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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Empire Reborn
« on: May 07, 2020, 12:43:10 AM »
This post is all background narrative so if you are only interested in game stuff that will be in the next post

Six years before the Battle of Yavin, an Imperial survey cruiser charting the Unknown Regions stumbled across a massive, ancient space station orbiting a nameless type A star. The Empire sent an expedition of its top scientists and archaeologists to study the artifact and they discovered that the central ring structure was not a curiosity from an era before artificial gravity but instead encircled some sort of space time anomaly. One researcher described it in his report as “a scab over a tear in the universe.” Ships were known to go missing in the Unknown Regions all the time and it was theorized that they often fell through “cracks” but this was the first time such a thing had been observed in a controlled state.

The scientists could not say whether the installation had originally been intended to stabilize the rift or to hold it shut. The machinery had been dead for thousands of years and nothing they did could bring it back. While the rift itself would likely be of great interest to physicists, the team saw no further benefit to poking at the station’s remains and indicated as much to their superiors back on Coruscant.

They had almost finished packing to leave when the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Devastator dropped out of hyperspace. Darth Vader himself appeared on their comms to announce that he would be coming aboard to assume control of the project. The scientists received this news with considerable alarm. The woman who drew the short straw rushed off to the docking platform to meet Lord Vader’s approaching shuttle and give the Emperor’s masked enforcer a personal tour of the facility.

In the control room, Darth Vader motioned for his escort and stormtrooper guards to halt just inside the doorway. His helmeted head turned to take in the silent consoles and monitors. Then, he took a step towards the primary control station, stretched out his gloved hand and stared at it. The research team had spent weeks trying to turn on that console without success. After thirty seconds of being stared at by Darth Vader, it had enough. The whole station trembled. Literally. Somehow the ancient machines decided it was in their best interest to cooperate. Consoles lit up. Monitors sprang to life. A crackling, tearing sound reverberated through the station and then the center of the ring, visible through the room’s transparisteel windows, lit up with a sickly purple glow. The space time rift had opened.

The first object to pass through the rift was a probe droid launched by Devastator. Naval personnel and scientists alike gasped as the droid vanished in a ripple of purple fire, like a stone sinking into a dark pond. Then streams of data began to flow back from the other side.

The interstellar medium beyond the rift was like nothing in known space. It was denser, full of strange elements that had no known equivalent. It did not interact as expected with the emissions of the probe’s small ion drive, significantly reducing its thrust so that the droid crawled along at a snail’s pace. Sensors were impacted too. Their readings muddled. It took hours to make sense of everything the probe was seeing.

On the far side of the rift lay a complete planetary system: a type G star, six terrestrial worlds, two gas giants, an asteroid belt and a plethora of moons. The probe detected no signs of intelligent life, no radio signals or heat sources. The third planet had a thin nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, abundant plant life and large liquid oceans. Humans could walk on its surface with only a small respirator and the temperature would be downright pleasant.

After a week of remote study, Darth Vader grew impatient. A Star Destroyer was not a ship to be risked in science experiments so he called the governor of the closest Outer Rim sector and had them dispatch a suitable vessel. Within the hour, an aging Tartan-class patrol cruiser called Ardgartan broke off its mission showing the flag to wildcat mining colonies and jumped to the top secret coordinates. Her captain, Commander Miquel Lambros, wasn’t thrilled with the idea of taking his ship into a mysterious space time rift that led to a universe where the laws of physics were all topsy-turvy but he figured his odds of survival doing that were probably better than defying Lord Vader.

The explosion wasn’t quite as bad as he expected.

As best her engineers could determine after the fact, Ardgartan’s main deflector shield ignited a violent reaction in the foreign interstellar medium. The resulting power surge blew every circuit breaker on the ship. The crew came through it with nothing worse than a few electrical burns and a heroic damage control effort got the engines back online after a couple of hours. The little ship would need weeks of yard time to get back into fighting trim but abandoning the mission meant answering to Vader so Commander Lambros transmitted a message through the rift that repairs were under way and they would proceed to the habitable planet at best possible speed.

Best possible speed turned out to be glacially slow even by the standards of an old patrol cruiser. During the week it took the ship to claw its way across the system, Darth Vader grew bored and departed for Coruscant to deliver his report in person to the Emperor. He tasked the science team with collecting as much data as they could about the system beyond the rift and instructed Commander Lambros to make his ship and crew available for whatever experiments or sample collection they required.

Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, the Emperor mulled over the earliest reports of unified resistance movements. As unlikely as it might seem that the insurgents could pose a threat to his new order, Sheev Palpatine was nothing if not the most paranoid and conniving person in the entire history of the galaxy. He had already begun to form a series of plans that would be spoken of only in whispers, even in the most sensitive Imperial circles: The Contingency.

Only Palpatine himself knew that there was no single Contingency. There were dozens. All carefully isolated from one another in self-contained cells, each sycophant and co-conspirator believing that they and they alone were held in such high esteem as to be trusted with the Emperor’s most sensitive scheme.

One such catspaw was a young and charismatic man named Fabian Wolfe. Like most well born Imperial bureaucrats, Fabian graduated from the Academy of Coruscant, flirted with the allure of a naval career and ultimately disdained the military in favor of a more libertine lifestyle. His appointment, secured for him by his father, mostly involved schmoozing with the movers and shakers of the Empire’s vast military industrial complex. His life was an endless stream of fancy dinner parties, elite casinos, sporting events and operas funded mostly out of the defense budget. It suited him perfectly.

Even Fabian never quite understood how he came to the attention of the Emperor. Sheev Palpatine was a master of his craft, always on the lookout for a useful tool, and, when he found one, he knew exactly how to hone it. Over the years, he drew Fabian ever closer into his confidences until one night he called the man to a private meeting in his personal chambers. Surely the ultimate sign of Imperial favor. There he explained about the existence of the rift and sketched out a rough plan to colonize the habitable world. He would enlist the Empire’s most prominent arms manufacturers to establish facilities there: research, manufacturing, shipyards. All forever beyond the reach of the Rebel traitors.

“And you,” the Emperor said, his wrinkled face splitting in a wide toothy grin, “are the perfect man to oversee it all… Moff Wolfe.”

Fabian arrived in what had come to be known as “The Omega Sector” about the same time that the Death Star was embarking on its maiden cruise to Jeddah. A small settlement had already been established on the third planet while several Worldshaper platforms rapidly transformed its thin atmosphere into something more tolerable. In a rousing speech to the several thousand technicians, scientists and engineers already present, Moff Wolfe named the planet New Coruscant and promised that it would soon be as grand and critical to the Empire’s future as its namesake.

To everyone’s surprise, most of all his own, Fabian Wolfe proved to be an effective administrator. His contacts bore fruit and transformed the empty backwater world into a hub of industry, slowly adapting the strange minerals of the sector to traditional applications. Bulk freighters full of colonists, most of them volunteers, arrived daily and settlements spread like wildfire across the planet’s surface.

Ardgartan remained intact despite the best efforts of the science teams. On paper she was assigned to the sector as a defensive picket. In reality she continued to be used for outlandish experiments, much to the consternation of her captain. She was at least the first ship to be outfitted with the new prototype sublight engines, designed to operate efficiently in the sector’s interstellar medium and to burn the local fuel sorium, which proved to be one of the more effective modifications.

Even Commander Lambros managed to put his foot down when the engineers from Rendili StarDrive wanted to install their third “promise it really works this time” hyperdrive and he wasn’t interested in their inane babbling about how the ship just needed to be parked in exactly the right spot to make it work. They were an Old Republic company and only got an invitation in the first place because the CFO’s son was a regular at Moff Wolfe’s bi-weekly sabbac games.

Life in the Sector went on.

When the administration received a message from the Star Destroyer Imperious, stationed outside the rift to dissuade potential interlopers, it seemed routine enough. The big ship was being called away to participate in a fleet exercise at some place called Endor. The captain promised they would be gone no more than a week and assured Moff Wolfe that the local defense forces would have a tremendous advantage in the very unlikely scenario that a Rebel battle group without sorium drives stumbled into the sector before he returned.

