Author Topic: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 5  (Read 3650 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 5
« on: November 13, 2008, 10:06:17 PM »
On January 6th 2030, Nautilus entered the remaining unexplored jump point in Washington and found a binary system with two brown dwarf stars, the mass of which was so small that a gravitational survey would take only a few days. Apart from two small asteroids the system was barren. The recently promoted Captain John Fraser named the system Boston and took his ship back to the Washington - Sol jump point. The US jump ship was acting as escort for the four European Santa Maria class colony ships as they moved in and out of Washington so colonization of Washington II had temporarily been put on hold while Nautilus was elsewhere.

Three days later the European Union completed a survey of Lisbon, which lay beyond Sol's third jump point, and found two new jump points. The Copenhagen class jump ship Oslo was already in the system and moved to investigate. A jump point in the inner system led to Warsaw, a G1-V system with plenty of real estate but no suitable colony sites. Oslo held her position while the two European gravitational made their way across the system to the Warsaw jump point, after which she headed for the second unexplored jump point, located in the outer system.

On January 18th, the European Union built two Audacious class scouts. One of these was immediately dispatched to Vienna to aid the expeditionary force. Communication with the Vienna Aliens was proceeding slowly, and with occasional setbacks, but gradual progress was being made and Rear Admiral Swift believed a breakthrough was close. Thus far very little had been learned about the aliens, not even their physical appearance. The only strange aspect of the communication attempts was that while the Western first contact team was a tightly-knit group and only three individuals were involved in direct voice contact with the aliens, Montcalm's computers had identified hundreds of different alien voice patterns over the last three months.

The greatest recovery operation ever carried out on Mars was completed in late January 2030, with the European Union's restoration of an entire alien shipyard. The shipyard had a single slipway of 8000 ton capacity, giving the Union a place to build ships that would not be detected by any powers except the United States and Russia. The two largest shipyards on Earth were tied up building Scharnhorst class cruisers and the new Mayflower class colony ship so the new shipyard on Mars was an ideal location to build a new jump ship large enough to escort freighters and colony ships. The Aragon class jump cruiser was already designed and waiting for an available shipyard so construction could get underway without delay.

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Aragon class Jump Cruiser    3800 tons     339 Crew     449.8 BP      TCS 76  TH 200  EM 0
2631 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 3-21     Shields 0-0     Sensors 20/5/0/0     Damage Control Rating 4     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 28%    IFR: 0.4%    Maintenance Capacity 296 MSP    Max Repair 90 MSP

Rolls Royce RR3800 Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 3800 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
E90 Nuclear Pulse Engine (5)    Power 40    Efficiency 0.90    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 150,000 Litres    Range 78.9 billion km   (347 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
EM Detection Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 5     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  5m km
Full communication was established with the Vienna Aliens on February 1st 2030. The breakthrough allowed far more complex intercourse than had previously been possible, including an exchange of information on how to establish a real-time video link. The first sight of the aliens sent a shudder through almost every member of the expedition. Shaped vaguely like a huge bug, with a hard chitinous grey-pink exoskeleton, a soft yellow underbelly, twelve pairs of multi-segmented clawed legs and a pair of enormous luminous sliver eyes, the aliens were totally unlike anything the crews expected to see. After recovering from their initial shock, the human first contact team regained their professional composure and began an exchange of information.

The best translation of the name which the aliens applied to themselves was the Tulan Confederation. As far as the team could tell, the Tulan had no centralised government and organised themselves as required by a collective form of decision-making. They had no concept of a hierarchical command structure and appeared bemused by the very idea. As the conversation continued, other Tulan regularly replaced the being speaking directly to the human ship without missing a beat. Within a few hours it become apparent the Tulan had some form of collective consciousness where all Tulan learned what one individual learned and the Tulan were plainly astounded to learn that humans did not possess the same ability.

As hours turned into days, the Tulan become increasingly keen to learn about the human ships, in particular their high speed and how they arrived in the Vienna Nebula. This revealed that the Tulan had some form of deep space monitoring capability, even if they had not shown any signs of spacecraft or orbital infrastructure. The first contact team fended off their questions, which led to apparent frustration among the Tulan. In return the human team was eager to learn more about the Tulan culture and history, especially if the Tulan had a world government and how that was achieved. While the Tulan confirmed that their world was united and that had happened over several centuries in human terms, they were very reticent to discuss the events of that consolidation in detail. With both sides unwilling to provide large amount of information to an unknown alien race, the initial phase of the contact reached something of a stalemate. On the instructions of Rear Admiral Swift, the human contact team began the process of negotiating a non-aggression treaty and an agreement on how future negotiations could be conducted. They were ordered by the Admiral to use the treaty negotiations to find out as much as possible about the industrial capacity of the Tulan and their level of technological development.

