Author Topic: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10  (Read 3735 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« on: January 28, 2009, 08:52:37 AM »
Scientists on Mars developed improved jump drive efficiency in July 2043, allowing the creation of larger, yet still economically viable, jump drives. The first of the new drives was the Rolls Royce RR10000, capable of allowing a 10,000 ton ship to jump and to escort two other ships into a combat situation. A ship built around this drive would finally permit the largest Commonwealth designs, such as the construction ships, terraformers and Peter the Great class battlecruisers to enter systems without the need of a jump gate. Armed jump cruiser designs were initially proposed to take advantage of the RR10000 but the size of the drive meant that any such armament would be relatively light. Instead a fleet support vessel was created, capable of battle fleet speeds, equipped with the latest sensors and carrying huge quantities of fuel and maintenance supplies. In addition a flag bridge was installed, providing accommodations and communications for a task force commander and his staff. They were the most expensive Commonwealth ship class to date. Retooling began in August 2043 at the Bath Iron Works on Sparta and the first Kilimanjaro was scheduled to be laid down in February 2044.

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Kilimanjaro class Fleet Support Vessel    10000 tons     820 Crew     1666.6 BP     TCS 200  TH 900  EM 0
4500 km/s    JR 3-50     Armour 4-41     Shields 0-0     Sensors 20/20/0/0     Damage Control Rating 5   PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 160%    IFR: 2.2%    Maintenance Capacity 3521 MSP    Max Repair 400 MSP
Flag Bridge    

Rolls Royce RR10000 Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 10000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
NPO Energomash Ion Drive (15)    Power 60    Efficiency 0.80    Signature 60    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 1,000,000 Litres    Range 225.0 billion km   (578 days at full power)

Voskhod MR-800 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 57.6m km    Resolution 60
S20 Thermal Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 20     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  20m km
EM20 Passive Sensor  (1)     Sensitivity 20     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  20m km
The Commonwealth's seventh colony was founded on New York IV in September 2043. Located in the same system as Eden, New York IV was a frozen world with ice sheets covering over forty percent of its surface, a temperature of -45C and little in the way of mineral deposits. Despite those significant disadvantages, its atmosphere was close to breathable and the planet was located close to the heart of the Commonwealth. It had terraforming potential and was viewed as a potential research outpost in the medium term.

As a result of further propulsion research on Mars, Commonwealth scientists developed a new supercharged engine. The engine had twice the power of a normal Ion Drive but used ten times as much fuel, was more likely to explode when damaged and, due to its barely controlled instability, a single hull could not mount more than one. Despite its limitations, the engine formed the basis for a new type of spacecraft. The Molniya class Corvette was a very fast, short-ranged warship, heavily armed for its size and designed to protect single systems or colonies. Because of its small size it had limited maintenance requirements, making it ideal for guarding less well-developed colonies. The armament of the Molniya was based on a further refinement of the Japanese-designed box launchers on the Nagato class. Each Mk 2 Guided Missile VLS system was only eighty percent the size of the Japanese equivalent and was capable of launching a single missile equal to in size to the SS-N-2 Sunburn, one third larger than the Sabre anti-ship missiles of the Nagatos. However unlike the Japanese box launcher, the Mk 2 VLS could only be reloaded by maintenance facilities.

As the Molniya was such a small ship and had to carry a worthwhile armament and a fire control system, there was no room for a large active sensor. To ensure that a squadron of Molniyas could locate their own targets if there were no large vessels to provide support, the Molniya-S scout was created. Equipped with the same Voskhod MR-800 Active Search Sensor as the Peter The Great II battlecruiser and carrying enough fuel to extend the range of several standard Molniyas, it would be a vital asset for any corvette flotilla. Retooling of the ex-USAN Rio Shipyard on Mars to build Molniyas began in January 2044.

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Molniya class Corvette    1000 tons     49 Crew     136.2 BP      TCS 20  TH 126  EM 0
6300 km/s     Armour 1-8     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 9.6
Annual Failure Rate: 8%    IFR: 0.1%    Maintenance Capacity 85 MSP    Max Repair 32 MSP
Magazine 64    

NPO Energomash Supercharged Ion Drive (1)   Power 126    Efficiency 8.80    Sig 126  Armour 0    Exp 21%
Fuel Capacity 50,000 Litres    Range 10.2 billion km   (18 days at full power)

Mk 2 Guided Missile VLS (16)    Missile Size 4    Hangar Reload 30 minutes    MF Reload 5 hours
Raytheon R600 Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 57.6m km    Resolution 60
SS-N-2 Sunburn (16)  Speed: 18000 km/s   End: 52m   Range: 56.2m km   Warhead: 6    MR: 10    Size: 4
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Molniya-S class Corvette    1000 tons     85 Crew     216.8 BP      TCS 20  TH 126  EM 0
6300 km/s     Armour 1-8     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 8%    IFR: 0.1%    Maintenance Capacity 136 MSP    Max Repair 96 MSP

