Author Topic: The Second Battle of Lalande 21185 (June 4, 2051)  (Read 898 times)

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Offline OAM47

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The Second Battle of Lalande 21185 (June 4, 2051)
« on: January 07, 2012, 02:49:08 PM »
Date of Action – 04062051

Terran Empire Forces:

Queensland Class
TES Queensland (CC-01) (Commodore Dirk Parisian) (CO) (lost)
TES Newfoundland (CC-02) (Commodore LaVern Vogelsberg) (observing)

TES Toronto (CG-01) (Captain Vance Caruana) (lost)
TES Agincourt (CG-02) (Commodore Mose Cordes) (lost)
TES Tarawa (CG-03) (Captain Benton Froelich) (lost)
TES Austerlitz (CG-04) (Captain Ike Klimas) (lost)
TES Bunker Hill (CG-05) (Captain Yong Lasanta) (lost)
TES Trafalgar (CG-06) (Captain Bud Schreiner) (lost)
TES Armada (CG-07) (Captain Augustus Sendejo) (lost)
TES Somme (CG-08) (Captain George Lunceford) (lost)
TES Anzio (CG-09) (Rear Admiral Fredric Skyers) (XO) (lost)
TES Tobruk (CG-10)  (Captain Amber Pollard) (lost)

Enemy Forces (estimated):

1x Enemy Mother Ship
107x Enemy Fighters

(See tech notes at the bottom of report)

---------------

Emperor Patrick sighed heavily as he stared at the official first report on the incident.  Despite having nearly lost it as his senior commanders, or what was left of them, he'd not actually read the actual report yet.   At the time, all he really needed to know was the scope of the defeat.  Productive solutions would take time, anyway, and that's what this meeting was for anyway.

An aide leaned in the door to the second conference room.  "They're ready for you in the other room, sir."

"Alright, give me a minute."  The Emperor gathered the slew of datapads on the table.  He wasn't looking forward to this, but it had to be done.  Being Emperor was more of a choir then anything, most of the time.

Gathered in the primary conference room were Rear Admiral Candia as well as most of the general staff, plus two techs from the intelligence department that would be running the vidscreen.  Seeing as it would be some time before TES Newfoundland returned to Earth, the only surviving senior officer from the battle, Commodore LaVern Vogelsberg, could obviously not attend.  Off to the side was Duchess Bellis with a stack of what looked like technical reports.  She was oddly calm.  Not like the general staff wasn't, exactly, but it was easy to they were rather uncomfortable and nervous on the inside.  Originally Duke Brule was set to attend as well, but decided not to show after he heard a few choice remarks the Emperor had made about the military he'd help craft.

"Well then, if we're all here, please take a seat.  The Newfoundland transmitted the records from the battle, and we've now had time to edit all the relevant bits into a short presentation.  Some of the material isn't very good quality, but that's to be expected, given the circumstances.  I will try and save our analysis for the end, but may pause the recording a few times to clear up what we believe to be happening.”  With that, the aide took a seat at the far end of the table and clicked the remote.

The video started with a black screen and white lettering, a time stamp of 16:29, before fading into a four-way split.  The top left was labeled “TES Queensland – forward view.”  The one under that was the rear view of the same, with the top right being a bridge view.  There was a note by the label indicating this third view was audio enabled, not like any external camera would be getting much sound anyway.  The last square was taken up by the fleet's tactical display, showing the relative location of each ship in formation as denoted by their hull number.  Right now the ships were arranged in a semicircle with the Queensland and Newfoundland behind the rest slightly, like a shield.

A voice then cut through the relative stillness of the displays, recognizable as that of Commodore Dirk Parisian, the mission leader and captain of the Queensland.  While Rear Admiral Skyers had insisted on going, he had taken command of one of the new cruisers, rather then usurp the designated leader.  “Okay people, stay sharp.  Once we transit the gate we're going to be out of contact with Earth.”  As he was speaking the gate came into view, hard to make out against the blackness of space.

“Ten seconds to jump...”  The audio pickup was good enough to blanket the entire bridge, of course, though some of the outlying duty stations didn't have quite the volume that the captain's chair did.  As such, the young woman at the helm was a bit hard to hear.  “Five... four... three...” The tactical display was showing ships winking out as they transited ahead of the Queensland.  “Two... one... jump!”  For a second or so the external cams showed the shimmering effect of a system jump, the flash being visible slightly on the bridge view as well.  For a second all was still again as the tactical display read status normal.  The ships weren't aligned quite correctly anymore, due to transit effects.

“Alright then, helm take us-”  Suddenly a bright red dot winked in on the display, the monitor zooming out to account for range.

“Sir, new contact!  Active sensor, bearing 45, distance 366 million km and closing... rate 1000 km a second.”  The camera showed a few crew flinch a bit at how suddenly things picked up.  Surprise, really, not bad training.  “It's... quite strong... I'd estimate roughly four times our own sensor capabilities...”