Three days later the rift gate closed. That did cause a bit of a furor, but Moff Wolfe assured the people that when Imperious returned they would notify the Emperor and someone would come to reopen the rift and reestablish communications with the colony.

He could not have known that Imperious had been blown to scrap by the Rebel cruiser Liberty. Or that the Rebels had won a tremendous victory at the Battle of Endor, destroying a Death Star and killing both the Emperor and Vader. Or that all across the galaxy Palpatine’s Contingencies were being activated to preserve the Imperial state.

The people of the Omega Sector waited for a signal that would never come, from a government that no longer existed. In the meantime they continued working their assigned tasks. Dutiful cogs in the great Imperial machine.

On the day that would much later be known as January 1st, Year 1 OS, the unimaginatively named exploration vessel Prospector 001 left her berth at the Sienar Fleet Systems naval yard and began a slow cruise towards Vandor, the fourth planet of the New Coruscant system. Her mission was to perform a field test of the new geological survey scanner and to determine if the cold desert world had enough accessible mineral deposits to make establishing a small mining base worthwhile.

They were about to make a discovery that would change the Omega Sector forever.
 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Empire Reborn
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2020, 12:51:40 AM »
The State of the Omega Sector (Y1 OS)

By the time it was cut off from the rest of the galaxy the population of the Omega Sector had grown to 800 million, mostly concentrated in large cities on the surface of New Coruscant. These colonists were shipped in from the thousands of worlds controlled by the Galactic Empire and are almost entirely human. Many are skilled workers employed by the system’s extensive manufacturing sector. Droid labor is also common, especially in agriculture and mining.



The New Coruscant system has 8 planets, 55 moons and 162 asteroids. The planets are loosely named after the planets of the original Coruscant system.



The research projects of the major industrial concerns have borne enough fruit to allow shipbuilding with all local materials, though on a small scale compared to the sorts of projects regularly conducted elsewhere in the Empire.



Sienar Fleet Systems is in the process of shaking down a small fleet of exploration craft equipped with special sensors and Rendili’s still mostly theoretical “jump” drive. The ships are built on identical hulls but the Astrogator class is intended to detect latent “jump” nodes which Rendili claims should connect New Coruscant to other nearby systems and the Prospector class will be able to scan the surface of planets for rich deposits of useful minerals. The goal of the project is to begin serious exploration and exploitation of the system and, hopefully, surrounding systems as well.

Code: [Select]
Astrogator class Gravitational Survey Vessel      6,000 tons       156 Crew       693.8 BP       TCS 120    TH 256    EM 0
2133 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-29       Shields 0-0       HTK 40      Sensors 6/0/2/0      DCR 7      PPV 0
Maint Life 5.22 Years     MSP 505    AFR 41%    IFR 0.6%    1YR 31    5YR 464    Max Repair 114 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   

Rendili StarDrive J6000(3-50) Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 6000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Sienar Fleet Systems NPE-256 High Efficiency Drive (1)    Power 256    Fuel Use 22.90%    Signature 256    Explosion 8%
Fuel Capacity 644,000 Litres    Range 84.4 billion km (457 days at full power)

LeGrange AS22-R100 Navigation Sensor (1)     GPS 1200     Range 22.2m km    Resolution 100
LeGrange TH1-6 Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points Per Hour

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes.

Meanwhile, Ardgartan and her sister ship Craithe have both been fully refitted with new locally produced equipment by Kuat Drive Yards. Their useless shield generators and a pair of twin laser turrets were stripped out to make room for the larger sorium burning engines and duranium hull plating. These two ships are the backbone of the sector’s small naval force.

Code: [Select]
Tartan Omega Refit class Patrol Cruiser      12,000 tons       329 Crew       1,414.4 BP       TCS 240    TH 720    EM 0
3000 km/s      Armour 3-46       Shields 0-0       HTK 70      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 16      PPV 65.28
Maint Life 2.50 Years     MSP 478    AFR 177%    IFR 2.5%    1YR 106    5YR 1,597    Max Repair 120 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Morale Check Required   

Kuat Drive Yards NPE-240 High Performance Drive (3)    Power 720    Fuel Use 79.81%    Signature 240    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 1,258,000 Litres    Range 23.6 billion km (91 days at full power)

Taim & Bak's Twin XS-2 Laser Turret (8x2)    Range 60,000km     TS: 12000 km/s     Power 6-6     RM 20,000 km    ROF 5       
LeGrange Turret Fire Control R192-TS12000 (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 12,000 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Kuat Drive Yards Pebble Bed Reactor R24 (2)     Total Power Output 48.4    Exp 5%

LeGrange AS47-R120 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
LeGrange AS4-R1 Missile Warning System (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 521.3k km    Resolution 1

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

Two squadrons of the Empire’s Raider class corvettes are in the process of being similarly refitted. Work on the 17th Raider Squadron (Blaster, Firewalker, Infiltrator and Slasher) has been completed while the 42nd remains in drydock at Kuat Drive Yards #2.

Code: [Select]
Raider Omega Refit class Corvette      6,000 tons       172 Crew       660.8 BP       TCS 120    TH 480    EM 0
4000 km/s      Armour 2-29       Shields 0-0       HTK 43      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 13      PPV 40
Maint Life 2.65 Years     MSP 240    AFR 82%    IFR 1.1%    1YR 49    5YR 728    Max Repair 120 MSP
Magazine 24   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Kuat Drive Yards NPE-240 High Performance Drive (2)    Power 480    Fuel Use 79.81%    Signature 240    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 707,000 Litres    Range 26.6 billion km (76 days at full power)

Taim & Bak's XL-2 Heavy Laser Cannon (4)    Range 80,000km     TS: 4,000 km/s     Power 4-2     RM 20,000 km    ROF 10       
LeGrange R192-TS4050 Laser Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,050 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Kuat Drive Yards Pebble Bed Reactor R8 (1)     Total Power Output 8.1    Exp 5%

Arakyd Industries ST4 External Rack Launching System (6)     Missile Size: 4    Hangar Reload 100 minutes    MF Reload 16 hours
Arakyd Industries FC31-R100 Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 31.4m km    Resolution 100
Arakyd Industries ST4 Concussion Missile (6)    Speed: 12,900 km/s    End: 39.3m     Range: 30.4m km    WH: 4    Size: 4    TH: 47/28/14

LeGrange AS47-R120 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
LeGrange TH1-6 Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

As no threats had been detected inside the sector and an Imperial blockade prevented entry, these ten ships were deemed a suitable system picket until larger warships could be produced at the local yards. Now that the rift has closed they are the only defense available.



Omega Sector Command is run by Admiral Wilburn Wildemuth and its operations are divided among four subgroups:

  • Exploration Command is run by Vice Admiral Lindsay Tomey who oversees the operations of the eight survey ships and is overall second in command of the Sector’s naval assets.
  • Industrial & Manufacturing Command under Rear Admiral Stefan Haehn manages the operations of the Worldshaper platforms and the new Sorium Fuel Refineries.
  • Logistics & Supply Command under Rear Admiral Deandre Holt is tasked with the movement of supplies, infrastructure and people via the Cargo, Tanker and Transport Flotillas
  • Sector Defense Force led by Rear Admiral Jeramy Noell is the combat arm of the sector fleet comprised of two elements:
    • The 17th Raider Squadron under Commander Cheryl Bethune
    • The Patrol Group under Captain Curt Bread
A complete listing of the naval forces follows:

Code: [Select]
New Coruscant
2x CP Tartan Omega Refit: Ardgartan, Craithe
4x CT Raider Omega Refit: Blaster, Firewalker, Infiltrator, Slasher
4x GSV Astrogator: Astrogator 001, Astrogator 002, Astrogator 003, Astrogator 004
4x GSV Prospector: Prospector 001, Prospector 002, Prospector 003, Prospector 004
3x FHB 100-4M
4x TS Worldshaper
2x CS Baleen-C
5x FT Baleen
2x TT Galleon
2x TG Fortitude
2x TK 10M

In addition to the naval assets, New Coruscant is home to a full Imperial Army Corps under the command of Major General Roscoe Vanluven. The formation comprises almost 40000 soldiers and their equipment but is intended more for population control than serious defense and lacks heavy offensive units like the fearsome Imperial walkers. They are joined by two battalions of Stormtroopers initially detached from Imperious.




