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Offline Kurt (OP)

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Cold War: Turn 53, Breakout
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2020, 08:49:00 AM »
Turn 53, Day 1
Solar System
After much wrangling, the Alliance dispatches a grand total of thirty-six ships to the warp point.  The task group includes all six Russian light cruisers and twelve destroyers, along with six ships equipped with long-range scanners.  The Coalition’s leadership had been in favor of sending a small force to probe the area around the jump point while leaving the main fleets in reserve, but the Soviet Union had been adamant about sending a force large enough to deal with whatever the Raiders might have at the warp point.  In the end the Soviet Union won the day, mostly by being obstinate. 

Turn 53, Day 7
Solar System, New Warp Point
The Alliance squadron was arrayed around the warp point, with the missile armed-destroyers and light cruisers hovering three light seconds away from the newly discovered warp point, while the laser armed destroyers and corvettes patrolled just a light second from the anomalous point in space.  All of the warships were at action stations, closed up and ready for battle.  Two survey ships equipped with science instruments, one from each nation, were positioned a light second from the warp point to catch every detail as the probe ship jumped out. 

Polhovnik General Lebedev nodded at his chief of staff.  “Tell them to make transit, Yuri.”  The order flashed away from the light cruiser Kresta, the flagship of the Alliance squadron, to the Kirov, a Russian frigate equipped with long range scanners and standing just off of the warp point.  In response, the Kirov began slowly moving towards the point in space that the scientists claimed was a doorway to another system.  Everyone on the auxiliary command deck of the Kresta, which had been fitted out for the fleet commander’s use, leaned forward to watch the plot as the frigate nosed into the area marked as the critical spot where the transit would take place.  Sure enough, the Kirov moved into the correct area and immediately popped out of existence. 

“Bozhe moi!  It worked!”  General Lebedev shook his head in disbelief.  “I did not truly believe that such a thing existed.”  In the upper left corner of the wall mounted monitor a clock had started running, showing the time since the Kirov had departed.  Everyone in the auxiliary command deck watched silently as the clock counted steadily upwards.  As the seconds stretched into minutes, the tension began rising.  According to the scientists, the transit itself was supposed to take an infinitesimal amount of time.  Therefore, the Kirov should be returning at or around the two-minute mark, which would give it enough time on the far side to get oriented and probe the surrounding area, and then return. 

When the clock raced past two minutes and nothing happened, the tension aboard the Alliance ships really began soaring.  Finally, as the clock reached five minutes, General Lebedev shook his head and punched up the comm link between his command ship and Rear Admiral Ruston aboard the Coalition’s flagship.  The screen at General Lebedev’s station flickered and cleared to show Admiral Ruston in his somewhat more cramped command deck on the destroyer Nelson.  “Admiral, I fear that the Kirov will not return.” 

Admiral Ruston grimaced.  “I concur.  We will continue to watch, of course, but…”

General Lebedev nodded.  “But it is almost certain that something happened to them.”  General Lebedev looed at the Coalition Admiral intently.  “We discussed this possibility on the voyage out here, but now that we are in this position, what are your thoughts?”  Lebedev was curious.  The Soviet scientists that briefed him and his staff prior to departure swore that this would work, but had mentioned that there were several unlikely possibilities which could endanger ships making a transit.  He was curious what the Coalition’s scientists had told the Admiral.  In his experience, the Coalition’s scientists tended to be a bit more…free-thinking than their Soviet counterparts. 

Admiral Ruston took a second to order his thoughts.  “According to our scientists, there were four possibilities if the probe ship failed to return.  They all agreed that the number one most likely possibility was that the Raiders, or someone else, was waiting on the far side of the warp point and destroyed our ship as it came through.  The second most likely possibility was that the warp point led to a system with either a black hole or other extreme environment that destroyed our ship the second it exited the warp point.  They all agreed that this was very unlikely given the rarity of such phenomena.  The third possibility is that the far side of the warp point is located in a dense cluster of asteroids, and that our probe ship exited the warp point and immediately collided with an asteroid or other rock.”

General Lebedev gaped.  “But...I thought such a thing was against all of the theories of how these damned things work?”

Admiral Ruston shook his head.  “I don’t pretend to understand it, but apparently the theory holds that there are several different types of warp points, and while most have gravitic currents and eddies that automatically clear the area around the warp point of all debris, there are several even more hypothetical warp points that have no such currents.  They aren’t even sure such warp points exist, but if they do, and if they are located in close proximity to a dense cluster of rocks, then any transiting ship without heavy shields and armor is in trouble.”

General Lebedev’s eyes narrowed.  “Surely even if that is possible it is extremely unlikely.”

Admiral Ruston grinned.  “I sent the scientists into a tail-spin when I pressed them about just how likely this is.  What they finally decided on was that there is actually no way to quantify the possibility as they don’t even know if “closed” warp points even exist.  And even if they do, it is extremely unlikely that one would just happen to be situated in close proximity to a bunch of rocks.  Furthermore, it is almost certainly not what is happening here.”

General Lebedev looked interested.  “Why is that?”

“Well, for this to be what destroyed our probe ship, the far side of the jump point would have to be one of these closed warp points.  If it is closed, if such things exist, then how did the Raiders find it?  The scientists all swear up and down that there is no way to find these things except to go through a detectable warp point and exit through the undetectable side, thus pinpointing its location.  If the Raiders are using this warp point to enter our system, then the other side has to be an open warp point, by definition.”

General Lebedev nodded.  “And the fourth option?”  He was fairly sure he knew what the Admiral was going to say, but it didn’t hurt to make sure.

Admiral Ruston nodded.  “The scientists thought this was the most unlikely possibility.  Basically, it is possible that their theories are wrong and the warp point isn’t actually a warp point, or it doesn’t actually work like we think it does. This would mean that everything about their theory was wrong and would need to be reworked, though.”

General Lebedev grimaced again.  “And how long did your scientists want to rework their theory if this eventuality occurred?”

Admiral Ruston frowned.  “Six months.”

General Lebedev barked out a laugh.  “Ha!  Ours wanted a year, perhaps two.  I told them they would have a month.  Our leaders agreed with this.”

“My leaders were not so…decisive.”

General Lebedev shook his head.  “No, I agree with the scientists for a change.  In a way.  This last option cannot be the answer.  Their theory predicted that our gravitic survey of the Solar System would find at least one warp point, and our survey ships found exactly what they predicted.  Even better, this new warp point is within ten light minutes of the area where the Raiders were last seen.  This cannot be a coincidence.  They are sitting on the far side of the warp point, and they destroyed the Kirov.”

Admiral Ruston sat quietly for a few seconds, and then nodded.  “Agreed.  But you know our orders.  We are to send a message back to command informing them of the fate of the Kirov.  They will consult with our political leaders and come to a decision about our next course of action.”

General Lebedev looked intensely unhappy.  “Yes.  I…do not wish to wait.  Every instinct within me urges an immediate attack, before the enemy can reinforce.  But we have our orders.”

Admiral Ruston shook his head.  “Actually, waiting may be for the best.  Right now, whatever is on the far side of this warp point is on alert.  They have to obey the same rules as we do.  They can’t stay at alert status forever.  If we wait and attack at a time of our choosing, then we will catch them by surprise.”

Lebedev grunted.  “This is true.  Very well, I will put together a report for your review.  After my staff has made any changes you suggest we will send the report to HQ.  And then we will see.”

Admiral Ruston nodded and General Lebedev broke the connection and gestured for his chief of staff to begin working on the report.  Much to his surprise he liked the Coalition Admiral.  He had been prepared to dislike a man who had so recently been an enemy, but Ruston was a competent leader and a truly helpful subordinate.  And, in spite of their nation’s history, he had found that his hatred of the alien Raiders far outweighed his distrust and fear of other humans.  He had had enough experience with the Coalition to know that they didn’t want to destroy the world, and that they would only do so if backed into a corner, much like his own leadership.  The aliens, on the other hand, were a true threat to the USSR and to all humans.  He would work with the devil to fight the aliens, and Admiral Ruston was very much not the devil. 

The message went out fifteen minutes later.  It would take over four hours to wing its way to Earth, and as long for a reply to return, assuming HQ replied immediately.  They did not.  An acknowledgement of their receipt of the message arrived eight and a half hours later, but no decision was made that day, or for several days after.  In the meantime, the Alliance squadron continued to patrol the warp point, ready for what might appear. 

************ Author’s Note************

When I was setting up the above story, I vaguely remembered something about a possibility that closed warp points might be located in a cluster of rocks, because they didn’t automatically ‘sweep’ the area around them, thus becoming a potential danger to anything that transited through them.  As I was writing the above story, I decided I should try to find the actual rules so that I would be accurate in laying out the alternatives.  I searched, and searched, and searched.  And searched.  Nothing, nothing, nothing, but for all of that my memory was persistent.  After more searching, I decided to think it through.  Finally, I realized that my memory was based on the Theban War supplement, Crusade.  I figured if the rule was going to be anyplace, it’d be there, so I dug it out.  Sure enough, Crusade introduced the concept as an integral part of why the Theban race had gone undiscovered, but it was a plot device.  The main game, and the supplement, contained no such rules.  Anyways, I mention the possibility here as humanity is very unexperienced with interstellar travel, and I’ll leave it at that. 


Turn 54, Day 10
Solar System, Warp Point (Outer System)
The scientist’s time had run out.  They had been given a month to go over their calculations and review their theories.  It wasn’t enough time, and everyone knew it, but they couldn’t wait forever.  In any case, the scientists had found nothing new.  As far as they could tell their theories were sound. 

Twenty minutes ago, the Alliance squadron, now reinforced with an additional nine ships, had gone to alert status.  Now, on General Lebedev’s signal, six destroyers sitting on the warp point moved into the vortex one by one.  The first three were Coalition ships, with the third being the Coalition flagship led by Admiral Ruston.  The next three were Russian destroyers.  Lined up behind them were the remaining thirty-nine ships of the Alliance fleet.  Admiral Ruston’s orders were to make transit and then get at least one ship back with a report on the conditions on the far side of the warp point.  If no ships returned, then the Alliance would have to rethink its strategy.   Based on the demonstrated fleet strength of the Raiders, though, both Admiral Ruston and General Lebedev thought it unlikely that at least one destroyer wouldn’t be able to make it back. 

One by one the destroyers transited out.  The plan had them exiting the far side of the warp point, executing a crash turn, and transiting back as soon as possible.  General Lebedev stared intently at the monitor as the destroyers transited out.  As before, a clock in the upper left portion of the monitor began counting up after the first destroyer transited out.  The tension was nearly unbearable.  In seconds they could be engaged in a battle for survival if a destroyer returned and called them through to support the other destroyers. 

On board the destroyer Nelson, Admiral Ruston gasped as the entire universe seemed to lurch.  His stomach rebelled, and he could hear someone else on the bridge throwing up.  A fog seemed to lay over his mind, clouding his thoughts and slowing his actions.  He looked around the bridge and saw the other members of the bridge crew looking blankly at their boards, or throwing up helplessly.  Commander Torres, the destroyer’s CO, was looking around the bridge blearily, asking for status reports but no one was answering yet.  Half of the bridge instruments showed red, the other half were rebooting. 

Ruston knew he should be happy that the theories were right, and that the warp point actually had taken them somewhere, but right now he just wanted to lay down and get his rebellious stomach under control.  Only later would he realize that he was among the first to make an interstellar transit. 

Finally, thirty seconds after making transit, things seemed to snap into focus, not only for him but for most of the others, including Commander Torres.  “Status?”

“Helm is responsive, we are turning back towards the warp point.”

“Sensors show no active drive fields within detection range aside from the rest of the squadron.”

“The threat board is clear.”

“Comms has contact with the other five destroyers.  All are reporting some disruption to their crews and systems.  No serious damage reported.”

Commander Torres turned to Admiral Ruston.  He looked haggard but his voice was steady.  “Your orders Admiral?” 

“Continue as planned, Commander.  Make transit back to the Solar System.”  He really wasn’t looking forward to another transit so soon after the first. 

“Very well.  Helm, make transit back to the Solar System.”  By Torres’ tone, he was looking forward to the transit just as much as his Admiral was. 

Back in the Solar System the rest of the Allied Fleet was waiting to see the results of this latest attempt.  Almost to the second as the clock hit one minute a destroyer appeared on the warp point.  Everyone watching felt their tension peak as the destroyer’s drive field fluctuated in the aftermath of the transit, but it quickly became clear that this was the Nelson, and that she was undamaged.  Seconds later the Soviet ship’s main monitor lit with Admiral Ruston’s face.  Admiral Ruston looked grey and haggard, as if he had been put through the wringer.  “Ivan, it is clear on the far side.  No hostiles within scanner range.  You can send the scouts through.”  Ruston grimaced.  “Oh, and warn them that the transit effects are…significant.  Two transits within a minute are very bad.”

“Well done!  We go, immediately!”  General Lebedev ordered the scouts through, followed by his cruisers.  Humanity was chained within the Solar System no more. 

The scouts found no evidence of Raider ships in the new system.   Space around the warp point, which was positioned two hundred and twenty-eight light minutes from the system primary, was clear.   There was no sign of either the Raiders or the Alliance frigate which had been lost here last month. 

The Alliance survey ships quickly determined that the system primary was a yellow star, much like the Sun, orbited by eight worlds and an asteroid belt.  Astoundingly, two of the worlds were much like Earth, and possibly either the home of the Raiders, or at least an outpost.  The scientists aboard the survey ships dashed at least some of General Lebedev’s hopes, though.  If either of the planets were the home of a population similar to that of Earth, then they would be able to see them from their current location.  A smaller population, of course, would be harder to see.  To determine the truth of the matter, General Lebedev dispatched a long-range scanner equipped frigate along with at survey ship towards the inner system, to probe the primary system bodies and determine if there were any Raider outposts or populations in the system.  It would take thirteen days for the ships to reach the inner system and return. 

Day 16
The probe ships’ report arrived around mid-day.  They had found no traces of life and were returning.  General Lebedev dispatched a courier back to the Solar System to report the findings, and shortly thereafter survey ships belonging to the two nations began transiting into the new system, which General Lebedev had designated as the Moskva system.  The Soviet exploration ships fanned out and began a warp point survey, while the Coalition ships, which were better suited for planetary surveys, headed for the inner system.     

Shortly after the exploration ships entered the system, Admiral Ruston placed a call to General Lebedev.  General Lebedev, despite having received the congratulations of both the Alliance command and his nation, was still morose when Admiral Ruston called.  The aliens were gone, but he knew that they were out there, watching.  Still, things continued moving forward.  “Admiral, what can I do for you?”

Admiral Ruston looked no happier than his Russian superior.  “Ivan, things appear to be going well.  The survey ships have begun, and there is no sign of the aliens.”

General Lebedev’s face grew darker, but his words were mild.  “There is no sign of the Kirov, either.  It does not mean that the ship was never here.”

“What is bothering you, Ivan?  It’s not just the lack of aliens, is it?”

General Lebedev shook his head.  “No, it’s not.  It’s those two empty planets, perfect for colonization.   How long before our leaders start fighting over those planets?  This is the start of a land-rush that will make America’s “wild-west” look like nothing.  Our Alliance is new, can it withstand the wrangling that those planets will inevitably cause?”

Admiral Ruston looked pensive for a few seconds.  “This had occurred to me, but it is a question for our leaders, not us.  Fortunately, there are two planets, so maybe there is enough here for everyone.”

General Lebedev rolled his eyes.  “Enough?  There is no such thing.  And unless the planets are identical, they will be difficult to divide.”  He eyed the most recent report on the two planets, which was sitting on his desk in front of him.  “And based on this report, they are not identical.  The inner planet is hot, too hot to support a very large population, while the outer planet is perfect.  Perhaps your Coalition would be willing to colonize the inner planet, while we colonize the outer?”  One look at Admiral Ruston’s face made it clear what he thought of that.  “Da, the same goes for my government.”

“They’ll work it out, Ivan.  That’s what they do.”

General Lebedev’s face remained clouded.  “Da, they will.  Politicians make deals.  They will make a deal.  Which is perhaps worse.  Tell me, how long before colony ships begin coming through this warp point?”

Admiral Ruston looked troubled.  “I…”  He trailed off, thinking furiously. 

“Yes, I agree.  The politicians will resolve their differences, and before we are ready there will be colonists on both of those planets, and we will be told ‘Defend them!’, whether we are ready or capable of such defense or not.”

Admiral Ruston nodded.  “You are right about all of it, Ivan, but what can we do?  It is a new age.  Things are changing, and we must change with them, or be left behind.  It wasn’t that long ago that you and I were pacing the bridges of our corvettes, staring at Earth between us and wondering when the other side would launch the latest Final War.  And now here we are, in another stellar system, lamenting the fact that our race has two new planets to occupy.  Things could be worse!”

