View Full Version : Wing Commander reboot
07-27-2010, 11:26 PM
What follows comes off one of my own web sites. I've always liked the Wing Commander franchise, and after so many years, decided to give it a reboot.
07-27-2010, 11:27 PM
The most feared enemy of humanity are the Kilrathi, first encountered in 2629 A.L. They are two-point-five meter tall felinoids. They walk upright, towering over a human when standing and walking. They resemble lions to a degree, in both physiology and society.
The head of a Kilrathi is very similar to one of a lion, including large lips that permit the mouths to open wide enough to bite into their prey or enemies. Thus, the males of the species have evolved manes to protect their throat from their enemy’s teeth. The size of a Kilrathi’s mane is often an indication of health and of social status, with nominally the Emperor and Council of Eight have the mightiest manes. The canines of a Kilrathi are as long as a human thumb. Their faces are very lion-like, with large eyes and ears that focus directly ahead. Each ear can move independently to detect and lock on to sounds. Their hair is a red to brown color, matching the rocky surface of their homeworld.
Kilrathi have long, muscular limbs, both arms and legs. Their wrist and ankle bones are long as well, and extended a good way up their limbs. In fact, Kilrathi actually walk on their toes. When they run, they can drop everything and drop down on all fours for more speed and better control. They tend to fall back on this ancient means of locomotion while chasing prey. Their limbs also allow them to leap their own body lengths with ease. When fighting, two Kilrathi will launch themselves at each other, both trying to get teeth and claw into their enemy’s throat. Kilrathi have only four digits per hand, with each digit retaining retractable claws. Most of a Kilrathi’s modern day
The Kilrathi have evolved on an arid world and have thus excellent water-conservation biology. Their liquid waste is kept to a minium, but not eliminated completely. They do require water, but once every few days. What they do consume is usually moisture from their prey. Around their heart’s four chambers are four lungs. The atmosphere of their planet is usually choked with volcanic ash and soot, an extra pair of lungs are required to bring in enough oxygen. These extra lungs also extend their lifespans, since lung disease is the second most common cause of death on Kilrah. The female of the species has four nipples on her abdomen.
The Kilrathi have a natural lifespan of forty years. Often a female will give birth to twins. If the pair are of the same gender, they will stay together until one or the other dies, either in the pride as females, or rogue living until taking their own pride as males. Kilrathi grow fast, reaching their adult size in just four years and sexual maturity in ten years. Since their homeworld is tidally locked, they base their calender on how long it takes to grow into adulthood. Males are not ejected from the pride at this time, not if their fathers still reign. It is usually not until they are ten when they are forced from the pride. At this point, the males roam the land, taking jobs or enlisting in the Armed Forces. Usually the later, since work is viewed as a female’s domain and fighting it that of the male. However, if no war is currently happening, young males will have to work in order to support themselves. Males that become kings will live only as long as they are able to hold on to their pride. During challenges for control, old males will fight to the death to protect their offspring from the challenging males. Females often live to be over forty, where males seldom live that long.
The Kilrathi are predators, eating almost exclusively meat. They can eat and even digest parts of plants, such as roots and tubers, but seldom do. They do use spices on their meat. Their main source of meat is that of great herds of prey beasts upon their homeworld that have long since been domesticate. They will also hunt prey on new worlds, and even eat their alien enemies. There is a monkey-like animal that lives upon their homeworld that is viewed as a delicacy, especially when cooked with spice. More than one human has met their end as an impersonation of this dish.
The most commonly domesticate animal of the Kilrathi is the Mr’hak, a large boar-like animal. The Kilrathi have herds of these animals numbering in hundreds of thousands to millions on Kilrah as well as the worlds they have either colonized or conquered. The second most commonly domesticate species is not food but a pet. The Sqr’cack, a cheetah sized, dog-like scavenger that have long since filled the niche of a scavenger, following ancient Kilrathi around, feeding upon what they left over. Over the millennia, the Kilrathi have taken a liking to these scavengers, who have strong pack mentalities and easily bond with their new Prides.
The basic social structure of the Kilrathi is the pride. Prides are mostly feminine organizations comprising of mothers, sisters, aunts, daughter and so on, along with numerous children. When the males age, they leave the pride in search of prides of their own. When the females age, they stay with the pride.Pride males, commonly known as kings, come and go. Kings will enter the pride by conquest, defeating the presiding king in combat. Once this is achieved, traditionally they will kill the male offspring of the former kings, as both a means of disposing of future competition and the threat of revenge.
Thrakrik is the ritualistic battle for control of a pride. In the old days, before civilization, Kilrathi would simply ambush and kill. In a civilized world, such behavior would lead to anarchy. Attempting to take control by this means today would result in execution for the attackers. The Kilrathi, in the early days of civilization, developed a method for taking control of the pride. In order for a male, or most often a pair of males, to take control of a pride, they must challenge the reigning kings.The challenge begins when the leader of one group will face off before the leader of the kings. He will invoke thrakrik first by word, then by slashing his claws across the face of the reigning king. Afterwards, it is not the sole decision of the king, but the pride matriarch, the oldest female, must also consent to the battle.
Thrakrik takes place in a small arena with the pride females watching. The contestants are unarmed and must win by their brute strength and cunning, as did their ancestors. The battle will begin when the pride matriarch rings a bell. After that, the contest is bloody and usually short. For the reigning kings, the fight is usually to the death, for failure means the death of their own sons. The challengers can easily be killed, but can also retreat from combat. Seldom does retreat happen in this case either. To do so would deem the challenger a coward, and other kings can reject their challenge in the future on that grounds. Either that, or the pride females will reject the challenge.Retreat would disgrace the challenger and stigmatize him for life.
Nominally, any fit male can challenge for right to claim a pride, but with one exception. The Council of Eight is exempt, meaning both the Eight Prides that rule the Empire, as well as the Imperial Pride. Those are inherited from father to son, creating a ruling aristocracy. Inbreeding is not an issue with these nine large prides, as there are thousands upon thousands of females within them.
At the top of the social hierarchy of prides in the Imperial Pride, with the Eight Prides directly beneath them. These prides rule the empire, with the Imperial Pride in absolute control (in theory) while the Eight are its immediate vassal and have divided the Kilrathi Empire into Eight Khazka (commonly known as Baronies among humans). Below these are a number of planetary prides, which have nominal domain over an entire planet. The Khazka were once planetary prides that elevated themselves to suzerain over several worlds. Planetary prides are viewed as minor nobility.
Below the planetary prides are the major prides, usually reigning over continental areas. It is possible for major prides to become planetary prides either through conquest or by moving to a new world, but this is rare. Their vassals are the middle prides, which reign over their own small countries and offer the Kilrathi Army most of its non-commissioned officers. At the bottom of the barrel are the minor prides, usually numbering ten to twenty females. These are the countless poor within the empire.
Kilrathi society has a very strict class structure, meaning Kilrathi are born into a position in life and remain their, as do their descendants. The only exemption to this is when a male challenges for the right to a pride. This rigid caste system also brings security to the society of an otherwise aggressive species.
The Kilrathi Empire is an absolutist feudal regime for the most part, with the Imperial Pride dominating all others, and the kings of that pride declared Emperors. The Emperor rule by decree with an advisory council known as the Council of Eight, consisting of the Eight other most powerful prides. Centuries ago, these nine prides rewrote the laws, preventing outsiders from taking over the prides and joining their ranks. However, one of the Eight could challenge the Emperor for control over the Imperial Pride. If successful, that king will become Emperor, and his oldest son will take his former place as Pride king.
In order to prevent this from happening, the Emperor tends to keep the Empire at constant war with any species they encounter (though this is only a minor reason for their constant warfare) and will lead the war through example. The Emperor, and the Eight will fight war and win glory for themselves. The Emperor risks most when he fights, for should he lose, his failure might be seen as weakness on his part and invite the challenge. To gain their own power, the Eight will often absorb smaller prides into their own, taking their lands (or worlds) as well as resources for their own.
Within the pride, the government is more of an oligarchy, controlled by the oldest females, the matriarchs, of the Pride. The reigning kings will sit in meetings of the matriarchs and have advisory powers. However, control of the Pride remains with the females, who spend their whole life within the Pride.
In the past, a Kilrathi’s name was their given name followed by their Pride name, such as Hrarik nar Molgren. As the Kilrathi spread through space, the Pride name was replaced by the name of their world. The most famous Kilrathi, Ralgha nar Hhallas, was from the world of Hhallas. If a powerful male takes over a Pride on another world, he will change he name to suit the world where he now reigns. Females would only change their name if their Pride conquered a new world.
Usually, males view other males who do not share their blood as natural rivals. This instinct is strong, and thus the Kilrathi Armed Forces use extremely draconic disciplinary measures to keep cohesion within the ranks. When they first leave the pride, brothers will stick together. They will stay together for life if possible, and will work together to challenge for control of a pride. As Kilrathi life is very violent and war-like, males will often be brother-less. In this case, older males will take younger males under their wing in a sort of apprenticeship. This is very common in wars, where younger males will alliances will learn from their elder and survive the warzone long enough to return home. This alliance is known as the Sworn Brotherhood, and swearing brotherhood is a simple act. All two Kilrathi must do is stand before each other, and swear on their honor their undying loyalty, after which they will cut themselves deep enough to draw blood on their arms, and grasp each other’s arms, mixing the blood
The female of the species can be just as aggressive as the males when concerning other prides, but only if they view the other pride as a threat to their own family’s position. Otherwise, the females are rather cordial. They have to be since they make up most of the Kilrathi workforce. Several generations of related females share the same house or compound, its size depending on the size and strength of the pride.Relations between the generations are as rigid as those between prides. The younger females both respect their elders and obey them without question. The social structure within the pride is more stable than that of the male world, largely because a female’s aggression is more defensive in nature. Females will not kill in conquest, but will kill others who invade her pride’s territory if they are viewed as a threat.
Kilrathi culture is very warlike, glorifying not only battle, but the hunt as well. Being natural born predators. Their art, such as paintings, literature and modern forms of media, pay tribute to these two parts of Kilrathi life. Kilrathi culture also pays high tribute to brave deeds committing by its warriors, and Kilrathi will honor any whose merit warrants it. Though a warrior might be low born, a Kilrathi in one of the Eight Pride will acknowledge (albeit grudgingly) the bravery and actions of any worthy warrior. Those warriors who have truly distinguished themselves may even have the highest honor awarded to them, and that is recognition of service by the Imperial Pride. Despite the rigidness, they are a people who value strength, courage, valor, and above all, victory.
The Kilrathi are unusual in that, statistically speaking, half their population are dedicated to warfare. The gender roles of the Kilrathi go back deep into prehistory, when it was the task of the females to hunt and the males to protect the pride from all challengers. As society evolved, and hunting gave way to domestication and pastoralways, the hunter soon became the worker, but the fighter remained. At first, females were just the herders, but as technology advanced, they became the builders, forgers, craftsmen, technicians and so on. As with the wild, when a male left the pride, they must hunt for themselves. In modern society, they must also work in order to support themselves.
The near state of constant warfare in the past two thousand years of Kilrathi history has meant that many males can circumvent this tradition and simply enlist in the army or navy. Most prefer the army, for it allows them to fight like Kilrathi, but the prohibition of females in the armed forces means some males must serve in the navy. Kilrathi value valor far more than teamwork, and the most prestigious positions in the navy is that of pilots. Though they are pack-hunters by nature, and assignment that will allow a male to stand above all others is desirable. As for rank, the command ranks of the Kilrathi Armed Forces are controlled by the higher castes, with the Eight Prides comprising the admiralty and the Planetary Prides supplying most of the ship’s captains and division commanders.
Living on such an unstable world has lead to some rather peculiar architecture. Kilrathi buildings are made with jagged edges and sharp angle, at first to mimic the surrounding landscapes. Kilrah has mostly stone for building, and thus most buildings do not even have roofs. The roofs that do exist are made from hides. Even to this day, the Kilrathi on the homeworld cling to this ancient design, though those on more humid worlds have adapted to having roofs over their head. The constant danger of repeat earthquakes also factors into the lack of roofs, as well as the over engineering of structures upon Kilrah, as well as their other worlds.
Kilrathi fortresses took this geologic design one step further. Though they pride themselves on fighting, the Kilrathi have a great deal of psychological warfare in their doctrine. Fortresses are meant to look menacing and fierce, to give an enemy pause. If a fortress looks mean enough, an enemy may reconsider attacking it. The design of both weapons and ships in modern times also have jagged edges. They are designed to intimidate the enemy, especially non-Kilrathi enemies.
Since they have four digits on each hand, the Kilrathi have a base-eight number system. The first numbers would be 0 to 7, with 8 being the equivalent of ten, and simply called eight, or eights if plural. 11 to 17 is known as eight-and-one, eight-and-two and so on. 20 (16) is called two-eights. Between 20 (16) and 79 (63) the numerology follows a German-like pattern; for example, 21 (17) would be one and two-eights, or 34 would be four and three-eights. 80 (64) which is the equivalent of one hundred, is called an octave, where it will be two octaves, three octaves and so on. 204 would be two octaves and four and 354 would be three octaves, four and five-eights. The written numbers are far simpler than letters in that they are circles divided into eights. One would be one-eighth of a circle, going all the way to eight, which would be a filled circle. Zeros are "blank" circles, that are colored black, while eights are colored white.
With a world tidally locked with its sun, the Kilrathi have a calender based on how long it takes one to grow to adult size (though not maturity). This takes roughly four Earth years, and the Kilrathi call this span of time a Shrik. Like everything else, they divide by eight, with month-like units called Kahrik, and these last about six months. The concept of day and night was not known until the Kilrathi became spacefaring, and their equivalent of a day is based on their sleep cycle, called a Nroth. It consists of nearly twenty hours, with pre-pastoral Kilrathi sleeping fifteen of the hours. Their clocks are based on the Nroth.
Art and Literature
The Kilrathi have little in the way of painting, with lack of material to paint upon on their homeworld prevented it. Their form of paper, before they reached for the stars, consisted or parchment made from leather. This was too precious to be used for painting, and instead was used to record histories and sagas. The Kilrathi have a rich tradition of sculptures. Within their temples, especially the War God Sivar, statues of their greatest heroes stands. It is one of the greatest honors to be bestowed upon any warrior, is to have their likeness carved into stone.
Both Kilrathi literature, what little existed, and their music, celebrated great warriors and glorious victories. They also celebrated the hunt; females who are excellent hunters are highly praised and lone females of great skill are sought out by other Prides, which seek to add her genetic material to their family. On of the most renown of Kilrathi songs is that of Karga the Hunter; she was a female who single-handedly brought down the mighty brakta, a buffalo-like animal the size of an Asian Elephant.
In pre-technological times, Kilrathi prides were kept entertained by drama. Traveling bands of Kilrathi would preform from town to town. This was one of the few times a small Pride would be allowed to cross the territory of another unmolested. With the advent of radio and television, the traveling play came to an end, as Prides can now be entertained without sharing their food. Aside from government-owned news broadcasts, the most popular form of electronic entertainment are various historical and dynastic saga. As the species continues their wars, new sagas are added; the most recent being the conquest of the Varni.
Before they landed on worlds rich in forests, they had no paper. After the development of paper, books were mass produced, and this less to an increase in the literacy rate of the Kilrathi. Their written language is alphabetic in design, with each letter comprised of a series of claw-like marks, and a total of thirty-one letters. The advance of technology and specialization of warfare required a literate populace.
The Kilrathi language consists of a series of snarls, growls and hisses, very lion-like in its sound. Unlike lions, the Kilrathi produce a very distinct pattern in their vocalizations. The sounds are the difficult part to replicate, the rest of their language is a series of fifty syllables mixed and matched to create words, sentences and speech in general. Their language is simple, much so that humans can learn it far easier than Kilrathi can learn any human language. Because of their innate arrogance, Kilrathi refuse to speak any language of an inferior species, though Kilrathi working in various intelligence organizations much know other languages. Statistically speaking, more females know foreign languages than males. Although, warriors will learn certain insults in the language of the enemy, for psychological attacks.
The Kilrathi tendency towards violent conquests is more than biological or geological1. Around the same time humanity fought its bloody wars of the 20th Century, Common Era, the Kilrathi were on the verge of peace. For millennia before, Prides constantly battled each other for territory and dominance in the caste hierarchy. Concepts such as diplomacy and trade were flowering, and society was starting to wonder what they would do with all the extra males if wars were a thing of the past. It was the dawn of Kilrathi Enlightenment.
However, this first and only time of peace coincided with the Kilrathi’s first contact with an alien species, though at the time, they were believed to be something different. Little is known about the aliens, for many of the records were destroyed during their invasion. The Kilrathi call them the Munru, and they are the only species the Kilrathi fear. They swept over Kilrah like a plague, destroying cities and slaughtering millions. Why exactly the Munru did not follow up their invasion with colonization is not known. What is known is that after all the Kilrathi elite and the established higher Prides were wiped out, the Munru departed. Surviving intellectuals suspected that the Munru were called away to battle a more dangerous foe.
This was not the consensus of the people. Out of the ruins of civilization came a self-proclaimed prophet. To him, it was all clear; the Munru were demons released by Sivar, the War God, to punish the Kilrathi for their decadence. This demagogue gathered a large following that shaped modern Kilrathi religion. Sivar would smite the weak, and only those deemed worthy man live. Sivar’s lack of tolerance also lead to a rather painful ritual suicide for fallen Kilrathi, for simply killing oneself would be seen as a weakness, something that will damn the Kilrathi to eternal torment. In order to prove he ended his own life for honor instead of running from his failure, a Kilrathi must tear out their own throat.
The prophet, while on his death bed, left his followers with some final words: the Kilrathi must remain strong and true to their nature. They must conquer. Should the Kilrathi ever show weakness (such as world peace) then Sivar will send the Munru to finish what they started long ago. Of all the gods in their pantheon, Sivar is the only one who is not loved, but feared. When the Kilrathi vanquished a rival Pride, the victorious Pride will present the heads of the dead kings and matriarchs to the War God at one of his temples. When the Kilrathi left their homeworld and began to encounter other species, they would finish the wars of conquest by offering great sacrifices to Sivar on the homeworld of their victims, and would go to extreme efforts to appease Sivar.
Kilrathi have two means of combat, which they call Prey and Competition. The Prey method is what they would use to hunt prey, or an enemy they deem so beneath them as to not be worthy of being considered equal. Their instinct for the hunt is to ambush a herd and pick of the weakest. They hunt on all fours, using the speed and agility inherited from their ancestors to tackle prey. To charge an enemy on all fours is considered the gravest of insults. Their propaganda has so ingrained Kilrathi to see non-Kilrathi as prey, that they will often charge into battle on all fours. When they do this, instincts tend to kick in, and NCOs have to make sure unit cohesion is upheld. While fighting the Terran Confederation, humanity will often use a "wounded" decoy to lure out the Kilrathi on the hunt, which triggers their hunting instinct. Veterans of the war against the Terrans look on newly arrived soldiers who fall for this trick with contempt, and are disgusted by how many replacements always fall for it. But even the vets are not immune to this trick, for their blood lust can get the better of them.
The Competition method is a battle of honor, much like the Thrakrik. They will face an opponent they deem worthy, standing upright. There will be no ambush, for in such a challenge, both warriors must attack head on. This method is dangerous, but to a warrior, it is the only way to prove oneself superior to his foe. The battle is usually an unarmed one. However, in the few cases Kilrathi see a worthy opponent in an alien, they will allow weapons to be used. Soldiers seldom get the chance in recent years for no human is foolish enough to face a Kilrathi one-on-one. If a challenge is not met, the Kilrathi who issued the challenge will feel gravely insulted. However, fighter pilots will often challenge Terran aces to single combat with a greater success. Success in having the challenge accepted, not in actual victorious sense. To bestow such a challenge on a non-Kilrathi is the greatest honor a Kilrathi can bestow upon an alien; as to see them as a foe and not food.
There are various forms of strategy to warfare in the Kilrathi arsenal. For ground combat, they usually start out as chaotic charges, due to their instincts and the fact they have been trained since youth to view aliens as prey. In order to maintain rank and order, draconic measures are used by the Imperial Army, including executions for what humans might deem minor infractions. There is a method to the madness in that generals and division commanders will use these charges to expose weak points in enemy defenses. In time, they will strike at these weak spots from various angles. In the defensive, Kilrathi are excellent in guerilla warfare, for their instinct is to ambush.
For fleet actions, similar hunting instincts are used. The fleet will attack head on and attempt to break up the enemy’s formation. If successful, they will split off ships and destroy them one at a time. As opposed to their instincts, the Kilrathi will target the ships they deem the biggest threat, such as carriers, first. After the strongest ships are destroyed, they can take their time picking off the rest. Humans would know this as divide-and-conquer. Fighter pilots use similar tactic, including ganging up on individuals. There exists an odd comradery with alien pilots within the Kilrathi’s fighter corps. As such, they will challenge enemies one-on-one, and refrain from using missiles unless the fleet is in danger, preferring to defeat their foe up close with ‘guns’.
07-27-2010, 11:32 PM
Now for a couple of pictures....both screenshots from WCIII.
The first one I'm using just to illustrate the size difference between us and them.
The second one is the Emperor and the Crown Prince, and a couple of guards.
07-27-2010, 11:32 PM
Prelude to War
(2629 to 2634)
First contact with the Kilrathi did not come to a total shock of Confederation HQ, but it did to the crew of the TCS Iason. The Iason was on a planetary survey mission beyond the frontier of the Terran Confederation, that is the official border. Numerous human colonies have been established beyond the frontier, which had not moved to include any new worlds into the Confederation in over three centuries. Confed knew much of what happened beyond its legal boundaries. Ships were sent regularly into the frontier to catalog human colonies and chart new worlds as new jump points were being discovered.
On April 15, 2629 A.L., the Iason encountered an unidentified ship in the Warhammer System, a previously unexplored system with no known human inhabitation. Captain Jedora Andropolis attempted to establish contact with the ship, at first believing it to be from a frontier colony. However, the asymmetrical design and sharp angles of the ship quickly forced her to change her mind. No human would design a ship to look like it came out of a nightmare. The alien ship was larger than the Iason and Andropolis ordered her ship to back away from it. What exactly happened next may never be known, for only the initial contact information was transmitted back to Confed. Shortly after encountering the alien ship, the Iason was destroyed with all hands.
The Iason Incident is the first documented contact with the Kilrathi, but by all means not the first absolutely. Human ships have traversed the frontier of the Vega Sector and beyond for decades, and no doubt some have stumbled on to the Kilrathi, as the Kilrathi stumbled upon frontier settlements. When the first human met the first Kilrathi will never be known, but interaction with aliens on the frontier was common enough for decades before.
Around the same time as the Iason Incident, a reptilian alien species known as the Varni began to flood across the Confederation border in the millions. At first, Confed believed this was an invasion and sent the 5th and 7th Fleets out into the coreward systems of the Vega Sector. However, few ships were armed and all were damaged to a degree. The aliens were in poor health, and the fleets were quarantined. Several ships were destroyed attempting to break out of quarantine. The Varni were known by Confed for more than fifty years. They inhabited six systems beyond the Vega Sector and had only recently developed their own jump drives, circa 2610.
It was soon discovered these Varni were refugees, fleeing an unstoppable invasion of their territory by a species that called themselves the Kilrathi. By data retrieved from the Varni ships, it was determined the Kilrathi were also responsible for the destruction of the Iason. The conquest of the Varni, and their near extinction at the hands of the Kilrathi took less than three months. Confed HQ was extremely interested in everything the Varni knew about these new aliens. It was soon discovered the Kilrathi were a violent people, with atrocities that make human history almost pale in consideration. Surviving Varni leaders swore by their ancestors that the Kilrathi made no attempts to contact or negotiate, nor did they state any demands. They simply attacked the Varni after a short period of non-contact.
Confed HQ realized that the same period of non-contact was upon them now, and there was deep concern that the Kilrathi might start targeting human colonies in the frontier. One Rear Admiral Wayne Banbridge was tasked with learning as much about the Kilrathi before they did attack. Banbridge took this assignment, believing it to be his last before retirement.
One of the most distance frontier worlds, settled over a century before by the Fawcett Party, fell to the Kilrathi even before the Iason Incident. For over a year before, the Kilrathi were taking apart the colony and interrogating all its inhabitants, attempting to learn all they could about these hairless apes they have encountered. At first, the Kilrathi Emperor believed the apes were as small as the Varni. After capturing star charts and jump points from Fawcett’s World, the Kilrathi learned that the Confederation was large, maybe even larger than their own empire.
Of the Council of Eight, the Ki’Ra Pride was given the planet and the responsibility of learning more about the Confederation before the Kilrathi would launch a decisive strike against them. Of the Council of Eight, the King of the Ki’Ra Pride and his sons were considered untrustworthy by many of the Eight. Their tendency to think and plot instead of act brought them scorn. This trait was also the reason the Emperor assigned the task to them. It was the final act of the Kilrathi Emperor, who died in 2630, and was replaced by the Final Emperor, his son. The Emperor would continue to value the advice of the Ki’Ra throughout the war.
Fawcett’s World fell without a fight. The twelve thousand humans living there were no match for the landing of a Kilrathi Army Battalion. For good measure, the invaders killed off more than a thousand of the colonists, eating some of their victims. The Ki’Ra Pride developed cordial relations with the colonial leaders, despite the fierceness of the Kilrathi soldiers. It was through them, that the Ki’Ra Pride learned not to underestimate this new enemy. Much was learned about human history, with its violence second only to the Kilrathi. The Ki’Ra King quickly decided that humans were not warlike because they were weak, but because they were exceedingly proficient at it. When he advised the Emperor to delay attacking the Confederation, the Emperor removed Fawcett’s World from his control and the Kilrah Pride launched its own investigation of the Terran Confederation.
Through 2629 and 2630, the human public knew little about the Kilrathi. Only those living on the border in the Vega Sector knew anything, and most was from second-hand accounts of Varni refugees. Public reaction to allowing aliens to settle within the Confederation was very negative, with some in the Congress considering bills that would eject the Varni. Only President Mellen’s charisma convinced Senators from the Vega Sector to withdraw the bill. The Varni were an excellent source of intelligence concerning the Kilrathi, and when if they could rebuild their population, would make willing allies.
Kilrathi raids beyond the Vega Sector border continued throughout 2631, finally drawing in public notice. Isolationists said that it was the colonists own fault for going out into the frontier and unknown. More jingoistic elements of Terran society wanted to take the war to the Kilrathi. Since 1337, when the first jump-capable ship was launched from Luna, humanity had defeated every alien species it ever encountered. Of them, only the Wu were jump capable, and were not relegated to a reservation consisting of their home world and its system. Humanity was undefeated, and could lick the cats with little effort.
The general attitude was one of live and let live. The people demanded a sort of non-aggression pact with the Kilrathi, especially after learning that their empire was the largest alien entity humanity had ever encountered. Space was large, and there was plenty of room for Terran and Kilrathi alike. The Congress of the Confederation attempted to do just that, but messages sent into Kilrathi space were not returned, and ships that entered did not either. Banbridge’s initial report on the Kilrathi, gathered mostly from the Varni, poured water onto the flames of hope. The Varni described a ceremony where the Kilrathi sacrificed countless Varni after conquering their homeworld. More attested to Kilrathi expansion being tied into their religion. From the lessons of human history, that would make negotiations nearly impossible.
Nonetheless, on February 1, 2632, the Congress passed a resolution calling for enforced nonaggression towards the Kilrathi. As long as they do not cross the Confederation border, then the Kilrathi would be officially ignored. Unofficially, Confed HQ would send several fleets into the Vega Sector and continue recon missions across the frontier. Alexandria Station in orbit of McAuliffe VI, a world of seventy million humans. The station would serve as command and control for the entire sector, as well as primary fleet base. The McAuliffe System was only a jump point away from the official border, and there was some concern such a move by the TCN (Terran Confederation Navy) might provoke the Kilrathi. As such, TCN was ordered to pull away some of its forces from so close to the border.
Storm before the Flood
During 2633, the Kilrathi expanded their raids and attacks along the frontier into the Epsilon Sector and even towards the Landreich worlds. The Landreich was a stretch of frontier anti-coreward from the Enigma Sector, populated by outlaws, criminals as well as part of the Boer Diaspora. The Landreich operated as an independent state, outside of Confed with not interest in joining. Normally, a threat to the Landreich would garner no attention from Confed HQ, however, the Kilrathi were moving in scope to be able to attack not only the Vega Sector, but the Epsilon and Enigma as well. Intel still believed the Kilrathi would try for a direct strike at the heart of Confed first.
The TCN entered its first skirmish with the Kilrathi on December 29, 2633, in the Mylon System, a system just on the other side of Confed’s borders. Some three million colonist live in the system, and the TCS Belgrade, a Acropolis Class Cruiser was already in system when a Kilrathi cruiser jumped in. It was not the first time the Kilrathi had entered the system, and they had destroyed several local ships. For an hour on the 29th, the Belgrade and the Kilrathi Fralthi exchanged fire. Neither ship was heavily damaged, and the Kilrathi withdrew from the system with still more than a little fight in them. It is now believed the ship’s mission was to gauge the strength of the Confed cruiser. The captain of the Belgrade was relieved of command for his actions asa it clearly violated the nonaggression stance.
The Kilrathi continued to grow bolder in their attacks, starting as a drizzle, transforming into a torrent, with an eventual flood to follow. The Kilrathi continued to test Confed’s borders, but never crossed into Confederation territory. That is until June 6, 2634, when the Kilrathi destroyed the transport Anna Magdalena in the Deino System. The ship was transporting refugees from the frontier, mostly orphans, to their new home when a pair of Kilrathi Dralthis attacked and destroyed it before returning to their ship. The attack on an unarmed ship within the Confederation’s borders sparked outrage and forced the Congress to declare war against the Kilrathi Empire on June 12, 2634, officially starting the thirty-five year long Kilrathi War.
07-28-2010, 07:57 AM
Upon declaring war on the Kilrathi, TCN immediately moved across the frontier to strike at the known Kilrathi bases. Most of these took them into the former systems of the Varni. One such engagement took place at what Confed called Baird’s Star, in the coreward region of the Vega Sector. The Kilrathi installations there were small, but it did have a sizable civilian population. The Prides that had colonized Baird III numbered some fifteen million. The fact that this system was once populated by a hundred million Varni less than a decade ago said volumes about the Kilrathi’s ability to kill and their ability to repopulate the system. The scars of the Kilrathi invasion of the system still were visibly clear. Because of concern over Varni kept on the planet as slaves, Confed HQ marked the planet itself as off-limits.
A Confed task force built around the carrier Revenge and battleship Norman struck at the forward Kilrathi post orbiting the fourth planet. The Kilrathi had few defender, which despite a fierce defense, were brushed aside by the Confed task force. The outpost was boarded, but destroyed in the process. Whether the station was badly damaged or the Kilrathi defenders had waited until Confed Marines boarded to set it off, is not clear. Only a limited amount of information was gained from the venture, such as complete star charts of the Kilrathi owned parts of the Vega Sector, though no force deployments or reports were taken.
The tragedy of this so-called victory was that it targeted Baird’s Star instead of Dakota, which was but a jump away. Had the task force hit there, they would have discovered a Kilrathi invasion force assembling in the system for its eventual jump into the Port Hadland System, a strategically key system in the coreward part of the sector.
Further skirmishes took place in the Loki System, that did bare fruit. At it was later discovered, the Kilrathi did plan on assembling in this system to invade the Blackmane Station, another strategic nexus of jump points. The Kilrathi were in the process of assembling there, with hundreds of transports already in station. Believing rightly that this was an invasion force, a task force under the command of Admiral Mason van Melon, centered around two carriers, Vespasian and Phoenix struck at the gathering of troop transports, supply ships and landing craft. The utter destruction of the latter put off Kilrathi plans for Blackmane. Hundreds of thousands of Kilrathi soldiers were killed in the attack.
The small force guarding the invasion force until more powerful ships could arrive from deep inside the Empire, mostly destroyers and a pair of Fralthi-class cruisers, were eighter destroyed or crippled by van Melon’s task force. However, the Kilrathi got in many good shots, including a successful attempt to destroy the Vespasian, which was scuttled upon jumping back to the Blackmane System. These early victories will turn out to be disastrous for Confed as it bred a sense of invulnerability in TCN. These early actions lead many to believe the Kilrathi were not as fearsome as portrayed, and their victory over the Varni was due only to sheer numbers. Some media commentators and government officials made the old prediction that the war would be over before the year was out. How close to correct they came to being—
Two months into the war, Confed Intel intercepted many Kilrathi signals from their side of the frontier. Leading a team of cryptographers, Ches Penney managed to break parts of the Kilrathi code. He discovered the Kilrathi were planning to deploy most of their Vega fleet against the McAuliffe System, the forward Vega Sector base for Confed. The Kilrathi were scheduled to arrive in the system on Confederation Day, the anniversary of the founding of the Terran Confederation in 137 A.L. Penney deciphers that the Kilrathi strike force would consist of at least two carriers and a dozen cruisers. It was seen as a pitifully small force, and Confed decided to deploy twice as many ships around Alexandria Station to spring a trap for the Kilrathi.
There were some in Intel that warned that the message was wrongly interpreted. The Kilrathi numerology system would later be revealed as a main cause of the misreading of their signals. The counting of two carriers was also believed to be two carrier fleets, though Penney dismissed these concerns. Others voiced concerns that the code was broken with such ease (albeit by quantum computers) that it must be a trick, bait designed to lure prey in for the kill. In 2634, there were few experts on the Kilrathi, Banbridge being the closest Admiral to be called such. Banbridge delayed his retirement for the duration of the war, one he did not believe would be quick or painless.
He attempted to convince Confed HQ to send more ships, but was vetoed by the Naval Chief-of-Staff, Karl Chengdu. Banbridge was put in command of the 2nd Fleet, assembling in the Proxima System for its own strike into Kilrathi space. His fleet would have only three carriers, three battleships and thirteen cruisers. The fleet was intended to jump behind the Kilrathi invasion force, and capture its own supply bases, thus trapping the Kilrathi. However, this was not to be.
On Confederation Day, 2634, the first sign of the imminent invasion occurred when the listening post and commercial traffic from the Gimle System abruptly ceased. Gimle was not defended by any Confed ships, and the few militia vessels failed to send a signal. Picket ships were stationed at the jump point leading from Gimle to McAuliffe, as a means of advance warning of the Kilrathi invasion. Admiral Long, commander of the McAuliffe Ambush, stationed only one frigate at each jump point leading across the frontier, believing it could easily sound the alarm when the Kilrathi began to jump in-system, one ship at a time.
In the morning of October 15, a small courier ship jumped in from Gimle, showing signs of damage. The TCS Peregrine, the frigate defending the Gimle Jump Point reported that a militia ship had just jump in-system at high speed, before going offline, only two minutes later. The loss of the Frigate was assumed to be a collision between the two craft that damaged the transmitter, and not the ship sent through on auto-pilot with an annihilation (anti-matter) warhead placed inside it.
Upon losing his eyes at the jump point, Long immediately recalled all his personnel and began to deploy his ships. Hours later, the entire Kilrathi invasion force had jumped into the system, commanded by the Crown Prince, son of the Emperor, as well as important heirs of all the Eight Prides. It was immediately clear that the Kilrathi had eight carriers leading their invasion force, and not the two originally predicted. The Kilrathi struck immediately at the Confed fleet in orbit of McAuliffe VI. The Kilrathi anti-ship missile, launched from bombers, were far more powerful than Confed had first believed. In the initial strike, the carriers TCS Manticore and Java Sea were destroyed outright, at the loss of half the Kilrathi strike force.
The Battle of McAuliffe lasted for four days, with most of Long’s force being utterly destroyed. Even the arrival of reinforcements lead by carriers Ark Royal and Concordia were not enough to turn back the Kilrathi tide. The Concordia launched a feint against the Kilrathi carriers, at a great lost to their own fighters while the Ark Royal’s fighters and bombers struck at the Kilrathi landing ships approaching the planet. Only ten percent of the hundreds upon hundreds of landing craft were destroyed, but one such ship contained General Metrik nar Tr’Pak, King of the Tr’Pak Pride (one of the Eight), instantly killing him and his staff. This one fluke was enough to delay the Kilrathi’s drive towards Earth in the starting days of the war just enough to save the Confederation.
