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Starfire / Re: Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Paul M on April 05, 2024, 09:25:29 AM »
The Chantry of Light Month 70

Starbridge Station, Lathandras Orbit, Thedas System

At last the critical technologies based on the basic research of the Circles leading Magi have reached deployment.  Laboratory research into Improved Survey Systems and an armed shuttle assault shuttle remain though the former is apparently nearing final approval.  The Shield and Pathfinders maintenance stands at 4170 MCr representing 38.3% of the Chantry's available tax base.  Ten systems now produce income sufficient to have internal commerce and Niagra has ~35% of the income of the Home system, and the next four systems in order of productivity add up to slightly more than that, so for the first time Home contributes less than 50% to the Chantry's total tax base.

The Shield's artificer staff have produced a full series of refits for the battle riders.

GRACE KNIFE R1 class CT           15 Hull    TL 3
[3] SSAZH(J)(J)QsXr(J)Kb+ [12]
15 RCP  10 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  228.5/ 34.3
HTK 11   Sx2  Ax1  Kbx1 

With this refit the Grace Knife becomes what it was intended to be, a scout ship.  It is decided to maintain its 1st generation kinetic weapon to both keep costs down but to also allow the reusing of the systems.  Further the increased range of the improved system is compensated for by the higher speed of the ships that retain the older variant.

PEACEKEEPER R1 class FG        20 Hull    TL 3
[3] SSAAZH(BbS)M2(J)(J)(J)QsDk5(J)Kb+ [12]
20 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:3        Cost =  268/ 40.2
HTK 15   Sx2  Ax2  Dk5x1  Kbx1

As the Peacekeepers function as patrol leaders it was decided after much debate to forsake their laser emitter bay for additional targeting systems and a 1st generation kinetic interceptor system.  It was also decided to maintain the class with the older kinetic projector as was done with the Grace Knife's.   

FEARLESS R1 class DD           30 Hull    TL 3
[4] Sx3AAZH(J)(J)(J)L(J)Ki+LhQDk5(J)Ki+ [10]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  402/ 60.3
HTK 18   Sx3  Ax2  Dk5x1  Lx1  Kix2 

The refit to the Fearless incorporates both the new generation of kinetic weapondry but also an interceptor.  It is intended to produce a leader variant which will solve the current issue with insufficient targeting capacity or to begin using Swiftsures as Fearless leaders.

SWIFTSURE R2 class CL        45 Hull    TL 3
[4] Sx5AAZH(J)(BbM)(J)(J)(J)(J)L(J)Ki+M2(J)XrKi+LhQDk5(J)Ki+ [10]
45 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:3        Cost =  667.5/ 100.1
HTK 27   Sx5  Ax2  Dk5x1  Lx1  Kix3 

The second refit of the Swiftsure rounds out its firepower and defences.

This month a ship of each class but the Fearless enters the Starbridge's construction yards to start their refits.

Prepared by the Artificer class for prototyping is the next generation of heavy battle riders.

ENCHANTER class CA           60 Hull    TL 3
[4] Sx6Ax5ZH(J)Q(J)(BbM)(J)(J)L(J)L(J)Ki+(J)Ki+M2(J)Ki+XrLhQDk5(J)Ki+ [9]
60 RCP  40 MCP       Trg:3        Cost =  895/ 134.2
HTK 35   Sx6  Ax5  Dk5x1  Lx2  Kix4 

The Enchanter carries a quadruple kinetic rail system along it's spine coupled with a pair of laser emitter bays and an interceptor suite.  Two of these ships can be carried by a Dawnbringer and the Shield's initial plan is to build four Enchanters of which two will be operational and the second pair in mothballs.

The Pathfinder Flotillas will also be updated with the addition of a corvette sized survey vessel and in all likelyhood the number of ships per Flotilla will be revisited.
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Starfire / Re: Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Paul M on April 04, 2024, 01:35:55 PM »
The Chantry of Light Month 60

Starbridge Station, Lathandras Orbit, Thedas System

As senior officer of the Shield of Light administrative necessity meant Templar Captain Allistar Ti'lir spent all too much of his time in his office.  But at least the worries he had over the Minders of the Faith's interference in the growth of his force were for naught.  An increase in productivity and significant new settlements had reduced the fleets fraction of the budget to 43% reflecting that it was currently only 3975 MCr as little new construction had been undertaken the last months.  Critical were two ships however.

Mobile Construction Dock class FT5           45 Hull    TL 1
[3] SA(SYM)Hx5(BbS)Hx4Jc1Jc1HQsJc1 [3]
45 RCP  55 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  367.2/ 16.3
HTK 20   Sx1  Ax1 

The Mobile Construction Dock is the first of a pair of designs that will enable higher mobility construction in Chantry space.

DAWNBRINGER class CVS            45 Hull    TL 1
[2] Sx6H(BbM)Jc1@x14Jc1LhQJc1 [3]
45 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  712.5/ 106.9
HTK 27   Sx6 

The Dawnbringer is the larger cousin to the Lord of Morning Class.  It is capable of transporting 140 HS worth of battle riders through the Fade.  This would enable it to carry two of the largest possible hull types the Chantry believes to be possible to construct.

The first MCD is on station in Kingston and has begun construction of a Relay class base.  Two such bases exist in the home system with a third under constuction.  In Ottawa a Relay base is nearing completion.  These bases when complete will link the first 2 out-system settlements with the homeworld with near real time communication times.  The prototype Dawnbringer is approximately a third complete.

The focus was on developing technologies allowed by the Circles recent advance.  Funded so far were:  Long Range Sensors, Improved Kinetic Projector, 1st Gen Kinetic Interceptor and Tractor Beam.   The Shield and Pathfinders were waiting on the hardware to be ready for mass deployment rather than laboratory tests before further expansion. 

One of the biggest current issues for the Minders of the Faith though was the general quality of habitable worlds found of late.  Kitchner has a single planet, Wastes,...which is marginally habitable and lacking in mineral wealth, Renfrew has three worlds (Trial, Canticle, Pastoral) but Trial is the same as Wastes, while the other two, although they enjoy a compatible biome to Home, are utterly lacking in mineral deposits of significant worth.  Wallkirk in Welland is marginal in terms of habitability but average in mineral worth.  Quinte has Ravina a world of harsh climate but significant mineral wealth but the other world, Contrition, while having a mild climate is like Canticle in utterly lacking valuable minerals.   Also Quinte is a month transit time from Home so marks in its own way a border.  It also will require a further patrol squadron's deployment once a patrol squadron is available.

The Pathfinders four Flotillas are busy trying to explore beyond the Chantry's inhabited worlds but progress has been slow if steady.  Three Fold points in Sarnia remain un-probed as exploration of Welland and Quinte were prioritised. 
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Starfire / Re: Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Paul M on April 03, 2024, 12:09:44 PM »
The Chantry of Light Month 52

Starbridge Station, Lathandras Orbit, Thedas System

Templar Captain Allistar Ti'lir flicked his fingers changing the holodisplay's projection.  So far his requests for funding had all been approved but the cost of maintaining all the ships active currently had reached 3917 MCr, nearly 50% of the tax income available to the Chanty's Minders of the Faith and they were getting restless.  Hopefully, the reports from the various Circles researching new technologies would provide another economic boost and reduce the impact of the Shield and Pathfinders on the overall budget.  The last report looked promising at any rate.  A few finger swipes sorted the income from the various colony systems and though it was the homeworld that provided the bulk of the income it was largely consumed by the maintenance bill, and so in fact the colonies were funding both research and their own expansion.

Of his four newest battle riders, the Swiftsure CL, two were fully refit and the other two were in the yards getting refit to the new R1 standard.

SWIFTSURE R1 class CL            45 Hull    TL 2
[4] Sx5Ax3H(J)(BbM)(J)(J)(J)L(J)L(J)Kb+M1(J)Kb+LhQ(J)Kb+ [10]
45 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:2        Cost =  549.5/ 82.4
HTK 26   Sx5  Ax3  Lx2  Kbx3

The first refit of the Swiftsure class adds the newly developed targeting computers to the enable it to efficiently split fire from its laser bays and spinal kinetic projectors. 

