Author Topic: The Forever War - Part 08  (Read 978 times)

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Offline Haji (OP)

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The Forever War - Part 08
« on: October 15, 2022, 01:17:22 PM »

   For decades now Poland have not operated any frigates or destroyers. Brazil have lost all their cruisers and most of their destroyers while Korea is likely operating a large number of cruisers but is probably not building anything smaller. More over the aliens have been significantly increasing the size of their vessels and during the most recent attack the smallest craft they used massed over a hundred and seventy thousand tonnes, but those were likely older vessels. Because of this the Republican navy decides to once again reclassify ship sizes. The new ones are given below.

 <20kT: Corvettes
20kT-40kT: Frigates
40kT-80kT: Destroyers
80kT-120kT: Light Cruisers
120kT-200kT: Cruisers
200kT-400kT: Heavy Cruisers
400kT-600kT: Battlecruisers
   Using those new classifications Poland is operating a significant number of corvettes and frigates but is no longer building them, with their smallest ships under construction being forty eight thousand tonne destroyers and their mainstream combatants being light cruisers. Similarly Brazil is constructing destroyers exclusively although it is unknown what Korea is building or operating.


   Despite it being eight years since the Fourth Invasion, Poland have not yet begun establishing a naval base in Resiliencia. Part of it was a fear that any colonists there may be lost, but the bigger issue was their total focus on ensuring a steady resource supply. Stockpiles of duranium, neutronium and gallicite, while stable, are very low and construction of additional mines and habitats is still a priority, making it impossible to establish a new orbital colony.
   Resiliencia does posses a couple of bodies with acceptable gravity, but all of them are cold. The warmest one would still require significant infrastructure and while terraforming could be performed to push the costs dawn, it would likely never be fully habitable, instead becoming like Marzanna, a cold, dead world filled with arcologies.
   Nonetheless it is the only option currently available to the Republic and as one of their planetary modification projects is complete, they now have infrastructure and terraforming installations they could use. The issue is that Brazil is reluctant to give up the planet for the same reason Poland wants to colonize it.
   Ultimately as the Republic points out the Federation is unlikely to do so. The world does not posses any mineral resources of note and Brazil has to build a naval base in Cerrado which means they won’t have resources to build up Resiliencia for decades to come. Ultimately they agree.
   The development of the planet will be slow but should ultimately be easier then enlarging of Niedzica. The world is named Palisada.


   Brazil launches their first six destroyers (formerly battlecruisers) since they’ve lost Escudo. They cannot send all of them to the Carrado system due to lack of proper supporting infrastructure so for now they will be split into two groups and rotated.
   Their colony of Carajas, which will become a naval base protecting humanity from kinhalan attack through a Guardian system, is housed entirely in orbital habitats but is growing steadily. Shipyards are already in place and expanding. However it will be a long time before Brazil can get their hands on actual space stations needed for jump point picket.


   Over the past several months Poland have launched their new flight of eight light cruisers. With kinhalans unlikely to attack any time soon the question became whether or not those should be used to deal with the Guardian force in HRCC 7261.
   That force comprised one frigate and four corvettes, but it was significantly more advanced than human forces. It was estimated that thirty thousand anti-missiles would be needed to deal with the picket. Unfortunately while technology have advanced, that number didn’t really change. Worse the Polish shipkillers had only forty percent hit chance which meant they wouldn’t really be the answer, not if only eight ships were to be used.
   The issue is lack of knowledge regarding the enemy point defense. The eight ships could deal enough damage with missiles to kill the enemy, at least that’s the assessment, but it’s unknown how many will be intercepted in each salvo, which is why the planners wanted to err on the side of caution. Even then however eight light cruisers should be able to heavily damage the enemy, enough to win energy weapon duel but such a duel will lead to losses.
   Using larger number of ships is also an option. However if the enemy does something unexpected or if there were more ships than already seen, the force may be lost. Risking one flight of ships is considered reasonable considering the potential prize, but with Brazil out of the fight and Korea unwilling to contribute, risking more than those eight ships is considered unacceptable.
   In the end the government decides to risk it. The eight light cruisers and a single jump cruiser will be reinforced with lighter ships however. The main fleet at the jump point to Escudo has fourteen old Projekt 019G corvettes that are capable of launching anti-missiles, which will be added to the expeditionary force. Further there are sixteen patrol corvettes in orbit of Kleczanow, serving as a reserve for all the patrol and picket ships spread out throughout the Polish space. As those ships are considered borderline obsolete and will soon be replaced with destroyers, all sixteen will be added as well.
   The fleet will be armed with first generation interceptor sized shipkillers, the Wlocznias. It will have lower hit probabilities than newer models, but those will be kept against the Unity.


