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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turn 115, The Long Retreat, pt 1
« Reply #90 on: October 15, 2020, 05:01:46 PM »
Month 115, Day 8, Moskva system, Combined Human Fleets
Admiral grimaced and punched in the command to link with General Semenov’s command ship.  A few seconds later the view screen at his station lit with General Semenov’s habitually frowning face.  “General, I’m afraid I have bad news.  Two of my battlecruisers, the Canada and the India, are in the initial phases of engine burnout.  They will have to reduce speed soon.   As we are nearly to our target, I recommend slowing the entire fleet to mask the damage to the two battlecruisers.   What is the status of your fleet?”

General Semenov nodded.  “We have no new burnouts at this time.  Two escort class units suffered burnouts prior to this, but because of their higher base speed have been able to maintain the fleet speed so far.”  The Soviet General frowned in thought.  “If it was anything other than battlecruisers, I would recommend leaving them behind, but that is one third of your battlecruiser strength.”  He sighed heavily.  “And in truth, I do not know what we hope to accomplish at this point.  The Rehorish either have some way to deal with our DSB-L’s or they intend to bull through them, but in either case they will reach the warp point and be able to deal with the defenses long before we can reach the area, whether we slow down or not.  I’ve been considering recommending that we stop now, and perhaps even turn away and begin increasing the range between the fleets, given the almost certainty that they will soon be able to link up with the D’Bringi.”

Admiral Ruston was silent for a moment, considering, and then nodded.  “Very well, I’ll order a halt here, and we’ll see what the Rehorish are up to.”

The Combined Fleets slowed to a halt two light minutes from the warp point, finally reducing the strain on the engines of the two fleets.  The fact that only four ships suffered burnouts was a near miracle, given the strain that they had been under.  It took another ten minutes for the Rehorish fleet to close on the warp point.  The Rehorish fleet continued on at full military speed, and at no time during the pursuit had their drive fields waivered.  It seemed that whatever the Rehorish were, they were excellent engineers. 

Suddenly, as the Rehorish fleet launched a swarm of small craft, all of which plunged into the fields of DSB-L’s surrounding the warp point.  The Combined Fleet’s sensors couldn’t determine the type of small craft, but considering the explosions that began rippling through the DSB-L’s, it was soon apparent that the Rehorish had deployed assault shuttles to attack the laser buoys.  It took just almost seven minutes before the explosions died out, and then a clutch of CD’s were launched from the Rehorish fleet and disappeared through the warp point.  Soon thereafter the D’Bringi and T’Pau fleets began jumping into the system.  Long before that the Human fleets had turned for the warp point to the Solar system and began retreating.  They were now out-massed by almost 50%, and the Rehorish fleet was a complete unknown in terms of capabilities. 

Combined Human Fleets: 9xBC, 21xCA, 3xCL, 3xDD, 8xCT, 9xES
Combined Alien Fleets: 3xBC, 27xCA, 24xCL, 15xDD, 10xCT

Shortly after the Rehorish and D’Bringi fleets were united they turned in pursuit of the human fleets, and almost immediately accelerated to full military speed. 

General Semenov’s face appeared on Admiral Ruston’s monitor.  “They are going to catch us.”

Admiral Ruston grimaced.  The Russian general’s tone was flat, but it felt like an accusation all the same.  Still, he wasn’t wrong.  “I know.  We have two choices.  We can turn and fight, here, with our whole strength, or we can run for home.”  He didn’t want to leave ships behind, to be destroyed in hopeless fights with the D’Bringi and their allies.  He didn’t want to watch his fleet melt away, over the next four days it would take to run to the home system at full military speed, never knowing which ship would suffer an engine casualty and fall behind.  But the alternative…

“We cannot fight them here.”  Again, the Russian general’s statement was flat and without tone.  A mere statement of fact.  “If you commit to battle here, we will lose, and the home system will be open and vulnerable.  If we retreat, and save what we can, then we will be able to mount a credible defense at the warp point, and stop them there.  And, once we build up our strength, we will be able to push them back.”

Admiral Ruston knew the personal consequences of such a disastrous retreat might be dire, but he pushed that thought out of his head, willing himself to focus on the strategic situation and put his personal fortunes away.  “We are going to lose ships.”

