Author Topic: Campaign Updates  (Read 35490 times)

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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 215, Advance on the Aurarii
« Reply #285 on: November 06, 2022, 06:17:25 PM »
Month 215, Day 18, Doraz Whever System
The Alliance 3rd Fleet reached the warp point to the Sheund system early in the day and began transiting through almost immediately.  Once on the far side, the fleet’s scouts picked up a drive field contact twenty-four light minutes away, moving towards the warp point to the planet-less system that stood in between Sheund and the Aurarii home system.  The contact was moving very slowly.  Cho-sho Banzan ordered his scouts to move out ahead of the main fleet and pursue the contact, while the fleet came up behind them. 

The chase was a short one, and twenty-four hours later the Alliance’s twenty-one scout corvettes came up behind three damaged and limping Aurarii light monitors, which had been detached from their attack fleet after suffering damage during the assault into the Doraz home system.  The corvette group commander called for the monitors to surrender, but they refused, continuing slowly on their way back home.  Instead of launching an immediate attack, the scout group commander settled for shadowing the monitors while the main fleet came up behind them.  One day later the main fleet was in position, fifteen light seconds behind the monitors, and Cho-sho Banzan himself called upon the Aurarii ships to surrender, after launching a fighter strike wave of over three hundred and sixty fighters. 

The Aurarii commander refused to surrender, and instead the monitors continued their stately retreat, so Cho-sho Banzan ordered the fighters to pursue the huge Aurarii ships.  The Alliance fighters raced into short range and then right up to the behemoths, who turned at the last second to clear their blind spots, but the fighters, ready for the ponderous monitor’s turn, moved back into their blind spots before the monitors could react.  Once the fighters were in perfect firing position, Cho-sho Banzan again called for the monitors to surrender, and this time the ship’s commander, Captain Molari, agreed to surrender his ship upon the Alliance’s guarantee of good treatment for his crews. 

Month 215, Day 18, Aurarii Prime
Word of the defeat of the attack force in the Doraz Home System arrived today, and it rocked the Imperial Court and Naval HQ.  The Court immediately attacks the legitimacy of the admirals running the fleet, blaming the loss on the incompetency of the fleet’s leaders, while the Navy, embarrassed by its loss of prestige and their aura of invincibility, hunkers down and circles its wagons.  The Emperor retreats to his chambers, removing himself from the fray. Perhaps fearing to be associated with the loss or with either of the political combatants. 

Two days later CD’s bearing news of the capture of the retreating monitors arrives, and this is the last straw.  Even as the leading courtiers meet with the Emperor to discuss purging the Admiralty and installing new leaders, marines from Fleet HQ march into the palace, disarm the Imperial Guard, and arrest the entire Court.  By the end of the day, a junta of admirals is installed, who announce that they are ruling in the Emperor’s name after freeing him from anti-imperial forces in the former court.  The junta announces that all efforts will be turned towards defending the home system, and that no Alliance ships will ever enter the system. 

Month 215, Day 28, Doraz Sheund System
The Alliance 3rd Fleet, accompanied by the Torqual Expeditionary Fleet, arrive at the warp point to the Revolver system.  The Revolver system is a planet-less white dwarf system ceded to the Aurarii by the Doraz in a treaty negotiated by the Alliance, giving the Aurarii an outlet for growth.  The system was known to have two warp links, both of which led to starless areas of space.  One of those two regions also contained a second unexplored warp point, which was what interested the Aurarii.  Now, though, the revolver system was only interesting in that it was on the direct route to the Aurarii home system. 

The ships of the 3rd Fleet began transiting through immediately after arriving, a maneuver made possible by the presence of their scout units on the far side of the warp point.  After assembling, the fleet set out for the warp point to the Aurarii system. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 216, Aurarii Front
« Reply #286 on: November 12, 2022, 08:31:34 AM »
Month 216, Day 8, Doraz Revolver system
The Alliance 3rd Fleet, supported by the Torqual Expeditionary Fleet and several Doraz ships, arrives at the warp point to the Aurarii home system.  They find a single Aurarii light cruiser on the warp point, continuously broadcasting a request for negotiations.  Specifically, the Aurarii want to negotiate with an Alliance representative, which is consistent with their past behavior.  Their first contact with the Doraz didn’t go well, and they were only able to effectively negotiate with the Alliance, once it stepped in to mediate the negotiations.  At the time, the Doraz claimed that the Aurarii were arrogant while the Aurarii claimed that the Doraz were prejudiced towards them.  The Alliance negotiators took no position on the matter, preferring to focus on moving the negotiations forward. 

In any case, Cho Sho Banzan is not inclined to cater to Aurarii sensibilities at this point, after their unprovoked invasion, so Banzan defers to Warleader Grogan, the Doraz commander of the small group of Doraz ships accompanying the Alliance fleet. 

In the aftermath of the battle that stopped the Aurarii at the warp point in the Doraz Home System, Warleader Grogan was left seriously injured and drifting in a life pod.  He was rescued by Aurarii search ships, and because of his serious injuries he was returned to Doraz Prime, where he was hurriedly treated and returned to service to command the forces that remained over Doraz Prime.  Now, he was in command of nine old corvettes pulled from the mothball reserves.  They were from the original, pre-D'Bringi conquest design, intended as scouts and thus weaponless.  They were the only ships the Doraz had available, though, and Doraz ships had to accompany the Alliance fleet as they advanced through Doraz territory.  To do otherwise was unthinkable.  So, in spite of his lingering infirmities from his injuries, the negotiations fell to Warleader Grogan.  Who, with the entire Alliance at his back, was not feeling inclined to be generous. 

