel through the sensors as the enemy vessels launched their three weapons, even as the two Patrol Vessels deployed their torpedoes.  The inbound weapons finally closed the gap and the Commander could sense as the first detonation left Patrol Vessel 23 drifting, with its drive unable to reengage.  Before the stricken Patrol Vessel could launch another torpedo, a second enemy weapon intercepted the ship.  The detonation was far too close for anything to survive.  It was one on three now, and all of the pursuing ships still had protective fields in place.
   Even as the next torpedo deployed, the Commander decided that this engagement could not be won.  The three inbound enemy weapons detonated along the path of Patrol Vessel 12 and collapsed the protective fields. The Commander altered the field at his station ordering the crew to engage the drives at the maximum possible output.  The Patrol Vessel would only be able to maintain that level of acceleration for a short period, but perhaps they would extend the distance beyond the native race's maximum range.  The flare from the drive would make targeting almost impossible, but it was about survival now.  Not winning.

   1923 hours/Attack Escort Keely Sereg, 11.787 light minutes from Hygea Colony

   Commander Brittany Bortz watched the sensor returns.  The Alpha's drive bloom had greatly increased its thermal signature, and the ship was beginning to accelerate away.  It would take less than a minute to pass beyond maximum weapons range.  Another three missiles had already been launched from the two Pan Euro ships and the US Q ship, and would make intercept in the next few seconds.  The US Vigilance was already beginning to fall behind, it wouldn't be able to make even one more launch.  It was just the Elise and Keely Sereg now.  The sensors were showing the last Alpha was venting to clear damage.  At least one of the missiles had found its target.
   The order came through on the tight beam link.



   That was it then.  Brittany keyed in for Engineering to redline the particle accelerators.  The EM bleed from the drive bloom would make firing solutions more of a guess than a given, but orders were orders.  Brittany watched as the monitors confirmed that the Keely Sereg was no longer losing range on the Alpha, and that the missile bay was still able to deploy without too much loss of speed for the ship.  The Alpha was launching missiles also, but seemed to be blinded by its own drive bloom as badly as the Pan Euro ships.
   Brittany watched as the salvos crossed in space.  One after another.  Four launches. Five launches.  Six launches.  At 1927 hours with twelve out of the 18 missiles deployed, the Elise reported that an alien weapon had forced their shield generators to 30 percent.  The ship was undamaged but a second intercept would rip into the Attack Escort, if not destroy it.  Moments later the comm section picked up a transmission from Commander Dana Breiholz on the Elise.



   It was just the Keely Sereg and the Alpha now.  Six missiles were left on board.  Correction, five now with another out bound.  And particle accelerators ready to overheat at any moment.  The Alpha's shields were down, but it was far from destroyed.  The alien ships seemed far more durable than their size would indicate.
   "Alpha has lost drive bloom.  No restart."  Finally, the alien ship was now just a coasting target.  Lights flashed on Brittany's monitor.  She felt as cold as ice.  The Sereg had just lost cooling on the superconductors for the particle accelerators.  The drive was down.  Both the Sereg and the Alpha were drifting ships.  Easy targets with no redlined drive bloom to cloud the sensor returns.  For the next few moments it was going to be a race to see which ship could rain death on the other fastest.  And that was assuming the last five missiles would be enough to destroy the Alpha.
   The sensors showed that the Elise was coming about.  It was too quick for the Queen Mary to have rescinded the earlier orders; Dana was doing this on her own.  But it would take her minutes to come about and close the gap with the drifting ships.  And this was going to be over in seconds.

   1929 hours/Attack Escort Elise, 11.80 light minutes from Hygea Colony

   Commander Dana Breiholz watched the sensor returns.  The Alpha and the Sereg were both drifting, and both deploying missiles as quickly as they could.  The Sereg's shields were holding, but it was only a matter of time.  Dana never imagined that she would have ordered her ship to redline its drives to catch a coasting ship, but here they were.  Weapon Conn was plotting that it would be less than 60 seconds until they reached maximum launch range.  'Come on Keely, hold out one more minute.'
   The sensors recorded secondary explosions from the Alpha, but the ship was still there.  It was hard and fast doctrine to fire on the alien ships until there was nothing left.  They seemed to be able to deploy missiles until the entire ship was torn apart.  The Sereg was launching again, and then the sensors recorded something strange.  No warning lights.  No indicators.  The Alpha hadn't launched.  Time slipped by, and still no more weapons from the stricken alien ship.  Was it dead?  Had the last of the crew been killed by the internal explosions, but the ship survived?  To capture an alien ship, what a prize!
   Warning lights flashed on Dana's monitor.  Her hopes sunk as she looked for another inbound.  None.  It was worse.  The Elise had just blown containment on the particle stream of banks two through four.  They weren't going anywhere.  Now there were three ships drifting along together.  
   At least the Alpha wasn't shooting anymore.  
   Of course, Dana thought, they will be calling for someone who can.

   1929hours/Patrol Vessel 12, near the Asteroid belt

   Second Engineer of Patrol Vessel 12 crawled away from the damaged station.  The hardened inner launch bay still had power.  The Second Engineer could sense that 21 of the crew were still alive in the bay.  Of the 317 crew originally aboard, they were all that was left.  He knew what had to be done.  They all knew.  There were no more torpedoes to launch.  Three of the crew were already attempting to transmit the current situation to any ship in range.  The Second Engineer was waiting to take care of the last task.
   The scuttling charges were nearby, but the Engineer Station was no longer responding.  He would have to be closer to activate the system, and destroy the ship.  With the drive down and no acceleration, there was no longer any danger in leaving a station.  Just manipulating the magnetic fields so that you didn't float away from the deck.
   The Second Engineer waited until he could sense that the others had done all they could to transmit what was known.  It was time.  He touched the device in two places and began to alter the fields.  It would take a moment, and then the system would detonate with a force that would vaporize the Patrol Vessel.  He finished the task, and waited.
   And could feel a new fear spread through the crew.  The charge had failed...

   1932 hours/Queen Mary, 11.82 light minutes from Hygea Colony

   Jude stared at the monitor.  'What in the hell have we gotten ourselves into,' she thought.  'We've got two Attack Escorts just coasting, and an Alpha just sitting there with them.  By now that Alpha has let every alien ship out there know that the Sereg and Elise are sitting targets.  It will take days to fix the drives on the two Attack Escorts, but we can't afford to abandon those ships.  We are going to have to stay and fight whatever comes.'
   Jude wished she could take a big breath.  Rub her temples.  Something other than lie locked at her station, tapping her fingers.
   'The Elise has drifted to only one half of a light second from the Alpha.  Her sensor array is picking up energy readings from the ship.  It probably still has some crew on board.  We can't afford to lose anyone on any of the ships in a boarding action, with the battle that is sure to come.  We can't board, but somebody is going to have to come out here and do just that.  We CAN'T leave.'
   'I'd thought the biggest battle I might have to fight in the next few weeks would be for Earth.  But it’s now, and here in the middle of nowhere.  Over what might be the biggest prize of this whole war.  But how in the hell are we going to board and take the vessel?  And then how do we keep the aliens from destroying it while the damned thing just sits there.'
   'Good lord Brenna, did you ever see this one coming....??'
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 08, 2010, 01:58:14 AM
June 2204  part 3

June 7th  2035 hours/Rhein Mein AFB, Germany, Earth

   Feldwebel Tanya Frank ran across the tarmac.  Her squad was only meters behind her as they raced to the waiting ship.  'What in the hell has happened that they need us right now,' she wondered as they reached the huge vessel.  It was many times bigger than the largest cruise ship she had ever seen.  It could carry 50,000 troops and their supplies, or ten times that many colonists.  Right now it was going to carry her and the entire cyborg brigade.  Her squad formed up on her as she came to a stop.
   The rest of the platoon and company began to fill in the formation as space model cyborgs began to issue loading orders.  Human ground crews were loading equipment Tanya had only familiarized herself with.  The cargo holds were being loaded with supplies for micro-g ops. 'I've probably had about three days of micro-g training, and none of it in this body,' Tanya thought.
   Orders flashed on Tanya's HUD.  'Time to load.  They say that full acceleration in a 'borg body is something you just have to experience to understand.  Guess I'm about to get my chance.  I just wish they would tell me where we are about to go.  Wherever it is, they want to get there in a hurry.'

   2050 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Bradley Walters sat at his desk.  He knew that if he had a human face and someone walked in right now, they would run for the door as soon as they got a look at him.  Mad was an emotion he had passed half an hour ago.
   The civilian government had vetoed every attempt to transfer combat ships to support the crippled Euro group.  They had forbidden the use of ground troops to attempt boarding of the Alpha floating helpless out by the belt.  It had taken a monumental effort to get them to allow a Survey Tender to go as a troop lander.  The Pan Euro Troopship, actually just a quickly prepared civilian Colony Ship, had no bay to load and land the troops it was now carrying onto shuttles.  Since the survey craft the Survey Tender carried were too small to effectively move troops, a civilian GTOS had been transferred to the Tender's bay.  The GTOS was a tight fit in the Tender's bay, but could carry a full company of cyborg troops.  It wouldn't be comfortable, but it could get the Euro troops to the Alpha without having to dock the Troopship.  Losing a GTOS and a company of troops was better than a whole Troopship with a Brigade onboard it the Alpha managed to self destruct during the operations.
   Possibly the most important battle that would be fought in this war and the only contributions the US could make were an armed freighter and a taxi service.  It was a good thing the office was empty.

   2120 hours/Queen Mary,  11.76 light minutes from Hygea Colony

   Admiral Jude Kushnir sat locked in her station.  Information streamed across the screen in front of her.  It all said the same thing.  This battle was about to be fought by cripples or ships and troops completely unprepared or unfit for what was about to happen.
   Seven ships were about to leave Earth.  Jude wished there were more, but she was leaving Brenna with the equivalent of a Light Battle Group to defend the Earth.  That wouldn't be enough to face down much of an alien force.  Brenna would have to depend on the ground based defenses to fight the battle.  If the aliens showed up with a swarm of their small ships, it would be devastating.
   The Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat had only been in service for hours now.  She and the two Attack Escorts of the 4th Light Battle Group would be the combat element of the seven ships.  The crews had barely been onboard long enough to fly the ships.  Now they would have to fight for their lives against alien ships with months or perhaps years of combat experience.  
   Both of the Pan Euro's Mobile Repair Ships were in the group.  They would try desperately to get the drives of the Elise and Keely Sereg online, but it would take at least a week to get the work done.  During that time they would simply be targets, with no 'shields' to protect them.  They represented nearly one third of the Pan Euro's space borne construction capability.  Losing them would be unthinkable.
   The Troopship was just as much of a target as the Repair Ships.  It would have to rely on the US Survey Tender to ferry the Cyborg Brigade of the 13th Mechanized Division to the Alpha.  The troops had almost no micro-g training, and no idea of what they were fighting.  The losses they would take were impossible to predict.  Jude was sure it wouldn't be a cake walk.
   Seven ships, all with little training or no weapons.  Troops that would fight an enemy they were completely unprepared for.  Jude looked at her monitor.  The aliens would come with more ships.  The only question was how many and how long.

   2305 hours/Patrol Vessel 17,  36 light minutes from the location of Patrol Vessel 12

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 considered the situation.  The faint transmissions from Patrol Vessel 12 made it clear that it was unable to self destruct, and was accompanied by four enemy vessels.  Two of the enemy vessels appeared to be drifting with Patrol Vessel 12, unable to maneuver in anything but the most rudimentary ways.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had ordered Patrol Vessels 13 and 24 to rejoin the main group of ships.  They would meet in the debris fields and move from there to the next target.  The real question was what that would be.
   The native race would be rushing ships to the location of the stricken Patrol Vessel and their two crippled ships.  This would present an unusual opportunity to attack the enemy's colonies while their defenses were weakened.  The problem would be with the losses the Patrol and Attack Vessels might sustain.
   The group would eventually have to destroy or rescue the crippled Patrol Vessel.  The two stationary enemy ships were also a tempting target.  The support ships that would arrive to assist the drifting enemy vessels would also be easy targets. But if the Patrol Group lost too many ships attacking a colony, they might be unable to address the situation with Patrol Vessel 12 adequately.  It would take time for the group to gather, and Patrol Vessel 12 was still transmitting.  As the situation progressed, the Commander would have to make a decision.

June 8th 0350 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, 4 light seconds from Uranus

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan rechecked the course plot as the drive shut down on the Yari.  Maneuver thrusters fired as the Yari came about onto its new course.  In just over 100 hours they would reach their destination of Neptune's orbit.  The sweep past Uranus had been uneventful.  No alien contact.  No evidence of new habitats on any of the moons.  The aliens seemed to have given up on this planet, which was all right with Jack.
   The grey haze settled back in as the main drive engaged.  The Yari would accelerate to over 4500 kilometers per second before the drive would scale back its output.  They would then cruise at that speed for the next four days.  The Chinese ships should be well behind them at this point.  Soon the US and Euro ships would begin the mission that would hopefully allow the Chinese to hit a much weaker target at Triton.
   That was if everything worked out.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 11, 2010, 11:10:01 PM
June 2204 part 4

June 8th  1540 hours/Patrol Vessel 12

   The Second Engineer of Patrol Vessel 12 could find some satisfaction with what they had accomplished.  They had found and rescued another 12 of the crew.  They now numbered 33.  The crew had also sealed off several of the areas around the launch bay and had restored life support functions to those areas.  They would be able to survive for nearly five orbits of New Home 3 around its planet.  They had rudimentary sensor arrays erected, and had prepared the magnetic field generators for use.  The fields were not up at the moment.  They would wait for a more appropriate time.
   The crew had also recovered some of the personal weapons stored in lockers on the ship.  The crew had rigged several devices to defend areas and built other improvised weapons that could be used should the native race try to board Patrol Vessel 12.
   A communication array had also been improvised, and contact with Patrol Vessel 17 had been established.  The limited information the sensors were gathering was being transmitted to the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had ordered the ship to continue transmissions and resist any enemy boarders with all available means.  The crew of Patrol Vessel 12 was willing to fight to the end.
   The one nagging problem was that no attempt had been able to repair or activate the self destruct systems on Patrol Vessel 12.  The vessel and its crew were doomed to wait, surrounded by enemy ships, until they were either rescued or destroyed.

June 9th  0020 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, in the debris field 34 light minutes from Patrol Vessel 12

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 considered the situation.  The ships of the Patrol Group had gathered in the debris field of this system.  The four Patrol Vessels and three Attack Vessels should be enough to drive the enemy ships from the area of Patrol Vessel 12, allowing the Mobile Repair Vessel to effect repairs on Patrol Vessel 12's drive.  They would also be able to load torpedoes into the still functioning launch bay and return Patrol Vessel 12 to some semblance of combat capability.  With the reduced number of ships capable of fighting the native race, losing even one was painful.
   But having the native race capture Patrol Vessel 12 would be even more painful.  Perhaps intolerable.  If Patrol Vessel 12 could not be rescued, it would have to be destroyed.  The Council of Elders was allowing the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 to use his discretion in determining how to resolve the problem.
   The Hive Vessels would be nearly useless in supporting an attack on the native vessels near Patrol Vessel 12.  Using them to attack a colony could draw ships away from Patrol Vessel 12, but supporting the Hive Vessels would also deplete the Patrol Group.
   For long moments the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 pondered the situation.  At last he began to alter the field at his station and issue commands.  The two Hive Vessels activated their drives and began to move away from the main group.  The four Patrol Vessels launched their entire complement of scout craft to accompany the Hive Vessels.  It would take them time to reach their target, and the mission would likely destroy all of the scout craft in the end.  But they would hurt the native race, and might draw the enemy's attention from Patrol Vessel 12.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 altered the field at his station again and felt the Patrol and Attack Vessels engage their drives and begin the move to either save or destroy Patrol Vessel 12.

   0310 hours/Queen Mary, 11.73 light minutes from Hygeia Colony

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the status updates.  Her monitor flashed with constant changes.  The 4th Light Battle Group had arrived in record time for such new crews.  Even more amazing was the fact that none had damaged the particle accelerators or drive shields of their ships.  The ships of the 4th LBG were currently docked with the Queen Mary, Elise, and K. Sereg to offload missiles and supplies.  The convoy escorts had expended most of their ordinance in the running battle with the crippled Alpha drifting nearby.
   The Pan Euro Troopship was docked with the US Vigilance, off loading both the troops of the German 13th Mech Infantry and their supplies. Survey Tender 1 was also docked with the Vigilance unloading missiles rumored to have been purloined from the ground based defenses of the US.  Jude wondered if that was wise, but also wished she had thought to request extra ordinance from ground based stores.  The GTOS in the Survey Tender's bay would be added to the one carried by the Vigilance and used to land troops on the alien vessel.  With luck the Alpha would be uninhabited or undefended, but the sensor readings seemed to indicate something was active inside the hull.
   The Mobile Repair Ships 1 and 2 would not arrive for another two days.  Estimates said it would take at least 6 days to repair the drives of the Elise and Sereg sufficiently for them to make way and return to Earth.  That was 8 days for the aliens to show up.  The 4th LBG with only days of training, the Queen Mary with its outer plating and baffles burned away, and a converted US freighter would have to hold back the worst the aliens could dish up for over a week.
   "God help us, how are we going to make this work?"

June 10th  0800 hours/GTOS-74, 11.72 light minutes from Hygeia Colony

   Feldwebel Tanya Frank wondered how anyone could get used to this constant kaleidoscope of colors.  The drive of the GTOS shut on and off, over and over again.  Briefings had shown that the Alpha was in a slow roll on 2 axis, but fairly stable on the third, so that the landing would be fairly easy.  'If this is easy, find someone else for the hard ones,' Tanya thought as the shuttle pitched over and over.
   "Twenty seconds till drop.  Prep for M-CAST."  Tanya heard the announcement from the shuttle crew.  There would be no touch down on the alien vessel.  They would be launched at the hull from over 100 meters away.  With luck the troops would land together.  Realistically, they assumed that 5 to 10 percent wouldn't make landing or would fail to lock to the hull, and the rest would be scattered across an alien ship nearly half a kilometer long and as thick as a twelve story building was tall.
   "Squad, unlock from stations, lock weapons and thrust packs.  Prepare for drop.  Form up on my mark."  Tanya looked at her squad as they readied themselves.  She never could tell how anyone felt.  They all looked the same.  Maybe a slight female or male build to comfort the brain riding inside, but that was it.  Her squad was the support squad for the platoon, and carried heavier crew served weapons.  Tanya didn't.  One of the privileges of rank.
   The two lower hatches of the bay opened.  Great gaping holes into blackness.  As Tanya moved forward two platoons lined up beside the abyss.  Her platoon on one side and the Headquarters Platoon on the far side of the bay.  Red lights flashed on her display and a flat voice sounded in her head. "Drop." Tanya stepped into darkness and keyed the thruster.
   Tanya felt the thruster slam her down.  No funny colors but the world seemed to rocket by with no station holding you in place.  A great grey black shape leapt into view as her thrusters fired to brake the drop.  Four anchor cables fired as Tanya slammed into the hull.  Three ripped free as she bounced away, and then slammed back down as the fourth held.  Tanya bounced again and again.  'Damn hull isn't magnetic at all,' Tanya thought as retracted the cable and came to a stop.  She looked around and felt horror and relief in the same moment.  Beside her gaped a hole nearly thirty meters across gouged completely through the hull.  A few meters farther and she would have missed the ship.
   Tanya looked at the hull.  The grey black material was blistered and buckled.  Shredded in areas.  "Teach your asses to mess with us." Tanya said to no one in particular.  Tanya pulled out the M27A in her left hand and fired a series of 'bolts' into the hull of the ship.  A few bounced away or tore clear through, but most stuck.  They looked like long nails with a flange to stop them from over penetrating.  They had small loops at the end to hook cables to, and would allow the magnets in cyborgs hands and feet to 'grip' on them.  Tanya put up the 'bolt gun' and pulled out her 18mm PzGw 94.  It was much like her old model 93, but was a gyroc and designed for micro-g combat.  It also cut her ammo load in half as the rounds were much bulkier.  Tanya's shoulder launcher for the three 25mm 'Rollover' missiles had slight modifications for space use, but was nearly the same.  She also carried the LE/SR 9mm rifle for close work.  It was also a gyroc with limited ammo capacity, but when your main weapon only carried 50 rounds it was definitely comforting to have.  It also carried a three round 30mm under barrel grenade launcher.  You had to be secured to fire the grenades as they weren't recoilless, but they packed a punch.
   Tanya checked her HUD to see how the assault was progressing.  She could see a few troops near her, but not many.  She stopped as she tried to take in the numbers.  Less than 40 percent had made landing.  Most were near her location.  It seemed the ship had been able to vent just as the troops had dropped, blasting most away into space.  The two GTOS were busy trying to pick up whoever they could, but it was hopeless.
   Her HUD showed that of the six troops around her, she was senior.  "Ok all of you, form up on my position.  Ten meter spacing.  I want half covering the outer hull and the others this damned hole in the ship."  She heard the troops respond but wasn't paying attention.  She was busy checking the HUD for whoever was the senior member of the company left.  Of the 38 left on the hull, one was the same rank as Tanya.  The rest were junior.  All of the senior NCO's and Officers were gone. She wanted to take a deep breath, but knew she couldn't.  Orders from the Battalion Commander on the US Vigilance scrolled on her HUD.


SECURE AREA OF SECTORS 57A - F , 58F , 59E , 60C - E



   Tanya brought up the display of the Alpha.  The area she needed to secure was the edge of the gaping chasm in the hull.  'Guess this is now the front door.'  It would take half an hour to get everyone in position.  Maybe a little longer if the aliens had any more surprises.  It would take about twenty minutes for the GTOS to load and prep for the next drop after they finished rescue ops.  Suddenly her HUD fuzzed over.  She changed over to direct pick up for the visual but still found the display suffered from some static.
   "What is going on?" Tanya heard from the soldier nearest her.
   "I don't know, but keep your eyes open.  We aren't alone on this hulk."

