Author Topic: Campaign Updates  (Read 8014 times)

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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Campaign Updates
« on: April 03, 2020, 08:06:07 AM »
Turn 1: Both the USSR and the Coalition invest most of their income in building new PDC’s, trying to match each other. 

Turn 2: The USSR continues to build PDC’s, but the Coalition has achieved HT 1 and begins investing in new technology. 

Turn 3: The leaders of the USSR briefly panicked when it appeared that the Coalition might have an insurmountable lead over them technologically, however, when the USSR’s researchers were properly incentivized, they demonstrated to the degenerate capitalists what proper socialist science could achieve.  The USSR also begins investing large amounts of resources into developing the new technologies available at HT1. 

Turn 6: Both sides begin seeing results from their technological research.  The Coalition has developed a new defensive system, shields, while the USSR has developed shipyard technology and deployed a shipyard into Earth orbit.  The Coalition continues to invest in new tech, while the USSR devotes its new shipyard to duplicating itself. 

Turn 7: The Coalition develops the military engine, and the shipyard.  The Coalition holds off on new ship construction while science instruments are being developed, while the USSR continues to build PDC’s. 

Turn 8: The Coalition is now facing a considerable arms gap, as the USSR has continued to build PDC’s even as it developed new technology.  Fearing the USSR is preparing for war, the Coalition’s leaders propose an arms control meeting with the USSR.  In addition, the Coalition authorizes the construction of the nation’s first drive-field equipped ship, the Discovery.  The Discovery class mounts two missile launchers capable of firing missiles that far outrange the basic sprint missiles used by the USSR’s PDC’s. 

When the basics of the new design are leaked to the USSR, they agree to meet with the Coalition’s leaders to discuss an arms control agreement. 

Turn 9: The USSR develops military engines and atmospheric capability.  They immediately begin construction of a corvette design of their own, however, as their shipyard is occupied duplicating itself, they have to begin construction using ground-based industry.  Because of the limited building speed of ground-based industry, it is virtually certain that the Coalition will have multiple mobile units in space before the USSR, therefore they agree to an arms control agreement that limits the number of launchers on the Earth’s surface to 150 (of all types).  This happens to be the number of launchers the USSR currently has deployed, so it can build no more PDC’s.  In addition, the two sides agree to make Earth’s orbital space a demilitarized zone.  No armed orbital bases can be deployed in orbit of the Earth or the Moon, and armed ships have to remain outside of the range of their weapons, except for pre-authorized visits to the orbital yards for overhaul or refit.  Violation of this treaty will be considered an act of war. 

Turn 11: The USSR develops shields and cargo handling systems.  They also begin work converting five of their PDC’s to a new design mounting missile launchers instead of sprint missile launchers.  The new design is more heavily protected as well.  The Coalition protests the expansion of the PDC’s as a potential treaty violation, but limited inspections as allowed by the treaty verify that the number of launchers has remained unchanged.     

The Coalition completes development of survey instruments just as the Discovery is launched from the yards.  The Discovery is immediately turned around and a refit begins to mount the newly developed survey instruments on the ship.  Realizing that planetary surveys could be carried out much more quickly with small craft, research is begun on the boat bay. 

Turn 12: The newly refitted Discovery begins surveying the inner system as work begins on a second and third ship of the class. 

Turn 13: The USSR completes its second orbital shipyard.  And immediately begins work on a third.  In addition, a new hull is prototyped, a tiny unarmed explorer class unit.

Turn 14: The Coalition completes its second corvette class survey unit.  Most of the Coalition’s excess funds are being invested in industry against future needs.  This has led to the Coalition’s economy being almost 8% larger than the USSR’s. 

Turn 15: The Coalition’s third Discovery class corvette is launched, and all shipyard capacity is turned towards building new yards.  The USSR launches its first corvette.  The Soviet People’s Navy had originally intended to refit this unit to be a survey ship, however, the new EX class units will fill this role.  With the completion of the prototype unit, five more corvettes are laid down in the surface construction yards in Siberia.   

Turn 16: The Coalition High Command has grown concerned at the rapid growth of the USSR’s military capabilities.  Currently the USSR has 150 launchers in PDC’s on Earth, one third of which are long-ranged launchers in heavily protected bases.  In comparison, the Coalition has one hundred launchers, all mounted in lightly protected bases.  Worse, while the USSR only has one corvette compared to the Coalition’s three, they have five more building, which will give them a two to one advantage in space.  This gap will be difficult to close as the Coalition’s shipyard is devoted to duplicating itself, as the Russians have pulled ahead in terms of capacity as well.  To close the gap the Coalition High Command decides to build ten more heavily protected PDC’s armed with long-range launchers to match the USSR’s ground-based capabilities.  This building program will put the Coalition at the treaty limits. 

Turn 17: The Discovery and her consorts have completed their survey of the moons and planets of the Solar System, and now begin surveying the asteroid belt.  The results of the survey cause a large amount of excitement throughout the Coalition government.  The USSR’s surveyors have only just begun surveying the system, and will not have results for months, meaning that the Coalition will get first pick of colony sites.  While Mars is fairly desolate, its two moons are prime mining sites, as are two of the moons of Jupiter and four of Saturn’s moons.  Plans are started while the last of the PDC’s for the Coalition’s defense network are completed.  In addition, construction on six more corvettes is begun in the planetary yards in an attempt to match the USSR’s orbital construction . 

Turn 18: The USSR completes nine explorer class units, five corvettes, and an orbital shipyard this turn.  Work is begun on a new, larger design, designated a frigate.  In addition, work is started on three additional corvettes. 

The Coalition prepares colony expeditions to Phobos, Europa, Titan, and Iapetus.  The USSR protests this action as a unilateral seizure of the best mining sites by the capitalists, depriving the deserving peoples of the USSR of an equal share in the Solar System’s resources.  The Coalition government ignores this protest and continues preparations.  In response, the USSR puts its PDC’s and fleet on alert and warns the Coalition that if the colony expeditions set out without prior negotiations, the USSR’s fleet will intercept the freighters and transports and turn them back.  The Coalition is at a decided disadvantage, as its corvettes are in the asteroid belt, while the USSR’s are a mere twelve light seconds from Earth, and perfectly placed to intercept the unarmed colony expeditions.  After some deliberation, the Coalition government agrees to divide the colony sites between the two states equally.  The negotiations would take some time, but ultimately the Coalition received colony rights to the Moon, Mars and its moons, three of Saturn’s five colonizable moons, two of Uranus’ three colonizable moons, and half of the asteroid belt.  The USSR received Mercury, all of Jupiter’s five colonizable moons, two of Saturn’s moons, One of Uranus’ moons, and Neptune’s moon Triton.  The Coalition dispatches colony expeditions immediately. 

Worried about the USSR’s new class of warship, the Coalition begins construction on its own new class, the Escort, armed with a single laser.  Faster than the USSR’s frigate design, the Coalition believes its new design will counter the Russian’s larger ship nicely. 

Turn 19: The USSR’s researchers make a breakthrough into HT 2.  Research is immediately started on basic point defense, external ordnance racks, and the sprint missile launcher.  Meanwhile, their swarm of explorer class ships complete their desolate body survey and move on to the asteroids.   

Turn 20: The USSR begins a massive colonization effort, while initiating research on the standard missile and sprint missile.  Meanwhile, their explorer ship swarm completes its survey of the asteroids and returns home, where they will be placed in mothballs against future need. 

The Coalition completes research on HT 2 and, desperate to keep up with the USSR, begins research basic point defense, the gun/missile launcher, sprint missile, and standard missile.  This causes a large deficit, which the Coalition government pays for by selling industry.  In addition, the Coalition begins construction on a mobile shipyard. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Coalition Ship Designs turn 20
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2020, 08:20:11 AM »
Reformation Coalition
The Reformation Coalition Space Navy (RCSN) is modeled after the naval services of its constituent states, and its officers are drawn largely from those services.  RCSN ships are designed with a focus on facing similar ships in the USSR’s Military Space Service (MSS), and with the Soviet’s ground based defenses.   

The Discovery mk 2 corvette was intended to be the Coalition’s primary space ship.  It combines both survey and warship capabilities, and it reflected the Coalition’s overriding belief that each ship should be capable of multi-role missions.  The original Discovery design was merely a stop-gap to allow construction to begin on the prototype hull, and was never intended to be fielded. 
Code: [Select]
DISCOVERY MK 2 class CT  (AC) 16 Hull TL 1
[2] SAHX(I)(I)(I)R(I)RQsMg [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  186/ 27.9
HTK 12 Sx1  Ax1  Rx2  Mgx1 
200x BM
 

The Coalition High Command was mystified when the USSR laid down a laser-armed frigate design, and had no immediate intention to counter the design.  After all, the frigate was 12.5% slower than the corvettes of the existing fleet, and arming it with shorter ranged lasers meant that it would be vulnerable to missile-armed corvettes, such as the Discovery, standing off and pelting it with missiles from long range.  However, the USSR’s deployment of such a design did put some pressure on the High Command to have a laser-armed counter, thus the Napoleon class. 
Code: [Select]
NAPOLEON class ES  (AC) 12 Hull TL 1
[2] SAAH(I)(I)L(I)Qs [8]
12 RCP  13 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  110.4/ 16.6
HTK 9 Sx1  Ax2  Lx1 

This was the standard Coalition PDC at the dawning of the drive-field era. 
Code: [Select]
PDC class PDC  30 Hull TL 0
[1] Apx11HQGbx5LhMg [0]
30 RCP  50 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  121/ 12.1
HTK 20 Apx11  Gbx5  Mgx1 
200x GMb

This design was intended to counter the USSR’s larger bases and was equipped with long range missile weaponry to deal with the growing Soviet space fleet. 
Code: [Select]
HVY PDC class PDC  121 Hull TL 0
[1] Apx100HQRx3MgRRLhQMg [0]
121 RCP  100 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  343/ 34.3
HTK 111 Apx100  Rx5  Mgx2 
400x BM
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 08:23:52 AM by Kurt »
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Soviet Ship Designs, Turn 20
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2020, 08:31:11 AM »
USSR
The Soviet Military Space Service (MSS) is organized along the lines of the Soviet Airforce, with similar ranks.   The officers and crews are largely drawn from the Airforce as well, although many come from the other services as well.  Most of the higher ranked officers originally came from the Airforce.  The MSS is intended to protect Soviet interests across the Solar System, and to counter any Coalition threats to Soviet colonies or bases. 

Originally, the Krivak class corvette design was intended to be a stop-gap design, merely to allow the prototype hull to be built.  The intention was to refit the class to a multi-role warship/explorer design, much like the Coalition’s Discovery class.  However, before the prototype hull was finished, the Military Space Service had decided to use explorer class units as survey units, so the original Krivak class design was retained. 
Code: [Select]
KRIVAK class CT  (AC) 16 Hull TL 1
[2] Ax6H(I)(I)(I)R(I)QsMg [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  132/ 19.8
HTK 14 Ax6  Rx1  Mgx1 
200x BM

The MSS never intended to field very many units of this class, despite Coalition fears.  Instead, the MSS laid down one unit of this design to get experience with larger hulls.  The laser armament was intended more as a testbed than a serious investment in laser capabilities. 
Code: [Select]
KIROV class FG  22 Hull TL 1
[2] Sx6Ax5HL(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)Qs [7]
22 RCP  3 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  196/ 29.4
HTK 19 Sx6  Ax5  Lx1 

Primary exploration unit of the MSS.
Code: [Select]
EXX class EX  (AC) 7 Hull TL 1
[2] AAHX(Ic)Qs [4]
7 RCP  18 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  81.7/ 12.3
HTK 6 Ax2 

Primary PDC design of the USSR at the dawn of the drive-field era. 
Code: [Select]
PDC class PDC  56 Hull TL 0
[1] Apx20HGbx5MgQGbx3QLhGbGbMg [0]
56 RCP  100 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  213/ 21.3
HTK 36 Apx20  Gbx10  Mgx2 
400x GMb

Larger PDC intended to engage space-borne targets. 
Code: [Select]
PDC(LR) class PDC  87 Hull TL 0
[1] Apx50HRx3QMgRx3MgLhRx4QMg [0]
87 RCP  100 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  335/ 33.5
HTK 67 Apx50  Rx10  Mgx3 
600x BM
« Last Edit: April 03, 2020, 09:02:32 AM by Kurt »
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turn 21-34
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2020, 09:53:52 AM »
Turn 21: The Coalition continues to initiate research in new techs, and pays for it by selling industry. 

The USSR colonizes the asteroid belt, and begins research on the gun/missile launcher. 

Turn 22: The USSR launches its first frigate, and immediately begins work on a massive destroyer, which will be almost twice as large as the Coalition’s frigates. 

Turn 24: The USSR develops a cannon capable of firing the new sprint missiles (still under development). 

The Coalition has developed the gun/missile launcher, and the sprint missile.  Both nations are investing much of their excess income in industry while they wait for the new technology to be developed. 

Turn 25: The Coalition begins research on HT3 after successfully developing basic point defense.

The USSR also begins research into HT3. 

Turn 26: The USSR has completed development of all HT 2 systems (it did not develop a number of systems it considered unnecessary).  The MSS authorizes the refit of the Krivak class corvettes to incorporate the new gun/missile launcher and basic point defense.  In addition, work is begun incorporating the new technologies into the nation’s PDC’s. 

Turn 27: The Coalition begins refitting its ships and bases, having completed development of HT 2 systems. 

The USSR launches its first destroyer class unit, and immediately lays down a Kresta class light cruiser. 