NPO Energomash Supercharged Ion Drive (1)   Power 126    Efficiency 8.80    Sig 126  Armour 0    Exp 21%
Fuel Capacity 300,000 Litres    Range 61.4 billion km   (112 days at full power)
Voskhod MR-800 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 5760     Range 57.6m km    Resolution 60
On February 5th 2044, the gravitational survey ships Newton and Kepler completed a survey of the Xiamen home system, locating five new jump points. Three of the systems beyond those jump points, Smolensk, Rostov and Volgograd, had low mass primaries, making them relatively easy to survey even if they contained nothing of interest. Sverdlovsk, the fourth system to be explored, had twelve planets with over eighty moons orbiting a rare A-class sub-giant primary. Because of the mass of the star, triple that of Sol, the system would require considerable effort to survey. In compensation, young bright stars tended to have planetary systems rich in minerals so a geological survey of Sverdlovsk would be a priority. The system beyond St Petersburg's second jump point was Saratov, a binary with two G-class stars orbiting over two trillion kilometres apart. The third planet of Saratov-A had a breathable oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and a temperature of -12C. For humans this resulted in a colony cost of 0.53. For the Xiamen, who evolved in the colder temperatures of St Petersburg II, Saratov III was an ideal habitable world. There would be no short-term colonization though as negotiations with the Xiamen were still underway.

On February 20th, a civilian-owned geological survey ship was operating in the Salt Lake system, three jumps from Sol via Los Angeles and Anchorage, when it discovered alien ruins on the third planet. All three of the Commonwealth's top Xenologist teams were dispatched to Salt Lake on board the Tug Hercules. While this seemed an unusual choice of transports, the three Hercules class Tugs were the fastest ships in the Commonwealth when they had nothing under tow.

With the growth in size of the Commonwealth and the increasing number of ships in service, fuel production was becoming a serious problem by mid-2044. Up until that date, huge stockpiles of fuel had been available through a combination of pre-war national stockpiles and large quantities found in alien ruins. Those reserves were being used up at an alarming rate, especially by the seventy freighters and twenty-seven colony ships that were almost constantly on the move. Only a limited number of fuel refineries were available, including seven on Mars, thirty-seven on Sparta, eighty that had been moved to Hannover-B II and one hundred on the Xiamen home world, although those were operating at less than peak efficiency due to the restrictions of the Commonwealth occupation and lingering radiation. Additional refineries were under construction on Mars, which had recently reactivated two hundred construction factories, and on the Xiamen home world. The long term plan was to move all the refineries to Hannover-B II, which had a deposit of three million tons of accessibility 0.9 Sorium.

In the short-term though a rapid increase in production was needed. New fuel production technology was being researched on Mars but that would only yield a sixteen percent increase in refining capacity. Refineries also needed manpower, which as usual was in short supply so an alternative was needed. It was found in the form of the fuel harvesting technology gained from the alien ruins on Mars in 2027. A base was designed that could orbit gas giants and extract Sorium from their atmospheres. With sixteen fuel harvesting modules that could extract the Sorium and refine it, each Jovian class Fuel Harvester Base would produce half a million litres of fuel per year. They would be towed to their harvesting location by the Hercules class Tugs. As the two shipyards on Lisbon had recently finished their latest shipbuilding projects and each had two slipways of 10,000 ton capacity, both of them were retooled to build the Jovian. In addition to the new base, an updated tanker was needed. The small Rappahannocks could only transport 500,000 litres each and with the need to potentially transport large quantities of fuel from Hannover-B II and the eventual location of the Jovians, a much larger vessel was needed. The Melbourne class Tanker, with its four million litre capacity, filled that role and would be built by the Nikolayev shipyard at New London.

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Jovian class Fuel Harvester Base    10000 tons     812 Crew     1006.6 BP      TCS 200  TH 0  EM 0
1 km/s     Armour 1-41     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 10     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 80%    IFR: 1.1%    Maintenance Capacity 1629 MSP    Max Repair 40 MSP

Fuel Harvester: 16 modules producing 512000 litres per annum
Fuel Capacity 700,000 Litres    Range N/A

Melbourne class Tanker    6000 tons     435 Crew     1079.6 BP      TCS 120  TH 360  EM 0
3000 km/s     Armour 1-29     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 3     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 96%    IFR: 1.3%    Maintenance Capacity 337 MSP    Max Repair 30 MSP

NPO Energomash Ion Drive (6)    Power 60    Efficiency 0.80    Signature 60    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 4,000,000 Litres    Range 1500.0 billion km   (5787 days at full power)
The first two Sentinel class Missile Defence Bases were built by the Utopia Planitia Shipyard on Mars in September 2044. Hercules class Tugs took them under tow and headed for New London and Lisbon V, both of which had sufficient maintenance facilities and minerals to ensure the bases were fully maintained. Without such support the bases would have a finite time on station. As there were insufficient numbers of the SA-N-1 Grail missiles available for the new warship construction, the Sentinels were loaded with the older Dagger AMMs, delivered to them by Manxman class colliers. A week later, Sparta built two more Sentinels. One remained at the capital while the other was towed to Hannover-B II.

