The Hokum - Chapter 5.75

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The Hokum - Chapter 5.75

Postby Zume on Sat 28 Jun 2014 10:35

Assault elements from Star Force 1, Third Advance Fleet, were now positioned at the Laser Burn/Cain warp point. A probe force consisting of four Blockhouse battleships and two Ablative battlecruisers was used instead of the slow, tedious process of scouting with pinnaces. There was no alternative for the number of Dispersion escorts present were too few to insure a handful, or even one, would return with definitive sensor data.

The ships went in and none returned, not even a courier drone. Lord Admiral’s Jocelin’s Frontier Fleet and warp point defenses were such that the two Blockhouses carrying fighters were destroyed outright as well as one Ablative. As for the other three ships, after having their overload dampeners lanced by needle beams, they were drenched with energy beam fire from weapon buoys. Boarding parties took care of the surviving crews and tugs pulled the trio towards the Cain/Stonewash warp point. For the cost of losing three laser buoys and light armor damage to one base the Hokum gained fresh hulls for them to convert to their own use and then turned upon the Axis.

Under pressure from Star Admiral Mansel, the commander of SF1, System Admiral Versov proceeded with his assault two days later. In the first wave 160 small ships, ranging from explorers to frigates, emerged along with 200 Machete armed pinnaces. 46 ships and 30 Machetes interpenetrated, their explosions serving as involuntary fireworks as two Soars and three Falcon Crest carriers followed. Transit-addled sensors painted a formidable picture. 1.25 light-seconds out, within jamming range, and positioned subjective northeast and southwest were two groups of bases. 4 LS to the ‘north’ were six bases with three more 4 LS south. The CAP alone comprised 144 fighters and 32 pinnaces, all of which left their 0.5 LS orbit and mingled over the warp point. Further out to the southeast at 1.5 LS were the warships: 23 BCs, 23 CAs, 27 DDs and 6 FGs. In addition there were 3 DNs and 6 BBs, all former Axis hulls and painted in the Hokum colors of yellow and blue. There was no doubt which targets the Axis were going after first. At 3.75 LS north were three groups of ships containing fleet and small carriers, escort cruisers, and battleship-sized pinnace tenders. Buoys numbered 657. With unflinching resolve the crews of the Axis ships fired their temporarily degraded weapons at the solitary type-5 base and mine clearance charges at a point of space 0.25 LS beyond their exit vector.

In the opening exchange just 9 of the small ships were destroyed. As for the assault carriers they were either obliterated or had their fighter-filled bays crushed, save one, proving that their fighters were armed with standard close-attack missiles. Of those carriers that survived their engine rooms were knocked out of commission from the lavish use of ADMs by the Hokum fleet. 17 Machetes were blotted out, but for that all 32 CAP pinnaces, both armed and regular, were shot down in turn. 12 buoys and 32 mine patterns in the innermost shell were likewise blasted from the continuum. Fortunately two bases mounting buoy control systems activated and fired 200 force beam buoys. Only 7 small ships still had their shields up despite what force and needle beams and capital missiles could do. 14 of 24 CAP squadrons failed to reach action stations.

Just two Grenadier 3s and two Dispersions transited back to Laser Burn with the former denuded of their overload dampeners and het lasers thanks to needle beams. Coming in to replace them was a Talon Pride, two more Soars, two Hand of Providence SDs, and a Raptor. The sole Falcon Crest with intact hangers launched its four squadrons of Hatchets, bent on engaging the defending Spear fighters while the Machetes set out to destroy the inner shell of bases.

It was a harrowing ordeal for the Axis flight crews. For a full light-second the pinnaces, divided into groups of two, were decimated by mines. While the inner shell was thick enough to hem in the ships the outer parts were very thin, just enough to menace the Machetes. 51 of the armed craft were destroyed by the mines when the 102 survivors (51 and 51) reached the inner bases, each group having five CAP squadrons (having expended their FRAMs on the carriers) in tow to further reduce their numbers. With the fleet just out of range of the northeast bases, except for those ships equipped with Dcx, the Machetes fulfilled their mission and obliterated all six bases and a like number of Spear squadrons but not before taking heavy losses. As for the Grenadiers they kept to their mission of firing mine clearance charges while those armed with lasers lacerated a Hokum battleship. The Providence SDs joined in, half of their weapons still finding the mark and crushed shields and armor alike on the converted vessel. As for the Hokum they used their needle beams to lance overload dampeners and jammers while more ADMs burned out engines.