General Lebedev looked unconvinced.  “You are not Russian, my friend.  We know that things will always get worse, even if it looks like it cannot.  Still, you are right.  I much prefer being here to where we were a few years ago.  Perhaps this is progress?”
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Cold War: Turn 54-64
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2020, 07:19:13 AM »
Turn 54
With the Survey Fleet enlarged and upgraded, the Coalition focuses on enlarging its orbital shipyard capacity.  The Soviets, meanwhile, lay down a couple of new designs, a tug, a destroyer-sized fleet command ship, and a brand-new class of warship, the Moskva, a cruiser capable of matching the alien Raider’s cruisers in combat.   

In addition, both nations begin refits of their PDC’s, removing older point defense emplacements and replacing them with the latest technology.  This is an encouraging sign of the growing trust between the two super powers. 

The Coalition’s survey squadron transmits the results of its survey of the habitable planets of the Sigma Draconis (Moskva) system back to the Solar System.  The inner planet has a harsh environment and normal mineral content, while the third planet has a benign environment and very rich mineral classification.  This information is shared with the USSR, and negotiations for colonization rights are begun immediately. 

Turn 55
The USSR finally completes R&D on improved science instruments, allowing them to finalize their upgrade for their explorers.  As their yards are occupied building up shipyard capacity and working on new ship classes, and the survey fleet is occupied in the Moskva system, plans for upgrading and enlarging the fleet are put on hold for at least a month. 

Turn 56
The Coalition and USSR survey ships complete their survey at the end of this month.  The Moskva (Sigma Draconis) system has two additional warp points.  At General Lebedev’s insistence, the Soviet survey fleet will be withdrawn next month for refits.  Privately, the General is furious at the Soviet survey fleet’s poor showing compared to the Coalition’s squadron, which did the lion’s share of the survey work. 

Negotiations between the two nations over colonization rights continues. 

Turn 57
The Soviet survey squadron returns to Earth for refit, while the Coalition survey squadron probes the newly discovered warp points, covered by the Allied Fleet.  The Coalition survey ships find two remarkably similar systems through the two warp points in the Sigma Draconis system.  Both new systems have red star primaries, and both primaries are orbited by a number of desolate ice balls and gas giants.   The new systems are designated the Centaurus system and the Shaka system by the Coalition Survey Command.  The Coalition squadron moves into the Shaka system to begin its survey. 

The USSR begins construction on a mobile shipyard and several new survey ships of the latest design, while the Coalition begins construction on a new design as well, a DSB control ship. 

The USSR completes research of HT 4, and begins immediate development of several critical systems. 

With the probe of the two systems beyond Sigma Draconis (Moskva) complete, and no sign of the Raiders, the USSR and the Coalition agree to begin colonization of the two known habitable planets.   Both sides prefer to have a planet to themselves, but neither will agree to take the less desirable planet, so the two sides agree to establish separate colonies on both planets.  This shared sovereignty situation is not ideal, but is the only compromise that the two nations can agree on.  Colonization will begin next month. 

Turn 58
Both nations begin transferring colonists to the two planets in the Sigma Draconis (Moskva) system. 

With the colonization of another system underway, the two nations sit down to hammer out changes to the Treaty of Alliance, and the underlying Armaments Treaty, that govern the emplacement of weaponry in and around Earth.  No provisions were made in either treaty for populations on other planets, of the colonization of other systems, and with the newfound cooperation between the two nations some changes have become necessary. 

Top level negotiating teams from the two nations meet in week 4, and by the end of the month they hammer out a new treaty, the Alliance II Treaty.  This treaty modifies both the original Treaty of Alliance, and the Armaments Treaty.  The main provisions are as follows:
1.    The demilitarized zone around Earth is extended to ten light seconds.  No active military units may be within this zone, with the exception of newly built units, and units proceeding too or from the orbital yards for repair or refit.  Each nation is still allowed PDC’s with up to 150 weapons.  All transits through the demilitarized zone will be preceded by notification to the other nation. 
2.   Both nations are allowed to build bases and/or asteroid fortresses, however, they cannot remain within the demilitarized zone around Earth once they are completed.  They must be moved out of the demilitarized zone before they are crewed and activated.  The emplacement of all bases or other fortifications outside of the demilitarized zone must be negotiated and agreed between the two nations prior to their construction. 
3.   Both nations are allowed to construct automated weapons, however, the same restrictions that apply to bases apply to automated weapons. 
4.   Both nations are free to deploy their naval forces within the Solar System as they see fit, within the restrictions of the original agreements (that mostly related to bans on limiting the movement of either nation’s freighters or populations).  All deployments of naval forces beyond the Solar System will be under the auspices of the Alliance and the Joint Military Command. 
5.   All survey efforts of each nation will be shared with the other nation, without exception.  This specifically includes information relating to habitable planets, and the warp links that lead to them. 
6.   All colonization efforts will be coordinated between the two nations, and no colonization effort will be undertaken without mutual agreement. 

Turn 59
The Coalition lays down two new light cruisers this month. 

Both nations continue their colonization efforts in the Sigma Draconis (Moskva) system. 

The Soviet survey fleet, refitted and expanded to twenty-five survey ships, now leaves the solar system en route for the second system adjacent to the Moskva (Sigma Draconis) system. 

Turn 60
The Coalition finally achieves HT 4 and begins R&D on force beams, capital survey instruments, and advanced missile launchers.  In addition, with their orbital shipyard complex now increased to ten yards, the Coalition begins construction on a prototype heavy cruiser, the Rodney class, a destroyer, corvette, and two escorts.  Also, the Coalition builds 200 laser buoys to be placed into reserve for system defense. 

The USSR’s yards are full, although some construction capacity is diverted away from increasing the number of shipyards to building laser buoys. 

The Coalition survey fleet completes survey efforts in the Shaka system this month, discovering four new warp points.  The Soviet survey fleet will complete its survey of the Leningrad system next month, and its rough survey of the system has already discovered one new jump point.  As the survey effort is primarily viewed as a military effort to locate the Raiders, the decision to allocate survey assets is currently being left to the Alliance, in the person of General Lebedev.  After consulting with Admiral Ruston, General Lebedev decides to probe the newly discovered warp points with military ships in a measured and deliberate manner.  The main Alliance Fleet will remain in the Moskva (Sigma Draconis) system, at the warp point to the Solar System, while a task group composed of several light units from the two navies and commanded by Admiral Ruston will be dispatched first to the Volvograd (Shaka) system, and then the Leningrad (Centaurus) system to probe the warp points.  Contact will be maintained at all times, and the fleet will remain ready to respond to any threat. 

Turn 61
The Coalition begins construction on three new destroyers, three light cruisers, and a prototype BS0 for warp point defense.  This construction and deployment of this design has been discussed with and approved by the USSR.

The USSR begins construction on a light cruiser and 70 laser buoys.   

An Alliance task force consisting of three Coalition destroyers, a Coalition frigate, three Soviet corvettes, and a Soviet scout has begun probing the warp points in the Shaka system.  The first warp point in the Shaka system to be probed is the innermost, just thirty-six light minutes from the system’s star.  The Coalition frigate-scout Outreach is the first ship through the warp point, and returns after a short period of time to report that the new system has a yellow star primary, orbited by an asteroid belt, a toxic world, Mars-like rock, two gas giants, and two ice worlds.  Interestingly, the Outreach reports that the warp point on the far side of the link is a closed warp point, confirming the scientist’s theories about the existence of such objects.   Admiral Ruston dispatches the Outreach, escorted by the three Soviet corvettes, to probe the inner system for outposts or alien ships and settles in to wait.  The probe force returns twelve days later with a negative report and the task force moves on to the next warp point, which is located much further out.  As before, the Outreach goes through the new warp point and returns shortly thereafter with the exciting news that this system contains a habitable world.  The system has two stars, a yellow star primary and a red star secondary.  The system primary is orbited by the earth-like habitable planet, two Mars-like rocks, a sun-blasted inner world, and a gas giant.  The secondary star is orbited by no less than four gas giants, an ice world, and an asteroid belt.  As before, Admiral Ruston dispatches the Outreach and the Soviet corvettes to probe the system while he remains behind with the Coalition destroyer group.  The probe group returns by the end of the month with a negative report.  The two new systems are named Hector and Epsilon Eridani by the Coalition, and Smolensk and Saratov by the USSR. 

Turn 62
The Coalition launches two escorts and a corvette this turn. 

The Alliance task force under Admiral Ruston’s command probes the last two unexplored warp points in the Shaka system this month.  The third warp point leads to an orange star system with three gas giants, a rocky planet, three ice worlds, and an asteroid belt.  The fourth warp point leads to another orange star system with two gags giants, three ice worlds, a rock ball, and an asteroid belt.  Probes of both systems show no alien ships and no signs of habitation.  The systems are named Epsilon Indi and Wolf 424 by the Coalition and Rostov-na-Danu and Sverdlovsk by the Soviets.  Admiral Ruston’s task force will move to the Centaurus system next month to begin probing the warp points there. 

The Coalition survey group in the Shaka system is cleared by Admiral Ruston to move into the Epsilon Eridani system, and by the second week of the month has moved into the system and begun survey efforts.  The initial reports concerning the habitable planet are encouraging.  It appears to have the perfect environment for human habitation and a very high mineral level.     

Turn 63
The USSR launches a destroyer and a mobile shipyard. 

Turn 64
The Coalition launches a destroyer and its first warp point defense base. 

The USSR begins construction on an immense asteroid fort.  They intend to place this fortress in the asteroid belt, where it will act as a fleet base and rallying site for their fleet.  The construction and placement of this fortification was agreed to by the Alliance Guidance Council. 

Representatives from the Coalition government meet with the Soviets about the disposition of the new habitable planet in the Epsilon Eridani (Saratov) system.  In most respects the new planet is functionally identical to the planet now being colonized by both nations in the Sigma Draconis (Moskva) system.  After some preliminary negotiations, the Coalition representatives make an offer.  They will evacuate their colony on the benign shared planet in the Sigma Draconis system, in exchange for solitary colony rights on the new planet in Epsilon Eridani.  The Soviets eagerly agree, as neither nation was entirely comfortable with sharing the planet.  That still leaves the planet with the harsh environment in Sigma Draconis as a shared colony site, but both nations are eager to at least begin separating their colonies as much as possible.  The Coalition agrees to begin moving its colonists to the Epsilon Eridani system next month. 

In the Centaurus system, the Alliance task force under Admiral Ruston begins probing the innermost of the two new warp points in that system.  The Coalition frigate Outreach jumped out and discovered…

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Cold War: Turn 64, Contact
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2020, 07:31:21 AM »
Turn 64, Day 1
Centaurus system, Allied Nations of Earth
The warp point in front of the frigate Outreach was the fifth probe mission, and it certainly hadn’t become blasé.  Every transit through a new jump point was an experience in fear and wonder, and so Outreach’s captain, Commander John Ford, had a small catch in his voice as he ordered his ship through the jump point, leaving behind the combined Alliance task force and known space. 

The Coalition frigate materialized one hundred and ninety-two light minutes from an orange star, with a secondary red dwarf star offset even further away to the right of the primary.  As Commander Ford’s stomach lurched and he struggled to hang on to its contents, alarms started blaring.  He looked around his command’s small bridge as he tried to understand what was happening. 

The sensor officer’s voice was blurred and sluggish, but his report was by the book.  “Unidentified drive field contact at 5.5 light seconds range, bearing 270, not moving at this time.  Multiple small objects detected at one-half light second distance, estimate buoys of unknown type.”

Commander Ford struggled to focus through his body’s disorientation.  “Continue our turn back towards the warp point!  Get those scanners up!”

The bridge crew was firming up as the frigate came around to point back at the warp point it had entered the system through.  The sensor officer’s voice was under better control as he made his next announcement.  “Long range sensors up!  We now show four contacts, now at 090 relative.  All are cruiser class, still not moving.  One hundred forty-seven small objects surrounding us at point five light seconds are confirmed as buoys.”     

Commander Ford stared at the wall mounted display showing the tactical plot.  Those ships had to be Raiders, but they could have fired at them already and had passed up the chance.  What were they doing?  His thoughts were interrupted by the comms officer.

“Sir!  Incoming message from the alien ships!”

Commander Ford nodded.  They wanted to talk, and apparently that was why they hadn’t fired.  He glanced at the mission clock.  He had thirteen seconds before they jumped out.  He thought about it for a couple of seconds and then nodded to himself again.  If they failed to return Admiral Ruston would know why.  He had to take this opportunity.  “Very well.  Helm, come to a halt but be ready to accelerate into the warp point on my command.  Comms, put the transmission up on the main screen.”

The main screen at the front of the bridge flickered and then lit up to show, inexplicably, a human woman in a Coalition naval uniform.  She was standing in front of a short but solid-looking Raider in some sort of armor.  As Commander Ford and his bridge crew gaped at the monitor, she began to speak.  “Outreach, this is Commodore Bonaventura.  I am speaking to you from the D’Bringi starship Imperial Favor.  I have been asked to communicate for the D’Bringi as they have not managed to fully decipher our language yet.  May I come aboard?”

Commander Ford settled back into his chair, his mind racing.  “I…”  He stopped and marshalled his thoughts.  “Commodore, I’m happy you are alive, but this situation is…unprecedented.  My ship was just supposed to probe this warp point, we are overdue now.  I am going to jump back to Centaurus and turn this information over to Admiral Ruston, and he will decide how we move forward.  Will the…D’Bringi allow a ship to return to this system without firing on it?”

Commodore Bonaventura turned to the Raider behind her and spoke in something that certainly wasn’t English.  After a second the Raider in armor waived his arm and spoke in a more liquid form of whatever language Commander Bonaventura had used.  “Keeper-Cleric Half-Hand agrees to allow you to depart, and further agrees that one ship may return in peace, if it does not leave the warp point.”

“Very well.  An Alliance ship will return shortly.” 

Commander Bonaventura’s right eyebrow arched and she smiled.  “Well, well, well.  The Alliance.  Things have changed.  I look forward to your return, Commander.” 

The monitor flickered out and Commander Ford nodded to his helmsman.  “Chief Mikonos, take us through to Centaurus.”

“Aye, aye sir.”  The frigate nosed into the warp point and disappeared.  An immeasurably short time later it appeared in the Centaurus system to be confronted by five Allied warships sitting atop the warp point with their weapons and scanners hot. 

Commander Ford, while struggling with transit effects that seemed so much worse for having suffered two jumps in less than five minutes, waived at his comms officer, who turned to his board and tried to set up a link.  Before he could complete his task a button lit up on his console, signaling an incoming transmission.  Sighing in relief, he punched the button and routed the comm link to the bridge monitor. 

“Commander Ford, you are late!”  Admiral Ruston looked like he was caught between relief and fear as he peered at the bridge crew of the Outreach.

Commander Ford’s bloodshot eyes focused on the Admiral.  “Yes sir.  But I’ve got good reason sir.  It will be easier if I send the recording to you.  It looks like the Raiders, who call themselves the D’Bringi by the way, want to talk.”  He turned from the monitor and pointed at the comm officer, who then sent the recording of their conversation with Commodore Bonaventura to the Admiral. 

The Admiral looked stunned at Commander Ford’s announcement that the D’Bringi wanted to talk, and looked down at his console to watch the video that had arrived from the Outreach.  As the Admiral watched the video, Commander Ford saw the blood drain from his face.  Finally, Admiral Ruston looked up from the monitor at his station.  “I know the Commodore and that is definitely her.  I thought she died at Saturn with her squadron.  I…”  Commander Ford didn’t quite know how to decipher the look on the Admiral’s face.  It was a complex combination of loss and anger, overlaid by relief and hope and a bunch of other emotions harder to identify.

After a few seconds Admiral Ruston came back to himself.  “Very well.  I’m going to send a message back to the fleet, and then I’ll transfer to your ship and we’ll go back through and see what these ‘D’Bringi’ want to say.”

“Very well Admiral, we’ll be ready.” 

Fifteen minutes later the Outreach transited back to the D’Bringi system with Admiral Ruston aboard.  After giving them time to recover from the transit, the alien ship sent a comm request to the Outreach.  After mentally preparing himself, Admiral Ruston nodded to the comm officer and the connection was made.  The bridge monitor lit up to show Commodore Bonaventura standing on the alien bridge, again with the short, stocky alien D’Bringi in armor behind her.  “Karen, it is you!  I wasn’t sure, but…”

Commander Bonaventura smiled.  “But it is me, Jonas.  I was in my life pod for maybe fifteen minutes before the D’Bringi took me on board.  The D’Bringi that captured me turned me over to Keeper-Cleric Half-Hand, and I’ve been here since.”  The D’Bringi behind her rumbled something, and she nodded.  “The Keeper-Cleric proposes a truce, to be followed by negotiations towards a more permanent peace treaty.”

