Author Topic: From the ashes - part 18  (Read 1497 times)

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Offline Haji

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From the ashes - part 18
« on: December 28, 2016, 05:56:50 AM »
5th February 2390

   The anomaly in Peter's Crossing moved again, although only slightly this time.

7th February 2390

   Three new cruisers of a previously encountered class appeared near the anomaly in Peter's Crossing, putting Task Force 301 into high alert.
   By this time the Eight Cruiser Division was well on its way towards Malbork. Fortunately some reinforcements arrived so Admiral Catalina Loera Jasso had under her command sixteen gunboat flotillas supported by the Ninth and the Fifteenth Frigate Squadrons as well as the Third and Sixth Cruiser Divisions. Unfortunately while the latter has the same composition as the successful Eighth Cruiser Division, the former is made of older units which means not only fewer cruisers but no gauss cannons, as the older Elatha class used small caliber railguns for point defense, identical to those mounted on the Stockholm class frigates. However the most important part of Task Force 301, the First Battlecruiser Division has only now entered the system and was seven days away from the planet. The formation had the best point defense in the fleet, but will not be able to contribute to this particular engagement.
   There were some good news however. While in many way the analysis of the previous battle was still very far away, some information has been extrapolated. Previously two destroyers and four cruisers of three different classes entered Peter's Crossing. As far as the Intelligence could tell one of those and the destroyers were armed with anti-missiles and had very large magazines, but the other three cruisers never fired, indicating they were armed with short range weaponry. As the alien anti-missiles had range of over a hundred and seventy million kilometers, it is very unlikely they would have any shipkillers with range shorter than that. As such the two cruiser classes which supposedly never fired, were almost certainly armed with some kind of energy weapons which should make them much easier targets. As the three incoming cruisers were of the kind which never fired, they should present little challenge and this also meant they wouldn't be firing thousands of interceptors in offensive mode.
   Of course the analysis of armament was based on observed missile firing patterns which indicated that one larger and two smaller ships were firing. As at no point two larger ships seemed to be firing at the same time, the conclusion was that only one cruiser was armed with anti-missiles. However this was all guesswork based on very little information, even if most officers were confident in the analysis.
   Jesse considers all of that but in the end considered it to be irrelevant. There was no time to upgrade planetary defenses, so once again she had to fight in deep space. She would leave several gunboat flotillas of course, as the aliens may have tried to outmaneuver her and strike at the planet while TF 301 was away, but other than that the need to survive the potential missile attack meant all heavier units had to depart.
   In the end the analysis of her fleet Intelligence has proven to be correct, as the two forces closed to a hundred and thirty million kilometers without the aliens firing. Unsure about their defenses, but remembering how many shipkillers were wasted last time, she ordered three of her Elatha class cruisers to fire, sending a total of four hundred and twenty Trebuchet IIIs into the enemy warships.
   Due to miscommunication Bres fired five seconds after her consorts, which will make things easier for the enemy point defense. Jasso made a mental note to make sure the issue was corrected, but other than that settled for observation of the strike. In the end the delay has turned out to be a significant handicap for the ships were armed with what appeared to be numerous and very accurate point defense lasers. Only a hundred and five missiles managed to hit the aliens and only one warship sustained any damage, resulting in slight drop of speed. Overall it seemed each cruiser could intercept a total of fifty shipkillers in each incoming wave.
   In the end it was merely an annoyance however and Jasso ordered six of her newer Harpy class cruisers to fire. Each had a hundred and twenty missiles, and while it may result in an overkill, Trebuchets were plentiful and relatively rarely used, making them preferred option in this situation, much more so than using gunboats, which used huge amounts of ammunition during fleet action.
   This has proven to be enough to deal with the aliens and the overkill wasn't even so severe. In fact Jasso believed the salvo size was nearly perfect.
   With that done the admiral had to decide on her next course of action. She had basically two options – go back to the planet or picket the anomaly. The former had advantage of keeping her warships in top condition and ready to go on a very short notice. The latter meant enemy warships could be dealt with quickly and with minimal danger to the rest of the system. This was especially important as so far the Commune has been very lucky. The enemy entry point is close to the shipping lanes and they could have done a lot of damage, especially considering their superior speed. However like the Destroyer they focused on the warships, thanks to which there were no civilian casualties so far. This should make the forward deployment the preferred option. Unfortunately due to the sheer power of the aliens she would need the majority of her forces in any engagement with them and while Force vessels had reasonable endurance, sooner or later they would have go back to Knossos for lengthy overhaul, leaving the system effectively unguarded. Last but not least if the aliens attack in overwhelming strength, then their higher speed meant any warships close to the anomaly would be locked in a battle to the death, with reinforcements being to far away to do any good.
   In the end, despite her responsibility to protect the citizens, Jasso really had no choice but to protect her warships first. The Third Fleet was the largest, most powerful Commune fleet in existence, protecting the nation from the Destroyers, the Hegemony and the new aliens, the Home Fleet which was supposed to serve as a strategic reserve has already been cut to the bone, and other formations had barely enough strength to secure their areas of responsibility against a single Hegemony carrier group, never mind a serious attack. Losing a significant chuck of TF 301 could very well spell a disaster for her people and the Knossos fortifications coupled with increased readiness would go a long way towards evening the odds in case of an overwhelming attack, especially once additional orbital bases begin to arrive. In the end, despite the potential civilian casualties, she ordered her ships back to the planet.

