Author Topic: Chapter I: The Rise of the Terran Republic  (Read 7180 times)

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Offline davidb86

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2019, 02:19:47 PM »
You might want to ask Eric to move this to a fiction forum instead of under Bureau of Ship Design.  I had a heck of a time finding it again.
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2019, 02:36:36 PM »
That's probably a good idea.
 

Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2019, 03:55:03 PM »
April 4, 2052:  Alpha Centauri


At the coreward edge of the Alpha Centauri system, the jump portal to Barnard's Star was marked by the presence of a single Beagle sensor buoy.  The six-ton mini-satellite dutifully scanned local space around it, just as it had for the last ten years.  For all that time, it had been the only Republic presence in Alpha Centauri. 

Viewed with the naked eye, a jump portal is invisible, blending seamlessly into the inky darkness of space around it.  And yet, if a sufficiently advanced civilization knew how to apply pressure to that point in space, it was possible to travel across trillions of kilometers of space in an instant.  At such a point, traveling between star systems was no more difficult than driving a groundcar through a short tunnel.  One moment, you were in one place.  Move a few meters forward, and in the very next moment, aside from a disconcerting, disorienting sense that you had just left a place where time had been stretched into infinity, you were instantaneously somewhere else. 

In an area of space twenty kilometers from the buoy, a blinding flash of white light pulsed as the Universe forced a vessel to return to the bounds of Einsteinian law.  Then another.  Then two dozen more in rapid succession.  The Republic Navy had arrived to Alpha Centauri. 

On the bridge of the command boat Nakhimov, Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Sophia Conway gritted her teeth as the after-effects of the jump forced a dagger-tipped migraine into her skull.  Conway was a tall, stern woman with long brown hair currently tied into a bun.  At 45 she was arguably rather young to be commanding a starfleet, but then again, the Republic's fleet was also rather young.  Regardless, she was the Republic's most senior naval commander for a reason.  When she was just 15 years old Conway had served as an ensign on the Royal Navy's last surviving Daring-class blue-water destroyer, the Defender.  While fighting the rogue forces of the so-called "General" Craig Welker off the coast of New York, the Defender's bridge was struck by a Harpoon-II missile.  The explosion killed the Western Alliance task force commanders and nearly everyone else on the bridge except Ensign Conway.  In that moment Conway, herself injured from shrapnel buried in her neck and lower jaw, and covered in blood that wasn't just her own, took command of the ship.  Listening to the near-panicked comm chatter of the task force, Conway immediately grasped that the patchwork multinational battlegroup would come apart at the seams if they believed that Admiral De Vries had been killed.  And so, for the next hour and a half, a 15-year-old girl with steely calm impersonated an Admiral while leading a disparate, rag-tag collection of military forces to victory over the most genocidal madman history has ever known. 

Most historians mark the Battle of Westchester as the true end of the Last War.  In the light of victory, Conway's chain-of-command transgressions were quickly overlooked.  In the following years she swiftly rose through the ranks of the remnant Royal Navy, then the briefly-constituted United Earth bluewater navy, and finally the Terran Republic Space Command.  Due to her toughness, reputation, and the faint scars visible on her jaw and neck, Conway was known by the starmen of the Fleet as "Bag Of Nails," but never to her face. 

In the present, most of the Nakhimov's bridge crew was swiftly shaking off the shock of the jump, though a few were vomiting into emesis bags.  Just a few, though, Conway noted with some satisfaction.  Her first order cut through the background noise of the bridge with authority.  "Give me Fleet status."

Nearby, Captain Sheldrup (for it was actually his ship, not the Admiral's) waited a moment for the various sections to report in via his earpiece.  "Ma'am, we've cleared the gate.  All shipwide systems operational.  All vessels of the battlegroup are reporting green status.  Our scouts are already moving out in a screen, per orders.  No contact.  Ma'am, we just received an update from the sensor buoy.  The wreck of the Thor Heyerdahl was no longer visible on sensors as of about four hours ago.  However, we are still detecting what appears to be the wreck of a Fang in the system's main asteroid belt."

"Very good, we were expecting our wreck to be broken up eventually.    Hail all commands.  Condition Yellow.  Execute Attack Plan Manifest Destiny.  Combat elements, proceed in formation to that Fang at 3200 km/s.  Sensors up.  If the Stalkers so much as whisper I want to hear what they are saying."

« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 01:47:40 AM by Cavgunner »
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2019, 05:37:32 PM »
April 8, 2052: Alpha Centauri

Approximately 40 million kilometers ahead of the main task force, the Fleet Scout Outrider advanced at a leisurely speed of 3200 km/s.  The boat's CO, Lieutenant Commander Fedor Belov, had very specific instructions: locate the enemy's Fang-class fightercraft.  In truth, Belov knew that he and his ship were bait.  His small ship's onboard sensor array was just powerful enough to pick up a Fang fighter far enough away so that his ship might be able to evade.  However, the sensors were too short-ranged to give a clear view of local space.  Currently, the Outrider was running with its sensors on active sweep.  This was not so that Outrider could detect a possible target.  Like holding a torch at night in a dark forest, it was instead so that possible targets would see Outrider, and come to it. 

These thoughts did little to console Belov.  For the hundredth time, he checked the seals on his pressure seat and glanced at each of the crew manning Outrider's snug, cockpit-like bridge.  He noticed the Sensors officer straighten up suddenly.  "Commander!" the man called over internal comms.  "I have contacts!  Sending to your station!"

Belov tapped into his console and viewed the real-time sensor report.  At once, his heart sank.  Years ago, the Thor Heyerdahl had been destroyed by five Fang-class ships.  No one had any idea what if any capacity the Stalkers might have to produce more.

In real time, the readout in front of him showed 32 Fang fightercraft approaching Outrider at high speed.  Outrider's sensors had worked... barely.  Now Belov realized that he and his crew had only a few seconds to react, because if they didn't, in the very next moment the enemy ships would be dancing on top of Outrider's hull.

"HELM!  180 degrees and full burn, double quick!  Now!  NOW!"

As a credit to the ship's training, the helmsman responded almost instantly.  Belov was pushed back into his command couch as the ship spun on its axis.  Half a moment later, the powerful drive thruster flared fully into life.  In the space of a few heartbeats, the ship had accelerated to a speed of nearly 15,000 km/s on an opposite heading.  Although the ship was depressurized, Belov could still hear, and certainly feel, the engine's power being transmitted through the vibrations of the deck-plating under his pressure boots.  As Outrider shot away like a jackrabbit breaking cover, sensors detected a volley of energy spikes from the enemy ships.  In the same instant, one of Outrider's redundant fuel tanks took a catastrophic hit and vented into space.  A second hit struck the main thruster, but somehow it remained intact.  The ship shuddered and groaned, but it didn't stop accelerating.

For the next several seconds, there was no sound on the bridge comm-net, just anxious silence as the crew watched their instruments with dread.  A second volley didn't come.  Outrider was pulling away. 

Belov finally released the death-grip he'd had on the armrests as he took a moment to compose himself.  "Oh f***.  F*** f*** f***.  I was safer in Ukraine." 

Finally, he keyed his mic.  "Helm, continue speed and course until I don't say so.  Communications, send to commander Nakhimov.  We have made contact with the Stalkers."





 



« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 01:47:04 AM by Cavgunner »
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2019, 11:23:18 PM »
April 8, 2052

Over the next half hour Admiral Conway's fleet methodically cut the Fang fighter-boats to ribbons.  At first, just the Moray-class frigates could obtain a target lock.  The frigates' sensors and fire control possessed the resolution to detect such small craft at range.  Unfortunately, the "Dart" Anti-Missile Missiles were performing below expectation.  On one hand, the Fangs appeared to be quite heavily armored for their size (level 3 estimated).  The Dart missiles were not meant to engage well armored opponents, so that factor could be forgiven.  However, on the other hand, the supposedly fast and manueverable Darts were experiencing a high rate of misses.  As a result, on average it was taking 3 or 4 full volleys of 36-48 missiles to ensure a kill on one Fang.  This was not acceptable.  Fortunately, the Moray frigates boasted deep ammo wells.  Maintaining continuous fire was not a problem.





As the two opposing forces moved closer, the narrow-band auxiliary fire controls on the Luna destroyers began to achieve target locks.  The Javelin anti-ship missiles used by the destroyers proved to be more spectaular on their targets, if not necessarily more efficient.  While there were still an unacceptably high percentage of misses, 2 Javelin hits seemed to guarantee an incapacitation on a Fang, and sometimes killed it.  Without exception, 3 Javelin hits ensured a 100% kill.

