Author Topic: Chronicle of the Rigellian Empire - Part 3  (Read 2111 times)

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Offline Steve Walmsley

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Chronicle of the Rigellian Empire - Part 3
« on: February 16, 2015, 11:54:17 AM »
Eighteen months passed after the twin defeats in Kumamoto and Takamatsu with little naval activity. Eventually, the Second Carrier Striking Force headed back to Rigel for overhaul and a destroyer squadron was sent to Kawasaki to watch over the system. The Mazoku remained in their systems and showed no sign of entering Kawasaki. As more manned mining complexes were converted to automated mines and shipped to the growing mining colony in Nagoya, the Gallicite shortage finally began to ease and more refits could be carried out simultaneously. This was aided considerably by new mining technology developed in March Y227 that boosted the output of existing mines by 25%.

By this point the colonies on Osaka IV and Nagoya I had both reached populations in excess of ten million. These were the first colonies established outside the Rigel system, located in the only adjacent systems with additional jump points, and were intended as forward bases for future exploration. The first colony within the Rigel system, on Rigel-A II, had reached eighty million. The site of the first recovery operation in the Kawasaki system, Kawasaki-B II, was home to a population of over six million, and was in the final stages of being terraformed. Meanwhile, the small colony established on Kawasaki-A V to provide shore leave for the crews of ships guarding the Kumamoto jump point had grown to two point four million. The only other populated colony was on Kobe III, a planet with terraforming potential. The Kobe system lay beyond Osaka’s outermost jump point. The recovery operation continued at the abandoned alien colony on the 22nd moon of Kawasaki-C I but no Rigellian colony had been established on the moon due to its low gravity. No settlers were present at the huge mining operation on the 12th moon of Nagoya VII for the same reason. All the populated colonies had grown thanks to the Rigellian civilian shipping sector, which by this point comprised four different shipping lines with almost sixty freighters, colony ships and fuel harvesters.

By May Y227, all twelve Kongo class battlecruisers and all eleven Matsukaze class destroyer escorts had been refitted. Three additional Matsukazes were under construction, along with two new Sakawa class scout destroyers. The Kagero and Nagara classes were still being refitted. While the Gallicite crisis had not ended, it appeared the worst was over so High Swordsman Takagi authorised the restarting of missile and fighter production, with emphasis on the newly designed A6M3 Reisen and the Meteor II anti-ship missile. Once sufficient fighters and missiles were available, the Imperial Rigellian Navy would return to Kumamoto and Takamatsu to face the Mazoku once again.

In August, excavation of an alien research facility on the 22nd moon of Kawasaki-C I revealed detailed information on fire control tracking systems that was far ahead of the general level of technology found in the abandoned colony. The alien data would enable Rigellian scientists to develop fire control systems with higher tracking speed. The discovery came at a very useful time for the Empire as the Rigellian scientific community had recently lost its greatest mind in the field of Sensors and Fire Control technology. The following month the last deposit of Gallicite on Rigel was exhausted, leaving the mining colony in Nagoya as the sole source of Gallicite for the home world. A new mining colony had been set up in Kawasaki but the deposits were relatively small and the colony had only twenty automated mines.

A new freighter design was launched in mid-September. The Kobyashi Maru - Mod 3 class carried 50% more cargo than its predecessor and, although no faster, was very fuel efficient, using just one fifth the amount of fuel per engine power hour. The design was intended for long journeys where efficiency was more important than speed.

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Kobyashi Maru - Mod 3 class Freighter    117,800 tons     325 Crew     1288.4 BP      TCS 2356  TH 4800  EM 0
2037 km/s     Armour 1-214     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 7    Max Repair 45 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Spare Berths 0    
Cargo 75000    Cargo Handling Multiplier 30    

C300E Commercial Internal Fusion Drive (16)    Power 300    Fuel Use 1.23%    Signature 300    Exp 3%
Fuel Capacity 250,000 Litres    Range 31.1 billion km   (176 days at full power)

The abandoned alien colony on the 22nd moon of Kawasaki-C was fully exploited by mid-October Y227. Along with the same factories, mines and fuel refineries that were recovered from the smaller ruin on Kawasaki-B II, Rigellian construction workers recovered a dozen research facilities, ten terraforming installations and eight genetic modification centres. The research facilities were particularly useful as there had been little expansion of existing Rigellian facilities due to the various resource shortages. The priority had been automated mines rather than research. The construction brigades on the moon were moved to the colony on Kawasaki-A V where they could be used to build installations. High Swordsman Takagi planned to create a base on the colony as it was close to the Kumamoto jump point and could be used to support exploration in Kumamoto and beyond.

On January 9th Y228, the Second Carrier Striking Force returned to Kumamoto. A single carrier, CV Soryu, accompanied the warships and her strikegroup comprised the first thirty-six A6M3 strikefighters. While the A6M3 Reisen was larger than the two earlier Reisens, which meant a strikegroup of thirty-six rather than forty, that extra hull space allowed for a much more capable fire control system, doubling the maximum engagement range compared to the A6M2. Rather than a specialised fighter-launched missile, the A6M3 would carry the ASM-5 Meteor II anti-ship missile used by the Kongo class battlecruisers. Although that wasted half the missile’s range, it made logistics considerably easier.

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A6M3 Reisen class Strikefighter    328 tons     4 Crew     99 BP      TCS 6.55  TH 100  EM 0
15267 km/s     Armour 1-4     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 0     PPV 2.25
Maint Life 0 Years     MSP 0    AFR 65%    IFR 0.9%    1YR 6    5YR 86    Max Repair 25 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 0.2 months    Spare Berths 4    
Magazine 15    

Nakajima Sakae Fighter Fusion Drive (2)    Power 50    Fuel Use 489.16%    Signature 50    Exp 25%
Fuel Capacity 20,000 Litres    Range 2.2 billion km   (40 hours at full power)

TSH Dragon-5B Missile Launch System (3)    Missile Size 5    Hangar Reload 37.5 minutes    MF Reload 6.2 hours
Nagumo Engineering FC-75 Missile Fire Control (1)     Range 75.9m km    Resolution 120
ASM-5 Meteor II Anti-Ship Missile (3)  Speed: 45,000 km/s   Range: 146.2m km   WH: 9    Size: 5    TH: 150/90/45
Nagumo Engineering AS-10 Active Sensor (1)     GPS 1008     Range 10.1m km    Resolution 120

A squadron comprising DSC Sakawa, DL Nagara, DE Asakaze, DE Kamikaze and DD Kagero transited and held position on the jump point to await the arrival of the Mazoku. Why the Mazoku were not picketing the jump point to prevent the Rigellian incursions was unknown, although Swordsman of Star Terakado theorised the system had multiple jump points and the Mazoku did not have sufficient forces to guard them all, so they were holding at the centre and reacting to threats as they appeared. As expected, a Mazoku task group appeared within a few days with the same composition as last time; Von Karman and Daedalia Planum class cruisers, three Xanthe Terra, a Sacra Mensa and a Cerberus Rupes. The Daedalia Planum and the Sacra Mensa were running parallel to the other ships, separated by three million kilometres.

