Author Topic: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR  (Read 5678 times)

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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Manticore Defiant: Interlude One: The Prussian Princess (1589)
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2022, 07:30:28 PM »
March 9th, 1589 - Magdeburg III, Magdeburg System

Frau Feldmarschall!” a young man in the black tunic of the Totenkopf Hussars shoved through the airlock flaps and came to rigid attention. “The guards have caught a Tintenfische outside the camp. It is demanding to speak with you.”

Ruiyu Anderman looked up sharply from her tablet. “Jun,” she chided. “You know I dislike that name.”

Entschuldigung, Frau Feldmarshcall.” The boy looked away from her steel gaze, a properly chagrined expression on his face. “What should I tell them to do with it?”

Ruiyu sighed. War required a certain amount of dehumanization. Without it, soldiers would balk, especially in the face of grueling one-sided butchery like the Andermani invasion of Magdeburg III. She knew that. She also knew that letting it go too far was a recipe for atrocity. Especially here, when the enemy wasn’t human at all. The Leif didn’t look human, act human, or communicate in a way most humans understood as speech. All too easy to start thinking of them as the bug-eyed monsters of science fiction holo dramas, rather than people.

“I will speak with them,” Ruiyu said, standing up and crossing to the airlock. “Have a xenolinguist meet me there.”

Jun barked an affirmative, saluted and held open the airlock flap for her. She took a breathing mask from the row on the wall and fitted it snugly over her face. Magdeburg III was a super Earth, 21000 kilometers in diameter, with gravity forty percent higher than Terran standard and a very dense nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere. It was otherwise shirtsleeves habitable, though the high gravity and sweltering tropical humidity made it extremely unpleasant for a Potsdam native like herself.

Beads of sweat immediately coalesced under the high collar of her uniform jacket, the color still known as Prussian Blue despite being made from alien sea snails. By Magdeburg III’s solar cycle it was a brisk autumn day here in the northern hemisphere, only a few miles from the Leif’s largest settlement. The thermometer on the outside of the prefabricated structure read 39C.

Jun trotted off on his errand as Ruiyu turned and strode down the long row of identical structures towards the main gate. He must be miserable in this heat, but the Totenkopf Hussars would no more show weakness or surrender to practicality than she would. Most of the soldiers she passed had no such scruples. After months on this planet, they had all stripped down to loose trousers and tank tops of a breathable linen-like fiber.

Beyond the buildings, neat lines of Schützenpanzer Büffel and Panzerkampfwagen Nashorn vehicles flanked the encampment, and farther still a tall wire fence dotted with watchtowers encircled it. Her soldiers had cleared the massive tree analogs that covered most of Magdeburg III’s surface for miles around, but she could still see the vague outline of them towering on the horizon.

Ruiyu had received her orders from the Emperor himself, hand delivered by courier to the Imperial Army’s training facility on Nimbalkar. Even she didn't question an order with the Imperial seal. But she had spent many nights during the past six months comforting herself with the knowledge that as soon as her boots touched Potsdam’s soil again, she was going to find which one of her nephew’s pet staff officers had suggested dropping the entire I. Panzerbrigade into a godforsaken jungle to hunt arboreal natives armed with spears and strangle him with his own entrails. She didn’t care if he was Generaloberst. Royal blood had to come with some perks.

A moment savoring that mental image yet again brought her to the gate. The group of soldiers surrounding the Leif were part of the perimeter guard in full climate controlled power armor. They looked wary, but it gratified her to see they weren’t holding the alien at gunpoint. Not exactly.

The Leif was taller than an average human with a bald egg-shaped head perched atop a vaguely humanoid torso, but all similarity ended there. Below their chest was a writhing mass of long prehensile limbs, like thick ropey tentacles, which the Leif used to swing through their homeworld’s dense jungle canopies. They also had a pair of short sensory tentacles sprouting from the center of their face, looking almost like a fleshy mustache, on either side of a disturbing vertical mouth slit.

Ruiyu saw Jun hurrying up with the xenolinguist, who held what appeared to be a small bagpipe. She halted outside the circle of guards and waited for them.

As soon as the Leif saw her, they made a dramatic gesture with their tentacles. For all she knew, it might have been a bow, a salute, or their equivalent of flipping the bird. She wouldn’t hold it against them if it was. The Leif’s technological level was analogous to Old Earth’s medieval period. There were over four hundred million of them and their only crime was living on a planet with rich mineral deposits. For that, she had killed probably twenty or thirty thousand of them and they, in return, had scratched up the paint on some of her tanks.

“I am Kaiserlicher Feldmarschall Ruiyu Anderman,” she said making a formal bow to the Leif. “You wished to speak with me?”

A series of ear-rending squawks and screeches emitted from the bagpipe-like device as the xenolinguist did his best to translate her German. She hoped it didn’t come out as something offensive. Until this mission, the Imperial Army hardly considered xenolinguistics a prestigious specialty. It attracted a few nerds who spent their enlistment hanging out in ruins staring at graffiti but, as far as she knew, no humans had ever interacted with a live alien until her brigade landed here.