Month 216, Day 10, Doraz Revolver system
Warleader Grogan was a typical Doraz, an approximately one meter tall slug-like being with two eye stalks protruding from the top of his body, two tentacle-like arms, and a large mouth that stretched across the front of his body.  Like most other Doraz, Warleader Grogan favored a floating carriage to get around, and like most military officer’s, his was equipped with weapons and defenses.  It was, essentially, an armored combat suit made up to look like a fancy, old-time carriage.  To the Aurarii in charge of the negotiations for their side, General Dromo of their Home Fleet, it looked like the arrogant little Doraz were trying to make up for their short stature.  It never occurred to her that the Doraz viewed themselves as very reasonable people, and the Aurarii as arrogant elitists.  The Aurarii provided a distinct contrast to the Doraz, as they were more-or-less human-like, with the exception that they had a fringe of hair their grew from the middle of their head, which stood up straight from their skulls in a fan.  No one knew if this was natural, or some sort of display that the Aurarii fashioned for their hair, but it seemed that the higher the social standing of the Aurarii, the larger the fringe of hair was. 

The two national representatives were sitting across from each other at a conference table on board an Alliance battlecruiser, and Cho-sho Banzan, the Rehorish CO of the 3rd Fleet, was sitting to one side, trying to moderate the meeting.  As a Rehorish, Banzan was easily the most different of the three, with his antennae and exoskeleton.  Somehow, though, the Rehorish had always gotten along with the Aurarii, or at least better than the Doraz had. 

The negotiations had been going on for several hours at this point, with the Aurarii representative trying to talk to the Rehorish admiral, ignoring the little Doraz, which infuriated Warleader Grogan to the point that he sealed his floating suit and was now communicating solely by text.  The talks would have broken down completely if it wasn’t for the Alliance mediator, but then, that was exactly what had happened during the first contact process as well. 

Cho-sho Banzan looked at the two representatives, who were glaring at each other across the table.  They were, without a doubt, the two most arrogant people he had ever dealt with.  Even so, he was not here as an impartial negotiator, and it was time he reminded them of that. 

“Enough!”  Banzan raised his voice to the point that it stopped the other two’s bickering.  He turned to the Aurarii representative.  “This is not a negotiation!”  He pointed at the Aurarii, stabbing his claws out towards the General.  “Lest you forget, your fleet is defeated, and the next step is that we will invade your home system, destroy your remaining defenses and ships, and then we will invade your world.”  The Aurarii looked taken aback at the outburst from the normally taciturn Rehorish, and Banzan took the opportunity to take his rhetoric down a notch, now that he had made his point.  “We do not want to do this, but we will if you force us.  We don’t want to lose one more life prosecuting this stupid war that you started, but if we do it will be you and your people that will pay for it.  You started this war!” 

The Aurarii representative made to answer, but before she could Banzan continued.  “You invaded Doraz systems and killed their citizens.  We will not allow you to go back to the status quo, as you insist is the only possible outcome to this negotiation.  The entire Alliance is united on this matter.  You face not just the Doraz here, but the D’Bringi, Rehorish, T’Pau, and Torqual races, and you cannot win.  You cannot stop us, and we will not stop until justice is done!” 

The Aurarii representative sat back, staring at the two Alliance representatives, perhaps realizing for the first time the resolve of the Alliance in dealing with the problem the Aurarii had created.  She sat silently for a minute, gathering her thoughts.  The balance of power back home was fragile.  In theory, the military held all of the cards, but their ability to continue on in control of the government was predicated on successfully resolving the current situation, either by driving back the Alliance, or negotiating a favorable settlement.  Driving the Alliance back was not going to happen, given the weakened state of the fleet and the need to continue garrisoning the Norn home world.  They perhaps had enough ships to defend the system, but the Alliance was huge and would eventually overwhelm them if they were determined enough.  The Military Council had already determined that the war was essentially lost, and had ordered her to get the best terms she could.  Finally, she spoke.  “For the sake of argument, what terms for ending the conflict are you offering?”

Cho-sho Banzan looked at Warleader Grogan, and after a second his shell unlatched and opened.  Grogan leaned forward.  “We demand reparations for the damages inflicted on the Doraz People and their Fleet.  In addition, we demand that the Aurarii transfer examples of all advanced technology they possess to Doraz control.  Further, we require that the Aurarii fleet be limited to the inner areas of their component of the Aurarii binary system, and that Doraz or Alliance ships be allowed to picket the warp point and patrol the other star and its planets, to ensure the future peaceful conduct of the Aurarii people.  Finally, we require the Aurarii occupation of their neighboring race to end, and that the Doraz Contingency be allowed to establish contact with and peaceful relations with that neighboring race. 

The Aurarii general looked stunned, and before she could speak Cho-sho Banzan jumped in.  “The Alliance further requires that the Aurarii join the Alliance as associate members, and that they allow their neighboring race, currently under Aurarii occupation, to join as associate members as well.  As the Alliance ensures the territorial integrity of all members, the Aurarii will have not have to fear reprisals from any of their neighbors.”  With that, Cho-sho Banzan threw a look at the Doraz representative, who managed to ignore the look completely. 

The Aurarii representative sat silently for a minute, then stood.  “I will have to return and discuss this with the Council.  May we reconvene in, say, twelve days?”

Cho-sho Banzan, who had been standing all along, as Rehorish were not built for sitting, dipped his antennae.  “That will be acceptable.”

The Aurarii left, headed for the docking bay and her shuttle.  Warleader Grogan looked at the Alliance admiral.  “Will they agree, do you think?”

Banzan shook his antennae in negation.  “Not at first.  They will try to hold out for better terms.”

Warleader Grogan sat his carriage in motion.  “We cannot allow them to delay too long.  With the majority of your ships being sent to the Lothari front, we will not gain in strength, but they will if we give them time to replace their losses.”

“I know, but if we press them too hard, they will just walk away, and we will be left with no other recourse than to assault their system.”

“If we must, then it would be better to do it while they are weak.”