Hannover-B II became an ideal habitable world in October 2044. Intensive terraforming by sixteen Genesis class ships had transformed the planet in just two years. The planet was also the subject of rapid colonization and had reached a population of 8.4 million. One hundred and twelve automated mines remained from the planet's days as a mining colony and they were joined by two manned mines, eighty fuel refineries and forty maintenance facilities. The newly arrived maintenance facilities meant the slow, long-serving terraforming ships could be overhauled at Hannover before moving on to their next target. Hannover-B III and Hannover-B IV were both potential terraforming sites, having temperatures close to human tolerance and atmospheres with enough density to accommodate the necessary amount of oxygen. The adjacent Heidelberg and Munich systems had three even more promising candidates, two of which could be ideal within a few months. In years to come, the area around Hannover would likely be a densely populated part of the galaxy.

On January 19th 2045, the seventh and eighth Peter the Great II battlecruisers were completed. While the other six units of the class were refits of the existing Peter the Great Is, Valentina Tereshkova and Mikhail Kutuzov were built to the new standard from the keel up. By 2045, the transformation of the Commonwealth Navy from a thrown together conglomeration of national defence forces to an integrated fleet was almost complete. Virtually all of the older warships had been scrapped, with the exception of the three European-built Scharnhorsts, the four Japanese-built Nagatos and the two Arleigh Burke IVs. The primary warship strength of the Commonwealth Navy now consisted of post-war designs built in Commonwealth shipyards, including twelve Tribal III escort cruisers, sixteen Trafalgar III destroyer escorts and nine Arleigh Burke V destroyers. Six more Arleigh Burke Vs were under construction.

A survey of the Smolensk system, adjacent to St Petersburg, was completed in February 2045, revealing a total of nine jump points, all of which were within one point five billion kilometres of the tiny brown dwarf primary. The survey ships Kepler and Newton began a series of probes and on February 14th Kepler entered jump point eight. She arrived six billion kilometres from a G2-V primary, very similar to Sol and orbited by eight planets, the third of which was a very rare ideal habitable world. Although the Commonwealth had colonies on five ideal habitable worlds, four of them were the result of terraforming. The only previously encountered worlds ready for immediate, unsupported human colonization were Sparta and St Petersburg II and the latter was already inhabited. Kepler's commander, Rear Admiral Edgardo Olivarez, named the system Archangelsk then took his ship back into Smolensk to inform Commander Lebedev on the Newton that he would be taking Kepler to Archangelsk III to check for signs of habitation. He ordered Lebedev to abandon the exploration of the remaining unexplored jump points and instead take his ship to the Smolensk - St Petersburg jump point to update fleet headquarters via the jump gate communication network.

Newton transited into St Petersburg on February 26th, relayed the message, then returned to Smolensk and headed for the Archangelsk jump point to check on Kepler. Meanwhile, Kepler continued onwards toward the planet and by March 4th she was within seventy-five million kilometres. Her extremely limited thermal sensors had still not detected anything during the approach. Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, a hail of missiles blew the 4000 ton survey ship to smithereens. Newton arrived in Archangelsk two days later, where her increasingly frantic hails went unanswered. The situation was eerily similar to the first encounter with the Xiamen, except in this case the mysterious disappearance of a Commonwealth survey ship would be reported far more quickly. Newton reversed course once again for the St Petersburg jump point.

Fleet Admiral Haydee Willems had replaced Helen Belkin as the third member of the triumvirate that ran the Commonwealth military in 2042. Despite his deserved reputation as the best ship commander in the entire Commonwealth, the events in Archangelsk resulted in his first real test as a senior admiral. Together with Fleet Admirals RenterĂ­a and Morrison, he had to decide how to respond to the loss of Kepler. The presence of a habitable world in the same system meant either an amazing coincidence or that a hostile alien race had destroyed a Commonwealth vessel. Unlike the situation in 2037, when the Commonwealth encountered the Xiamen, the Navy was a coherent force with ships designed to work within an integrated fleet. However, some problems were depressingly familiar. The Navy's premier missile combatants, the Peter the Great II battlecruisers, were too large to be escorted by the largest jump cruisers and the new Kilimanjaro class Fleet Support Vessels with their 10,000 ton capacity jump drives were two months from completion. In addition, there were not yet enough missiles to arm every ship and that of course meant no reloads. Two hundred and thirty-three ordnance factories were in operation on Eden, turning out SS-N-2 Sunburns and SA-N-1 Grails as fast as possible, and the rate of ordnance production had recently been increased. Even so, only five of the eight battlecruisers, eight of the twelve Tribal IIIs and four of the nine Arleigh Burke Vs had missiles and three of those Arleigh Burkes that had full loadouts were deployed as guard ships to Eden, New London and Lisbon V. The Fleet Admirals resolved that as soon as this crisis was over, research would be conducted into alternate offensive weapons and a new class of ship would be designed that did not rely on missiles. Finally, the Commonwealth Navy had no dedicated scout ships. The four Audacious class scouts had been scrapped and no replacement class had even been designed, let alone constructed.