Now it was the Russian’s turn to grimace.  “Yes.  But not so many as we would lose if we fight here.”  The doubt and indecision were clear on the Coalition admiral’s face, and the Russian general spoke before the other could get anything out.  “I know the position you are in.  I know it perhaps better than anyone.  There will be those who sit safe in offices on Earth, who will criticize you.  They may demote you, or cashier you for this.  Believe me, I know.  Other, who never faced danger or enemy fire, will call you a coward, and hint behind your back that you ran when you should have stood.  Believe me, I know.  But you must focus on what is best for the men and women of this fleet, and for the future of our nations.  Your personal welfare, or reputation, cannot stand against that. 

Admiral Ruston looked at his Russian counterpart for a moment.  General Semenov had been arrested by the previous Russian government, and it was pretty clear that he had only been rehabilitated to serve in the demeaning position of second in command to a senior Coalition officer.  All for making smart choices and saving as much of his fleet as he could.  Admiral Ruston turned slightly to look at the force comparison he had up on his other monitor.  The disparity was significant.  Finally, he nodded.  “You are right.  There is no choice, really.  Prepare to move to full military speed.  I’m going to contact the commanding officers of the Canada and the India.”

General Semenov frowned in thought.  “Those two battlecruisers can’t run with us, with their engine damage, but they can inflict damage on the aliens before they are destroyed.  If they are going to be destroyed anyway, isn’t it better to inflict some damage before the end?”

Admiral Ruston shook his head.  “I won’t order their crews to sacrifice themselves.”  He hesitated, thinking quickly.  “But I will ask for volunteers.”

General Semenov nodded.  “I will prepare my fleet.”

Admiral Ruston set up a three-way comm channel with the commanders of the battlecruisers India and Canada.  Both captains refused to leave their ships, and insisted on being allowed to lead an attack, as their ships could not flee with the rest of the fleet.  In the end, it was decided that 60% of the crews of both ships would be lifted off and transferred to the other ships in the fleet, and the two battlecruisers would turn back and engage the oncoming alien fleet. 

A short time later the preparations were made, the crews were transferred, and the two big Coalition ships turned back towards the oncoming enemy.  The rest of the human ships accelerated to full military speed, leaving the two ships behind. 

The two Coalition battlecruisers were running towards the approaching alien fleets at their best system-cruising speed, while the aliens were approaching at full military speed.  It took twenty-eight minutes for the two groups to close to combat range.  Once they were approaching capital missile range, the two Coalition ships accelerated to full military speed.  While the damage they had suffered from straining their engines prevented them from running at full military speed for long periods, they could still manage it for short periods.  And neither captain believed their ship will still be operational at the end of this particular battle, so conserving their engines was the last thing on their minds.  The human ships edged into capital missile range at 1830 hours, and they immediately launched a salvo, targeted on a D’Bringi BC.  The two human ships launched a total of twelve capital missiles at the D’Bringi BC.  Four maintained target lock, and one slipped through point defense fire to hit the alien ship’s shields.  The D’Bringi battlecruisers returned fire, slipping three capital missiles past the Canada’s point defense to knock down her shields.  A single D’Bringi heavy cruiser also joined in, launching six capital missiles at the India.  One managed to penetrate her active defenses and impact on her shields. 

The alien fleet continued to forge ahead, while the two human battlecruisers suddenly decelerated and began diverting engine power to drive field modulations intend to make them harder targets.  The two human battlecruiser’s internally launched missiles were joined by nine additional missiles launched from their XO racks, for a total of 21 capital missiles targeted on the same D’Bringi BC.  The D’Bringi BC targeted by the missiles launched an EDM in its own defense, but five human capital missiles got through its defensive fire and hit the ship’s naked drive field, stripping away most of its armor.  The D’Bringi battlecruiser group replied in kind, launching 34 CM’s from their internal launchers and external racks.  Between the engine modulations and the two EDM’s launched by the Canada, only two CM’s hit the desperately evading BC.  The D’Bringi heavy cruiser also targeted the Canada with its internal and external launchers, but didn’t manage to get any missiles past the battlecruiser’s defenses. 