Despite the high amount of wastage, by the time the Fangs closed to within close-combat range, only a few of them remained.  Throughout this first stage of the battle, the Akizuki missile boats held their fire.  Admiral Conway strongly suspected that the force her fleet was engaging was just a screen, so she wanted to keep her alpha strike power in reserve. 






 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2019, 01:15:21 AM »
April 8, 2052

The command boat Nakhimov hung quietly in space a few million kilometers behind the Fleet.  From this distance, occasionally a small, bright flash of light would appear as one or more nuclear weapons detonated on a target.  The interior of the Nakhimov's command bridge, however, was not nearly so peaceful. 

"OPS!  What is taking so long?  Why is no one firing?  I want those ships turned into dust NOW!"

"I'm sorry, ma'am," responded Lieutenant Commander Christopher Butler, Conway's young and harried operations officer.  "Our crews are having a hard time re-engaging new targets at this short distance." 

Conway frowned.  "Bollocks.  What you mean is that the Fleet's training for this type of short-ranged combat was insufficient." 

"Ah... yes, ma'am," responded Butler, as he nervously turned his attention back to his terminal. 

At last, the corvette Battleaxe opened fire at a Fang passing a few hundred kilometers in front of it.  Miraculously, all three 15cm lasers hit, burning three plate-sized holes clean through the small craft and out the other side.  The Fang didn't explode, exactly.  It simply seemed to... deflate, and go limp.  Viscous fluid expelled from the craft.

"Is it just me, or do these things seem more organic than mechanical?" Conway asked aloud.

"Ma'am?"

"I don't think these ships are piloted by aliens.  I think they are the aliens."

"That would be incredible, ma'am.  And very disconcerting."

"Butler, if there were a few more of them, we'd be getting ripped apart here.  So get my ships firing or I'll skin you alive here on the bridge. "

Butler knew that she wasn't joking.  "Yes, ma'am." 

Despite the kill of a few moments ago, Conway once again grimaced as the ship's holotank displayed a single Fang enthusiastically strafing the destroyer Amalthea, scoring some hits.  Conway used the ship's sensors to magnify the image of the small craft.  The little ship, or whatever it was, certainly looked unlike anything a sane human would produce: a madman's cross of an armored crustacean and a squid.  The Fang seemed to flex its body as it maneuvered around the Amalthea, like it was swimming in a current.  What on Earth was it using as a thruster?  Whatever equivalent it possessed seem to have as much thrust as anything used by humans.





Conway shook away such thoughts.  Reflection could wait for the post-battle analysis.  "Well, this has gone on long enough.  Send in our Starhawks.  We'll see what they can do while the rest of this Fleet gets its s*** together."


***************************

The Starhawk-class space superiority fighter is a limited-production prototype series intended to test the Republic's starfighter technologies under actual combat conditions.  Intended solely to operate in a vacuum, the Starhawk is not what one would call an "attractive" vessel.  Instead of the sleek lines of atmospheric fighters, the Starhawk possesses a blocky, hexagonal form built around a quick-firing 10cm railgun and studded with maneuvering thrusters.  The Starhawk is strictly designed for short-ranged deployment in the vicinity of its parent fleet.  While it possesses enough fuel for up to a 5-day operation, any duration over 3 days would become increasingly unpleasant for the 4-man crew due to the extremely spartan (some would say non-existent) facilities onboard the craft.

The Starhawk is envisioned as something of a last-ditch dogfighting counter to the Fang.  It is also hoped that they might be able to lend some point defense against opponents using missiles, but that latter capability remains untested in combat.  Sixteen Starhawks are in service.  Since the class is mainly being used to refine starfighter theory, no more are planned at this time.