The 11th and 12th Strike Wings launched from Soryu and transited the JP. Swordsman of Stars Terakado decided to take advantage of the separation of the hostile force and ordered to fighters to concentrate their attack on the smaller group. The Soryu carried enough reloads for two more strikes so there was no need to accomplish everything on the first attack. The A6M3 Reisens launched at fifty-three million kilometres, the maximum range at which they could achieve a fire control lock. Two thirds of the Reisens targeted the Daedalia Planum and one third the Sacra Mensa, creating a total wave of one hundred and eight missiles. With the missiles en route to their target, the Mazoku task group came sixty degrees to port and the Xanthe Terras moved between the rest of the larger group and the Rigellians. Whether they had detected the fighters or their missiles, or if this was a pre-planned manoeuvre was unknown, but it would give the Mazoku more time to engage the inbound missiles. One point four million kilometers from their target, sixteen Rigellian missiles were struck by anti-missile missiles.

More strength-1 detonations appeared on Rigellian sensors every few seconds as Mazoku AMMs destroyed the inbound Meteor IIs. However, a significant number of those detonations were overkill. In total, one hundred and seven defensive missiles killed eighty-six Rigellian ASMs. Twenty-two missiles reached their target. Only three hit the 16,500 ton Daedalia Planum before it suffered two large secondary explosions and disintegrated. The Sacra Mensa was not attacked as all missiles targeted on it had been shot down. Whether the Daedalia Planum suffered a very lucky hit (from the Rigellian perspective) or was weakly protected was unknown. Given its size, the former seemed more likely. Although the strike was a success in that a large Mazoku ship was destroyed, the sheer number of defensive AMMs was a concern for Swordsman of Stars Terakado. The fighters headed back to Soryu and all Mazoku ships resumed their course for the jump point.

By the time the fighters had landed, reloaded and re-entered Kumamoto, the Mazoku task group was at 380 million kilometres. Because of their earlier manoeuvres the three Xanthe Terra class destroyers were now three million kilometres ahead of the rest of the alien force. As the fighters closed in, Terakado ordered their pilots to split their fire equally between the Xanthe Terra, with thirty-six missiles targeted on each. This time there was no defensive fire. On Rigellian tactical screens the wave of one hundred and eight Meteor IIs merged with the contact signatures of the Xanthe Terras and was replaced by three wreck markers. A total of sixty-one missile detonations were recorded, with one ship requiring twenty-four hits to destroy it. Given this class was half the size of the Daedalia, it confirmed the earlier view that the first strike destroyed the cruiser due to a very fortunate hit. From the original seven alien ships, only the 16,500 ton Von Karman plus the 8,250 Cerberus and Sacra Mensae class destroyers remained. The fighters retreated while the Mazoku, now only 260 million kilometers from the jump point, changed course 60 degrees to port.

After an hour, the three Mazoku ships changed course once again and headed for the jump point. While he could order a retreat through the jump point, Swordsman of Stars Terakado decided the squadron in Kumamoto should hold position so the Sakawa class scout destroyer could guide the A6M3 Reisens in for a third strike; the last they could carry out with the available missiles on Soryu. The closest alien ship was at 170 million kilometres when the fighters landed. By the time the Reisens had completed reloading the Von Karman and the Sacra Mensa were at 151 million kilometres with the Cerberus trailing at 158 million. Whichever ship was launching missiles from 300 million kilometres during an earlier engagement was obviously one of those destroyed in the previous fighter strikes. Terakado opted to concentrate the fighter attacks on the two closest ships then bring his battlecruisers into Kumamoto to complete the destruction of the Mazoku force, although that would strand them for six months until a gate could be built. The fighters launched for a third time and the Mazoku again turned to port, opening up a gap of 600,000 kilometers between the Von Karman and the Sacra Mensa. The Rigellian missiles split into two groups, with two-thirds heading for the larger Von Karman class.

Those heading for the Sacra Mensa were struck by AMMs, confirming that class as an escort. Sixteen missiles out of thirty-six reached their target and eleven hit, causing at least some internal damage as the Sacra Mensa slowed to 6630 km/s. The Von Karman had no such defences and was hit by thirty-eight Meteor IIs with strength-9 warheads and suffered two secondary explosions, one of strength-38. Somehow it survived but was severely damaged and capable of only 472 km/s. Given the damage the fighters had inflicted, Swordsman of Stars Terakado elected to bring the whole of the Second Carrier Striking Force into Kumamoto, with the exception of Soryu which had empty magazines. Although it was a gamble, as there could be no escape until a jump gate was built in Kumamoto to match the one on the Kawasaki side of the jump point, Terakado wanted to finish the Mazoku task group while he had the chance. He also sent a message to High Swordsman Takagi via the jump gate network, requesting that ammunition transports be constructed to support deployed fleets.

The Second Carrier Striking Force entered Kumamoto. Swordsman of Stars Terakado detached DL Nagara with orders to picket the jump point then took the rest of his force to within one hundred million kilometers of the two damaged ships. By this time the undamaged Cerberus had passed the other Mazoku ships and was closing on the Rigellian task group. The Sacra Mensa had assumed close formation with the crippled Von Karman, presumably to protect it from Rigellian attack. The battlecruisers Fuso, Hyuga and Yamashiro launched a single salvo of thirty-six missiles at the Sacra Mensa class escort, to test its defences, and a single salvo at the Cerberus. As the Cerberus was closing, the second salvo arrived first. Two missiles were shot down by close-in point defence fire. Twenty-eight of the remaining thirty-four Meteor IIs struck the target and blew it to pieces. The other salvo closed in on the Sacra Mensa. This time there was no defensive fire, suggesting a critical system had been damaged in the previous attack. The Mazoku escort suffered eighteen hits and exploded. One third of the Rigellian missiles self-destructed as their target no longer existed, suggesting that onboard sensors might be useful for future missile designs. Only the crippled Von Karman remained. Yamashiro launched a single salvo. In fact a single missile would have been sufficient as the first hit destroyed the Mazoku cruiser.

All the Mazoku ships on Rigellian sensors had been wiped out. A famous victory for the Imperial Rigellian Navy and vengeance for the casualties suffered at Mazoku hands. The Second Carrier Striking Force headed in-system to check the inner planets while a Kochiku Suru class construction ship was sent into Kumamoto to build a jump gate, which would allow the battlecruisers to leave after their mission was accomplished. Salvage ships and survey ships would also be sent into the system once it was confirmed as safe. As the Rigellian task group moved within sensor range of the second planet it detected two new Mazoku ships, a 16,500 ton Aonia Terra and a 16,300 ton Valles Marineris. Neither made any attempt to break orbit, even when the Rigellians continued to close. Terakado suspected they could be some form of orbital defence base, which raised the question of what they were defending.