10 February 2390

   The Commune government had time to learn about the recent battle in Peter's Crossing and consider their response. To Jesso's relief the Eight Cruiser Division will be sent back to her as soon as repairs are complete, which will take a couple of months at least, but will give her significant boost to point defense. And while no other reinforcements will be coming, it still leaves Task Force 301 as the most powerful single formation in the Commune. 
   The only other item of interest the Admiral received was a recommendation to send the salvage group back on its way to Gagarin. The formation has salvaged the three alien wrecks of jump gate construction ship and was stopped by Jesso after the first battle, but due to its slow speed of only a thousand kilometers per second, it was still quite far away from the inner system. As the government pointed out however those ships were carrying very valuable components that may significantly aid Commune research efforts and with the anomaly still present, they would be in significant danger if they were to work on the new wrecks.
   Jesso realized immediately that this was a carefully phrased order. By tradition the central authority did not interfere with internal matters of a given fleet and while the salvage group was outside her jurisdiction, having her orders countermanded by the Admiralty could still be considered an embarrassment. Because of this she immediately ordered the group to Gagarin, although it will take it over half a year to arrive there.

11th February 2390

   For a couple of days now the two thousand alien prisoners were being interrogated on the new Hegemony colony in the Des Moines system. As far as the humans can figure, the reason the war started in unknown, as the current leader of the enemy is a dictatorial and totalitarian ruler who rarely explains himself. The Bell has been destroyed on Nineteenth of December 2389, which is now considered to be the official date the war started.
   A significant amount of background information was learned but little of this had any use. The alien race, which calls itself “Takarans” is unified under the Kingdom of Khamari and has been for over three hundred years, following a series of wars. The system, named Untama by the locals, had no jump points but nonetheless a strong military was present. The intelligence officers believe this was done mostly to stifle internal unrest, although some speculate the enemy may have waited for someone to find a hidden jump point, like humanity has done, in order to use that military for territorial expansion, although it's still only a speculation.
   Unfortunately very little tactical information has been extracted from the prisoners. The only item of note was a full description of one of the enemy frigates (classified as an escort destroyer by the enemy).