   The Polish expeditionary force have entered the HRCC 7261 system several days ago. So far there have been no surprises with four corvettes and a single enemy frigate detected. The range have fallen to thirteen million kilometers and the human warships opened fire, launching eight hundred and sixty four Wlocznias every five seconds.
   After launching ten volleys, the Republican ships stopped, as they had time to observe the attack and make corrections.
   The enemy turned out to have thirty anti-missile launchers and those were advanced enough to have perfect accuracy. Still that was nowhere near adequate against the tsunami of shipkillers that was bearing on the enemy.
   The aliens also had secondary point defense, most likely gauss cannons, which intercepted eighty missiles from the first volley. Between those, the anti-missiles and the high speed of the aliens, only sixty seven Wlocznias have hit.
   The second volley however was not depleted by interceptors. One hundred and fifty were shot dawn by last ditch point defense and two hundred and sixty managed to hit, about a quarter of the entire volley, which was considered acceptable under the circumstances. As more waves arrived, those numbers were more or less being repeated. By the time it was over, one of the alien corvettes has been destroyed and the remaining force had trouble keeping formation.
   Considering nearly nine thousand missiles have been fired, that wasn’t great but it was mostly expected considering the technological disparity. The Polish force fired another ten waves.
   This turned out to be an overkill. The first wave was completely destroyed by anti-missiles, but the aliens were slowed, resulting in twice as many hits as before. By the time the third wave arrived, it was all over. There were no life pods.
   The expeditionary force was not equipped to study wrecks, so they’ve set course towards the most inviting planet.


   The Polish flotilla entered the orbit of the target world, finding nothing. Exploration ships and jump point stabilization vessel will be called forward, but for the next year at minimum the warships will remain in system.


   The victory against the Guardians was met with both celebration and fear among the population. Celebration because Poland is no longer confined to eighteen systems that were the Republican territory for more than a century and worried because the Unity can obviously deal with the Guardians as well.
   The government and the military begun considering further expansion, but the picket force they just destroyed was among the weakest. Worse in some cases the strength of the defending forces isn’t knows as the probes were destroyed by anti-missile before they could get into range. The known pickets are described below.

KCK 5225: Twelve corvettes
KRC 98252: Three corvettes
DTSC 366: Unknown
KRC 66282: Unknown
DTSC 017: Six Corvettes
KRC 28727: Unknown

   Overall KRC 98252 can be taken rather easily, but there isn’t enough ammunition for the government to feel comfortable going into either DTSC 017 or KCK 5225. As for the systems with unknown picket sizes, those are considered completely off limits.
   Even so a new offensive won’t be launched any time soon as the government wants to know exactly what is located beyond HRCC 7261 before opening themselves to further trouble.


   Four Korean cruisers, each massing over one hundred and thirty four thousand tonnes, have jumped into the Parana system. Over the next few days they moved to the capital where they were paraded before the masses. As DPRK have not been sending any ships to the home system, this was likely their way of showing the other two nations that they are still a force to be reckoned with.
   Those are currently the largest warships built by any human nation and are twice the size of the mainstream Brazilian vessels. It is however unknown how many shipyards Korea has which means it is impossible to estimate their true strength.


   Poland finally launches their space station which they tug towards the Reciliencia fortifications. This will allow the Republic to support all their warships at the jump point using only their own resources, so they transfer the leased stations beck to Brazil.
   Unfortunately for now no more will be built. Due to the tactical lessons of the Fourth Invasion and some small technological improvements, the shipyards above Kleczanow are now retooling to build improved versions of the destroyers and the light cruisers, which costs a lot of duranium and neutronium – minerals which are in short supply are used heavily in the construction of the space stations.