Code: [Select]
Starhawk class Fighter    432 tons     4 Crew     129.7 BP      TCS 8.64  TH 29.4  EM 0
9722 km/s     Armour 1-5     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 0     PPV 3
Maint Life 0 Years     MSP 0    AFR 86%    IFR 1.2%    1YR 21    5YR 319    Max Repair 73.5 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 0.1 months    Spare Berths 0   

General Dynamics Starfury 84 EP Magneto-plasma Drive (1)    Power 84    Fuel Use 196.49%    Signature 29.4    Exp 17%
Fuel Capacity 20 000 Litres    Range 4.2 billion km   (5 days at full power)

Bofors AB 10cm Railgun V3/C3 (1x4)    Range 30 000km     TS: 9722 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 3    ROF 5        1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bofors AB "Talon" Fire Control S00.7 36-3000 (FTR) (1)    Max Range: 72 000 km   TS: 12000 km/s     86 72 58 44 31 17 3 0 0 0
General Dynamics "Triple Three" Stellarator Fusion Reactor Technology PB-1 (1)     Total Power Output 3    Armour 0    Exp 5%

Raytheon Microglass Active Search Sensor MR0-R10 (1)     GPS 48     Range 910k km    Resolution 10

This design is classed as a Fighter for production, combat and maintenance purposes
 
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Offline JustAnotherDude

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2019, 05:49:55 AM »
Got to say, this is about as clean a Swarm fight as I've ever seen without a specialized fleet. Also, the play by play is great! Really enjoy the little snippets of the captains and commanders.
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2019, 02:17:19 PM »
April 8, 2052

The last two Fang fighter-boats did not go down quietly.  Slightly faster and slightly more manueverable than the Starhawk fighters pursuing them, the Stalker soldier-ships twisted, dodged, and spat death at their pursuers like cornered, enraged animals.  In contrast to the unnaturally maneuverable Fangs, the Starhawks used power and brute force to muscle through space. 

The Starhawk's main advantage over the Fang was in firepower.  The 10cm railgun, although shorter-ranged than the Fang's meson blaster, possessed an extremely high rate of fire. 

In the end, the Fangs had nowhere to run.  A hailstorm of armor-piercing projectiles ended each of them. 


 
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Offline Garfunkel

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2019, 02:40:53 PM »
Can't recall if I've ever seen anyone using beam fighters to fight Swarm soldiers before. So thanks for that!
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2019, 03:42:29 PM »
April 15, 2052

Bathed in the light of Alpha Centauri's primary star, Mother shepherded her remaining children out of the system.  She could no longer sense those she had sent to slow the creatures that were now infesting this place.  Mother knew about humans, of course, though she did not call them by that name.  One of her workers had recently cracked open the shell that her children had caught some cycles ago.  Mother had not felt surprise, exactly, at what her worker had found, because her intellect worked in ways that a short-lived human mind would be unable to comprehend.  But what she had learned was, well, unexpected.  The shell had not been alive at all.  It was merely a conveyance for the tiny, ridiculously frail creatures within it.  Unusual, yes, but not unprecedented.  She had encountered such things before, long ago.

This star was no longer safe.  She would find a home for her children elsewhere.  She had endured for a long, long time, and would continue to do so.  Her vast bulk had the scars to prove it. 

What was that? 

The soldiers swarming around Mother stirred uneasily, sensing that she had detected something.  She directed her attention to a point in the distance.  Something was moving there.  Many somethings. 

Those creatures.  She'd been discovered.  They had thrown a swarm of their grotesque weapons at her.

Mother knew that she would not survive this.  In these last moments her vast, alien intellect felt no anger or self-pity, but there was a sensation not unlike a twinge of regret.  She would never again see gamma rays, or hear x-rays, or smell dark matter.  She would never again feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over her.  And her children... her beautiful, loyal children.  They would not-















 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2019, 04:31:31 PM »
April 15, 2052

The Fleet's missile boats had expended their entire complement of missiles.  Out of 360 Javelins fired, it took approximately 240 to kill the Stalker command-carrier.  It was, by several orders of magnitude, the single greatest application of firepower in human history.

"It was the only way to be sure," Admiral Conway commented later.

The surviving warheads immediately began tracking secondary targets via their on-board thermal sensors.  4 more Fangs died in the shadow of the command-carrier's expanding fireball.





In a repeat of the events from a few days earlier, the Fleet once again began picking the surviving Fangs apart at range.  This time, however, the Fleet demonstrated much greater proficiency in destroying them all before any could come closer than a few million kilometers.






In the battle's last act, the Fleet detected six medium-sized Stalker ships hovering around the same asteroid where the single Fang wreck was located. 





Since the Fleet was running low on ammunition, Admiral Conway directed each destroyer to fire one, and only one, salvo of missiles at each one of these targets.