Month 216, Day 22, Alliance controlled Revolver system
The second meeting between the Doraz, Aurarii and Alliance representatives lasted less than an hour and broke up in acrimony.  The Aurarii had agreed to discuss reparations, but had flatly refused to give the Alliance access to their system or to retreat from their occupation of the Norn home world.  For the Alliance and the Doraz, those were the bare minimum to even consider ending the war, and after that the talks had gone nowhere.  The Aurarii representative hadn’t exactly stormed out of the room, but she was clearly aggravated and unhappy.  However, she had agreed to meet one more time, in ten days.  The Alliance representatives had warned that this would be the last meeting before the war would be resumed.   

Month 216, Day 26, Aurarii Prime, Capital City
Emperor Vir was looking forward to yet another boring day spent in seclusion in his palace.  When the fleet had taken over and ousted or imprisoned the Imperial Court, he had hoped for a brief second that this might be a new beginning for himself and his people.  The Imperial Court had treated him as a figurehead, a bauble to be displayed when needed and ignored for the rest of the time, while they played their incessant dominance games.  His hopes for change had been dashed when the admirals had made it clear that he was now their puppet, instead of the Court’s.  And, unlike the former Imperial Court, the admirals didn’t even make a pretense of Vir being the true leader of the Republic.  They had made it pretty clear that at some point in the future, when he was no longer useful, he would be retired to a remote estate and forgotten.  Vir was pretty sure that ‘retired’ was a euphemism for dead, but there was little he could do about it.  The palace guard had been replaced by marines loyal to the junta, and he was being held incommunicado, so even if there was someone who would help, he had no way of contacting them. 

So, here he was, preparing for another meaningless day in his opulent palace.  He was sure that today would be the same as yesterday, which was the same as the day before that, and before that.  And so, it was a surprise when the doors to his personal chamber opened and a small group of people entered, led by two armed and armored Vigiles who moved to the far side of the room and assumed guard positions.  As the doors closed, he could see two additional Vigiles who were standing guard outside the room.  He turned to the small group of people who had entered the room with the Vigiles, and his eyebrow went up when he recognized one of them as the Lady Senator Celes.  He was pretty sure that the other two were Senators as well.  And the Vigiles, or the civic guard, were notoriously apolitical and thus uninvolved in the affairs of the palace. 

The Lady Celes stepped forward and curtseyed.  “Your Imperial Highness, I, and my fellow Senators, represent the Senate in this matter.  We are here to ask you if you will support us in our efforts to free ourselves of the military junta that has seized control.  Will you support us, or do you support them?”

Emperor Vir’s mouth had fallen open, so surprised was he.  He had generally regarded the Republic’s Senate as a useless assemblage of privileged sons and daughters of the great families, who spent more time bickering about precedence and order than any actual issues affecting the Republic.  For them to take action, especially like this, was unprecedented.  “I…I don’t know what to say.”

Lady Senator Celes frowned and took a step forward.  “It is simple, really.  Do you support them or us?  If it is the admirals, then we will leave you to your splendid isolation.  If it is us, then you can come with us and we can forge a new future for our people!”

Emperor Vir stared at Lady Celes in shock.  Was she actually so deluded that she thought the Senate had any power or authority?  He shook himself.  “Uh, forgive me, my Lady, but the thought of…well…the Senate…”  He trailed off, unsure of how to finish his statement without offending her. 

Lady Senator Celes arched her finely trimmed eyebrow.  “’That gaggle of fools’, I think you called us at the last Winter Celebration?”

Emperor Vir cleared his throat.  “Excuse me, my Lady.  Certainly, that was indelicate of me.”  By now he had somewhat recovered his wits.  “But you must understand that the Senate is not known for sense, or action, for that matter.”

She shook her head impatiently.  “No, of course it isn’t.  But that has been changing for some time.  The preoccupation of the Imperial Court on their little dominance games, rather than on ruling the Republic, meant someone had to step up and begin making sure that things got done.”

Emperor Vir’s eyes widened.  “And that was you?”

“And some others in the Senate.  We saw that things must change, so slowly, bit by bit, we’ve been putting together a movement to regain the prestige and power that the Senate once had.  It is almost too late.  We must move, and we must move now.”

“Why?”

“The military have kept it a secret, but they are losing the war that the Imperial Court started.  The fleet we sent against the Doraz has been defeated, and an Alliance fleet sits at the warp point into our system.  Our source inside Fleet HQ finally was able to gain access to the secret meetings the admirals are holding, and they are deadlocked on the way forward.  None of them believe we can defeat the Alliance, but they cannot agree to the Alliance’s terms for ended the war without appearing weak.  They can’t come to a decision, and their dithering will convince the Alliance that we cannot be negotiated with, and prompt an attack on our system.”

Emperor Vir paled and sagged back into his chair.  “This is horrible!  But what can be done?  I have no power, no followers.”

Lady Celes’ eyes narrowed.  “You misunderstand.  We are not coming to you to ask that you save us.  We will do that ourselves, for our people.  We will do it with or without you, and we will succeed.  What we would like from you is your open support.  For some reason the people and the rank and file of the military still hold the Imperial family in high regard.  Having you on our side will ensure that our inevitable victory will be relatively bloodless.  One way or another the Navy’s control of the government ends today, but with your help we hope to convince many of their marines and crews not to fight us.”

Emperor Vir frowned.  “So, you want me as a figurehead, just like the others.”

It was Lady Celes’ turn to frown.  “We do not intend to return the Imperial family to power, if that is what you mean.  Our government is corrupt.  We need to return the power to the people, where it belongs, and removing the navy is only the first step.  Once they are out of the way and we end the war, I, and my supporters in the Senate, intend to reinstate free elections for the Senate, and I will propose reforms that will drastically limit the Emperor’s power.”

