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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Crusade - Updates
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2019, 10:45:15 AM »
The third of three posts today

On February 9th, while the Expeditionary Fleet was fighting in Necromunda, a Tyranid Lictor entered Taranis. The light cruiser Archangel engaged and scored four strength-1 hits with weapon batteries, before the Lictor retreated back into the Galen system. Four months later, the same Lictor transited again. Archangel had recently moved to Fortress Taranis for an overhaul so the jump point picket was the Endurance II class cruiser Ad Liberis, armed with four lance batteries, three weapon batteries and two torpedo launchers. She was an old, ion-engined ship but her crew was very experienced. Within a few seconds of the transit, Ad Liberis had scored hits with two lances and two weapon batteries. The Lictor attempted to ram, presumably because it was still suffering from jump shock or the jump drive was damaged. Ad Liberis avoided the ramming attempt and the Lictor was destroyed shortly thereafter by a MK I standard torpedo.

The first battlecruiser refit was completed in August. Overlord, lead ship of her original class, was refitted to the Overlord III class in August Y2521. The refit was less extensive than the cruiser-size warships as she retained her original armour and the same number of torpedo launchers. The main changes were new magneto-plasma engines, the replacement of the two lance batteries with particle lances and an upgrade to the energy weapon fire controls. The MK II Energy Weapon Fire Control was hardened to resist the Tyranid microwave weapon and had a fifty percent chance to avoid its effects.

Overlord III class Battlecruiser      54,000 tons       1,387 Crew       8,650.6 BP       TCS 1,080    TH 5,760    EM 7,920
5333 km/s      Armour 8-127       Shields 264-330       HTK 310      Sensors 6/11/0/0      DCR 42      PPV 206.64
Maint Life 2.11 Years     MSP 4,205    AFR 555%    IFR 7.7%    1YR 1,261    5YR 18,910    Max Repair 480 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 250 tons     Magazine 1,512   
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 18 months    Flight Crew Berths 20    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor RDS-960 Magneto-Plasma Drive (6)    Power 5760    Fuel Use 28.58%    Signature 960    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 2,079,000 Litres    Range 24.2 billion km (52 days at full power)
Valentinian-Stern VS-33 Void Shield (8)     Recharge Time 330 seconds (0.8 per second)

Dominus-Varnus Defence Systems DV-2 Defence Turret (2x6)    Range 30,000km     TS: 16000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Astaroth Kinetics AK-20 Weapons Battery (10x4)    Range 160,000km     TS: 5,333 km/s     Power 12-4     Accuracy Modifier 100%     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Valentinian Precision Armaments V12-240 Particle Lance (2)    Range 240,000km     TS: 5,333 km/s     Power 37-5    ROF 40       
MK I Defence Turret Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 16,000 km/s     84 69 53 38 22 6 0 0 0 0
MK II Energy Weapon Fire Control (3)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,400 km/s     96 92 88 84 80 77 73 69 65 61
R17 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 51    Exp 5%

Torpedo Launcher (12)     Missile Size: 6    Rate of Fire 25
MK I Torpedo Fire Control (2)     Range 53m km    Resolution 100
MK I Standard Torpedo (252)    Speed: 20,400 km/s    End: 40.9m     Range: 50m km    WH: 9    Size: 6    TH: 68/40/20

MK I Battlecruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 34560     Range 124.8m km    Resolution 180
MK I Torpedo Detection Array (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 695.1k km    Resolution 1
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

The Expeditionary Fleet left Necromunda in late May and returned to Sol for resupply and overhaul, leaving four frigates in Necromunda for security. The second Dictator class cruiser, Rhadamanthine, was refitted in September and joined the fleet, doubling the number of Starhawk III bombers to thirty-two. After consultation with both Lord-Admiral Verus and the Emperor, Lord-Captain Caliban decided the next target for his fleet would be the Necron tomb world in Cerix Magnus, adjacent to the key Imperium system of Scarus.

The Scarus system was home to two Imperium colonies. Scarus IV had a population of sixteen million, a hundred mines, sixty construction factories, twenty maintenance facilities and a refuelling station. All one hundred and sixty-eight of the Imperium’s automated mines were located on the fifth moon of Scarus VIII, which had ten mineral deposits, including high accessibility Duranium and Gallicite. A dozen Gaia terraforming platforms were in orbit of the moon and had reduced the colony cost from 7.83 to 2.00. The terraforming effort would not be able to reduce the colony cost much further, so it would never be an ideal habitable world. Even so, the first colonists arrived during Y2521 and manned mining complexes would be moved to the moon as soon as lift capacity was available.

Scarus VIII – Moon 5 Survey Report
Duranium:   227,807   0.80
Neutronium:   225,279   0.40
Corbomite:   76,104   0.40
Tritanium:   14,818   0.60
Boronide:   628,184   0.30
Mercassium:   78,477   0.90
Vendarite:   1,737,279   0.40
Sorium:   222,718   0.60
Uridium:   493,184   0.30
Gallicite:   140,577   0.90

Cerix Magnus was a red dwarf system with three planets. Cerix Magnus II, a tide-locked, Earth-sized world with gravity of 0.89G, a breathable nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere of 0.8 atm, extensive oceans and a temperature of -47C, had a colony cost of 0.30. The survey frigate Vita Brevis entered the system on 30th May Y2516 and did not return. On July 8th, the jump frigate Flamberge transited into Cerix Magnus to investigate and found the wreck of Vita Brevis. Eight hours after Flamberge arrived in Cerix Magnus, she detected an active sensor emission from a Necron Cairn class destroyer and transited back into Scarus. A month later, the destroyer Omnis Arcanum transited into Cerix Magnus, with the assistance of Flamberge, and was faced with the thermal signatures of four Necron ships at point blank range; a 20,000 ton Phaeron class escort cruiser plus three 10,000 ton destroyers – a Cairn, Dirge and Khopesh. Fortunately, the crew of Omnis Arcanum was very experienced and she escaped back through the jump point just before the arrival of Necron torpedoes. Omnis Arcanum was about to return to Cerix Magnus as part of the Expeditionary Fleet.

The Expeditionary Fleet arrived at the Scarus – Cerix Magna jump point in early November after refuelling and resupplying at Scarus IV. The fleet was joined by two more jump-capable Endeavour class light cruisers and two Falchion class jump frigates, providing a much improved jump point assault capability.

