Author Topic: The Forever War - Part 07  (Read 744 times)

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Offline Haji (OP)

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The Forever War - Part 07
« on: September 21, 2022, 01:51:10 PM »

   With all of the Projekt 038 light cruisers finally refitted and them taking over the picket duties, Poland begins to scrap their old frigates and destroyers. Some of them have been in service for one hundred and seventy years and haven’t been upgraded in a long time, being equipped with railguns incapable of reaching the full range of available fire controls and ion drives giving them speed of only three thousand and three hundred kilometers per second, less than half of what the fleet is capable of now.
   The government is considering building even larger patrol vessels, however the gallicite situation is still fragile with mining barely supplying the demand.


   Poland colonizes new planet, Bledow in the Diament system. The world is somewhat larger than Mars but is completely barren with neither water nor atmosphere. It does however have over four million tonnes of gallicite in almost maximum accessibility although it has nothing else of note with all other mineral deposits being almost impossible to access.
   Gallicite continues to be the biggest problem for Poland. While all ordnance facilities and almost all shipyards are operating at full capacity, they cannot expand. For that matter the Republic ceased construction of their one million tonne tugs as each requires fifty thousand tonne of the mineral, and the mining output simply isn’t there. Moreover Marzanna, which is at the end of the logistical network, experiences intermittent shortages.
   While it is true that it is easier and cheaper to build infrastructure for Bledow than orbital habitats for Belchatow which is the primary gallicite producer, that isn’t the primary reason for why the new colony was established. The problem is that at current mining rates Belchatow will be out of gallicite within two hundred and thirty years. And while it may seem insane to worry about something that far into the future, the war with the Unity have been ongoing for one hundred and sixty six years with humans being constantly on the defensive. It is entirely possible that Balchatow will be out of gallicite by the time the war is over, which is why new mining locations are needed, even if those are suboptimal due to lack of other minerals.
   Cometary mining also isn’t an answer. There are currently eighty eight mining ships in service, split into thirty groups with output equal to nearly three thousand mining complexes, but good sites are becoming fewer and fewer, their deposits are rather small and the Republic isn’t expanding its borders so new ones aren’t being found. In fact no new mining ships are being constructed.
   There are other planets considered subotimal that may be colonized for more gallicite. HRCC 5277 III has thirty seven million tonnes of the mineral in moderate accessibility and all other TN elements are also present, but most of them are almost impossible to get while the ones that can be extracted easily are in plentiful supply. There are also numerous bodies with easily accessible gallicite but quantities of around two hundred thousand tonnes that could become small, tertiary mining sites with a couple of hundred mines that would provide small income individually but taken together could solve the issue while also providing other resources.
   The bottom line is that for now Poland cannot enlarge its military industrial complex. Instead for the foreseeable future it will have to focus on expanding its mining sector.


   The population of Marzanna exceeds five billion. For comparison the second most populous known planet is Amazonia, inhabited by thirty four hundred million people.
   The Polish homeworld have changed significantly during the war. Not only is the population nearly ten times greater than before the First Invasion, the shoddy, cheap and hastily constructed domes are being replaced with massive arcologies. Those house not only people and industry, but also gardens and even forests. The life is so comfortable in fact that a lot less people are hoping to emigrate, although open spaces and job opportunities ensure a steady supply of migrants.
   The planet also no longer have manpower shortages. In fact, considering how well protected the world is, courtesy of Baszta, some want to move naval shipbuilding back to Marzanna, despite it being on the front. However the government is unwilling to consider it, as all mining operations are in Pogranicze and beyond.