Code: [Select]
Total Formations: 22
Total Transport Size: 328,110 tons
Total Cost: 11,318 BP

33,552x Infantry
3,728x Infantry - Heavy Weapons
1,152x Stormtrooper
1,035x Armored Personnel Speeder
396x T-4B Light Repulsortank
384x TX-225 "Occupier" Assault Tank
322x Supplyspeeder
96x SP.9 Repulsor Artillery
96x AT-AA: All Terrain Anti-Aircraft
96x Stormtrooper - Heavy Weapons
40x 74-Z Speeder Bike
32x HQ - Regiment
24x Stormtrooper - Antitank
8x HQ - Battlegroup
4x Trooper Battalion Commander
 
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Offline Ehndras

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Re: Empire Reborn
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2020, 04:56:58 AM »
That was a trip and a half, well worth the read. Not usually a SW fan but you had me hooked.
"Boop!" goes the thermonuclear missile salvo
 

Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Empire Reborn
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2020, 01:45:47 PM »
Chapter One - Year 1 OS

Moff Fabian Wolfe arrived late to the meeting, as was his custom, timing his entry precisely in order to make the most dramatic appearance. He wore a robin’s egg blue tunic cut after the fashion of an Imperial military uniform and a gold lamé lined half cape that fluttered behind him as he strode down the length of the conference table and plopped into the very comfortable chair he had reserved at its head. The others in the room watched his entry with the sort of expressionless gazes that could only be cultivated by decades of military decorum and said nothing as he produced a datapad from his pocket and keyed it on.

Vice Admiral Lindsay Tomey stood at the far end of the table, ramrod straight with her hands clasped behind her back. Every strand of her long blonde hair was tucked neatly into a tight braid and wound into a bun on the back of her head. She reminded Fabian of a particularly severe primary school teacher. Not that he would ever say that to her face.

“If you are all ready now,” she said in the clipped tones of the Imperial aristocracy, “I will begin.”

“Yes.” Admiral Wilburn Wildemuth sat on Fabian’s right, a jowly bulldog of a man whose waistline had been expanding in tandem with his military career for several decades. “Do tell, Lindsay. What’s this about? I’m supposed to be meeting with the head of Kuat Drive Yards this afternoon. Nothing could be more important than the defense of our sector until communications are reestablished with the rest of the Empire! Your survey ships can’t have found anything in a week that’s so critical as to disrupt all of our schedules…”

General Roscoe Vanluven growled. That was the best word Fabian could think of to describe the guttural sound he made. The General was polar opposite of Admiral Wildemuth, rail thin with high cheekbones and a bald head that made him look almost skeletal. All of his snow white hair was concentrated in two bushy sideburns that framed his perpetually sour expression. He always looked like he’d just stepped in a pile of bantha poo even when he was in a good mood. Which he never would be so long as Wildemuth was in the same room.

“She would tell us if you shut your damn pie hole,” the General bellowed across the table.

Wildemuth blinked as his large mouth gaped open and closed several times. He looked a bit like a hutt in a human sized naval uniform.

Fabian leapt into the silence. “Gentlemen, please. Admiral,” he gestured to Tomey. “Do continue. There will be *no* further interruptions.” The older men ignored his glower. Admiral Tomey gave him a tiny nod that from anyone else probably would have been an eye roll.

The blessedly silent fifth person in the room, Major Tawana Rieken, stood out almost as much as Fabian because she was wearing Stomtrooper Corps blacks instead of the drab olive-gray shared by Army and Navy.  Her skin was only a few shades lighter than the tunic and she wore her hair in a close buzz cut that spoke of many hours training in a helmet. Another officer of her seniority might have been intimidated by the size of all the rank plaques in the room but Fabian was certain Tawana had never been intimidated by anything in her life.

Admiral Tomey activated the holoprojector in the center of the table and a map of the inner system of New Coruscant appeared with several green dots marking the locations of her survey craft. “This morning at 0600, Prospector 001 entered orbit around Vandor.” She stabbed at the hologram with her pointer and the display zoomed in to show the planet in question. It was an ugly brown world with ice caps at both poles. “Our Geological Survey Scanner is designed to detect mineral deposits buried beneath the surface. It is also capable of detecting other irregularities in a planet’s crust.”

She poked at the display again and it zoomed further to show a range of lumpy irregular hills covered in dull brown loam. “What you see here is not a natural formation. My staff geologists are absolutely certain. These mounds are the remains of a settlement. It is probably many thousands of years old but we are looking at irrefutable proof that we are not the first sentient beings to inhabit the Omega Sector.”

General Vanluven let out a low whistle and leaned back in his chair, eyes fixed on the image in the hologram.

“Could it have been the station builders?” Tawana Rieken asked. “They went to the trouble of stabilizing the rift so they must have come here.”

“That is one possibility,” Admiral Tomey nodded. “Our archaeologists who worked on the rift installation believe that it was constructed during the ancient Sith Empire. If these ruins are found to date to the same period that would be strong evidence the beings who built them came from our own galaxy. We can’t say for sure until we send in a ground team to investigate and collect samples.”

Admiral Wildemuth cleared his throat. “That seems the most likely possibility, not some local alien threat.”

“It’s far too early to assume that, sir.”

Fabian blew out the breath he’d been holding. “What about the mineral survey? Did the surveyor find enough on Vandor to go ahead with the colony?”

Admiral Tomey tapped the hologram again and green hatch marks crisscrossed the planet’s surface accompanied by text and numbers. “Vandor does have high concentrations of at least six of the minerals our teams have identified as useful, including the solid compound of sorium that we’ve been refining for fuel. There is considerably more of each mineral than we’ve found on New Coruscant, but most of it is buried deep and will be difficult to extract with the equipment we have here in the sector.”

Fabian considered the numbers and sighed. Some of the best deposits were very near the alien ruins. Probably they had been mining them too. “How much of a threat do you think those ruins pose to a potential colony?”

Admiral Tomey quirked an eyebrow. “Sir, for all I know right now, those ruins could be crawling with ten thousand year old hostile battle droids.”

“That sounds highly unlikely,” said Admiral Wildemuth, missing the sarcasm entirely. “Surely a few crumbling buildings are of no great concern to the military might of the Galactic Empire.”

“That might be.” General Vanluven growled again. “If we had the military might of the Galactic Empire at our disposal. But we don’t. You might have noticed. And they pose a damn credible threat to what we do have.”

Major Rieken spoke up before the Admiral could stammer out a response. “I’ll go. The 186th, I mean. There may not be any battle droids in there but there could be booby traps or a leaky reactor or who knows what. My Stormtroopers can secure the site in advance of any civilian landing. It’ll take awhile to put a colonizing expedition together so there will be plenty of time to let you know if you need to scrub it.”

“Now that,” said Fabian, “Is an excellent idea. The rest of you could learn a thing or two from Major Rieken. Useful, practical solutions to our immediate problems.”

“Just doing my job, sir,” she said.

---

Thirty six hours later the Galleon class transport Épée dropped the 186th Stormtrooper Battalion on the planet Vandor less than half a mile from the site of the alien ruins. By the next morning, Major Rieken had a full report on Moff Wolfe’s datapad with her analysis. The settlement was small, only about a dozen buildings, and empty. The Stormtroopers couldn’t say for certain if the ruins belonged to the Sith Empire but the architecture certainly didn’t look like anything Fabian had seen back in their own galaxy.