Expeditionary Fleet
Lunar III class Cruiser: Agrippa, Imperial Wrath
Dictator II class Cruiser: Fortitude, Rhadamanthine
Dominator class Cruiser: Ultima Praetor
Endeavour II class Light Cruiser: Endeavour, Leonid, Sanctis Legate, Sword of Voss
Dauntless IV class Light Cruiser: Divine Crusade, Guardian, Hammer of Truth, Vigilant
Vanguard III class Strike Cruiser: Angelic Blade, Dread Argent
Cobra III class Destroyer: Arbitrator, Omnis Arcanum
Firestorm IV class Frigate: Harrower, Just Persecution
Falchion II class Jump Frigate: Spatha
Falchion III class Jump Frigate: Gladius, Katana
Sword III class Frigate: Final Silence, Mariatus, Order Absolute, Pegasus, Rapier
6x Thunderhawk II class Assault Transport:
32x Starhawk III class Bomber:
8x Aquila class Lander:

Working on the assumption the Necron force encountered by Omnis Arcanum was still at the jump point, Lord-Captain Gaius Caliban ordered a full-scale jump point assault. The Expeditionary Fleet included eight jump-capable warships, which allowed a total of twenty-four ships to conduct simultaneous squadron jumps. The Dictator II class cruisers Rhadamanthine and Fortitude and the Sword III class frigate Pegasus remained in Scarus. Every other ship jumped into Cerix Magnus. There was no resistance at the jump point, so the fleet reassembled and moved in-system. The jump point was only two hundred and nine million kilometres from the inner system, so the journey would be short. The same four ships detected by Omnis Arcanum were detected approaching from the planet; a Phaeron class escort cruiser, armed with twenty-three launchers for the Necron anti-torpedoes, plus Cairn, Dirge and Khopesh class destroyers, each of which was armed with seven launchers for Necron anti-ship torpedoes. As all of the Necron ships were torpedo-armed and faster than even the latest Imperium warships, it was unlikely they would voluntarily move into energy range of the Expeditionary Fleet.



When the range fell to thirty-six million kilometres, the Necron ships reversed course and moved back toward the inner system, holding the range steady. Caliban considered launching a Starhawk strike but decided against it. His Starhawks and their motherships were all armed with MK III Light Torpedoes. While the MK III was very fast, at 48,000 km/s, the maximum range was only six point four million kilometres. It was designed for use against the Tyranids where speed was far more important than range. Attacking the fleeing Necrons would expose the bombers to torpedo attack and Caliban knew from the design of the Khopesh-class destroyer captured in Procyon that the Necrons could target his Starhawks at more than thirty million kilometres. In fact, he would have been faced with the same problem with the earlier versions of the light torpedo, which had maximum ranges of around twenty million kilometres. The MK III would function far more effectively once they approached the planet, which couldn’t run out of range.

As the Expeditionary Fleet moved within active sensor range of Cerix Magnus II, a Tesseract was detected in orbit. There was no sign of the Scythe or Shroud class orbital defence platforms that had been present at all other tomb worlds, which mean that anti-torpedo defence would fall entirely on the Phaeron, plus whatever defence turrets were present on the destroyers. The Khopesh class now serving with Battlefleet Centaurus as Procyon Victory had the equivalent of a single Imperium commercial defence turret. The absence of defence platforms might also mean this was regarded as a less important world for the Necrons. Even so, the Necrons’ primary objective in previous encounters seemed to be to defend their tomb worlds so, on the assumption the Necrons mobile units would retreat to Cerix Magnus II, Lord-Captain Caliban decided to take his fleet within six million kilometres of the planet and launch an overwhelming strike from his thirty-two Starhawks, while they remained within the point defence envelope of the fleet.



Unfortunately, the Necrons did not cooperate. The mobile force retreated past the planet and kept the range open. Presumably, whatever passed for intelligence on the robotic ships had realised that holding at the planet was likely to lead to their destruction. Rather than use Starhawks or shipboard torpedoes against the Tesseract, Caliban ordered the fleet to close to point-blank range so the strike cruisers could conduct another boarding operation. The Tesseract wasn’t yet firing, as the controlling intelligence no doubt realised it could not penetrate the defences of the Expeditionary Fleet. This time though, there was no Scythe to join it at close range. As the fleet drew within a million kilometres, the Tesseract finally opened fire in a last act of defiance before its inevitable demise.

The fleet brushed aside salvos of thirty-four torpedoes coming in every fifteen seconds as it approached Cerix Magnus II. At ten thousand kilometres, the six Thunderhawk assault transports burst from their hangar bays and dropped their Space Marines between two torpedo salvos. While the Space Marines were using breaching charges to blast their way into the ship, the Expeditionary Fleet remained at close range, impervious to the continual waves of torpedoes. The four Necron ships remained at thirty-six million kilometres, refusing to be drawn into combat. The action to capture the Tesseract weapons platform lasted only four minutes. Six Space Marines, including two Terminator Marines, were killed by direct enemy action. Unfortunately, the Tesseract’s vast, empty magazine was destroyed during the fighting, which caused the deaths of a further eighteen Space Marines.

During the approach to the planet, no ground forces had been detected, although there was a small population signature. Population signatures had been detected at the tomb worlds in Procyon and Necromunda, although those signatures had disappeared by the time the ground combat was completed, presumably as a result of collateral damage. The Thunderhawks recovered the Space Marines from the captured Tesseract and landed them on the surface of Cerix Magnus II. With no Necron mechs on the surface, the small Space Marine force was sufficient to secure the Necron ‘population’, which comprised two tracking stations, a refuelling station and an ordnance transfer station. The six Thunderhawks loaded the marines and landed on their strike cruisers.

With the planet secure, Lord-Captain Caliban’s attention turned to the small Necron fleet. The alien ships only adjusted their position as the orbit of Cerix Magnus II caused the Expeditionary Fleet to move closer. With no way to move the Starhawks into range without exposing them to return fire and no way to move into energy range unless the Necrons allowed it, his options were limited. More in hope than expectation, he ordered a single salvo of MK III standard torpedoes from the Lunar III cruisers Agrippa and Imperial Wrath and the Cobra III destroyers Arbitrator and Omnis Arcanum. Twenty-eight torpedoes headed for the alien ships. As expected, every torpedo was hit by anti-torpedoes, with the last one destroyed half a million kilometres from the target

The Necron fleet presented a real problem. It would be dangerous to send commercial vessels into the system while the threat of long-range torpedo attack remained. While the Necrons were not prepared to waste ordnance on the Expeditionary Fleet, it was likely they would attack any other vessels moving within range. Even lone warships arriving as reinforcement would be vulnerable. If the fleet left the planet to push the Necrons back, the recently captured Tesseract would become a target. Caliban considered splitting his force into three and trying to herd the Necrons within six million kilometres of the Dictator class cruisers so he could launch a Starhawk strike, but he was concerned that the smaller elements would have insufficient defences against torpedoes if the destroyers coordinated with the Phaeron.  For now, he decided to leave his five Sword class frigates at the planet to defend the Tesseract against the longer-range missiles of the destroyers, while taking the rest of the fleet to push the Necrons back to a safe distance. In the meantime, he passed on the problem of how to run down the Necrons down to Imperium Intelligence and asked for recommendations.

After several hours of pursuit, the Necron squadron was two hundred million kilometres from Cerix Magnus II and on the far side of the planet from the jump point. Caliban called a halt to the chase, but maintained the position of the Expeditionary Fleet between the Necrons and the inner system. On November 27th, a Goliath class tug entered the system and began towing the Tesseract back to Terra, where it could be repaired. There was no reaction from the Necron ships, which were probably out of sensor range of the planet. A week later, the survey frigate Morning Star arrived at Cerix Magnus II to begin the orbital survey, again without incident.