The two Coalition battlecruisers now accelerated away from the oncoming D’Bringi fleet, but their need to keep the alien ships out of their blind spot meant that the aliens could creep closer every second.  The next exchange of fire took place at five point five light seconds, and this time the human ships weren’t modulating their drive fields and the Canada had used up its EDM’s.  Of the missiles launched by the D’Bringi BC group and the heavy cruiser, six managed to penetrate the Canada’s defenses, stripping her armor and destroying her datalink system.  The human BC’s return fire penetrated the D’Bringi BC’s armor as well, knocking it out of its data group as well. 

The human BC’s continued to run ahead of the alien fleets, but the range was dropping.   The damaged D’Bringi BC turned away, refusing battle and moving out of range quickly.  And here, finally, the human ships, which had performed so well, stumbled.  The two D’Bringi BC’s still firing within their datagroup slipped five missiles past the Canada’s faltering defenses, destroying three engine rooms and staggering the big ship.  The return fire from the two human BC’s was unfocused and failed to penetrate the D’Bringi BC’s point defense fire, and the D’Bringi CA managed to slip another capital missile past the Canada’s defenses and destroyed a fourth engine room.   

The crippled Canada fell behind her consort, slowed to a third of her normal speed.  The D’Bringi capital missile ships focused their fire on the India, while every other ship within range fired their beam weapons and standard missiles at the hapless Canada.  The India focused her fire on the D’Bringi capital missile-armed cruiser, slipping a single missile past her defenses, while the two remaining D’Bringi battlecruisers and the D’Bringi heavy cruiser returned fire, hitting with five capital missiles, stripping the India of her shields and a good part of her armor.  The Canada joined in, and managed to get four hits on the D’Bringi cruiser, but failed to penetrate her passive defenses.  Two D’Bringi heavy cruisers opened fire on the Canada with standard missiles, but failed to score any hits. 

The Canada continued to fall behind the India.  The India was four point five light seconds from the alien fleets when the next exchange of fire occurred, while the Canada had slipped back to just two point seven five light seconds from the alien fleets.  The India hit the D’Bringi capital missile armed heavy cruiser with another missile, causing it to release a streamer of atmosphere from an opening in its armor.  Before the Canada could fire, though, a D’Bringi cruiser group opened fire with a combination of standard missiles, force beams, and energy pulse cannons.  Several of the standard missiles and four force beams ripped into the Canada, destroying another engine room and several missile launchers.  The faltering human BC managed to get off a ragged salvo at the D’Bringi capital missile armed heavy cruiser, but missed.  That would be the Canada’s last salvo.  The rest of the D’Bringi fleet pounded the Canada with their force beams, leaving little but a single drive room and life support.  For some reason the T’Pau and the Rehorish refrained from firing on the hulk of the Canada.  Before they could change their minds, a wave of life pods raced away from the crippled ship, followed by an explosion that consumed the remainder of the ship. 

The D’Bringi now focused on the India, which was now four light seconds from the combined alien fleets.  The India got its next salvo off before the aliens, but the damaged D’Bringi heavy cruiser it had been focusing on had turned away and was running, and was opening the range.  The longer range threw off the India’s targeting, and ship didn’t manage to get any hits with this salvo.  The D’Bringi heavy cruiser was luckier, slipping two capital missiles past the India’s defenses and punching a hole in her armor.  Next, the D’Bringi capital and standard missile armed ships scored multiple hits on the faltering battlecruiser, destroying five engine rooms and half of her missile launchers.  It was clear the India’s time had come.  Before the aliens could reload their weapons, the India self-destructed after a wave of life pods raced away from the doomed ship. 

The alien fleets forged ahead, unwavering in their pursuit of the withdrawing human fleets.  Two Rehorish destroyers lingered at the battle site, to pick up survivors, then raced back to the fleet.  The two damaged D’Bringi ships, a battlecruiser and a heavy cruiser, turned back towards the warp point, weakening the alien fleets, at least a bit. 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turn 115, The Long Retreat, pt 2
« Reply #91 on: October 16, 2020, 10:59:26 AM »
Month 115, Day 9, Moskva system, Pursuit Day 1
“Admiral, incoming comms from General Semenov.”

Admiral Ruston felt a pit open up in his stomach, but kept his feelings from his face.  The stress of this pursuit was getting to everyone, him included, and his crew didn’t need to see their admiral worried and stressed out.   “Very well, put him through to my monitor.”