Code: [Select]
Iron Duke class Destroyer Escort    9 650 tons     166 Crew     1584.8 BP      TCS 193  TH 648  EM 0
3357 km/s     Armour 5-40     Shields 0-0     Sensors 8/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 4     PPV 11
Maint Life 1.57 Years     MSP 411    AFR 186%    IFR 2.6%    1YR 192    5YR 2882    Max Repair 216 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Spare Berths 1   
Magazine 939   

72 EP Ion Drive (9)    Power 72    Fuel Use 75.2%    Signature 72    Exp 10%
Fuel Capacity 1 100 000 Litres    Range 27.3 billion km   (94 days at full power)

Size 1 Missile Launcher (11)    Missile Size 1    Rate of Fire 10
Missile Fire Control FC17-R1 (3)     Range 17.3m km    Resolution 1
La Argentina Anti-missile Missile (939)  Speed: 14 000 km/s   End: 24.7m    Range: 20.7m km   WH: 1    Size: 1    TH: 163/98/49

Active Search Sensor MR17-R1 (1)     GPS 216     Range 17.3m km    MCR 1.9m km    Resolution 1
Thermal Sensor TH1-8 (1)     Sensitivity 8     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8m km

Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

   The analysis of the design confirmed what was already suspected. The Kingdom had only ion engines, two generations behind the Hegemony, and most of the other components were similarly obsolete. The only two surprises were the alien anti-missiles, which were surprisingly slow for some reason, and their very large magazines, at least compared to the number of launchers available. In this particular design, the warship could fire over eighty salvos, despite not having sufficiently long ranged sensors and fire controls, which meant most of that magazine space was almost certainly wasted. The combination of old technology and bad construction practices should make the war easy, but the size of the enemy fleet was still unknown.

12th February 2390

   Four alien warships jumped from Untama into the Newark system. Three destroyers appeared in a single group one hundred and thirty six thousand kilometers away and a cruiser entered a scant thirty three thousand kilometers form the jump point itself. This wasn't the first Royal incursion into the system, as so far the Hegemony picket comprising five destroyers and three frigates destroyed three small ships, believed to be some sort of survey craft.
   The human crews begun setting up fire plans. Captain Achir Wagh, the senior officer of the small group, ordered the use of energy weapons to deal with the largest and closest enemy, while using twenty five shipkillers on each of the more distant destroyers.
   As the untrained naval crews struggled to respond, all four enemy warships begun heading away from the small human force. The first to fire was the frigate Esfandyar, but even she needed fifteen seconds to bring her spinal mounted laser on line. The enemy cruiser suffered hit equal to what a seventeen megaton warhead would have done, but taken no internal damage indicating heavy armor. Five seconds later the rest of the Hegemony warships fired, penetrating the cruisers' hull in two places. As the missile strike was annihilating two of the three destroyers, seven very weak thermal signatures were detected close to the ships and Wagh realized his force still relied on active sensors of the distant carrier for targeting, which meant his missile detection systems have been off-line. He immediately ordered them to be turned on but it was too late and three fifteen megaton explosions blossomed mere meters from the Nemhains hull. The destroyer however was build to survive the type of engagement Hegemony fought against the Commune and the heavy armor easily absorbed the shots without any internal damage.
   As the particle beams continued to strike at the running cruiser, more missiles begun arriving, this time from the single remaining destroyer. All were easily intercepted by now active point defense and Wagh did not want to waste any more missiles. The ordnance itself could likely be easily replaced, but the launchers would require naval base to overhaul and prepare, so anything fired now will not be available later. Besides the alien fire was ineffective and he had the speed advantage, so he could finish it will energy weapons.
   The entire battle lasted only about three minutes and was a crushing victory for the Hegemony. For a light damage to one of the destroyers and expenditure of seventy five missiles, four enemy warships were completely annihilated. Officially Rear Admiral Lebouf congratulated everyone on a job well done, but privately admitted to Wagh that him being caught with anti-missile sensors cold warranted a note in his personal jacket, which will likely slow down his career, but should not halt it completely.
   As the small force settled back for its continued vigil, the frigate Abteen was ordered to pick up the survivors of the four warships and three survey craft and deliver them to Ankeny, the Hegemony colony in the Des Moines system for interrogation. Six hundred and three Royal spacers have been rescued.