Turn 28: The Coalition continues refitting its ships and bases, and lays down a frigate design. 

Turn 30: The USSR is finished upgrading its ships and PDC’s.  Four new destroyers, a corvette, and a light cruiser are under construction.  Because of its newfound superiority in space, the USSR feels confident enough to dispatch a squadron of ships to secure its Jupiter colonies.  The squadron is composed of a frigate and three corvettes. 

Turn 31: Alarmed by the USSR’s burgeoning fleet, and its deployment of warships to Jupiter, the Coalition lays down eight new corvettes. 

Turn 32: The Coalition launches its first frigate, and immediately starts construction of a destroyer.  Under intense pressure from the government, the Coalition fleet dispatches three corvettes and three escorts to Mars to safeguard Coalition interests there.  The USSR again causes consternation throughout the Coalition government when it dispatches six corvettes to its various colony sites throughout the Solar System, including three to it colonies around Saturn.  Even with this deployment across the Solar System, the Soviet fleet’s squadron close to Earth still out-masses the Coalition’s almost two to one. 

The Coalition’s governors and corporate managers on Tethys, Dione, and Titan all begin agitating loudly and publicly for Coalition military support.   

Turn 33: The Coalition’s orbital yards launch eight corvettes, giving the Coalition enough of a margin to dispatch squadrons to Saturn and Uranus.  The Coalition’s squadron at Earth now nearly matches the USSR’s. 

Turn 34: System Snapshot
USSR
Income: 8,640
Upkeep: 2,032
The USSR has colonized all available sites allocated to it under the treaty with the Coalition in turn 18.  The USSR has sole control of Mercury, the moons of Jupiter, and Neptune.  It shares colony sites with the Coalition in the moons of Saturn and Uranus. 

People’s Space Navy
Mercury: 1xCT
Earth: 1xCL, 6xDD, 3xCT
Jupiter: 1xFG, 3xCT
Saturn: 3xCT
Uranus: 1xCT
Neptune: 1xCT

Mothballed: 10xEX

PDC’s: 15xPDC (each is 158 spaces, 10xW, 100xAp, 10xDb)

SY’s: 4

Under Construction: 1xCL, 4xDD

Coalition:
Income: 7,834
Upkeep: 2,538

Like the USSR, the Coalition has colonized all available colony sites.  The Coalition controls Mars and shares colony sites in the moons of Saturn and Uranus with the USSR. 

Coalition Space Force
Earth: 1xFG, 12xCT, 1xES
Mars: 3xCT, 3xES
Saturn: 3xCT
Uranus: 1xCT

SY’s: 3
SYM’s: 4

PDC’s: 30xPDC (each is 141 spaces, 5xW, 100xAp, 10xDb)

Under Construction: 1xDD, 5xCT
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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RCSN Designs, Turn 34
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2020, 11:21:31 AM »
The Outreach class was intended to counter the USSR’s larger classes, once the Coalition realized that it had fallen behind the Soviet Military Space Service in terms of larger hull classes.  At the current time the Coalition has no plans to build additional frigates and instead is focusing on completing the larger Nelson class DD’s while also enlarging its corvette fleet. 
Code: [Select]
OUTREACH class FG  4 XO Racks 22 Hull TL 2
[2] SSAH(I)(I)(I)(I)WDbW(I)QsWMg [7]
22 RCP  3 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  239/ 35.9
HTK 15 Sx2  Ax1  Dbx1  Wx3  Mgx1 
200x SM

The Nelson class destroyer is intended to be the primary RCSN ship class for some time, replacing the smaller corvettes as the central class of the fleet.  Larger hull classes will be experimented with, but the RCSN intends to invest most of its construction capacity in destroyer construction as soon as the Nelson is launched in Turn 37.   
Code: [Select]
NELSON class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 2
[3] Sx3Ax3H(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsMgWx3(I)WQsMg [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  357/ 53.6
HTK 22 Sx3  Ax3  Wx4  Mgx2 
400x SM

This is the standard upgraded corvette design for the RCSN.  The missile launchers have been reduced from two to one to mount a point defense suite, which also allowed the designers to increase the ship’s passive defenses.  With the advent of point defenses, the RCSN has realized that the time of missile-armed corvettes is passing, as they cannot overwhelm an enemy’s defenses and will have an increasingly hard time penetrating the defenses of enemy ships as those defenses improve. 
Code: [Select]
DISCOVERY MK 3 class CT  3 XO Racks 16 Hull TL 2
[2] SSAAH(I)(I)(I)W(I)DbQsMg [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  162/ 24.3
HTK 13 Sx2  Ax2  Dbx1  Wx1  Mgx1 
200x SM

This is the standard design for all Coalition PDC’s as of the development of point defenses and the gun/missile launcher. 
Code: [Select]
HVY PDC MK 2 class PDC 141 Hull TL 2
[1] Apx100HQWx3Dbx3MgDbx3WWDbDbLhDbQDbMg [0]
141 RCP  100 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  583/ 58.3
HTK 121 Apx100  Dbx10  Wx5  Mgx2 
400x SM
 
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Soviet Military Space Service ship designs, Turn 34
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2020, 11:24:30 AM »
The Soviet Military Space Service is institutionally biased towards larger, more capable hulls, and has established a lead over the Coalition in the construction and fielding of such ships.  The Kresta class light cruiser, launched in Turn 34, is the largest human-built warship to date.  The MSS plans to field a solid core of CL’s, backed up by Udaloy class destroyers.   
Code: [Select]
KRESTA class CL  9 XO Racks 45 Hull TL 2
[3] Sx6Ax6H(BbS)(II)(I)(II)(I)(II)QMgWWDbWDb(I)DbLhWMg [6]
45 RCP  5 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  536.5/ 80.5
HTK 34 Sx6  Ax6  Dbx3  Wx4  Mgx2 
100x GM, 200x SM

The first Udaloy class destroyer was launched on Turn 27, and by Turn 34 the USSR has fielded six units of this class. 
Code: [Select]
UDALOY class DD  30 Hull TL 1
[3] Sx3Ax4H(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)Rx3Qs(I)QsRMg [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  291/ 43.7
HTK 22 Sx3  Ax4  Rx4  Mgx1 
200x BM

The R1 refit for the Udaloy class added gun/missile launchers, point defense, and XO racks. 
Code: [Select]
UDALOY R1 class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 2
[3] Sx4Ax5H(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsDbW(I)QsDbWMg [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  345/ 51.8
HTK 24 Sx4  Ax5  Dbx2  Wx2  Mgx1 
200x SM

The designers had to reduce passive defenses of the Krivak class to install a point defense suite, but the trade-off was felt to be necessary. 
Code: [Select]
KRIVAK R1 class CT  (AC) 3 XO Racks 16 Hull TL 2
[2] Ax4H(I)(I)(I)Db(I)WQsMg [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  162/ 24.3
HTK 13 Ax4  Dbx1  Wx1  Mgx1 
50x GM, 100x SM

Code: [Select]
PDC R1 class PDC 5 XO Racks 158 Hull TL 2
[1] Apx100HMgDbDbWx5DbMgQDbx4Wx4DbMgDbQDbLhWMg [0]
158 RCP  100 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  752/ 75.2
HTK 128 Apx100  Dbx10  Wx10  Mgx4 
800x SM
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War, A Brief Note on Starfire
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2020, 08:16:48 AM »
A short briefing on Starfire (For Aurora players who don’t know much about it)

Also note: None of the following is intended to be a value judgement relating to either Starfire or Aurora.  They are different games, and have different strengths and weaknesses. 

First off, and importantly, Starfire is a lot like Aurora, or rather, it’s the other way around, Aurora is a lot like Starfire.  Aurora grew out of Starfire, and in many ways, grew beyond it as well.  Steve started Aurora based on Starfire, but they rapidly diverged to the point where today they only share broad generalities.

First, some similarities.  Starfire, like Aurora, is a strategic/tactical 4X game of interstellar expansion and empire building.  They both share the warp point/jump point method of interstellar travel.  In Aurora, it is Trans-Newtonian materials that give ships their abilities of inertia-less motion, in Starfire it is the drive field.  Both share similarities in broad weapons types, i.e. missiles and beams, although the specifics are quite different. 

Now for some differences.  Aurora tends to have incremental increases in capabilities as tech increases.  Starfire, on the other hand, has very uneven increases in capabilities.  This results in situations where civilizations separated by several tech levels might have near equivalent capabilities, while in other cases a single tech level advance might give an empire dramatic advantages over its opponents.  An example of this would be advancing from High Tech (HT) 7 to 8.  At HT8 fighters become available, and any empire with fighters has a big advantage over other empires that don’t have them.  Aurora has nothing like this, largely because Steve, and many others, felt that Starfire’s tech system provided capability increases that were too uneven, and too predictable if you study the tech charts for five minutes. 

Basic Starfire capabilities:
Detection ranges: Starfire ships can detect other ships at 7.5 light seconds range, unless they have long-range sensors, which is a HT3 system.  LR sensors are one of those “capability-jump” systems mentioned above.  With LR sensors a ship can see other ships up to 72 LIGHT MINUTES away.  The only thing that a HT2 or lower tech race has that can match that capability is the inherent detection capability of its population centers, which have the same capability as LR sensors.  In the terms of the Cold War Campaign, the Coalition and the USSR cannot “see” farther than 7.5 light seconds beyond their outer colonies, while any purely hypothetical aliens who might happen to be wandering past and equipped with Xr, could see them from 72 light minutes away. 

Movement: Much like Aurora, Starfire ships can mount either military or civilian engines.  Civilian engines are larger and sturdier, and can be run at full power indefinitely, but a ship can only mount enough civilian engines to go roughly two-thirds the speed that a ship with military engines can move at.  The advantage that civilian engines give is that a ship with military engines has to run at half-power on the strategic scale, meaning half speed, while a ship with commercial engines is faster strategically.  In Starfire, a ship moving at speed 6, which is the typical speed for cruisers, is moving at 5% the speed of light. 

Combat: Turns are 30 seconds long, and ships move first, then fire.  Initiative is rolled at the start of the combat turn, and the winner of initiative moves second and fires first.  Missile weapons are generally poor at short range and good at medium or long range, while beams are great at short range and okay at medium range.  Beams tend to do more damage the closer you get, while missiles do the same damage regardless of the range. 

On the strategic scale, there is a big difference between Aurora and Starfire.  The Starfire game system allows for the creation of large to very large empires, encompassing hundreds of systems.  The game does become somewhat unworkable at that scale, but you can do it.  Both Steve and I had campaigns that ended up at that scale, Steve’s Rigellian Campaign and my Phoenix Campaign.  Aurora does not allow that kind of empire building, in my opinion. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Turn 34: Attack at Neptune
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2020, 08:18:16 AM »
Turn 34, Day 6, 1210 hours (Earth Standard Time)
Aboard the K-12, Neptune orbital space
The K-12, a Krivak class corvette commanded by Kapiyteyn Sidorov, had been assigned to the colony at Triton for months.  At first, he had tried to keep his crew oriented on the mission.  They had trained and actively patrolled for the first several months, but then, as time dragged, the crew’s moral began to sink.  The problem was, nothing ever happened.  They were far outside of the inhabited area of the solar system, and the only ship that they ever saw was the lone freighter that came to pick up the ore from the mines on Triton once a month.  So, to stave off boredom and dissipation, he had begun giving his crew liberty on the colony.  Bit by bit the number of the crew on at the colony had grown, as his crew’s skills became a significant addition to the lonely colony’s safety margin.  At this point the bulk of the crew was groundside on any given day, and the K-12 was only fully manned two days in seven, for patrols and maintenance.  Kapiyteyn Sidorov knew that this was against regs and would be held against him if it became generally known back in Russia, but he had a strong suspicion that he had been assigned to this distant post as a hint that he should resign, so it probably wasn’t doing irreparable harm to his career.  Settling into his station on the corvette’s tiny bridge, he mentally composed himself for another boring day as he sipped his tea and brought up the logs from the night shift. 

Unknown to Kapiyteyn Sidorov or his crew, lethal predators were creeping close.  Three ships, larger than anything the Coalition or the USSR had yet built were racing towards Triton and its lone defender.  The three ships had their weapons armed and ready, while the K-12, which had no sensors capable of detecting them, hovered over Triton in station-keeping mode. 

On board the K-12 a sensor tech suddenly leaned over his console.  “Sir, drive field contact, 7.5 light seconds distant and closing!”

Kapiyteyn Sidorov’s head came up from the logs he had been studying.  “What?  It’s not time for the freighter, is it?”

“Negative, Sir, the monthly freighter is still two weeks away and the contact is on the wrong bearing.  Now at seven light seconds and closing.”  There was a creeping note of panic in the rating’s voice.

It could only be the Coalition.  He turned to the communications station, which was unmanned.  Blinking, he keyed a command into his station to send out an automated warning to the inner system.  Fleet Command had warned that they believed that the Coalition was becoming desperate as the USSR firmed up its lead in fleet strength.  He had briefly considered cancelling leave on the colony when the warning came in, but nothing had come of it, and he had been sure that if the Coalition started something, it wouldn’t be out here.  Watching the blinking light representing the contact creep closer he realized he had gambled and lost.  He hit the alert button on his station, and opened the all-hands channel.  “Action stations!  All crew to their stations!  This is no drill!”  The K-12’s remaining crew tumbled out of their bunks and began racing to their stations, but it was already too late. 