The Russian Federation completed research into electronic warfare in February 2030. As per the terms of the new technology treaty with the United States and Europe, technical information on electronic warfare was exchanged for Western-developed improvements in the Russian research rate. The Russians began research into creating the first functional systems based on the new technology.

On February 22nd, Oslo arrived at the remaining unexplored jump point in Lisbon. She transited into an unremarkable system with a dim red M8-V star with four planets. The low mass of the star would make this an easy system to survey and any jump points would be generally located closer to the star than in a system with a G or K-class primary. Oslo's captain, Commander Catherina Martens, privately considered this a fortunate astrographical feature because she wouldn't want to spend any more time in this system than was necessary. As per the pre-agreed list of European system names, she named it Zagreb.

A non-aggression pact with the Tulan Confederation was signed on March 4th. Little was known about the strange alien race, except their bug-like appearance, lack of central government and possession some type of communal mind-link. Given these factors, several of the Montcalm's crew had started referring to the Tulan as 'Bugs', despite the best efforts of the Union officers to stamp out use of the pejorative term. Even the first contact team referred to the communal link as a hive mind, which didn't help the situation. Nevertheless, the non-aggression pact was a positive first step. Under the terms of the agreement, most of the allied ships would withdraw, leaving a single ship to conduct further negotiations. As the ship with the best sensors, and coincidentally the most expendable, Audacious was chosen to remain behind. The senior US officer in Vienna, Commodore Harper, argued strongly against withdrawing his warships from the system. Despite the apparent non-threatening nature of the Tulan, he was concerned their refusal to provide information about their history or technological capabilities was a worrying sign. When Rear Admiral Swift pointed out that the human negotiators had also withheld the same type of information, Commodore Harper responded if that meant the aliens had the same history and potential for aggression as humans, they should be exterminated immediately. Rear Admiral Swift wasn't entirely certain he was joking.

On May 3rd 2030, the US survey ship Spruance found a ruined alien city on the fifth planet of the Lisbon system. Lisbon V was another cold world with a thin oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere. A possible terraforming target but with a lower priority than several other candidates in systems adjacent to Sol. The ruins were closer in size to those found in New York than the partially intact city found on Mars. The name of the long-dead alien race that inhabited the systems around Sol had not yet been identified but many scientists referred to them as the Precursors. The European archaeological team was still on Mars so Copenhagen was dispatched to collect them and transfer them to Lisbon. As per the existing arrangement between the United States and the European Union, all technological discoveries in alien ruins would be shared. Later the same month, the first technical data was gained on the alien jump gate in the London system by the European frigate Madrid. Although it was only a first step toward understanding the alien technology, it was  an encouraging one. In addition to Madrid, Bayern and the four US Lexington class destroyers were actively scanning the jump gate.

Vice Admiral Rolf Purdom, head of the military-related manufacturing and research effort of the United States completed his third master's degree in June 2030. His knowledge of engineering and physics, particularly as they related to missiles and kinetics, would have allowed to follow a career as a university professor if he had not chosen the military. His considerable knowledge allowed him eliminate wastage within the scientific research establishment of the United States and quickly identify promising research avenues. The efficiency of the research facilities in the United States was at least forty-five percent greater than if a non-scientific commander was in charge.

The European Union had three Trafalgar class destroyer escorts equipped with short range advanced railguns for point-blank missiles defence. With four Scharnhorst class missile cruisers in service and two more under construction, the defence ministry decided to complement the Trafalgar with a new missile-armed destroyer escort, designed to engage incoming missiles at ranges of up to one million kilometres. The resulting design was the Tribal class. She would be built in the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard, the third largest European shipyard on Earth, which had just been upgraded to the necessary size.