As the three older Scharnhorst class missile cruisers were fully stocked with Sabre missiles and almost seven hundred more Sabres were in reserve, they were dispatched to St Petersburg II along with a pair of Tribal IIIs and a Manxman class collier with extra missiles. They would join four Nagato class destroyers already at the Xiamen home world in St Petersburg and form a forward defence force until the Kilimanjaros were available. For the moment there was no evidence that the suspected alien race in Archangelsk had jump drives and the Fleet Admirals were determined not to send a force into the system until it was properly prepared. There would be no repeat of the debacle during the First Battle of St Petersburg.

The two massive fleet support vessels Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro were launched from the Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Sparta orbit on May 10th 2045. By this time, enough Sunburns had been produced to equip six of the battlecruisers, albeit partly through removing missiles from an Arleigh Burke. Nine Tribal IIIs had full loadouts, including those already en route to St Petersburg II. None of the nine Arleigh Burkes at Sparta, including three constructed in April 2045, had any missiles at all. Unwilling to leave the capital exposed, the Fleet Admirals dispatched Kilimanjaro, a pair of battlecruisers, two more Tribals, six Trafalgars and a Vittorio Veneto II class jump cruiser to join those forces already gathering at St Petersburg II. The Vittorio Veneto II class was well-equipped with sensors and could be used as a scout if necessary.

On May 30th four Jovian class Fuel Harvester Bases were launched from the shipyards at Lisbon V. Hercules class Tugs were dispatched from Sparta to tow them to a suitable gas giant with Sorium in its atmosphere. When the fuel harvesters were originally laid down, their intended destination was Chicago XII, five billion kilometres from the primary of a system adjacent to Washington. Although its distance from the star was not ideal, its atmosphere contained a hundred million tons of accessibility 0.9 Sorium. However, during the construction of the Jovians, the survey ship Darwin conducted a geological survey of Warsaw and found a far better candidate for harvesting in Warsaw VI. Warsaw was connected directly to Lisbon, where the Jovians were being built, and the Lisbon - Sol and Lisbon - Warsaw jump point were only one point seven billion kilometres apart, making the system easy to access from the core worlds of the Commonwealth. Warsaw VI itself was less than a billion kilometres from the star and only six hundred million from the Lisbon jump point. In fact, the gas giant's orbit was taking it closer still and it would pass within two hundred and thirty million kilometres every four years. While its atmosphere contained 'only' one point three million tons of Sorium, it would still last a very long time and it was at accessibility 1.0. While the continuing fuel problems of the Commonwealth were far from over, the four Jovians would soon be adding over two million litres per year to its total fuel production. The only immediate issue was that no jump gates existed between Lisbon and Warsaw but that would be solved in the short-term by Aconcagua and in the long term by construction of new jump gates. Four more Jovians were laid down in Lisbon's shipyards.

All the ships sent to St Petersburg II had arrived by late June, creating a fleet with significant combat power at the Xiamen home world. Not yet enough for the Fleet Admirals to feel confident about an offensive move through Smolensk and into Archangelsk but enough to defend against any strong alien probes. As there was still no evidence of aliens beyond Kepler's disappearance in a system with a habitable world, Vittorio Veneto was detached to conduct a scouting mission in Archangelsk. Newton accompanied her as far as the Smolensk - Archangelsk jump point and held position there to monitor Vittorio Veneto's progress. After a  month of cautious travel at half speed to reduce her thermal signature, Vittorio Veneto moved within six hundred million kilometres of the habitable world and detected an EM signature with a strength of 35,000, eighteen percent greater than Sparta, confirming the presence of a high-tech civilization. With her primary mission goal completed, the jump cruiser reversed course and headed for the jump point, five billion kilometres away.

For the next six months, the Commonwealth continued building up its missile stocks but by December 2045 the shortages were still significant. All the battlecruisers were fully loaded and so were eleven of the twelve Tribals but twelve of the fifteen Arleigh Burkes had empty magazines. The policy of containment continued with Vittorio Veneto holding position on the Archangelsk - Smolensk jump point and Newton providing a communication link on the Smolensk - St Petersburg jump point. A force of two battlecruisers, four Tribals, three Scharnhorsts, four Nagatos and six Trafalgars remained at St Petersburg II, supported by a Kilimanjaro class fleet support vessel and the collier Manxman.

On January 1st 2046, negotiations with the Xiamen were concluded. Five years after their surrender, during which time occupation restrictions were gradually lifted, the Xiamen become citizens of the Commonwealth, making the Commonwealth a true interstellar and inter-species nation. A small minority protested against the entry of the Xiamen, primarily the embryonic Humans First movement, but the vast majority welcomed the news as it substantially increased the overall population of the Commonwealth and in the longer term would result in greater protection for both species. The 220m Xiamen formed thirty percent of the total population of the Commonwealth, alongside 515m humans.

