Author Topic: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 4  (Read 3955 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 4
« on: November 04, 2008, 02:00:26 PM »
In January of 2028, an espionage team from the Russian Federation penetrated the security of the European Fleet Operations Centre and accessed the primary geological survey database. In addition to survey data on every planet, moon and asteroid in the Sol system, as well as several comets, it contained a report on the discovery of alien ruins on Mars in 2018. The Russian President, Vladimir Vorokov, architect of the Russian technology trading strategy, was determined to make the most of this spectacular piece of intelligence work. Rather than simply denounce the Western powers to the world, he contacted the Presidents of the United States and the European Union and read them the executive summary from the original European report. President Vorokov suggested they get together with their advisors, decide how much their secret was worth and contact him within twenty-four hours.

Debate raged within the Western Intelligence, Diplomatic and Military communities. Initial recriminations over the security breach were soon followed by a wide-ranging discussion on possible options. One faction suggested to threaten Russia with severe military action if the secret was revealed but that was quickly dismissed. While Russia would suffer militarily, the action would confirm the secret and the Western Powers might be faced with a worldwide coalition against them. Rejecting Russian claims as fantasy was also unlikely to succeed given the resoluteness with which the West had defended its exclusion zone. Eventually all parties agreed that some accommodation would have to be reached with the Russians. A summit was hastily arranged and the EU President went to Moscow.

After a week of heated argument and occasional mutual threats, the two Presidents hammered out a deal. President Vorokov had demanded access to the ruins and a complete set of reports on anything the Western Powers had discovered. Initially the European delegation tried claim that nothing had been found in the ruins and attempted to cover up the presence of abandoned alien installations, which had not been mentioned on the report to which the Russians already had access. Unfortunately, the Russians were completely immovable on the question of access and if Russian teams landed on Mars, they would find both abandoned installations and intact alien databases. After consulting with the US allies, the Europeans agreed two cybernetic teams from the Russian Federation could be deployed to Mars and the Russians would retain any installations that their teams recovered. As compensation for the installations already recovered, the allies agreed to transfer a number of installations to Russian control, including two research facilities, thirty construction factories, twenty mines and ten automated mines. While this seemed a considerable amount, between the US and the EU cybernetic teams almost four hundred successful recovery operations had taken place. Finally a number of technologies were handed over on the basis that these would not be traded to other nations. These included improved missile agility, high density Duranium armour, small missile magazines and improved colonisation efficiency. Several other technologies were offered, such as meson cannon and improved mining production, that the Russians already possessed. All of the technologies given to the Russians were of fairly low importance and would not cause any serious concerns if the Russians did decide to trade them. The European delegation made no mention of the various advanced weapon technologies that had been discovered or the Sorium Harvester. In return for access to Mars plus the various technologies and installations, President Vorokov agreed not to release any information on the alien ruins and to end all espionage operations against Europe and the United States.

While the Europeans were negotiating with the Russians, a US espionage team managed to acquire summary information on the Asian Federation's Xian class geosurvey ship. While the US intelligence analysts were concerned that the Xian was far superior to any western geosurvey design, they could at least verify it was unarmed and would pose no threat to any allied shipping.  On February 15th the United States launched its first colony ship, which began ferrying colonists to Mars without delay. This single Alaska class ship could carry more settlers than all four European Santa Marias combined. The first two Flight III Arleigh Burkes were launched on the same day and would be the most capable warships in space until the launch of the Scharnhorst class.

In April, the four Asian Yinchuan class freighters begin moving automated mines to a comet just outside the orbit of Saturn. By this time Earth was reduced to just four mineral deposits, three of which were at very low levels of accessibility, although there were still substantial supplies of Duranium. The Asian Federation had fifty automated mines, some of which were converted from normal manned mining complexes.

Earth Survey Report
Duranium 223,257  Acc: 1
Neutronium 2,452  Acc: 0.1
Sorium 4,353  Acc: 0.15
Uridium 72,315  Acc: 0.1

Sol-A Comet #10 Survey Report
Duranium 23,364  Acc: 0.9
Neutronium 9,000  Acc: 0.7
Corbomite 1,482  Acc: 0.9
Mercassium 13,645  Acc: 1
Vendarite 9,560  Acc: 0.8
Corundium 195,460  Acc: 0.8

In mid-May, the United States completed its two Baltimore class gravitational survey ships. Since the departure of Fleet Admiral Pelayo the rate of European shipbuilding had fallen behind the United States and its gravitational survey ships were still two months away. The Baltimore and the Toledo left Earth orbit to begin the search for jump points. The recent increase in Russian power continued when their civilian space centre built two freighters. Both freighters began shipping infrastructure to Mars to allow eventual Russian colonization. Two freighters, built by state shipyards, also joined the Asian Federation Space Fleet.

After the deaths of a Chinese espionage team on American soil in February 2027, US and European teams were dispatched into Asian Federation territory as a retaliatory measure. The policy backfired spectacularly when a US espionage team was captured by agents from the Asian Ministry of State Security. The Asian interrogators used every method at their disposal to extract information, including torture and a wide variety of drugs. Despite heroic efforts to resist, the team revealed enough information for an Asian espionage team to penetrate security at a major US ordnance production complex and escape with complete blueprints of the Zeus ICBM, which carried a strength-25 warhead matched only by its European equivalent. No missile deployed by any other power even came close. The Asian Federation was still deploying the Indian-designed Agni-10 with a strength-6 warhead. As soon as the blueprints arrived in the Asian Federation, its  ordnance factories began building the Zeus. The United States was aware its espionage team had vanished but they had no way to know it had been captured or that its capture had led to the blueprints of the Zeus being stolen by the Chinese. The US suffered another intelligence failure when Islamic agents stole technical information on mining production, enabling the Islamic Alliance to increase mining production from ten to twelve tons per complex per annum.

The civilian-built Russian geosurvey ship completed a survey of the Sol system in June. As no one in the Russian private sector had any knowledge of jump points and the possibility of visiting other star systems, the usefulness of the ship seemed to be at an end. Therefore they offered the ship up for sale. The Russian government had at least considered the idea of jump points, although they had yet to devote any funding to jump point theory, so they decided to buy the Udaloy, giving them a second geological survey ship.

The two European gravitational survey ships Dunkerque and Strasbourg were launched on July 11th 2028. By this time the US survey of the Sol system was well underway with gravitational readings already taken at six of the thirty survey locations.

On October 1st, the European Union assembled a Guardian class planetary defence centre on Mars. Like the United States, the European Union had decided to build fixed defences on the red planet to protect its interests. With its substantial population on Mars, now numbering seventeen million, and twenty-seven construction factories in operation, the EU was able build the components parts for the Guardian on Earth, transport them to Mars and assemble its first PDC before the Americans. The Guardian was based on the same technology as the Scharnhorst class missile cruisers that were still under construction. With sensors, fire control and missiles capable of operating at up to thirty million kilometres from Mars, it would present a serious obstacle to any hostile force.

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Guardian class Planetary Defence Centre    5800 tons     440 Crew     498.8 BP      TCS 116  TH 0  EM 0
Armour 5-28     Sensors 1/60     Damage Control Rating 0     PPV 30
Troop Capacity 1 Divisions    Magazine 570    

S3/R45 Missile Launcher (10)    Missile Size 3    Rate of Fire 45
F300-50 Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 30.0m km    Resolution 50
Sabre (190)  Speed: 16000 km/s   End: 34.7 minutes    Range: 33.3m km   Warhead: 4    MR: 10    Size: 3
S300-50 Active Search Sensor  (1)     GPS 3000     Range 30.0m km    Resolution 50
Since the brief war between the Japanese Alliance and the Western allies, the Alliance Space Navy had been rebuilding its strength. Six Kongo II-Bs, with longer ranged sensors and fire control, had joined the fleet by October 2008 and all five original Kongos had been repaired. Even so, the Alliance feared the fleets of its potential opponents, especially in a long war where its limited production capacity guaranteed its eventual defeat. Therefore its ship designers adopted a novel approach for the new Nagato class destroyer. The Nagato incorporated a recently developed Japanese launcher design for its Kaga-3 anti-ship missile that was only one third the size of the S3B Missile Launcher on the latest Kongos. The drawback to the launcher was its fifteen minute reload time so the Nagato's design was focused on maximizing its first attack and carried only enough missiles for just a single reload. With fifty of the new, smaller launchers the Nagato was a weapon intended to win a battle with one blow. The first two Nagatos were laid down in October 2028 and were expected to be ready by October 2029.