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Tribal class Destroyer Escort    3800 tons     346 Crew     536.6 BP      TCS 76  TH 200  EM 0
2631 km/s     Armour 1-21     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 2     PPV 10
Annual Failure Rate: 57%    IFR: 0.8%    Maintenance Capacity 177 MSP    Max Repair 96 MSP
Magazine 370    

E90 Nuclear Pulse Engine (5)    Power 40    Efficiency 0.90    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 52.6 billion km   (231 days at full power)

AML-15 Missile Launcher (10)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 15
AMF-960 Missile Fire Control (2)     Range 960k km    Resolution 1
Dagger AMM (370)  Speed: 23700 km/s   End: 1.4 minutes    Range: 2m km   Warhead: 1    MR: 10    Size: 1
MD960 Missile Detection Sensor (1)     GPS 96     Range 960k km    Resolution 1
On June 21st, the United States finally achieved a breakthrough in the long running espionage war with the Asian Federation. FBI agents managed to identify the Kadru Barot espionage team and launched a successful operation to capture them alive. The information they provided after a thorough interrogation was sufficient for a newly trained US espionage team to penetrate Chinese security and obtain technical information on the asteroid mining module. Less than a week later, the US counterintelligence agents trapped a South American team, of all whom were killed in the ensuing gun-battle.

In mid-July, the Russian Federation built its first two colony ships and began shipping colonists to Mars. A pair of civilian owned Russian freighters had been shipping infrastructure to Mars for many months and their cybernetic teams had restored part of the alien city. Between them they had created enough living space for up to ten million colonists. Although the Russians knew of the alien city, they were still unaware of jump points and had no idea that the European Union and the United States were conducting interstellar missions. So far, only the Union of South American Nations had discovered their secret and without jump drives they were unable to transit a jump point. They had laid down their first jump-capable design, the Rosales class, which was also a gravitational survey ship and would be ready by October 2031.

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Kara class Colony Ship    4050 tons     183 Crew     625.5 BP      TCS 81  TH 100  EM 0
1234 km/s     Armour 1-22     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 131%    IFR: 1.8%    Maintenance Capacity 97 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP
Colonists 50000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 5    

Nuclear Thermal Engine (4)    Power 25    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 22.2 billion km   (208 days at full power)
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Rosales class Gravsurvey Ship    2500 tons     236 Crew     402.5 BP      TCS 50  TH 50  EM 0
1000 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 1-16     Shields 0-0     Sensors 5/1/2/0     Damage Control Rating 2     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 25%    IFR: 0.3%    Maintenance Capacity 201 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP

X255 Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 2550 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Nuclear Thermal Engine  (2)    Power 25    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 25    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 72.0 billion km   (833 days at full power)

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
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points
Also in July 2030, the United States finally designed its second generation jump ship, the Virginia class survey cruiser. With Flight III Arleigh Burkes being built at the Bath Iron Works and Alaska class colony ships at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the United States had decided to wait until the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which had built the two Nautilus class jump ships, was large enough for the new class. Retooling would take until May 2031 so the first Virginia would not be available until mid 2032. The second generation European jump ship, the Aragon, was only four months from completion so she would be able to ferry both US and European colony ships and freighters through a jump point in the meantime.

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Virginia class Survey Cruiser    4000 tons     387 Crew     607.2 BP      TCS 80  TH 240  EM 0
3000 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 1-22     Shields 0-0     Sensors 5/1/2/0     Damage Control Rating 3     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 42%    IFR: 0.6%    Maintenance Capacity 285 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP

Lockheed JD4000 Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 4000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Nuclear Pulse Engine (6)    Power 40    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 200,000 Litres    Range 90.0 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
Gravitational Survey Sensors (2)   2 Survey Points
Baltimore and Toledo completed a gravitational survey of the Chicago system on August 1st, identifying three new jump points. These led to Philadelphia, with its planetless G4-V primary, Denver, an unremarkable white dwarf system, and Seattle, a trinary with seven planets and a large asteroid belt around the primary and two planetless companions. None of the new systems had any habitable or even near-habitable planets. US survey efforts now switched to New York, located beyond Sol's second jump point.