Admiral Ruston carefully controlled his face.  “That’s welcome news, but after the attacks they’ve made, particularly the attack on Triton, it’s going to take some convincing for our governments to be willing to sign any treaties with them.”

Commodore Bonaventura glanced behind her, and then turned back to the monitor.  “I’ve discussed this with the Keeper-Cleric, and he says that the D’Bringi did not attack Triton.  He claims that there are many other races in known space, and the attackers could have been any of them.”  The Commodore’s face was carefully neutral as she spoke.  “In any case, I’ve been told by the Keeper-Cleric that I will be returned to your custody as a sign of good will, and that they are willing to discuss returning the remaining spacers they hold as part of treaty negotiations.  He says that they will send a cutter to transport me over to the Outreach immediately.”

Admiral Ruston settled back into his chair.  “Very well.  We will prepare to receive you.”   

The D’Bringi rumbled again, and Commodore Bonaventura nodded.  “See you soon.” 

“Good.  We’ll talk more once you are aboard.  Ruston out.”  He turned to Commander Ford.  “Commander, prepare to receive the Commodore.”  Commander Ford began to turn away, and Ruston put his hand on the other officer’s arm, stopping him.  “I’ll be there to meet Commodore Bonaventura.  I’ve known her since she was an ensign, I think I’ll be able to tell if she’s herself or not.  In any case, I want armed security crew at the access hatch, just in case.  Those ships can destroy us, but I’ll be damned if I’m just going to give them this or any other Coalition warship.  I want you here, watching those ships for any signs of…well, anything.  If they do anything unexpected, you are to transit back to Centaurus, immediately.  Don’t wait for my order, just do it.  Understood?”

Commander Ford braced to attention.  “Understood.”  He turned to his second in command.  “Have the Master at Arms and his team meet the Admiral at the docking bay.” 

Five minutes later, with six armed and armored crew members arranged around the small docking bay, Admiral Ruston waited as a D’Bringi cutter docked with the human frigate.   He watched as the light over the boarding hatch turned green, indicating that a good seal had been established, and nodded to the rating standing by at the hatch.  The rating pulled a small lever and the hatch rolled back, opening to reveal Commodore Bonaventura standing on the far side.  She took a look around the bay and raised her hands, slowly, and stepped onto the human ship.  Once aboard, she stopped when Admiral Ruston raised his hand.  “Turn around, slowly, please, Commodore.  Slowly.”

Seeing the armed crew members arrayed around the bay, all watching her anxiously, she nodded and slowly turned three hundred and sixty degrees.  She was wearing a standard Coalition ship-duty uniform, basically a deep blue overall.  It wasn’t skin-tight, but it did make it clear that she wasn’t carrying anything bulky or hidden.  Admiral Ruston nodded at her, and as she put her arms down, he gestured at the rating behind her, who raised the lever on the board in front of him, causing the hatch to close and seal.  A few seconds later the light over the hatch turned red, indicating that the D’Bringi cutter had moved away. 

Commodore Bonaventura smiled.  “Admiral, I…”

Admiral Ruston gestured to the armed crew members.  “Take the Commodore to my cabin and post a guard.”  He turned back to the Commodore.  “Commodore, you will accompany the guard to my cabin, and you will stay there until I send for you.  Understood?”

The young Commodore braced to attention.  “Understood, sir.  May I ask…”

“We’ll speak once we are back in Centaurus.  I intend to inform the Keeper-Cleric that we will return to Centaurus to conduct your debriefing, and that our future actions, including our desire to begin negotiations, will largely be based on their treatment of you, and of the other Alliance crews that I believe they are holding.”

Bonaventura nodded.  “They’ve treated us well, sir.  There are four hundred and thirty-two of us currently in the custody of the Keepers, to my knowledge, all here in this system.” 

“Very well.”  He watched as the security team escorted the Commodore out of the bay, then returned to the bridge.  “Commodore Bonaventura is aboard.  Open a channel to the D’Bringi.”

It took a few seconds for the connection between the ships to stabilize.  “Keeper-Cleric, I intend to speak with my officer concerning her treatment by the D’Bringi.  We will return to our system to do so.  If it is acceptable to you then one of our ships will return here six hours from now to coordinate future communications with you.”

The Keeper-Cleric sat silently for a few seconds, then a low rumble emitted from the armored figure.  A D’Bringi device translated the Keeper’s message into broken English.  “Acceptable.”

The Outreach jumped back to Centaurus thirty seconds later, and the entire human task force moved fifteen light seconds away from the warp point.  Admiral Ruston dispatched a message back to the Allied Fleet informing them of the latest developments, and then had Commodore Bonaventura brought to his office, which was actually the frigate’s officers mess.  When Commodore Bonaventura entered the mess, he gestured for her to sit across from him.  She braced to attention then sat in the chair he had offered. 

“Commodore, it appears that you’ve been treated well.”  His tone was non-committal. 

In contrast to the Admiral’s neutral appearance, Commodore Bonaventura was smiling as she looked around the mess.  “Yes, Admiral, by their standards the Keepers did treat us well.  It is a relief to be back, though.”

Admiral Ruston leaned forward.  “What are these D’Bringi hoping to achieve by returning you.  Are they trying to influence me?’

Commodore Bonaventura frowned.  “No sir, but I could see how you might think that.”  She leaned back and considered the Admiral’s statement for a second.  “Or at least, they aren’t trying to influence you in the way that you mean.”  Seeing the Admiral’s incomprehension, she continued.  “Maybe if I give you the overview of what happened, you’ll understand a bit better.” 

Admiral Ruston waived his hand in assent and settled back into his chair.  “Go ahead, Commodore.”

Commodore Ruston frowned in thought.  “It’s been almost two years since the battle over Saturn and the destruction of my task force.”  There was a hitch in Commodore Bonaventura’s voice and she paused briefly to collect herself.  “We didn’t know them as the D’Bringi yet, they were still just “the aliens” to us.  After the battle they swept the combat area for life pods and rescued as many as they could.  That fact alone convinced me that they weren’t the fanatical killers we all feared that they were.  When they found out that I commanded the human warships, they separated me from the rest of the survivors and took me to their commander.  Believe it or not, his name and title was B’Regost-Large Group Leader Skull Splitter, and I soon learned that he was a scary old D’Bringi fleet commander who had survived numerous attempts on his life, uncountable personal combats, and at least several fleet engagements.”

Admiral Ruston held up his hand.  “I’ve got so many questions, but first, they spoke English?”

Commodore Bonaventura shook her head.  “Not really sir.  Well, kind of, and a bit of Russian as well.  Skull Splitter never said, but I think that the D’Bringi have been watching us for a while.  Or at least, the Keepers have.  It’s kind of complicated.  At any rate, the D’Bringi have a very hierarchical society, and as the surviving leader of the human forces around Saturn, that gave me some status.  Old Skull Splitter was impressed by the way we fought, too, and that gave me even more status with them.”

“Skull Splitter?  Really?”

Commodore Bonaventura laughed.  “Really.  And if you saw him, you’d agree that it suits him.”  She paused and marshaled her thoughts.  “I get the feeling that its more of a title than a name, kind of like, say, the Duke of Marlborough, or something like that.  I don’t have the whole picture, but the D’Bringi don’t really have a centralized government, more like an ‘association’ of sorts.  Skull Splitter is the leader of the military forces of Clan B’Regost, and the Leader-by-Right of the assembled clan forces that attacked us at Saturn.  Based on what the Keeper-Cleric told me, the D’Bringi have three major clans, the B’Regost, the K’Rorin, and the T’Chau.  And of course, the Keepers.”

“The Keepers aren’t a clan?”

“Not really.”  She looked confused for a few seconds, then continued.  “You have to understand, I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to learn their language, and help them learn ours, so that I could get to know them better.  “I’m not an expert though, and its been slow going.  I can understand them most of the time, and they us, but I’m sure that things are still getting lost in translation.  As I understand it, the Keepers are separate from the Great Clans, but it really seems to be steeped in their impenetrable traditions in ways I can’t begin to understand.  The simple version is, the Clans are interested first and foremost with their own fortunes, and only secondarily with the well-being of the D’Bringi race.  The Keepers, on the other hand, claim to be only concerned with the well-being of the D’Bringi as a whole.”

“They ‘claim’ to be concerned with that?”

Commodore Bonaventura nodded.  “Yes sir, they claim.  Like I said, their entire society and all of their interactions are overlaid by centuries of traditions and even more centuries of history, that includes great alliances and great betrayals, and vendettas that have lasted for millennia.”

“They’ve been in space that long?”  That was one of the Alliance’s biggest concerns.  They were new to interstellar space, but it was possible that the Raiders had been out there for centuries or even thousands of years.  The possibilities were frightening when viewed through the prism of the Raider’s hostility.

Commodore Bonaventura frowned.  “I…I don’t think so, sir.  Oh, they claimed that they invented the warp points and that their fleets rivaled the stars in number, but…”  She paused and settled back in her chair thoughtfully.  “That doesn’t match what I saw, sir.  I never saw a ship larger than the cruisers that attacked us at Saturn, and aside from the four cruisers the Keepers have here and the nine that attacked us at Saturn I’ve never seen any more D’Bringi warships.”  Seeing the frown on the Admiral’s face she continued.  “I know, just because I haven’t seen them doesn’t meant they don’t exist.  But, well, its kind of just everything I’ve seen and heard.  All of the Clan nobles I’ve seen carry a vast variety of ancient weapons that actually look well-used, not like antiques at all.  Skull Splitter took me on a tour of one of their assault transports during the trip out of the system.  Their ground troops use powered armor that looks to be every bit as good, if not better than ours.  They are equipped with projectile and beam weapons that again are as good or better than ours.  But every armored trooper is armed with a close-combat weapon, a sword, axe, or pike, made out of hull armor, and they are expected to use them!  Hell, based on the training that I saw, I think they prefer the close-combat weapons and train with them as their primary weapons.  They are good with those weapons, but I can’t believe that they are superior to the ranged weapons both sides carry.  It’s like someone took a high-tech civilization and pasted it on top of a bunch of old-style Vikings.  I don’t think they’ve actually been in space all that long.  I don’t know the extent of their travels, but based on what I’ve seen I’d be surprised if they’ve done much colonization or building of their economy.  I can say with certainty that colonization, trade, and industry held absolutely no interest for Skull Splitter, at any rate.” 

“That would explain a lot.”  At the Commodore’s inquiring look, Admiral Ruston continued.  “All of the reports from the Saturnine colonies agreed, the Raider troops were highly disciplined and good fighters.  But, inexplicably, they seemed to prefer close-combat with edged weapons to other methods of accomplishing their goals, even when it led to increased casualties on their side.  There was a mining supervisor on Tethys named Graves, he organized his miners into a resistance group and attacked the Raiders, or the D’Bringi, when they approached his mine.  If that was a human combat unit in the same situation, they almost certainly would have pulled back at the first sign of resistance and built up their strength before attacking with overwhelming strength behind an artillery and air barrage.  Instead the D’Bringi charged forward into the face of the miner’s attack and suffered casualties that otherwise might not have been necessary.  Oh, they won the battle and scattered the miners without too much loss, but the point was, they didn’t have to suffer any losses if they had handled it differently.”

“That sound about right, sir.  The D’Bringi would have viewed the miner’s resistance, after their space forces were defeated, as unlawful defiance by civilians.  Were the casualties heavy on our side?”

Admiral Ruston frowned thoughtfully.  “No, no they weren’t.  And they could have been so much worse.  After what happened at Triton, we feared the worse for the colonies at Saturn, but the D’Bringi just looted everything they could steal and left with a minimal loss of life.  Even Graves’ miners, once they stopped shooting, were allowed to surrender.”

Commodore Bonaventura nodded.  “That makes sense.  Like I said, D’Bringi society is very hierarchical.  Civilians rarely pick up weapons and fight, that sort of thing is left to the Clan troops whenever possible.  A civilian who fights after the armed forces of his clan are defeated is either the worst, most despicable thing that the D’Bringi can conceive of, or it can be a heroic act beyond all honor, depending on how the D’Bringi decide to view it.  The D’Bringi know what other races are different, and sometimes seem to make allowances.  Or they viewed this ‘Graves’ and his miners as heroes.  It’s difficult to say.  As long as those miners were offering resistance, they were legitimate targets, but the second they laid down their weapons there was no honor in killing them, and the D’Bringi are all about honor.  At least, their conception of honor, which doesn’t always seem to align with ours.”

“How did you end up with the Keepers?”

“I stayed with Skull Splitter until we left the Solar System.  After we jumped out, Skull Splitter’s fleet met with the Keepers, and he turned all of us over to the Keeper-Cleric.  I’ve learned since that while the Great Clans will raid other races, or fight wars against them, the Keepers are responsible for protecting the D’Bringi threats from outside threats.  This causes a lot of tension, as the Great Clans, when they aren’t fighting each other, tend to launch raids on outsiders fairly often.  This makes it fairly difficult for the Keepers to keep the peace, as you would expect.  In fact, during my time with the Keepers, I found information that leads me to believe that the D’Bringi have conquered at least one other race close to their home world.” 

“And these Keepers?  You said they want to negotiate peace, but based on what you’ve told me I’m not sure they view peace the same way we do.”

Commander Bonaventura nodded.  “They don’t, but the Keeper-Cleric is aware that we have different views of the concept.  Based on my conversations with the Keeper-Cleric he is desperately interested in peace with humanity, if he can achieve it with honor.  However, you should be aware that no matter what we sign with the D’Bringi, they will launch raids into our territory if they see an opening or perceive weakness on our part.  The Great Clans will not be able to resist the temptation to raid us under those circumstances, not with so many rising clan lordlings desperate for honor.  If those lordlings cannot get honor through combat, then they will find honor through fighting each other, their superiors, or their counterparts in the other clans.  It is an old story for them.”

“It isn’t entirely unknown to us, either.”  The Admiral’s dry tone made the Commodore chuckle. 

“Yes, sir.  At any rate, I think Half-Hand will negotiate in good faith, but we will always have to be on guard for any incursion from the D’Bringi.  They will test us every chance they get, and if we show weakness, well, it could be bad.”

Admiral Ruston was lost in thought.  “Very well, Commodore.  You’ve done well.  I want you to write up a report of your experiences over the last two years and we’ll send it off to the Allied Fleet.”

Commodore Bonaventura smiled.  “The Allied Fleet?  Things must have changed back home, huh?”

Admiral Ruston nodded.  “Yes, they have.  The Raider threat brought the Soviets and us together to face them as a united military force.  It helped that neither of us had enough fleet strength to fight them separately, but together, well, that was different.”

“Yes sir.  I was there on Skull Splitter’s command deck when he realized that our fleets weren’t going to fight each other and instead were standing together against him.  It took some time for him to accept that we weren’t going to fight each other, or even fight separately.  That was immediately after we left Saturn, headed for the combined fleets at Jupiter.  He believed that the sight of his fleet approaching would force the human fleets to separate out of distrust of each other, and that he could then engage them separately.  When they didn’t and it became clear that they intended to fight together, well, he was angry, but accepted that his plan wouldn’t work.  He lost a lot of honor backing down, though.  That was why they went on to loot the colonies at Uranus.  He had to do something to placate the other clans and his own clan chiefs.”

Admiral Ruston frowned in thought for a moment, trying to remember something that had been nagging at him as he talked to the Commodore.  Finally, he had it.  “Commodore, one thing isn’t adding up.  Based on what you’ve said, the D’Bringi are primarily raiders, and their primary goal is to gain honor both by fighting during raids, and by bringing back loot from the raid.   That matches what they did at Saturn and Uranus perfectly.  But it doesn’t explain Triton at all.  Someone destroyed the Soviet picket corvette there and then the colony.  Over three hundred thousand Soviet citizens, humans, died at Triton.  That doesn’t sound like the D’Bringi, but who else could it be?”

Commodore Bonaventura faced the Admiral with a pensive look on her face.  “I’ve been wondering about that same thing, Admiral.  It doesn’t sound like the D’Bringi at all, and the Keeper-Cleric was adamant that the D’Bringi hadn’t attacked Triton.  But…well, you remember what I said about the D’Bringi having a culture weighted down by centuries of traditions and vengeance honor and vendettas?  Well, they are very experienced with intrigue, lying, and subterfuge.  There are currents, both overt and covert, underlying everything the D’Bringi I met were doing.  Both Half-Hand and Skull-Splitter appeared to be bluff, formidable old warriors, honest and dependable, but…well, I have enough experience with the D’Bringi to know that anyone who actually was what those two appeared to be wouldn’t last for ten minutes in D’Bringi high society.  Their clan politics are cutthroat, sometimes literally.  I don’t know that they did it, and they deny it, but… they are certainly capable of something like that, even if it is out of character.”