The St Petersburg system was renamed Xia, which was the original Xiamen name and St Petersburg II was officially designated as Xiamen-Kan, which in the Xiamen language meant birthplace of the Xiamen. By 2046 the dust thrown up into the atmosphere by the planetary bombardment that ended the Commonwealth - Xiamen war had dispersed and the planetary temperature had returned to its natural level of 16C. The level of  background radiation had fallen but was still enough to cause a six percent drop in industrial efficiency compared to the pre-war situation. The populated worlds of the Commonwealth in January 2046 were as follows:

Sparta: 280m
Xiamen-Kan: 220m
Mars: 144m
Lisbon V: 26.8m
Eden: 24.0m
New London: 19.4m
Hannover-B II: 15.7m
New York IV: 6.8m
Salt Lake III: 0.4m

In February 2046, President Vorokov decided to shut down the nineteen research facilities on Mars. As well as insufficient ordnance production, the Commonwealth was still suffering from low fuel production and its fuel reserves were almost exhausted. New ordnance factories and fuel refineries had to be built and the two hundred construction factories on Mars were not producing them quickly enough. Sparta had over seven hundred inactive construction factories that could be moved to Mars but they would require the workers from the research facilities to be reassigned. The thirty-six research factories on Sparta would continue operating and a small research colony had been founded on New York IV. Only four research facilities were in place but that would increase as the population grew. As a secondary measure to increase fuel production, eight Jovian class fuel harvesters were now in orbit of Warsaw VI and ten more were under construction at Sparta, Mars and Lisbon.

Before the Martian research facilities were shut down they completed research into increasing the yield of missile warheads. This was combined with recent research on Sparta that improved fuel efficiency and past Martian research into missile agility to produce updated designs for both anti-ship and anti-missile missiles. The SS-N-3 Scarab was an evolutionary rather than revolutionary design, with a warhead one-third larger than the SS-N-2 Sunburn and a seven percent increase in both range and speed. The SA-N-2 Gauntlet was a radically different design than its predecessor, relying on a combination of speed and agility rather than the pure speed of the SS-N-1 Grail. Despite a thirty percent reduction in speed the Gauntlet had a fifty-eight percent chance to hit a target moving at 10,000 km/s compared to just thirty-five percent for the Grail. It also had a twenty percent greater range, allowing for future improvements in fire control technology. Both missile designs and the Commonwealth missile stocks at the point when the new missiles were introduced are shown below.

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SS-N-3 Scarab
Missile Size: 4 MSP  (0.2 HS)     Warhead: 8    Armour: 0     Manoeuvre Rating: 10
Speed: 19200 km/s    Endurance: 52 minutes   Range: 60.0m km
Cost Per Missile: 3.28
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 192%   3k km/s 60%   5k km/s 38.4%   10k km/s 19.2%
Materials Required:    2x Tritanium   1.03x Gallicite   Fuel x2000
Development Cost for Project: 328RP
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SA-N-2 Gauntlet
Missile Size: 1 MSP  (0.05 HS)     Warhead: 1    Armour: 0     Manoeuvre Rating: 23
Speed: 25400 km/s    Endurance: 2 minutes   Range: 2.7m km
Cost Per Missile: 0.999
Chance to Hit: 1k km/s 584.2%   3k km/s 184%   5k km/s 116.8%   10k km/s 58.4%
Materials Required:    0.25x Tritanium   0.4872x Gallicite   Fuel x22.5
Development Cost for Project: 100RP
Commonwealth Missiles in Service
SA-N-1 Grail Anti-Missile: 9000
Dagger Anti-Missile:  5906 (used by the Sentinel class bases until sufficient newer missiles are available)
SS-N-2 Sunburn Anti-Ship Missile: 2336
SS-N-1 Shipwreck Anti-Ship Missile: 80
Sabre Anti-Ship Missile: 1740 (used only by the three Scharnhorst class missile cruisers)
Trident Anti-Ship Missile: 693 (used only by the two Arleigh Burke IV class destroyers)

The Commonwealth's tenth colony was founded in March 2046 on the recently terraformed planet of Heidelberg IV. The Heidelberg system was located beyond Hannover but the planet was approximately the same distance from Sparta as Hannover-B II because of the astrographics of the planets and the local jump points. All thirty-one of the Commonwealth's colony ships took part in the initial expedition, depositing just over one point five million settlers on the planet's surface. Genesis class terraformers were already at work on Heidelberg III and on the second planet of the Munich system, also adjacent to Hannover. Colonies would be established on both planets once the terraforming was completed.

On July 25th, Vittorio Veneto picked up a strength-240 thermal contact four point seven million kilometres away and on a direct course for the Archangelsk - Smolensk jump point at 5581 km/s. Baring an amazing coincidence, it appeared the alien race in Archangelsk knew about jump points. Vittorio Veneto jumped into Smolensk and flashed a warning to Newton at the Xia jump point. She in turn jumped into Xia (formerly St Petersburg) and sent the warning across the jump gate network. There was no way for the crew of Vittorio Veneto to know if their ship had been spotted but they had not detected any active sensor emissions from the unknown ship. As it was unarmed, the jump ship fell back toward the Smolensk - Xia jump point. With a max speed of 4000 km/s, which until the alien ship had been detected seemed more than adequate, there was no way for Vittorio Veneto to escape if the alien was armed and decided to pursue. Fourteen minutes after Vittorio Veneto jumped into Smolensk, the alien ship appeared on the Xia jump point, just three point four million kilometres from the Commonwealth cruiser. Fortunately, the alien held its position, either because it did not detect Vittorio Veneto or because it was content to let her retreat.