Fortunately, the Leif squawked back and, even more fortunately, no one covered their ears, although there were a few pained grimaces from those not in power armor.

“Greetings Feldmarschall,” the linguist translated. “I am High Marshal Naresh, Supreme Commander of the Leif Coalition. I have come alone to offer our unconditional surrender and beg you to show mercy to my people.”

“On behalf of His Imperial Majesty Gustav III, I accept your surrender,” she replied. Then added, “The Leif have fought bravely and with much honor against impossible odds. You have my personal assurance that no harm will come to you or your civilians.”

Despite the vast gulf of body language, she thought Naresh looked a bit skeptical at the translation, but he waggled his tentacles again. “There are many among my people who believe you are gods, descended from Heaven with your metal beasts to punish us for some transgression. But the learned say you are beings like us. That you came from another world and your magic is technology beyond our comprehension.”

“We are not gods,” Ruiyu said, a little too forcefully. “Your planet is now part of the Andermani Empire. Your people will become citizens. We will share our technology, our medicines, our agricultural techniques. Someday, the Leif will travel between the stars with us.”

She meant to keep that promise. For all his critics, Uncle Gustav had always seen himself as a benevolent conqueror. He brought modern technology to backwards frontier planets whose own governments, corporate overlords, or vestiges of fate kept destitute. Starting with Kuan Yin, the world now called Potsdam, within a generation most of the people regarded him as their savior. Ruiyu believed in his dream, had shed more than a bit of her own blood for it, and would not watch while her nephew’s advisers turned the star nation she’d fought for into another Spanish or Belgian Empire. That would not happen here. At least, not while she was still breathing.

Magdeberg-A III Survey Report
     Duranium 1,273,428   Acc 1
     Neutronium 297,542   Acc 0.8
     Corbomite 208,157   Acc 0.6
     Tritanium 291,249   Acc 0.7
     Boronide 257,071   Acc 0.4
     Mercassium 353,635   Acc 0.9
     Vendarite 200,942   Acc 0.8
     Sorium 303,242   Acc 0.8
     Uridium 597,271   Acc 0.4
     Corundium 255,564   Acc 0.5
     Gallicite 243,264   Acc 0.5




Next - Chapter Four: Changes (1588-1589)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2022, 07:38:40 PM by rainyday »
 
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Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Manticore Defiant Chapter Two: A Mysterious Visitor
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2022, 10:37:27 PM »
Perhaps twenty missiles was a bit excessive. The bean counters at BuShips would surely try to rake him over the coals for “unnecessary ordnance expenditures.” It would be worth it though. Dunne had finally gotten to shoot something. The whole reason he’d joined the Navy in the first place.

Maxim 37: there is no "overkill."

I like this Captain Dunne, he will go far. Or at least, he would go far in any Navy I ever ran.

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Dunne looked down at his display. At the center of the expanding cloud of debris sat the wreck of a light cruiser.



That's... a lot of cloaking tech. Bit scary honestly.


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Countess New Dijon of the Progressive Party

Now there's a name for you!

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These reports taken together made the Navy’s planners appear incompetent at best, or dangerously negligent at worst.

Truly the sign of a high-quality AAR.

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The Royal Manticoran Marine Corps evaded Parliament’s ire and continued steady growth throughout the year.

The hidden benefits of being nearly 100% reliant on a single mineral that almost nobody else needs for anything.


Manticore Defiant: Interlude One

Listen here, you can't just leave us hanging like this when a survey squadron is being overrun by evil aliens!

Quote
Author's Note: A little bonus chapter today. I know things have been going slow so far, but I promise next week's Manticore update is... explosive. I've added a couple new player races and a couple human NPRs to spice things up, but it's taking a while for them to meet. Manticore's development has been slow since they started with such limited jump tech and the new research option. Things have actually been a lot more exciting for the Andermani.

I've noticed something similar in my own AAR. Starting with very limited jump and survey resources makes for a rather slow start - which of course mandates an interesting starting setup to generate some early-game interest, which you've got in spades here so far even without the very rude cliffhanger + intermission nonsense.  :P

It is seeming like the Aldermani Empire will be rather aggressive and thus a likely opponent in battle once some wormhole path is found between the two nations. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, since Manticore being overwhelmed by massive battleships might be a tad desultory of an ending. But if they win...

Keep it coming, time is always a bit short but I do try to keep up with this one!
 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Manticore Defiant
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2022, 12:08:17 AM »
I like this Captain Dunne, he will go far. Or at least, he would go far in any Navy I ever ran.

Indeed. We will be seeing much more of Captain Dunne and HMS Kodiak in the coming chapters.

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That's... a lot of cloaking tech. Bit scary honestly.