   0812 hours/Queen Mary, 11.72 light minutes from Hygeia Colony

   "What are you trying to tell me?"  Jude looked at the transmission from the Vigilance.  She wasn't fond of dealing with ground troops, and this wasn't helping.  "I know the magnetic fields just came up on the Alpha.  So does every ship within fifteen light seconds of this point.  What is the problem?"
   "Admiral, I don't know if we can land anymore troops on the ship with those fields up.  It’s hard enough trying to get the landers in synch with the Alpha's rotation as it is.  The magnetic fields will play havoc with our instruments.  Not to mention possibly shoving the lander back out into space.  The fields might even tear apart a ship as small as a lander.  If the fields don't tear the lander apart, they will definitely throw anyone we try to drop onto the hull back into space.  What I'm trying to say Admiral is I don't think we can risk another drop."
   Jude looked at the monitor and thrummed her fingers on the armrest of her station.  The reports made it obvious that most of the first drop hadn't made it onto the hull.  What had landed probably wouldn't be able to seize the ship.  They would need more troops on the 'ground' as it were.
   "You say we can't drop.  The first drop didn't seem to work to well anyway. Take both landers and prep for docking.  We will fire on the Alpha to collapse the magnetic fields and hope we don't blow the thing apart.  We will lose the troops on the hull when we do, but that might be the only way."
   Jude was sure the face on the other end wouldn't be happy right now, but it was just a blank faceplate.  "You have your orders.  The Queen Mary will launch in 15 minutes." Jude cut the link and locked her station.  "Weapons Conn, full safety release.  Prepare to fire on the Alpha. Launch from bays one and two."

   0821 hours/Outer hull of damaged Alpha

   Tanya looked at the transmission on her HUD.  'No way.  They wouldn't.  This can't be right.'







   'Oh ****, that's in six minutes!  What did I ever do to deserve being nuked twice?!'  "People, load up.  We are moving into the hull.  This real estate is about to get hot."  Tanya looked over the edge of the twelve story drop and began firing bolts into anything she could hit.  "Come on people, we need to move."  Tanya looked over to see the 12 troops she had gathered around her begin to pepper the inner decks with bolts, just as she had done.
   "Team A, move forward."  Tanya looked up to see the other adhoc platoons that had formed moving forward.  She looked down to see that Team A was settling into the ruins of the Alpha's outer baffles.  Tanya stepped over the edge and grasped a bolt. "Team B forward.  Team A cover.  Bounding over watch."  Tanya settled in with Team A to watch Team B's progress.  The HUD showed that all of the groups were moving into the hull.  Several of the teams were switching on auxiliary lights.  The hull was very cold even for a hulk in space.  Thermal returns were little more than a blue black mass.  It made it easy to maintain operating temps though, which was a problem in space with no atmosphere to vent excess heat.
   Suddenly the hull erupted in geysers of blue and white gas.  Soldiers were flung out into space.  Others held to bolts for dear life, just as Tanya did.  In moments it was over.  Seven members of her squad had been ripped from the ship.  Tanya could see warning lights on her HUD warning that her suit was dangerously cold.  Some of the servos were reporting failures.
   Then Tanya saw something she would never forget.  Something half crawled, half floated from a gap in the hull.  Something that looked like a horrible mix of a lobsters body, dozens of long insect like legs, tentacle like projections from wherever a leg met the body, and all of it covered with ridges resembling fish scales.  But there was no head.  Nothing that resembled one at least.  And hovering around it were a half dozen 'things' that seemed to follow it without being attached in any way.  One of the 'things' had already turned toward one of her squad and then rocketed at the soldier.  It struck with an explosion that ripped apart the cyborg and the deck he was hanging onto.
   Less than a heartbeat later the last two members of Team B fired on the monster, but both of their weapons simply detonated in their hands.  Parts of the cyborgs were ripped away as weapons left brittle by the near absolute zero gas shattered.  Tanya threw her bolt gun at the creature and saw the weapon slam into the side of it.  The creature drifted a few meters before it stopped and reoriented itself.  Tanya wondered how it was able to do that with no thrusters, no attachments. She pushed herself back into the gap of the outer baffle as a 'thing' pointed toward her.
   The world went white again as two missiles from the Queen Mary detonated less than a kilometer from the hull.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 13, 2010, 04:51:49 AM
June 2204  part 5

June 11th 0235 hours/Scout Craft 103, 10.5 light seconds from the fourth planet

   The pilot of Scout Craft 103 began preparations for the final approach.  The crew of eight were arming the weapons in the bay, and making the last checks on the drive.  The small ship began to accelerate towards the planet ahead.
   Shortly the native race would become aware of their presence, but it would take much longer for the small arrays on the Scout Craft to pick up any enemy vessels.  It would not matter, as they were not here to deal with the enemy ships.  The sensors on the Scout Craft were more than capable of detecting and tracking the planet.  As they began the attack runs, the sensors would be able to detect and lock onto the native race's habitats.
   With luck some on the Scout Craft would return home.  All the crews knew that it was a rare occurrence for that to happen.

   0239 hours/Interceptor MkIIb Andrew Jackson, 0.5 light seconds from Mars

   Captain James Gauld locked his station as the message came in from the Mars Colony.  The ground based sensor array had detected an unknown contact at 8 light seconds from the planet and closing.  No magnetic signature had been detected, but at that range only small vessels would be unidentifiable.  It could be a lost small craft, but it was unlikely.
   New orders flashed onto James' monitor.  They were from Captain Mitchell Vass of the Franklin.  All four of the Interceptors were to lock stations and begin acceleration toward the new contact.  If the contact was a group of alien small craft, it was likely they had other battle line ships in support of them.  James checked the course plot.  It took them around Mars in a slow loop and then out to the new contact.  If Alphas or Deltas were out there, at least the Task Force wouldn't be too far from the Mars Station and its five Military Modules.

   0242 hours/Scout Craft 103, 4.25 light seconds from the fourth planet

   The Pilot of Scout Craft 103 felt the destruction of Scout craft 134.  No enemy vessels had yet been detected, nor any inbound weapon, but they often fired on the scout craft from beyond the range of their sensors using the invisible weapon that so easily penetrated the magnetic protective fields.
   There they are.  As always this race closes to continue firing on small craft.  Four enemy Patrol Vessels moving faster than Scout Craft 103 would ever be able to achieve.  It was still too far from the planet for maximum drive output.  Too many of the Scout Craft would be destroyed by their own drives before they could reach the target.
   The Pilot began evasive maneuvers to reduce the enemy's ability to target the small craft. There was nothing else that could be done but continue on and hope to reach the target.

   0244 hours/Interceptor MkIIb A. Jackson, 2.25 light seconds from Mars

   James knew they would never be able to stop so many small targets before they reached the planet.  It was like trying to swat at a cloud of gnats.  But every gnat that they could kill was thousands of lives that would be spared in the next few minutes.
   The laser capacitors charged and discharged over and over.  The drive stuttered to allow the output coupler to align on a target and the launch bay to deploy another missile.  One alien bomber after another perished in the inferno of light and flame.  Forty eight had originally been detected approaching Mars, and the last two minutes had seen eleven of them destroyed.  Seconds ago the Jackson's array had detected the first launches from the Mars Station.  It was only able to bring three of the Military Modules to bear, but that almost doubled the firepower targeted on the alien craft.
   The sensors had also detected that the small ships were now showing an increased thermal bloom and had begun accelerating again.  It would be less than two minutes before they would reach position to begin an attack on the Mars Colony.  Two minutes to destroy 37 bombers.
   James had only heard stories or seen edited news footage of colonies that had been bombed by the aliens.  He was sure that was about to change.

   0246 hours/Scout Craft 103, 15000 kilometers from Mars

   The Pilot of Scout Craft 103 began the deceleration routine to enter the atmosphere.  The group was coming in too fast, but the orbital defenses and enemy Patrol Vessels were taking a terrible toll on the group. The Pilot fired braking thrusters and locked the sensor returns into the course plot.  The rest of the crew had readied both of the weapons for deployment.
   The pilot could feel nearly a dozen and a half Scout Craft destroyed by the enemy's weapons or torn apart by the thin atmosphere of the planet.  At 2000 kilometers per second even a wisp of gas could rip a craft apart.
   The first weapon deployed as the sensors completed the launch solution.  Moments later the second weapon deployed.  The enemy defenses on the planet were firing now, tearing apart even more craft as the space based defenses continued their onslaught.
   The Pilot checked the sensor update.  Only twelve of the Scout Craft had deployed their first weapon, and only four had survived to deploy their second.
   The Pilot of Scout Craft 103 knew there was no hope of escape.  The rest of the crew could sense what was happening as he changed course, but made no attempt to intervene.  The other surviving Scout Craft had already followed suit.

   0249 hours/Interceptor MkIIb A. Jackson, 0.5 light seconds from Mars

   The sensor returns and visuals piled up on the screen at James' station.  Great clouds of dust and smoke covered chunks of the red planet's surface.  Sixteen bombs had found their targets, vaporizing or shattering habitats.
   Most disturbing had been the last moments of the four bombers that had not been destroyed.  They had all changed course toward the planet.  No attempt to escape.  They had all slammed into the atmosphere above the colony.  None had reached the surface, but several tons of material breaking apart against even the thin atmosphere of Mars had been just as effective as any bomb.  James had read of the suicide ships that had blown themselves apart to protect the alien colony on Triton.  This was different.  Dying to protect your own was one thing.  Suicide to kill an enemy was another.
   The calls for help were beginning to fill the channels.  Cries, screams, and sometimes worse.  James didn't wait for any order.  He keyed in the commands for the ship's boat to be prepped for deployment.  It was to assist in rescuing and relocating survivors in any way possible.
   James keyed the override and shut down the drive bloom, then unlocked his station.  He got up and began to move across the bridge.  There was too much that needed done now.  Watching the horror unfold below would wait.  It would be there for a long time.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 15, 2010, 04:09:59 AM
June 2204  part 6

June 12th  0315 hours/Attack Escort Keely Sereg, 11.71 light minutes from Hygeia Colony

   Commander Brittany Bortz moved through the Engineering section to check on the progress.  The two Mobile Repair Ships had arrived and begun work on the two stalled out Attack Escorts.  It looked like they might finally be able to get the Sereg and Elise back in the fight.
   Brittany pulled up the status of particle accelerator banks one through four.  She was almost glad no one could see a frown on her face.  The work was going at a snail’s pace.  The Mobile Repair Ships weren't one of the orbital shipyards.  The facilities and equipment they carried was limited by the small amount of space that could be managed in a mobile hull under acceleration.  The Repair ships would never be able to match the acceleration of an Attack Escort, but over 4000 kilometers a second was a lot to ask of construction and fabrication equipment.  Let alone the hull that had to hold them securely.
   For the moment they were going to be docked together, for a long time.  Until the Sereg could get under way, she was going to have to protect the Repair Ship.  Unfortunately, the rest of the group had used the Sereg and Elise as floating missile stores.  The Sereg was down to only seven missiles in the launch bay.  That would last about three minutes in a real fight.  It was enough to destroy an Alpha, but nothing more.
   Brittany headed back for the bridge.  The aliens had attacked Mars only hours ago.  They had used another mass of small bombers, but not a single warship.  It wasn't hard to figure out what they were saving their heavy hitters for.
   'It won't be long until it is our turn,' she thought.  'And we're a sitting duck.'

   0850 hours/Launch Bay of Patrol Vessel 12

   The Second Engineer of Patrol Vessel 12 checked the status of the life support systems.  The drive detonations near the hull had collapsed the magnetic fields again and killed three of the crew.  Life support had nearly failed, but was still holding.  The protective field could be erected again, but it was too late now.  The enemy had managed several landings in the time the fields were down.  The Patrol Vessel was crawling with the enemy.  There was no real hope of killing them all, only of slowing them as they secured the ship.
   The traps and weapons the crew used had claimed many of the creatures native to this system, if that is what you could call them.  The enemy seemed to be nothing more than machines.  Robots of some kind designed to resemble some strange form of life.  And like a machine they killed without remorse.  They massed more than four times what any crew member did and were incredibly strong, but they were too large to move down the corridors and access ways easily.  Many were destroyed for every compartment they seized.
   In the end it would not matter.  There were only 13 of the crew left, and not enough weapons left to arm even that many.  The crew would not be able to hold out longer than one more rotation of New Home 3 around its planet.  They would all be dead long before the life support ran out.
   The Second Engineer manipulated the field around him and moved down the corridor from the launch bay.  Three more of the crew followed him.  It was time to destroy more of the machines.

   0912 hours/Interior of damaged Alpha, 11.71 light minutes from Hygeia Colony

   Feldwebel Tanya Frank crawled through the small passage.  The aliens were much small than humans, with corridors barely three feet in diameter.  The aliens tended to favor hexagonal construction, which made the corridors feel more like a tube than a hall.  It was much like fighting in an enormous maze of tunnels than the inside of a ship.
   The rest of the squad was spread out through the 'tunnel' as they moved through the ship. Compartments were widely dispersed with a great deal of the hull devoted to simply supporting the rest of the ship against the drive's acceleration.  Tanya was fairly sure that the Pan Euro's ships probably incorporated a lot of supports also, but it seemed like such a waste of space.  This must be the cost of riding a nuclear explosion to get from place to place.
   "Keep your spacing and your eyes open people. The techs say that the launch bay should be no more than 70 meters ahead.  They aren't likely to give up the one area the techs think is fairly intact without a fight."  Tanya knew that the rest of the squad knew all this, but it helped to calm her nerves to talk.  The aliens had an unnerving way of attacking without ever being there.  The aliens seemed to be able to manipulate objects at a distance from their bodies.  Even a cyborg wasn't immune to this manipulation if they got too close.  It seemed limited to a few meters, but allowed them to activate weapons and booby traps without even having to be in the area it was located.
   Tanya's HUD caught movement.  A small cylinder had come through a small hole in the tunnel thirty meters ahead.  Tanya had seen enough of them to know what was about to happen.  A blinding flash threw Tanya against the wall as the cylinder rocketed into the lead squad member and detonated.  Tanya held onto the 'bolt' in her hand as the explosion subsided.  She quickly stuck her foot on a bolt and aimed her PzGw 94 at the walls of the tunnel.  She fired over and over through the walls.  One of the aliens was somewhere nearby.  It would be luck if the squad managed to kill it, but they had to try.  It was the only thing they could do.  The second trooper in line had fired a 'Rollover' missile off his shoulder at the tunnel where the weapon had appeared.  Then the second and third.  More explosions rocked the tunnel and Tanya was almost shaken loose from her position.
   Thirty seconds later and the tunnel was quiet.  No more attacks from the aliens, no gas trying to vent them from the ship.  "Ok, let’s move up.  You don't want to be the last ones that make it to the party."
   Red letters flashed across Tanya's HUD.  





   "Ma'am, what are we supposed to do now?"  Tanya looked at the troop who had opened up the comm link.
   "Hope the space jockeys hold 'em.  I don't think the aliens plan of leaving this crate for us to take home."  Tanya braced herself on a pair of bolts.  'Surviving two nukes is a bit much to ask of a grunt's luck.  I doubt I'm going to get lucky a third time.'

   0918 hours/Queen Mary, 11.71 light minutes from Hygeia Colony

   "Magnetic signature contact bearing two three eight degrees ascension plus six.  Range approximately fifteen light seconds.  Course zero seven five at zero ascension.  Approximate speed seven zero zero zero kilometers per second. Accelerating."  The Sensor Officer was already locking his station.
   Admiral Jude Kushnir locked her station and keyed the 'All Ships' link.  "All ships lock stations, battle stations, Battle Group Four attack formation.  Survey Tender One, withdraw from area course zero six zero ascension minus three.  Mobile Repair One and Two blow docking link and follow Tender One.  Vigilance ninety degrees my port and hold station.  Helm, give me a direct intercept for the contact and get us moving."
   Jude pulled up the sensor return on her monitor, and then the course plot as the helm updated it.  The world turned grey as the drive engaged and the Queen Mary began to move.  It would take three minutes for the Queen Mary to close the range enough to resolve the contact.  Until then, they would just have to hope it wasn't anything bigger than a couple of Alphas.  Anything more than that and they wouldn't be able to stop them from reaching the crippled Alpha or the two stalled out Attack Escorts.
   "Helm, upload the protocols from Rear Admiral Muldoon.  Transmit to all ships.  Prepare to execute on my command."  Jude sat as the range closed.  'I hope this works as well out here as it did for you in training Brenna.'
   Time seemed to crawl by.  Jude knew her fingers were rattling away at the armrest, but couldn't stop them.  Too much was riding on this.  It had to work.
   "Contacts resolved, Alpha times four, unknown contact times three.  Logging new contact, designating as Echo One, Two, and Three.  Range eight light seconds and closing.  Closing at one four zero six zero kilometers per second.  Weapons range in four zero seconds."  The Sensor Officer continued with a stream of information but Jude was concentrating on the Weapons Conn as the plot for firing solutions began to stream across her monitor.  Jude rechecked the sensor data on the new contact.  They appeared to be of nearly the same mass as an Attack Escort.  That would make them smaller than the Alphas.  'I hope they crack easier than the Alphas,' Jude thought as she keyed in for a firing solution on Echo Two.
   Jude quickly keyed in a new course that would bring them between the Sereg and the alien ships.  The Sereg was off by itself.  If the aliens followed the Queen Mary they would increase the range between them and the crippled Alpha.  If they didn't they would give Jude a chance to get in behind them and catch them between the missiles of the Elise and the mobile groups.
   "New contacts, inbounds time seven.  Target is the Queen Mary."  Those words from the Sensor Officer caught Jude's attention.  Jude keyed the comm link again.  "Helm, execute maneuver protocols."  Jude knew this was going to be a two edged sword even if it worked.  The maneuver protocol Brenna had worked out would trade speed for angular acceleration, much like the old aircraft of centuries past would dodge and weave but also bleed off speed.  The ship would trade speed for angular acceleration, using deflection of the drive bloom and even skewing the hull against the solar wind to create erratic and rapid aspect changes.  But even with the drive running wide open the ship would still slow from lost thrust and drag.  But at long range it might just be enough to defeat the alien's ability to make intercept.  Hopefully it would take them time to learn to copy it.
   The Queen Mary stuttered its drive momentarily as the launch bays deployed.  She was the first to break range and her missiles would lead the volley in.  The world slammed back to grey and blue as the drive re-engaged.  The inbounds continued to close as the launch bay began to prep the next four missiles.  The sensors clouded as one detonation after another filled space with waves of plasma.  Moments later the sensors cleared.  Only one of the alien weapons had made intercept.  The magnetic field generators had been reduced to half of their normal output, but were still online.  Jude then watched as the missiles homed in on Echo Two.  The return lost resolution as the Queen Mary's missiles detonated along Echo Two's path.  And then the sensors were able to resolve the ship, but now it was three separate pieces tumbling through space.
   "Yes. Weapon Conn all ships, target priority Echo contacts until destroyed."  Jude watched as the remaining missiles from the other ships tried to reorient on the remaining Echoes.  The five drive detonations from the other ships' missile didn't even manage to drop the protective field on a single contact.  'I know you haven't done this much, but we have to do better.' Jude thought to herself.
   "Contacts changing aspect, coming about onto course zero zero two ascension minus two.  No change in velocity. Inbounds times six detected, target Queen Mary."  The Sensor Conn was staying on top of the alien movements, in spite of the rapid aspect changes the Queen Mary was making were now playing havoc with the Phoenix Array's readings.  Jude keyed the comm link again.  "All ships target Echo Three."  We just need to tear them apart one at a time.  The first volley turned them.  Now we need to shake their confidence even more.  The drive stuttered again as the Queen Mary deployed four more missiles.

   0922 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 8 light seconds from Patrol Vessel 12

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 altered the field at his station bringing the group about on a new course.  The unusual movements of the enemy vessels were making targeting a nightmare.  Two volleys had failed to drop the protective field on the enemy Combat Vessel.  In the mean time Attack Vessels One and Three had been destroyed.  Attack Vessel Two was at half power on its protective fields.  It would take little more to destroy it.  The Patrol Group had lost almost 30 percent of its firepower for no discernable gain.  This battle wasn't over, but how many more ships could they lose.
   The Patrol Group came on line at just over five light seconds from the enemy line.  The Combat Vessel had dropped back, indicating that its protective fields were weakening.  To pursue it would be foolish though.  It would bring them into easy range of the smaller enemy ships while leaving the Combat Vessel still on the edge of range.
   The strange enemy maneuvers had cost them speed though, and that would give the Patrol Ships an edge.  The torpedoes of the Patrol Vessels seemed to have a slight edge in range on the native race's weapons.  As the third volley of torpedoes left the Patrol Group, no return launches were detected.  'Now we need to keep this range,' thought the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17.
   The Commander felt disappointment wash through the crew as the third salvo failed to drop the protective fields on any of the enemy ships.  The maneuvers of the native race were working, but it would only be a matter of time until they were reduced to nearly stationary targets.
   A sudden course change and reverse carried the enemy ships away from the Patrol Group as the Commander tried to maintain the tenuous range where the native race was unable to engage.  The enemy Combat Vessel had rejoined the smaller enemy ships and was again accelerating.  The erratic maneuvers had ceased as the native vessels attempted to regain speed.  The Commander altered course to bring the slower ships into range and sensed the launch of all five torpedoes.  It was obvious that at least one made intercept with the enemy Combat Vessel, but the protective field did not collapse.
   With disgust, the Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 turned the Patrol Group away to disengage.  It would be impossible for the slower enemy ships to regain weapons range.  The Patrol Group had lost two of its Attack Escorts, in addition to the two lost Patrol Vessels that had started the whole situation.  The Commander began to compose and transmit the message to the Elders that the mission had failed, and that additional support would be needed to resolve the situation.