By September 2030, engineers and scientists in the European Union had effectively created a new field in space-based naval combat. They had taken the same technology as used in missiles but replaced the engine and fuel with a reactor, similar in principle to that used to power energy weapons but designed to continually generate small amounts of power over a long period rather than the occasional bursts of powers required for shipboard reactors. This allowed the creation of a 'missile' with an endurance of several months, or even years, although it remained in the spot where it was launched using tiny thrusters powered by the reactor to hold it in place. The new missile type was generally referred to as a buoy. As active, thermal and EM sensors could already be added to missiles to create a short-lived reconnaissance drone, adding them to a buoy would create a long-term cheap sensor platform that would be virtually undetectable as long as only passive sensors were used. With this in mind, two thermal sensor buoys had been designed. A small version that could be deployed by the existing S3 and S3/R45 Missile Launchers in use on the Invincibles and Scharnhorsts and a much larger version that would require a new launcher design. The Small Thermal Buoy had a reactor life of six months and a sensor strength one quarter that of the inherent thermal sensor built into every ship design. It would only be useful when deployed in close proximity to a jump point or in orbit of a planet. The Large Thermal Buoy would last for two years and had sensors eight times as sensitive. It would be able to detect most thermal signatures from several hundred thousand kilometres away

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Small Thermal Buoy
Buoy Size: 3 MSP  (0.15 HS)     Armour: 0
Reactor Endurance: 6 months
Thermal Sensor Strength: 0.25    Detect Sig Strength 1000:  250,000 km
Cost Per Buoy: 1.45
Materials Required:    0.25x Uridium
Development Cost for Project: 145RP
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Large Thermal Buoy
Buoy Size: 16 MSP  (0.8 HS)     Armour: 0
Reactor Endurance: 24 months
Thermal Sensor Strength: 2    Detect Sig Strength 1000:  2,000,000 km
Cost Per Buoy: 6.8
Materials Required:    2x Uridium
Development Cost for Project: 680RP
Once the implications of the new buoys became clear, it didn't take long for them to be taken a stage further. Two-stage missiles had already been discussed within the European military as a way to increase overall range. While none had been created thus far, partly because the relatively small size of the European missile launchers didn't allow enough space for an effective two-stage missiles, the technology was available. When that technology was combined with buoys, it allowed the creation of mines. The Thermal Mine had a buoy with a thermal sensor as its first stage, although other types of sensor could be used to create different types of mines. The second stage comprised three Heat-seeking Sub-munitions, a new short-range missile that had a built-in thermal sensor of its own that allowed it to seek out targets without the need for shipboard fire control. The mine was designed with a set attack range so that if it detected anything within that range it would launch the sub-munitions and pass on the location of the target. The sub-munitions would home in on that location and as soon as their own seeker heads detected the original target, or any other thermal signature in range, they would attack. A new Minelaying System was designed as the Thermal Mine was the same size as the Large Thermal Buoy and both required a new launcher. Several different ship designs were created that incorporated the new minelaying system but as no European shipyards would be available for several months at least, no firm decision was necessary on a final design. To ensure when a new ship was authorised it would have sufficient munitions available, European ordnance factories began producing the Thermal Buoys and the Thermal Mine.

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Heat-seeking Submunition
Missile Size: 4 MSP  (0.2 HS)     Warhead: 4    Armour: 0     Manoeuvre Rating: 10
Speed: 15900 km/s    Endurance: 1 minutes   Range: 0.5m km
Thermal Sensor Strength: 0.25    Detect Sig Strength 1000:  250,000 km
Cost Per Missile: 2.3113
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 159%   3k km/s 50%   5k km/s 31.8%   10k km/s 15.9%
Materials Required:    1x Tritanium   0.25x Uridium   0.8113x Gallicite   Fuel x25
Development Cost for Project: 231RP
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Thermal Mine
Buoy Size: 16 MSP  (0.8 HS)     Armour: 0
Reactor Endurance: 9 months
Thermal Sensor Strength: 0.25    Detect Sig Strength 1000:  250,000 km
Cost Per Buoy: 8.9839
Second Stage: Heat-seeking Submunition x3
Second Stage Separation Range: 200000 km
Materials Required:    3x Tritanium   1x Uridium   2.1839x Gallicite
Development Cost for Project: 898RP
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Minelaying System
Maximum Missile Size: 16     Rate of Fire: 240 seconds
Launcher Size: 16    Launcher HTK: 8
Cost Per Launcher: 80    Crew Per Launcher: 160
Materials Required: 20x Duranium  60x Tritanium
Development Cost for Project: 800RP
During the same month the European Union completed its first Barrack class Planetary Defence Centre. The Barrack, as the name suggested, was intended as a safe base for European ground forces. It provided a degree of protection from orbital bombardment, although its hidden location was its best defence. Six divisions could be housed within its capacious interior and it would provide a centre for training. A second Barrack was due for completion within two weeks.