Fortunately, this inspired me to build a lot of small resolution sensors and fire controls which have come in very handy for... reasons.

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I've noticed something similar in my own AAR. Starting with very limited jump and survey resources makes for a rather slow start - which of course mandates an interesting starting setup to generate some early-game interest, which you've got in spades here

I really like the "first jump into the unknown" flavor of starting scenario but it does make early expansion slower. Lack of jump capability has been a real struggle. Particularly with the Limited Research Administration (love it, by the way, I usually limited myself to ~5ish labs per project so the new setting is somewhat familiar but *really* makes you appreciate a good scientist). I am pretty desperate for a bigger jump drive and higher efficiency. Not to mention all the other jump drive niceties. Or Ion Engines. Or engine boost. It's agonizing at times. I've also had a horrible shortage of C/P scientists which is why fuel harvesters are taking most of a decade to get online.

Quote
It is seeming like the Aldermani Empire will be rather aggressive and thus a likely opponent in battle once some wormhole path is found between the two nations. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing, since Manticore being overwhelmed by massive battleships might be a tad desultory of an ending. But if they win...

Well, they have to defy something. It's in the title. I'm hoping for a bit more colonial struggle on the frontier and less full-on battleship invasion, but, you know, a lot depends on where and how they end up connecting and whether Parliament hurts the Emperor's feelings with nasty notes or a lack of light refreshments. ;D  It's a bit concerning because the Empire gained a large population boost through this conquest. If they can industrialize the Leif, it might snowball their economy and put Manticore in a tough spot if it comes to blows.

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Keep it coming, time is always a bit short but I do try to keep up with this one!

Glad you're enjoying it.

« Last Edit: September 25, 2022, 12:10:22 AM by rainyday »
 
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Offline Black

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Re: Manticore Defiant
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2022, 02:39:24 AM »
Indeed. We will be seeing much more of Captain Dunne and HMS Kodiak in the coming chapters.

Hopefully it will not be in a sense of seeing lot of small pieces from the explosion of the HMS Kodiak...

Well, they have to defy something. It's in the title. I'm hoping for a bit more colonial struggle on the frontier and less full-on battleship invasion, but, you know, a lot depends on where and how they end up connecting and whether Parliament hurts the Emperor's feelings with nasty notes or a lack of light refreshments. ;D  It's a bit concerning because the Empire gained a large population boost through this conquest. If they can industrialize the Leif, it might snowball their economy and put Manticore in a tough spot if it comes to blows.

You can always rename the topic to Andermani Ascendant: A Star Empire AAR.  ;D We can follow the career of Feldmarschall Ruiyu Anderman.
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Manticore Defiant
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2022, 10:13:44 AM »
I really like the "first jump into the unknown" flavor of starting scenario but it does make early expansion slower. Lack of jump capability has been a real struggle. Particularly with the Limited Research Administration (love it, by the way, I usually limited myself to ~5ish labs per project so the new setting is somewhat familiar but *really* makes you appreciate a good scientist). I am pretty desperate for a bigger jump drive and higher efficiency. Not to mention all the other jump drive niceties. Or Ion Engines. Or engine boost. It's agonizing at times. I've also had a horrible shortage of C/P scientists which is why fuel harvesters are taking most of a decade to get online.

I'm pretty sure it is hardcoded into the EXE that the player race always starts with one 10% P/P scientist, no C/P scientists and five B/G scientists including at least three with >20% skill.  :P

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but, you know, a lot depends on where and how they end up connecting and whether Parliament hurts the Emperor's feelings with nasty notes or a lack of light refreshments. ;D

Truly the most dire of insults.

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It's a bit concerning because the Empire gained a large population boost through this conquest. If they can industrialize the Leif, it might snowball their economy and put Manticore in a tough spot if it comes to blows.

"Unfortunately", Aurora does not really place a downside on too-rapid expansion like some 4Xs do, so unless you roleplay the political instability in some way it is basically just free population for the Andermani.
 
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Offline El Pip

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Re: Manticore Defiant: Interlude One: The Prussian Princess (1589)
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2022, 02:28:43 PM »
Countess New Dijon of the Progressive Party
By any argument the original Dijon was one too many, so I have absolutely no sympathy for Manticore on this. They chose to ignore the warnings and start a New Dijon so cannot complain about the predictably awful consequences?

Here we see the secret power of light refreshments, regular exposure to a wide array of condiments would make it clear quite how awful Dijon mustard (and thus Dijon) is and so no-on would dream of starting a New Dijon.

she would not watch while her nephew’s advisers turned the star nation she’d fought for into another Spanish or Belgian Empire. That would not happen here. Not while she was breathing.
Well quite, given the choice not breathing does indeed seem the superior alternative.