The Second Carrier Striking Force moved close enough to the inner system to scan the orbits of the seven innermost planets. No other Mazoku ships were detected. Swordsman of Stars Terakado decided to wait for Soryu to return from Rigel with full magazines before launching an attack. In the meantime, he gave the order for salvage and survey operations to begin with the proviso that no ship moved within two hundred million kilometers of Kumamoto II. Four salvage ships, ten freighters, two geological survey ships and two gravitational survey ships all arrived with the next few weeks. By the end of February the first Mazoku wreck had been salvaged. Components found in the wreck suggested that Mazoku sensor technology was at least two generations ahead of the Rigellian level. Given the speed of their ships, it seemed likely their engine technology was also more advanced.

In the rest of the Empire, life continued. A small colony of 250,000 settlers was established on the third planet of Kawasaki-C III, making it the third populated colony in the system. The Rigellian terraforming fleet had completed the task of transforming Kawasaki-B II into an ideal habitable world so as Kawasaki-C III was a potential terraforming candidate, that was deemed to be the best option for the next terraforming mission. A small terraforming operation was also in progress on Kawasaki-A V, using terraforming installations recovered from the abandoned alien colony in the same system.

On March 9th Y228, CV Soryu re-joined the Second Carrier Striking Force which had been holding position nine hundred million kilometres from the pair of Mazoku ships, or bases, in orbit of Kumamoto II. Swordsman of Stars Terakado put his newly arrived fighters to immediate use. All thirty-six A6M3 Reisens launched their missiles fifty-three million kilometers from the target. Anti-missile fire was initially heavy with forty Meteor IIs shot down by the first wave of AMMs and thirty by the second. As the missiles got closer through the AMM fire slackened and eighteen missiles reached their target. Nine were shot down by close-range point defence fire and the other nine struck the Aonia Terra. Terakado decided to use his battlecruisers to support the attack and brought the whole Second Carrier Striking Force within fifty million kilometres of the planet.

The next missile launch comprised one hundred and eight missiles from the fighters targeted on the undamaged Valles Marineris and thirty-six from the battlecruisers targeted on the damaged Aonia Terra. This time the anti-missile fire was more effective, without the falloff seen during the first attack. Only a single missile reached its target and that was killed by close-in point defence. The latest missiles were in short supply so Swordsman of Stars Terakado was reluctant to waste them against such strong defences. A second strikegroup of A6M3 Reisens was under construction, destined for the CV Hiryu, but would not be available for several months as less than two hundred fighter factories were operational (due to other priorities). After consulting with High Swordsman Takagi via the jump gate network, Terakado decided to wait until Hiryu was available. He pulled the Second Carrier Strike Force back to two hundred million kilometres from the planet to await the arrival of his second carrier.

Although a standoff existed between the Rigellian warships and the Mazoku bases, Rigellian activity continued outside the orbit of the second planet. On May 22nd Y228 a jump gate was completed at the Kumamoto – Kawasaki jump point, allowing CV Soryu and the three Kongo class battlecruisers to leave Kumamoto if they so desired. The geological survey results were generally disappointing, although one of the gas giants in Kumamoto had six hundred million litres of accessibility 0.9 Sorium and a moon of the same gas giant had deposits of eight different minerals at reasonable accessibility. Despite the fact the deposit of Duranium was lower accessibility than most of the others and the deposit of Gallicite was relatively small, a mining colony here would complement the one in Nagoya. Another mining colony was also planned for Osaka III, which had high accessibility Duranium and Corundium, the two key minerals needed in the construction of mines. High Swordsman Takagi planned to send the Osaka III minerals via mass driver to the populated colony on Osaka IV where a few construction factories were now in operation. In the long term, the two colonies would cooperate to produce a steady supply of new mines. Having additional mining colonies to back up the Nagoya VII site was also useful from the perspective of redundancy, in case of the loss of that colony to hostile action.

Kumamoto-A V - Moon 27 Survey Report
Duranium 11,520,000  Acc: 0.5
Neutronium 2,433,600  Acc: 0.3
Corbomite 5,308,416  Acc: 1
Boronide 3,240,000  Acc: 0.9
Mercassium 627,264  Acc: 0.8
Sorium 5,198,400  Acc: 1
Corundium 4,460,544  Acc: 0.4
Gallicite 36,864  Acc: 0.8

The salvage operation in Kumamoto recovered all the wrecks in the system, including those of the Rigellian fighters and the three wrecks that were already present when the Rigellians first entered. A large number of intact components were recovered, including twenty-one engines, seven fire control systems, nine missile launchers, six passive sensors and three jump drives. All the components, along with the recovered minerals were taken to Rigel Prime, where the components were disassembled to assist Rigellian research. In August Y228, a gravitational survey of Kumamoto was completed revealing four new jump points. High Swordsman Takagi ordered that these were not be explored until the last two Mazoku ships were eliminated.

Soryu returned to Kumamoto in early October with full magazines and was accompanied by Hiryu, which had her own full strikegroup of A6M3 Reisens. All seventy-two fighters, accompanied by the three Kongo class battlecruisers, moved within fifty million kilometres of the two Mazoku bases and launched a new strike of two hundred and fifty-two Meteor II anti-ship missiles. One hundred and eight were targeted against the Aonia Terra, damaged several months previously, and the rest were directed against the Valle Marineris.

The first anti-missile detonations began at one point six million kilometres from Kumamoto II, the planet around which the bases were orbiting, The anti-missile fire was even more intensive than in previous strikes but this missile wave was larger and some managed to penetrate. Eighteen reached their targets. Half were destroyed by point blank point defence and the other nine struck the Aonia Terra. Despite the relatively limited success of the strike, it would be a long time before any larger strike could be mounted so Swordsman of Stars Terakado ordered the fighters to reload and try again. On this occasion though the three battlecruisers would fire two additional salvos of thirty-six missiles. While they would be relatively small, it was possible they could achieve some success if all the defences were concentrating on the initial wave.

Several hours later, the second attack was launched, identical to the first except for the two follow-up salvos of thirty-six missiles directed against the Valles Marineris. The results were slightly better than the first attack with twenty reaching the target, seven being hit by point defence and thirteen scoring hits on the Valles Marineris. The first small follow-up wave was easily destroyed. The second follow-up wave appeared to be a suffering the same fate when the defensive fire ceased with sixteen missiles remaining. Twelve were destroyed by close-in point defence, leaving four to strike the Valles Marineris class base. Swordsman of Stars Terakado ordered an immediate follow-up salvo from the battlecruisers to test his assumption that the Mazoku bases had just run out of defensive missiles. Those hopes were dashed when all thirty-six missiles were destroyed simultaneously well short of the two bases. Terakado theorised that perhaps the bases were reloaded from the planet or they repaired whatever caused them to stop firing. In any event, he had no option now but to launch a third fighter strike.

The third strike was identical to the second, including the targeting and the two small follow-up strikes. The AMM detonations began as before at one point six million kilometers from the planet and with the same intensity. However, after one hundred and sixty-six strength-1 detonations they suddenly ceased, allowing the rest of the missiles to proceed unmolested. A few were shot down by close-in point defence. The rest obliterated both Mazoku bases, resulting in celebrations on several Rigellian ships. The capture of Kumamoto was a great victory for the Imperial Rigellian Navy and the first time the Mazoku had been forced to give up territory. However, in the process of securing the Kumamoto system a total of 1692 Meteor II missiles had been expended by the fighters and battlecruisers to achieve the destruction of the enemy forces, which was more than two years production by the Empire’s ordnance factories; four years if they were splitting that production with anti-missile missiles. Furthermore, only 323 Meteor IIs now remained in the Empire’s entire stockpile. Such profligate ordnance expenditure could not be maintained on a long-term basis. Either a more effective missile had to be developed or a way had to be found to get within energy range of hostile combatants.