“Very well, Commodore.”  Admiral Ruston stood and turned towards the door, and then turned back.  “Use my office to begin your report.  I’ll have the mess chief bring you some food.  And,” his expression warmed for the first time, “welcome back, Karen.”

She smiled back at him as he left the cabin.  The smile fell from his face as he made his way to the bridge.  The coming months were going to be hard.  He feared he knew how things were going to go, and if he did then the Alliance might not last.  Of all things, the offer of peace from the D’Bringi might be the thing that drove the Coalition and the Soviets apart. 

It took six and a half hours for the message from the Outreach to get to the Allied Fleet at the warp point to Sol in the Sigma Draconis (Moskva) system, relayed by a scout positioned at the warp point that linked the two systems.  Once it arrived at the Fleet, General Lebedev relayed it on to the Earth.  Once there it ignited a firestorm.  The news that the D’Bringi wanted to talk, and perhaps negotiate a peace treaty, electrified the Coalition’s Senate, while in Russia the news was met with disbelief and anger.  To the Russians, the D’Bringi denials of responsibility for the deaths of the colonists at Triton rang false.  A meeting between the Alliance Guidance Council fell apart into acrimony when the Soviet representatives accused the Coalition representatives of being willing to sell Soviet dead for peace. 

After a week, and several high-level meetings between the Soviet and Coalition governments, the two nations agreed to at least speak with the D’Bringi representatives.  A meeting was scheduled with the D’Bringi Keeper-Cleric for early next month, and representatives from both nations were dispatched from Earth to Centaurus (Leningrad).  At this point, though, it appeared that Admiral Ruston had been prophetic about the effects of the D’Bringi peace offer.   
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Cold War: Turn 65-68
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2020, 05:22:05 PM »
Turn 65
The Coalition launches two light cruisers and three destroyers.  The USSR launches three corvettes designed to control laser buoys.  In addition, the USSR completes research into the shear plane and force beam, and immediately begins R&D on HT 5. 

The Coalition survey fleet operating in the Sigma Draconis system has completed its survey and discovered one additional warp point.  The Alliance Guidance Council has decided to halt all exploration of new warp points until the situation with the D’Bringi is resolved, so the exploration fleet moves on the Epsilon Indi system to start survey efforts there. 

General Lebedev orders the Alliance Fleet to relocate to the Leningrad (Centaurus) system, to the warp link with the D’Bringi.  In addition, he orders the USSR’s buoy control ships forward to Leningrad, as well as their entire stock of buoys (370).  The Coalition focuses on defense of the home system, and deploys their first BS0 to the warp point to the Sigma Draconis system, along with 200 laser buoys. 

Negotiators from Earth have arrived at the warp link to the D’Bringi system, and initial talks have begun.  At this point the proceedings are intended to increase the communication skills of the two sides more than anything else. 

Turn 66
The Coalition launches three light cruisers.  The USSR launches a single CL from its yards. 

The last of the Coalition colonists are moved from Moskva Prime (as it is now known in the Coalition), to the new colony site in Epsilon Eridani. 

The Soviet survey group completes its survey of the starless area found through the second warp link in the Leningrad system and discovers no new warp points. 

Talks with the D’Bringi continue, although progress is frustratingly slow.  At the request of General Lebedev, Commodore Bonaventura has been assigned to his staff, and he has placed her in command of the efforts to establish full communications with the aliens. 

On Earth, political wrangling between the Soviet and Coalition governments continues over the issue of future negotiations with the D’Bringi.  While these talks are not as contentious as those of the prior months, they are not exactly friendly either.  The two nations are having a difficult time finding common ground over the question of future relations with the D’Bringi. 

Turn 67
Commodore Bonaventura reports that she has established full communications with the D’Bringi.  Unfortunately, the Coalition and Soviet governments aren’t ready to begin serious negotiations yet, so the D’Bringi are delayed by preliminary negotiations. 

The Coalition launches two BS0’s and two destroyer-sized laser buoy control ships.  Both are sent to the Solar System’s single warp point. 

The Coalition creates a new task force charged with the defense of the new colony in Epsilon Eridani.  The colony has been named New Plymouth, and a total of eleven ships are dispatched to the system, including a scout and a scout-frigate. 

The USSR launches five new light cruisers.  By now the bulk of the USSR’s orbital construction capacity is devoted to building their new Fleet HQ, which is approximately 40% complete. 

Turn 68
The Coalition launches a tug, three destroyers, and five BS0’s. 

In spite of the acrimony between the USSR and the Coalition over the negotiations with the D’Bringi, they manage to agree to split the colony sites in the Sigma Draconis system between the two, much like the potential colony sites in the Solar System were divided.  The Coalition begins sending colonists immediately. 
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Cold War: turn 68 - A D'Bringi conquest
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2020, 08:31:07 AM »
Turn 68
Interlude: An unknown number of warp jumps from Earth

The Torqual Benignity had been in space for centuries.  They had known about the theoretical existence of warp points for decades.  Eventually they would get around to figuring out if they really existed, and what to do with them if they did, but for now they were absorbed with contemplating the majesty of the universe, and in exploring and settling their own system, which contained an abundance of resources and living room.  As far as they were concerned, it would be a long time before they needed any more living room, so they were in no hurry to expand beyond what they already had. 

The Benignity had been founded two centuries ago, when the Torqual had decided, after decades of serious contemplation, to move into space and begin exploring their system.  Before the Benignity, their planetary government was really just a congress that represented the five thousand, six hundred and twenty-two city states that comprised about ninety five percent of the Torqual people.  This congress met once every other year and, when they did meet, spent about six months debating the merits of various proposals, some of which were even adopted, usually after a decade or two of debate.  The Torqual found, though, that to expand into space they needed a bit more coordination between the city states and thus founded the Benignity, which allowed them to pool their resources at a global level.  The Benignity has three legislative houses, one comprised of the old planetary congress, in which the congresspersons were appointed for life, one per city-state, one in which the congresspersons were elected by the citizens of their city-states, and the number of representatives per city-state was determined by population, and the last was populated by representatives of the professional groups that represented the laborers and skilled workers of the world.  Unlike the old congress, which could be relied on to approve a proposal once every decade or so, the new Benignity government actually approved two proposals the first year it was in operation. 

Now, two hundred and twenty-six years after its founding, the Benignity had led the colonization of five moons, eighteen asteroids, and the other habitable planet in their system.  Over three hundred and ten million Torqual lived off of the home world at this point, and the number was growing every day. 

Throughout most of their history, the Torqual had been mostly non-violent.  The Torqual, individually and as a people, knew how to fight, and would if backed into a corner, but if given any choice at all they would try to find a non-violent alternative to fighting.  Their preferred method of conflict resolution was to talk it out.  And talk.  And talk.  Experience had taught them that if you talked enough, eventually everyone would forget what they were fighting about and then you could get on with the important stuff, like debating the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.  That subject was a Torqual favorite, and indeed had been the subject of a monumental debate that had occupied the old planetary congress for almost one hundred years at one point.  The fact that the congress had declared that they had determined an answer to what was previously thought to be an unanswerable question was surprising.  Even more surprising was that they declared that the definitive answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything was indeed, 42.  After that the congress disbanded and refused to discuss the question any further, or to answer any questions about the answer, except to say that no one really understood the question, and that you had to understand the question before you could understand the answer.  A new congress was empaneled, but after some debate they decided to let the previous congress’s determination stand.  The meaning of 42 has since become a favorite debate topic for all Torqual, and is a common theme of discussion across the entire system. 

While the Torqual disdain the use of military force to resolve conflict, they are not stupid and have admitted, usually after substantial debate, that maintaining some sort of military force capable of responding to emergency situations is a reasonable precaution.  Therefore, at the dawn of their space age, they set up the System Patrol.  It was not always lavishly funded, but it does have a pedigree of continuous service since the first Torqual left the atmosphere of their home planet.  Today, the System Patrol consists of six light cruisers of three different designs, and three BS2’s in orbit over Torqual Prime.  An additional six light cruisers have been built and placed in reserve in the mothball fleet, orbiting their star at a hidden location. 

On Turn 68, Day 4
Torqual Prime
The first hint the Torqual had that things had changed was at around 1200 hours when a drive field contact appeared on the planetary sensors on their home world.  This contact did not correspond to any known ship, and was approaching the inner system from a direction that should have been clear of any shipping, as all of the colonial sites were currently located on the far side of the system. 

Following standard procedure, the Torqual began broadcasting welcome messages to the contact.  For the next twelve hours the Torqual broadcasted welcomes to the newcomers, and for the next six hours the newcomers ignored the broadcasts.  By the dawning of day 5, the newcomers were forty-eight light minutes away and closing at a rate that meant that they would arrive in day 6.  The Torqual kept up the broadcasts, but out of what they were sure was an excess of caution, put their fleet and bases on alert.  Eighteen hours later their planetary sensors had resolved the incoming drive field contact into nine separate ships, now at twelve light minutes and closing.  The commander of the System Patrol wanted to go and meet the incoming ships, but the Benignity government was inherently cautious, and the committee empaneled to determine the proper course of action had not yet issued any directives.  In fact, the committee chair had not yet decided on the exact membership of the committee, and its meeting schedule.  So, the System Patrol remained in orbit alongside the orbiting bases and shipyards. 

Finally, when the drive field contact reached sixty light seconds from the planet, it was further resolved and the Torqual saw that it was nine heavy cruisers closing on their planet.  If a human naval officer had been present, he or she would have recognized the cruisers and could have warned the Torqual about what to expect from the D’Bringi, but of course no humans were present.  The Torqual continued sending welcoming messages even as the cruisers closed to four light seconds range and opened fire.  Sixty missiles sleeted towards one of the Torqual light cruisers, which had prudently begun modulating its engines when the invaders entered weapons range.  Twenty-four achieved target lock, and the hapless Torqual cruiser only managed to shoot one down with its basic point defense emplacement.  The other twenty-three missiles savaged the Torqual ship, leaving it limping with one remaining engine room.  Twelve missiles were launched in response by one of the Torqual cruisers, and four managed to get through everything the D’Bringi cruiser threw in their way, knocking down its shields and scoring her armor. 

The salvoes from the two remaining D’Bringi data-groups were lighter, as they had no internal launchers and were relying on their XO racks, but between them they managed to damage another light cruiser.  The return fire from the Torqual cruisers and bases knocked two of the D’Bringi cruisers out of their data groups and slowed one of them by 75%. 

The next exchange of fire took place at three light seconds range.  The Torqual light cruisers continued to modulate their engines and remained close to their bases, while the D’Bringi continued to race towards the Torqual.  The two fleets were now within extreme range for their lasers and force projectors, and both sides used everything they had to savage the other side’s ships.  The D’Bringi fire was more concentrated, but the Torqual steadfastly stood up to the incoming fire and gave back as good as they got.  Two D’Bringi cruisers were now limping away, toothless and crippled, while two Torqual light cruisers were crippled and two were heavily damaged. 

Four alien cruisers continued to close on the Torqual fleet, while the three missile-armed cruisers turned and began modulating their engines to provide some protection from the Torqual return fire.  The four D’Bringi cruisers were now within range of their energy weapons and sprint missiles, and they opened fire with everything they had.  The Torqual bases turned their missiles on the D’Bringi missile armed cruisers standing off, but between the cruiser’s point defense and engine modulation the Torqual bases had a hard time penetrating the cruiser’s defenses and did little damage.  Closer in, another D’Bringi cruiser was knocked out of its data-group, but the return fire was beginning to tell and all of the Torqual cruisers were damaged to a greater or lessor extent. 

The D’Bringi beam-armed cruisers continued to close while the bases focused on the D’Bringi missile armed ships.  The D’Bringi had apparently had enough of the heavily damaged Torqual ships continuing to snipe at them while they concentrated on their less-damaged brothers, because now the D’Bringi beam-armed ships turned their fire on the Torqual cripples.  The results were devastating.  In exchange for one D’Bringi cruiser crippled by concentrated Torqual fire, the Torqual lost one light cruiser completely, and three more were left drifting wrecks.  The Torqual bases, after a solid minute of pelting a single D’Bringi missile-armed cruiser with missile fire, had failed to knock the cruiser out of its data-group.  That left the Torqual with one more or less intact light cruiser, a second with serious internal damage, and three intact bases. 

The D’Bringi beam-armed cruisers now began modulating their engines, all except the ones armed with force projectors which were forced to divert engine power to their weapons, while the D’Bringi missile cruisers diverted their fire towards the bases.  The more-or-less intact Torqual cruiser turned its weapons on the crippled D’Bringi cruiser, destroying it in a deluge of sprint-missiles and force projector fire.  The D’Bringi seemed to go insane at the loss of their cruiser, and the last two D’Bringi beam-armed cruisers still in their data-group turned on the lone Torqual cruiser and reduced it to a pile of junk.  The other D’Bringi beam-armed cruiser rapidly reduced the last damage Torqual cruiser to wreckage as the Torqual bases, tiring of their useless effort to damage the D’Bringi missile-armed cruisers, turned their weapons on the much closer beam-armed cruisers.  With the Torqual cruisers now eliminated, the D’Bringi missile armed cruisers turned their fire on the Torqual bases, and their first combined salvo savaged one of the bases, ripping through its shields and armor and taking out some of its internal systems.  The return fire from the bases destroyed one of the D’Bringi beam-armed cruisers, but that would be their last gasp. 

The two remaining D’Bringi beam-armed cruisers turned and closed to point-blank range, while the missile cruisers continued to launch from three light seconds away.  The Torqual bases managed to inflict internal damage on one of the D’Bringi cruisers, but then the return fire wiped them away.  The battle was over, and the D’Bringi were victorious.  At a cost, though.  The vaunted D’Bringi Clan Fleets had lost two cruisers destroyed, with another two crippled and a third heavily damaged.  At first the D’Bringi were thrilled with the honor that had accrued to them in such a momentous battle, but as they learned more of the Torqual, they began to question that honor.  Afterall, how much honor could there be in beating a race that thought that the answer to life, the universe, and everything was 42?

As the D’Bringi troop transports settled to the surface of the inhabited planets, and D’Bringi clan troops began fanning out in search of targets worth their honor, and loot worth their time, the Torqual empaneled a new committee to determine the appropriate course of action in light of this new development.     
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Cold War: Turn 69-73
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2020, 10:11:07 AM »
Turn 69
The Coalition launches three light cruisers.  The Soviet Union launches it first heavy cruiser, and immediately lays down the keels for four more. 

Negotiators from the USSR and the Coalition arrive in Centaurus to begin negotiations with the D’Bringi.  While ostensibly the negotiators represent the Alliance, in reality both of the negotiating teams have their marching orders from their respective governments.  The negotiations with the D’Bringi Keepers begin poorly when the Soviet Union’s representative demands an apology and reparations for the destruction of the Triton colony, and for the raids at Saturn and Uranus. 

Coalition Fleet Deployments, as of Turn 69
Home Fleet, Earth:
6xCL, 6xDD, 1xFGS, 2xCT

Alliance Main Fleet, Centaurus (Leningrad) System
3xCL, 6xDD, 1xFGS, 12xCT, 3xES, 2xEX(S)

Plymouth Colonial Defense Group, Epsilon Eridani
3xDD, 1xFGS, 3xCT, 3xES, 1xEX(S)

Alliance Picket Groups, Sol

Alliance Picket Group Saturn
1xCT, 1xEX(S)

Alliance Picket Group Uranus

Solar WP Defense Group
3xDD(DSB), 8xBS0, 1xEX(S), 50xDSB(L)

USSR Fleet Deployments, as of Turn 69
Home Fleet, Earth
1xCA, 6xCL, 3xDD, 3xCT, 2xEX(S)

Alliance Main Fleet, Leningrad (Centaurus) System
6xCL, 1xDD(Flag), 9xDD, 3xCT, 2xEX(S), 4xCT(DSB), 92xDSB(L)

Alliance Picket Groups, Sol

Alliance Picket Group, Neptune
3xCT, 1xEX(S)

Alliance Picket Group, Saturn

Alliance Picket Group, Uranus
1xCT, 1xEX(S)

Total Fleet Strength:
Coalition: 9xCL, 15xDD, 3xFGS, 18xCT, 6xES (1277 spaces)
USSR: 1xCA, 12xCL, 12xDD, 11xCT (1136 spaces)

Turn 70
Negotiations break down, and all three nations decide to break off negotiations for two months, to allow everyone to reassess their positions.   The D’Bringi are offering a permanent cease fire, with humanity having the right to the systems they currently hold, as well as any discovered through the warp points they are exploring, while the D’Bringi keep the systems beyond the Centaurus (Leningrad) system.  Only limited contact will be allowed, with arrangements for transit through the shared warp link made by courier drone prior to any transit.  The negotiators from the Coalition find these terms acceptable, especially as the D’Bringi currently hold nothing that could be considered Coalition or even Alliance territory.  However, the Soviets do not agree.  From the first the Soviets have demanded fairly exorbitant reparations and apologies, both things that the D’Bringi refuse to consider. 