The three contacts reached 6.5 light seconds from the doomed K-12 and each launched five large missiles at the corvette.   It was extreme range for these missiles, and only ten locked onto the target.  The K-12’s single basic point defense emplacement began spitting short ranged anti-missile missiles and laser pulses at the incoming missiles, and despite the missile’s pen-aides the point defense crew got two kills on the incoming missile wave.  It wasn’t enough.  Kapiyteyn Sidorov cursed the Coalition as the missiles swept in on his command, helpless to do anything else.  Massive explosions blossomed around the K-12 and when they cleared the corvette was gone.  The three mystery ships launched a second salvo at the Soviet colony, then turned and left.  The Soviet Triton colony and its lone defender were no more.   The consequences of this attack would be far-reaching. 

Distance from Earth:
Distance to Neptune: 255 LM
Distance to Uranus: 125 LM
Distance to Saturn: 70 LM
Distance to Jupiter: 38 LM
Distance to Mars: 5 LM
Distance to Mercury: 4 LM

Turn 34, Day 6, 1625 hours EST
Approximately 255 minutes later the doomed K-12’s warning reached the big listening stations on Earth.  The warning was a simple code, which was all that the K-12’s commander had time for.  The code merely meant that the K-12 was under attack by unidentified assailants.  Soviet Fleet HQ immediately sent a query back towards Neptune to determine if the message was real or a mistake.  In addition, the head of the USSR’s space fleet, Marshal Yuri Padorin, ordered all Soviet Fleet elements system wide to a higher alert level while they tried to determine what was going on.  The main Soviet fleet stationed ten light seconds from Earth received the warning almost immediately, but it would take considerably longer for the warning to reach the other squadrons scattered around the system.  The Coalition picked up the increased readiness level in the Soviet fleet and bases, and increased their own readiness level to match, which further increased tensions between the two nations.  Unfortunately, it would take over four hours for the query to reach Neptune and another four for an answer to return. 

Twenty minutes after the warning arrived, Marshal Padorin was summoned to the Politburo.  These days the Central Committee, and the Politburo from which it was drawn, was dominated by active and retired military officers, however, that didn’t necessarily make Padorin’s job any easier.  Most of the officers that made up the Politburo were drawn from the ground and air forces and understood little of the new realities of space combat.  He was whisked through security in record time and found himself standing before the General Secretary and six of the most powerful members of the Politburo. 

“What has happened, Marshal?”  The faces of the seven most powerful men in the USSR were dark and inscrutable.  Padorin knew that his staff had already informed them about the alert signal received from the K-12.  They not only wanted the facts, but his impressions as well. 

“Twenty-five minutes ago, we received an emergency code from corvette K-12 in Neptunian space.  The code indicated that the K-12 was under attack by hostile forces.  We have provided our commanders with a number of codes that can be sent with little time or preparation to warn against various threats or dangers to their ships and or to the USSR as a whole.  We received this emergency code by tight beam transmission from the K-12.  The time lag to Neptune is approximately 255 minutes, meaning that whatever happened occurred over four hours ago.  In the time since receiving the code from the K-12 we have received nothing further, indicating that most likely the K-12 was destroyed before it could send any additional information.”

“Is that the only possibility?” 

Padorin frowned.  “It is not.  However, it is extremely unlikely that the code was sent in error.  By design, if the commander attempts to send such a code, every command station would alert its operator that such an action was taking place, allowing counter-action to take place to avoid the accidental transmission of an emergency code.  In addition, the K-12 has had twenty-five minutes to send additional information or to retract the emergency code, and it has not.  It would require an extremely unlikely series of events to prevent the commander from sending follow-up information.  In addition, we have lost contact with the Triton colony, indicating that whatever difficulty affected the K-12 has also affected the colony.”

“But…there are nearly 300,000 miners there!”

“Yes, and they’ve gone silent.”

The General Secretary stirred.  “IS this an attack by the Coalition?”  They all leaned forward, eager to hear his opinion.  In the aftermath of the Last War, this was the thing they most feared.  Any attack by either of the two remaining super powers would almost certainly result in devastating what ever was left.  As this was the entire rational for the continuing control of the Soviet state, they were understandably interested in his answer. 

Padorin kept his face blank.  “We do not know at this time.  The emergency code, coupled with the loss of contact with both K-12 and the colony are certainly indicative of an attack, however, the Coalition’s strategic posture is all wrong if they intended to launch a widespread offensive against our forces.  They have not reinforced their squadrons at our shared colonial sites at Saturn and Uranus, and their home fleet is understrength compared to ours.  In addition, they did not raise their readiness level until we raised ours.  Also, our alert message has been acknowledged by the K-004, which is assigned to the Mercury colony and is the closest unit to Earth.  The K-004 is operational and has seen no sign of hostile action.  Finally, as a strategy, this action makes no sense.  First, we have accounted for all of their forces.  It would require a significant force to destroy K-12 before it could send a follow-up message, and the Coalition has no such force.  Secondly, why risk everything to destroy one corvette?  And while we have not yet received confirmation from our other squadrons as to their status, because of the light-speed delay, if they had been attacked simultaneously, we would already have received emergency codes from at least some of those ships, and we have received no such transmissions.  The window for a surprise attack on our other squadrons is rapidly closing, and it has already closed here, at our greatest concentration of fleet strength.  Surely, if the Coalition intended a wide-spread surprise attack, they would have attempted to launch an attack here first, rather than at an out of the way colony like Triton.”

General Petrov, the junior-most member of the Politburo, but not necessarily the weakest, stood and leaned over the table.  “Marshal, that presumes that the Coalition is well organized, and that they do not have any forces we don’t know about.  Perhaps a commander jumped the gun, and perhaps they were able to build a force of ships on Mars, where we have very little intelligence on their activities.”  Having made his point, he looked around at his fellow oligarchs.  “Surely you aren’t saying that our colony was attacked by some flight of fancy, like a third power in the system that we are completely unaware of.  Or perhaps you are suggesting that aliens attacked our ship?”

Padorin frowned.  “It is certainly possible that the Coalition is having command and control problems.  Certainly, we do over distances that takes light hours to travel.  However, there is nothing in their deployments that suggest that they are readying for an attack.   And while it is possible that the Coalition has managed to hide a ship, or possibly two, it is extremely unlikely.  We watch their shipyards very carefully, along with their planetary build sites.  And they could no more construct warships on their Martian colonies than we could build such ships at our Jupiter colonies.  Those colonies are mining and research sites, nothing more.”  He paused and looked around the room, trying to come up with a way to say what he wanted to say without appearing as he was challenging the General.  “I am merely saying that I do not know who attacked our ship.  Logically it must be the Coalition, as they are the only other known space-going power, but we have no evidence of this and it makes no strategic or tactical sense for them to attack us in this way.  And we do have evidence that space-faring aliens do exist orbiting over our heads as we speak.” 

Several of the Politburo members involuntarily looked towards the ceiling, as if they could see the alien hulks that had given humanity the secret of the drive field, if little else.  Most of the smaller pieces had either burned up or been swept up by one of the two sides, while the largest two had been seized by the USSR and the Coalition and even now resided at the hearts of their orbital shipyard complexes, being studied and analyzed.  General Petrov shook his head.  “The Coalition is the threat here.  They blame us for the Last War, and oppose us at every turn.   

The Chairman nodded.  “And what have you done about this situation, Yuri?”

“I’ve have put the fleet on alert, both here and throughout the solar system.  I have dispatched messages to both the K-12 and the Triton colony requiring status updates, but even if they respond we will not know for another eight hours.  The Coalition has taken note of our increased readiness and raised their readiness in response.”

General Petrov looked around the table.  “We must respond in a way that makes it clear to the Coalition that we will not suffer an attack lightly!  They must understand that we will not stand idly by while they whittle our strength down bit by bit!”

The Chairman nodded; his face inscrutable.  “And if I ordered an immediate attack on their fleet, Yuri?  What would happen then?”

“If the order were given, our home fleet would move to engage the Coalition fleet on the far side of Earth.  Our fleet would have to avoid coming within range of the Coalition’s bases on Earth, and that would give the Coalition fleet plenty of time to either maneuver to engage our fleet or to escape.  Our fleet out-masses the Coalition main fleet by approximately 10%, which is not enough to guarantee victory.”  Padorin paused and looked around the room, gaging the mood.  “If I were the Coalition fleet commander, when I saw our fleet approaching, I would move towards Earth to get within range of the Coalition’s PDC’s.  We would then have the choice of engaging with our PDC’s, which would almost certainly cause a general nuclear exchange as both sides attempted to wipe out the other’s PDC’s.  The damage would be incalculable, and there would be no way to predict the outcome.  Our only alternative to general destruction would be to stop and talk to the Coalition.”

“You paint a grim picture, comrade.  Perhaps we should begin by talking to the Coalition.  After all, we cannot catch them by surprise at this point, can we?”

“No, we cannot.”  He paused for a second, then continued.  “Please do not forget.  We have forces in close contact with Coalition ships at both Saturn and Uranus.  Whatever the truth is out at Neptune, I have ordered our ships at both of those stations to maximum alert, and the Coalition has presumably done the same.  Our warnings will be arriving at Jupiter in a few minutes, and at Saturn in another thirty minutes or so.  Whenever two opposed naval forces are in close contact and tensions are high, there is the possibility for accidents or misunderstandings to take the decisions out of the leader’s hands.  We face a difficult situation. We may not be given much time to resolve this crisis.”

The Chairman frowned.  “This is understood, comrade.  We are all military men here.  We will be contacting the Coalition directly.  In the meantime, I want you to prepare a mission to Neptune to discover the truth of what happened.  No action is to be taken until the tensions are resolved here, but once they are you are to dispatch this mission as soon as possible.  Understood?”

“Yes sir!”

Turn 34, Day 6, 1705 hours
Jupiter Resource Exploitation Area, USSR
The warning from fleet command arrived a few minutes after Marshal Padorin left the Kremlin.  The Soviet Military Space Fleet squadron assigned to the JREA consisted of three corvettes and a single frigate.  The ships were distributed around the area, with one ship orbiting each of the three colonies at any given time, and the fourth roving on a patrol route throughout the area.  Periodically the ships would shift to different colonies, and they rotated the roving patrol assignment as well.  The warning caused the major in command to raise their readiness levels, but aside from that it had little effect on their operations.  An answer was sent, as the warning required, confirming that all was well within the Jupiter AOR.  The warning from Earth would reach Saturn before the response from Jupiter reached Earth. 

Turn 34, Day 6, 1740 hours
Saturn Resource Exploitation Area, USSR
The warning from Earth arrived at Saturn just over a half an hour after the Jupiter Squadron received its warning.  The USSR’s Saturn squadron consisted of three corvettes assigned to protect its two mining operations on Rhea and Iapetus.  Unlike the situation around Jupiter, where the USSR has sole control of the area, the USSR shared sovereignty with the Coalition in Saturn space.  The Coalition had three mining operations, on Tethys, Dione, and Titan, and a squadron of three corvettes assigned to protect them.  The relationship between the USSR and the Coalition in the Saturn AOR had been strained for some time. 

It had started with a disaster at the USSR’s Rhea Mining Complex, early in the colonization effort.  A dome had collapsed, killing a number of colonists and stranding others with limited life support.  The other USSR colony on Iapetus was brand new and struggling itself, and had little support to send.  By comparison, the Coalition colonies were large and well-equipped, unlike the threadbare Soviet operations, and when no help arrived from the Coalition, the Soviet miners conceived a deep hatred for their Coalition counterparts who had let their friends and families die.  Unknown to the Soviet colonists, the colonization effort manager had not informed the Coalition of the disaster, or asked for their help, and instead sent messages to the Extra-Atmospheric Resource Exploitation Ministry on Earth, asking for guidance.  When the disaster deepened, and people continued to die, the local manager decided to cover himself by claiming that the Coalition refused to assist the miners.  The Ministry on Earth picked this story up and ran with it, bolstering morale by scapegoating the Coalition, and awarded the manager with promotion and recognition for his heroic actions.  When word leaked to the Coalition’s managers on the Saturn AOR they were incensed at the misrepresentation by the USSR, but there was little that they could do about it.  From that seed the distrust spread to poison every international relationship in the Saturn AOR, including that of the two militaries.  Unlike the shared Uranus AOR, where the two sides mostly cooperated and got along well, in the Saturn AOR the two military squadrons constantly watched each other, wary for an ambush.  Both sides tried to gain an edge over the other, constantly maneuvering to gain an advantage or fool the other into complacency. 

It was into this heated atmosphere that the warning from Earth arrived.  Major Dimitri Semenov, commander of all USSR forces in the Saturn AOR, took one look at the message from Earth warning of the possible destruction of the Neptune Squadron and colony, and ordered his squadron to alert status.  He disregarded the message’s mealy-mouthed hedges about the identity of the attackers, as he knew that it could only be the Coalition.  He was not one of the few that knew of the real story about the rivalry in the Saturn AOR, and he truly believed that the Coalition was a threat to the continued Soviet presence around Saturn.   

Senior Captain Ross, the Coalition squadron commander in the Saturn AOR, noted the change in the Russian squadron’s behavior immediately, and he ordered his squadron to got to alert status as well.  He knew that his squadron was at a disadvantage, as his crews were green and the Soviet squadron was an experienced group.  Still, he had little choice.  What followed was as automatic as a train arriving at a station.  Both sides knew that they were relatively evenly matched, and both sides knew that given that fact, the side that fired first would almost certainly achieve superiority.  Both sides dispatched emergency messages to Earth detailing circumstances of the almost certain upcoming battle.   