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Nagato class Destroyer    5400 tons     338 Crew     504 BP      TCS 108  TH 175  EM 0
1620 km/s     Armour 1-27     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/0/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 49.5
Annual Failure Rate: 233%    IFR: 3.2%    Maintenance Capacity 58 MSP    Max Repair 30 MSP
Magazine 300    

Nuclear Thermal Engine (7)    Power 25    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 16.7 billion km   (119 days at full power)

B3 Box Launcher (50)    Missile Size 3    Rate of Fire 900
FC150 Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 15.0m km    Resolution 50
Kaga-3 ASM (100)  Speed: 11700 km/s   End: 21.4 minutes    Range: 15m km   Warhead: 3   MR: 10  Size: 3

A150 Active Search Sensor  (1)     GPS 1500     Range 15.0m km    Resolution 50
Later the same month, the Russian Federation completed research into more advanced active sensors, one third more powerful than the best existing technology. As in the past, the Russians tried to trade their new  technology on the open market. The other nations were becoming increasingly reluctant to allow the Russians to play them off against one another in order to reap excessive rewards for their scientific endeavours. The United States, the European Union, the Asian Federation and the Japanese Alliance attempted to forge a four-power agreement to negotiate as a single entity with the Russians but recent events such as the war between Japan and the West and the espionage incidents between the United States and the Asian Federation had raised suspicions to the point where serious negotiations proved impossible. Even so, every nation resolved to negotiate very hard with the Russians

The Asian Federation had recently shifted focus to developing its economy rather than its naval might, although it was engaged in a huge build-up of ground forces, so advances in sensor technology were of no immediate benefit. In the end they agreed to exchange five construction factories, five mining complexes and five hundred tons of Duranium for the Russian tech. The Japanese had finalised the design of their latest warship so they too had little interest in the technology as it was unlikely to be used in the foreseeable future. Their offer was so low that no agreement was reached. The United States and the European Union negotiated together and eventually reached the same deal as the Asian Federation. The Russians had received far less for their latest technology than the previous one and several of President Vorokov's advisors questioned the wisdom of giving away such advanced technical data for so little material return.

In January 2029, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service achieved another intelligence coup when one of its agents obtained documents regarding the Asian Federation's Jiangwei class cruiser, six of which were in service with the Asian Federation Space Fleet (AFSF). The Russian military was delighted to find that their four Moskva class destroyers, while only seventy percent the size of the Asian cruisers, had superior fire control, longer ranged missiles and a slight edge in speed. The Asian anti-ship missiles on the Jiangwei were larger than their Russian counterparts with twice the warhead strength so the obvious Russian strategy against the Chinese was to recreate the Mars Incident with the Asian Federation in the role of the Japanese. Marshal Belkin, head of the Russian military, set a new task for the Russian Navy. In future, two of the four Moskvas would be in a fourteen million kilometer orbit of Earth at all times. This would place them inside their own missile range while remaining outside that of the Asian Federation.

On February 6th 2029, the United States Navy completed a gravitational survey of the Sol system, revealing eight jump points. Aware that some type of internationally accepted mapping system was necessary for describing the location of ships and system objects, the US Navy and its European equivalent had developed a simple distance and bearing system, based on the system primary. Zero degrees was the direction of the galactic core while one hundred and eighty degrees was the direction of the closest point on the galactic rim. The direction of the solar system's orbit around the galactic core was roughly two hundred and seventy degrees. In almost all cases, the actual direction of zero degrees did not matter as long as everyone agreed it lay on the same bearing, both for the solar system and any other systems that might be discovered.

Two jump points were located on the inner edge of the asteroid belt at distance of three hundred and four hundred million kilometers and bearings of 267 and 353 degrees respectively. At the time when the survey was completed, Earth was less than 200 million kilometers from the closest jump point and would move within 150m kilometers in less than four weeks. A third jump point lay midway between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn at 44 degrees. The fourth and fifth jump points were relatively close together, lying either side of the orbit of Uranus at two point six and three billion kilometers on bearings of 13 and 5 degrees. Jump point six was at four billion kilometers and 284 degrees while jump points seven and eight lay almost exactly on the orbital paths of Neptune and Pluto, way out at four point five and six billion kilometers with bearings of 182 and 122. Their initial task completed, Baltimore and Toledo headed for home. Although the jump points had been found, more of them than in the wildest dreams of US and European scientists, there was no way to explore them. The first two US jump ships, Nautilus and Rickover, were scheduled for completion in May 2029 with their European equivalents due a month later.

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Nautilus class Jump Frigate    2250 tons     216 Crew     251 BP      TCS 45  TH 120  EM 0
2666 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 1-15     Shields 0-0     Sensors 5/0/0/0     Damage Control Rating 2     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 20%    IFR: 0.3%    Maintenance Capacity 139 MSP    Max Repair 56 MSP

Prototype Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 2250 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Nuclear Pulse Engine (3)    Power 40    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 80.0 billion km   (347 days at full power)

AGS-3 Active Search Sensor  (1)     GPS 2250     Range 22.5m km    Resolution 45
Thermal Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  5m km
Scharnhorst and her sister ship Gneisnau were completed later the same month, giving the European Union the most advanced warships ever built. Both ships departed Earth after their launching ceremony, bound for the security of the European base on Mars. The American colony on Mars had reached a population of two point seven million, sufficient to man enough maintenance facilities to support the US Fleet. US freighters began the task of moving maintenance facilities from Earth to Mars and the major combat units of the US Navy that still remained in Earth orbit decamped to their new base.

In March 2029, ambassador Alberto Oliveira from the Union of South American Nations requested to see the President of the United States on a matter of the highest importance. The President granted the request and later the same day the ambassador was ushered into the Oval Office. After inquiring as to the President's health and remarking on the early blooms in the rose garden, ambassador Oliveira stated that it had come to the attention of his country that the United States had recently discovered eight wormholes leading to other star systems. The President was uncharacteristically speechless and knew that his reaction had confirmed the ambassador's claim. The ever-polite ambassador Oliveira declared his country would be fascinated to learn about the science behind the discovery of these wormholes but if the United States was unable to provide such knowledge, perhaps another country might be more helpful. With a beaming smile, he thanked the President for his time and asked him to pass on his best wishes to the First Lady and their family. Before leaving he expressed his hope that the President would invite him back to the White House in the near future.

An hour later the various heads of US intelligence services endured a far less friendly meeting in the same room. This was the second serious intelligence failure in less than a year and the President demanded explanations. The head of the FBI could offer little in the way of reassurance. Secrets as huge as jump points or the alien ruins on Mars could not be restricted to a small group of people, at least not if the United States wished to build survey ships and jump ships and establish a base on Mars, and the more people that knew, the greater the chance that the news would leak. The United States was also an open society which made security  even more demanding. The FBI Director pointed out that even the Manhattan Project had suffered leaks. It was only through strenuous efforts in counter-intelligence that the number of leaks had been restricted to two.

Once he had calmed down, the President met with his advisors and contacted the President of the European Union. The unanimous agreement was that they should provide the USAN with information on jump point theory, basic jump engine technology and gravitational sensors, although the South Americans already had the locations of all eight of Sol's jump points, on the condition that these were kept secret from the other Earth powers. Due to its limited military capabilities and much smaller economy, the USAN could not be viewed as a rival in the forthcoming age of interstellar exploration, so it was far better to give in to their polite blackmail than risk jump points becoming general knowledge. The European Union completed its own survey of the Sol system on March 21st.

During their efforts to recover abandoned alien installations on Mars, the cybernetic teams of the United States had restored two terraforming installations. Because of their limited manpower and the priority of maintenance facilities, both of these were transferred to European ownership. The European Union already had four terraforming installations in operation and by March 2029 had more the doubled the pressure of the Martian atmosphere, although it still had only 2.3% of the pressure of Earth's atmosphere, and raised the average surface temperature by almost four degrees.