   0927 hours/Queen Mary, 2 light seconds from crippled Alpha

   Jude tried to relax as the remaining alien ships disengaged.  None of the Pan Euro or US ships had been damaged; although the Queen Mary's shields were close to collapse.  It would take hours to bring them all back online.  What had convinced the aliens to disengage baffled Jude.  The Pan Euro ships hadn't been able to manage a launch on the alien ships for the last four and a half minutes.  The aliens might have been able to keep up the battle of maneuver versus speed for hours, targeting one launch after another that the Pan Euro ships would never be able to reply to.  Perhaps the aliens were low on missiles.  Perhaps they had been called away.  If the Chinese ships had been detected on the way to Neptune, that would be possible.
   Regardless, for the moment, the group was safe.  They had destroyed two alien ships without any losses.  It couldn't get any better.
   "Comm, transmit to Earth, attention Heavy Escort Tatianna and Rear Admiral Muldoon.  Tell her the maneuvers worked, and that I owe her a night on the town.  As you were.  Address that message to Vice Admiral Muldoon."  Jude unlocked her station and stood on the deck.  She had spent enough time locked in that bench.  She wanted to see her cabin again.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 16, 2010, 02:40:41 AM
June 2204 part 7

June 12th  2210 hours/Elders Chambers, New Home 1 (Eris)

   The Elders were not in agreement, but a decision had to be made.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had sent the message that Patrol Vessel 12 was still in the enemy's possession, and that it would require more assets than were available to resolve the situation satisfactorily.  Two Attack Vessels had been lost attempting to recover or destroy Patrol Vessel 12.  Those losses reduced the Patrol Group's strength to only five vessels.
   The nearest ships to Patrol Vessel 12 were two Combat Vessels, and it was believed that they would be adequate to resolve the situation.  Most of the Elders agreed, but others believed the time it would take for them to reach the location of Patrol Vessel 12 was too great.  The native race would have already seized and moved the vessel before the Combat Vessels could arrive.  Others felt that the two Combat Vessels were much more valuable for the defense of the colony they were stationed at.   The Combat Vessels were currently stationed at New Home 3, and this was the colony that the native race had already attacked.  New Home 3 would be the most likely target should the native race attack again.  The fleets stationed at the other New Homes were too far to reach Patrol Vessel 12 in a timely manner.
   The Supreme Elder had not exercised his authority in Council since they had arrived in the New System.  The Council had debated and reached consensus in all other matters, and the Supreme Elder had not been required.  This matter was not being resolved, and the issue was not one that could wait indefinitely.
   The Supreme Elder altered his field to indicate that he was going to address the Council.  The assembled Elders representing the New Homes of this system quieted.  The Supreme Elder wasted no time with formalities, or with pleasantries to soothe to others gathered in the Chamber.
   "No further Vessels shall be sent to the inner parts of this system to resolve the issue of Patrol Vessel 12.  Patrol Vessel 12 will be declared lost to the native race.  Efforts will be directed towards combating the native race and strengthening the defenses of the colonies."
   The assembled Elders' fields betrayed either gratitude or reluctance with the Supreme Elder's decree, but none dared question it.  The Council moved on to other matters as the Supreme Elder returned to quietly monitoring the progress of the Council.

June 14th  1025 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, 38 light minutes from Neptune

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan looked at the sensor returns.  Two alien vessels had been detected over five minutes ago.  Both were of a design first recorded at Neptune.  The vessels there had been suicide ships that simply detonated themselves as they approached human vessels.  It was believed they were most likely an unarmed commerce ship of some sort, but that had never been proven.  The last five minutes had convinced Jack that for once the Intel jokers had gotten something right.
   The two alien ships, code named Romeos, had not reacted to the presence of the Yari or the three Pan Euro ships.  For five minutes they had trailed the vessels at 8 light seconds.  The Romeos' current course was almost a direct line for Neptune.  It would take them over three days at their current speed to reach the planet.
   "Helm, maintain course and speed with Romeo One and Two.  Alert me to any course or aspect change in the contacts.  Comm, transmit to Captain Robert McNeely that we will follow the contacts to ascertain their destination.  Order the two Attack Escorts to fall back to a position fifteen light seconds behind the Yari and Red October and maintain that interval."  Jack listened as the crew acknowledged the orders, but was lost in his own thoughts.
   'We've made it past the first hurdle.  Now we just have to hope the rest of the plan works.'

June 15th  0800 hours/Interceptor MkIIb A. Jackson, 0.5 light seconds from Mars

   Captain James Gauld settled back into his station.  He had never thought that he would feel such relief on a warship.  Compared to assisting with rescue efforts on the ground, the spartan interior and hard vacuum of the Jackson seemed comforting and restful.
   After James first trip ground side to assist in rescue efforts, he had decided that all of the crew, regardless of rank, would be assigned a rotation to the surface.  The crew needed to see the cost of failing to stop the aliens.  They needed to know this wasn't just readouts and news broadcasts.  This was real people.  Men, women, even children who were dead or dying.  They needed to see the dead, the crippled, the orphans and widows.  The crew needed to understand that the training wasn't just an interruption of their day, or just something to get through so they could get back to their work.
   Cyborgs didn't actually tire from work, other than mentally.  They also didn't have to worry about people guessing how they felt from the look on their faces.  You didn't have to worry about looking scared, or crying.  But you could see the change in the crew as they came back from the rescue ops.  The way they sat quietly at their stations, or found a quiet corner to just sit and do nothing in.  What they were seeing and doing on the surface was changing the man or woman inside the shell.
   That new person wouldn't see training, or fighting, the same way again.  It wasn't about getting through all of this alive.  It was about ANYONE getting through this alive.

June 17th  1445 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, 20 light seconds from Neptune

   Captain Robert McNeely sat locked at his station.  The Red October and the US Yari were playing a dangerous game.  No one knew just what ships would be defending the alien colony at Triton.  No one knew where they were stationed in respect to that colony, or what their patrol patterns would look like.  Or how they would react to what was about to happen.




   Robert looked at the order on his monitor.  He knew it was coming, now would be the moment of truth.  He keyed in the command prompt for combat acceleration and to prepare for launch.
   Minutes crawled by as the Red October and Yari came up to speed.  The distance to the Romeos began to close.  As the ships reached 4.5 light seconds from the Romeos, the alien ships began to increase their thermal signature and accelerate.  It was too late for them at that point; the Red October had reached combat speed and entered into range.  The drive stuttered as the first two missiles deployed. Four seconds later the sensors recorded the Yari launching another pair of missile targeted at Romeo One.  Time crawled as the missiles crossed the intervening space, and then destroyed their targets.  Both Romeos disappeared in the missiles' drive detonations.
   Five magnetic signatures sprang to life near Triton.  They were only 7.5 light seconds away.  Robert keyed in the commands to bring the Red October about and decelerate slightly.  'We've let them know we're here.  Now we'll see just what they are going to do about it.'
   Minutes filed by as the Red October maintained its distance from the magnetic contacts.  None of the alien magnetic signatures had begun to move from their location.  'It would seem they have either increased the orbital defenses, or any ships they have are unwilling to leave the vicinity of the planet.'  "Comm, send the current sensor readings to Earth Station.  Helm, prepare to receive course plot from the Yari.  Upon receipt, implement course."
   Robert watched the monitor.  The aliens were either getting more cautious, or were running short of mobile units.  It would only be a few more minutes until loiter time was up and Rear Admiral Ryan would send the new course.  If the aliens weren't going to come out to play, it was time to find some new playmates.
   "Captain McNeely, course received from the US Interceptor Yari.  Loading course and preparing to engage drive."  The Helmsman had already uploaded the course to Robert's monitor.  The course would take them in long slow circles around Neptune looking for more shipping to intercept.  If they didn't find anything, it would give them a front row seat for when the Chinese Fleet arrived.
   'If we are still here, we may have to offer to lend the Chinese a hand.  I know that the crews of the Mary QoS. and Rachel Pierce would like a chance to repay the aliens for the last time they came out here. For that matter, there aren't many ships left in the Pan Euro fleet that don't have a score to settle with the aliens.  Including this one.'  Robert looked at the projected course plot for the Chinese.  'Seven more days until the Chinese arrive.  For once, I think I'm looking forward to seeing a Chinese ship.'

June 18th  2350 hours/Queen Mary,  11.70 light minutes from Hygiea Colony

   Admiral Jude Kushnir felt relieved as the display showed that the Attack Escort Elise had successfully fired its drive system.  The Sereg had gotten her drive online nearly six hours ago.  Now both of the Attack Escorts were operational, if not perhaps 100 percent reliable yet.  It would take time, and a more thorough overhaul, to ensure the ships were completely combat ready.
   The troops on board the crippled Alpha had secured most of the ship, with only what was believed to be the weapon launch bay still in alien 'hands'.  Several bodies of the aliens had been recovered for study, although the alien body's composition made study very difficult.  They seemed to live in a temperature range only a few dozen degrees Kelvin.  Simply storing the damned things without evaporating them from ambient heat was a problem.
   The troops were gathering a great deal of information on the ship also.  Much of it was designed for much colder temperatures, but a great deal of it was capable of surviving much more heat.  It was hoped that the ship would be completely secured in the next few days.  Then it would be up to the crews of the two Mobile Repair Ships to simply disassemble the whole thing for shipment.  Then it could be reconstructed at Earth and studied.
   If the aliens would just leave them alone for the next few days....
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 22, 2010, 03:04:17 AM
June 2204 June part 8

June 20th  0525 hour/Launch bay of Patrol Vessel 12

   The Second Engineer of Patrol Vessel 12 waited.  These would be the last moments of his life.  There were only two other members of the crew left.  They were each waiting by the two access hatches that the machines were within meters of.  Both hatches had secondary bulkheads a few meters from the main access to the bay.  Both of the crew members were prepared to activate the 'bombs' affixed to the bulkheads as soon as the machines broke though.  The machines no longer blew up the hatches, having found that most would hold pressurized gas that would vent over them.  The machines seemed to be designed for much hotter environments, and reacted poorly to a gas at an appropriate temperature.  It often left them damaged or destroyed.  Regardless, they now drilled through hatches and controlled the venting of the compartment before they entered.  In this case they would be blown apart as soon as they started drilling.
   After the bombs had been detonated, the Second Engineer would activate the over ride to all the hatches his station could control and would vent the ship one last time.  It would vent the crew and many of the machines into space.  The Second Engineer knew he could do this at any time, and did not have to wait for the bombs.  The machines killed by bombs could be killed by venting, but the Second Engineer could not waste the crew's efforts to build the defenses that now stood.  He would wait for the machines to try and breach the bay before he vented the ship.

   0715 hours/Interior of damaged Alpha, 11.70 light minutes from Hygiea Colony

   Feldwebel Tanya Frank felt the ship heave.  The hum of the hull vibrated right through the bolt she was holding.  Messages flashed across her HUD, and she tried to read them before they were overwritten.  It seemed that one of the platoons had managed to reach the launch bay and was beginning breaching procedures when all contact with them was lost.  That wasn't unusual.  The fact that ships nearby were reporting huge portions of the Alpha had just vented, including the launch bay, was unusual.
   Tanya had been slightly miffed when her squad had been assigned to cutting through various bulkheads, tunnels, and panels in an attempt to reach the bay from a much more heavily damaged section of the ship.  The brass wanted a third route into the bay in case the first two access points proved too heavily defended.  Tanya was sure the aliens didn't have that many defenders left, or they would be using them to fight.  Tanya had seen this assignment as a waste of time, and hated the grunt work it entailed.
   Now it looked like the only soldiers left alive on the ship were all located in the more heavily damaged sections, which the aliens had been unable to vent.
   As it stood, at least as far as Tanya could tell, her squad was the only one left in position to assault the launch bay.  It would take them over 6 hours to reach it at their current pace.
   'I sure as hell hope we have better luck than the rest of the... well everybody...'

   1510 hours/Queen Mary, 11.70 light minutes from Hygiea Colony

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the reports coming in from the cyborg troops.  It appeared the Alpha was now secured.  No further aliens were found in the launch bay when the troops finally got to it.  The danger would be if some had escaped to other parts of the ship and could still operate systems from those locations.  To order the Mobile Shipyards forward to begin disassembly of the alien ship would be costly if the aliens could damage the Shipyard and its crew.
   "Order the troops to begin a thorough search of all available spaces, Mobile Shipyard One is to dock with the Alpha and begin disassembly procedures."
   It was dangerous to risk the construction ships.  It was also dangerous waiting for the aliens to return.  The first problem could damage one ship.  The second problem could destroy all of the ships.  Jude didn't want to sit here any longer than necessary.

June 23rd  1650 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, 12 light minutes from Neptune

   "Admiral Hu, we have transmissions that we believe are from a US vessel in our vicinity. All ships lock stations."
   Admiral Hu watched the Captain.  He seemed unfazed to receive a transmission from a human ship so far out in the system.  'Good.  He will need that calm when we finally get to Neptune.'
   "Communications, copy of translation to my station."  Admiral Hu watched as the translation scrolled onto his monitor.





   Admiral Hu thought for a moment.  The US Admiral seemed to know the Chinese group was coming, and about where to find them.  It would also appear that he had been out here for some time.  The US officer would likely have information of alien activity near, if not necessarily at, Triton.  Three extra combat vessels with long range capability, even if they were small, would be of some value.
   "Helm, find a point on our course 6 light minutes from Neptune and relay that to communications.  Communications, transmit to US ship contact point provided by helm.  Indicate to approach with magnetic field down.  Employment of magnetic field will be considered hostile act."  Admiral Hu watched as his orders were carried out.
   'That will give us almost twelve hours to find out what this American knows, and if his ships will be of any use.  Perhaps I shall have to learn English so that I can speak with these American and Euro Captains.'
   Admiral Hu thought for a moment. 'No, more likely they will need to learn Chinese.'

   2200 hours/Queen Mary, 11.70 light minutes from Hygiea Colony

   "WHAT.  This can't be right.  You will NEED to work FASTER."  Admiral Jude Kushnir wished she could actually yell and get red in the face.  Simply raising the volume on the voice output seemed inadequate.  The cyborg faceplate on the monitor seemed unfazed by Jude's 'yelling'.
   "Admiral, that is the best estimate I can give you.  If we were back at Earth, it would still take over a month."  Captain Hall of the Mobile Shipyard seemed very mechanical and matter of fact.
   "I want to see the projected timeline and progress report immediately.  Dismissed." Jude turned off the connection with disgust.  Three months??!  There is no way I can park half of the Pan Euro's combat forces here for the next three months!  Captain Hall had said that to remove only what they felt were functioning parts of the alien technology would take over a month.  And that was only a small fraction of the ship.  The Alpha likely held a treasure of information in the damaged hull, if they had the time to get it all out.
   Jude settled into the chair in her cabin.  This 'bit of good luck' was turning into a nightmare.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 25, 2010, 10:35:45 PM
June 2204/ part 9

June 24th  2020 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, 25 light seconds from Neptune

   Captain Robert McNeely gave the order for the Pan Euro ships to raise their 'shields'.  The Chinese Admiral Hu had given the order to raise the protective fields.  This didn't feel right.  It was definitely not a Pan Euro operation. There was no attempt at subtlety.  No clever use of stratagem.  Robert had transmitted the new maneuver protocol to the Chinese, and they had flatly refused it for this operation.  Raising the shields at this range from the planet would give the aliens ample time to have ALL of their defenses online.  The aliens would be ready and waiting with everything they had.
   Robert had decided that the Chinese had only two goals.  First was to show the aliens that nothing they could do would be able to stop the Chinese war machine.  The second was retribution.  The Chinese Admiral intended to simply move forward and destroy anything that opposed him.  And when the opposition had been crushed, the genocide would begin.

   2028 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, 18 light seconds from Triton

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan keyed in the orders for the Yari to begin accelerating.  The Chinese group had begun the move to reach combat speeds.  The Yari would easily be able to match the much larger Chinese ships.  No contacts had yet appeared on the sensor returns, but Jack knew they were out there.  In the next few minutes the aliens would come to battle stations and the dying would begin.  Space would be lit by explosions and burning wreckage.  With luck the Yari wouldn't be one of those burning wrecks.
   Jack knew that Meagan would be back on the US Space Station by now.  She would have heard the briefings for Admiral Walters.  She would know where he was, and what was about to happen.  Jack keyed the over ride of the comm system and sent the short message he had written for Meagan over the last few hours.  That he missed her, was proud of her, and that everything would be alright.  He knew that at least two of the three weren't lies.

   2031 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, 14 light seconds from Triton

   Admiral Hu watched the sensor returns on the monitor.  Magnetic signatures were appearing around Triton.  It was impossible to distinguish one from another at this range, only that they were there.  In two minutes they would be close enough to begin identifying what defenses awaited them.
   Hu checked fleet status next.  The Missile Frigates Anhui, Hubei, Hennan, and Shangxi were in good formation around the Shek.  They had all seen combat before.  The crews were ready for what was about to happen.  These five ships had fought the aliens to a standstill near Mars before.
   The Attack Frigate Yunnan would lead in the Close Assault Escorts Matsu, Taiwan, Penghu, and Kinmen.  The Yunnan was a good ship, with a strong captain.  He would not falter.  The smaller ships in formation with him had only been in service months, and much would be asked of them.  They would be tasked with closing upon Triton, then intercepting and destroying enemy forces as they came out from Triton.  Reducing the defenses at close range when they reached the moon, and most likely dying as they did this.  Hu was not sure that the ships' crews would be capable of this level of service, but if they drew fire from the Cruiser and four Frigates, that would be enough.
   The plan was for the Assault Group to close on Triton, while the ships capable of long range engagements orbited the moon at 4.5 light seconds.  The Assault Group would close and draw fire, while the heavier ships began the bombardment.  The US and Euro ships would also orbit at 4.5 light seconds, although the entire foreign group would only be able to launch as many missiles as the Shek could alone.  Their contribution would still account for 25 percent of the long range launch bays available, and that was worth the presence of the little ships.
   Any ship losing its magnetic protective field would fall back from the engagement.  If the initial attack failed to reduce all of the defenses, surviving ships would regroup, restore the protective fields, and then make a second assault.  If this also failed, then the possibility of retreat might be considered.

   2033 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, 8 light seconds from Triton

   "Five magnetic contacts, bearing three five seven, ascension minus one.  Delta Class times two identified, designating One and Two, accelerating.  Third drive bloom detected.  Sierra Class, also accelerating, designating Three.  Three stationary platforms with magnetic signature, designating Four, Five, and Six.  Two additional stationary platforms, designating Seven and Eight."
   The Sensor Officer continued reading off information but Robert was busy pulling up data on the Sierra Class.  The only known contact had been at Triton, and it appeared to be an unarmed vessel that had detonated close to the US Task Force during the previous expedition to this moon.  The Chinese Admiral had declared that mobile alien assets would be the priority targets, to be followed by orbital defense platforms, but Robert intended to ignore the Sierra if anything was still shooting at them.
   Robert checked the course plot and saw that it was just over two minutes until they reached the 4.5 light second barrier to the moon.  At that point the Red October would execute a hard turn.  As the main drive shut down to allow the ship to maneuver, the two launch bays would deploy the first salvo.  The Rachel Peirce and Mary Queen of Scots would hold close formation and launch then also.  The US Interceptor was 2000 kilometers directly below the Red October to avoid the wash from the drive blooms as the three Pan Euro ships turned.  The US ship would also make the turn and launch, but on Admiral Ryan's command, not his.
   The Chinese ships were 0.75 light seconds away, at an equal distance from Triton as the Red October.  Part of the Chinese group would turn and launch at 4.5 light seconds, while a second group would close with the alien defenses at Triton.
   Robert's attention was suddenly pulled back to the Sensor Officer's report. "New contacts.  Eleven, no thirteen inbound. Eight launches from surface of Triton. Targeting plot in progress.  Target appears to be the Chinese vessel Shek."  Robert stopped and checked the sensor readings.  From the surface of Triton?  There had been no surface launches during the last engagement!
   Targeting solutions began to appear on Robert's monitor.  The two Deltas had entered range.  The sensors showed that the Shek and two other Chinese ships had already launched on the Deltas.  Roberts selected for Delta One and keyed in for launch.  The ship lurched only slightly as the drive cut out and the missiles deployed.

   2036 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, 5.75 light seconds from Triton

   Admiral Hu coldly reviewed the sensor returns.  The two alien combat ships had been torn apart by the swarm of missiles that had converged upon them.  The Shek had also suffered in this first exchange, but not nearly as much.  The protective field was down and the plating had been damaged in several areas, but had held.  The inner hull was still intact.  Regardless, another salvo like the first from the aliens would likely destroy the ship.  Admiral Hu keyed in the orders for the Shek to come about and disengage from the battle.
   The Shek's drive shut off and on as the maneuver thrusters brought the ship's course about hard to starboard.  "Communications, direct the Missile Frigates and US Officer to shift fire to the orbital defenses."  There was little data on the remaining alien ship, but it lacked any protective fields.  The short ranged missiles of the Yunnan and Assault Escorts would tear the last alien ship apart.

   2036 hours/Attack Frigate Yunnan, 3.5 light seconds from Triton

   Captain Ng saw the readings on the protective field drop suddenly.  Half of the generators were off line.  The sensors had caught the slight magnetic pulse of the largest base as it had fired the mass driver the aliens used.  The projectile was too fast for the sensors to see, but the Chinese had learned to detect the pulse as the weapon fired.  It made little difference.
   "Launch all bays now."  Ng knew that more of the projectiles could appear at any time, and that several of the eleven inbound alien missiles were bearing down on the Yunnan.  The drive stuttered for a moment as the two short range missile bays and the single long range bay deployed their weapons.  Moments later the last alien ship, a mere half light second away, disappeared as the short range missiles detonated.  Debris of the alien ship cluttered the sensor returns as the Yunnan passed by the wreckage.
   Four seconds later the Yunnan disappeared as four more alien warhead detonated along the ship's path.

   2037 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, 4.5 light seconds from Triton

   Jack watched as the small Chinese ships pushed on toward Triton as fire erupted around them.  Two of the three orbital bases were now burning and tumbling.  The last was still firing, but missiles continued to pour in from the Chinese and Pan Euro ships.  It would only be seconds before it was also destroyed.  There were two other structures orbiting Triton, but neither had protective fields or had launched any weapons.
   "I want targeting solutions on the ground launchers NOW!" The ground installations were now the main threat.  The four launch sites were each firing a pair of the alien weapons every thirty seconds or so.  They would tear apart the small ships rushing toward the moon if they weren't silenced.
   "Chinese Escort Two had been destroyed.  Escort One has lost protective field and is venting.  Orbital Platform Six has broken apart, falling from orbit.  Inbound times eight from surface.  Targeting Chinese Escorts. “The Sensor Officer was having a hard time keeping up with the volume of data piling up.  "Weapons away."  Jack felt the ship shudder as the twin bays deployed.  He checked the magazine status to see that eighteen missiles remained.  In less than five minutes the Yari would empty her launch bays.
   Jack checked the sensor updates to see that several of the Chinese missiles were now targeting the surface sites.  They appeared to be focusing on the target that Jack had designated for the Yari.  'They may not be ours, but those crews are good.'
   "Chinese Escorts firing on surface sites.  Detonations on surface, unable to resolve target data.  New launches from surface.  All sites still active."  Jack listened as the Lieutenant Commander Bill Dunn continued to rattle off data.  He seemed to only be limited by the speed of the voice synthesizer as he continually spouted information.  Jack flipped up a visual feed to be greeted with the site of the dark moon flashing as Chinese missiles slammed into the surface.
   "New targeting from surface inbounds.  Inbound times four targeted on Red October."  Bill's voice pulled Jack's attention back from the visual to the sensor feed.  He felt the ship lurch again as the bays deployed another pair of missiles and then the drive slammed the world back into the grey blue haze of combat acceleration.  Jack watched as the Red October broke from formation and began the evasive maneuver protocol, but the alien missiles seemed unaffected.
   "Red October shields down, venting, thermal signature at half prior emission level, decelerating.  Chinese Escort One destroyed, Escort Three shields down.  All surface sites still active, eight launches detected."