Currently the Shield has 8 squadrons of carriers and battle riders.  A flick of his fingers and a map of local space showed up, the 1st thru 3rd Squadrons formed the bulk of his force.  Two patrol squadrons (4th and 5th) were deployed in the colonies patrolling between the inhabited planets.  The 6th Squadron was deployed in his security nightmare...Sarnia had a total of 12 areas where Folding space was possible.  The system before it Ottawa had six outgoing Fold points.  Two luckily went to systems with no further outgoing Fold points but the other 3 had a total of 9 outgoing Fold points which added to Sarnia's 12 gave 21 further exploration loci.  The Pathfinders 1st and 3rd Survey Flotillas were busy but it would take them time to determine what there.  At the moment the Chantry was tied together via a network of drones and mail carrying civilian craft.  But the first of the relay stations was now active at the Fold point between home and Ottawa.

RELAY class BS0           10 Hull    TL 2
[1] A(CC)HQs(BbM) [ 0 ]
10 RCP  15 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  153/ 7.7
HTK 5   Ax1 

The Relay base is intended to link systems with a high power communication array for in system comm traffic and a set of reusable short range Fold capable drones to link to another Relay base on the other side of the Fold point it is stationed at.

That Fold point also had 3 Sentry's orbiting it.

The 7th Squadron with its two refit Swiftsures was on station at the homeworld.

Two further Survey Flotillas explored the chain of systems connected to the other two Fold points.  Down one was 4 inhabited system including the one holding Promise, Dale and Blight, Niagra.  That system was approximately 25% as productive as the homeworld due to 2 asteroid belts and Promise's concentrated mineral wealth and near perfect climate and biome.  The other Fold point in the Homeworld lead to Toronto a collection of rock, gas and ice and so far the 3 outgoing Fold points had discovered nothing else...or in one case less than nothing as the passage through the Fade placed the vessels in a starless void, where currently the 4th Pathfinder Flotilla was surveying.
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Starfire / Re: Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Starslayer_D on March 29, 2024, 03:40:47 PM »
Turn 60 Pachy Patrimony

Income 13428 MCr this month. A new level of technological development was reached last month. The lore masters report that in addition to the long range scanners we are developing improved kinetic projectors adn kinetic projectile interceptors this month, leaving only a small amount for new industrial investment after maintenance costs were covered.

A new ship class has beel laid on keel and is being prototyped, a heavy cruiser.

CA LIONCRUSHER class CA            60 Hull    TL 3
[4] Sx5Ax5H(BbS)(J)(J)Q(J)Kb(J)Kb(J)Kb(J)Kb(J)Kb(J)M2KbLhQKb(J) [9]
60 RCP  40 MCP       Trg:3        Cost =  771/ 115.7
HTK 32   Sx5  Ax5  Kbx7 

Class names have been changed to better conform to our racial sense of self.

CVE VELDTTREKKER class CVE           30 Hull    TL 1
[2] Sx5HJc1Qs@x9QsJc1 [3]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  461/ 69.2
HTK 19   Sx5 
15 in service

CL SHIELDBEARER II class CL            45 Hull    TL 2
[4] Sx4Ax3H(BbS)(J)Kb(J)Kb(J)(J)(J)Kb(J)KbM1(J)QLhKb(J) [10]
45 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:2        Cost =  540.5/ 81.1
HTK 25   Sx4  Ax3  Kbx5 
4 in service

DDC WARRIOR class DD            30 Hull    TL 1
[4] Sx4Ax4HQs(J)(J)(J)Kb(J)(CIC)QsKb(J) [10]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  360/ 54
HTK 19   Sx4  Ax4  Kbx2 
4 in service.

FG CHARGER class FG            20 Hull    TL 1
[3] SSAAH(J)(J)Kb(J)QsKb(J) [12]
20 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  208/ 31.2
HTK 12   Sx2  Ax2  Kbx2 
9 in service

Other ship classes unchanged in name and number.

SS5 SHIELD class SS            671 Hull    TL 1
[1] Sx100Ax100QQ(SY)Qx3LhH(SY)(BbL)(SY)(CHS)(SY)Kbx8(CIC)(SY)LhQ

671 RCP  29 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  4423/ 48.5
HTK 270   Sx100  Ax100  Kbx8 
2 build, 1 under construction.

The right hand shield bearer reports that we currently have
4 CL, 16 DD, 9 FG, 54 ES, 6 EX, 15 CVE in service, joined by a mobile shipyard, two space stations and 4 BS1 as tripfires in the Pangaea system.
A total of 3900 MCr is spend on maintenance, representing a low percentage of our total incoma after the recent economic boom phase.
1 CA, 2 CL and one space station are currently under construction, and more mobile construction units are planned as soon as machine shops have been developed, allowing the buildup of warp point watches in other systems.
Three patrol groups are currently watching over the three main warplines, each consisting of a Warrior DD and three frigates on a CVE. The other ships form the Club of the Warrior fleet guarding our world.


(Overall I'd say that development this time around is slower than for the Thebans, given we just reached TL2 and income just crested the 10k MCrs... also, no NPCs yet found except 1 pre-ind population whose fate will depend on how desirable their world is. Harsh very poor they are welcome to it, benign very rich.. off to the reservation you go, mirroring the RL historical practice all too closely.
We could have gotten along somewhat farther, but I managed to dsitract myself by further pursuing the Pachys early world history and writting several snipped about events and personal experiences of various elephants they happen to in their conflict with the humanoids who shared the rich plains with them. But I'm not sure about posting them here as they are definitely not Starfire, but sure handle environmental effects of a beginning civilization which skipped a few steps due to racial conflic effects, going from ice age stone age to industrial scale metallurgy with global warming in short time. War is the mother of invention and the father of unimaginable horrors).
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Starfire / Re: Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Starslayer_D on March 29, 2024, 01:45:09 AM »
First time Heinrich Müller meet an Pachyderm on a trading outpost, he was taken a bit aback by what he saw. Take an elephant, slim him down and shorten him to about eight feet of shoulder height, with an oversized cranium and a very flexible trunk with prehensile, multiple-split lips, and a coat basically covered in wide brimmed pouches hanging over his back, shoe-ed in soft rubber soled socks calmly sucking a drink from a bucked on the table. Makes you want to sober up or order another drink. But then the translator software kicks in adn you get to chat with the fellow, and he's almost like a regular fellow sharing the bar with you. He's wearing a harness with two slender smart robotic arms extended from the harness, upon command positioning themselves to grasp whatever the trunk pushed into their grippers, allowing for very fine manipulation of objects. Further attached to the harness is a polished metalic insignia, and he wonders why one is showing a large club and a shield, which leads to a nice discussion about where such signs came about. 


On the origin of the people you ask me traveler among the stars? That is lost in tales an legend, like the first groove. But you asked, and thus I will tell you of the tale.

In the beginning the people lived near the first creek, its waters sweet and its banks lined with growing green all year long. The spirits blessed the people with a quick wit, long life and tales to tell at night. Our trunks were prehensile and able to grasp fruits growing on the trees and pluck sweet grasses and life was good.
And there among the people lived a bull named Bru-Haht, he was not the largest and strongest of bulls, but he was observant and made discoveries. He found a straight branch lying on the shore of the first creek, stripped of twigs and bark by the waters, and grasped it, swinging it around playfully.
And there on the banks of the first creek grew the first JOkarus, trees of sweet shots and sweeter fruit, but the people had picked all the low growing fruits and the largest bulls uprooted the trees to get at the high branches, leaving the trees to wither and die on the ground, yielding no more sweet jokaro fruits.
And thus Bruh-Haht swung his stick in paly and pondered, and then walked to a still standing tree and used his brach to reach high and shake the fruits from the high branches, and they were sweet and full of seeds.
And as he ate the fruits, the spirits blessed Bruh-Haht with inspiration, and he had seen seeds germinate before. WHat if he took the seeds, who were hard and not sweet toeat anyway, and scattered them across soft soil? would eh not have sweet shots and and growing trees then?
And so he did, and watched over his patches of seeds and sweet shots and only plucked those growing too close to each other, and waited, chasing away animals and other people with his branch, as it gave him power to harm without meeting the tusks of larger bulls.
And the spirits smiled on him, as then the jokara blossomed all year and yielded fruit every day.
And as he over the years hand many jokara trees growing under his watch, he had many wives flocking to him and children aplenty. Children who ate the sweet fruits and thus had time to play and make discoveries instead of foraging all the time growing up. And thus the first groove was planted, and grew, and the people thrived on the shores of the first creek and Bruh.Haht is remembered by the people in legend forevermore as the first Guardian of the Groove.

And the years went by and Bruh-Haht passed away and is honored forevermore, untill one day the great bull wandered by and shock the earth with his step and trampled the first source and the first creek fell dry and watered the groove no more and the people hungered, thirsted and thus were scattered over the plains carrying seeds with them and where they found water, planted jokara and watched over them. And as the jokara away from the first groove no longer bore fruit all year, the people learned to plant other fruit and grasses to tide them over untill summer, when the sweet fruits blessed them again.