In April US scientists completed research into improving shipyard efficiency, increasing the build rate of US shipyards by forty percent and bringing the US up to the same capability as the Asian Federation, which had made the same improvement two years previously. The US passed the technology on to the European Union in exchange for improved jump drive efficiency.

The Asian Federation was unaware of the jump points in the Sol system and its government had paid little attention to fringe scientists who were lobbying for funding for research into jump point theory. Instead, it was concentrating on making best use of the resources within the Sol system. By late April it had established fifty automated mines on a comet and had built a mass driver to catapult minerals back to Earth where they would captured by a second mass driver. A program to covert a further forty mines was underway and the Federation's scientists had completed work on an asteroid mining module that could be built into a ship. The Hainan class Asteroid Miner included five of the new modules and was the largest and most expensive spacecraft ever designed. Retooling would require until early 2030 at which point two of the enormous ships would be laid down.

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Hainan class Asteroid Miner    7650 tons     643 Crew     1193.8 BP      TCS 153  TH 50  EM 0
326 km/s     Armour 1-34     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/0/0/0     Damage Control Rating 7     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 66%    IFR: 0.9%    Maintenance Capacity 683 MSP    Max Repair 200 MSP
Asteroid Miner: 5 module(s) producing 70 tons per annum

Nuclear Thermal Engine (2)    Power 25    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 11.7 billion km   (416 days at full power)
The US Jump Frigates Nautilus and Rickover were launched on May 6th 2029. As the United States had worked closely with the European Union on the development of gravitational sensors and jump engines and the relationship between the two allies was very strong, European observers were invited on to both ships before they left orbit for the two jump points closest to Earth. At 02.09 Greenwich Mean Time on May 7th, just after nine pm on May 6th in Washington, Nautilus vanished from the Sol system and entered the history books.

She emerged one hundred and fifty-eight million kilometers from a yellow G9-B star, slightly smaller than Sol and approximately half as bright, surrounded by six rocky planets and a large gas giant. Two planets were of particular interest. The second planet, just a hundred million kilometers from the star, was fifty percent larger than Earth with higher gravity and a denser atmosphere but that atmosphere registered as breathable and the surface temperature was a warm but acceptable thirty-three degrees Celsius. Nautilus had found an ideal habitable world on her first interstellar voyage. The fifth planet also had a breathable atmosphere  although the surface temperature of -115C made it an unlikely location for colonization. The United States had decided to name all new systems after American cities so the system was officially named Washington. Nautilus briefly re-entered the Sol system so that her captain, Commander John Fraser, could relay news of her discovery then transited back into Washington to investigate the habitable world for signs of any existing inhabitants.

Four hours later in the Sol system, Rickover transited into jump point two. She found herself in New York, a system with a bright F4-V primary and six rocky planets. Although New York lacked the ideal habitable world found in Washington, she did find three planets with potential for the future. New York III was smaller than Earth, a little chilly at -5C and had an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere that was too thin to breathe. If the same terraforming technology being used on Mars could be applied to increase the oxygen level and the temperature, the planet could become habitable. New York IV was identical to Earth in terms of size and had an atmosphere that was closer to being breathable. Unfortunately it was much colder at -45C and ice sheets covered forty percent of the surface. Remarkably, New York V was considerably warmer than the other two planets with a surface temperature of 42C, primarily because of its carbon dioxide - nitrogen atmosphere that trapped heat from the star. With a temperature already within human tolerance, albeit barely, the planet could be made habitable by the addition of enough oxygen. Rickover reported in then began a round trip of the three planets in case an alien race found them more habitable than humans.

Nautilus contacted Earth at 22:10 GMT to report the habitable planet in Washington had abundant flora and fauna and appeared to be devoid of any industrialised society. She remained at the jump point and escorted the Baltimore class gravitational survey ships and one of the Spruance class geosurvey ships into Washington then set course for jump point six as Rickover was scheduled to investigate jump points three, four and five.

On Earth the President and his advisors discussed how quickly a colony could be established on Washington II, claiming the planet for the United States. At 3750 tons, the existing Alaska class colony ship was too large to be escorted through a jump point by the Nautilus. The Portland II freighter was the same size. Using the new jump drive technology provided by the Europeans as a basis, work was already underway on a larger jump drive that could be fitted to ships of up to 4000 tons. Once a ship with this new drive was available, sending the Alaska, and her two sister ships currently under construction, into Washington would become a priority.

The European Union launched its own jump ships, Copenhagen and Oslo, on May 20th. Copenhagen headed for jump point three while Oslo set course for jump point seven. The US jump ship Rickover had not yet returned from New York so the European Union hoped to be the first major power to explore at least some of Sol's jump points. Copenhagen would attempt to explore jump points three four and five while Oslo raced to seven and eight. Both powers had already agreed to share data on all systems they explored so the race was more about national pride than gaining any real advantage.

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Copenhagen class Jump Tender    2250 tons     211 Crew     251 BP      TCS 45  TH 120  EM 0
2666 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 1-15     Shields 0-0     Sensors 5/0/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 40%    IFR: 0.6%    Maintenance Capacity 70 MSP    Max Repair 60 MSP

Prototype Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 2250 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
E90 Nuclear Pulse Engine (3)    Power 40    Efficiency 0.90    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 88.9 billion km   (385 days at full power)

S300-50 Active Search Sensor  (1)     GPS 3000     Range 30.0m km    Resolution 50
Thermal Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  5m km
Copenhagen transited jump point three on May 25th 2029 and discovered a G9-V primary with ten planets, sixty-two moons and a sparse asteroid belt. Two of the planets had a colony cost of only two, with one of those having limited terraforming potential. The naming of systems discovered by European ships would also be based on cities, with the list of cities already decided by a lottery. First on the list was Lisbon. The two European gravitational survey ships were already at the Lisbon jump point so Copenhagen escorted them into the system before leaving for jump point four. While the exploration of Sol's jump points continued, the US scored a victory in the Intelligence war. An Islamic espionage team was killed in a shootout with armed guards as they tried to penetrate an ordnance factory complex.

Nautilus entered jump point six on May 27th to find the first binary system encountered by human explorers. Los Angeles had a dim M0-V primary and a planetless brown dwarf companion. One of the primary's ten planets had a breathable atmosphere very similar to Earth's but the surface temperature of -75C made it a very hostile world. Los Angeles also had the greatest number of asteroids found outside the Sol system  with more than three hundred and sixty concentrated in two belts. Commander Fraser considered investigating the planet for signs of life but the jump point was four billion kilometers out and the round trip would take over a month. Besides, the temperature made any intelligent life unlikely. Nautilus entered Sol and set course for jump point eight on the far side of the system.

Later the same day, Rickover finally completed her round trip of the New York system and returned to Sol without finding any sign of sentient alien life. With Copenhagen already halfway to jump point four, and jump point five not much further away, there was little point in Rickover trying to beat the Europeans to those two jump points. Oslo was closer to jump point seven than either American jump ship so that would also be a losing race. Therefore Rickover was dispatched to jump point eight and Nautilus was ordered to return to the inner system and rendezvous with the second Spruance class geosurvey ship at the New York jump point.

Copenhagen carried out her second exploratory voyage on June 3rd, entering the fourth jump point from the Sun. She emerged within a dust cloud, which her captain, Commander Christopher Ingram, soon realized was a nebula. A K5-V protostar cast an orange glow throughout the nebula and three planets huddled close to the star, seeking warmth. To the surprise of Copenhagen's crew, the innermost planet, with an orbital distance of just thirty-three million kilometers, had a breathable atmosphere, acceptable gravity and a temperature of minus seven Celsius; too cold for immediate habitation but colonisable with minimal infrastructure support and a perfect candidate for terraforming. Commander Ingram contemplated investigating the planet for indigenous life but within the dust cloud his ship had a maximum safe speed of perhaps 500 km/s and the jump point was five hundred million kilometers from the primary. Instead he decided to check out jump point five first in case a jump ship from the United States was on its way and then return for a more thorough examination. Before leaving, he officially named the nebula system Vienna.