   2039 hours/Red October, 5.5 light seconds from Triton

   Robert tried to dig the fingers of his left hand into the arm rest of his station.  The left arm brackets had broken free and each aspect change of the ship slammed his arm back and forth across his station.  Cyborgs were strong, but hundreds of G's were more than they would ever be able to withstand.  It would only take a little more before the flailing limb either destroyed his body or his station. And then it suddenly slammed back across the side of the station and stayed.
   The world was still grey blue so the drive was still up.  Robert plugged his right finger into the access port for the uplink to his HUD.  Data began to light up the inside of his face plate.  "smeg."
   "Yes sir. smeg it is."  The voice of midshipman Gretta Deeter made Robert suddenly realized he had spoken out loud.  Looking past the lights seemingly floating in front of him, he could see that the helmsman was still at her station.  Looking farther he could see that she seemed to be the only one.  The rest of the bridge crew looked to be dead, or to have been vented.  "Get us the hell out of here Gretta."  Robert seldom used first names, but this wasn't the time for formality.
   "Already on it sir.  The last of the particle accelerators are red lined.  We still have a few folks talking in Engineering on the comm link, but that seems to be it."  Gretta sounded calm, but so would any cyborg.
   "Gretta, I can't get any sensor data at my station.  Can you?"  Robert could tell from the heading that Gretta had brought the Red October onto a heading away from Triton, but that was it.
   "I've got a minimal feed Captain, but some data is coming in. The Chinese ships are breaking off.  The Yari, Mary and Rachel are hanging behind us.  Oh crap.  It looks like we've got more inbounds.  I can't tell, but I bet several are targeted on us."
   Robert thought for just a moment, and then spoke.  "Gretta, if this girl has got it in her, implement the evasive protocol.  We can't take another hit."  Robert knew that the violent maneuvers would likely kill him, but there was no other choice.
   "Sir, this ship barely manages a straight line right now.  It’s been an honor to serve on her, and with you."  Robert thought he could almost hear some emotion, even through the synthesizer.
   "The honor has been mine Gretta."
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on June 28, 2010, 07:39:58 PM
June 2204 part 10

June 24th  2320 hours/Emergency Elders Chambers, New Home 3 (Triton)

   The Elders of New Home 3 took stock of the situation.  The loss of life was difficult to gauge, but would be extensive.  The native race had not specifically targeted any of the centers of population or industry, but the sheer number of weapons they had detonated over the surface ensured that they had destroyed several cities.
   The population of the planet had finished evacuations into the deep subsurface shelters.  There were only enough to hold 20 percent of the original population of New Home 3, but they were incredibly secure.  The depth of the underground shelters made them nearly impervious to attack.  It would require a weapon capable of shattering the moon to destroy them.
   The rest of the population was still in the process of dispersing from the cities and workspaces.  When they were spread across the surface it would be much more difficult to target and destroy what was left of the families which the underground shelters had been unable to hold.  The production centers would still be easy targets, but they could be rebuilt if the surface was still capable of supporting life when the attack was finished.
   That was assuming that there was anyone left alive.

June 25th 0430 hours/Elders Chambers, New Home 1(Eris)

   The Elders were in an uproar.  The Supreme Elder assessed the situation, attempting to disregard the wild magnetic flux of the other elders in the chamber.
   The space based defenses of New Home 3 had been destroyed by the enemy, and two of the four surface installations had been targeted, but all of the surface defenses were still operational.  The two unarmed space stations above New Home 3 were still undamaged, which meant the native race may be running low on weapons.  The population was taking emergency precautions against further attacks.
   The surface installations had proven a two edged sword, as they had apparently driven the enemy ships back from the planet, but had drawn some fire onto New Home 3 and its populations.  Those killed in the attack were estimated at one million.  Almost two million more had evacuated to the underground shelters.  That left six million still on the surface and vulnerable to attack.
   The ships of the native race had lost nearly one third of their number, but had only withdrawn a short distance from the moon.  The surface installations were still able to track the enemy’s magnetic signature, but not the exact number of ships or their activity.  They were likely to be redistributing ordinance, restoring the protective fields of their ships, and making repairs.  Possibly reloading the ships magazines if they had additional ordinance placed on support ships.  It was likely the native race would attack again soon.
   The Supreme Elder decided this was not a situation that would allow the assembled Elders to squabble over an appropriate action.  The Elders would want retribution, or relief of New Home 3, but none would be willing to sacrifice the defenses of their colony to do so.  Fights would likely erupt over what the appropriate response was, and who should support it.  This delay would be intolerable.  Right or wrong, a decision would have to be made now.
   The Supreme Elder moved to the center of the chamber.  Various elders moved from his path, making the required gestures to recognize the Supreme Elder's dominance.  Most of the elders were too self involved to notice.  The Supreme Elder focused his will and created the flux that would bring the chamber to order.  Only a few could manage to control the extensive fields required of an Elder.  Only one in a system (it was believed) would evolve to wield the power that signified a Supreme Elder, and the great power that his or her fields could attain.
   The Supreme Elder waited as the Elders quieted before he addressed the group.  The Supreme Elder's decision was simple.  ALL ships would be brought to the vicinity of New Home 3 where they would assemble for an attack on the enemy forces there.  Such support ships as could be spared would load torpedoes from the surface or orbital defenses of the unassailed New Homes and then join the assembled warships for suicide attacks upon the enemy.  The enemy forces would be driven from New Home 3 or destroyed.
   The Supreme Elder could feel the tension in the chamber.  This course would either save New Home 3 or doom the entire race.  Most feared that if the various Home Defense Fleets were destroyed, that it would leave their colony open to attack.
   They did not seem to understand that if the assembled fleets could not destroy this enemy now, the New Homes were already doomed.

   0835 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, debris field 12 light minutes from Patrol Vessel 12

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 knew that this message left no room for interpretation.  The Patrol Group would leave now.  They would likely be the first vessels to arrive near New Home 3, but would wait for the Defense Fleets of the other New Homes before they would attack the enemy ships.
   The Commander knew this was right, but wondered if it was wise.  If the Patrol Group was to leave the inner parts of this system, not only would Patrol Vessel 12 be left to the enemy, but it would free the native race to use ships it now had tasked to protect the inner system for attacks in the outer system.  To destroy the enemy warships was important, but the native race could build more.  Destroy their populations and you crippled that ability.
   And this plan depended on the enemy vessels to still be at New Home 3.  If New Home 3 was destroyed before they could arrive, all of the race's ships would be far from where they were needed.  Particularly if the enemy had enough warships to manage an attack on another New Home while its defenses were weakened.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 altered the field at his station.  Patrol Vessel 17 began the long voyage to New Home 3.  The Commander wondered if he would ever return to the inner system again.

   (Earlier) 0410 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   Lieutenant Commander Meagan Ryan sat in her cabin.  An emergency meeting for Admiral Walters had just adjourned.  Meagan had been able to identify the magnetic signature of the 'Baron' at the attack on the forces under Admiral Kushnir's command near the stricken Alpha.  It had managed to escape.  The enemy tactics were changing, exploiting slight advantages of their technology.  That wasn't what was on Meagan's mind now.
   Reports had been received that the initial Chinese attack on Triton had been driven back after inflicting substantial damage to the aliens.  A follow up attack was planned, but unlikely to destroy the alien surface defenses until the ships could be resupplied with additional missiles.  Even the big Chinese ships didn't carry enough ordinances to reduce the alien defenses.   More missiles were leaving now for the Yari and Euro ships, but they would take weeks to reach them.
   It had been originally intended for the Yari and Euro ships to attack alien 'commerce' in an attempt to draw defenses away from Triton, and hopefully draw the 'Baron' to the out system where it would be less of a threat. It was hoped that the Red October and Yari might be able to find and destroy the 'Baron', but considered unlikely as the outer system was such a large area of space.  That had now changed.
   It was considered likely that the 'Baron' would be enroute to Triton to support alien efforts to relieve their colony.  With projections showing that destruction of the alien colony could not be accomplished with the resources currently available at Triton, it was likely that the 'Baron' would be able to arrive before the battle was resolved.  Admiral Walters considered this an opportunity.
   A message had just been sent to the Yari and her crew.






      The Baron would be there long before any US supply ships.  The most dangerous ship the alien race had was headed straight for her father.  He was supposed to find it.  Fight it.  With more than half of his missiles already gone.  Without the Red October's help.  Alone.
   Meagan stared at the message.  Then she pulled up the note her father had sent her hours before.  The words blurred as her eyes filled with tears.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 02, 2010, 12:40:22 AM
June 2204  part 11

June 26th 1200 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, 9.5 light seconds from Triton

   Admiral Hu moved to his station and keyed on his view screen.  The darkness of space and flickering of stars was interrupted by a single dark grey sphere.  It would be almost invisible, except for the dark red splotches across its surface where fires burned or the rocks still shown from the heat of nuclear detonations.  Occasional small bright flashes marked the secondary explosions that still occurred.  Admiral Hu switched from the external view to fleet status reports.
   The Shek would stand the next 8 hours at General Quarters while the Frigates Anhui and Hubei stood down. Hu would be able to review all of the Frigates' activities over the last 16 hours as the Shek started its rotation.  It would give the lie of normal operations to this deployment.  This was no human colony that they orbited now.  And the ships they waited on were not routine or scheduled movements.
   The status reports showed that the Frigates and Shek had half of their normal load out of missiles on board.  This may be a problem, as many more missiles had been expended upon the surface defenses than had been anticipated.  Actually, there had been no anticipation of ground defenses.  During a second attack on the moon 24 hours ago, nearly fifty missiles had been expended to destroy two of the surface installations.  The other two were still undamaged.  Worse, during the first attack the Penghu had gotten close sensor readings of the surface before it was destroyed by alien fire, showing what looked to be entrances to extensive underground shelters.  It was possible that simple bombardment of the surface would be unable to destroy the alien presence on Triton.  Ground troops might be required to clear the planet.
   The Penghu had also identified that one of the unarmed orbital structures had been some form of shipyard.  Two ships somewhat larger than a Frigate had been docked to it.  During the second attack the US and Euro ships had destroyed the shipyard and the two vessels docked to it.
   Those findings, and Hu's recommendations, had been transmitted to the Chinese Ministry.  They would decide the appropriate response, and whether the information would be forwarded to the US and Pan Euro governments.  Hu saw no reason for China to bear the full weight of a ground offensive against an alien settlement, but combined operations after the Queensland Incident might prove problematic.
   The good news had been the update from the Ministry that the Cruiser Ho Chi Minh was complete, and would soon begin its shakedown operations while cruising to Triton.  Accompanying it would be several cargo ships carrying additional missiles, routine supplies for the Chinese ships, and possibly ground troops.  It was unlikely they would arrive before the aliens counterattacked, but the Shek Group could fall back from the planet to join with the Minh if the alien counterattack proved too large.  It was likely that the US and Pan Euro would also send ships and supplies, making the reinforcements even more formidable.
   For now they would wait.  And for once, it was the alien's turn to watch as their colony was destroyed.

June 27th 1430 hours/Queen Mary, 11.70 light seconds from Hygeia Colony

   Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the orders from Earth again.  It would stretch the Pan Euro's Forces thin.  Perhaps too thin, but there was no other choice.  The battle for the crippled Alpha drifting nearby was important.  The battle that was occurring near Triton was vital.  The aliens had committed large groups of ships to attack the inner system.  They would likely commit everything they had to the battle for Triton.
   The reports from US Rear Admiral Jack Ryan indicated that the alien settlement on Triton was too extensive to destroy with the assets on hand.  The Chinese had lost one of their Attack Vessels, plus four more ships in the same size range as Pan Euro Attack Escorts.  Word was that the Red October had survived the attack, but only just.  Her comm system could no longer reach the inner system, and the US report had showed the ship would likely be down for months if she could even be repaired.
   The Chinese had confirmed that extensive underground shelters existed, and that it would require surface landings to secure the moon.  They had also indicated that they would be moving their newly completed cruiser, supplies, and ground troops to Triton.  The Chinese had indicated that Pan Euro and US ships were welcome to accompany the group.  The next few hours would see that happen.
   The Pan Euro Troopship had finished loading the bulk of the 13th Mech Inf at Earth, and was now headed to finish loading the remaining cyborgs troops of that division.  The US Vigilance would return to Earth and load an armored brigade, while negotiations were underway between the US and FSC to have the Mary Reed carry a second armored brigade.  The US would also send a cargo carrier to hold the supplies and equipment of both the US and Pan Euro troops, plus Survey Tender One with its lifter to help drop troops on Triton.  The 4th Light Battle Group would also go to support the 3rd LBG already at Triton.  A Mobile Shipyard to effect repairs on the Red October, and a civilian cargo liner carrying supplies and ordinance for both LBG's would also be going.
   And if this wasn't enough, Jude didn't have a clue what they would do about it.  There was nothing left to be spared.

   1520 hours/Mary Reed, Ft Hood TX, Earth

   The Dutchman watched the monitor as loading progressed.  The ship was just barely done with her refits and she was off again.  This time with a load of US soldiers bound for Neptune.  And a whole lot of trouble.
   The new sensor array and 'shields' seemed to be working.  They had better be.  The Dutchman was sure the odds of getting to Triton without running into the aliens were slim to none.  The Mary Reed would be more capable in combat, but rumor was the aliens were getting better too.  That was bad because the aliens started off damned good.
   The monitor showed that loading was complete.  The Dutchman keyed in for the crew to lock stations.  They wouldn't actually need to; as the Mary Reed would be limited in her acceleration by the US soldiers she was carrying.  Combat acceleration would kill all of them.
   Of course, so would parking like a sitting duck when the aliens showed up.

   1900 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, 9.5 light seconds from Triton

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan checked the updates from the US Space Station.  It looked like help was on the way.  That was good because Jack was sure they would need it.
   Jack had to admit that he was impressed with the Chinese so far.  He had watched five Chinese warships fly right into the midst of the alien defenses and proceed to bombard both orbital and surface installations, with no question, and no hope of survival.  The other five Chinese ships had shown a standard of training and skill as high as any US or Euro vessel, and they were bigger than any US or Euro group.  Much bigger.
   The Chinese repair ship had also proved to be of high quality.  The Chinese ship had docked with the Red October and repaired not only her life support system, but gotten her advanced sensor array and both missile bays back online.  They had also managed to get her magnetic field generators back up to half their normal output.  The Red October had needed to load new missiles from the Rachel Pierce and Mary Queen of Scots, and the repairs were more jury rigged than permanent, but she could fight.  So much for the Chinese being a backward and outdated power.
     It even sounded like the Chinese were sending another one of their big ships out here.  What it would take to support such a large battle group at this distance from Earth boggled Jack.  The supplies they would consume had to be enormous.  And the number of launch bays the Chinese would have when the new ship arrived would be more than the entire US and Euro battle fleets combined.
   The Chinese were a good ally.  Hopefully they would stay that way.

June 29th  2200 hours/Beijing, China

   Minister Po sat at his desk and relaxed.  The alien defenses at Triton had been smashed.  What was left now could be destroyed at the Chinese fleet's leisure.  With the Minh bound for Neptune, along with a number of smaller US, Euro, and FSC ships, the aliens stood no chance in retaking the colony.  Any alien relief force would be destroyed.  Then the hunt for any remaining alien colonies could begin.
   The Chinese Ministry looked on the coming ground combat as an opportunity to gain an insight into the alien make up and technology base.  It would be costly in the short term, but very helpful in the long run.  The fact that the Euro and US would have some chance to gain from this was regrettable, but their ground forces had shown themselves to be very capable.
   The best news was that the schematics for the new class of ship had been completed and were even now being taken to the Venus Station.  She would not be constructed at Earth, as allowing the other powers to gain sensor data on her construction was unthinkable.  She would mass twice what the largest Euro combat vessel did, and carry twice as many launch bays.  The new ship would be named for the cruiser lost in action near Mars, but she would be known as the 'Heavy Cruiser' Mao Tse Tung.
   She would guarantee Chinese dominance in space.  And on Earth.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 03, 2010, 05:10:40 AM
June 2204 part 12


OK, where to start.....
This month saw a lot happen inside the game.
It saw even more happen outside the game.
I guess I usually start with the economic overview first, so here it goes...

For the Pan Euro,
This was a month of good and bad luck.  Without rehashing what is in the story, she just seemed to find herself in serious trouble, and then got back out of it.  Economics wise she was solidly back in second place, with about 94% of China's income. Militarily she was second also, but a LOT farther back. Research was plodding along, and she continued slow but steady colonization and IU investment.  A new destroyer, the Queen Victoria, was started, and she could claim one full BG and two LBG's.  The Red October was going to be in bad shape for a minimum of 5 months regardless how she worked it, but she got lucky on her emergency repair rolls and it was still pretty useful at the month's end.  She had also captured a Nemontian PV (which is a story all its own), and was the first to get some info on the aliens.  All in all a good month for the Euro.
Her one sore point was that she failed to get her roll for S's to regenerate in one hour.  She would still have to put in for repairs to get them back up.

For China,
China was stalled economically.  No where to colonize, and no space left for IU.  He had an edge on the Euro, but knew that was going to start slipping as she continued with her growth.  The survey of Saturn's moons had begun, but he didn't know what he was going to get, and wouldn't find out for about 4 more months if all went well.  Truth be known he hadn't planned on taking Triton completely out as he figured he could draw more alien ships leaving it as bait, and would also ensure the safety of his survey if the aliens were busy elsewhere.  He just hoped his newest CL would get to Triton in time. Pretty strong tactics for a kid.
He had also had me look over the next ship he planned to start building in July, to make sure there were no mistakes in the cost/systems/etc.  It would be the game's first CA, and looking at his design I was pretty sure the Nemotians would be toast when it hit the board.  As would every other ship currently in the game if they came up against it.

For the US,
The US still took a pretty good hit this month with the loss of 20 PU on Mars.  He started this month at only 82.5% of China's income, and the loss on Mars was just making it worse.  He started building another MkIII (the Naginata) and continued colonizing Mars and emplacing IU, but he knew he was a long way back in the field.  The problem that he was running into was the limit of what Mars could hold without cleaning up the radiation caused by the Nemotian's attacks.  The AB was still there though.
He had planned to start building a pair of MkIIb's in July, but was getting rather attached to his little Q Ship the Vigilance.  It was doing a multitude of roles to include warship, troop transport, and landing platform.  He was even looking at adding an X and turning it into a truly multi-role ship.
Choices, choices....

For the FSC,
The oldest girl's group kind of sat back quietly this month.  Not much she could do with her one and only ship down for refits.  At the end of the month she did work out a deal with the US to ferry troops for them, as the only other ship the US had that could serve that role was the Vigilance.  She felt fairly safe doing this and leaving her population unguarded, as it looked like China was going to be too busy to try and take her over for the coming months.  The US and Euro were looking to buddy up with her against the growing might of China.  She continued her research, and hoped she could get the project on S's regenerating done so she could get her RDS started on her pet project.  She had to give up on IU placement this month, but did manage a trickle of colonization to the AB.  Her income was only 20% of China's.  She spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to come up with extra income.

For the Nemotians,
This was probably the best month the players had so far against the Nemotians.  The only ships they lost to action were five Chinese ships - one that was outdated, and four purpose built to be destroyed.  China wasn't really feeling the pain on that one.  The Euro tried over and over to lose ships, but always managed to squeak by.
For the Nemotians it was a horrible month.  They started it ready for a new offensive.  They ended it having lost two ES's, two CT's, two DD's, a BS1, two BS0's, a SY, three FT4/SYM, two PDC's, two FT1's, and had one of their two most valuable colonies blockaded after it lost 14.2 PU and IU.  But it wasn't a total write off (close though).  They did manage to make their roll for EL3 which would help their now shaken economics for the next month. And they made their roll to develop the st, which would have a major impact on planetary bombardments in the months to come.  The Hive ships would become some of the most hunted vessels out there.  Right after Patrol Vessel 17/'The Baron'.

Rule Mongering,
OK, lets start on some of the rule bending this month.  Part of it has already been covered in the comments thread so that section will just be a rehash/copy of that.  The taking of PV12 will be another story though.

This was the month the oldest boy brought to my attention that Plasma Torpedoes don't do x3 dmg vs no drive field.  He was pretty proud of himself.  I wasn't.  A loooooonnnng (and sometimes heated) discussion involving all of the players ensued.  A lot of options got tossed around including restarting the game. No one wanted that (especially China).  The possibility of a new weapon system was approached, but looked rather daunting to me. It was also considered to have the PT's go to the standard rules in July, but that would really put a kink in the story (and to me looked like it would make the Nemotians push overs).  In the end, the concensus came down to this:

1.  We would allow PT weapons to keep triple damage in this game vs no drive field - for the Nemotians only. Should they ever meet another PT using race, it would use standard rules.
As a concession to the players, Pta's from this race would be suseptible to EM.  If the Nem. were to develop Pg's or Ptb's, they would follow normal rules for EM and damage.  I liked that for the Ptb as it would make them longer ranged/more accurate/good counter to the EM, but lose dmg in the trade off.  Sounded like what the Nemotian research path would look like.  It would make the players look at what a ship was armed with as how they would approach it.

2.  EM would be allowed for use by CP engines with specific rules as follows:
     a.  A ship would have to accelerate by one from its current speed.  If currently at max speed it would require detuning (which we had already house ruled was ok for CP and added 1 to max speed) to perform the EM so it was best done by a ship at one below max.
     b. EM could only be used by CP ships with a TM of 2 or less.  When using EM, the ship would still lose MP equal to its TM.  Max EM for a CP ship would be -1.  If subtracting the TM from the ship's speed would result in a speed of 0, EM could not be used. This ment that any ship using EM would slow down every turn, and would have to eventually resume normal movement to regain speed.