Major Semenov’s squadron was clustered around Iapetus, while the Coalition’s squadron hovered over Tethys, meaning that the two squadrons were separated by 2.25 light seconds.  Within thirty seconds of receiving the message, two of Commodore Semenov’s corvettes had activated their weapons.  Major Semenov didn’t hesitate, and ordered his two ships to open fire.  Both Soviet corvettes launched a single standard missile, both targeted independently on the same Coalition corvette.  Both missiles missed.  With his last corvette lagging and still unable to activate its weapons, Commodore Semenov ordered his two active corvettes to close on the enemy squadron and engage with missiles in sprint mode. 

Even as the first missiles were launched from the Soviet squadron, one of Senior Captain Ross’ corvettes managed to reach action stations.  He ordered that corvette to engage one of the two corvettes closing on their squadron while the other ships struggled to reach action stations.  The Soviet’s next salvo achieved two hits, one on each of the Coalition corvettes, while the return fire from the single active Coalition corvette missed the oncoming Soviet ships.  The last Soviet corvette finally managed to activate its systems as the sprint-mode missiles flew between the ships, and the second Coalition corvette activated its weapons as well, leaving only a single Coalition corvette still inactive. 

Major Semenov ordered his advanced ships to come to a halt so that the last ship could rejoin them, and ordered all three corvettes to concentrate fire on one of the Coalition corvettes.  Two of the three sprint-mode missiles hit the luckless Coalition corvette, knocking down her shields and wiping out half of her armor.  In return, the Coalition corvettes managed to score a single hit, but the third Coalition corvette finally managed to activate its weapons. 

Sensing an advantage, Major Semenov ordered his ships to close to point blank range.  The next exchange of fire happened at a half of a light second.  The next round of fire went to the Coalition, with the Coalition corvettes scoring two hits and the Soviet ships only scoring one in return.  The battle turned into a point-blank pounding match, with corvettes shooting sprint-mode missiles into each other, desperately trying to knock out their opponents before being knocked out themselves.  Four minutes after the firing started, one Coalition corvette had lost most of its internal systems, including its single gun-missile launcher, and was ordered to retreat by Senior Captain Ross.  On the other side, a Soviet corvette had lost most of its internal systems, but still had its weapon intact and stayed in the fray.  Major Semenov ordered his ships to ignore the retreating Coalition corvette and they focused their fire on one of the two remaining corvettes and the slugging match continued.  Thirty seconds later a Russian corvette was reduced to a drifting hulk, leaving both sides with two corvettes slugging it out. 

It took several more minutes before a second Coalition corvette’s weapon was knocked out.  At that point the USSR still had an intact corvette and a second corvette with light internal damage.  Senior Captain Ross, aboard the last intact Coalition corvette, could see the inevitable end just as well as the Soviets, but continued fighting.  Two minutes later it was over as the last Coalition corvette lost its weapon.  Senior Captain Ross immediately ordered his ship to drop its drive field and surrender, along with the other two corvettes in his squadron that were slowly limping away.  The battle was over and the Soviets had won.  Even as the Coalition corvettes dropped their drive fields in surrender, emergency messages were winging their way towards Earth from both sides, detailing the facts of the battle. 

Major Semenov ordered all three Coalition corvettes to return to Iapetus and evacuate their ships.  With the Coalition squadron neutralized, Commodore Semenov ordered the three Coalition colonies to surrender to his forces pending a determination from Earth as to the status of the Saturn AOR.  He had won his battle, but the ultimate outcome would be determined by the leaders of the two nations on Earth.  It would take approximately 70 minutes for the news to travel to Earth. 

Turn 34, Day 6, 1850 hours
Earth, Coalition Fleet
Admiral Jonas Ruston glared at the central display from his station at the rear of the Frigate Outreach’s bridge.  This situation had disaster written all over it.  His fleet was at action stations, as was the Russian fleet on the far side of Earth, as were all of the bases maintained by both sides.  Eventually someone was going to start shooting if only to relieve the endless tension that had built as both sides glared at each other.  The leaders of both governments were talking to each other, but at least so far nothing had come of those talks, except perhaps the revelation that the Soviets were claiming they had been attacked.  He was fairly sure that if there had been an attack it hadn’t been his forces that had launched it, but the damned time lag meant that they still hadn’t received confirmation from the Uranus squadron or the Saturn squadron’s as to their status, meaning that anything might have happened out there and he had no way of knowing. 

One of the techs on the far side of the bridge stiffened.  “Sir, incoming message from Fleet Admiral Reese!”

“To my station, please.”  He straightened and activated the pickup at his station.  A second later he could see Admiral Reese, CO of all Coalition naval forces in front of him.  She looked tired and worried, which, given her normal unflappability, concerned him greatly.  “Admiral, what news?”

“Jonas, we’ve just received a communique from Saturn.  The Saturn squadron is engaged with the Russians.  The Russians fired first, catching our people by surprise.  It doesn’t look good.  CEO Makenzie is on the line with Chairman Stepanov now, but they are claiming we fired first.  I know you and your people are getting tired, but consider this a war warning.  I’m not sure what is going to happen, but whatever you do, keep an eye on the Russians.  You cannot let your forces be caught by surprise.”

“Understood Admiral.  Keep us apprised as new details become available.”  Admiral Reese nodded and signed off.  Admiral Ruston looked around the frigate’s small bridge and saw every eye on him.  “You heard the Admiral.  I want all scanners watching the Russians, and in every other direction as well.  We will not be caught out by them.  Not this time!”  As the bridge crew turned back to their stations, he began thinking of what he was going to say to the fleet.  It might be his last chance to bolster their morale.

Turn 34, Day 6, 1900 hours
Moscow
Chairman Stepanov looked around the room at his six closest allies, who were also his six greatest rivals for power within the Politburo.  “Gentlemen, I have just gotten off the phone with the Coalition CEO.  He is incensed over the attack by our forces in the Saturn AOR.  They have dead crew people and damaged ships, and we fired first.”

General Petrov shook his head.  “They attacked us at Neptune!  Their loss at Saturn is no less than they deserve.”  He looked at the other members of the group.  “We should order our forces to attack everywhere!  Bring the Coalition to heel once and for all!”

Chairman Stepanov nodded.  “We could do this, but...if we did, could we prevent the fighting from spreading to Earth?”  General Petrov opened his mouth, but before he could speak the Chairman continued.  “I do not think we could.  The Coalition would almost certainly be at a disadvantage throughout the Solar System, and the pressure on their military to launch an attack here would be intense.  And once fighting began here, we would have no way of preventing it from becoming another war like the Last War.”  He looked around the room at the admirals and generals that made up the ruling council of the USSR, and they all, with the possible exception of General Petrov, looked ashen and daunted by the prospect.  “We might ‘win’ such a conflict, but I do not think that our nation would survive in any meaningful way.”  Sensing an advantage, he pressed forward.  “You all know the facts, we only survived the Last War through an accident, a fluke.  We will not get such a chance again.  Now, here is what I propose…”

Turn 34, Day 7
Earth
At the last moment, as the survival of the human race hung in the balance, the two rival nations backed away from the precipice.  Alert levels were reduced, PDC’s stood down from immediate launch status.  The two sides began talking to each other.  Really, there was no other result possible.  One side or the other might be able to destroy the other side’s scattered squadrons, and cut them off from their solar colonies, but then what.  The other side would almost certainly feel backed into a corner, and would be very likely to launch a war that would start in Earth’s orbit but would end on the ground with the mutual annihilation of each side’s populations.  Such a result could not be risked, so both sides saw the wisdom in backing away from the precipice.  This time. 

After several days of intense negotiations, the USSR admitted that its forces fired first at Saturn, and allowed all Coalition crew persons interned there to return to Coalition territory, along with the colonies and the battered ships they had seized.  In the spirit of cooperation, the USSR agreed to allow the Coalition to send a small team of three scientists and experts on the expedition that the USSR was putting together to send to Neptune.  The team would have to work under the supervision of the Russians, in conjunction with the teams being sent by the USSR, and they would travel on a Russian ship.  The Russians were sending two corvettes to escort the transport carrying the investigators to Neptune. 

Tensions were reduced across the solar system, but not eliminated. 

Turn 34, Day 9, 1600 hours
Solar System, 84 light minutes from Earth…
Undetected by human sensors, nine cruisers sat motionless, watching Earth and its surrounding space.  The results of their attack at Neptune had been disappointing.  The All Highest had been sure that an attack on an isolated station belonging to one of their petty factions would result in a general war between their squabbling nations.  At first it seemed the plan was working perfectly, especially when the two native squadrons at the ringed planet began shooting at each other.  However, it just seemed to peter out after that.  Very disappointing. 

After some deliberation a decision was made.  The fleet turned away from the human planet and began making its was back towards the outer system.  The fleet wasn’t equipped to deal with the swarm of smaller ships the humans had orbiting their planet, an oversight that the fleet commander intended to remedy.  He also intended to ‘speak’ with the idiots at central command that refused to risk their special weapons ships in an open attack against the humans. 

Unseen, the alien fleet made its way back out of the system, towards its entry point.  It would be back. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turns 35-40
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2020, 08:37:38 AM »
Turn 35
The three corvettes from the Coalition’s Saturn squadron limp home after the crews are released from Russian custody.  The Russians also release the travel controls they had placed on the Coalition colonies in the Saturn system.  Three corvettes from the Coalition home fleet are sent to Saturn to replace them.  All three damaged corvettes go into the yards as soon as they arrive at Earth. 

The Coalition Naval Command is disappointed with the performance of its corvettes at Saturn, and new construction for this month is changed over to Outreach class frigates instead of corvettes. 

The Russians also begin repairs on ships damaged at Saturn, and their expedition to Neptune departs early this month.  In addition, the Russians begin construction on three new light cruisers. 

Behind the scenes, the Coalition, which has had its vulnerabilities across the solar system demonstrated to it, has made much data on its building schedules and resource allocations available to the USSR in an attempt to demonstrate that they have no “secret fleet” capable of attacking the Russians at Neptune.  Certainly, the fact that no such fleet suddenly appeared during the height of the tensions last month indicates that it is unlikely that the Coalition is behind the attack.  The initial results from the investigation teams on Neptune are inconclusive.  The K-012 was destroyed by missile bombardment, and was nearly completely vaporized, with very little left to study.  The colony was bombarded as well.  The Russians are beginning to believe that the Coalition had nothing to do with the attack, but are no closer to determining the actual identity of the attackers.  Some in the Politburo are beginning to believe that the aliens who had so fortuitously left wreckage in orbit for humanity to study have returned. 

Many in the Coalition continue to believe that the Triton disaster was caused by internal Soviet divisions, and was perhaps a rebellion that was brutally repressed, although some are more open minded.

As a result of the ongoing investigation, and the uncertainty of the identity of the attackers, both governments have put together scientific teams to examine theories of how the aliens that fought over Earth at the dawn of the drive-field era traveled to the solar system.  None of the wreckage that was left had anything like an ‘interstellar drive’, and there were no intact databases or computer systems to interrogate to determine how the aliens traveled between the stars.  Up till now, both sides had been focused on each other, and on exploiting the solar system, but now, with the possibility of a new threat on the horizon, they began looking outwards again. 

Turn 36
Both sides have begun building new orbital shipyards to keep up with the demands of new construction for their growing fleets. 

Turn 37
The Reformation Coalition achieves a breakthrough, developing HT3.  The first system that the Coalition researchers begin developing is the long-range sensor.  This system is considered essential, given the vast blind spots in sensor coverage across the solar system, and the demonstrated vulnerabilities of the colonies and detached squadrons in the system.   

The Coalition also launches its first DD, the Nelson, along with three Outreach class frigates. 

The USSR also achieves HT3 this turn, and begins research on a number of systems, including Xr. 

Turn 38
The Coalition completes a new orbital shipyard, but all new construction has come to a halt as new technologies are developed. 

The USSR is rushing ahead in its research on new tech systems.  In addition, it has begun work on a sixth orbital shipyard.   

Turn 39
The Coalition has become uneasy at the lead that the USSR has taken in researching new tech systems, and the Council has agreed to invest additional resources from the national reserve to initiate research on all remaining critical systems. 

The USSR continues to invest in developing new technology. 

The research teams on Triton have completed their work and issued a final report.  They have been able to determine that both the colony and the K-012 were destroyed by the same type of weapons, and at approximately the same time.  Based on the craters left at the colony site, the teams estimate that the nuclear missiles used had twice the destructive power of the standard missile in use by both the Soviet and Coalition fleet, or approximately equivalent to the strength of a so-called “gun-missile”.  The GM is not currently in use in either fleet anywhere except on PDC’s on Earth.  In addition, the GM has a maximum useful range of 2.5 light seconds, and all indications are that the K 012 was destroyed from beyond five light seconds range, based on the fact that they failed to send any updates after the first warning. 

The report leaves open far more questions than it answers.  In the Coalition, the report weakens those who cling to the idea that it was some sort of internal conflict or rebellion on Triton, as the Coalition team found no evidence of ground-based launchers.  In the USSR there is little change in attitudes.  The bulk of the Politburo has adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude at this point. 

Turn 40
The Coalition begins construction on a prototype light cruiser and five destroyers.  Coalition intelligence has become interested in the Soviet research program.  The Soviets have invested far more in developing new systems than the Coalition, indicating a possible change in strategy on their part.  The Coalition has begun development of all systems deemed critically necessary to modernize the fleet, such as datalink, long-range sensors, point defense, and tractor beams.  It appears that the Soviet research has gone far past that and is developing systems for which there appears to be no immediate need.  This is troubling and intelligence assets are diverted to attempt to discover the USSR’s motivations. 