The Second Carrier Strike Force moved to the Kawasaki jump point while a small exploration squadron of four ships began an investigation of Kumamoto’s four unexplored jump points. The innermost led to Matsuyama, a system with a yellow G9-IV sub-giant primary, four rocky planets, including a potential terraforming candidate, and a small asteroid belt. DL Nagara remained at the jump point, seven billion kilometres from the star, while the rest of the squadron checked the planets, confirming no Mazoku presence. Beyond jump point two was Kure, an unremarkable binary comprising a G-class main sequence star and a brown dwarf, with a single Jigoku world orbiting the primary. Jump points three and four connected to the equally unremarkable Hiroshima and Yamaguchi systems.

The geological survey had far more interesting results. On November 10th Y228 the geological survey of Kumamoto II, the planet around which the two Mazoku bases were orbiting, revealed a partially intact alien city! This was a discovery that exceeded those in the neighbouring Kawasaki system by a considerable margin. Why the Mazoku forces were guarding an abandoned city was a mystery, unless they planned to recover any intact alien installations at some point in the future. While the atmosphere of Kumamoto II was breathable, the surface temperature was 84C, giving it a colony cost of 2.10. The twelve Rigellian terraforming ships in Kawasaki were immediately reassigned to Kumamoto II and three troop transports in the same system were ordered to move the construction brigades that had been assembled on Kawasaki-A V. Before any recovery could take place though, a xenology team had to conduct a survey of the city, learning the language of the inhabitants and identifying sites for potential recovery operations.

Kumamoto-A II Mineral Survey
Duranium 4,892,192  Acc: 0.5
Tritanium 2,592,100  Acc: 0.1
Vendarite 5,080,516  Acc: 0.7
Sorium 7,873,636  Acc: 0.1
Uridium 17,139,600  Acc: 0.1
Corundium 76,176  Acc: 0.1

The geological survey of Kumamoto I, possible only after the removal of the Mazoku bases from the orbit of Kumamoto, was about to begin when the approaching survey ship detected a tiny population signature on the planet, along with a ground forces contact. Three troop transports were on their way from Kawasaki with eleven construction brigades and the Gyoku-Ryodan. The transport with the Gyoku-Ryodan was ordered to land it on Kumamoto I where it would attempt to conquer the Mazoku outpost. Meanwhile, analysis of two laser turrets recovered from one of the wrecked Mazoku bases revealed soft x-ray laser technology, once against two generations ahead of the Rigellian Empire.

The Mazoku outpost  on Kumamoto I was captured on February 4th Y229 after a fierce battle with robotic defenders identical to those found in the alien ruin sites in Kawasaki. Rigellian Naval Intelligence surmised that the Mazoku may have attacked the alien civilization in Kawasaki then left the caches of robotic soldiers to dissuade anyone from disturbing the ruins. That led to the additional conclusion that the substantial Mazoku forces in Kumamoto could have deployed to guard what remained of a second former civilization, although in this case the condition of the city on Kumamoto II suggested a portion of its inhabitants had escaped. The only installation on the Kumamoto I outpost was a deep space tracking station. However, it also contained a stockpile of almost four thousand Mazoku anti-missiles. The Cerberus AMM, as it was designated, had a speed of 40,000 km/s, approximately eleven percent slower than the Rigellian Meteor II anti-ship missile, which explained how some of the Meteor IIs penetrated the heavy Mazoku AMMs fire. It also had a range of forty-six million kilometres, which meant the Reisen A6M3’s ability to fire from fifty-three million kilometers against Mazoku ECM had prevented the Mazoku from once again inflicting catastrophic fighter losses.

In May Y229 the first Himeji class Planetary Defence Centre was assembled on Osaka IV. The PDC had been prefabricated by construction factories on Rigel and shipped to Osaka IV by freighters. The Himeji was designed to provide a basic level of protection for colonies without the need to station warships. A strikegroup of twenty fighters would allow long-range strikes, guided by the same AS-1250 system search array mounted on the Sakawa class scout destroyer, while the PDC had the same defensive armament as a Matsukaze class destroyer escort, allowing it to protect the colony from missile attack. The Himeji was also equipped with a pair of close-in weapon systems to provide point blank point defence. The carrier Kaga and the escort Harukaze delivered the defence centre’s strikegroup and ordnance. Due to the ordnance shortages in the Empire, the PDC was given a strikegroup of first generation fighters, along with the original ASM-4 Comet anti-ship missiles and older Nova II AMMs. A second Himeji was being assembled at the mining colony on the twelfth moon of Nagoya VII by eight construction brigades. This would take over a year unless more construction brigades were assigned.

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Himeji class Planetary Defence Centre    18,250 tons     345 Crew     3197.8 BP      TCS 365  TH 0  EM 0
Armour 10-61     Sensors 1/1050     Damage Control Rating 0     PPV 15
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Flight Crew Berths 1    
Hangar Deck Capacity 6250 tons     Magazine 1215    

Fuel Capacity 1,000,000 Litres    Range N/A
CIWS-250 (2x8)    Range 1000 km     TS: 25000 km/s     ROF 5       Base 50% To Hit
Tamuro-Soga Heavy Industries Dragon-1 Missile Launch System (15)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 10
Nagumo Engineering FC-20 Missile Fire Control (3)     Range 20.8m km    Resolution 1
AMM-3 Nova II (615)  Speed: 33,600 km/s   End: 4.8m    Range: 9.8m km   WH: 1    Size: 1    TH: 156/94/47
ASM-4 Comet Anti-ship Missile (120)  Speed: 28,800 km/s   End: 30.6m    Range: 52.9m km   WH: 9    Size: 5    TH: 96/57/28

Nagumo Engineering MD-2 Missile Detection Sensor (1)     GPS 189     Range 20.8m km    MCR 2.3m km    Resolution 1
Nagumo Engineering AS-1250 System Search Array (1)     GPS 126000     Range 1,265.2m km    Resolution 120

Strike Group
20x A6M Reisen Fighter   Speed: 8149 km/s    Size: 5.89
1x Homuran Pinnace   Speed: 4285 km/s    Size: 4.9

The geological survey ship Shikishima was overdue from its mission to survey the single planet in the Kure system, adjacent to Kumamoto. GEV Fuji, fresh from her own survey of Matsuyama, was ordered to investigate. She transited into Kure on June 4th Y229 and discovered the wreck of Shikishima one point three billion kilometres from the jump point. Fuji transited back into Kumamoto to raise the alarm. The Second Carrier Striking Force had returned to Rigel for an overhaul and was awaiting the production of sufficient Meteor IIs to fill its magazines. As soon as he heard the news from Kure, High Swordsman Takagi ordered Swordsman of Star Terakado to take the Striking Force back to Kumamoto with orders to investigate the loss of Shikishima. Due to the ordnance shortages, only the carrier Soryu from the Kido Butai accompanied the Striking Force and she carried mainly Meteor Is in her magazines. Takagi also ordered Terakado to secure Takamatsu, a known Mazoku system that connected to Kawasaki, once he had concluded operations in Kure. A Rigellian exploration squadron had entered Takamatsu in August Y225, encountering two Syria Planum class destroyers and at least two, small undetected attacking ships. The latter had destroyed the Kagero Mod 1 class destroyer Akigumo in an attack using very high speed missiles.