Imperial Intelligence came back to Lord-Captain Caliban in mid-December. In conjunction with Imperium weapon designers, they had created the blueprints for the MK IV Multi-Warhead Torpedo. The MK IV would be fired from shipboard launchers at a range of fifty million kilometres and would release a pair of MK III Light Torpedoes when it was within five million kilometres of the target. Two faster torpedoes would be much harder to defend against than a single, slower-moving weapon. The problem was time. It would take more than a year to build sufficient torpedoes to equip the Expeditionary Fleet, plus a couple of planned extra destroyers. Leaving the fleet on station that long would cause significant maintenance failures in the meantime. The Necron tactic of staying out of Starhawk range and refusing to waste torpedoes against a well-defended target was proving very troublesome.

High Admiral Verus recommended trying the tactic of surrounding the Necron squadron. The only other short-term option was to send other torpedo-armed ships, primarily from Taranis but that entailed high risk if the Tyranids should return. There was no consideration of simply abandoning Cerix Magnus. Lord-Captain Caliban detached smaller fleets from the main body, each one comprising a Lunar III, two Dauntless IVs, a Vanguard III, a Firestorm IV, a Falchion III and two Sword IIIs, with tonnage of around 125,000. The much-reduced main body of the fleet comprised the two Dictator II class cruisers, all the ion-engined ships, both Cobra IIIs and a single Sword III, with total tonnage of 225,000. The two detached forces began moving away from the main body and shortly thereafter, the Necrons began to move too, apparently moving to intercept one of the smaller fleets.



Caliban ordered the detached force to change course so that any intercept course from the Necrons would bring them within six million kilometres of the main body. The Necrons refused to fall for the trick and began following a circular course around the main body, trying to reacquire the smaller fleet without moving too close to the main body. The detached fleet set a course to move to the far side of the main body from the Necrons in an attempt to draw them closer, but the Necrons reversed course entirely and began moving away. The two detached forces reverted to their original mission, moving in a wider arc than before. As one of them began moving closer the Necrons retreated again. It was a frustrating experience for the Expeditionary Fleet.



Finally, the three Imperium fleets managed to surround the Necrons and slowly began corralling them. Although the Necrons tried to evade in one direction and then another, the net slowly closed in. The Necrons continued to hold their fire. Either they were out of ordnance or still did not believe they could penetrate Imperium defences.



Finally, with all three fleets less than five million kilometres from the target, Caliban ordered his thirty-two Starhawks to leave their hangar bays and launch a full strike of MK III light torpedoes. With the range so short, there was no need for the bombers to leave the protective point defence umbrella of the main body. Half the missiles were directed at the Phaeron, with a quarter each targeted on the Khopesh and the Dirge. The Cairn was left alone for the moment. The first interception by anti-torpedoes took place at just under two million kilometres from the Necrons, although only two light torpedoes were destroyed. The MK III was designed with maximum boost, giving it a top speed of 48,000 km/s and making it very hard to intercept. The downside was its very short range. Only twenty-six light torpedoes were hit by anti-torpedo and three more by point-blank defences. A total of two hundred and ninety-eight torpedoes struck the three targets, leaving nothing but wreckage.

The Cairn class destroyer was the last Necron ship in Cerix Magnus. With little to fear from a ship with only seven torpedo launchers, Caliban ordered the three elements of his fleet to continue closing in an effort to bring the ship within energy range of at least one group. The Starhawks landed on Fortitude and Rhadamanthine and began refuelling and re-arming. The Cairn ran in every direction, but each time one or more of the Imperium fleets moved to intercept and forced it to turn again. The range continued to fall. Finally, out of options, with the closest Imperium ship at less than half a million kilometres, the Cairn tried to run between two of the fleets, then turned and opened fire.



The Cairn fired two salvos at each of the two smaller fleets, all of which were shot down by point defence. One Imperial force moved within 220,000 kilometres and the first particle lances opened fire, albeit without immediate success. The Cairn strayed within weapon battery range of the main body, allowing all four Endeavours, the Sword III frigate Rapier and the jump frigate Spatha to register strength-1 hits. The Cairn continued to launch torpedo salvos every fifteen seconds but the end was nigh. The Necron destroyer went down under a hail of fire from weapon batteries at just thirty thousand kilometres. Finally, the Cerix Magnus system was under firm Imperium control. There were no major medal awards for what was a relatively small action. However, all the officers in the Expeditionary Fleet and its attached Space Marine contingent were awarded the Cerix Magnus Combat Ribbon.

Morning Star completed her survey of Cerix Magnus II on December 18th, discovering a ruined alien outpost, an ancient alien energy-weapon research station, four million tons of accessibility 0.5 Duranium and four other minerals at minimal accessibility. The ruined alien outpost was the smallest ruin discovered so far, which explained the relatively small Necron force in the system. The research station would help any Imperial energy weapon research that was conducted on the planet, boosting it by perhaps thirty percent. There was also a low chance that a ground survey would find additional deposits.

In Gamma Virginis, site of another Necron tomb world, the survey frigate Quaesitor completed a two-year mission to conduct a gravitational survey, despite the large Necron presence. One of the survey locations was within the solar system of the B component, which required careful navigation to avoid detection. The captain of the frigate, Commander Thomas Damiel, was awarded the Intelligence Star to recognise his intrepidity. Gamma Virginis was confirmed as a dead-end system. The survey also confirmed that Imperium forces could operate in the system as long as they did not venture too close to the Necrons, which meant a base could be established in the solar system of the primary to support action against the Necrons in the companion solar system.

New construction in Y2521 included eight Starhawk III bombers, five Ambrosia class fuel harvesting platforms, four Solomon class orbital mining platforms, two Gaia class terraforming platforms, two Jericho class colony ship and a Universe II class mass conveyor. The increased production of the various space stations was due to two main factors; shipbuilding technology was enhanced in Y2520, leading to a one-third increase in production rates, and the governor of Centaurus Colony, where three of the four platform-producing shipyards were located, was very supportive of the shipbuilding effort, adding a further thirty-five percent to the production rate.

Refits in Y2521 included the Overlord III class battlecruiser Overlord, the Lunar III cruiser Indomitus Imperious, the Dictator II cruiser Rhadamanthine, the Dauntless IV light cruisers Bellerophon and Aegis, the Sword III frigates Sabre and Strident Virtue, the Cobra III class destroyers Implacable, Valour Eternal and Veritas and the Falchion III jump frigates Falchion and Gladius. As the Gallicite Crisis eased slightly, the number of ships being refitted was increasing. For some of the lighter classes, very few ion-engined variants remained in service. The Imperium would soon be in a position to start building new warships once again.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 11:09:53 AM by Steve Walmsley »
 
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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Crusade - Updates
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2020, 06:50:17 AM »
Y2522
The Ordo Xenos on Cerix Magnus II identified fourteen sites for recovery operations. Ordo Machinum formations discovered maintenance supplies, fuel, wealth, minerals and eight installations, including a sector command.

Black Star, the first Tempest III class survey frigate, was launched in mid Y2522. The Tempest III was twenty percent larger than the Tempest II and included several new features. The newly developed engines had thermal reduction technology, lowering their thermal signature by fifty percent. The passive sensor suite was the best of any Imperial design while the active sensor was comparable to that of a Lunar class cruiser. The most significant change was the addition of ten Torpedo Box Launchers. The box launcher was a scaled up version of the Starhawk light torpedo launcher and could launch a full-size standard torpedo. The normal load out would be equally divided between the new MK II Active and Passive Augur torpedoes with a range of over two billion kilometres. The Tempest III was designed to detect hostile forces well before it was detected in return and therefore end the regular loss of survey ships when entered alien-controlled systems.