As an example, if your ship was at speed 4 last turn with a TM of 2, this turn it would add one for accelerating, and then subtract two for EM for a net speed of 3. When this ship reached a speed of 1, it would be unable to use EM the next turn as the net speed would be 0.  It was really a two edged sword against the Nemotians, as they had a one hex range advantage with their weapons.  It made you harder to hit, but after a few rounds guaranteed that the bad guys would find that 'sweet spot' and could fire on you without return fire.  It made the development of the Rb imperative so the players could always maintain fire while they manuevered.

As a last concession to the players, I agreed to not let the Nemotians use EM until month 20.  Seemed only fair, they had taken extra dmg for the last 17 turns.  Two turns exclusive use of EM wasn't too much to ask.

Our previous games had only one minor race that used PT, and my inexperience with PT's, and the Ultra rules, kind of got us into a bit of a bind on this one.  We house ruled it away because the players were fairly proud of what they had accomplished, and didn't want to start over (well, the oldest girl may have, but she didn't push the subject.  Her little project she was working on had her fairly excited

As for the taking of PV12, that was pretty much a spur of the moment thing that turned out to really get interesting and exciting.

It started with PV12 getting hammered down to only having the Pta left, and then I didn't check where I was at on ammo in the running battle with the Elise/Sereg and managed to run out of torpedoes. I decided it would scuttle as it had a really good roll. Then the silly ship failed its roll to scuttle.  So I figured the crew would die off when their life support ran out.  Then they made their roll for emergency repairs on the Qa. But not one other system.  So here I was with a ship that wasn't going anywhere. On top of that, the Euro had detuned two of its Attack Escorts in the battle, and then managed to blow rolls for both of them. Now two Euro ships were stuck by PV12 with burned out engines.

They say that the true test of intelligence isn't what you know, its what you do when you don't know.  This was one of those time.

It looked like an opportunity for fun.  I could have just ruled the US/Euro couldn't take the ship and made them destroy it, but that seemed to easy, and the stakes looked pretty high with the Elise/Sereg waiting to be nuked.  So I decided to make it higher.  Ultra has no boarding rules, and we don't own Crusade to borrow that set, so I used what we did have.  We agreed to steal the SFB's boarding party rules with some adjustments.

Turns would take one day each.

A ship could have one boarding party for each HS still active.  This gave PV12 nine with its Pta (6), restored Qa (1), and two S's (2).

Using boarding parties from a ship's crew to attack another would shut down HS equal to the parties employed. (The US/Euro wanted none of that.)

Qv could be turned into boarding parties on a 1 Qv to 10 boarding parties ratio.  I figured the Qv was really a lot bigger than that, but had no experience in ship to ship combat, how the ship worked, etc. so the Qv would be less efffective, take bigger losses, etc.

I ruled that Qv would still need half an H to support them, just like in a planetary assault, and that the H would cover the whole month.

We ruled gigs were too small to move troops effectively.  GTOS could move boarding parties like shuttles did in SFB's, only two boarding parties per trip.

Shields could block movement, but were easy enough to knock back down.  They just used up the good guys missiles they wanted to save for the defense.

When boarding parties were gone, successes took over Qa (control spaces) on the ship.  When all Qa were captured, the ship was captured. The story uses the launch bay, but I figured for the story one system was as good as another.

At this point the battle for PV12/defense of the Elise&Sereg really took off for the US and Euro.  It proved rather entertaining for all involved.  The possibility of future boarding actions had me a little concerned, but I didn't figure it would happen all that often.

 That should be enough for the first pass.  The next post will be the write up of the battles for the month and the ships (and other things) involved.

You will need to bear with me on the next several months in the game.  They will be fairly long.  This became one of the most pivotal and involved times in the game.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 05, 2010, 01:52:12 AM
June 2204 part 13

Overview part 2

For the curious, here are the ship rosters for the battles this month.

Attack on Convoy 058

Detachment - Nemotian Patrol Group

Patrol Vessels 12 (BG+1), 23 (BG-1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Convoy Escort Group
Admiral: Jude Kushnir (LG+2)

Pan Euro Forces
Queen Mary (BG)
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S S A A A Hs Qa Mgs (Cp) (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Attack Escorts Elise (BG+1) , Keely Sereg (BG)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

US Forces
Q Ship Vigilance (BG-1)
Class:  FT2      16HS
[2] S S Qv Qv Qv Ya Ra H H H (Bsa) Qa (Cp) [4/1] gtos x1

This was the battle that started the ball rolling in the inner system.  
The Patrol Vessels never even got close to the convoy.  The escorts can just pick them up from too far away.  If you want to try and break through to the freighters, you could just swipe the convoy from March 2204.  It would be pretty close, and would do the job. (What this means is I've managed to lose the ship list for the FT's, but know the convoys were pretty consistent from group to group.)
In the game, I had intended to just run the PV's in to their max range, fire a few shots, and break off after causing some damage.  I oopsed and got the PV's one hex too close and got hammered.  I tried to run PV 12 at redline (detuned) to see if I could shake off the pursuit, or at least run them out of missiles.  Well, I ran out first.  Got smashed up in the exchange - down to just the Pta - but my wife managed to blow her rolls for engine burnout on both of the Attack Escorts.  The Queen Mary lost her armor, but otherwise was fine.  What the Euro was short on were missiles.  They shot away over half of the total amount they carried.

Bombing of Mars Colony

Scout Craft Detachment - Nemotian Patrol Group

48 cg's with two dumb bombs each

US Task Force One

Interceptor MkIIb B Franklin (BG) , JFK (BG) , A Jackson (BG-1) , Z Taylor (BG-1)
Class: CT      16HS
[2] S S S H Mgs Qa Ya Lb Ra (cpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Mars Space Station
Class:  SS      162HS

Mercury Station Military Modules 1- 4 , 6 (BG-1)
Class:  SS      12HS

Mars has 106.7 PU at this time.

This battle is less about the ships, and more about how quickly you can shoot down the little gig's.  Swatting all of them before they reach the planet is just about impossible.  The loss for the US was 20 PU when all was said and done.
The oldest boy also tended to try and figure out when he could get just as good of odds on the ASV table without shooting missiles, so that he could conserve them in case he was attacked afterward by the main alien group.  He was always expecting the big alien ships to show up in support, or to attack shortly after when the Interceptors would be low on ordinance.  He got lucky on that one.  I had hoped to draw off reinforcements headed for PV12 and try to get my wife's ships (Euro) to head for Mars instead.  
Things just never seemed to work out for me this month.

Battle for PV12

Nemotian Patrol Group

Patrol Vessels 12 (BG)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S X X X X Qa X X X X Pta [0/0]

Patrol Vessels 13 (BG+1), 17 (BG+2) , 24 (BG-1) , 25 (BG-1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Attack Vessels 1(BG-1), 2 (BG-1) , 3 (BG-1)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S H Ya Qa (Cp) Pta [6/1]  

Allied Security Group
Admiral: Jude Kushnir (LG+2)

Convoy Escort Group

Pan Euro Forces
Queen Mary (BG)
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S S X X X Hs Qa Mgs (Cp) (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Attack Escorts Elise (BG+1) , Keely Sereg (BG)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (X) [6/1]

US Forces
Q Ship Vigilance (BG-1)
Class:  FT2      16HS
[2] S S Qv Qv Qv Ya Ra H H H (Bsa) Qa (Cp) [4/1] gtos x1

Pan Euro 4th Light Battle Group

Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat (BG-2)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S S Hs Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1] cg x1

Attack Escorts J Reynolds (BG-2) , G Vetra (BG-2)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Support Group

Survey Tender 1
Class:  FT0      5HS
[2] H (Bsa) H Qa (Cp) [6/1]  gtos x1

Mobile Shipyards 1 , 2
Class: FT4      30HS
[2] H H H Qa (Cp) (SYM2) [2/1]

The Pan Euro ships start a little short on missiles.  The 4th LBG had 10 salvos on each ship, the QM had 11 salvos, while the Elise and Sereg had 7 each.  The Vigilance had a full load out as Tender 1 carried missiles from the US Earth PDC's in its extra hold.  The Elise has drifted to 3 hexes (at 4 o'clock) from PV 12, while the Sereg is 19 hexes back from PV 12 dead astern of it.
As far as the battle went, I thought starting out that the Nemotians had a fair chance at either chasing off/damaging the Euro/US group, destroying PV 12 if they wouldn't run, and maybe even a chance to hit the support vessels (the Euro Mobile Shipyards are slow and should have been easy targets).  The 4th LBG was just out of the yards and in no shape for a fight, while the best ships were either damaged or immobile.  Should have been an easy time for the aliens.  And then, once again, things just didn't seem to work out for me.
This was the first battle that EM was used.  At first I tried to close and get in range of either PV12 or the support ships.  The first salvo from the QM at 19 hexes out landed all four missiles on one of the AV's and took it out. The Jurkat and Vigilance teamed up to knock down the shields on another AV.  My launch was a lot less spectacular.  The next round the Jurkat took out the S down AV while the QM about took down the S's on the last AV.  Still no love from the Nemotian launches.  I decided to try and use my speed advantage to park at 21 hexes and rain in torpedoes.  Problem was, with the Euro's bonus to initiative, I could never win.  With them constantly moving last, they were able to keep me stuck just past max range most of the time.  When I could get in, my hit ratio was horrible.   I was pretty sure I was going to run out of torpedoes, and be pretty useless if another opportunity presented itself.   Down 2 AV's, the last about S's down, over a third of my torpedoes gone, and two hits for one dmg on the QM to show for it - I decided to break off and concede the whole affair.
At this point, with my luck, I was really beginning to dread the next battle at Neptune.

Attack on Cargo Movement 1277

Nemotian Convoy

Small Support Vessel (BG-2)  (x2)
Class:  FT1      12HS
[2] A H H H H A H H H H Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Allied 'Ryan' Group
Admiral Jack Ryan (LG+2 / Navigator)

Interceptor MkIII Yari (BG+1)
Class: CTf      16HS
[2] S S S Hs Mgs Qa Ya (Cp) Ra Ra (Cp) [7/1]  cg x1

Armed Science Vessel Red October (BG+1)
Class:  FGf      22HS
[2] S S S S A A H Qa Mgs Xp (cpCp) Ra Ra Ya Qa (Cp) [7/1]  cg x1

This battle (if you call it that) took place close to Neptune, about 30 hexes out or so as I remember.  They wanted to see if they could draw out any defenses from the planet.  If the response was big, they would accelerate to speed 7 and try to get the defenders to burn out engines chasing them.  If it was smaller, they would lure them toward the Mary QoS and Rachel Pierce waiting at 20 LS out.  If nothing happened, they would just try to find other shipping to shoot up or follow.
If you wanted an alternate battle, you could have the two Combat Vessels at Triton attempt to go after the Yari and Red October.  It would be a pretty tough battle when you add in the two waiting Attack Escorts.  All it turned into for us was a chance to cost the Nemotians a few ships (payment to the CFN for replacement), and see how many missiles the US/Euro would be short for the battle at Triton later in the month.
For the short time the Nemotian DD's lasted at the actual battle of Neptune, I think this would actually have been the better use of those ships.  They would likely have accomplished more than the single launch each made against the Chinese.  If someone runs it out, let me know if they actually have any luck with it.  Remember that the Allied Group can use EM but not the Nemotians.  Just swipe the stats for the Nem DD's and Euro Attack Escorts from this next battle.

Second Battle of Neptune

Nemotian Defense Fleet 2

Combat Vessel 1 (BG) , 3 (BG)
Class:  DD      30HS
[2] S S S A A H Qa (Bsa) (Cp) Mg Mg Mg (M1) Qa (Cp) Kb+ Ya (Cp) Pta [6/1]  cg x3

Defense Base Mk I  (x1) (BG)
Class:  BS1      30HS

Note: Kb's are turret mounted on a BS1 so 360 degree fire.

Defense Base Mk 0  (x2) (BG)
Class:  BS0      15HS

Planetary Defense Installation (x4) (BG)
Class:  PDC      28HS

No triple damage modifier for PDC's hit with nukes.
Remember PDC's only have 60 degree blindspots for the Pta's.
If facing 1 is directly toward Neptune, they are on facings 2,3,5,6. (Triton is TL'ed)
Two of the PDC's have empty HS for the left most 2 armor, on facings 2 and 5.

New Home 3 Shipyards (BG-1)
Class:  SS      82HS

New Home 3 Support Station (BG-2/CFN Terminal)
Class:  SS

(for those who like shooting civilian assets)

Mobile Repair Ships 2 ( 9 , 10 docked at shipyard for reactivation)
[2] H Qa (Cp) (Cp) (Cp) (SYM2) [6/1]
PT x12 on board #2 for detonation

Neptune will fill the hex it is in.
Proteus is an O1m at 2tH from Neptune.
Triton is an O1m at 5tH from Neptune with 180PU, 90 IU, RDS x1.
Triton has planetary fallout shelters for 36PU (you can't nuke 'em).
(Players didn't know about fallout shelters at start of battle.)

Chinese Shek Group
Admiral:  Hu (LG+1 / Decisive)

Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek (BG)
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S S S S A A A A Qa Qa Mgs H (cpCp) Ra Ra (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (CpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Missile Frigates Anhui (BG+1) , Hubei (BG+2) , Shangxi (BG+1) , Henan (BG+1)
Class:  FG      22HS
[2] S S S S Qa Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ra Ra Ya (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Attack Frigates Yunnan (BG+1)
Class:  FG      22HS
[2] S S S S A A A Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Qa Ga Ga (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Close Assault Escorts Matsu (BG-1) , Taiwan (BG-1) , Kinmen (BG-1) , Penghu (BG-1)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A A A H Qa Ga (Cp) [6/1]  

Allied 'Ryan' Group
Admiral Jack Ryan (LG+2 / Navigator)

Interceptor MkIII Yari (BG+1)
Class: CTf      16HS
[2] S S S Hs Mgs Qa Ya (Cp) Ra Ra (Cp) [7/1]  cg x1

Armed Science Vessel Red October (BG+1)
Class:  FGf      22HS
[2] S S S S A A H Qa Mgs Xp (cpCp) Ra Ra Ya Qa (Cp) [7/1]  cg x1

Attack Escorts Mary Queen of Scots (BG+2), Rachel Pierce (BG+1)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

This battle sets up the events for the next few months.  Neither the US/Euro, or the Chinese wanted the Triton Colony destroyed out right. Then they found out when the Yunnan/Assault Escorts ran right up to Triton that they weren't going to take it out anyway.  They also discovered that the PDC's were going to be hard nuts to crack, and the players were going to use up a lot of missiles getting it done.  The PDC's could also ignore the EM from the ships.
The battle saw the loss of the Yunnan and Assault Escorts, and the Red October getting hammered.
And yes, once again, the Nemotians got hammered at this battle also.  The CV's were taken out the first round they came in range.  The bases lasted less than two full rounds.  The PDC's held out pretty well, but that had more to do with the players wanting to conserve missiles to engage the ships that would come to relieve the colony.  The Nemotians lost 14.2 PU and IU, two PDC's, two DD's, all three bases, the three Mobile Shipyards and the SS/SY.  This just wasn't my month.

This last battle also set the stage for the Third Battle of Neptune and the ground war there.
The next few months brought a few events and turns that no one had really looked for....

And a show down everyone had been waiting for.

Again, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 09, 2010, 06:18:15 PM
July 2204 part 1

July 1st 1715 hours/Pan European Space Station, Earth orbit

   Admiral Jude Kushnir sat in the briefing room by herself.  The 'afternoon' briefing had been informative, and depressing.  'If all of the data shows that we are finally winning, why do I feel like we are losing?' She thought to herself.
   She looked out the viewing port in the briefing room.  From here she could see the Queen Mary settled into a slip.  Workers dotted the ship's hull, cutting away the damaged plating in preparation for repairs.  The ship would be down for a week or so to have the plating and baffles replaced, and then the Elise and Sereg would take their turns in the yard.  The repairs the two Attack Escorts had received from the Mobile Shipyards were holding up well, but the ships needed a good inspection here at the yards, if nothing else.
   Brenna was now 'baby sitting' the captured alien ship and the Mobile Shipyard that was busy trying to disassemble the thing.  'Three months is a long time out there.  Especially when the aliens know exactly where you are.  If they show up with the strength they challenged us with earlier, she will never be able to hold.  She could get her ships out of there, but the Mobile Shipyard is too slow.'  Jude looked out the viewing port for a long while.  'But I don't think Brenna will run.'
   Jude looked out at the Queen Mary again.  'The video feeds from Ian on the Mary QoS makes the QM look shiny and new.  The Red October looks like a survivor from a banger race or demo contest.  They aren't even sure that she will make the trip home.  Captain McNeely doesn't sound like he is much better off than the ship.  The report is that he had his left arm removed.'  Jude sat and thought some more.
   'We don't have a ship on line bigger than a Heavy Escort, and only two of those. The US has a single Task Force, and can't move it.  We have been reduced to deploying Light Battle Groups as we have nothing else we can spare.'  She looked out to the slip beside the Queen Mary to see the meshwork of supports and systems in the slip beside her.  'And the Queen Victoria is still months away from being finished.  The Lady Di is just a pipe dream.'
   Jude noticed her fingers thrumming away on the armrest of her chair.  Here on the station it actually made noise.  Jude forced herself to stop and turned her chair back to the table, then laid her head down until she heard the 'click' as it touched the surface.  'We're winning, but it will only take one mistake, one battle to go against us.  And then it will be over.'

July 2nd 0020 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 3 light seconds from Jupiter

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 waited.  The magnetic signature of the nearby planet, along with its many moons would make it difficult for the native race to find his ships.  The orders were to return to New Home 3, but the Support Vessel that brought the Patrol Group's routine supplies was due to arrive shortly.  The Commander had transmitted orders for the Support Vessel to divert from it scheduled resupply point in the debris field to here at the giant planet.  The debris field was simply too close to the enemy at this point, and waiting for it to cross the distance to the debris field would slow them even more.  The giant planet would still allow the ships of the Patrol Group to dock with the Support Vessel while being hidden from enemy ships.
   And then they would be able to resume the trip to New Home 3, and the enemy ships waiting there.

July 2nd 0210 hours/Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat, 3 light minutes from Jupiter

   Captain Michael McWilliams reviewed the status reports and ship logs for the 4th LBG, Mobile Shipyard 1, and the Troop Transport.  The movement was going smoothly.  The Troop Transport was the most difficult ship to manage from an astrogation stand point.  The brigades of powered armor troops on board made ‘standard’ drive acceleration impossible.  With the ship limited to sustained acceleration of 2 or 3 G’s, and maximum acceleration of less than 30 G’s, she was a slow and ungainly duck.  She could go faster, but it would doom all the troops onboard.  Normal human bodies just weren’t meant to ride a nuclear fireball.
   His ships had performed well in their first engagement with the aliens.  None had been damaged, and the sensor logs showed that several of the launches from the 4th LBG had intercepted the Echo's they had targeted.  Now they would have a month to practice what they had learned.  Then they would likely face combat again near Neptune.  But if not then, eventually.
   Captain McWilliams then changed the monitor display to show the current sensor returns.  Every time it left him with a sense of wonder.  This was a large group of ships.  Six of them were combat vessels, and one was enormous.  The Chinese 'Cruiser' dwarfed the rest of the convoy.  It supposedly carried as many launch bays as all of the other combat ships put together.  'This is truly a multinational fleet.  Every Earth power with the ability to move in space is represented here.  The Pan European, the US, the FSC, and even China.  Not just warships either.  Troop Transports, landers, supply ships, repair ships, tenders.  Thirteen ships in all.  And we even have two more ships due to join the group soon.'
   Mike flipped the display over to show the projected course plot.  It had changed slightly.  The US had detached one of the Interceptors from Mars with a cargo carrier.  It held extra equipment and supplies for the ground troops, along with additional missiles 'raided' from the Mars Space Station.  They were to rendezvous with the main group in the next few hours.  It would stress the US ships' engines to try and catch the convoy, so a waypoint had been designated for the ships to meet.  The main body of the convoy would stop at Jupiter while the US ships caught up.  The group would then continue on toward Neptune, and whatever awaited them there.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 13, 2010, 06:47:15 AM
July 2204 part 2

July 2nd  0845 hours/Heavy Interceptor Esme Jurkat, 1 LM orbit at Jupiter

   Captain Michael McWilliams double checked the course plot.  The convoy was cruising at a leisurely pace of 775 kilometers per second.  At one light minute from Jupiter this left the ships pulling a constant 1.8 G's in angular acceleration.  The troop transports would be able to maintain the life support for the human occupants, while the cyborg crews could move about the ships with ease.  Most were on work details or simply enjoying the novelty of being able to walk around the ship without magnetic assistance.
   Mike was checking the status of the preparations for launch of the ship's boat.  With Jupiter so close, it had been decided that a quick sweep of the space around the giant planet was in order.  The US ships would not arrive for almost 24 hours, and it would only take the little boat two hours to reach Jupiter, another hour to sweep the moons, and then the two hour return trip.  The sweep would be done long before the US ships were even in sensor range.
   A new contact was logged as the FSC Mary Reed launched its ship's boat.  The small craft was going to move along the convoy's course plot about 15 light seconds ahead of the main group.  It would then maintain that interval to ensure the civilian ships didn't blunder into any unexpected surprises.  The little boats had limited sensor suites, but they were much harder to detect than a full sized vessel.  They also didn't weaken the defenses of the convoy by drawing off combat vessels.
   There was no lurch as the Esme's small boat launched from its bay.  The ship was already well within the craft's tolerance for launch stress.  The contact was logged as it separated from the Heavy Escort and moved away to start its sweep.