   Only one new jump point have been discovered in HRCC 7261 so the vessel Napoleon Cybulski was sent to investigate. She emerged over six billion kilometers from a rather massive and quite young G class star orbited by a readily habitable planet. Soon after a powerful electromagnetic signature was detected coming from that world.
   The expeditionary force was on the other side of the jump point, but they won’t be send in for now, instead becoming a temporary picket. Cybulski will observe the world from the jump point, trying to find out what Poland is dealing with.


   Most of the information coming from the habitable planet is coded to decrease the size of the files, and due to the distance most of it is lost or garbled. Even so some of them are transmitted in the clear, without any compression and thanks to that some images were recovered. The locals are clearly humans and judging but what is in the background they are either enormous fans of historical dramas, or their technology is on the level of the middle twentieth century. They also appear to be speaking a language that evolved from English.


   Due to coding and language barrier, getting the full picture of what is going on in DTSC 163 – the newly discovered system with a human colony – is going to take more time, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the locals do not have any advanced space travel, being limited to communication satellites and occasional, singular scientific trips to nearby planets.
   Poland obviously has a lot to offer a world like this, but they also do not intend to do anything for free, especially with a war going on. As such their first order of buissness is to get a better idea about the system. As the exploration ships have advanced stealth, they are directed to perform a full gravitational survey of the system while also checking – very cautiously – the larger bodies for mineral deposits.
   The expeditionary force is recalled home, but a rotating picket will be established at the jump point. The point itself will also be stabilized from the Polish side.


   The Republic have completed salvage of the Guardian wrecks. They recovered large amounts of TN elements, but no components.


   Korea begins to move their commercial shipyards away from Kim Jong towards their space. This will make them the only human nation to have no shipbuilding capability within Parana.
   While some mining colonies in the home system are still quite important, it is becoming obvious that DPRK is slowly moving away rather then simply expanding. This also makes some people question whether or not it is even possible to make Korea defend the human space or if they intend to fully abandon it using the other two powers as a buffer, like Brazil tried to do before the Second Invasion.


   About a month ago Poland managed to break some of the coding used by the humans in DTSC 163. From there they gained access to enough information to decode and decompress most of it, finally getting an idea of what they are dealing with.
   The local world, named Gaia, was colonized by Luddites, who came in, terraformed the world and abandoned technology. It worked surprisingly well for them – only fifteen percent of the population died in the first generation.
   The second generation was somewhat antsy about the idea, but managed to keep going. The third generation however recovered some of the data about how life was back on Earth and they hated being stranded on a world which willingly abandoned all comforts in the name of some ideology. That by itself would probably not be an issue, but while the locals retained advanced concepts about governance, city planning and general knowledge of why hygiene is important and how to do it properly, the death tall was enormous. Even in the late twentieth century the death tall among newborns was minuscale. On Gaia in those early years it was well over thirty percent.
   The third generation rebelled against those who sentenced them to what they perceived as hell and the conflict was brutal, especially since the planet had no food security. The population was cut to half of what it was during the landing but from there they tried to rebuild a technological society.
   Unfortunately Gaia has a score of eight on habitability scale. Ten means Earth like planet and each point is deducted for a physical characteristic of the planet that makes life difficult without special measures being taken to counteract them. One point is deducted for a day-night cycle being twice as long, which causes problems for native Earth life. That however is usually not really that big of a problem as ecologies are quite complex and adaptable, but it does have an impact.
   The second point however was taken due to something far more problematic – the planet does not have magnetic field, which means solar radiation can freely impact electronics. This made industrialization extremely difficult and was usually countered by putting everything electronic either underwater or underground, an extremely expensive proposition. Worse it appears the star is not yet fully stable, due to young age, which means some solar storms were powerful enough to affect people.
   As a result the colony is on a lavel similar to what Earth was in 1950. The only saving grace of the planet is the fact that the troubles have created a functioning world wide government, the Gaian Confederation. It’s a very loose government, similar to the early twenty first century European Union and nations within are perfectly happy using it for their own interests, meaning it is by no means an equal or unified system, but it is functioning and it prevented direct confrontations between the larger powers. This also simplifies things for Poland as it will make negotiations easier.
   So far no jump points have been found, however there is a very nice mining location present. The fifth planet, a venusian world, has very large and moderately accessible deposits of duranium, boronide, corundium, tritanium, venderaite and gallicite. While the accessibility is borderline too low to be of any use, the fact that it applies to so many resources makes it a very desirable location and Poland will likely negotiate for rights to the planet. However the government first wants to know whether or not it is a dead end system.
   While the planet is named Gaia, the star itself is named Bhumi.