But away from the first groove, life was harsher, and other creatures hunted the people. There was the leopard, who lurked in trees and dropped down on calves and tore out their throat, and hid back in the branches again. But the people had learned use branches to shake fruits from trees, and shaking sleeping jaguars from trees was easy for the powerful bulls, and thus the jaguars were trampled.
Then there were the fierce lions, gathering in prides and as large as young-lings, with sharp claws and powerful jaws, and they hunted younglings and hid in the veldt. But the bulls gathered and worked together and charged the lions den and trampled the lions untill they hunted the people no more.
Most terrefying though were the willy plains apes, who like the people used sticks and sharp stones and discovered teh secrets of fire. They were not the fastest, or strongest, but they were clever and nimble, dancing around the people and inflicting small wounds, untill like a horde of ants to a large beetle they overwhelmed a bull with their numbers. But the people were stronger, and where a bull stepped, a plains ape was crushed. Thus the people and the apes fought over the plains. Then the apes learned how to throw sticks, and bound sharpened stones to the tips, hiding in cliffs and atop mountains only to come down to hunt the people. And Ashrat-Tam the first shield bearer pondered what to do, and took the felxible shots of a water watcher tree, adn wove them together into a shield, and this was able to block thrown sticks. And the bulls came together and found that now they were able to ward off the thrown sticks, but they then had to charge down the plains apes and trample them, as they couldn't yield a shield and a club at the same time. And the apes them often would plant their sharp spears in  he ground and te charging bull would impale himself. Then Ashrat-Tam spoke to Rhondat, the first warrior. "You are far stronger than me. Let me carry the shield and guard you, and you take your greatest club and smite the foe." And with a third bull, Harath the second shield bearer, they flanked Rhondat and guarded his sides and they went forth, Rhindat flailing the foe and driving them before him, until the plains held no more apes, and the people thrived and ate sweet fruit and stole the fire from the abandoned places of the apes and life was good.
It is said that back then the people were larger and stronger, but now we are smarter and more agile, our trunks able to perform feats the great warriors could only have dreamed off. And we were blessed by the spirits with ideas and the telling of tales and the people multiplied.

What  became of the apes you ask? They were driven to places the people did not go. The coast of the gerat salty seas, where they lived on mussels and fish and learned to ride the waves on rafts of wood, and sailed towards the islands in the sea, were the people could not follow in those times. There they build kingdoms and sailed the waves, to raid and trade with the daring, untill the sea rose adn drowned them.
Other fleed into the high mountains and the icy north north, slaying the gerat bears and wearing their pelt, becomming more carnivorous and stronger and fierce, master of fire and metall, only travelling forth to trade with the people for hard wood and fruits and feathers. So great was their mastery of fire it is said that they melted the great ice, uncovering vast swaths of land untill the melt filled the seas and drowned the isles of their sea-born kin.
But most terrible was the place of soft stone, where the apes learned to dig and ground out great mazes of tight caves, denying the bulls place to reach them. Ever delving deeper and deeper, untill their skin grew pale and their eyes grew huge and glowed in the dark like a cats. Creeping forth at night and laying herds in their sleep, they became a terror of the dark places, goblins of the night. They dug untill they found the black stone, burning it untill the smoke casta  pall over the land and the trees grew sickly under their domain, untill they smelted ore in the ehat of their kilns and forged cruels weapons of iron to bring war over the people.  Thus the age of strife and heroes was born, and the deeds were many and the innovations of the people without count, building the foundations of our civilizations as we strove to dig them trodlodytes out of their fastness, digging faster than their multitude.
We learned the way of metals from the polar apes, who kept the peace and abhorred their delving kin who turned even upon them. We learned how to form armies and build walls and fortresses and catapults, how write down our thoughts adn spread ideas, how to govern and organize.
The tales to be toled are many, too many to tell you now.
And if not for the people spreading all over the world and gathering its riches, we may not have prevailed over the place of soft stone. Only with alchemy and gun powder the people finally managed to overcome the mazes of stone and poisons and fires wich guarded the fell place, and trample down the troglodytes.
By that time we had cities and states and cast our gaze to the stars... but how we reached them is another story, and is more ancient history than legend.

(Inspired by having elephants use tools, be a little smaller and the stone age cavern cities on turkey. Hmmm... allmost souds like a setting oen could expound more upon there.. even ore-starfire. The pachyderms are not rigellians, they were not traumatized into genocidal mania by their experience, as thy in the end aranged themselves at elast with a part of the humanoinds wich they share their world with, but it gives a legend and soem colour to their background for future storytelling. :) ).
(Further edited to mention the manipulator helpers which cover a blatant weakness of the racial physology.)
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Starfire / Re: Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Paul M on March 28, 2024, 11:02:06 AM »
The Chantry of Light Month 40

Thedas System

Dawn on Lathandras was greeted by the Chant of Light and the Minders of the Faith like all other prelates of the Chantry raised their voices in joy as the sun broke the horizon.  Leaving the statues adorning the hall itself to the lesser members of their order they retired to a meeting room to look over the reports from their new colonies, the Shield of Light and Pathfinders.  Currently they were shipping undesirables, apostates and others to Blight to tame the wilderness there.  The other colonies were reporting nothing but good news and a heavy investment in planetary infrastructure was ongoing.

The Pathfinders were expanding to a third survey flotilla, which was currently surveying to reduce the darkness around one of their earliest colony worlds Neo.  A Sustainer and 6 Seekers were shaking down in orbit while 6 more Seekers were making their way to join the fleet currently surveying.  The first of the new large battle riders, the Swiftsure, was still in orbit awaiting her sister ship and the Lord of Morning class carrier she needed to Fold through the Fade.  This month saw them started as well as more communication buoys for use in tieing the worlds of the Chantry together via the new courier drone network.

Pathfinder Ships

SUSTAINER class FT4           30 Hull    TL 1
[3] SSAAH(BbL)H(BbL)X(BbL)H(BbL)HJc1QLhQJc1Jc1 [4]
30 RCP  270 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  296/ 44.4
HTK 19   Sx2  Ax2 

Command ship of a survey fleet, optimised to speed up habitable world surveys and to function as a logistics ship.

SEEKER class ES            12 Hull    TL 1
[2] SSAXHLQsJc1 [4]
12 RCP  13 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  140/ 21
HTK 8   Sx2  Ax1  Lx1 

Standard exploration vessel.  Equipped with Jump Hook engines to allow solo Folding.

Shield of Light Ships and Bases

The protective forces of the Chantry.  Current Dispositions are:
1st, 2nd and 3rd Squadrons moving in patrol near the home world.  4th and 5th Squadrons moving in patrol among the outer colony worlds.

LORD OF MORNING class CVE            30 Hull    TL 1
[2] Sx3HJc1Jc1@x9LhQJc1 [4]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  458/ 68.7
HTK 18   Sx3 

Standard jump carrier of the Shield.  Can carry one of four standard squadrons:  Two Swiftsure CLs, or 3 Fearless DDs (1st SQN), or 1 Fearless and 3 Peacekeeper FGs (2nd SQN), or 1 Fearless and 4 Grace Knife CTs (3rd SQN).  A patrol squadron consists of 2 Peacekeeper FGs and 3 Grace Knife CTs (4th/5th SQN).

GRACE KNIFE class CT            15 Hull    TL 1
[3] SSAAH(BbS)(J)(J)Qs(J)Kb+ [12]
15 RCP  10 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  150.5/ 22.6
HTK 11   Sx2  Ax2  Kbx1 

The basic battlerider used for light combat or scouting duties is basically a thrust cluster added around the core of a spinal kinetic gun.

PEACEKEEPER class FG            20 Hull    TL 1
[3] SSAAH(BbS)(J)(J)(J)LQs(J)Kb+ [12]
20 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  218/ 32.7
HTK 13   Sx2  Ax2  Lx1  Kbx1

Intended as a heavy escort or secondary command vessel for light patrol squadrons the ship adds a laser emitter bay to its spinal mounted kinetic weapon.

FEARLESS class DD            30 Hull    TL 1
[4] Sx4AAH(J)(J)(J)L(J)(BbM)LhQKb+(J)Kb+ [10]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  346/ 51.9
HTK 18   Sx4  Ax2  Lx1  Kbx2 

The current command vessel of all heavy squadrons.  It has twin spinal mounted kinetic projectors and a single bay of laser emitters.

