Author Topic: Here Comes the Dawn [Short Story]  (Read 953 times)

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Offline Thanatos

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Here Comes the Dawn [Short Story]
« on: April 12, 2015, 08:49:10 AM »
Admiral Aiden Rein watched the monitor from the flagbridge of the 'Executor', the colossal Heavy Frigate of the Cataphrakt Class, to the assembled warships around the Midnight Citadel.  It has been nearly 14 days since the Whisper returned, broken and battered, carrying it's tale of defiance and victory- and sacrifice.

To describe the warfleet assembled, one has to start with the icons of the Legions; The Midnight Sun, the second grandest ship of the entire fleet- in tonnage it was similar to the Executor, but it's armament was wildly different.  It was a true battleship, carrying 10 Size 20 Missile Launchers, each missile splitting into 10 smaller missiles, bombarding an enemy with a salvo of a 100 missiles-- every 75 seconds.  Though the Midnight Sun was first imagined a decade ago, and the technology to build it became available only two years ago, the same minds could not come up with a ship that could survive a single barrage of the Midnight Sun, except for the Archangel, which was not yet constructed.  The Archangel would become a ship far deadlier than any ship in the known galaxy-- a spot currently held by the Conqueror of the Guardian Legion-- it's flagship.

And there it was- from Acheron itself, homeworld of the Guardian Legion, the Cataclysm Class 'Conqueror' floated in orbit, dwarfing even the Midnight Sun- it's armament? 20 Size 20 Missile Launchers, each missile releasing another five; It has been projected that any ship in the Empire's employ would become a wreckage with no more than four carrier-missiles.  And it's escort was just as impressive.  The Harbinger was an Annihilator Class Heavy Frigate-Escort- a slight misnomer, as it was extremely fast.  It's armament was at close range what the Conqueror's was at long range.  Besides the 6 armored Quad Gauss Cannon Turrets, it carried 8 35cm Railguns with a range of up to 720,000 km.  It's job, and those of the Guardian Legion's Destroyers, was so beautiful in it's simplicity and brutality- head towards the enemy at incredible speeds, defeat missiles along the way, and then destroy the target at close range.

There has not been a more warlike legion than the Guardian Legion- yet their code of honor was similar to that of the mythical Japanese, and the warrior knights of old Europa.  It was reflected in the design of their Dominator Class destroyers; armed with 8 15cm railguns, for both point defense, and then brutal mayhem.  Four of them came from Acheron: Torment, Reaver, Toybox and Dawnbringer- the leader of the destroyer group.

On the other hand, the Midnight Legion brought it's comparable in firepower Intimidator Class Destroyers: Imperator, Nemesis and Devastator, as well as Executor's sister ship 'Unwaking'.

Supporting them were the Valkyrie Class Destroyer Escorts: Zenith, Paragon and Unsung.  The Sanguine Legion had sent three colliers with their Aegis AM missiles- the fastest and most accurate pinpoint defense missile in existance.

And of the other four legions, only the Avenger Legion has given further support, by sending scouts to map the enemy's systems using their advanced sensor and stealth technology.

"We are ready, sir. " Spoke the second in command, Major Christina Yamato- an intelligent woman of otherworldly beauty, but a heart only open to strategy, wisdom and courage.  "Shall I open a link?"

The admiral nodded his head and turned towards the monitor to his right; A deathly silence fell upon the room.

"It has been fourteen days since we last bid our fallen comrades godspeed.  Fourteen days since I have sent them to their deaths- and for what? To ascertain the status of a lost scout, and to offer aid to those in need? Was their crime, or mine, their humanity? Was this so grave an error, that it warranted the death of four hundred and fifty?" He asked, eyes wide open, head tilted slightly to his side.  Captain Rayle had resigned the service when he returned from the Trench- a decision Rein felt was unnecessary, but honored it nonetheless.  As such, Rein was a man who spoke only what he felt, and he captured the attention of every man in the Imperium, not just the sector- as he sent his message to every corner of the known galaxy.