Sixteenth months had passed since the initial contact with the Archangelsk aliens and the Commonwealth had been steadily building up its missile stocks before it considered any offensive operations, partly in the hope the aliens had no jump capability. With that hope now dashed, the Fleet Admirals had to reconsider their strategy. All Commonwealth warships except six Arleigh Burke V destroyers now had full magazines but no reloads, which meant more ships could be sent forward to the Xia system and based on Xiamen-Kan. The Fleet Admirals decided to split the battle fleet units of the Commonwealth Navy evenly between Sparta and Xiamen-Kan, which meant a reinforcement group of two battlecruisers, two Tribals and two Trafalgars quickly departed Sparta for the fifteen billion kilometre journey to the Xiamen home world. Even though the Arleigh Burkes were not considered part of the battle fleet, being intended for colony defence and independent operations, three were dispatched to the Xia system, albeit at only 3600 km/s compared to 4500 km/s for the battle fleet units. Meanwhile in Xia, the four Nagatos were detached from the force in Xiamen-Kan orbit and sent to the Smolensk jump point. Although their Sabre missiles were outdated, their ability to fire large salvos would be ideal in a point blank defence of the jump point. Vittorio Veneto was ordered to fall back to the same jump point but remain on the Smolensk side to serve as an early warning picket. Relieved of the task of providing a communication link at the Smolensk - Xia jump point, Newton was able to resume her primary gravitational survey mission. As there were still four unexplored jump points in Smolensk, all of which were within seven hundred million kilometres of the Xia jump point, she was ordered to probe them all before the situation deteriorated any further.

Commander Lebedev, captain of the Newton, decided to tackle jump point seven first, as that was furthest from the Xia jump point and he preferred to be closer to home in the latter stages of his mission in case the Archangelsk aliens decided to move away from the Smolensk - Archangelsk jump point. The survey ship appeared 537 million kilometres from the yellow G6-V primary of a binary system, officially designated as Zagorsk, which had a dim red M2-V orbiting at the same distance as Pluto in the Sol system. The companion star had eight planets, including six gas giants, none of which were of any particular interest. The primary had just four but Zagorsk-A III was close to ideal. While the atmosphere was breathable for both humans and Xiamen, the temperature was on the high side at 52C, giving the world a colony cost of 0.37 for humans and 0.25 for Xiamen. Interestingly, even though the average temperature of the Xiamen home world was lower than that of Earth, the Xiamen had a greater tolerance for variations in temperature. While the upper range of an ideal temperature for both species was in the mid-forties, beyond that point the Xiamen fared better in terms of the amount of infrastructure required. On the lower end of the scale, the Xiamen could handle temperatures as low as -13C without specialised infrastructure, compared to zero degrees for humans. The advantage was reversed when it came to gravity with humans able to handle a far greater range than Xiamen. Following standard procedure, Newton transited back into Smolensk to relay a message via Vittorio Veneto, informing Fleet Headquarters of her discovery, then jumped back into Zagorsk to check out the habitable world.

Meanwhile on Mars, the Tharsis Montes Shipyard launched three Hercules II class Tugs. The three original Hercules class Tugs were primarily occupied with moving Jovian class Fuel Harvesting Bases to Warsaw VI, sixteen of which were in place by August 2046. Because of the continuing manpower shortages among the core worlds of the Commonwealth and the recent addition of the Xiamen workforce, President Vorokov had decided to move several shipyards from Mars and Sparta to the Xiamen home world to make use of more than twenty million available workers. Unfortunately the Hercules class Tugs were not very suitable for such a long journey towing the larger shipyards and would take up to a year to make the trip. The Hercules II class Tug, with more than double the engine power of its predecessor, was designed to remedy this problem.

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Hercules II class Tug    5000 tons     458 Crew     696.4 BP      TCS 100  TH 900  EM 0
9000 km/s     Armour 1-26     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 2     PPV 0
Annual Failure Rate: 100%    IFR: 1.4%    Maintenance Capacity 174 MSP    Max Repair 100 MSP
Tractor Beam    
NPO Energomash Ion Drive (15)    Power 60    Efficiency 0.80    Signature 60    Armour 0    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 300,000 Litres    Range 135.0 billion km   (173 days at full power)
Given the proximity of the jump point in Zagorsk to the habitable world, Newton was expected back in Smolensk within five days. Six days passed and there was still no sign of her. Captain Russom of the Vittorio Veneto, located at the Smolensk - Xia jump point, requested permission to take his ship to Zagorsk to check on the missing survey ship. His ship was serving as an early warning picket for the Xiamen home system so that permission was denied, for the moment at least. The only other jump-capable ships immediately available were the huge fleet support vessel Kilimanjaro, in orbit of Xiamen-Kan, and the geological survey ship Alvarez, which had just emerged from the Xia - Volgograd jump point. While Alvarez was not suitable for relieving Vittorio Veneto as an early warning picket, she was quite capable of a brief transit into Zagorsk to try and communicate with Newton. Therefore the valuable Kilimanjaro stayed where she was and Vittorio Veneto remained on station. Alvarez was directed to abandon her next geosurvey mission and move through Smolensk and into Zagorsk.