The reinforcements, which did arrive on the fourth day, were so ravaged by the Kilrathi that they were forced to retreat after only a single pass at the Kilrathi. Recall orders were sent by Banbridge, who was preparing his own defenses. The Kilrathi took this as a sign of Terran weakness, but the confusion caused by the loss of Tr’Pak forced the fleet to stop in orbit of McAuliffe while a new General was selected. While the debate was happening, Kilrathi cruisers finished off Alexandria Station, while other ships began to pound cities and fortification on the surface of the planet. The initial Kilrathi invasion force, those that reached the planet, numbered some ninety-three thousand. They stormed the fortifications that were directly "below" Alexandria Station in a matter of days. With this as their base of operations, the Kilrathi began to steadily bring in more soldiers for their months-long conquest of McAuliffe VI.
Aside from the McAuliffe System, the systems beyond the frontier, as well as several within Confed jurisdiction fell to the Kilrathi over the course November and December as there were no TCN forces to defend the planets or hope of reinforcement. Several systems, including Delius, Pephedro and Trimble simply surrendered. The Kilrathi were unsure what to do with an enemy that simply gave up. This caused more delay in their invasion as system commanders sent messages back to Kilrah, requesting instruction. In the case of Delius, which had a somewhat large industrial infrastructure, the planet’s population was put to work for the Kilrathi war effort.
Other words fought back. The most notorious of the year was that of Carlin II, site of the Carlin Massacre. This planet had only three hundred thousand persons living upon it, and was largely agrarian. The Kilrathi had no use for plants, but made great use of the herds of cattle living on the planet. The planet’s militia, fought bravely with Confed Army forces upon the planet, but the total population of the planet were outnumbered by the half-million Kilrathi that landed upon the planet during the month of November. The defenders were killed almost to the last, but this was not the massacre. That happened when Kilrathi priests landed upon the planet and oversaw the construction of a temple to Sivar. The few who escaped the planet reported that the Kilrathi priests sacrificed the surviving two hundred thousand people to their War God. Afterwards, the planet was open to Kilrathi colonization.
The Trimble System, despite surrendering, suffered a similar fate. However, it was the inhabited stations scattered throughout the mostly lifeless (one planet did have primordial ooze) system. Five million humans were killed as the Kilrathi cleared the space of these useless stations, and focused their efforts on the moons of Trimble VII, which also had two jump points (one in high polar, and the other some ten million kilometers distant) orbiting it. Again, the Kilrathi used the surviving locals as labor pool. Slavery among the Kilrathi was very different than that of human history. Perhaps forced labor would be a more accurate description. The Kilrathi simply saw them as a useful resource.
The Kilrathi not only drove deep into the Vega Sector, but made incursions into the Epsilon Sector, which itself was largely beyond Confed’s border, and sparely inhabited by humanity. Most planets the Kilrathi ended up occupying in the first year of the war were uninhabited, and immediately opened to Kilrathi colonization.
Battle of Enyo
In the last days of December, 2634, the Kilrathi fleet moved on from McAuliffe, which was largely under Kilrathi domination by then. The fleet’s original mandate was not simply to destroy Alexandria Station, but to cut a swath of destruction all the way to Earth. Like a spear, the fleet was to penetrate the prey’s hearth and bring it down quickly. However, tough resistance at McAuliffe delayed the Kilrathi enough for Banbridge to bring his fleet into the Enyo System, a heavily populated system that sat before the jump point to the Proxima System, and beyond that the Sol Sector.
Banbridge managed to bring together five carriers, including the Arc Royal. The Concordia was so badly damaged that it exploded shortly after entering the Enyo System, fortunately after much of its crew had evacuated. After McAuliffe, it was clear that Confed fighters were grossly inferior to Kilrathi fighters, but capital ships could match each other rather evenly. Banbridge’s plan was to neutralize the Kilrathi carriers immediately, then go in with cruisers and battleships.
On December 30, the Kilrathi fleet jumped into Enyo. Immediately, their carriers launched all fighters and bombers to sweep the system. The Kilrathi did not anticipate Confed moving a second fleet into place so quickly after the destruction of their McAuliffe fleet. This cost the Kilrathi dearly. The McAuliffe-Enyo jump point sat in the middle of a Trojan asteroid field at the L-5 point between Enyo and Enyo V. It was here that Banbridge hid most of his fighters and bombers, keeping just enough back to act as point-defense for the Kilrathi bomber strike he knew was coming. Confed strikes, lead by a Commander Winston Turner, crippled two Kilrathi carriers and gutted two more in a matter of minutes. The ambush forced the Kilrathi crown prince to recall his own attack.
The battle did not unfold the way Banbridge had wished. Most of the Kilrathi ships that were destroyed or damaged on the day were hit during the first few minute. The 2nd Fleet did move at high cruising speed to engage the Kilrathi, however the L-5 point in the Enyo System was notoriously hazardous due to the unusual density of small asteroids. More Confed and Kilrathi ships were damaged by collisions with house and car sized asteroids than by the annihilation warheads of anti-ship missiles.
By Terran naval standards, the Kilrathi should have withdrew immediately, however Kilrathi politics would not allow it. If the Crown Prince showed weakness, then the males of the Eight Prides might see it as a chance to take control of the Kilrah Pride. Should this happen, the Kilrathi would plunge into a civil war that would all but hand victory to the Terrans. Kilrathi cruisers were sent forward as a screen to defend the damaged carriers, as technicians worked to repair the engines of the two damaged. Skilled personnel from the two gutted ships were shuttled over, while the rest were left to fend for themselves.
Kilrathi bombers returned to the fray immediately, but with minimal fighter cover. Fighters were retained to defend from another sneak attack from behind asteroids. This was the first time the Kilrathi began to realize Terrans were not the prey they initially believed, and it would not be the last time they learned this lesson. Kilrathi underestimation, rather than Terran resolve, had much to do with the course of the war. Of the two hundred bomber sent forth, only twenty-three reached their target. Most anti-ship missiles were shot down, but not all. The carriers Independence and Lake Eire were both destroyed, while Victory took significant damage.
In ship-to-ship engagements, the battleship Alexander engaged and destroyed two Fralthi-class cruisers as well as three Ralatha-class destroyers before being forced out of the battle by an anti-ship missile to its bridge. Losses on both sides were high that day, but the Kilrathi, with half of their offensive force either gone or disabled, where finally forced to retreat. The Crown Prince, who would later pay with his life for his failures, sited a serge of guerilla activity on McAuliffe VI as the official reason for retreating. Several Kilrathi ships were too damaged to jump and were finished off by TCN before noon of December 31. Those ships were crippled, not dead, and caused a great deal of damage.
The battle ended in a strategic Confederation victory, as well as the safe guarding of three hundred million Terrans living in the system and its industry. The entire system’s industry quickly went into war production and building the systems fortifications. By the New Year, it was clear to both sides that the war would not be over quickly, nor that their enemy was a pushover. This came as a greater shock to the Kilrathi, who have never had an attack thwarted in all their conquests. For the Terran Confederation, it was the start of decades of hardship and rationing as the entire industrial base of the Confederation was shifted in fighting what would be a total war against the Kilrathi. In this first year of the conflict, several million Terrans were already dead, the majority civilians. Billions more would join them before the war was over.
07-29-2010, 02:29 PM
07-30-2010, 06:22 AM
The Alliance-Hubble Line
With the loss of a good portion of the Vega Sector fleets, the remaining ship of TCN focused their defensive efforts on a fortified line that included the Alliance, Blackmane, Apocalypse, Enyo, Vega, Chengdu, Hubble’s Star and Proxima Systems. Of these systems, Proxima was the most vital, since its jump point lead directly to Earth. However, it was not technically part of the line, as it was one or two jump points behind Confed lines. While ships from the opposite side of the Confederation, as well as sectors not threatened by the Kilrathi, begin to transfer their fleets to hold the line. Given the distance, and limitation of speed, several months would be required to reinforce the sector. While the Vega System is nominally the capital and administration center of the sector, the vital importance of Proxima caused it to be the new location for Vega Sector HQ.
In the systems already named, new orbital fortresses and stations were rushed into service, as well as reinforced locations on planetary surfaces. Soldiers were shipped in to reinforce the systems, and protect the planets from invasion. Enyo II alone received four million additional soldiers to defend it. Many worlds in the line produced a surplus of food, which allowed for fielding of large armies. Only Vega lacked agriculture, and that was due to the fact the star was relatively young (in astronomical terms) and had no habitable planets. Its location on the jump point network did make it a center of trade, and dozens of stations were scattered throughout the station, as well as domed and underground habitats on the surface of Vega IV and Vega V, the former being the capital world.
In the space of five months, Blackmane Station, the key point for the system’s defenses, mostly because that in order to fly from one jump point to another, concerning any of the seven jump point, a ship will pass with striking range of the station’s fighter compliment. By the middle of 2635, Blackmane Station had a compliment of two hundred fighters and bombers. Apocalypse, known commonly as Hell’s Kitchen due its truly nasty environments, had an addition three stations constructed in system between 2635 and 2637. It was the system linking Blackmane and Enyo, as well as several other systems. It would be the perfect place for the Kilrathi to bypass stronger defenses.
With the bulk of Confed’s navy in the Vega Sector spread across its Line, the Kilrathi were virtually free to move into systems coreward of Hubble’s Star. In February, the Kilrathi entered Planck’s Star, conquering its small colonies, mostly on lifeless worlds, in a matter of a week. The Warsaw System, another system that lead to Vega, was a tougher nut to crack. Warsaw II, the primarily inhabited planet, put up a stiff resistance. Warsaw Station, in orbit of Warsaw between planets I and II, sent out waves of fighters against the Kilrathi. Two militia frigates waited in Warsaw II orbit for the Kilrathi invasion force to attempt to land. Both ships were destroyed by Kilrathi fighters. However, the Kilrathi targeted orbital fortifications of Warsaw II, instead of Warsaw Station. Fighters from the station destroyed three Ralatha as well as a dozen transports.
In response, when the Kilrathi entered orbit of Warsaw II, several of the planet’s cities were destroyed by fusion warheads, with an estimated death toll of twelve million. When the Kilrathi began to land on the planet, minus thousands of warriors, Warsaw Station struck again, damaging a Kilrathi light carrier and a Fralthi. Ground-based fighters and SAMs destroyed many of the invasion craft, but to no avail. Even with 24% of their invasion force destroyed before planetfall, the Kilrathi still landed ninety thousand soldiers during the initial invasion. The total conquest of the planet of seventy million took three months and required an addition seven hundred thousand Kilrathi soldiers. Warsaw Station was finally discovered to be the source of the spaceborne resistance after a week’s worth of attacks. The Kilrathi operated under the assumption that Confed had a carrier in system. The Station was not destroyed outright, but boarded and captured after two weeks of fighting on board. For the Kilrathi, Warsaw Station had a higher percentage cost in capturing than Warsaw II. For Terrans; in addition to the twelve million killed in bombardment, another twenty million died during the conquest of Warsaw II. The Kilrathi quickly put the survivors to work.
The Munro System put up some resistance, but surrendered after three weeks of Kilrathi campaigning on Munro III and the largest moon of Munro VI. Anti-coreward, the Kilrathi succeeded in conquering the Tali System. The system, and its three inhabited (though not inhabitable) planets, happened to be one of the larger industrial centers in the sector. Confed was forced to send its fleet in to cover the VOC freighters that were transporting the dismantled parts of a VOC Stars anti-matter production plant. The plant was built on a vulcanoid that orbited Tali once every four days. The solar power, and solar winds collected from the star generated great power, which in turn made it possible for anti-matter to be produced in economically useful quantities. Confed also evacuated as many specialists from the planets as possible.
When the Kilrathi entered the system, the TCN battleships Simon Bolivar and The Seventeen Provinces, escorted by the carrier Victory held off the initial Kilrathi attack. The Kilrathi believed that Confed had pulled out of the system, which they had in order to reinforce Blackmane and Alliance, and did not expect battleships or carriers. Consequently, the two TCN battleships destroyed most of the Kilrathi strike force as well as the initial landing force. Retreating ships returned to Kilrathi territory to report on the loss. In the space of a month, the Kilrathi were forced to shift forces away from Vega and Hubble’s Star to take a system that should have fallen in weeks. By the time the Kilrathi returned, with three carriers at the lead, TCN had abandoned the system. With no enemy to fight, the Kilrathi took out their frustrations on the inhabitants of Tali. After a seven week long conquest of all three planets, the Kilrathi killed off ten percent of the population and began to ship the remaining population across their empire to be used as both slaves and food.
The Vega Raid
With forces relocated across the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi could only afford a punitive raid against the Vega System. In October, a force of seven cruisers and eight destroyers entered the system. The cruisers had very limited deck space, and could only deploy a squadron each. Fifty-six Kilrathi fighters struck at listening posts around the Vega-Alcor jump point, as well as Fort Carson which defended the jump point. The fort survived, but the listening posts were destroyed. The Kilrathi passed the damaged fort and headed for Vega Station, the key to the system. They did not intend on conquering or even destroying the station, but rather targeted Confed ships in the system.
However, Confed had the Arc Royal at the head of a fleet of one battleship, the Kaiser as well as six cruisers and eight destroyers. The Kilrathi fighters did little damage to the station, and half were destroyed in the process. On the TCS Victor, a destroyer, was destroyed. The Kilrathi fleet suffered its own losses to Arc Royal’s fighters. However, the obsolete fighters and bombers did little damage, and as many of them were lost as Kilrathi fighters. This raid reinforced the need for Confed to design a new fleet of fighters and bombers to match Kilrathi technology. Normally, new fighters were introduced once every fifty to sixty years, and even rushing design and construction, Confed was stuck with Firecats, Wildcats and Warhammers for the next two years, though new variants of those designs were seeing action as early as 2635 (none in the Vega Raid).
07-31-2010, 06:59 PM
I have a Wing Commander website (http://wcreboot.weebly.com/index.html) with the whole war already on it....
As the Vega Sector’s main line of defense continued to grow in strength, the Kilrathi spent much of the year 2636, aiming for weaknesses. Several raids were launched against Vega, Enyo, Alliance and Blackmane. The largest of these raids was against Blackmane in July. Blackmane Station had effectively doubled in size since the war began, and a series of fortresses were in the process of being constructed to guard the jump points. A Kilrathi incursion into the system included three carriers, five cruisers and a dozen destroyers. No transports or any sort of ground forces were moved into the system; it was strictly a raid.
The Blackmane System was currently guarded by a single Concordia class carrier, a battleship, three cruisers and six destroyers, all aided by Blackmane Station’s fighter compliment. The Kilrathi managed to destroy two fortresses guarding the jump point to the Ariel System, neither one complete, as well as many construction and support ships. Learning from previous engagements, the Kilrathi capital ships held back, as did half of the fighters, as the other half struck out towards Blackmane Station. The battle was short, and brief. The Kilrathi lost more fighters than Confed, but the TCS Havana, a cruiser, was destroyed. Confed fighters and bombers pursued the Kilrathi, but the raiding fleet jumped out before they could be hit.
The Epsilon Front
Part of the reason for the lull in the Vega Sector, aside from the massing of Kilrathi forces on their side of the frontier, was due to Kilrathi advances in the Epsilon Sector. In 2634, the Epsilon Sector was minimally under Confed control. Most of it was frontier, beyond the border, were a hundred colony worlds existed outside of Confed jurisdiction. Taking into account that the average world might have had a hundred thousand inhabitants at war’s start, the rapid conquest of the Epsilon frontier was not that impressive. Quite a few worlds, were in fact, uninhabited. These were immediately opened to Kilrathi colonization.
The biggest loss in the sector in 2636, was that of the Torgo System. Torgo had only one jump point leading into Confed’s Epsilon holdings, but four that lead into the Vega Sector, and an additional two leading into the Epsilon frontier. It would be a key system to strike at the Kilrathi, and the Kilrathi were quick to strike, but slow in conquest. Torgo II, a planet more than twice the size of Earth, had a population of over a hundred million, far higher than worlds beyond the official border in the sector, as well as over a million soldiers guarding it.
Confed had few ships to spare for the sector, and the Kilrathi easily destroyed the small frigates and corvettes serving as pickets. Their greatest spaceborne losses came in assaulting Fort Maurice, in high polar orbit of the planet. The Kilrathi lost six frigates in the attempt. It was costly mostly because the Kilrathi used little in their naval forces in the sector, focusing on the bulk of TCN in Vega. The initial invasion force of sixty-four thousand were chewed to pieces in a month long battle on the Plains of Bonaparte.
The Kilrathi sent in larger forces the following month, August. Repairs on Fort Maurice allowed for the Kilrathi to bombard the planet from orbit, including the plains. At the end of the month, an armada carrying an invasion force of over one hundred thousand hit the planet. Between September and November, the Kilrathi opened a constant stream of soldiers to Torgo II. By the start of 2637, the planet was still contested, but its fate was already sealed.
First Kilrathi Refugees
Since the start of the war, thousands of ships worth of Terran refugees have been flooding back across Confed’s front lines. On October 17, the first of the Kilrathi refugees arrived in the Orsini System. Of the three ships, one was destroyed outright by Confed fighters in the system. The Kilrathi began to transmit their surrender, which struck the system commander as suspicious. Kilrathi never surrender, and their language did not even have a word. In fact, the transmission used the Dutch word for surrender.
The two ships were boarded by Confed Marines, far from Orsini Station or any of the systems other stations or fortresses. If a bomb were on board, it could easily destroy the station (similar tactics were used at McAuliffe). On board were one hundred seven females, and two hundred cubs of various states of development. All of the females were technicians and machinists, some working in Kilrathi fighter plants. These were the females of the Shruki Pride, a very minor pride that had been forcefully relocated to the Valgard System in a colonization effort. Their lands on their original world were taken by the Marqi Pride, one of the Eight Prides.
Dispossessed and sent on their way, once arriving in Valgard, the Pride simply continued onward towards Confed territory. It was learned that the females of the pride cared little for their own people in general (a common Kilrathi trait) and had no loyalty to the Imperial Government (another trait of minor prides. The females’ main concern was the safety and health of their children. Much was learned about Kilrathi sociology from the Shruki Pride. When the pride was relocated to the Vespus System in the Enigma Sector and debriefed, much more was learned about the technical details of Kilrathi fighters. This was the first, but most certainly not the last pride defection of the Kilrathi War.
08-01-2010, 07:47 AM
I am very happy that you brought this over here, Kiat. Very interesting!
08-01-2010, 08:42 AM
I am very happy that you brought this over here, Kiat. Very interesting!
I see you are familiar with my work.
08-01-2010, 08:46 AM
Fall of Hubble’s Star
In January of 2637 A.L., the reason the Kilrathi had been so quiet the previous year became painfully obvious. A fleet of some four carriers and ten cruisers, accompanied by various smaller craft, jumped into the system from both Port Hadland and Cheng-Cu. The two prong attack caught Confed off guard. When the first fleet arrived from Cheng-Cu, TCN defenders moved quickly to intercept it, despite being outnumbered two-to-one in respect to carrier strength. The first Kilrathi attack was a feint, designed to lure the Confed ships away from Hubble IV as well as Hubble Station in the L-2 point between Hubble IV and Hubble’s Star.
When the second Kilrathi force jumped into the system, roughly the same size as the first, the Terran defenders soon found themselves trapped between two fleets. Tough Confed gave a tough fight, taking a Kilrathi carrier and cruiser with them, the Carrier Adrianople as well as battlecruiser Viceroy, four cruisers and seven destroyers were all destroyed with few survivors. Those who reached escape pods were fortunate in that the Kilrathi ignored them as they headed for Hubble IV. Their next victim was Hubble Station itself.
The battle for the station was short, for the Kilrathi had no intent on capturing it. Over a hundred fighters defended the station, but the Firecats were of little match against the Kilrathi’s Dralthi and Salthi. Only a few TCN fighters escaped destruction to land on Hubble IV. Hubble Station had spent most of its effort in preparing for a boarding action than redoubling its countermeasures. Instead of boarding pods, Kilrathi bombers struck the station, delivering several anti-ship missiles towards their target. Hubble Station was destroyed with more than ten thousand on board.
The Kilrathi invasion of Hubble IV, the primary population in the system, took place with the minimal of interruption. Three days were spent by Kilrathi fighters and bombers inside the atmosphere of the planet, destroying whatever fighter cover remained, as well as air defenses around the landing zone of Drakeston. As the first wave of forty thousand Kilrathi were landing, Hubble militia destroyed the Drakeston Spaceport and the civilian population began to flee the city. The planet’s population in the census of 2630, was around two hundred million, with a further three million scattered around the rest of Hubble’s Star. The planet was home to a great deal of industry, most of it civilian and pressed into war service.
The Kilrathi took Drakeston, only to find the city abandoned. Kilrathi engineers were sent in with the next wave of invasion, along with machines for clearing the wreckage of the spaceport. While the Kilrathi were still thin on the ground, Confed Army units on the planet struck at the city, effectively laying siege to the very city they had abandoned. When additional Kilrathi ships attempted to land, the Army would throw all of its artillery into destroying transports, preferably while still in the air, but would settle for them on the ground as well.
The Kilrathi attempted a second landing some fifty kilometers north of Drakeston, in an attempt to crushed the Confederation Army between its two forces. This landing fared worse than the first, with twenty-seven percent of the transports destroyed by ground batteries as well as atmospheric aircraft. Privately owned space- and aircraft were pressed into service along side militia craft. Anything that could fly was equipped with FF missiles and pulse cannons. The second invasion flew into a school of pirana. However, this did not stop tens of thousands of more Kilrathi from stepping foot on Hubble IV.
By the third week of the invasion, enough pressure was taken off Drakeston for the Kilrathi to repair the spaceport and begin expanding it, all the while hundreds of Kilrathi transports were setting down on the planet on a weekly basis. The ad hoc air cover of the Terrans was slowly dwindled down as Kilrathi fighters spent most of their time in the atmosphere, and destroyers began pounding locations from orbit. The space between both initial Kilrathi landing zones was laid waste by several annihilation warheads, creating a link between the two Kilrathi forces. By the end of the fifth week, over three hundred thousand Kilrathi were on the planet.
Kilrathi reinforcements did not enter the system unopposed. TCN sent raids into the system repeatedly, targeting transports, freighters and any other logistical craft. This tactic forced the Kilrathi to divert its in-system forces to escort duty. It also diverted assets from across the Sector. Taking one of the systems in the Line was vital to Kilrathi war aims. When the Kilrathi could have launched another sizable attack on the line, they were instead forced to funnel more resources to take Hubble’s Star. This allowed only one large raid to take place in the Vega Sector.
By week ten, the Battle for Hubble’s Star was in full swing with over a million soldiers fighting for control of the planet. The Kilrathi, finally with air and space superiority, began a slow but relentless march to victory. The battle was officially won by the Kilrathi after five months of fighting, when the remaining Confed forces broke up and scattered into the wilderness. What would follow would be years of guerilla warfare and resistance against Kilrathi occupation. Hubble IV would continue to be a drain on their Vega Sector operations for years to come.
Securing the rest of the system was a simple enough task. What locations they did not want, or would not serve a strategic purpose, the Kilrathi simply destroyed. More than 2.5 million Terrans off of Hubble IV were killed during the conquest of the system.
After jumping quickly into Proxima from Munro, a Kilrathi task force centered around a light carrier (the only ship that would eventually not see action in Hubble’s Star) as well as four cruisers headed straight fro Proxima IV. It was the less populated region of the system, but steered well clear of Proxima Station and its compliment of several hundred fighters and bombers, as well as ships of TCN. Proxima IV and the asteroids that orbited it, was home to industry in the system as well as ten million Terrans. The Kilrathi had no intend on capturing the planet, and instead struck at factories built on the asteroids, including the largest fighter plant of McCall Industries in Vega Sector. The raid was clumsy, for the Kilrathi were not use to wars that were entering their fourth year, nor use to strategic warfare. However, by the time Confed sent interceptors to Proxima IV, the Kilrathi had already left the system.
The Mandarins and Catholics
Kilrathi occupation of planets such as McAuliffe VI, had taught the local humans that there was no beating the Kilrathi. They could not be killed without massive retribution. They could not be coerced. They could not even be bribed. In the ruined city of Forester, a man by the name of Alfred Mandar decided the Kilrathi could not be beaten. Publicly, he taught that the people should submit to Kilrathi rule, and that all the Confederation should surrender. This made him a traitor in the eyes of Confed. Privately, he taught that humanity should put itself in the good graces of the Kilrathi, be spread across their empire, then– when the Kilrathi were complacent, to rise up and overthrow them. He wanted to defeat the Kilrathi from within.
The Society of Mandar, or just plain Mandarin Society, spread across the occupied worlds. Because it openly taught submission, the Kilrathi authorities allowed their missionaries to move from world to world. Their teachers were not the only doomsayers, though the only ones who desired a surrendered. The forty-nine century old Catholic Church had its own fringe elements that believed the Kilrathi were punishment from God for the hubris of man. The majority of the Church held the official line that man should stand up and vanquish the godless beasts. As soon as the Church heard of Kilrathi defections, they immediately petitioned Confed for access to the isolated Kilrathi, so that they may spread the word of the gospel to these aliens.
In 2637, the first of the Vanguard Class Carriers, the TCS Vanguard and TCS Ranger were commissioned at the Shipyards of Mercury. These two carriers, as well as several new Concordia Class carriers could barely replace the loses in the Vega Sector. Concordia production was ceased that year, and their shipyards retooled to produce more Vanguards. Already, various design agencies were developing a newer, larger strike carrier to replace the Vanguards.
As well as the new carrier class, two of the four new fighters rolled off the assembly line in 2637. The A-14 Raptors, slatted replace the slow Warhammers. These new attackers would have the same bomber capability as the Warhammers, but would carrier the missiles and guns of a heavy fighter, as well as the agility. Second to come off the line are the venerable F-105 Scimitars (Confed’s fighter designation is rather arbitrary and comes from the manufacturer instead of TCN) which would replace the Wildcats as both bomber escorts and interceptors. Both of these new fighter classes were designed with the Kilrathi in mind, and incorporated aspects of Kilrathi fighter weakness, learned from refugees, into their overall design.
In the same year, new battleships were on the drawing boards. These are not battleships in the traditional sense, but a throwback to the arsenal ships of millennia past. These new BBGs as they are officially designated are little more than missile barges, carrying thousands of FF missiles and anti-ship missiles. The engineers promised that each ship could fire a salvo of over five hundred FFs in under a minute. Critics of the Arsenal Ship program argue that for the price of one of these ships, several hundred smaller fighters and bombers could have been built.
08-01-2010, 10:01 AM
I see you are familiar with my work.
Happened to come across it a few weeks ago. Read the first few entries, but didn't get around to commenting. In any case, I've never even played Wing Commander, and am rather unfamiliar with the story (basically, guy shoots down space cats in his space fighter), but I find this to be an interesting story.
08-01-2010, 10:10 AM
I read the books Baen published some time ago. They were pretty good, although some were rather heavy on the political commentary (Fleet Action in particular.)
08-01-2010, 12:26 PM
I read the books Baen published some time ago. They were pretty good, although some were rather heavy on the political commentary (Fleet Action in particular.)
I think there's a bit of social and physcological commentary as well. Yes, the politicos were fools for believing the Kilrathi, but they were elected fools, whose electorates want the war to end, and are willing to believe that it is finally over. Even the pilots, and especially the soldiers, were desperate to believe it was true. And if you take how badly the Kilrathi's logistics were getting pummeled, it was easy to believe they had enough of war as well-- that is if one did not know the Kilrathi mind.
I'm rereading those books right now, about half way through Fleet Action.
I am thoroughly enjoying this, keep it up!
08-03-2010, 10:48 PM
At the start of 2638, the Kilrathi have already effortlessly rolled across most of the Epsilon Sector. This is more due to lack of Confed presence beyond it shallow border in the sector than Kilrathi efforts. At any given time, no more than two Kilrathi carriers are in the sector. Most of their forces remain in Vega, on a more direct route to Earth. The Council of Eight, as well as powerful planetary Prides, were in an uproar. They had expected the war to be over already, and with it stalling, the opening of a new frontier had also been delayed. To quell internal difficulties, these Prides planned to deport dissatisfied portions of their fief’s populations to newly conquered worlds.
It was only the lack of a free press (and news media in general) that prevented the average Kilrathi from knowing the amount of resistance this supposed prey species was capable. The fight for Hubble IV, though it was effectively in their hands, was still raging as bands of Confed guerillas launched their own hit-and-run raids against Kilrathi outposts and convoys. Not even the most eager of powerful Prides thought it a good idea to begin colonizing the planet. Other worlds, such as McAuliffe VI and Munro III, were seeing the first Prides arrive as early as 2636, when even the most pessimistic of Kilrathi planners anticipated the war being over. Carlin II, already devoid of Terrans, was wide-open to Kilrah’s undesirable Prides from the beginning.
The Frontier worlds were not completely helpless. A sense of betrayal by Confed did grow in its population. But rather than being resentful, the settlers banded together for common defense, now knowing they could not depend upon Earth for any aid. Leading these self-organizing governments was the Free Republic of the Landreich. Landreich was already a de fact independent state existing well beyond Confed’s official borders. However, Landreich did occupy a good position for any future invasions of the Enigma Sector. By 2638, the Kilrathi had only launched a few scouting expeditions into Enigma, raiding commerce and generally acting as pirates.
The Landreich faced similar raids. Their own homegrown industry was not capable of putting out the quality of weapons that Confed took for granted. Landreich also purchased, or "obtained" older, obsolete Confed ships. The Landreich would modify their ships to suit whatever needs were at hand. Many old freighters simply had pulse cannon turrets graphed onto the hull. These ungainly ships did well against the pirates and militia of the Kilrathi frontier, but as of yet had to stand up against frontline warships.
Confed was still incapable of launching any offensive to retake the Vega Sector, but new ships and weapons gave them the ability to strike deep within Kilrathi territory. In May of 2638, TCN launched an attack on the Kilrathi starbase recently completed in the Rostov System. It was not their sector HQ, but it was a vital staging area for further strikes against the Alliance-Hubble Line. Three carriers, the Vanguard, Ranger and Saratoga, all knew carriers, formed the nucleus of the raid, which also included battleship The Seventeen Provinces as well two Belgrade class cruisers and four new Monarch-class cruisers. These new ships caught the Kilrathi off-guard
Such a surprise would not be so for humans, who redesign things on a regular basis. This is not to say the Kilrathi are stagnant, far from it. Instead of total redesigns, they tend to keep the same general configuration for centuries on their ships, but with regular upgrades of hardware. The Fralthi of the start of the war looked pretty much the same as the Fralthi of the end of the war on the outside. The same went with fighters. When Kilrathi bombers were launched from Grn’tahk (Rostov) Station, the pilots were fully versed on the Wildcats they expected to intercept them as well as the Firecats that served as point-defense fighters. When the eighty bombers and their own escorts were intercepted by over a hundred Scimitars, the pilots were at a loss.
At a loss, at least until their own bombers began to explode. Kilrathi Dralthi found themselves equally matched by these new Terran fighters. The fact that Kilrathi seldom changed designs before their war with Earth played further to Terran advantage. IR (image recognition) missiles could be preprogrammed with their targets and fired without waiting for a lock. Many costly defeats would plague the Kilrathi, before their engineers figured out how the "stalker" missiles as they called them, were so successful. It would take only minor cosmetic changes to throw them off.
Of the Kilrathi bombers launched, only a handful of bombers made it through to the fleet. These were intercepted by only recently acquired F-36 Hornets. These point-defense fighters were designed specifically with data obtained about Kilrathi bombers in mind. In the words of surviving Kilrathi pilots, these new fighters were worth two Firecats each. However, no defense was ever perfect, and anti-ship missiles did reach their targets. Many naval personnel were killed and ships damaged, but no ships were lost.
Raptors launched against the Kilrathi starbase were also a surprise for the defenders. Though a few were destroyed by Kilrathi fighters, the Raptor’s own defensive and offensive weapons were more than a match for enemy fighters. More than twenty anti-ship missiles were launched and all but two hit Grn’tahk. The starbase was not destroyed, but its repair facilities were, as well as communications. Supply depots put in a loose orbit around the station went up in spectacular explosions as anti-ship missiles set off all the munitions stored within. While the starbase was not destroyed, it was crippled. A second strike was planned, but the sudden arrival of Kilrathi warships prompted Rear Admiral Turner to quit the system while still ahead.
As good as always, definitely looking forward to seeing more.
08-06-2010, 11:31 AM
I second. More?
08-06-2010, 12:32 PM
The Fifth Year
The fifth year of the Kilrathi War, already lasting far longer than either side had initially, and optimistically, predicted, was to be the pivotal point in the early war. Kilrathi forces had massed a fleet the same size as their initial invasion fleet, five year previous, in the Kharak Tur (called Venice by Terran cartographers) System with the aim of breaking the Alliance-Hubble Line. Attempts to flank the line by taking the Hubble Star system resulted in the Kilrathi Army becoming bogged down in a quagmire. Unlike humanity, the Kilrathi’s solution to the problem had been to wipe out the guerilla’s support; i.e. exterminate the human population in areas of resistance. This had only caused the entire population of said area to rise up in rebellion– which tended to result in bombing from orbit of the town or city, removing it from the map. Just why the Kilrathi did not wipe out the entire population is unclear, though the cost in manpower (catpower?) would have been one reason.
Kilrathi strategy called for a full-scale assault on the middle of the line, at Enyo. The reasons were not fully strategic in reasoning. Enyo was also the sight of their defeat in late 2634, and the Kilrathi planned to avenge their earlier humiliation, before moving on to Proxima, then Sol. The attack reduced Kilrathi reserves sector-wide, as well as pulled of ships from defending systems they already held. The Kilrathi would use as eight carriers in the Vega Sector, as well as have over a million soldiers ready to land on Enyo II, and secure important regions of the planet. The Kilrathi Emperor decreed that the Empire’s soldiers shall be marching on Earth by the next Sh’rik.
The Enyo Engagement
The Enyo Engagement, also called the Second Battle of Enyo, or just Second Enyo, kicked off on February 3, 2639, when three Ralatha-class Destroyers entered the system and fired upon the new fortress built near the jump point. A spread of anti-ship missiles fired as soon as the ships jumped into the system, caught the defenders of Fort Relief off-guard, and caused considerable damage. The fortress was all but destroyed when several more destroyers, along with two Fralthi jumped in to add their firepower to the battle. Distress calls were sent and warned Confed of what was approaching. The moment Kilrathi carriers entered the system, they threw up a fighter screen to avoid a repeat of First Enyo.
As with earlier in the war, code-breakers had already determined the Kilrathi were moving on Enyo. In anticipation, Admiral Turner had four carriers on station, three of the new Vanguards and the TCS Victory. Intel correctly guessed eight enemy carriers were on their way, and reinforcements were being sent to Enyo. However, the distance between jump points in-system makes reinforcing the system a slow process. Turner immediately ordered the fighters of his carriers, and Enyo Station, to launch. As soon as the last of the strike force was clear, he ordered his fleet into a solar orbit, some two million kilometers away from Enyo II. His ships would not be caught in orbit when the inevitable Kilrathi counter-attack happened.
Even at cruising speeds of 5 PSL, the strike force took several hours to reach the Kilrathi. Slowing to combat speed, they were met by nearly six hundred Kilrathi fighters of every make. Even with the addition of a hundred fighters from Enyo Station, the Confed fighters were seriously outnumbered. Scimitars cut a swath of destruction through ranks of Dralthi and Salthi, allowing for sixty-three Raptors to commence attack runs on Kilrathi capital ships. Many of these ships were destroyed by a concentrated anti-spacecraft screening from all Kilrathi ships, but a number of anti-ship missiles did score hits, including the destruction of seven destroyers, one Fralthi as well as a Kilrathi carrier. Two other carriers were damaged, but were still able to launch and retrieve fighters.
Confed ships returned home as fast as possible, for the Kilrathi had their own bombers ready to launch, and out for blood. Two hundred of the fighters covering their fleet were sent forth to escort the bombers. These fighters were enough to deflect Turner’s own fighter screen. With many of the earlier attackers returning to Enyo Station for refueling and rearming, Confed was down more than a hundred fighters. Kilrathi bombers proved to be more devastating than Confed’s, partly for the reason that Kilrathi bomber pilots and crews would stay on course and launch, even as their own ships were being shot out from around them. Despite the brutality of the Kilrathi, the discipline of their pilots earned them a grudging respect from their Terran counterparts.