   0905 hours/E.J. Ship Boat, 7.5 light seconds from Jupiter

   Midshipman Mary Reeves watched the sensor returns and adjusted the thrusters as the ship's boat approached Callisto.  They were to perform sensor sweeps of the moons and Jupiter's upper atmosphere.  They couldn't pass by every rock that was in orbit of the big planet, just the largest ones, plus any of the smaller rocks that happened to intersect their course.
   Mary brought the boat into a rough orbit of Callisto, at 50,000 km from the surface.  It had been some time since any alien contact had been made at Jupiter, but routine sweeps were made to ensure that the aliens did not attempt to establish any permanent installations.  Jupiter was too close to the inner system to allow the aliens a foothold there.  It was also close enough to the inner system that Mary was sure the aliens wouldn't want to create any permanent installations.  She watched as the sensor array began a surface scan of the moon.
   And then she stared.  The sensors had registered the drive bloom of another small craft lifting off the surface of Callisto.  An alien craft.  Mary quickly altered course and tried to break away from the alien craft, but could only manage to open the gap to 0.75 light seconds.   Mary tried to break contact, but the alien ship refused to be shaken.
   Mary checked her monitor.  The RSO had already begun a transmission to the Esme.  The alien ship was too small to have come from Neptune by itself.  A larger ship had to be nearby.  A warship.  And it would be moving to destroy them.  It would take the message a minute to reach the Esme.  It would take the Esme 20 minutes to reach Jupiter at best speed.  But it wouldn't leave the convoy for just a ship's boat.
   Mary quickly keyed in a small message to her children.  She had become a cyborg five years ago after a long bout with cancer.  Her ex had divorced her even before the cancer had forced her to make the choice to give up her body.  But the children had never deserted her.  They still visited 'mom' whenever they could.  And Mary didn't want the only message they got to be the dry notification the military would send them.
   She piggybacked the message to her kids on the transmission to the Esme for rebroadcast to Earth.  She then turned back to the sensor returns.  She had managed to get an extra five years with her kids.  If this was how it ended, at least she had that.

   0910 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Orbit of Europa, Jupiter

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 altered the field at his station.  The four scout craft the Support Vessel had brought were deployed to sweep the space near the great planet and take positions on several of the moons to monitor for the approach of enemy vessels.  The resupply operations were nearly complete.  Only Patrol Vessel 25 was docked with the Support Vessel and loading missiles into its launch bay.  Now one scout had reported contact with a small craft of the enemy near the outer most large moon.  The scout craft was now following the interloper.
   The Commander issued the orders for the Support Vessel and two Hive Vessels to move away from the giant planet.  The Support Vessel would proceed 15 light seconds ahead of the Hive Vessels to scout the path and draw fire if the native race had ships on that vector.  Two of the remaining scout craft would follow the enemy contact at a range of 3 light seconds.  The Attack Vessel was to follow the new contact at a range of 5 light seconds.  The Patrol Vessels would then follow at 6 light seconds behind the Attack Vessel.  The last scout craft would follow 10 light seconds behind the Patrol Vessels to prevent the enemy race from slipping behind the group.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 was sure that the enemy scout would not lead them to any unarmed vessels.  The native race would even now be moving them to safety.  But it was likely that any vessels the native race had sent this far from the inner system were bound for New Home 3.   It would be easier to fight the warships here than to allow the enemy to gather and concentrate his strength.  Any enemy ship stopped here would be one less they would have to face there.
   An ambush lay ahead.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 intended to make the native race lose more than what they had planned.

   0915 hours/Cruiser Ho Chi Minh, 1 LM from Jupiter

   Captain Meng locked his station and checked the translation of the Pan Euro transmission.  The Pan Euro Captain had reported that his small scout ship had made contact with an enemy bomber near the moon Callisto.  The contact had been made nearly ten minutes ago, and the bomber seemed to be content to simply follow the Pan Euro boat.  That was curious.  The aliens had to have warships nearby to support the small bomber.  Why had they not used them to destroy the small Euro boat?
   Regardless, the Pan Euro Captain had announced his intention to move the Pan Euro warships to a location along the boat's flight path and either destroy the bomber if no warships were following it, or to engage any alien vessels that might be trailing the boat.  He had requested the aid of the Minh in the event that the alien presence was significant.  That would leave only the US and FSC ships to guard the convoy.
   Captain Meng changed his display to the current sensor returns.  The magnetic protective field could create ghost contacts on the returns, but for the moment the space around the convoy seemed clear.  An opportunity to engage and destroy alien vessels stationed near the inner system would help to insure the safety of Chinese holdings and shipping while the fleet was engaged at Neptune.
   "Comm, request from the Euro Captain sensor feeds from the scout and projected course plots.  Indicate that we will accompany their 'Battle Group' to intercept the bomber and any possible alien warships.  Also indicate that we will coordinate tactically with the Euro ships, but will not assume a subordinate position in the engagement.  Tactical command of the Minh will remain with me."  Captain Meng waited as the message was sent, and for the few minutes it took the Euro Captain to reply.  By the time the sensor feed and course plot was translated, the Minh was locked and ready for combat acceleration.

   1033 hours/Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat, 31 light seconds from Jupiter

   Captain 'Mike' watched the sensor returns.  The ship's boat and alien small craft were closing.  They had entered sensor range 30 seconds ago, but at a range of 6 light seconds they both still merged into one contact on the sensor returns.  The craft would likely be invisible at that range if Midshipman Reeves hadn't turn on the small boat's beacon.  The intense radio signal was echoing off the small vessel tailing her ship.  The radar signature was diffuse but traceable.  
   For the moment, there were no other contacts.  That could change quickly though.  The ships were positioned two light seconds away from the course the two small craft would take.  All of the crews were at general quarters, with the ships' protective fields and drives off.  They would appear as no more than a small grouping of rocks.  Three quarters of a light second away the Chinese ship sat dead in space, another slightly larger rock.  With luck any alien warships following behind the small craft would be unaware of the Pan Euro and Chinese ships' presence until they launched.  With luck they would be able to destroy most if not all of the alien ships that would arrive.
   Mike was fairly sure that wouldn't happen though.  The aliens were far too good.  Mike hoped to catch the aliens in a trap.  He would be satisfied if he didn't get caught in one himself.
   A warning flashed on Mike's screen as he heard the Sensor Officer call out.  "New Contact.  Small craft.  Possibly more than one.  Range at five point seven five light seconds.  Heading, bearing, speed identical to EJ ship boat."  Mike considered the situation.  One or two more small craft were no great threat.  They were to small to carry any real weapons capable of harming a warship, and their speed was to slow to catch one even if they could.  Perhaps the warships that carried the small alien ships were unwilling to risk themselves chasing a little boat.
   A new warning flashed on the screen.  Mike looked down even as he heard the Sensor Officer.  "New contact.  Range eight point zero light seconds.  Speed two three zero zero kilometers per second.  No acceleration.  Drive thermal signature low.  No magnetic signature.  Bearing zero three zero ascension minus four point five.  Heading one four six ascension minus zero point three.  Contact identified as Echo.  Designating as One."
   "All ships Battle Stations.  Weapon Conn, I want a firing solution on Echo One.  Feed to my station.  Comm, tightbeam to the Chinese ship.  Let them know we are tracking a single contact and the bearing for it.  Prepare to broadcast launch commands to the Reynolds and Vetra."  Mike tried to relax.  This wasn't the first time the 4th LBG had been in combat.  But it was his first time as the Commander.
   Mike watched as the EJ's boat and the alien craft following it resolved, and then as the next two small craft following them resolved on the sensors.  Slowly the Echo was drawing nearer.  It took six minutes for the Echo to draw in range, and then it continued to draw even closer.  It seemed to be in no hurry.  Simply following the little ships as they moved along.  No protective field.  No attempts to maneuver. No...
   "New contacts.  Range eight point two five light seconds.  Alpha times four.  Speed, bearing, heading as Echo One.  No magnetic signature.  Low thermal.  No acceleration. Designating as Alpha One, Two, Three, Four."
   Mike could feel the cold creeping down his spine.  The Alphas wouldn't be in range anytime soon.  And the Echo would likely discover that the 'rocks' were actually ships when it passed close enough.  This would be no easy ambush.  The small Echo was the alien's bait.  The 4th would either have to fire on it and give themselves away, or be discovered if they simply sat and did nothing.  And then the Alphas would start the real battle.
   It would be four on four if and when the Echo was destroyed.  Mike hoped they would have the advantage then.  The Chinese ship was much larger than an Alpha.  That should count for something.
   Of course if the 'Baron' as the US had codenamed him was one of those Alphas, that advantage might not be enough.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 17, 2010, 02:17:10 AM
July 2204 part 3

July 2nd  1035 hours/Cruiser Ho Chi Minh, 31.75 light seconds from Jupiter

   Captain Meng watched the sensor readout as the small alien warship drew to a range of three light seconds.  The second group of alien ships was also visible on the sensor returns now.  At a range of over 6 light seconds they would be unable to intervene in what was about to happen.  In the next few moments the lead alien ship would be able to identify the Pan Euro Group and the Minh.  Meng had no intention of letting it discover anything other than its own doom.
   "Protective field to full power, all bays launch."  Meng watched as the crew carried out the orders.  The sensor returns clouded momentarily as the magnetic field generators came online.  The crew had not yet completely calibrated the sensor array for the magnetic flux from the generators.  Then the ship shuddered slightly as the six bays deployed their missiles.
   "All particle accelerators to maximum output, engage drive, combat acceleration."  The world changed color as the Minh lurched forward.  The Pan Euro group had also launched missiles on the small alien ship.  'The ship will already be gone by the time their missiles can reach it.'  Meng watched the sensor returns as the missiles closed.  The alien ship must have detected the launch, as it was beginning to maneuver.  And then it raised its protective fields.
   "WHAT IS GOING ON?"  Meng looked at the sensors as the bridge crew also tried to sort out what had just happened.  The small alien ship had just seemed to 'jump' nearly 12,000 kilometers from where it had been.
   The Sensor Officer was the first to respond. "Captain, the magnetic flux of our generators seems to have created a.... sensor echo of the alien ship.  When it employed its magnetic field, we were able to fix its location."  The hesitations in his response gave away the emotion his voice synthesizer did not.
   "Weapons Conn, update data on target."  Meng looked over towards the three crew manning the weapon consoles.  "Captain, the missiles will be unable to correct for the relocation.  Current velocity is too great for the maneuver thrusters to compensate."  Meng could only watch as the six missiles from the Minh streaked harmlessly away into space.

   1036 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, 25.25 light seconds from Jupiter

   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 sensed the enemy ships as they erected their protective fields.  There were four, and one was an Assault Vessel.  This would bode poorly.  The Assault Vessel seemed to be having a problem with its initial targeting, as all of its weapons had missed.  The three smaller enemy vessels had managed to collapse the Attack Vessel's protective field, but nothing else.  The Assault Vessel had corrected for whatever had went wrong by the second launch as the Attack Vessel disappeared in the detonations of the enemy weapons.  
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 altered the field at his station and increased the output to the drive.  Patrol Vessel 17 and the rest of the Patrol Group began to close on the enemy ships.  Orders were sent for the two scout craft that had been near the Attack Vessel to close with the nearest enemy ships.  They would not be able to harm them, but the enemy would not know this.  The scouts might be able to draw fire or force the enemy to maneuver around them.
   The enemy ships were close enough to engage, and Patrol Vessel 17 shut off its drive just long enough to deploy a torpedo from the launch bay.  The Assault Vessel was to far away to target, but the enemy Patrol Vessel was easily within range.  Four torpedoes sped toward it as enemy weapons closed on the Patrol Group.  The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel the protective field collapse on his ship as the enemy weapons detonated.  He could sense that none of the enemy ships had lost their protective fields.
   The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 altered the course of his vessel to disengage from the combat.  This battle was not starting well.  They could not afford to lose any more ships.

   1037 hours/Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat, 31.25 light seconds from Jupiter

   Captain 'Mike' McWilliams checked the status of the magnetic field generators.  Two thirds of the bank had burned out from the first alien salvo.  One of the Alphas had lost its protective field and broken off, but the other three were still in range.  The Minh was too far to launch yet, but was coming around to close the gap.  Two small alien craft were closing rapidly with the 4th LBG.  Mike wondered it they carried nukes inside.  The aliens had used suicide attacks before.
   "Helm, bring us sixty degrees starboard.  Weapons Conn, firing solution and launch on Alpha Three."  Mike could feel the drive shut down several times as the ship came about onto its new course and the two missile bays deployed their weapons.  The sensors were also showing three more inbound contacts.  'Probably targeted on the Esme.  The shields won't take another hit like that first one.'
   Mike watched the sensor returns as the weapons crossed in space.  The Chinese had launched three missiles on the alien bombers closing on the 4th LBG.  Both of the bombers disappeared in the sensor haze from the detonations.  Seconds later both were tumbling through space.  'Looks like the Chinese figured out how to shoot.'  The Esme's missiles, along with those of the Vetra and Reynolds closed on Alpha Three and detonations again clouded the sensor returns.  The sensors had almost cleared when the alien missiles detonated.
   Suddenly the blue-grey haze was gone, replaced with rushing white clouds as the bridge vented.  Mike could feel his station shaking with the violence of the argon blasting through the bridge to clear any debris.  As the cloud disappeared, Mike looked at his monitor to check the sensor returns and damage reports, but it was only a black mass in front of him.  Looking about he could see that the bridge had been breached in two areas, each several square meters in size.  The return of the grey haze told him the drive had survived.
   'I wonder if anything else works', Mike wondered.  He plugged his fingers into the port on the arm of his station and saw lights begin to blaze across his faceplate.  The sensor array had survived, as had both of the launch bays.  The drive was still functioning normally.  'We are still in this fight.  We just can't let that happen again.'  Checking the returns on the Alphas, Mike saw that a second was disengaging with its magnetic field down.  The Chinese ship was slowing and coming about to join the 4th LBG's formation.  'That should chase off those last two.'
   The Attack Escorts had come about more quickly than the Esme, and both had moved beyond their maximum engagement range.  One of the Alphas seemed to have overshot the battle and was nearly 6 light seconds away.  That left only one Alpha in range of the Esme, and the Esme in range of it.  "Firing solution and launch on Alpha Four."  Mike tried to remain calm as he saw another inbound contact appear.  It had to be targeted on the Esme.  Another hit would rip the crippled ship apart.
   Suddenly the sensors clouded over and all readings were lost, then came back a few seconds later.  "What is the problem?"  Mike hoped that someone was still alive at the Sensor Conn to respond.  
   "Captain, the Reynolds had to pass through the drive wash of the Chinese ship to hold formation.  The Reynolds still has her shields up, but the spray as the magnetic field passed through the charged particle stream was too great for the array to compensate.  Inbound still tracking, sir."  Lieutenant Kathleen Wells voice reminded him that there were still more pressing problems.

   1039 hours/Attack Escort Giovanni Vetra, 32.75 light seconds from Jupiter

   "Reduce drive output twenty percent.  Firing solution on the first Alpha to break range."  Commander Cameron Watson watched the tactical display.  'The Esme got lucky and slid past the last alien missile.  If those Alphas want another shot at her, they will have to come into range of us first.'
   The two Alphas were currently 6 light seconds from the Vetra.  Alpha One had managed to overshoot the battle, and Alpha Four had closed formation with it.  But they had been moving when the battle started, and that speed advantage would let them close while the 4th LBG was still coming up to full combat speeds.  Maneuvering around the large Chinese ship as it had joined the formation had cost them more speed.  It would only be a minute before the Alphas could close to firing range again.
   "Sir, Alpha Four in range. Missile away"  Cameron could feel the ship lurch only slightly as the missile deployed. Two inbound missiles had also appeared on the sensors.  "Inbound times two.  Targeted on Jurkat."  Cameron listened as the Sensor Officer recited off more information, but it was obvious that the aliens were set on destroying the damaged Heavy Escort.  The Vetra would never be able to destroy both of the Alphas before one of them got lucky.
   "Comm, let the Reynolds and the Chinese ship know that I intend to come about.  Helm, plot a course change to bring us directly back at the Alphas and then transfer it to Comm."  'If we can't get them to back off, we're going to have to chase them off.'  Cameron felt the Vetra's drive stutter as the maneuver jets fired.  The tactical display showed the Reynolds and the Chinese ship were also coming about.  A few seconds later the Alphas mirrored the movement.  'Ok Mike, now get your ass out of here.'
   The Vetra shut down its drive again as another missile launched.  Two inbound missiles also showed up.  'Shoot at someone who's not a cripple and see how well it works for you.'  Cameron waited as the alien missiles closed.  The sensors clouded as the detonations spewed clouds of plasma through space.  The shield generators pushed the waves of super heated particles aside, but payed for it as one third of the generators burned out.
   "They are riding the edge of their range.  It is going to take them a few seconds for their sensors to pick up our course changes at this distance, and then a few more to react.  Helm, bring us about again,  bearing one one seven.  Redline the reactors.  They shouldn't be able to hold range if we do this right."
   Cameron waited, and then felt the ship heave as the Helm tried to bring the ship about with the drive wide open.  The sensors blurred as the EM bleed from the drive washed past the drive shield.  Targeting would be impossible, and the Alphas were nearly invisible.  After thirty seconds the Vetra had come about, and it looked as if the Reynolds and Minh had followed.  "Give us another thirty seconds of redline and reduce output to max combat acceleration."  Cameron waited as the clock counted down and the drive finally reduced its output.  The sensors cleared to show the Alphas had fallen back to 6 light seconds behind the group.  Speeds had equalized between the groups.
   "Good work Helm." Cameron regarded the tactical display.  'You won't be able to catch us now, so let’s see how long you are interested in playing chase.'
   Ten minutes later the last two Alphas broke off.

   1058 hours/Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat, 65 light seconds from Jupiter

   Midshipman Mary Reeves brought the ship's boat into the landing bay.  The Esme looked bad.  The plating and baffles had been torn away in several places, and hull breaches were obvious in at least three.  In the bay were at least three crews preparing for external work.  As Mary climbed out of the pilot's station, she wondered if maybe she hadn't been better off in the little boat.
   As she walked away from the boat, Chief Engineer Mulins approached Mary.  "Glad to see you made it back Midshipman Reeves.  Your on Work Crew Two.  We will move out onto the hull after we dock with the Mobile Shipyard.  With luck we can have her back on line in a few hours.  If not, we'll probably be headed home."
   Mary remembered what the hull had looked like on her landing approach.  She doubted that a few hours would be enough.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 20, 2010, 02:55:55 AM
July 2204 part 4

July 2nd  1330 hours/Pan Euro Space Station

   Admiral Jude Kushnir dismissed the staff from the briefing room.  There were no decisions to be made.  This was just another problem that would have to be allowed for and endured.  The lead ship of the 4th Light Battle Group would be turning back before the journey to Neptune had barely gotten started.
   The 4th had taken quite a bit of abuse at Jupiter.  Both of the Attack Escorts, the J. Reynolds and the G. Vetra, had taken damage to their magnetic field generators.  Both would be continuing on to Neptune with over 30 percent of their generators off line.  The remaining generators would be able to withstand another intercept by an alien missile, but that would likely be all they would handle.  The Esme was much worse off.
   None of the Heavy Escort's generators had been repairable without a complete overhaul.  Her cargo hold and her supplies for the trip out system were destroyed.  Her auxiliary storage of missiles had also been damaged.  Worst was the support systems.  Cyborgs needed little to survive the harsh environment of a deep space warship, but what they did need was vital.  The ship's hull built up an enormous static charge as it operated the drive, and a smaller amount as it moved through the solar wind.  The grounding circuits had been destroyed in the exchange.  The ship could continue to move, but doing so would put the crew in greater and greater danger.  The circuitry in a cyborg was heavily shielded, but it was not invulnerable.  It was only a matter of time before the static charge would reach levels that would destroy the ship's systems and interfere with the crews' circuits, killing them.
   The US had cleared the Esme to dock at their space station at Mars for repairs.  It would be right on the edge of what the ship could do without killing the crew.  That was if everything went right.
   The Esme had off loaded most of her missiles onto the Attack Escorts, and several more into the Troop Transport's cargo bays.  Some of her crew had also moved over to the Troop Transport, to help fill in for the missing crew on the Red October when they arrived at Neptune.  The remaining 27 crewmembers, along with Captain McWilliams, would take the crippled Esme to Mars.
   Jude looked at the clock/calendar on her monitor.  It hadn't even been a year since Esme had given her life, along with all of 2nd Battle Group at Ceres.  
   It seemed like a lifetime....

July 3rd  0430 hours/US Q Ship Vigilance, 1 LM from Jupiter

   Oberfeldwebel Tanya Frank walked down the corridor to the cyborg troop bay.  It seemed odd to be on a US ship, but it made sense.  The Vigilance was a combat vessel.  She would be unable to maneuver if she held a cargo of US Power Armor or Armored Cav Troops.  The soldiers would be killed by combat acceleration.  So the Pan Euro Cyborg Brigade had been transferred over to the US ship.  The US troops were now sleeping onboard the Pan Euro Troopship.  Would they be in for a surprise when they woke up.
   Tanya sat down at her station.  More and more of her brigade were filing back into the bay.  It would be only an hour or two before they got the order to lock stations again.  Then the group would continue on towards Neptune, and the alien colony on Triton.
   Tanya looked down at her feet.  No, they weren't her feet.  Her feet were long gone, with just about everything else that had been Tanya.  'They took everything.  And left me locked in this cage.  I was so glad when we finally got off that alien ship.  I wanted to go home.  I want to go home.'
   Tanya thought about what her mom would be doing now.  Just waking up for the day.  Getting breakfast started.  'I miss eating.  Smelling the food cooking.'
   'I really want to see mom again.  I can't feel it when she hugs me, or kisses me good-bye, but I can still see her.  Hear her voice.  I miss her.'  Tanya slammed her hand against the bulkhead.  She could feel the slight vibration in her station, but the vacuum of the bay was silent as death.

   0500 hours/Queensland Research Facility, Australia

   Chairman Mukata walked through the labs.  The board had made it very clear at the last meeting that the lack of progress on duplicating the US device allowing the magnetic field generators to avoid burning out under a static load was UNACCEPTABLE.  The drain in resources, personnel, and space was preventing progress on the other project the research facility 'should' be working on.  And that was why the chairman was here.  To ensure the technicians and researchers understood that failure to devise a suitable copy for use on Free Space Vessels would be very 'unhealthy'.
   That this 'oversight' was jeopardizing the last Free Space warship was being impressed upon the workers here vigorously.  They needed to understand that if the system was not fielded quickly, and that the Mary Reed was lost, they would become the crew of the next warship.  Whether they had any predisposing health conditions that would require 'conversion' or not.
   Of course, the fact that the board had indicated that the chairman would likely be the new ship's captain was inspiration of its own.