Two days later Copenhagen transited the fifth jump point, finding another almost habitable world plus something far more interesting. The system of London had a G2-V primary, similar to Sol, ten planets, four of them gas giants, ninety-six moons and six hundred asteroids in two dense belts, one between eight and twelve billion kilometres and the other belt starting way out at one hundred and twenty billion kilometres and extending to almost twice that distance. The outermost gas giant was at five hundred billion. The innermost planet was similar to its counterpart in Vienna with a breathable atmosphere, gravity of 0.85G and a surface temperature of -11C. Despite the grand scale of the system and the living, breathing world close to the star, the attention of Copenhagen's crew was firmly fixed on the jump point through which they had emerged. A huge construct surrounded the jump point, keeping it open to shipping without the need for a jump engine. Some of those crew members who had served on Mars had seen alien artifacts of unknown purpose recovered from the partially intact alien city. Now they could identify several of those artifacts joined together to create the jump point gateway, or 'jump gate' as it quickly became known. The technology behind the jump gate and the method by which the jump gate components were assembled together were unknown but Commander Ingram would bet a year's pay that European and US ships would be out here studying the jump gate to learn its secrets as quickly as possible. Commander Ingram made his report to Earth then set course for the innermost planet to check for signs of life.

Two days after receiving news of the alien jump gate in the London system, Fleet Admiral Roberta Armenta Rentería dispatched the frigates Bayern and Madrid, the oldest ships in the European Space Force, to the London jump point with orders to actively scan the jump gate. Although the United States had been informed of the discovery, the US Navy had no jump ship immediately available so Fleet Admiral Rentería offered an escort by Copenhagen, which the US gratefully accepted. The old destroyers Lexington and Yorktown left the new US base on Mars, bound for London. The European Union and the United States agreed to share any knowledge gained from the alien jump gate.

Oslo carried out her first jump point transit on June 11th, emerging in Prague, an unremarkable system with nine planets, fifty-odd moons and a scattering of asteroids. As Rickover was going to reach jump point eight long before Oslo could reach it, she headed back towards the inner system. Copenhagen returned to Sol nine days later after confirming that London's innermost planet was uninhabited. While she had been carrying out her investigation, James Wolfe, a  Montcalm class geosurvey ship, had arrived at the jump point. Copenhagen escorted the survey ship into London and headed for the Vienna jump point where Montcalm was waiting. Commander Ingram calculated he had plenty of time to make the trip, escort Montcalm into Vienna, where she could carry out a geological survey and check the innermost planet for life, then return to the London jump point before the allied warships arrived to examine the jump gate.

NB: Optional inexperienced fleet penalties now in effect.

With the attention of the Western allies firmly on interstellar exploration, it came as a complete shock to their Intelligence services when the Islamic Alliance launched a surprise attack on the Russian Federation. After its severe losses in the Indo-Islamic war, the Islamic Alliance was left a third-rate power. With no research facilities and limited production capacity the Alliance had virtually no chance to compete in the new Trans-Newtonian world. Their final chance to gain new technology had died along with their espionage team in the United States. Rather than slip quietly into historical obscurity, the leaders of the Alliance decided on one last great Jihad. Attacking the Asian Federation or Europe would be suicidal and an attack on those areas of Africa outside of Islamic control would add only population rather than industry. Which left Russia; one of the smaller powers and geographically accessible. So the Islamic Alliance launched its gamble to regain its place in the world with a daring all-out attack across Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Alliance had been quietly building up its ground forces and now possessed a headquarters unit, two heavy assault divisions, five assault infantry divisions, two low-tech armoured divisions and seven low-tech infantry divisions. Its three remaining missile complexes had been re-armed with conventional ICBMs and five Hufuf class PDCs, each armed with four meson cannon, had been secretly constructed.

The attack opened with the Hufuf PDCs engaging their active sensors and, before anyone could protest, opening fire on two Russian Moskva class destroyers and three Kirov class missile defence satellites in orbit. The Russian destroyer Vladivostok received three hits, destroying one of its three engines, the Top Pair active sensor and a magazine. Her sister ship Murmansk was hit twice, although one hit caused only minor damage to an engine which remained operational while the other took out a magazine. Fortunately for both ships there were no secondary magazine explosions. Two of the three Kirovs suffered serious damage. losing their weapons, fire control and sensors while the third miraculously survived four hits and lost only its crew quarters. Caught completely by surprise with their captains both asleep, the two Russian destroyers took precious seconds to react. On the ground, the five Russian Sovremenny class planetary defence centres had standing orders to engage any missiles heading for the Russian Federation or any hostile units firing on Russian forces. They brought their active sensors on line and began targeting the Islamic bases but that too required previous seconds.

Fifteen seconds after their initial attacks, before any Russian forces could fully react, the Islamic bases fired again. Both destroyers were struck four times. Only one hit caused major damage to Murmansk, wrecking an engine, while Vladivostok lost a missile launcher and took a devastating hit to her bridge, which killed Admiral of the Fleet Oriel Prokofiev, the second-ranking officer in the Russian armed forces. The two damaged Kirov class missile defence satellites were blown to pieces by the follow-up salvo and the third suffered crippling damage. Only sixteen escaped from the destroyed satellites out of a total crew of seventy-two. Both commanding officers were killed.

Twenty seconds into the war, the Russians finally responded. On the authority of their watch officers, both damaged destroyers launched SS-N-32 Starburst missiles at an Islamic PDC, although Vladivostok had only three of her four launchers still operating. Both destroyers were also trying to get underway. Five seconds later all seven missiles slammed into the Iranian mountain housing the planetary defence centre, blasting great chunks of irradiated rock miles from the nuclear detonations but failing to penetrate to the internal systems. The Russian launchers were slow to reload and it would be two minutes before they could fire again. Two Russian PDCs brought their meson weapons on line and fired at two different Islamic PDCs, taking out the enemy fire control system in both cases.

The Islamic Alliance, along with the rest of the world, had no idea the Russians had built meson-armed PDCs and their response to the new threat was slow. Those Hufufs engaging the destroyers and the remaining Kirov continued firing at their original targets while the other two, which could have engaged the Sovremennys, had both lost their fire controls to the last Russian salvo. As the three operational Hufufs fired for the third time, the last three Russian PDCs also opened fire. The last Kirov blew up, Murmansk lost a second engine, a missile launcher and her bridge and Vladivostok's last magazine was destroyed, leaving her without any missiles. The Russian fire was devastating, taking out ten of the twelve meson cannon on the undamaged Hufufs. The Islamic PDCs managed only two more shots, wrecking the remaining magazine on Murmansk, before they were blasted apart by the Russian meson cannon.

The first minute of the Russo-Islamic war was a tactical victory for the Russians. Although they had lost all three of their missile defence satellites and both Murmansk and Vladivostok were out of action until they could be repaired, all five Islamic PDCs had been eliminated and the Russian PDCs were completely intact and able to defend against any Islamic attack with conventional ICBMs. The other two Russian destroyers, Moskva and St Petersburg were fourteen million kilometres from Earth in high orbit and fully operational. Murmansk, Vladivostok and the two Udaloy class geosurvey ships headed for the Russian outpost on Mars. Although they had no basing facilities they would be safe from attack and the Western allies gave permission for the Russian warships to approach. With their failure to eliminate Russian defences, the Islamic leaders knew their conventional ICBMs were useless so they had to rely on their ground forces. A Russian ICBM strike on Islamic territory was likely but Islamic industry was expendable in this war. Russian industry was the prize and with Islamic ground forces in Russian territory the Russians would have to think hard about any nuclear attack on them because of the considerable collateral damage that would be inflicted on the Russian Federation.
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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 4
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 02:01:27 PM »
The other powers reacted quickly to the sudden conflict. All twelve Asian Federation warships left Earth and moved into a orbit of 500,000 kilometres while their ten freighters left for another run to the Federation's comet-based mining colony. Japan dispatched nine warships into a one million kilometre orbit, leaving two Kongo II-Bs in overhaul. The European Union detached all four of its Invincible class destroyers from the main European fleet at Mars and sent them to support its Earth-based defences in case the conflict spread. As active sensors were being engaged around the globe, European military commanders did not want to send their most modern ships into scanning range unless absolutely necessary. The United States would have preferred to follow a similar strategy and send its older warships closer to Earth. With two of the Lexington class destroyers in overhaul and the other two en route to London that was impossible so the two Flight I Arleigh Burkes were sent instead. They at least had the older nuclear thermal engines. Two Flight II and four Flight III Arleigh Burkes remained in Mars orbit.