   The Polish gallicite situation have stabilized and a healthy stockpile have been established, allowing the nation to once again focus on its military. The most obvious course of action would be to enlarge the primary yards which would allow the Republic to build their first battleships, possibly even catching up to the massive ships the aliens have been fielding but it’s not that simple.
   There are currently three naval bases in Poland, located on Kleczanow, Baszta and Niedzica. The latter two however are housed in orbital habitats with strictly limited manpower and as a result they rely on orbital installations with only a third of their maintenance capacity coming from manned installations. Unfortunately there is only a single yard building those kinds of space stations and while it is currently expanding to a million tonnes of capacity to speed up the process, for now the Projekt 046 class battlecruisers are the largest warships the Republic can support.
   The secondary yards are building light cruisers for patrol and picket duties and the Polish government believes that those should be expanded for now. Unlike Korea and Brazil, the Republic is actually trying to provide real protection for other colonies rather than absolute minimum but it is also true that the smallest 'proper' kinhalan warship observed so far was thirty five thousand tonnes, over twice as large as the Projekt 038 and most warships were even larger. The light cruisers, in large numbers, would be quite capable but they are too spread out to have those numbers.
   Moreover the navy doesn’t see those ships as just pickets. In case of a disaster in the Parana or Wrota area those ships are supposed to all congregate in Pogranicze or Solidarnosc and establish a last ditch jump point defense which means they must have at least some basic capability and reasonable numbers. And considering what the kinhalans have, the light cruisers are once again simply too small.
   Last but not least if Korea tries something again the government and the military would really prefer to deal with them without using their primary battle fleet.
   All of which explains why instead of building battleships, Poland decided to enlarge their secondary yards to build the new Projekt 051 class heavy cruisers. Those will mass forty eight thousand tonnes and are rather simple designs equipped with sixteen railguns and eight turreted gauss cannons.
   The shipyard expansion is still ongoing after which will come retooling, so it will be ten to fifteen years before first ships enter service. In the meantime the Republican space is being patrolled by twenty eight light cruisers with eight more under construction.


   Baszta ceases production of additional bases. While gallicte situation is stable, it is also fragile and while there are five industrialized worlds in the Republic, only two of them – Marzanna and Kleczanow – support establishment of new colonies as the other ones are engrossed in their own tasks. As such the small moon will now produce automated mines to be moved to new colonies.
   While many are worried about the next invasion, others are confident, almost arrogant, due to just how heavily fortified the system is. Baszta can fire a salvo of over thirty five thousand Osas, which adds up to nearly a hundred and eighty thousand submunitions. Many believe the aliens simply cannot build a fleet capable of withstanding that. And even if they can the moon has over three hundred and twenty thousand anti-missiles in the magazines of its bases, plus an additional hundred thousand in planetary storage. And of course if all else fails there are over four thousand gauss cannons ready to protect the capital. And that does not include what Korea or the combined human fleets can do.


   When Poland first encountered the Guardians it was calculated that sixty light cruisers would be needed to clear the system. The Republic had that power for decades now, especially since technology have improved, but they lacked two things – jump ships and political will.
   The first problem have now been solved with the launch of ORP Starodub, the first Polish jump battlecruiser. She is the same size as Projekt 046 and can escort up to six other ships through a jump point in squadron transit, drastically reducing the time electronics need to come back on.
   However there is still no political will to expand. The primary problem is the threat of the Unity which makes the government want to have full readiness to respond to the next invasion. Secondary forces used for picket duty cannot be used as they are far weaker and they do not use anti-missiles which are supposed to be the weapon used against the Guardians which means guaranteed heavy losses. In short the ship will, for now, be completely useless.
   However if Poland survives the next attack it is very likely that they will try and clear at least some Guardian hold outs, as Poland needs more territory, or more specifically, more resources. They are doing what they can but most mining locations are uninhabitable, requiring orbital habitats and automated mines, a very expensive propositions so much so that the Republic have still not truly solved their gallicite problems.