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Barrack class Planetary Defence Centre    12500 tons     250 Crew     373 BP      TCS 250  TH 0  EM 0
Armour 5-47     Sensors 1/0     Damage Control Rating 0     PPV 0
Troop Capacity 6 Divisions  

In October 2030, a major conference was held in the US capital. Senior delegations from the European Union and the United States were meeting to discuss how a future global government might function. Representatives of the Russian Federation were also invited along to the main conference, although not to some of the smaller side meetings that discussed interstellar implications. Negotiations on a smaller scale had taken place over the previous fourteen months between Washington and Brussels and had finally reached the point where the two governments believed they could sell their intentions to the public. The purpose of the Washington Conference was explained in a joint broadcast by the Presidents of the EU and the United States and Western news networks talked of little else for the following two weeks. There was some initial outcry over the idea but given the wars of the past few years and the increased tension between different nations as they expanded into space, the idea of uniting those nations under one government had considerable appeal. The European Union had already carried out a smaller scale version of what was being proposed so the Europeans were generally more amenable to the idea than Americans, Canadians or Australians. Even in those countries, the majority was in favour once the initial shock had passed.

President Vorokov of the Russian Federation had been brought into the general discussion three months previously and despite initial reservations could see the advantages for his country. The occupation of former Islamic territory was not going well and unrest was rising rapidly. Thirty-seven allied divisions were still nowhere near close to being able to quell the unrest and President Vorokov feared an open revolt was a real possibility. The United States and the European Union had contributed seventeen of those divisions and the President knew that Russia alone could not handle the assimilation of the new territory. A government that comprised all three nations might be equal to the task. Furthermore, despite his nation's expertise in sensor and fire control technology and the strides which had been made under his leadership, the Western nations were pulling ahead technologically and economically and he could not see any way for Russia to compete in the long term. The Russian people would benefit considerably from being part of a new and greater power.

The knowledge that US and European ships were exploring distant star systems was still a closely guarded secret and, as yet, even the Russian Federation had not been informed. The European and American leaders had discussed informing the Russians, particularly as they believed it would encourage the Russian President to join their plans for a combined global government, but decided the time was not yet right. Even the settlers on Washington II had believed they were headed for Mars and were very pleasantly surprised when they arrived at their new home.

The governments of the other nations of the Earth were less than impressed with the whole idea, particularly that of the Asian Federation which saw it as a Western plot to create an alliance against them. The Japanese were still very wary of the Asian Federation and might have seen the Western proposal as a way to ensure security for their population. Unfortunately the Mars Incident had soured relations and for the moment the leaders of the Japanese Alliance were content to follow their own path. The South American Confederation, while not hostile to the Western Powers, was fiercely independent, especially as they felt their Northern neighbours had tried to interfere in their affairs too much in the past. Unlike the Russians, their independence was more important to them than any material benefits that being part of a global government might bring. Their leaders looked forward to creating a South American nation out among the stars, free from any Western influence.

In November, Lieutenant Commander Valentine Lamarliere, captain of the Audacious, provided an update on the ongoing negotiations with the Tulan Confederation. Eight months after the non-aggression pact was signed, remarkably little new knowledge had been gained. On the plus side there was no sign of any hostile move from the Tulan and no evidence of any space-based capabilities. In fact, based on what little had been gleaned from the Tulan negotiators, the first contact team believed the Tulan were at a pre-Trans-Newtonian stage of development. Even so, they had detected the allied ships which indicated that they had a significant technological civilization and might be capable of taking the next step. Because of the lack of substantive information, the two intelligence officers posted to the Audacious before it left Earth orbit were still unable to determine the level of threat posed by the Tulan, whatever the aliens' actual intentions might be, which made both of them, and Lieutenant Commander Lamarliere, increasingly nervous. The first contact team had been instructed to try and negotiate some form of trade treaty in the hope that commercial traffic would open up the Tulan to closer inspection. That task had thus far proved fruitless due to the Tulan's apparently glacial negotiating speed. Every minor detail of several proposed treaties required several days of frustratingly slow examination by the Tulan communal mind-link, followed by a series of detailed questions, the answers to which were subjected to the same degree of painstaking evaluation and only resulted in further questions. Lieutenant Commander Lamarliere posted his own addendum to the reports of the first contact team and the intelligence officers, stating that the pace of negotiations could be due to cultural imperatives on the part of the Tulan but he was beginning to suspect they were deliberately playing for time. What purpose would be served by the delay, if it was indeed deliberate, he could not yet determine.