14th February 2390

   Over the past two days two more suspected survey ship entered the Newark system and has been destroyed. Abteen has been recalled to collect the new bunch of survivors, forty seven aliens in total, but a lot of people wonder why the Kingdom keeps sending ships into a deathtrap. Some believe they hope to receive scouting information by getting lucky, but it wouldn't make a lot of sense.

20th February 2390

   It has been over a month since the six alien warships arrived through the anomaly in the Peter's Crossing system. The Commune intelligence agencies have been working hard and while no new hard data has been gained, the analysis of the engagement and the recommendations are finally ready. First however there is the issue of the destruction of the First Frigate Squadron.
   The Board of Inquiry regarding the matter was somewhat unusual one, as it had to convey in Knossos due to the simple fact that Jesso, the defendant, has never been relieved of her command. Overall however she was cleared of all charges. While some argued that the enemy technological superiority should have warned the admiral that her ships may not be able to escape, the first three commercial alien vessels has been slower than the human equivalents despite having more advanced engines, so concluding that the enemy did not put such an emphasis on speed was a reasonable assumption. In addition the squadron had significant anti-missile defenses. Overall expecting the First to be able to run away from beam armed combatants while surviving long range missile strike was completely reasonable. The only reason the squadron was destroyed was due to the aliens using anti-missiles in offensive mode from very long range and even than it is estimated that the Commune warships forced the aliens to use up two thirds of their ammunition. Taking all of this into consideration the Board decided that while the deployment was a mistake, based on what Jesso knew at the time, it was reasonable enough not to warrant disciplinary action. Her subsequent actions and responses also restored the government confidence in her abilities, so she will remain in command of the Third, although some within the Oversight Committee still argue it would be best to shuffle her to another fleet command and get someone even better to lead the most critical formation in the nation. In the end however those voices are ignored.
   The naming of the new aliens have also been decided. While the Commune was normally slow with that, the fact that the sensationalist name “Specters” have been assigned to one of the alien races rubbed many people the wrong way, making them more hasty. From now on the new race will be known as Travelers due to their use of the anomaly, something still outside the human ability.
   The report itself begun with known facts about the aliens, but there wasn't much of those. It is still unknown whether or not they created the anomaly or merely used it. The most important new bit of information is that despite the lack of any life pods, organic residue was found in the three already salvaged wrecks, which means the warships are likely crewed instead of being automatic. If that is the case then the Traveler unwillingness to allow themselves to be taken prisoner suggest significant level of xenophobia which would also explain the instant hostility of the aliens. It would also mean they would be equally hostile to everyone else, human or otherwise.
   The bulk of the report however focused on the enemy use of anti-missiles in offensive mode and the consequences of that fact. First it means the current fleet defenses are somewhat lacking. An entire cruiser division can intercept only fifty anti-missiles in each incoming volley, which in the end is a very low number. At the same time the Force does not recommend modifying their present designs. First and foremost one of the foundations of the Commune Space Force is that it will not overspecialize towards a single threat and as the existing frigate squadrons are upgraded the threat will lessen. Second the alien focus on range made their interceptors rather underwhelming. Their speed of seventy seven thousand kilometers per second is forty thousand kps lower than that of the newest human anti-missiles and is in fact lower than the newest versions of Arrows and Trebuchets. Last but not least anti-missiles have very light warheads for their size. The loss of the First demonstrates it the best. A very old, basically obsolete formation was attacked by a cruiser and two destroyers, giving the aliens almost as much combined mass as the humans had which coupled with their significantly better technology should allow the enemy an easy victory. In the end however they were forced to spend two thirds of their anti-missiles. In short, while the active defenses on modern ships may have problems stopping all of Traveler anti-missiles, it is very unlikely the enemy will be able to actually kill many warships, unless he has massive force advantage.