The Coalition finally begins research on HT 5, after developing force beams and capital survey instruments.  A new round of refits for the Coalition’s smaller ships is begun, to get the new force beams into service. 

The USSR upgrades their heavy cruiser design to include advanced missile launchers, replacing the older gum/missile launchers.  This will make the Moskva class CA’s a pure long-range unit, with little short-range capability, meaning that it will have to be heavily escorted.  As the Moskva’s primary opponents are likely to be slower D’Bringi cruisers, the Soviets feel that this is an acceptable tradeoff for the increased missile launching capacity.   As the first Moskva class unit returns to the yards for refit, the Soviets begin construction on an additional four cruisers, bringing the grand total of heavy cruisers under construction or refit in their yards to nine.  In addition, the USSR completes work on their new Fleet Headquarters, a command center built as part of a massive asteroid fortress.   A Soviet tug takes the asteroid fortress out of the demilitarized zone and towards the asteroid belt location that the Soviets had said would be the permanent spot for the command center. 

Turn 71
Intensive negotiations began between the USSR and the Coalition late last month and continue into this month.  The Coalition is trying to find a way to bridge the position of the Soviets and the D’Bringi, but the Soviets are not being reasonable, at least in the estimation of the Coalition negotiators.  The Coalition government now finds itself in an uncomfortable position as pressure from the public to find a way to peace with the D’Bringi is becoming overwhelming.  By the end of the month the Coalition’s leadership is beginning to consider the possibility of a separate peace with the D’Bringi, if the USSR will not reconsider its current position.   

The Coalition’s refit program continues, and their first BS1 is launched.  Having completed a BS1 design, the Coalition fleet proposes a missile armed BS2 design, capable of challenging a cruiser.  Because it is equipped with missiles it cannot be placed anywhere near Earth, so this design is intended for warp point defense, and for defense of colony planets such as New Plymouth.  In any case, the Coalition fleet is forced to place any plans it had for this class on hold as the USSR’s representatives on the Alliance Guidance Council objects to the construction of these units until their purpose is made clearer. 

The USSR’s yard capacity is largely devoted to the cruiser’s under construction.  Both the Coalition and the USSR have become concerned about the growth of their fleets compared to their economy’s.  The percentage of both nation’s economy devoted to upkeep has grown dramatically, and thus both have decided to scale back construction moving forward.  This is being presented to the public in the Coalition as a sign of détente with the USSR, when in all actuality it is mostly a simultaneous agreement by the two nations to scale back construction to save their economies. 

Turn 72
The Alliance negotiators meet with the D’Bringi again.  Prior to this meeting, General Lebedev orders his staff, and his second in command, Admiral Ruston, to begin planning an assault through the warp point into the D’Bringi controlled system beyond.  The Coalition representatives to the Alliance Guidance Council object to this overtly militaristic move, but in the end are overruled by their own government, which sees no harm in planning where the D’Bringi cannot see. 

The first meeting with the D’Bringi goes poorly.  The Soviet representative issues a list of demands from his government that he states are non-negotiable.  The D’Bringi representatives don’t bother to look at the demands before rejecting them out of hand, while the Coalition representatives try to mediate and keep both sides talking.  In response to the D’Bringi refusal, the Soviet representatives walk out of the meeting, leaving the Coalition representatives behind.  Acting on contingency orders from their government, which cover this very contingency, the Coalition representatives begin negotiating a separate peace with the D’Bringi. 

Over Earth, construction on their new heavy cruiser fleet continues in the Soviet yards, while the refit program for the Coalition’s smaller units continues. 

On Day 18, the USSR formally announces that the peace talks are over and that the war will resume.  This unilateral announcement is made simultaneously to the public and within an Alliance Guidance Council meeting.  The Coalition members of the Guidance Council object strenuously to the Soviet’s action, and in turn state that the war cannot resume without the agreement of the Coalition government.  Over the next week there are widespread, but generally peaceful, protests throughout Coalition territory to the announcement that the war will continue.  The public sentiment in Russia seems to support the resumption of the war, however, it is always difficult to determine what the Russians are actually thinking.  Finally, on Day 24, after several talks with the Soviet Premier, the CEO of the Coalition announces that the Coalition will seek a separate peace with the D’Bringi, and that the Coalition government will not approve a resumption of hostilities short of an overt hostile action by the D’Bringi.  In reaction, the USSR walks out of the next scheduled Alliance Guidance Council meeting on the 27th. 

On the 28th, Coalition negotiators meet with the D’Bringi and formally sign a peace treaty, ending the conflict between the aliens and the Coalition.  The D’Bringi turn over all Coalition spacers they are holding, but keep the two hundred and twenty-three Soviet spacers they hold.  The Coalition negotiators unofficially warn the D’Bringi that the USSR considers their cease fire to be over.  The D’Bringi warn the Coalition that any ships which transit the warp point will be considered hostile, unless pre-arranged by courier drone.  The Coalition negotiators pass this warning on to Admiral Ruston, who then tells General Lebedev. 

On Day 30, the Coalition issues orders to Admiral Ruston to withdraw from the combined Alliance Fleet and return to the Solar System.   

Turn 73
The Coalition fleet under the command of Admiral Ruston breaks away from the Alliance main fleet in Centaurus and sets its course for Earth, ostensibly for refits.  Both Admiral Ruston and General Lebedev know that while the Alliance still officially exists, the combined Alliance fleet will not likely be reformed.  General Lebedev requests reinforcements from the Soviet home fleet, however, he is told to attack into the Brezhnev system with his current force, while reinforcements move towards him from Earth. 

Shortly after setting out for Earth, Admiral Ruston receives a communique from Coalition Fleet HQ re-designating his fleet as the Reformation Coalition 1st Fleet.  Meanwhile, in the Solar System, both nations are redistributing their fleets because of the Soviet break with the Alliance.  Both sides discontinue the picket groups that had been spread across the system watching the approaches from deep space.  Now that the method of FTL travel is known, as is the location of the single warp point in the Solar System, it is no longer felt necessary to picket deep space.  Both nations continue to picket their outer-planet colony sites, though. 

With the peace treaty signed, the Coalition sends orders to its survey ships to probe the warp point in the Epsilon Eridani system.  Epsilon Eridani is the location of the Coalition’s primary colonial site, New Plymouth, and the focus of the Coalition’s plans to expand.  All survey efforts beyond known space had been curtailed under the wartime rules of the Alliance, however, with the Soviets no longer part of the Alliance and the signing of the peace treaty, the Coalition can begin surveying beyond known space.  The survey ships jump out of Epsilon Eridani into a yellow-star system with two habitable planets, two Mars-like rocks, two gas giants, and two asteroid belts.  The initial probe shows that there are no alien colonies in the system, and the survey fleet settles in to begin the planetary surveys.  By the end of the month they have completed the planetary surveys, showing that one of the planets is perfect for colonization with a rating of benign/very-rich, while the other is a super-terrestrial planet rated hostile/very-rich.  The Coalition government is ecstatic with this discovery, and plans are made to begin colonization next month. 

While technically the Alliance still exists, the Coalition decides that the USSR is in breach of the treaty and therefore withholds the new survey data it is amassing, including the existence of a new habitable planet. 

In a surge of excitement related to the peace treaty, the Coalition government approves the construction of a second survey fleet.  The Coalition navy agrees to provide escorts for the survey groups, although it will take some time to organize and allocate the ships for these groups.   In the meantime, the Coalition launches its first heavy cruiser.  Construction is begun on two more as the Rodney leaves the yards. 

On day 30 of the month, the USSR’s new Fleet HQ, a 500+ space asteroid fortress, moves into place just outside of missile range of the warp point.  The USSR had previously claimed that the fort was to be located in the asteroid belt as a backup fleet anchorage in case of alien invasion of the solar system.  With the breakup of the Alliance, though, the Soviets clearly feel that the critical location in the system is the warp point, which, until the appearance of the Soviet fortress, was dominated by the Coalition’s bases assigned to warp point defense.  The Coalition protests the diversion of the fort, but receives no reply from the Soviets. 

The Soviet Fleet is stretched to provide ships to cover Earth, the outer-planet colony sites in the Solar System, and reinforcements for the main fleet in Leningrad.  Once the cruiser fleet has been launched from the orbital yards, things will look much better, however, it will be three months before the first group of cruisers launch, and it will take another month before the second is operational.  The Kremlin does not want to wait that long to press into D’Bringi space, so the attack will begin this month. 

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Cold War: Soviet Designs as of Turn 73
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2020, 09:13:41 AM »
Soviet Military Space Service Designs, as of Turn 73

The Moskva class is intended to be the Soviet Union’s primary combatant once it is launched.  The design is optimized for combat with Raider cruisers, and is faster tactically, allowing it to stay out of the range of the beam-armed Raider cruisers will pummeling them from long range.  The keel for the first unit of this class was laid down in Turn 54, and it will be launched in Turn 69. 
Code: [Select]
MOSKVA class CA  12 XO Racks 60 Hull TL 3
60 RCP  40 MCP    Trg:3     Cost =  862/ 129.3
HTK 45 Sx5  Ax10  Dx4  Wx6  Mgx1 

The r1 refit for the Moskva changed the class weaponry to advanced missile launchers, doubling the cruiser’s rate of fire at long range but eliminating its capability to defend itself at short range.  MSS designers felt that this was an acceptable tradeoff given the Raider’s reliance on commercial engines.  Still, it is unlikely that a Moskva class cruiser will go anywhere without heavy escort.  The first unit of this class to be refitted will be the Moskva, which will launch from refit in Turn 74. 
Code: [Select]
MOSKVA R1 class CA  12 XO Racks 60 Hull TL 4
[3] Sx5Ax9ZH(BbS)(II)(II)(II)(II)(II)?0QRaRaM2RaRaDDRaDRaDLh(II)QMg [6]
60 RCP  40 MCP    Trg:3  Bmp +1     Cost =  940/ 141
HTK 45 Sx5  Ax9  Dx4  Rax6  Mgx1 
200x SM

The r2 refit for the Udaloy class changed out the ship’s weaponry for lasers.  The MSSS intends for this class to be the primary escort ship for the Moskva class cruisers.  The refit also updates the point defense suite. 
Code: [Select]
UDALOY R2 class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 3
[3] SSAx6ZH(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsDL(I)QsDL [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  409/ 61.4
HTK 23 Sx2  Ax6  Dx2  Lx2 

This class is intended to be a fleet flagship.  While it is unarmed, the class mounts long-range scanners, a combat information center, and a communications center.  The first unit of this class was launched on Turn 58. 
Code: [Select]
MARSHAL class DD  6 XO Racks 30 Hull TL 3
[3] SAx4ZH(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)(I)QsXr(CC)D(CIC)D(I)Qs [7]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  541/ 81.2
HTK 21 Sx1  Ax4  Dx2 

The first unit of this class was launched in turn 64.   
Code: [Select]
CT(DSB) class CT  3 XO Racks 16 Hull TL 3
[2] H(I)(I)(I)(DCS)D(I)Qs [8]
16 RCP  9 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  230/ 34.5
HTK 8 Dx1 

Upgraded explorer design, largely copied from Coalition designs. 
Code: [Select]
EXX R1 class EX  (AC) 7 Hull TL 3
[2] H(BbS)Xi(Ic)Qs [4]
7 RCP  18 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  137.7/ 20.7

The Soviets began construction on the first unit of this class on Turn 57.  It is intended to give the USSR the capability of assembling prefabricated bases at forward locations. 
Code: [Select]
MSY class FT5  45 Hull TL 3
[3] AAH(BbS)(SYM)(IcIc)(Ic)(IcIc)DLh(Ic)Q [4]
45 RCP  130 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  385.2/ 17.6
HTK 16 Ax2  Dx1

This unit is intended to tow bases to their deployment locations, and can support the fleet if a ship becomes damaged and must be towed to the shipyards. 
Code: [Select]
TUG class DD  30 Hull TL 3
[3] H(BbS)(IcIcIcIcIcIc)(Ic)(Ic)(Ic)TTDLh(Ic)Q [4]
30 RCP  20 MCP    Trg:1     Cost =  241/ 36.2
HTK 17 Dx1  Tx2 

This refit adds standard point defense, a CIC, and a buoy control system to the Soviet’s PDC design. 
Code: [Select]
PDC TERRITORY R1 class PDC  783 Hull TL 3
783 RCP    Trg:1     Cost =  4167/ 416.7
HTK 623 Apx500  Dx50  Wx50  Mgx20 

The MSS conceived of this fortress before the Alliance became a reality, when the Coalition was still viewed as the primary threat to the USSR.  This fortress was intended to act as an anchorage for the fleet independent of Earth, and as such it contains not only command and communications facilities, but also vast storage facilities located deep within the asteroid to hold maintenance supplies for both the base and the fleet.  This fortress was completed in turn 70.  On turn 73 the USSR moved it to the warp point to Moskva and emplaced it three light seconds from the warp point.  This move was made at a time of high tensions with the Coalition, after the collapse of the Alliance, both to warn the Coalition away from tampering with Soviet ships transiting through the warp point, and to protect the system from D’Bringi raiders.   
Code: [Select]
FLEET HQ class AF  104 XO Racks 523 Hull TL 4
523 RCP  27 MCP    Trg:4     Cost =  3728.5/ 186.4
HTK 457 Sx100  Apx300  Dx8  Wx20  Tx2  Mgx5 
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Cold War: Soviet Assault
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2020, 08:14:24 AM »
Turn 73, Day 6
Brezhnev system, D’Bringi Expanses

The first ship through the jump point was a Soviet Udaloy class destroyer named Vice Admiral Kulakov, followed closely by the destroyers Marshal Vasilyevsky, Admiral Zakharov, Admiral Spiridonov, Admiral Tributs, and the Marshal Shaposhnikov.  Their sensors showed as single D’Bringi cruiser sitting directly atop the warp point.  Unfortunately, as the warp point was uncharted, they came out on random headings, but this had been incorporated into the assault plan.  Once through the warp point, they sped away from their entry point at maximum speed, only turning at the last second to clear their blind spot and target the D’Bringi cruiser.

General Lebedev, riding aboard the Vice Admiral Kulakov, ordered his ships to open fire on the D’Bringi ship as they ran from the warp point, causing serious damage to the cruiser in spite of their warp addled senses.  The D’Bringi cruiser sat motionlessly on the warp point, its weapons silent, however, shortly after the Russian ships opened fire, DSB-L’s began detonating around the warp point and sending their lasers into the Russian ships.  In all seventy-eight DSB-L’s detonated, meaning that each Soviet ship was targeted by thirteen of the automated weapons.  The Marshal Shaposhnikov was closest to the onslaught and was overwhelmed by the incoming laser fire, exploding and killing most of her crew.  The other five Soviet destroyers were all damaged, with the closest to the warp point receiving the most damage.  All had their armor holed and their datalink systems destroyed, and the most heavily damaged, the Admiral Spiridonov and the Admiral Tributs, lost most of their engines.  General Lebedev was shaken about a bit as his flagship took damage, but other than that both he and his flagship survived the barrage. 

As the remaining destroyers of the first wave curved back towards the warp point and the D’Bringi cruiser sitting atop it, three more Soviet destroyers entered, followed by three corvettes.  The D’Bringi cruiser still wasn’t moving, but was streaming atmosphere.  General Lebedev didn’t hesitate as his destroyer closed on the warp point and ordered his squadron to continue firing on the alien ship.  The D’Bringi could have surrendered now that their ship was wounded, but they remained silent.  The salvo of laser fire from the Soviet destroyers tore through the D’Bringi ship, utterly destroying it and bringing the battle to a close. 

General Lebedev detailed the newly arrived ships to begin looking for life pods, while his damaged ships transited back to the Leningrad system.  Once in Leningrad he transferred to the Marshal Ustinov, his Marshal class command ship, and transited back to the Brezhnev system.  The Marshal Ustinov’s sensors confirmed that there were no additional ships within seventy-two light minutes of the warp point, so he authorized the survey group to transit into the system and begin surveying for warp points.  In addition, General Lebedev ordered a scout to proceed towards the system primary star and probe for colonies or outposts. 

The Brezhnev system was a binary system, with an orange star primary and a red dwarf companion.  There were no habitable planets in the system, but there were numerous gas giants and rocky planets, as well as three asteroid belts.     

Three days later, as the scout approached the primary star’s outer gas giant, its long-range sensors detected outposts on four of the planet’s five moons.  The scout sent the contact report back to the fleet at the warp point, and General Lebedev sent it back to the Solar System, along with a request for troops to secure the D’Bringi colonies.  The probe ship determined that there were ten D’Bringi mining outposts scattered across the binary system, totaling approximately five million D’Bringi. 