Alvarez entered Zagorsk on August 21st and could not find no sign of Newton, not even a life pod. Newton was the third Commonwealth ship to vanish after encountering a potentially habitable world. Copenhagen was destroyed by the Xiamen when they were still ruled by their insane Monarch and Kepler was believed destroyed by the aliens in Archangelsk. Alvarez returned to Smolensk to report her findings, adding to an already worrying situation. Ships had now disappeared in Archangel and Zagorsk, both of which connected to the brown dwarf system of Smolensk, which itself connected to the Xiamen home system and the second largest population in the Commonwealth. The Xia jump point was 674m and 1120m kilometres respectively from the Zagorsk and Archangelsk jump points, which were 1500m kilometres apart.

Given that the Archangelsk aliens, which had already been dubbed the 'Angels' by Commonwealth crews, had already demonstrated their jump capability, it was possible they were already present in the Zagorsk system. Another possibility was that Newton had encountered a second hostile alien race. If either case, any offensive move by the Commonwealth against Archangelsk risked an alien fleet emerging from Zagorsk and either cutting off the forces in Archangelsk or attacking Xiamen-Kan. The Fleet Admirals demanded more information but there were insufficient jump ships available. Vittorio Veneto was capable of a probe mission into Zagorsk, similar to the one she had carried out into Archangelsk a year earlier, but that would remove the picket from the Smolensk - Xia jump point and the Fleet Admirals were not prepared to risk Kilimanjaro in such a forward position. Therefore, two more Vittorio Veneto II class jump cruisers, Littorio and Impero, were dispatched to Xia from Sparta orbit. Alvarez headed back to Xia to resume her geological survey duties.

With the Commonwealth potentially facing two hostile aliens races, or at the very least one multi-system alien race, President Vorokov and the Fleet Admirals were extremely concerned about any problems that might arise in other areas. Therefore, with the exception of the three jump points still to be explored in Smolensk, they placed a moratorium on any further exploration. The remaining two gravitational survey ships, Copernicus and Galileo, were recalled to Sparta for overhaul. A review of gravitational survey ship design was undertaken in an attempt to avoid the situation where the ships most likely to encounter an alien race were ill-equipped, in terms of sensors and defences, to deal with that encounter. As a major research project was underway on Sparta to significantly improve jump drive efficiency, with the intent of creating large jump-capable warships, any such improvements in survey ship design recommended by the review would probably not happen until that research was completed.

Despite the problems around Xia, colonization of new worlds continued. The terraforming of Munich II was completed in mid-2046 and the first colonists landed in August. The third planet of the Roma system, located adjacent to London, was settled by civilian colonists on September 3rd 2046. The planet had been designated as a potential future colony but no government-built ships were assigned to the task, mainly because some terraforming would be required and the terraformers were busy with Heidelberg III. Fortunately, civilian-owed freighters transported infrastructure and civilian-owed colony ships provided the colonists. Civilian freighters had also transported some infrastructure to a planet in the Newcastle system, two jumps from Sol via Prague, but as of October 1st 2046, no colonists had landed. By this time, the Commonwealth had twelve populated worlds plus mining colonies in Boston, adjacent to Washington, and Sverdlovsk, adjacent to Xia.

to be continued...

Steve
 
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Offline kdstubbs

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2009, 01:01:41 PM »
Steve,  

        Excellent post.  You have a penchant for creating problems in your games--really bad aliens--hope they prove to be something you can handle.  Otherwise Humans are toast.  But given the fact that you are running this game, it might be fun to see the story from the other side's perspective--haven't read your other posts yet, so hope you've already done so.

Kevin
Kevin Stubbs
 

Offline schroeam

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2009, 07:34:47 PM »
Superb storyline... am I seeing flashbacks to another epic story filled with hostile aliens at every turn?  So, which of the aliens are computer AI's?

Adam.
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2009, 10:51:50 PM »
>>Newton transited into St Petersburg on February 26th, relayed the message, then returned to Smolensk and headed
>>for the Archangelsk jump point to check on Kepler. Meanwhile, Kepler continued onwards toward the planet and by
>>March 4th she was within seventy-five million kilometres. Her extremely limited thermal sensors had still not
>>detected anything during the approach. Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, a hail of missiles blew the
>>4000 ton survey ship to smithereens. Newton arrived in Archangelsk two days later, where her increasingly frantic
>>hails went unanswered. The situation was eerily similar to the first encounter with the Xiamen, except in this case
>>the mysterious disappearance of a Commonwealth survey ship would be reported far more quickly. Newton reversed
>>course once again for the St Petersburg jump point.