   Poland becomes the most populous of the three Parana powers with a total of thirteen billion people living in the Republic. Similar number of people live in the Federation, but the total population of DPRK is only nine billion and three hundred million.
   At the start of the war, they were the smallest one with population of nearly five hundred and fifty million. Korea was the largest nation with population of eight hundred and sixty seven million and Brazil was in between, inhabited by seven hundred and twenty seven million people.
   The seeds of change were sown around the Second Invasion. While Poland was expanding to gain desperately needed resources Brazil was mostly isolationist, staying on their already colonized worlds while Korea was only beginning establishment of new colonies when their economy was hammered by the kinhalans. This delayed them so much that the Republic have overtaken them in population sixty years ago. More importantly perhaps their TN related budget have been around sixty to seventy percent of the Polish one in recent decades, making them a definite second rate power. Moreover since they keep their shipyards and their fleet in their own space its unknown how large their military actually is, but if it was larger than the Republican or Federal one they likely would have shown that.
   Brazil on the other hand have expanded explosively into other systems. After their increased military spending and incredible cruiser build up after the invasion, they found themselves hungry for resources. It begun with duranium shortages, then they were lacking fuel, then gallicite and now they have problem with tritanium. It should be noted however that while the shortages have stopped them from growing, they did not stop them from fully utilizing their industry. More over they are close to solving their latest issue and once they do they may once again experience an enormous growth.
   Militarily they have the largest fleet. Their main shipyards are located around their homeworld, but their entire mobile force has been sent to the Escudo system, which means their warships had to move through the Polish sensor range. Fifty four battlecruisers and thirty six cruisers have been detected. The static defenses are more problematic, as no Polish vessel have ever visited the secondary component of Parana or Escudo since they were asked to leave, but those are expected to be heavy as well.
   It should be noted that the Republic should overtake the Federation in the near term. While Brazil is building six battlecruisers at a time, each massing over sixty thousand tonnes, Poland is building eight at a time, each massing over a hundred thousand tonnes. On the other hand the Federation has a total of twenty four yards, eighteen of which produce immobile bases for planetary and jump point defense, but those can be retooled, allowing Brazil to quadruple their ship production in a very short amount of time.
   Moreover Poland is not without its own problems. Mineral stockpiles are falling almost across the board forcing total focus on construction of mines and orbital habitats while keeping the military industry static. Even Niedzica, the primary Polish naval base, is building mines instead of desperately needed fortifications as the planet has reasonable mineral deposits. Similarly Wieliczka is a very important R&D site but whenever a new Bishops Ring is constructed, every scrap of available manpower is used for extraction operations. It is unknown when the situations will stabilize, but it may be necessary to slow dawn or even suspend shipbuilding soon.