Reinforcements for General Lebedev’s fleet arrive at the end of the month.  The three light cruisers and three destroyers more than make up for his losses and the ships that he had to send back to the Solar System for repairs. 
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Cold War: Turns 74-80
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2020, 09:12:01 AM »
Turn 74
The Coalition 2nd Survey Group leaves Earth this month and moves to the Epsilon Indi system, where it probes one of the system’s three unexplored warp points.  The new system is named Sligo, and the Survey Group commander is thrilled when the probe ship reports back.  The system is a binary system with no less than four habitable planets, two Earth-like and two super-terrestrial.  The survey group’s scout is dispatched into the system to conduct a civilization probe.  Just before the end of the month the probe ship reports back – there is a civilization on one of the Earth-like planets orbiting the system’s secondary star.  It appears to be confined to its home planet, and no other populations are observed anywhere in the system.  The civilization appears to be at the industrial tech level, and so not capable of meaningful travel between the planets of its own system, much less other systems. Oddly, the newly discovered race’s home planet is orbited by nearly fifty small space stations.  The contact report is sent back to Earth for evaluation, and the survey group prepares to probe another unexplored warp point in the Epsilon Indi system.

The USSR’s orbital assets note the departure of what can only be a full-scale planetary colonization fleet from the Coalition’s territories on Earth.  The USSR’s leaders realize that this means that the Coalition has not only resumed warp point exploration, but has also found at least one habitable planet without informing them.  Therefore, on Day 5, the USSR formally dissolves the Alliance.  The treaty prohibitions about weapons within a certain radius around Earth remain in effect, but the cooperation inherent in the Alliance is a dead letter.  The Russian leaders are not ready to forego trade with the Coalition, so they take pains to make it clear to the Coalition’s leaders that trade will continue. 

Four Coalition mobile shipyards leave Earth, bound for New Plymouth in the Epsilon Eridani system, a three-month trip.   

Admiral Ruston’s force has returned to Earth and refits have begun on its smaller units.  Ruston’s ships are rebranded as the Reformation Coalition 1st Fleet.  Once refits are done the main fleet will be based at the warp point in the Solar System that leads to Sigma Draconis, with a task force based forward at the colony of Plateau in the Sigma Draconis system. 

The USSR’s first cruiser, the Moskva, joins the fleet fresh from its refit.  The five destroyers damaged in the battle to enter the Brezhnev system enter the yards for repairs, and construction begins on two new destroyers. 

In the Brezhnev system, the Soviet survey fleet completes its rough survey of the system and discovers no new warp points.  General Lebedev is disappointed, but orders the survey units to continue with their detailed survey.  Occupation troops have arrived and taken up posts across the system, bringing the D’Bringi mining outposts under control.  General Lebedev orders every effort to be made to discover the location and number of warp points in the system by examining records and interrogating D’Bringi who may know about that information. 

Turn 75
The Coalition First Survey Group completes its survey of the Indigo system even as colony transports are landing colonists on Indigo III, which the colonists rename New Washington.  The system is found to have two new warp points, and, when probed, these new warp points are discovered to lead to two new systems, each with a habitable type T planet.  The 1st then moves into the Codalus system to begin survey efforts there.  By the end of the month they have determined that the innermost planet is rated Benign/Normal. 

The Second Survey Group probes the two remaining unexplored warp points in the Epsilon Indi system, discovering two new systems, each with an Earth-like planet.  As the Coalition government still has not decided on contact with the new aliens discovered in the Sligo system, the survey commander sends her ships into the Orphicon system to survey the type T planet there.  Their survey of the new planet is complete by end of the month, and the results are sent back to the Earth.  The new planet is rated Harsh/Rich, and will be named New Sydney. 

The Soviet survey group completes its survey of the Brezhnev system, confirming that there are no additional warp points.  This forces General Lebedev to admit that the D’Bringi must have a closed warp point into the system.  Unfortunately, intelligence teams working on the D’Bringi outposts report that they have not been able to develop any new information.  This system appears to be a frontier system, and all of the populations in the system are little more than mining outposts.  If they ever had any strategic information, it is long gone now.  General Lebedev’s intelligence teams were able to confirm that there is a second warp point in the system, but cannot find anyone who knows its location, and all pertinent databanks appear to have been wiped.  (Author’s note: The D’Bringi have a 90% Determination rating, meaning that it will be rare that they give up info).  General Lebedev is forced to report back that their offensive has come to a halt, at least for now. 

Turn 75
The Coalition is sending colonists to the Indigo and the Orphicon systems.  The refits for the smaller ships in the fleet continue.  Public approval of the peace treaty with the D’Bringi and of the Coalition government has soared now that the survey fleets have found no less than six Earth-like planets open for colonization.  Even the public’s concern about the nuclear sword held over their heads by the Soviet’s, a constant since the Last War, has receded somewhat with the USSR’s preoccupation with the D’Bringi.

Early in the month, the Coalition government authorizes the commander of the 2nd Survey Group’s escort ships to establish contact with the planet-bound aliens in the Sligo system.  Commodore Antonia Durant orders her destroyers to accompany her frigate to just outside of a seventy-two light minute bubble around the planet, and then proceeds inwards alone.  Approximately a day later, shortly after the Coalition frigate crossed the thirty-six light minute line, it received a communication from the planet.  Commodore Durant orders her contact specialists to begin working to decipher the alien communications, and transmissions begin flying back and forth.   

Turn 76
With the completion of their survey efforts in the Brezhnev system, General Lebedev is forced to release the survey group for duty in other systems.  The Soviet government has become very concerned about the public reports within the Coalition of the plethora of habitable planets that have been discovered.  The survey group is ordered to proceed to the Smolensk system to begin probing the two unexplored warp points located there. 

In the Solar System, the first five Soviet heavy cruisers have been launched.  The original plan was to send them to General Lebedev’s fleet, however, given the lull in advance, the decision is made to put the newly launched cruisers back in the yards for refit to the latest version. 

Turn 77
The Coalition mobile shipyards, having reached the Epsilon Eridani system, begin construction of a new prototype base intended for defense of the colony world.  The base is big, almost 50% larger than a heavy cruiser, and mounts numerous advanced missile launchers along with several force beam turrets for close-in protection.  It will take almost two years to complete construction on the prototype base, but the Coalition feels that he knowledge and capability gained will be worth it, especially as the construction is taking place far beyond the Soviet Union’s prying eyes.   Such a base, armed with missiles, would almost certainly cause the USSR to object if it was built in the Solar System, and, of course, it could not be placed anywhere near the Earth under the existing treaties.   

In the Sligo system, Coalition Commodore Durant has been having difficulties trying to establish reliable communications with the Tarek, as the locals call themselves.  The Tarek are large and bulky, and look like a huge terrestrial crab, with a thick carapace and heavy armor over nearly their entire bodies.  Over the last several months the Tarek have proven to be prickly and quick to take offense at the slightest opportunity.  To facilitate communications, Commodore Durant ordered her frigate to close on the Tarek home planet to a distance of one light second, however, the Tarek apparently considered this a declaration of war and cut off all communications, after sending a communique that Commodore Durant is pretty sure was a declaration of their undying hatred and intent to conquer the Coalition.  After repeated and fruitless attempts to communicate with the Tarek, Durant orders her squadron to head out-system towards the warp point.  She is not sure what the Tarek actually intend to do, as her frigate’s sensors have confirmed that the Tarek have not achieved HT technology yet.  The results of the communications attempts are sent back to Earth, and the response is immediate.  The system will be surveyed and the other habitable planets will be settled.  The Tarek will be left alone, as long as they do not venture off of their planet.     

Unknown to the Coalition, a brilliant Tarek scientist made a breakthrough this month, and the Tarek would begin developing HT 1 systems even as the challenge was sent out to the interlopers in their system. 

The Soviet exploration fleet passes through the Sigma Draconis (Moskva) system on its way to the Smolensk system, and its passage is noted by the Coalition naval forces stationed there.  The contact report is sent back up the chain to Earth, where the Coalition government is faced with a problem.  Since the collapse of the Alliance the Coalition has located and colonized numerous Earth-like planets.  It is possible, based on the precedent set in the Sigma Draconis system, that the Soviets will demand settlement rights on those planets, something the Coalition wants to avoid.  After some debate within the administration, and consultation with prominent legislators, the CEO of the Coalition signs off on a plan to exclude the USSR from the Epsilon Eridani and Epsilon Indi warp chains.  The warp links to the system with unexplored warp points are as follows:

Sol---------Sigma Draconis-------------------Shaka----Epsilon Eridani
      |                               /       |
      |                                    /         |
         Centaurus                     Hector      Epsilon Indi

Note: I can't get this to line up right.  I will post a pic of the warp maps of both the USSR and the Coalition either today or tomorrow. 

To date three habitable planets have been discovered in the warp chains past Epsilon Eridani and another three past Epsilon Indi.  The warp links in the Hector system haven’t been explored by the Coalition yet, so what is beyond that system is unknown.  Fortunately, Coalition scouts shadowing the Soviet exploration fleet confirm that it is headed towards the Hector system.   The Coalition Navy sends orders to the Colonial Defense Detachment in the Epsilon Eridani system, and to one of the Survey Escort Groups in the area to establish blockades at the warp points into those systems in the Shaka system. 

On the 20th the Coalition CEO meets with the Premier of the USSR and informs him of the decision of the Coalition government to declare the Epsilon Eridani system, and the Epsilon Indi system, territories of the Coalition.  The CEO informs the Premier that in light of this decision, Soviet ships will not be allowed to transit into or through those systems.  In exchange, the Coalition grants the USSR the sole rights to anything found in or beyond the Hector system, as well as all rights to the Centaurus system, and the D’Bringi systems beyond that. 

The following discussion was acrimonious, by all reports, and the Premier did not agree to any of the Coalition’s offers, however, the CEO stood firm and stated that Coalition naval forces would defend Epsilon Eridani and Epsilon Indi as if they were Coalition territories on Earth.  The meeting ended abruptly, and although the Coalition’s CEO did not get anything like an agreement out of the Premier, she and her advisors were pretty sure that the USSR would not risk war with the Coalition at the same time that they were at war with the D’Bringi. 

Word from the Soviet exploration fleet arrives on Earth by the end of the month.  The fleet arrived in the Smolensk (Hector) system and probed both warp points, finding systems with no habitable planets.  The fleet will enter one and begin its warp point survey next month. 

Meanwhile, in the Brezhnev system, it has become clear to General Lebedev that the only way that the location of the hidden warp point will become known is if the D’Bringi use it to enter the system.  Therefore, he sends an urgent priority request for all available long-range sensor equipped ships to be put under his command.  He currently has four, including his flagship, which is not enough to cover very much of the system.  By the end of the month he has six additional scouts in the system, giving him some coverage, but still not enough.  He intends to station enough scouts across the system to detect any D’Bringi force that enters the system.  While it is unlikely that the scouts would be close enough to see the precise location that the D’Bringi entered the system at, even a general location would be enough to focus his efforts.  As he disperses the scouts, he receives orders from the Kremlin.  The fleet is to return to the Solar System, to counterbalance the growing strength of the Coalition. 

Turn 78
The Coalition has a breakthrough into HT 5, and immediately starts construction on a prototype battlecruiser.  This prototype battlecruiser hull will take fourteen months to build, and almost certainly will be outdated when it launches, but the RCSN is tired of being behind the USSR in construction of large hulls. 

The USSR also completes research on HT 5 and begins R&D on various systems, including capital missiles and capital missile launchers.  The USSR also begins construction on a prototype battlecruiser using off-the-shelf technology. 

General Lebedev detaches three destroyers and three corvettes from his main fleet and leaves them to guard the nine scouts he is leaving to picket the Brezhnev system.  The rest of his fleet sets out for the Solar system on the 1st and arrives at the Solar warp point on day 25.  They are met at the warp point by reinforcements from Earth consisting of three heavy cruisers and three destroyers. 

Meanwhile, light years away from human space, the three primary clan chiefs of the D’Bringi agreed.  The humans weren’t going to come through the closed warp point.  It was time to take care of other, more pressing, business.  The nine cruisers of the Combined Clan Fleets turned away from the warp point that they had been guarding and set out across the D’Bringi Expanses.  The Keepers could guard the warp point they were leaving behind.  That was what they did.  The Clans of the D’Bringi were riding to glory!

Turn 79
The nine cruisers that made up the Combined Clan Fleets of the D’Bringi were closing in on their target, an inhabited planet discovered by Keeper survey fleets some time ago.  The attack on the aliens had been delayed due to the difficulties with the humans, but now that the humans had been stopped by the closed warp point it was time for another glorious war.  Their scouts had confirmed that the pitiful aliens inhabiting the system had only a few defense ships, and from the D’Bringi point of view, such poor preparation was simply an invitation for them to come in and take all that the aliens had.  After all, if they valued their possessions, they would have defended them better, like the humans had.  The human’s fleet strength had limited the D’Bringi clans to raids, which had still been glorious, but these new aliens had no such honor, as was about to be demonstrated to them. 

The aliens had detected the D’Bringi fleet a day and a half ago, and had been sending pitiful messages of friendship (the D’Bringi assumed), all of which had been ignored.  Now, the D’Bringi cruisers had closed to weapons range, and the fun could begin.  The nine D’Bringi cruisers faced one alien cruiser, two destroyers, and two corvettes, along with two large bases.  The D’Bringi closed to four light seconds and then fired a salvo of missiles from their external ordnance racks and the internal launchers of three of their cruisers.  This missile wave was targeted on the alien cruiser in an attempt to crush their spirit in the first blow.  Given the fact that the approaching ships had failed to even try to talk, the alien defense force was modulating its engines to make themselves harder targets.  In addition, the alien cruiser launched an EDM when it became clear that it was the target of the entire missile wave.  The alien return fire was anemic, compared to the numbers of missiles fired from the D’Bringi ships, but their targeting was excellent and they scored far more hits, totally destroying one of the D’Bringi beam cruisers and shocking the Clan Chiefs, who responded in the only way they could – they ordered a charge into the alien guns!

The next round of fire took place at three light seconds range, with the D’Bringi again concentrating on the alien cruiser.  Both sides had exhausted their external ordnance racks, so this exchange was purely from internal launchers.  The aliens continued to modulate their engines and the cruiser again launched an EDM, confusing the incoming D’Bringi missiles, which only managed to achieve four hits.  Correctly identifying the D’Bringi cruisers which hadn’t fired as beam armed ships, the aliens concentrated on the five beam-cruisers as they closed.  The alien destroyers were launching two salvoes of a single missile each, indicating that they were armed with a single advanced missile launcher.   The alien cruiser had fallen silent, perhaps indicating that it was armed with short-ranged weapons.  The alien corvettes were silent as well, but the two bases were launching two salvoes of three missiles each.  All of the alien missiles were aimed with incredible accuracy, and although there weren’t a lot of them, they were getting through the D’Bringi defenses, leaving a D’Bringi cruiser streaming atmosphere. 

The three D’Bringi missile armed cruisers slowed to a halt at three light seconds and began modulating their engines while the beam-armed cruisers continued to charge ahead.  Two D’Bringi beam armed cruisers let loose with lasers and energy projectors at two light seconds, continuing to target the alien cruiser, chewing through its remaining defenses and doing internal damage.  The alien bases fired in response, each launching three missiles and a staggering thirteen sprint missiles at one of the incoming D’Bringi cruisers.  The D’Bringi cruiser targeted by the base was simply swept away by the incoming fire, destroyed before it could get off a shot.  The other two D’Bringi beam armed cruisers opened up with everything they had, including the sprint missiles they were carrying on their XO racks, all targeted on the alien cruiser.  They managed to get two hits with their lasers and one hit from a sprint missile launched from their external racks.  The D’Bringi missile armed cruisers continued to pelt the alien cruiser with missiles from three light seconds out, and the alien cruiser had been damaged enough that it was no longer able to continue engine modulations at the same level, so more missiles were getting through. 

The D’Bringi clan chiefs were stunned.  They had already lost two difficult to replace cruisers, in exchange for damaging a single alien cruiser.  This was not the way this was supposed to go.  Still, they could not order a retreat at this point, not without an almost certain fatal loss of honor.  The attack would go forward.  The next exchange of fire took place at one light second.  Two D’Bringi beam-armed cruisers fired into the defiant alien cruiser, finally gutting it, leaving it a burning hulk drifting over the alien planet.  The two alien bases fired in return, targeting two D’Bringi beam armed cruisers, destroying one and heavily damaging the other.  The damaged D’Bringi cruiser was crippled seconds later by the alien destroyers.  In return, the remaining D’Bringi ships targeted one of the bases, but it deployed an EDM and only two missiles, a sprint missile, and a single energy projector scored hits. 

By now the clan chiefs knew they should have ordered the retreat, however, it was too late.  The two remaining beam armed ships would never manage to get out of range of those bases.  Even if they turned aside now, with their commercial engines it would take at least 90 seconds to get out of the range of the sprint missiles being fired by the bases, and they would never make it. 