These single-minded attacks resulted in more destruction on the smaller Terran fleet. The carrier Vanguard and battleship The Seventeen Provinces were destroyed outright, along with three cruisers and seven destroyers. The carriers Victory and Saratoga were heavily damaged, with the former’s flight deck knocked out. The Kilrathi continued to swarm until the last of their anti-ship missiles were fired, before returning to their own fleet. With such damaged sustained, Turner was forced to pull his fleet back from Enyo II to Fort Tycho, on the opposite side of the system.
The Kilrathi’s second attack struck at Enyo Station itself, with devastating results. The station was not destroyed, but its offensive weapons were knocked off-line, as well as its flight decks. A third attack escorted Kilrathi shuttles and boarding pods to Enyo Station, where hundreds of Kilrathi "marines" boarded the station. The Battle of Enyo Station would last three days, and even with a steady stream of reinforcements, the Kilrathi failed to capture the station. Kilrathi soldiers would abandon the attempt by February 9, taking hundreds of Terran captives with them.
The Kilrathi fleet entered orbit of Enyo II on February 7, and proceeded to bomb the planet, softening up invasion sites. The Kilrathi landed forty thousand soldiers around the city of Celestria (population 250,000). The city was stormed, as was its spaceport, with minimal effort, falling on the first day of the invasion. Additional land forces began to jump into the system. However, several of these ships were destroyed after running into a recently laid minefield at the jump point. A flight of Raptors snuck around the Kilrathi fleet, mining the jump point. These fighters flew from the TCS Arc Royal (was it already destroyed?), which operated behind Kilrathi lines, destroying supply ships and transports, as well as pulling two Kilrathi carriers away from Enyo II to hunt them down.
At Fort Tycho, both the damaged carriers were repaired to the point that flight operations could once again take place. Other damage was temporarily fixed with simple patches. On February 7, while Enyo II was facing invasion, Turner was reinforced by Admiral Wright, and the carriers Ranger, Tennessee River and Resolution, as well as the battleships Simon Bolivar and Alexander, nine cruisers and fifteen destroyers. This new force combined at Tycho Station and set off to save Enyo II. Turner came up with a unique route to strike at the Kilrathi. Since standard space combat takes place within a system’s elliptic plane, Turner would send the fleet high above, and strike down the north pole of Enyo II, hopefully catching the Kilrathi where they were not looking.
Turner’s gambit did, in fact, catch the Kilrathi by surprise. Raptors launched from the new carriers, including a wing commanded by Captain Geoffrey Tolwyn off the Tennessee River, struck directly at the Kilrathi carriers. Most of the Kilrathi fighters were inside the atmosphere, bombing Terran targets, and unable to return to orbit in time to save their ships. With their ships in orbit, the Kilrathi could not maneuver to their advantage, and were hostages to orbital mechanics. Confed bombers took advantage of this, hitting all the Kilrathi carriers, as well as half their cruisers. Of the carriers hit, three were destroyed, with one exploding outright, and a further three crippled. Of the crippled, one had its engines destroyed.
When the Kilrathi fighters returned to orbit, they were greeted by Confed fighters. The Kilrathi were at a severe disadvantage in climbing out of a gravity well. Scimitars intercepted the climbing fighters, chewing them to pieces. Though a small portion of the Kilrathi’s total fighter stock was destroyed, the loss in skilled pilots was far larger. To encourage their pilots to do their best, Kilrathi fighters tended to lack ejection pods, so when a fighter was destroyed, so was a pilot. A second wave of Confed fighters finished off another carrier as well as shot down many landing craft that had just reached Enyo II.
On February 8, the Kilrathi Admiral, a Mentruk nar Kilrah, ordered his fleet to break orbit and head back to Kilrathi controlled space. A small force was left behind to cover whatever transports could leave the planet and bring retreating soldiers with them. The Kilrathi soldiers did not retreat empty handed. Thousands of Terran civilians within Celestria were taken by the Kilrathi, many offered up to Sivar in an attempt to appease the angry war god. The rest would be put to good use in the Kilrathi war effort.
Balance of Power
The Enyo Engagement effectively broke the back of Kilrathi offensive power in the Vega Sector. After the battle, the Kilrathi would be unable to launch an offensive in the Vega Sector for years to decades. Confed’s own losses in the battle– apart from a carrier and battleship, and two damaged ships, the Kilrathi did manage to track down and cripple Arc Royal, and Kilrathi pilots left behind (due to lost carriers) made suicide runs on Confed ships, heavily damaging the Ranger and Resolution– made it impossible for them to immediately capitalize on the stunning success at Enyo.
Both Kilrathi and Confed fleets retreated to their own sides of the front lines, repairing damage and replacing ships. For the first time in years, Earth and the other inner worlds could breath a collective sigh of relief, as imminent destruction was no longer their leading fear. Attempts to negotiate a cease-fire failed, in that any peace feelers sent across the frontier simply never returned. With peace not an option, Confed had to make its own plans for retaking lost worlds and pushing the Kilrathi back to the Kilrah Sector.
08-06-2010, 12:46 PM
08-06-2010, 02:27 PM
You know, if you ever get impatient, you could always visit the reboot's website. It's not the best in the world, but the timeline is there.
You know, I haven't put any maps up yet. Well, here is the front in the Vega Sector in 2639.
08-07-2010, 08:27 PM
With both of the major players in the Kilrathi War pausing for a breath and attempting to rebuild their forces, the smaller players of the Frontier were still in action. Leading various worlds that fall outside of Confed’s border is the most powerful of the Frontier worlds, Landreich. The Free Republic of Landreich Navy accounts for more than 70% of all frontier ships. With a jumble of make-do ships and Confed cast-offs, the Landreich has fought the Kilrathi to a standstill. Despite their bravado, the Landreich would easily have been crushed if the Kilrathi launched a concerted effort against them. Instead, Landreich ships tackle what the Kilrathi would consider their own secondary ships.
In land combat, the Kilrathi soldiers view humanity as prey. As such, they tend to treat all soldiers the same way. The guerilla warriors of the Frontier fully exploit this, using patrol members as ‘wounded’ bait, to cause the Kilrathi to charge in recklessly on all fours. Afterwards, one of two things would happen; the Kilrathi would run into a minefield, or they would be gunned down by frontier’s men waiting for them. Either way, and with several other ambushed, the Kilrathi losses on the ground were always far higher (proportionally speaking) than Terran losses, and were only doubly worse against non-Confed worlds.
The Landreich, and other systems, have backdoor contacts within Confed and quickly began to snatch up the obsolete Confed fighters, to augment their own home-grown products. The most popular of these acquisitions were hundreds of Firecats. The Landreich took the agility of these light fighters and installed additional armor and more powerful shields out of scrapped Wildcats and even some Warhammers. To compensate for the additional mass, larger engines were installed. Over the course of time, the modified fighters were put into mass production, giving birth to the Talon light fighter. In a fair fight, it still could not go up against a Kilrathi heavy fighter, but the Landreich never pretended to fight fair.
For capital ships, the Landreich addressed the issue of a lack of carriers by taking several pairs of old Confed destroyers, and connecting them via a flight deck. This kludge of a light carrier became known as the Delphi-class light carriers. They made poor weapons of fleet engagements, but were perfect for the hit-and-run tactics of the Landreich. By Confed standards, the Delphis were obsolete before they entered production.
War at Home
The Home Front during the early part of the war was one filled with panic. During the first five years of the war, there was every bit the possibility that the Kilrathi would breakthrough the line and invade the Sol Sector. Any unidentified flying object was reported as a "scout ship" by the worried public. The situation was even worse in the parts of the Vega Sector that remained under Confed control. They really did see scout ships. Civilian Defense Corps were established on every inhabited world to man anti-aerospace weapons. Privately owned ships were armed by the owners, and Confed put in the expense of installing communication equipment on these impressed ships. Civilians served as pickets, shouting warnings when the Kilrathi appeared.
World governments in the Vega Sector quickly took control of key industries and put them into use for planetary defense. There was loud protests to this. The Governor of Enyo II, in 2638, replied to the loss in profits by asking "And when the Kilrathi kill us all, then who will buy your products?" They could not unilaterally seize private property, and Confed law demanded the owners be compensated for their loss of business. This, as well as the massive buying of war goods by Confed drove the Confederation’s deficit through the roof. In turn, higher taxes and planetary tariffs were imposed to compensate.
The general public in the Sol Sector accepted the high costs of living, but people living in systems opposite of the Kilrathi Frontier were wondering why they were paying higher taxes. In the distant Carina Sector, there was a degree of protest against the war. Many wanted a negotiated peace, not quite understanding Kilrathi culture or war aims. Protests accompanied all sectors, but these were more against tighter rationing and higher. Rationing was not universal, for each world had its own level of production. Worlds that were forced to import foodstuff in order to maintain their populations did suffer the most from rationing. Fuel was not a big deal, since all ships were powered by fusion reactors. Need fuel? Just open up magnetic scoops and skim the mesosphere of a gas giant. Consumer goods were not rationed, just in short supply. Every factor in the Vega Sector and Epsilon Sector, as well as most in the Sol Sector (and a lesser degree in the Enigma Sector) were geared over to war production.
Operations in Hubble’s Star
In March of 2641, the first Confed Marines entered the Hubble’s Star System. They entered from Xanadu, using a much narrower jump point. While most are 173 meters (this being the maximum diameter that can traverse the point), the jump point at the L-1 point for Hubble’s Star and Hubble I, was only half the size. A task force of smaller warships and transports jumped into Hubble’s Star under the very radiation of this F-type star. Their goal was not to liberate Hubble IV, for too many Kilrathi were on and around the planet. Instead, they secured Hubble I, and were followed by engineers and construction workers.
Surface installations were built around the poles of this airless, low gravity world. These were mostly barracks, for the massing of Marines to act to secure landing zones, as well as hundreds of thousands of soldiers of the Confederation Army that would be required to liberate the system. Six orbital fortresses were built around the equator of the planet, with an addition two smaller ones in higher, polar orbits. These fortresses were kept small, just mainly guns and reactors, in order to elude Kilrathi attention.
Installations were completed with six months, and soldiers began to slowly fill into the system. The jump point was too small for larger TCN ships to enter, which would be forced to come via the Vega or Hell’s Kitchen jump points. Both were mined by the Kilrathi, and the Vega jump point was soon discovered to have the Kilrathi’s system headquarters nearby, as well as several warships permanently stationed around it.
Hubble I was put to immediate use by smaller ships. Destroyers capable of carrying a small compliment of fighters operated in the outer system, attacking Kilrathi shipping flying between the Port Hadland and Rostov jump points. The Kilrathi thought the system so secure, that they had not bothered placing escorts for shipping. After losing three convoys, one carrying twenty thousand soldiers, the Kilrathi began to dispatch Ralathas to investigate. The Kilrathi destroyers managed to destroy the TCS Dragonfly.
Further attacks by small Confed ships hit and destroyed a fuel station in orbit of Hubble V. Again, the Kilrathi dispatched ships to search for the attackers. The question of why the Kilrathi did not investigate the jump point inside of Hubble I’s orbit has never been satisfactorily answered. It is entirely possible the Kilrathi were unaware of the jump point. It was seldom used, and its proximity to Hubble’s Star made it less than desirable. Few civilian charts would have mentioned it, and military charts would have been destroyed during the invasion. No matter the reason, Confed ships continued to use this jump point, as well as Hubble I to continue to harass the Kilrathi for months on end.
Raid on Tamayo
The only major action by the Kilrathi in 2640, took place against the Tamayo System in the Vega Sector. The Kilrathi lacked the forces to secure any of the planets. Instead, they made a raid of the system. Tamayo Station was bypassed, and struck at the surface of Tamayo II. Kilrathi bombers dropped fusion warheads (yielding 50 kT) on several of the industrial areas of the southern hemisphere. This raid killed twelve million Terrans, as well as eliminated the entire electronic’s industry on the planet within the range of the EMP.
The worst loss was that of Tamayo Labs and Douglas Aerospace’s Tamayo production plants. The former was one of the manufacturers of the guidance system for IR (Image Recognizing) missiles, and the latter was responsible for producing the new Rapiers (one of several plants scattered throughout the Confederation). The destruction did much to harm the system’s own defenses, as well as shatter civilian morale. For months after the raid, the fear of invasion caused a general rumble of panic on Tamayo II.
The Kilrathi attack specifically targeted war industries. Unlike Confed, the Kilrathi had a very centralized industrial base. The Imperial Pride controlled most war industries, which were located in the Kilrah System, and the Council of Eight controlled the rest, which was situated on their own Pride worlds. Despite the insistence from the Ki’ra Pride, the Emperor believed Confed operated along the same lines. Kilrathi Intel learned about a new heavy fighter coming on line, and targeted the nearest Douglas Aerospace assembly line, believing it to be the primary line. Sadly, the one of Tamayo was one of the company’s smallest assembly plants, and had minimal impact on the output of the F-44 Rapier.
08-08-2010, 07:53 PM
Siege of Vega
With insufficient forces to launch any further invasions in the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi High Command, Vega Sector, switched strategies. Instead of conquering the Vega System, administration center of the Sector, the Kilrathi would lay siege to it. Siege warfare in space is far different than on land. Instead of continuous shelling, the Kilrathi would station task forces in Hubble’s Star, Alcor and Trimble, and would alternate between task forces in attacking the system. Each task force was built around a Snakier-class carrier, the Kilrathi equivalent to the Concordia-class, and included a pair of Fralthi as well as an assortment of smaller ships. One force would jump in, strike at targets in the system. As they jumped out, the next task force would jump in and take over. For several months, these raids continued, and with much devastation. Attempts to pursue the Kilrathi met with disaster, in that the ends of the jump point on their side were heavily mined.
In May of 2641, the most devastating attack during the siege occurred when the Alcor task force struck at Vega Heavy Industry’s shipyards. Vega is a young system, with no habitable planets, plenty of metal-rich asteroids, and abundant energy from the relatively young A-type star. These factors have summoned industrialist from systems poorer in metals. The administration center on Vega Station is supported by the heavy industries of the system. Along with a shipyard, smelters and processors gather raw materials from asteroids, purify them, and ship them to other systems. The easy access to raw materials is another reason of Vega’s vital importance. The shipyard service much of the Alliance-Hubble line, and its loss forced damaged Confed ships to jump back to Proxima, or in really bad cases, to Sirius in the Sol Sector.
Due to the spread out nature of the system’s industries, TCN could not be every where, all the time. A Kilrathi feint towards Vega Station drew in all the Confed ships, while the real task force struck the shipyards. Ships could not be spared from other fortified systems in fear that the Kilrathi made strike there in force. This is not to say Confed was ineffective during the Siege of Vega. Kilrathi fighters were regularly destroyed, and their ships damaged. However, when they jumped back into their own space, fighters were replaced and ships repaired, while the next task force jumped in to harass Vega.
Vega Sector Campaign
In June of this year, Admiral Banbridge presented his plans for the overall campaign in the Vega Sector to Confed’s Joint-Chiefs. His plan called for planet hopping. Key planets would be taken, as well as jump points secured, while other hold outs would be bypassed for later operations. His overall objective was to push the Kilrathi completely out of the Vega Sector. The campaign would call for no less than twelve planetary invasions and was projected to take at least a decade to complete.
To start the campaign, Confed had already constructed nine new carriers as well as a new Grenadier-class cruiser project underway, new and improved versions of century-old grasers, four new types of fighters, as well as the first of the Ragnarok-class arsenal ships ready for action. Ground combat was the largest concern. Not only were the Kilrathi larger and stronger than Terrans, but their planetary weaponry was little known. No doubt the first of the planet-hopping invasions would meet with several nasty surprises. Armor units of tanks and mechanized infantry units of powered armor were assumed to be quite effective against the Kilrathi, however regular infantry still used rifles and their own muscle. Hand-to-hand combat with the Kilrathi appeared suicidal.
The Joint-Chiefs, as well as Confed HQ, gave the go ahead for the campaign in August. The first target was highly classified, and only the fleet admiral and the flagships’s navigators knew the true destination. The fleet would not be able to deploy before 2642. Before then, to hide their true target, Confed set up a series of raids of their own to keep the Kilrathi off balance.
Fleet Actions of 2641
Confed launched three large raids during the year. The first targeted the Delius System, on the flanks of the main fight. The possibility of a flanking maneuver against the Kilrathi in the Vega Sector was a distinct possibility, and Confed wished to give the Kilrathi plenty to worry about. A strike force built around carriers Victory, Tennessee River and Libertè hit the system and struck at a starbase orbiting Delius V. Though the starbase was not destroyed, several orbital fortresses were knocked out of action, as well as habitat (domed crater) on the surface of its largest moon that was home to a Kilrathi division. More than twenty scope-ships (that scoop hydrogen out of Delius V’s atmosphere) were destroyed, rupturing the system’s fuel lines. No doubt a number of Terran slaves were killed in the attack.
A second attack struck coreward in the Vega Sector, hitting the Port Hadland System. Kilrathi resistance here was significantly larger, and the carriers Finback and Resolution suffered damage when Kilrathi fighters and bombers intercepted the force. This raid faired the poorest of the three, destroying several eights of Kilrathi fighters, bombers and corvettes. The strike force hit three convoys headed for Hubble’s Star, denying the enemy ammunition, spare parts as well as reinforcements. One freighter exploded with enough force to destroy the Raptor that attacked it as well, leading analyst to the conclusion it was storing annihilation (anti-matter) warheads on board, a warhead often used by anti-ship missiles.
The third strike was the most daring. It jumped into the Rostov System, crippled a Kilrathi starbase, as well as destroyed several ships docked at it, then proceeded to jump into the Kharak Tar System, as the Kilrathi called it. The system soon became known as the Venice System, for its pair of ocean worlds, similar to the pre-ice age tropics on Earth. More over, Venice System was home to Kharak Tar Station, the Kilrathi HQ for the Vega Sector. The station could not be destroyed by the fighter compliments of the Raj, Vendetta and Viking alone.
Due to the destruction in Rostov, the Kilrathi had advance warning of Confed’s attack on Venice. Two fleets jumped in from the Kilrah Sector in order to cover the system, revealing that the Kilrathi Navy was far larger than anyone in Confed realized. Both fleets were not the standard ships they had encountered during the past several years, but rather larger, more powerful ships. On fleet belonged to the Ki’ra Pride, and contained two carriers. The second fleet, with some of its ships actually gold-plated, belonged to the Kilrah Pride. The Imperial Guard was not a show piece, but rather comprised of the most skilled and able pilots and captains within the Empire. To be selected as part of the defenders of Kilrah was the highest honor. Of this fleet, four carriers were included.
Admiral Richards, commander of the strike force, realized too late that he was outnumbered two-to-one. Despite Confed’s more advanced fighters, the fierceness of the two Pride Fleets. Every Confed ship was damaged, as the Vendetta, as well as destroyers Garret, and frigates Minnow and Reuben James were destroyed outright. Viking was damaged, but managed to jump back to Rostov. To return to Confed lines, the strike force traced a highly elliptical course to the jump point. Neither Pride Fleet pursued, and it was later learned from defectors that none of the Council of Eight, or the Imperial Pride, trust each other enough to commit their personal forces to the war, and leave their own worlds exposed. Though they did no damage in the Venice System, this third raid was important in learning sooner, rather than later, of just how large the Kilrathi Empire and their forces truly were.
08-10-2010, 10:22 AM
Rotating the Guard
By the start of 2642, the Concordias were starting to show their age, and the last of the Vanguards were launched from Mercury, Confed commissioned a new class of larger, more powerful carriers. The Bengal-class carriers were to be strike carriers, capable of engaging enemy task forces with minimal support. When working together as a fleet, these new strike carriers would be able to devastate the Kilrathi. At least, that was the sales pitch from R&D. The reality of the situation was that, though they would be more than twice the size of the Vanguards, the Bengals would also cost three times as much. It was the age old debate; quantity or quality? The Bengals would pack quite the punch, but at the rate of loss Confed has experienced, some Admirals and Generals wondered if it would not be more prudent to build more ship.
The debate was settled, and the Congress of the Confederation voted to allocate funding for ten Bengal-class Strike Carriers, along with the new Venture-class Corvette and Formidable-class destroyers. Funding for the new Monarch-class cruisers was voted down in 2642, due to cost overruns. War or not, the Congress was not about to reward inept designs or crooked companies. However, they would act against business interests. After attempts to cut corners, the whole Monarch project was seized and handed over to the Trojan IV shipyards, known for their reliable products.
With new ships on line, Confed HQ decided it was time to pull the Concordia-class carriers off the front line. They would not be recycled or even mothballed. The four surviving ships would be used to escort convoys as well as patrol systems behind Confed’s lines, at least a jump away from the front. The ships still had their use, but were no match for the Kilrathi Snakier-class carriers. The four ships to survive the first few years of the war were the Arc Royal, Victory, Libertè and Viking. This of more than twelve Concordias that were in service in 2634. The Kilrathi War would continue to see proportionally high loses, especially considering previous war. When human fought human, lose rates could be between 10% and 20%. Against the Kilrathi, it was not uncommon for more than half the class of ships to be destroyed.
The first step in Confed’s long planet-hopping war began at Hubble’s Star. By the start of 2642, hundreds of invasion craft, and hundreds of thousands of Confed Marines (nearly two million Army soldiers were ready to move in as soon as the Marines did their job, which primarily is to either board enemy installations or secure landing zones) were stationed on Hubble I, under the protection of Hubble Star’s radiation. The fact that the Kilrathi had not even ventured further in-system than the orbit of Hubble III struck many in Confed as suspicious. Truth was, Merak nar Trk’Pahn (scion of the Trk’Pahn Pride, one of the Eight) thought so little of uninhabitable planets, that he largely ignored them– unless they had hydrogen atmospheres. The Kilrathi were not a people interested in exploring for exploration’s sake.
The initial strike did not come from Hubble I, but from the Vega System. The Siege of Vega was lifted when a fleet lead by Admiral Ronald de Chump entered the system as the Kilrathi task force from Alcor was nearing Vega Station. De Chump’s response was immediate and permanent. In order to prevent his fleet’s existence from being detected, shuttles (escorted by Rapiers) outfitted with powerful jammers were launched across the system. Since communication was still light-speed, any news the Kilrathi would send back would take hours to reach the Alcor Jump Point Comm Relay, before being relayed to Alcor. Given the highly centralized nature of the Imperial Navy, the signal would likely be routed all the way back to Kilrah, or at the very least to Venice. Intel estimated at most two days before the Kilrathi knew about them. Thus, all signals were jammed.
The Kilrathi task force of one carrier, two cruisers and five destroyers were quickly overran by the TCN force of five carriers, two battleships, an arsenal ship, eight cruisers, and fourteen destroyers. The TCS Ragnarok was kept behind to prevent the Kilrathi from detecting it, in the off chance they managed to get a signal out. Fighters from the Tennessee River, Finback, Raj, Avenger and Harrier, overwhelmed the Kilrathi in a matter of minutes. The Kilrathi had plenty of warning of the oncoming attack, and attempted to retreat. Thanks to the work of shuttle pilots, any signal was prevented from leaving the system.
With Vega cleared, and no new attack expected for at least a week (given the rotation scheme employed for the siege), de Chump was clear to move on to Hubble’s Star. It was known from forces on Hubble I, that a mine field awaited any ship that entered Hubble’s Star. Since Kilrathi ships had been using the jump point, the mines were correctly believed to be using FF tags, destroying any ship that lacked the proper transponder code. To combat this, Confed’s arsenal ship was about to be put to use. Before the Ragnarok jumped into the system, the destroyer Dragonheart jumped into Hubble’s Star to radio back the situation.
All was clear and the Ragnarok jumped in afterwards. Ships could only jump one at a time, and given the less-than-stable nature of jump points, not always in the same place. Thirty seconds was the standard procedure for jumps, to allow the ship enough time to get out of the way. Ragnarok jumped in without escort, save a lone destroyer. In its launchers were five hundred drones, all with over-sized transponders installed. When all launched within a matter of seconds of each other, they darted into the mine field, triggering all the FF mines in a wide enough swath to allow the fleet safe passage.
The Kilrathi on station in their star base received a surprise when hundreds of mines suddenly detonated. Not expecting anything to have survived that, they did not immediately scramble fighters, allowing the Finback and Raj time to jump into the system and launch all their fighters. Within ten minutes, several destroyers and a cruiser surrounded the arsenal ship as fighters from three carriers struck at the Kilrathi star base. The pilots did not attempt to destroy the base; instead they neutralized the weapons on the side of the station facing the jump point. Raptors eliminated the turrets and launchers as Scimitars escorted a hundred boarding shuttles to assault the station.
Under the command of Colonel Ray McCoy, a regiment of Confed Marines stormed the star base. The Kilrathi, those not wounded during the attack, threw together a piecemeal defense of the star base. They fought fiercely, and made the Terrans fight for every corridor at high cost, but their lack of coordination prevented a successful defense. The Kilrathi did not surrender, and only a lucky shot from a unanimous Confed pilot disabled any self-destruct capability. The Kilrathi defending the station were killed almost to the last, with only the incapacitated taken prisoner. The star base was captured in tact and taken in only seven hours of fierce fighting. The same was not the case for Dratok Station, orbiting Hubble VI. This way point was destroyed four days later.
Confed’s fleet faced off against the Kilrathi task force in Hubble’s Star a week later, only a day out of Hubble IV. Fighters from the Kilrathi carrier, orbital facilities and the planet’s surface attempted to launch a joint-strike against de Chump. In the center of TCN’s fleet was the Ragnarok, reloaded and ready to fire. The arsenal ship launched another salvo of five hundred, this time FF missiles. Not a single Kilrathi fighter survived the shotgun effect of the Ragnarok’s weapons. Missiles that were not destroyed continued on towards the Kilrathi fleet, destroying any ship that lacked strong enough shields.
Though the arsenal ship seems to be the ultimate weapon, it had limited ammunition and was vulnerable to attack when not firing. It also took several minutes to reload the launchers. Along with five hundred missiles, the arsenal ship also had an addition fifty tubes for anti-ship missiles. These anti-ship missiles were launched in rapid succession against Kilrathi ships and orbital defenses. The small Kilrathi task force, as well as all orbital facilities and stations, were destroyed. For Confed’s pilots, it seemed as if their only job during the battle was to make sure the Ragnarok was not destroyed. Hubble’s Star was a shock to the Kilrathi, but as soon as they learned the nature of the BBG, they would soon throw all their forces into knocking any of them out first.
With orbital space secure, the Marines on Hubble I made the journey to Hubble IV. Eighty thousand Marines splashed down on Hydra’s Sea, the landing craft beaching themselves both north and south of Port Moresby. All of Confed’s ships capable of entering atmospheres were designed to land on water, using lakes and sheltered bays as runways. Kilrathi disliked water, and tended to stay further inland. However, Port Moresby was not the water kind of port, but home to the second largest spaceport on the planet.
Only ten thousand Kilrathi occupied the city, but they put up a fierce resistance to Confed’ Marines. With three days of fighting and ten thousand of their own casualties (half dead), the Marines eliminated the last Kilrathi defenders around the spaceport. As soon as the all-clear was sent, transports began to land (though designed to land on water, their space drives allowed for a vertical landing on land as well) units of the Confederation Army to retake the planet. Eventually, well over a million soldiers would be required to liberate the planet.
During the liberation, units of the Army made contact with Terran Resistance. Where the Army had told its soldiers not to engage in hand-to-hand combat against the larger Kilrathi, the resistance were armed with an array of melee weapons, ranging from swords to tomahawks. The resistance’s low-tech approach (along with their own guns) was balanced by Confed’ high tech tools of war. The combat drone was deployed against the Kilrathi. Artificial intelligence had never turned out to be very.
Combat drones, fired in their cone-shaped bodies from orbit or dropped by fighters, had to be programmed with a general attack pattern. In the case of fortified locations, the program simply stated; kill all Kilrathi. Most drones were only two meters in height, but the larger ones (nicknamed Bubba by the grunts) stood some six meters tall, were tripods and brimmed with pulse weapons, old fashion machine guns and even a graser pod. Despite these killing machines, the planet would not be completely back in Confederation hands until sometime in 2643.
Just realized this was updated... enjoying the writing as always!
08-13-2010, 05:59 PM
Not until March of 2643, was Hubble IV declared secure. Units of the Kilrathi Army continued to plague Terran forces even after all the major cities were liberated. Organized resistance ended in January, but individual Kilrathi units continued to resist up until the point where they were killed. Of the seven hundred thousand Kilrathi garrisoning the planet at the start of the Terran liberation, only thirty-two hundred seventeen were captured, and only because they were too wounded to fight back. The enemy’s lack of surrender hit morale. More so in the army than on the home front. The media was fed by Confed HQ limited amount of information, such as when cities were liberated and victories on the planet. This was not to say the media was a propaganda tool, for the people heard about losses as well.
Kilrathi willingness to fight to the death greatly concerned Confed. If they fought like this on a planet they conquered, then what sort of resistance would await an invasion of one of their own worlds. On the other side of the conflict, some twenty thousand Kilrathi civilians were on the planet as well. These colonists offered no fight, being minor Prides transplanted to Hubble IV. The females of the Prides had no interest in fighting, and no real loyalty to the Imperial Government. However, many viewed them as a security risk so close to the front lines. Plans were drawn up to relocate the Prides to both the Enigma and Gemini Sectors. Terrans living on the planet wanted nothing more than to kill them all. The total losses on Hubble IV were a badly damaged Hubble Station, one hundred seventeen thousand soldiers and upwards to four million.
The newest carriers in TCN, Bengal and Cobra’s Fang, lead an assault against the Lafayette System. This system sat off to the side of the Vega Sector, and was almost a side-show compared to the rest of the campaign. However, it did offer the Kilrathi the chance to strike into heavily populated systems. Only a small Kilrathi fleet presence was in system, and the new strike carriers proved more than capable of handling them. The single Snakier was taken out in orbit of Lafayette II, while refueling from the planet’s hydrogen reserves.
The system had a marginally habitable planet, that was in the process of terraformation. Terraforming was a process seldom used, since it succeeded in bankrupting the Martian government back in 600-700 A.L. The process of turning a dead world into a living one was very difficult, even if they used nanotechnology. However, Lafayette I was an arid world with a limited ecosystem. Instead of turning the dead into living, Confed just tried to turn the marginal into something that could sustain a higher population. Only a million colonists lived on this world so close to the former frontier. The Kilrathi, from an arid world themselves, loved the planet. So much so, that despite its proximity to the front lines, many persecuted Prides fled to it. Unlike the warrior, all males, the Pride females did not treat conquered peoples with cruelty. They would use them, as forced labor or even outright slaves, if need be, but otherwise were indifferent to those outside their own Pride’s territory.
The planet had only a garrison of ten thousand Kilrathi soldiers, in addition to a hundred thousand civilians. More than twice that of the Terran population was already dead. Kilrathi population tended to cluster around a lone spaceport, which itself was the garrison. Unlike many planets, the Battle for Lafayette I was a short battle, lasting only four days. During that week, nearly all the ten thousand Kilrathi soldiers were killed, as were ten thousand Confed soldiers. Upon liberating the planet, the Confederation Army had its first contact with the Mandarin Society. Thousands of Terrans voluntarily served the Prides, as both servants and remedial labor for the usually skilled labor of the Pride females. In Kilrathi society, rogue males would do unskilled labor until they were old and strong enough to claim a Pride of their own. In their absence, slaves of several species were used.
This first contact was no noted in the media, but those in Confed’s political structure wanted trials of treason for these Terrans. Many such Mandarins were taken by the rest of the Lafayette population and executed as collaborators upon liberation. Some Mandarins did rise up during the invasion, but where quickly killed by the Pride females, which were as vicious as the males when their homes were threatened. The rest were rounded up and placed into interment camps by Confed until they figured out what to do with these seeming traitors. As for the Kilrathi Prides, lack of logistics ruled out deporting them, and in any case the Prides refused to leave. A Confederation garrison of a hundred thousand, nearly equal to the number of Kilrathi on the planet, was installed and martial law established.
Oddly enough, the constant handing over of papers and inspections by Confed personnel was less oppressive than inside the Kilrathi Empire and their ruthless feudal structure. The Prides worked as willingly for Confed as they did for the Empire, and as will all Prides their own political concerns seldom left the family. That is not to say when the male cubs grew to adulthood, they did not flee the planet to join the war against Confed. War was seen a means to grow strong and eventually take a Pride of their own. However, a few of the young males (less than 10%) saw little difference in who they fought, and joined Confed’s armed forces. The reasoning gave by Kilrathi enlistee being that Terrans were not competition for females, while their own species was.
Tears of Warsaw
The Hubble’s Star invasion force moved further into the Empire, after jumping into the Vega System, struck at the Warsaw System in mid-June. Reports of the conquest of Warsaw II were that of devastating loss, and it was wondered if there were any survivors on the planet. Kilrathi forces in the Warsaw System were minor, but again Confed had to neutralize a mine field, which the Ragnarok did without effort. Kilrathi fortresses stationed around the jump point offered stiffer resistance, and succeeded in knocking out the destroyers Monroe and Hydra’s Fury, as well as inflicted damage on the Finback before being destroyed themselves.
The two fleets in-system met two AU from Warsaw II. The Kilrathi were familiar with the arsenal ship after its devastating debut in Hubble’s Star, and launched all their fighters to destroy it. The first wave of fighters, clustered in large formations, were destroyed by a volley of FF missiles. Raptors and Scimitars were launched against the Kilrathi cruisers, which were the source of the fighters, as well as a rebuilt and remodeled Warsaw Station. Hornets were deployed to intercept any Kilrathi anti-ship missiles launched towards the fleet. The Kilrathi fleet was destroyed after two days of fighting, but not before they managed to destroy three more TCN destroyers, the cruiser Vienna and causing further damage to Finback. The carrier was forced to retreat to Vega, then to Proxima for extensive repairs in space dock.
Though the invasion of Warsaw II was intended to distract from Confed’s main objective of the year, it turned into a war of its own, dragging on for more than a year and requiring reinforcements that could have been used elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands of Kilrathi soldiers defended the planet, scattered across the globe. Each of the surviving cities had to be fought over, in some cases house-to-house. During the course of the reconquest, it was learned that only half of the original seventy million Terrans were still alive. The Kilrathi had a light colonization of the planet. The slaughter of Terran civilians made the Terrans trying to take back the planet less than sympathetic to the Kilrathi colonists, many whom were killed during the fighting.
A second fleet, built around five carriers and four battleships, struck out from Hell’s Kitchen to retake Pephedro at the same time as the fighting in the Warsaw System was raging. Taking Pephedro would bring Rostov one step closer, and the eventual outflanking of Kilrathi forces in McAuliffe and Deino. Though it was intended to be the main thrust of the Vega Sector Campaign for 2643, the invasion of Pephedro was but a small battle. There was no Kilrathi naval presence in the system, which worried Confed greatly when Kilrathi ships went missing. The fleet, under the command of Admiral Thomas van Oranje, who fittingly had his flag on the battleship Prince of Orange, ordered his fleet to attack the outlying planets of the system. The Kilrathi had garrisoned the three moons of Pephedro VII, all lifeless. In order to capture these bases, which van Oranje wanted in tact, Confed Marines had to fight the Kilrathi in a low gravity, and airless environment. Being so dangerous, the casualty rates were far higher for what would have just been wounds on a habitable world.
Only two of the three bases were captured. On the second moon, the Kilrathi commander blew up the station rather than let it fall into enemy hands, killing many Marines who were fighting in the station at the time. The innermost planet had its own bases, with agricultural tents (domed craters) as well as vast underground facilities. Van Oranje opted out of invading Pephedro I after the losses on the second moon. Instead, Confed fighters bombed defensive batteries and solar power stations. Van Oranje gave the Kilrathi the option of surrendering or starving before effectively bypassing the planet.
The habitats on Pephedro II, where Terrans mostly lived before the war began, were only lightly defended. Pephedro Station, at the stellar-planetary L2 point, was stormed by Marines in late August. Boarding pods hit the station at its docking facilities as well as its command center (on top of the station) and its reactors (on a boon on the bottom). This way, van Oranje had hoped to avoid having the Kilrathi blow up the station in spite. They never did, but nor did they surrender. Two weeks were spent in capturing Pephedro Station. The reason for such a prolonged battle on a starbase was due to most of the Pephedro II’s garrison being stationed there.