Almost unnoticed, Copenhagen arrived at the Vienna jump point and escorted Montcalm into the nebula system. Montcalm's mission was to survey all the three planets, seventeen moons and several comets as well as checking the innermost planet for signs of life. With Montcalm safely in Vienna, Copenhagen reversed course and headed back to the London jump point to await the arrival of the four European and American warships that would scan the alien jump gate. At the far side of the Sol system, the US jump ship Rickover arrived at the last unexplored jump point. She transited into another nebula, although with a far less dense dust field as the local M6-V protostar was close to becoming a main sequence star. Two gas giants, one of which had twenty-five moons, and an asteroid belt orbited the primary. Rickover's captain, commander Harvey Cameron, named the system San Francisco then ordered his ship back toward Earth.

The main Islamic attack was planned and executed by Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan, commander of the Islamic ground forces. The headquarters division from which he coordinated the offensive had been almost as expensive as a heavy assault division and had minimal inherent combat capability. The Grand Sheikh had successfully pressed for it to be created so that he could direct his forces in the most efficient manner, adding considerably to their effectiveness. In contrast, the Russian defenders, comprising one heavy assault division, one mobile infantry division, three garrison divisions, four low-tech armoured divisions and twelve low-tech infantry divisions had no specialised ground forces command and took their orders from the Defence Ministry. The Russians held their ground in the mountains of the Caucasus and fell back in Central Asia, giving ground to protect their forces while President Vorokov decided how to respond to the Islamic assault. Casualties were minimal in the first few days with a Russian garrison unit losing eleven percent of its strength

President Vorokov's advisors urged him to launch an attack on Islamic industrial targets in retaliation for the Alliance's unprovoked surprise attack, especially as the Islamic Alliance plainly had a larger army than anyone suspected and one focused almost entirely on offensive action. Russian analysts believed the Alliance had at least a twenty percent advantage in overall combat strength, even when accounting for the defensive advantages of the Russian Army. The President was in no hurry to respond to such calls. Given the probable annihilation of all Islamic missile defences during the opening phase of the war, a Russian missile strike could be carried out at any time. Instead the President was considering the potential opportunity presented by the war. If the Islamic attack could be weathered and a counter-attack eventually launched, perhaps the Russian Federation could expend its territory and capture what remained of Islamic industry. For the moment he decided to wait and see how the ground war developed. Besides, a new Russian heavy assault division was only two weeks from completion.

The war continued with minor skirmishes as the Islamic forces probed forward slowly in Central Asia. One assault was launched on the Russian lines on the Caucasus, resulting in significant casualties to the Russian 19th Motor Rifle Division, a low tech infantry unit, and one of the attacking Islamic low-tech infantry divisions. A Russian construction factory was destroyed by the fighting and once again President Vorokov was urged to strike at civilian targets. In the midst of the new war, the Union of South American Nations completed its first missile armed warships. The two Valdivia class cruisers had relatively short-ranged armament compared to the latest designs of the major powers but they provided the USAN with a real mobile combat capability and, given the likely interstellar nature of humanity's future, that would allow the South Americans to protect any off-world interests.

Code: [Select]
Valdivia class Cruiser    3300 tons     378 Crew     312.5 BP      TCS 66  TH 100  EM 0
1515 km/s     Armour 1-19     Shields 0-0     Sensors 5/0/0/0     Damage Control Rating 2     PPV 20
Annual Failure Rate: 43%    IFR: 0.6%    Maintenance Capacity 118 MSP    Max Repair 20 MSP
Magazine 220    

Nuclear Thermal Engine  (4)    Power 25    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 27.3 billion km   (208 days at full power)

H5 Missile Launcher  (4)    Missile Size 5    Rate of Fire 150
Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 9.0m km    Resolution 30
SS-500 (44)  Speed: 7000 km/s   End: 21.4 minutes    Range: 9m km   Warhead: 6    MR: 10    Size: 5

R45-900 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 900     Range 9.0m km    Resolution 45
Thermal Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  5m km
In Vienna, the European geosurvey vessel Montcalm was approaching the innermost planet to check for signs of life. With a breathable atmosphere, acceptable gravity and a temperature of -7C the planet was a good prospect for either terraforming or colonization with minimal infrastructure support. At six million kilometers her very basic thermal sensors detected a very strong signature from the planet; stronger in fact than the signature from any of Earth's populations except for the Asian Federation. Montcalm's commanding officer was Rear Admiral Laura Swift, the most senior officer within European Survey Command. She was faced with evidence of a large, alien population on the planet and had no way to leave the system or contact anyone outside Vienna until Copenhagen returned to check on her, which would only happen once the jump ship had escorted the allied warships en route to London into that system. There was no sign of any alien spacecraft so Read Admiral Swift took her ship back toward the jump point, making no attempt to contact the alien world. The implications of a large alien population just one jump away from Earth were incalculable and would no doubt influence human politics for years, if not decades. Back on Earth, the Islamic Alliance inflicted thirty-five percent casualties on a low-tech Russian infantry division fighting a rearguard action in Turkmenistan but as yet no decisive battles had been fought.

On July 12th the Islamic Alliance launched a major attack on the Russian defences in the Caucasus, inflicting heavy losses on the 13th Garrison Division and the 2nd Guards Mobile Infantry Division. The newly-trained Russian 18th Heavy Assault Division counter-attacked and the Islamic 15th Assault Infantry division was forced to abandon the attack after suffering almost fifty percent losses. The Russian line held but another construction factory was wrecked by collateral damage.

Although the United States was unable to colonize the ideal habitable world in the Washington system because its Alaska class colony ship was larger than the Baltimore class jump ship, the much older European Santa Maria class colony ship was only 1000 tons. Once Oslo returned from its voyage to the Prague jump point, she moved to the Sol - Washington jump point where she could escort the Santa Marias in and out of Washington. On July 17th 2029, Humanity's first extra-solar colony was established by 40,000 European settlers on Washington II.

Even as a new Earth was being established, on the old one the Russo-Islamic war continued. In the East the Islamic forces maintained their slow advance through the vastness of Central Asia faced with little Russian resistance. In the Western theatre, the strongest Islamic assault to date crashed against the Russian defence line in the Caucasus. An Islamic Assault Infantry unit lost forty-five percent of its strength but the attack caused an average loss of forty percent to three Russian divisions, including the 2nd Guards Mobile Infantry Division, and three more construction factory complexes were smashed in the fighting. Russian military strength was gradually being ground away and their industry was suffering the consequences. President Vorokov's military advisors requested that the two undamaged Russian destroyers be used to launch missiles against the Islamic ground forces, despite the inevitable collateral damage. Despite the pressure from his advisors, the President was keen to win this war with minimum damage to his own industry and with the chance of capturing the remaining Islamic industry. As he had a much more pragmatic outlook than the Indian Prime Minster when he was faced with a similar situation, he asked for international aid from the European Union and United States, reminding both Western Presidents that an Islamic victory could result in the Alliance and the rest of the world learning of the alien city on Mars.

After hurried consultations between Washington and Brussels, the Western allies offered President Vorokov a deal. They would support him with ground forces in his war against the Alliance in return for a promise to end his country's technology brokering strategy and instead join with them in a technology alliance. The Russian Federation would continue its research into fire control and sensor systems and the West would trade technology of equal value on the basis that new Western technology would not be traded to other powers. Well aware the technology brokering strategy was faltering anyway and that establishing closer ties with the West could protect his country against the long term threat from the Asian Federation, President Vorokov agreed. Over the next few days four Heavy Assault Divisions, two each from the US and the EU, were attached to the Russian Army. While they were being moved into position, fighting in both theatres was subdued with only minor losses on both sides.