I'm thinking maybe the Commonwealth should rethink its probe protocols. :-)

>>Alvarez entered Zagorsk on August 21st and could not find no sign of Newton, not even a life pod. Newton was the
>>third Commonwealth ship to vanish after encountering a potentially habitable world. Copenhagen was destroyed by
>>the Xiamen when they were still ruled by their insane Monarch and Kepler was believed destroyed by the aliens in
>>Archangelsk. Alvarez returned to Smolensk to report her findings, adding to an already worrying situation. Ships
>>had now disappeared in Archangel and Zagorsk, both of which connected to the brown dwarf system of Smolensk,
>>which itself connected to the Xiamen home system and the second largest population in the Commonwealth. The Xia
>>jump point was 674m and 1120m kilometres respectively from the Zagorsk and Archangelsk jump points, which were
>>1500m kilometres apart.

Yep, definitely time for a revised SOP. I'm betting they got eaten by that dang Space Goat. :-)
John

ERIK - BBCode is "off" for my replies to this thread (but not to other threads), and I can't figure out how to turn it on.  Never had this problem in the past, but I think I remember seeing a post about it (which I can't find) a while back.
 

Offline jfelten

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 06:18:55 AM »
I am curious why "Resolution 60" for your sensors?  Is there a reason why you picked the number 60?
 

Offline Charlie Beeler

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 07:29:56 AM »
Quote from: "jfelten"
I am curious why "Resolution 60" for your sensors?  Is there a reason why you picked the number 60?

I'm making and educated guess here... active sensor strength 12 with a resolution that allows acquisition of 3000ton (60HS) targets at near the max range of the SS-N-2 missiles loaded. If we were to look back a the SS-N-1 we'd probably find a similiar max range with I surmise drove the designed range parameter for the search and fire control systems.
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Offline jfelten

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 07:56:06 AM »
Quote from: "Charlie Beeler"
Quote from: "jfelten"
I am curious why "Resolution 60" for your sensors?  Is there a reason why you picked the number 60?

I'm making and educated guess here... active sensor strength 12 with a resolution that allows acquisition of 3000ton (60HS) targets at near the max range of the SS-N-2 missiles loaded. If we were to look back a the SS-N-1 we'd probably find a similiar max range with I surmise drove the designed range parameter for the search and fire control systems.

So that number is hull spaces, not tons?  Confusing when tons and hull spaces are interchanged throughout the system.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2009, 11:04:41 AM »
Quote from: "kdstubbs"
Steve,  

        Excellent post.  You have a penchant for creating problems in your games--really bad aliens--hope they prove to be something you can handle.  Otherwise Humans are toast.  But given the fact that you are running this game, it might be fun to see the story from the other side's perspective--haven't read your other posts yet, so hope you've already done so.
The two alien races near Smolensk are both computer-controlled races (NPRs) so I don't know their perspective :). I have also now coded ongoing improvements to NPR ship, system and missile designs as they reseach new technology so it will be interesting to see what they come up with as time passes.

Steve
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2009, 08:08:34 PM »
Cool!!  Any idea of an ETA for V4.0?  I assume you want to give it a while longer to work out the NPR bugs....

John
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2009, 06:13:53 AM »
Quote from: "sloanjh"
Cool!!  Any idea of an ETA for V4.0?  I assume you want to give it a while longer to work out the NPR bugs....
A week or two yet. Playtesting is progressing and I am both fixing things as I go and adding a little more intelligence as I find situations in which the NPRs struggle. Once v4.0 is out, the next version will likely be about improving the AI based on player feedback regarding when the NPRs do dumb things :)

Steve
 

Offline mikew

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 12:47:53 PM »
Not sure if this is in the game, but your comments about the NPRs brings a question to mind- does your system keep a "log" of NPR actions, such as starting/completing research, designing and launching ships, exploration, etc., that can be reviewed later?  It would be interesting to compare (perhaps after you conquer/lose to a particular NPR) the chronology of their research, construction, deployment, etc., against your actions in the same time frame.

Mike
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 07:25:22 AM »
Quote from: "mikew"
Not sure if this is in the game, but your comments about the NPRs brings a question to mind- does your system keep a "log" of NPR actions, such as starting/completing research, designing and launching ships, exploration, etc., that can be reviewed later?  It would be interesting to compare (perhaps after you conquer/lose to a particular NPR) the chronology of their research, construction, deployment, etc., against your actions in the same time frame.
They generate events in the same way as a normal race so you could probably track their actions in that way. I would have to add some method of sending the event log for that NPR to a text file.

Steve
 

Offline waresky

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Re: Trans-Newtonian Campaign - Part 10
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2009, 05:49:29 PM »
Intriguing...thrilling:)

Aurora are bigger than all knowed pc game,bigger than any role playing game on book (same as Megatraveller for example) and an damned NPR are a very bigger surprise...near to..DEADLY surprise am fear:)

Nice "Novel" Steve.
 

 

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