Thousands more were based on Pephedro II, but before Confed could begin the invasion of the planet, Kilrathi shuttles began to take off the planet, as well as larger ships, and made their way to Pephedro I, where the local Kilrathi commander believed he stood his best chance at holding out. Van Oranje, happy to see his real target abandoned, did not let the Kilrathi retreat peacefully. Dozens of shuttles were intercepted by Scimitars and destroyed. There was no invasion of the innermost planet, and the Kilrathi languished there until a relief fleet arrived in November. After fighting its way past van Oranje, the battered Kilrathi fleet evacuated Pephedro I before destroying the base. The Kilrathi did manage to score hits on TCN, damaging two battleships, the Prince of Orange and Ho Chi Minh, blowing a hole in the carrier Ranger, and destroying four destroyers and a cruiser.
08-17-2010, 08:33 AM
The Tenth Year
The Kilrathi War dragged on into its tenth year with Confed on the offensive. Two fleet actions were planned for the year, with the 1st Fleet under the command of Robert Custer, and the 2nd under the command of van Oranje. The First, newly formed around the nucleus of the Hubble’s Star expedition, would be launching its assault into the Munro System. The Second, actually formed before the First, would strike first with a smaller attack on the strategically vital Rostov System. With the later in its hands, Confed can easily take back Deino and McAuliffe.
Despite setback and victory, the Terran public was beginning to grow weary of the war. The fact that Confed would not even consider negotiating cost the leading party in the Congress of the Confederation elections for 2645. Conspiracy theories stating that the Military Industrial Complex was running both the war and Confed began to circulate across the Sol Sector, as well as other sectors distant from the war. In the Vega Sector, and the minimal Confed presence in the Epsilon Sector, there was strong support for the war. Even in Enigma, where only a few minor raids have occurred, the public was in favor of the military.
Those sectors as yet untouched by war lived under the belief that the Kilrathi were not that different from any other enemy humanity has fought. Considering that virtually all of humanity’s enemies was humanity itself, their level of ignorance was substantial towards the nature of the Kilrathi. Many people were, but the full employment that war industries provided for some worlds was enough to keep the peace. Protests against the war were most prevalent in the parts of the Terran Confederation opposite of the Kilrathi Empire.
The operation in Munro earned the name of Custer’s Carnival by the total debacle. The 1st Fleet, with six carriers, four battleships and an arsenal ship, as well as twelve cruisers and twenty destroyers, entered the Munro System expecting a simple fight. Munro had been a bit of a backwater at the start of the war, for only one jump point connected the system with the rest of Confed, through Proxima. The jump point from Proxima came in at the L-5 point for the most distant planet. Just how the Kilrathi entered the system was unknown.
The system was far from a backwater in 2644. The Kilrathi had little to no presence in the outer system, but heavily fortified the two most inner planets, as well as scattered an assortment of fortresses in and between the two planet’s orbits. Munro III had a sizable garrison, as did the moon of Munro VI. Custer ordered the fleet to charge, making his flag on the recently commissioned Tiger’s Claw. Being closest to the Proxima jump point, the fleet struck at Munro VI. The battle for Munro VI was brutal, and far from short. What Custer had hoped would be a simple landing, turned into a prolonged campaign on an airless moon. For three weeks, Marines dug themselves into trenches and foxholes and traded shots outside of the habitat called Victor.
A stream of supply ships entered the system, with forces from the First diverted to escort them. It would do Marines, and later Army soldiers, little good to take the moon if they ran out of food, water or air. Again, McCoy’s Marines did a superb job of securing the habitats once they managed to breach Kilrathi lines outside and storm the Air locks. At the start of the war, only about thirty thousand lived on this moon. After the liberation, Confed accounted for just over five thousand survivors. Several habitats were destroyed during the conquest, and several more to deny them liberation. The survivors were put to work as miners by the Kilrathi, to separate ices from the rocks of the moon for shipment to the inner system.
Only after the liberation of Munro VI did the Kilrathi fleet react. Much to Custer’s surprise, the Kilrathi had a fleet of nearly equal size, though with no battleships and seven more cruisers. Kilrathi fighters targeted the Ragnarok, and just to prove they learned a little about the arsenal ship, two hundred forty Kilrathi fighters were accompanied by eight hundred drones, all with loud FF transponders upon them. Most of the arsenal ship’s first volley hit drones, with only 21% losses to the Kilrathi fighters. Scimitars were forced to intercept the Kilrathi, along with Rapiers. Hornets were held back to protect the fleet. The dog fight beyond the moons of Munro VI’s orbit was the largest to date.
Along with transponders, the drones were equipped with annihilation warheads. When they were hit, they exploded, violently. Several drones did break through the second salvo and homed in on the Ragnarok. Though all were shot down, three exploded sufficiently close to the ship to overload its shields. Rather than risking his interstellar shotgun, Custer ordered the Ragnarok to retreat to Proxima, and detached the Raj to escort the ship. This left TCN at a six-to-five disadvantage, offset only by the destruction of a number of Kilrathi fighters.
Once the arsenal ship was forced out of the fight did the Kilrathi fleet close in. The first fleet engagement lasted for two days, and cost Confed the carrier Tennessee River, as well as a pair of destroyers. The Kilrathi lost one of their own carriers and had a second’s flight deck destroyed. The Tiger’s Claw handled itself remarkably, suffering minimal damage to its shields. Though Bengal-class carriers were involved in the strike on Lafayette, the Kilrathi received so little data from the engagement as to still be unfamiliar with yet another new ship design.
By May, Munro VI was in Confed’s hands and reinforcements began to stream into the system. The Terran victory made Custer confident, and he ordered his carriers and battleships to pursue the Kilrathi. They did, right into a trap in the orbital space of Munro IV. The retreating Kilrathi were joined by a pair of gold-plated Snakiers, similar to those encountered at Venice. These two ships were from the Kilrah Pride’s personal fleet, and only the best pilots were granted the honor to serve the Imperial Pride. The Tiger’s Claw escaped with severe damage, having 75% of its propulsion knocked out, a loss of half its fighter compliment and requiring six months in dock to repair. Other carriers suffered similar losses, with the Finback having its bridge superstructure complete blown off. The battleship Seventeen Provinces was destroyed by a pair of Fralthi.
Custer’s forces were hounded back to Munro VI, where only the presence of reinforcements saved his fleet from destruction. With Confed’s drive further into the system halted, the Kilrathi turned back to their own system headquarters on Munro I. The large Kilrathi presence in the Munro System was a mystery until the defection of a Kilrathi pilot later in the year. The Kilrathi had discovered a jump point some 50 AU out from their home star some nine year previous. The Kilrathi were in Munro in such large numbers because Munro was their Proxima. A jump point close to Munro itself lead directly to the Kilrah System. Had the Kilrathi known of this jump point before the war started, they would quite likely have bypassed McAuliffe, smashed through Proxima and laid waste to Earth in a matter of months. This discovery lead to Confed reinforcing Munro VI, as well as fortifying it and the Proxima jump point. As a result of his losses, Admiral Custer was relieved of his command of the First, and the First fleet was turned into a garrisoning force for the Munro System.
The Bright Side
In July of 2644, when the Battle of Munro was still raging, the 2nd Fleet jumped into the Rostov System. The system was well fortified, but not to the extent of Munro. The Second managed to jump in an surprise the Kilrathi fleet stationed there. In addition to his carriers and battleships, the TCS Doomsday, another arsenal ship, was added to van Oranje’s fleet. Despite having four addition jump points leading into Kilrathi occupied territory, Rostov had only two carriers protecting its fortifications around Rostov III. As with the initial attack on Hubble’s Star, the Kilrathi fighters and warships were overwhelmed by the Doomsday, despite their own attempts at countermeasure. Kilrathi intelligence knew of the arsenal ship, but apparently believed only one existed.
During August, van Oranje used his forces to capture the Kilrathi fortresses as well as Rostov Station. The station had been rebuilt and significantly modified for Kilrathi use. The station was built from the wreckage of the Kilrathi starbase eliminated during a raid years before. Kilrathi attempts to blow the station failed. A mutiny had occurred in engineering by males from minor prides on Ghoran against the station commander, a scion from the Ghoran Pride (one of the Eight). Several of the mutineers were of the Tr’nik’fra Pride, a Pride that once numbered twenty thousand but was destroyed and absorbed by the Ghoran Pride. Again, the feudal nature of the Kilrathi worked in Confed’s favor. Though the mutineers defected, handing over jump point maps, as well as other data to Confed, they were still sent to POW camps as a precaution. A camp built in the Australian outback was used to detain and debrief defectors.
Rostov III had been a frontier world in 2634, with minimal Confed presence, if any. The largest city, Grey’s Town, had only fifty thousand inhabitants before the war began. Defectors tell that the planet was open to Kilrathi colonization, and Prides on the planet tended to ignore the humans unless they had need for labor. Kilrathi soldiers and sailors were known to go down to the planet to hunt the Terrans. The planet had no garrison. The bulk of the Kilrathi presence in the system had been in space, and van Oranje had eliminated it. Additional Kilrathi fortresses, one built to the jump point to Venice. The Kilrathi deployment in the Rostov System reflected the several Terran raids into the system over the course of the war.
By December 2644, Admiral van Oranje declared the system secure, though no invasion of Rostov III had yet to be deployed. The civilian leaders of the planet, the Grn’tahk Pride met with Confed officers to negotiate a settlement where the Prides on Rostov III would be allowed to remain on the planet in return for material support. Not all Prides agreed with this. This fact, coupled with that of the Terran colonists wanting revenge, lead to a two year long war upon the planet (civil war for the Kilrathi) that eventually required a Confed garrison of 250,000 to keep the peace.
I am afraid I cannot give more than an attaboy, but here it is, anyway. I like this TL a lot, it keeps me coming back to read the ASB forum.
09-06-2010, 04:48 PM
Ah, don't worry about it...
Wait a minute, did I lose some of my entries during downtime?
Cobra’s Fang Operations
The year 2645, spelled a lull in Confed operations in the Vega Sector. The losses suffered in Munro, as well as the resources still going into the system, have brought offensive operations by large fleets to a halt. Banbridge, now in overall command of the Vega Sector, has plans for 2646, but it will take some months to assemble a large enough invasion force. To keep the Kilrathi from taking advantage of this pause, Confed has set loose the Bengal-class strike carriers to do what they were designed to do. Though the Kilrathi can get fuel from any gas giant, and food on any habitable world, they still had to have munitions and spare parts. Only worlds under prolonged occupation would have any Kilrathi industry built upon it. With this in mind, the Cobra’s Fang jumped into the Kurasawa System in April of 2645.
In Kurasawa, the Cobra’s Fang and its escorting cruiser, the Majestic as well as three destroyers, took a round about route through the system. They encountered a munitions convoy likely headed for Port Hadland. None of the seven freighters or Kilrathi escorting destroyer survived the encounter. Marines from the carrier attempted to board one of the freighters, only to have it explode as the shuttle approached. The Marine shuttle was tractored back to Cobra’s Fang. The strike force proceeded to jump into what Confed had charted as the Hyperion System, near the border of the Kilrah Sector. Despite its location, the system had minimal Kilrathi military presence.
In Hyperion, the strike force encountered a Fralthi escorting Kilrathi soldiers, believed to be destined for the Alcor System. In order to weaken the system for eventual invasion, Captain Manuel de Soto ordered Raptors to attack the convoy. The attack alerted the Kilrathi to the Cobra’s Fang’s existence in the system. Though the convoy was destroyed, with over fifty thousand Kilrathi soldiers dead in space and a cruiser cripple, alerts were sent out to relays near all jump points. The Cobra’s Fang strike force retreated to Kurasawa. There, it was forced to fight a Kilrathi task force centered around a Snakier. The Kilrathi carrier was knocked out of action, but at the cost of 20% of the Cobra’s Fang’s pilots. The destroyer Warlock was destroyed in the Kilrathi counterattack, and the Majestic suffered damage, but de Soto managed to guide his strike force back to Rostov by June.
TCS Bengal had a harder time in its raid that its sister ship. The Bengal, with four destroyers acting as escorts, left the Vega Sector and entered Epsilon during the month of May. From Hell’s Kitchen, it jumped to Segallion, slipped past Kilrathi patrols and jumped into the Lennox System. The system might have once been home to a human frontier colony, but it was long since removed. Remains of the habitat on Lennox V indicated that it was destroyed from orbit, most likely by the Kilrathi. Humans might be gone, but the system was still home to a Kilrathi repair base. Though action had been limited in the Epsilon Sector, Confed decided a strike here could mislead the Kilrathi into believing major operations could strike into the Sector.
Fighters from the Bengal caught a Ralatha as well as four corvettes in dock while attacking the repair station. The ships and station were destroyed. The Bengal jumped into the Torgo System as soon as the repair base was destroyed. There, the strike force encountered Kilrathi resistance. The Bengal and its fighters had to fight there way across the system, enduring two weeks of hit-and-run attacks by the Kilrathi. Attrition reduced the strike force’s fighting strength by more than 50% before it reached the Orsini jump point.
During the past few years, Confed bypassed and cut-off several systems from the Kilrathi. During 2645, forces were sent in to retake these lost worlds. The Kilrathi, unable to resupply some of them for more than two years, were at a reduced fighting capacity. Tali was liberated in April, while Montrose was freed in May. The fight to retake the Nanking System took between May and August. The Kilrathi had no ships larger than corvette in any of the bypassed systems. The biggest heartache of the cleaning action was when Confed forces entered the Carlin System. Carlin II, whose entire population was massacred early in the war, was not invaded. Instead, the Kilrathi colonies on the planet were bombed from orbit. Enough dust was blown into the atmosphere by the bombardment to put the planet into a nuclear winter, and making it useless for the duration of the war.
09-06-2010, 04:52 PM
By 2641, the Kilrathi had in place for five years their own heavy fighter project. First introduced in the same year, the Jalthi Heavy Fighter was plagued with developmental flaws and setbacks. One such being the tendency to explode when hit in the space drive. The few Jalthi encountered before 2646, held their own against Scimitars and Rapiers. By January of the year, the engineering was as perfect as it was going to get, and the Kilrah Pride began to put them into production. When the Kilrah Pride did so, the Council of Eight responded with their own newer medium fighter, the Krant. It could do well against the Scimitar, but was still outclassed by Rapiers on one-to-one basis, as well as by Jalthis. However, the other Prides could produce far more Krants far faster, and thus maintained their balance.
A newer, larger type of cruiser came on line, the Fralthra-class. The Kilrathi are slow to change their weapons and introduce new classes of ships far less often as Confed. Thus, they have less practice in introducing new products, and they tend to be delayed by more technical difficulties. The new cruiser class was far larger than the Fralthis and had armor and armament powerful enough to hold their own against a Confed Prince of Orange class battleship. The first two Fralthras saw action in 2646, in the Munro System.
Push to Munro III
Despite previous setbacks, Confed moved once again to secure Munro III and climb that much closer to being within striking range of the Kilrathi homeworld. Little was known about Kilrah, and that was obtained from refugees and a few defectors. None had ever visited the homeworld, and could only bring with them encyclopedic knowledge. There was no tactical or strategic data on the planet or system, save that the Kilrah Pride had an impressive fleet. Part of it was on permanent station in Munro.
With bases around Munro VI, as well as the Proxima jump point, secured, Confed felt confident in extending itself. With a fleet headed by six carriers, including Hornet’s Nest, Wolfhound, Tiger’s Class, Raj, Harrier and Finback, three battleships, the Ragnarok, as well as an assortment of lesser ships, many of these brought in from Rostov to form this new fleet, Confed launched its second attempted invasion of Munro III. The Kilrathi had minimal defenses in orbit of the planet, but have greatly increased the defenses around Munro I and Munro II since the last Confed attack. The moment Confed was detected approaching, word was sent further in-system for Kilrathi warships to come to its aid.
The Kilrathi responded with six of its own carriers, as well as two new cruisers, twelve Fralthis and a host of destroyers, frigates and corvettes. The Kilrathi intended to wait until the Terrans have landed upon Munro III before destroying their fleet and trapping them. At this stage of the war, if either side faced total annihilation in the Munro System, it could have spelt doom for them.
The Second Battle for Munro III ended barely before it even began. Confed used its arsenal ship to great use, but the Kilrathi had already developed a plan to counteract the swarm of missiles. The use of Jalthis hit the Terran pilots harder than earlier attacks, but Confed managed to hold off most of the Kilrathi bombers. Some broke through defenses and crippled the Harrier, which later succumbed to internal explosions. Raptors broke through both Krants and Jalthis to return the favor, destroying a Snakier.
The battle was fought to a draw in space, but Confed Marines made impressive inroads on the ground. Within a week, the time the battle beyond the planet took place, Marines had secured several hundred square kilometers of coastline, as well as a mostly intact spaceport. The latter was of great value. Seeing their position untenable, Confed began to evacuate the planet. Marines left, bitter at their abandoning a successful invasion. Along with them, many Terrans living in the occupation zone also fled, their first chance in over a decade to leave voluntarily. Though they were not Confederation citizens, being beyond the pre-war frontier, they would not be turned back for the Kilrathi to slaughter.
The fleet left orbit of Munro III in May, and rendezvoused with several Construction Brigades at the moons of Munro IV. Munro IV would be turned into a new forward base, where Confed can keep an eye on both the inner planets, and be within easy striking range of Munro III and all Kilrathi activities on the planet. The orbit of Munro III quickly became a no-man’s land, where neither side could enter without risk of being attacked.
Other Operations in Munro
In June of 2464, one such encounter took place near a four kilometer rock known as 2613AL41001-Munro. A dual between one of the new Fralthras and the TCS Charles Vreeland, a new Endurance-class battleship took place. The two ships spent the better part of a day maneuvering around the rock, attempting to gain optimal firing with minimal risk. During openings in the parrying, the two warships traded shots with grasers, weakening each others shields, only to retreat behind the rock to recharge.
Both ships were capable of launching fighters, and the Charles Vreeland carried a squadron of Hornets, mostly for defense against the squadron of Dralthi the Kilrathi cruiser carried. Neither fighter was suited to take on heavily armored opponents, and did little but shoot each other down. For the two fighters Confed lost, the Kilrathi lost six before recalling the survivors in case they were actually needed. Hornets proved their worth again in intercepting a spread of anti-ship missiles.
The battle ended when the Kilrathi captain planted mines upon the asteroid. When the Charles Vreeland passed above, the mine exploded, showering it with pieces of nickle-iron. This overloaded the battleship’s shields, leaving it exposed. In desperation, Captain Hue Malloy armed his light fighters with anti-ship missiles and had them make a run on the Kilrathi ship. Though not designed to haul that much extra mass, the Hornets did their job and managed to score two hits on the Fralthra. Its shields were weakened to the point where a graser shot from the Terrans punched through both shields and armor. Though damaged, the Kilrathi were not destroyed and withdrew from the battle. But not before firing their own grazers, crippling the Charles Vreeland, which required several destroyers to tractor it back to Munro VI, where engines were repaired, and then it returned to Proxima and on to Sol, where it spent a year in dock under going repairs.
Battle of Alcor
While operations in the Munro System were taking up resources from both combatants, Confed spared enough resources to attack the Alcor System. This system sat at a strategic crossroads, and from here Confed could strike well behind Kilrathi lines. The Kilrathi knew this, but the Emperor saw more importance in holding Munro, and his throne. Only a pair of carriers and pair of cruisers, as well as six destroyers and a dozen corvettes controlled the space in the Alcor System. Confed entered the system with twice the carrier and cruiser force, as well as the Doomsday and thirteen destroyers. The arsenal ship cleared any and all mines around the jump point.
The Kilrathi charged straight into battle, despite the presence of an arsenal ship. Or perhaps in spite of it. Hundreds of drones were deployed to act as decoys for the missile swarm, which it did successfully. Kilrathi fighters and bombers focused their full force on the arsenal ship. Though most were destroyed, a few bombers reached the Doomsday to cause some damage. These bombers were shot down after making their missile runs. Behind them, three Kilrathi corvettes charged the ship, again all three were destroyed. However, one of the corvettes was still reasonably intact after its destruction, that its collision with the Doomsday caused great damage to the arsenal ship, including knocking out its launchers.
Kilrathi fighters, lightly armed, charged in for the kill. In a suicidal frenzy, that was quite unlike the typically individualistic Kilrathi, two of these fighters dove into the Doomsday’s damaged portions, gutting the arsenal ship. Just why they made suicide runs is unknown, though probably due to the extent of damage to their own fighters and knowing the likelihood of escaping was nil. Kilrathi destroyers braved fire from Confed cruisers for the chance to kill such a highly valued target. A lone Ralatha did just that. Though it did not live to celebrate its victory, anti-ship missiles from the destroyer finished off the Doomsday, breaching the containment fields within the ship’s own ASM stockpiles.
The Doomsday was the only ship van Oranje lost in attack on the Alcor System, though it was a valuable one. The Carrier Cobra’s Fang suffered damage at the hands of a corvette, before its own Raptors destroyed it. After the last ship was eliminated, the invasion force jumped in from Vega and launched their invasion of Alcor V, headquarters of Kilrathi operation in the system. The planet was desolate, and the battle for it long and hard. It was not until almost a year after the invasion did Confed complete the conquest of the planet, and then move on to eliminate outlying positions in the system.
With the Kilrathi fleet in the system annihilated, the Kilrathi began to feel the same weariness as Confed. Half their pre-war strength had already been destroyed in the Vega Sector, as well as several new ships. Confed managed to keep ahead in production, despite its own economic devastation across the Vega Sector. The centralized nature of the Kilrathi Imperial Government was partly responsible. Neither the Emperor nor the kings of the Eight were willing to relinquish their monopoly on war productions. However, this centralization made for easy targeting and reduction.
09-06-2010, 04:53 PM
Near Munro VI
Captain M’raq nar Vrindl sat poised, ready to strike at the enemies seen out the forward window. They were far off, some eights of thousands of octomaks distant. He could not make out any details from this distant. In fact, the Ape’s ships looked like little more than points of light, and only when light from the star known as Munro reflected upon them. On his right, he accessed a viewer for a magnified view. Seven ships appeared on the red backlit viewer. Two of the ships would be of the most interest to System Command.
"Report," he barked at the bridge crew. The term bridge was used loosely when referring to a Kamrani-class corvette. It was little more than a glorified cockpit, with enough space to get up and leave one’s station. M’raq’s own seat was raised above the other four seats that formed a semi-circle on the bridge. Like all Kilrathi captains, he lorded over his crew, elevating himself head and shoulders above all under his command. On board his ship, M’raq had no peers.
The nearest crewmember, a young pilot called Nalkarg, reported. He was a sharp cub, if inexperienced. If he lived long enough, he had the potential for command. "Lord Captain, I report two Concordia-class carriers, as well as an Acropolis-class cruiser—"
M’raq leaned over to see what his pilot say, bared his teeth and hissed. "That’s a Vanguard!" M’raq snapped, as he backhanded the pilot with enough force to send his head into his viewer. He was a bright cub, one who learned quick. This was why M’raq simply did not kill him for such an inept mistake. The Vanguards were twice the mass of the Concordias, and carried twice as many fighters.
"My apologies," he said. The pilot was a tough cub as well. He made no attempt to rub his snout, which no doubt hurt after colliding with a piece of M’raq’s ship’s equipment. The captain still detected a hint of defiance in the cub’s voice, and thought about another rebuke. No, Nalkarg would not be much of a Kilrathi if he meekly submitted. He also knew that ship captains had power of life and death over his crew. It was a power M’raq has exercised often enough over the last kahr’ik.
To his left, his executive officer, Hharras, spoke. "Lord Captain, I have identified the larger carrier as the Tennessee River." Like all of his crew, Hharras had only his given name. Once a Kilrathi male leaves his birth Pride, he leaves behind his Pride name as well. M’raq had only recently seized control of the Vrindl Pride, a small Pride that colonized the conquered Ape planet of McAuliffe VI. By defeating the previous kings of the Pride, slaying one and seriously wounding the other by himself, he became king. He had already sired many cubs of his own, and being so far from his Pride left him wary. No honest Kilrathi would try to take the Pride without challenging him, but scions of the Eight were far from honest.
Tennessee River, yes, he knew that name. Where the name came from, was not as clear– presumably a body of water on the Terran homeworld, but the ship was familiar enough. "They have good pilots. Skilled at protecting their carrier." He began to imagine just what it would be like to tangle with pilots of their caliber. Krasnyk has fought many Terran fighters and corvettes before, but never any with the reputation of the Tennessee River.
"It would be an honor to kill such a ship," His executive officer had the gleam of a predator in his eye, waiting to pounce. He said the words that all the bridge crew thought. They wanted a fight, and M’raq wanted to give them one. However, System Command back on the inner most planet had different ideas. They desired to know what the Apes have brought into the system, and if they were strong enough to break through to the Kilrah jump point.
The jump point was as big a surprise to the Empire as it was to the Terrans. Only after the war had began, and the Apes had formed their lines, did the Kilrathi discover this jump point. Had they known about it at the start of the war, the fleet would have taken Munro, stormed Proxima, and even conquered Sol before the Apes could respond. The war might have been over in less than a kahr’ik, instead of dragging on for two-and-a-half sh’rik. No war in the history of the Empire has ever lasted so long. The war against the Hari lasted only four kahr’ik, and that was due to their size. The Varni fell in less than a kahr’ik. These Apes, they fought unlike any enemy M’raq or any of his species ever fought.
"The honor will wait!" M’raq commanded. His mission was to gather information, and he would not fail. Failure was the ultimate dishonor. Without honor, the Vrindl Pride females would not support him when another challenged for his kingship. He turned his attention back to his pilot. "Pilot! Are these all the Ape ships?"
Nalkarg could not answer. "These are the ships I have detected. More could be on the opposite side of the planet."
M’raq hissed. He wished not to hear of ‘could be’, only of what is. The initial invasion force was reported to be far larger than this. Six carriers, four battleships, and one of those accursed missile ships. There was no honor in killing one’s enemy by saturating space with FF missiles. If System Command has its own plans to defeat such a weapon, they were not sharing them with a lowly corvette captain. If they did not, then the battle would be brutal and short
"Lord Captain, I pick up reports that fighting still wages on the moon," Hharras reported. Aside from being second-in-command, he was an able communication officer. He had held such a post before being transferred to M’raq’s ship, and was so good at it, M’raq wished not to waste his talent.
Excellent. The Apes would not move while that airless moon, largest of two-eight of moons, lay outside of their control. Not until they conquered it would they dare move further in-system. No doubt the High Admirals would lay a trap between here and the Kilrah jump point. At least if they had any good sense. Since all of such exalted rank were born from the Council of Eight or the Imperial Pride, inbreeding might have muddled their good judgement.
Very well. If fighting continues on the moon, then the Apes will not even notice the Krasnyk. "Pilot; take us around the planet, maintaining this distance. I want all their ships accounted for before we return to base."
Two orbits of Munro VI, and a full compliment of six carriers, four of what they call battleships, and the abomination they call an arsenal ship are all accounted for. The first ships spotted were in support of the battle on the moon. The rest of the ships were taking turns dipping into Munro VI’s atmosphere, scooping up fuel. This information would serve System Command well, and with it, perhaps they will unleash the Krasnyk to do what it was intended to do; kill its enemies.
With orbital mechanics as they were, System Command on Munro I was currently behind Munro in respect to Munro VI. M’raq would have to order his ship millions of octomaks away until he can get a clear signal beamed there. His ship was picking up speed, accelerating to cruising speed, when Fire Controller Sshlaka called out.
"Lord Captain, four Terran fighters approaching fast," Sshlaka informed him. "They will be within missile range momentarily."
M’raq scowled, bearing his fangs. Fighters? The Apes use four different type of fighters. "Specify! What type of fighters?" Stupid controller. What good was informing him that they were being intercepted, if he did not say by what. If those were four Raptors, then M’raq and his crew were as good as dead.
"Scimitars, Lord Captain." Sshlaka told him. He then added, "I believe they have launched from the Tennessee River."
M’raq grinned. Excellent. The Apes were launching their good pilots. He would feel grievously insulted if the Terrans only launched rookies, intending on using his ship for practice. With fighters on his tail, remaining in cruising mode was suicidal. He had no aversion to dying in combat, just at throwing his life away pointless. "Pilot! Take us down to combat speed and begin evasive maneuvers. If those Apes so much as get a lock on me, I’ll have your head." He did not add lock by imagine recognizing missiles. The FF missiles will lock on to transponders.
He looked over at his second. "Hharras, turn off our transponder." Hharras complied. There were no fellow Kilrathi outside of the orbit of the fourth planet. Plus, no point in making it any easier for the Apes’s missiles to tag him. FFs were designed to hit anything without a the proper code, but could occasionally be fooled by no code at all. Attempting this maneuver when allies are about would mean his enemies would have trouble tagging him, but all means a friendly fired missile might tag him anyway.
"Sshlaka! When the Apes get within gun range, unleash your gunners. They may fire at their own discretion." Scimitars were faster at combat speed than his own ship, and would likely overtake them. The Krasnyk had five turrets to defend all its sides, as well as forward facing missile launchers. "If any should pass in front of us, lock on with IR missiles and destroy them."
"A pleasure, Lord Captain," Sshlaka pulled back his lips, bearing all his teeth. He was ready to sink them into the throat of any Terran fighter.
As predicted, it took but a moment to be intercepted. His ship rocked as it was suddenly struck. His fiery eyes focused on the pilot. "Report!" Potential or not, he would have his head if a missile struck.
Sshlaka saved the pilot with his words. "Pulse fire from the lead Terran has damaged turret three."
M’raq was about to snap at his fire controlled, when out the window he saw his ship bank sharply. He felt nothing, for the ships space drive acted on every atom evenly and thus cancelled the feeling acceleration. He spotted one of the Scimitars, its ungainly space drive on top of its wings, shoot past. Flashes of light marked where his own ship’s functioning turrets returned fire. Immediately after the first, the other three followed in quick succession. He watched, and was rewarded with only one clean hit, that dissipated across the Terran’s shields.
The fighters broke off into pairs, making return passes from each side of the Krasnyk. M’raq ordered his ship to bank and turn into the Terran leader. The lead Terran passed over the hull of the Krasnyk, dodging the pulse fire. His wingman was not so lucky; several shots hit the Scimitar, breaking through it forward shields. Sensors detected durasteel vapor as the forward part of the fighter was bathed in plasma. The wounded fighter broke off its attack, but not before looping over and launching a pair of FF missiles. Transponder or not, it was hard to miss at this distance.
Nalkarg banked the corvette again, this time unleashing a stream of decoys behind the ship. Both FFs homed in on the loud transponders trailing the Krasnyk, detonating harmlessly astern of the corvette. Radiation caused by detonating fusion warheads was harmlessly absorbed by the aft shields. All on the bridge cursed the Terran as he returned home. A second fighter broke off to escort his wounded comrade.
The remaining fighters, including the wing commander, continued their attack on the Krasnyk. Pulse fire from the Scimitars targeted the ship’s communication array. M’raq growled his own curse at the Apes. They did not want him reporting home. An invading fleet was not something that one could just hide under the rug. System Commander already knew they were here, and the number of ships. What were the Apes trying to protect? Or were they just being methodical in blacking out information from the Kilrathi defending the moon.
Corvette and fighters danced through the frozen vacuum of deep space. Both traded shots, burning each other’s shields. Not a single Terran missile had yet landed on Krasnyk. The cub was quite the pilot, even if he had not learned to tell the difference between one carrier and another. If he could only say the same about his gunners. Why have they not destroyed these flies. One of the fighters, the leader, made another swoops across the corvette’s hull. Nalkarg pulled the ship up sharply, bringing the underside of the Scimitar across the window.
"I have lock!" Sshlaka howled in triumph.
"Then by all means, destroy him!" M’raq commanded, though it was an order he need not give.
Bloodlust had already claimed the mind of his fire controller. Sshlaka launched not a single missile, but a spread of four IR missiles at the fleeing Terran. It was overkill, and accounting back at System Command will see it as a waste of munitions, but the Ape would not escape. The Scimitar erupted into a blinding flash, blinding even with the window’s tinting, as one missile collapsed the shields, and two slammed into the fighter. A fourth missile passed through the debris, and sought out another identical target. It found it when the dead Terran’s wingman banked to avoid the exploding fighter.
The missile slammed into the belly of the last fighter. Sensors on board the Krasnyk registered a complete shield failure in the Scimitar. Since the ship pulled out of the fight after being hit, and throttled up to cruising speed, M’raq judged it a fair assessment. The bridge crew roared victoriously as the last fighter fled. Destroying ships from a distance forced adrenaline to flow and boiled the captain’s blood. It was not the same as a straight-up fight, like the one he was in when he conquered his Pride. Space combat never satisfied him. Instead, it left him thirsting for more.
"Targets?" he called out, his bloodlust barely in check.
"The other three fighters have retreated. No further attacks have been launched." The fire controller reported.
The disappointment helped clear the killing instinct from his head. They still had a mission to complete, and intelligence to report. "Very well then," he said, not bothering to hide his desire to kill more Terrans. "Pilot, accelerate to cruising speed and give me a clear path to System Command. The sooner I deliver this information, the soon I can get back to fighting this war."
09-06-2010, 04:54 PM
At the start of 2647, Confed began to refit its warships with the Md 2647 graser. This newer graser was designed to be 1.5 times as powerful as current weapons while using on 90% of the power. Thus more beam weapons can be installed on existing warships and newer designs. Ships in the Vega Sector were rotated off the line early in the year for the retrofit. Banbridge ensured that the ships that would be involved in the upcoming McAuliffe Operations were the first to receive the new weapons. As well as being more powerful, the new grasers also focused their beam tighter and altered their frequency while firing. This was intended to pierce the shields of Kilrathi ships.
Dock workers in Proxima, Vega, Sirius and other systems worked around the clock for more than a month, installing the new weapons on every ship in the Vega Sector. The biggest challenge was keeping the bases in Munro protected while other ships were retrofitted. Several batteries of the Md 2647s were delivered to the new bases on the moons of Munro IV, as well as Fort Necessity, in high polar orbit of the planet. Delivering the weapons required the escort of the Tiger’s Claw and three destroyers.
In March of 2647, the TCS Cobra’s Fang played a game of hide-and-seek with a Snakier task force in the Rostov System. The Kilrathi had not the ability to retake the system, but an enterprising Kilrathi Admiral, one Gilkarg nar Kilrah, the oldest surviving son of the Kilrathi Emperor (his older brother being killed earlier in the war). To prove himself worthy of one day claiming the Kilrathi Throne, Gilkarg lead his force into the Rostov System to raid the Terrans. He had not enough ships to destroy Confed presence. Instead, he used his carrier, escorted by a cruiser and four destroyers, in a commerce raiding role.
In one raid, the Kilrathi managed to capture a Terran corvette partially intact. Its self-destruct system, designed to keep the nanotechnology in the life-support out of Kilrathi hands malfunctioned. Instead of destroying the ship, it merely gutted it, leaving the hull largely in one piece. Gilkarg detached his Fralthi to tractor the Venture-class corvette back to Kilrathi space. Gilkarg continued his raids until the Cobra’s Fang was detached to hunt him down.
The Kilrathi Prince was an able commander. He eluded the Cobra’s Fang for two weeks, drawing it further from assistance an into the depths of the outer system. From this position, the only jump point lead to Port Hadland, still in Kilrathi control. He succeeded in luring the larger Strike Carrier far enough away from help. Once the Terran ship passed the point where the distress signal would take four hours to reach Confed, Gilkarg sprang his trap.
Gilkarg sent ahead heavy fighters to lay dormant in space until his own task force passed. The fighters were clumped together into a rough shape, making passive sensors believe it was just an asteroid. To be in formation would be a dead giveaway, and to have sixteen individual asteroids in one place would also be suspicious. Then, when the Terrans entered firing range, they would come to life and pounce. The two wings of Jalthi (sixteen in total) launched their own attack run on the Cobra’s Fang. The heavy fighters managed to smash through the Hornets and launch one anti-ship missile each.
Though most were shot down or detonated against the shields, as was the case in all battles, three did manage to elude destruction. Cobra’s Fang operated without escort, and had no aid when one of the anti-ship missiles reduced it to half-speed. Worse yet, the second missile destroyed the carrier’s jump drive, so it could not pursue the Kilrathi even if its captain had been inclined to do so. The third missile struck amidship, tearing a gouge into the carrier. With the carrier wounded, Gilkarg turned back to launch all his fighters and even sent in the three destroyers. Despite a valiant effort, the Cobra’s Fang could not fight off the attack. The Kilrathi left the ship in ruins. Cobra’s Fang was not destroyed, but its power was knocked out and the ship left adrift when Gilkarg jumped out of the system. Cobra’s Fang was rescued, but not before more than half its crew died.