   0727 hours/Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat, 4 LM from Mars

   Captain 'Mike' McWilliams felt the Esme lurch, and then the grey haze disappeared.  Warnings flashed across his monitor.  Engineering was reporting that the drive shield had suffered a failure.  It was a miracle that the ship hadn't simply exploded or vaporized.  The drive had been running wide open at the time.
   Mike read through the reports as they came in, and it became obvious that the drive shield must have suffered some structural weakening during the battle near Jupiter.  It had simply failed under the load the drive bloom had imposed trying to return to Mars.
   It also became obvious that although the failsafe had kept the ship from exploding, it hadn't saved the ship.  The burst of ionizing radiation had doomed the ship.  The static charge on the hull had already been sizable.  It was now fatal, or soon would be.  If anyone was going to survive, they had to leave now.
   "Comm, patch me through to the landing bay."  Mike waited as the comm relay was made and then picked up.  
   'Midshipman Reeves should be in the bay if she isn't dead.  Her last trip in the boat was nearly a suicide mission.  I guess she deserves a spot on what is about to become the life boat.'

   0731 hours/EJ Ship's Boat, 4 LM from Mars

   Midshipman Mary Reeves switched the monitor return over to visual.  The blackened crack in the drive shield was all too visible as she made a pass by the Esme. 'How we didn't end up in hell is beyond me', Mary thought.
   Mary brought the small craft away from the drifting warship and then engaged the drive.  The visual pickup became a blur and then the Esme disappeared into a small dot in the distance.  She checked the systems on the boat again.  'This crate had quite the ride around Jupiter.  It would be a shame for the lifeboat to breakdown too.'  The boat was built for a crew of two to four.  Right now it was holding eight.  It had stations to carry that many, but it was still a strain on the little dingy.  Everything looked ok.
   A small flare of light flashed in the distance, and Mary shut off the visual.  'Only eight of us are going home.  How will I ever tell my kids about this?'
   'At least I'll get the chance.'
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 24, 2010, 01:18:02 AM
July 2204 part 5

July 3rd  1400 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit

   "Admiral, the Pan Euro boat has docked at the Mars Station.  Reports indicate that broadcasts from the Pan Euro Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat were accurate.  The ship suffered a drive shield failure and was scuttled following the separation of the ship's boat.  We are debriefing the eight survivors now, and coordinating with the Pan Euro for their transfer to a civilian liner for transport back to Earth."  Commander Rachel VerSteegh looked at the blank faceplate of Admiral Walters, and then continued.  "We also have decrypted the transmission from the Interceptor Zachary Taylor.  Captain Randall Brown indicates they have joined the Vigilance and Survey Tender One at Jupiter, and have begun acceleration for Neptune."  Rachel stepped back from the large display screen and faced the Admiral at parade rest, waiting for the inevitable questions.
   "That will be all Commander.  Lieutenant Commander Ryan, do we have the initial analysis from the engagement at Jupiter."  Admiral Bradley Walters turned toward where Meagan was seated.
   Meagan stood and turned to look at the Admiral.  "Sir, we've only had the sensor log from the Pan Euro for a short time, and their system returns are not identical to ours.  Based on what little data we have gathered though, I would say that the 'Baron' was present at the engagement, but was the first of the Alphas to be targeted.  It would appear the 'Baron' disengaged early in the engagement.  The other ships appear to be the same group which attacked near the crippled Alpha on June Twelfth, but that is not confirmed.  Group composition was the same as the group that disengaged on that date."  Meagan looked down at her monitor for a moment, and then looked back at the Admiral.  "We won't be able to confirm any of this for some time.  We were awaiting detailed transmission of the Jurkat's sensor records, but will now have to wait for the transmission from one of the Pan Euro Attack Escorts bound out system.  Time lag in transmission and the degradation of the signal will slow any confirmation."
   "I will want an update on identification of the alien ships as soon as possible.  If the 'Baron' is headed out system, we need to know that."  Admiral Walters motioned for Meagan to sit.  "We are going to assume for the moment that the 'Baron' is still operating inside the belt until we know otherwise.  For the moment, we are going to let the Pan Euro ships handle convoy security.  I want the Naginata to begin her training cruise here at Earth as soon as she clears the dock."  That will only leave three Interceptors at Mars he thought, but the folks on Earth haven't seen a US ship keeping them safe for a while now.  "I want updates on the progress of the two Interceptors under construction here at Earth in the morning, along with updates on our research projects and all out system deployments. Dismissed."
   As the staff began to leave, Admiral Walters stood. "Lieutenant Commander Ryan, stand fast for a moment."  After the rest of the staff had left, Admiral Walters turned toward Meagan.  "Any word from your father on his take about Chinese intentions at Triton?"
   "Nothing that we haven't already heard.  The Chinese group seems content to simply circle Neptune at eight light seconds or so.  They seem to be ignoring the US and Euro ships stationed there.  He assumes, like we do, that they will resume the offensive when the convoy reaches Neptune, but they seem content to blockade the moon for the moment.  They don't even use their ships' boats to sweep nearby space for any movements."  Meagan shrugged her shoulders and waited.
   "Thank you.  I'll see you in the morning."  Admiral Walters sat and watched as Meagan left the briefing room. 'I'm sure she wants to know if that was the 'Baron' as much as I do.  But as much as we need the 'Baron' to move out system, I'm sure she hates to see that ship get any closer to her father.'

July 4th  0630 hours/Attack Escort Elise, Earth orbit

   Commander Dana Breiholz settled back into her station and locked it.  The yard workers had finished up the last touches on the Elise, and it was time to take her out of the slip.  Shortly the Sereg would take her turn in the yard, and after her the Queen Mary would dock for repairs.  This portion of the 3rd Battle Group had taken its licks out by the belt, but everyone had come home.
   "Helm, take us out of the slip and bring us alongside the Queen Mary at one half light second from Earth."  Dana watched her monitor as the course plot appeared, and then felt the gentle push as the maneuver thrusters brought the ship away from the station.  A moment later and the world turned grey as the drive fired.  In less than a minute the Elise was settled into formation 2000 kilometers from the Queen Mary.
   Dana brought up the sensor returns on her monitor, and then switched over to the visual feed.  Toggling the feed toward Earth, she brought first the US and then the Chinese Space Stations into focus.  Both had their shipyards at full capacity.  The initial work on a pair of Interceptors was obvious at the US Station, while the Chinese were busy assembling a pair of Attack Vessels.  Dana swiveled back to the Pan Euro Station and watched as the Sereg slid into its berth and docked.  The second slip was also busy, building the one new ship the Euro was working on.  'At least she dwarfs the other vessels, even if there is just one of her,' Dana thought as she looked at what would become the Queen Victoria.  Rumor had it that the Victoria would be coming out of the yard early in August. 'With the Esme gone, we need her.'
   Dana turned off the video and brought up the status reports as the crew went through their system checks.  'Time to get this lady ready to fight.  Rumor is that anything alien will be heading toward Neptune, but I'm not buying it.  And I intend to be ready.'

July 7th  2015 hours/Survey Vessel Marco Polo, orbit of Titan, Saturn

   Captain Jingtsu checked the surface sample reports from the landers.  'Very promising.  Titan may hold more resources than we had anticipated for its low density.'  Jingtsu flipped through the various reports on the survey's progress and was pleased.  It would be another 40 or 50 days until the survey was complete, but the survey was over half finished with no sign of any alien presence.
   Jingtsu rechecked the sensor returns again.  It had become a habit.  Think of the aliens, check the sensors.  With the Marco Polo hugging the moon's atmosphere, the ship should be almost invisible.  They would hopefully be aware of an alien presence long before the aliens were aware that the survey group was here.  That would give the small unarmed ships a chance to run from the aliens and hopefully stay out of weapon range.
   Jingtsu returned to the surface mapping of the moon.  'Finding an optimal location for a colony will be difficult with the amount of surface activity.  But with Ceres uninhabitable, we need to find somewhere.'

July 11th  1020 hours/South African Shipyard, Earth

   Chairman Mukata looked over the assembled board members.  Moods were hard to discern in such a group.  Most were still human, but their faces were as expressionless as any cyborg faceplate.  The economic review was improving.  Open colonization in the belt, plus a massive investment in industrial infrastructure was paying off.  The FSC was still small change compared to the cash the big powers could throw around, but the last eighteen months had seen an increase in 'usable' revenue of nearly 36 percent.  There was talk of more 'aggressive taxation and utilization' of assets, but for the moment those plans were only that - plans.
   The US had managed to funnel a substantial amount of capital through South American interests, and that would help.  It was the 'payment' for the assistance of the Mary Reed in transporting US troops out system.  The additional funding would help to offset the expenditures that the current research projects required.  Projects that were producing far less in results than what had been hoped for.
   The project to duplicate the US equipment for upgrades to the current Magnetic Field Generator design was hitting a snag.  Tooling for production was just not available and would take some time to emplace.  When the 'tools to make the tools' were finally complete, the necessary testing would begin.  Until then there was little that could be done.
   The other major research project, headed by the Euro Tech Jager, was still in the 'theoretical' stage.  Some of the work was finding compatible hardware, but the science behind what they were trying to accomplish just didn't exist yet.  At least not for what they were hoping to accomplish.  It would take time.  A lot of time.  The Euro Tech had indicated that the board needed to think in 'years, not months.'  Of course, he didn't have to sell that idea to the board.
   Chairman Mukata returned to listening to the presentation, and wondered what 'errand' the board would require of him next.

July 12th  0240 hours/Ministry of Defense, Beijing, China

   Minister Po reviewed the information.  The meeting had been about current Defense issues, but was mostly concerned with new construction.  Progress on the two new Missile Frigates had been the sidelight.  They would be ready near the end of August, and two more would begin construction at that time if sufficient funding was available.  Ensuring that sufficient funding was available had been assigned to Po.  It was a rather dubious and trying honor.  Failure would not be greeted well.
   Of great interest was the construction occurring at Venus.  The new ship would take a year to reach service and so far only the most basic of progress had been made.  But it still inspired great interest.   Projected strength of the magnetic field would be such that it should be nearly invulnerable to anything but a concerted effort from the largest groups the aliens had so far displayed.  
   A lesson had also been taken from the aliens, with half of the launch bays being placed in a hardened position within the hull.  With luck they would remain operational for as long as the ship held together.
   Of course, all this depended on actually completing the ship.  Hopefully the aliens would oblige and stay far away from the inner system.

July 19th  1755 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home 1 (Eris)

   The Elders filed into the chamber to learn of the new developments.  Two new projects had been started, and one completed.  They all looked to increase the effectiveness of the war fleet.  It was unusual for the race to need new technology, as it was considered that no other race would be able to challenge them.  The conflicts in the Home System had proven that.  Or so it had been thought.
   The Elders waited as the first of the new technologies was presented to the assembled Elders.  It was based on the current scout craft, but was much larger and more capable.  It would be capable of speeds that would enable it to keep pace with the Patrol, Combat, and Assault Vessels.  It would also be able to carry a much larger payload than the current scout craft.  When used to attack enemy colonies, it would be able to carry up to 50 bombs.  This was much more than would ever be needed, but it could also carry a single torpedo in the craft's cargo section.  The torpedo would allow it to be used as a weapon against enemy vessels, albeit in a suicide roll.  That would be regrettable, but possibly necessary in light of the current situation.
   The second development was an extension of the current design of the race's warships.  It had been devised that the hull had sufficient integrity to mount structures close to the hull that would allow mounting of an additional torpedo outside the vessels.  It would only be possible on the Combat and Assault Vessels, as the Patrol Vessel lacked the necessary structural integrity.  The external mount would be able to release from the vessel with or without an internal launch, and would increase the vessel's ability to engage enemy ships decisively.
   The last development was an extension of the mass driver in use on the Combat and Assault Vessels.  It had always been used as a weapon to engage enemy vessels, but was limited by the size of the installation - forcing the Combat or Assault Vessels into a particular orientation with the target.  New developments were underway that would miniaturize the system and allow its use on a high speed mounting with a high volume of fire.  It would be too small to use against another warship, but it was hoped that testing would show that the enemy's weapons could be engaged and destroyed by the near light speed projectiles of the new system.  Hitting a target moving at a significant fraction of light speed would be difficult, but it was hoped that the high rate of fire, coupled with the low maneuverability of weapons moving so fast would allow for successful engagement of such a small target.
   None of the systems alone could hope to change the current events that were unfolding, and the last two would not be ready for use until some time had passed.  But together it was hoped that these developments would allow for a rapid reversal of the current trend in the engagements with the native race.
   It was the first hopeful news presented to the council for some time.

July 22nd  0900 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Earth orbit

   Vice Admiral Brenna Muldoon sat in the chair that Admiral Jude Kushnir motioned to.  "I promised you a night on the town to go with that promotion, but for now you will have to settle for the rank."  Jude paused and picked up a piece of paper off the desk, and then passed it to Brenna.  "You won't be the only one getting promoted at the ceremony this afternoon, although you will be the only one actually here on the station.  Captain Robert McNeely will get moved up to Commodore.  Captain McWilliams was supposed to be here, but unfortunately his promotion is going to be posthumous.  We are going to have to come up with a new Commodore for the 4th Light Battle Group, but that isn't what I asked you here for."
   Brenna sat the program for the evening ceremonies back on the desk.  "I didn't figure you had me report in for a 'congratulations' meeting.  Not that I had any plans for this morning."  Brenna ran her hand across the leather armrest on the chair, and wondered if it still had that new leather smell.  It didn't look like it was very old.
   "No, you’re right."  Jude tapped her monitor in a few places and then turned it to face Brenna.  "I've got work for you.  Ever since the First Battle of Jupiter's Moons, we haven't exactly led the way in scientific development.  The Chinese and US have not only caught up in sensor and missile technology, but passed us in the use of the new magnetic field generators.  The only advantage we still hold has been in training doctrine."  
   Jude leaned forward and put her elbows on the desk.  "That looks like it might change.  A group of corporate weapon researchers on the ground have come up with a new missile design they hope to implement.  In light of the new situation it was deemed production of the old Scorpion Missiles, with their large payload of small kinetic kill projectiles, was wasteful.  The large mass of the payload was never getting used as it was intended.  Every launch was full safety release, and with every warship mounting some version of the US shields, a primary safety only release is unlikely."  Jude pointed to the monitor screen.  "They think they can build a new missile.  It would be the first new development in over forty years.  They will do away with the old payload, and replace it with a much lighter and solid one piece nose section.  Normally that would result in a loss of on target energy due to the loss of mass, but they think they have managed to duplicate the alien's magnetic focusing device.  This will allow the same on target energy with a lighter missile."  Jude stood up and walked around the desk, then tapped the screen again as Brenna leaned in closer.
   "The new missile is projected to have an extended engagement envelope, due to both greater speed and maneuverability.  They are hoping for successful intercepts at a range of six light seconds.  The new missiles are also expected to require less onboard space for the same missile capacity.  What that will amount to when it is time for refits will have to be seen, but that isn't what you are here for.  I need a new engagement doctrine for this weapon.  For the first time since First Jupiter, we may have the range advantage again."  Jude knelt down beside Brenna.  "This is what I called you here for."
   Brenna turned to look at Jude.  "You want me to design a doctrine around a weapon system that isn't even in field testing yet? And work it around ship designs we can't even project?  In my immense spare time I suppose."  Brenna turned back to look at the monitor.
   "Bloody hell Brenna, it’s not like I have anyone else with your tactical experience, particularly with a background in Training Command."  Jude stood up and returned to the chair behind her desk.  Sitting back down, she leaned forward on the desk again.  "The corporate boys down on the planet say it will take some time, but the politicians have assured me that this project will get all of the funding it needs to put these into production as soon as possible."
   Brenna stood up and looked down at Jude, and then at the monitor again. "Guess I don't have a choice do I?  I'm getting to old for all of this."
   "You look as good as you did the day you came out of the academy.  Maybe better."
   Brenna looked back at Jude.  "You always were the sweet talker.  Make sure I get the updates on these new missiles."
   "You know you will." Jude said as she stood to escort Brenna to the hatch.

July 27th  1705 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, 10 light seconds from Neptune

   The Dutchman sat at his station.  He didn't see any reason to get up.  Most of the crew was moving about the ship, but it would be only a short time before the Chinese signaled that they would resume the bombardment of Triton.  Their supply ships were already docked and off loading missiles.  Prepping the ships for the coming assault.  An assault the Mary Reed would have to take part in.
   She and the Vigilance were the only troop carriers with magnetic field generators.  They would have to put the first wave on the ground.  Right in the midst of the Chinese bombardment.  The Dutchman had spent his life trying to avoid getting into situations like this.  People who made their money fighting for a living tended to end up dead.  This looked like an excellent opportunity to do just that.
   The 'plan' looked good, but it was a military operation, and military operations never went according to plan.
   A year ago he had commanded three ships for the Free Spacers.  Now the Mary Reed was the last one left.  And he was going to fly her right between the aliens and the Chinese.  'It probably isn't so much a question of "if we will get blown apart", as much as it is a question of "which side is going to do it". Maybe my mom did raise a fool.'
   The Dutchman unlocked his station and got up.  Maybe it was a good day to walk the bridge one last time.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 26, 2010, 06:16:52 AM
July 2204 part 6

July 28  0005 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, 8 light seconds from Triton

   The Dutchman watched the clock count down.  At ten minutes past midnight the attack would commence.  The warships had assembled at 10 light seconds from the moon, and would begin their attack run from that point.  That would allow them sufficient time to reach combat speed before they closed to weapons range.  Chinese analysis of the enemy weapons seemed to indicate that closing to just under three light seconds from the moon would actually favor their Dragon missiles.  Records indicated that the intercept rate at that range was better for their missiles than it was for the alien weapons.  It might help, but they were committed at that range.  There would be no falling back, just two sides pouring fire into one another until one of them was gone.
   The Mary Reed and US Vigilance were parked at 8 light seconds.  The lower maximum speed the two ships could manage meant they would be left behind if they were to start with the main group.  They would close on the planet from this distance.  Even then they would still be passed by the warships as they closed on Triton.  'Which is fine with me, let them draw the fire for a while.  We are going to draw enough once we begin our landing runs.'
   The only ship that would accompany the Mary Reed and Vigilance was the US Interceptor Zachary Taylor.  It would provide close support at the landing site with its onboard laser battery.  From testing, everyone knew that the magnetic 'shields' wouldn't work on a planet or moon's surface.  Since the aliens designed the damned things, it was a sure bet they knew that to.  So as soon as anyone landed to dismount troops, you could bet the aliens would hit them as hard as they could.  The US Interceptor's laser could provide closer support than any nuke.  'I wish they hadn't pulled the Mary's laser battery on the last round of refits.  It would do us a lot more good when we get down to the surface.'
   The landing area is the Kraken Catena.  It’s a long straight chain of craters left by some piece of debris that broke up just before it slammed into Triton.  The hope was that the crater walls would provide the troops and ships with some cover during the landings.  'Doubt that will work, but at least it gives everyone else a clear area NOT to shoot at.  Of course if the Chinese decide to drop a nuke on us while our shields are down, I guess it would make a good sighting mark also.'
   The clock on The Dutchman's display began to flash.  "OK 'mates, time to visit the neighbors. Take us in."

   0010 hours/US Q Ship Vigilance, 8 light seconds from Triton

   The world turned grey with a blue halo for Commander Scott Moreland as the Vigilance's drive engaged.  'I wonder what else they could find for this old crate to do next.  Good lord, we've seen more action than most of the US Interceptors at the moment.  Maybe they figure it’s no great loss if some old freighter gets blown to hell.'
   The tactical display showed the main group was closing on the moon, and quickly closing the gap with the Vigilance.  Scott double checked the course plot to make sure he was well clear of the large Chinese ships' approach vector.  He was sure the Chinese weren't going to worry if the Vigilance got torn apart by one of their drive blooms. Thirty seconds later the large group passed and immediately warning lights flashed on the console.  'Inbounds, but only four.  It doesn't look like they are aiming at us yet.  Good lord look at that.'  The display was suddenly filled by new contacts as the Chinese ships began their bombardment.  Twenty four Chinese missiles were launched over the space of a few seconds.  The Euro and US ships added their two cents, but it was a trickle compared to the Chinese torrent.
   The next two and a half minutes were a blur of inbound and outbound missiles swimming between the moon and the ships.  They seemed to be targeting the large Chinese cruisers, which was fine.  They could take the most pounding.  And then the launches stopped.  The alien surface sites were no longer firing.  The Chinese had launched several missiles into the boiling mass of fire and dust that had been the launch sites even after the aliens stopped, but even they had broken off.  If the alien sites began firing again, the battle would start anew, but the warships were trying to conserve their missiles for the alien counterattack everyone expected.  The sensor returns showed that one of the Chinese cruisers had managed to lose its shields, but had not broken off.
   Scott listened as the Sensor Officer recited distances to the surface, watched the kaleidoscope of colors as the ship's drive cut in and out as the Helm tried to brake and bring the ship in for a landing.
   "Thirty seconds to landing."
   "Weapon Conn, launch."  Scott felt the drive cut out again as the ship deployed the Hera missile, and watched as it streaked toward the landing site.  He hadn't OK'd it with anyone, but there wasn't much they could do about it now.  Seconds later the primary safety sent the missile into its deployment spin and thousands of small metal and composite disks streaked toward the landing zone at over 20,000 kilometers per second.  Thousands of fireballs erupted across the landing zone as the disks vaporized on impact.  Scott switched to the visual feed as the ship closed with the moon.  The red-brown tholins and frozen methane formed large clouds that obscured the surface in a blanket of dust and vapor. 'At least when our shields go down, they will have a harder time seeing us.  And the troops when they get off.'
   For long seconds as the Vigilance descended toward the red cloud Scott could see the ship's shadow as the drive of the Interceptor Taylor fired above them.  A lifetime ago, when he had been in school, he had loved poetry, but the verse that sprang to mind left him no comfort.

   "But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
   The charmed waters burned alway
   A still and awful red."

   Scott looked down at his cyborg body locked in the station.  'Is this... are we, the "Nightmare Life in Death"?'

   "Shields down.  Landing in five seconds."
   'I sure hope there is something solid to land on underneath us.'  Scott thought as the ship disappeared into the cloud.