On June 16th the first Aratama Maru Ammunition Transport was launched from the Hiyama Marine orbital shipyard. The Aratama Maru was designed to operate in forward positions in conjunction with Striking Forces and therefore had the same engines as the Kagero Mod 1 class destroyer. Sufficient magazine space was included to rearm two Kongo Mod 1 class battlecruisers or an Akagi class carrier and half its strikegroup. Unfortunately, there was a lack of modern ammunition for the Aratama Maru to carry so it was dispatched after the Second Carrier Striking Force with three hundred Meteor Is.

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Aratama Maru class Ammunition Transport    9,000 tons     153 Crew     1423.8 BP      TCS 180  TH 1260  EM 0
7000 km/s     Armour 2-38     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 4     PPV 0
Maint Life 2.21 Years     MSP 445    AFR 144%    IFR 2%    1YR 122    5YR 1835    Max Repair 210 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Spare Berths 2    
Magazine 1500    

Sakurai Drive Systems SDS-420 Fusion Drive (3)    Power 420    Fuel Use 45.19%    Signature 420    Exp 10%
Fuel Capacity 500,000 Litres    Range 22.1 billion km   (36 days at full power)
ASM-5 Meteor II  (300)  Speed: 45,000 km/s   End: 54.1m    Range: 146.2m km   WH: 9    Size: 5    TH: 150/90/45

Nagumo Engineering Navigation Sensor (1)     GPS 2520     Range 25.3m km    Resolution 120

The Second Carrier Striking Force arrived at the Kumamoto – Kure jump point on July 3rd. The carrier and battlecruisers remained in Kumamoto while a recon squadron entered Kure followed by the rest of the destroyer-sized ships. Within three hours a new type of Mazoku ship, designated as an Amazonia Planitia class destroyer, appeared at the edge of sensor range. Swordsman of Stars Terakado dispatched fifteen A6M3 fighters into Kure from Soryu, carrying a total of forty-five Meteor I anti-ship missiles. Faced with only a single opponent he had decided to use his stocks of older missiles first. The Reisens closed to fifty million kilometres and launched their missiles. Thirty missed, two more were shot down and the other thirteen hit the target, inflicting at least some internal damage as it slowed to 5860 km/s. A second wave of A6M3 departed Soryu with the same armament. This strike was more successful with the Mazoku destroyer taking only three hits before it was torn to pieces by a large secondary explosion. The Rigellian destroyers headed in-system and detected a tiny Mazoku output on the sole planet. The Gyoku-Ryodan, which secured a similar outpost on Kumamoto I, was still available and was therefore ordered to capture the newly discovered outpost.

The Rigellian destroyers returned to Kumamoto and joined the rest of the Second Carrier Striking Force. As ordered by High Swordsman Takagi, the task group transited the Kumamoto - Kawasaki jump point, moved across the system and took up position at the Kawasaki - Takamatsu jump point. Swordsman of Stars Terakado ordered DL Nagara, DD Kagero and DE Asakaze to transit the jump point and check for any nearby Mazoku forces. The three ships used a squadron transit to reduce any sensor downtime and arrived 25,000 kilometres from the two Mazoku Syria Planum class destroyers encountered during the last Rigellian visit, which were waiting on the jump point. Within a few seconds the Syria Planums had closed to point blank range but then began to pull away.

The commanders of all three Rigellian destroyers had the rank of Swordsman. Seniority within a single rank of the Imperial Rigellian Navy was determined by length of service. Therefore, it was common custom for officers to be referred to by both rank and seniority. For example, the commander of Kagero was Second Swordsman Togo Natsuko, Nagara was commanded by Sixth Swordsman Matsuzawa Rei and Asakaze was commanded by Thirtieth Swordsman Kawashima Teiljo, which made Swordsman Togo the overall squadron commander. Togo ordered all ships to open fire as soon as their weapons and fire control systems were clear of jump effects. He also ordered a jump back to Kawasaki as soon as Nagara’s jump engine was back online and the three ships were lined up for the jump point. Swordsman Togo saw no point in fighting enemy ships of unknown capability when the rest of the Second Carrier Striking Force was on the other side of the jump point.

Twenty seconds after transit, Kagero locked up one enemy destroyer and scored a single strength-4 hit with her lasers. Simultaneously Nagara was hit by five strength-7 missiles, fortunately without suffering any internal damage. Asakaze launched a single salvo of AMMs in offensive mode than switched to defensive mode as the targets moved out beyond 100,000 kilometers. At shorter ranges her sensors could not detect newly launched missiles in time to engage them. Twenty-five seconds after transit Nagara reported her jump drive was back online. The three destroyers were already lined up to go so Swordsman Togo gave the order to jump. Unlike some previous Rigellian engagements, all three ships in the squadron had experienced crews which improved coordination considerably. Togo firmly believed that hard-earned experience had saved lives by allowing them to escape from Takamatsu so quickly.

With only a single jump-capable warship, Swordsman of Stars Terakado was faced with launching a squadron-sized assault of only three ships or sending more ships through in a standard transit which would result in considerably longer-lasting transit effects. Neither option was particularly appealing. Therefore he requested the two Nagara Mod 1 class ships from the First Striking Force in Rigel orbit. As the powerful First Striking Force was responsible for planetary defence, it didn’t need the jump drives of the two Nagaras and their offensive armament of a spinal 25cm laser mount and two 20cm mounts would add little to the task group’s overall capability. High Swordsman Takagi agreed and immediately dispatched DL Abukuma and DL Yura. It was also apparent the Imperial Navy needed to develop a doctrine for jump point assaults and to build suitable ships to support that doctrine.

On August 30th Y229, the Second Carrier Striking Force launched the first jump point assault in the history of the Imperial Rigellian Navy. The three Nagara Mod 1s, Abukuma, Nagara and Yura, each led a three-ship squadron that included a Kagero class destroyer and a Matsukaze class destroyer escort. The squadrons all arrived within 30,000 kilometers of the jump point and attempted to shake-off the effects of transit and pursue the two enemy warships. The two Syria Planums tried to open the range, striking the Kagero Mod 1 class Yamagumo with two missiles as they retreated. Twenty seconds after transit, two of the squadrons were underway and chasing the Mazoku destroyers, which by now were at 84,000 kilometers. Due to their 575 km/s speed advantage, the Syria Planums would increase the range by almost 3000 kms every five seconds so the laser-armed Rigellian warships had to score decisive damage while they were still within range.