Kuat Drive Yards and Arakyd Industries were already working on a joint project to build a droid excavator delicate enough to sift through the ruins for artifacts, a task that would be difficult for humans in the bulky suits required by the world’s environment.

One week after Prospector 001’s initial report, Prospector 002’s Commander Ruben Bouchey sent in survey readings from the second planet, Platoril. Fortunately, there were no more alien ruins. Instead he found huge deposits of Duranium and Vendarite exposed to the surface by the harsh weather conditions of the planet’s suffocatingly thick atmosphere.

Platoril
     Duranium 42,688,800   Acc 0.9
     Tritanium 24,800,400   Acc 0.1
     Mercassium 17,640,000   Acc 0.1
     Vendarite 22,467,600   Acc 0.5
     Gallicite 16,160,400   Acc 0.1

The Sector’s Baleen freighter flotilla was busy ferrying infrastructure to the new Vandor colony but Moff Wolfe sent a directive to Logistics & Supply Command to start moving the Automated Mines the Empire had provided for the task to Platoril as soon as possible.

On January 22nd, dual reports came in from Astrogator 001 and 002 less than an hour apart. All of the Astrogator craft were scouring the system for any sign of the gravitational disturbances that would indicate the presence of Rendili’s “jump nodes.” Now two such locations had been found. Both lay just outside the system’s asteroid belt, five hundred million kilometers beyond New Coruscant’s orbit and just about seven hundred million apart.



By the end of the month, the first colonists had arrived on Vandor and established their settlement near a rich Corbomite vein just a few miles from the alien ruins. The 186th Stormtrooper Battalion moved their encampment to the new settlement to help maintain order until more permanent local governance could be established.

All four Worldshaper platforms were towed over from New Coruscant to begin scrubbing Carbon Dioxide out of Vandor’s atmosphere. The planet would need a lot of work to become habitable but the navy’s Industrial Command ensured Moff Wolfe the Wordshapers were up to the task. In less than a decade humans would be walking freely on the surface.

Vandor
     Duranium 221,778   Acc 0.3
     Neutronium 6,708,100   Acc 0.1
     Corbomite 2,896,804   Acc 0.4
     Vendarite 7,496,644   Acc 0.4
     Sorium 7,907,344   Acc 0.3
     Uridium 395,641   Acc 0.1

Commander Junior Nephew, flush with success from Vandor and due for an Imperial Medallion of Service upon his return, took Prospector 001 on a tour of the outer planets and confirmed the presence of frozen Sorium gas in both of the system’s giant planets. The outermost giant, Stentat, about 2.6 billion miles beyond the orbit of New Coruscant, was selected as the most promising site for a fuel refining operation.

In May, Prospector 002, under Commander Bouchey, became the first Imperial ship to successfully transit through a jump node using the experimental Rendili drive. The little survey vessel found itself in a wide binary system: two red dwarfs separated by more than 30 billion kilometers. The primary had no planets and the secondary was too far away to be of interest so Commander Bouchey returned immediately to New Coruscant.

The second jump node turned out to lead somewhere only slightly less boring: a quaternary system of red dwarfs with no planets at all. Moff Wolfe led a sector wide referendum to name the new systems. The winning monikers were Balosar and Charis.

The gravitational survey didn’t find any more jump nodes in New Coruscant so the Astrogators moved on to the new systems as soon as possible. It didn’t take long to discover additional jump nodes in both of them. Balosar had only one node leading to a K-type star with one barren planet that the survey crew named Uvena. Charis, on the other hand, proved to be a crossroads of sorts with a total of four jump nodes.

Beyond Charis lay the K-type star Elidere whose inner most planet was a blistering desert like Tatooine and whose second planet was a frozen ice ball that made Hoth seem inviting, both with thin nitrogen-oxygen atmospheres. The second system was called Kotzebue, a G-type star whose third and fourth planets both possessed breathable atmospheres but extreme temperatures. The best of the lot though was the A-type star Semichi.

Semichi had a near habitable inner planet with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere and substantial liquid oceans. In addition there were six other planets, over ninety moons and hundreds of asteroids. The planet Semichi I contained huge quantities of all eleven critical minerals, albeit at low accessibility, and the survey discovered rich deposits on several other planets as well. It quickly became clear that Semichi was the best prospect for near term interstellar expansion.



The biggest problem facing that plan was the in-feasibility of constructing a jump drive large enough to transit the 80000 ton Baleen class freighters. So far, the only thing Rendili had managed to jump was the 6000 ton survey craft. Their engineers predicted that it would take years to prototype and test a jump engine of the size required.

An alternative proposal came from Dr. Suzan Klug, a scientist employed by Kuat Drive Yards who split her time lecturing at the Academy of New Coruscant on gravitational studies and propulsion. Dr. Klug’s team at the Academy had been doing theoretical research into the nature of jump nodes and she suggested that with the proper equipment they could be stabilized, like the rift that had led them to the Omega Sector. Once the process was complete the node would be open for passage by any ship, even without a jump drive. Moff Wolfe instructed the engineers at Rendili to work with Dr. Klug on a node stabilization device that could open all of the nearby systems to exploitation by the Empire.

By the end of the year the population of Vandor colony had grown to almost 2.5 million and additional droid mining colonies had been established on Platoril and the 29th Moon of Muscave, with a total of 100 automated mines between them.

Muscave - Moon 29
     Duranium 447,434   Acc 0.8
     Neutronium 7,726   Acc 0.6
     Corbomite 576,066   Acc 0.5
     Sorium 20,431   Acc 0.6
     Uridium 139,852   Acc 0.8
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 01:56:21 PM by rainyday »
 
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Re: Empire Reborn
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2020, 03:29:41 PM »
Chapter Two - Years 2 to 4 OS

Commander Junior Nephew, captain of the Imperial survey ship Prospector 001, was in the head when the general quarters klaxon sounded, a possibility that none of his instructors at Naval Academy had ever bothered to prepare him for. His undignified scramble to the bridge was nothing at all like he had imagined in his youthful fantasies of commanding an Imperial starship. He staggered up to the observation deck winded and red faced with half the tail of his uniform tunic stuffed into his trousers but fortunately the crew in the pits below were too preoccupied to notice.

His usually unflappable First Officer, Lieutenant Zella Andres, sagged visibly with relief when she saw him. “Captain! I’m sorry! I didn’t know what to…”

“It’s okay, Zella,” Junior tried to smile reassuringly. “What’s wrong? Is the reactor about to go?”

Before she could answer a petty officer in the crew pit called out, “Second contact, ma’am. No, three! They’re maneuvering. Speed is,” the man’s voice broke slightly as he stumbled over the numbers. “Their speed is 5-2-3-7 kps.”

Junior gaped at them both like an Agamari yokel in a Coruscant bazaar and then whirled to face the monitors. “That’s… those aren't ours.” It was a stupid thing to say but his brain didn’t seem to be working at the moment. Three blue dots streaked towards Prospector 001 from the inner system, moving impossibly fast. More than twice as fast as his own craft.

“Sir, what are your orders?” Lieutenant Andres asked.

Orders? What kind of order could he give? Prospector 001 didn’t even have weapons. His job was scanning planets for minerals. It was a good job. He was good at it. The Moff had given him a medal. He wasn’t supposed to be in combat!

Academy training sliced through the haze and he barked, “I have the conn. Helm, reverse course! Make for the jump node at maximum acceleration. Comms, broadcast to incoming on all channels. Tell them we are an unarmed exploration vessel. We meant no harm.”

“Missile launch!” The sensor chief called up from the pit. “Six. Twelve. Eighteen. Confirmed. Eighteen incoming at 35 thousand kps.”

Thirty five thousand kps. For the first time since the alarm sounded Commander Nephew was glad that he had already been to the head. That asinine thought was his last as all eighteen high tech alien missiles slammed into Prospector 001 and tore the ship apart.

There was no Holonet in the Omega Sector. No satellites to pick up the automated distress signal wailing from the charred emergency beacon that flew out of the explosion. The beacon hurtled towards the jump node shrieking endlessly into the void.