Tempest III class Survey Frigate      9,000 tons       220 Crew       1,439 BP       TCS 180    TH 336    EM 0
3734 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-38       Shields 0-0       HTK 55      Sensors 18/55/2/2      DCR 11      PPV 60
Maint Life 6.33 Years     MSP 1,149    AFR 56%    IFR 0.8%    1YR 49    5YR 740    Max Repair 176.4 MSP
Magazine 60   
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor Drive Systems RM-90B Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 9000 tons    Distance 50k km   Sqn Size 3
Ravenor RDS-336TE Magneto-Plasma Drive (2)    Power 672    Fuel Use 16.57%    Signature 168.0    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 1,000,000 Litres    Range 120.7 billion km (374 days at full power)

Torpedo Box Launcher (10)     Missile Size: 6    Hangar Reload 122 minutes    MF Reload 20 hours
MK II Torpedo Fire Control (1)     Range 71.2m km    Resolution 100
MK II Active Augur Torpedo (5)    Speed: 5,200 km/s    End: 4.8d     Range: 2,174.5m km    WH: 0    Size: 6   
MK II Passive Augur Torpedo (5)    Speed: 5,200 km/s    End: 4.8d     Range: 2,166.7m km    WH: 0    Size: 6

MK II Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 12600     Range 97.5m km    Resolution 100
MK II Very Large Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 55     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  58.6m km
MK I Large Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 18     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33.5m km
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour
Geological Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

A gravitational survey of the recently conquered Necron system of Cerix Magnus revealed two jump points. The survey frigate Tempest investigated. She discovered Jago, a planetless white dwarf, and Cyprian Gate, a red dwarf with nine planets, including a huge super-terrestrial world 27,000 km in diameter and covered with forested mountains. Cyprian Gate III had a surface temperature of 20C, oceans covering two-thirds of the planet and gravity of 1.73G, just within the habitable range. However, the dense nitrogen - oxygen atmosphere of 3 atm contained 0.39 atm of oxygen, which was too high a concentration for humans. Lowing that oxygen content to 0.3 atm would result in an ideal habitable world. Tempest began a geological survey of Cyprian Gate and was headed in-system when she was intercepted by five Necron ships; three laser-armed Scarab class destroyers and two Jackal class escorts. Tempest attempted to run but was soon caught and destroyed.



The survey frigate Morning Star entered the system several days later to join her now-destroyed sister ship and raised the alarm. The Cobra III destroyer Veritas and the Falchion III jump frigate Gladius were dispatched from Sol to investigate and arrived on July 7th. Veritas launched augur torpedoes at the third planet and detected three Scarabs, two Jackals, a Scythe and a Shroud.




At the same time as the events in Cyprian Gate, the Cobra III destroyer Implacable entered the solar system of Gamma Virginis-B and launched augur torpedoes at the second planet, a suspected tomb world. The torpedoes revealed the largest Necron force to be encountered so far. The planet was directly guarded by three Scythe class and three Shroud class orbital defence platforms, plus a Tesseract. The mobile fleet included six 30,000-ton Reaper class ships, four 20,000-ton Monoliths and two 20,000-ton Cartouche class, all of which had unknown capabilities and previously had only been seen in Prometheus, plus six 20,000 ton Phaeron class escort cruisers, three Mephrit class scouts, Dirge, Cairn and Khopesh class destroyers and a Jackal class escort. The fifteen Ankh class fuel harvesters that were previously detected in orbit of the seventh planet were now in orbit of the tomb world, presumably due to the presence of alien ships in the system.



Given the size of the alien fleet, it was very unlikely the Gamma Virginis tomb world could be conquered with the forces available to the Expeditionary Fleet. Therefore, the next target of the Expeditionary Fleet would be the recently discovered tomb world in Cyprian Gate. In the meantime, a base would be established in the Gamma Virginis-A solar system to prepare for a more capable Imperium force in the future. The Necrons had shown no interest in the primary solar system, despite regular Imperium activity, so a base would be relatively safe. The Fleet arrived in Cyprian Gate on August 21st. A Sword class frigate and most of the jump-capable ships from the previous mission had been detached prior to leaving Sol. A Firestorm class frigate and two Cobra class destroyers had been added. The resulting fleet composition was as follows:

Expeditionary Fleet
Lunar III class Cruiser: Agrippa, Imperial Wrath
Dictator II class Cruiser: Fortitude, Rhadamanthine
Dominator class Cruiser: Ultima Praetor
Dauntless IV class Light Cruiser: Divine Crusade, Guardian, Hammer of Truth, Vigilant
Vanguard III class Strike Cruiser: Angelic Blade, Dread Argent
Cobra III class Destroyer: Arbitrator, Omnis Arcanum, Valour Eternal, Veritas
Firestorm IV class Frigate: Harrower, Just Persecution, Thunder
Falchion III class Jump Frigate: Katana
Sword III class Frigate: Final Silence, Mariatus, Order Absolute, Pegasus
6x Thunderhawk II class Assault Transport:
32x Starhawk III class Bomber:
6x Aquila class Lander:

The five destroyer-sized Necron ships remained at the planet with the bases as the Expeditionary Fleet closed in, halting at six million kilometres. The Scarabs were known to have six lasers with a range of at least three hundred and ten thousand kilometres and they were 300 km/s faster than the Imperium ships, which meant they could not be killed in energy combat unless they chose to move within maximum Imperium weapon range. Conversely, they would be hard to kill with torpedoes while defended by the Scythe, the Shroud and the two Jackals. Lord-Captain Caliban considered an attack by all thirty-two Starhawks in the hope that a large wave of light torpedoes could survive the defensive fire and kill the Scythe and allow follow-up waves to take out the Shroud and the Jackals. However, the Imperium was producing little more than five hundred light torpedoes a year using sixty percent of ordnance production capacity. Two full salvos from the Starhawk bombers would consume eighteen months of production.

Therefore, he decided the fleet would advance to energy-range. Alone, the Scythe did not have sufficient weight of fire to seriously threaten the Expeditionary Fleet with anti-torpedoes. While the Scarabs were a threat, they would be outgunned if they stayed within energy range and if they retreated, the fleet would destroy the orbital bases and then use a much smaller torpedo attack on the Scarabs and Jackals. The fleet continued to close at 4000 km/s, slowed by the presence of Ultima Praetor. Caliban considered detaching her at the jump point but her defence turret and eight weapon batteries were too useful to leave behind. At 460,000 kilometres, the Scythe opened fire with anti-torpedoes.



All the missiles in the first salvo were shot down by weapon batteries and defence turrets. Due to ten second recycle time of the Scythe’s launchers, the second wave arrived before the weapon batteries could recharge. Fourteen of the forty-nine anti-torpedoes struck the shields of Imperial Wrath. Those ships with particle lances, which had a forty second recharge time, were holding them back so they could be used when they would be most effective. The weapon batteries were ready for the third salvo and all inbounds were destroyed. With the range at 320,000, the fourth salvo arrived, scoring twenty-five hits in Imperial Wrath, and the three Scarabs opened fire, although without inflicting any damage.