SWIFTSURE class CL            45 Hull    TL 1
[4] Sx5Ax4H(J)(BbM)(J)(J)(J)L(J)L(J)Kb+(J)Kb+LhQKb+(J) [10]
45 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  541.5/ 81.2
HTK 26   Sx5  Ax4  Lx2  Kbx3

The latest battle rider to enter service.  It mounts a massive spinal array of 3 kinetic projectors backed by twin bay mounted laser emitters. 

SENTRY class BS1            25 Hull    TL 1
[1] Sx5AAHLKbQs(BbM)Kb [ 0 ]
25 RCP       Trg:1        Cost =  220/ 11
HTK 13   Sx5  Ax2  Lx1  Kbx2 

The Sentry is intended to protect either Fold point location or planetary orbitals.
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Starfire / Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play
« Last post by Starslayer_D on March 28, 2024, 10:04:03 AM »
Pachidermal Patrimony Power Play

Hello everyone, it's been a while, and thus Paul and I got twitchy about doing some more starfire after the last campaign bogged down in the usual 'things got to big to be easely resolved' around turn 269.. wich admitedly is far longer than a norma campaign runs.
At least the big bad had allmost reached TL 12 and resolving double-blind without several rooms and tables you could elave alone for a month or three... well.
Anyway, we decided to try a new things.
We kept the 10 turn growth intervall with reduced overall population growth, havled reseach and build rate as that had worked out beautyfully.

But... some database edit later, we had adopted the Alkeda Dawn tech tree from SM#2, and put AD flags on all aliance tech and debuted a new campaign while I visited Paul for easter holi8days. So now, three days in our empires reached TL2 and the campaign reached turn 40.

So far a few things have been learned. Survey was a slow start for both of us, and survey luck was very, very different for erach of us. Paul found 17 warp point in two systems, and is bogged down  suveying around them, leaving his othe two warp chains terra incognito, while I'm now pushing five systems out in very linear arangements.

Cost ways, AD saves on magazines and TL2 only hs 4 systems, but on the otehr hand the jump carriers are eating maintenancem being by far the most expensive ship type.

RNG gifted me with an elephant as racial picture, snd so I ran with it. Sure peopele will need a thick skin for heavy puns if I keep running with the theme. *grins*.


Anyway, CLs are beinmg prototyped, and Mx and CC are stillbeing developped, so no TL2 designs yet.

Fleet Rooster:
10*DD, 3*FG, 54*ES, 6*EX, 10*CVEm 4*BS1, 2*SS and various noncompabatnts

CVE CON DOIN class CVE            30 Hull    TL 1
[2] Sx5HJc1Qs@x9QsJc1 [3]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  461/ 69.2
HTK 19   Sx5 
(one size fits all CVE)
   
DDC TOMAS class DD            30 Hull    TL 1
[4] Sx4Ax4HQs(J)(J)(J)Kb(J)(CIC)QsKb(J) [10]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  360/ 54
HTK 19   Sx4  Ax4  Kbx2 
(Fleet command vessel)

DD MILAMBER class DD            30 Hull    TL 1
[4] Sx3Ax4HQs(J)(J)Kb(J)Kb(J)QsKb(J) [10]
30 RCP  20 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  336/ 50.4
HTK 18   Sx3  Ax4  Kbx3
(Main battle line)

FG NAKOR class FG            20 Hull    TL 1
[3] SSAAH(J)(J)Kb(J)QsKb(J) [12]
20 RCP  5 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  208/ 31.2
HTK 12   Sx2  Ax2  Kbx2 
(auxiliary combatant)

ESX CALIN class ES            10 Hull    TL 1
[3] HX(J)L(J)Qs(J) [15]
10 RCP  15 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  161/ 24.2
HTK 7   Lx1 
(survey vessel, and highly mobile Idew-L in a pinch) 

ESX-SH ASHEN SHUGAR class ES            10 Hull    TL 1
[3] H(J)(BbM)X(BbM)(J)Qs(J) [15]
10 RCP  15 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  161/ 24.2
HTK 8   
(habitable world survey vessel, 3 per exploration fleet))

WP PROBE DRAKEN KORIN class EX            7 Hull    TL 1
[2] AAHXQsJc1 [4]
7 RCP  18 MCP       Trg:1        Cost =  87/ 13.1
HTK 6   Ax2 
(survey command is so happy with this ship class....)

I had  CT class planned, but discovering that FG are kusta s fast with tactical engines nixed the class so far. I guess I'll go with a L-armed frigate to compliment the line-up instead).
8
Terpla'ns / The Hokum - Chapter 7.5
« Last post by Zume on January 10, 2024, 07:35:34 PM »
With the advance of the Terpla’ns and their allies deeper into Axis space the ISN, with the approval of Emperor Valsur, recalled two-thirds of the Expeditionary Fleet in Tire Iron back to the Whel system. The remaining third had been refitted with the latest equipment, keeping company the bases and automated weapons guarding the Tire Iron/Bedrock warp point. The rest of the ships are slated to be refitted in Whel, and from there will be divided between Lord Admiral Jocelin’s Frontier Fleet and Segment Admiral Calixto’s Strike Fleet.

On board her flagship Watch Tower Lord Admiral Janus was in her ready room, located next to the combat information center, going over a report with Commander Aulus, an intelligence officer. Janus’ senior staff stayed in Tire Iron to assist the new commander of the Expeditionary Fleet, Segment Admiral Ush. Having been a junior officer of Janus’ staff since the capture of Crimson Expanse, Aulus had a good read on Janus and offered a concise opinion. “In combination with the other reports from the Terpla’ns, the Presidio believes the Commonwealth is taking a pause in their various routes of advance. They had admitted to heavy losses in securing the Gymnasium system, as well as the extended logistical routes and the need to reinforce the defenses of the Kerama Retto system.”

“They still had no luck in securing a more informative database from the two incursions the Axis made in that system,” Janus observed. “Blue giants have been known to host a good number of warp points. Unfortunately, the previous incursions at Kerama Retto have been from closed warp points. The Terpla’ns must invest more in the way of mobile forces to blunt any more incursions.”

“Speaking of incursions, Admiral, we’ll be entering the Crimson Expanse system tomorrow morning. Will we pick up personnel slated for return to the Imperium?”

“Yes. In my orders we’re picking up Region General Ronon. Together we’ll be heading to the capital after our ships are docked at Whel. The Emperor decided that the Co-Belligerent relationship that existed between the Commonwealth and the Imperium must be formalized into a proper military cooperation treaty. Ronon and I will assist in drafting the treaty as well as become members of the Joint Allied Coordination Council.”

“The Emperor values your opinion and experience, Admiral.” Aulus brought up a warp point map on Janus’ desk display. “The raider group operating behind our lines is continuing to pose a problem for us. Depending on how well stocked they are in mine-clearing munitions, as well as supplies, they could further disrupt shipping routes. Not only for us, but for our Terpla’n allies in the Blood Pride system.”

“Our allies have been informed about that group, Commander. The Ampere warp points have been mined. As for us, Com-2 and Com-3 have been mined, as well as Com-8, 9, 10, Stone Wash and Com-12.” Janus pointed to the mentioned system icons on her desk display. “I have advised the Presidio that the mining effort be extended to Redwire, Com-16 and Com-7. Afterwards, all the other systems involved will be mined to the extent that will force the raider group to ration their mine clearance munitions and EDMs. The result is that they must move all their ships into a selected depleted minefield patch to clear it. Hopefully that will mean they will incur damage past their shields, either depleting their supplies or forgoing repairs. I have strongly suggested that 20% of all the mines be of the antimatter kind, further exasperating the raider group’s problems.”

“That will require the construction of thousands of additional mine patterns, Admiral. All new ship construction will have to be suspended for months to enact that plan.”

“Something that Emperor Valsur is aware of, Commander. The minefields in Tire Iron, Laser Burn, and Crimson Expanse will be drawn down to facilitate the plan. If anything, it will make the task element assigned to hunt them down easier. All other forces involved in the search are being routed to Jocelin and Calixto. A feint into any Com Pocket system will result in all the warp points connecting to the system of origin to be mined more extensively.” Janus chuckled. “Any fears of a Bonehead suicide charge towards Whel or even Blood Pride for that matter will come to naught. I received a message from the Presidio earlier this morning. It contained some interesting news from our allies.”

The display of the Com Pocket warp lines was replaced with that of one that originated in Metalstorm, linking to Abyssal-019, BRB-1 and ending in Solid State. “As you recall, an Axis task group that entered Solid State several months ago decided to retreat into BRB-1. Since reclaiming this warp chain, the Terpla’ns have been trying to locate that task group and its support ships. Six weeks ago, they found them in Abyssal-019.”