   Two months ago Poland have completed the gravitational survey of Bhumi, finding no new jump points. With this the Republic have approached the locals.
   It took a while for Gaians to process everything, bu they weren’t as shocked as some might expect. After all they knew other human nations were out there and they had concept of science fiction. Once they calmed dawn they were very interested in the trans-Newtonian technology.
   To start them up and to get some good will for the ongoing negotiations, a survey of their planet was performed so they could be directed towards the resources and begin studying them. To everyone’s shock however the planet was bereft of any TN elements, even though those were found in other parts of the system.
   This was actually quite convenient for Poland. After providing samples so the Gaians could confirm what the resources could do, the Republic made a very simple offer. Bhumi will give up ownership of the fifth planet, sign a mutual trade treaty and recognize Polish claims to their space, which would mean the locals will be limited to this one system. In exchange the Republic will transfer knowledge of TN industry, allow the locals to purchase civilian mined resources and will provide them with small number of old freighters and colony ships as well as infrastructure so they could begin developing the system immediately.
   The Gaians weren’t happy about being confined to a single system, but as the Polish representatives pointed out, there was nothing that could be done. Sure HRCC 7261 wasn’t being actively developed, but it was a system won by conquest and beyond that was the system of Malbork where the Wieliczka colony was located. Not only that but those three systems were part of a four star, dead end chain that begun in Solidarnosc system, which is being turned into the new heart of the nation. In short for Gaians to expand beyond Bhumi, the Republic would have to essentially give up on its space. That was not going to happen.
   The negotiations took a while, but Poland wasn’t willing to budge. In the end the locals have accepted the deal. However it will be nearly a year before the jump point is stabilized on both sides so the delivery of the promised freighters and colony ships will have to wait.


   The jump point in the Bhumi system has been stabilized, connecting Gaia to the rest of the galaxy. The old Polish freighters loaded with infrastructure and colony ships are still on their way, but over a dozen privately owned cargo ships are already in system trying to get ahead of the competition.
   The fifth planet won’t be developed any time soon however. It requires orbital habitats but those are desperately needed above Niedzica as the world, despite being a fleet base, is also the only good source of neturnium for the nation and the stockpiles of this particular minerals are being slowly exhausted. Once Kleczanow finishes retooling of its sixteen naval yards, the pressure should ease a lot but by the same token the government wants to be able to expand its shipbuilding, not keep it static. In the end it will likely take decades for the Polish claim to be developed.


   While Poland and Brazil begun cooperating very closely in areas related to defense there were still significant disagreements. Among other things the Republic was trying to convince the other nation to move their orbital defenses to the primary system so that any invading kinhalan force could be attacked from long range by all three nations. The Federation finally admitted the problem – those aren’t as impressive as they sound and they don’t have ammunition for them. According to them all their orbital bases above Amazonia are multi-role meaning they have lasers, gauss cannons, anti-missiles and long range shipkillers which means their punch is quite a bit smaller than one would expect. Despite having forty six frigate sized bases and forty four destroyer sized ones, their largest salvo would be only about twenty six thousand missiles, far less than even Korea can accomplish and there would be no reloads.
   Besides the Brazilian government believes the next attack will come from Escudo and they plan to heavily fortify that area, leaving Parana to Baszta and Korea. So far their fortification have been progressing slowly so in desperation they’ve decided to move their forty six smaller bases to the area, the largest they can support with their current space stations. Those will have enormous firepower as they have eighteen hundred anti-missile launchers that could ravage any invading fleet, although whether or not the Federation has ammunition for those is unknown. They had gallicite issues followed by tritanium shortages and they had to halt manufacturing for several decades and resumed it only several years ago.
   This however isn’t the only thing Brazil is doing. Six of their yards above Amazonia are of course producing destroyers but the other six are now retooling to build the first Federal light cruisers. Massing ninety four thousand tonnes they are equipped exclusively with lasers and gauss cannons, but are also fifty percent faster than their other vessels. They are designed to allow Brazil to defend jump points even at times of ammunition shortage by sticking to invading forces like a glue and pummeling them with heavy short range firepower. The downside is that Amazonia will no longer be building fortifications as all its yards will be dedicated to manufacturing of warships.
   Poland sees those changes as necessary but risky. If the aliens do the less expected and attack Parana again it could be a disaster. There are indications that Korea is moving not only resources but also research facilities away from their home planet which means that in the future they will likely not be willing to defend the home system. If so Poland will have to defend two stars – Parana and Resiliencia – with minimal support while also maintaining heavy fortifications in Wrota just in case. Against an enemy as large and powerful as the Unity that is for all instances and purposes impossible. Nonetheless humanity simply doesn’t have any good choices.