The USSR continues to invest in developing new technologies. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War, Turn 40 notes
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2020, 07:46:48 AM »
A couple of notes, now that the campaign has reached turn 40…

Construction Rates
While I reduced the population growth rates at the start of the game, to stave off the “explosive growth” phase of the game, I didn’t reduce shipyard build rates.  After playing through the start of the game I think it would be a good idea to do that now, so I’ve reduced all build rates by approximately half, although I did include a bit of a jump in capacity every five tech levels.  This will go into effect immediately. 

PDC’s, as of Turn 40
I spent some time reading the rules on PDC’s today, and realized that I’ve been doing it wrong.  The rules clearly state that there can only be one armed PDC per planetary area, and I’ve been kind of ignoring that.  I think it will be more interesting if I pay attention to that particular rule, so I’ve redesigned both side’s PDC’s to conform with this rule.  The USSR gets control of three of Earth’s planetary hex-sides, while the Coalition gets control of two.  The last planetary hex-side is considered uncontrolled, and represents the vast bulk of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas.  This leaves a gap in Earth’s defenses, although the rules allow PDC’s in adjacent areas to use their point defense to cover the gap. 

In addition, I have added a (very) minor house rule that PDC’s on the same planet can launch sprint-mode missiles at each other regardless of the blindspot.  This only applies to the PDC’s and represents the fact that the PDC’s have had lots and lots of time to calculate trajectories to target each other. 

In any case, here are the recalculated PDC’s for each side.  Both sides still have the same number of systems, they’ve just been consolidated into fewer PDC’s.

Coalition
The Coalition has two of these bases, one on the West Coast of the former USA and the other in Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean. 
Code: [Select]
PDC AREA DESIGN class PDC  2057 Hull TL 2
[1]Apx1500HDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgHDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx10Wx5MgMgDbx5Wx5MgMgDbx5[0]
2057 RCP    Trg:1     Cost =  8166/ 816.6
HTK 1757 Apx1500  Dbx150  Wx75  Mgx30 
6000x SM

USSR
The USSR has three of these PDC’s, one in Europe, the second in Central Russia, and the third in eastern Siberia.
Code: [Select]
PDC AREA DESIGN class PDC  771 Hull TL 2
[1]Apx500HWx5MgMgWx5MgMgDbx5Wx5MgMgWx5Dbx5MgMgWx5Dbx5MgMgWx5Dbx5MgMgWx5Dbx5MgMgDbx5Wx5Dbx5MgMgDbx5Wx5Dbx5MgMgWx5MgMgDbx5[0]
771 RCP    Trg:1     Cost =  3493/ 349.3
HTK 621 Apx500  Dbx50  Wx50  Mgx20 
4000x SM
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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RCSN Ship Designs, Turn 41
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2020, 10:29:48 AM »
RCSN Ship Designs, Turn 41

The Brazwell class light cruiser is the Coalition’s answer to the USSR’s Kresta class cruisers, and is intended to be the fleet’s premier heavy combatant.  The first unit of this class, the Brazwell, was laid down in the Coalition orbital yards in turn 40, and will be launched in Turn 49. 

Code: [Select]
BRAZWELL MK 2 class CL  9 XO Racks 45 Hull TL 3
[3] Sx4Ax4ZH(BbS)(II)(I)(II)(I)(II)WDMgM2WWDWLhWD(I)QMg [6]
45 RCP  5 MCP    Trg:3     Cost =  639.5/ 95.9
HTK 33 Sx4  Ax4  Dx3  Wx5  Mgx2 
400x SM

Shortly after the keel of the first unit in the Nelson class was laid down it became clear that a grievous error had been made during the design process.  The original design for the Nelson class was largely completed in Turn 24, after the development of the Gun/Missile Launcher (W), but before the development of basic point defense.  The RCSN was under a lot of political pressure at the time to match Soviet deployments, and the intention was to put the Nelson class into production as soon as possible, so that destroyers could be mass produced once the prototype was launched.  Any shortfalls in the design would be corrected at that time.  Unrelated events delayed the construction of the Nelson to the point where basic point defense was available, and should have been included in the prototype design, however, unfortunately, at that point there was some confusion in the naval design process and the original Nelson design was rushed into production.  The lack of point defense was not realized until the prototype was launched in Turn 37, at which time the Nelson was put back into the yards and refitted to this design. 
Code: [Select]
NELSON R1 class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 2
[3] Sx3AAH(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsMgWWDbWDb(I)QsMg [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  365/ 54.8
HTK 22 Sx3  Ax2  Dbx2  Wx3  Mgx2 
400x SM

 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: The Raid
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2020, 09:20:12 AM »
Turn 41
Soviet Military Space Service Deployments
Mercury: 1xCT
Earth: 4xCL, 7xDD
Jupiter: 1xFG, 3xCT
Saturn: 1xDD, 4xCT (Shared colony site)
Uranus: 1xDD, 1xCT (shared colony site)
Neptune: 2xCT

Reformation Coalition Space Navy Deployments
Earth: 1xDD, 2xFG, 15xCT
Mars: 1xFG, 3xCT, 3xES
Saturn: 1xFG, 4xCT (shared colony site)
Uranus: 2xCT, 1xES (shared colony site)

Day 8, 1200 hours, Saturn
The tensions in the Saturn colonial area had gone down since the battle between Soviet and Coalition forces several months ago.  Both sides had reinforced their local squadrons, and both sides had taken care to appoint local commanders who would work well with the other side, to avoid inadvertent issues that might lead to a shooting war. 

Major Aleksey Yanovich, commander of the MSS squadron in the Saturn Area of Responsibility, lurched to his feet as the alarm claxon began sounding throughout the mess cabin.  He punched his access code into the wall comm, and in seconds was connected to the bridge.  “What is happening?”

“Major!  Drive field contact at 7.5 light seconds.  It is closing and will be within range of our missiles in ninety seconds.  This contact is unscheduled, and is not answering IFF.”

“Action stations!  Send to all ships, action stations, this is no drill.  What is the status of the Coalition squadron?”

“Sir, their drive fields are on standby, shields down, weapons inactive.” 

Major Yanovich thought for a second.  If this was a surprise attack, instead of an unscheduled freighter or replacement ship, then the Coalition squadron certainly wouldn’t be sitting there with their shields down.  He made a snap judgement.  “Very well, contact the Coalition squadron and warn them as well.  Ask for a line to their commodore, and I’ll speak with her as soon as I’m on the bridge.”  He closed the comm line and raced out of the cabin, headed for the bridge.  His ship, the Udaloy, was the name unit of the entire DD class, and he was proud of his crew as they raced to action stations with little confusion. 

While it was the second largest warship in the Soviet fleet, the Udaloy class DD’s still weren’t all that large, and in a matter of seconds Major Yanovich was on the destroyer’s bridge.  He was gratified to see that Commodore Helena Bonaventure, the Coalition squadron commander, was on his combat station’s monitor as he arrived.  Before speaking to her, he turned to his second in command.  “Status?”

“Sir, all ships show positive response to alert message.  Unknown contact now at 6.5 light seconds and closing.  Our status is active, all weapons manned and ready for action.  The K-011 reports active as well, all other units still inactive at this time.”

“Commodore Bonaventure, what’s your status?”

The Coalition Commodore grimaced.  “We are attempting to get our crews to action stations.  Currently we have two of our corvettes closed up and ready for action.”

“Very well.  I propose meeting whatever this is in a unified manner, together.  I am going to dispatch one of my corvettes to stand off and observe, to ensure that word gets back home.  With your permission, I will have them report to Coalition Naval Command as well, allowing you to keep your force together.”

A frown flickered across Bonaventure’s face and was quickly replaced by her famous poker face.  “Very well, and thank you.   Good luck!”

“To you as well.”  He closed the channel.  “Comm, orders for K-011.  They are to move away from the contact and maintain seven light seconds range from the contact.  They will observe and follow the contact, and avoid combat at all costs.  Then, set up a constant datalink to MSS Command on Earth and update with squadron status reports as much as possible.  Once that’s done, broadcast on wide beam, omni-directional, no encoding.  Let me know when it’s set up.”  The comm tech began working, and he turned to the wall-plot.  The unknown contact crossed the five light second demarcation, and the plot automatically updated with new information.  The blood drained from his face as the import of the new information sunk into his consciousness.  The drive field contact resolved from a single indistinct blob to no less than nine ships, each 33% larger than the light cruisers the USSR had started building so recently.  He knew immediately that these ships were not a Coalition force.  They couldn’t be.  Such a force would completely change the balance of power in the system, in the Coalition’s favor.  No such force could have been built in secret, at some hidden base.  These were alien ships.  And they had snuck up on them, without communicating. 

“Open channel established sir.”

“Very well.” He keyed the microphone at his station.  “I am Major Yanovich of the Soviet Military Space Service.  You are entering a restricted area.  Come to a halt and identify yourself.”

“The message has gone out, sir.”

Major Yanovich frowned as the alien ships reached 4.5 light seconds and continued closing.  The aliens were now within missile range, although it was still a bit long-ranged for standard missiles.  Growing uneasy, Major Yanovich keyed the all-ships comm line.  “All ships, begin engine modulations, maximum level, until further notice.”  The Soviet ships began using their engines to obfuscate their positions, and a few seconds later the Coalition ships did the same. 

The data codes for his squadron showed that all of his ships were at action stations, except the K-006, which was still struggling.  The Coalition squadron had set up a link, and it showed that their squadron still had two CT’s that weren’t yet at action stations.  The K-011 was moving away smartly, and was now out of range of the alien’s missile weapons, assuming they used missiles that were anything like humanity’s munitions. 

The last human ships reported that they had reached action stations just as the alien ships reached 3.25 light seconds range and turned sixty degrees to the right.

The comm tech turned towards Major Yanovich.  “Sir, no response to our hails.  We are…”  The tech broke off as alarms began ringing. 

Major Yanovich’s eyes whipped to the wall plot at the front of the bridge and saw that numerous icons representing missiles appeared around the alien ships. 

The weapons officer, in a totally calm voice that belied the panic that almost everyone felt, recited the details.  “Missile launch detected.  Ninety-six missiles inbound, impact in twenty seconds.  Performance profile indicates missiles are standard missiles, seventy-two from XO racks and twenty-four internal launches.  Exact targets unknown, confirmed to be units in this squadron and the Coalition squadron.”

Major Yanovich gaped for a few seconds, caught by surprise at the unreasoning aggression of this non-human race.  Before anyone noticed he recovered.  “All units, weapons free.  Commence firing.  I repeat, commence firing.”

The human response had less than half of the missiles that the alien salvo boasted.  The plot reassessed the situation as the alien missiles closed on the human ships.  Finally, the missiles were close enough that the ship’s computers were able to discern their actual targets.  Yanovich felt staggered as the seriousness of the situation became clear.  The aliens were coordinating their fire, allowing squadrons of three ships to focus their fire in such a way that the missiles arrived simultaneously.  Neither his ships or the Coalition ships could do that and had to fire individually.  If it hadn’t been clear just based on the disparity in the weight of forces, it was now ground home to Major Yanovich that the fight was not going to go well for them.  He kept that knowledge off of his face as he saw that the incoming fire was targeted on the two largest human ships, his destroyer and Commodore Bonaventura’s frigate, and an additional Coalition corvette.  He hit the internal comm.  “All hands brace!”

Sixty of the missiles were targeted on the Udaloy.  ‘Only’ twenty-four achieved target lock and raced to close on the lone human destroyer.  The Udaloy’s two point-defense mounts went to rapid fire as the avalanche of missiles broke over it, and managed to take out three of the incoming missiles.  Major Yanovich was knocked unconscious in his combat station as the destroyer was savagely jerked around by the missile explosions.  The Udaloy was left a crippled wreck, drive field down, with only a single weapons mount and point defense emplacement left. 

Commodore Bonaventure’s frigate, the Endeavor, was the first human ship to fire.  It launched three internal missiles and four from its external racks, all targeted on one alien cruiser.  While the frigate’s green crew did well to be the first human ship to fire, their lack of experience showed when only one missile hit the targeted cruiser, doing little against its shields. 

Even as the Endeavor’s missiles lashed at the alien cruiser, thirty-six alien missiles closed on the frigate.  Only twelve managed to lock onto the desperately evading frigate, but the small ship’s point defense only stopped one, leaving eleven to smash into the Coalition ship.  It emerged from the fireball staggered, but with its drive field still up and one missile launcher still spitting death towards its enemies. 

Unlike the two larger human ships, the Coalition corvette targeted by the alien cruisers couldn’t stand up to that kind of firepower and was overwhelmed by the missile barrage, becoming the first human ship casualty of the battle.  The rest of the two human squadrons targeted the same alien cruiser, but only managed to achieve one more hit, knocking the alien cruiser’s shields down but doing no other discernable damage.   

Commodore Bonaventura, having lost contact with her Russian counterpart when his ship was all but destroyed, ordered her squadron to close with the enemy in an attempt to get close enough to them to punch sprint-mode missiles past their point defenses.  Her crippled frigate lagged behind, but her three remaining corvettes raced towards the aliens, closing to 1.25 light seconds and pumping out sprint-mode missiles as they closed.  The Russian squadron, caught by surprise and temporarily leaderless, lagged behind as the Coalition corvettes raced towards their targets.  The alien cruisers maintained their range from the Russian squadron, but allowed the Coalition ships to close.   