Twenty-five seconds after transit Kagero scored two strength-4 lasers hits on Syria Planum 002 and Matsukaze struck the same target with fifteen Nova III AMMs, each with a strength-1 warhead. A few seconds later, with the range at 90,000 km, Asakaze also hit with a salvo of AMMs and Kazegumo followed up with a laser strike. The Mazoku were not going down without a fight though. Yura was struck six times by strength-7 warheads, which caused significant damage to her armour. By transit + 35 seconds the third Rigellian squadron was also in pursuit but had fallen well behind the other two squadrons. Syria Planum 002 continued to take fire, suffering thirty more AMM hits and two more laser hits before Nagara become the third Rigellian ship to be targeted, this time by three Mazoku missiles. Her armour was still damaged from her previous visit to Takamatsu so part of one blast penetrated and damaged her passive sensor array. In retaliation, Nagara, Kagero, Yura and Kazegumo each scored a single laser hit, including one strength-6 hit from a spinal laser, and their target was struck by another fifteen AMMs.

At T+50 seconds, Syria Planum 002, which had been the target of all Rigellian fire thus far, slowed to 5684 km/s and changed course, breaking away from its sister ship and across the path of the pursuing Rigellians. It took a further fifteen hits from anti-missiles and then three strength-11 hits from spinal lasers. Even the third squadron was now within range and the Mazoku destroyer was hit again by laser fire, although this time only strength-3. The senior ship commander in Takamatsu, First Swordsman Ashikaga Tamiko on board DE Kamikaze, ordered the leading two squadrons to begin targeting Syria Planum 001, which was so far undamaged, while his own third squadron concentrated on the wounded Syria Planum 002, which was now moving at only 4733 km/s.

Syria Planum 002 continued to take hits but the focus of the battle switched to Syria Planum 001. The destroyer was struck by a wave of thirty AMMs and five strength-3 lasers. In response Nagara was hit twice, losing her jump drive. By T+65 the range had opened to 110,000 km from Syria Planum 001 to her closest pursuers, which was reduced the effectiveness of laser fire. Even so, the four laser-armed Rigellian warships and two escorts in the closest squadrons continued to batter their target and by T+75 the speed of Syria Planum 001 dropped to 6629 km/s. The range began to fall. The already crippled Syria Planum 002 was struck by five 20cm lasers and a spinal 25cm laser from Yamagumo at medium range and blew up. Syria Planum 001 was hit by a further thirty AMMs and suddenly reversed course, heading straight for the closest Rigellian squadron with the apparent intention to ram. At point blank range Kagero struck with a full broadside, inflicting six strength-10 hits and a single strength-16 hit from her spinal laser, which completely obliterated the charging Mazoku destroyer.

The victorious Rigellian ships, three of which had suffered carrying degrees of damage, rendezvoused at the Kawasaki jump point. There was still a degree of trepidation among the Rigellian crews as the location of the two small Aeolis Mensae class ships that had attacked the first recon squadron to enter Takamatsu in August Y225, causing the loss of the Kagero class destroyer Akigumo, was still unknown. The actual size of the Aeolis Mensae was still a mystery as they had only been detected by thermal sensors. For the moment, the destroyers of the Second Carrier Striking Force would remain on the jump point to see if any attack developed. The carrier Soryu waited on the far side of the jump point, along with the three Kongo class battlecruisers, ready to send her fighters into Takamatsu if a threat appeared. In the meantime, Nagara and Yura were sent back to Rigel for repairs. Yamagumo had minor armour damage but remained on station. The scout destroyer Sakawa entered the Takamatsu system to provide much greater sensor coverage.

After almost three weeks in Takamatsu with no attack and no detection of any Mazoku ships, Swordsman of Stars Terakado ordered the Rigellian destroyer force to proceed in-system. All five inner planets were scouted without incident and the task group proceeded back to the Kawasaki jump point. There was still no sign of the elusive Aeolis Mensae class ships. Meanwhile in the Kure system, the Gyoku-Ryodan secured the Mazoku outpost on the innermost planet, finding a single deep space tracking station but no stockpile of Mazoku missiles. On October 5th Y229 Terakado decided he could wait no longer and gave permission for a geological and gravitational survey of Takamatsu. Official records do not specify if this was a ploy on the part of Terakado to use the survey ships to draw out the Aeolis Mensae and allow his warships to corner them.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 12:25:13 PM by Steve Walmsley »

Offline Steve Walmsley

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Re: Chronicle of the Rigellian Empire - Part 3
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2015, 12:24:56 PM »
The first of a new Rigellian ship class, the Mikura class destroyer escort, was launched on October 26th Y229. The Mikura was the result of a long research program aimed at providing missile defence without the use of ordnance. Resource shortages were still preventing the Empire from utilising its full production potential, although the situation had improved in recent years. Even so, missile production was still a significant bottleneck and many major warships still lacked the latest missiles. A ship that could provide defence against hostile missile attack without expending valuable resources in the process would help ease the overall economic situation. The Mikura was armed with four twin gauss cannon turrets capable of firing almost four hundred rounds per minute. In combination with the latest beam fire control system, this would enable the Mikura to provide a protective anti-missile umbrella for ships in close formation. The first ship of the class was dispatched to Kawasaki to join the main body of the Second Carrier Striking Force,

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Mikura class Destroyer Escort    9,000 tons     217 Crew     1847.6 BP      TCS 180  TH 1260  EM 0
7000 km/s     Armour 4-38     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/11/0/0     Damage Control Rating 6     PPV 66.24
Maint Life 2.82 Years     MSP 770    AFR 108%    IFR 1.5%    1YR 141    5YR 2115    Max Repair 210 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Flight Crew Berths 1   
Hangar Deck Capacity 125 tons     

Sakurai Drive Systems SDS-420 Fusion Drive (3)    Power 420    Fuel Use 45.19%    Signature 420    Exp 10%
Fuel Capacity 500,000 Litres    Range 22.1 billion km   (36 days at full power)

Twin Kagawa-Morita KM-5 Gauss Cannon Turret (4x8)    Range 30,000km     TS: 25000 km/s     RM 3    ROF 5       
Katsumata Design Bureau KDB-25M Beam Fire Control (2)    Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 25000 km/s     

Muso-Murakami MM-75 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 7560     Range 75.9m km    Resolution 120
Muso-Murakami EM-11 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  11m km

Strike Group
1x Kyumei Boto Lifeboat   Speed: 8750 km/s    Size: 2.4

Early January Y230 saw the appearance of another new ship class; the Ojima class tug. The Ojima was essentially a ship that was wrapped around fifteen of the Empire’s most powerful commercial engines and equipped with a tractor beam. Its role was to tow large, very slow ships such as fuel harvesters or terraforming ships when they had to move great distances. The requirement for such a ship was due to the situation developing at Rigel-C VI, which had been the primary source of fuel for the Rigellian Empire for almost twenty years. Sorium deposits in the gas giant’s atmosphere were running out and the accessibility had fallen from 1.0 to 0.89. The twenty Nenryo Habesuta class fuel harvesters in orbit would have to be moved in the near future and their maximum speed was only 645 km/s. Tugs would be required if they had to be moved any significant distance. There were four potential destinations:

1)   Rigel-A III had twenty million tons of Sorium at accessibility 0.8. While this was lower accessibility than Rigel-C VI, that would soon change and Rigel-A III had the advantage of being at the centre of the Empire, which made distribution of the fuel much easier and allowed for naval forces based at Rigel to provide protection.