The 28 Spear squadrons crash-launched earlier were just moments from the warp point, much to Jocelin’s relief, and he was pleased that another buoy control system went on-line and, in coordination with the other two, a grand total of 300 energy beam buoys were fired against 100 Axis ships. A good number of the Grenadiers were unfazed only because they had to burn out their overload dampeners while the Critical Mass ships were e-hulked. Just two more Dispersions, a Critical Mass 2 and three Grenadiers transited back to Laser Burn. Going with them were the Machetes, now clean of FRAMs, taking what the minefields dished out and incurring more losses. Still, had they stayed, they would’ve been shot down, and having 31 crews out of the initially 200 was better than none.

The four Hatchet squadrons were dealt with, and again there wasn’t enough damage inflicted on all of the second wave carriers. 36 fresh Hatchet fighters leaped into space, joined by the incoming third wave comprised of three Falcon Crest carriers, two Battering Ram DNs and a Cannonade. Backed by the jammers on the large assault ships they tore into fresh Spear squadrons launched a minute earlier. The Raptor let loose its horde of 20 Stiletto escort shuttles. Jocelin saw first-hand that the craft were just small enough to be ignored by mines as they raced to the Imposer class battleships. With help from the assault ships the little craft secured the death of two Imposers before they were killed in turn. None of the new carriers were left with intact hanger bays thanks to the influx of Spears and the other third wave ships were very much the worst for wear. Again needle beams and ADMs from newly active ships, plus follow-up by 88 energy beam buoys, took care of Axis engine rooms, leaving many adrift.

When the fourth wave came in it was passed by those Dispersions and Grenadiers that had lost their weapons and jammers but retained motive power to leave. While the latest wave was lead by two Falcon Crests what came after them were unidentified classes. There was a pair of battlecruisers roughly the same mass as that of a Foreguard, each armed with a spinal force beam and capital energy beam, and two superdreadnaughts. One had four hetlasers and another fifteen sprint missile launchers. It didn’t matter for there was enough firepower on hand to crush, but not destroy, carriers and warships alike. Only a single Grenadier 3 left when the fifth, and final, wave entered Cain. Two minesweeping DNs, three BBs and a BC were beaten and broken, making the area about the warp point a collection of shattered hulls and clouds of dispersed atmosphere.

Jocelin tallied the losses: four Imposer BBs, one BS5, two BS4E, two BS4, one BS4Pg, 86 Spears, 20 Garrochas, 12 pinnaces, 19 buoys and 90 patterns of mines. Indeed, had the Axis been more aggressive they could’ve cleared that part of the inner mine shell they’ve targeted. Or had there been twice as many Machetes then the ship losses would’ve stood higher. Instead the Hokum were now in the possession of one Talon Pride SD(V), 2 Soar DN(V)s, 7 Falcon Crest CVs, 1 Raptor BB(V), 2 Providence SDs, 1 War Engine SD, 1 Sapper SD, 1 Battering Ram DN, 2 Grim Reaper DN(MS), 1 Cannonade BB, 1 National Power BB, 2 Rapier BCs, 1 Hero BC, 14 Grenadier 5s, 11 Grenadier 4s. 6 Grenadier 4?js, 6 Grenadier 3s, 8 Grenadier 2s, 8 Dispersion ESs and 13 Critical Mass 2 EXs.

The Hokum marines had more than their fill of combat as they boarded all the ships, additional platoons being drawn from the destroyers to take care of the Grenadiers. While the combats were underway the two attached fleet tugs went to work. First, all 89 ships were taken to a spot 20 light-seconds from the warp point. Once combat was resolved the tugs, along with the pair of Leash 2s (which brought the six defense frigates to Cain), began the process of towing the Axis hulls to the Cain/Stonewash warp point. Priority was given to the carriers and full-sized frigates with the rest being retrieved as time allowed.