   The tactic used however will have significant consequences in other areas. The first one covered is the  design of the Shark class gunboats. Unlike the Piranhas, those were supposed to operate independently and for that they were equipped with very long range fire controls and missiles, to allow them to fire from outside the enemy detection and engagement ranges. However the Travelers have even better range, although only slightly. This means the Sharks are either obsolete, must be carefully used against specific targets, like the Hegemony, or must be modified to have even longer range, which will require new missile type as well. The Force recommends to suspend their further construction and to replace them with Piranhas as this is the second time when improving sensors made gunboats unable to fight without cover. Even if the Sharks were to receive even greater range, sooner or later the problem would arise again. In the worst case scenario this may give a potential enemy, like the Hegemony, an ability to easily capture a system previously thought secure. For all instances and purposes the age of independent gunboat strikes is over. The government agrees.
   The second impact the alien doctrine had was to remind the Commune that their forces are too focused on offensive firepower. Gunboats, which were useless, could be easily reinforced but finding major vessels with point defense was very difficult. Overall the Eden lobbyists were right about the need to preserve and upgrade the frigate squadrons. The Force recommends the shipyards in Athens be expanded to hasten to production. The government agrees, but due to manpower shortages it won't be possible for some time.
   The last area to be impacted by the alien use of very long range anti-missiles are planetary defenses. At the moment the central authority provides only very light protection to exiting colonies, which usually consist of limited number of armed space stations equipped with gauss cannons. Officially those are emplaced to protect the various populations from raids. However everyone with even rudimentary knowledge of naval tactics will know they are effectively useless in this role. In reality there are being produced for three reasons – to reassure civilians they are being protected, to support any orbiting warships and to serve as a kernel of actual defenses based on ground based missile bases. So far they very rarely saw combat and are considered to be something of a necessary evil due to their limitations but also usefulness in appeasing citizens demanding protection.
   Unfortunately while many planets have heavy defenses built of local resources those are simply inadequate to deal with the Travelers. The current missile bases are supposed to deal with long range missile attack while destroying anyone who would try to get close to use short range weaponry, like anti-missiles in offensive mode. But the aliens can fire from outside the range of Trebuchets and as was shown once again during recent combat using interceptors to deal with enemy interceptors is a losing proposition. In short if the enemy ever managed to strike a planet with significant defenses but no mobile units, the planet would be left in ruins.
   The good news is that the orbital platforms are cheap and effective. The currently used design, the Moat II, masses six thousand tonnes and has twelve gauss cannon turrets, almost as much as a modern cruiser division. Each can in theory intercept sixty incoming missiles, but due to tracking speed limitation, the actual number is likely closer to thirty five to forty missiles. While impressive this means most planetary defenses would be very easy to bypass, as most planets have no more than two such stations. The Force recommends upgrading those so that each planet could fend off at least two hundred Traveler anti-missiles, which would require six Moat IIs per planet. The government will consider this, as such a large upgrade program would require significant amount of money and yard time, all to increase security of planets against one, specific threat in situation where said threat is localised and currently contained.
   The only other part of the report dealt with the alien speed, which is currently superior to most used designs, but not the newest ones. As long as the Travellers keep going after warships, it should be of no consequence, but if they begin to fight more strategically they could use their speed to cause enormous damage. As soon as possible the current formations within TF 301 should be replaced with new construction, but it will take years to accomplish that. Fortunately as long as the aliens don't bring in their vessels armed with long range interceptors, new fast gunboats can be used, as those are already available in reasonable numbers.
   Overall there is no denying the new threat is significant, but many also believe it to be reasonably contained at this point. Yes, the enemy is technologically superior, but so far the Commune managed to hold its own. Unless the Travelers send the fleet the size of what Hegemony has been using, they should not pose a threat to the nation as a whole and if all else fails, Republic may be called to help. The other human nation has been given full tactical recordings of the battles – something which the Hegemony has not received due to Commune not wanting to give their enemy too much information about modern Force vessels – and Phoenix already declared their readiness to send support, although due to the sheer distances so far both nations agreed to not do so  unless absolutely necessary.