 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Manticore Defiant: Chapter Four: Changes (1588-1589)
« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2022, 01:20:45 PM »
Chapter Four: Changes (1588-1589)

[ 14 July 1588, Admiralty Building, City of Landing, Manticore ]

“Admiral Summervale.” Lady Suzanne Descroix, Countess New Dijon, freshly appointed Defense Minister for the Star Kingdom of Manticore flashed a politician’s smile as the First Space Lord entered her office. “Please sit down.”

Sir Michael Summervale sat stiffly and eyed her across the vast expanse of polished Sphinxian crown oak. The desk could have made a passable conference table. No knickknacks or family photos cluttered its surface, not even the ever present piles of hardcopy that seemed to materialize on flat surfaces throughout the Admiralty Building. He had a vague memory of his father telling him once never to trust anyone with an empty workspace.

“I want to hear your thoughts on the Wayfarer Incident.”

Summervale shrugged. “Internal disciplinary affairs aren’t really my department. I understand that Vice Admiral Sorbanne dropped the court martial and settled for beaching the commanders with half pay.” He’d also heard that decision came from this very office, on account of Lt. Commander Chandler’s family being large donors to the Liberal Party. He didn’t disagree with it though. He might even have intervened himself before it went much farther. 

“I meant your thoughts regarding the military’s readiness to defend this star system. I believe that *is* your department?”

“Ah, that. You’ve read ONI’s reports?” At her brisk nod he mentally adjusted his summary. “They identified at least a hundred unique gravitic signatures in Wayfarer’s sensor data, but we only got active readings on a couple dozen Light Attack Craft. They also detected a pulse from in system three times more powerful than any of our active sensors. ONI is calling that a battlecruiser, but it’s just as likely to be a fancy scout frigate. What I am certain of is that we can stop them if necessary. Our Home Fleet out masses ONI’s worst case estimate of their total strength.”

 The Countess considered him for a moment. “That’s reassuring. Do you believe an invasion is imminent?”

“No ma’am. Not imminent.” Summervale produced a tablet from his briefcase, opened the local wormhole map and activated the device’s holo projector. “This is Aral.” He pointed at one of the glowing spheres. “That’s what we’re calling the system where the aliens attacked Wayfarer. The wormhole there is only about six billion kilometers from the Manticore-Hennesy terminus. If they are native to that system, and know about wormholes, then they probably already know where we are. That means either they don’t have that technology, they don’t intend to attack us, or what we stumbled into is a large exploration fleet. I favor the latter explanation myself. In that case, we don’t know where they’re from, how quickly they can receive reinforcements, or how long it’ll take them to track us down. Or if they’ll even bother.”



“So you don’t share ONI’s concern our frigates were followed?”

Summervale shook his head. “After they saw what happened to Wayfarer’s crew, the survey commanders gave the alien fleet a very wide berth on their way back to rendezvous at the wormhole terminus. Given how aggressively they went after Wayfarer, I believe the aliens would attack any ship they detected, rather than following it. They’re almost twice as fast as our ships so they could have overtaken and destroyed the frigates easily.  It’s my opinion that they don’t know where we are and will need to grav survey both Aral and Hennesy, then investigate several wormholes to find us. Six months at least. That’s my conservative estimate. It could take years.”

New Dijon frowned. “So what’s your plan? We sit and wait for them to attack?”

“My preference would be to send a large fleet to secure Wayfarer and retrieve her crew for burials. Show these aliens that we will respond to aggression with overwhelming force. Unfortunately, our options are limited because the survey cruisers can only transit ships under 12000 tons. 50% of our total combat strength is stuck in Manticore.”

“You’re saying our most expensive ships are completely useless?”

“The RMN is a system defense force. It isn’t meant to go on ‘imperialist expeditionary adventures.’”

Her lips quirked ever so slightly. “So we defend.”

“We defend,” Summervale agreed. “Again, my preference would be to defend the Hennesy terminus, where we could see enemies approaching and make good use of our missiles, but our present capabilities make that impractical. Vice Admiral Sorbanne is vehemently opposed to detaching another survey cruiser for military duty and I agree with his reasoning. That means we’ll have to defend the terminus on this side.”

She wasn’t going to like his next point and he could hardly blame her. “While I endorsed King Edward’s doctrinal reforms, and still agree missiles are the weapon of the future, it has left our modern construction woefully ill suited for the present situation. Any close defense, or assault, of a wormhole terminus will be a back alley knife fight. We’re going to be stretched very thin on older ships.”

New Dijon scowled fiercely, leaned back and crossed her arms. “I seem to recall six battlecruisers eating up an unreasonable percentage of our maintenance supplies. I’m no tactician, but I expect their large laser batteries and heavy armor would excel in that environment.”

“Tactically, yes, you’re right. Strategically, it’s a nonstarter. Over the years we’ve hobbled the battlecruisers. In their present configuration, they only carry stores for three months. That’s enough time to intercept an enemy fleet threatening our planets, but inadequate for any kind of forward deployment.”