The three clan chiefs, each aboard their missile-armed flagships and safely out of range of the alien bases, came to a decision.  The Clan Chief for the B’Regest Clan called his subordinates aboard the two remaining cruisers.  “The clan expects honor and victory, and the two of you are the only ones who can make this happen.  The Clan will honor your memories as heroes beyond all others.  You know what to do.  Victory!”

The communications line closed, and the chief officers aboard the two remaining beam armed cruisers paled, but a clan warrior knew what was expected.  “Helm, target the bases.  Ram them!”

The two D’Bringi cruisers raced towards the alien bases, closing rapidly to point blank range.  At the last possible second the two bases let loose with every weapon they had, inundating the two approaching cruisers with nuclear explosions as sprint missiles exploded on the D’Bringi ship’s naked drive fields, shredding the ship’s armor and internal systems.  For a few seconds it appeared that the bases were successful in stopping the rammers, but then the two D’Bringi ships, streaming atmosphere and chunks of their internal systems, emerged from the explosions that had obscured them and rammed the two big bases. Titanic explosions lit orbital space as the big cruisers slammed into the even bigger bases.   When the massive explosions cleared, the two bases and the D’Bringi cruisers were gone.  Just gone.  So violent was the explosions that there were no life pods from any of the combatants, nor debris bigger than about a centimeter.  The D’Bringi missile-armed cruisers launched a salvo at one of the remaining alien DD’s, which returned fire, to little effect on either side. 

With that valiant act, the entire nature of the battle changed.  The destruction of the two bases left the defenders just two destroyers, which now moved out towards the three remaining D’Bringi ships.  The D’Bringi cruisers turned away from the approaching DD’s, keeping the range open as much as they could.  The alien DD’s closed to two point two five light seconds and opened fire, knocking down a D’Bringi cruiser’s shields.  The three D’Bringi ships returned fire, causing serious internal damage to one of the alien DD’s and slowing it to a crawl. 

The last alien DD managed to close to one point five light seconds and fired again, shredding more of the D’Bringi ship’s armor, but then the three D’Bringi ships switched to sprint-mode fire for their missile launchers and bypassed the alien DD’s wickedly accurate point defenses, smashing through the DD’s passive defenses and crippling the ship.  At this point the alien DD’s, and the two corvettes in orbit, dropped their drive fields, signaling that they surrendered.  The battle was over. 

Now in control of the world’s orbitals, the D’Bringi clan chiefs broadcasted a demand for surrender, followed by a few demonstration-strikes on out of the way islands.  The aliens weren’t crazy, or suicidal, so they promptly surrendered as D’Bringi troops began landing.  Another race had been subdued and put to work for the D’Bringi.  The cost was high, though.  Only one of the missile armed cruisers had been damaged, but five of the six beam-armed cruisers had been destroyed, and the only beam armed CA to escape destruction was crippled to the extent that it would eventually be scuttled. 

Shocked by their losses, the clan chiefs met in orbit over their new conquest.  Even as clan troops looted the planet below, the clan chiefs decided that their reliance on commercial engines would end.  What had seemed prudent before, now seemed foolish.  The interesting question was, why had their benefactors been so adamant that the D’Bringi use commercial engines on the ships that they built? 

As was standard D’Bringi clan policy, the shipyard in orbit over the planet was destroyed, as the D’Bringi had no need of it, and it would delay the subject race’s recovery.  The two damaged DD’s and the two corvettes that had surrendered were sent back to the D’Bringi home world for study and repair.  The D’Bringi occupation troops would loot approximately 6,600 mega-credits of wealth from the Doraz Contingency’s home world as they took control, which would more than pay for the six cruisers lost, but the Clan Chiefs had held other plans for that money.  There were many demands on the D’Bringi at this time, and the loss of six cruisers would be difficult to make up.  The mega-credits looted here would go a long way towards patching the holes in the patchwork mélange that the D’Bringi called an economy. 

Turn 79
The Soviet exploration fleet has completed a rough survey of the Kirov system (beyond the Smolensk system), and found four new warp points.  The exploration group commander decides to probe the new warp points before continuing with the detailed survey in the hopes of finding a habitable planet.  They find a habitable planet in two of the systems, while the third is filled with uninhabitable planets and moons, and the fourth is a starless area of space. 

Turn 80
The D’Bringi auction off a system they recently discovered to several races that they have had contact with.  The system has no less than five habitable planets, but unfortunately all five are type “T” (Earth-like) worlds, which the D’Bringi cannot use.  There are two races bidding, the T’Pau Syndicate and the Rehorish Stellar Dominion.  Of the two, the Rehorish were able to bid higher.  The T’Pau are a Satrapy of the D’Bringi, and their economy still hasn’t recovered from the D’Bringi conquest that brought them into the D’Bringi star nation as an associated race.  On the other hand, the Rehorish have a trade agreement with the D’Bringi, as the D’Bringi were impressed with the size and strength of the Rehorish navy at the time of first contact, and the Rehorish have a government style that the D’Bringi can understand and work with.  Thus the Rehorish have a relatively strong economy and can outbid the T’Pau.  The D’Bringi give the Rehorish the warp link information that will take them to their new system, based on an agreement that the D’Bringi will let them travel through their space freely to get to and from this system, and exchange the Rehorish will not explore any of the D’Bringi systems linking them to their new system or attempt to discover any of the other warp links in those systems. 

The Coalition’s 2nd Survey Group moves into the Sligo system this month to begin survey efforts.  Following orders, they skip the survey of the third planet of the secondary star, as that planet is inhabited by the hostiles known as the Tarek.  The Tarek apparently detect the numerous small survey craft swarming through the inner system and the Coalition ships are bombarded by communications that can only be considered hostile, although no one has quite figured out the Tarek language, and the Tarek themselves don’t seem to feel that it is necessary for the humans to understand their language to get the point across.  The Coalition’s survey efforts continue.   
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 09:14:16 AM by Kurt »
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Cold War: Soviet and Coalition Maps, Turn 80
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2020, 08:58:25 AM »
Hmmm...I thought I added comments to the maps, to make it clear what some of the locations were.  It seems I didn't, so I'll add some comments below the maps.

Soviet Warp Map:

The Brehznev system is the location of several conquered D'Bringi outposts and a suspected closed warp point to the D'Bringi empire.  Saratov, Rostov-na-Donu, and Sverdlovsk have all effectively been ceded to the Coalition, although officially the USSR never actually agreed to this and still maintains that it has the right to transit those systems.  This leaves the Smolensk system as the focus for all of the USSR's expansion efforts, but fortunately the Kirov system seems to have plenty of warp points. 

Coalition Warp Map:

The Coalition has given control of the Timor, Centaurus, and Galloway's star systems to the USSR, as they are believed to lead to the D'Bringi.  Hector has also been ceded to the USSR to give them a route to expand. 

« Last Edit: May 05, 2020, 09:05:05 AM by Kurt »
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Cold War: USSR Overview Turn 80
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2020, 05:40:13 PM »
Soviet Union
Turn 80
The USSR is engaged in a war with the D’Bringi and has conquered the D’Bringi mining system of Brezhnev, however, their offensive has stalled in that system due to a likely close warp point.  During the Soviet preoccupation with the war, the Coalition seized the systems of Rostov-na-Donu and Sverdlovsk, as well as the unknown systems beyond the Saratov system.  Since then, the Coalition has denied Soviet ships access to those systems and has stationed warships at the warp points leading to those systems.  The Soviet government has protested those actions, but the regressive capitalists have ignored the rightful protests of the people of the Soviet Union.  The seizure of those systems by the Coalition made the Smolensk system the USSR’s single route of expansion and Soviet survey ships are working diligently to expand the territories available to the USSR. 

The USSR has been experimenting for the last six months with methods to control the D’Bringi population in the Brezhnev system.  The D’Bringi clan system is nearly impenetrable for an outsider, and this gave the Soviet occupation troops no end of trouble in the first couple of months.  On month 76 the Soviet government sent in cultural specialists to study the D’Bringi, and they have come to several interesting conclusions.  For all that D’Bringi culture appears to be a complex web of alliances, duties, and responsibilities related to a person’s position within their clan, the specialists discovered that for the bulk of the D’Bringi people the clans are little more than overlords, oppressing them and taking what they make or grow.  Their interactions with the clans, great and small, are of little interest to them, much as the ancient medieval serfs cared little which king or noble ruled the land.  For them the name of the king mattered not at all, as their lives were the same regardless.  And so it is for the D’Bringi.  Every D’Bringi miner in every mining outpost throughout the system could tell you which of the great clans owned the mines they worked, but very few could give any differences between the clans.  Upon digging deeper, the specialists have suggested that the D’Bringi are very recent to space and space travel.  Most of the miners throughout the Brezhnev system can remember a time before space travel was common.  Indeed, some can remember a time before flight through the atmosphere was possible.  This would fit together nicely with the rather ramshackle nature of the D’Bringi government, and its backward and regressive organization.  All of this has suggested an opportunity to the military rulers of the USSR.  Although they themselves do not actually believe in communism, and have taken great pains to prevent the communist party from regaining the power they once had, they have kept the party around to help control the people and to give them some continuity to the past.  Now, the Central Committee sees an opportunity to convert the D’Bringi workers to an anti-clan, communist mindset, under their control, of course.  Their hope is to use D’Bringi from the Brezhnev system to cause chaos and unrest in the D’Bringi empire, should a route into that nation be found.   Commissars and aide and support teams drawn from the rank and file communist party, formerly involved in goodwill reclamation projects in nations bordering the USSR on Earth, will be sent to Brezhnev to separate the workers there from the exploitative clans and convert them into good citizens of the USSR.   

The Soviet Union currently has only one extra-Solar colony site, in the Moskva system.  There is growing concern in the Kremlin that the Coalition is far ahead of the USSR in terms of colonization.  Although the exact number of systems colonized by the Coalition is unknown, the number of colonists the Coalition has sent out of the Solar System is staggering, and it has been a nearly unending flow. 

The Soviet Military Space Service has embraced the “big-ship” concept and currently has nine heavy cruisers in service, with another three under construction.  In addition, a prototype battlecruiser is under construction and will be launched in turn 92.  Previously, the MSS had continued to use lasers as the primary beam weaponry of its smaller ships even after the force beam became available.  This was for two reasons, one because lasers were cheaper than force beams, meaning that more ships could be launched with lasers than force beams, and secondly, because lasers penetrated shields with ease.  With the ongoing development of improved armor, the fleet’s lasers have become obsolete and will be replaced with force beams in the next round of refits.  No decision has been made as the deployment strategy for the new capital missiles currently under development. 

Fleet Deployments:
Solar System
Home Fleet (Earth): 6xCA, 3xCL, 6xDD, 2xCT(DSBC)
1st Fleet (at WP to Moskva): 3xCA, 9xCL, 1xDDC, 6xDD
Neptune Patrol Group: 2xCT
Saturn Patrol Group: 2xCT
Uranus Patrol Group: 2xCT
Sol WP Defense: 1xAF(HQ), 1xDD(Tug), 2xCT, 1xEXS, 245xDSB-L
(Once sensor buoys have been developed, the patrol groups around Neptune, Saturn, and Uranus will be replaced by buoys.)

1st Fleet, Picket Group (Brezhnev): 3xDD, 3xCT, 19xEXS
Note: The EXS are dispersed throughout they system with their drives down in an attempt to capture any D’Bringi ships that enter through a suspected closed warp point on their sensors.  While they wouldn’t likely be able to localize the location of the closed warp point sufficiently to allow transit, they will be able to determine its location within twelve light minutes or so, giving the fleet someplace to concentrate its attentions.  Currently, the scouts cover the entire system out to a range of approximately two hundred and fifty-two light minutes from the primary.  This leaves a band approximately 72 light minutes wide around the outer edge of the system not yet covered by Soviet sensors.  Eighteen more scouts will be needed to cover this area, but it is not clear when they will be available. 

Exploration Group (Tomsk system): 25xEX

Leningrad WP Defense (Leningrad, wp to Brezhnev): 4xCT(DCSBC), 370xDSB-L

Under Construction: 3xCA, 1xBC
Note: The USSR is currently spending 48.9% of its monthly income on maintenance.  In order to avoid overtaxing its economy, construction of new ships has been curtailed, and the government is considering mothballing light cruisers as the new battlecruisers come online. 
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Cold War: Coalition Update, Turn 80
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2020, 08:39:56 AM »
Reformation Coalition
Turn 80
The Reformation Coalition is at peace, and for the first time has felt relatively free from pressure from the USSR due to that nation’s ongoing war with the D’Bringi.  Although the Coalition has no current information concerning the status of the war between the USSR and the D’Bringi, and the main Soviet Fleet has returned to the Solar System, it is clear that the war is ongoing as the Soviets have not announced their victory over that race, something they would be sure to do if they had won such a victory, if only to sway the non-aligned countries of the world to their side. 

The USSR’s preoccupation with the war has allowed the Coalition to steal a march on them by claiming the Epsilon Eridani and Epsilon Indi systems as Coalition sovereign territory.  This in turn gave the Coalition sole access to the six Earth-like worlds found in the systems beyond those two systems.  The USSR would never have tolerated such a move before contact with the D’Bringi, but with the USSR distracted by the war and with their fleet occupied in or beyond Galloway’s Star, the Coalition government decided that making those two systems, and the systems beyond them, Coalition territory represented a reasonable risk.  That decision proved to be prudent when the USSR limited itself to diplomatic protests, leaving the Coalition in sole possession of those systems.  There were some that advocated for seizing the Shaka system as well, cutting the USSR off from all unexplored warp points aside from those in D’Bringi space, but that was felt to be too provocative and would be almost certainly grounds for war. 

The Coalition currently has colonized five systems outside of the Solar System, and a colony fleet is on its way to begin settling a sixth.  Two additional systems with habitable planets are being surveyed and will be colonized in the near future. 

The Coalition has discovered one technologically advanced race during its explorations, aside from the D’Bringi.  Little is known of the Tarek of the Sligo system as they broke off contact shortly after it was established by the survey group assigned to the system.  Because the Tarek are confined to their planet the Coalition legislature has authorized the establishment of a colony on the second planet of the secondary star in spite of the proximity to the Tarek.  Given their limited space-travel capabilities it does not appear that they have ever traveled to their sister planet and the Coalition government has determined that they have no claim to it as they do not have the capacity to settle or exploit it. 

The Reformation Coalition Space Navy has been built up almost from the first as a reaction to Soviet fleet deployments rather than from a unified and coherent strategy.  The first attempt to rationalize fleet design and deployments came in reaction to the D’Bringi threats, and resulted in a shift in weaponry from missile to beam in the fleet’s smaller combatants.  Currently, the Coalition spends 42.7% of its monthly budget on fleet maintenance, which is actually down from almost 50% a few months ago due to heavy colonization efforts.  In any case, the Coalition government has decided to slow the growth of the fleet to prevent the growth of its maintenance budget from breaking the national budget. 

Fleet Deployments
Solar System
Home Fleet (Earth): 3xCA, 1xFGS, 3xCT
1st Fleet (at WP to Sigma Draconis): 9xCL, 3xDD, 1xFGS, 12xCT, 3xES, 2xEXS
Saturn Squadron: 3xCT, 1xEXS
Uranus Squadron: 3xCT, 1xEXS
Sol WP Defense: 1xFT4(Tug), 3xDD(DSBC), 3xBS1, 8xBS0, 1xEXS

Extra-Solar Deployments:
Plateau Defense Force (Sigma Draconis): 3xDD, 1xEXS
New Plymouth Defense Force (Epsilon Eridani): 3xDD, 1xFGS, 3xCT, 1xEXS
Colony Defense Group (Sligo): 3xES, 1xEXS  *(the colony in this system is not yet established, the force is here to watch the Tarek)
Colonial Picket Codalus: 1xEXS
Colonial Picket Indigo: 1xEXS
Colonial Picket Kohl: 1xEXS
Colonial Picket Kowloon: 1xEXS
Colonial Picket Orphicon: 1xEXS
Picket Group Shaka: 5xEXS
Picket Group Sigma Draconis: 2xEXS

Survey Group #1 (Kohl): 20xEX
Survey Group #1 Escort (Kohl/Indigo WP): 3xDD, 1xFGS
Survey Group #2 (Orphicon): 20xEX
Survey Group #2 Escort (Epsilon Indi/Orphicon WP): 3xDD, 1xFGS

Under Construction: 1xBC
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Cold War: Turns 81-86
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2020, 09:56:50 AM »
Turn 81
The Soviet exploration fleet completes its rough survey of the Tomsk system, discovering an unprecedented eight additional warp points.  A colony fleet leaves the Soviet Union for the Tomsk system, to colonize the Benign/Very Rich planet discovered there. 