Concerned about how many anti-torpedoes were penetrating when only the defence turrets were available, Lord Captain Caliban ordered his four Cobra III class destroyers to fire a salvo of standard torpedoes. During the action in Necromunda, Imperium torpedo attacks had caused a Scythe to divert its anti-torpedoes and relieve pressure on the fleet’s defences. As the torpedoes launched, the weapon batteries shredded the fifth wave. The sixth wave of anti-torpedoes completely ignored the inbound Imperium torpedoes and targeted Imperial Wrath once again. Nineteen anti-torpedoes struck the Lunar III class cruiser, along with three strength-3 hits from the lasers of the Scarabs. The Shroud class base destroyed all twenty Imperium torpedoes with point blank point defence. The Necrons had improved their tactics since the engagement in Necromunda and had presumably calculated the Shroud was sufficient to defend against the torpedoes, allowing the Scythe to target Imperium ships. The void shields of Imperial Wrath were at seventy-two percent.

As with all the odd-numbered waves, when weapon batteries were available, wave seven was entirely destroyed. More Imperium torpedoes were launched and once again ignored by the Scythe which launched a new wave against Imperial Wrath. Twenty-two struck her shields and were accompanied by seven strength-5 hits from the Scarabs, which were now becoming a serious threat. The cruiser’s shields were at forty-three percent. The weapon batteries recharged just after the arrival of the eighth wave and Caliban ordered those ships with particle lances to open fire. The Scythe was skewered by seven strength-12 particle lance strikes and battered by over fifty strength-1 hits from weapon batteries. Moments later it exploded in a spectacular fireball.

Caliban ordered his ships to target the Scarabs, as they were the only ships now within range of the Expeditionary Fleet. The cruiser Agrippa and the strike cruiser Angelic Blade had yet to fire their particle lances. Angelic Blade fired first, hitting with both lances and reducing one of the Scarabs to half speed. As that ship moved toward the Expeditionary Fleet, Agrippa fired her two lances at a second Scarab and both hit. The target suffered a large secondary explosion and its thermal signature dropped to almost nothing. Simultaneously with Agrippa the whole fleet opened fire with weapon batteries, scoring almost one hundred and fifty strength-1 hits across the three Necron destroyers.

The Scarab that had not been hit by particle lances and both Jackals suddenly left orbit and headed directly away from the Expeditionary Fleet. The Scarab fired as it fled and Imperial Wrath suffered four strength-6 hits. Her shields were at thirty-five percent. A second Scarab remained at the planet while the third continued to close on the Imperium ships. Neither of them were firing. Either their weapons were disabled or they were slower than normal in recharging. The fleet could not easily pursue the three fleeing ships as the Shroud would shred anything moving close to the planet with its massed defence turrets, so they were out of range before weapon batteries could recharge. The other two Scarabs were well within range and both were blown to pieces.



The fleet began to move around the planet while staying well out of the assumed range of the Shroud. Caliban ordered every ship to fire on the Shroud with weapon batteries, while those with particle lances opened fire on the surviving Scarab at 204,000 km/s, scoring a single hit. The Shroud exploded under heavy fire, but the Scarab suffered no apparent damage from the particle beam hit and moved out of range, escorted by the two Jackals. Caliban ordered a torpedo attack from the two Lunar III cruisers and the four Cobras, directed at one of the Jackals. Thirty torpedoes were destroyed by point-blank defensive fire and four missed. The other four hit their target, but did not slow it down. Caliban did not want to waste further salvos to score a small number of hits. The Starhawks would be required after all.

Caliban ordered half of the Fleet’s thirty-two Starhawks to launch. Four were directed to target the Jackal that had been struck by standard torpedoes, while the other twelve divided their fire between the Scarab and the undamaged Jackal. As the Starhawks began syncing their fire controls for launch, Imperial Wrath was struck by two strength-2 hits from the Scarab, which was maintaining a distance of 235,000 kilometres, within its own weapon range but outside that of the Imperium ships. It was a frightening thought for Caliban that if his fleet did not have torpedo-armed combatants, that single, damaged Scarab would destroy his entire force.

The Starhawks launched a wave of one hundred and ninety-two MK III Light Torpedoes, which streaked toward the three Necron ships at 48,000 km/s. Twenty-one were shot down by point-blank fire. One hundred and forty struck their targets. The Scarab and the previously undamaged Jackal both blew up. Somehow the Jackal that had survived four standard torpedo also survived twenty-four light torpedoes, but was left dead in space. Seeing an opportunity, Caliban ordered the cruiser Agrippa to close within twenty thousand kilometres to determine the firepower left to the crippled escort. Three Thunderhawks followed the cruiser, ready to overtake and initiate a boarding action if the risk was low.

Agrippa moved to 20,000 kilometres and suffered eight strength-1 hits to her void shields from the Jackal’s defence turrets. The Thunderhawks were lightly armoured, but Caliban decided the risk was acceptable. They were ordered to attempt a boarding and then move out of range as quickly as possible. Agrippa moved to point blank range to try to draw fire. The Jackal fired on the cruiser, allowing the Thunderhawks to drop their space marines and run for home. As soon as the marines were on the hull and entering the alien ship through gaps in the armour, Agrippa began moving out of range. She took six more hits on her egress, but her shields were still at ninety percent. The space marines captured the Jackal within three minutes without suffering any losses.

The Jackal was a capable escort with three defence turrets and a single commercial defence turret. The beam fire controls were a generation ahead of current Imperium designs. Apart from the short maintenance life, it would easily fit within Imperium combat doctrine. Both engines were disabled due to damage and two of the three defence turrets had been knocked out, plus several other systems were inoperative and armour damage was significant. The Jackal would require repairs before it could function as part of an Imperium fleet.

Jackal class Destroyer Escort      9,900 tons       224 Crew       1,787.1 BP       TCS 198    TH 1,120    EM 0
5657 km/s      Armour 5-41       Shields 0-0       HTK 48      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 3      PPV 52.2
Maint Life 0.81 Years     MSP 338    AFR 261%    IFR 3.6%    1YR 419    5YR 6,288    Max Repair 280 MSP
Captain    Control Rating 2   BRG   CIC   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Magneto-plasma Drive EP560 (2)    Power 1120    Fuel Use 37.42%    Signature 560    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 650,000 Litres    Range 31.6 billion km (64 days at full power)

Twin Gauss Cannon R400-100 Turret (3x8)    Range 40,000km     TS: 20000 km/s     RM 40,000 km    ROF 5       
CIWS-200 (1x8)    Range 1000 km     TS: 20,000 km/s     ROF 5       
Beam Fire Control R80-TS20000 (2)     Max Range: 80,000 km   TS: 20,000 km/s   
Stellarator Fusion Reactor R0 (3)     Total Power Output 0.6    Exp 5%

Active Search Sensor AS25-R1 (1)     GPS 189     Range 25.7m km    MCR 2.8m km    Resolution 1
ECM 10

The Thunderhawks returned to the Jackal to pick-up the space marines, then headed for Cyprian Gate III where a small Necron outpost had been detected. There was no sign of Necron ground forces. The marines quickly secured the outpost which had the same installations as the Necron outpost in the adjacent system of Cerix Magnus; a refuelling station, an ordnance transfer station and two deep space tracking stations. An orbital survey of the planet revealed the expected alien ruins, plus six mineral deposits, including ninety million tons of accessibility 0.7 Gallicite. Unfortunately, there was no Duranium and most of the other deposits were at minimal accessibility but there was a low chance that a ground survey would locate additional deposits. To the surprise of the ground forces, the ruins on the surface were from the same alien race as those in Cerix Magnus, known as the Empire of Berea. As the language and symbology was already known, they quickly identified fifty-four sites for recovery of installations and other artifacts.