2)   Kawasaki-B I had two hundred million tons of Sorium at accessibility 0.8, which was ten times the amount at Rigel-A III. Kawasaki was already a busy trade hub with populated colonies on Kawasaki-A V, Kawasaki-B II and Kawasaki-C III, totalling almost fifteen million settlers. However, the C component, an orange K0-V main sequence star, was more than five billion kilometers from the Osaka jump point, which was the entry point for traffic arriving from Rigel. While the additional deposits were useful, they were outweighed by the convenience of Rigel-A III

3)   Kochi-B II had 248,000 tons of accessibility 1.0 Sorium and was the only accessibility 1.0 gas giant in known space. A production rate twenty-five percent higher than Rigel-A III was very attractive but two factors were a concern. Firstly, the small amount of Sorium meant this could only be a temporary solution. Secondly, Kochi was located beyond Nagoya’s seventh and outermost jump point, six billion kilometers from the Nagoya – Rigel jump point, and had six unexplored jump points of its own. Until the systems beyond those jump points had been investigated, the security of Kochi could not be guaranteed, which presented an unacceptable risk given the huge industrial investment of the fuel harvesters.

4)   Kumamoto V had six hundred million tons of accessibility 0.9 Sorium, which provided a virtually unlimited supply of fuel with 12.5% greater production than Rigel-A III. This was the furthest site from Rigel, with three transits via Osaka and Kawasaki and a total distance of fifteen billion kilometers. However, the gas giant was only four hundred million kilometers from the system primary and Kumamoto II was the site of the recently discovered partially intact alien city. Once the xenology team on the planet finished their work, Kumamoto II was likely to become a major colony and probable fleet base, especially as the terraforming fleet had reduced the planet’s colony cost to 1.20 and a population of over a million was already in place. Finally, a Himeji class PDC was being assembled on the surface. Given the proximity of the Kumamoto II colony, the importance of the system and the improving security situation, the decision was made to move the fuel harvesters to Kumamoto V. A destroyer squadron was dispatched immediately to provide initial security.

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Ojima class Tug    41,350 tons     399 Crew     2390 BP      TCS 827  TH 7500  EM 0
9068 km/s     Armour 1-106     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/11/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 36    Max Repair 125 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Spare Berths 3   
Tractor Beam     

C500 Commercial Internal Fusion Drive (15)    Power 500    Fuel Use 4.42%    Signature 500    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 2,000,000 Litres    Range 197.0 billion km   (251 days at full power)

Nagumo Engineering Navigation Sensor (1)     GPS 2520     Range 25.3m km    Resolution 120
Muso-Murakami EM-11 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 11     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  11m km

The first Fuel Harvester was delivered to Kumamoto V on March 14th Y230. The following day, a geological survey ship in Takamatsu detected a Mazoku outpost on the thirteenth moon of the fourth planet. The Gyoku-Ryodan, now based on Kumamoto II after its successful mission in Kure, was dispatched with orders to secure the new outpost.

On April 15th Y230, the Rigellian Empire launched its largest non-carrier warship to date; the Yamato class battleship. The Yamato was a 30,000 ton behemoth with twenty missile launchers for long range strikes, a pair of twin gauss cannon turrets for defence and four lasers for close combat, including a 25cm spinal laser. In concept, the new battleship was an scaled-up Kongo Mod 1 class battlecruiser with the addition of lasers from the Kagero class destroyer and gauss turrets from the Mikura class destroyer escort. Armour strength was significantly improved with forty percent greater thickness and one hundred and forty percent more armour overall. The Yamato was intended to complement the Akagi class carrier and provide a balanced Rigellian Navy, with the capability to fight a battle line action or jump point defence as well as to launch long-range fighter strikes. Two sister ships, the Musashi and the Shinano, were under construction but due to continuing resource shortages and the demands of other projects no more Yamatos would be laid down in the near future.

Code: [Select]
Yamato class Battleship    30,000 tons     852 Crew     5603.4 BP      TCS 600  TH 4200  EM 0
7000 km/s     Armour 7-86     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/33/0/0     Damage Control Rating 21     PPV 159.12
Maint Life 2.26 Years     MSP 2510    AFR 334%    IFR 4.7%    1YR 663    5YR 9943    Max Repair 420 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 1   
Hangar Deck Capacity 250 tons     Magazine 1400   

Sakurai Drive Systems SDS-840 Fusion Drive (5)    Power 840    Fuel Use 33.89%    Signature 840    Exp 10%
Fuel Capacity 1,250,000 Litres    Range 22.1 billion km   (36 days at full power)

Tamura 25cm C4 Ultraviolet Spinal Laser (1)    Range 256,000km     TS: 7000 km/s     Power 16-4     RM 4    ROF 20
Tamura 20cm C4 Ultraviolet Laser (3)   Range 256,000km    TS: 7000 km/s    Power 10-4    RM 4    ROF 15
Twin Kagawa-Morita KM-5 Gauss Cannon Turret (2x8)    Range 30,000km     TS: 25000 km/s     Power 0-0     RM 3    ROF 5        Katsumata Design Bureau KDB-128-7B Beam Fire Control (1)    Max Range: 256,000 km   TS: 7812 km/s     
Katsumata Design Bureau KDB-25M Beam Fire Control (1)    Max Range: 64,000 km   TS: 25000 km/s     
Tokamak Fusion Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 16    Armour 0    Exp 5%

Tamuro-Soga Heavy Industries Dragon-5 Missile Launch System (20)    Missile Size 5    Rate of Fire 40
Nagumo Engineering FC-150 Missile Fire Control (2)     Range 151.8m km    Resolution 120
ASM-5 Meteor II  (280)  Speed: 45,000 km/s   End: 54.1m    Range: 146.2m km   WH: 9    Size: 5    TH: 150/90/45

Nagumo Engineering AS-150 Area Search Sensor (1)     GPS 15120     Range 151.8m km    Resolution 120
Muso-Murakami EM-33 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 33     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  33m km

By the end of April Y230, the Third Carrier Striking Force, which included the carrier Hiryu, was fully equipped with the latest fighters and missiles. CV Hiryu had thirty-six A6M3 Reisen strikefighters embarked and had magazines filled with the Meteor II anti-ship missile. The battlecruisers Ise, Kotetsu and Tosa were also armed with the Meteor II, while the Matsukaze Mod 1 class escorts Minekaze, Tachikaze and Yakaze were loaded with the Nova III anti-missile missile. The other ships in the task group included the Kagero Mod 1 class destroyers Asashimo, Kuroshio and Murakumo, the Nagara Mod 1 class destroyer leader Isuzu and the scout destroyer Noshiro, all of which were armed with lasers. After the victories of the Second Carrier Striking Force in Kumamoto and Takamatsu, the only remaining known threat was in Tokushima, which lay beyond Nagoya’s sixth jump point. As the systems beyond the Rigel – Nagoya jump point had traditionally been the area of operation for the Third Carrier Striking Force, that fleet was now tasked with clearing the Tokushima system.