“A difficult enough task in any system, and even more so in a starless nexus. How did they manage it?”

“Luck played its part, Aulus. Also, our allies used a random number generator that included historical dates in Comensal history to come up with locations. So equipped, they found the ships five light hours from the 019/BRB-1warp point. There was no combat, however, as the ships were abandoned.” The incredulous look on Aulus’ face made Janus raise her left back hand. “It’s an out of the blue occurrence, but it’s true. They could’ve gone back into Metalstorm and die in a blaze of glory. Instead, they went to a predetermined point in a starless nexus where the crews simply left their ships.” Janus pushed a datapad towards Aulus. “Take it. I’ve given you clearance to read the report. I’d expect to hear your observations tomorrow at the morning officer’s mess.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Sloop-class scout, Kettle Horn, approached the inert formation of Axis ships after spending an hour circling at the range of 12 light-seconds. There were no active sensors probing the little ship, and no replies to the calls made on common Axis frequencies. Closer in, the types of ships were defined. It matched the report by the Hokum months earlier: three fleet carriers, six light carriers, two small carriers, a pair of battlecruiser hulls, five heavy cruiser hulls, three light cruisers, and twelve destroyer hulls. There were support ships as well; six dreadnaught-hulled freighters, six CA-sized freighters, four destroyer-sized freighters, two battlecruiser-sized and two light cruiser-sized repairs ships. They had retreated from Solid State, and the search had focused on BRB-1, Ampere and Abyssal-019. Now that search was over.

With shields down it was easy for the scout to probe the ships. No life signs, no power, and all the external airlock hatches and shuttle bay doors were open to space. Kettle Horn’s captain sent over his marine contingent, 20 strong, over to one of the fleet carriers. Using a pair of airlocks, the suited marines made their way to the hanger decks along the utterly deserted passageways. They noted how all the hatches were manually locked in the open position, and that no loose material was floating in the zero-g environment. Once in the hanger spaces they found the fighters situated on their launch cradles, sans external armament. Next came the magazine spaces where particular care was taken to detect traps. What they found was that the magazines had jettisoned some of their ordnance at some point, for the disposal chutes were still open.

Control spaces, such as the bridge, engineering, damage control, life support and flight ops were inspected next. Again, empty, and the crew mess decks and quarters were devoid of any signs of haste. In all it appeared that the crew cleaned and attended to the interior of the ship as if an inspection was scheduled. Even the cargo holds and food lockers were prepped so that storage box contents were protected from the vacuum of space.
 
All signs pointed to the ship being mothballed in situ. In the normal manner, however, all consumables, munitions and other equipment would’ve been removed. Everything remained on the carrier, even the insulated water tanks were filled, as if the missing crew would come back at any moment. The marine lieutenant followed a hunch and checked the vac suit lockers. Save for the helmets, they were all empty. He then has his marines inspect the airlocks, using batteries to power the control panel. Data was extracted, and the last entries of the two airlocks inspected had security footage. With revulsion he saw Comensal crewmembers in vac suits, with no helmets, open the exterior airlock hatch using the emergency handle and blown out into open space. It was even more gruesome when the hanger and shuttle bay recordings were found as most of the crew departed the carrier in that manner.

By the time a task element reached the Kettle Horn the marines had inspected eleven more ships, six of them freighters. On two of the freighters there were signs of violence. At the airlock of one freighter a wall was marked with laser pistol fire. In the other there were copious blood stains at the hatch controls for the shuttle bay. Clearly not all Comensal were willing to commit regulation suicide, or not at least in this manner, perhaps wanting to die in combat instead.

As far as it could be determined the ships inspected had their databases intact, apart from transit data prior to the re-entry to 019 having been erased. It was later estimated that the task group had enough consumables to last three months. Conceivably they could’ve gone to Metalstorm and tied down Terpla’n forces. Yet they hadn’t. The conclusion proposed by the Kettle Horn captain was that faith in their own superiority was so great that the Comensal decided to preserve their ships so that follow-up forces could reactive and use them again quickly, rather letting them deteriorate into useless scrap.  A tug was detached from a support group to tow the ships to a spot one light-minute distant from the Abyssal-019/BRB-1 warp point, to be readily accessible when the decision on their final fate is made.

----------------------------------------------------------

“Commander Aulus, what are your deductions from the report?” asked Janus in the officer’s mess the following morning, pushing away an empty plate to the center of the table.

“I’ll have to agree with Professor Alba’s observations on Comensal psychology, Admiral. The conditioning of Comensal young to obey authority is comprehensive. I surmise the two incidents of violence on the ships could’ve either been an expression of martial zeal, in that the personnel involved wanted to die in combat, even against their fellow crewmates, or an example of insufficient resolve.”

“Resolve?”

“It could be as simple as those Comensal that didn’t measure up for serving on warships are instead placed on auxiliaries where any shortcomings in ‘resolve’ can be managed by officers and senior NCOs.”

Janus’ back pair of hands were in front of her, steepled in a single of contemplation. “An interesting opinion. We’ll be orbiting Crimson Expanse for three days. You can visit Alba and see if captured Comensal personnel records have anything describing a ‘resolve deficiency’. Some use may come from it, especially regarding boarding actions on freighters.”

“Hopefully so, Admiral. Under the right circumstances, we can coax surrenders instead of fighting them to the last man. On the brighter side, the Terpla’ns, in their report, have offered to give us that task group. Those ships will make a fine addition to the fleet.”

Janus nodded. “The Presidio, on the behalf of the Emperor, will no doubt accept that offer. However, given all the other recovery operations in Axis space, and the planned mining effort in the Com Pocket, it will be some time before mobile yards are dispatched to Abyssal-019. The ships will be modified just enough to permit operation with a skeleton crew and then sent to Whel for final conversions. That is why I believe the raider group in the Com Pocket will impose on themselves the same fate that the task group did. Retaining just enough supplies that, in their hope, an Axis relief force will find and reactive them and be put back in action.”

“Admiral, I wonder if the Axis crews that sacrifice themselves in this manner don’t consider themselves dead, but going on duty in the spirit realm?”

“Ships haunted by their dead crews would be par for the course in a horror video, Commander. It’s just as well captured ships are exorcised by our priests. An old custom from our history, but one that puts our crews’ minds at ease.”

-------------------------------------------------------------

Tebes Norsencu worked the compact control panel on the desk with practiced hands. He had secreted that desk into the space underneath the paneled stairwell of his home. He was a member of the resistance, and his task was to monitor Axis civilian communication traffic between Eloto and Evergreen, the two habitable planets in the Elotoshani system. His receiving antennae was embedded into the interior of his chimney, something that took time and a considerable bribe to the contractor to keep his silence. So equipped, and well versed in code breaking, Tebes was able to listen to what the boneheads were doing.

The true hub of Axis activity in the system was the space station orbiting Evergreen. It had the mass of 16 battleships and hosted 10 standard shipyard slips and 6 smaller ones. That station was tasked to construct prefabricated base components, auxiliaries such as freighters, munitions of all sorts, and the occasional warship, though no larger than destroyers. In contrast, the station over Eloto was scarcely more massive than a dreadnaught, and its single shipyard constructed corvettes. Tebes noted how for the past three months all newly constructed warships were being sent out without the usual one-month shake-down drill, instead doing an intensive set of drills for a week to find and correct any major issues that crop up. Because of this, the crews used civilian frequencies when reporting to the station over Evergreen. He listened as the latest trio of destroyers made their verbal reports before departing for Jemstone, a system two transits out from Gymnasium. They used the civilian radio link to the harbormaster, and it was that individual that mentioned the destination. That the boneheads spoke so casually about the destination without using code words could be chalked up to complete confidence in their encryption or that things were going so badly that an oversight on security was excusable in this instance.

Tebes changed frequencies. He listened to intra-system civilian traffic, and compared the announcements to a mental list for he never wrote anything down. Shuttle flights to the Eloto’s sole warp point had dropped to pre-war levels for the past three months. Earlier in the war practically all the minefield patterns and automated weapons at the warp point had been redeployed to other systems. Being a rear-area system, Eloto was considered secure, and the replenishment of the minefields was at a glacial pace. Now even that paltry effort was suspended as all the minefields and weapon buoys that could be produced were being shipped out of the system. All available freighters, even small ones the size of corvettes, were being used in this effort, indicating the urgent needs of the new frontline systems.
 