Cyprian Gate III Survey Report (Low)
Tritanium:   36,905,625   0.20
Mercassium:   105,267,600   0.30
Vendarite:   63,441,224   1.00
Uridium:   22,325,625   0.10
Corundium:   178,623,225   0.10
Gallicite:   91,872,224   0.70

Four new Imperium colonies were founded in Y2522, the highest number for many years. The recent conquered Necron tomb worlds of Cerix Magnus II and Cyprian Gate III had populations of two million and half a million by the end of the year. One million settlers landed on Gamma Virginis II as part of a long-term plan to establish a base to support operations against the huge Necron fleet in the companion solar system. The fourth colony was on Taros II, a super-terrestrial world that was barely within the human habitable range. Terraforming had recently increased the oxygen in the atmosphere to a breathable level and was working on adding water vapour. The planet was 28,000 km in diameter, resulting in a gravity of 1.78G that would be tough on the colonists. Due to the temperature of 31C, the terrain was mostly desert, apart from small seas covering sixteen percent of the surface. Colony cost was 0.4. Eight mineral deposits were present but all at minimal accessibility. Taros was a waystation on the route to Gamma Virginis, two jumps from the latter system and five from Sol. At the other end of the scale, Centaurus Colony passed one hundred million in population.

New construction in Y2522 included the first pair of Tempest III survey frigates, Black Star and Acta Sanctorum, eight Starhawk III bombers, four Solomon class orbital mining platforms, four Ambrosia class fuel harvesting platforms, two Gaia class terraforming platforms and the first Nebula class support ship. The Nebula was a cut down version of the Galaxy class without the refuelling and re-arming capabilities, but with upgraded engines. It was designed to provide maintenance support in remote locations and its first mission was to the growing outpost in Gamma Virginis.

Nebula class Support Vessel      229,665 tons       1,867 Crew       7,513.5 BP       TCS 4,593    TH 9,216    EM 0
2006 km/s      Armour 1-334       Shields 0-0       HTK 424      Sensors 6/11/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 10,020    Max Repair 200 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   
Maintenance Modules: 25 module(s) capable of supporting ships of 50,000 tons

Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive (32)    Power 9216    Fuel Use 1.41%    Signature 288    Explosion 3%
Fuel Capacity 1,500,000 Litres    Range 83.4 billion km (481 days at full power)

MK I Commercial Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 1920     Range 31.5m km    Resolution 120
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Terra was down to a single mining complex by the end of Y2522. The Imperium’s mining complexes and orbital mining platforms had been distributed to eleven different sites, the most important of which included Taranis, two colonies each in Gryphonne and Scarus plus Centaurus Colony. Scarus IV had recently been renamed as Scarus Primus, while the mining operation on the 5th moon of Scarus VIII was named as Scarus Secundus. Mordian was a growing mining colony and would become more important in the future. The twenty-two Solomon class mining platforms, each of which had twenty-five orbital mining modules, were mainly in orbit of a comet in the Sanctum system, adjacent to Scarus, although a couple had recently been towed to comet Whipple in the Sol system.

Mine Locations Y2522 (OMM = Orbital Mining Module, AM = Automated Mine)
Sanctum Comet #2: 500 OMM
Fortress Taranis: 261
Gryphonne Secundus: 260
Scarus Secundus: 212, including 169 AM
Centaurus Colony: 200
Scarus Colony: 98
Gryphonne Prime: 55
Mars: 55
Mordian-B II: 55
Aurelia I: 50
Sol Comet Wild: 50 OMM
Athena Colony: 30
Endymion Base: 25

The distribution of mines around the Imperium had significantly eased the Gallicite Crisis, which allowed the rate of refits to increase. Refits completed in Y2522 included the Overlord III battlecruiser Sword of Retribution, the Lunar III cruiser Justicar, the Dictator II cruiser Archon Kort, the Dauntless IV light cruisers Havock and Luxor, the strike cruiser Eternal Defiance, the Firestorm IV frigates Kraken, Thunder and Reaver’s Dismay, the Sword III frigate Drusus, the Cobra III destroyers Callidus and Zealous, the Falchion III jump frigate Flamberge and the first Cerix Magnus orbital defence platform Victoria Magna.

The Cerix Magnus class was an Imperium refit of the Necron Tesseract orbital weapon platform. The Cerix refit removed the Necron torpedo launchers and commercial defence turret and reduced armour thickness by twenty-five percent. The huge magazine, the ECM system and all the electronics were left in place. The latest Void Shield generator, sixteen standard torpedo launchers and a pair of DV-2 defence turrets were added and the engineering deck was increased in size to improve maintenance life. A refit of the second captured Tesseract was underway.

Cerix Magnus class Orbital Weapon Platform      19,955 tons    554 Crew       2,805 BP       TCS 399    EM 2,130
1 km/s      Armour 4-65       Shields 71-426       HTK 105      Sensors 11/22/0/0      DCR 13      PPV 128.64
Maint Life 1.04 Years     MSP 1,142    AFR 245%    IFR 3.4%    1YR 1,057    5YR 15,860    Max Repair 879.7 MSP
Magazine 3,169   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Morale Check Required   

Valentinian-Stern VS-71 Void Shield (1)     Recharge Time 426 seconds (0.2 per second)
DV-2 Defence Turret (2x6)    Range 0km     TS: 16000 km/s     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
MK II Torpedo Launcher (16)     Missile Size: 6    Rate of Fire 20
Missile Fire Control FC116-R111 (2)     Range 116.6m km    Resolution 111

Active Search Sensor AS123-R111 (1)     GPS 20979     Range 123.6m km    Resolution 111
Thermal Sensor TH1-11 (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
EM Sensor EM2-22 (1)     Sensitivity 22     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  37.1m km

The increased rate of refits meant that by the end of Y2522, every warship in several key classes had been refitted, including both Overlord class battlecruisers, the three Dictator class cruisers, all eight Cobra class destroyers, all eleven Firestorm frigates and all eleven Sword class frigates. The last of the older model Lunar class cruisers and Dauntless class light cruisers were in the shipyards of Terra undergoing their own refits. With entire classes finally refitted, the first new warships in many years were being laid down.
 
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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Crusade - Updates
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2020, 05:06:48 PM »
Y2523
Y2523 was a relatively quiet year for the Imperium. There were no further Tyranid sightings and the Expeditionary Fleet did not launch any new operations. Instead, preparations were made to base the Expeditionary Fleet at Gryphonne Prime for the foreseeable future, as the Necron systems of Prometheus, Praetorian and Antagonis were all closer to Gryphonne than the Sol. Maintenance facilities, fuel and supplies were all shipped in, along with additional colonists. Most of the maintenance facilities from Endymion Base were also transferred to Gryphonne. By the end of the year, the population of Gryphonne Prime was fifty-three million, making it the third largest in the Imperium after Terra and Centaurus Colony. As the maintenance capacity of the system increased, ships from the Expeditionary Fleet were transferred to Battlefleet Gryphonne. As Antagonis was likely to be the first target, the stabilisation ship Ishtar Gate was sent into the system to complete the stabilisation of the jump point from Gereon. Her task was accomplished without incident.