In June, a small fleet under the command of de Chump jumped into the Deino System. His goal was to clear out the system and pave the way for an invasion. Only two carriers formed de Chump’s fleet, the rest either under the command of van Oranje or garrisoning Munro. Eagle’s Talon and Raj were accompanied by a battleship, three cruisers and six destroyers. Twenty corvettes flew out ahead as picket ships, reporting the location of any Kilrathi they came across.
Deino was sitting between Confed and Kilrathi occupied territories. Being such a forward base, the Kilrathi should have fortified it. Instead, Deino had been cut-off since the fall of Rostov. Confed decided to let the Kilrathi wither there, destroying any supply ships attempting to reach the base. The attack could not draw off forces, but it was intended to draw the Kilrathi into the belief that it was the main focus of this year’s offense.
During the meanwhile, the Kilrathi forces actually were discovered to have abandoned the system. Plenty of traps were left behind, but no active opposition. Sensing a large force would be cut off, the Council of Eight had decided to retreat from Deino. At first, this was seen as a blessing, and then as a curse. If Kilrathi forces were not tied up here, then they were deployed elsewhere. The stations, fortresses and worlds of Deino were reoccupied by Confed with minimal loss.
With his fleet upgraded, van Oranje jumped into the McAuliffe system from a staging area in Enyo. His fleet had five carriers, three battleships, the Ragnarok, as well as ten cruisers and an assortment of lesser ships. The Kilrathi kept their forces in reserve around McAuliffe VI, a world taken at the start of the war. Alexandria Station had been rebuilt, with a great deal of Kilrathi architecture designed into it. Where once was a graceful station, now orbited a fanged and clawed monstrosity. Kilrathi ships were few in the system; only two carriers and seven cruisers among the larger ships. With at least one arsenal ship still on the prowl, the Kilrathi decided it prompt not to place all their ships into one giant target zone. Kilrathi breaking up their fleets into smaller units would soon force Confed to do the same to compensate.
Kilrathi heavy fighters beat off the first two bomber attacks on the Kilrathi ships and Alexandria. Kilrathi counterattacks succeeded in damaging the Prince of Orange, van Oranje’s flagship. However, most ships were spared since the Kilrathi focused their attacks on Ragnarok. The arsenal ship fared better than her sistership did at Alcor. The Ragnarok only managed a single volley of anti-ship missiles, leaving the Kilrathi fighters to their Terran counterparts, before being ordered to retreat from the combat zone (though not the system). Most of the fifty missiles were destroyed, but seven hit fortifications in orbit of McAuliffe VI, destroying two gun platforms as well as one of Alexandria’s shield generators.
Van Oranje fought the Kilrathi around McAuliffe VI for over a week, having two of his own carriers forced out of the system for repairs, the Bengal as well as the Saratoga. Both Terran and Kilrathi destroyers dueled at close range, supported by fellow destroyers. Most of Confed’s fighters focused on the Kilrathi carriers, while the battleships opened up on Alexandria. The Kilrathi managed to deploy one hundred twenty-eight fighters from the station, enough to overwhelm the cruisers Shiva and Draken, destroying both. Instead of returning to the station, the Kilrathi fighters headed down towards the planet.
After ten days of battle, the Kilrathi admiral decided the battle was unwinnable and withdrew from the system towards Venice. The Venice System had a sizable force, and it was entirely possible, or at least believed so at the time, that the Kilrathi would return in force. Van Oranje sent corvettes, frigates and destroyers to mine the jump point to Venice, while the larger ships spent the next week clearing out orbital space around McAuliffe VI. The invasion and liberation of the planet was a hard and bloody affair, not complete until early 2649.
Some of the sights seen on the planet’s surface created life-long hatred of the Kilrathi by Terran ground-pounders. Many Terrans had been rounded up into camps, mostly for forced labor. Tens of thousands were exported to slave markets across the empire. A few of the camps were nothing more than ranches, where humans were used to feed the Kilrathi warriors stationed on the planet. Kilrathi would put to flight the captives, and hunt them the same way they would hunt any prey. Kilrathi scientists did extensive research into human biology, seeking out weakspots, and trying to find chemical agents that would kill Terrans but not Kilrathi. In space, TCN personnel had a grudging respect for their enemy. On the ground, soldiers did not take long to learn how to hate the Kilrathi, no matter their prowess in battle.
Since the first of the planet-hopping invasions, Terran soldiers and marines carried melee weapons as well as their firearms. Hand-to-hand combat in cities such as Doveshire were bloody, no-quarters affairs. Kilrathi civilians caught out in the open were killed far quickly than Terrans caught by Kilrathi. The fighting turned so savage, that some soldiers took to cutting out the claws of Kilrathi they killed as souvenirs. The Kilrathi kept their own kill counts, but took the identification tags of their victims. Neither side was above taking the hide of its enemy, Kilrathi rugs and belts made from Terran leather. When they lost a city, the Kilrathi would undergo scorched earth tactics, leaving nothing standing and nobody alive as they retreated.
09-07-2010, 11:36 AM
The Way of Sivar
For the Kilrathi, the downturn in the war was not just about new weapons and Terran tactics. Many of the Kilrathi priests, at least those of Imperial or Eight Prides, believed that their own people’s lack of dedication, and the anger of Sivar. In order to appease their War God, the High Priests have decided that another sacrifice was in order. The Emperor forbad the sacrificing of any world still under Kilrathi domination, not wanting to waste the useful population. With the bulk of Confed forces in the central and coreward regions of the Sector, the High Priests chose the Tamayo System to be its sacrificial altar, and Tamayo II to be its victim.
The Kilrathi built up a strike fleet around three carriers, five cruisers and twelve destroyers. Following behind them would be every available Kilrathi soldier in the sector. To appease Sivar, they must slaughter the inhabitants of the planet. Normally, such ceremonies would be performed on the homeworld of the Kilrathi’s victims, but the Kilrathi were still a long ways from Earth. The Way of Sivar will allow each Kilrathi warrior to show his own dedication to Sivar. However, there was a flaw in the ceremony, one that Confed learned from refugee Prides. Pride females never take part in such events, for they kill only in defense. However, those who were persecuted by the stronger Prides reveal that to be killed during the Way of Sivar was a grievous dishonor of the warrior in the eyes of Sivar, and if attacked during the ceremony, it was one of the few times a Kilrathi would willingly run from a fight. At least that way, they would have a chance to redeem themselves.
Confed hoped to do more than turn away this attack on Tamayo. They were also aware of the number of transports headed into the system, and Kilrathi were far easier to kill in space than on the ground. Waiting for the Kilrathi to enter the system, a Confed fleet in orbit of Tamayo I consisted of the carriers Kipling and Finback, seven cruisers and the newest of the four (now three remaining) arsenal ships, the TCS Last Judgement. The arsenal ship would remain behind while the Kilrathi fleet was dispatched. Only after would it be allowed to unleash its full firepower on the flotilla of Kilrathi soldiers.
Given the orbital alignment at the time, the Confed fleet came out from around Tamayo, obscured by the star’s radiation. When they reached Tamayo II, the Kilrathi were in the process of landing. It was the perfect time to strike, since the warships could not simply flee. However, due to their religious ceremony, the Kilrathi were overly cautious and did not fight even half as hard as normally. The two Confed carriers were more than a match for the three Snakiers. The Kilrathi put up only token resistance before ships began to retreat on their own. Discipline broke down and the Kilrathi began to behave individualistically. This allowed for seven of their Ralathas to be destroyed and a Fralthi badly mauled.
Dozens of transports were destroyed in the atmosphere, and more on the ground. For the first time in the war, Kilrathi soldiers willingly surrendered, rather than be killed on such a holy event. Confederation Army units took captives, but the planetary militia did not. Knowing the Kilrathi were on their way to kill everybody on the planet, the militia showed no quarter and killed all Kilrathi they came across. Those that surrendered to Confed were immediately shipped off-world.
On the other side of the Sector, Confed pushed into the Planck’s Star System. The system was strategically vital for an operation planned for 2649, and securing the space was of utmost importance. Taking planets was only secondary. With a majority of both side’s navies engaged in a sort of trench warfare in the space of the Munro System, the invasion of Planck’s Star was another small operation. Leading the strike force were the strike carriers Bengal and Eagle’s Talon and battleship Ho Chi Minh. The Kilrathi resisted with a cruiser strike force, built around one of the new Fralthras.
The space battle was short, and cost the Kilrathi much of their fighter cover. However, Confed failed to destroy a single Kilrathi warship, and they were able to retreat, damaged, but still functional. The ease of which the Kilrathi yielded the battlefield made the Confed commander nervous and paranoid. An assault on Planck Station, the Kilrathi headquarters for the system, proved to be far harder than the fleet engagement. Once the station was boarded, ten thousand Marines battled five thousand Kilrathi for control over it. The battle for the station lasted over a month, with nearly all the Kilrathi soldiers dead, and two thousand Terrans as well. Though the Kilrathi could not destroy the base, for its reactor was under Confed control on the first day, they did fry its computers and destroy all information that might have been useful. Thus, with 20% losses and a month’s worth of fighting, Confed was left with a disabled star base.
Planck Station took a full six months to repair and put back into operation. By November of the year, Marines were sortieing to the worlds of Planck’s Star, fighting to dislodge the Kilrathi. During the time of repair, the Kilrathi Navy returned on three separate occasions, and failed to achieve a victory of any kind, much less a decisive one. The Bengal was damaged during one attack, and two old Belgrade-class cruisers were destroyed during the second attack, at a cost of two Kilrathi cruisers. Not a fair trade when considering the age of the Confed ships destroyed. By the end of the year, all the jump points were heavily mined, and fortresses were in place to prevent the Kilrathi from taking back the planet with anything less than a fleet action.
With new Kilrathi cruisers in place and packing the firepower of a battleship, Confed initiated its own cruiser building program. The Ceres-class cruisers would not be as powerful as a battleship, but would have the same strength of shields as a pre-war battleship. These strike cruisers were designed to ride shotgun with the strike cruisers into enemy territory. They would also have hanger space enough for a full squadron of fighters. With these new ships coming on line, the old Belgrades would be pulled off frontline duty and placed in convoy and patrol roles.
VOC in the Vega Sector
The VOC (United East India Company) played its own role in the war effort. Aside from being the largest supplier of hydrogen, and the scoop ships that bring it out of gas giants, the VOC also armed its ships. Freighters had sufficient firepower to turn back Kilrathi fighters, while the VOC’s private frigates served as escorts for the company’s own shipping, as well as its competition. This escort service freed up TCN ships for the front line. The VOC, a three thousand year old shipping company also transported tens of thousands of Marines and soldiers to battlefields across the Vega Sector. Aside from this, they also operated shipyards and repair docks across the Enigma and Sol Sector. Vega Sector was not their normal zone of operations, however high demands of the war brought them into the sector, including the construction of a new repair and construction facility in the Vega System itself. VOC Yards turned out new transports faster than the Kilrathi could destroy them.
Excellent as always - sorry about the database problems wiping out much of the TL recently, I'm glad to see it back! :) Actually it made me reinstall Wing Commander: Prophecy on one of my computers... maybe at some point I might even have time to play it!
09-08-2010, 02:00 PM
Blood of the Eight
With Planck’s Star firmly under Confed control, plans were made for a raid deep into Kilrathi space. In what the Kilrathi call the Trk’Pahn Sector, home to one of the Eight Prides (the Trk’Pahn Pride) sits that Pride’s homeworld. Trk’Pahn was but a single jump from the Varni homeworld, though this jump point was only discovered after their conquest. With this in mind, Confed placed some of the Varni serving in the Confederation Navy (the highest ranking of their species was but a Chief Petty Officer; no commissioned Varni existed in TCN, and none served in the Marines or Army) into the strike force as guides.
Forming the Trk’Pahn Strike Force were three carriers, Cobra’s Fang, Wolfhound and Kipling, escorted by five new strike cruisers. The goal was not the conquest of the planet, for it was too deep in Kilrathi space to support, but rather to upset the Kilrathi balance of power. If one of the Eight suffered a major defeat, Confed Intel believed that it was possible for a small-scale civil war to break out in the Empire as another of the Eight attempts to exploit his neighbor’s disarray. Trk’Pahn was also revealed to be the home of shipyard built into an orbiting asteroid, as well as armored vehicle factories and fighter assembly plants. Destruction of these would hurt the Kilrathi war effort, the same way the destruction of industry across the Vega Sector hurt the Confederation.
In February, the small fleet, under the command of Admiral Winston Turner, one of the more experienced task force commanders, set out from Planck Station. He had been fighting the Kilrathi since the war’s beginning. The fleet slipped into the Trik’Kha System. This system was loosely patrolled by the Kilrathi, and Turner was able to use the time honored tactic of a jaunt above the system’s ellipse, in order to reach the jump point to Trk’Pahn undetected. The trajectory extended flight time in the system to three weeks. It was not until March that they made the jump to Trk’Pahn. Before doing so, a flight of Rapiers swept the jump point of any sensors.
Upon entering the system, the cruiser Sedna destroyed two Pride frigates on picket duty before either could send out a warning. The Ceres-class cruisers were new, and the design unfamiliar to the Kilrathi. Though to humanity, this would send up warning flares, it was not seen as an obvious threat to the Kilrathi. The fleet jumped in and began its approach on Trk’Pahn. Turner waited until his fleet was a mere ten million kilometers from Trk’Pahn and its orbiting asteroid before launching all Rapiers, Raptors and Scimitars, keeping on the Hornets in reserve. The Rapiers gained space superiority around the shipyard, allowing the cruisers to move in and attack. The five cruisers unleashed two volleys of anti-ship missiles, more than enough for the job. Though the asteroid and parts of the superstructure were left intact, the shipyard was in ruins, along with three partially completed destroyers and the hull of a Fralthra.
The Raptors and Scimitars entered the atmosphere of the planet and commenced bombing runs on the fighter plant and tank facilities. The fusion bombs were set to 50 kT and leveled the factories, as well as a good portion of the cities around them. The fighters returned to their ships, rearmed and were launched a second time. They did not return to the planet, but instead eliminated targets of opportunity in orbit of Trk’Pahn, as well as destroying Kilrathi fighters launched from the orbiting station, while the strike force began to move out of the system.
When the fighters were retrieved from their second mission, and after the strike cruisers bombarded the planet on the way out, Turner ordered his fleet towards the Draga jump point at maximum cruising speed. There was some discontent among the Varni serving in the strike force. They wished to land on Trk’Pahn, or at least board the station, and free any of their people who were no doubt held in bondage on the planet. Thoughts of returning to their homeworld were minimal, since its population were long since victims of sacrificial rites.
In the Draga System, Turner’s force did encounter three Kilrathi cruisers hunting for them, as well as fighters from installations in the system. The race across the system was a week long running battle until reaching the jump point for the frontier worlds of the Maginot System. All of his ships returned, though all were damaged to some extent. He lost a total of 15% of his manpower during and following the battle, as well as 21% of his fighters. This was an expensive raid, that did much damage but failed to spark off an inter-Pride war, though the Trk’Pahn Pride lost much face in the eyes of the Eight. However, it did force the Kilrathi to redeploy its assets to areas they previously thought as secure.
Mandarins in TCN
Kilrathi losses had been lighter during the past two years because of a number of spies, some unwilling and even unknowing, within Confed. Many Terrans who escaped Kilrathi clutches were plants. The Kilrathi use a type of personality implant on some of their victims, then release them. With but a code word that could be passed along by a Mandarin, the implanted personality can take over from time to time, sending information along to the Kilrathi. After the deed is done, the natural personality returns, having no memory of the crime. One such plant made an attempt on the life of Admiral van Oranje in May of 2649, but was killed by guards before more can learned. The Admiral escaped with tissue damage to his shoulder.
Some of the Kilrathi’s agents were willing. The Mandarins believed the Kilrathi could be brought down only from within their own society. To resist them would cause countless billions to die. The fact that Earth would be sacrificed to Sivar in the event of Kilrathi victory did not mean much to them. The homeworld was only a medium populated planet with little industrial value on its surface. Some just hated Confed and Earth for meddling in their affairs.
Sabotage was also becoming a problem. Confed Intel routinely sweeps their ships for plants or Mandarins. The later were easy enough to catch but the former had commands implanted in their head, ordering them to kill themselves rather than fall into enemy hands. In the civilian sector, sabotage took its toll in 2649, slowing down the production of fighters and one event at the Trojan Four yards (at the Jupiter-Sol L4 point), caused a set back in Confed’s new fast carrier prototype, that was slated to be deployed by the end of the year. The damage was repaired, but its launch was delayed until next year. Mandarins also launched propaganda attacks across the Sol Sector, with many The End is Near broadcasts. Kilrathi Prides defecting was taken for granted, but the thought of Terrans defecting– which was once considered laughable– now concerned the Confederation government as well as its armed forces.
Short of Breath
By December of 2649, both sides of the war were wearing down in the Vega Sector. Both sides found themselves overextended, and the Kilrathi began to pull back to fortify more crucial systems, such as Venice, Cairo and Munro. Kilrathi fleets were made smaller, faster and able to ride out the war of attrition. Instead of a definitive line, the front became blurred with small task forces operating on either side of the official line.
09-08-2010, 02:07 PM
Great updates - I like!
09-11-2010, 03:30 PM
TCS Tennessee River
Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Marcus Pershing sat back in the flight couch of his brand new F-105 Scimitar. The fighter was fresh out of the package. It was his first combat mission, like half of squadron Tenn’Court A. It was not to say it was his first time in his Scimitar. He had plenty of flight time on the trip out here, near the anti-coreward fringes of the Vega Sector. More than enough time to familiarize himself with the control and to rack up several hours’ worth of touch-and-goes. It was nowhere as near as sporty as the Rapiers, what with only having a pair of pulse cannons and six hardpoints (only two of which carried IR missiles). Those hotshot space superiority pilots gave the pilots of Tenn’Court A hours of grief over them flying venerable crates on babysitting missions.
Pershing, callsign ‘Mailman’, had ever intent on making Tenn’Sup B’s eat their words. If they were half as good as they claimed, how come they were not sitting on the flight deck, preparing to escort the A-14s of Tenn’Strike B against the Kilrathi ships in orbit of Delius II. Their C.O.’s excuse was that somebody needed to guard the barn while the peons were out protecting the Raptors. His own Wing Commander, Commander Mira ‘Kali’ Kishna, a mean looking woman who was actually born on the Indian subcontinent, ordered he pilots to ignore those jackassess and focus on their mission.
He was sixth in line of the F-105s to launch. Traffic control just announced on the mission’s frequency that the last of the Raptors has just launched. First up for the Scimitars was Kali herself. She was a mean one, with a scowl that would probably send the Cats running if they ever saw her in a pissed off mode– which was pretty much most of the time. She was also a vet of Second Enyo, as well as half-a-dozen earlier battles flying off the Victory She might not be friendly, but Kali was all business, and nobody doubted her competence. Certainly none of her former comrades on old Vicky, whom were all part of Task Force 37 along with the carrier Libertè. Both were older Concordias, capable of carrying half the fighter compliment as Tin Man, as the Tennessee River was so affectionately called.
He watched as the fifth Scimitar launched, his wingman, so to speak. That fighter was piloted by on Lieutenant Candice ‘Candy’ Elliot, another pilot from Earth. He could not remember exactly which part of the American District she hailed from; somewhere on the Pacific. She had the least original of callsigns, but was not as sweat as her name might imply when she was in the cockpit. Each of the five new pilots was assigned to the wing of the five veteran pilots. Candy missed Second Enyo by a few months, but was there for the whole patrol of the Vega System Patrol last year, and shot down a number of Kilrathi fighters during their constant raiding of the sector’s capital.
He really did not know any of his squadron that well. He spoke to Candy quite a bit, seeing how he was assigned to her wing during all the training missions as well. She inevitably asked about his own callsign. Pershing was tagged by that in flight school. With a simulator score of over ninety-nine percent, his instructor told him that he always delivered the package, and grumbled about how much he wished the postal service was as efficient. After which, the name stuck.
He watched as Candy’s fighter leapt out of the launch tube, accelerated by electromagnets. The Scimitar was sure ugly looking, with its pulse cannons sticking so far forward, and its cruising engines sitting like giant bulbs on top of its wings. Its appearance aside, it was still as lethal as its namesake, and would slice through a flight of Dralthi like they were pancakes. Appropriate metaphor considering their appearance.
"Mailman, you’re up!" the flight controller, an Ensign by the name of Smitty. He did not hail from anywhere on Earth, and Pershing was at a loss to his homeland.
"Acknowledged," he replied, tapping the flight stick and rudders, to move the fighter into position. Or tried to. Most of the work was done by internal tractor beams. With the space drives active, the Scimitar just hovered in place, as if gravity around it was simply shut down. A few old-fashion tractored vehicles were parked along the bulkhead, well clear of flight actions, in the event the tractor beams failed. He already had to fly a couple of training missions with those towing him around. Back-ups were the only reason the landing struts of all fighters still had wheels on them.
Pershing relaxed and leaned back into his acceleration couch. Despite centuries worth of compensating for inertia, these sudden launches still pressed on him. More than one of the rookie pilots in his squad received a bad case of whiplash when they did not lean back into their seats before launch. He heard a short countdown, and at zero felt as if he just tripled his weight. His fighter shot out of the front of the Tennessee River like a pellet from a cannon. One hundred meters passed swiftly, at which point, Pershing yanked his stick to the right, causing his fighter to veer out of the carrier’s way. Pilots who did not veer out of the way tended to have their engines pushed into their back, as the next fighter on the catapult slammed into them.
In space, his own fighter’s space drive took control, nullifying any sensation of acceleration. Fighters, being so much smaller than the capital ships, always had a bit of trouble keeping up when it came to compensating. If he pulled tight enough turn, he would feel it, albeit at a fraction of a fraction of what his true acceleration where. If the space drive where to fail, the G-forces would turn him into pulp. Of course, if it ever failed, he would not be able to maneuver anyway.
He pulled his fighter into formation, fifty meters off and ten behind, Candy’s fighter. "Glad you could join me," she called over the radio.
"The pleasure’s all mine," he said, fighting to keep his nerves down. This was it, his first combat mission. He would either come back blooded, or not at all. The only thing worse than getting shot into a million pieces, some no bigger than quarks and gluons, would be to fail his wingman.
Candy was once a green pilot, and guessed what ran through his mind. "Relax Mailman. Stick to me like a tick on a doe and you’ll be fine." Not the most flattering image to project into Pershing’s head. Did ticks not burrow their whole heads into their hosts? "Just remember the mission. I’m Sickle Five, and you are number Six."
He was not so daft as to already forget the briefing. He was about to voice his opinion, but decided to keep his trap shut. Tenn’Court A was Sickle, and Tenn’Strike B was Hammer. A few guys over in Ops got a laugh out of it, but Pershing could not quite see what was so funny about hammers and sickles. They were just tools.
"Hammer Flight is in place," came the voice of Tenn’Strike B’s Wing Commander. It was a high British accent, something that just screamed old money and class. He was another of the Second Enyo vets.
"Sickle Flight, call out," ordered the voice of Kali, with its less pronounced Hindi accent. Pershing called out his number immediately after Candy. It would not do any good to get ahead of himself. "Sickle Flight is with you Hammer. Lead the way."
Pershing ran through the mission again, for the sixth time since the briefing. They were to escort ten Raptors to Delius II, where Task Force Intel has picked up at least one Kilrathi capital ship, a frigate, and perhaps another. Just why the Raptors needed escort to destroy a pair of Targus was beyond them. He supposed it was better to have and not need. Perhaps there was a fighter base on Delius II. The planet was small, rocky and had a trace atmosphere. The only strategic value it would have was its proximity to the Tamayo jump point.
His was not to question why, only to say ‘yes sir’ and carry out his orders. Part of him wanted to face a swarm of Sartha, while the more rational part of him would be happy to complete this mission without ever being fired upon. As the Hammer and Sickle Flights formed up and accelerated to cruising speed, Pershing would have four hours to dwell upon it.
09-11-2010, 03:31 PM
Approaching McAuliffe VI
Private James Sullivan had never been so scared in his life. Every single creak and pop he heard within the confined of landing ship number nine hundred twenty-two, made him nearly jump out of his skin. Each noise he heard he believed to be his last. The older men in his squad insisted that the Navy would have cleared the orbit of Mac Six, but he retained his private reservations. He was the youngest in the squad, out of Basic two months ago. He was a replacement marine, and as with replacements all through the ages, the vets in his squad did not think much of them. Each of them had seen at least one planetary campaign. McAuliffe VI would be his first.
It was one of the first planets to fall to the Kilrathi, back in ‘34. Scuttlebutt said that not a Terran remained alive on the planet. Other rumors spoke of forced labor camps, slave markets, and most horrifying of all, ranches where humans were fattened up for the Cats to eat. Sergeant Fuchian said the last was complete nonsense. The Cats did eat Terrans, but usually in a pinch. The Sarge had seen some brutal fighting on Rostov III as well as Hubble III. Hubble III was the Sarge’s first action. It was there he came across gnawed bones of Terrans. The Kilrathi did not butcher humans like cattle, but rather ate them the same way he would eat chicken. That was not a comforting thought.
At nineteen years of age, he vaguely remembered a time when humanity was not at war. He was born the year before first contact with the Cats. What he remembered most of his childhood was fear. Not his, for he was too young to understand the threat, but his parents were always afraid. They did their darnedest to cover-up their feelings, but he overheard them often enough. Being born on Earth Station, there was not exactly any bomb shelters buried beneath mountains he and his family could take cover within.
"Sullivan, how are you holding up?" Asked a giant of a man with distinct mongoloid features while making his rounds. Sullivan could easily imagine the Sarge as one of Genghis Khan’s marauders. Of course, the Kilrathi made the Mongol Horde look like a bunch of pussy cats. Mongols destroyed cities; Cats destroyed whole worlds.
"I’m fine, Sarge," he lied. He was terrified, and both of them knew it.
Sergeant Fuchian had talked to him earlier, and Sullivan tried to deny he was scared, tried to play it cool. Fuchian saw right through it. He told him that if he was not scared, then he was either a liar or just not paying attention. Sullivan admitted as much, and then asked his squadron commander the sam question. Fuchian told him; "Every second I’m on the line."
This time, Fuchian only nodded. "Just stay close to McCoy."
The Martian sat next to him, harnessed into one of a thousand seats in the landing craft. "You’ll be fine, Sully. Just relax," PFC McCoy told him. He knew a little about McCoy, such as, like all Martians, he had to endure some heavy-duty physical therapy just to walk in an invasion ship’s Fleet Standard 0.8 G gravity. It was twice what he was born into. The Private First Class was taller than most, as well as slighter built. He looked nothing like the buff Marines seen in so many war vids.
The ship rocked again, throwing his further into his seat. Of all one thousand marines, only a few sergeants were out of their seats. None of them as much as stumbled when the ship lurched. They had their space legs for years. Sullivan doubted he ever would get his. He doubted he would survive the landing, the way the ship was rocking and rolling. LT-922, was one of a hundred such ships, each carrying a thousand Marines, which was set to hit the beach of Mac Six. Literally. The ships were designed to land on water. They could do the same on land, but it would require more fuel. They could touchdown, but taking off again was another matter.
For a couple of weeks, the Confederation Navy was hammering the Cats in orbit of Mac Six, as well as other points across the system. They just recently cleared the planet’s orbit of Kilrathi defenses. As a Private, he knew precisely squat about what the Navy was doing. What little he could pick up was generated by the rumor mill, which ranged from on the mark all the way to space dragons ate the sun. The story he kept hearing was that the Cats’ Admiral withdrew from battle. Withdrawal means a possible return.
He looked around the cramped interior of the invasion ship. He could spot his fellow rookies, by the wide-eyed expression upon their face. Did his look the same? He hoped not. If he was going to crash and burn on his first campaign, he was determined to do so with some dignity. He clutched his assault rifle tightly in his hands. The vets just sat back and relaxed. A few looked bored. A few more just looked pissed off at the bumpy ride.
If not for his combat armor, he imagined his harness would have left some serious bruises on his chest. His helmet was just as much for protecting his head from shrapnel and relaying information via comm-net, as it was for making sure he did not knock himself out before they splashed down. He wished he could see outside, but his own HUD could not tap into the ship’s navigation system, and the grunt compartment had no windows. Something about windows being a structural weakpoint. Nothing would ruin a Marine’s day faster than explosive decompression. If he was wearing a combat E-suit, then he might be able to ride that out, but the simple breather in his kit would not cut it.
When once the ship only occasionally rocked, it began to buffet wildly, much like an untamed horse. Not that he had ever seen a horse, not on Earth Station anyway. His first trip to Earth was after he enlisted and was shuttled down for Basic. He seldom left Earth Station in his youth, and even then it was either to Luna Station or the moon itself. Few horses inside the massive domed habitats. The rough ride reminded him of his first trip to Earth, once the shuttle hit the atmosphere. He assumed that meant LT-922 was inside McAuliffe VI’s atmosphere.
His first thought went to planet-based defenses. During one of the many lectures in Basic, he saw a vid of one ship being hit inside the atmosphere, splitting wide-open and spilling Marines into a meteoric stream. The sight was enough to keep him up at nights, and more than once such a nightmare brought him sharply awake. He thought it pathetic; here he was, not even blooded, and he was already having nightmares. He wondered how the vets handled it, seeing what they saw.
The Sarge had returned to his seat once the ship hit the atmosphere– well, the mesosphere at any rate; the ionosphere and exosphere extended a great ways into space. "Alright grunts," Sullivan heard the Sarge. Sullivan could pick up a hint of the man’s Chinese accent. Fuchian was born on Earth, and Fuchian was some sort of Latinization of his name. Sullivan once heard him called Fu Yi Qan or some such Mandarin– er, Chinese Common. Thanks to the Society of Mandar, Mandarin has become a four-letter word.
Fuchian continued. "We’ve got ten minutes before splashdown. I want a last check on weapons, and each of you to be ready to hit the pavement shooting. Lieutenant Peterson says the Navy pretty much bombed the shores around Doveshire to Hell and back three times over, but I don’t want none of my grunts getting their assess shot off because the Navy wasn’t completely accurate of their assessment." The last words came off thick with sarcasm, telling all the Marines exactly what he thought of the Navy.
According to scuttlebutt, the Navy made a similar statement at Rostov, and the 17th Marine Division landed in a firestorm, literally. The Cats fired enough pulse weapons to turn the air into an inferno. A lot of Marines were cut down before their even left their ships.
"Getting my lazy bone shot off is better than some other parts of me," he could hear McCoy muttered, covering his mike with one hand.
Sullivan agreed. Having one’s posterior flamed by a plasma pulse was survivable. In fact, hit just right, it would be a million credit wound. But Sullivan did not travel through several jump points– that alone was torment enough to last a lifetime– to make it here, only to be shot in the first few minutes. Of course, he could not name a single ground-pounder who signed up to loose limbs and organs. The former was worse; internal organs can be cloned. Lose a leg or arm, and it was a prosthetic, and the cheapest, most reliable one the tax payer’s credit could buy.
As the clock ticked down, he checked over his rifle for the hundredth time since entering the system. Once he was satisfied it was in shape to kill some Cats, he went over debarkation in his mind again. The battalion, part of the 198th Regiment, had drilled for hostile debarking upwards to a thousand times, either in a mock-up, the real thing, and even during planetary landing drills. The battalion was down to three minutes from fully packed into an invasion craft, to fully deployed, stomping tail and taking names.
The 17th Marine Division was only suppose to spend a couple of weeks on the surface uninterrupted. Everybody in the outfit knew the mission by heart. They would splashdown on the coast, some twenty kilometers from Doveshire. Afterwards, it was a simple matter of marching inland to the city and taking its spaceport. The marching would be the simple part; taking the spaceport in one piece was another matter. After that, larger, divisional ships can land, disgorging millions of soldiers of the Confederation Army to take over liberating the planet. That was the thing about being a Marine; sure the battles were brutal, but they were short.
09-11-2010, 03:33 PM
On The Drawing Board
By 2650, the Kilrathi were overcoming earlier technical leaps Confed had made. To keep ahead in this arms race, Confed put on the order for the next few years a whole new sweep of fighters, fast carriers and new fleet carriers. For fighters, the aging Hornets were slated to be replaced by the newer, faster Ferrets. Scimitars would still be in use and production, but augmented by newer Rapier II. The older, heavier Rapier I would be replaced by the Sabers, heavy fighters capable of carrying anti-ship missiles, as well as an automated rear turret. Replacing the venerable Raptors would be two ships. The standard bombers of TCN would be the Crossbow, while the larger Broadswords, with a crew of four and almost the same firepower as a pre-war corvette.
The Bengals were powerful strike ships, but there were not fast enough to suit some missions. What Confed wanted in 2650, was a new class of carriers. Lighter than the Bengals, and much faster. The Waterloo-class fast carriers were slated to come on line by 2652. These carriers would be capable of crossing a system in a week, with a cruising speed upwards to 10 PSL. A second type of carrier was also on the drawing board, though it was not expected to be launched until 2654. The Confederation-class carriers would form the backbone of fleet actions, taking over for the Vanguards.
The Confederation budget in the year 2650 A.L., dedicated 53% of its revenue for the war effort, well over a quadrillion credits. The cost of a dozen carriers was but a small part of the cost. Hundreds of thousands of fighters and bombers were constructed for planetary defenses, even for those not on front lines. Hundreds of millions of small arms, and well over a billion grenades for 2649, alone. Confed had a standing army of two hundred million, out of a total population of nearly two hundred billion. Millions of pieces of artillery were deployed across the entire Vega Sector. The cost of new fortresses as well as system stations took its toll on the budget.
Over the course of the war, Congress was forced to eliminate entire departments within its own government just to fund the war effort. The Department of Planetary Development, Department of Health, and Department of Social Welfare were eliminated entirely. Departments of Industry and of Energy were scaled back. In the case of the latter, the only funding it received was for the anti-matter production plants under its mandate. Pre-war perks, such as unemployment insurance and retirement funds vanished as funding evaporated. Education was unaffected for the war required educated individuals to fight the Kilrathi.
Many budget slashing moves were very unpopular. Non-profit hospitals and subsidized food for import-dependent worlds drove the cost of living upwards, as did the rise in taxation. For individuals, taxes rose only slightly. Corporate taxes doubled and property taxes tripled as Confed grasped for all the funding it could take. These moves, coupled with the near lack of luxuries for the past fifteen years caused many riots across the Sol Sector. On some worlds, conscription was used to remove the excess dissidence. On a plus side, the expansion of war industries eliminated unemployment on many worlds. Anybody who was capable of working was encouraged to do so.
A propaganda blitz was launched a decade before, urging those who could not serve in the armed forces to quit their current jobs and go work in the war industries. Many workers saw it as their patriotic duty, not to mention a matter of survival, to do just this. Strikes were down as union members had to chose between their Unions and their lives. If the Kilrathi won, there would be no second chance, and many people knew this. This was the survival factor in people moving from high paying jobs to, in some cases, a reduction by half their previous wages.
While civilians were bickering and griping, Admiral van Oranje moved into the Brimstone System. Of the planets, only Brimstone II was populated, though the Kilrathi had a number of bases scattered across the system. For this operation, Confed allocated three million soldiers to conquer the system. Kilrathi fleet presence was higher in Brimstone, with four carriers against Confed’s six. The Kilrathi carrier-borne fighters, as well as those based at fortresses, immediately plagued the Confed fleet as it pushed into the system. Their first target was a small base built into the lone moon of Brimstone VII.
Only thirty thousand soldiers were required to take the base, though more than a week was spent clearing out every corridors and room within the underground installation. Fighters from the moon, only sixteen were based there, struck at Confed while the fleet was entering orbit. Though all but two were destroyed, the Kilrathi managed to snap a destroyer in half as well as inflict damage upon the Prince of Orange. With the moon under Confed control, operations to interdict all freighters headed for Brimstone II.
On the planet, ahead of Confed’s invasion, a number of human operatives were already at work. The man goal of these irregulars was observation and Intel. A secondary goal was that of sabotage. The planet was only marginal habitable, with simple lifeforms living in its seas. The Kilrathi have a number of domed settlements and installations across the planet. Terran commandos would strike at the habitats, damaging air locks and blowing up life-support modules. The commandos would be alone until Confed secured the other three Kilrathi fortresses that guarded the other three jump points into their territory.
The two fleets met at the third fortress, at the jump point leading to Dakota. The Kilrathi remained deployed around the jump point, keeping their supple line open. Three of the carriers launched full scale strikes on Confed, while the four used its fighters to protect the fleet. The Kilrathi fighter attack was fierce, causing much destruction to TCN. Confed lost a further two destroyers as well as the carrier Finback. The Kilrathi lost one of their own carriers, as well as an assortment of smaller ships that covered the larger ships as they retreated.