With the inner bases gone any future attack will be focused on the ships. With two more months before the last three bases were completed Jocelin was left to ponder how Lord Admiral Janus, his superior, was going to respond to the news.


********


In the common area of her cabin aboard the flagship Watch Tower Janus was tracing with her back left forefinger the lines of a holographic map. With her was Cirro, her chief of staff. The lines responded to her touch, turning from blue to amber to red, depending how long she held her finger on any particular line. In this case the lines represented warp links with one forming a long, red strand.

“Well, Cirro, it appears we got them exactly where they want us,” Janus said with dampened sarcasm. “Our fleet is holding the line here in Tire Iron, preventing the Axis forces in Bedrock from linking up with the colonies in the Fallowed Field system. Jocelin’s fleet in Cain has repulsed the enemy, and he has to stay there to prevent any more incursions from Laser Burn. But what the Axis has failed from direct attacks he may succeed from blockade.”

“It comes down to just how much of an effort they’ll put into it,” Cirro responded, looking at the highlighted warp line. “Moving on from Metalstorm the Axis now has Abyssal 019, BRB-1, Red Wire, Ampere and most likely Blood Pride. They were all systems conquered by the Commonwealth and I doubt there were any minefields in place. Why would there be, since we controlled the systems beyond the ones I mentioned.” Her finger jabbed at three small spheres representing systems. “Com-14, linked to Ampere, has just 300 patterns of mines, 120 laser buoys and a solitary control base. Com-16 is equally fortified with its link to Red Wire. Defenses at the Cain/Red Wire warp point has twice as many automated weapons and three fighter bases. All were put there earlier in the campaign with the first two serving more as tripwires meant more to slow the enemy and give us time to formulate a response.”

“They have plenty of choices if they get control of Com-7, one transit out of Com-14.” Cirro touched the holographic sphere until it turned red. “From there it’s just two transits from Doorstop, allowing them to fortify the warp point to Whel. Or they can go to Com-11, Com-21 and Stonewash. With forces in Stonewash, Ampere and Red Wire they’ll seal off both the Expeditionary and Frontier fleets."

Janus double-tapped the sphere icon representing Com-14 so that it returned to its original blue color. She then touched and held the Solid State icon until it turned red. “I don’t doubt they’ll send in a raider group via Com-14 to disrupt our transportation routes and wreck the comm buoy network in our rear area. The main purpose for the Axis incursion, I believe, is to reestablish contact with the Fallowed Field system.” Her finger traced the link between the two sphere icons. “The defenses guarding the Solid State/Fallowed Field are comprised of three fighter and three missile bases with two automated weapon control ships and a respectable mine field and buoy parks. When the Axis entered Solid State via BRB-1, after dispatching the light minefield we had placed there a few weeks ago, we were able to confirm the presence of some ships near the warp point after the fighter patrols chased them off.”

“Admiral, what do they hope to achieve since we can send in light forces to further bolster security?”

“When you consider the time involved, Cirro, the amount of resources stockpiled by the three colonies in Fallowed Field must be appreciable. While we made sure they built no spaceports there’s every reason to believe they have underground storehouses or other hidden facilities with which to hide supplies and processed materials. Should Solid State fall and contact reestablished the Axis will have the means to produce much in the way of automated weapons, replacement fighters, armed pinnaces and those new attack shuttles.” Janus removed her back left hand from the holographic map and enabled a viewer with her right front hand. “The Presidio has sent new orders. What reinforcements that were slated for us will be going to Com-7 to guard the Com-7/Com-14 warp point. Admiral Jocelin will be assigning some of his ships to cover the Cain/Red Wire warp point. His reinforcements already enroute will cover the Cain/Stonewash warp point. As for us I’m assigning the six small carriers currently undergoing refit in Fallowed Field to assist the defenses in Solid State once the work is done.”

“What of our Terpla’n allies?” Cirro asked. “Those freighters, troopships, mobile yards and their escorts that escaped Bedrock are currently in Fallowed Field. Had it not been for the rapid Axis advance they would’ve been in the Blood Pride system by now.”

“I’ve been considering that, Cirro. The task group commander knows about the sighting of the Axis scouts in Solid State, so he had to come to the conclusion his way out has been shut closed.” She regarded her subordinate like a schoolmaster proctoring a test to an honor student. “I’m sure a sincere and to-the-point request for assistance will persuade them to help.”