Tokushima had been investigated by a recon squadron of three ships in Y220. The squadron had failed to report back on schedule and a new squadron sent in after it had found only wreckage. At the time there was no sign of the attacking ships so the Rigellian force had withdrawn and a guard force was established at the Nagoya – Tokushima jump point. The assumption was that the Mazoku were responsible but that had never been confirmed. However, after years without any sign of alien ships emerging from Tokushima, the assumption had been accepted as fact, given the lack of aggressive counterattacks in line with Mazoku behaviour in Kumamoto and Takamatsu. Despite ten years without incident, the threat to the critical mining colony in Nagoya could not be ignored for ever. A destroyer squadron was in orbit of the mining colony and a Himeji class PDC was being assembled on the surface but the only sure way to protect it was to remove the threat.

On May 16th Y230, a reconnaissance squadron from the Third Carrier Striking Force, comprising DL Isuzu, DE Yakaze and DD Kuroshio and commanded by eighteenth Swordsman Katsukawa Nanako, transited into Tokushima. The three Rigellian wrecks from ten years earlier were still there, one point five billion kilometers in-system from the jump point, which itself was six billion kilometers from the yellow G4-V primary. There were also a large number of new wrecks that had appeared in the interim. Five wrecks of 2550 tons, possibly survey ships, were within one hundred and twenty-five million kilometres of the star. Ten more wrecks were further out but all within six hundred million kilometers of the primary. One was identified as an 8250 ton Amazonia Planitia class destroyer, confirming the presence of the Mazoku in Tokushima. The other wrecks included one of 16,700 tons, seven of 8350 tons and one of 8250 tons. While the battle that produced the wrecks could have happened at any point in the last ten years, the presence of life pods close to all the wrecks except the Amazonia Planitia and the other 8250 ton wreck suggested the battle had actually taken place within the last few days. In fact, as no Mazoku life pods had ever emerged from ships destroyed by the Imperial Rigellian Navy, that suggested that all the wrecks with accompanying life pods were likely to belong to a new alien race engaged in combat with the Mazoku.

After the squadron had remained in Tokushima for several minutes with no sign of alien contact, which was not surprising given they were six billion kilometers out-system with relatively weak passive sensors, Swordsman Katsukawa ordered Isuzu to transit into Nagoya to inform Swordsman of Stars Tanaka of the situation and request instructions. Given the signs of recent heavy combat in Tokushima, Katsukawa was wary of moving any further into the system without express orders to do so. Tanaka decided to proceed cautiously for the moment, sending Isuzu back into Tokushima with orders for Swordsman Katsukawa to hold his position for a few days and monitor the situation from a very safe distance. The Sakawa class scout destroyer Noshiro, equipped with the powerful AS-1250 System Search Array, was part of the Third Carrier Striking Force. Her massive active sensor with its one and quarter billion kilometers range would provide greater security for the small recon squadron. However, Tanaka was concerned that sensor would also be a beacon to both warring parties, if they were still in Tokushima, and it didn’t necessarily follow that the enemy of the Rigellian Empire’s enemy would be a friend. Therefore, for the moment at least, Noshiro remained in Nagoya.

Seventeen hours after the Rigellian recon squadron transited, the three destroyers detected a dozen strength-7 warhead detonations and seven strength-1 energy weapon impacts all in the same location, three hundred seventy million kilometers from the system primary on a bearing almost opposite to their own. Obviously the battle was not over. Within the next minute a further thirty-two missile explosions were recorded, accompanied by twenty-four energy weapon impacts, presumably point defence fire and followed by two large secondary explosions. A new 16,700 ton wreck appeared. The warhead strength was the same as the Mazoku missiles used against Rigellian ships, which suggested the ship under fire was from the new, unknown alien race. The explosions resumed after a gap of sixty seconds, although fewer warhead detonations were detected simultaneously, perhaps due to smaller salvo sizes. During the next four minutes a total of twenty-three missile explosions and seventy energy weapon impacts were detected. There was no sign of any additional wrecks.

Three days after the brief engagement, the innermost planet in the system was struck by a fierce barrage of fire, including forty-two strength-12 detonations and over two hundred strength-1 detonations. Tokushima I was a terrestrial world with a thin atmosphere of ammonia and methane and a surface temperature of 69C. While it was hardly a garden world, the colony cost was only 2.00 so it was possible a settlement existed on the surface, or at least had existed before the devastating attack. Given the strength-12 warheads, the attacker was probably the new race.

A day later, combat erupted in space once again. Almost ninety strength-1 detonations were recorded in a narrow arc, perhaps two million kilometers in length, that lay between the second and third planets. They were accompanied by a single strength-7 detonation. It appeared the new aliens were successfully defending themselves against a new Mazoku attack. Four hours later the new aliens retaliated. Within the space of seventy seconds, forty strength-12 warheads struck a target more than a hundred million kilometers from the previous engagement. Twenty defensive energy weapon impacts were detected and there was no sign of wreckage. That changed after a pause of seventy-five minutes. Fifty-eight more strength-12 explosions were followed by four large secondary power explosions and two 16,500 ton wrecks appeared. After a further fifty minutes twenty-five missile detonations and another secondary explosion resulted in a third 16,500 ton wreck. Whoever the new aliens were, they were taking the fight to the Mazoku despite their earlier casualties.

On receiving news of the latest engagement, High Swordsman Takagi decided to assemble a force for potential salvage operations in Tokushima. Three of the four Torimodosu class salvage ships and ten freighters were ordered to rendezvous in Nagoya. Any such salvage operation would be extremely vulnerable without a substantial protection force so he also ordered a Kochiku Suru class construction ship to enter Tokushima and begin building a gate on the Tokushima side of the jump point. While that had the downside of opening up Nagoya to non-jump-capable alien ships, he believed the Third Carrier Striking Force would be a sufficiently powerful force to prevent that becoming a problem. Just to be on the safe side though, he also dispatched the Yamato from Rigel to support the Third. The Yamato’s sister ship Musashi had recently been completed and would remain with the First Striking Force.

On May 29th, nine days after the last engagement in Tokushima, a Himeji class PDC was assembled on the twelfth moon of Nagoya VII, site of the Rigellian Empire’s largest mining colony and only two point five billion kilometers from the Nagoya – Tokushima jump point. The carrier Akagi was sent from Rigel to deliver twenty A6M2 fighters plus additional ordnance while the destroyer escort Shimakaze delivered Nova II anti-missile missiles for the Himeji’s AMM launchers. Twelve construction brigades that had assembled the Himeji would be transported to Kumamoto II to await the start of recovery operations, once the xenology team had finished their work in the alien city. On June 25th, a Kochiku Suru transited into Tokushima to begin construction of the Tokushima – Nagoya jump gate. A Kobyashi Maru Mod 2J Jump Freighter was in position on the Nagoya side of the jump point in case the Kochiku Suru was forced to withdraw before the gate was completed.

to be continued...


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