New Dijon grunted, stood up and crossed to the window, gazing out at Landing’s skyline. Her voice was icy when she finally spoke. “You’ve already admitted that 50% of our warship tonnage is useless for offensive operations and now you’re telling me 25% are nothing more than glorified defense platforms?”

“Yes, I suppose that’s one way to put it.”

She turned back to face him. “You understand this situation is unacceptable? The government expects me to reign in the Navy’s excesses. Those battlecruisers are nothing but excess. They’re expensive props for you and your fellow Admirals to strut around and feel important. I want them dealt with. Reimagined or replaced with units that can actually do their jobs.”

Summervale nodded. “I anticipated that, so I asked BuShips to develop several options, including a quick refit plan to extend the battlecruisers’ deployment time for wormhole defense. However, the… more conservative… elements of the Navy are justifiably reluctant to tear them open when aliens might arrive tomorrow.”

New Dijon sighed and slumped back down in her chair. “At least they’ll reassure our planetary population when word of an imminent alien invasion leaks out.”

“It’s now all bad news. In fact, I have a plan to deal with several of these problems.” Summervale flicked the screen of his tablet and the map vanished, replaced by a wireframe schematic of a large warship. “The Weapons Development Board has its best propulsion people working on those new missile boosters, but as soon as they’re done, I’d like to redirect them to develop a larger wormhole transit device. It’s critical for the fleet to have an independent transit capability usable by all of our ships. Unfortunately, with current technology, we expect it to be the size of a destroyer. It’ll take years to research, retool a shipyard and actually build a ship big enough to carry it. Frankly, I don’t think we can wait. A friend in BuShips mocked this up. I think you’ll like it.”

Off-Topic: show
Swiftsure class Jump Battlecruiser      28,000 tons       834 Crew       4,832.1 BP       TCS 560    TH 2,520    EM 0
4500 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 8-82       Shields 0-0       HTK 138      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 24      PPV 48
Maint Life 1.90 Years     MSP 5,088    AFR 261%    IFR 3.6%    1YR 1,812    5YR 27,177    Max Repair 1823.8 MSP
Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Morale Check Required   

M28000(3-50) Wormhole Transit Device     Max Ship Size 28000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

NG60-840 Warship Impeller Drive (3)    Power 2520    Fuel Use 75.74%    Signature 840    Explosion 14%
Fuel Capacity 1,910,000 Litres    Range 16.2 billion km (41 days at full power)

100mm Point Defense Autocannon Mk 2 (16x4)    Range 30,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 5       
AN/CDT-3a Point Defense Fire Control System (2)     Max Range: 96,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     90 79 69 58 48 38 27 17 6 0
Rukes GFR-48 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 48.1    Exp 5%

AN/SML-3a Missile Tracking Array (1)     GPS 12     Range 4.8m km    MCR 430.9k km    Resolution 1
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km


“Basically, we carve the guts out of a battlecruiser, then stuff the wormhole transit device inside. They had to take out a couple reactors, the boat bay, and all offensive weaponry to make it fit, but her armor, engines and point defense suite are intact, so the new class can accompany our heavy warships, even in combat situations.”

New Dijon leaned forward to study the text floating in the air beside the design. After a moment, a genuine smile lit her face. “I’m impressed. This is exactly the sort of outside the box thinking we need, Admiral.”

“Good, because there’s more.” Summervale flicked his tablet again and another much smaller ship appeared. “While I was discussing our needs with my friend, she showed me this. Some junior officers at BuShips were playing around with it. This is a pinnace equipped with a miniature wormhole transit device. You know we have a serious communication problem with the new colonies. Especially Chimera, since it doesn’t get as much traffic as Medusa. That’ll become a nightmare if we deploy warships several hops down the chain. They call this a dispatch boat. It’s fast, cheap, small enough to be carried on our cruisers and has enough supplies to sit on a wormhole to relay messages.”

Off-Topic: show
Marathon class Dispatch Boat (P)      500 tons       12 Crew       52.4 BP       TCS 10    TH 40    EM 0
4007 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 5      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
Maint Life 15.63 Years     MSP 42    AFR 4%    IFR 0.1%    1YR 0    5YR 5    Max Repair 20 MSP
Lieutenant (SG)    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Morale Check Required   

M500.0(1-50) Wormhole Transit Device     Max Ship Size 500 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1

NG4-40 Pinnace Impeller Drive (1)    Power 40    Fuel Use 126.49%    Signature 40    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 78,000 Litres    Range 22.2 billion km (64 days at full power)


“Your research team might be a bit put out after they spend years developing a giant wormhole transit device and you immediately tell them to miniaturize it.” New Dijon chuckled. “But the military and civilian implications are huge.”

“I agree.” He still had one other item on his agenda. Now was the time. “I understand your frustration with the current state of our military, but in light of a possible existential threat to the Kingdom’s existence, I’d like to ask Parliament for an exception to the warship construction ban.”

New Dijon’s expression hardened. “Why?”