   Poland have received a message from Brazil – the Kinhalan Unity have breached the Escudo defenses the day before. The Republic demanded the actual tactical recordings rather than just a summary and they got them.
   The picket was headed by the expected fifty four battlecruisers and thirty six cruisers but was also supported by fifteen destroyers and thirty six forts massing around fifteen thousand tonnes each, or equivalent to a light cruiser. In total the Federation have assembled well over five million tonnes of death.
   The kinhalan assault was unusual, for the incoming warships were not performing a squadron jump. Rather they arrived in a solid mass right on top of the jump point, implying it has been stabilized on the other side. That was good. What was not good was the size of the invading fleet – a total of sixteen superdreadnoughts, each massing nearly six hundred thousand tonnes or nine and a half times as much as a Brazilian battlecruiser. In total the aliens have thrown nine and a half million tonnes of warships into this attack.
   The Federal ships unleashed truly apocalyptic amounts of damage. Within thirty seconds they have launched nearly forty two and a half thousand missiles while also striking with their lasers and gauss cannons. Unfortunately this was enough to destroy only six of the superdreadnoughts.
   The humans continued to pummel the invaders using their beam weapons and munitions fired from repeatable anti-missile launchers, some of which were dedicated shipkillers while other were interceptors, indicating ammunition shortage. They destroyed the seventh superdreadnough, then another. For nearly three minutes Brazil was able to fire at the behemoths as if those were practice targets, destroying thirteen of them. But then the alien electronics finally rebooted allowing them to fire back, destroying one of the battlecruisers in the first salvo. They seemed to be equipped exclusively with energy weapons, which was a small blessing, but those were still devastating.
   The two sides continued their point blank slugging match, neither willing to retreat. However the aliens have lost too much to the transit disruption and the humans still had their small shipkillers they continued to launch throughout the battle.
   Four minutes after the enemy entry it was all over. The sixteen superdreadnoughts were slowly expanding wrecks although they were accompanied by two Federal battlecruisers and four destroyers.
   The Republican officers reviewing the recording were confused as it seemed like the line held. However the Federal warships were not retreating to rearm. The Poles realized the enemy had no jump ships and no way to inform the Unity of victory or defeat which meant another force will be coming through to scout. This was confirmed by the fact that the recording was much longer, so the officers fast forwarded it.
   They were wrong. An hour after the initial battle more aliens came through, but it was not a scout force. Instead forty three warships have jumped in. Nine have used the stabilized jump point, but the rest have arrived as squadrons. The force comprised five additional superdreadnoughts, twenty seven dreadnoughts each massing nearly three hundred and fifty thousand tonnes and eleven battleships massing one hundred and seventy thousand tonnes. Overall the aliens have thrown another fourteen million tonnes of warships.
   The Brazilian force stayed at the jump point and focused on the ships they could get with point blank fire. Unfortunately before they could fire, the aliens begun opening the range. By the same token, those ships were far more fragile than the superdreadnoughts of the first wave and the first two were destroyed within fifteen seconds.
   The alien squadrons responded with thousands of missiles that destroyed a battlecruiser and a destroyer, but several more heavy warships have been damaged and unable to keep up. The alien launchers had long reload times and most warships were out of energy weapon range, allowing the Federal fleet o keep pummeling the dreadnoughts that arrived through standard transit. Fortunately they still had missiles for their repeatable launchers, which significantly improved human firepower.
    Thousands more of the alien missiles arrived, going mainly after already damaged warships. Either their launchers have much higher fire rate then previously thought or there was a problem with coordination.
   The Brazilian forces finally destroyed the last of the nine dreadnoughts that arrived right on top of the human ships. The enemy forces have been moving around and away from humans and congregating towards two assembly points. One point was for warships capable of four and a half thousand kilometers per second, faster than Federal ships, and the second point was for ships capable of three thousand and six hundred kilometers per second.
   The human force have split into three groups. The first one were the immobile forts and damaged ships that could move but were slowed were assembling there. The second group were the older destroyers and cruisers that were capable of only three thousand and two hundred kilometers per second and as such were unable to catch the enemy. This group was almost untouched and comprised thirty six cruisers and ten destroyers. The third group comprised the battlecruisers capable of moving at four thousand kilometers per second, faster than one of the groups, but slower than the other. It comprised a total of thirty six warships.
   The disabled battlecruisers were ordered to be abandoned and scuttled, a move that indicated the Brazilian commander did not expect to hold the system. Only four damaged warships were still en route to the forts, while the rest of the force begun chasing the slower enemies. The aliens were likely trying to stay out of range of the energy weapons and demolish the defenders with missiles, but the reload time should be long enough to allow Brazil to heavily damage or even destroy the slower ships. The even slower cruiser group was also following and was probably going to be used to deal with any enemies that fell out of formation so that the heavier battlecruisers could focus on those that could still run.
   The slower enemy group comprised eleven battleships and a dreadnought. Before Brazil could get into range, they launched a barrage of missiles. Their targets managed to reload and fire their own, but while the Federation was not using anti-missiles, their gauss cannons managed to intercept eight hundred incomings, leaving only four hundred to strike one of the battlecruisers, that got heavily damaged and begun retreating towards the forts. By that time five enemy battleships have been destroyed.
   By the time Brazil run out of ammunition, the slower alien group comprised one dreadnought and two battleships, although one more battleship was limping along one hundred kps slower than her sisters.
   Before the battlecruisers could get in range of their lasers, the faster alien group fired eleven thousand missiles, which resulted in the loss of thirteen Federal warships. Still twenty two remained, plus the slower group, so they continued their pursuit.
   They first got into range of the lagging battleship and quickly dispatched her. Unfortunately one Federal warship fell out of formation, slowed and the larger alien group was between them and the forts. She was ordered to try and make it towards the inhabited planet in the system.
   They finally got into range of the slower alien group, now comprising one dreadnought, probably a jump vessel and two battleships, one of which was likely a jump vessel. The slogging match was slow but they destroyed one of the smaller ships while losing one of their battlecruisers. Unfortunately while they were working on the second vessel another salvo of eleven thousand missiles arrived, annihilating the entire group.
   The slower force turned around to head towards the forts. It was obvious the battle was lost but the remaining forces intended to make the aliens use their ammunition, at least to some extent. It is known kinhalans can launch five volleys and they’ve already launched three.
   They never made it. The invaders have launched another wave of missiles which destroyed most of the force leaving only twelve cruisers operational. The fort group comprised thirty six forts and four damaged battlecruisers, but the static constructs were pure offensive platforms with no gauss cannons or anti-missile launchers. They could soak the alien ordnance with their bulk, but that was it.
   The remaining crews were ordered to abandon their ships and bases and scuttle them.