On November 24th, the Aragon was launched from the European Union shipyard on Mars and dispatched to the Washington jump point. She was large enough to provide an escort for all European and US colony ships and freighters and her presence finally opened up the ideal habitable world of Washington II for full-scale colonization. There were already one and a half million European settlers on the planet, carried there by the four tiny Santa Maria colony ships, but no factories or installations. That would soon change. Both Western nations planned to move their main naval bases from Mars to Washington II as soon as practicable, although due to the size of the Arleigh Burkes and the Scharnhorsts that would have to wait until larger jump engines were available or the ships in London finally learned all the secrets of the alien jump gate so that the jump gate components on Mars could be used to build jump gates between Sol and Washington. For the time being, the fiction that colonists leaving Earth were heading for Mars was maintained, although both Western governments knew that with the imminent increase in activity their secret could not hold for much longer. Sooner or later it would leak or another power would decide to follow one of the Western colony ships or freighters. Before that happened, it was time to tell the Russians.

President Vorokov reacted calmly to the news that his new allies had been exploring interstellar space for the previous eighteen months without bothering to tell him, that even the South Americans knew before he did and that contact had been made with an alien race. Only after the President of the EU had deactivated the video link did he make full use of his repertoire of expletives. Nevertheless, after a most satisfying rant he began reviewing the situation more rationally. The EU president had promised full information on the sixteen systems that had been discovered so far and had invited the Russians to begin their own colonization of Washington II. Given the plans of the Western powers for a global government, plans which he understood  even more now that an alien race was part of the calculation, the invitation to colonise Washington II made sense as it would build up the eventual combined population of the planet and provide a backup if anything unfortunate was to happen to the Earth. Still, the Western powers had finally taken him fully into their confidence, which boded well for the future. At least, he hoped they were not holding back information that was even more astounding than the news he had already received. In addition, by way of apology for keeping knowledge of jumps points from the Russian Federation, the Western Powers had provided technical details of their nuclear pulse technology, which would lead to engines considerably more powerful than Russia's own nuclear thermal drive. The only real downside was that Russian participation in the colonisation effort in Washington would be delayed for several months. The European jump ship was only 3800 tons and Russian colony ship and freighter designs were both 4000 tons. Once the first US Virginia class survey cruiser, a jump-capable ship with a displacement of 4000 tons, was launched that would change but for now Russia would concentrate on Mars.

The next few months were uneventful as each of Earth's nations pursued its own agenda. The Western powers and the Russian Federation continued working on the thousands of administrative details required to establish an effective combined government while at the same time running a huge public relations exercise to convince their own populations of the benefits of the proposal. The Japanese Alliance worked on its defences, as its leaders believed they could not trust any of the larger powers, while the South Americans concentrated on their economy as they awaited the completion of their first jump-capable spacecraft. The Asian Alliance remained quiet; too quiet according to many Western analysts. Asian freighters and colony ships still made the long journey to Titan and mass driven Asian minerals arrived every few days from their comet mining colony. No new Asian warships had been built for over four years, which suggested to some Western politicians that the Asian Alliance had decided to abandon its old aggressive policies. Others believed it was the calm before the storm.

As if to underscore those concerns, the Asian Federation launched two 5200 ton ships of a new design on February 24th 2031. The purpose of the ships was unknown but they remained in Earth orbit. The Western powers were not too concerned as the European Union had four Scharnhorst class cruisers with two more close to completion and the United States had eight Flight III Arleigh Burkes in commission and was in the process of upgrading the two Flight IIs. Both powers also had several older warships.

The Western Powers and the Russian Federation finally reached agreement on the proposed combined government in early May 2031. After long discussions on the model for that government, in which all parties essentially argued that their own existing form of government was best and should be adopted by the other parties, the constitutional delegates agreed on a modified form of the US constitution. The US model had been in place for over two hundred years compared to less than forty for the Russian Federation and less than thirty for the European Union, so it had stood the test of time and in the words of one delegate, it had been 'thoroughly playtested'. Several changes were made, including the lengthening of the Presidential term to five years to match that of the European Union and to give the President more time in office before he had to consider re-election. Term limits were removed and the election of the President would be by popular vote rather than using the electoral college system. The House of Representatives and the Senate would remain largely the same, although the number of Representatives and Senators increased considerably. The existence of a bicameral system in both Europe and Russia made this relatively easy to implement, although one of the major tasks for the newly formed Electoral Commission was to redefine electoral boundaries for the various districts, provinces and states within the new nation to ensure a fair distribution of representatives.