"It has been fourteen days, and twelve years, since we last faced extra-terrestrials that did not abide by us, and respect us; Who sought to take from us what we vowed to protect-- the lives of our loved ones, and the prosperity of all of us.  And though one has eluded us, this one has not. " The Admiral slammed his fist against the desk in front of him.  "There will be no remorse, no mercy or quarter granted for this transgression; satisfaction will be delivered to those of us who grieve this loss of life the most, and still grieve.  And even in the complete destruction of this alien, their heart will find no peace- but to those who have died we shall restore honor. "

A map of the sector unfolds, for everyone to see- followed by encrypted flashing-by of systems until it stops at one; A system with six planets, and a yellow sun, the second planet is zoomed in.

"Our enemy calls this planet their home, with an estimated population comparable to that of the Empire's capital.  This is where our enemy hides and bids his dogs of war to send to Thanatos those who would fight and those who would not and are unarmed.  To the philosophers among you, I feel and share your grief- long have we wondered if we have friends in this universe, or if there is someone out there, who is just as lost as we are.  But I offer you this! Look to your neighbor- Look to your family.  You are not alone, and you have friends.  And just like them, we--" The entire warfleet is displayed on the screen, "Are lost.  Our destination is in a faraway and hostile place, and many of us might never return.  And we! We who have decided to uphold and protect your life and prosperity- your culture and tradition- your honor and your law- could use a blessing, for a safe journey.  So we may use it to light the way through this darkness.  For we must be the ones who stand fast against this coming darkness, as bringers of light. " He strook a sharp salute, fist to heart, "Godspeed to you, children of the Empire.  Go! For Justice, Legions of Terra.  Vae Victis. "

Before the Warfleet departed the Seeker's Citadel, Admiral Rein would be able to see the Midnight Citadel, as bright on the night side as it was bright on the day side.  And it seemed that every major populated planet was burning bright with light, both artificial and in the form of paper lanterns released high into the sky- A more fitting and grander farewell the Admiral could not have imagined.  Every word he spoke, he upheld deep in his heart, and it seemed that the people of the Imperium shared them.

******************************************

After the transit to the XJ-311 system, the fleet, with it's larger passive sensors, was able to detect signs of colonization- with it's active sensors up, the enemy betrayed the location of what seemed to be a moon-base of some sort.  As the fleet approaches to investigate, alarms paint the bridge of the Executor red, and full battlestations are assumed.

"80 missiles heading our way, admiral!" The message had been passed through from the sensor operator, and then from the Major to the Admiral- an efficient system, considering the size of the Executor and it's flag bridge.

"Deploy the Valkyries- shoot those missiles down. " He ordered as a mainscreen monitor displayed the missiles in flight, hundreds of millions of kilometers away.

"Yes, My Lord. " The bridge crew spoke in unison- and then the Zenith, Paragon and Unsung unleashed their state-of-the-art Aegis missiles.

"Another salvo, counting 140 missiles, incoming. "

This kind of battle strength was unexpected, but well within the projected limits of the three destroyer escorts.  The Aegis AMMs had a speed of around 45 thousand kilometers a second.  The enemy missiles were only 35 thousand kilometers a second swift.  The enemy's missiles would never even get close to the warfleet if they maintain their distance.

"Message from the Conqueror, Admiral, shall I put it through?" Asked Major Yamato.

"On the sidescreen. " The Admiral replied.

The sidescreen flickered to life to reveal a man about the same age as Admiral Rein- both were about 40- both possessed the same kind of zeal, reflected in their intense eyes.

"Admiral Rein, allow us to deploy the Phalanx on the right flank, we will deal with these pests. " Spoke the CO of the Conqueror, Admiral Kirin; Distinguished beyond what's considered possible- he has furthered the development of strategic weapons and operations-- even the Executor itself has the equipment based on Admiral Kirin's publications on military warfare.  In a small-portrait, Admiral Rein also saw the direct link to Kirin's most distinguished officer, the CO of the Harbinger, Major Sorun.

"As you wish, Admiral Kirin- you have free reign on the right flank, we will hold here, and then maneuver to the gate. "

The sidescreen flickered out, after both Major Sorun and Admiral Kirin nodded their head in unison- and Rein looked back to the mainscreen.

"This is most unfortunate for us, My Lord. " Said Major Yamato.

"Why is that, Major?"

"There will be no glory for us, in watching the destroyers rip those bogeys to shreds. "

"This is why you cannot get a date. "

"I thought being forward and honest was a positive quality. "

"Forward, yes- unfiltered? No. "

The Major saluted, and turned back to the crew, barking out the orders to spread out and focus on shooting the missiles down until the Phalanx was in range to take over.