A second later General Semenov appeared on his monitor.  He looked even more grim than usual.  “We are about to lose the Riga and the Kronstadt.  Their engineers report they will suffer drive failures within the hour.  An escort has suffered an engine casualty as well, but will be able to maintain fleet speed, at least for now.”

Admiral Ruston knew the answer, but had to ask anyway.  “Are they sure?”

General Semenov grimaced.  “Yes.  I had my engineer check their engine status.  There is no mistake.”

“Damn it.”  Admiral Ruston searched his memory for the stats related to the two ships.  The Riga was a heavy cruiser equipped with advanced standard missile launchers, while the Kronstadt was a light cruiser equipped with gun/missile launchers.  After a few seconds he shook his head.  “We’ll evacuate the crews and scuttle the ships.”

General Semenov stared at the fleet commander for a few seconds.  “They might be able to inflict damage on the alien fleet before being destroyed.”

Admiral Ruston nodded.  “Maybe.  But the D’Bringi battlecruisers still out-range them, and will be able to destroy them without coming into their range at all.  Should we throw away your crews, to no gain?”

General Semenov shook his head.  “Of course not!  But, even if they just absorb D’Bringi missiles, they will be doing us a service.  The D’Bringi are at the end of a long supply chain.  Every missile they fire at these two ships will be a missile they won’t have available for the coming battles.”

Admiral Ruston thought about if for a few seconds, but then shook his head again.  “No, I will not trade human lives for a few missiles.  Set scuttling charges and evacuate the ships.”

General Semenov actually looked relieved.  “As you say.”  The screen flickered out.”

Fifteen minutes later, with the crews safely dispersed to other fleet units, the two Russian cruisers self-destructed.  The alien fleets showed no signs of burnouts or other issues, and continued pursuing the human fleets. 

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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turn 115, The Long Retreat, pt 3
« Reply #92 on: October 17, 2020, 03:14:16 PM »
Month 115, Day 10, Moskva system, Pursuit Day 2
This time it was Admiral Ruston that initiated the contact.  “General, we are going to lose one of our heavy cruisers shortly.  What is the status of your fleet?”

General Semenov shook his head.  “We have bad news.  The battlecruiser Ordzhonikidze will lose an engine room shortly.  There is nothing we can do.  A second escort has also suffered an engine failure, but will be able to maintain fleet speed.”

Admiral Ruston shook his head.  “We cannot continue to lose cruisers at this rate!”

General Semenov nodded.  “This is ruinous, but we are more than halfway to our goal.  Now, we must prepare.  The commander of the Ordzhonikidze has volunteered to take his ship into the throat of the aliens.  Will your cruiser accompany him?”

Admiral Ruston nodded.  “I’ve already spoken to Captain Lemaire.  They will go into battle with your ship.  We are evacuating nonessential crew as we speak.”

General Semenov nodded.  “Very good.  Perhaps we were wrong about the bravery of the Coalition.  Your ships have acquitted themselves well.”

Admiral Ruston smiled.  It was a tired, ghastly sort of smile, but it was a smile.  “We fight for our survival now, old friend.”

“Yes, we do.  It is good that you realize that.  I will prepare our ship.”

Five minutes later the Russian BC and the Coalition CA turned back towards their relentless pursuers, and began their run.  Once again it took nearly a half hour before the two human ships reached weapons range of the enemy fleet.  This time, the two human ships didn’t turn away, and instead plunged ahead, directly towards the alien fleet, only turning after they were within capital missile range.  The first exchange of fire took place at five point two five light seconds range, just beyond standard missile range.  The Russian BC targeted one of the two remaining D’Bringi battlecruisers, and flushed its XO racks, sending a total of eleven capital missiles at the alien BC.  The D’Bringi ship launched an EDM and filled the space between it and the oncoming missiles with point defense fire.  Only one human missile got through the defenses to impact against the D’Bringi ship’s shields.  In return, the two D’Bringi battlecruisers launched fourteen capital missiles from their internal launchers, and managed to get three hits, knocking down the Russian ship’s shields. 