A final twist of the dial brought up the small craft frequency used by the Eloto station. A pinnace was scheduled to arrive, carrying hundreds of casks of Evergeen wine. The traffic controller on the Eloto station told the pinnace pilot to use the priority cargo landing cradle as the wine was slated for a celebration. Universal Victory Day was next week, a day that celebrated all the victories of the Axis, and this vintage of wine was grown from the first orchard planted by Comensal colonists on Evergreen.

Hearing that made Tebes wince and both mouths grimacing. In his pained heart he knew the Comensal didn’t plant their own grape orchards; they simply appropriated the ones from the Eloto they killed. As a boy, he grew up on Evergreen. His family ran their own wine business and grew their own grapes on several orchards. He was on Eloto, studying business administration when the war with the Axis started. He received a deferment as his g-tolerance was below the threshold. Wanting to return to Evergeen before the Axis invaded the home system, the government had banned all but the most essential transfer of personnel. So, like everyone else on Eloto, they gradually found out the fates of the Elotoshani colonies, and in hushed whispers the stories of what was happening to the survivors on Evergeen.

Tebes dared not to believe, and with an almost maniacal obsession he constructed his own radio receiver in secret. He listened in the dark of night over a period of ten years to random burst of transmissions sent from the resistance on Evergreen. The gruesome tales became less and less frequent, and in a way Tebes was thankful that he was forced to abandon his first radio receiver in the tenth year. Later, and not exactly sure how it was arranged, he was contacted by the resistance on Eloto. Using a latent mathematical talent to decrypt Axis radio transmissions, Tebes applied himself to his secret second job.

In the years that transpired he learned a great deal about Axis activity in the system, and in turn passed it on to his resistance contacts. He sensed the increasing undercurrent of tension and apprehension in the Comensal civilian com-traffic. Gymnasium wasn’t all that distant from Eloto in terms of warp lines. It was feared that when the fighting reached Eloto that the planet would be bombarded into radioactive ruin by the Axis, despite having a small Axis colony present. Tebes could only conjecture that the resistance leaders had taken that into account and had an appropriate plan ready. Later that night he composed the information gleaned from his monitoring and made it into what was commonly referred to as a bar joke. On the next meeting with his contact he will tell the joke, and in turn forward it to those that knew what words in the joke were referring to specific items of interest. Sometimes Tebes wondered if he missed his true profession of becoming a comedian instead of a future wine merchant.

-----------------------------------------------------

System Admiral Wanfel, head of the Science Development Bureau branch on Eloto Prime, was in the research center located within the Comensal enclave. He read a report on the first deployment of long-range scanner packs, developed on Eloto, in the Gymnasium system. Carried by fighters and some armed pinnaces, the packs performed as advertised, and in the process something else was learned.

The outer portion of the Gymnasium system had two gas giants with colonies and outposts on their respective moons. Coming to within 6 light-minutes of the gas giant A-5 was a small craft signature. It closed to within 2 light-minutes and stopped. From that position it apparently watched the launch and progression of A-5-2’s lunar ground base fighters towards Gymnasium Prime, heading for the first in a series of small platforms to recharge their life support. The small craft stayed past after four days, so it clearly wasn’t an armed pinnace at least. The base commander launched a trio of escort shuttles to investigate. In reply the contact came closer and then, at the distance of one light-minute, came about and retired at full tactical speed. This prompted the shuttles to do the same. Pushing their engines as they long dared, they gained only an insubstantial amount of closure.

Meanwhile an abom flotilla appeared at extreme range and closed the distance. With just six escort shuttles for defense, the base, which was nothing more than a set of fighter hangar bays, was brushed aside. Before that, however, a fight of a previously unknown type of pinnace approached the base at a range of two light-seconds. After a minute of apparent observation, the base was destroyed by missile and long-range spinal laser fire, but not before the base sent out its last message. More importantly, scans of this new pinnace were included and only by the grace of Providence that the information was loaded on the last courier drone that escaped the system. Wanfel pressed a summons button on his desk and waited for a moment.

Prime Commander Konset, Wanfel’s adjutant, entered the office and saluted. He was waved by his superior to take a seat. “You’ve read the same report. I take it you’ve reached the same conclusion?”

“Yes, Sir. It appears the aboms have made a variation of pinnace that carries a long-range sensor package. Judging from the distance the pinnace observing A-5-2 I’d say it has the same resolution of our fighter packs. Even so, a flight of such pinnaces would extend their search radius by an order of magnitude and are far less detectable than a moving ship.”

“Excellent, Konset. I will immediately send a strong recommendation to the SDB Authorization Board to have this made into a project, with our section doing the work, of course.”

Konset smiled. “Of course, Sir. I can have the technicians involved in the scanner pack project and some engineers skilled in pinnace construction hash out the preliminary requirements. Since endurance is a necessity, I’ll have them use a regular pinnace as the basis of the work.”
 
“Have them do the work on the orbital, Konset. Not one abom Eloto has ever worked or been inside it. Use the dedicated, and isolated, computers in their shuttle maintenance bay.”

“Very good, Admiral. I’m sure we’ll get approval from higher up, Providence providing.”
9
Terpla'ns / The Terpla'ns - Chapter 11.25
« Last post by Zume on June 18, 2023, 04:41:02 PM »
It has been a month since the Axis lost control of the Bedrock system for the second time. Unable to flee further into Axis space, the task force that guarded the Bedrock/Tire Iron warp point had entered the Brickyard system, albeit taking severe punishment from an antimatter minefield on the Bedrock side, laid by the Allies by a fast minelayer group. The task group was now reduced to 12 fleet and 6 light carriers, 1 DN, 6 BBs 3 BCs, 6 BCEs and 3 CLEs. The DN and BBs all had armor reduced to negligible levels with the BCs now docked to an equally sized space station over Brickyard A-2, the only lunar colony in the system, each waiting their turn for repairs as they were nearly destroyed. Only emergency repairs allowed them to reach the station at all, and they dared not land on the lunar spaceport lest they tempt Fate and be bestowed with more misfortune. The CLEs all had their armor rendered useless as well, and what internal damage they sustained was tended by emergency shipboard repairs.

In all the task force had 89 squadrons of F1 Hatchets and 12 Stiletto escort shuttles. The DN, BBs, and CLEs orbited at 1 LS distance. Keeping them company was a CAP composed of 22 Hatchet squadrons and 3 Stiletto shuttles. The carriers and BCEs stayed at 6 LS distance with external ordnance racks fitted with capital missiles armed with1st generation lasing warheads. No mines and weapon buoys were on hand, and none could be manufactured because of the repair work being done to one of the Hero BCs. The only other Axis force in the system, a trio of BCs carrying armed pinnaces and escort shuttles, along with quartet of scouts, were still engaged in hunting down CSF auxiliaries that were hiding in the outer reaches of the system.

The crews were grim. Supplies had already run out for the bigger ships, and the A-2 colony couldn’t begin to maintain much more than what was in the system prior to the task force’s arrival. While they contemplated a slow, inexorable march of system breakdowns and power failures, in the minds of the crews they knew that wasn’t going to be their fate. The enemy had no firm idea of what was in Brickyard after their many absent months. For all they knew a huge cache of supplies was on hand, perhaps enough for years and even for the construction of miniscule freighters and use them to breach the minefield in Bedrock, raiding the system and disrupting abom operations.

Such ruminations were cut short as the CSF made its attack. 400 Whale armed pinnaces made transit in a single wave, losing 64 of their number from interpenetrations. The rest swarmed the close-in ships, dividing into two groups so that one could cover the blind spot of the other. Each pinnace carried four laser packs on their external racks. Despite being transit-addled the pinnaces tore into the ships and Hatchet fighters alike. Of the 22 Hatchet squadrons 12 got their weapons active, bagging 65 Whales while two active battleships nailed 8 more. In turn the remaining Whales destroyed all the close-in ships and swatted away 52 Hatchets, resulting in all 22 squadrons losing at least 2 fighters each while 8 of those losing 3.

The second wave came in, comprised of five Avami and one Bedrock class assault carriers. The active Hatchets peeled away and were atop the warp point. Those squadrons still trying to bring their weapons online were only able to move at half speed, ending up half a light-second out. The Whales followed, and with fully stabilized systems they tore into the Hatchets as the fighters in turn went after the fifth Avami. That ship was destroyed, and the Bedrock lost its shields and one-third of its armor. As for those Axis carriers and BCEs that became active, they fired their external missiles at the Bedrock, their lasing warheads doing more damage.