The odd pattern of the Kilrathi continued at Brimstone. Normally, one would assume that the Kilrathi would fight harder as Confed pushed them further and further back. Instead, they fought less, though not any less vicious in their actual attacks. Some believed it was a sign that the Kilrathi were weakening in the Sector, while a few more cautious individuals, including Banbridge, believed the Kilrathi were up to something. The Kilrathi could have held out longer in Brimstone, albeit at a higher cost to themselves, as well as the attackers.
After a month of securing space, Confed moved on Brimstone II. The initial invasion of eighty thousand Marines landed in two zones, one in each of the planet’s hemisphere. Though the Kilrathi fleet did not fight as hard, despite seven small raids into the system during Confed’s conquest, their foot soldiers held nothing back. Eight months were required to storm and capture each of the planet’s habitats, with Confed eventually deploying 2.3 million of its allocated soldiers in the effort. Of the million Kilrathi soldiers on the planet, less than ten percent survived. Total cost of Brimstone was 900,000 Kilrathi and 480,000 Terrans (both wounded and killed). The reason for such higher proportional losses to the Kilrathi was due to more to the hostile environment of Brimstone II than actual KIA.
09-13-2010, 05:58 AM
Fight for Trimble
Starting out the year 2651, Confed launched a small-scale invasion of the Trimble System. Trimble was not a terribly vital system, however it was a threat to the flank of the general advance across the Vega Sector, as well as the last avenue the Kilrathi had to attack the Vega System. Securing it would allow the campaign to continue smoothly. The Kilrathi knew this and planned to fight for the system. With their own new ships coming on line, the Kilrathi planned to take a firmer stand in Trimble than they had during the previous year.
A Kilrathi task force built around a carrier and two cruisers greeted the TCN and its two carriers and two cruisers as they jumped in from Vega. Confed was further handicapped in having to fight its way through a minefield. The two new cruisers, the Juno and Callisto packed enough firepower to clear a path. Minesweepers and perhaps an arsenal ship would have to come through later to completely clear out the area. One mine did strike the carrier Saratoga, damaging its port engines, though not enough to take it out of the fight.
The first Kilrathi attack came as the fleet had jumped into the system and was pathfinding through the field. Two flights of Jalthi shot up the other carrier Ranger, though failed as well in taking her out of the fight. The Hornets still assigned to these older carriers, as well as Rapiers, fought off the attack with minimal loss to either side. Once free in the system, both task forces chased each other across the system for over a month. Ranger was hit repeatedly, and finally destroyed while it was attempting to refuel in a gas giant. The ship fell from the sky and was eventually crushed inside the planet.
Saratoga struck back, damaging the Kilrathi carrier, and knocking out its flight deck. Further strikes hit Trimble Station, causing sufficient damage that the Kilrathi were forced to retreat to Cairo. With the fleet gone, Confed launched its invasion of Trimble Station. The station already lacked the ability to defend itself on the outside. However, on the inside, five thousand Confed Marines had ten days of hard fighting until the station was secured. With the space of the system in control, Confed could take the planets at its leisure.
Sitting at the coreward edge of the Vega Sector, the Port Hadland System had jump points that lead deep into both Confed and Kilrathi territory. To secure its final flank before the push on Cairo, Confed dedicated no less than five carriers to kick the Kilrathi out of the system. The Kilrathi viewed it just as strategic, for they had launched raids from time to time from Port Hadland. The Kilrathi constructed Hurricane Station in orbit over one of two habitable planets in the system, Hurricane. On that planet was the city of Port Hadland, an arcology sticking straight out of the middle of the ocean. The city was some three kilometers tall, from ocean floor to high in the sky. It was also protected by several shield generators as well as anti-aerospace defenses.
Instead of striking there, Confed struck at the other, drier habitable world, McLaren. This planet was never settled by Terrans as it was too arid. The Kilrathi took to the planet much better than they would have an ocean world. With several million Kilrathi colonists, as well as logistical support, threatened, the Kilrathi fleet was forced into battle on Confed’s turns. The battle above McLaren was short and brutal, costing the Kilrathi two carriers before they retreated back to Hurricane Station. Confed took loses as well, the carrier Bengal was heavily damaged. To the point where its automatic self-destruct (with the life-support) was set off. Confed lost a pair of destroyers. The Kilrathi left the wreckage of three destroyers and a mess of corvettes in high orbit of the planet.
Confed Marines proceeded to land on McLaren in June, securing the largest Kilrathi city along with its spaceport. For the most part, the Prides who have settled the planet were indifferent to the Terrans. Many were forced from their original homes by the Empire. While they were moved out to spread Kilrathi civilization, the Eight Prides took what they had previously built for their own. On the other hands, the Kilrathi soldiers, as well as Pride kings, fought tooth and claw against the Marines, and later the Confederation Army. Kilrathi resistance ended after seven weeks of fighting. With McLaren secured, Confed began to build up its own presence in the system.
Confed HQ had no desire to form a second Munro in the Vega Sector. That system already had at least four carriers on duty full-time. In order to speed up the conquest of Port Hadland, the fleet was reinforced by the TCS Epoch, the third of four arsenal ships built. Epoch was escorted into firing range of Hurricane by the full force of the fleet. The Kilrathi recognized the threat for what it was, but did not back down. Instead, Hurricane Station launched thousands of small drones with loud transponders to reduce the effectiveness of missile swarms. Confed had little choice but to launch fighters and bombers to strike to knock out counter-measures in order for the Epoch to fire.
When Epoch was finally allowed to fire, the Kilrathi admiral contacted his Terran counterpart. Rather than be defeated, the Kilrathi threatened to destroy the arcology on the planet and everyone living within it. Port Hadland (the city) had a population in excess of one million, and Admiral Winston knew the Kilrathi would not bluff. They would rather destroy it that allow it to be liberated. The question on how the Kilrathi would do so was critical. If they planned to do so from orbit, then their soldiers were likely evacuated. In that case, disabling the weapons on Hurricane Station would save it. If it was to happen by demolition, then the Kilrathi still occupied the city, and could trigger the detonation when invasion ships approach.
Turner took the safe choice and launched every Raptor available for a strike on Hurricane Station. Though it cost him 35% of his bombers, as well as 37% of Scimitar escorts, Hurricane Station was disabled. His Rapiers fought pitch battles with Kilrathi fighters, securing space-superiority. Rather than risk his fleet, the Kilrathi admiral, a scion of the Ki’ra Pride, ordered his fleet to break orbit and head for the Baird’s Star jump point. Turner failed to capture Hurricane Station, for once the Kilrathi evacuated their own personnel from it, they destroyed it. Port Hadland itself was untouched, largely due to the Kilrathi having abandoned it, and planning on its destruction from orbit. Since the Kilrathi had little interest in Hurricane itself, their occupation never extended beyond the city. With the Kilrathi retreat, the Port Hadland System was firmly in Confed hands.
While two larger battles raged across the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi launched a number of small raids beyond Confed lines. For months at a time, Kilrathi destroyers and cruisers operated in Rostov, Alcor, Brimstone and even Hell’s Kitchen. The raids were small, targeting lone transports or freighters, ambushing system patrols, and otherwise forcing Confed to divert valuable resources to hunt them down. The lone Kilrathi ships could not approach the primary centers of the systems, but made the peripheries a hazard.
09-14-2010, 10:23 AM
Kilrathi on the Run
Early in 2652, a Confed task force, built around the TCS Wolfhound entered the Delius System. Conquest of Delius was not vital to the campaign, but would put pressure on Kilrathi supply lines to the Epsilon Sector. The system was only marginally occupied by a Kilrathi supply depot orbiting Delius inside of its asteroid belt. The Kilrathi made use of small asteroids, mounting engines and cockpits into them and creating asteroid fighters. The natural armor of the metallic asteroids made these fighters difficult to destroy. Fortunately, they were no better armed than Dralthis and did little damage to the task force, save destroy several Rapiers.
The Kilrathi depot put up a stiff defense from the outside. No Kilrathi ships larger than corvettes patrolled the system, and were easily swept aside from the battleship Clive Arnold. Confederation Marines boarded the supply depot, and after a seven hour battle, were in control. Delius was the easiest victory of the war, and resulted in less than a hundred Confed deaths. Neighboring systems of Ariel and Caliban were similarly defended, and ignored for the time being. There would be plenty of time to mop up after the Vega Sector was firmly in Confederation hands.
Fall of Cairo
The big push came in May, when a fleet of seven carriers, three battleships, an arsenal ship, twelve cruisers, dozens of smaller vessels, and four million soldiers delegated to the operation, entered the Cairo System. Aside from Venice and Munro, this was the most crucial system for the Kilrathi in the entire sector. With it under Confed control, the final strike on Venice could take place. The Kilrathi would not let the system go without a fight. Their force was half the size of the TCN, and stayed at a distance while the TCS Last Judgement was on the loose.
Conquering the system would be a three-part opera. The first part would require clearing the space of opposition as well as taking Cairo Station, which orbited in polar orbit over the red dwarf Cairo at a distance of five million kilometers. The second stage would be an assault on Cairo I, an arid world larger than Earth and home to ninety million Kilrathi, with most Prides living in densely packed cities. Confed Intel estimated that at least two million Kilrathi soldiers were based on the planet, and thus would send in double that number over the course of a month. The final move would be to secure Cairo IV and its moons, the planet closest to the Venice jump point.
The first stage opened with a Kilrathi surprise. They sent out hundreds of drones with transponders, only this time they put annihilation warheads on the drones. Though only one gram of anti-matter were on board each drone, that was still more than enough to vaporize an entire ship if it penetrated the shield. The Last Judgement was forced to expend three salvos of FF missiles in order to destroy the swarm, but not before fifteen of the drones scored hits, vaporized six destroyers, the cruisers Pallas and Monarch, battleship Simon Bolivar and carrier Cobra’s Fang. All ships were lost with all hands, with the exception of the Cobra’s Fang, whose only survivors were the pilots already in space.
Sixty-four Kilrathi fighters came in behind the drones, using the reload time for the Last Judgement to strike at the arsenal ship and its escorts. The expensive arsenal ship suffered extensive damage before it reloaded and destroyed all the Kilrathi fighters. The damage was enough that the ship was forced to retreat, taking the Raj and Avenger as escorts, along with four destroyers. The rest of the Kilrathi defense put up stiff resistance in the space around Cairo Station, damaging every Confed ship to some extent, before retreating to Cairo I. Twenty thousand Marines were required to take Cairo Station, and only then they managed to take half of the station. The Kilrathi destroyed upwards to 46% of the station during the battle on board rather than let it fall into Terran hands.
Within a month, Confed moved on Cairo I. The planet was an industrial world, as well as food supply for the Kilrathi forces in the Vega Sector. Again the Kilrathi fought viciously, and again further damaged the Terran fleet, destroying two destroyers and the battleship Francis Drake. Confed had lost two of three battleships just in reaching Cairo I. Despite the importance of the planet, the Kilrathi were put to flight, after one of their carriers and two cruisers were destroyed. They headed immediately towards the Venice jump point and onward towards Venice Station, to fight Confed another day. Confed commenced its orbital blockade of Cairo I, and transmitted an offer to accept surrender. The Cairo Pride (Pride that rules the planet and the lesser Pride on it) responded by firing a salvo of surface-to-space missiles at the Terran fleet, causing no damage.
Seventy-three thousand Marines landed on the first day, securing two landing zones, one at the spaceport in Cairo’s capital. On the next day, a hundred thousand soldiers were delivered on to the planet. Intel’s estimate of two million defenders was not far from the truth. There were 1.8 million Kilrathi soldiers on the planet. However, they did not predict the Cairo Pride from siding with the Empire, and offering its hundred thousand strong Pride to aiding in defense. Lesser Prides were compelled to aid, and the fighting in the capital, as well as other cities, turned into brutal urban warfare. The use of combat drones was prohibited since artificial intelligence was not very (intelligent that is) and could not tell the difference between dangerous Kilrathi and passive ones.
All four million soldiers allocated for Cairo were needed in pacifying the planet. As the battle raged on the planet, parts of the Terran fleet in orbit were broken away from fire support to attack Cairo IV. Only one of its moons (the inner most) had a Kilrathi presence, and was overran within a single day. It was little more than a support facility for refueling ships that came towards the icy giant Cairo IV. Confed construction brigades set to build facilities on the other moons, including staging areas (once it became clear Cairo IV would not subdued until well into 2653) for the Venice operation, as well as fleet facilities and fighter bases to intercept any Kilrathi aid that tries to slip into the system. The base would also supply its fighters to close air support roles on Cairo I, some 3.9 AU away, as the fleet prepared for a joint attack on Venice.
Enjoying this very much :)
09-16-2010, 07:53 PM
Last Stand at Venice
The final push against Kilrathi forces in the Vega Sector began in April of 2653, with two fleets prepared to strike at Venice Station. The first fleet, under the command of van Oranje, consisted of two battleships, an arsenal ship and four carriers, and would hit Venice from the McAuliffe System. A second fleet, under the command of Turner comprised of an additional four carriers, three battleships and a second arsenal ship. Both fleet would converge on the Kilrathi Sector HQ at Venice Station. The Kilrathi had seven of their own carriers ready, as well as nearly two hundred fighters on Venice Station, as well as sixteen thousand soldiers on the station.
Venice Station orbited an ocean world, which the Kilrathi had little interest in. Only limited colonization took place on the planet. All their Sector assets were in space. The final battle for the Vega Sector would not involve a full-scale planetary invasion. Instead, the target was Venice Station itself. Turner wanted to take the station and use it against the Kilrathi. However, van Oranje did not wish to pour tens of thousands of Marines on to the station, only to have the Kilrathi blow it up. He was in favor of destroying Venice Station.
The first attack came from van Oranje. Flights of Raptors tested the Kilrathi’s defenses, damaging several ships, but failing to destroy any. The Kilrathi Admiral was torn over which one to attack. He focused all seven of his carriers on attempting to destroy van Oranje first. Over three hundred Kilrathi fighters, as well as twice as many drones, descended upon van Oranje’s fleet. The attack was the fiercest the Kilrathi had ever launched, with more than one damaged Kilrathi fighter choosing to slam into the nearest ship rather than limp back home. Ragnarok destroyed most of the drones before being ordered to retreat behind the rest of the fleet. Van Oranje’s flagship took heavy damage, forcing the admiral to transfer his flag from the Prince of Orange to the Tiger’s Claw. Two destroyers, as well as the carrier Exeter were destroyed. The Kilrathi lost 19% of their fighters before returning home.
Turner’s fleet launched its own fighters, intercepting the Kilrathi on their way home. Depleted of missiles, the Kilrathi fought as hard as they could, but lost more fighters to Turner than van Oranje. Fighters launched from Venice Station struck back at Turner’s fighters, destroying a number of Raptors before the Last Judgement opened fire on them. Massed decoys fooled most of the missile swarm. Kilrathi bombers fired all their anti-ship missiles at the arsenal ship, with little effect. The Last Judgement was damaged, and like the Ragnarok, fell back behind the fleet.
Turner and van Oranje reached within 0.5 AU of Venice Station roughly the same time. Van Oranje, with seniority, assumed full command of the attack. Attempts to capture Venice Station were scrapped. Marines would secure the few settlements on the planet, but the station itself was to be destroyed. At 0.1 AU, both arsenal ships fired two spreads of anti-ship missiles at the Kilrathi fleet. Few missiles breached Kilrathi defenses, destroying two of their carriers. The Kilrathi had one last surprise; over ten thousand football sized drones, launched like bird shot towards the fleet, with their transponders screaming as loud as possible.
The collision of forces occurred first when both side’s fighters engaged at a half-way point between the fleets. The Kilrathi killed more Terrans than the other way around, but even this was not enough to hold the system. The Tiger’s Claw, broke off from the engagement and flanked the Kilrathi fleet. Fighters from the Tiger’s Claw drove through a gap in the defenses and hit Venice Station. The slip in the Kilrathi defenses allowed a number of anti-ship missiles to hit the station, blowing it wide open. Secondary explosions, including the station’s own stockpile of anti-ship missiles, destroyed the Kilrathi sector HQ.
Down two carriers and a number of other ships, the Kilrathi fought their way out of the battle and escaped from the Venice System, retreating into the Kilrah Sector. As soon as the engagement was over, Confed Marines landed on the planet, securing the few landmasses and turning them over to construction regiments. The battle for Venice was expensive, with Confed down a carrier, three cruisers, an assortment of smaller ships, as well as 30% of their fighters. The Prince of Orange finally had to be abandoned when its life-support system failed, and the fail-safe was activated. Kilrathi losses were heavier, but their retreat made the Admirals worry. With Venice under Confed’s control, attacks into the Kilrah Sector could commence. How easily the Kilrathi disengaged was worrisome to the brass.
With the conquest of Venice, Banbridge was able to declare the Vega Sector Campaign over. The Kilrathi also began to abandon other systems in the Vega Sector. Celebration raged across the Confederation, and some assumed the Kilrathi were already as good as beaten. After years of having the war in Confed’s favor, the people were growing complacent. Some politicians were pressuring the fleet to invade the Kilrah Sector. A few Admirals wanted to shift all their fleet to Munro, punch through, and drive on Kilrah itself. Confed HQ decided to hold off, and clear out any Kilrathi stragglers in the Sector, as well as close off any points where the Kilrathi can raid. What the public refused to see is that most of the Kilrathi’s fleet element escaped.
The Kilrah Pride moved on the planet Hhallas before the defeat at Venice. The Hhallas Pride opposed the Imperial Pride for years. The Emperor decided to seize control of the industry on the planet, and the planetary Pride resisted. In response, the Kilrah Pride invaded the planet, killing all the males of the Hhallas Pride on the planet, as well as the elder females. Imperial cousins moved in to take over as the kings of the Pride, and placed the Hhallas Pride into a dependency role beneath the Imperial Pride. Of the Pride, only one the kings survived, Ralgha nar Hhallas, captain of a Kilrathi cruiser serving in the Epsilon Sector. He did vanish during the invasion, and was believed dead, only to resurface in command of a Fralthi-class cruiser under the control of the Hhrass Fleet.
09-19-2010, 08:38 PM
At the corner of the frontier, in the Goddard System, a terran colony had existed, technically outside of the boundaries of Confed, for more than a century. The founding of Goddard Colony, on Goddard II. For the first twenty years of the war, this corner of the Epsilon Sector had seen little in the way of the war, aside from occasional Kilrathi fleet incursions. That all changed in 2654. Goddard sat at a junction for serval jump points, including the one to Epsilon Prime, later administration area for the sector. Danger to the Goddard System was learned in February of 2654, when Confed Marines, escorted by the TCS Wolfhound raided a Kilrathi research colony on Warhammer XII, learning of a new weapon to be tested on Goddard. By the time the Tiger’s Claw reached the system, Goddard Colony was flattened, as if a giant hammer slammed down upon the colony, killing all 250,000 colonists.
Operation: Thor’s Hammer
From the raid on Warhammer XII, Confed learned of the Kilrathi battleships Sivar. This was no ordinary battleship. Its standard armament was only slightly better than the new Fralthras. But its main weapon was what could best be described as a Graviton Cannon. What this weapon did was magnify local gravitational fields, crushing its target. Thus the shape of Goddard Colony. More over, the Sivar could not use its graviton gun against ships, but rather only against targets that could not maneuver, such as stations, fortresses, habitats and entire planets. The development of this weapon also consumed a great deal of resources, which partially explains the Kilrathi apparent weakness in the past couple of years.
Tiger’s Claw pursued the Sivar, and after several thwarted attacks on the ship, switched tactics. Something as large as the Sivar could not easily scoop fuel from conveniently located gas giants. Instead, it (like the Terran Arsenal Ships) had to rely upon tankers. Tiger’s Claw swept through the Midgard System, as well as the Jotunheim and Bifrost Systems. In Midgard, Marines on board one of the carrier’s escorts managed to capture an in-tact Dralthi. Though Confed had the aid of Kilrathi defectors over the years, they had few opportunities to capture anything of the Kilrathi’s in working order.
The Sivar was prevented again from resupply when the Tiger’s Claw destroyed a supply depot in the Valgard System, but was able to escape (albeit low on fuel) as the Tiger’s Claw had to fighter its way past Kilrathi destroyers and frigates. The Sivar was finally caught orbiting a gas giant in the Vigrid System. Rapiers and Raptors off the Tiger’s Claw (a great deal of the Scimitars were destroyed in Valgard) caught the warship in low orbit, attempting to refuel by use of an old gas mining station. Two wings of fighters, using the planet as cover, swept in from prograde as well as retrograde, catching the ship between it. The Sivar was destroyed while attempting to break orbit. With its engines destroyed, the ship fell from orbit and into the gas planet.
As a result of the loss of the Sivar, Gilkarg nar Kilrah, the man in charge of the project, was executed. Thus died the last son of the Kilrathi Emperor. Taking his place was the Imperial grandson, Thrakhath nar Kilrah as Crown Prince and heir designated.
The New Concordia
In 2654, the first three of the new Confederation-class fleet carriers came on line. The first was, of course, the TCS Confederation. A month after that, the Congress was launched, and one after that came the new TCS Concordia. These three new ships brought Confed’s total frontline carrier strength to 18, counting the five new Gettysburg-class fast carriers. With five carriers stationed at Munro at any given time, Confed believed that it had a 13:9 advantage in carrier strength. One problem with these numbers was that general Kilrathi design changed little, so that made positive identification on the ships difficult.
These new carriers brought with them new fighters. The Ferret (point-defense), Rapier II (escort and interceptor, slightly smaller and faster than the original Rapiers), Sabers (space-superiority, much larger than Rapiers it is replacing, and capable of carrying an anti-ship missile) and Broadswords (bombers almost big enough to be small corvettes). Three of these fighters were intended to completely replace the Hornets, Scimitars and Raptors by 2656. The new Concordia conducted a successful shakedown cruise during a tour of duty in Munro, where it launched its own raid on Munro III.
During Operation: Thor’s Hammer, the Tiger’s Claw discovered an increase in traffic in the Epsilon Sector. The Kilrathi had gone a long way in the past twenty years in building up the infrastructure. Several worlds that were rumored to have Terran colonies, such as Bifrost, Midgard and Asgard, were discovered to be utterly void of Terrans. There was some evidence that humans once lived in these systems, but if they had, then the Kilrathi exterminated them from these systems, and others that lead into the unprotected Enigma Sector.
Admiral Turner attempted to convince the General Staff that this could only mean the Kilrathi were going to hit the Enigma Sector, and try to outflank Confederation defenses that were built up in detail in the Vega Sector. However, Admiral Banbridge, now head of the Joint-Chiefs saw no evidence of troop movement. There was a great deal of building of stations and depots, as well as colonization of formerly Terran pioneer worlds. The fact that the Sivar was in the sector did not factor into the equation.
By the middle of the year, Confed Intel discovered a spacefaring (albeit only basic interplanetary) civilization that called itself the Firekka. The Firekkans were known to have outposts on the nearest planet to their homeworld, as well as orbital habitats. Little else was known about them, for Confed seldom had any interest in first-contact situations, and humanity had its own history of conquering aliens (the Wu more than a thousand years ago). Under normal circumstances, Confed would have labeled the system off-limits (for what good that would do on the frontier, which saw its natural leader as the Landreich). Given the system’s strategical location between two front lines, Confed had little choice but to send an embassy and introduce itself in 2655, as well as warn them about and protect them from the Kilrathi.
09-21-2010, 07:37 PM
Through small Prides and lone males have defected to the Confederation (or perhaps more accurately, away from the Empire) over the course of the war, never has a high born Kilrathi done so. That is until Ralgha nar Hhallas, only surviving king of the Hhallas Pride, was placed in command of the Fralthi-class Cruiser Ras Nik’hra. His plan to defect goes back two years, to the massacre of his Pride by the Imperial Pride. He survived by being in the services of a rival Pride in the Council of Eight. Ralgha was an able commander, and under his command, the Ras Nik’hra had won several victories, including against the cruise Petrograd.
The ship reached the Firekka System days before any other Kilrathi ship. Already in the system were the TCS Tiger’s Claw and the cruiser Austin. After a failed mutiny attempt by parts of his crew, Ralgha transmits a request to the Confed ships for asylum. This marks the first time Confed had its hands upon an intact and fully functional Fralthi, as well as its wing of Dralthi fighters. Nearly half of the ship’s crew was killed during the mutiny, including all those against it. A surprising number of Kilrathi spacemen were indifferent to the defection, with a majority having familiar connections with minor Prides that the Eight have exploited. In truth, there were very few minor Prides to have ever escaped exploitation.
A second mutiny almost started when Confed Marines attempted to remove the Kilrathi from the ship. While they were willing to fight against larger Prides of their own species, they assumed they would be doing so from their own ship. The thought of ending up in an internment camp caused more than one Kilrathi to commit ritual suicide rather than submit. Ralgha was thoroughly debriefed and interrogated by Intel, where he revealed Kilrathi plans for a Way of Sivar ceremony on Firekka.
The bird-like people of Firekka were in no place to fight a full scale Kilrathi invasion, which hit the system in September of 2655. As was expected, what little "defenses" the Firekka had in space were swept aside by the five carrier task forces that entered the system. With what they threw at Firekka, the Kilrathi could have conquered the rest of the Epsilon Sector. Instead, these warrior would be part of the ceremony, which involved mass slaughter of the hapless natives. Tiger’s Claw fought as hard as it could, with its fighters destroying several Kilrathi transports. The prohibition against being killed by the enemy caused a serious lap in escorts. Confed Intel estimated nearly ninety thousand Kilrathi were killed in space.
In the end, outnumbered five-to-one, the Tiger’s Claw was forced to retreat from the system. Confed had spent three months trying to equip the Firekka. Their similar size to human made many Confederation Army vehicles easily adapted. Confed tanks and artillery operated by Firekka greeted the Kilrathi invasion force. Small arms were more difficult to adapt, given the different hand structures. The Kilrathi succeeded in capturing five of the planet’s major cities, but lack of a proper spaceport (by Kilrathi or Confed standards) made the landing of soldiers difficult. Old Scimitars, recently retired by Confed (and many bought up by the Landreich and other frontier communities) were piloted well by Firekka pilots, shooting down dozens of troop transports.
Only the rules of the Way of Sivar, which called for the mass killing to be done by claw and teeth, prevented the Kilrathi from simply bombing the planet. Thus, Kilrathi attempts to conquer the planet were slowed. After two months of brutal guerilla warfare, as well as massacring of civilians, Confed returned to the system in force. The Tiger’s Claw was accompanied by the Raj, Waterloo, Gettysburg and Confederation, as well as the battleship Half-moon along with ten cruisers and twice as many destroyers. Confed attacks failed to destroy any of the Kilrathi carriers, but forced them away from Firekka. Instead of losing valuable divisions on the planet, the Emperor ordered the planet abandoned as not to divert forces from Operation: Unseen Death.
Operations in the Enigma Sector
Kilrathi presence in the Enigma Sector was minimal at the start of 2655. Only the uninhabited system of K’tithrak Mang, where the Kilrathi had built a large starbase and other in depth defenses. Much of the fleet that retreated from Firekka escorted the battered legions to Mang Station. Several million Kilrathi soldiers were already garrisoned on Mang V and the moons of Mang VI, and fleet forces have massed for attacks across the Sector. By the middle of the year, they had already moved into several other systems outside of Confed control.
The first move of the Kilrathi was to invade the Repleetah System. Repleetah II was but a simply research colony, home to various orbiting telescopes and sensor arrays at the edge of Confederation space. Beyond it was the Landreich, and beyond that the unknown. The scientists on the planet were far from helpless. When the Kilrathi began to land on the planet, they responded with nuclear charges mounted on surface-to-space rockets. Before the research colony was overran and its population wiped out, researched managed to send out a distress signal.
Though Repleetah was of minimal strategic importance, Confed responded immediately by sending in half-a-million men to battle the Kilrathi. Over the course of the next eight years, forces in Repleetah would peak at 12 million Terrans and 15 million Kilrathi. Neither side needed the planet, but neither side was willing to give it up. Repleetah soon became synonymous with stubbornness and futility. Before the battle’s end, both sides would sink to depths of savagery that humanity had not seen in millennia.
09-21-2010, 07:38 PM
The Sivar was not the only secret weapon the Kilrathi had been working on during the decade. Early in 2656, the Tiger’s Claw ventured into the corner of the Enigma Sector to investigate Mang Station, and perhaps even destroy it. However, the Kilrathi’s new weapon struck, destroying the Tiger’s Claw and most of its patrolling fighters. Only one survivor was recovered, a Lieutenant Commander Christopher Blair. Some in Confed, such as now Admiral Tolwyn, believed him to be a Mandarin, but this was never proven. Instead, he was banished to in-system patrols in a backwater system (until the war visited that system).
The new weapon, what the Kilrathi call Unseen Death, struck across both the Enigma and Vega Sectors. The Kilrathi’s first target were the three tiresome arsenal ships. The Ragnarok, Epoch and Last Judgement were all destroyed within days of each other. Other losses included lone ships and small patrols, such as the carrier Avenger, Kipling and battleship Ho Chi Minh were destroyed, along with their destroyer and frigate escorts. The attacks were all the same; a distant contact with a Kilrathi cruiser or carrier, and hours later, Confed ships abruptly exploded. Supply and troop convoys, with minimal protection, were lost to the last ship, taking tens of thousands to their death.
A general panic spread across the Enigma Sector as word of these stealth attacks became public knowledge. Commerce ground to a halt as shipping companies refused to launch anything. There was a greater panic along the frontier as millions of civilians tried to leave their worlds, but nobody would take to space with these invisible attackers on the loose. As it turned out, their fears were justified. Behind each of these stealthy strikes came a Kilrathi task force.
Invasion of the Enigma Sector
After years of fighting in the Vega Sector, but 2652, the Kilrathi High Command decided the sector too difficult of a route to Earth. They also noticed the great bulk of Confed’s strength was in the Sector. After several retreats, Confed ships were pulled further from the Sol Sector. As it turned out, the reason for Kilrathi retreats became clear in March of 2656, when the Kilrathi struck in force at Bradbury and Telamon, with a fleet of five carriers each. The reason Confed did not see as many ships at Cairo or Venice as they should have, is because the Kilrathi were preparing a massive flanking attack, with TCN several weeks, if not months, away.
Both systems fell with little resistance, and the Kilrathi wasted no time in fortifying them. The next system to fall was Cabrea, and it put up a stiffer resistance. Confed reacted immediately by ordering half of its Vega Sector fleet to the Enigma Sector. Older ships, such as the three remaining Vanguards, were pulled off escort duty and rushed towards the front. There was some serious talk about putting the old Concordias back into front-line service. Several new ships were quickly launched from ships yards at Mercury and other core worlds, manned with any personnel available regardless of the experience.
Ships from the Epsilon Sector, those that survived Unseen Death, were the first to do battle with the Kilrathi. Concordia and Gettysburg gave the Kilrathi a good fight at Cabrea, before Kilrathi numbers forced them to retreat to Niffleheim. The invasion was not nearly as disastrous as the invasion of the Vega Sector, at the start of the war, but losses were high. Kilrathi advances were slowed because Confed had been at war for more than twenty years. Any hope for the invasion of Enigma Sector to be a shining success as the victories in 2634-9 were quickly dashed by the arrival of van Oranje’s fleet in December at Novaya Kiev.
By the way, it should be Novyi Kiev (Kiev is masculine in Russian and Ukrainian). But you have definitely thrown something new in to make the conclusion of the war far from certain - I wonder what the Unseen Death is. Good work there! :)
09-22-2010, 08:21 AM
Great updates. Thanks
09-22-2010, 10:48 AM
By the way, it should be Novyi Kiev (Kiev is masculine in Russian and Ukrainian). But you have definitely thrown something new in to make the conclusion of the war far from certain - I wonder what the Unseen Death is. Good work there! :)
I'll give you a hint; cloaking technology.
09-22-2010, 10:49 AM
The Epee Project
Early in the year, part of the Unseen Death threat was positively identified by Confed Intel. A new anti-ship missile, code-named Skippers, were part of this new threat, though not the whole story. She anti-ship missiles have a level of stealth beyond anything Confed developed. The missiles will actually cloak themselves, using a gravitational field to bend light around them, to elude detection. The code-name came from the fact that the skippers must de-cloak in order to regain lock. The advantage to bending light is it remains invisible; the disadvantage is that the missile can not see where it is going.
To combat the skippers, a new light fighter was put into design. The F-54 Epee is more maneuverable than the P-64 Ferrets, as well as packed with more sensitive sensors. Officially, the Epee was classified as a light fighter. In reality, it was designed solely to detect and destroy cloaked objects. If the Kilrathi can apply these cloaking devices to anti-ship missiles, than they can do the same thing with mines as well as fighters. Unknown at the time of the project’s inception, the Kilrathi had already deployed a limited number of fighters with cloaking technology. All of the Strakha fighters were constructed at an assembly plant at the Kilrah Pride’s shipyards, orbiting Kilrah. Due to navigational problems while cloaked, the production of these stealthy fighters has always been limited, as the scope of their mission parameters.
Destruction at Novaya Kiev
Admiral van Oranje arrived with his fleet of five carriers, three battleships and eight cruisers, as well as other, smaller ships, at Novaya Kiev early in the year, after a several month journey through several systems from the Vega Sector. His crew was tired and demoralized at the sudden turn of events. Unseen Death started to tip the balance of the war back in the Kilrathi’s favor. The Skippers were already a known threat by the time of van Oranje’s arrival. All Ferrets and Rapiers were on constant patrol, and a dozen frigates swept space with a full-spectrum sweep.
A Kilrathi task force, less than half the size of van Oranje’s, jumped into the system from Ghorah Khar, a recently colonized system. Van Oranje ordered an immediate launch of all Sabers and Broadswords to destroy the Kilrathi carriers. The two Kilrathi carriers turned out to be the decoys. Flanking around both sides of the carriers, on long arcs across the system, were one Fralthra each. These cruisers carried a flight of Strakhas as well as Skippers. The cruisers themselves were too large to cloak, but managed to slip into firing range undetected. The first indication that two large cruisers were approaching the fleet is when the sensors on the Eagle’s Talon, van Oranje’s flagship, detected them.
Four Confed cruisers and two battleships moved to intercept these two Kilrathi cruisers, with a battleship and pair of cruisers targeting each ship. It appeared to be an easy kill. However, the Strakha was still unknown to Confed, and the fighters carried modified IR missiles (each carrying an annihilation warhead instead of the standard fusion warhead). The fighters struck fast enough to kill the cruisers Vesta and Majesty outright, and damaged the rest of the ships. While they were focused on anti-spacecraft combat, the Kilrathi launched a spread of Skippers. The cruisers Salisbury and Praetor were destroyed, along with the battleship King George V. Charles Vreeland managed to limp away from the battle and escape the system.
The Kilrathi cruisers closed in on van Oranje’s main force. In an almost suicidal move, both cruisers attacked at their cruising speed, meaning they could not maneuver or evade. Instead, they swept in at 5 PSL, and launched two spreads of Skippers before passing out of range. A majority of the missiles were killed by the patrolling fighters and pickets. However, a number of them broke through and hit their targets. Admiral van Oranje was killed when the Eagle’s Talon exploded. The other carriers were damaged, but still functioning. The TCS Mons and Congress took on the Eagle’s Talon’s fighters and was set to rearm them.
The Kilrathi carriers launched a more conventional attack upon the battered fleet near the Heaven’s Gate jump point. After suffering such damage from the stealth attacks, the fleet began to fall back. There was some hope that reinforcements would jump in, but not before the Kilrathi fighters hit. Ferrets and Rapiers held off many of the fighters, and the heavier Sabers were launched as well. Four destroyers and the cruiser Lunapolis were destroyed and Mons had its flight deck destroyed, forcing surviving fighters to divert to the Congress. With such a bloody mess at their hands, Confed was forced to yield the system to the Kilrathi.
For the most part, the Kilrathi ignored the settlements in the system and set up constructing a supply depot in the system,. Kiev Station would serve as a forward base for the Kilrathi, to resupply its ships as well as its crew. Kilrathi ships jumped into the adjacent Talbot System, and captured it without much of a fight. The Terran fighters in the system were destroyed to the last, as were two corvettes. The three million Terrans living upon Talbot VII were put to work in constructing garrisons and fleet repair facilities for the Kilrathi. Part of the reason the system fell so swiftly, despite its weak garrison, was that the planetary defense network was knocked out. It was disabled by a cell of Mandarins operating on the planet.