On July 20th, Copenhagen entered Vienna to find Montcalm waiting at the far side of the jump point. Both ships jumped back into Sol so that Rear Admiral Swift could deliver her news. Her report, quickly passed on from Brussels to Washington, sent shockwaves through the leadership of the Western Allies. Military leaders urged the politicians to send an armed expedition into Vienna as soon as possible. The potential threat had to be established. Unfortunately, the latest allied warships were too large for Copenhagen to escort into Vienna. The ideal candidates for the expedition were the four American Lexington class destroyers. At 2000 tons they were small enough and they carried the latest Trident missiles, although their limited fire control and sensors restricted the missiles to a six million kilometre range. At 1000 tons and 1200 tons the European Bayern and Bayern II class frigates were another possibility but they were virtually obsolete and would add little combat potential. Lexington and Yorktown were in London studying the alien jump gate and therefore out of contact. Copenhagen was sent to summon them. Saratoga and Valley Forge were undergoing overhauls so the order was given the bring them out of overhaul as soon as possible. Even so, it would require a month just to put all their pieces back together. In the meantime a small ship with better sensors was urgently required. As the European Union had longer ranged sensors than the US, a small European scout design was quickly prepared and two Audacious class scouts were laid down in the European Union's latest shipyard. They would require six months to build.

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Audacious class Scout    1250 tons     118 Crew     175.2 BP      TCS 25  TH 40  EM 0
1600 km/s     Armour 1-10     Shields 0-0     Sensors 20/20/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 12%    IFR: 0.2%    Maintenance Capacity 88 MSP    Max Repair 60 MSP

E90 Nuclear Pulse Engine (1)    Power 40    Efficiency 0.90    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 80.0 billion km   (578 days at full power)

S300-50 Active Search Sensor  (1)     GPS 3000     Range 30.0m km    Resolution 50
S20 Thermal Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 20     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  20m km
EM20 Passive Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 20     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  20m km
With the Russo-Islamic war, the alien jump gate in London and the discovery of a large alien civilization in Vienna, no one with a high security clearance in a Western government was getting much sleep. Their workload increased even more with news from the New York system, located beyond the second closest jump point to the Sun, that the US geological survey ship Kinkaid had found alien ruins on the fourth planet. New York IV was Earth-sized with an atmosphere close to being breathable and a surface temperature of minus 45C. The ruins were far less extensive than the city on Mars but appeared to have similar architecture, suggesting they were the remnants of a colony of the same race. The US jump ship Rickover was holding position at New York - Sol jump point so after jumping into Sol with the news, she headed for Mars to pick up the US archaeological team.

The first Western division to engage the enemy was the US 19th Heavy Assault Division. As the Islamic Alliance continued its advance in Central Asia the US division launched a counter-attack, inflicting severe losses on the Islamic 13th Assault Infantry Division. Stung by the reversal, Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan threw several low-tech divisions against the American force and overwhelmed it with sheer weight of numbers. With the help of a Russian infantry division, the 19th Heavy Assault finally managed to fight its way back to Russian lines but both allied divisions suffered forty percent losses. Eager to show the setback had not affected their commitment to the war, the European Union and the United States each sent a garrison division to Russia to free up mobile forces.

On July 29th Copenhagen, Lexington and Yorktown all joined Montcalm at the Sol - Vienna jump point. Commodore Anthony Harper, C.O. of Lexington and the senior US officer in the small multi-national force, requested permission to lead Copenhagen and his two destroyers into Vienna immediately without waiting for the other two Lexingtons. Despite lacking sensitive passive sensors, Copenhagen did posses the same S300-50 Active Search Sensor as the Scharnhorst class missile cruisers, giving her a thirty million kilometre active sensor range. Commodore Harper argued that this would allow a scan of the alien world from a safe distance and his destroyers would protect the jump ship against any alien interference. While welcoming his enthusiasm, the head of the US armed forces, Fleet Admiral Tyler Morrison, and his European equivalent, Fleet Admiral Roberta Armenta Rentería, were determined that mankind's first alien contact would only go ahead with full preparation. The idea of using Copenhagen's sensors was a good one but sending the only jump ship far from the jump point was too risky. The operation would be carried out with all four destroyers and a second jump ship, probably the Rickover.

After the aborted counter-attack by the US heavy assault division the Central Asian front stabilised and only minor skirmishing tool place for almost ten days. On August 7th, the Islamic Alliance pushed forward again with a major attack and ran into all four Western heavy assault divisions. Six Islamic divisions, including two Assault Infantry divisions, suffered heavy losses and fell back in headlong retreat. The only allied casualties were in the 5th Guards Tank Division, a low tech armoured unit. Collateral damage to Russian industry continued to mount with four mining complexes and four factories destroyed over the previous two weeks.

In the New York system Kinkaid continued its geological survey mission and on August 11th found more alien ruins on the third planet. New York III was smaller than Earth with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere that was too thin to breathe and a surface temperature of minus five. The alien ruins were similar to those on New York IV, although covering a smaller area. Alien ruins had now been found on three planets, including Mars, all of which were too cold for easy human habitation. Whoever the aliens were, they liked the cold and all their colonies had fallen into ruin a long time ago. With the discovery of aliens of unknown origin in Vienna, the serious question of why the Mars aliens disappeared was increasingly discussed. Their civilization could have collapsed or they may have left the area due to some cosmic catastrophe but the growing concern among the Western governments was that they may have been wiped out by a third party. Perhaps the aliens in Vienna or possibly some unknown threat that might still exist somewhere out among the stars. Inter-human feuding such as the Russo-Islamic war was increasingly viewed as a waste of valuable resources. The first quiet discussions began in Brussels and Washington regarding how some form of global government might someday be achieved so that humanity could direct its efforts against external threats rather than itself.

After their crushing defeat, the Islamic Alliance spent the next few days regrouping. Although the allies were not yet ready to go on the strategic offensive, elements of several allied divisions carried out a reconnaissance in force, inflicting minor losses on two low tech Islamic infantry divisions. Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan was rebuked by the Islamic leadership for pulling back and was ordered to resume the attack immediately. The leadership firmly believed, at least in public, that Islamic fighting spirit backed by the will of God would easily overcome such minor considerations as superior numbers. Besides, standing on the defensive was tantamount to surrender so the Alliance would either defeat the allies or go down fighting. The Islamic forces charged back into the attack and caught the allies by surprise. The 42nd Motor-Rifle division and the 14th Garrison division were hit hard while Islamic forces suffered only minor casualties.

The Asian Federation continued its espionage efforts against the Western allies and in late August the Kadru Barot espionage team repeated its feat of penetrating security at a US ordnance production complex, on this occasion stealing blueprints for the Poseidon missile. Fortunately for the US the missile was two generations out of date but it still gave the Federation a small alternative to its much larger TL-15 anti-ship missile. Asian success continued when troops from the Ministry of State Security trapped and killed a European espionage team. The Western allies were now without any espionage assets within Asian territory. After being asked for assistance in that area, President Vorokov confirmed a Russian team was operating against the Chinese and, given the steadily improving relationship between the West and the Russian Federation, he promised to pass on any relevant intelligence, although he didn't elaborate on how he defined 'relevant'.

Buoyed by their recent success the Islamic Alliance continued its new offensive and ran straight into a wall of allied armour. Four Islamic divisions were hit hard, including one of their heavy assault divisions, and in the confusion that followed the headquarters of the Islamic Alliance Army was attacked by a Russian Tank division. Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan managed to escape but left forty-two percent of his headquarters staff amid the wastes of western Kazakhstan. Three allied divisions suffered casualties, including the hard-pressed 42nd Motor-Rifle division and one of the European heavy assault divisions, but they were light compared to Islamic losses. President Vorokov gave the order to launch general offensive operations and start regaining some of the lost Central Asian territory.