“We have a desperate need for energy armed light picket ships to guard wormhole termini. I’ve sent CruDiv 5 for now, uh, that’s the Casey-class light cruisers, but nothing else in our fleet has the right combination of size, armament and endurance for the task. I asked BuShips to develop a beam heavy destroyer based on the hull of our Salamander-class, so that we can switch them with refits if necessary, but I would advise against converting our dedicated point defense units until we’re certain the aliens don’t use missiles.”

“Believe it or not, my goal has never been to destroy the Navy. I just want our limited resources well allocated, to ensure we have the right tools for our job. It’s clear from your report that we don’t have them. I want to remedy that efficiently, but not at the expense of useful capabilities. Otherwise we’ll always be chasing our tails after the latest crisis.”

Summervale smiled. “Good. I hoped you’d say that.” He swiped the schematic again and a new ship appeared. “BuShips calls this the Mercury-class destroyer. It has the same energy armament as one of our Kodiak-class heavy cruisers for one third of the price. Being based on existing hulls will minimize retooling time, but I suggest we have Hephaestus start the first flight as soon as possible.”

Off-Topic: show
Mercury class Destroyer      7,200 tons       205 Crew       969.3 BP       TCS 144    TH 648    EM 0
4500 km/s      Armour 4-33       Shields 0-0       HTK 50      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 5      PPV 29.6
Maint Life 3.52 Years     MSP 520    AFR 83%    IFR 1.2%    1YR 64    5YR 964    Max Repair 162 MSP
Magazine 147   
Lieutenant Commander    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

NG27-324 Light Warship Impeller Drive (2)    Power 648    Fuel Use 76.80%    Signature 324    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 522,000 Litres    Range 17 billion km (43 days at full power)

15cm Near Ultraviolet Laser Mk1 (4)    Range 180,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 6-3     RM 30,000 km    ROF 10       
AN/CAT-3a Beam Fire Control System (1)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 4,500 km/s     95 90 84 79 74 69 64 58 53 48
Rukes GFR-24 Gaseous Fission Reactor (1)     Total Power Output 24.5    Exp 5%

Mod 4a Missile Launcher (6)     Missile Size: 4    Rate of Fire 600
AN/CAT-3a Missile Fire Control System (1)     Range 13m km    Resolution 10
Mark 4A Light Warship Missile (36)    Speed: 18,200 km/s    End: 9.3m     Range: 10.2m km    WH: 6    Size: 4    TH: 91/54/27

AN/SLL-4b Small Craft Tracking Array (1)     GPS 160     Range 11.9m km    Resolution 10
AN/SPG-3a Gravitic Detection Array (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km



-=-=-=-=-=-=-=


The 1st Survey Squadron returned home after a long arduous retreat to find a Kingdom already in turmoil, and not from anything so straightforward as an alien invasion. Instead, the Queen had thrown a metaphorical hand grenade into the House of Lords with her annual Landing Day Address. Unlike King Edward’s fiery patriotic speeches, Queen Sophie’s was full of drivel about the responsibilities of the nobility. She spoke eloquently on the need for increased social spending to ensure every citizen of the Kingdom, from the noblest to the poorest, enjoyed a decent standard of living, excellent education and equal access to opportunities.

The Crown Loyalist party imploded. Although they liked to portray themselves as moderates beside the reactionary Conservative Association, the only real difference in most of their beliefs was whether the monarch should hold absolute power or share it with them. Now their absolute certainty in the monarch’s superiority shattered, and many defected outright. Other, more principled individuals, held their noses and caucused with the Liberal Opposition in favor of the Queen’s agenda. Both outcomes heralded doom for the Centrist coalition.

In June, the Queen called upon the Duke of Winter Mount to form a new government. The Liberals and Progressives, with their Crown Loyalist allies, had a clear majority in the Commons, although the situation in the Lords was murkier since many Lords professed to remain independent of political parties. This led to a reshuffling of the Royal Council with many long serving allies of King Edward and New Texas being ousted in favor of fresh blood.

Everyone, Sir Michael Summervale most of all, was surprised when Countess New Dijon asked the First Space Lord to remain in his post, to provide “stability and continuity” for the Navy. That she said it with a straight face while taking an ax to the other appointed leadership did not improve their frosty working relationship.

The discovery of hostile aliens and loss of a survey cruiser hardly amounted to a ripple in the chaos. The new government exercised firmer control of the media narrative. Their spokespeople promised to do everything necessary to ensure the Kingdom’s safety, while daytime talk programs debated whether the incident resulted from a misunderstanding and experts argued over the best way to establish peaceful communications with the new species.

Meanwhile, the RMN prepared for war. The First Space Lord dispatched the Casey-class light cruisers to picket the Hennesy wormhole and replaced the frigates in the Junction Fleet with heavy cruisers. BuShips started construction on four new Mercury-class destroyers and the Royal Marines deployed another planetary defense battery to each inhabited planet in the system.