The Emperor thought for a second.  “You would return the Republic to its earlier days, would you?”

Lady Celes nodded.  “Yes.”

One of the Vigiles, who had until now been standing silent at the back of the room, took a step forward and cleared his throat.  “Majesty, the Vigiles and the Army are behind you.  If you order it, most of us will follow the Senate and oppose the Navy.”

Emperor Vir peered at the Vigiles officer intently.  “I’ve met you, haven’t I?”

The officer flushed.  “Yes, majesty, at my investiture as the commander of the Planetary Vigiles.”

For the first time Emperor Vir began to think that Lady Celes might not be completely bonkers.  It was interesting, Emperor Vir thought.  The Vigiles fell beneath the notice of most in the palace, as they primarily dealt with commoners and their problems.  It was not a high-status job, even the upper leadership, and so most of the aristocracy ignored them for positions in the navy or army, or the court.  The Vigiles were the national police of the Aurarii Republic, and with the bulk of the Army concentrated on the Norn home world in occupation duties, they held the balance of power on the home planet.  The Navy’s marines were very well equipped and trained, but were a relatively small organization and more used to small unit engagements than large-scale fighting.  Vir would have been surprised to find there were more than a thousand on the home planet in total, compared to the several million Vigiles stationed across the home planet.  “It seems you have been planning this for some time, my lady.  Very well, I will support you in any way that I can.”

With that, Lady Celes swept into action and the Vigiles moved to escort them out of the palace.  The marine guard unit that was supposed to be there was nowhere in sight. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 216, Lothari Front
« Reply #287 on: November 16, 2022, 10:30:11 AM »
Month 216, Day 2, Alliance Thoen System
With the 7th Fleet firmly in control of the system, Alliance transports were cleared to enter and now have reached the inner system.  Sho-sa Folx, the commanding officer of the 7th, has ordered continuous attempts be made to contact the Lothari occupation forces on the surfaces of the three colonies, but so far, all communications attempts have been ignored.  In light of the self-destruction of the Lothari occupation forces on the colonies in the Liawak system, the landing forces are cautious and move slowly.  The first landings are far away from the population centers of the colonies, made to establish a secure operating base before offensive actions begin. 

Within days battle is joined with the Lothari, who have a technology advantage over the Alliance troops.  The Alliance invasion forces have a significant numerical superiority, enough to offset the tech advantage of the Lothari troops, but the Lothari fight for every inch of the planet once the Alliance troops begin advancing.  The Lothari are well trained and well equipped, and they act as if they don’t know that they are surrounded and there is only one possible outcome. 

Month 216, Day 3, Alliance controlled Herzberg System
The Alliance 4th Fleet, led by Cho-sho Watanabe, reaches the warp point that leads to the Lothari home system late in the day.  During their approach they detected several drive fields on the warp point, but the Lothari scouts jumped back to their home system before the fleet arrived. 

Wary of surprise attacks by Lothari missile pods, or their gunboats, which Alliance scientists and engineers believe can make independent transits, Cho-sho Watanabe orders his fleet to remain one light minute from the warp point, while the fleet’s scouts and CVE’s are positioned closer to the warp point, so that they can deploy their fighters to cover the warp point at close range.  For now, Watanabe will settle for bottling the Lothari up in their system, at least until the heavy reinforcements that are en route arrive. 

Month 216, Day 18, Lothari Home System
The returning 2nd Assault Group arrives over Lothari Prime on this date.  The six battle cruisers, five heavy cruisers, and four light carriers barely arrive in orbit when Swordsman of Worlds Schmidt is relieved of command and arrested by InSec for abandoning his post in the face of the enemy.  The Supreme Leader is livid, and has been ranting about the weakness of the military at every meeting since the 2nd entered the home system.  Even the knowledge that Schmidt withdrew after receiving valid orders from Fleet HQ won’t save him from a bullet to the head, it merely has resulted in a purge of the upper officer corps of Fleet HQ. 

Somewhat reassured by the death of Schmidt and the purge of Fleet Command, the Supreme Leader announces that the fleet has been recalled to the home system to “provide for the maximum defense, should the cowardly Alliance decide to launch terror attacks into the home system”.  In the meantime, he states that the valiant Lothari Army will defend the territory seized by the navy’s initial advances. 

The Supreme Leader orders the 2nd Assault Group to join the home fleet at the warp point to the Herzberg system, and to prepare for an attack on the assembled Alliance forces. 
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 216, Lothari Front, continued
« Reply #288 on: November 21, 2022, 08:35:45 AM »
Month 216, Day 26, Alliance Thoen system
The fifty-one ships of the Alliance 6th Fleet arrive in the Thoen system and remain on the warp point to guard against further incursions from the Lothari.  With the 7th Fleet in the inner system, and the 6th Fleet at the warp point, there are eighty-three Alliance warships in the system. 

The fighting on the surface of the three colonies continues, with the Lothari only grudgingly giving ground.  Both sides are suffering heavy losses, but the Alliance can replace their losses and the Lothari cannot, meaning there is only one possible end to the battle.  Still, the Lothari act as if they cannot see that inevitability and continue the battle. 
 
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Cold War: Month 217, Lothari Counterattack
« Reply #289 on: November 23, 2022, 09:08:52 AM »
Month 217, Day 3, Alliance Herzberg system
The 4th Fleet was assembled at the warp point to the Lothari home system in defensive positions.  The fleet itself was located fifteen light seconds from the warp point, while fifteen fighter squadrons patrolled the warp point itself, rotating every several hours with squadrons in reserve on board the carriers. 

Cho-sho Watanabe had had a difficult time during the voyage to the warp point, reconciling his feelings about the disaster on the Liawak colonies.  The barbarous Lothari had killed tens of millions of Alliance citizens, merely because they didn’t want to give up what they had stolen. 