The new mining colony on Mordian-B II reached a population of ten million in Y2523. Eighty-six mining complexes were in place by the end of the year. The colonization process was made much easier by the completion of the terraforming effort in Mordian, which transformed the planet into an ideal habitable world. A second ideal habitable world was created at the Cypra Mundi colony. The new destination of the Gaia class terraforming platforms from Mordian and Cypra Mundi was the innermost planet of the Sanctum system.

Sanctum was becoming an important system for the Imperium. Twenty Solomon class orbital mining platforms were based at a comet in the system and producing 10,000 tons of Gallicite per year. While the accessibility would soon begin to fall, the output of the colony had helped to end the Gallicite Crisis. Seven Ambrosia fuel harvesters were in orbit of Sanctum III, as part of a long-term plan to spread out harvesting operations. The gas giant in Alpha Centauri that provided a large portion of the Imperium’s fuel in the early years of expansion was running out of Sorium. Accessibility had fallen from 1.0 to 0.77. Eleven harvesting platforms were still in orbit, but most had been towed away. Eighteen were at Athena III and fourteen more at Prospero V.

The third reason for the importance of Sanctum was the system primary. Sanctum-A I was close enough to the primary to study the highly unusual radiation emissions from the red dwarf star. Imperial scientists believed that information would improve their research into power and propulsion technologies by as much as eighty percent, so a colony had been founded with that goal in mind. A single research facility, recovered from the ruins in Cyprian Gate, was already in place and the population at the end of Y2523 was one point two million, supported by infrastructure. There was sufficient water on the surface but the temperature was -168C and the atmosphere only 0.08 atm. As the planet was tide-locked the temperature was less of a problem than the lack of a breathable atmosphere, so the colony cost was 2.00. Sanctum I was a large world with a diameter of 17,600 km, making it twice as hard to terraform as an Earth-sized world. Even so, the huge boost to research made it worth the long-term effort.

Diversification of the Imperium’s industry continued, with the transfer of the Caliban shipyard from Terra to Scarus Prime, making the latter the fourth shipbuilding location in the Imperium after Terra, Centaurus Colony and Gryphonne Prime. The shipyard was tooled to build Cobra III class destroyers, two of which were laid down once the shipyard arrived. Construction factories were also transferred from Terra in large numbers. Two hundred and ten were at Gryphonne Prime, one hundred and thirty at Centaurus Colony, one hundred and five at Athena Colony and ninety at Scarus Prime. Four hundred remained on Terra. Two civilian mining colonies, one on the asteroid Apollo in the Sol system and the other on a moon in Alpha Centauri, both ceased operation in Y2523. The mineral deposits in both locations were exhausted so the colonies were disbanded.

The first new warships to be built for several years were completed in Y2523. The twelfth and final Sword III class frigate, Raven’s Spear, was built by the Vorax Shipyard in Terra orbit and was followed by the first two Sword III-B frigates, Destiny's Hand and Silent Fire. The Sword III-B was a relatively small update to the prior class, replacing the AK-20 Weapon Battery with the AK-20B, which increased maximum weapon range from one hundred and sixty thousand kilometres to two hundred thousand, and replaced the MK I Frigate Active Augur Array with the MK II, which increased sensor range from fifty-one to sixty-nine million kilometres. There were no plans for a widespread refit of the Sword IIIs to the new III-B version.

Y2523 also saw the launch of the first two Orca class troop transports and the first Constellation class ammunition transport. The mainstay of the Imperium’s troop lift capability was the Cetaceous class Troop Transport, which had a 100,000-ton troop capacity and was used for major ground assault operations. Six were in service and the first of a similar-sized Cetaceous II class was close to completion. They were supplemented by the five Delphinus class transports, with a 10,000-ton capacity, which were used mainly for the transportation of Ordo Mineralis formations. As the Imperium expanded, there was also a need for garrison forces on the more populous colonies, which were provided by the infantry regiments of the Imperial Guard. As the regiments required 20,000 tons of lift capacity, the huge Cetaceous class ships were being used to transport single regiments, which was a waste of fuel. The Orca was intended as a modern, fast transport to fill the gap between the Delphinus and Cetaceous. It was not drop capable, as the extra cost was not deemed necessary for its primary task.

Orca class Troop Transport      45,905 tons       230 Crew       939.8 BP       TCS 918    TH 2,304    EM 0
2509 km/s      Armour 1-114       Shields 0-0       HTK 109      Sensors 6/11/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 12    Max Repair 80 MSP
Troop Capacity 20,000 tons     Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive (8)    Power 2304    Fuel Use 1.41%    Signature 288    Explosion 3%
Fuel Capacity 250,000 Litres    Range 69.6 billion km (320 days at full power)

MK II Commercial Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 2100     Range 39.8m km    Resolution 100
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km
MK I Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Prior to the launch of the first Constellation class ammunition transport, the only class capable of transporting ordnance was the huge Galaxy class support vessel. The Galaxy was intended for long-term static deployment, so the maximum speed was only 1195 km/s, making it far from ideal for a pure ordnance transport mission. The Constellation would provide a much faster and more cost–efficient option.

Constellation class Ammunition Transport      48,565 tons     360 Crew      1,632 BP       TCS 971    TH 2,016    EM 0
2075 km/s      Armour 1-118       Shields 0-0       HTK 76      Sensors 0/11/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 21    Max Repair 100 MSP
Magazine 5,000    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 4   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

Commercial Magneto-plasma Drive (7)    Power 2016    Fuel Use 1.41%    Signature 288    Explosion 3%
Fuel Capacity 250,000 Litres    Range 65.8 billion km (366 days at full power)

MK II Commercial Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 2100     Range 39.8m km    Resolution 100
MK II Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  26.2m km

The remaining new construction during Y2523 comprised four Gaia terraforming platforms, five Solomon class orbital mining platforms and four Ambrosia fuel harvester platforms. Refits included the Mars III class battlecruiser Pax Imperium, the Dauntless IV class light cruisers Ravenor and Advocate, the Vanguard III strike cruisers Ravenous Spirit and Vae Victus and the Falchion III class jump frigate Spatha. The survey frigates Quaesitor and Red Dawn underwent extensive refits to the Tempest III class that included an increase in their hull size by twenty percent. Finally, the second captured Tesseract was renamed Magnum Opus and refitted to the Cerix Magnus design

Y2524
The focus of the Imperium during Y2524 was on building up Gryphonne Prime to support a substantial fleet. The Expeditionary Fleet was combined with Battlefleet Gryphonne to create a formidable force that massed almost six hundred thousand tons and was comprised entirely of ships with magneto-plasma drives. Gryphonne Prime reached a population of seventy-two million by the end of the year and had two hundred and twenty maintenance facilities in place. With a Galaxy class and two Nebula class support ships in orbit, the planet could maintain five hundred and ninety thousand tons of military shipping. The other colony to grow significantly in Y2524 was the research station on Sanctum I. Three additional research facilities were transported from Terra and the population was increased to five million.