   Poland resumes construction of asteroid mining ships. Those were discontinued as the government was worried about sustainability of those operations but so far only three comets have run out of minerals and expansion of planetary extraction industries is progressing simply too slowly. Gallicite is no longer an issue but neutrinium is tethering on the edge of shortages and duranium stockpiles also aren’t healthy.


   With the situation in Bhumi stable, the government have decided to release the expeditionary force for another operation, this time to KRC 98252, protected by three Guardian corvettes. The strike was successful but while the Polish fleet received no damage, they needed six and a half missile waves to destroy the defending fleet, adding up to nearly six thousand shipkillers.
   By now Poland is dawn to thirty eight thousand original Wlocznias, which should be enough to deal with the six corvette force protecting DTSC 017, but very likely not enough to deal with twelve corvettes picketing KCK 5225. There are eighty five thousand Wlocznias B, but those are the current main missile used by the Republic. Only thirty five thousand of the C model, the newest one, have been manufactured so far.
   As the government is wary about what may await them in KRC 98252 or beyond, the fleet will be sent to rest. Once it is known that this new axis of expansion is safe, it is very likely that DTSC 017 will be cleared, but it is unlikely any more strikes will be launched.


   Poland have sent exploration ships to KRC 98252 as soon as was possible and their first target was the third planet which was picketed by the Guardians. While it was a possible colony site that could house twelve billion people, it was a terrible one. The day was longer than the year, the axial tilt was forty fix degrees and there was no magnetosphere. Even so there were not many planets that could support a colony so it was still under consideration.
   The exploration ship have found signs of a dead civilization that was obviously technologically advanced. Specialist teams will be sent to try and learn what have happened.


   The survey of KRC 98252 is complete. It is a dead end system. The expeditionary force will be send to DTSC 017, although preparations will take some time.


   DTSC 017 has been cleared. Eleven and a half thousand missiles have been spent. By now Poland has only enough missiles to fully equip the expeditionary force with about a thousand spares unless they want to use newer models. Because of this if there are jump points to explore in the new system, further operations against the Guardians will be suspended.


   The planet in DTSC that was picketed by the Guardian corvettes also had signs of technological civilization. Teams will be sent but additional ones will also be sent to the planet in HRCC 7261. While no signs of technology have been detected, some begin to suspect there was some sort of a long dead civilization on the planet.


   Baszta completes a Bishop’s Ring, expanding for the first time in over a hundred years.
   After the Fourth Invasion the government realized their missile capabilities in the home system are simply insufficient. However rather than building more missile bases the military wanted to be able to launch multiple strikes. In some ways this is unavoidable as they have missiles from several different generations, but right now while they can fire a full strike of Osas F, they have only ten thousand of G model, less than a third of what is needed. More ammunition is necessary, far more in fact considering how large the alien fleets are.
   Thanks to the new Ring four hundred additional ordnance factories will be available, increasing the current manufacturing rate by eighty percent which should increase production from four hundred missiles per year to almost seven hundred and fifty missiles per year.
   For the moment the government plans to keep expanding with at least one more Ring and another four hundred factories in the plans. That will take several decades however. Whether or not the moon will keep expanding after that has not been decided yet.