   Once the review of the tactical recording was over, Poland got brought up to speed about what was happening in Escudo while also being given access to the newest information coming through, although due to the distances that information was twenty hours old.
   The aliens appeared to be focusing on search and rescue operation, which is very likely to be the largest one in history due to survivors of over a hundred ships waiting for help. According to preliminary data over forty five thousand Brazilians died and twice as many are awaiting pickup.
   Nonetheless assuming no more kinhalan warships arrive, they still have ten million tonnes of military hardware about to proceed further into human space. As Poland has their own anti-missile sized shipkillers, the navy is confident they could defend a jump point. However the main Republican battle fleet comprises a total of four million and three hundred thousand tonnes of warships, less than half of what the enemy has, making it impossible for Poland to win in a deep space battle. As Brazil no longer has any mobile force, the only potential reinforcement is Korea which refuses to engage beyond Wrota.
   For now orders are given for the fleet to depart towards Brazilian space. As they are faster, they will be able to avoid the alien force if necessary and they are ordered to push as far as possible to establish a jump point defense. One of the stealth scouts will be used to check whether or not jump points are safe and while this is for all instances and purposes a suicide mission, it is one that has to be performed.
   Brazil is doing what they can to slow down the enemy progress. Among other things they ordered all their ships to head to nearest port in order to stop all traffic and prevent the aliens from finding their way deeper into human space by observing it. Whether or not scared civilians will listen is anyone's guess.


   The aliens have completed their rescue operations and their fleet is moving towards Fortaleza de Gelo. The planet is the main naval base in the system and has population of over one billion and four hundred million.


   The alien fleet have entered orbit of Fortaleza de Gelo but they haven’t been doing anything as of yet.
   Brazil does not posses ground forces. Their rationale is that once orbitals are lost, the planet is lost as well and ground forces would only delay the inevitable at the cost of thousands if not millions of lives, especially if the invader chose bombardment rather than invasion. Nonetheless the Federal special forces and police have evacuated the shipyards and begun mining them. If the aliens do invade, they won’t get their hands on human shipbuilding.
   Unfortunately they cannot do that with the ground industry. There are simply too many facilities which means that if the world is occupied, it will all fall into enemy hands and Fortaleza de Gelo has massive industry. It has the same manufacturing capability as Marzanna, has four hundred ordnance factories, maintenance facilities for the now destroyed picket, numerous spaceports and twenty two hundred mines, a thousand of them automated. The world is also a large supplied or boronide, mercassium, uridium, corundium and gallicite. If lost it will be a huge blow to the Federation although it may not be a crippling one.
   There is another planet in the system, Nevoa, orbiting the distant C component of the system. It has population of three hundred million and has four hundred mining complexes. It is a supporting mining site, providing durnium for Fortaleza.
   One piece of good news is that civilian ships obeyed their orders to either scatter or abandon their ships in order to not reveal the location of the jump point deeper into human space. With this the Polish force may actually be able to get into position to stop the kinhalans from advancing further.


   The tracking stations on Fortaleza have been monitoring two unknown Unity ships moving towards the planet. As soon as those entered orbit, they begun launching drop pods, starting the planetary invasion. The local government have given orders to blow up the shipyards.
   There were twelve yards in orbit, all with capacity of sixty to seventy thousand tonnes. Half were building new battlecruiser sized jump point picket bases while the other half were building first orbital fortifications for Fortaleza.


   The aliens have landed all over the planet and while some civilians tried to resist, they were slaughtered without accomplishing much. Within a day the entire world went dark and while it is likely the enemy didn’t actually managed to occupy everything, they did managed to take over all government and military facilities as well as planetary communications. Fortaleza have, for all instances and purposes, fallen.
   This is another problem for humans. The invading force is estimated at ten divisions and even if the system was retaken, the Parana nations simply cannot launch an invasion against a force like this. This also means Brazil can no longer track the alien movements.


   A Polish stealth scout arrived at the jump point to Escudo. There is no sign of aliens. The battle fleet is five days away.