The worst, at least for Watanabe, was what they had done to the survivors of the warships of the Liawak patrol group.  During the clearing and rescue operations on the innermost colony, Watanabe’s marines had discovered a compound abandoned by retreating Lothari ground forces.  The compound had housed the Alliance military personnel the Lothari had captured during their conquest of the system.  There had been several hundred Alliance military people at the compound at one time, but by the time his marines had gotten to the camp there were only twelve left alive.  The others had either been starved or tortured to death, including Sho-i Watanabe, his only daughter.  According to the survivors, Sho-i Watanabe had been brave to the end, trying to defend her people from what was increasingly clear to all of them was certain doom.  She was one of the first to disappear into the Lothari interrogation rooms, and she never came out.  Like so many other officers and crewers.  What the Lothari had done there was unforgivable, just as was what they had done to the colonies when it became clear that they couldn’t win. 

Now, with his fleet stationed at the warp point, Cho-sho Watanabe forced himself to put away his feelings for his daughter and prepare his ships for what was to come.  Heavy reinforcements were en route, with the Alliance 2nd Fleet due to arrive in twenty-four days.  Once the 2nd arrived, with Tai-sho Skull Splitter in command, planning for the assault into the Lothari system could begin.  Until then, he was to hold here and defend the exit from the Lothari system. 

Cho-sho Watanabe’s 4th Fleet was composed of thirteen battlecruisers, seven heavy cruisers, six light cruisers, and nine destroyers, along with three carriers, two light carriers, a strike carrier, nine escort carriers, and thirteen corvette-scout-carriers.  Watanabe would put his fleet’s crews up against any in the Alliance fleet.  In particular, some of his cruisers had the most experienced crews in the fleet.  Unfortunately, around two thirds of his ships were older designs, and hadn’t been upgraded to the latest designs before the current difficulties.  He was very concerned about this, given the fact that the Lothari had already shown that they possessed superior technology.  There was nothing he could do about it at this point, but it was something that he must keep in the forefront of his mind as he planned the defense of the warp point, should the Lothari attack. 

Month 217, Day 3, Lothari Home System
Swordsman of Stars Weber looked around his bridge.  Everything was prepared, there was nothing left to do but give the order.  “Gunboat wave, begin transit!”

In front of his battlecruiser, gunboats began streaming through the warp point to the Hertzberg system. 

Month 217, Day 3, Alliance controlled Hertzberg system
The warp point suddenly erupted in a stream of gunboats issuing forth from the central vortex.  A new gunboat entered the system every third of a second or so, and by the time the stream of gunboats stopped there were over a hundred of the brutal combat craft in the Herzberg system.  The fifteen squadrons of Alliance fighters patrolling the warp point immediately reacted, splitting into two groups to attack the gunboats, which had also split.  Half of the gunboats had advanced a light second and a quarter from the warp point, while the other half remained on the warp point.  Two furballs ensued, with the small craft tearing at each other.  The Alliance fighters had the advantage, being both nimbler and, unlike the gunboats, they weren’t recovering from jump shock. 

The two groups broke apart quickly, and the remaining Lothari gunboats retreated through the warp point as quickly as they came.  The Lothari left behind seventy-two of their gunboats in exchange for thirty-four Alliance fighters destroyed in the brief combat. 

The Alliance 4th Fleet, stationed fifteen light seconds away, has begun rushing to alert status even as the Lothari disappeared back through the warp point. 

The remaining Lothari gunboats appeared in the Lothari home system and confirmed the status of the Alliance defenses, after which the assembled Lothari fleet began moving towards the warp point in assault order.

Thirty seconds after the last gunboat jumped out, Lothari battlecruisers began streaming through the warp point and into the Herzberg system.  The big Lothari ships each turned after entering the system, creating a hedgehog formation on the warp point that prevented the remaining fifty-six Alliance fighters from getting into the blind spots of the entire group.  The Alliance fighters raced to attack, trying to damage the Lothari ships as the main Alliance fleet tried to get to combat status.  Even as the Alliance fighters raced towards the warp point, the six battlecruisers launched a total of thirty gunboats, which formed up into a group and raced away from the warp point.  The Alliance fighters were faced with a choice, engage the ships on the warp point, or chase the gunboats.  With the big battlecruisers right in front of them, still staggering from the transit effects, the choice was easy.  The fighters raced in towards the battlecruisers, ignoring the fleeing gunboats. 

The fighters were each equipped with one laser, one gun, and one close attack missile, to give them the broadest capability given the unknown type of threat they faced while patrolling the warp point.  They now launched their anti-matter tipped close attack missiles at the wallowing battlecruisers, and stabbed into their armor with their lasers, while the battlecruisers fired back with their point defense and beam weapons.  Each fighter squadron had enough firepower to scrub the passive defenses off of a battlecruiser, and they proceeded to do just that.  Once their passives were scrubbed away, the follow-on fighter squadrons stabbed deeply within the big ships, leaving three heavily damaged, while the other three were without passive defenses.  Only two fighters were destroyed as a result of the battlecruiser’s wildly inaccurate point defense and laser fire. 

Lothari heavy cruisers began entering the system, and the Alliance fighters turned away from the warp point and began pursuing the Lothari gunboats, now that they had exhausted their close attack missiles.  The cruisers entering the system launched another twenty-one gunboats, which all remained on the warp point, huddled around the ships remaining on the warp point.  The three heavily damaged battlecruisers turned to retreat through the warp point, but wouldn’t be able to leave until they completed their turn. 

The Alliance fighter patrol force outnumbered the Lothari gunboat force that it was pursuing, and was faster, but wasn’t able to catch up to the gunboats immediately.  Instead of fleeing, though, the gunboats turned to engage the fighters, and launched anti-fighter missiles at one light second, just beyond the pursuing fighter’s engagement range.  Sixteen fighters were hit by the missiles, reducing the Alliance combat patrol to thirty-eight fighters.  Even as the fighting raged around the warp point, the main Alliance fleet, now at action stations, begin advancing towards the warp point, with a wave of just over three hundred and sixty fighters advancing ahead of it. 

