Author Topic: (5) First Contact: 1901  (Read 2636 times)

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Offline Garfunkel (OP)

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(5) First Contact: 1901
« on: May 01, 2020, 03:05:35 PM »
First Contact: 1901


While St.Petersburg and Berlin ponder the British proposal, the French bring the first Deep Space Tracking System on-line in Paris, built around the historical Observatoire de Paris. This gives humanity their first good look at Mars, currently only 90 million kilometers away. Their findings are shocking: not only is Mars emitting more thermal and electro-magnetic radiation than most Earth powers, but there are also twelve different sensors present of three different types, one of which seems to be moving around Martian upper atmosphere.

The French urge caution with this discovery, placing the British in a difficult position. Doves advise canceling the expedition altogether, while hawks are adamant that it should go ahead. Admiral Sinclair manages to find an agreeable compromise: the corvettes will surge ahead leaving the transports behind, in order to find more about the Martian Menace through using their active sensors. This proposal finds acceptance not only in London but in Berlin and St.Petersburg - the Raummarine (RM) and the Carskiy Mezhgalaktischeskiy Flot (CMF) will join the Royal Navy (RN).


The human ships depart Earth on 6 January. The Royal Navy Corvettes go ahead, with the Germans trailing them by 100,000 km and the Russians trailing the Germans by another 100,000 km.

The Royal Navy has plotted six waypoints - Alpha, Beta, Delta, Eta, Theta, and Zeta - that will take the ships ahead of Mars and behind it. After 24 hours of smooth sailing, the Battle Fleet is halfway to the first waypoint.


Early morning of 7 January, the French couldn't believe their eyes as the overnight plot from their DSTS showed ten of the Martian Menace sensor contacts moving towards the Tri-Partite Fleet. In just three hours, they had moved over twenty million kilometers, showing a velocity of over 2,000 km/s. A hot round of telephone calls ensued but it took an hour until the warning had made its way to the Admiralty and another before a warning was received aboard HMS Agate, the flagship of the flotilla. Commander Hodgson wrote in the ship log that his mission remained the same: to find out as much about the Martians as possible. His sensors did not see anything yet.

The French observed the Tri-Partite Fleet tightening their formation, with the Russians moving mere 5,000 km behind the British and the Germans another 5,000 km behind them though as the Russian corvettes could move only 33 km/s faster than their British counterparts, it would take quite a while for them to catch up.

At 05:50, the British active sensors spotted the incoming Martian ships. Two of the contacts were 10,982 tons and eight were 4,777 tons, all moving at 2,048 km/s. The big ones were marked as battleships and the small ones as frigates.

At 06:06, the Russian active sensors saw them as well and at 06:10 the Germans saw as well.

At 07:00, HMS Agate signaled all ships to prepare for combat. The French saw the formation tighten even further as the human ships formed into a compact ball advancing directly towards the Martian ships.

At 08:00, HMS Agate signaled all ships to follow its targeting. The Martian ships were roughly 320,000 km away and coming in fast.

At 08:02, all hell broke loose. HMS Agate, HMS Acacia, Allaykha and Ambarchik exploded first. One moment the corvettes were there, the next - just debris and a handful of life pods. Then Akmolinsk and Aleksandrovsk died. The Russian contingent was snuffed out without firing a shot. HMS Ailsa Craig followed her sisters. The surviving human corvettes surged ahead, desperate to get close enough to fire at least once.

The two RN ships fired as soon as the Martians got inside 60,000 km but at such an extreme range, both shots missed. The Martian response did not - both ships exploded just as spectacularly as their sisters had. For a brief moment, it seemed as the Germans could make it close enough but there were still four Martian ships that had not fired and five seconds after the last two Tribals had perished, the two Blúcher-class corvettes blew up as beams of concentrated light speared them through.

Only the French DSTS saw the Martian vessels gather life pods before returning to the orbit of the Red Planet. The expedition had failed miserably.

In London, Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil accepted full responsibility and resigned. He was replaced as the Prime Minister by Arthur Balfour. In Berlin, the Kaiser used this as an excuse to get rid of Bismarck who he did not get along with. In St.Petersburg, Tsar Aleksandrov III raged for hours before declaring a day of national mourning for the fallen heroes.

At the end of the month, naval staffs of the three countries gathered in Paris, to discuss and share the meager information that they had learned with the representatives of the other powers. The battleships were named Charon-class and the frigates were named Dergholoth-class. Both were armed with two types of powerful lasers, the BB with four and the FF with three. The Martians could clearly see Earth-based ships coming soon after they departed Earth orbit. After a week of debate, the Paris Space Conference ended without anything more concrete than a declaration that the Grand Alliance would continue and that no power would go ahead alone, and that all powers would strive towards creating sufficient corvette squadrons that they could deal with the ten Martian ships.

The month ended with Anadyr, a Krivak-class corvette, floating off the Russian shipyard. The world focused on it as a symbol of human persistence. Except in Berlin, where Kaiser despaired as the new Reichskanzler informed him that the country had fallen into debt. Shipbuilding would have to be stopped at least temporarily as soon as SMS Alsfeld would be finished, which happened in mid-February.

In April, French scientists announce that they have gathered enough Martian communication samples to be able to translate it. However, communications make no sense. There is a clear structure to it, it just makes no sense to them. In the hope that someone else can solve the mystery, they share their findings with the other powers.

May brings a second Russian corvette to service, the Akmolinsk.

In July, British engineers experiment with fitting a heavier carronade on the corvette. The Tribal is renamed as the Tribal 15 and the experimental designs are named Tribal 20 and Tribal 25 to signify the caliber of the plasma carronade. Carpenter & Brother is busy adding a third slipway so the prototypes cannot be built yet but the Admiralty is interested in wielding a force of all three together.

In August, Aleksandrovich joins the CMF. One more corvette will be built until the yard is re-tooled for the transports. In December, Allaykha is ready.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 11:20:47 PM by Garfunkel »
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Offline Warer

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2020, 04:10:10 PM »
Well, that went swimmingly. 

Offline Vastrat

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2020, 04:54:02 PM »
Sounds like the Martians don't like visitors.   Great fiction I'm loving it!!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 05:27:59 PM by Vastrat »

Offline Ektor

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2020, 05:30:15 PM »
Glorious performance.

Offline Ehndras

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2020, 06:14:29 PM »
Wonderful first jab at the xenos! Went explosively, just as hoped.  Look forward to the next round!
"Boop!" goes the thermonuclear missile salvo

Offline Father Tim

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2020, 09:46:25 PM »
My favourite kind of Aurora:
"Behold our mighty ships, the finest technology in the world!"
"Oh carp!"
"What the fish!"
"Stop exploding you cowards!"

"Welp, looks like we need a whole new fleet that goes faster than Z with sensors that can see Y at distance X and enough shields and armour to close through A, B, & C in order to blow them up."
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 04:52:08 AM by Father Tim »

Offline Kandros

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2020, 01:35:17 AM »
That went as well as expected.  But what can you expect from a bunch of Xenos that didn't like the first delievery of meat paste in a can.

Offline kks

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2020, 07:04:27 AM »
Well, now the obvious route has to be to build as much transports as possible. Then attack from differnet sides and hope enough troops get through.



Do the Martians have boarding troops? Maybe we are in for antoher surprise.

Offline Graymane

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Re: (5) First Contact: 1901
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2020, 04:19:10 PM »
This is great stuff, haven't seen the like since some of the great AARs on the old Paradox forums.
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