   Three hours after the Polish force arrived at the Escudo jump point, a single alien vessel entered the system. She massed ten thousand tonnes, almost certainly a scout or an exploration ship, and was quickly blown apart by railgun fire.
   The Republican force has enough interceptor sized anti-ship missiles for ten salvos as the rest of the magazine space is taken by anti-missiles. Coupled with their technological advantage and heavy railgun armament it is very unlikely the known kinhalan force can breach the system. In fact it would be very much to humanities benefit if they tried, as it could open the possibility of retaking Escudo. However if the invaders have a third wave they haven’t shown yet, the Polish fleet will likely die here and with that humanity may fall.


   The data feed from Nevoa has been cut. The colony was orbited by a single alien dreadnought, so the enemy knows of it, but hasn’t been invaded yet, most likely due to all forces being needed on Fortaleza. Due to position of the planet, not much could be seen from there, but the fact it still stood was important in and of itself.
   If the feed was cut it means something is on the other side of the jump point, blocking the signal– almost certainly the enemy fleet.


   It’s been three weeks since the Polish force begun to picket the jump point to Escudo and it appears the front have stabilized. Whether or not the aliens know this, they cannot break through but humanity cannot counterattack.
   The situation is serious however as the fleet cannot stay indefinitely. Sooner or later it will have to retreat or to split in two and start rotating. And as Polish own Intelligence services and JTIMR point out the enemy does have the strength to deal with half of the Republican force. If they attack again in five years or so they will breach the lines and move all the way to Wrota at a minimum unless Korea joins the blockade, which they refuse to do.
   That isn’t the only problem. Escudo had three jump points. One leads to the enemy space, one leads back to human space while the other starts a loop that leads to HRCC 7609 where the current defense is being established. The good news is that it goes through the system of KRC 47723 where Brazil believes the Guardians are located, but they never confirmed this.
   The logical move would be to move one system further in, but it’s not that simple. The loop contains the planets of Santarem and Carajas. While they aren’t heavily inhabited, with population of one hundred and twenty million and one hundred and sixty million respectively, those are incredibly important mining locations. Brazil have disclosed their resource deposits to make Poland aware of the stakes and Carajas has twenty eight million tonnes of gallicte at high accessibility while Santarem has twenty four million tonnes of tritanium that is similarly cheap to extract. Those two locations are absolutely necessary for fueling the Federal military, especially now that the massive mining operation on Fortaleza de Gelo have been lost.
   To make matters worse it is unknown how well Brazilian intelligence countermeasure will work. The Federation, like the Republic, is a fairly open society and even if it wasn’t, a general information needed by a lot of people, such as general configuration of jump points, is not something that can be easily hidden. Because of that in an event of an invasion the local governments have the ability to deploy an indiscriminate virus that deletes any and all data it can while also manufacturing new, random data to drawn the enemy investigators in noise. The population is also instructed to lie as much as possible so that the invaders don’t know which piece of information is true. However this is the very first time this will be tested. As a result the enemy may know about the loop and may try to use it as quickly as possible, may know about the loop but hesitate due to Guardians or may not know about it and not explore in that direction at all. There is simply no way to know.
   Nonetheless the distances are significant enough and Polish ships are fast enough that they should be able to retreat if the enemy enters from that side. In the long term however this means two systems, rather than one, will need to be picketed.
   In the end Poland and Brazil agree to try and make it work if they can secure HRCC 7609 in the near term.
   In theory the Republic could move their space stations from Niedzica and Baszta and then set transports from Kleczanow to establish a permanent picket right away, without waiting to build any colonies in the system. However that would only take care of the ships but it would not take care of the crews. The government was aware of this and was also aware that in the future it will have to establish its own jump point defenses so they designed a new space station that would be able to take care of the crews while supporting ships up to forty thousand tonnes. And even if there was no need for such defenses they could still be used by naval bases to expand their maintenance capabilities finally allowing the Republic to expand their shipyards to build ships larger than the current battlecruisers.
   Unfortunately the shipyard is still retooling and needs two more years after which the first space station will likely need ten more years or so of construction. There isn’t enough time for that. Fortunately Brazil has a solution. When they were building up their fortifications in Escudo they were hoping to build much larger ships and bases so they were building space stations beyond what they ended up needing when the resource shortages hit. One of them has crew support module and the four of them together can support warships up to thirty six thousand tonnes. If Baszta was stripped of its stations it would have been enough to maintain the Polish fleet. It would also shorten logistical network, as Niedzica could be used as a source of spare parts and other resources rather than Kleczanow.
   The freight capacity will be an issue however. Due to the size of the Polish force and distance twenty seven freighters would be needed. The Republic can afford it, but it will impact their operations.
   Ultimately Poland is willing to do this, but they do have conditions. The first one, considered to be in everyone’s interest, is that Brazil won’t flake on them this time like they did with Escudo. In fact the Republican representatives allow themselves a very rare barb at the other nation, pointing out that if the two of them were defending together, seventeen hundred million people wouldn’t be now under kinhalan occupation. They do that not simply out of pettiness but also to drive home the point that Polish basing rights in HRCC 7609 are in everyone’s interest and not a case of Republic trying to get something out of the tragedy.
   That doesn’t however mean that Poland is willing to do all of this for free, even if they might have done so out of self interest. They have asked for rights to establish four mining colonies in Brazilian space. However they don’t have anything in mind right now. Rather whenever the Republic needs to begin new operations due to shortages, they will consider planets in the Federal space and if there will be one that is adequate, it will be granted with no limits on transit rights to and from them. Those mining colonies will not be established on planets that have been already claimed or developed by Brazil but by the same token they don’t have to be put in the systems the Federation currently controls. If they expand in the future, the new planets will also be part of the deal.
   With that the two nations begin to draw plans at building up their new defenses. The system of HRCC 7609 is renamed Resiliencia.