---

Prospector 001 had departed New Coruscant a few weeks earlier via Charis for the Kotzebue system. Two new jump nodes had been detected there and needed to be explored. If the systems on the other side were large it might take a year or more to accomplish a basic survey and report back so no one missed the ship or had any reason to check up on her progress.

It was now well into the second year since the rift collapse that stranded the denizens of the Omega Sector but most still believed it was only a matter of time until the Empire came back for them. Exploration of surrounding systems continued to be the primary activity of the Navy under Admiral Tomey, while Admiral Wildemuth and his friends at Kuat Drive Yards daydreamed about “proper” warships that wouldn’t be buildable in New Coruscant’s small slipways for decades.

The four corvettes of the 42nd Raider Squadron (Abductor, Accelerator, Pincher and Razor) completed their refits and joined the Sector Fleet bringing its total combat capability up to 48000 tons with less combined firepower than a single Victory Star Destroyer.

Beyond Uvena, the Astrogators discovered three more systems: Vinsoth, Ciutric and Amorphiia. All had at least a few planets, some even had mineral resources, but none were half so enticing as Semichi, which remained the primary target for colonization.

 Semichi-A I
     Duranium 56,010,528   Acc 0.1
     Neutronium 2,286,144   Acc 0.1
     Corbomite 25,765,776   Acc 0.1
     Tritanium 46,656   Acc 0.2
     Boronide 9,144,576   Acc 0.1
     Mercassium 236,196   Acc 0.6
     Vendarite 3,572,100   Acc 0.1
     Sorium 4,210,704   Acc 0.1
     Uridium 4,901,796   Acc 0.1
     Corundium 20,575,296   Acc 0.2
     Gallicite 7,001,316   Acc 0.1

Semichi-A IV - Moon 5
     Duranium 453,152   Acc 0.7
     Neutronium 268,324   Acc 0.3
     Tritanium 44,100   Acc 0.7
     Boronide 1,623,076   Acc 1
     Vendarite 396,900   Acc 1
     Sorium 451,584   Acc 0.6
     Corundium 509,796   Acc 0.4
     Gallicite 753,424   Acc 0.9

 Semichi-A IV - Moon 12
     Duranium 486,098   Acc 1
     Neutronium 210,681   Acc 0.8
     Boronide 14,161   Acc 0.8
     Uridium 2,553,604   Acc 0.8

Comet #2
     Neutronium 277,495   Acc 0.9
     Corbomite 27,170   Acc 0.8
     Boronide 18,446   Acc 0.5
     Mercassium 55,512   Acc 0.9
     Vendarite 170,289   Acc 0.8

Commander Bouchey of Prospector 002 passed through an unexplored jump node in Elidere and discovered a K-type system with four planets which, in a fit of whimsy, he decided to call Manticore. Manticore III was a near habitable planet with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere and rich deposits of all eleven minerals including an estimated 100 million tons of Duranium just beneath the surface.

Manticore-A III
     Duranium 103,363,442   Acc 1
     Neutronium 28,858,384   Acc 0.1
     Corbomite 47,238,129   Acc 0.1
     Tritanium 2,253,001   Acc 0.1
     Boronide 51,681,721   Acc 0.1
     Mercassium 8,543,929   Acc 0.1
     Vendarite 9,012,004   Acc 0.1
     Sorium 99,856   Acc 0.1
     Uridium 61,168,041   Acc 0.1
     Corundium 624,100   Acc 0.8
     Gallicite 21,724,921   Acc 0.8

The Rendili jump stabilization project produced designs for a huge 70000 ton construction ship its designers named Colossus and it was currently under construction at the Rendili yard for delivery in April of the Year 4 OS. As soon as the ship was finished, it would be dispatched to stabilize the chain of nodes between New Coruscant and Semichi.

After the discovery of Manticore, Moff Wolfe decided to focus all initial Imperial expansion into the systems immediately surrounding Charis, ignoring for now the less glamorous systems that lay beyond the Balosar node. He ordered construction of a second jump stabilization ship to begin as soon as work on Colossus was complete. It would be named Titanic.

The manufacturing apparatus continued to progress on adapting the minerals of the sector for both military and civilian applications. Taim & Bak’s managed to build a full sized turbolaser prototype using the gas Boronide in place of the more traditional Tibania, Arakyd Industries promised increased warhead yield from future Concussion Missiles built with Tritanium and Kuat Drive Yards had developed a composite material they claimed was almost twice as effective as pure Duranium for armoring starships. Their engineers were also pursuing research into Corbomite powered deflector shields that would not exhibit the same explosive side effects as the old models. These were seen as a necessary component for the construction of Admiral Wildemuth’s “proper navy.”

The All Terrain Xenoarchaeology Excavator (AT-XE) made its debut. Fifty of the droids were constructed and sent to sift through the ruins of Vandor. That colony now had more than six million people calling it home. The Worldshapers had finished scrubbing the atmosphere of Carbon Dioxide and moved on to pumping it full of the powerful greenhouse gas Aestusium to warm the surface. Once that had been accomplished to a sufficient degree they would begin seeding the planet with more oxygen producing organisms.

AT-XE: All Terrain Xenoarchaeology Excavator
Transport Size (tons) 218     Cost 8.72     Armour 16     Hit Points 32
Annual Maintenance Cost 1.1     Resupply Cost 0
Xenoarchaeology Equipment:      Xenoarchaeology Points 0.5
Xenoarchaeology Equipment:      Xenoarchaeology Points 0.5
Non-Combat Class

At the beginning of the fourth year, Suzan Klug, in her role as lead propulsion engineer for Kuat Drive Yards, made a massive breakthrough in Sorium burning reactors. This advance led her colleagues to begin improving upon their existing engine designs and promised 25% more power and increased fuel efficiency in the near future.

In April, the Colossus finally left the yard and began the process of stabilizing the Charis node. No one was quite sure it would work until a few months later the huge ship successfully passed through the node to repeat the process on the far side. Moff Wolfe began organizing a massive flotilla of cargo, transport and tanker craft to make the passage to Semichi I as soon as the route was opened.

On July 3rd, Astrogator 003 finished the gravitational survey of Kotzebue having found no more nodes than the two previously explored by Prospector 001. That ship had still not returned after eighteen months and Exploration Command counted her as overdue but suspected that one or both of the Kotzebue jump nodes must lead to large binary systems. Commander Nephew, being the thorough sort, was probably surveying every asteroid. Astrogator 003 was ordered to continue down the chain and carried a personal message from Admiral Tomey to Commander Nephew telling him to hurry up and get back to New Coruscant with whatever survey data they had. Prospector 001 was nearing the end of its deployment life and due for overhaul.

As soon as Astrogator 003 transited the first jump node out of Kotzebue, she detected a K-type star with three planets and the still wailing distress beacon of Prospector 001. Her Commander waited just long enough to be sure they had received all the sensor data from the beacon before turning around and running for New Coruscant as fast as the ship could go.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 12:52:24 PM by rainyday »
 
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Re: Empire Reborn
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2020, 10:53:23 PM »
Chapter Three (Years 4 and 5 OS)

July 31st, Year 4 OS - New Coruscant

“This is an affront to the dignity of the Empire!” Admiral Wildemuth bellowed, his face red with rage as he gestured towards the hologram floating above their conference table. “These *creatures* fired on an Imperial vessel without provocation. It is our duty to respond in kind,  immediately, and with overwhelming force!”

Moff Wolfe leaned back in his seat and watched the faces of his senior commanders, only half listening to the rant which had been ongoing in some variation for the better part of an hour. Everyone was tired. The destruction of Prospector 001 had hit the sector like a hammer blow, shattering the illusion of safety that had formed over their years of isolation.