“Thank you sensors.  Signal the fleet to form up again.  The Newfoundland will be staying here as a relay, and as backup if our jump drive is knocked out.  Remember, there's no gate on this side.”

A few minutes pass as the crew makes system checks, then Commodore Parisian orders an intercept course on the contact.  The video then transitions again, with the time stamp reading 21:37.  The bridge is silent again, until broken by the sensor officer again.

“Sir!  Sensors now reading that the contact has some form of energy shield...  very strong... I... uhh...I'm sending the readings to your console, you better have a look.  I'm not sure we have the firepower to deal with that...”

“Hmmm... yes.... yes I see...  I agree.  Helm, turn us around, and comms, signal the fleet to head back.  We can't take that out with any certainty, especially if it has escorts.”  The Commodore sounded slightly frustrated, and a bit disappointed.  The formation stayed the same, with the Queensland leading the withdrawal.

The screen fades once more, this time reading 21:53.  The sensor officer's tense and shaky voice comes through before the video completely fades in.

“Sir!  New contacts!  The anti-missile grid is picking up... 107 contacts!  Not missiles, but fighters, or maybe small craft!  Distance 9 million and closing at 10,000 km a second!”  The tactical display is having trouble labeling all the new contacts.  Eventually all the text on it winks off as the tactical officer no doubt turned that setting off.

Even the Commodore is a bit taken aback by the news.  It takes him a few seconds to compose himself.  “Get targeting locks immediately!  Use the AMMs anyway.”

As the Queensland does not have weapons of its own, the orders have to be relayed to the cruisers along with the sensor readouts for their targeting computers.  After a moment the comms officer speaks up.  “Uhh... sir... the cruisers are reporting an error with their targeting systems.  It seems the missile guidance systems aren't recognizing the contacts...”  It was easy to imagine her face turning pale from her tone of voice as she said that.

“What?!?  How can this be?”  Commodore Parisian was clearly in shock.

“Well... while it's true we provide sensor data to the other ships, all the firing calculations are done over there and use a smaller sensor array to guide their missiles, as their exact position is not our own.”  The sensor officer provided a basic explanation.  All officers did have to know this information, as part of training, but a lot of these systems had never actually been field tested yet.  “If I had to make a guess, I'd say the cruisers' sensors can't ping something that small that far away...”

“Well isn't that just useless!”  The Commodore almost pounded his fist on the armrest of his command chair, but then took a deep breath.  “Sorry, that was unprofessional of me.”  He sighed and leaned back in his chair, rubbing his eyes tiredly.  “We'll get a lock before they get here, though, right?”

“Yes... though no telling how close they'll need to be...”  The screen faded out before more the conversation could take place.  Intel had obviously deemed it irrelevant.

When the screen came back the time stamp was 22:10.  The bridge crew looked visibly more tense then they had before.  The comms officer then cut in again.

“The cruisers are reporting targeting locks!  However... we overlooked something.  While we'd cued up AMMs even for the large launchers, we'd forgotten to unload the ASMs already in the tubes...”  The officer sounded a bit embarrassed, but dutifully reported the error.  “One hundred missiles in flight, fifty of each.”

The audio picked up the Commodore sighing under his breath before responding.  “Very well.  Just monitor the missiles closely.”

“Roger.  The AMMs will arrive just as half our launchers will be ready to fire again.”

The bridge was silent for another thirty seconds before the action just exploded.

“Five of fifty hit!”  The sensor officer frantically worked her console.  “No appreciable damage to any target...”  Another five seconds passed before she had more results.  “ASMs hit... minor damage to two targets, but they're not slowly down”.

The sensor officer was in the middle of reporting on the next wave of missile impacts when suddenly one of the cruisers is lit up with a series of small explosions, jettisoning some debris into space.

“What?!?  I saw no weapons fire!”  Indeed, the screens confirmed the Commodore's exclamation.  The ship just suddenly suffered massive damage.

“Uh... I'm reading strange meson emissions from the ships... that might be the source of the damage...”  The sensors officer was both excited and confused.

The human ships launched their next wave of missiles, with the fire from the damaged vessel being noticeably lessened.  Another series of explosions rippled across the damaged ship not more then a second later, causing the superstructure to fail.  Due to a safety feature, the missile it had gotten off self destructed.

The missiles that did make it in this wave, though, scored some real damage against the enemy for the first time.  Two of the small ships fell back, trailing some kind of fluid.

“Is that ship... bleeding?”  The Commodore's thoughts were interrupted by a bright flash as a second cruiser had an engine cook off when it was attacked, ensuring it only took one enemy volley to destroy it.  Another cruiser disintegrated before the next wave of missiles hit their targets.  One enemy was totally obliterated, but with over a hundred still fully functional, it was a hollow victory.