In turn all the close-in Hatchets were destroyed. Those atop the warp point were either finished by laser packs and internal guns while those a little further out had been swatted by point defense fire. The three escort shuttles were also dispatched, never getting the chance to fire their weapons. 46 Shark squadrons launched from the remaining second wave carriers as they transited out as the third wave emerged, five Salyfs and another Bedrock. There have been no launches from the Axis carriers yet. 40 more Shark squadrons launched as the fourth and wave entered, comprised of six Bowman BCEs.

The Axis ships turned about, retreating at full speed as the 86 Shark squadrons formed together and pursued, followed by the Bowmen.  402 Hatchet fighters and 8 escort shuttles were launched five minutes later and held station over the carriers, patiently waiting for the abom fighters to close to within jamming range of the BCEs. Then, just outside the reach of ship-mounted point defense and jammers, the Sharks fired their external missiles. Each squadron carried 18 missiles equipped with lasing warheads. Given the range and inherent lower accuracy only a relatively few missiles from each squadron scored lasing hits. However, hits piled up. The BCEs, already having lost their armor a month earlier, were the first targets, reduced to crawling wrecks only able to make one-third maximum speed. It took 48 squadrons to accomplish the task but was worthwhile to remove the cruisers from the equation. As for the other 38 Shark squadrons they concentrated on the light carriers, starting with the ones observed to have launched 3 squadrons instead of 2. Four light carriers were crippled, and the now lighten Sharks went to the Bowmen.

On his part the Axis commander sent his Hatchets and escort shuttles back to the warp point, intent on destroying the Bowmen and as many Sharks as possible. Leaving the six BCEs and four CVLs to follow as best they could, the remaining carriers continued to the A-2 colony. A half hour later the other shoe dropped. 24 destroyers, an equal mix of Falogrens and Okados, closed on the crippled cruisers and light carriers, along with an equal number of Quagaar corvettes and escorts. Drawn from a support group they were tasked to cover, the 24 Quagaar ships were determined to extract a measure of vengeance on the Axis for the destructive bombardment of the Uan homeworld a few years earlier. The Falogrens concentrated on the BCEs first, firing capital missiles equipped with second-generation lasing heads and capital force beams, keeping the range just outside of the BCEs weapons. Once that was the done the four CVLs were beset by the Quagaar and eliminated. With engines detuned and provided guidance by scouts the allied ships went after the remaining carriers. Unarmed and with expended racks the remaining carriers separated as to grant the A-2 defenders that much more time. It took the better part of a day for all the fleeing carriers to be run down and destroyed.

The Hatchet strike reached the six Bowmen, now covered by the 86 Shark squadrons and all comprised of gun armed F2 models. Four exchanges of AFHAWKs whittled down the Hatchets while closer in point defense took care of the escort shuttles. With intact jammers in play the resulting fighter furball only saw the destruction of two Bowmen and the crippling of a third, along with the loss of 31 Sharks.

As for the A-2 colony it was handled by a Quagaar task element, comprised of three Ruby and three Pearl cruisers. The three Axis BCs at the colony, despite only having half of their interior systems up due to emergency repairs and still denuded of armor, moved at half-speed towards the Quagaar ships as soon as they entered capital missile range, escorted by 12 Hatchet fighters. The Rubies fired their spinal lasers and capital missiles armed with 2nd generation lasing warheads while the Pearls used their spinal lasers and launched fighters, equipped for dogfighting with only ECM pods as their external ordnance. Along with their own externally launched missiles the Quagaar ships easily crushed the Axis ships while only losing four fighters. The small space station was dispatched, and marine units landed on the moon and secure the colonial spaceport. Once completed the task element struck out for the outer system, heading for the first of 24 designated areas to find if any of the support ships that retreated into Brickyard over a year earlier still existed.

Meanwhile Admiral Jki executed the assault into Gravel Pit ahead of schedule. Armed pinnaces, equipped with scanner packs, had made infrequent probes and ferreted out the defenses. A shell of 600 mine patterns surrounded the Gravel Pit side of the warp point, along with a CAP of 15 Hatchet squadrons, all of them F0s, and 3 escort shuttles. At 10 light-second range were 4 Type-4 bases and were identified as the same kind used in Metalstorm, being kept company by two undersized Type-2 bases. Each Type-4 had 15 squadrons of Hatchets and nothing in the way of defenses, both passive and active. Wishing to avoid excessive fighter losses at this juncture, Jki devised an assault that would play into the preconceived notions of the Axis defenders.

As much surprised as relieved that the assault was happening the Axis warp point defenders threw themselves at the first assault wave, comprised of five superdreadnoughts. While all fifteen squadrons moved and engaged at point blank range only seven managed to get their weapons online in the first exchange. The first ship was a Gravity Well, a warp point probe ship with exceptional heavy shielding and armor. It took all seven squadrons to breach the passive defenses for some relatively minor internal damage. For their part the five SDs fired mine clearance rounds from their external racks, rendering 17 patterns useless as their internal circuitry were fried by multiple nuclear detonations. Transit-addled point defense removed the three escort shuttles that had remained in the firing arc of the fifth SD. Just one base crash-launched its remaining 11 squadrons of Hatchets in this initial round.

As the first wave continued their maneuvering to achieve their exit vector back to Bedrock just three ships arrived for the second wave, all Oknib capital missile dreadnaughts. As for the last three superdreadnoughts of the first wave they were Monitors, a Humarsh design. With stabilized fire control they locked onto a base that had yet to launch its remaining fighters and let loose with a volley of 24 SBMs, all with 2nd generation lasing warheads. EDMs were of no use against such missiles, and the bases had no active defenses. 9 missiles achieved a lock-on and worked as design. Just enough damage was done so that a Hatchet armed with FRAMs was still in its bay when it collapsed, the resulting explosion utterly erasing the base from existence. All the remaining CAP Hatchets, 48, were in the blind spots of the Gravity Wells but not the of Monitors. Point-blank fire from plasma guns and point defense bagged three complete squadrons. The transit-addled Oknibs fired external mine clearance rounds and point defense, bagging 7 more mine patterns and 4 more Hatchets. Even with jamming the first Gravity Well was destroyed with the second losing over half its shielding. To their credit the other two Axis bases crashed-launched their remaining squadrons, 23 in all, and no doubt were highly motivated after seeing one of their own go up like a packet of petrol-soaked matches.

Just 14 Hatchets with ordnance remained on the warp point as the third wave emerged, again comprised of three Oknibs. Just one Hatchet fired its FRAMs before it and the other 13 were brought down by plasma and point defense fire. Together, the Monitors and the first three Oknibs crippled a fighter base. There was no fourth wave, and the remaining Gravity Well transited out. The cripple second base was taken out by the Monitors while the six Oknibs fired on the third, also crippling it.

By the time the first 11 crash-launched squadrons were within 2 light-seconds of the warp point the Monitors transited out along with one Oknib. It took the fire of one Oknib to finish off the third base while the remaining four wrecked the last one so thoroughly that no intact hanger bay was left. Thus, with tears of frustration in their eyes the pilots of the 11 squadrons missed their chance for vengeance as the five dreadnaughts transited back to Bedrock. Based on the results Jki waited two hours before sending in a solitary Whale armed pinnace to scout the environs. Apparently, some emergency repairs were done as only two Hatchets orbited the warp point. Acting on instinct the Whale crew shot down both with internal gun and external laser pack before transiting out. The wait for the last base was minuscule for just two minutes later a trio of capital missile battlecruisers and a like number of heavy cruisers built for minesweeper transited in. After dispatching the last of the bases and firing mine clearance charges to the point where the CAs could finish off the selected patch in one go, a task force of the Combined Fleet moved into Gravel Pit, heading for the Bulwark warp point. A ship was detached to search for life pods from the destroyed Gravity Well, though given the vengeful state of the Axis pilots it was highly unlikely any pod would be found. Another task force went to the four lunar colonies of the first gas giant to secure them before heading to the Abyssal 017 system.

On the way to the Bulwark warp point a flight of six escort shuttles and an assault shuttle was detected and intercepted by a task element comprised of two escort carriers and an escort destroyer. Warned by the sensor chain, the small craft poured on the coal, but the ships simply detuned their engines to keep the range and launched their F2 fighters. They had a speed advantage over the small craft, even with a full load. The small craft were carrying the pilots of the abandoned Hatchet fighters, intent on rendezvousing with a small craft carrier based on a destroyer hull sent from the Bulwark side of the warp point. Not one shuttle made it, though two Shark fighters were shot down.