“You aren’t listening to her!” General Vanluven shouted back, meaning Admiral Tomey whose current grimace was the closest thing Fabian had ever seen to outright agitation directed at her superior. “You can’t take the whole fleet to this Udibi system because we can’t jump the Tartans. Your precious fleet is stuck right here with the rest of us until Colossus finishes stabilizing the Charis node.”

“We still have eight Raiders. Every Astrogator can carry two along in a simultaneous transit. That is more than enough firepower to make short work of three ships.”

“Three ships moving at 5237 kps?” Vanluven shot back. “That’s what, 30% faster than our Raiders? I may be a dumb ground pounder but that sounds like a problem.”

“Gentlemen, please,” Fabian said, rubbing his forehead against the palm of his hand.

Admiral Wildemuth either didn’t hear or chose to ignore him. “I have every confidence in Captain Bethune of the 17th Raiders to handle whatever those ships can throw at them. She is one of my best combat commanders. A true member of the old guard. We served together under Grand Moff Tarkin, you know. Now there was a man who wouldn’t sit idly by while blue blooded servants of the Empire were being murdered by degenerate alien scum!”

“Admiral,” Fabian snapped. “That’s enough! Another dig like that one and I will send you personally as my ambassador to these aliens aboard an unarmed garbage scow. The Emperor appointed me Supreme Commander of this sector, not you, and while I don’t expect you to agree with all of my decisions, I will not tolerate such blatant insubordination. Is that clear?”

Admiral Wildemuth grunted and, for the first time in what seemed like eternity, said nothing.

“Now,” said Fabian clasping his hands on the table in front of him. “Does anyone have a suggestion that is actually useful?”

“Reconnaissance,” said Major Tawana Rieken. It was the first time she had spoken up since the start of the meeting. “With all due respect, Admiral,” she didn’t sound respectful at all, “If we go off half-cocked and charge in guns blazing, against a foe that’s demonstrated clearly superior technology, then we’ll deserve to get our asses kicked up between our ears.”

“Okay,” Fabian nodded. “How do we do that? We can’t send a ship. It will get blown to pieces.”

The moment of silence dragged out so long that he almost wanted them to start yelling again before Admiral Tomey got a thoughtful look on her face and said, “Probe droids.”

Since she didn’t seem about to say anything else Fabian gestured impatiently. “Yes?”

“You know that Star Destroyers carry special launch pods so that they can fire probe droids towards distant planets?”

Fabian had no idea but he said, “Yes, of course.”

“What if we did something like that? Maybe if we stripped down the droids. We don’t need all the armor and weapons and planet based capabilities if we’re just firing them into space. We could probably fit the important bits into a concussion missile. Then our Raiders could launch them from their external racks.”

"I like it. Let's try that."

Code: [Select]
Arakyd Industries Mamba-class Miniaturized Probe Droid - Active
Missile Size: 4.00 MSP  (10.000 Tons)     Warhead: 0    Radiation Damage: 0    Manoeuvre Rating: 10
Speed: 3,000 km/s     Fuel: 1,000     Flight Time: 428 hours     Range: 4,618.8m km
Active Sensor Strength: 0.6   EM Sensitivity Modifier: 6
Resolution: 60    Maximum Range vs 3000 ton object (or larger): 4,190,761 km
Cost Per Missile: 1.18     Development Cost: 118
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 30%   3k km/s 10%   5k km/s 6.0%   10k km/s 3.0%

October 13th, Year 4 OS - Exeter

The general quarters klaxon jolted Commander Ruben Bouchey out of a sound sleep. His body responded faster than his brain and he was out of bed and putting on his boots before he remembered that he was not an ensign on the Star Destroyer Implacable and there was not a Rebel strike group presently bearing down on them. He was the much older captain of Imperial survey ship Prospector 002 and whatever triggered this alarm was probably much worse.

Bouchey was on the observation deck within thirty seconds. “What have we got?” He asked the night watch officer of the deck as he reached the top of the stairs.

“Not sure, sir,” the Chief replied, “But it looks like a space station to me.” He gestured towards the command monitors, one of which was presently displaying a poorly scaled diagram of the five planets orbiting the K-type star Exeter. Another showed a pale blue-brown planet through a telescope with a faint glint of light off metal just above its horizon. “Came up on our thermals a few seconds ago. Should I go active?”

“No.” Bouchey replied, shaking his head for emphasis. “They might not have seen us yet. No sense broadcasting our position.”

Prospector 002 had been in New Coruscant when the memo went out from Exploration Command warning all ships to be on high alert for anything out of the ordinary in the systems they were assigned to survey.

Exeter lay just beyond Semichi in an entirely different chain of jump nodes than the Udibi system where Prospector 001 met her fate. If these were the same aliens that meant either there was another route connecting the two systems or enemy forces might be regularly traveling through Charis. Either way it posed a huge threat to the Empire’s plans for Semichi.

“Turn the ship around and get us out of here as quickly and quietly as you can. We have to get this information back to New Coruscant.”

January 4th, Year 5 OS - Exeter

Commander Ruben Bouchey felt every drop of sweat running down his collar as he stood on the observation deck and watched the probe droids crawling across Exeter on his monitors. It was 0130 ship’s time and he had been standing here for more than twelve hours. He was tired and hungry, his back ached and he wanted a caf more than he’d ever wanted anything in his life, but he wasn’t about to step away even for a moment as the arrival estimate on the droids ticked down into the single digits.

Prospector 002 had survived the hellish 17-day flight from the inner planets of Exeter out to the jump node on the edge of the system. Those two weeks, hounded by the fear of unseen alien fast attack ships, were probably the longest two weeks in the life of every sailor onboard. Certainly of his own.

By some fortune, Astrogator 003 had arrived in Semichi almost the same time as they did and was still near enough to the Charis node to hop right back through. Otherwise it would have taken him weeks to get his message home. Charis had been seeded with Holonet transceivers in preparation for the colonization of Semichi so the message traveled FTL to New Coruscant as soon as Astrogator 003 made the jump.

A few hours later the ship returned with a personal message for him from Admiral Tomey. She ordered him to proceed at best possible speed to the Charis-Semichi node and await the arrival of Captain Cheryl Bethune’s 17th Raiders. He would then escort them back through Semichi to Exeter to recon the system and ascertain the threat to the colony.

Bouchey had not met Captain Bethune before. The COs of the sector’s battle squadrons didn’t tend to rub elbows with the junior commanders of survey ships. His first impression upon meeting her was that she was the kind of officer who gave the Imperial Navy a bad reputation and stirred up sympathy for the Rebels wherever she went, but that was the kind of thing you didn’t even think too loudly unless you wanted to get shot, so he smiled and nodded and tried to be as pleasant as possible over the weeks of their journey together.

Now, Prospector 002 and the 1st Division of the 17th Raiders, Blaster and Firewalker, hung off the Exeter-Semichi jump node where they had been sitting like fat oblivious nerfs for the last fifteen days while the probes fell towards their targets in the inner system.

“It shouldn’t be long now,” Captain Bethune said from his rightmost monitor. “We’re about to learn if you really saw something out here or ran scared from your own shadow.” Her brown eyes pierced him like knives and he tried not to visibly grit his teeth.

“It will be there,” he said, more confidently than he felt. If the alien vessel had moved that was probably the end for him. Captain Bethune would make it her personal project to torpedo his career faster than Prospector 001. Ruben Bouchey the coward, who wasted two months and untold fuel and equipment on a mynock hunt because he was too shaken by the news from Udibi to do his job properly, would never be handed a warship command. He’d be lucky to keep Prospector 002.

The monitor chirped at him. He turned his head and saw that the probe was still several minutes out from Exeter III but its active sensors had just picked up a 16000 ton contact in orbit. Right where he’d said it would be. The computer designated the strange vessel “Arbalest.”

Captain Bethune wasn’t about to apologize for doubting him, of course. They watched in silence as all three probes achieved their assigned orbits. The Arbalest was the only vessel on active sensors and it made no attempt to shoot down the probe. Either they hadn’t seen it or just didn’t care that it had joined them.