   Poland completed the survey of DTSC 017 finding two new jump points. The government would have been happy just knowing those are there as this means they can finally expand again without having to worry about the Guardians, but they found something very welcome and very unexpected.
   When the exploration ships first arrived in HRCC 4407 the crews unleashed a massive, collective groan as it seemed like the system will be picketed by the Guardians due to the central star being Sol like and there being a readily habitable planet. However the star was quite young, only two billion years old which meant there was no picket. Not only that but the planet was about the size of Earth, not tidally locked and generally had good habitability.
   The mineral deposits were even more welcome. The planet had fifty three million tonnes of duranium in above average accessibility and ten million tonnes of neutronium in high accessibility. There were other resources but those were very hard to get. Nonetheless currently the bulk of duranium is coming from uninhabitable planets orbited by expensive habitats while neutronium is still in very short supply and on the verge of shortages. This makes the world an instant target for colonization.
   It will take over a year to stabilize jump points but once that is done colony ships will be redirected to the system. The star is renamed Slask while the planet is named Neutronowo.
   There are two more planets with acceptable gravity and surface water, but both of them are very cold requiring significant terraforming.


   The first hundred mines are delivered to Neutronowo. The planet has population of sixty five million and geological survey teams found additional mineral deposits. Turns out there is two and a half times as much neutronium as previously thought. Better yet several other minerals are now in accessibility high enough to make extraction worthwhile, although this does not include gallicite.
   Currently the greatest Polish hurdle are logistics. Due to the need to move enormous amounts of supplies from Niedzica to the Resilliensia picket, only a very limited number of freighters is available. Those were so far moving terraforming installations to the border system, but the Palisada colony doesn’t even have enough manpower to fully utilize them. This also means that actual fortifications are still decades in the future.
   Marzanna is constantly producing new freighters, using four shipyards, each with capacity of a quarter million tonnes. However most of those are needed for the ever growing logistical networks, moving minerals around between all the worlds that need them. Enlarging those yards would be the logical solution, but that requires a lot of neutronium, which is currently in shortest supply.
   This isn’t to say that the future is bleak. While shipbuilding remains static, both Baszta and Kleczanow are building additional ordnance facilities to ensure the military is properly armed. Gdansk is now a fully industrialized world producing habitats and automated mines for other colonies. Palisada should receive its first construction factories by the end of the decade and now that Kleczanow completed retooling of its naval yards to incorporate the lessons of the Fourth Invasion, neutronium should become plentiful enough. The question isn’t whether or not Poland will prosper, the question is whether or not it can expand quickly enough to counter the Unity.


   For seven years now Poland has been studying the planets picketed by the Guardians. They found nothing of interest on HRCC 7261 however the civilizations on DTSC 017 and KRC 98252 have been destroyed by external attack – and the attack happened more or less the same time.
   Due to weathering it is impossible to know the characteristics of the weapons, so it is unknown whether the orbiting warships were responsible. However some begins to suspect the Guardians aren’t defending planets – they are ensuring no civilizations rises on them although there is too little data to know either way.
   Both civilizations died three million seven hundred thousand years ago.


   While Poland was slow to develop Krolewiec, the planet they purchased from Gaia, by now eleven million people live there, there are enough habitats for over sixty million and the first mines are on their way. As such a destroyer was sent to picket the planet, but the Confederation protests this. The Republic tries to explain that they are at war and their people are anxious enough that pickets like this are a necessity and something that can be found all over their space, bu the locals are not convinced, seeing this as a threat.