The Phalanx, a tactic only possible by having short-range point defense available.  The idea was, at the lowest level, to have two railgun or gauss armed ships act as a shield, for one missile armed ship to get close enough.  But right now, they witnessed the Harbinger and four of it's destroyers peel off from the main force, followed by the three Intimidator class destroyers.

It wasn't long before the missiles started heading towards the Phalanx, salvos of up to 180.  So many missiles, not counting the Conqueror, it was more than what the entirety of the warfleet could put out in a single salvo.  But, it was also less than what only the Conqueror and Midnight Sun could unleash.

Yet it didn't seem to matter, the Harbinger by itself could take out 50% of those missiles, and the destroyers accounted for about 80% on the first pass alone.  And they had quite a few.  By the time the Harbinger's Gauss turrets had to fire, there was a meager 20 missiles left.

It has been the Guardian Legion's Modus Operandi to rely on realistically inexhaustible ordinance- their ships are usually quite a few hundred tons larger, to allow their extremely long deployment times- but one can easily see, the sharpness and swiftness of their actions- the crew is so well trained one would wonder if they were truly mere mortals.  In stark contrast is the Midnight Legion's destroyer detachment, late on firing the missiles.  It takes them a minute to synchronize their fire.

On the receiving end was a new class of ship, at 18,000 tons, designated Vulture, and two of them, as well as the Carrion and Raven class, numbering almost a dozen.  The first wave of Seraph missiles from the Intimidator is defeated, but the subsequent wave scores three hits against a Raven.  The third wave finds more purchase, seven hits against the same Raven, and two on a Carrion.  The Vulture however appears to possess an efficient CIWS, and it handily defeats all the missiles sent at it.

It is then that the Phalanx transforms into a Moratoria.  The Harbinger Heavy Frigate and her Destroyers speed up to their maximum speed of 12,000 km/s; leaving the Intimidator class destroyers behind- going nearly twice their speed.  It was rumored that the Destroyers and the Harbinger used Inertial Confinement Fusion Drives.

The Moratoria was a Guardian Legion specific tactic, where they leave behind the destroyers in a strategic or advantageous position, while the railgun armed ships advanced forward- the destroyers would need no personal or missile point defense, if the destroyers can stay between the target and the destroyers.  They continued to fire their missiles as the Dominator class destroyers approached.

And within ten minutes, the missiles from the Intimidators destroy four ravens and two carrions- only three of both left, as well as the single Vulture.  It brings to mind the last encounter this enemy had with the Legions of Terra- where two of their ships almost destroyed three of ours- they must've felt that their technology was superior to our own- and it might be, their missiles are larger and pack a bigger punch, their ships seem swifter than most Legion ships-- but not faster than the Dominator Class; And they come bearing down on the retreating enemy ships, and it is the Torment that fires first against the Vulture, and it's CIWS cannot deal with 32 metal penetrators fired at 200,000 kilometers.  It barely has three seconds to react before the first salvo carves the imposing looking ship open like an old can.

"My Lord, the Harbinger did not fire. " Said Major Yamato.

Admiral Rein chuckeled.  "Major Sorun knows the limits of his task group.  He is waging psychological warfare. "

It was true, the 35cm railguns on the Harbinger had twice the range than the 15cm Railgun.

"To what purpose?" Asked the Major.

"To send a message, Major. Look at us, the Harbinger says, I bring the holy flame that will scatter you into the wind. I bring you the dawn that shall blind your eyes forever more. Upon my fangs, your hopes shall be shattered and extinguished."

"I see. "

It takes just about the same time to finish the conversation, as it takes the Dominator class warships to obliterate the Vulture class ship.  It is the Dawnbringer's salvo that brings it down.  And without the Vulture, it seems the Ravens and Carrions had lost their point defense- the missiles from the Intimidators strike them down, the Harbinger and her Demons not even bothering to open fire, they simply change course towards the Jump Gate.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 09:02:07 AM by Thanatos »
 

Offline Thanatos

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Re: Here Comes the Dawn [Short Story]
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2015, 08:51:00 AM »
Third part will be up soon.  I intended to finish it on this one, but it seems to have dragged out.  I am trying to avoid writing about all the major battles that happened, but it seems that alone is not enough.

Fun fact: I forgot to give the Harbinger firing orders.
 

 

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