It soon became clear to even the most paranoid staffers at ONI that an attack wasn’t imminent. Admiral Summervale’s conservative six months ticked by without incident. Then four more. Most people breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps the aliens didn’t have wormhole technology after all. Or, perhaps they just had better things to do.

The civilian shipbuilding cartels continued to churn out freighters as quickly as possible, producing a Vega and three Clydesdales during this year. The Ship-to-Ship Tractor Beam technology finally matured and the Royal Auxilia ordered an experimental tug ship called Sisyphus. BuShip’s Weapon Development Board also made several exciting developments into Sidewall Generators, 20cm Laser Focal Size, and Active Sensor Strength 16.

On the morning of May 23rd 1589, the Defense Minister was alone in her office when the First Space Lord barged in without an appointment. His gruff warhorse face held a grim expression as he spoke the words that had haunted both of their nightmares for so long. “They’re here.”


Next - Chapter Five: Kingdom Under Siege (1589-1590)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2022, 06:57:20 PM by rainyday »
 
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Offline El Pip

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2022, 02:14:35 PM »
I must admit after that update I am absolutely rooting for the aliens, looking at the Manitcore political scene nuking the planet from orbit appears the only way to be sure.  ;)
 
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Offline Black

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2022, 03:21:30 PM »
I must admit after that update I am absolutely rooting for the aliens, looking at the Manitcore political scene nuking the planet from orbit appears the only way to be sure.  ;)

Well, I suppose this mirror books to some extent as at certain phases I think most readers were rooting for Havenite characters. :)
 
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Offline Warer

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2022, 04:16:33 PM »
I must admit after that update I am absolutely rooting for the aliens, looking at the Manitcore political scene nuking the planet from orbit appears the only way to be sure.  ;)
I must admit after that update I am absolutely rooting for the aliens, looking at the Manitcore political scene nuking the planet from orbit appears the only way to be sure.  ;)

Well, I suppose this mirror books to some extent as at certain phases I think most readers were rooting for Havenite characters. :)

I quite like how Manticorian politics are going though? Seems to me things are going pretty great? I don't see the problem at all, much less one deserving of nukes.
 

Offline Gyrfalcon

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2022, 12:35:00 AM »
Weber unfortunately uses the books to give his political views. Liberals are mealy-mouthed idiots who want to slash military budgets in the face of imminent war when they aren’t outright cowards. Conservatives are power-hungry and corrupt when they aren’t outright traitors. Only the cleverness and steely-eyed determination of Crown loyalists save the Kingdom (over and over) because an enlightened dictator is the best method of rule.
 
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Offline Warer

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2022, 02:53:18 AM »
Weber unfortunately uses the books to give his political views. Liberals are mealy-mouthed idiots who want to slash military budgets in the face of imminent war when they aren’t outright cowards. Conservatives are power-hungry and corrupt when they aren’t outright traitors. Only the cleverness and steely-eyed determination of Crown loyalists save the Kingdom (over and over) because an enlightened dictator is the best method of rule.

Sounds about right. But this story isn't like that at all, for one the Loyalists just imploded and the primary liberal character New Dijon is the best character.
 
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Offline rainyday (OP)

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2022, 08:45:56 AM »
Well, I suppose this mirror books to some extent as at certain phases I think most readers were rooting for Havenite characters. :)

I feel like at some point even Weber decided to root for the Havenites. He started focusing on them more and more and adding a bunch of cool sympathetic characters. I'm pretty sure I was rooting for Theisman and Tourville by the end of the first War and definitely during the second one.

Weber unfortunately uses the books to give his political views. Liberals are mealy-mouthed idiots who want to slash military budgets in the face of imminent war when they aren’t outright cowards. Conservatives are power-hungry and corrupt when they aren’t outright traitors. Only the cleverness and steely-eyed determination of Crown loyalists save the Kingdom (over and over) because an enlightened dictator is the best method of rule.

Yeah. I feel like he's gotten better over the years, but maybe that's because other people are writing most of the books now. The first few are so heavy handed with the politics and moralizing it's painful to read at a times, which is a shame because those have some of the best space battles.


I hope it's clear that my portrayal of the Star Kingdom's various political factions here are a tongue-in-cheek imitation of the source material.

Sounds about right. But this story isn't like that at all, for one the Loyalists just imploded and the primary liberal character New Dijon is the best character.

I'm glad you're still enjoying the story. :)

 
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Offline Pedroig

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Re: Manticore Defiant: A Star Kingdom AAR
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2022, 09:05:03 AM »
Weber unfortunately uses the books to give his political views. Liberals are mealy-mouthed idiots who want to slash military budgets in the face of imminent war when they aren’t outright cowards. Conservatives are power-hungry and corrupt when they aren’t outright traitors. Only the cleverness and steely-eyed determination of Crown loyalists save the Kingdom (over and over) because an enlightened dictator is the best method of rule.