Four days later, at the Gravel Pit/Bulwark warp point, Jki sent in a heavy probe comprised of 5 Singularity dreadnaughts and 60 Damage Sink explorers, the latter as a mass transit. Three of the Singularities came back, but only 24 of the Damage Sinks, sustaining losses from two consecutive mass transits and combat losses. What awaited the task force were three asteroid bases and three type-4 bases, at 1 LS and 6 LS distance respectively. A solitary full-sized type-2 base sat 9 LS out, most likely the automated weapons control base. There were no ships within detection range, and the shell of automated weapons was average at 600 mine patterns and 180 weapon buoys. All the weapon buoys were of the reusable laser type as they didn’t explode when fired, and a paltry 8 squadrons of F0 Hatchets and 5 escort shuttles formed the CAP.

As for Star Admiral Dovsol, commanding the defenses in Bulwark, she was coming to accept the fate Providence provided. Practically all her ships were recalled to Gymnasium, leaving just some scout ships and two squadrons of fleet carriers, though consigned to continue the hunt for the remnant of the abom task force hiding in the outer reaches of the system. There was some success in the preceding months provided by the abom themselves. What had to be support ships, denuded of maintenance materials, were found accompanied by singular escorts. When confronted with an appropriate force the support ships self-destructed, and the escort, always a destroyer, fled with detuned engines. All this did was to prolong its inevitable destruction, but every minute spent in such pursuits gave that much more time for the other abom ships to hide even better.

Dovsol didn’t have a long wait following the CSF probe. A wave of 200 Whale armed pinnaces transited in, followed by 60 Magnets and four assault carriers. Again, despite minefield attrition and fire control degraded by transit the Whales pounced on two of three asteroid forts, destroying them. Those Magnets that survived interpenetration fired their addled plasma guns at the third fort, which happened to have Dovsol on board, causing some shield damage. Those Hatchet CAP squadrons that became active went after the assault carriers. Dovsol’s fort fired on the Magnets, further reducing their numbers. One assault carrier was destroyed.

There was no doubt about the outcome of the battle, but Dovsol was resolute. The second wave was comprised of three dreadnaughts and three more assault carriers. Energy beams from the former licked away the fort’s shielding even as more Magnets fell to the critical number. 120 of the 180 laser buoys fired, all but killing the remaining Magnets. Those Whales that retained their FRAMs went after Dovsol’s fort, smashing what was left of the shields and armor. Further hits dealt considerable internal damage, and combined with further energy beam fire the fort was rendered useless.

With no jammer to support the remaining 26 Hatchet squadrons, and with the three minesweeping dreadnaughts of the third wave equipped with jammers of their own, the 34 Shark squadrons and the remaining Whales dispatched the Hatchets quickly. Dovsol survived the massive electrical discharges that rendered her fort impotent. The self-destruct function failed, and what few monitors remained active in the CIC allowed the admiral to watch as one more ship made transit. A liberal dousing of energy beam fire took down those few shields that were restored, and with twelve assault shuttles launched by the newcomer was all that Dovsol needed to know. She checked her service pistol as she closed the visor to her pressure suit. The fort was going to be boarded and captured. Taking a few aboms down before dying was the last thing she could do for her people.

Two weeks later had the Combined Fleet at the Gravel Pit/Abyssal-017 warp point, waiting only for a final set of reinforcement before proceeding. Just beyond Abyssal-017 was the Gymnasium system, a former possession of the Eletoshani. Based on captured records the population of the system was 100 million, spread across its habitable world and numerous asteroid and lunar outposts and colonies. Industrial potential was inferred to be considerable, as well as any defenses reinforced since the first time Bedrock was conquered.

Admiral Jki sat in the wardroom of her command battleship, the Coral Sea. With her was Captain Lanaq, her staff intelligence officer, and Commander Linus, the ISN liaison officer. Previously, Linus hoped Jki would’ve selected a dreadnaught for her command ship, not just for a more durable ship but as well enhanced amenities. He learned that the biped E’sani were used as Marines only on dreadnaughts and larger hulls as well as fleet carriers. Thus, when it came to sitting arrangements only stools and the crash frame in the CIC were initially available. It was an oversight that was quickly corrected in less than a week. The ship’s chief engineer and quartermaster constructed several chairs for the Hokum officer. After a few months Linus found the one in the wardroom to be his favorite.

“Admiral,” said Linus, looking up from the datapad he held in his front left hand, “do you expect any skirmisher forces in Abyssal-017? The distance between the two warp points is considerable, a full nine days for a battleship at cruising speed.”

Jki turned her eyes from her own display, blinking twice in rapid succession as she waited the briefest of moments for the translation software to finish. “I’d be disappointed if they didn’t, Commander. The Axis has seen enough instances where we send task elements ahead to reconnoiter for the fleet. Now, due to the fresh infusion of dedicated recon pinnaces, we can have a more extensive sensor web while reducing the hazards for the ships involved.”

Lanaq joined in. “I’m wondering how much in the way the Axis has in fixed defenses in Gymnasium. The warp points in 017 are closed, and from the records we obtained on Bedrock the Eleotoshani and the extinct Nu’Chut AIs never encountered the other in 017. So, from an economic perspective, it would make little sense for the Axis to fortify their end of the warp point in Gymnasium. Until we had captured Bedrock for the first time.”

The admiral gave Lanaq a look that Linus inferred was of stoic wisdom. “There’s little point to ponder on the imponderable until we do our probe, Lanaq. Whatever fortification plan they had would’ve been greatly accelerated after we recaptured Forger’s Gate. Speaking of acceleration, there has been good news from the other fronts. The Data Disk system has been secured, and an assault to the connecting pre-war Axis system will happen within days. Advances from Borehole and Brass Latch will ferret out any Axis formations that retreated into Gilded Wire, Tinsmith, Ohm and Impedance.”

“Sufficient to say, Admiral, those companies manufacturing minefield patterns and weapon buoys will continue to enjoy the ever-increasing demand for their products. It remains to be seen if the Axis formations hiding in those aforementioned systems are willing to die on the vine or conduct a suicidal gesture of defiance.”

“What of Kerama Retto and Battlement?” Linus injected. “With one known closed warp point in Kerama Retto it could be used again by the Axis to stage a definitive campaign to reclaim their Citadel sector.”

“A fact that will divert more resources than expected, Commander,” Jki replied. “There was a second Axis incursion into Kerama Retto. Thankfully, the second closed warp point was rather close to the first one, and the defending task group was able to handle it. The Axis did send a separate formation to engage the anchorage itself, but the defenses dispatched them, though with considerable losses.” Jki paused for a moment, suppressing the twinge of pain she felt in her gut. “As for Battlement, the Royal Valhallan fleet is standing on the defensive until it is reinforced and refitted before investigating that system’s remaining known warp point. How is your Imperial Navy being doing of late?”

“From what I’ve been given by my superiors, Admiral, we’re doing well,” Linus said with what he hoped was measured confidence. “We’ve isolated the Iron Sky system, located deep in former Nu’Chut space. Reinforcement for the fleet in Bandstand has been accelerated, and once your fleets have gained sufficient depth into systems beyond Gymansium the fleet in Tire Iron will be redeployed to whichever avenue of advance requires it the most.”

“That’s good to hear, Commander. I’m sure Admiral Janus will appreciate going back on the offensive.”

Linus consulted the datapad he held in his back right hand, stopping when a tidbit of information caught his eye. “Admiral, what is to become of that senior Axis officer the Hazen marines managed to capture in Bulwark?”

“Dovsol? Yes, she and the other POWs are heading for Hamthem Prime aboard a priority cargo corvette. They’ll be held separately from the other POWs and will be interrogated during the trip.”

Linus made a curt nod. “Given that all Axis planets are still contested on the ground it makes sense to hold prisoners where they can’t be rescued. I trust the Hamthen won’t be prone to displaying their prisoners like exotic animals in a zoo.”

Jki’s eyes blinked in a manner that Linus learned was a sign of assertion. “Despite the degrading behavior that was inflicted upon them the Hamthen will not visit that behavior on their prisoners. Whatever fate awaits those Comensal being held it will be administered impartially through laws, not whims and emotions.”

“Well stated,” said Lanaq. He said this before Linus could reply, knowing the subject of the treatment of Hamthen civilians by the Axis was a sore point for the Admiral. “With the progress we’ve made the engines of this war are turning in our favor.”

Linus discerned the tone in the translation and wisely decided not to pursue the subject further. “Agreed. With multiple breaches into their pre-war space the Axis is decidedly on the backfoot.”
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New Cold War / Cold War: Alliance Frontier Sector
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