Three Lothari battlecruisers and three heavy cruisers entered the system and immediately launched twenty-seven gunboats, while the six heavy cruisers that entered before, now recovered from their jump shock, moved away from the warp point towards the Alliance patrol fighter group.  The Lothari gunboat group that had launched its anti-fighter missiles now closed on the Alliance patrol fighter group, which obligingly closed on the gunboats.  Meanwhile, the Alliance fleet and its associated fighters continued its run towards the warp point.  The three most heavily damaged Lothari battlecruisers slipped out of the system and back to their home system. 

The Lothari heavy cruisers closing on the Alliance fighter patrol group was the first to fire, with a trio of heavy cruisers launching forty-two anti-fighter missiles at the Alliance fighters from one and a half light seconds, taking out seventeen fighters in seconds.  Before the other three heavy cruisers could fire, the gunboats and fighters began a desperate battle.  In spite of being faster and more maneuverable, the fighters were now outnumbered and the result was inevitable.  The Alliance fighter force was reduced to four fighters, while the Lothari gunboat group was reduced to thirteen gunboats.  Seconds later the second trio of Lothari cruisers fired more AFM’s, taking out the last four Alliance fighters. 

In the aftermath of the destruction of the Alliance fighter patrol group, the remaining Lothari gunboats and the six heavy cruisers that had left the warp point to engage the fighters all returned and joined the fleet there, which was bolstered by an additional six battlecruisers that had just entered.  The Lothari force now numbered twelve battlecruisers, three of which had armor and shield damage, and nine heavy cruisers, along with sixty-five gunboats.  Even as the Lothari force consolidated on the warp point, the Alliance fleet continued to close, and was now at ten-point-five light seconds, while its fighters were at nine-point-five light seconds.  The Alliance 4th Fleet was composed of thirteen battlecruisers, seven heavy cruisers, six light cruisers, and nine destroyers.  The Fleet’s carriers had remained behind at their assembly point, well out of the battle, and the Alliance fighter force was composed of three hundred and sixty-three fighters, approximately a third of which were older F0’s. 

Three additional Lothari battlecruisers entered, accompanied by three heavy cruisers.  The newly arrived heavy cruisers launched fourteen gunboats to join the growing swarm.  The closing Alliance fleet had now entered SBM range, and the fleet’s three long-range battlecruisers began launching anti-matter tipped SBM’s at a newly arrived Lothari CA, which was still suffering from transit effects.  The Alliance battlecruisers launched a total of fifteen SBM’s at the targeted cruiser, and managed to punch two missiles through the cruiser’s defenses, stripping its passive defenses and damaging its forward engine room.  In response, the three Lothari battlecruisers that had entered with the first wave launched their own salvo of twelve anti-matter tipped SBM’s back at one of the Alliance long-range battlecruisers, which immediately launched an EDM to distract the incoming missiles.  None of the Lothari missiles managed to get past the Alliance ship’s defenses.

The Alliance fleet continued racing towards the warp point with its fighters out in front of the advancing fleet.  Six Lothari light carriers entered the system in the next wave and immediately launched forty-two gunboats to join the gunboat swarm on the warp point.  The Alliance long-range battlecruisers, now at seven-point-five light seconds from the warp point, shifted their targeting to the newly arrived carriers, while the Lothari long-range battlecruisers shifted their fire to an Alliance heavy cruiser.  The Alliance battlecruisers only got one hit on the carrier in spite of its transit-addled condition, and didn’t penetrate its shields.  The Lothari battlecruisers also managed to slip a missile past an Alliance heavy-cruiser’s defenses, damaging its shields. 

The Lothari light carriers from the sixth wave turned and exited the system after launching one hundred and eight fighters, as another six light carriers entered the system and launched a total of forty-two gunboats.  The Alliance fleet continued its advance, but now the Lothari fleet, less the three damaged long-range battlecruisers, moved towards them, closing to four-point-five light seconds.  The Alliance long-range battlecruisers targeted a newly arrived light carrier, while the rest of the Alliance force targeted several of the advancing Lothari heavy cruisers. 

The Alliance long-range battlecruisers switched to capital missiles now that they were within range, and punched six of the anti-matter capital missiles through the faltering light carrier’s defenses, heavily damaging its engine rooms and reducing it to half speed.  The two main fleets tore at each other with spinal and capital force beams and anti-matter standard missiles, and it was the Alliance fleet that came out the worst.  An advanced Alliance heavy cruiser lost its passive defenses and everything forward of its first engine room, while the targeted Lothari battlecruiser merely lost two-thirds of its shields. 

The Lothari carriers from the 7th wave launched their fighters and exited the system, except for the one that had been hammered by Alliance missiles.  That carrier had lost half of its engine rooms and was unable to complete its turn in time to jump out.  The Lothari fleet now turned back towards the warp point, running ahead of the oncoming Alliance fleet, and the assembled Lothari small craft, now numbering two hundred and sixteen fighters and one hundred and sixty-three gunboats, moved out to join the Lothari fleet.  The Alliance force continued advancing, and was now four light seconds from the Lothari fleet, but the Alliance fighter force slowed and came to a halt three light seconds from the Lothari fleet and small craft, just outside of the range of the Lothari anti-fighter missiles.  The damaged Alliance heavy cruiser turned away from the battle and moved away, ending seven-point-five light seconds from the Lothari fleet. 

At their current range, the Lothari HET lasers were now in range, and the damage to the Alliance fleet began to increase.  The Alliance fleet focused its fire on the same Lothari battlecruiser as before, but once again had trouble punching through its heavy passive defenses.  In exchange, two Alliance heavy cruisers were heavily damaged and forced to turn back. 