   0015 hours/Surface of Triton

   Oberfeldwebel Tanya Frank unlocked her station and grabbed her weapon.  "MOVE, MOVE, MOVE."  She could hear herself and dozens of others yelling at their squads as the landing lights flashed.  Seconds later the bay doors began to open.  
   Two enormous detonations ripped through the hull plates and threw cyborgs, or parts of them, around the bay.  In the low G of Triton the bodies became more shrapnel as they bounced within the bay.  Dozens of smaller holes were ripped through the hull as some weapon fired on the ship.  Tanya watched as three of her squad were ripped apart before they could even clear their stations.  "GOD DAMN IT MOVE!"
   Tanya pulled one of her squad, Hauptgefreiter Schwartz, and all but threw him toward the bay doors.  Tanya then kicked off from some piece of debris (or maybe another trooper she thought) and followed him out of the bay.
   The small maneuver thrusters on her pack fired, pushing her back to the surface.  The huge cloud of dust made it nearly impossible to see, and fighting on the crippled Alpha had taught her that thermal pickups were nearly useless on the aliens.  Tanya checked the transponders on her HUD and picked out the 5 surviving members of her squad.  "ON ME. MOVE OUT."  Somewhere behind her the heavy weapon squads should be deploying the MLOW's and Lancer Missile Packs.  'If they're still alive.'
   Running had been impossible on the alien ship, and was awkward as hell now.  Each step threw you forward and up, while small nitrogen jets fired and drove you back down to the surface.  The small 'Movement Packs' were supposed to be good for a day, but at the rate it was firing she doubted it would last an hour.  The two lead troops were firing their weapons as they advanced, the 18mm Gyrocs filled with nearly 200 flechettes per round.  With Tanya's squad assigned to clear the nearest ridge (if it was even there), and the aliens nearly invisible, the hail of metal slivers was supposed to help clear the way.
   Tanya's HUD picked up the small metal cylinder a fraction of a second before it slammed into the squad.  The two lead troops were hurled to the sides as Tanya felt herself thrown back.  The maneuver pack slammed her back down, and she could feel the ice of the moon's surface crunching beneath her as she skidded along.  Pushing herself back up, she armed the Rollover missile launcher on her shoulder, and then set it to fire back down the route the alien cylinder had come in on.  The Rollover missile disappeared into the dust cloud as soon as it was launched.
   Tanya stood again and rechecked the transponder.  One of the five squad members was gone, and another was badly hurt.  There was no time for rescues now, they needed to get out of the area and secure the landing zone.  The rest of the 13th Mech Infantry and the two Chinese Divisions weren't going to land until the area was secure.  She started moving again, and was glad to see the others who could follow her.  A small red light on the side of her HUD flashed that her right knee had been damaged to some degree during the blast, but it was still working.  For now.
   The dust suddenly thinned and swirled away, and Tanya saw something that just didn't seem real.  Dozens of aliens. Hundreds.  They swooped or glided along, floating a meter or two above the surface of the moon like fish swimming in a pool.  Darting, swirling.  Explosions flashed among them.  Some seemed to be moving towards Tanya's position.  Most were moving away.  Tanya brought up her rifle and began firing at the closest.  Missiles flashed beside her as other soldiers fired Rollovers at the mass.  A large thermal signature flashed on her display as some alien weapon fired from the ridge line 1900 meters out.  Tanya fired the last two of her Rollovers at the signature and turned back to firing at the creatures in front of her.  A small group of aliens flashed in front of her as they cleared the dust cloud.  She watched as her HUD traced the tracks of the 18mm rounds that tore them apart.  Most of them had been much smaller than the ones she had seen on the crippled Alpha.
   'You've killed enough of our babies,' Tanya thought.  'Now it is your turn to cry if you can.'

July 30th  0600 hours/US Interceptor MkIII Yari, 6 light seconds from Triton

   Rear Admiral Jack Ryan keyed up the display on his monitor.  It was the Yari's scheduled time for watch.  For the next eight hours the entire crew would be locked in their stations.  It had become a routine now.  Everyone knew it was coming, and the grumbling had long since quieted.  Now the only noise was the quiet conversations of the crew trying to entertain themselves, whatever music they had managed to sneak into the onboard computers, or whatever game they chose to pass the time.
   The landings had been completed.  The sixteen thousand troops were on the ground.  Most of them.  Eight hundred had been killed before they ever got off the Vigilance or Mary Reed.  Both ships had been hit hard by ground weapon fire.  The Mary Reed had taken the worst of it, as the surprise launch from the Vigilance had helped clear her LZ.  There were rumors that the Taylor had also favored the Vigilance's landing zone, targeting the alien structures around it first.  That would have to be left for the spooks back home to worry about and analyze.  Personally, Jack didn't believe it.  The Vigilance was a US Vessel, but it was landing Euro troops.  The Mary Reed was FSC, but had been landing US troops.  Captain Brown would have done the best he could to protect both ships.
   The ground combat was vicious to say the least.  Losses were going to be high clearing this moon.  The Taylor was doing all it could to support the troops from orbit, but there was a limit to what a fusion powered laser battery could accomplish from 500 kilometers above the fighting.  Even on the lowest settings the capacitor dumped enough energy to make the moons crust buckle for one hundred meters around the target.
   Jack checked the sensor returns.  Nothing.  The aliens seemed to be in no hurry to relieve the colony on the moon.  If they reclaimed space around it, the troops would be doomed.  But if they didn't show up here, just where were they.
   And what were they up to?

   1820 hours/Assault Vessel 1, 36 light minutes from New Home 3 (Triton)

   The Combat Group had assembled.  It included two Assault Vessels and eight Patrol Vessels.  The Hive Vessels were still enroute to the construction centers where they would pick up the new bombers.  A support ship was loading additional bombers from New Home 4.  These additional bombers had been intended as a reserve for any that were destroyed in operations.  The Commander of Fleets had decreed that they would be placed in the bays of the Patrol Vessels.  Keeping them aboard a ship they could not be rapidly deployed from was wasteful.  
   The Commander of Fleets monitored the transmissions from New Home 3.  The reports indicated that the native race had destroyed the last of the surface based defenses and landed troops.  The enemy had expended a great number of weapons on the surface, and the destruction was enormous.  They also maintained a substantial fleet near New Home 3.  There were at least 25 vessels, and 15 had shown themselves to be armed in the last attack.  Two were Assault Vessels, five were larger than a Patrol Vessel, and four others were the size of Patrol Vessels.  The final attack on the surface installations had recorded over 30 launchers in the enemy fleet.
   The Commander of Fleets had not been at the Elders' Chambers when the Supreme Elder had made his decision.  The Commander of Fleets was also an Elder, but remained with the 1st Assault Vessel.  This was where he would spend his life.  If the Commander of Fleets had been at the Chamber, he would have had no choice but to fulfill the order that had been given.  That was why a Commander of Fleets never attended.
   The possibility of defeating the native race at New Home 3 did not exist.  The Combat Group did not possess enough weapons or ships.  To expend what capability there was wastefully would doom all of the New Homes.  With foreseeable developments that could influence the course of this war, expending the Patrol and Assault Vessels was inexcusable.
   But something would need to be done.  The number of ships available to the native race had to be limited.  The projected population that existed on the third planet in this system would be able to support a massive fleet, but much of it would now have to be at New Home 3.  The native race was technologically inferior, but had shown itself to be very adaptable, and even more dangerous.  However it had occured, they were familiar with war.  They would not have left the inner parts of the system unguarded just to strike at New Home 3.
   It was equally likely that they were unaware of the location of the other New Homes.  If they were aware of those locations, they would simply have destroyed everything they could at New Home 3, and then proceeded to the next target.  Placing their ships around the planet and landing troops indicated that this was the main focus of the native race's offensive.  This lack of knowledge, were it true, would provide the New Homes some time.  And opportunities.
   The enemy had no knowledge of the improved bomber that had been designed.  They had not yet seen it, or employed a craft resembling it.  In fact, they had yet to employ small craft in any type of offensive role.  They had used them to scout on a number of occasions, but that was all.  The new bomber would provide this Combat Group an advantage that the other Groups had not enjoyed.
   The Commander of Fleets altered the field at his Command Station.  A review of the capabilities of this new bomber would be required.  And then action would be taken.  The Commander of Fleets had slept for a great time now, but he had been awakened for a purpose.  He alone of all those who had come to this new system had been alive during the Time of War.  He had seen many battles.  And he knew what was required to exterminate a foe.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 28, 2010, 12:55:41 AM
July 2204 part 7


Well, this month had a lot of little things going on that just kind of turned into a big busy month for those of us who played it.  Nothing 'earth shattering', but busy.
For the tale of the tape as it were...

For the Euro,
With the Esme losing her Q at the battle and failing emergency repairs, then blowing her roll trying to get to Mars before her 12 hours were up, the battle at Jupiter went from looking like another loss for the Nemotians to a loss for the Euro.  And then her only two SYM were either at Neptune or tearing apart PV12.  She didn't want the aliens to get hold of the Esme so she scuttled it before the crew was gone.  That hurt.
She also put in the repairs on the Queen Mary, Elise and Sereg, so they would be at poor quality for the rest of this month and all of August.  She didn't repair the Red October for fear the aliens would show up and she needed her to be able to fight at something other than poor.
Economically, she was continuing with her slow AB colonization and a larger than usual investment in IU.  Not going anywhere fast, but slow and steady.  For her, the big excitement of the month was rolling an 11 on her SL2 project on R's.  The breakthrough immediately went to the knot on SL3 and she was very happy that she could go straight to work on getting SL3 and then the Rb's done.  She had been drooling over having the range advantage for a change.  She figured it would only be a few more months until she got EL3, and then she could work on the Da's.  She really hoped that if she could get both of them finished before they beat the aliens, that she would stand a fair chance against the Chinese if things went sour.  But she did manage to fail her roll for the S's regenerating after an hour.
Overall, with the Queen Vic about to come out of the yard, research looking good, and her troops on the ground at Triton, my wife felt she had a pretty good month.

For China,
The middle boy was just itching to get Titan surveyed so he could start colonizing again.  He knew that with IU full and nowhere to go, he was losing ground to the other players every month.  He also got a little embarrassed when his new cruiser started the fight at Jupiter by missing with all six missile at a range of 12.  Not the best showing for the boy who usually had the magic touch with dice.
The battle at the end of the month finished off the last PDCs on Triton, but also left the Minh down 3 armor.  Now both the Shek and Minh were damaged.  He didn't want to fix them though because he was worried that the aliens would show up, and then his big ships would be Poor crews while they shook down. Since his shields could regenerate, he just decided to wait it out.
Otherwise he paid the (for this game) huge amount to start work on his first CA  with a total cost (with prototype and new class) cost of 1253.8MC. That is more than the GEV for the US for this turn, and almost equal to the Euro's.  China's GEV was1441.6, so it was a large percent of his.  He also managed to start a pair of FG's.  He had been saving up for a while and the payoff from the public subscription made for a big turn for China economically.
In the research arena, this was his first month to try and roll for EL2, but he didn't make it.  His other projects were just starting so that was his only roll.
The Minh did spark a small debate between the middle boy and myself.  It made its roll to advance grade following the battle at Jupiter.  This moved it up to green for the rest of the month.  He was of the opinion that it should go up one more grade at the end of the month for having completed its shakedown.  I wasn't so sure.  After some rule searching that seemed less than helpful, I decided to let the Minh advance to Average at the beginning of August.  It seemed only fair that if he made the advacement roll, he should have something to show for it.  I just made a mental note to apply that same rule to any other ship that ended up in the same situation.

For the US,
This month he continued with his colonization to Mars, and a fair investment in IU.  He also forked over some MC to the FSC to ship his troops out to Neptune.  The middle girl was unusually generous and decided not to charge him for the return trip or damages incurred, which was her usual deal.  She was also rather brave and agreed to land the troops.  Both she and the US paid for it when the expendable attack for Triton managed to do enough damage to cause 2 points, which I distributed as 1 point to each ship.  So the Vigilance lost its forward Qv, and so did the Mary Reed.
He shifted his newest MkIII to Earth to help cover there, as half the Euro 3rd BG was out at PV12/convoy escort, and the other half was in for repairs or shaking down from them.  Not that another poor quality ship helped much, but it was the most the US had been able to do for a while.  He also pulled one MkIIb from Mars to send out to Triton for ground fire.  The damage to PU from the laser - without having to burn up missiles - looked pretty good to the other players.  I know I overheard several conversations about special 'ground support' ships.  The fact that the expendable ordinance attack is based on PU on a particular facing hadn't escaped the boy, and since his Vigilance was going to land, something that could wipe out several PU on that facing without burning up missiles appealed to him.
He also decided to launch one missile without having it as a nuke - in the normal antishipping role where it didn't score x3 dmg.  I ruled that it would just act like a beam and gave it 1/20th damage vs the PU.  He thought that was ok, if a little weak, but ran it through as it was a neat little RP'ing thing.  I let him subtract 0.1 of the Qv loss from the Euro for the neat little idea.
He also started a pair of MkIII's at Earth, to continue rebuilding his fleet.  I think at this point he was hoping for a pair of four ship groups with MkIIb's x2 and MkIII's x2.  One for out system and one for inside the belt.  This is just my guess, but I think that was the plan.
He also gave up on the focus breakthrough and switched to a pair of SL projects at his SA.  Tired of throwing away money and resources for no result.

For all three of the above powers, concerning the landing....
I gave them the choice to not run a month of ground combat in July since they didn't land until it was almost done, and just roll it into the next month.  Or they could take the full losses for just 3 days of combat, call it a vicious landing action, and let August be month 2.  They all opted for July to be the first month, take the hit on lost Qv and H, and keep going.  They wanted to start getting a handle on just what EL, etc the aliens were and this was the easiest way to do it.
They also decided not to just nuke everything right away, and see how it went.  Glassing the planet was always and option, but hard to reverse if you decided it was a mistake.  The modifier for the month was a huge negative number at -124, and only a really good pair of  d100 rolls by my wife kept it from becoming a disaster.  Still was pretty hard on the players though. The 'big three' landed 28Qv at Triton. The Euro lost 1Qv on the landing and 0.5 to combat.  The US lost 1QV on the landing and 0.4 to combat.  China lost 0.9Qv to combat as they landed after the expendable ordinance had been used.
They all agreed they needed more troops, and fewer aliens on the surface.

For the FSC,
This month saw a small investment in colonization, her biggest ever investment in IU, and slight influx of MC from the US.  Even with all of her work, she was still only 25% or so of the US in GEV.  But she was trying.
Her research still seemed stalled, but she took that in stride.  She was hopeful that things would start turning around.  She had snuck her ship through the fighting with no major damage, had the US/Euro owing her some favors, and was hopeful for her research.  She was also wheeling and dealing with China as the middle boy had just discovered he had more of an H requirement at Triton than he realized, and had no more FT's to cover it (he had managed to forget it was a month out, and BACK). The FSC had a spare FT0 that might be available for a price...
She wasn't going anywhere fast, but at least she was moving forward instead of back.
All of her big plans were long term, and she was beginning to make progress.
She had even come up with a few FT designs that would earn her money instead of lose it, so she had a back up for when her colonization and IU ran out.
(I'm sure that the middle boy - China - would have done anything to learn there was a FT design that would make some MC instead of just losing it.)

For the Nemotians,
This first month at EL3 saw several projects started.  First and foremost were XOa and verifying the breakthough on D.  I really wanted the Da, it would have a big impact.  I didn't plan on rushing out with the XOa as the players would just get it sooner.
Economically, the EL growth offset the lost income from the problems at Triton.  The Nemotians pumped up the IU on worlds with newly enlarged population caps.  They also began churning out st in preparation for the next turn.  They also began another 6 PDC's to try and secure the last three large colonies.  With the last of the mobile assets needed to go fight the war, the PDC's were going to be needed to carry the weight.
The loss of the Attack Vessel hurt, as I was hoping to use it as a convoy escort when it reached the outsystem area.  That was going to be a problem.
Now for the matter of the Commander of Fleets.  
The Nemotians had one BG +1 Admiral, whom I had left on Assault Vessel 1, parked at New Home 1.  Other groups had run on the senior Captain's grade (at -1 per our house rules.  We feel a Capt. running his ship and the battle should be inferior to a dedicated Admiral.).  Also up to this time I had played a little loosely with the Nemotian's ships and groups.  The player's all had a couple of years experience, but were still willing most of the time to play it by ear.  They don't spend all of their time analyzing ranges and counting hexes during the battle.  Takes too long and takes the fun out of it. They will do it if they feel it is important or they have a lot of free time, but otherwise just aren't that interested.
I had played in groups when I was younger where that would have been Empire suicide.  I decided the Commander of Fleets was going to be that end of my experience.  My younger brother once said 'If your fighting fair, you just don't want to win bad enough.'  I decided that was the motto for the Commander of Fleets.
This next month became a rude surprise for the players.
I never cheated, or used information the Nemotians didn't have.  But in any engagement he was in, I made no allowance for ignorance.

And now for the two battles of the month

Third Jupiter

Chinese Forces

Cruiser Ho Chi Minh (BG-2)
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S S S S A A A A Qa Qa Mgs H (cpCp) Ra Ra (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (CpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Pan Euro 4th Light Battle Group

Heavy Escort Esme Jurkat (BG-1)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S S Hs Mgs Qa Ra Ra Ya (cpCp) [6/1] cg x1

Attack Escorts J Reynolds (BG-1) , G Vetra (BG-1)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Nemotian Patrol Group

Patrol Vessels 13 (BG+1), 17 (BG+2) , 24 (BG) , 25 (BG)
Class:  CT      16HS
[2] S S A A Hs (Bsa) Qa Mg Ya (cpCp) Pta [6/1]  cg x1

Attack Vessel 2 (BG)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S H Ya Qa (Cp) Pta [6/1]  

The Chinese and Euro ships start with shields down and parked.  The Nemotian ships have to follow the route of the Euro gig and can't accelerate until they become aware of the other groups.  You could definitely vary the orientation of the ships and the course of the Euro gig.  The players settled on a position 8 hexes to the side of the gig's path.  You could also vary the formation of the Nemotian ships and their positions relative to each other.  For us it became a battle for position after the opening shots.

Final Assault on Triton

Chinese Forces
Admiral Hu (LG+1 / Decisive)

Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek (BG)
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S S S S x x x A Qa Qa Mgs H (cpCp) Ra Ra (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (CpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Cruiser Ho Chi Minh (BG-1)
Class:  CL      45HS
[2] S S S S S S S A A A A Qa Qa Mgs H (cpCp) Ra Ra (Cp) Qa Ra Ra Ya Ra Ra (CpCp) [6/1]  cg x1

Missile Frigates Anhui (BG+1) , Hubei (BG+2) , Shangxi (BG+1) , Henan (BG+1)
Class:  FG      22HS
[2] S S S S Qa Hs Qa (Cp) Ra Mgs Ra Ra Ya (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

Pan Euro 3th Light Battle Group
Admiral Robert McNeely (LG-1)

Armed Science Vessel Red October (BG)
Class:  FGf      22HS
[2] S S x x x x x x x x (x Cp) Ra Ra Ya Qa (Cp) [7/1]  cg x1

Attack Escorts Mary Queen of Scots (BG+2), Rachel Pierce (BG+1)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

Pan Euro 4th Light Battle Group

Attack Escorts J Reynolds (BG) , G Vetra (BG)
Class:  ES      12HS
[2] S S S A Hs Mgs Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [6/1]

US Forces
Admiral Jack Ryan (LG+2 / Navigator)

Interceptor MkIII Yari (BG+1)
Class: CTf      16HS
[2] S S S Hs Mgs Qa Ya (Cp) Ra Ra (Cp) [7/1]  cg x1

Interceptor MkIIb Z Taylor (BG-1)
Class: CT      16HS
[2] S S S H Mgs Qa Ya Lb Ra (Cp) [6/1]  cg x1

US Forces
Q Ship Vigilance (BG)
Class:  FT2      16HS
[2] S S Qv Qv Qv Ya Ra H H H (Bsa) Qa (Cp) [4/1] gtos x1, cg x1, Qv x3

FSC Forces

Converted Freighter Mary Reed (BG+1)
Class:  FT2      16HS
[2] S S S S Qv Qv Qv H H Ya Ra Qa (Cp) [4/1] cg x1, Qv x3

Nemotian New Home 3 Defense

Planetary Defense Installation (x2) (BG)
Class:  PDC      28HS

Planetary Fallout Shelters for 36PU (you can't nuke 'em)

184 PU / 75.8 IU

If facing 1 of Triton is toward Neptune, the PDC's are located on facings 5 and 6.
You can get the layout of the moons from June and advance them the required distance if you are worried about it.  With only one player mobile, it makes little difference.

There are a host of support ships, supply ships, and troop ships not listed.  If you want to see what they were, let me know and I can run them off.
This battle was less of a battle and more of an exercise in seeing how little damage you can take.  It would have been easy for the players to have just glassed the surface and then landed the troops.  The Mary Reed and Vigilance would have fared much better, along with the Qv, but the players wanted to try and drag it out and goad the Nemotians into attacking the planet.  They were also interested in trying out the ground combat rules, pillaging, opening communications (my wife mostly on this one), capturing the research facilities on the planet (China and the US were both scheming to be the one to get it, and it sounded like China was willing to risk ground combat with the other players to get it), capturing tech data and other info, etc, etc, etc....
Overall, they looked at the moon as a prize. If it could be pacified, they had already figured out they would likely make a LOT more from a captured/slave/subject moon than any colony of theirs would ever amount to.  With the limited incomes in this game, and slow colonization rate from the tiny CFN, GFFP on an icy moon with 9 times the pop you can put on it, plus a better REI for the 'natives', was just stupid.  They wanted the cash they could see on the moon below, and were willing to risk a number of problems to get it.  Who would claim it... well, that was still up for debate among the players.

Landing forces for the various powers added up to
Pan Euro  10Qv @ EL2
US 6Qv @ EL2
China 12Qv @ EL1

The losses they took during the combat and landing is covered above.
Losses for the Nemotians were pretty bad.
Between the PDC bombardment, orbital bombardment from the MkIIb Taylor's Lb x100 shots, and a demonstration strike of 10 nukes followed by ground combat, the Nemotian losses were 55.0 PU and 38.6 IU.
The Nemotians rolled a 97 on the HEL race reaction to invasion, so losses on all sides in Qv and H were doubled.  It was going to be a bloody conflict. Go figure.

Brace yourself for August.  Its not pretty.
Again, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Nemesis Campaign
Post by: procyon on July 30, 2010, 09:55:08 AM
August 2204 part 1

August 1st  0520 hours/Ground To Orbit Shuttle (GTOS) 03, 5000 km above Triton

   Ensign Don Treeman struggled with the controls of the shut