“Well,” Bouchey said after another minute of studying the readout. “It looks like my Chief was right. This thing definitely looks like a station or platform of some kind. It’s probably immobile.”

“It’s probably unarmed,” Captain Bethune snapped.

Bouchey ignored her. “Hard to say whether it belongs to the Udibi aliens or not, without knowing more about their technology. It does seem pretty likely that if someone went to the trouble of building a station out here they must have mobile forces, but those aren’t hanging around the planets.”

Bethune snorted. “Commander, your ship has spent nearly two months in this system. If they had mobile forces you would be dead.” She looked away and then back at the camera. “This exercise is worse than useless. I told Admiral Wildemuth as much. What have we learned here? Nothing! We know as much as we did before we jumped in. Frankly, this whole affair is ridiculous. We are officers in the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Navy does not skulk about in fear of unarmed space stations!”

Bouchey was afraid he knew where this was going even before she said it.

“I’m taking my division to investigate and engage the enemy.”

“Ma’am, our orders…”

“I am giving you new orders, Commander.” Her glower could have stripped paint. “Remain here at the jump node since you lack the backbone to accompany me. You can monitor the situation from safety. Should we be taken unawares by alien ships, you can report back to New Coruscant with more useful data on the enemy's capabilities than we would get from a hundred probe droids.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Bouchey said. He didn’t need caf anymore, he needed a drink.

Even the swift Raider corvettes couldn’t make the passage to Exeter III in less than a week, so Bouchey had plenty of time to stew in his apprehensions. It was now mid-morning on the seventh day. Both corvettes were running dark to minimize emissions but Captain Bethune had an FTL tactical feed from Blaster piped directly into Prospector 002’s databanks in case it needed to be returned to New Coruscant. He had it mirrored to one of his displays.

The Raider division closed to within 40 million kilometers before a blood chilling alert sounded from the tactical display. Blaster’s thermal sensors had detected thirty-one fast moving objects shrieking in towards the corvettes at almost 34000 kps. Behind them came thirty one more.



Both corvettes engaged their active sensors, searching for a target that wasn’t there. Forty five seconds later it was over. Captain Bethune hadn’t fired a single shot. Her division died more than five million kilometers outside concussion missile range of the alien station.

“Sir,” a petty officer called up from the pit. “We’ve got escape pods.”

“I see them,” Bouchey replied. His tactical feed had died with Blaster but the escape pods broadcast location and status information on the FTL bands. According to the computer there were ninety two Imperial sailors in those pods. An impressive number considering how short a time they’d had to evacuate.

Ninety two Imperial sailors. Most of them probably decent men and women who surely didn’t deserve Captain Bethune.

“Helm,” he said. “Take us back to Semichi. Do it now.”
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 12:44:21 PM by rainyday »
 
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Re: Empire Reborn
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2020, 02:13:55 PM »
Chapter Four (Years 4-5 OS)
Author’s Note: In Chapter Two, I wrote that Dr. Suzan Klug had made a breakthrough on new engines. Looking back on my notes, what she actually researched in February 04 was Improved Pebble Bed Reactors. New engines are still some years away so that’s why they are not used by the ships in this chapter.

The threat of an alien invasion cast a harsh light on the Omega Sector’s lack of militarization. Without the support of the greater Empire, Moff Wolfe’s primary concern had been setting up a self-sufficient economy to sustain the nearly one billion people who now lived on New Coruscant and Vandor. Since a large portion of that economy was military-industrial resources had been flowing in that direction but earmarked for research and expansion rather than production of new equipment. The New Coruscant facilities of Kuat Drive Yards and Sienar Fleet Systems hadn’t built a ship in years but they hadn’t been idle either. Both companies were growing their slipways to accommodate Admiral Wildemuth’s “future navy.” The largest could now accommodate two ships the size of Arquitens light cruisers (325 meters, 24000 tons), which would have been immensely helpful if designs for such ships existed and retooling to fabricate their components wouldn’t take years.

Fresh off his meeting with the sector’s military heads, Fabian called up the senior executive of Kuat Drive Yards and ordered them to halt work on Admiral Wildemuth’s cruisers. All design efforts should be redirected towards something they could start building right away, even if that meant dusting off old equipment and adapting it to new construction. The most critical technological advance in recent years was the new composite hull plating and that could be applied to the existing designs with minimal changes.

A few days later KDY engineers presented the Admiralty with a proposal for an updated Raider corvette. The design sacrificed one of its heavy laser cannons for an extra layer of the new armor and four more external rack launchers. They reasoned that the long range of the missiles would be more useful against the fast ships of the Udibi aliens. The Navy agreed and ordered a full squadron of four ships to be built at one of the smaller Kuat yards.

Code: [Select]
Armored Raider class Corvette      5,999 tons       162 Crew       693 BP       TCS 120    TH 480    EM 0
4000 km/s      Armour 3-29       Shields 0-0       HTK 41      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 14      PPV 18
Maint Life 3.16 Years     MSP 288    AFR 72%    IFR 1.0%    1YR 43    5YR 652    Max Repair 120 MSP
Magazine 40   
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Kuat Drive Yards NPE-240 High Performance Drive (2)    Power 480    Fuel Use 79.81%    Signature 240    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 725,000 Litres    Range 27.3 billion km (78 days at full power)

Taim & Bak's XL-2 Heavy Laser Cannon (3)    Range 80,000km     TS: 4,000 km/s     Power 4-2     RM 20,000 km    ROF 10       
LeGrange R192-TS4050 Laser Fire Control (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,050 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Kuat Drive Yards Pebble Bed Reactor R8 (1)     Total Power Output 8.1    Exp 5%

Arakyd Industries ST4 External Rack Launching System (10)     Missile Size: 4    Hangar Reload 100 minutes    MF Reload 16 hours
Arakyd Industries FC31-R100 Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 31.4m km    Resolution 100
Arakyd Industries ST4 Improved Concussion Missile (10)    Speed: 15,000 km/s    End: 34.5m     Range: 31m km    WH: 4    Size: 4    TH: 75/45/22

LeGrange AS47-R120 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
LeGrange TH1-6 Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

The company’s executives were less thrilled with the idea of building more Tartan cruisers. The Tartan was an old design from the earliest days of the Empire and had been built by Damorian Manufacturing of Esseles. It was hardly up to the standards of a modern Imperial warship and, anyway, KDY didn’t possess a license for their construction.

The Navy’s counter argument was that the Tartan had armament designed to engage fast moving small craft and, more importantly under current circumstances, missiles. Kuat Drive Yards had a very similar ship in their own Lancer class frigate and argued that it would be better to adapt that design for use in the Omega Sector. Fabian ended the discussion by telling them all he didn’t give a Kowakian monkey lizard’s backside what they wanted to call the new ships as long as they started building two of them tomorrow.

In the end the name Tartan stuck because there just wasn’t time under that deadline to redesign the outer hull. The largest KDY shipyard began constructing them with Moff Wolfe’s personal assurance of indemnity. Damorian Manufacturing Corporation of Esseles was welcome to sue Emperor Palpatine if they had a problem with his decision.

Code: [Select]
Armored Tartan class Patrol Cruiser      12,000 tons       329 Crew       1,461.1 BP       TCS 240    TH 720    EM 0
3000 km/s      Armour 4-46       Shields 0-0       HTK 70      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 16      PPV 65.28
Maint Life 2.55 Years     MSP 494    AFR 177%    IFR 2.5%    1YR 106    5YR 1,597    Max Repair 120 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Morale Check Required   

Kuat Drive Yards NPE-240 High Performance Drive (3)    Power 720    Fuel Use 79.81%    Signature 240    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 1,258,000 Litres    Range 23.6 billion km (91 days at full power)

Taim & Bak's Twin XS-2 Laser Turret (8x2)    Range 60,000km     TS: 12000 km/s     Power 6-6     RM 20,000 km    ROF 5       
LeGrange Turret Fire Control R192-TS12000 (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 12,000 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Kuat Drive Yards Pebble Bed Reactor R24 (2)     Total Power Output 48.4    Exp 5%

LeGrange AS47-R120 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 47.2m km    Resolution 120
LeGrange AS4-R1 Missile Warning System (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1

Admiral Wildemuth requested a variation with one laser turret removed to make space for a flag bridge and an extensive suite of offices, ostensibly for himself and his staff. So that they could go along when the fleet went to engage the alien forces. The changes were all internal and not extensive enough to require major retooling so Fabian agreed that one ship of the Tartan Command variant should be included in the squadron even though he wasn’t as sure he wanted Admiral Wildemuth personally in command of that mission.