28th February 2390

   Due to rapidly melting ice caps the Hegemony colony of Delawere became habitable for unprotected humans. Despite population of one hundred and forty six million the colony still suffers manpower shortages, although it should change shortly as the government keeps sending colony ships to the planet as well as building new ones to hasten the process.

18th March 2390

   The Kingdom continues to sporadically send survey ships into Hegemony space, forcing one of the frigates to continue serving as a transport ship for prisoners. This however paid off as the interrogators have just learned the aliens have gunboats.

Code: [Select]
Swiftsure class Fast Attack Craft    1 000 tons     9 Crew     156.04 BP      TCS 20  TH 90  EM 0
4500 km/s     Armour 1-8     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 0     PPV 10.56
Maint Life 0 Years     MSP 0    AFR 200%    IFR 2.8%    1YR 30    5YR 443    Max Repair 45 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 0.33 months    Spare Berths 5   
Magazine 32   

90 EP Ion Drive (1)    Power 90    Fuel Use 209.43%    Signature 90    Exp 15%
Fuel Capacity 50 000 Litres    Range 4.3 billion km   (11 days at full power)

Size 4 Missile Launcher (33% Reduction) (8)    Missile Size 4    Rate of Fire 2400
Missile Fire Control FC27-R92 (1)     Range 27.3m km    Resolution 92
Ferret Anti-ship Missile (8)  Speed: 14 000 km/s   End: 58.6m    Range: 49.2m km   WH: 13    Size: 4    TH: 46/28/14

Active Search Sensor MR27-R92 (1)     GPS 3312     Range 27.6m km    Resolution 92

Missile to hit chances are vs targets moving at 3000 km/s, 5000 km/s and 10,000 km/s

This design is classed as a Military Vessel for maintenance purposes

   The craft is actually slower than human warships and rather than having box launchers it uses repeatable but miniaturized systems, severely limiting the number of ammunition it can carry. Overall unless there are hundreds of them, they should pose next to no threat.

20th March 2390

   The Resolute Carrier Group arrived in Newark in preparation for the upcoming Hegemony attack on the Untama system. The jump gate is a little over two months away from completion and the staffs begun looking into actual operations plan. The idea was to use massed fighter strike to be launched through the gate. While fragile and easily detectable by anything close enough to the jump point, they would be numerous enough to survive in significant numbers until they could fire. The biggest problem for the officers was the return – if there were no matching jump gate on the other side, and there likely wasn't, there would be no way to tell if the assault was successful or not. Worse, if it wasn't, the entire strike force would be lost.
   However as the staffs begun working the actual numbers they realized they missed a critical issue – their fighters did not have active sensors. In short they cannot strike by themselves. Warships will need to be send and at least one of them will have to survive long enough to transmit proper targeting data to the fighters. Twenty six destroyers and frigates were already in the system and available for the tasks, but that would leave carriers defenseless which admittedly should not be an issue. Reinforcements from the capital were also possible but would consist of older units only.
   There was however an alternative. All Hegemony shipkillers, including those used by fighters, had on board active sensors. As such it would be possible, in theory, to launch them blindly and allow the munitions to seek their own targets, but it would work only on ships that were very close to the jump point.
   When learning about this the government proposed a third option. There were three Ra class destroyers and nine Hammurabi class frigates in orbit of New Earth which were not assigned to any formation, as the carriers had all the escorts they needed. There were also four Normandy class command cruisers present which also awaited assignment and each of those could escort up to five other warships through. The government proposed to use those twelve obsolete ships together with three cruisers and a small detachment of modern destroyers from the carrier groups already in Newark to jump together with fighters and provide them with sensor readings. As the Normandys were large, had reasonable armor and respectable number of CIWS stations, they should be difficult targets, and the sheer number of warships jumping in – twenty one in total – should ensure at least one will remain operational. The Hegemon would really prefer to send only older warships in, but twelve may be insufficient if the enemy gets lucky and while older carrier groups were by this point relegated to the reserve status, they were still very important military assets and detaching their escorts was not an option.
   Due to the low speed of the older vessels it will take them over three months to arrive in Newark which means the attack will be delayed.