Perhaps realize that in works of FICTION, tropes are used quite often.  A more accurate portrayal of Weber's works would be that he writes very strong Pro-Military Bias in the political structure of his Science Fiction MILITARY works.  It's almost like it moves the story and provides some internal conflict to enhance the external threats...

Quote
From a literary perspective, there are some significant advantages in writing about monarchial governments, of course. It allows the writer to focus more directly on individual strong characters whose decisions have immediate impact and who become personally responsible for the outcomes of those decisions. It's clearly not impossible to come up with characters and situations where both that focus and that responsibility can also be achieved in non-monarchial systems, and I've done that, too.

Also note, that rarely do his Monarchs have absolute rule, there tend to be ways of them requiring working with the people, directly or indirectly, and have non-violent ways of being muted or deposed in the structure of governance.
si vis pacem, para bellum
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Re: Manticore Defiant: Chapter Four: Changes (1588-1589)
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2022, 04:07:37 PM »
The initial draft of this chapter covered 3 years, but it ended up incredibly long

You say this as it if was a bad thing.

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I decided to split the manuscript in half

Coward.

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I promise you won't have to wait six years for the rest.

Coward.   :P

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Lady Suzanne Descroix, Countess New Dijon,

It gets better and better. I look forward to seeing her name continue to elongate with every new chapter, and perhaps occasionally within a chapter to boot.

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He had a vague memory of his father telling him once never to trust anyone with an empty workspace.

Possibly the greatest lesson a father can pass down to his son.

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New Dijon grunted, stood up and crossed to the window, gazing out at Landing’s skyline. Her voice was icy when she finally spoke. “You’ve already admitted that 50% of our warship tonnage is useless for offensive operations and now you’re telling me 25% are nothing more than glorified defense platforms?”

“Yes, I suppose that’s one way to put it.”

This man will go far in the Department of Saying What They Mean. Whether a successful career in this department is particularly meaningful elsewhere is another question entirely.

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Swiftsure class Jump Battlecruiser

New Dijon leaned forward to study the text floating in the air beside the design. After a moment, a genuine smile lit her face. “I’m impressed. This is exactly the sort of outside the box thinking we need, Admiral.”

Well, now we - and more importantly, the admiralty - know that Countess Condiment is easily impressed, surely a useful piece of information for future budget appropriations and such.

I also note approvingly the proliferation of the Offtopic tag method for presenting ship design specifications, as it is truly the modern and superior mode of presentation.

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Marathon class Dispatch Boat (P)
I highly recommend finding at least 10-20 tons to put some very small, basic sensors on that thing. That way when the sneaky alien attacks and destroys the pinnace, it will at least be able to spot them far enough in advance to send a panicked radio message through the wormhole before it goes kablooie.

Quote
The 1st Survey Squadron returned home after a long arduous retreat to find a Kingdom already in turmoil, and not from anything so straightforward as an alien invasion. Instead, the Queen had thrown a metaphorical hand grenade into the House of Lords with her annual Landing Day Address.

The turmoil is understandable, as any proper Queen would know to throw a literal hand grenade instead. Much more effective.

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and the Royal Marines deployed another planetary defense battery to each inhabited planet in the system.

The Marines had better make sure their guns have sufficient depression to target the House of Lords, otherwise they are not doing a proper job of defending their planets from threats.

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On the morning of May 23rd 1589, the Defense Minister was alone in her office when the First Space Lord barged in without an appointment. His gruff warhorse face held a grim expression as he spoke the words that had haunted both of their nightmares for so long. “They’re here.”

Author's Note: I am so sorry to leave you all with another cliff hanger.

Is it really a cliffhanger if we can see it coming from a mile away?  :P

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I will try my very best to have the second half of this installment up this weekend.

Why, what's the rush?  :P

----

I must admit after that update I am absolutely rooting for the aliens, looking at the Manitcore political scene nuking the planet from orbit appears the only way to be sure.  ;)

I feel like this is the case in every AAR, frankly the aliens never actually win in these things and everybody loves a good underdog story.

Sounds about right. But this story isn't like that at all, for one the Loyalists just imploded and the primary liberal condiment New Dijon is the worst condiment.

I've made the necessary corrections, no need to thank me.  :P

I hope it's clear that my portrayal of the Star Kingdom's various political factions here are a tongue-in-cheek imitation of the source material.

I am unsure that there is any other kind of portrayal of politics in an Aurora AAR that is not tongue-in-cheek imitation of the source material. Except possibly the WH40K AARs, as there is not really any way to be more tongue-in-cheek about Warhammer than, well, Warhammer.

Aside from this I'll avoid wading into the muck and mire of political discussion on an Aurora AAR board, suffice to say that the current work does an excellent job of entertaining without preaching and this we can all agree is an excellent approach.

I look forward to the next chapter in six years minutes.
 
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