Author Topic: The Eridani Excursion Part 2: Operation Aintree Jan 2077  (Read 1102 times)

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Offline IanD

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The Eridani Excursion Part 2: Operation Aintree Jan 2077
« on: October 23, 2009, 10:21:45 AM »
[center:2s0m8op7]The First Battle Of Epsilon Eridani[/center:2s0m8op7]

2nd January 2077, 02:00 hours ST. Operation Aintree, Phase 1

 The jump cruisers Fort Austin, Fort George, Fort Grange and Stellar Causeway each with a pair of Dido class missile frigates made a combat transit into Epsilon Eridani. Sensor techs were hunched over their consoles trying to make them clear by force of will, eventually after a couple of minutes it became apparent that local space was clear, no picket was present! Phase 1 of the invasion of Epsilon Eridani was an anticlimax! Battle groups Proxima Centauri and Tau Ceti made transit using the Gate on the Proxima side; The two Battle Groups reformed with each containing six frigates and four escorts and laid in a course for Epsilon Eridani IV, which lit up on the thermal imager like a Christmas tree. Battle Group Sol followed the other two through the jump gate to secure the jump point.

2nd January 2077 02:18:01 Operation Aintree, Phase 2

Some eight hours twenty minutes later as the alien homeworld came into sensor range, the thermal imagers of the two Battle Groups lit up with the signatures of new enemy contacts. At 126m Klicks, the maximum active sensor range, two new classes were detected in orbit of Eridani IV, twenty seven Uniform class and sixteen Yankee class, however their tonnage of 37,500 and 22,500 tonnes respectively seemed to indicate they could be transports. If not all was lost. At the same time the known enemy heavy units, comprising one India class, two Charlie class, five Oscar class, one Quebec class and one Romeo class all of 8100 tonnes and four Zulu class of 12100 tonnes were detected advancing out from Eridani IV. Battle Group Senior Officer, Captain Godfrey elected to continue closing the range, he wanted to use his missiles sparingly and a three-hour flight time was just too long. At a range of 50m klicks the missile frigates of the Battle Groups targeted the four large Zulu class, five Oscars, two Charlies and the Romeo and began launching their missiles. The frigates continued to unload their nuclear tipped brood until approximately half their magazines were empty. Then at 11:00:26 ST the number of contacts more than doubled as the smaller enemy ships registered on the thermal scan. The Battle Groups reversed course to keep the range open. As the scale of the task ahead became clear Captain Godfrey summoned Battle Group Sol to their aid, leaving the jump point uncovered.

The alien fleet was proceeding in two loose groups based on an apparent velocity differential with velocities of 2469 k/s to 2500k/s, with the four Zulus in the trailing group. At 11:28:31 ST the first of the Star Cat missiles began impacting their targets in the leading group. Nothing much happened then until 11:28:31 ST when Oscar 005 began to stream atmosphere, quickly followed by most of the other 8100 tonne targets. Then at 11:39:08 ST the event the Battle Groups had been waiting for occurred as an Oscar scanner icon broke up on the screen to be replaced with a debris field after a strength 21 and 23 magazine explosion. At 11:35:33 ST the missiles reached the trailing group and started hitting the Zulus, visible as actinic points of light scattered across a black velvet backdrop, without any obvious effect. During their approach there was desultory anti-missile fire which appeared to be based on kinetic kill weapons, as their size 0 impacts tried vainly to intercept the inbound Star Cats, only on final approach were any of the Star Cats successfully intercepted by final defensive fire, but too few to matter. The range had steadily decreased as the Battle Groups endeavoured to keep all targets within active scanner resolution. At 37m klicks the 4000 tonners were finally defined by the active scans of the Battle Group and the threat board was once more a sea of red. Sixteen X-rays, fifteen Mikes along with one each of the  Juliet class, Papa class, November Class and Victor Class made up the rest of the alien fleet racing towards the now beleaguered Battle Groups. By 11:38:13 all targets were streaming atmosphere. But with few kills the frigates began launching more Star Cats, another 29 per target. At 11:39:08 ST a new wreck contact appeared as one of the enemy contacts winked out of existence.

At 12:14:03 ST the first retaliatory salvos approached the Battle Groups, 72 Ashod ship killers bore in, crew tensed as missiles flew towards them. The escorts laser turrets whined as they lined up on this incoming threat. Laser fire rent the void, sparkling off missile fragments as all missiles were successfully intercepted.

New wreck markers began to appear on the Battle Group scans, as the Juliet contact was lost quickly followed by four Oscar contacts. The two fleets continued to trade missile fire, then at 12:25:13 ST only 24 of an inbound 27 missile wave where intercepted and three strength 6 Ashod anti-ship missiles crashed into the Argonaut, but only three points of damage scored the ships armour, the rest absorbed by the improved shields. The battle’s turning point was in the six minutes between 12:26 ST and 12:36 ST as the four Zulu, plus a Romeo, India and a Charlie contact were replaced with debris fields. As the range dropped to under 36m klicks the frigates started launching the last of their Star Cats, aiming to give the first dozen X-rays three salvos each. At 13:02:42 ST the magazines ran dry, the frigates all transferred to Battle Group Tau Ceti, which made for Proxima Centauri and Earth to rearm. The eight escorts combined into Battle Group Proxima Centauri and began to advance towards the remaining enemy units; all that was left was their 12cm lasers. At 13:02:52 ST a new missile threat materialised, 20 Guardian anti-ship missiles attacked Battle Group Proxima Centauri, but again all were ably intercepted.  At 13:48 ST Battle Group Sol could detect the largest remaining enemy combatant the Quebec on its sensors. TFS Achilles targeted the 8100 tonne Quebec and began launching the first of five missile salvos at a range of 101m klicks.