The chief of staff flexed his back pair of hands. “The way you’re looking at me tells me that I should write and send that request at my earliest convenience.”

“That will be appreciated, Cirro.”


********


System Admiral Wertay wondered what those infernal, quad-armed Hokum freaks were up to in Woodshop, one transit out from Bandstand. Seventeen of their snooping pinnaces had been detected and destroyed at the Bandstand/Woodshop warp point, leaving Wertay to believe that at least one will make a successful scan of the immediate environs. What they will see are two Bulwark 2s and a like number of Bulwark 3 asteroid forts. Matched one for one, they sat opposite each other 1.25 light-seconds from the warp point, just within jamming range. Along with them were two refitted Battlement-class forts, trading fighter bays for additional beam and sprint missile launchers. Three BS5 fighter bases, two automated weapon control bases, one small craft base, 44 squadrons of Hatchet fighters and 56 Stiletto escort shuttles completed the manned fixed defenses. 810 patterns of mines (in two shells) and 300 laser and 120 primary beam buoys surrounded the warp point. Just six destroyers and three light cruisers comprised the mobile defense force.

Wertay knew that the demands for Operation Restoration required sacrifices, but he didn’t realized just how far Fleet Operations and the First Leader were willing to go. Bandstand was considered a ‘backwater’ system. Three warp links up the chain lead to a system that had a close warp point leading further back into Axis space. Naturally this point was heavily fortified on the far side should the enemy capture data on the warp point’s location. Battlement had a similar arrangement for one of its other warp points leading back to Axis space. All the capital ships completed in Bandstand’s shipyards were immediately sent to other fronts without the crews undergoing extensive training under Wertay’s tutorage. He had to make do with what was on hand and wait for units currently under construction to be completed. Three more Bulwark 3 forts and six BS5s will be completed in one and two months’ time respectively. Additionally fighter bases for lunar and asteroid colonies were proceeding at a pace dedicated by available resources, meaning that their belated start all were currently at 20% completion.

What was the biggest thorn under Wertay’s skin was the underwhelming amount of mine patterns and weapon buoys. Being a backwater system there was no need for such weapons, and the control bases were only there in the first place because they were stored as prefabricated parts. Indeed, the three fighter bases were partly there so as to train new pilots, and roughly half of all the Hatchets were of the F0 model for replacing them with F1s went at a slow pace. Of course it would be another month before the current number of automated weapons at the warp point would see a major increase. Time looked as if it favored the enemy.


Segment Admiral Calixto offered her thanks to the Five Gods for giving her the time to assemble and prepare her forces for the Bandstand assault. 17 pinnace crews failed to return from their probes but the 18th did, giving her confidence for success and assuring her that those crews didn’t die in vain. With the Axis incursion into Solid State, the repulsed assault from Laser Burn, and the continued need to hold Tire Iron the pressure to succeed here at Bandstand was great.

Strike Fleet received ships in the form of new assault carriers and dreadnaughts originally slated for Admiral Jocelin’s Frontier Fleet. However the bulk of her force was made up of captured and converted Axis hulls. Given their predilection of destroying such ships on sight it was a fine way to distract the Axis but even they weren’t fools all the time. Besides, mitigating losses had to be considered and in that Calixto found a way.

A Garrocha wave 216 strong was sent in ahead of the ships to destroy and cripple as many of the asteroid forts as possible. Divided in two groups, the armed pinnaces went after the forts like three-day starved dogs. After losses from interpenetration, the decimation in the two mine shells and the attention of those active fighters, escort shuttles and forts the Garrochas destroyed two of the latter, crippled another and eliminated the passive defenses of a fourth. For that there were 70 survivors. Instead of retreating back to Woodshop the pinnaces moved away from the forts, now tasked to look for other enemy forces and to entice the Hatchets and Stilettos to follow.