5th April 2390

   For several years now the Hegemony had significant budget deficit, but staved off economic crisis thanks to their vast financial reserves. However as the government will be able to keep it up for only five more years or so, large numbers of financial centers were being built. Unfortunately by now this led to uridium stockpiles falling below forty thousand tonnes, as the mineral is also used in warship and missile production. While suspending expansion of financial sector will help some, the current production of the mineral is very limited which means that by now the government has two important mineral which are for all instances and purposes not being produced – corundium and uridium.
   While Delawere still have manpower shortages, it no longer require infrastructure so preparations can begin to found a new mining colony. However settling two planets at once would take too long, making the government look for a body with both mineral present. Fortunately there is a body that not only fits those criteria, but could also be terraformed. Unfortunately the object in question, the third moon of Little Rock I, has next to no other elements present.
   In the end however the government decides that this is not an issue. Over eight hundred thousand tonnes of duranium are stockpiled so the most commonly used mineral is in plentiful supply. For that matter the two main Hegemony mining colonies produce seven out of eleven TN elements in significant quantities. After short discussion the Hegemon gives permission to begin government sponsored colonization of the body, named Pulaski. Unfortunately the system is a dead end one connected to the massive Philadelphia which will make expansion very slow due to enormous distances.
   In the meantime to improve their economic situation the government takes a look at the civilian mining sector. Up until now the policy was to buy any and all production, just in case. Because of this however mineral purchases account for overt thirty five percent of the government expenses and this also means the enterprises generate no taxes. Four of the colonies however produced only duranium and nothing else, a mineral which is in plentiful supply and being mined on both government colonies. By allowing those four mining operations to sell their production to civilian market, the budgetary burden will lessen and new tax revenue will be generated, although it is currently unknown how big an impact will it have.

6th April 2390

   The Commune Eight Cruiser Division is back in orbit of Knossos, allowing Jasso to transfer flag back to Artemis. While no new forces will arrive in the system – as there are no forces to be sent without compromising security in other areas – Task Force 301 now boasts sixteen gunboat flotillas, two frigate squadrons, three cruiser divisions, a battlcruiser division and reinforced orbital defenses, which will be further upgraded. This makes it the most powerful formation in the nation and the largest concentration of firepower since the battle with the Destroyer in the very same system. This also means an attack in other areas could cause significant problems, which is why some are grateful that the Hegemony is currently distracted, as their attack on the Pacific system on the other side of the Commune in the Sudetes sector, could be very dangerous. Unfortunately if the other human nation wins the war and conquers the alien race it will become a significantly larger long term danger, but there is little that can be done about it.