   While shipyards above Amazonia have been constantly building new warships, the ones above Carajos, at the front with the aliens, will be building a mix of warships, static defenses and support vessels, the first of which is a collier. Several months ago Brazil have officially asked Poland whether or not they should be building jump vessels and assault troop transports. In short the Federation have demanded that the Republic either commits to an offensive operation or declare they intend to stay on the defensive.
   The Unity haven’t tried to enter Brazilian space from the system controlled by Guardians. There may be many reasons for that, but the Federation wants to move through this system to attack Escudo from the side, so to speak and while they could engage the picket, they also want to try and use one of the other Guardian systems adjacent to Polish territory to see if a fleet moving at low speed could avoid detection.
   Poland isn’t so sure about this particular course of action, but however fearful they are of attacking a much larger opponent, they still remember the JTIMR report created after the Fourth Invasion. As such they decide to commit.
   This will require a massive investment in the military. While the Republic is building jump cruisers, they have only three of them operational, allowing them to transport eighteen warships through a jump point in a squadron transit. As there are fifty six light cruisers in service this is grossly inadequate.
   Second, some fort of blocking forces will be needed in order to prevent the alien counterattack. That means building static fortifications. Last but not least assault transports will be needed.
   In the end decision is made to use some of the shipyards above Kleczanow that currently build destroyers and build new ones to replace them. The military believes they will need at least two more yards for construction of jump ships, at least one, preferably two to build modern, larger colliers, one to build troop transports and at the very least two to build star forts.
   By now the design process is complete and three new constructs have been designed.
   The first one was the Projekt 055 class star fort. As the station wouldn’t use any gallicite, which is currently being mined in quantities only large enough to satisfy the current Republican needs, the designers could go much larger then they could with warships. Better yet the space stations at the jump point could support ships up to one hundred and ninety thousand tonnes and another one was under construction. Consequently the target was to create something around two hundred thousand tonnes.
   The resulting fort had forty railguns, twenty quad gauss cannon turrets capable of launching four hundred slugs every five seconds, four hundred launchers with sixteen thousand rounds and sixty decimeters of armor.
   As the fort won’t be able to move and the enemy may appear outside the range of the railguns, it would make sense to give it even more launchers. Unfortunately Poland currently produces only six thousand Wlocznias every year. As such while the fort has quite a punch, it is supposed primarily to be able to withstand heavy missile attacks to draw the enemy into range of its railguns, hence the heavy armor and gauss cannons. The total mass is a little over two hundred and sixteen thousand tonnes. Expansion of the yards will take a significant amount of time however.
   The second design was the collier. She is a very basic design, being the same size as light cruisers so she could be escorted through a jump point, having sensors but no active defenses and moderate armor. Unfortunately she can carry only enough missiles for six light cruisers or one star fort. Because of this some wanted to increase the number of yards that will be building them, but ultimately the idea was rejected. Considering how the enemy struggled to advance into human space, no one believed the human fleets will be able to break the enemy lines heavily enough to quickly advance, seeing the offensive as a way to either disrupt the alien plans or to regain a system, maybe a couple more. Investing heavily into numerous colliers for that seemed unjustified.
   The troop transport was much harder to design. The aliens invaded Fortaleza de Gelo with ten divisions. Even assuming they have cut their garrison to half of that it means humans will need at least ten, preferably more to retake the planet. Considering the shipyard expansion, retooling and shipbuilding times the transport would need to be capable of moving at least two, preferably three divisions. As it happens it is possible to build a vessel capable of transporting two divisions that can keep up with the fleet and be the size of a light cruiser, but she would have no weapons or active defenses, just sensors and armor. Alternatively the carrying capacity could be cut in half, but that would require larger number of ships.
   Ultimately the Projekt 057 class troop transport is unarmed but can combat deploy two divisions. Poland does have a small army, comprising four mobile infantry divisions and one heavy assault division that was supposed to take over the Korean mining sites if another war ever erupted, but a lot more will have to be trained.
   There was also discussion regarding tankers. Currently Poland operates a lot of them, but those cannot traverse jump points on their own. Fortunately those can be built in commercial, rather than military yards. Ultimately a new one was designed.
   The offensive won’t be launched any time soon and it is entirely possible the enemy will attack before humans could. Even so those special purpose ships will be stationed safely behind the front lines, so even if they won’t be ready before the next alien attack, they will definitely be ready after that.


   Poland has been studying the information they got from the Brazilians. Unfortunately the jump point into the Guardian system was only five hundred and four million kilometers from the star. Depending on the position of the planets, and depending on which of the two probable planets was guarded, this meant the human fleets could emerge less than two hundred and fifty million kilometers from the alien picket. To see whether or not the picket could be bypassed, the Expeditionary force was ordered to try and creep towards the Guardians in the system of KCK 5225 at five hundred kilometers per second  and see whether or not they can get this close to them without being detected.
   Unfortunately to do so the fleet had to deactivate their sensors and as a result, when they were still three hundred million kilometers from the picketed planet, they detected the expected twelve corvettes three and a half million kilometers away.
   The Republican ships were equipped with a mix of first and second generation Wlocznias, as the government wanted to use up the older munitions before making a dent at their more modern stockpiles. However with the aliens being so close and so fast the Kontradmiral (Rear Admiral) commanding the force ordered his ships to fire all their more modern missiles. It took nearly fifteen thousand shipkillers, but the enemy was gone.
   As the primary purpose of the mission was to avoid the picket, not to destroy it, the exploration ships were outside the network of stabilized jump points, exploring new stars. As such it will be several years before the system can be surveyed, but at least a new route of expansion have been opened.
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