The valiant Coalition corvette charge was brought to a sudden end when six of the alien cruisers opened fire on the corvettes with multiple energy weapons and short ranged sprint missiles.  Some of the energy weapons were identifiable as standard lasers, but others were more exotic.  The alien cruisers fired in pairs, with two targeting each of the three incoming Coalition corvettes.   The alien cruisers were much larger than the attacking corvettes, and had the advantage of datalink systems coordinating their fire.  Only one of the three attacking Coalition corvettes managed to get a sprint-mode missile away, scoring the armor of the same cruiser targeted by the earlier missile salvoes, before all three corvettes were utterly destroyed by the heavy short-range armament of the alien cruisers.   The three alien cruisers armed with missile launchers targeted one of Russian corvettes with their twenty-four missiles.  Fortunately, when the Coalition corvettes raced away, the Russian corvettes had kept their engine modulation active and this allowed the targeted corvette to throw off most of the missiles headed towards it.  Only four managed to hit, eliminating the corvette’s armor but otherwise leaving it undamaged.  Unfortunately, none of the human ships were able to get a missile past the alien cruiser’s point defense. 

The alien cruisers, perhaps sensing victory, turned towards the remaining human ships and began closing.  Major Yanovich had regained consciousness by this point and had seen the end of the Coalition corvette charge, and ordered his three remaining corvettes to disengage.  The three Soviet ships all turned to run, but, while they were twice as fast as the alien cruisers, it would take some time to get out of range.  Worse, in order to run they had to drop their engine modulations, making them much more vulnerable to missile fire.  The alien missile-armed cruisers focused their fire on the same Russian corvette targeted earlier and wiped it from space. 

His mission finished and his ability to affect the battle over, Major Yanovich ordered his crew to the life pods.  He was still on his way to his pod when the oncoming alien cruisers destroyed his crippled ship with their energy weapons, killing him instantly.  Commodore Bonaventura was luckier, as the aliens focused on the Russian ship first, giving her crew a bit of extra time to reach their pods.   They were mostly away when the alien cruisers destroyed the Endeavor in a deluge of energy fire. 

The two remaining Russian corvettes had reached 4.5 light seconds range by the time the next salvo arrived.  They managed to hit one of the alien cruiser’s armor again, but the return fire destroyed one of the two remaining corvettes.  The last corvette raced out of the alien ship’s range and joined the other Soviet corvette that had been detached to observe the battle. 

With the immediate area under their control and the two remaining corvettes beyond their reach, the alien cruisers began picking up life pods.  Shortly thereafter the two Soviet corvettes picked up a new drive field contact headed towards the colonies around Saturn.  They warned the colonial leaders on both the Soviet and Coalition colonies, and continued broadcasting back to Earth as the new contacts closed on the colonies.  The identity of the new contacts became clear when they split up and landed on the five colonies and began disgorging ground troops and armored vehicles.   One by one the corvettes lost contact with the colonies, as the aliens entered the domes and tunnel complexes.  The last transmissions made it clear that while the aliens weren’t indiscriminately killing everyone, they would kill anyone who even remotely looked like they were resisting. 

Day 8, 1330 hours
Earth
The warnings from Saturn put the entire world on alert.  Unlike the last time, though, this time the two powers knew that they were under attack from the outside.  The two home fleets went to alert status, but this time they were watching deep space.  While the fleets watched, their leaders debated the best course of action. 

Fleet Admiral Reese found herself called before the CEO and his cabinet to brief them on the action at Saturn and to advise them on their options moving forward.  The cabinet was meeting in the CEO’s war room, which was located in the Coalition’s PDC Atlantic, one of the two most heavily defended complexes on the planet.  At one end of the room was a large conference table with the cabinet members arrayed along one side of the table with the CEO at the head, while on the other side of the room a large wall-mounted display screen was currently showing a map of the inner solar system out to Saturn.  Saturn itself was marked with a slowly blinking red icon indicating the location of the alien task force.  Mercury, Earth, Mars, and Jupiter had icons for the various national squadrons, showing the deployment of the Coalition and Soviet fleets. 

Receiving a nod from the CEO, Admiral Reese keyed a command into the display’s controls and it zoomed in on Saturn’s moon system, showing the five colonized moons and the alien cruisers.  “Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, a force of alien warships attacked the combined Soviet and Coalition squadrons at Saturn, completely destroying the Coalition squadron.  The Soviet squadron also suffered near complete losses, however, by prior agreement the Soviet commander had detached a single corvette to monitor the upcoming battle at long range and report back to Earth.  A second Soviet corvette also escaped at the conclusion of the battle, meaning that they have two picket ships capable of monitoring the alien activities.

The alien attack force consisted of nine large ships we are designating as ‘heavy cruisers’.  These heavy cruisers are twice the size of a Nelson class destroyer and appear to be armed with a variety of weapons, including standard missile launchers, lasers, and more exotic energy weapons.  The alien cruisers are also equipped with a system we only recently started developing, the datalink, and used it very effectively during the battle.  The datalink we have under development will allow us to link up to three ships together to time their weapon’s barrages so that they arrive simultaneously at their targets, allowing us to overwhelm their defenses.  This is an incredibly important capability now that point defense systems have become ubiquitous, and the aliens demonstrated that ships equipped with datalink can easily overwhelm ships without it.  The combined Coalition and Soviet squadrons seem to have done only minor damage to one alien cruiser during the battle, in exchange for near complete destruction.”

“Since the destruction of the combined squadron, the aliens have brought in troops and have conducted combat landings at all of the colonies around Saturn.  At this time, we have lost contact with all five colonies and are relying on information sent from the remaining two Soviet corvettes.”

Admiral Reese nodded to one of her staffers, who was sitting at the controls to the wall display.  The young lieutenant punched a command into the wall display’s controls and the tactical display of the Saturn moon system disappeared and was replaced by a picture of one of the alien cruisers in one corner, with breakdowns of the known capabilities of the alien cruisers filling the rest of the screen.  “Our initial analysis shows that the alien cruisers are powerful combat units.  Three of the nine cruisers are armed with eight standard missile launchers each, allowing the data-group of three cruisers to launch salvoes of twenty-four missiles at a time.  Interestingly, for all of their size, the alien missile cruisers have shields that are just 67% as strong as the shielding on our Nelson class.  All of the combined squadron’s attacks were focused on just one of these cruisers, and we managed to knock its shields down and damage its armor.  Because we didn’t penetrate its armor, we have no idea how thick it is.  The other six cruisers are armed with a variety of short ranged weapons, including weapons we know and understand like sprint missile launchers and lasers, and weapons we have some theoretical understanding of, like force projectors.  Force projectors divert some of the mounting ship’s drive field energy towards their target, in effect battering the target with a beam composed of drive field ‘force’.  Our scientists and engineers looked at a weapon like this a while back, but in the end, we decided to stick with lasers as our primary energy weapon, largely because the force projector requires the mounting ship to divert engine power to the projectors to fire, slowing the ship.  In addition, four of the alien cruisers mount a weapon we are calling an ‘energy pulse cannon’.  This weapon is relatively short ranged, but shows the remarkable capability of bypassing the defending unit’s armor and directly damaging interior systems.  In all, taken together, the alien task force is a powerful group at both long and short range, however, our analysts have noticed one potentially important weakness.” 

She nodded again at the lieutenant at the controls and the screen shifted to show a picture one of the alien cruisers, presumably taken from one of the colonies before they were overrun.  The heavy cruiser was a massive, wedge shaped ship, with eight big engine nacelles to the rear and a blunt, armored prow forward, studded with beam emplacements.  An arrow appeared, pointing at the large engine nacelles.  “The analysis of the battle shows that the alien cruisers, unlike our warships, are equipped with commercial engines.”

This announcement caused a spate of conversation around the table.  After a few seconds the Minister for Industrial Development raised his voice to ask the Admiral a question.  “Admiral, why would they do that?  Our military, and that of the Russians, doesn’t do that.  Why do the aliens?”

“You are correct, Minister, we don’t do that and neither does the Russians.  Our freighters use commercial engines because they are more reliable in the long run, whereas the engines the military uses run hot, which gives them a higher tactical speed on the short term, at the cost of a slower speed during strategic movement.  We feel that the tradeoff of a slower strategic speed is well worth the increased tactical speed.”  She paused and frowned for a few seconds, thinking.  “It is possible that whatever method the aliens use to travel between star systems requires them to use commercial engines on their ships.  Or that the distance between their population centers is so large that they require a higher strategic speed on their warships for responsiveness across their entire empire.  In any case, that may give us a key advantage.  Our corvettes are all tactically twice as fast as their cruisers, while our destroyers and frigates are substantially faster than their cruisers and this allows us to effectively chose the range of the engagement.  Given the technological disparity between our capabilities, this may be a critical advantage in any upcoming battle.”

This caused another conversation to break out at the table as they all speculated as to the motivations of the aliens.  After a few minutes, CEO Campbell motioned everyone to silence.  Once the conversations died down, she turned to Admiral Reese.  “Admiral, do we have any information on their intentions or possible upcoming actions?”

Admiral Reese nodded again at the lieutenant, and the display changed to show the solar system out to Saturn.  The map was overlaid by a greenish circle around Earth that reached almost to Saturn.  “The alien cruiser force is currently here,” She pointed at the icon for Saturn, “investing the five Russian and Coalition colonies there.  This green circle represents the range of the detection network on Earth, and as you can see it currently reaches almost to Saturn.  This means that while we can’t see the alien cruisers at Saturn, we will see them if they move inwards, whether or not the Soviet pickets report their movements.  If they move outwards, we will not be able to see that, and will have to rely on the pickets.”  She next pointed to an icon on the far-left side of the screen.  “This is Uranus, and off-screen far to the bottom is Neptune.  In between Saturn and Earth are Jupiter and Mars.  The next move by the aliens will be very revealing about their ultimate goals.  If they are indeed the same aliens who attacked Triton, then this may be a raid, like the Triton attack, and they may turn away after they finish at the Saturn colonies.  If it is a raid they may travel across the system to Uranus and hit the colonies there on their way out, or they may just leave after looting the colonies at Saturn.  In either case there is little we will be able to do about that.  While our picket ships will be able to follow them, their sensors are short ranged and they will not be able to see any other alien ships out there, and neither would our fleet if we dispatched it to the outer system.  If there is another alien fleet out there, our fleet would not be able to see it once it left the 72 light minute bubble around Earth.”

“Excuse me Admiral, but why not?  Why don’t we have those sensors?”  The Minister for Health and Recovery Services was sending pointed looks towards the Minister for Defense, an old rival for budgets.  “Lord knows the Defense Ministry’s budgets have been bloated for years.  I can’t imagine a reason the Navy wouldn’t have anything it needed.”

The CEO raised her hand before Admiral Reese or the Minister for Defense could respond.  “Now, Constance, surely you read the briefing materials.  We are currently working on long-range sensors that recently became available due to technological advances.  I assure you; no one is dragging their feet.  Admiral, please continue…”

Admiral Reese nodded.  “As the CEO says, we are developing sensors that will remedy that situation, but they will not be ready for service for at least a month, possibly longer, and even once they are ready it will take time to get them into service with the fleet.  In the meantime, we have to go with what we have.  If the aliens are intent on more than a raid, though, they will move inward next, and if they do the situation will be different.  We will be able to see them every step of the way, both here on Earth and through the Russian pickets.  And we will be able to intercept them, because they will be headed inwards, towards us, rather than away.  We believe that if they move inwards, they will hit Jupiter first and then Mars.  We do not believe that they will attack Earth at this time, at least not with the force that they have at Saturn alone.” 

The assembled Ministers looked at each other, and then the Minister for Defense nodded at the Admiral.  “Fleet Admiral Reese, can you give us your opinion of the relative strengths of our fleet versus the aliens, and the reasoning behind your assessment that they won’t attack us here?”  He already knew, of course, as they had had extensive conversations on this subject just this morning.  He wanted the rest of them to know, though, before they started debating on a future course of action. 

She nodded.  “Yes, sir.  As things currently stand, even if we withdraw the Martian squadron and combined it with the Home Fleet, we would still be at a significant disadvantage facing the alien cruisers.  The alien cruisers out-mass our fleet by 12.5%.  When combined with their technological advantage, it means our fleet will be fighting at a serious disadvantage and will likely lose any direct battle.  Their advantage at missile combat means that our fleet would have to close to beam range, and while our ships are fast enough to do so, the aliens hold a significant advantage at close range as well.  If, on the other hand, we fight here, under the guns of our PDC’s, then the situation is entirely different.  Here we could hold the advantage in long range combat as our PDC’s can throw missile volleys that can overwhelm their defenses.  We would be virtually certain to win an engagement here.”

“But Admiral, you are talking about our fleet alone.  Surely the Russians would fight with us!  After all, the aliens have attacked them as well.”  The Minister for Health and Recovery Services looked around at the other Ministers for support.

“You are correct, if we fight with the Russians the calculus would change.  The Russian fleet out-masses the aliens by approximately 33%, and while that advantage alone wouldn’t be enough to ensure their victory, if we combined our fleets then the combined fleets would have about twice the mass of the alien cruisers.  That wouldn’t ensure victory, but it would give us a much better chance at victory and, even if we didn’t achieve a complete victory, it would certainly result in inflicting significant damage on the alien task force.  However, if we are going to fight with the Russians, it will require a diplomatic effort to obtain their cooperation, and we will almost certainly have to agree to fight with them at Jupiter.  Jupiter is their primary colonial effort in the Solar System, and they will want to defend their investments, just as we would want to defend Mars.  In any case, I don’t see where we have much choice.  Fighting at Jupiter with the Russians is infinitely preferable to giving up the rest of the Solar System to the aliens.”