The Lothari battlecruisers continued to run ahead of the Alliance fleet, maintaining the range as best it could, while its heavy cruisers fell back towards the Alliance fleet and fighters, modulating their engines to make themselves a harder target.  The Lothari heavy cruisers targeted the Alliance fighter force with AFM’s, while the Lothari battlecruisers continued to target the Alliance heavy cruisers.  The Alliance fleet targeted the Lothari gunboats with standard missiles, while they concentrated their beam fire on the same Lothari BC that had been targeted over the last minute.  Now, though, the older Alliance battlecruisers were within range of their standard force beams, so they could begin contributing to the carnage.  The Lothari small craft force attempted to maneuver into a range at which they could launch their AFM’s without facing return fire, but failed and ended up just three quarters of a light second from the Alliance fighter force, leaving them in optimum AFM range but facing return fire from the Alliance fighter’s lasers. 

The damage was mounting on both sides.  The Lothari gunboat force salvoed AFM’s at the Alliance fighters, which replied with their lasers.  The Alliance fighters were also targeted by the Lothari cruiser force firing AFM’s as well.  The Alliance fighters split their fire between the Lothari gunboats and their fighter force, damaging both.  When the explosions cleared, the Lothari had thirty-eight gunboats and ninety-six fighters left, while the Alliance had ninety-four fighters left.  The Alliance fleet now had four heavy cruisers damaged and falling behind the chase, while the Lothari had four battlecruisers and two heavy cruisers damaged and falling back towards the oncoming Alliance fleet.  Three of the four damaged battlecruisers were the battlecruisers damaged earlier in the battle by the Alliance patrol fighter force, which had received more damage in the most recent exchange of fire. 

The Lothari, by withdrawing in front of the advancing Alliance fleet, were ensuring that they stayed out of the short ranges where the Alliance ships were most effective, but were paying a price as their damaged ships were falling towards the oncoming Alliance fleet, while the damaged Alliance ships were falling away from the retreating Lothari ships. 

The Alliance fleet was surrounded by a swirling ball of small craft.  The Alliance fighters focused their attention on the Lothari fighters, while two datagroups of Alliance battlecruisers unloaded their entire broadsides of force beams, plasma guns, and point defense on the gunboat force.  The Lothari gunboats and fighters ignored the Alliance fighters and focused their fire on several Alliance battlecruisers, while the Lothari cruiser group continued to pour anti-fighter missile fire into the Alliance fighters.  Unfortunately for the Lothari cruisers, this placed them in effective range for most of the Alliance force’s weapons, and the Alliance ships pounded six of the heavy cruisers with heavy beam fire, damaging all six and crippling one of them.  The main force of Lothari battlecruisers focused their fire on one of the Alliance’s long-range battlecruisers, but failed to punch through its armor.  The Lothari long-range battlecruisers targeted one of the damaged Alliance heavy cruisers that was withdrawing, doing further damage, but this freed up the main Alliance force to use its point defense against the Lothari fighters that were attacking them. 

The entire Lothari gunboat force was wiped out by the intense fire from the two battlecruiser groups, but not before they managed to fire most of their lasers into Alliance battlecruisers.  Most of the Lothari fighters were destroyed while they were making their attack runs on the big Alliance ships, and almost all of the remaining twenty fighters were destroyed by intense point defense fire from the fleet, leaving just one fighter to pull away from its attack run.   The Alliance fighter force was reduced to just twenty-six fighters by the storm of anti-fighter missiles, leaving it a shadow of its former self.  The fire from the Lothari small craft was devastating, though.  The Lothari small craft focused their fire on the six battlecruisers that were targeting them, and destroyed one and crippled the other five.  They then went on to damage two heavy cruisers and destroy a third. 

The Lothari Fleet took the opportunity provided by the damage their small craft inflicted on the Alliance fleet to turn and attack.  The Lothari cruiser force rejoined the main fleet, with the five damaged cruisers lagging slightly behind.  The Alliance fleet didn’t hesitate and rushed to meet the Lothari force, with their fighters racing ahead, gaining enough on the damaged Lothari cruisers to close on them and engage with their lasers. 

The next exchange of fire took place at one light second, and it was devastating.  The Alliance force was reduced to five battlecruisers, two of which were close-range combatants, a heavy cruiser, six light cruisers, and nine destroyers, against a more or less intact Lothari battlecruiser force of eleven battlecruisers supported by six intact heavy cruisers.  The one real advantage that the Alliance retained was their data-link jammers, which forced the Lothari ships to attack individually.

Even as the Alliance fighters lined up to fire on the lagging Lothari cruisers, the damaged cruisers began firing AFM’s at their attackers.  The fighters were too close for effective fire, but the cruisers were desperate to defend themselves.  In return, the three Alliance destroyer groups targeted the damaged heavy cruisers for accurate sprint missile and plasma gun fire, and the sprint missiles were armed with anti-matter warheads.  Even before the Alliance fighters fired, the destroyers killed three of the five damaged cruisers.  Fifteen of the fighters were taken out by AFM and point defense fire from the damaged cruisers, but enough got laser shots off to overwhelmed the two remaining cruisers, destroying both.  Three of the intact Lothari cruisers overwhelmed the remaining Alliance fighters with AFM’s, destroying all of them.  The other three turned their fire on the main Alliance fleet, deluging several light cruisers with sprint-mode anti-matter fire, damaging both. 

The Alliance force was now in serious trouble.  Its two-remaining close-engagement battlecruisers had been crippled by heavy beam fire from the Lothari battlecruiser force, and four of the six Alliance light cruisers had been damaged. 