Though the massacre at Novaya Kiev did much to hurt Confed, it was far from knocking them out of the fight. After twenty years of war, the shipyards across the Sol Sector were able to produce capital ships faster than the Kilrathi could destroy them. Confed would entrench itself at both Enigma and Heaven’s Gate, focusing its war effort on keeping the Kilrathi from reaching any closer to the Sol Sector. Parts of the Enigma Sector would have to be abandoned while Confed shortened its defensive lines and prepared for its own counterattack.
09-26-2010, 07:57 AM
Fall of Rigel
Rigel was one of the few stars outside of the Sol Sector that had its absolute location known. It is a blue giant that forms one corner of the constellation Orion. Being a blue giant, there were no planets capable of supporting life in the Rigel System, but there were a few planets worth mining, as well as ship repair and fabrications facilities in the system. The Kilrathi fell upon the system on their road towards encircling Enigma itself. Confed aimed to defend the fleet facilities, but with the battle continuing in Repleetah, and other fleet actions planned, only three carriers were available to defend the system.
The Kilrathi hit in force with four carriers, along with six cruisers. One of the cruisers was a Strakha equipped Fralthra. The stealth fighters swept in but were thwarted by two squadrons of Epees rushed into service. The cloaked fighters escaped unscathed, with the Epees trailing them to 0.5 AU distance from the fleet. Instead, the Kilrathi would have to rely on a more conventional attack. Their bombers, new Paktahns. These bombers could carry a pair of anti-ship missiles. Some carried conventional missiles to cover the few Skippers that two of the bombers carried. All four of the Skippers hit as Confed defenses focused on the enemies they could see. None of the carriers were destroyed, but a lone destroyed did stray into the path of one Skipper, breaking in half upon impact.
The carrier Raj suffered significant damage, enough to take it out of the war for three years. The other two carriers were forced to pick up Raj’s fighters and act as both fleet defense and defense for the fleet yards in the system. A second Kilrathi attack came the following day, using the same tactic of hiding Skippers within a conventional attack. Again, no carriers were lost, but the cruiser Ceres took a hit, knocking out half of its propulsion. The Kilrathi fleet began to close within gun range. Realizing his position untenable, Admiral Vander ordered the fleet yards to be blown and personnel to evacuated. The Terran fleet withdrew from the wreckage only an hour ahead of the Kilrathi arrival.
Drones of Repleetah
Entering the third year of the battle, over ten million Confed soldiers battled with a nearly equal number of Kilrathi across several fronts, each reminiscent of the trenches of the Great War, fought nearly three thousand years before. Neither side would yield this system, despite its relative unimportance or the cost so far paid. After three years, both sides have lost more than a million men, and both sides were desperate for any way to break the deadlock.
Confed unleashed its largest concentration of combat drones to date; over ten thousand of them scattered across the planet. Dozens of giant drones operated as units, concentrating fire on a hundred Kilrathi strong points. Confederation forces advanced hundreds of kilometers along the front lines of Repleetah, with the drones cutting swaths through the Kilrathi. Half of the drones were eventually destroyed by Kilrathi armor, but not before the Kilrathi were on the run.
Kilrathi commanders were desperate to prevent their own lines from collapsing and sought a means to blunt Confed’s attack. Their weapon of choice was far more insidious. The first indication of this new weapon was when hundreds of Confed soldiers went down without even a shot fired. The weapon was quickly identified as chemical in nature, a neuro-toxin. Confed response immediately with the cheapest chemical weapon they could put into instant use; chlorine. New chemical weapons were soon employed by both sides, and combat environmental suits became a requirement to survive the continuing war on Repleetah.
Bioships of Sheldon
The Kilrathi incursion was not defeated by Confed, but rather a relic from a long dead civilization. The civilization that once spread across the Sheldon System, millions of years ago, used organic technology to create living ships. They did not build ships, but grew them, and eventually moved on to breeding them. When the civilization collapsed, for whatever means, the bioships continued to survive in space. They thrived and began to evolve to make uses of whatever resources they could capture. Competition between ships drove evolution, as it drove an arms race. When the Kilrathi attacked one of the bioships, it responded in kind. Its whole herd fell upon the Kilrathi task force, built around a lone carrier and cruiser, consuming each of the ships. This was one enemy the Kilrathi could not spare the forces to exterminate at the moment, and the system was declared off-limits, protecting Enigma’s flank.
One of Confed’s attacks for the year took it into the Ghorah Khar System. It was a young Kilrathi colony, but a fast growing one. The Imperial Pride controlled the planet and relocated Prides with technical expertise to the planet. Cloaking devices required extremely rare materials for vital components, a rare material that allows for focusing gravity to bend light. Ghorah Khar has the material on its surface in sufficient quantities to justify the expense of colonizing the world. When Confed Intel learned of this material, they went to launch an immediate attack.
In command of the strike was one of the youngest admirals, Admiral Tolwyn, who used the Concordia as his flag. Concordia along with TCS Bishop, escorted by three cruisers and seven destroyers, hit the system in force. Broadswords bombed the planet, sealing the known mines while Sabers destroyed several freighters loaded with the mineral. The amount destroyed or otherwise scattered across space was estimated to have allowed the Kilrathi to build over a thousand Skippers. Secondary targets of the raid included transfer stations in orbit of Ghorah Khar as well as tankers that scooped the resident gas giants for fuel. Tolwyn exited the system before the Kilrathi Navy could respond.
The Kilrah Pride returned to the planet quickly and set up restoring the mines. The Emperor’s total disregard to the colonists’ health and safety served to alienate thousands of previously loyal Kilrathi, including the three largest Prides, each vying for eventual position as planetary Pride. Not trusting slaves at such a vital resource, the Kilrah Pride pressed many of the colonists into remedial and forced labor to keep the mineral flowing from the mines.
09-26-2010, 07:58 AM
Battle of Pembroke
The Pembroke System was of vital importance to the Confederation for it sat as a nexus linking the Vega and Enigma Sectors. Loss of the system would not only split the sectors and add weeks to months on a journey between fronts, but would also put the Kilrathi within striking distance of the Sol Sector. Admiral Turner concentrated five carriers and four battleships, along with fifty other capital ships, around Pembroke Station (home to over 100,000 people) upon learning the Kilrathi planned to move against the system during the middle of 2659.
The Kilrathi appeared in the system in June and moved on Pembroke Station. The station had over a hundred Epees patrolling within one A.U. of it, on constant scan for any stealth attacks. As expected, the Kilrathi did deploy a number of Skippers in with their conventional missiles. The Kilrathi brought in four carriers of their own, and launched an immediate attack on Turner’s fleet. The first wave of Kilrathi fighters suffered losses and retreated. To Turner, the Kilrathi gave up a little too easy, and he suspected a trap. Instead of ordering a pursuit, he reigned in all his fighters, including the lumbering Broadswords. Epees detected a number of possible cloaked targets approaching, but the concentration of Terran fighters forced the Kilrathi to call off their own stealth attack.
A second Kilrathi wave came in, this time fighters sweeping in front of corvette. Corvettes were small ships, but still far larger than the largest fighters, and carried a number of anti-ship missiles. The Broadswords concentrated on them, expending their own anti-ship missiles in taking them down. Corvettes were considered a waste of ASMs, and using one was overkill. However, the corvettes probably carried Skippers, as they did. All corvettes fired their loads before three were destroyed and the other five escaped. Most missiles were shot down, but three struck the carrier Java Sea amidship, breaking it in half. Five destroyers were also destroyed in the attack, along with a dozen Confed corvettes. Most of these smaller ships were destroyed by Kilrathi fighters while covering the larger ships.
A third wave was less successful, but did manage to destroy the battleship Endurance, but at a heavy loss in fighters. The Kilrathi lost more fighters than they expected, possibly because they expected to only be facing Pembroke Station. While Turner’s fighters were protecting his fleet, the station’s fighters, two hundred Rapiers, Sabers and Broadswords, swept an arc around Pembroke V, to attack the Kilrathi on their right flank. With most of their own fighters engaging Confed forces, the Kilrathi fleet was in a fight for its life. One of their own carriers was destroyed outright, with another heavily damaged. Three Fralthi and a Fralthra were also destroyed, along with seven destroyers. The losses were high enough, that once their own fighters were recovered, the Kilrathi withdrew from the system, seeking an easier target.
Conquest of Niven
After abandoning designs on Pembroke, the same Kilrathi fleet jumped into the Niven System, via Rigel. Niven was lightly defended, by its own station as well as a couple of fortresses. The fortresses were overwhelmed by the Kilrathi within a day of jumping into the system. Despite being damaged, and down a carrier (broke off from the fleet in Rigel), the Kilrathi fleet re-entered combat faster than anticipated. Confed had yet to rush forces into the Niven System to counter a likely move, that was predicted to be months away. The Kilrathi Admiral was not about to return home with an outright failure on his record.
Terran populations in the Niven System were light, and its proximity to the Enigma System prompted it to have some defenses. The colony on Niven III had but a few hundred thousand people scattered across its surface. The Kilrathi landed unopposed on the planet, in one of its unpopulated deserts, and went about constructing their own base upon the planet. Terrans were rounded up and pressed in unskilled labor as Prides were brought in for the more specialized work. The Kilrathi began their own massing of forces for the planned push into the Enigma System.
To secure the system, and provide themselves with some secrecy, the Kilrathi eventually moved on Niven Station, which orbited the star at the Niven II-Niven L1 point. This was close to the jump point leading into the Enigma System, and must be under Kilrathi control in order to give them surprise in the upcoming campaign. The station was captured after a week of fighting, and only partially in tact. Life support systems self-destructed, and Confed personnel attempted to blow the station. They failed, but did destroy the flight decks on the station, which were filled with outdated Raptors and Hornets, most of the production of new fighters having already been allocated to the Vega Sector. What few survivors captured were killed by the Kilrathi in frustration, and some say they were also eaten by the conquerors.
Raid on H’hral V’krass
V’krass Shipyards, in the H’hral V’Krass System, within the Vukar Tag Sector, and several jumps behind Kilrathi lines, were the prime target of Tolwyn and his strike force in 2659. After spending half the year in transit from the Enigma Sector, a strike force built around the carriers Concordia, Gettysburg and Raj arrived in the lightly defended system. The shipyards were owned by the Lushkag Pride, one of the Eight, and destroying them would not only weaken Kilrathi production, but was hoped make their government a little more unstable.
The shipyards were small, and mostly given over to the production of destroyers, with secondary facilities for landing ships, with anti-ship missile production facilities. Destroying the shipyards was easy. Tolwyn had his Broadswords concentrate all their missile fire on the shipyard’s own anti-ship missile production facilities. Since anti-ship missiles used anti-matter instead of hydrogen for its warhead, all the attack had to do was disable one of the containment fields within just one of the warheads. Being so deep within their own territory, in a previously uncharted sector (from Confed’s perspective) there was little shielding around the shipyard.
The attacks blew apart the shipyards. Had they been on a planet or moon, it would have left a crater more than a hundred kilometers in diameter. However, given the asymmetry of Kilrathi design, anything larger than a corvette must be built in micro-gravity (space or a small asteroid). Only a few invasion craft were under construction at the time, all of which were destroyed. However, given the centralization of Kilrathi war industries, one-third of their destroyer production had just been eliminated. Tolwyn paid for his attack, not in the H’hral V’krass System, but rather in the several systems he had to pass through in order to reach Confed lines. In each system, the Kilrathi attacked his fleet, but with most of the Kilrathi Navy either defending Munro or fighting in the Enigma Sector, little damage was done to his fleet.
Excellent work, I'm looking forward to more! :)
09-29-2010, 12:03 PM
Battle of Enigma
The biggest battle of the year took place in the strategically vital Enigma System. A dozen jump points lead from across the Sector into Enigma. Enigma also offered almost unopposed movement into the Sol Sector. Just why so many jump points were linked to Enigma is not certain, though the heart of the system might offer a clue. The star Enigma was a B-type star, with little in the way of planets orbiting it– or rather the center of the system. Enigma itself orbited Enigma X-1, a five solar mass black hole. After its former star went supernova, the planets in the system were all but wiped out and blown into interstellar space. What little material that remained was rich in heavy metals, and comprised mostly asteroids and planetoids. The largest body in the system was little bigger (in terms of volume) Luna.
Enigma Junction, located five AU from Enigma X-1, was the administrative center of the sector. It was far larger than any station, and was home to over 100,000 personnel. Due to navigational hazards across the system, most of the traffic between jump points must pass within a few million kilometers of Enigma Junction. The Kilrathi planned to take the Junction by attacking the system from both Niven and Gwynedd. To meet them, Admiral Turner was given seven carriers (most of the carriers in the Sector) and hundreds of fighters. Each of the Kilrathi fleets numbered three carriers.
The Kilrathi’s first move was unexpected. A day ahead of their fleets, a Confed Corvette jumped into the system. It was damaged, including communications. Turner sensed something odd about the corvette. Though it was damaged, there appeared to be nothing wrong with its propulsion. He ordered the battleship Half-moon to intercept the corvette and escort it in. When Half-moon reached the corvette, it detected no emissions aside from the engines. The battleship attempted to dock with the corvette, and board it. When the hull was breached, both battleship and corvette vanished in a bright flash. The corvette was an old corvette the Kilrathi had captured years ago, used it some time as a commerce raider, and packed it with several grams of anti-matter. The plan was to fly it close to Enigma Junction, then blow it. Half-moon’s attempt at boarding set off an anti-tamper alarm.
Fighters were scrambled and sent on a sweep of all the jump points leading into Kilrathi space. The Kilrathi knew the ship exploded, and believed it had completed its mission. Thus, they jumped into the system unprepared for immediate combat. The fleet jumping in from Niven jumped into a patrol of Rapiers and Broadswords. In twenty minutes of combat, one Kilrathi carrier was destroyed and the other two disabled. The second Kilrathi fleet jumped into the system unopposed, and took a dangerous trajectory within a single A.U. of Enigma X-1, and used the black hole to cover their own approach. Confed had not anticipated an attack from the direction of the singularity.
The Kilrathi scored a number of hits on Congress and Concordia, and destroyed the Bengal-class carrier Beacontree as well as crippled the Confederation-class carrier Emperor. The Emperor later succumbed to internal explosions, but not before its remaining fighters were launched. Despite the surprise that half the Kilrathi invasion force had gained, the loss of the other half of the force prevented the Kilrathi from following up on their attack. The strike force did not turn for a second pass, but made for the Niven jump point and the aid of the damaged ships. Along with two carriers and a battleship, Confed lost three cruisers and four destroyers.
The Kilrathi force assembled at the Niven jump point but did not retreat. Nor did it advance. Concerned that the Kilrathi might be waiting for reinforcements, Turner ordered a general attack on the Kilrathi. Not just by fighters and bombers, but by a number of cruisers as well. The Battle for the Jump Point cost Confed another two cruisers, and 35% of its fighters, for the Kilrathi detected its approach well in advance. Despite the losses, the Kilrathi decided to yield the system. The Kilrathi were not waiting for reinforcements, but were in fact in conference, attempting to reformulate their plans for the system. Anti-ship missiles from Sabers and Broadswords struck the carrier on which the conference was held, killing several high ranking officers. Thus, without central command, the Kilrathi were forced to retreat.
Phased Transit Cannon
Since 2657, Confed had been working on a new weapon, in reality a prototype for a future, and far more powerful weapon. The prototype was called the Phased Transit Cannon. The PTC concentrated a great deal of energy into a single beam. It would be like a large annihilation warhead exploding into a narrow beam instead of omni-directional. The PTC was designed to punch through shields and strike at the ship itself. The weapon, when first tested, managed to punch through the shields of a drone, and vaporize the drone with a single shot. R&D insisted that it could take out something as large as a Fralthra with a single shot.
There was a catch; the PTC required a large amount of power. It could only be fired after a lengthy charge, which any Kilrathi ship with descent sensors would detect. Several PTCs were integrated into the new Dreadnaught-class battleship design. While the Congress and Concordia were back in dock for repairs, each had a single PTC installed on their bow. They would have to aim the whole ship, but if the crew could pull it off, both carriers would have more than enough fire power to hold their own in a ship-to-ship engagement.
09-29-2010, 12:04 PM
Battle of the Tanhausen Nebula
In an attempt to stem the loss of systems in the Enigma Sector, Confed launched a daring strike behind enemy lines in the Epsilon Sector. The Trafalgar System had much in common with its oceanic namesake on Earth. It was a bottleneck of traffic for the Kilrathi, and cutting the line here would add weeks on to any resupply mission. Even a single day could alter the course of a battle. Banbridge sent Tolwyn with the Concordia and its years long sidekick the Gettysburg into the system, escorted by two cruisers and five destroyers. Losses in the Enigma Sector Campaign allowed for little in the way of offensive strikes, not while the Kilrathi were threatening to kick down the back door to Earth.
Tolwyn successfully slipped past Kilrathi patrols and sentries in the Telamon System, entering the Trafalgar System with no difficulty. The system was a young one, not more than a hundred million years old, that still resided within the light-years wide nebula that spawned it. Trafalgar’s age, being the youngest star on the jump point network, gives a minimal age estimate to the network’s existence. Because all known jump points start in one system and end in another, and the statistical fact that virtually all should end in the middle of nowhere, lead many to believe jump points to be artificial in nature.
The Kilrathi had a large supply depot and communication relay center located in the thick dust of the system. Approaching through a nebula was both a boon and a curse. A curse because ships easily stirred up the dust and left a trail. A boon because the dust obscured reliable sensors. The Kilrathi knew something was approaching, but the depot commander assumed it was his own side’s ships. The first hint that these were Confed ships was when the first of the Kilrathi cargo ships exploded in dock.
Battle is too strong of a term to describe the action in Trafalgar in 2661. For over a week, Tolwyn and his two carriers had free reign of the system. The supply depot was destroyed, not only cutting supplies to parts of the Enigma Sector, but also eliminated the means by which Kilrathi could relay messages between jump points. Without that, messages would take hours to days longer to reach Kilrah from the front as they were re-routed through other systems. As soon as the station was destroyed, Tolwyn ambushed several Kilrathi convoys headed towards the front, carrying anything from ammunition to replacement personnel. This "battle" forced the Kilrathi to recall three of their own carriers to patrol the system, but by the time they had arrived, Confed was long gone.
The Forgotten Battle
By the middle of the year, both Confed and the Kilrathi had withdrawn all fleet support for the ongoing war upon Repleetah. Ground support from orbit was no more, and supply convoys were growing less frequent. Supplies were still being shipped in, but reinforcements became sporadic, with the Kilrathi adding only two hundred thousand during the year. The soldiers, for the most part, were now on their own. War industries appeared upon the planet on both sides of the front as the warring factions strove to augment their meager supplies with homegrown ammunition and weapons.
The planet, after years of warfare, was no longer worth anything. It was once a marginally habitable planet, but now it was little more than a wasteland, with fall out from fission weapons (that were used for area denial), as well as dust from earlier planetary bombardments, and toxins from the unrestricted chemical warfare. In the words of a Chaplin of the old Catholic Church, humanity had finally discovered Hell. That being said, the few Confed soldiers transferred to Repleetah wondered just who up the chain of command they offended to get stationed on such a brutal world.
09-29-2010, 12:04 PM
With attempts to take Enigma itself thwarted (on more than one occasion), in 2662, the Kilrathi attempted to bypass Enigma altogether. By taking the Heaven’s Gate System, the Kilrathi would have only to jump to Callimachus and be able to hit the Sol Sector from there, with Sol itself just being two jumps past the Ella System. The Kilrathi struck the system with complete surprise, overwhelming the destroyer picket and storming Gates’ Station with the minimal loss to themselves. With only a pair of carriers and four cruisers, the Kilrathi took control of the space around the planets of Heaven’s Gate.
Confed reacted as fast as it could, sending the Waterloo, Fredericksburg and Resolution into the system only a week after the Station had fell. At the time, the Kilrathi were preparing to invade to ocean world of Paradise, with its tropical beaches and fertile agricultural land. The Kilrathi cared for neither, of course, and merely wanted the only habitable planet in the system as a staging area for a planned invasion of the Sol Sector. The war had taken its toll on both sides, and Confed was finally starting to feel the loss of ships. An engagement like this only a decade before would have included twice as many capital ships.
The Confed fleet struck at the Kilrathi carriers while they were resupplying near Gates’ Station. With their flight decks full of cargo shuttles, they were not able to launch fighters. Escorting cruisers launched their fighters, a squadron each, to help thwart Confed’s attack, but Rapiers and new Tomahawks kept them busy while Broadswords closed in on the carrier, and destroyed both targets. With their striking ability destroyed, the remaining Kilrathi ships broke in confusion. Without a strong, central commander, individual captains began to look after their own interests. A few ships stayed with Gates’ Station to defend the holdings, but more broke and ran. One cruiser even charged straight for the Terran Fleet, hoping to get within Skipper range. That cruiser made for great target practice for a squadron of Sabers.
The Kilrathi ships around Gates’ Station also never made it anywhere near the Terran fleet, as fighters made short work of them. Confed did move its fleet into weapons’ range to bombard the station. The Kilrathi had moved fast to reinforce it with more shields and point-defense weapons. Confed lost a destroyer to the station’s defenses. Fighting to retake the station was fierce, and virtually the entire station’s civilian population were killed in the process, mostly by hungry Kilrathi soldiers. Out of roughly seven thousand Kilrathi, only sixty-one were taken into captivity, and most of these were incapacitated. Nearly thirty years of war, and the Kilrathi still fought as viciously as they did at McAuliffe.
With the PTC proven reliable, a new class of battleships, the Dreadnaught-class, were put into production at shipyards on the other side of the Confederation in respect to Kilrah. With several PTC turrets, the new battleships were expected to have a firepower almost equivalent to the old arsenal ships, but without their vulnerability. Even while the PTCs were recharging, Dreadnaught would have plenty of other armaments, including improved grasers and rapid-reload missile launchers. The new battleships would also carry a squadron of fighters in each of its two flight decks. The class of warships was originally intended to be launched by 2663, but a series of technical problems continue to push the release date back further and further.
Over the decades of war, Confed lost hundreds of destroyers in various actions, ranging from fleet battles to small raids. The Gilgamish-class destroyers, the first ones launched in 2662, were an improvement over the previous designs. Not only were they larger, and hosted heavier shields, but they also came with their own flight deck. The Gilgamishes could hold a squadron of Ferrets, Epees, Stilettoes or the new Arrows that were preparing to make their debut, or a half squadron of Sabers. Virtually all future captains would opt for the squadron of point-defense fighters to protect his ship against Kilrathi missiles and fighter attacks. These destroyers were designed to operate alone, striking deep into Kilrathi territory, as well as in fleet actions.
09-29-2010, 12:05 PM
After years of running the mines on Ghorah Khar ruthlessly, and as well as keeping their claws upon the throats of the colonists, a spark finally hit the Kilrathi world of Ghorah Khar. One of the three largest Prides upon the planet, with support of virtually all the minor Prides, lead an attack against upon the garrison. There were three major Prides upon the planet, and not wanting to risk either getting to strong, scions from the Kilrah Pride took over all three Prides. Only a month before the rebellion began, the M’krah Pride was taken over by a pair of veterans from Repleetah, after they successfully defeated the previous three Kings (which happened to be Imperial Cousins) and laid claim to the Pride. Without having anyone from Kilrah looking over their shoulders, the Pride females organized a rebellion.
The garrison defending the largest of the mines was overran before they realized what was happening. Imperial soldiers were accustomed to fighting aliens and Kilrathi males. When a hundred thousands angry Pride females descended upon them, they hesitated, moving to defend themselves only after it was too late. Junior officers upon Kilrathi warship in the system launched their own coups, deciding to side with the Ghorah Khar rebels. Their motivation was not widely known, for Kilrathi will turn upon their own kind if they see an advantage to their own blood line. It is entirely possible these officers hoped to claim a Pride of their own.
As soon as the other two major Prides were defeated, and taken over by local males, the M’krah Pride declared itself the Ghorah Khar Pride, and Ghorah Khar declared its independence from the Empire. Normally, a rebellious planet would be ignored if a greater threat existed, or simply blasted off the face of the planet. However, Ghorah Khar was one of the few places known were a certain crystal vital for cloaking devices could be mined in large quantities. Envoys from Ghorah Khar reached for Confed lines, bringing a message to the Confederation. For the first time, an entire planet was willing to defect. The only thing worse than losing the mines would be losing them to Confed.
Due to the rebellion on Ghorah Khar, and mutiny in its defending ships, Kilrathi forces in the Novaya Kiev System packed up and headed back to Ghorah Khar, effectively abandoning the system. When the TCS Wolfhound, on duty in the Enigma Sector between 2661-64, entered the system to raid the Kilrathi, it discovered it devoid of enemies. The Kilrathi did not even bother to destroy everything in sight while they retreated. Confed assembled a rapid response force, with a landing party of only ten thousand Marines, and entered the system. True to Wolfhound’s report, the system was abandoned. Similar reports across the Sector claimed Kilrathi forces were thinning on the front line as the Kilrathi moved back to secure their rear.
The Ghorah Khar rebellion not only deprived the Kilrathi of the ability to produce cloaking devices in large quantities, but also pulled off forces that were pressing in on Confed. The fighting in Ghorah Khar was fierce, and the rebels gained a victory when the crew of an old Snakier rose up and killed their senior officers, all scions from one or another of the Eight Prides. It was a slight boon, since the newer Brantkara-class carriers, much larger than the old Snakiers. A number of Kilrathi pilots switched sides during one engagement, causing chaos in the Ghorah Khar System. Seeing a chance the Kilrathi might recapture the system, Confed rushed its own forces into Novaya Kiev and massed for a fight.
Last Survivors of Repleetah
With both sides pulling out forces due to shifting balances of power, the last of the Repleetah veterans to ever escape the planet were pulled out in later 2663. The Kilrathi pulled out 200,000 soldiers while Confed moved 300,000 of their own. There were still four million total soldiers left on the planet, and rapidly spiraling into savagery. Over the next year, virtually all of the four million soldiers, regardless of species, would be dead either by enemy fire or a degraded environment.
09-29-2010, 12:05 PM
Early in the year, a Confed fleet, built around four carriers, entered the Ghorah Khar System. Only a few Kilrathi warships, at least those still loyal to the Empire, remained. These were swept aside, but not before they inflicted severe damage upon the cruiser Warspite and carrier Kyoto. Six of the new Gilgamish-class destroyers saw battle in the first weeks of the contest for Ghorah Khar,, one of them, the TCS Merlin managed to destroy a Fralthi in single combat (with the aid of its light fighters). The aging Admiral Turner was put in charge of the Ghorah Khar mission, and went immediately to the planet’s surface to meet with the Ghorah Khar Pride. Though he came with a heavily armed escort, ready to fight, the Pride females treated the Admiral with all the dignity of any diplomat. The Kings of the Pride were not so friendly, though after discovering one of Turner’s Marine escorts was also a veteran of Repleetah, gave the man their upmost respect.
Turner’s first move was to start the construction of a station orbiting Ghorah Khar, to protect it from another Kilrathi attack. Olympus Station had its core structure built in several modules and transported into the system. The armor, and extensions were built and provided by the Kilrathi. They also provided various electronic and optronic equipment, along with sensors. These were not installed, but rather secreted back to Confed Intel for analysis. Standard Terran units, more efficient than Kilrathi ones, were installed instead. The station, when completed by the end of the year, was home to over two hundred fighters (included five squadrons of Epees) as well as a dozen corvettes.
His second move was on the various crystal mines upon the planet. There was little in the way of construction concerning stealth technologies upon the planet, but several of the mine workers were also refiners of the crystals, knowing how to cut and polish the raw material into something that can allow a cloaking device to do its thing. This was another prize worth the risk. Though Turner was doubtful a Confed cloaking device could be ready in less than five years, the material and technical knowledge was hoped to give Confed new means of tracking cloaked targets.
Confed and the Ghorah Khar Kilrathi had trouble working together. It was understandable, with both sides being at war with each other for thirty year. The Terrans believed, like Terran cats, the Kilrathi would turn on them quickly, where as the Kilrathi were brought up believing Terrans to be prey, and weak. Both sides proved the other wrong. The Pride females were quite trusting, and Confed never backed away during a Kilrathi raid on the system (a number of which happened in 2664 alone).
End of Tragedy
2664, saw the last battles on the doomed planet of Repleetah. The planet’s formerly weak ecosystem was shattered, and the indiscriminate use of chemical and nuclear weapons slowly but surely wiped out defenders. As the year drug on, various fronts collapsed as soldier die-offs rendered them useless. The closing days of this act came when only division size units remained, each clustered around a single fortress, both separated by a few kilometers of no-man’s land. Around the same time Confed reached Ghorah Khar, the Kilrathi general on Repleetah ordered one final attack, committing all his soldiers to destroying the Terrans.
The battle started an hour before local dawn, with the Kilrathi marching through no-man’s land. Few vehicles remained on either side, and only a limited capacity to produce ammunition locally existed. When the Kilrathi attacked, they did not open fire until they were upon the fort, and too close for artillery support. Over the next three days, both sides battled each other around the fortress and inside. The final report sent from Repleetah to Confed HQ cited high casualties and severe damage to the Kilrathi. The station went off the air an hour later, as each side annihilated the other. The Kilrathi received no message from the planet following the general’s proposed plan. This lead both sides to believe that if anybody actually survived the battle, they died shortly after on the desolate world.
Final Generation of Fighters
Space is vast and rich in resources, but the easily extracted war materials were becoming depleted. At the start of the 2660s, a new generation of fighters were slated for production, and eventual replacement of the 2650s models. Arrows began to slowly replace the Ferrets, which were now largely used for garrison duty. The Rapier II was finally showing its age, as newer models of the Dralthi (the Dralthi IV) began to take its toll. Tomahawks packed more firepower, but pilots complained that they were not as responsive as the old Rapiers.
The Sabers would still see combat all the way to the end of the war, but the Thunderbolt VII was slated to phase out the old sword by the end of the decade. The lumbering Broadswords, which some were replaced by smaller, more agile Crossbows, would be supplanted by the sleeker Longbows. Again, pilots complained because the new bomber had only a tail gunner and not the three turrets of the giant Broadswords.
What was to be the final world in space superiority fighter came down to a competition between the Morningstar and Excalibur projects. The former packed more fire power, but the later was quicker. At first, Confed awarded the contract to the Morningstar, but only because Confed Intel wanted the Excalibur for their own use. They planned to use much of the captured Kilrathi technology from Ghorah Khar to produce a fighter that would win the war.
09-29-2010, 12:06 PM
Fanning the Flames
With Ghorah Khar achieving de facto independence from the Empire, the resentment towards Kilrah spread to a neighboring system in the Epsilon Sector. The N’tanya System is home to millions of Kilrathi, as well as millions of Terrans held as slave. The revolution did not start in the slave quarters, but amongst the high ranking Prides of the planet. If Ghorah Khar could be free of the oppression of the Eight, then why could their world not be so as well. Rebellion in N’tanya was not as organized as Ghorah Khar, but the Prides did manage to overwhelm Imperial garrisons on the planet. The planet’s industrial output, though owned largely by the Kilrah Pride, was vital in producing munitions for the campaign in the Enigma Sector. This alone prevented the Imperial fleet from bombarding the planet.
Confed did not move into action in favor of this system. However, two aging Bengal-class carriers, as well as half a dozen Gilgamishes did raid into the system, catching the blockading ships with their gaze downwards instead outward, where any sensible captain would be looking. The Kilrathi destroyers blockading were destroyed to the last, with minimal loss to Confed. As with Ghorah Khar, the Kilrathi began to pull units out of the Enigma Sector in order to restore order behind their own lines. Confed was not about to let millions of Kilrathi soldiers go peacefully. Across several systems, Confed carrier task forces struck at Kilrathi convoys, killing untold hundreds of thousands of Kilrathi soldiers in space. After such a prolonged war, the Kilrathi are beginning to have problems filling recruiting quotas.
Battle of Gwynedd
On the road to winning back the Sector, a Confed fleet moved into the Gwynedd System, aiming on destroying the Kilrathi presence in the system. With it clear and Enigma’s flanks secured, K’tithrak Mang would be wide open to attack, as well as systems beyond Ghorah Khar being isolated from reinforcements. With Concordia as his flag ship, Tolwyn commanded a fleet of four carriers, two battleships, seven cruisers and an assortment of smaller vessels. He faced off against the Kilrathi star base and a few ships that had yet to join in suppressing rebellions inside the Empire.
The battle was a tough one and stretched over a week, ending with the invasion of the Kilrathi Starbase. Kilrathi fleet loses were high, losing two of their carriers as well as three of their cruisers. Confed suffered its own losses, including the carrier Congress and cruisers Ganymede and Rhea. Taking the starbase was expensive, with the Marines suffering 40% casualty rates, enough so that fleet security (naval personnel) were called in to reinforce the corridors. The Kilrathi attempted a relief mission, but was turned back by Concordia.
09-29-2010, 12:06 PM
In 2665, the Naval Budget that should have been allocated to the newer, and giant Maui Strait-class carriers, with four reinforced flight decks was diverted to an escort carrier project. Instead of three giant carriers, it went into converting twenty freighters into escort carriers. They were smaller than even the old Concordias, and able to slip through the narrowest gage jump points that most ships have to avoid. The flight decks on the Wake-class escort carriers were small and could barely hold its forty-eight fighter compliment.
The carriers were fast, but lightly armored, and were not intended for a full on fight. Instead, they would free up heavier carriers for front line action. Since they were second-line ships, they were equipped with Ferrets, Rapiers and Sabers for combat missions, but could ferry any fighter to reinforce the compliments of the fleet carriers. Their speed and agility also left open the option for high risk raids. The Wakes were made cheap because they were declared expendable. The loss of a single escort carrier would cost Confed far less than the loss of a larger fleet carrier.
The decisions to shift focus on the Wakes and delay the Maui Straits caused an uproar among naval pilots as well as the admiralty. Banbridge, well over ninety years old, nearly had a stroke during his argument with the design bureau. A fleet carrier extra could tip the balance during a battle, while these glorified transports could not hope to stop a Kilrathi task force, much less a fleet. They did release heavier carriers for combat duty as early as April of 2666, which allowed them to take part in the strike on K’tithrak Mang.
With the Kilrathi in disarray, Confed struck at the heart of the Kilrathi power in the Enigma Sector, K’tithrak Mang. Tolwyn lead the attack from the Concordia and had to fight its way through the Racene, Rar’karahk and Bradbury Systems, clearing each of these outer systems of Kilrathi ships. Losses were heavy, including the destruction of the carrier Fredericksburg in the Racene System. Like with the Venice System, years before, the goal of Confed was simply to destroy Mang Station.
Upon entering the system, Tolwyn launched a full scale assault with fighters from all four of his remaining carriers. The first attack failed, with Confed losing some fifty of its fighters. The Kilrathi counterattack was not much more successful, with the Kilrathi losing some sixty-eight fighters. However, all Mang Station had to do was hold out until Kilrathi ships could reinforce it. Tolwyn was pressed for time, and had to destroy the station before a Kilrathi fleet equal his own could tip the balance in their favor.
The second strike fared slightly better, in that it did not lose as many ships. A Kilrathi task force jumped into the system during the second flight, striking at Tolwyn with only a lone carrier and two cruisers. It was enough to abort a third attack and turn the fighters against the new and more immediate threat. Defying orders, Sabers from the Concordia diverted from the Kilrathi ships and made their own run on Mang Station. The attack coincided with the bulk of Mang Station’s own fighters being away from the station, and aiding the three ships. The station’s point defenses had a single flaw in that they could not be turned directly above or below the vertical axis of the station. This opened a very narrow space, wide enough for fighters to come in one behind the other. This was enough, for all of the anti-ship missiles launched reached their target, and breached ammunition and fuel stores, gutting Mang Station.
With the Station destroyed, the Kilrathi ships attempted to make a break for it, scooping up as many of the Station’s fighters as possible. The carrier and a cruiser escaped, covered by the second and what fighters that could not be retrieved. Instead of dying peacefully in space, the Kilrathi fighters made one last run against Tolwyn, with several fighters colliding with Confed ships. Confed carriers escaped damage, but at the loss of six frigates, three destroyers and the cruiser Ceres.