The human ships allowed the alien fleets to close on them, while keeping the aliens out of their blind spots, bringing the Coalition heavy cruiser into firing range with the distance between the two groups of ships now down to four light seconds.  The D’Bringi battlecruisers fired first, punching four capital missiles through the Russian BC’s defenses and scouring her armor.  In response, the Russian BC punched two missiles through the D’Bringi BC’s defenses, knocking out her shields and lightly damaging her armor.  Two D’Bringi heavy cruisers opened fire with standard missiles, getting six hits and further degrading the Russian BC’s armor.  For the first time the Coalition heavy cruiser joined the battle, launching thirteen standard missiles from her internal and external launchers, getting two hits on the D’Bringi BC. 

The alien fleets continued to close while the human ships tried to keep the range open, but their need to keep the aliens out of their blind spot forced the human ships to turn, causing them to slip closer to the alien fleets.  At three point seven five light seconds, they were now within extreme force beam range, and the rest of the D’Bringi fleet joined their fire to their missile ships.  The Russian BC fired first, getting a single hit on the same D’Bringi BC.  The two D’Bringi BC’s returned fire, punching four capital missiles through the Russian ship’s defenses and getting a single hit with their force beams.  The resulting damage eliminated the Russian ship’s armor and destroyed an engine room.  The Coalition heavy cruiser launched its missiles against the same D’Bringi BC, and got a single hit on her armor.  A D’Bringi heavy cruiser group opened fire with standard missiles and force beams, scoring eleven hits on the hapless Russian BC, destroying four more engine rooms.  The rest of the D’Bringi fleet opened fire with their force beams as well, destroying much of the Russian BC’s armaments.  Then, much to the surprise of the humans, the cruisers of the Rehorish fleet opened fire on the Coalition heavy cruiser, which had remained untouched until now.  Each Rehorish cruiser fired three force beams, and, amazingly, most of them hit their targets.  By the time the fifteen Rehorish heavy cruisers had fired, the Coalition ship was reduced to an engine room, crew quarters, and a magazine. 

The crews of both human ships abandoned their ships and shortly thereafter the two ships exploded.  They had managed to inflict moderate armor damage on one D’Bringi BC.  Interestingly enough, shortly after the battle a T’Pau heavy cruiser and a Rehorish heavy cruiser fell out of formation and turned back towards the warp point to Leningrad, both moving at a reduced speed. 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 115, The Long Retreat pt 4
« Reply #93 on: October 18, 2020, 05:34:19 PM »
Month 115, Day 11, Moskva system, Pursuit Day 3
“We are losing two light cruisers today.  One of our destroyers and a corvette has lost an engine as well, but will be able to keep up with the rest of the fleet.  What is the status of your fleet?”  This constant litany of losses was becoming disturbingly routine.  Admiral Ruston’s face was haggard with concern for the constant attrition his fleet was suffering. 

General Semenov nodded.  “We have survived the day with no engine casualties.”  He grimaced.  “The randomness of this is galling.  I must admit, not knowing what to expect makes the anticipation that much sharper.”

Admiral Ruston nodded.  “I am ordering the crews of the light cruisers to abandon ship after setting scuttling charges.  They will accomplish nothing trying to attack the aliens.” 

General Semenov grimaced, but then nodded in assent.  “I agree.  We have wasted enough lives in this nightmare.”  Silence fell for a second, as the two commanders considered their losses.  Then General Semenov looked up.  “This is nearly over, Jonas.  We will almost certainly lose no more ships before reaching the warp point tomorrow.”

“Thank god.”  The two nodded and closed the comms channel. 

The human fleet forged ahead, towards its goal of escape from the system.  Behind them, two more Rehorish heavy cruisers suffered engine damage and turned away, towards the Leningrad system. 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 115, The Long Retreat pt 5
« Reply #94 on: October 19, 2020, 09:40:04 AM »
Month 115, Day 12, Moskva system, Pursuit Day 4
The human fleets reached the warp point to the Solar system and jumped through in good order, suffering no more engine casualties before making transit.  A Coalition light cruiser and a corvette suffered engine damage later in the day, as did a Russian cruiser, but by then they were safe in the Solar System.  Admiral Ruston made the decision to keep the ships that had suffered engine damage at the warp point, instead of sending them back for repairs.  They were still combat-capable and would be needed at the warp point if the aliens attacked. 