The briefing over, Admiral Reese left to allow the Ministers to debate their next actions.  It didn’t take them long, there really was little choice other than fighting with the Russians if the aliens should advance into the inner system.  The CEO called the Soviet Chairman that afternoon.  The Chairman was in a receptive mood.  He had recently been through a similar debate within the Politburo, and a clear consensus to cooperate with the Coalition had been hammered out.  A few holdouts wanted to abandon the rest of the solar system to give themselves time to get new technology under development time to get out to the fleet allowing them to counterattack on their own once the fleet was upgraded, but that would require months.  Cooperating with the Coalition could be done now, and if they fought together, then presumably a significant portion of any losses would fall upon the Coalition, instead of solely on Soviet forces. 

Given that both sides had already decided to cooperate, the call between the Chairman and the CEO went well, and they agreed to form an alliance against the alien threat.  The alliance would be temporary for now, but once the immediate threat was dealt with, they would look at formalizing the arrangement, so that they could focus their efforts against the real threat. 

Over the next day a rough agreement was decided upon.  Polhovnik General Lebedev, the commander of their home fleet, was placed in overall command of the combined fleets, with Coalition Rear Admiral Jonas Ruston as the second in command.  The decision had been made to move the fleets to Jupiter, where they would meet the aliens if they advanced inward towards Jupiter and the inner system.  From Jupiter they could move to cover any target in the inner system, and the alien’s slower speed meant that if they attempted to slip by them, they would be unlikely to succeed. 

Day 11
Jupiter AOR
The Combined Fleet was assembled, waiting for the aliens to make a move.  It was a proud moment in humanity’s history.  The Combined Fleet boasted no less than sixteen Soviet ships and twenty-five Coalition ships, a truly massive force to face a mere nine alien ships.  There was little doubt that the aliens could see them, as they were well within long-range sensor range of Saturn, and the alien force was surely equipped with long-range sensors.  This had led to much debate throughout the Combined Fleet as to whether or not the aliens would accept battle or run away.  The consensus of the common crewers throughout the Combined Fleet was that the aliens would surely run away from such a powerful assemblage of ships.  While there was some pressure from both governments to advance on Saturn and force the aliens to battle, for now the consensus that they should not advance beyond sensor coverage from Earth was holding. 

Day 15
Saturn AOR
With no fanfare the alien transports lifted off from the five colonies and moved to join their cruisers.  Once the two groups had joined, they set out for Jupiter and the combined human fleets.  For six hours the alien cruisers headed towards Jupiter, and tensions on the fleet rose seeing those implacable alien ships approach.  Then, with the alien ships just twenty-four light minutes away, they came to a halt.  The alien cruisers sat there for two hours, and then suddenly turned away, headed out-system towards Uranus, leaving Admiral Ruston and Polhovnik General Lebedev confused.  They quickly debated pursuing the alien ships, but then referred the question to their headquarters on Earth.  In the meantime, they dispatched two corvettes to Saturn to determine the state the colonies there. 

Day 16
Saturn AOR
The Coalition corvette Crossfield settled into position over the Tethys colony as the Russian K-001 did the same over the Soviet Rhea colony.  All of the ship’s limited sensors were trained on the colony below, and what they could see was hopeful.  “Sir, it looks like the domes and mine-heads are intact.”

Commander Trask nodded.  “It looks good.  Comms, continue trying to contact someone down there.”

Lieutenant Peterson looked up from her console.  “Sir, I think I’ve got something.  Very low power, I’m trying to synch up…got it!”  She punched in a command and the small monitor on the front bulkhead lit up.

“Hello, can you hear me?”  The man on the monitor was disheveled and had a bandage over his right eye, but appeared relatively calm for all of that. 

Commander Trask leaned forward in his seat.  “We’ve got you Tethys colony.  I am Commander Trask on board the Coalition ship Crossfield.  What is your status?”

The man on the viewer sagged in relief.  “Oh thank god!  Are those monsters gone?”

“They are headed out-system.  I repeat, what is your status?”

The man looked behind him and said, “You hear that, they’re gone!”  A cheer rose up behind him as he turned back to the pickup.  “We need some help down here, but for now things are stable.  We have atmospheric integrity, and the bastards didn’t touch life support.  That’s the only thing they didn’t touch, though!  They looted us good!  They took everything that wasn’t nailed down, and some of the stuff that was.  It’s going to be a while before we are back in operation, I’ll tell you that.”

“Do you have casualties?  We can send some supplies down.”

The man’s face grew grave.  “We do, and we’d welcome anything you can send down.  The manager out at the mines, Graves, when he realized what the looters were up to, he organized his men to fight them.  The aliens went through them like they were nothing and killed most of them.   Graves was killed in the first battle, and after that it degenerated into our people running and the Lizzies hunting them down one by one.  Funny thing, though.  Once those miners got their act together, they retreated to the mines for a final stand.  They were ready to die out there, but the Lizzies saw that they had stopped running and sent out someone to negotiate with them.  Said they respected the miners for the fight they put up.  When the miners put down their weapons, they let them come back to the main dome like nothing happened.  No reprisals, no punishments, they just went on with looting the colony.”

Commander Trask frowned.  “The Lizzies?”

“That’s what we took to calling them.  At first, we only saw them in their armored suits, but after a bit, after the fighting died down, a lot of them came down that weren’t armored.  They look a lot like short brown, leathery crocodiles, standing upright.  I’ll send you some images when we get things a little bit more together down here.  Something odd, though.  They knew English, at least good enough to get the idea of what they wanted across.  They couldn’t speak it themselves, but they all had something around their necks that translated for them.  It was very broken and hard to understand, but generally we got the gist of what they wanted.”

“What did they want?  Did they tell you?”

“Oh yes, they told us.  They wanted our stuff.  They took anything and everything they could load into their transports.  And they killed anyone that got in their way.”  The man paused in thought.  “They weren’t indiscriminate, though, if you know what I mean.  Anyone that fought, or who tried to slow them down, they shot out of hand.  No trial, no hesitation.  They told us they expected obedience, and boy did they!  Once we figured it out, and once Graves and his boys went down, we did all right.”  The man paused, thinking hard.  “It wasn’t like they were looking for trouble, you know?  They just wanted us to do what they wanted us to do, and if we got on with it everything was fine.”

“Very well.  We’ll send down what supplies we can, but we’ve got to check on the other colonies as well.  As soon as we can, we’ll get some supplies sent out from Earth.”

After checking in with the colonies on Dione and Titan, Commander Trask spoke with his counterpart on board the K-001, who had a similar tale to tell.  It seems that the aliens had looted all five colonies, taking everything they could before clearing out.  They could have killed everyone, but had refrained from indiscriminate killing, and at the Soviet colony on Iapetus no one had been killed as the colonists had cooperated with the aliens in turning over what they wanted. 

The two corvette commanders sent their reports out, and when they reached Earth they pretty much settled the debate still raging around the question of allowing the combined fleets to pursue the alien cruisers.  Sending the fleet beyond the sensor bubble around Earth was a huge risk, and could only be justified if the aliens were massacring humans indiscriminately.  As this appeared to be a raid only, the leaders of Russia and the Coalition saw no sense in risking their fleets.  The combined fleets were ordered to hold at Jupiter and stand ready to intercept the alien squadron if it turned inwards towards Earth, Mars, or Jupiter.  Orders were also sent to the Soviet and Coalition squadrons at Uranus.  The two nations had a total of four corvettes and a single escort there to guard the four colonies located there.  The two squadrons were ordered to avoid combat and to join the two Russian corvettes shadowing the alien force.  Orders were also sent to the colonies on Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon.  The colonists there were to secure from operations and move their people to the deep shelters.  They were ordered to cooperate with the aliens and avoid provoking them. 

Day 18
Uranus AOR
The aliens arrive as expected, and met no resistance.  The two defending squadrons had already moved away, avoiding coming near the approaching cruisers, and just as they had at Saturn the alien cruisers moved to cover the colonies as their transports landed and began disgorging troops. 

Day 25
Uranus AOR
Like clockwork, the alien transports lifted off from the human colonies and joined their cruisers.  Once assembled the alien squadron began moving out-system.  The Coalition escort was detached from the squadrons following the aliens to cover the colonies, leaving six corvettes to follow the alien ships.  The human warships, four Soviet and two Coalition, had arranged themselves into three groups of two, positioned around the alien ships, and paced them as they moved out-system.  The importance of their mission had been impressed upon the commanders and crews of these corvettes.  They had to know how the aliens were moving between systems, and if the corvettes could get a look at the aliens as they left the solar system it would give their scientists somewhere to start.  By now the aliens had become known throughout the Solar System as the Raiders.  No one knew what they called themselves. 

Turn 42, Day 1
The alien force was moving steadily through empty space, headed outwards towards nothing that the human crews on the shadowing corvettes could see.  They were now 252 light minutes from the Sun, and tensions on the corvettes had been mounting steadily.  Their sensors could only see about 7.5 light seconds out from their ships, leaving a lot of empty space where other alien ships could be hiding. 

The six human corvettes were shadowing the alien cruisers, running at six light seconds distance from the alien ships, split into three groups of two corvettes.  One group was directly astern of the alien ship, while the other two were ahead of the alien ships, offset to each side. 

In spite of the tension, the mission had largely been boring for the crews as they ran through empty space, far from the sun and human colonies, and getting farther away every minute.  Suddenly, at 0821 hours, all hell broke loose.  Missiles appeared from three separate locations in empty space, 5.25 light seconds away from each pair of corvettes.  Each missile salvo was composed of five very large missiles racing towards one of the two corvettes in each group.  After such a long and uneventful voyage into the outer system, the human corvettes were caught completely by surprise by the attack.  The big missiles proved very difficult for their basic point defense suites to stop, and the corvette’s crews were staggered by explosions as they raced to their stations.  The missile salvoes targeted one corvette in each of the three groups, causing armor damage to the two Soviet corvettes targeted, but the Coalition corvette targeted suffered serious internal damage and was slowed. 

All three corvette groups immediately turned away from whatever was targeting them, and as they ran a single alien cruiser appeared behind them as the alien ship’s drive-fields came up.  The human corvettes had only managed to open the range to 5.5 light seconds when the next salvo from the alien cruisers arrived.  The big missiles were targeted on the same corvettes, and all three were crippled. 

The three remaining intact corvettes continued to run, with the next salvo arriving when they reached six light seconds range from the cruisers.  All three intact corvettes suffered some damage, but none lost any engines and continued running.  The three crippled corvettes, now within range of their own weapons, opened fire at the oncoming cruisers, but none were able to hit the alien ships. 

The three fleeing human corvettes had picked up speed and were almost at maximum speed now, and had opened the range to 6.75 light seconds when the next salvo came.  The remaining Coalition corvette lost one engine and was slowed, and one of the remaining Soviet corvettes lost the remainder of its armor but was otherwise undamaged, but the third running corvette wasn’t as lucky and it suffered enough damage to take out its engines, leaving it drifting in space. 

The last relatively undamaged Soviet corvette moved to 8.75 light seconds range from its pursuer and lost sight of the alien ships on its short-ranged scanners.  The alien cruiser behind it turned its weapons on the fleeing corvette’s crippled companion, wiping it from space.  The alien cruiser facing the second Soviet squadron, both of which were crippled, turned its fire first on one then the other corvette, completely destroying both.  Meanwhile, the alien cruiser facing the Coalition squadron had one last shot at the fleeing Coalition corvette, which was 7.25 light seconds away and struggling to get out of range.  It threw five big missiles at the fleeing corvette, destroying two of its engines and ensuring that it wouldn’t be able to escape.  It then destroyed the two Coalition corvettes in turn.  In three minutes, humanity lost five corvettes and lost sight of the alien squadron.  The last Soviet corvette, damaged, turned towards home.   

The incursion was over, at least for now.  Humanity raced to get new technology into service, and to understand how the aliens were doing what they were doing, if not why.  The limited information sent home by the last remaining corvette of the picket force made it clear that humanity had an additional problem.  The ambush of the picket force started with missiles being launched at the human corvettes from beyond known missile ranges.  Worse, the missiles the aliens used were larger than human missiles, had a better performance profile, and had a warhead that was twice as destructive as human missiles.  Finally, only the fact that these new missiles out ranged human missiles were known.  Their true range profile was unknown, including their maximum range. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turn 42 - 53
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2020, 08:09:19 AM »
Turn 42
Both the Coalition and the USSR have completed development of long-range sensors, and both rush new scout designs into production.  Both nations decide to utilize a stripped-down explorer class unit as their scout class for now. 

The Coalition launches five new destroyers. 

Investigations of the alien activities on the outer colonies shows a common strategy.  In all cases the aliens landed troops, seized control of the critical areas of the colony, and then looted everything they could.  The development of all of the colonies was set back, but none were wantonly destroyed like the Soviet Triton colony.  Estimates of the value of the equipment and goods carried off are between 200 and 300 megacredits, which wouldn’t likely pay for even one of the cruisers used in the raid.   

In the face of the alien threat, the USSR and the Coalition agree to form the Alliance, which will allow them to coordinate military actions and even opens trade between the two super powers.  Until long-range scanner-equipped scouts become available, the combined fleet is pulled back to Earth. 