Strangely absent from the attack on Mang Station was the TCS Gettysburg, which had flown several missions along side the Concordia. Instead, the Gettysburg was placed on patrol duty within the Epsilon Sector, doing all it could to thwart Kilrathi attempts to retake Ghorah Khar. On the rebellious worlds, not all the Prides were in favor of separation with the Empire. Those that were not, fought fiercely against the rebels, and those not killed were forced to flee the planet.
The Gettysburg encountered such ships during its patrol. The captain of the Gettysburg order a flight of Sabers launched to destroy the convoy. However, when it became clear that the convoy they were pursuing was full of refugees and not Kilrathi soldiers, the pilots refused to attack. More over, they refused to launch. When pilots from other squadrons were ordered to take over, they too refused. The captain ordered the pilots arrested, and sent Marines from the ship’s platoon to arrest them. The Marines were divided on the issue, but followed orders. When the pilots resisted, the Marines were not so eager to fight back against their own kind. They had no love for the Kilrathi, but enough of their humanity remained after decades of war to know the difference between the butchers in the Imperial Army and Pride females and cubs.
When the pilots decided to take their grievances to the bridge, the Marines did not stop them. Nor did they aid them. These Kilrathi might be civilians, but that did not mean the Marines liked them in the least bit. The Captain attempted to have the pilots removed from the bridge, which resulted in a fight between pilots and bridge crew. The pilots eventually won the struggle, and placed the Captain and Executive Officer under house arrest, before taking the Gettysburg out of the system.
Word of the mutiny spread fast, and Tolwyn sent in the carriers Waterloo and Mackinac to take back the ship. Marines from both carriers boarded the Gettysburg, which surrendered without a fight. The pilots were arrested and brought before a court marshal. Though all of the pilots were eventually acquitted on charges of treason, they were all transferred from the Gettysburg and placed on duty on board escort carriers. The Captain was also brought up on charges of issuing illegal orders, but he to was acquitted and transferred back to Confed HQ on Earth.
09-29-2010, 12:07 PM
In a last ditch offensive in the Enigma Sector, the Kilrathi made a swift strike once again into the Pembroke Station. The goal was not to split Enigma and Vega Sectors, but rather to bypass both and strike into the Sol Sector. The Kilrathi fleet arrived a day before Confed, and was able to strike at Pembroke Station. The Station suffered heavy damage, as well as losses in fighters from the five Kilrathi carriers, but was still fighting when Tolwyn jumped in from his mopping up missions further out in the sector.
With rebellions within the territory, the Kilrathi did not have the ground forces to take any of the planets. Instead, the fleet had hoped to breakthrough into Sol Sector and tear the place apart. This failed when the Kilrathi were unable to capture Pembroke Station. Tolwyn’s four carriers met the five Kilrathi carriers on the third day of the battle. The Kilrathi managed to deflect the bomber strikes on their ships without losing a single ship, though they suffered heavy damage. The biggest threat to Confed was when Mandarins on board Pembroke Station attempted to hijack Morningstars based there and defect to the Kilrathi. The entire fighter compliment of the Concordia was diverted to destroy the Morningstars, and succeeded with hours to spare.
Taking part in the battle was the Kilrathi Crown Prince himself, flying his Bloodfang, a limited production heavy fighter, built only for the Emperor, Crown Prince and immediate royal cousins. Thrakhath was forced to eject from his own fighter while personally leading the attack against the Confed fleet. His incapacitation caused the centralized Kilrathi to lose steam. He was retrieved by his escorts and tractored back to his carrier, the whole time swearing vengeance against the pilot who shot him down, the same pilot who was part of the final raid against Mang Station, and was one of Confed’s ranking aces. Thrakhath knew not his name, but would find out. Until then, the Confed pilot was known as the Heart of the Tiger.
With the Kilrathi attempt to breakthrough at Pembroke thwarted, the Kilrathi were finally ejected completely from the Enigma Sector. Rebellions with the Epsilon Sector blocked any further advances into Enigma. The victorious campaign was a major morale boost, but it came at a high price. Over ten years of fighting, Confed lost half of its capital ships. Confed was left with 13 front line carriers (and six secondary ships, as well as 13 escort carriers by the end of the campaign) while the Kilrathi had twenty fleet carriers (at least five of those were gold-plated carriers of the Kilrah Pride’s fleet). Confed still outmatched the Kilrathi in battleships, but Kilrathi cruisers were starting to outnumber both Confed BB and C.
Despite the victory in the Enigma Sector, Confed HQ believed that they could not survive another full scale invasion of either Enigma or Vega Sector. While the Kilrathi forces were focused on the Enigma Sector, Vega had been relatively quiet. Now that the Kilrathi were back in their own space, Confed expected that to turn. Banbridge worried not about all twenty of the Kilrathi’s carriers, but only five of them. The Imperial Guard, the personal fleet of the Kilrah Pride, was what kept the Emperor in power. Despite being comprised of the best spacers and pilots, the fleet seldom left Kilrah. What Banbridge sought was a means to draw out the Emperor’s personal guard into open battle and destroy them, along with the Kilrah Pride’s hold on power.
The first part of Banbridge’s plan called for Confed to attack and take a planet several jumps behind the Kilrathi front lines. The planet had no strategic value, nor much of an industrial base. It could not be turned into a forward base or staging ground. In fact, it could not be held for very long. However, the world of Vukar Tag was the ancestral birthplace of the Kilrah Pride kings, with the first of the Emperor’s male blood line being born there. It was also home to training grounds for the Kilrathi Army, as well as facilities orbiting the planet to handle the Kilrathi fleet during its exercises and training missions. It was out of the way, perfect for the Kilrathi to train, and to pray. On the planet was also one of the holiest sites in the Empire.
More over, when Tolwyn jumped into the system, the Matriarch of the Kilrah Pride was on the planet at the temple. The "Empress" as Confed Intel dubbed her, was rushed off the planet back to Kilrah, with a number of Kilrathi pilots taking a missile to protect the transport. Confed’s attack was enough to make the Kilrathi believe they were seriously making an attempt on the life of the Emperor’s favorite female. Along with Concordia, Congress and Austerlitz, an escort carrier, the TCS Tarawa took part in the attack on the planet, after escorting Marines to the system. Barracks were hit with fusion bombs, and the orbital facilities were captured by Marines. The success in the attack came from total surprise, the Kilrathi never expecting an attack so deep within their territory.
The shrines, palaces and the Temple of Sivar were captured in tact by General Duke Grecko, a veteran who fought through most of the war. These were left untouched by explosives, but Terran desecration of these holy sites was documented and transmitted in the clear. When the Emperor received the reports of what had happened, he would have little choice but to respond personally to the insult with his own private fleet. To do otherwise would show weakness, which would invite a challenge from any of the Eight. The stage was set for Operation: Backlash.
Backlash was a two-part plan. The first part involved Vukar Tag. Capturing the planet was the easy part. Now Confed had to hold it against the inevitable Kilrathi attack. The Emperor was expected to command the fleet personally, and would no doubt bring in his best soldiers to take back the sites on the planet. Banbridge counted on this. For part one of Backlash, Confed was going to spring a little trap for the Kilrathi. Three more carriers would be joining Tolwyn, one bringing Banbridge to personally command the battle, the Wolfhound, Gettysburg and Trafalgar. These seven carriers, as well as seventy other warships would be waiting in high polar orbit of the system’s star, striking only when the Kilrathi were committed with attacking the Marines on the planet. Banbridge was uncertain as to how many other carriers would be joining the Kilrah Pride’s fleet, but hoped to destroy all of them.
Part two of Backlash involved the Tarawa and one of the aspects of the escort carrier’s design mission. They were also designed for quick and potentially suicide missions. Thanks to recent defectors from Kilrah itself, Confed gained vital intelligence on the Kilrathi’s central shipyard, orbiting Kilrah. Destroying the Imperial Guard was not enough for Operation: Backlash; Banbridge wanted that shipyard as well. Tarawa, as well as the destroyer Intrepid and corvette Kagashima would use a narrow gauge jump point to slip into the Kilrah System, land Marines at the shipyard, plant annihilation warheads inside of it, and blow it to pieces. Banbridge estimated the chance of Tarawa and its company escaping as nil, but the chance to break the Kilrah Pride was too great to pass up.
Banbridge’s hope for an ambush were perfect. The Kilrathi jumped into the system with ten carriers, half their estimate number, and dove straight at Vukar Tag. Their attempts to retake orbital facilities cost them thousands of crack soldiers, as no installation was defended by Terrans, and each was rigged to explode. This enraged the Kilrathi, blinding them to the danger rapidly approaching from above the system’s ecliptic plane. Confed struck as the Kilrathi fighters and bombers were inside the atmosphere, escorting and covering four legions of Imperial Guard soldiers as they landed.
Without fighter cover, the Kilrathi carriers were vulnerable to attack, a weakness that Banbridge wasted no time in exploiting. Confed’s first strike was decisive. Of the ten carriers, four were destroyed outright while trapped in orbit, with sixteen other Kilrathi warships suffering the same fate. When the Kilrathi fighters were ordered back to space, they had to fight gravity while Confed fighters picked them off with IR missiles. Hundreds of Kilrathi pilots, their best pilots, were killed trying to escape the atmosphere and face Confed in space.
A fifth Kilrathi carrier was destroyed by a second strike, which also took out four cruisers. Kilrathi attempts to strike back at Banbridge were fierce, but their numbers were too weakened by the ambush to make an effective weapon. The carrier Trafalgar was destroyed in the attack, and the Gettysburg was so badly damaged that it would spend nearly a year in dock, but a trade of one carrier for five carriers, and three of those the gold-plated Kilrah Pride prizes. A fourth Imperial Guard carrier escaped, and the predicted fifth one was nowhere in sight.
On Vukar Tag itself, Grecko’s Marines were dug in deep enough that not even the four legions of Imperial Guards, commanded by Imperial Cousins Rusmak and Gar commanded two of the legions. After two hours of fighting on the planet’s surface, and a number of fusion warheads bursting over their heads, the dug-in Confederation Marines suffered heavy losses, but the Kilrathi Legions were killed to the last warrior. The Emperor survived the attacks on the carriers, and was preparing another strike against the Terran fleet when news of a disaster at Kilrah reached him, forcing him to retreat back to the homeworld with his fleet battered and ruined.
Tarawa slipped into the Kilrah System through a seldom used jump point, and precisely where the Kilrathi were not looking. By the time the Kilrathi had noticed them, the carrier was already within striking range of the Kilrathi shipyards. The shipyard was built into an asteroid parked in orbit of Kilrah. Humanity’s first glimpse upon the enemy homeworld failed to impress. It was an arid world, without the large areas of blue, green and white that Earth possessed. Tarawa also learned that Banbridge had failed to lure all the Imperial Guard out of the system. Thrakhath was in command of the fifth Kilrah Pride carrier, and was hurling towards the fleet from his station on a jump point in the outer system.
The strike force had a short time to fight, and immediately launched all fighters and assault shuttled. The shuttled reached the shipyard, and Marines moved quickly to force their way in. The most distressing sight was that of six carriers in the shipyard, in various states of completion. If the Kilrathi launched these, they would offset any losses suffered in Vukar Tag, and would likely be in service before Confed could complete its own replacement carriers. Fighters circled the shipyard, fending off attacks from the surface of Kilrah while Marines moved their charges into place.
The workers at the shipyards, mostly Pride females, put up a fierce resistance. The Marines easily breeched the shipyard and reached its reactors due to surprise. Once the Kilrathi realized what was happening, they were determined not to allow the Marines to escape. The Marines would not surrender. Instead, they completed their mission, detonating the charges while fighting of Kilrathi workers. The explosion within the core of the shipyard was enough to fragment the asteroid and completely destroy the shipyard and its six carriers. A nearby cruiser yard was destroyed when debris from the carrier yard collided with it.
Tarawa attempted to escape, but was intercepted by Thrakhath and forced to take cover inside the atmosphere of a gas giant. When the Kilrathi in orbit were on the opposite side of the planet, the strike force leapt out at full cruising speed. Tarawa and its escorts headed directly at Kilrah at full speed, leading Thrakhath to believe they planned a suicide dive on Kilrathi as 5 PSL. The Kagashima was destroyed when it collided at full speed with a Kilrathi fighter, vaporing it and the Kilrathi. In order to draw off fire for their escape, Intrepid launched anti-ship missiles at Kilrah, causing many Kilrathi pilots to throw themselves at the missiles. One near Kilrah, both ships used their tractor beams on the planet, and slung themselves towards the nearest jump point, all without slowing down. The effect of ships traveling at over 5 PSL, using their tractor beam on the inherently unstable Kilrah, resulted in earthquakes across the planet as one plate was lifted millimeters out of place. Kilrah already suffered from frequent earthquakes, and little to no damage was caused by this one.
Tarawa escaped to the Baragh System, where the ship raided a Kilrathi relay station, stripping it of spare parts and supplies. Thrakhath was in full pursuit, nearly over taking the Tarawa. Intrepid was overtaken, and destroyed while it bought Tarawa time to escape. A second carrier jumped into the system. The Tarawa survivors were ecstatic to learn that the new ship was the Concordia using a Kilrathi transponder code. Concerned that Concordia might be the first of many ships in a follow-up attack on Kilrah, Thrakhath retreated to Kilrah to link up with survivors of Vukar Tag.
All in all, Vukar Tag was a disaster for the Kilrathi. The loss of the shipyards in orbit of Kilrah weakened the Kilrah Pride even more. The loss of the blood of the Eight caused outrage against the Emperor by the Council of Eight, where as other planetary Prides began to demand blood for the loss of the finest males those Prides ever produced. At the end of 2667, the Emperor and his Pride were in a fine mess, with a total of eleven carriers (finished and otherwise) destroyed in the space of a Terran week. To add insult to insult and injury, when the Kilrathi withdrew from Vukar Tag, so did Confed, but not before destroying every building on the planet they had captured.
Tarawa was in such a sorry shape that Banbridge wanted to simply scrap her. However, the President of the Confederation over rode his decision, demanding that for the sake of public morale, that the first ship to Kilrah be repaired and restored, ready to fight another day. Celebrations raged across the Confederation for nearly a month as the euphoria of striking the Kilrathi at their very heart slowly wore off.
09-29-2010, 12:07 PM
The raid on Kilrah in 2667, was followed by several other raids against other shipyards across the Empire. More were destroyed, along with the ships under construction. Fighter plants were also targeted, as well as anti-matter production facilities and even ground vehicle assembly plants. The Kilrathi killed three of the escort carriers, but by the start of the year, Confed had seventeen more deployed. It was far easier to target and destroy a couple of strike carriers instead of a couple dozen escort carriers. Cost for cost, Confed throwing away an escort carrier was more than worth the exchange of a Kilrathi shipyard or assembly plant.
A worse blow came from the constant attacks on convoys throughout the Empire. The escort carriers would jump in, destroy the convoys and move on before the Kilrathi Navy could respond. The fact that the CVEs were small enough to slip through narrow jump points made their attacks that much more unpredictable. The Kilrathi had to pull front line warships back to protect convoys, and even this was not a guarantee against the Wakes. Losses in shipping were so high in the first months of 2668, that the Kilrathi lines in the Epsilon Sector were in danger of collapsing due to lack of supplies.
Once again, the war was swinging in favor of Confed. The disaster at Vukar Tag did not help the Kilrah Pride in the least bit. Though they were still in control of the Empire, another Vukar Tag might tip the balance of power enough to rectify that. Confed attacks were also threatening the Hari Project. On the opposite side of the Empire from Confed, the Kilrah Pride had a second shipyard. In it, were nine Hakaga-class carriers, each carrier with six reinforced flight decks. The ships themselves were 1.6 kilometers in length. Even these were dwarfed by the Hvar’kann Project, a dreadnaught of ridiculous proportions (22 kilometers) and enough firepower to destroy an entire fleet. This one ship, under construction for two years, would not be completed before 2669 even if accelerated. Thrakhath would not be denied a chance to use his personal flagship. Five Hakagas could within a couple of months, with the rest on-line by the end of the year, again if the project was accelerated and corners cut.
None of this was possible if the supply lines were cut, or worse yet, Confed Intel discovered the shipyards in the Hari System, and struck before they were completed. A way was needed to keep Confed off their backs long enough to commission five of those carriers at the very least, ideally all of them and the dreadnaught. However, the Kilrah Pride was quickly losing support and the Emperor feared a coup if the war drug on much longer. Thus entered Jukaga nar Ki’ra, King of the Ki’ra Pride. With his Pride’s long standing study of the Terrans behind him, he formulated a plan that was promised to work.
June 11, 2668 A.L., The Kilrathi sent an armistice proposal to Confed. Many politicians in Congress leapt for it, seeing peace finally around the corner. The armistice called for immediately cession of hostilities as well as demobilization along the frontier. Congressmen from the Vega and Enigma Sectors opposed the armistice, suspecting a trap. They had first hand account of Kilrathi tenacity. They might fall back, but they do not give up. Suing for peace was totally out of character. When the vote was held, there was still an overwhelming majority in favor, and the armistice was accepted only days after receiving it.
Kilrathi living within the Confederation were appalled at how fast Confed’s government accepted the peace, and warned that any respect Terrans had earned in the Kilrathi’s eyes after decades of resistance was all but destroyed by this move. Counter-arguments from pro-peace factions in Confed stated that the Kilrathi were losing their ability to wage war and decided to get out while they were still in a position of strength to hold their own Empire together.
Banbridge was against the armistice, knowing that if Confed pressed the war for even one more year, they could have broken the Kilrathi. Now, the Kilrathi would pull back into their borders and rebuild. Banbridge was determined to do the same. He issued the order to the fleet to cease hostilities, as well as demobilize. However, he took the old Concordias completely out of service, and demobilized several carriers and battleships that were in desperate need of an overhaul. The Kilrathi did a similar thing, decommissioning all of their obsolete ships– for the time being.
Reception of the cession orders were sporadic. In the Munro System, Tolwyn was leading an attack on Munro III, planning to finally clear a path to conquering the planet. Both sides of the conflict received the orders, and the Kilrathi carrier in orbit of Munro III obeyed, even lowering its shields. Whether it was a communication error, or the temptation of an unprotected Kilrathi carrier was too great, but the carrier was destroyed by bombers off Concordia and Tarawa (only recently put back into action). An unshielded Kilrathi carrier could be killed by a lone bomber with no losses to Confed, where as a defended one would cost many fighters and pilots. Tolwyn was brought before a court’s marshal and found guilty of disobeying orders. He was removed from command, but not cashiered. Instead, Banbridge put him in charge of a covert operation deep into Kilrathi space, to learn just what they were up to.
Public reaction to the armistice was explosive. A majority of the population never knew a time before the war, and could not believe it was over. POWs were released by both sides. The Terrans came home by the shuttle loads, and were quickly debriefed by Confed Intel, as well as analyzed by them. Kilrathi personalty plant technics were known, and many of the former POWs were believed to have been brainwashed. Kilrathi POWs were not so eager to return home. They were captured in battle and had no future. Even if they won a Pride from other males, the Pride females would not accept a King who once was prisoner. Some refused to return to Kilrathi space, knowing what was in store for them during their debriefing. The issue of Terran slaves held by the Kilrathi was not resolved, and would not be until the peace conference planned later that year.
The euphoria of the civilians with the Sol Sector was met with hostility to those on the frontier. Those who once lived under the Kilrathi wanted the Kilrathi destroyed, and knew they would not co-exist with any species. The Landreich flat out rejected the armistice. It did not demobilize, in fact it approached Confed in attempts to purchase older ships that were decommissioned. A flood of aging Ferrets and Sabers entered the Landreich, as the older fighters were replaced by newer ones.
Confed also had to figure out what to do with the hundreds of million of soldiers that would be returning to private life. Not to mention retooling the Confederation’s entire industry for civilian use. On a plus side, so much money was saved due to lack of consumer goods, that Confed hoped for an economic boom to offset the release of so many unemployed soldiers.
The Hari Project
With the use of an ultra-secret communication device (so secret that its developers had their own deaths faked in order to cover it up), a small fleet of four escort carriers, Tarawa, Normandy, Round Hammer and Overlord, sat at a far edge of the Kilrathi Empire. They traversed the far frontier of the Empire, starting in the Landreich, and slowly came into range of the Hari System. The Hari were an old enemy of the Kilrathi, and before the Terrans, offered the most resistance to the Kilrathi. It took them two years to conquer the Hari, and that was only due to the size of their territory. Smaller, jump capable ships (such as modified Sabers) jumped further into Kilrathi space. Communications of the Kilrathi were intercepted and easily decoded by the new machine.
The Hakaga-class carriers were uncovered in great detail, making all in the fleet who learned of their capabilities sick. This was the reason for the false peace, so the Kilrathi could complete the ships unmolested. A dreadnaught was uncovered, but the Kilrathi transmitted little about that, except it would be some time before it could be completed and it would not be participating in the final battle. Another bit of Intel was received, all of it was decoded except one Kilrathi word. Kilrathi Intel officers serving in the fleet were summoned to translate it. It was but two words: Life-Eater.
The Life-Eater virus was learned to be a new biological weapon. It was fast spreading and quick killing. How it worked was not well known, except that it destroyed all cells with Earth primate DNA. If enough were released high in the atmosphere of a planet, then the whole human population would likely be dead in the space of a couple of weeks. The Life-Eater was ready and was being installed on a Kilrathi cruiser (later revealed to be the flagship of Jukaga). With this information, the Intel Fleet jumped back towards Landreich and Confederation Space as fast as they could, sending jump capable fighters ahead of them.
Cease Fire Broken
In October of 2668, the Kilrathi ambassador (a rare creature if there ever was one) met with several high ranking Confed officers and the Joint Chiefs, including Banbridge (who is the head of the JC), on Earth. The point of the meeting was to discuss the repatriation of slaves from the Epsilon Sector. However, the ambassador was one of the many brain-washed individuals the Kilrathi had spread across space. Not only did they do this to aliens, but to their own people as well. Along with brain-washing, the ambassador had a devices with a few milligrams of anti-matter stored in his chest. Shortly into the meeting, the bomb detonated, killing most of those attending, including Banbridge. General Grecko was the highest ranking survivor, and now head of the JC. With Confed’s military leader ship crippled, Thrakhath made his move.
The Kilrathi armada, with five of the Hakagas and more than a thousand fighters, was first spotted in the Eddings System. The local militia were swept aside and Eddings Station destroyed before the Kilrathi jumped into Weslyn. The Weslyn System fared worse. Weslyn Station was destroyed, along with all fighters launched from it and from the planets in the system. One of the planets was targeted with Life-Eater, which resulted in the death of tens of millions of Terrans.
Confed could not mount a defense again the invasion until the Sirius System, deep inside Sol Sector. Tolwyn was reinstated (due to lack of senior officers) and given back Concordia, as well as four other carriers. November was a black month for Confed. Two of Tolwyn’s carriers were destroyed, Waterloo and Austerlitz along with several other smaller ships. One old Snakier was knocked off the Kilrathi fleet, but that was barely noticed. Tolwyn had little choice but to jump back to Sol System, where ships were being mobilized as fast as possible. This was a great sacrifice, for without the fleet, Sirius Prime was wide open.
A partially terraformed planet, Sirius Prime was larger than Earth and home to twice as many Terrans. Sirius militia fought a fierce battle, with some pilots choosing to ram the Kilrathi ships rather than be shot down. They did little damage, but orbit fortress’s sensors detected weaknesses in the Kilrathi shielding. It was not the defensive shields, but rather the force fields that held in atmosphere inside the flight decks. The information was transmitted back to Sol, before the fortresses were destroyed. With the last resistance gone, the Kilrathi unleashed Life-Eater upon Sirius Prime, killing all of its inhabitants.
Battle of Earth
The Kilrathi fleet jumped into the Sol System in December of 2668. Sol had a formidable defensive wall, but the Kilrathi bypassed Jupiter and a partially-terraformed Mars, and headed for Earth. Confed launched all of its ships, including unprepared Concordias. The Viking had only a couple of squadron of fighters, and was easily destroyed, along with the TCS Mackinac. The Kilrathi divided their attack force, with one wing headed for the shipyards of Mercury, another for facilities on Luna, and the largest straight in for Earth.
Facilities on Mercury and in orbit were all but destroyed. The TCS Arc Royal was still on the planet’s surface when it was destroyed. The battleship Emperor of India attempted to hold off the attack on Mercury, but was broken by a swarm of fighters. Ancient cities on Luna, the oldest off-Earth settlements of humanity, were wiped clean of the moon’s surface. The Kilrathi showed no interest in taking the facilities, but only in finally destroying humanity.
In a desperate gamble, Grecko used the information from Sirius to formulate a plan to board the monster carriers. They might not be able to destroy them from without, but a fusion warhead would do the job from within. To cover his shuttles, he ordered thousands of fighters, bombers, corvettes, transports, anything that can fly, into service. There job was to draw off fire while the shuttles breached the defenses. Drawing fire was a suicide mission, but all involved knew Earth was doomed if they did nothing, so they were dead either way.
Not all Kilrathi bombers went after ships. A handful of them made attack runs on Earth, with anti-ship missiles. Earth Station was destroyed, as was Luna Station. Bombers hit Forts Arnold, Carson and Braxton, destroying them all. Remaining fighters targeted the planet itself. The annihilation warheads they carried would be more than enough to destroy cities. Of all the missiles launched, twelve broke through, destroying Confed HQ in Damascus, the Capital in New Delhi, Earth’s academy in Recife, as well as Chicago, Kiev and a dozen other cities. These fighters returned to their carriers to rearm.
Grecko and his Marines managed to pass through the force fields and land inside the Hakagas. Three of the five super carriers were boarded (one carrier fought off the attempt, and the fifth was at Mercury). Grecko knew the mission was one way, but Marines on all three ships fought deep into the carriers before setting of their fusion warheads. Three of the Hakagas expanded like balloons before shattering completely. Unfortunately, Thrakhath had launched in one of his Bloodfangs before his carrier was destroyed. With three of their five super carriers destroyed, the Kilrathi assault began to lose steam.
Tolwyn managed a counter-attack against the fourth ship. Though it was not destroyed, its escorts were, along with a lighter carrier. The Tarawa task force jumped into the system on the last day of the battle, and dove straight into the Kilrathi fleet. Jukaga’s cruiser neared Earth, as it has Sirius Prime, preparing to fire. Nobody is exactly sure what happened, if the cruiser hesitated due to technical problems, its captain concerned of leaving his own flank exposed during the attack run, or even if Jukaga had a change of heart. The important thing is that his cruiser did hesitate, long enough for fighters from the four escort carriers to catch up with it and destroy it.
With the damage done, to both Confed and his own fleet, Thrakhath order his fleet to fall back for the time being. Confederation power was broken, and the Crown Prince decided to prepare a second and final attack on Earth, but only after his new flagship was finished. The losses to industry and military facilities in the Sol System, as well as over two billion dead during the whole attack (most on Sirius Prime, but a hundred million on Earth), he considered the attack on Kilrah avenged. He planned to return the following year, this time to end the war.
One Last Casualty
The Kilrathi fleet did not retreat in good order. The Hakaga that attacked Mercury escaped with its escorts into the Enigma Sector, while the rest of the fleet made a straight line back to the Empire. Concordia was ordered to pursue. Tolwyn was reassigned to Jupiter Station, the new Confed HQ, to organize some sort of recovery effort in the Sol System, as well as to bring more ships on line. At another shipyard in the Sol Sector, the first of the Dreadnaught-class battleships was being rushed into service, along with the carrier Maui Strait. Tolwyn did not believe these would be enough to offset the destruction to Confed, and for the time being, the balance had tipped decisively into the Kilrathi’s favor.
Concordia caught up with the Kilrathi super carrier in the Vespus System. The Hakaga carried on it a flight of Strakhas which it deployed to trap Concordia. After the Kilrathi carrier made a close fly-by of Vespus III, Concordia pursued. It was when it was closest to the planet that the Strakha decloaked and struck. Destroying the Concordia’s engines, the ship was unable to alter its course. Concordia plunged into the planet’s atmosphere, crashing off the Vestal Coast and killing all on board.
09-29-2010, 12:08 PM
Following the disaster at Earth, both sides reassessed their situations. For the Emperor, the Kilrah Pride was bankrupt, expending so much in rushing the Hari Project, and at the loss of a good portion of that investment. Worse yet, the Emperor is diagnosed with cancer. Kilrathi medical science has always been lacking, and he has been given less than a (Terran) year to live. The Emperor has reigned over the Empire for 36 years, longer than virtually all Kilrathi had been alive. He was well over sixty, and ancient age for the short-lived Kilrathi. Not only are many planetary Prides clamoring for victory, but the Emperor wishes to face Sivar and the other gods, only after leading his people to victory.
Confed’s situation was dire. The Terran Confederation Navy was effectively broken, even with a pair of new battleships and a single super carrier of their own coming on line. They were still outnumber two-to-one in carriers, and lacked the ability to defend the frontier. If the Kilrathi came from several vectors at once, they would win. It was that simple. Even if they came as a single thrust, which was expected sometime during the year, Confed was still unlikely to keep back the Kilrathi. Times were so desperate, older ships were forced into frontline service, including the surviving Concordia-class carriers (light carriers by the 2660s standards). Anything with guns was pressed into service.
Over the past decade, Confed Intel and R&D have developed several covert projects, all of them doomsday devices. The most prominent was headed by Tolwyn; the Behemoth project. Behemoth was to rushed into service as fast as possible. Various parts of the ship would remain unfinished as all effort went into make engines, shields, and the main weapon operational. Even after the terror of thirty-five years, some in the meeting of January 7, were reluctant to release such a weapon upon the galaxy. But, hope for a conventional victory against the Kilrathi was all but gone. As Tolwyn said at the end of the meeting, "The war is drawing to a close. In six months, either Earth or Kilrah will be in ruins." With that, Project Behemoth was put into action.
The Kilrathi struck at several worlds during the next few months, pasting each with the Life-Eater virus. The first on their list was Locanda IV. The planet had been occupied by the Kilrathi before, but was no longer seen as useful. Instead of simply abandoning the planet, they would exterminate its population before leaving the system. Despite efforts by the Victory task force, the Kilrathi succeeded in bombing the planet. Afterwards, they struck at worlds in the Delius System and at the Epsilon System. Millions were killed on each planet, and the whole systems were quarantined by Confed.
The Behemoth Project
The TCS Behemoth was the largest warship Confed ever produced. It was two kilometers in length, and most of that comprised of amplifiers. Behemoth took the PTC design to an extreme, and with the amplifiers, built up a beam from the most powerful PTC to well over 500,000,000 gigawatts. Not only would this vaporize any ship it hit, but it would easily punch through the crust of a planet, and likely the mantle as well. Kilrah was a very unstable world in the geological sense, and the fly-by with tractor beams in 2667, only made it worse. If the Behemoth could fire at Kilrah, and burn down to its core, it was calculated that the planet would tear itself apart, and possibly explode.
Behemoth was a planet-killer, there was no two ways about it. The ship was rushed into service, with several shield generators that were designed to overlap. The shields were powerful, new multi-phase shielding, and could hold off Kilrathi attacks long enough to get its one shot off at Kilrah. After that, what happened to the ship did not matter. The shielding was not perfect, as there were gaps in the shielding. To test the biggest gun in the universe, the Behemoth was escorted to the Loki System, not far from Kilrah. Loki VI was an unstable world, similar in some geologic respects to Kilrah, and was also home to a Kilrathi garrison. The escort ships and fighters, including the carrier Victory, cleared a part for Behemoth which successfully destroyed the Kilrathi garrison, and punched clean through the planet’s crust. The gun was so powerful, it destroyed the planet.
Tragedy struck as the Behemoth was moving into Hyperion System, and preparing for the jump to Kilrah. A large Kilrathi battle group intercepted the Behemoth and its smaller ships. Due to more Kilrathi sleeper agents, the location of the weapon’s weak spots were located and exploited. Behemoth was destroyed before it could even reach Kilrah. The destruction of the ship was a deathblow to Confed morale, and Admirals made ready for a final battle, believing the end was nigh.
The Kilrathi Armada
With the completion of the Hvar’kann, and the Emperor’s impending death, Thrakhath ordered that the Council of Eight (now seven following purges that greatly weakened the Ki’ra Pride) send their own fleets to assemble in order of Kilrah. Centered around the lone dreadnaught were twelve Kilrathi carriers, thirty cruisers, and on the surface of the planet, ten million Kilrathi soldiers assembled for the final battle. Thrakhath would conquer Earth and offer it to Sivar.
Behemoth was not the only secret weapon in Confed’s arsenal. One of the craziest ideas cooked up was a tectonic resonant frequency weapon, code-named the Temblor Bomb. The device could not bust a planet, but Confed Intel gathered enough information about Kilrah, especially from cloaked probes in the system, to pinpoint a location on the planet were several faults converge. Over the past five years, a Doctor Severin worked out the math and designed a weapon that would hit the planet’s resonant frequency at that very spot. He was unsure if Kilrah would explode, but the shifting of the planet’s plates would level everything on the surface.
His bomb was ready in 2669, after Severin was freed from Kilrathi captivity in the Alcor System. The bomb was small enough to be carried by a single fighter. Confed planned to deploy a squadron of Excaliburs, the newest Confed fighter and the only one to deploy Confed’s first cloaking device. Admiral Turner’s plan was to deploy the last of Confed’s naval forces in the Munro System, in a desperate attempt to finally drive the Kilrathi out. While the battle raged, the cloaked fighters would slip into the Kilrah System in a roundabout route. If all went according to plan, the fighters would deliver the T-bomb and destroy the Kilrah Pride, thus destabilizing the whole Empire.
Leading the squadron off of Victory, which jumped into the Freya System to get the fighters as close to Kilrah as possible, was one Captain Blair, known for his actions on board Tiger’s Claw and Concordia, and known to the Kilrathi as the Heart of the Tiger. The Excaliburs reached Kilrah undetected, and discovered the giant armada in orbit of the planet. There was little they could do against that firepower, but Blair knew a failure here would spell the end of Confed.
The fighters dove into the atmosphere, and were detected as they decloaked to make their attack run. Kilrathi fighters were upon them in an instant, lead by the Crown Prince himself. In a dogfight over the skies of Kilrah, Blair shot down and killed Thrakhath in single combat. The epic battle brought the other Kilrathi to a halt, as they tried to figure out a way to defeat a pilot so mighty as to slay their own Crown Prince. That delay was enough to allow Blair to deliver the T-bomb precisely on target. As he pulled out the atmosphere, the T-bomb’s resonance set off a chain reaction inside of Kilrah. The earthquakes were so strong, that the plates were forced apart in areas, and the mantle exposed. The pressure was explosively equalized as Kilrah blew itself apart.
In orbit around the crumbling planet, the Kilrathi Armada was caught by kilometers-size chunks of crust and mantle being flung outwards. Not only did the T-bomb destroy the Kilrathi homeworld, but it resulted in the virtual annihilation of the Kilrathi Navy, as well as most males of the Eight, and the entire Kilrah Pride. Blair was picked up by a surviving cruiser, commanded by Thrakhath’s former retainer. The Kilrathi viewed Blair’s success as divine retribution, at Sivar’s displeasure in the Kilrathi. Blair was seen as the warrior who single-handedly brought down the Kilrah Pride as well as the Empire. His life was spared out of respect for his might, and the retainer Melik, personally surrendered to him.
The Treaty of Torgo
Kilrathi survivors that rallied around Melik met with Confed Supreme Commanders and Joint Chiefs in the Torgo System for the signing of the instruments of surrender, and peace treaty. For the first time in thirty-five years, humanity had known peace. Unlike the false peace, the Kilrathi navy was simply gone. Even before the meeting, planetary Prides across Kilrah turned on each other as the stronger vied for the throne of their lost homeworld. The Kilrathi were already on the road to civil war that the removal of their most powerful oppressors had unleashed.
The military points of the treaty, such as withdrawal from Confed space and decommissioning of their fleets did not move according to Confed’s designs. Kilrathi warriors were already moving back into the Empire on their own, seeking to do battle with their own kind. The same was true with the surviving ships, which sided with various Prides. The treaty also stipulated the end of slavery and freeing of slaves. Not just Terrans, but all slaves under the Kilrathi heel. The Empire would not be occupied, nor would Confed impose its will upon them. Many admirals and generals believed the Kilrathi would eventually destroy themselves
09-29-2010, 12:08 PM
There, I've posted the whole war. The End.
Good work, I have enjoyed this TL very much.
09-30-2010, 07:44 AM
Me too. This was great!
09-30-2010, 01:35 PM
Thank you. Thank you. I do try.
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