One of the items on the constitutional agenda that caused considerable disagreement was the name for the new state. Although it would initially comprise the Western powers and Russia, the intention of its founders was to try to persuade other nations to join eventually so that a true global government would exist. With that in mind, the name had to be global in scope. In addition, any names including United, Union or Federation were quickly disregarded as appearing to favour one of the founding nations. The delegates settled on Terran as the first element of the name, representing its global reach, and ultimately short listed Republic, Alliance and Commonwealth as the second element. Alliance was eventually dismissed as sounding too military in nature and while Republic was factually accurate it didn't really fire the imagination. Commonwealth created an impression of the new nation which its founders wished to portray. The Terran Commonwealth would officially come into being on June 1st 2032, with elections for the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives taking place in April 2032. With only slightly more than a year until the new state was born, there was huge amount of work still to do for the three participating governments.

In July 2031, the United States completed research into a troop transport module, creating the capability to transport ground forces from Earth for the first time. Although there was no immediate requirement for such a capability, especially given that no ground units could be spared from the ongoing task of trying to quell the unrest within the conquered Islamic territory, it would potentially be very useful for the future. New colonies would have to be protected and if aliens such as the Tulan eventually proved hostile, a ground invasion might have to be mounted. The first design to mount the new module was the Tarawa class Troop Transport.

Code: [Select]
Tarawa class Troop Transport    4500 tons     266 Crew     329 BP      TCS 90  TH 160  EM 0
1777 km/s     Armour 1-24     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 3     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 54%    IFR: 0.7%    Maintenance Capacity 137 MSP    Max Repair 50 MSP
Troop Capacity 3 Divisions    

Nuclear Pulse Engine (4)    Power 40    Efficiency 1.00    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 100,000 Litres    Range 40.0 billion km   (260 days at full power)
The Asian Federation launched its first two Hainan class Asteroid Mining Ships on July 19th. The Hainans were the largest ships built to date by any of the human powers and could each perform the same task as five automated mining complexes. The mining ships headed for the Asian comet mining colony and two more Hainans were laid down. Later the same month, the Russian Federation moved its primary fleet base to its growing colony on Mars. The four Moskva class destroyers could now be based safely out of harms way without the need to maintain a patrol in a fourteen million kilometre orbit of Earth.

In August 2031, the Western Powers and Russia finally reached a point where they believed they had begun to turn the tide in the occupied Islamic territory. Unrest had been steadily increasing ever since the end of the Russo-Islamic war and all-out revolt was a real possibility. The occupation force, comprising seventeen garrison divisions, four armoured divisions and twenty-four infantry divisions by mid-August, had been reinforced as quickly as new garrison divisions could be trained. The second week in August saw the first slight fall in unrest for twenty-one months. An encouraging sign. As several more garrison divisions were scheduled to enter service over the forthcoming months, allied commanders started to contemplate the real possibility that unrest could be steadily reduced. If unrest could be completely eliminated, the first steps could be taken in integrating Islamic territory into the planned Terran Commonwealth.

In late August, the Japanese Alliance established a colony on Mercury. The colony cost of 17.4 was far higher than the Alliance military would consider but civilian corporations were eager to create off-world colonies and, like the Asian Federation, the Japanese were unaware of jump points. Four freighters and three colony ships had been built by the Japanese civilian space centre so the Japanese government decided to designated Mercury as their preferred colony site. Mars was firmly in the hands of the Western powers and Russia and Titan had been occupied by the Asian Federation. Venus was an even worse prospect than Mercury. Although Mercury was so inhospitable that all the efforts of the population would be dedicated toward keeping the colonists alive, leaving none to man any installations, the Japanese government hoped that eventually terraforming technology might be developed that could start to reduce the temperature and thus make the planet a little more habitable.