The next problem facing the sector would be crewing their new construction. Without a steady flow of personnel from outside, military manpower was already at a premium. The standard term of enlistment was ten years and the sector had been isolated long enough now to see some turnover in the ranks. Most people were choosing to reenlist because they didn’t see anywhere else to go under the circumstances, but not everyone. The Academy of New Coruscant produced a trickle of recruits from the local population that helped to keep existing units functional but nowhere near enough for the rapid military buildup being undertaken. The administration needed to make expansion of the Academy and its class sizes a top priority.

Moff Wolfe called each of his military advisors to his New Coruscant office in turn to discuss their staffing projections. Admiral Wildemuth already had a list of potential officers to pull into instructor roles which Fabian vowed to vet thoroughly before choosing someone to lead the new Imperial Navy Training Command. General Vanluven, all gruff business as usual, assured him that training new Army regiments only required warm bodies which they had in plenty. Conscription would do if the recruiters couldn’t drum up enough volunteers. Fabian thanked him for the suggestion but declined to implement it until they had time to evaluate what the public announcement of hostile alien intelligence did for recruiting.

He saved the meeting with Tawana Rieken for last. He had very specific instructions for her that he knew she wasn’t going to like. Her reaction when she opened the small box containing a rank insignia plaque with the six blue squares of a Stormtrooper Colonel was every bit of the righteous indignation that he dreaded.

A Moff was a military governor who ranked above the Admirals and Generals that led their sector’s armed forces. The fact that it was a political appointment often granted to civilians didn’t change the strict Imperial command hierarchy. That meant Fabian had the authority to promote whomever he saw fit. If he wanted to grab an ensign out of the Academy to replace Admiral Wildemuth the only appeal would be to the Emperor himself. And the Emperor wasn’t taking their calls at the moment.

None of that mattered to the Stormtrooper Corps. They were traditionally a law unto themselves. The original Stormtroopers were veterans of the Galactic Republic’s Clone Army, created for the sole purpose of combat, who spent their entire lives training and fighting for the Empire. Even after they had started to allow non-clones into the ranks, they had maintained an organization separate from the Army, with its own customs, traditions and a fierce esprit de corps that spat in the face of the kingmaking that plagued the Navy. Stormtroopers chose their own officers. Most came up from the ranks on their own merit. Politically motivated commissions in the Corps came with an alarming fatality rate when compared to the Army. The Empire chalked this up to the sort of first-in combat missions the Stormtroopers took and didn’t bother to investigate it too closely. Smart Moffs had learned better than to meddle.

Fabian knew all of that but he also knew, as he pointed out to Tawana after she stopped shouting at him, that she was already doing the job, as senior officer of the sector’s two battalions. Furthermore, there was about to be a war on and he needed more Stormtroopers even more than he needed additional Army regiments. They would suffer the brunt of any fighting and, if the worst should happen, their traditions might even be permanently erased. That thought sobered her and she listened quietly while he laid out the details of her mission. She was to bring the very best officers and sergeants she had to New Coruscant, take their pick from the choice recruits General Vanluven was gathering and start training a full regiment of new Stormtroopers immediately.



After that it was mostly waiting. Arakyd Industries came through with their Mamba probe droid and the 17th Raiders set off on their missions to Udibi and Exeter in early November. It would be months before they returned.

That was the thing that irritated Fabian Wolfe the most about the Omega Sector. He had grown up taking for granted the twin miracles of the Holonet and the hyperdrive, which allowed near instantaneous communications and travel anywhere in the galaxy. Ducking out for lunch with his friends on Corellia wasn’t much more trouble than hiring an aircab to visit a neighboring tower on Coruscant. Even a cruise to the Outer Rim was measured in days. A three month journey to anywhere felt absurd.

He couldn’t even check in with the commanders. All he could do was wait and fret. Would they come back? Or had the aliens detected and engaged them? Was an armada even now crossing Kotzebue to glass New Coruscant and destroy everything he had worked for? There was no way to know.

Those questions led to sleepless nights and it wasn’t long before Fabian found himself slipping back into old habits: late evenings at exclusive clubs, sabbac games played for the sector’s dwindling stash of decent liquor and the search for more intimate companionship. All to distract himself from the growing dread as the weeks dragged endlessly on. It was on one of these excursions that he met Leland Koda, an engineer at Kuat Drive Yards, who was both a truly awful sabbac player and a collector of fine corellian whiskeys. The two developed a close friendship and were often seen together at New Coruscant’s hottest night spots sparking a frenzy of speculation among the sector’s paparazzi.

Some of Fabian’s fears came true when Prospector 002 came sailing into New Coruscant alone. Admiral Tomey requested his presence at a personal meeting with Commander Bouchey, who claimed to have information that he couldn’t entrust to the nascent Holonet. The sensor recordings of Captain Bethune’s ill fated charge were images straight out of Fabian's recent nightmares. He couldn’t stop watching the corvettes being swatted like gnats.

Fortunately, the 2nd Division of the 17th Raiders met with less misfortune. Their probe droids confirmed the presence of three alien ships in Udibi, large corvettes or small frigates displacing about 8000 tons, designated Arrow, Assegai and Arquebus by Naval Intelligence. They had also detected what were believed to be two space stations of 16000 tons. One was identical to the Arbalest in Exeter, which confirmed that the same aliens inhabited both systems. The other was designated Ballista. That alien station had engaged the probe with small missiles but not before it had collected plenty of useful data.

Tentative plans for the colonization of Semichi continued with the construction of a fifth Worldshaper platform. It remained in orbit New Coruscant for now, its systems dormant. Colossus completed the stabilization of the Coruscant-Charis node in late March and started its slow journey across the system to the Charis-Semichi node. A few days later the 42nd Raiders arrived to picket the system and intercept any traffic out of Kotzebue that might be trying to reach either New Coruscant or Exeter.



As months passed with no sign of an attack, the mood on New Coruscant began to lighten. The temperature of Vandor had risen enough to melt the planet’s ice sheets, forming a small ocean in the low lying areas and attracting a few more settlers. The Xenoarchaeology expedition had confirmed the ruins were not related to the Sith Empire at all and instead belonged to a local species they were calling the Torva Minoris. Several teams of AT-CD construction droids were busy restoring the ancient mines and infrastructure from their settlement for Imperial use.

Taim & Bak’s rendered the new warships even more obsolete by announcing a line of near ultraviolet boronide lasers with extended range. KDY engineers were also reporting progress on both the deflector shield generator and improved engine projects. They promised both would be available for the next generation of warships.

In November, Titanic completed her builder’s trials and departed for Charis to begin stabilizing the Charis-Elidere-Manticore chain of jump nodes in preparation for future expansion into that area.

With stabilization of the Charis-Semichi node well underway and no sign of hostile activity in either of those systems, the administration began assembling the Semichi Colonization Flotilla. It would be the largest undertaking of the sector government to date consisting of twelve Baleen freighters, four Baleen-C colony ships, the Galleon transport Épée, one TK-10M fuel tanker and the two surviving corvettes of the 17th Raiders for escort. All together the flotilla carried one-hundred and sixty units of infrastructure, a modular Refueling Station, eight hundred thousand colonists, both veteran Stormtrooper battalions and ten million litres of fuel. The much slower tug ship Fortitude would follow along behind with Worldshaper 005.
 
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