Turn 43
The Coalition completes development of point defense and datalink systems.  All current designs are upgraded to include the new systems, and a broad range of refits are scheduled, along with the construction of numerous small scouts equipped with long-range sensors.  The Reformation Coalition Space Navy (RCSN) develops a new fleet concept, labeled “The New Fleet-43”, based on previous engagements with the Raiders.  There really was no previous overall fleet concept, something that had become a sore point for the RCSN leadership, as for most of its history the RCSN’s overriding goal was to simply deploy enough hulls equipped with missile launchers to match or exceed the Soviet Fleet.  The hulls had to be equipped with missile launchers, because, at least at the beginning, the true function of the fleet was to threaten the Soviet homeland with bombardment, and only missiles could accomplish this goal.  The engagements with the aliens have shown this to be an outdated concept, and so the RCSN command has adjusted with the new plan for fleet construction and design.  Under the new plan, smaller corvettes and smaller units will be equipped with lasers, and are intended to counter the alien’s beam-armed cruisers.  Units larger than corvettes will continue to be armed with missile weaponry.

Soviet research is lagging behind, possibly because they have invested in developing so many systems. 

Until enough scouts are available, all colonial defense squadrons have been reduced to a single corvette by both nations, with the two main fleets gathered at Earth, both for safety in numbers, and so that the ships can easily be refitted to the new designs.  This is possible because of the reduction in tensions between the two powers, and because the leaders of both nations have realized that any ships that they deploy beyond Earth’s sensor bubble are sitting ducks until long-range sensor equipped scouts become available. 

Turn 44
Coalition scientists develop the theory of “Warp points” and warp travel.  While they are unable to say with any certainty that the alien raiders are using ‘warp points’ to travel between systems, they are able to show mathematically that their theory should allow interstellar travel, and as their theoretical warp points would likely be located in the outer system, this would account for the Raiders, as they’ve become known, retreating to a location in the outer system which is not known to contain any objects of interest. 

This discovery creates a political firestorm in the upper reaches of the Coalition government.  Under the terms of the new Alliance the Russian and Coalition governments are obligated to reveal any information which directly relates to the security of Alliance nations, or to the Raiders.  The Warp Point Theory obviously falls under this heading, but the Coalition will be at a disadvantage if this information is released too early.  In the race to match the Soviet Navy in space, the Coalition Navy refitted all of its survey corvettes to a design more fitted for combat once the resource exploitation survey of the Solar System was complete.  The USSR, on the other hand, merely mothballed its explorer class units.  This means that the Coalition will have to build a new survey fleet at a time that the yards are full of warships being refitted with the latest technology to counter the Raiders.  This would allow the Russians to reactivate their explorers and get a jump on the Coalition.  The debate will continue throughout the month. 

To prepare for a new survey effort, the Coalition begins R&D on improved survey instruments.

On a bright note, the Alliance now has no less than seventeen scout class ships equipped with long-range sensors available for deployment.  This will allow the Alliance to cover all established colonies, the area where the Raiders attacked their shadowing corvettes and disappeared, and much of the approaches to the inner system.  The new Alliance High Command establishes the following picket groups:

Picket Group Saturn
Picket Group Uranus
Picket Group Neptune
Picket Groups 1-9

The colonial picket groups will consist of an EX(S) and three corvettes, while the numbered picket groups will consist of a solitary EX(S).  The numbered picket groups are stationed around the inner system, extending the detection bubble around Earth and the inner colonies out to approximately 192 light minutes from the Sun.  In addition, Picket Groups 7, 8, and 9 will be stationed around the area where the alien Raiders disappeared in Month 42 to detect any reappearance.  The remainder of the ships in the Russian and Coalition fleets will remained grouped together at Earth, ready to respond to any incursion. 

With the sensor bubble now covering all colonial sites, the USSR takes this opportunity to reestablish its colony at Triton. 

Turn 45
Both the USSR and the Coalition have begun massive refit programs to upgrade their fleets with the latest technology.  The USSR has three light cruisers, three destroyers, a frigate and a corvette in the yards for refit, while the Coalition yards are refitting three destroyers, two frigates, two corvettes, and an escort.  In addition, the Russians have laid down a new corvette, to begin replacing their heavy corvette losses, and the Coalition is building a prototype light cruiser hull that is scheduled to be launched in turn 49. 

The debate over the warp point theory is ongoing amongst the leaders of the Coalition government.  It comes to an abrupt end when the Navy points out that the new explorer class survey units that will be constructed at the ground-based shipyards will be very visible to the USSR, and will inevitably provoke questions that cannot be answered without threatening the new Alliance.  Therefore, on Day 1 of the month, the Coalition CEO meets with the Premier of the Soviet Union and discloses the new discovery.  The Premier is outraged that the Coalition hid this discovery for several weeks, but is somewhat chastened when the Coalition CEO points out that the USSR didn’t reveal information relating to its recent expanded R&D program.  Coalition Intelligence became interested in the USSR’s R&D program when it became clear that they were developing systems that the Coalition had bypassed.  In part, Coalition Intel discovered that the USSR had developed something they were calling IDEW(L), or Independently Deployed Energy Weapons (Laser).  These bomb-pumped lasers are essentially area denial weapons, and can be place to prevent a fleet from moving into an area of concern.  In the pre-Alliance political and military environment, the only possible use for these weapons would be around Earth to deny access to the opposing side.  If the USSR managed to place these weapons around Earth, they would effectively have blockaded the Coalition, cutting it off from its colonies.  While this is not a direct treaty violation, the Coalition CEO all but accuses the Premier of violating the intent of both the original treaty between the Coalition and the USSR, and the Alliance.  The discussion is intense, and fraught with danger, but neither leader wants to withdraw from the Alliance in the face of continued Raider threats.  Therefore, the Premier discloses the broad details of the “Orbital Defense Network”, which they claim was aimed at defending Earth orbit but was almost certainly aimed at the Coalition, while the CEO of the Coalition agrees to open the Coalition’s warp point research efforts to the USSR. 

As a result of this discussion, the Coalition lays down its first Explorer class unit in the orbital yards, while the USSR makes plans to begin reactivating its explorer class units next month.  Both nations agree to share research information on warp points, and to pool survey information.  The massive refit programs are going to make it difficult for both nations to get a significant number of surveyors into space anytime soon, though. 

Turn 46
Both nations continue their refit program, but scale back slightly to build new explorer class units, or in the case of the USSR, reactivate explorers. 

Turn 47
The Coalition now has six explorers, and the USSR has three reactivated.  The two nations send their explorers out to begin surveying the Solar System to test the scientist’s theories. 

Turn 48
The Coalition develops Improved Science Instruments, but as the ten explorers of the survey fleet are busy surveying the Solar System, any refits will have to wait. 

Turn 49
The survey effort in the Solar System continues, as does the refit program for both nation’s ships. 

The Coalition launches their first light cruiser.  It will return to the yards next month to be refitted with the latest technology. 

Turn 50
Refits continue, as does the warp point survey of the solar system. 

Turn 51
The last Coalition ships to be refitted enter the yards.  Currently, one light cruiser, three corvettes, and an escort are in the yards for refit.  The light cruiser will be in the yards for another two months, while the other ships will launch at the start of next month.  It appears as if the Soviets will finish up their refit program at the end of this month. 

The Alliance commanders have recommended that the two nations focus on enlarging and upgrading their explorer fleets once the battle fleets have been refitted. 

Turn 52
The Soviet Union and the Coalition complete their survey efforts late in the month.  Initial analysis of the survey results shows that the Solar System has exactly one warp point, located two hundred and fifty-two light minutes from the Sun, approximately ten light minutes from the area where the alien Raiders disappeared after attacking the shadowing corvettes. 

Both nations recall their survey ships to be refitted with the latest survey instruments next month, and preparations are made to dispatch a task force to the newly discovered warp point. 

Turn 53
The Soviets’ research into improved science instruments is lagging, so instead of upgrading their survey fleet they begin building additional surveyors.  In addition, enough yard capacity is devoted to constructing a new shipyard to finish the orbital structure by the end of the month.  The Coalition is also building a new shipyard, albeit slower than the Russians, and is converting all of its survey units to the latest technology. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: RCSN Designs as of Turn 53
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2020, 08:56:20 AM »
RCSN Ship Designs, Turn 53

The Brazwell Mk 2 adds datalink and upgrades the point defense emplacements of the light cruiser.  The first unit of the class, the Brazwell, was upgraded to this design on Turn 53.  The Coalition’s planned building program for this class was put on hold due to events throughout the Solar System, and the need to upgrade the fleet to the latest technology.  Naval command intends to increase the numbers of these units in the near future. 
Code: [Select]
BRAZWELL MK 2 class CL  9 XO Racks 45 Hull TL 3
[3] Sx4Ax4ZH(BbS)(II)(I)(II)(I)(II)WDMgM2WWDWLhWD(I)QMg [6]
45 RCP  5 MCP    Trg:3     Cost =  639.5/ 95.9
HTK 33 Sx4  Ax4  Dx3  Wx5  Mgx2 
400x SM

The Mark 2 refit for the Nelson class added datalink as well as standard point defense emplacements. 
Code: [Select]
NELSON MK 2 class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 3
[3] Sx3AAZH(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsMgWWDWD(I)QsMg [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  425/ 63.8
HTK 23 Sx3  Ax2  Dx2  Wx3  Mgx2 
400x SM

As part of the “New Fleet-43” concept, the Discovery class had its missile weaponry removed and replaced by a laser.  This class is intended to protect the battle line from attacks by alien beam-armed cruisers, or to close on the alien ships and engage at close range.  The first unit was refitted to this design on Turn 47.
Code: [Select]
DISCOVERY MK 4 class CT  3 XO Racks 16 Hull TL 3
[2] SAx3ZH(I)(I)(I)DQs(I)L [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  210/ 31.5
HTK 13 Sx1  Ax3  Dx1  Lx1 

The Mark 2 refit for the Outreach changed the weaponry to lasers under the “New Fleet-43” concept, and added long-range scanner so that the unit could act as an armed scout. 
Code: [Select]
OUTREACH MK 2 class FG  4 XO Racks 22 Hull TL 3
[2] SSAZH(I)(I)(I)(I)XrLD(I)QsL [7]
22 RCP  3 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  329/ 49.4
HTK 15 Sx2  Ax1  Dx1  Lx2 

The four units of the Napoleon class were upgraded to this design over several months, starting in Turn 45.   
Code: [Select]
NAPOLEON MK 2 class ES  (AC) 2 XO Racks 12 Hull TL 3
[2] SAAZH(I)(I)L(I)Qs [8]
12 RCP  13 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  156.4/ 23.5
HTK 10 Sx1  Ax2  Lx1 


This class was rushed into service as soon as the RCSN had developed long-range scanners, in Turn 43.  The deployment of these units throughout the Solar System has eased concerns of alien fleets cruising just beyond detection range, and allowed the two national fleets to concentrate their strength and develop a coherent plan to respond to alien aggression. 
Code: [Select]
EX(S) class EX  1 XO Racks 6 Hull TL 3
[2] H(I)Xr(I)Qs [8]
6 RCP  19 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  95/ 14.3
HTK 5

This is the new explorer class for the RCSN, designed and built to survey the Solar System for warp points.  The first unit of this class was launched on Turn 46.
Code: [Select]
EX class EX  (AC) 7 Hull TL 1
[2] SH(BbS)X(I)(I)Qs [8]
7 RCP  18 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  107.7/ 16.2
HTK 7 Sx1 

This upgraded design includes improved science instruments. 
Code: [Select]
EX MK 2 class EX  7 Hull TL 3
[2] H(BbS)Xi(I)(I)Qs [8]
7 RCP  18 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  153/ 23
HTK 6
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Soviet Ship Designs as of Turn 53
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2020, 08:57:48 AM »
Soviet Military Space Service Designs, Turn 53

The r1 refit adds point defense and datalink. 
Code: [Select]
KRESTA R1 class CL  9 XO Racks 45 Hull TL 3
[3] Sx6Ax6ZH(BbS)(II)(I)(II)(I)(II)QMgWWDWDWDLh(I)Mg [6]
45 RCP  5 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  606.5/ 91
HTK 35 Sx6  Ax6  Dx3  Wx4  Mgx2 
400x SM

Unlike the Coalition, the USSR decided to change the weaponry of its destroyers to lasers, as its frigates and corvettes had been decimated over the course of the battles with the Raiders.  The r2 refit replaces the missile launchers with two lasers, and upgrades the point defense to standard mounts, as well as adding datalink. 
Code: [Select]
UDALOY R2 class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 3
[3] SSAx6ZH(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsDL(I)QsDL [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  409/ 61.4
HTK 23 Sx2  Ax6  Dx2  Lx2

The r1 upgrade for the Kirov added point defense, datalink, point defense, and long-range scanners.  The internal space for these upgrades came at the cost of the original design’s extremely heavy shields and armor. 
Code: [Select]
KIROV R1 class FG  4 XO Racks 20 Hull TL 3
[2] SSAx3ZH(I)(I)(I)(I)XrD(I)QsL [7]
20 RCP  5 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  297/ 44.6
HTK 16 Sx2  Ax3  Dx1  Lx1 

The r2 refit adds standard point defense and datalink, and changes the corvette’s weaponry to a laser. 
Code: [Select]
KRIVAK R2 class CT  (AC) 3 XO Racks 16 Hull TL 3
[2] Ax4ZH(I)(I)(I)DQs(I)L [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  212/ 31.8
HTK 13 Ax4  Dx1  Lx1 

Designed in conjunction with the Alliance, this unit is intended to be the eyes of Alliance fleets in the future.  The first unit of this class was launched in Turn 43. 
Code: [Select]
EXS class EX  1 XO Racks 6 Hull TL 3
[2] HXr(I)(I)Qs [8]
6 RCP  19 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  95/ 14.3
HTK 5
 
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