At 13:53:27 ST the first of the X-rays targeted by the last of the Star Cats began to stream atmosphere. It was at this stage the first of many strength 0 magazine explosions were detected. Several of the targeted X-rays exploded or were significantly damaged and some such as X-ray 005 began to retire. However there were still half-a-dozen combat capable X-rays plus fifteen Mikes, a November, Papa and Victor all untouched facing eight escorts. Then at 14:04:12 a group of loitering Star Cats appeared to lock on to X-ray 005 and began moving purposefully again. By 14:06:12 it was apparent X-ray 005 was not going to be the unfortunate victim of the 38 six missile salvos. At 14:08:57 ST X-ray 001 was hit by one of the errant salvos, but the rest continued on. Finally at 14:09:02 ST the remaining missiles stormed into the main enemy fleet, actinic points lit up the blackness of space as 222 missiles detonated on enemy hulls. Seven Mikes and four X-rays were wrecked, receiving between 1and 4 salvos each. At 14:09:07 the enemy force was reduced to one Quebec class, eight Mikes, five X-rays and one Papa in the main group preceded by a November and a Victor. The big Quebec was moving at only a few hundred k/s having suffered grievous damage during the missile attacks; several X-rays were only making 1 k/s.

During this time Battle Group Proxima Centauri was suffering a drizzle of missile fire which failed to penetrate its laser umbrella. At 14:23:37 ST the November reversed course and the rain of missiles ceased, only the Victor continued on, and it was considered no threat by the Battle Group. At 15:15:37 ST and a range of 600k klicks the Victor’s active sensors was detected, the Battle Group closed the enemy ship, which immediately began evading. It was 16:34:19 ST before the lone Victor was brought to bay and riddled with laser fire. Battle Group Proxima Centauri began the grim task of rescuing survivors.
At 16:49:49 ST the first of the Star Cats fired by Achilles nearly three hours ago hit the Quebec, which dissolved into fragments, the follow up salvos, at the end of their endurance failed to find any other targets as all that remained of the enemy fleet retired. It was 00:29:26 ST on the 3rd of January before Battle Group Sol caught up with Battle Group Proxima, targeted three X-rays attempting to withdraw at 1k/s which 50 minutes later cased to exist in a coherent form. Battle Group Proxima covered by with Battle Group Sol at a range of 20m Klicks continued to rescue survivors. Thus ended the First Battle of Epsilon Eridani.

[center:2s0m8op7]The Second Battle Of Epsilon Eridani[/center:2s0m8op7]

However, all was not quite for long, The Eridani still possessed a November, Papa, several Mikes and X-rays. As Battle Group Proxima continued its mission of mercy it came under renewed fire from the November, accompanied by the remaining escorts, eight Mikes , three X-rays and a Papa. The SO of the Battle Group Proxima Centauri, Captain Godfrey, gambled on intercepting the inbound birds, and was well rewarded as the salvos of three missiles were intercepted with capacity to spare. Battle Group Sol immediately launched a retaliatory strike, and at 07:53:19 ST the first salvo found the November, by the second she was streaming atmosphere and on the third disintegrated into a million shards. The escorts fared no better by 11:37:32 ST four Mikes, two X-rays and the Papa were collections of roughly shaped alloys starting to find their own orbits around the primary. The skirmish known as the Second Battle of Epsilon Eridani came to a close at 11:37:32 ST as the missile crews stood down.

[center:2s0m8op7]The Third Battle of Epsilon Eridani[/center:2s0m8op7]

All was then quiet as all took stock, Battle Group Sol was down to 63% of missile stocks, Battle Group Tau Ceti was racing to rearm but still many days away. On the morning watch of the 5th January at 11:03:52 ST the klaxons began to sound once more. There was another sally from Eridani IV, consisting of a November class, now a know missile ship, and three Mikes. The launching of Star Cats was tempered by the realisation that there were less than thirteen hundred left in the entire Federation, so the minimum launch was ordered to disable the enemy force. Battle Group Proxima closed the enemy to bring them within laser range. At 14:33:54 ST the Battle Group started taking missile fire, but nothing they could not handle. By 15:59:53 ST the Group were in range of the now derelict November and a Mike and soon gave them the coup de grace by laser.  Long-range scans of Epsilon Eridani IV revealed their once proud Navy reduced to a couple of damaged X-rays. So ended the Third Battle of Epsilon Eridani and was the conclusion of Operation Aintree.


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