Exploration continued around the borders of the Imperium, with the main efforts around the recently conquered systems of Cerix Magnus and Cyprian Gate, the Taros chain near Gamma Virginis and a chain of systems beyond the abandoned mining colony in the Phaeton system, two jumps out from Athena. The total number of known systems passed two hundred. A survey of Cyprian Gate revealed two jump points leading to Xerxes and Artemis. Xerxes was the first quaternary system to be discovered, with two G-class stars and two red dwarves. Despite the number of stars, the system contained only four unremarkable planets. Artemis was a red dwarf system with four planets and a small asteroid belt. Several of the asteroids were suitable for mining, so a pair of Solomon class orbital mining platforms were towed into the system late in the year. A partial survey of Artemis revealed a single jump point that connected to the known Golgotha system, midway along the route from Sol to Sanctum and Scarus, creating a loop of eight systems; Golgotha, Ardium, Van Maanen’s Star, Sanctum, Scarus, Cerix Magnus, Cyprian Gate and Artemis. The Cypra Mundi system, which contained an ideal habitable world, was also adjacent to Golgotha, so the Artemis Loop was an important area of the Imperium.

New warship construction continued in Y2524 with the launch of seven escort-sized vessels; the Sword III-B class frigates Night Stalker and Triumph of Juno, the first three Firestorm IV-B class frigates Celaeno, Retaliator and Vengeful and the Cobra III class destroyers Exalted in Belief and Widowmaker. The Firestorm IV-B was a minor update to the Firestorm IV that replaced the AK-20 weapon batteries and the active augur array with longer-ranged versions. The Tempest III frigate Honesti Virum was the third new build of that type and the fifth overall, once refits were considered. Other new constriuction included a Constellation class ammunition transport, a Nebula class support ship, the first Cetaceous II troop transport, three Jericho II colony ships, six Universe II mass conveyors, four Ambrosia fuel harvesting platforms, five Solomon mining platforms, two Gaia class terraforming platforms and eight Starhawk III bombers.

Refits included the Mars III battlecruiser Resolute, the Lunar III cruisers Retribution and Holy Flame, the Dauntless IV light cruiser Cerberus, the Firestorm IV-B Reaver’s Dismay and the Sword III-B Pegasus. The two frigates were opportunistic refits while slipways were available rather than the start of a major refit program. All the ships in the ‘standard’ classes were now refitted to designs with magneto-plasma engines. There were no plans to refit the two Dominator class jump cruisers or the four jump-capable Endeavour class light cruisers. In fact, they were being considered for scrapping. Recent advances in jump drive technology allowed for significantly smaller jump drives, so it made sense to build entirely new ships rather than refit the older, out of date ships. The four Endurance II class light cruisers, designed as multi-role ships, were being upgraded to the new Endurance III class.  Bellator Stoicus and Indomitable Purpose both completed their refits in Y2524 and the remaining two ships were already in the shipyards. The fate of the two ion-engined Defiant class light cruisers, each of which carried four Fury interceptors, was as yet undecided.

Endurance III class Light Cruiser      18,000 tons       508 Crew       3,270.5 BP       TCS 360    TH 1,920    EM 4,260
5333 km/s      Armour 4-61       Shields 142-426       HTK 118      Sensors 8/8/0/0      DCR 12      PPV 81.32
Maint Life 2.22 Years     MSP 1,362    AFR 216%    IFR 3.0%    1YR 373    5YR 5,602    Max Repair 320 MSP
Magazine 172   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 18 months    Morale Check Required   

Ravenor RDS-640 Magneto-Plasma Drive (3)    Power 1920    Fuel Use 35.00%    Signature 640    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 849,000 Litres    Range 24.3 billion km (52 days at full power)
Valentinian-Stern VS-71 Void Shield (2)     Recharge Time 426 seconds (0.3 per second)

DV-2 Defence Turret (1x6)    Range 30,000km     TS: 16000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
Astaroth Kinetics AK-20 Weapons Battery (3x4)    Range 160,000km     TS: 5,333 km/s     Power 12-4     Accuracy Modifier 100%     RM 40,000 km    ROF 15       
Valentinian V12-240 Particle Lance (2)    Range 240,000km     TS: 5,333 km/s     Power 37-5    ROF 40       
MK I Defence Turret Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 16,000 km/s     
MK II Energy Weapon Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 5,400 km/s     
R12 Stellarator Fusion Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 24.2    Exp 5%

Torpedo Launcher (2)     Missile Size: 6    Rate of Fire 25
MK I Torpedo Fire Control (1)     Range 53m km    Resolution 100
MK I Active Augur Torpedo (1)    Speed: 6,200 km/s    End: 1.3d     Range: 685.4m km    WH: 0    Size: 6   
MK I Passive Augur Torpedo (1)    Speed: 6,200 km/s    End: 1.3d     Range: 686.2m km    WH: 0    Size: 6   
MK I Standard Torpedo (26)    Speed: 20,400 km/s    End: 40.9m     Range: 50m km    WH: 9    Size: 6    TH: 68/40/20

MK I Light Cruiser Active Augur Array (1)     GPS 11520     Range 77.1m km    Resolution 120
MK I Torpedo Detection Array (1)     GPS 16     Range 6.4m km    MCR 695.1k km    Resolution 1
MK I Electromagnetic Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km
MK II Thermal Augur Array (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  22.4m km

The Expeditionary Fleet departed Gryphonne in early December and entered Antagonis on December 23rd 2524. Lord-Captain Gaius Caliban was in command. Since the engagement in Cyprian Gate, the Dominator class cruiser Ultima Praetor, all four Endeavour class light cruisers and two Falchion class jump frigates had been detached. In exchange, the Expeditionary Fleet gained the battlecruiser Overlord, two Lunar III class cruisers, two Dauntless IV class light cruisers, the Endurance III class light cruiser Bellator Stoicus and eight escort-sized vessels. As Y2524 ended, the fleet was two hundred and fifty million kilometres from the Necron tomb world of Antagonis II.

Expeditionary Fleet
Overlord III class Battlecruiser: Overlord
Lunar III class Cruiser: Agrippa, Holy Flame, Imperial Wrath, Retribution
Dictator II class Cruiser: Fortitude, Rhadamanthine
Endurance III class Light Cruiser: Bellator Stoicus
Dauntless IV class Light Cruiser: Advocate, Aegis, Bellerophon, Guardian, Hammer of Truth, Vigilant
Vanguard III class Strike Cruiser: Angelic Blade, Dread Argent
Cyprian Gate class Destroyer Escort: Cyprian Victory
Firestorm IV class Frigate: Harrower, Just Persecution, Thunder
Firestorm IV-B class Frigate: Reaver’s Dismay, Vengeful
Sword III class Frigate: Drusus, Excalibur, Order Absolute
Sword III-B class Frigate: Destiny's Hand, Night Stalker, Pegasus, Silent Fire
Cobra III class Destroyer: Arbitrator, Omnis Arcanum, Valour Eternal, Veritas
Falchion III class Jump Frigate: Spatha
6x Thunderhawk II class Assault Transport:
32x Starhawk III class Bomber:
12x Aquila class Lander:
 
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