The eight unexplored warp points in the Tomsk system makes the system incredibly valuable to the Soviets.  The Soviet leaders had been extremely concerned when it became clear that the Coalition had stolen a march on them by effectively seizing two of the three systems with unexplored warp points, leaving the USSR with only one outlet for exploration once the warp chain leading to the D’Bringi petered out.  Now, with the Tomsk system a nexus of numerous open warp points, the USSR was assured constant access to new worlds and systems. 

Turn 82
Coalition survey ships probing the single new warp point found in the Kohl system have found a new system containing another habitable planet.  The new system is named Lassa.  Coalition colonization begins in the Sligo system, targeted on the second planet in the binary system’s secondary star system, the uninhabited neighbor to the planet-bound Tarek.  The Tarek have shown no sign of developing the ability to move beyond their world, but in any case, a small Coalition naval squadron has been stationed at the new colony to protect them should the Tarek prove to be unreasonable. 

The Soviet survey fleet in the Tomsk system completes its detailed survey of the system and brings the total of newly discovered warp points to eleven.  A message is sent back to fleet HQ requesting guidance.  Given the D’Bringi threat, the Soviets are unwilling to allow unarmed exploration ships to probe the new warp points, especially in a system as valuable as the Tomsk system.   

Turn 83
One hundred and ninety-two light minutes from the system primary, a small D’Bringi exploration ship appeared suddenly, out of seemingly nothing.  The ship’s commander noted that the warp point they had materialized at was a closed warp point, which was undetectable unless you happened to have transited through it, as they just had.  His interest piqued; the ship’s commander set his crew and computers to identifying the system they were currently operating within.  Within minutes the ship’s computers and sensors had identified the system’s major planets and set to comparing them to a database of known systems.  Within seconds they had a match.  This was the Yeack system and was known to the D’Bringi.  The explorer’s commander was more than excited.  The clans would pay for this information, and pay dearly.  Quietly, without being noticed, the explorer jumped out.  None of the human ships in the system had noted its appearance or disappearance.  The Leningrad/Centaurus system appeared the same as it always had.  For now. 

The Soviet survey group is given orders to move to the Novosibirsk system and begin survey efforts there.  The 1st Fleet under General Lebedev will proceed to the Tomsk system and begin probing the warp points there.  The Soviet high command is excited about the potential for the warp points in the Tomsk system to lead to a D’Bringi system, and wants the fleet on hand to exploit any opportunities, or to defend against any dangers. 

Before the 1st Fleet leaves the Solar System, several ships are transferred from it to the Home Fleet, and from the Home Fleet to the departing 1st Fleet.  The 1st Fleet now consists of six heavy cruisers, six light cruisers, nine destroyers, two frigate-scouts, and the General’s flagship-destroyer. 

The Coalition’s bases at the warp point in the Solar System note the departure of the Soviet fleet with interest, and a scout will shadow them as far as the Shaka system, beyond which is Soviet territory. 

Turn 84
The Coalition 2nd Survey Group probes the four new warp points in the Sligo system, discovering that the four new systems contain a grand total of five type “T” worlds.  Three of the systems contain one type T planet, while the fourth has two.  One of the planets is inhabited by a race at the industrial tech level.  Although shaken by her failure with the Tarek, Commodore Durant follows SOP and attempts to establish contact with the newly discovered race in the Redwing system. 

The planet would be considered harsh for human habitation, as it orbits its white star primary in the outer edge of the liquid-water zone and has an average temperature of just above freezing.  As the Commodore’s ship approaches the planet, they find that the natives are using fairly weak radios to communicate.  Contact is established, and the natives prove to be friendly and inquisitive.  Between the Coalition’s growing skill in communicating with other races and the native’s apparently superior skills or intelligence, progress in understanding each other’s language is made almost immediately, allowing for rudimentary communication. 

The Soviet 1st Fleet arrives in the Kirov system and splits into three task forces, each built around a long-range sensor equipped scout.  Before the end of the month, the task forces probe three of the unexplored warp points, finding one system with two habitable planets, one with one habitable planet, and the third with no habitable planets.  None of the planets are inhabited, and none of the systems show signs of exploitation. 

Meanwhile, the Soviet survey fleet has moved into the Novosibirsk system, and begins its rough survey of the system this month.  By the end of the month the fleet has accumulated enough survey information to complete its rough survey, and it discovers no less than six additional warp points. 

Turn 85
The Soviet survey fleet completes its detailed survey of the Novosibirsk system, locating one additional warp point for a grand total of nine new warp points in the system. 

In the Tomsk system, the Soviet 1st Fleet continues probing the remaining new warp points, bringing the total of habitable worlds connected to the Tomsk system to eight, located in five of the eleven systems.  In one of the last systems probed, the Soviet frigate-scout materialized just thirty-six light minutes from the system primary.  The system was a binary system, with a white star primary and a yellow star secondary, both of which were orbited by habitable Earth-like planets.  The soviet scout was just twenty-three light minutes from the habitable planet in the primary system, and it lit up the scout’s sensors like a flare in the night sky.  There was a significant population on the planet, and when the scout’s sensors recovered, they could see that there were a fair number of drive field contacts around the planet.  The Soviet commander’s first instinct was to retreat through the warp point, but the aliens would have already detected them.  Leaving now would only convince them that the humans were hostile.  Instead, the Starshiy Liytenant commanding the frigate ordered his comms section to send a standard first contact message to the aliens.  Shortly after the message would have been received at the planet, a group of nine ships left the planet headed for the Soviet ship.  The frigate transited back to the Tomsk system to broadcast a warning to the rest of the fleet, then returned to the new system to await contact.  Shortly thereafter the aliens contacted the Soviet frigate and the two races began efforts to decipher the other’s language. 

Turn 86
With the warp point survey of the Novosibirsk system complete, the Soviet survey fleet sets out for one of the systems beyond the Tomsk system, to begin surveying the habitable planet in the system.  The nine new warp points in the Novosibirsk system will be probed by the 1st Fleet, once it completes its contact efforts with the Bjering. 

The Soviets begin construction on six heavy cruisers and six destroyers.  This move catches the Coalition by surprise.  Shipbuilding for both sides has fallen off recently as both fleets have expanded to the point where they are consuming 45-50% of their respective nation’s income each month to support themselves.  This large new construction effort will both upset the current balance of power and potentially bankrupt the USSR, or at least make it harder for them to expand economically. 
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Cold War: Turn 86 - Alien Battle
« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2020, 02:40:08 PM »
Turn 86, Soviet system Jakutsk
By week 2 the Soviet efforts to understand the aliens they had contacted last month were proceeding well.  The aliens called themselves the Bjering Consolidate, and were tall, bipedal, with four arms and slick grey skin.  The aliens all wore what were obviously uniforms, some of which were ornate with numerous awards and ribbons.  The alien fleet had positioned itself one light minute from the Soviet ship, and consisted of two battlecruisers, three destroyers, and four corvettes.  One of the destroyers had left the main group of the fleet and closed to 7.5 light seconds from the Soviet ship, and all communications were with that destroyer. 

One day ago, a second group of drive fields had left the same alien planet that the first fleet had come from.  The six alien ships were now approaching the first fleet, which was positioned between the approaching fleet and the Soviet frigate.  When the new ships closed to fifteen light seconds from the frigate the Soviet ship’s sensors could see that the alien squadron was composed of two battlecruisers, two destroyers, and two corvettes.  The Bjering destroyer that had been communicating with the Soviet frigate returned to its main fleet before the newcomers approached, and all communications had stopped.  The Soviets moved their frigate to the warp point and prepared to jump out, but without a direct threat to their ship they were unwilling to leave. 

Amazingly enough, the new Bjering squadron opened fire on the Bjering ships that had been communicating with the Soviet ship.  The human frigate’s commander sent his crew to action stations, but then they were forced to watch as the two groups of alien ships savaged each other.  The newly arrived battlecruisers launched capital missiles at one of the Bjering battlecruisers that had been talking to the humans, and then the targeted battlecruisers responded.  The human frigate’s commander decided to designate the attacking ships as Force A, and the defending ships as Force D, as they all appeared to be Bjering ships. 

Force A continued to close on Force D, which was now detuning its engines.  Heavy capital missiles continued to race between the two groups, but the Soviet ship’s sensors showed that while the Bjering missiles had performance characteristics similar to the capital missiles now being developed in Soviet labs on Earth, they had different warheads.  The Bjering missiles were exploding short of the targeted battlecruisers, and doing less damage than predicted, but, strangely, the damage they were doing seemed to be skipping the defending ships shields, which remained at full strength, and instead striking the ship’s armor.  Fascinated, the human ship’s bridge crew continued to watch the battle.  After two salvoes it appeared as if neither side had done more than scratch the other’s armor. 

After the second salvo struck home the defending fleet, Force D, seemingly unraveled.  The three destroyers and four corvettes hovering around the two massive battlecruisers suddenly raced away, towards the oncoming Force A ships, which elected to stay together.  Force D’s BC’s were now 4.25 LS from the approaching ships, while Force D’s DD’s had closed to 2.5 light seconds and the CT’s to 2.25 light seconds. 

The next exchange of fire was puzzling to the Soviet watchers.  The two sides threw everything they had at each other, including their XO missiles.  Strangely, the Bjering XO missiles didn’t explode when they hit their targets, but rather emitted an intense burst of drive field energy that destabilized the targeted ship’s drive bubble.  Force D’s destroyers and corvettes focused their fire on Force A’s battlecruisers, while Force A’s lighter ships fired upon Force D’s light ships.   

Force A now turned broadside to the Force D light ships approaching at breakneck speed, while Force D’s BC’s continued to detune.  Force D’s destroyers and corvettes, now missing one of their number which had been left behind, crippled, closed to close range as they continued pelting Force A’s battlecruisers with beam weapons.  The two side’s battlecruisers continued pounding each other with long range missile fire even as the smaller ships clashed in a life or death struggle.  Force A’s battlecruisers revealed their close-in armament as they opened fire with a single force beam turret on Force D’s corvettes, which had closed to .25 light seconds range, crippling one of the small ships with two hammer blows.

Then, much to the astonishment of the Soviet officers, the battle ended and Force A turned away.  Force A’s battlecruisers limped away at two thirds their original speed.  Neither of Force A’s BC’s were streaming atmosphere, although they both had lost their shields.  It soon became apparent that Force B’s battlecruisers were in better shape as they set out to follow Force A at full speed, but they were not closing, they merely moved outside of weapons range of Force A and settled down to follow them at a distance.  Three of Force D’s smaller ships were damaged and stayed behind.  The damaged DD approached the human ship and resumed its former position and began communications efforts again, just as if nothing happened. 

The Soviet officers were impressed with the battle, as mysterious as it was.  Both alien fleets moved decisively, and the crews of both fleets appeared well drilled and capable. 

After approximately an hour Force D turned back towards the human ship and settled into its former position of overwatch, again as if nothing had happened. 

One week later a second force of six ships, again composed of two battlecruisers, two destroyers, and two corvettes, just like Force A’s composition, approached Force D and the lone Soviet frigate.  The Soviet crew watched interestedly as the new squadron approached, but this time it settled into place eight light seconds to one side of Force D and fifteen light seconds from the Soviet frigate.  Shortly thereafter the damaged ships from Force D left the area and headed back towards the nearest planet.    Communications attempts continued.     
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Cold War: Turns 86-90
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2020, 10:09:47 AM »
Turn 87
The Coalition begins construction on nine new cruisers, while protesting the new Soviet construction program.  The Soviet government mostly ignores the protests, only making the statement that the government of the USSR will do whatever is necessary to protect its citizens.

The Coalition has established full communications with the race discovered in the Redwing system.  The race calls themselves the Tlatelolco, or at least, that’s what their name for themselves is translated into.  They have a world-state called the Enlightened Union, and, while physically smaller than humans on the average, the Tlatelolco is are heavily muscled, with dark black armored skin dotted with spikey protrusions and a mouth full of fearsome teeth.  Although fearsome in aspect, they appear to be very gentle and thoughtful beings, and their society seems to be something approaching the utopia that humanity always seems to be striving for but never reaching.  They are intensely curious about humanity and human civilization.  The Tlatelolco are currently at IND-1 tech level. 

The Coalition negotiators request a trade treaty, which the Tlatelolco readily agree with.   

Turn 88
The USSR completes R&D on advanced maneuvering and the primary beam, leaving only the capital missile still being researched.  With the development of new ship systems complete, the Military Space Service commissions new designs for its fleet to incorporate the new tech, particularly improved armor and the primary beam, as well as the capital missile, of course.  MSS analysts have been pouring over the data from the battle a Soviet frigate recently witnessed between Bjering ships, and several new technologies were observed.  Unfortunately, the frigate wasn’t close enough to the battle to obtain detailed sensor readings of the weaponry used, but tremendous amounts of information was gathered during the battle.  The Bjering used several weapons that were more or less familiar to Soviet scientists, such as advanced maneuvering, capital missiles, and primary beams, but some that were not, including some sort of anti-drive missile and what appear to be laser warheads for their capital missiles.  Soviet tacticians have been particularly interested in the primary beams used by the Bjering.  Force A was forced to withdraw, ending the battle, and it was clear that although their armor was still intact, the Bjering battlecruisers had suffered serious engine damage.  Some of that engine damage was attributable to the strange missiles that the Bjering launched from their XO racks, but not all.  Observations revealed that the Bjering corvettes were armed with a primary beam, which while slow firing, means that the small ships can reach right through a capital ship’s armor and shields and inflict internal damage.

New designs are drawn up for the Soviet fleet, and they include a primary-beam armed corvette.  The new capital missiles will be limited to battlecruisers and larger, due to their size.  The Soviet’s first BC will be launched in four months, and barring some sort of disaster will be turned around and sent back to the yards for refit to include the latest tech systems.  The Soviets decide to mount advanced maneuvering on heavy cruisers and larger ships, in order to keep the overall cost of their growing fleet down. 

Three Moskva r1 class cruisers from the Home Fleet go into the yards this month to begin refits to incorporate the latest tech.

Turn 89
The Coalition squadron in the Sligo system notes a flurry of activity in orbit over the Tarek home world.  The Tarek have launched a large space station that, upon closer inspection, appears to be a shipyard.  This is a disturbing development, as it could indicate that the Tarek have gained HT 1 tech and will soon be venturing beyond their world. 

The Soviet frigate engaged in communication efforts with the Bjering notices a Bjering cruiser conducting what can only be a warp point survey of their system.   The Soviets make a breakthrough in communications with the Bjering, opening full communications this month.  The Soviet political team first questions the Bjering about the battle that they witnessed several months ago.  The Bjering contact team explains that the ships closest to the Soviet ship belong to Epsilon Fleet, which had been stationed at Bjering Secondus, their primary colony.  Epsilon Fleet is commanded by Epsilon Admiral, the greatest military leader of the Bjering.  Epsilon Admiral had been the first to notice the Soviet ship when it appeared, and so it had fallen under his jurisdiction.  When it became clear that contact with aliens was a reality, and could be a valuable reality, one of the other admirals became interested and initiated a challenge for control of contact efforts.  Epsilon Admiral and his fleet were able to prevail and maintain control of the contact, although after the challenge he was forced to ally with another Admiral for a brief time to maintain control.  Prevailing over the challenge and maintaining control over contact with the Soviets has garnered Epsilon Admiral much honor and his position has risen in the Council of Admirals as a result. 

The Soviets are fascinated by this insight into the inner workings of the Bjering.  The skills displayed during the battle they had witnessed were considerable, and it was particularly interesting that no ships had been destroyed, almost as if the Bjering had gone out of their way to avoid such a thing.  In any event the Soviets press forward on negotiations towards a more formalized relationship.  As the negotiations evolve, it becomes clear that the Bjering have little interest in trade, and are interested in their economy only as a means of supporting their military.  This matches well with the Soviet mindset, and so the two negotiating teams focus on a military alliance.  By the end of the month the negotiators have hammered out an agreement between the two nations that amounts to a military alliance.  Some of the more insightful negotiators note that the treaty is really a complicated method for retaining Bjering forces as mercenary units, something that has certainly not escaped the Soviet leadership.   

This alliance will greatly benefit the USSR, which is still at war with the D’Bringi.  Although the USSR’s leaders would not be willing to let the Bjering into the Solar system to face the Coalition, at least at the present time, they are perfectly willing to let the Bjering fight with Soviet fleets against their common enemy, the D’Bringi. 

Turn 90
The Coalition develops the capital missile and improved armor, and begins research on HT 6. 

The Coalition’s 1st Survey Group probes two newly discovered warp points in the Kowloon system.  Oddly enough, one of the two warp points leads back to the Epsilon Indi system, which is already linked to the Kowloon system through another warp point.  The other warp point leads to a system with a habitable planet.   
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