Knowing his likely fate should he allow a general retreat, Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan regrouped his forces and threw in another attack. The leading Islamic divisions collided with the spearhead of the allied offensive and a massive free-wheeling battle sprawled across Central Asia. After five days of heavy fighting four more Islamic divisions, including two assault infantry divisions and their second heavy assault division, had taken significant losses. Relatively minor casualties were suffered by three allied divisions. By early September the Grand Sheikh knew the war was almost certainly lost. Although none of his units had been completely wiped out, only one was at full strength and two had lost over ninety percent of their pre-war strength. Unwilling to sacrifice more of his troops in suicidal and pointless attacks, he went over to the strategic defensive and informed the Islamic leaders he was regrouping his forces and recovering readiness before resuming the offensive.

The allies continued their attack and the Islamic forces were steadily pushed back. The Islamic 8th Heavy Assault Division was reduced to eighteen percent strength before escaping envelopment by the two US heavy assault divisions then the Second Armoured Division was overrun and destroyed. Low tech Islamic infantry divisions were slowly ground away as they were thrown into the defensive line. Allied divisions continued to take casualties but on a smaller scale than the retreating Islamic Army. Two weeks into the allied offensive, Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan organised his forces for a stand on the Turkmenistan - Iran border. An Assault Infantry division, far better at attacking than defending, was destroyed in place, along with a low tech infantry division. The Islamic line broke and two days later Gorgan, capital of the Golestan province in Iran became the first Islamic city to fall to the allied advance. On September 18th 2029, Grand Sheikh Abdul-Alim Hasan, the best general in the Islamic Alliance, was executed for failing to defeat a far superior foe. Command of the Islamic Army fell to Grand Sheikh Abdul-Muhaimin Nasser, a capable leader but not in the same league as his unfortunate predecessor. Taking advantage of his new arrival in the post in the belief that he was unlikely to be executed immediately, he pulled back those Islamic divisions facing the static Caucasus defence line to help defend northern Iran.

One day later, Valley Forge, Saratoga and Rickover arrived at the Sol - Vienna jump point. Along with Yorktown. Lexington, Copenhagen and Montcalm they transited into the alien system. The four US destroyers were under the command of Commodore Harper while the expedition as a whole was led by Rear Admiral Laura Swift on the Montcalm, partly because the European Union had found the aliens and therefore a European commander seemed appropriate but mainly because as the senior European survey officer she had studied potential first contact situations on the assumption that her survey ships were likely to be the first to make such contact. Commodore Harper was a much more straightforward officer with confidence in his crews and perhaps an over-eagerness to demonstrate their abilities. Rickover remained at the jump point while the other six ships headed for the outermost of Vienna's three planets. With the alien civilization on the first planet, Vienna III seemed a good first step, especially as it was closest to the jump point. Due to the dust density of the Vienna Nebula, the maximum speed of all the allied ships was 500 km/s.

The allied ground offensive reached Tehran, capital of the Islamic Alliance, on September 28th. A huge battle developed as the Islamic Army desperately tried to hold the city but they were outnumbered and outgunned. Half of their fourteen remaining divisions suffered losses before Grand Sheikh Abdul-Muhaimin Nasser finally made the decision to withdraw and preserve what remained of his army. The Islamic leadership was too busy evacuating to a new headquarters in Saudi Arabia to be concerned about executing their new army commander.

During the fall of Tehran, the allied expedition in Vienna reached the third planet, one hundred and ninety million kilometres from Vienna I. So far there was no sign of any alien activity, although the dust level in the nebula reduced sensor ranges by a factor of five. Rear Admiral Swift gave the go-ahead and they moved on to Vienna II, just ninety million kilometres from the innermost planet, arriving without incident three days later. Commander Ingram of the Copenhagen suggested that the warships and the Montcalm remain at Vienna II while his own ship proceeded alone, to avoid the impression of an approaching invasion force. Commodore Harper strongly objected, stating there was little point in bringing the escort if it remained so far away from any possible danger. Rear Admiral Swift could see the sense in both positions but decided that safety of her personnel took precedence. The small fleet left orbit together.

Five point seven million kilometres from Vienna I, the fleet halted and Copenhagen engaged her active sensors. Normally the sensors would have a range of thirty million kilometres but within the nebula that was reduced to six million. No sensor contacts were detected in orbit of the planet or anywhere else within six million kilometres. Speculation began within the allied command structure as to whether the aliens had any space capability. Rear Admiral Swift sent a message to Rickover at the jump point with an update and a request for confirmation that she could initiate communication attempts. Rickover briefly jumped into Sol to relay the message to Earth and returned fifteen minutes later with the go-ahead. On October 3rd 2029, Rear Admiral Swift initiated the first alien contact in human history. Montcalm broadcast a continual signal on all frequencies using mathematical formulae as a basis for communication. Hours passed with no response. Finally, after a day of waiting, a signal arrived from the planet, duplicating the content of Copenhagen's message. There was still along way to go but at least the aliens were receiving the allied transmission.

Back on Earth the allied forces continued their advance across Iran, capturing the cities of Qom and Esfahan as they drove toward in the Persian Gulf in an attempt to cut the Islamic Alliance in half. Grand Sheikh Abdul-Muhaimin Nasser did his best to conduct a fighting retreat but the Islamic Army was designed as an attacking force. Continual losses and constant retreats affected even Islamic morale and the army began to fall apart. In the battle for Esfahan one of the two Islamic heavy assault divisions was surrounded and wiped out. Finally in desperation, the Islamic leadership ordered its three remaining missile bases to fire their conventional ICBMs at the allied ground forces. As the missile bases did not have the active sensors required to pinpoint their targets, a newly built Hufuf class PDC revealed its position by engaging its own sensors.

Thirty conventional ICBMs soared into the skies. The crews of the Russian meson-armed PDCs detected the new threat from the Hufuf and the ICBMs and rushed to activate their own weapons while the Hufuf crew attempted to lock on and fire at the Russian PDCs. Two Russian PDCs opened fire at the same time as the Hufuf and blew it to pieces. All four shots from the Hufuf hit a Sovremenny class PDC and inflicted massive internal damage. With the Hufuf out of the picture, the four undamaged Sovremennys concentrated on the ICBMs, destroying them all within a minute, and then eliminated the three Islamic missile bases.

With the brief Islamic counter-attack dealt with, the allied armies pushed on. The Islamic Army tried to form defence lines but each one was quickly breached with huge losses on the Islamic side. Ahvaz fell on October 10th, Al Basarh in Iraq on the 12th and both Khorramshahr and Abadan on the 13th. The last Islamic heavy assault division made a fanatical but brief last stand with its back to the sea. On October 14th, the leading allied units reached the head of the Persian Gulf, cutting off Pakistan, Afghanistan and eastern Iran from the rest of the Islamic Alliance. By this time the Islamic Army comprised eleven battered divisions, all of which had suffered significant casualties and three of which had only ten percent of their pre-war strength. President Vladimir Vorokov called on the Islamic leadership to surrender immediately and spare any further losses to their population and industry. He was met with scorn and defiance.

While the low-tech Russian infantry divisions spread out across large undefended swaths of Islamic Alliance territory, the allied spearhead pushed south through Kuwait and into Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Army made another stand in the Arabian desert, west of Bahrain, and lost three more divisions, two of which were high-tech assault infantry divisions and the other was the last Islamic armoured division. Two assault infantry divisions and six low-tech infantry divisions, only one of which was at more than forty-five percent strength, faced a battle-hardened allied army with six heavy assault divisions, a mobile infantry division, four tank divisions and twelve infantry divisions. Five garrison divisions provided support. The remnants of the Islamic forces fell back toward Riyadh.

While the Western allies and Russia were distracted by the Russo-Islamic war and the events in Vienna, the Asian Federation established a small colony on Titan. The colony was civilian-funded with infrastructure, freighters and colony ships provided by Chinese corporations. In Vienna, communication attempts with the alien world continued but with frustratingly little progress.

Riyadh fell on October 23rd and the Islamic Alliance lost two more divisions. The Islamic leadership had already debated the removal of Grand Sheikh Abdul-Muhaimin Nasser but they now needed complete loyalty from the Army and executing its leaders on a regular basis would make that difficult. Instead they ordered the Grand Sheikh to defend Mecca where the leadership had taken refuge in a newly-built Hufuf class planetary defence centre.