More ships were being taken out every ten seconds or so, most in one volley, but some taking two.  Without warning the three cameras were replaced with static, with the tactical display just going black.  The screen momentarily flashed “Switching to TES Newfoundland relays” before the tactical display came back, along with it's external views.  The bridge view was replaced with an incoming transmission from the TES Anzio, the ship Rear Admiral Skyers had taken command of, that would have been displayed on the Newfoundland's main viewer.

“Commodore!  Do not linger after the battle to see if you can make a rescue!  Escape immediately!  We need to come up with totally new designs!  You've seen what happened first hand.  Use tha-”

There's a long, high pitched squeal over the voice over, as that quad goes to static, though the audio transmission continued.  The tech pauses the recording at this point.

“This was caused by the explosions of the magazines on a few ships.  All missiles cooking off at the same generate a lot of interference on TN transmission bands.  The effect will fade quickly, but at least three ships suffered this fate.”  He did a good job maintaining a cold, clinical tone, then resumed the recording.

“-se cruisers don't work, but you know what will! He-”  The Admiral was cut off again by screeching sounds for a moment. “-st don't make the same mistake twice!”  He then abruptly cuts the transmission, sparing the viewers of the bridge crew's final moments.

Three ships are left at this point.  The Admiral's ship is highlighted, and taken out second to last.  It's all over in another thirty seconds.  The log ends mid-sentence as Commodore Vogelsberg ordered her ship to jump back, leaving the Emperor and general staff in stunned silence.

Duchess Bellis is the first to speak, clearing her throat for attention.  “Well, ladies and gentlemen, as you can see our fleet proved to be totally inadequate.”  Several of the officers give her disapproving looks at her less then serious tone, but she ignores them.  “Fortunately, several months ago my division was commissioned to create the next generation of warship for the Navy.  Progress is somewhat slower than expected, but I believe if we start now, we can have a well laid out plan in place by the end of the year, and a viable defense force under construction by the end of the next.”

The young woman was known as a bit arrogant because of her early success in climbing the social ladder, and had not won many friends among the older members of the military or nobility.  Admiral Candia was the first to object.

“That's nearly a year and a half away!  Why will it take so long?”

“Well, currently, I've only been commissioned to design a laser PD system”.  The Duchess was not afraid to stare down the highest ranking military officer in the Empire, despite being close to 30 years her junior.  “I believe you've been aiming for creating a Toronto II class, a slightly larger version of the ship that just proved so inadequate with a few of my lasers slapped on.  Hardly seems like much of an improvement, considering what we just saw.”  This caused the Admiral to scowl, but she wasn't given the chance to interrupt.  “What I propose is that we start diversifying our ships.  Sure, we have separate command ships now, but that doesn't seem like enough to me.  Also, it's pretty obvious we have serious problems with our targeting equipment and software.  I think we need a total redesign of our missile cruisers to compensate.”

The Emperor was thinking this over carefully, nodding in agreement with the plan and speaking up at the end of the scientist's micro-rant.  “I like it.  It's pretty clear to me as well that THIS navy wasn't any good.”  He shot a glare at the Admiral, who was one of about four people who had primary input on the current designs and doctrine.  He himself had mostly left them too it, and was now regretting his decision.  “I do believe you will be receiving increased funding soon, as well as authority to revamp the Navy more along the lines of your idea.”

Admiral Candia was quite flustered, as well as taken off guard.  “But Your Excellency!  The Senate-”

“-will be granting me emergency powers shortly.”  The Emperor finished for her.  He could glare very intensely when he wanted to, and it had served him well.

“At the very least order the construction of more Torontos in the mean time!  We ne-”

“No... I think not.  It's an obviously flawed design.  Building more would just be sending more of our brave military personnel to their doom.  We've already lost nearly 8000 people in that damned system.”  He paused, surveying the disturbed Admiral.  “Don't worry Admiral, you will no doubt have decreased duty's in the days to come, but I can not afford to sack any of my officers after a disaster like this.  Now, if you excuse me... I have A LOT of work to get done.  You should count yourself lucky, you only have to worry about the military side of things.  I have to deal with the Senate, and the public.  And a wife and small child.”

The Emperor stood up, the rest of the group still stunned, even the Duchess a bit at how quickly he defused the Admiral's bumblings.  He wasn't a very imposing man.  Indeed, the Admiral was the only one shorter then him in the room, and only by an inch or two at that.  Still, when he put his foot down, others listened, and dared not go against his wishes.  With that, the meeting was ajourned.
 

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: The Second Battle of Lalande 21185 (June 4, 2051)
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2012, 08:10:44 AM »
Enjoyable read. Looking forward to the Third Battle of Lalande 21185 :)

Steve
 

 

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