Unseen, on the far side of the warp point, a D’Bringi battlecruiser and a Rehorish light cruiser suffered engine damage and turned to head back to the Leningrad system.  The pursuit was over, and humanity’s fleets were once again bottled up in the Solar System. 

On board the Rehorish and D’Bringi command ships, a conference was taking place.  The T’Pau were not invited.  Both participants, Cho-sho Banzan for the Rehorish and Clan Chief Fortress Breaker for the D’Bringi, were attending from their command ships via holographic interface.  This was, in part, for convenience’s sake, as both were busy organizing and integrating their fleets, but also, in truth, because neither was entirely comfortable placing themselves within the other’s control. 

Fortress Breaker, impetuous as always, started in almost as soon as the connection was made.  “We must attack now!  The humans are bottled up, and cut off from their colonial territories.  Weakened!  We must take advantage of this now, while they are off balance!”  Unable to contain himself, the D’Bringi clan chief had risen within the holographic conference room they inhabited, and had begun pacing. 

Cho-sho Banzan carefully controlled his antennae, keeping the disdain he felt for the barbarian in front of him to himself.  He did not know if the D’Bringi understood enough of Rehorish body language to interpret the signals the cant of his antennae would send to another Rehorish, but he intended to take no chances.  So impetuous!  “There is much to what you say.  The humans are off balance.  And, they are close to their shipyards, making it easier to repair their ships and replace their losses.  However, attacking now is impossible.”

Before the Rehorish admiral could continue, Fortress Breaker exploded.  “What!  What madness is this?  Impossible how?”  The D’Bringi war leader approached the table, leaning on it and attempting to loom over the smaller Rehorish admiral.  The effect was somewhat less than he desired, given the holographic setting. 

Cho-sho Banzan was used to D’Bringi outbursts, and viewed them much as he did the storm squalls in his birth territory on Rehorish Prime.  The squalls would come on suddenly, and then disappear just as suddenly, leaving little evidence that they had been there.  The D’Bringi that he had worked with during the ambush of the Soviet fleet in the opening round of the war had been much the same, temperamental and impetuous, but reasonable once the initial outburst faded.  “I am under specific orders from my government to delay assaulting the human’s home system until reinforcements arrive.”  The D’Bringi leader opened his mouth, but before he could speak Banzan continued.  “Significant reinforcements are en route and will arrive in approximately thirty days.  I cannot launch an assault until then.”

“Thirty days?  That is an eternity!  The human fleets will grow in that time, and ours will not, aside from your ‘reinforcements’!”  Fortress Breaker knew, but could not say in front of his ‘ally’, that his reinforcements had been diverted to deal with a disturbance on the border with their new allies, the Mintek.  He had not been told what the disturbance was, but he had been the Clan Chief of Clan T’Chau for decades, and he knew his fellow clan chiefs.  If they had diverted vital reinforcements from his fleet, then the situation was indeed serious.  The same message that had informed him of the diversion had pressured him to launch an assault on the humans as soon as possible, so as to end the war and enable the fleet to return to D’Bringi space.  Fortress Breaker took a deep breath and sat down.  “Allowing the human fleets to recover and grow stronger is unwise.  We must act!”

“Actually, I agree with you, to an extent.  However, a delay of one month will not be fatal.  The humans will not be able to repair their damaged ships in that time, and any newly constructed ships that join their fleet will be barely combat-effective as they will still be shaking down when we launch our attack.  In any case, I have little choice in this matter.  I must wait for the reinforcements before attacking.”  In truth, Banzan knew that his orders to wait were a recommendation more than an absolute order, as they must be for a fleet commander so far from home.  However, he agreed with the intent of the orders.  The reinforcement group was not large, compared to the strength he and Clan Chief Fortress Breaker had gathered here already, but the six heavy cruisers in the reinforcement group were the Rehorish fleet’s first long-range missile equipped units, and while they would not be overwhelmingly useful in a warp point assault into the human’s home system, they would be very useful to counterbalance the D’Bringi fleet’s long-ranged cruisers and battlecruisers.  From the first moments of their alliance with the D’Bringi, the admirals of the Rehorish Naval HQ had distrusted the motives and intent of the D’Bringi, suspecting that the D’Bringi intended to weaken them in combat with the humans in preparation for betrayal and conquest after the fall of the humans.  After his experience with the D’Bringi he had come to believe that they had no such intentions, but he couldn’t rule them out and agreed with Naval HQ’s precautions.  There were also darker rumors of the intentions of his own government towards their D’Bringi allies, and, while he had no evidence, such things were not unknown in Rehorish history.  In any case, given such doubts and uncertainties, he was inclined to delay the attack, at least for a short time, until his reinforcements arrived.  He couldn’t shake a nagging worry that the D’Bringi admiral was right, delaying was a mistake. 