   The JTIMR have completed their analysis of the Fourth Invasion.
   The first part of the document deals with a small detail that may end up having enormous consequences – why didn’t the aliens use squadron transit during the first wave? They were shown to have superdreadnought sized jump vessels, so why weren’t those used? Three options are presented. The first one is incompetence, however this is mostly dismissed, due to danger of assigning this to the enemy. The second option is that it would have taken too long to construct such vessels, possibly as much as thirty or forty more years. However that would only be reasonable if the aliens knew what was waiting for them or they had some sort of internal political pressure. In the end this option is also considered unlikely.
   The third and last option is far more interesting – they couldn’t wait to build additional jump ships, because their economy couldn’t afford the wait. If the enemy couldn’t keep up their shipbuilding than it would make sense for them to strike while at their peak rather than having their fleet size static for decades while they built mere two additional vessels. The reason why majority of the officers are in favor of this explanation is that the operation was otherwise very well thought out, because human nations are constantly struggling with supplying their military with resources and because, using available figures as baseline, it should cost in the vicinity of two hundred and twenty thousand tonnes of TN minerals to simply maintain the fleet the enemy had, and that was the minimal figure.
   That last part was stunning for the various political leaders, but they quickly realized that it was a very likely scenario. While Poland wasn’t willing to disclose those figures, the maintenance of their fleet deployed at Resiliencia costs them sixty thousand tonnes of TN elements each year and it is one fifth the size of what the aliens have thrown at Escudo. Assuming kinhalans also have some sort of patrol vessels, like the Republic does, this would drive the costs even further and that doesn’t take into account the ammunition. The idea that the Unity had shortages that made them believe they have to use their fleet or fall behind seemed like the most logical explanation for what happened.
   The second part was reiteration that Brazil made an enormous mistake taking the sole responsibility for the safety of the Escudo system, although this time it came from Federal officers assigned to JTIMR while the Polish and Korean officers stayed silent on the matter.
   The next part of the document regarded the battle itself. The officers were extremely impressed with how well the interceptor sized shipkillers have performed. The initial strike of forty two thousand missiles dealt huge damage, but it paled in comparison to what the following waves have achieved both against the first and second waves. While those would be far less effective against fully engaged point defense of a concentrated alien fleet, in jump point battle those were devastating, giving enormous advantage to human forces. Fortunately Poland also had such munitions deployed on their warships.
   The JTIMR warned however of what the battle meant for static defenses in the Parana system. Many of those forty two thousand missiles that initially hit were large and had powerful eight mega tonne warheads. In short they did as much damage as nearly a hundred thousand Osa submunitions and those were enough to destroy only six superdreadnoughts. Admittedly those had very heavy armor, much more so than vessels designed for deep space combat, but assuming all Polish missiles fired from Baszta could hit, they would have likely destroyed up to ten million tonnes of alien warships, and the enemy had twenty four million tonnes. And if the alien point defense was taken into account, the static defenses were unlikely to deal any real damage.
   Hearing that one hundred and eighty thousand individual submunitions would be at most an inconvenience for an invading fleet gave the politicians a second shock, but JTIMR went ahead and calmed their fears a little. First while it is true that Poland could fire only this many in a single salvo, the Republic is currently replacing their long range missiles with new version although only three thousand were in storage. Twelve thousand more – sixty thousand submunitions – of older model was also ready. Last but not least there was also Korea. While DPRK could fire only about forty thousand missiles in a single wave, those had heavier warheads and they hopefully could strike multiple times, although this was not confirmed as Korea refused to disclose those kind of numbers. Nonetheless JTIMR warned the listeners that ammunition production for local fortifications should be improved so that even if larger individual salvos were not possible, they could fire more of them. The officers also pointed out that Brazil having ability to strike from the primary system would really help.