The three Alliance long-range battlecruisers continued move away, opening the range, while the remaining Alliance ships closed with the enemy fleet, seemingly seeking destruction.   The combat was at point blank range, and with both side’s small craft eliminated, the two fleet’s ships could focus all of their fury on the opposing ships.  The Alliance fleet was devastated.  By the time the fire died down, only two destroyers were left intact.  Two battlecruisers, a heavy cruiser, two light cruisers, and seven destroyers were left barely capable of movement.  The rest of the fleet was gone, blown away by the Lothari battlecruisers.  The Lothari ships had proved to be incredibly tough, with heavy shields and armor.  Still, they had paid for what they had done to the 4th Fleet.  One battlecruiser and a heavy cruiser had been destroyed outright, and another battlecruiser and a heavy cruiser had suffered heavy damage.   

The end was near.  The remaining Alliance ships didn’t even try to surrender.  They all knew what awaited them if the enemy captured them, and they were determined to go down fighting.  In an act of final defiance, the Alliance ships that had weapons targeted the two damaged Lothari ships, destroying them as they tried to retreat through the warp point.  The Lothari vengeance was swift, and the remaining ships of the Alliance 4th Fleet near the warp point were destroyed. 

The Alliance 4th Fleet was reduced to four battlecruisers and a bunch of empty carriers.  Ten damaged battlecruisers and heavy cruisers managed to retreat from the area around the warp point and were withdrawing back towards the warp point to Liawak.  Fortunately, the Lothari force seemed reluctant to leave the immediate vicinity of the warp point, and seemed satisfied with the withdrawal of the remaining Alliance ships.  Both fleets had lost their entire fighter and gunboat complements, and neither seemed interested in renewing the conflict at this point. 

Sho-sa F’Nor, Skull Splitter’s son and commander of the long-range battlecruiser group that had been the sole survivor of the 4th Fleet’s battle against the Lothari, was amazed that the Lothari let them go.  While the Lothari force didn’t seem to have any small craft left, they had plenty of battlecruisers, and while they couldn’t catch his battlecruisers without risking burnouts, they could easily run down the damaged ships that were slowly withdrawing from the area around the warp point.  Instead, they seemed content to sit on the warp point and watch them withdraw. 

For now, F’Nor was keeping his battlecruisers with the damaged ships, to give them some protection should the Lothari change their minds.  Not that there was much his battlegroup could do to protect them if the Lothari changed their minds about pursuing them, but he would not abandon his fellow Alliance members to the Lothari without a fight.  Even now an assault shuttle was bringing Cho-sho Watanabe aboard his command ship.  The 4th Fleet’s commander had been seriously wounded when his battlecruiser, which was one of the heavily damaged ships in the group F’Nor’s squadron was escorting, had been hit by Lothari beams.  He would receive better treatment aboard F’Nor’s undamaged battlecruiser than on his heavily damaged command ship, and F’Nor was determined to see that his commander survived.   

With the Lothari Fleet, on the warp point…
On board his command battlecruiser, Swordsman of Stars Weber watched the remnants of the Alliance fleet retreat with mixed emotions.  It went against the grain to let the remnants of the enemy force retreat without chasing them down and forcing them to surrender.  However, he suspected that even if he did chase them down none of the Alliance ships would surrender.  The ferocity of the battle had been stunning, and not one Alliance ship had surrendered, even when their ships were wrecked and they had no weapons left.  There had been remarkably few life pods found in the battleground, and his staff estimated that less than 1% of the Alliance crews of their destroyed ships had tried to save themselves.  That raised some ominous questions.  The Alliance was seen as weak and indecisive by the Lothari Navy, and Weber himself had espoused those views on several occasions.  But while his attack had been successful, and they had destroyed the Alliance fleet that had dared approach their home system, the Alliance ships had fought bravely and tenaciously.  The fact that not one had surrendered was disturbing, and gave some credibility to the rumors about the treatment of the Alliance crews that had surrendered early in the conflict.  Worse, it raised serious questions about the feasibility of the Great Leader’s plan.  Weber’s desire to pursue the Alliance fleet had been immaterial, because he had firm orders to remain on the warp point once the Alliance fleet was defeated.  The Great Leader had a plan, and pursuing the defeated enemy was not part of that plan.   
 
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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Month 217, the Aurarii Incursion Ends
« Reply #290 on: November 29, 2022, 09:56:53 AM »
Month 217, Day 1, Alliance controlled Revolver system
An Aurarii CD arrived early in the day with a message for the Alliance representatives.  The message stated that the Aurarii would not be able to make the agreed upon meeting in twenty-four hours, but explained that the Aurarii government had recently undergone a rather dramatic upheaval.  The new leaders of the government pledged to meet with the Alliance representatives in no less than five days. 

With little choice other than restarting the war, Warleader Grogan and Cho-sho Banzan agreed to the new meeting date. 

Month 217, Day 5, Alliance controlled Revolver system
The new representatives for the Aurarii government introduced themselves as the Lady Senator Celes and, most astonishingly, the Emperor himself.  This, more than anything else, convinced the Alliance representatives that the Aurarii were serious about wanting to end the conflict.  And so it proved.  In essence, the Aurarii agreed to every term the Alliance representatives had put forward.  The Aurarii would pay reparations to the Doraz Contingency, and the Aurarii fleet would withdraw into their own inner system.  Further, the Aurarii agreed to end their occupation of the Norn home world, once the Alliance pledged to station warships in the system to prevent the Norn from taking revenge on the Aurarii once the occupation ended.  And, finally, the Aurarii agreed to join the Alliance as an associate member, and to support the Norn in joining as well.  The Doraz dropped their demand for a technology transfer, but that was due to an Alliance promise to turn over one of the three monitors they had captured from the Aurarii. 

The war here was over.  The Alliance would be unable to shift ships from this front to the Lothari front for some time, but further reinforcements could now safely be sent to Liawak instead of to Doraz territory. 
 
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