Two more of the unknown 5200 ton Asian ships were launched on September 19th and Western analysts still had no idea of their purpose. They assumed they were some type of warship but with no active sensors in Earth orbit since the end of the last war, no sensor scans were available. Two new European designs were created in late September. The Vittorio Veneto class Jump Cruiser incorporated the largest jump engine so far and was in fact the largest Western ship ever designed, allowing it to escort any existing allied ship through a jump point. In addition to the same sensor suite as the Audacious class scout, the Vittorio Veneto carried large stocks of fuel and maintenance supplies, enabling it to support a squadron of warships on a long deployment. The Manxman class collier was intended as a combination of minelayer and collier, able to carry and deploy up to 68 large mines or large sensor buoys. She could also transport 365 Sabre anti-ship missiles, more than enough to resupply three Scharnhorst class missile cruisers. The Manxman would be built on Mars once retooling was completed in April 2032, while the large BAE Systems shipyard on Earth was scheduled to lay down two Vittorio Venetos in February 2032

Code: [Select]
Vittorio Veneto class Jump Cruiser    6000 tons     594 Crew     849.6 BP      TCS 120  TH 320  EM 0
2666 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 1-29     Shields 0-0     Sensors 20/20/0/0     Damage Control Rating 10     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 28%    IFR: 0.4%    Maintenance Capacity 885 MSP    Max Repair 225 MSP

Rolls Royce RR6000 Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 6000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
E90 Nuclear Pulse Engine (8)    Power 40    Efficiency 0.90    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 900,000 Litres    Range 299.9 billion km   (1302 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
Code: [Select]
Manxman class Collier    6000 tons     457 Crew     639.6 BP      TCS 120  TH 240  EM 0
2000 km/s     Armour 1-29     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 3     PPV 16
Annual Failure Rate: 96%    IFR: 1.3%    Maintenance Capacity 200 MSP    Max Repair 80 MSP
Magazine 1096    

E90 Nuclear Pulse Engine (6)    Power 40    Efficiency 0.90    Signature 40    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 200,000 Litres    Range 66.7 billion km   (385 days at full power)

Minelaying System (1)    Missile Size 16    Rate of Fire 240
Large Thermal Sensor Buoy (8)  Speed: 0 km/s   End: 720 days    Warhead: 0    MR: 10    Size: 16
Thermal Mine (60)  Speed: 0 km/s   End: 270 days    Range: 0.2m km   Warhead: 0    MR: 10    Size: 16
In early October, the Asian ambassador to the Japanese Alliance requested an audience with the Japanese Prime Minster. At that meeting he reminded the Prime Minister of the planned formation of the Terran Commonwealth and stated that all Asian nations should show solidarity against this Western-inspired attempt at global domination. With that in mind, he asked to Prime Minister to consider the benefits of the Japanese Alliance becoming part of the Asian Federation. Alliance citizens would enjoy domestic autonomy with the Chinese leadership determining military and foreign policy. The Prime Minister rejected the suggestion out of hand, declaring his country and its allies would never surrender to the Chinese. The ambassador suggested the Prime Minster should talk to the rest of his government before making a final decision and strongly recommended that the Alliance accept the generous offer. He stated that a Pan-Asian government was only a matter of time and it would be far better if the process was peaceful, especially given that in the unfortunate event of a future conflict between the Federation and the Alliance, it was unlikely the Japanese could count on Western support.

The Japanese government held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss what amounted to an ultimatum from the Asian Federation. Even while the meeting was underway, the Japanese fleet left near Earth orbit and assumed a new orbit, fifteen million kilometres from Earth. For the moment, the Asian fleet remained in close orbit. The atmosphere of the cabinet meeting was gloomy as the real threat of a new war hung over the Japanese Alliance. The cabinet was confident in the superior quality of their navy compared to the Federation but the Chinese ground forces significantly outnumbered the Alliance. In the previous war against China in 2019, the Japanese Alliance had eventually been saved by European and American ground forces, along with the threat of nuclear retaliation from those same powers. The deterioration in relations between Japan and the West since the Mars Incident made that far more unlikely and the Chinese were well aware of that fact. Even if the Western powers had been inclined to assist, the bulk of their forces were tied up in occupied Islamic territory. The course of any war with the Asian Federation was therefore very likely to end with a desperate Japanese threat to launch ICBMs against Federation industry in an attempt to force a ceasefire. Even so, the cabinet could not countenance the loss of their independence and so they voted to reject the Asian demands in the hope that peace would prevail or that the West would intervene if the Asian Federation carried out its threat.

to be continued...

Offline Steve Walmsley

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European Map - October 2031
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2008, 10:12:33 PM »
Here is the European map from October 2031



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