   Beyond that some building practices turned out to be somewhat problematic. The largest was fuel. Several battlecruisers had most of their engines intact but were disabled due to tank rapture, forcing them to be abandoned and scuttled instead of sent back to the forts so they could try and survive additional missile waves. More over any exploding engine was doing significant damage and it would probably be a good idea to move towards smaller ones, even if this will impact fuel efficiency.
   Last but not least the report recommended that the human nations should begin actually investing into their ground forces as well as their capability to transport and deploy them in order to retake conquered planets.
   That deal with tactical analysis, after which the report moved to the strategic layer and their conclusion was very simple – the aliens were winning.
   It is becoming obvious that the enemy have chosen to plan for a long war, rather than a quick victory, which is why their attacks are spaced out so much. The one time they tried to attack as soon as possible, during the Third Invasion, they were driven away without ever getting close to the inner system. As such they have chosen to focus on destroying as much industry as possible as a way to slowly gain an advantage and it’s working. Korea was essentially crippled after the Second Invasion and they are still behind and while Fortaleza wasn’t critical, economically speaking, it was still an industrialized world with significant secondary mining operations. If the aliens manag to nibble at human capacities like that every time they invade, sooner or later they will win.
   JRIMR flat out stated that the three nations must find a way to disrupt this pattern. The safest way to do so would be to find reinforcements. There are other human nations out there, that is a fact and if even one as powerful as Korea could be found it would significantly change the balance of power. The problem is no one knows where they are. Or rather the position of some colonies is known but it is unknown how to get to them through the jump points. More over even if one is found it may chose to ignore the danger or, even worse, use this situation for conquest.
   The only other way to disrupt the enemy plans would be to launch an attack. This would be enormously risky, but the enemy has the same problem humans have – they have at least two systems to protect so it should be possible to breach the alien lines if the three nations focus their resources.
   Ultimately however there is no political will for an offensive, not so soon after loss of a major system.
   After the presentation was over, the officers from the Federation and the Republic approached their governments to give the third part of the presentation, for which Korea was not invited.
   As they pointed out DPRK is trying to do their best to gain the upper hand over the other two powers and will be playing with the security of the human race to do so. They flat out stated the third nation will not partake in the defense against the aliens, hoping the other two will bleed. There is currently only one way to try and make them change their mind – to push the defensive line all the way back to Wrota. If that happens it is likely that Korea will start fortifying the system as it is critical to them as well.
   As there are only four hundred million people living in Brazilian space, they could be evacuated if given enough time, but resources would be a problem, unless the Federation could begin expanding into Polish territory.
   While it is true that this would make the most sense, Brazil is unwilling to do so. For that matter Poland isn’t so sure this would have made DPRK actually commit. The bulk of the Korean economy, including their naval shipbuilding, is now outside Parana and some speculate that they would be more than willing to let Wrota fall, believing themselves capable of defending their space alone. The Brazilians are shocked at this assertion, but some of their officers agree this may be the case.
   Ultimately on the strategic level not much will change for now. Korea will likely keep hiding while Poland and Brazil will try to hold the Federal space.
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