18th May 2390

   The Commune faces an unusual problem. The Quilotoa colony has its available infrastructure almost completely filled, Zuiderzee have enough population to easily expand its industry and all other colonies no longer warrant government support. As the Valhallan habitats, which cannot expand, continue to produce millions of potential colonists each year, the time has come to settle new planets. However there is no obvious target for development.
   Of course the existing worlds could use additional immigrants, especially Eden, Emesh and Gaillard which are experiencing manpower shortages. The Administrator however is more interested in settling new worlds. This is due to the fact that all known human colonies, no matter which nation they belong to, show simple trend – the lower the population, the higher the growth. And as it happens the Commune needs not only more hands for work, but also more tax revenue.
   Tied into this is the issue of the sheer sprawl of the nation which has grown to its present size very naturally as people sought good places to live and resources to exploit. This however presents the government with a challenge, as they cannot use the Hegemony strategy of protecting one core system to assure survival. The Commune has to protect a lot of territory but in  case of a new, serious war they are very likely to lose some planets and associated industry. However because of the heavy decentralization losing several worlds will not cripple the nation. Even losing a sector as large and important as Sudetes could ultimately be overcome. In the end the Administrator and to a lesser extent the Oversight Committee believe they have no choice but to continue on this path, further decentralizing the national industry, ideally making each sector self-sufficient in terms of production and resource extraction.
   To accomplish this the government has decided to take three steps to increase chances of Commune survival in case of a serious war. First the colonies which were founded by private citizens will receive small numbers of factories and minerals to begin proper industrialization which will include construction of new missile base for local protection. Second some of the more interesting locations that have been ignored will be settled. In particular the Administrator wants to stimulate trade by providing new opportunities with relatively short routes. As such the first two planets colonized for this reason will be the two airless, tidally locked worlds in the Gateway system which connects to the capital and the Sudetes itself. The planets have been renamed Archway and Oresund.
   The third step is the colonization of new bodies within the less developed sectors, preferably on planets with reasonable mineral deposits, although that isn't a requirement. In fact the first planet to be settled for this reason will be ES – 38 KH3 IV which has almost no TN resources, but once terraformed will be a very pleasant place to live. The system is adjacent to the capital sector iof Ayuthaya and the system Aurora, home to early industrial alien race. It was also the site of the first combat between humans and a Specter Behemoth.
   The only potential issue is the presence of Specters in the adjacent system. This also causes some friction as the star in question is bordering Republican space and they are not happy with potential alien incursion into their territory. To deal with the issue and in spite of risks the Fifth Fleet, responsible for the sector, is ordered to deal with the enemy. Meanwhile the new system to be colonized is renamed Behemoth while the planet itself is named Gardaitis after Lithuanian spirit of ships and sailors.

28th May 2390

   Six Royal frigates entered the Newark system emerging right on top of the nine Hegemony warships stationed there and the single construction ship which needed only twenty eight more hours to complete her task.
   While the enemy was certainly weak, Captain Wagh did not want to risk the unarmed vessel so he ordered ten shipkillers against each enemy in addition to the energy weapons. The alien warships begun moving away immediately, but the humans did not pursue, prioritizing protection of their construction ship.
   It took the small Hegemony force twenty seconds to respond, but combination of energy weapons and missiles quickly annihilated three of the targets. It took almost a minute for the particle beams and spinal mounted lasers to finish the rest, but the enemy never even fired. The frigate Abteen has been ordered to retrieve the life pods and deliver survivors to Ankeny for interrogation. Four hundred and ten aliens have been rescued.
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Offline QuakeIV

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Re: From the ashes - part 18
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2017, 10:14:06 PM »
I guess its RIP for the fast attack craft, finally.  Its been a while since I read the earlier parts of this, but if I recall the Commune still has its original fast attack craft in service right?

Offline Haji

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Re: From the ashes - part 18
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 12:21:51 PM »
Yes, they do. They suspended construction after putting twenty nine flotillas of Piranhas ("fleet gunboats") and twenty nine flotillas of Sharks (long strike range independent gunboats) for a whooping nine hundred and twenty eight missile armed fast attack craft.

As for this being RIP for FACs I disagree. It's definitely another nail in the coffin for independent, "under the radar" strikes, but the Commune knew from the beginning their Piranhas may be detected - that why they designed the original Stockholm class frigates and Vistuala class corvettes. The frigate squadrons are supposed to operate together with gunboat flotillas to create task groups with a wide variety of capabilities. Retiring Piranhas (and to a lesser extent Sharks) would require the Commune to design a completely new corvette or frigate sized missile armed vessel to support its frigate squadrons and there is little point in doing so when the gunboats have been working so well.


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