The D’Bringi clan chief rose again and started pacing, considering the other’s words.   “More time to prepare, train, and integrate our fleets will be valuable, I cannot deny it.  This is a mistake, though.”  The D’Bringi clan chief opened his mouth to say more, but then turned away.  As he turned, he faded from the holographic room, leaving Cho-sho Banzan alone with his thoughts.  The attack would be delayed. 
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Cold War: Month 115, the rest of the month
« Reply #95 on: October 22, 2020, 02:32:41 PM »
Month 115, Day 19, Solar System
General Semenov and Admiral Ruston remained in command of their fleets, in spite of some within their respective high commands who had loudly advocated for their removal for incompetence after being forced back to the Solar System.  They both suspected that their continued status as fleet commanders relied more upon their respective fleet HQ’s being reluctant to rock the boat with the aliens literally on their doorstep.  Their experience in the Moskva system, particularly during the long retreat, had forged a bond between the two men, as well as a greater appreciation for the differing strengths of their respective forces. 

After seven days without an attack by the alien forces on the far side of the warp point, the two commanders made the decision to dispatch all damaged units back to the Earth for repairs, including the ships that had merely suffered minor engine damage during the long retreat.  While those units were technically fully combat capable on the tactical scale, on the strategic-system scale they were a liability, and would slow the fleet down at a critical time, if the upcoming battle became one of maneuver rather than brute force.  In exchange, the Russian and Coalition warships orbiting the Earth would be dispatched to the warp point to reinforce them.  It wasn’t a fair exchange, as only minor forces were left in Earth’s orbit at this point, but anything would help. 

Month 115, Day 20
The Mintek missions to the five new planets were received in very different ways.  On the D’Bringi colony planet in the Jerothal system, the mission succeeded in establishing embassies and missions in the major cities.  On the planets of the two D’Bringi conquered subject races, the Torqual and the Doraz, the combined Mintek and D’Bringi missions were able to slip into the general population and begin establishing footholds amongst the D’Bringi occupation forces and their civilian support structure.  In both cases the Mintek immediately began outreach programs to the conquered races, with the help of the D’Bringi who were supposed to be ensuring their fidelity to their conquerors.  In the Boche system, the D’Bringi and Mintek missionaries were able to land on the T’Pau colony world and begin similar outreach efforts to the T’Pau residents, however, the T’Pau, having gained some limited independence from the D’Bringi, were somewhat reluctant to leap towards this new outreach effort, and the Mintek efforts yielded only minimal initial results.  The T’Pau high command, concerned about how this might affect their relationship with their conquerors, dithered for a full ten days before informing the D’Bringi military in the T’Pau system about the presence of Mintek in the system. 

In the Kumamoto system, the Mintek effort went disastrously wrong.  The Kumamoto system was a Rehorish colonial system, and in fact was the system the Rehorish bought from the D’Bringi Expanses.  It possessed no less than five habitable type “T” planets, all of which were almost useless to the D’Bringi, but which were immensely valuable to the Rehorish.  The Rehorish, who while they were allied to the D’Bringi, were still somewhat standoffish and disdainful of their allies, and so they monitored every ship that entered their systems.  Thus, while D’Bringi ships were allowed into the system to conduct trade, they were watched closely by the Rehorish internal security services.  And so it was that when the D’Bringi freighter moved into orbit and sent shuttles down to the smallest and poorest of the five colonies in the system, as it was considered the best place for them to start their mission of spreading the Truth, the shuttles were met on the ground by armed troops and the entire mission was arrested and interned.  Initially they claimed to be simple traders, with the Mintek being traders from another race allied with the D’Bringi, however, that stance was broken down rapidly by the Rehorish interrogators and their true mission was revealed.  The local security chief immediately sent a warning to the home system, and increased the watchfulness of his forces across the system. 
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