On October 28th, Japan built its first two Nagato class destroyers. The revolutionary warships contained technology far too sensitive to remain within the active sensor environment that had existed in near-Earth space since the start of the Russo-Islamic war so the two destroyers were sent to orbit Mercury until the situation returned to the status quo ante bellum.

The allied army advanced on Mecca in the last few days of October 2029, led by the Russian 17th Heavy Assault Division. The Islamic defenders threw themselves on the allied army without regard for their own losses and the 17th HAD was almost overrun, suffering almost fifty percent casualties. The Islamic First Infantry Division completely expended itself during the counter-attack, charging the enemy until the last man fell. Once the rest of the allied heavy divisions joined the action the battle turned against the Islamic army and they were forced to retreat into the city after losing most of their strength. The allied divisions pursued them and the armed forces of the Islamic Alliance began their last stand.

For ten days the allies advanced street by street through the city, blasting the Islamic defenders out of their positions with sheer firepower. One by one the remaining Islamic divisions were overwhelmed. Grand Sheikh Abdul-Muhaimin Nasser barely managed to escape the complete destruction of his headquarters. Finally, the few survivors of the last Islamic army unit, the Seventh Infantry Division, were surrounded at the Masjid al-Haram with the Grand Sheikh in command. The leadership was still hidden in the Hufuf class PDC built into one of the mountains surrounding the city. President Vorokov was aware of the significance of the Grand Mosque for Islam and knew the symbolism of its destruction would make Islamic territory far harder to rule. Therefore he sent a personal message to Grand Sheikh Abdul-Muhaimin Nasser, urging him to spare the lives of his men and prevent the obliteration of the Mosque. The President promised that Islam would not be suppressed after an allied victory and the allied armies were directed against the government of the Islamic Alliance, not its religion. Rather than sacrifice his last soldiers in a futile battle and destroy a sacred Islamic site in the process, the Grand Sheikh accepted the offer and surrendered on November 8th 2029. As part of the surrender the Grand Sheikh gave up the location of the Leadership's PDC. Ten minutes later all four Russian meson PDCs opened fire and obliterated it. After six long months, the Russo-Islamic war was over.

The Russian Federation, with a population of three hundred and forty-five million, now had to occupy a vast territory with a population of seven hundred and forty million. Despite the attached allied divisions, its ground forces were not even close to the strength required, even if every single one was committed to the occupation force, leaving Russia totally undefended. Russia, Europe and the US all began building ground force training facilities in an attempt to build up their ground forces before the newly conquered territory erupted in flames. In the meantime, the Russian Federation began the task of transporting the remaining Islamic industry back to Russian territory as reparations for its war losses. Approximately twenty percent of that industry had been destroyed by collateral damage during the allied advance. The remainder included thirty-six construction factories, thirty-two mines, nine ordnance factories, a ground force training facility and a civilian space centre four times larger than its small Russian equivalent. The Russians also recovered fourteen thousand tons of refined minerals and three million litres of fuel.

Several of President Vorokov's advisors suggested that after stripping Islamic territory of its industry and resources the Russian troops should simply pull out. The Alliance would not be a threat in the foreseeable future. The President had a much longer term view than his advisors and believed that to compete with the superpowers, Russia needed population as a much as industry. The seven hundred million in the Alliance might be a burden now but in twenty or thirty years they could be productive members of the Russian Federation. The Presidents of the European Union and the United States had an equally long-tern view. At some point in the future, they believed a global human government would be needed to defend the planet against interstellar aggression and they knew the Russian Federation would have to be a key partner in that task, even though the Russians didn't know it yet. Therefore they needed to help Russia now and turn what began with a successful Russian espionage operation into a strengthening alliance between Russia and the West. Both Western garrison divisions that had been committed to the Russo-Islamic war joined three Russian garrison divisions and every Russian low-tech division in the occupation force. Russia itself was guarded by six heavy assault divisions, two from each of the three allied nations, and a Russian mobile infantry division. An additional eight low-tech infantry divisions, four from each Western nation, were sent to join the occupation force, which the Russian military believed was at only twenty-five percent of the strength needed to carry out its mission even with the Western reinforcements. More garrison divisions were desperately needed.

With the conclusion of the war, allied security forces allowed their guard to slip and agents from the Japanese Alliance operating in European territory managed to steal the plans of the Rapier anti-ship missile. While not as advanced as the latest European missile, the Sabre, it was still much faster than the Japanese Kaga-3 anti-ship missile and had the same range and warhead. The Japanese quickly put the Rapier into production.

On December 5th 2029, the American gravitational survey ships Baltimore and Toledo completed a survey of the Washington system, finding two new jump points. Nautilus transited the closest jump point, located eight hundred million kilometres from the primary, three days later. She discovered Chicago, a system with eleven planets, none of which were close to habitable, eighty moons and almost three hundred asteroids in two belts. While the system had no realistic colony sites, both asteroid belts were in the inner system, which placed a lot of potential mining sites close to the ideal habitable world in Washington. Both Baltimore class ships were escorted into Chicago before Nautilus moved to the outer jump point.

Economic Situation: January 4th 2030

United States - Vice Admiral Rolf Purdom (Research 35%, Mining 20%, Shipbuilding 15%)
Population: 578m
Wealth: 11568
Shipyards: 4 / 8
Research Facilities: 18
Construction Factories: 550
Mines: 542
Automated Mines: 54
Ordnance Factories: 65
Fuel Refineries: 64

US Mars Colony
Population: 5.6m
Wealth: 113
Research Facilities: 1
Construction Factories: 6
Maintenance Facilities: 30
Terraforming Installations: 1

European Union - Fleet Admiral Roberta Armenta Rentería (Research 20%, Production 30%)
Population: 718m
Wealth: 14368
Shipyards: 4 / 7
Research Facilities: 22
Construction Factories: 552
Mines: 634
Automated Mines: 104
Ordnance Factories: 74
Fuel Refineries: 50

EU Mars Colony
Population: 20.4m
Wealth: 409
Construction Factories: 78
Maintenance Facilities: 53
Terraforming Installations: 8

EU Washington II Colony
Population: 0.4m
Wealth: 8

Asian Federation - Fleet Admiral Lai Cui Zhen (Research 35%, Wealth 25%, Growth 20%, Mining 15%, Shipbuilding 5%)
Population: 3140m
Wealth: 39252
Shipyards: 3 / 7
Research Facilities: 14
Construction Factories: 525
Mines: 449
Automated Mines: 26
Ordnance Factories: 60
Fuel Refineries: 45
Maintenance Facilities: 18

Asian Comet Mining Operation
Automated Mines: 59

Asian Titan Colony
Population: 0.04m

Japan – Tai-Sho Yamahata Takakazu (Research 30%, Shipbuilding 15%, Pop Growth 10%)
Population: 535m
Wealth: 5346
Shipyards: 2 / 4
Research Facilities: 6
Construction Factories: 230
Mines: 275
Automated Mines: 10
Ordnance Factories: 40
Fuel Refineries: 30
Maintenance Facilities: 15

Russian Federation – Marshal Helen Belkin (Research 30%, Prod 20%, Growth 20%, Shipbuilding 10%, Wealth 5%)
Population: 347m
Wealth: 7293
Shipyards: 1 / 2
Research Facilities: 9
Construction Factories: 237
Mines: 223
Automated Mines: 25
Fuel Refineries: 5
Maintenance Facilities: 13

Occupied Islamic Territory
Population: 746m
Wealth: 2690

USAN – Almirante Luzia Alcoforado (Research 30%, Prod 20%, Wealth 15%, Pop Growth 15%)
Population: 614m
Wealth: 7057
Shipyards: 2 / 3
Research Facilities: 4
Construction Factories: 140
Mines: 169
Automated Mines: 0
Fuel Refineries: 15
Maintenance Facilities: 13

to be continued...


Offline cjblack

  • Petty Officer
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  • Posts: 18
Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 4
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 06:04:36 PM »
Excellent as usual.  I am eagerly awaiting the next installment!


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