The medium Stalker ships made no attempt to evade.  Evidently lightly armored and slow, the Javelin missiles proved more than adequate to kill each target in 2 or 3 hits. 





The Battle of Alpha Centauri was over.  The star system now belonged to humanity.



Final Totals:


Terran Republic

Own ships lost:  0

Own ships damaged:  4

Casualties:  11


Stalkers

Own ships lost:  59*

*Presumed to be individual lifeforms.  No further units detected.


« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 04:56:45 PM by Cavgunner »
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2019, 04:37:51 PM »
I've enjoyed this so far! It gets to the interesting stuff very quickly, which I like a lot.

Thanks, I decided to cut directly to the point where the Republic had grown to a reasonable size and was starting to encounter problems it had to overcome.  I figured that 20 game-years worth of "Oh hey look we unlocked another construction tech" would not have been very exciting.
 

Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2019, 08:19:49 PM »
May 14, 2052

Excerpt from official log, Sophia Conway, Rear Admiral, Terran Republic Space Command

9.  Closing statements:

I would caution against the tendency to frame the engagement at Alpha Centauri as a great victory.  A victory it was, yes.  But let us not forget that we outmassed our adversary by over four times, and brought at least a corresponding amount of firepower to bear.  Furthermore, the enemy seemed to possess no long-range attack capability whatsoever.  The Ancient Guardians have demonstrated long-range attack capability.  This is a factor that we must bear in mind as the Fleet's eye is turned to GJ 1207. 

How, then, would our navy perform against a comparable foe?  At present, I would have serious doubts.  The Fleet is new, and still green.  Alpha Centauri was just the first taste of combat, so in this instance our brilliant plan to simply stampede the enemy with overwhelming brute force was enough.  However, in the future a much more flexible touch will be needed.  Namely, I personally observed several instances where simple orders from my command boat to other ships in the task force took nearly a minute to execute.  Imagine then, if you will, a situation in which our Fleet- or heaven forbid, a single ship- is ambushed at point-blank range, such as when exiting a jump point.  In such a scenario, orders MUST be executed swiftly, otherwise a significantly inferior force would be able to exact a deadly toll before a response can be delivered.  Put simply, when our starmen are not at war, they must be training, and damn the expense.

Our sensor technology is inadequate across the board.  I would much prefer the ability to see the enemy at a distance, even if I am not able to hit him yet.  Continued research in this area MUST be a priority.

Aside from that, from a pure design standpoint our ships performed to expectation.  However, our missiles are inadequate.  The next generation of missiles must be more nimble, faster, and much smarter while retaining at least the current level of destructive capacity.  Until then, I would predict that our Moray frigates, in particular, will continue to demonstrate mediocre performance.  An improvement in range in our missile types would also be welcome.

Since it has specifically been requested that I comment on the performance of our Starhawk squadrons, I will simply say this.  A smaller, faster, slightly longer-legged design would probably have more utility.  Also, while the onboard active sensor might be useful in rare situations, I think starfighters would, in general, be better off relying on other units for active sensor coverage.

I would also like to state that the Nakhimov performed to expectation.  However, I feel that it is, in principle, highly undignified to command a battlefleet from a glorified bathtub. 
 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2019, 10:13:03 PM »
May 14, 2052: literally a few minutes later...





 
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Offline Cavgunner (OP)

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Re: The Rise of the Terran Republic
« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2019, 11:45:57 PM »
May 14, 2052

The Francisco Pizarro, famed for its discovery of the extinct Corronis civilization in 2050, is now the 4th Pathfinder to be lost in the course of exploration.  Since the formation of the Terran Republic Space Command, the Exploration Corps has suffered the most casualties of all service branches. 

The strength-12 torpedoes of the Zhuk fast attack craft easily overcame the Pizarro's light armor.  Lieutenant Commander Mitchell Riley was last seen on the bridge directing his ship's evacuation effort.  He went down with his ship, but thanks to his efforts, half of his crew survived. 

The Pizarro's shuttle was able to disengage.  It will wait a few days at the Struve 2398 jumpgate before returning to pick up the survivors. 

Only 8 Pathfinders now remain in service.  While the Navy could direct an existing shipyard to resume production, that would not be desirable.  While the Pathfinder is fantastic for mapping "safe" systems, it is completely unequipped to avoid, evade, or overcome potential threats. 

It seems that an entirely new exploration ship is needed.

 
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