Discipline held in the Axis ranks for there was no pursuit of the Garrochas. All attention was given to the warp point for the first Hokum ships made transit. Two Indomitables, three Implacables and an Imperium formed this wave. Since the last ship was unmistakably an Axis hull it was fired upon and destroyed first. Both Indomitables followed and the Implacible trio lost shielding and some armor. The F0 Hatchets, having fired half of their FRAMs against the Garrochas, used the rest on the ships and then headed for their bases to rearm while the F1s retained a partial load to use against the next wave. For all this only one fort went online and fired before it was in turn gutted by force beam fire.

The third wave was made of four Imperial Valor and two Whel class assault carriers. Damage was spread all around on these newcomers as well as the Implacables. External ordnance spent, the last of the Hatchets on the CAP headed for their bases while the Stilettos hanged around, ready to engage any fighters. Despite datalink jamming the Implacables battered down the shields of one Battlement and took out one-third of its armor. Wertay, commanding from one of the Battlement forts, considered the amount of armor damage inflicted and ordered the use of 90 laser buoys, 10 per Hokum ship present. Armor was scoured off and internal damage done to four of the ships. As an additional touch the Battlements used their capital tractor beams and latched onto the two Whels, intent to use the improved fire control solutions to destroy them before they could escape.

Joining the growing battle were 10 Hatchet squadrons, launched 90 seconds earlier from one of the distant BS5Vs. Two light-seconds behind them were 11 more squadrons. What they saw emerging from the warp point were two Axis-hulled dreadnaught minesweepers, two undersized Axis corvette hulls and two Hokum-hulled battlecruisers. Launched from the third wave assault carriers were 38 Spear squadrons. Despite the temptation to destroy the newcomers the Hatchet pilots stayed true to their targets. While both of the Battlements were destroyed by 36 Spear fighters the Hokum lost two Implacables, three Imperial Valor assault carriers, and one Headhunter corvette from weapons fire, FRAMs, and 60 more laser buoys. All 10 Hatchet squadrons, and 14 buoys, were destroyed by the remaining Spears.

More Hokum ships entered as the last Implacable transited back to Woodshop. Three Indomintables, two Headhunters, and a fleet carrier – all Axis hulls – bore witness to the attack of the second group of Hatchet fighters. With the last Axis jammer gone the advantage was with the ISN crews for all of these Hatchets as well as six destroyers and two light cruisers were vaporized. It came at the cost of the remaining three assault carriers, three Headhunters, and one Union Animal. 90 more buoys finished what Hatchets and ships started, and those buoys that remained were targets for those Spears that had no fighters to shoot at.

Three Rangemaster heavy cruisers and three Headhunter 2s came in time to watch the last Axis cruiser being pummeled by the Indomintables and perforated by needle beams. As for the nearly dead remaining Battlement it got its last point defense and magazine lanced by needle beams as well. Shuttles and pinnaces filled with marines were sent to board the fort. As for the third BS5V it finally crash launched its remaining ten squadrons. Joining them were the two squadrons from the control bases as well as 22 more escort shuttles, rushing to the warp point to inflict as much harm on the Hokum ships before dying. 99 Axis primary beam buoys fired on the 12 ships on the warp point, taking out engine rooms and point defense. The Headhunters were immobilized. With nothing else to shoot at the Spears destroyed those buoys remaining that hadn’t fired as well as starting on the now-spent primary ones.

The fleet carrier launched four squadrons of Spears and retired to Woodshop. With the seventh wave came the combat debt of a new class of ship for the ISN, the Fusillade. Three of them, plus three updated cruisers of the venerable Interior class formed up on the warp point and waited for the remaining Hatchets and Stilettoes to approach. Firing capital anti-mine clearance charges from external racks and internal launchers the Fusillades appeared to be Imperium-class ships, but the Axis were about to learn different.

Six more Interiors transited in, and at this point 60 Hatchets and 2 Stilettos were 1.5 light-seconds ‘north’ of the warp point with 12 and 20 south, outside of jamming range. The Spears had gone out to engage them though it was at the maximum range for laser packs. As for the reason it became clear as the Fusillades resolved their fire control solutions and let loose with the first AFHAWK volley of the war. 9 northern Hatchet squadrons were fired upon with 12 fighters destroyed with three more from fighter lasers. 18 southern Stilettos were next, and though only three were destroyed ten were forced to use their point defense to defend themselves and thus were unable to use them against the Spears. With sniping from shipboard lasers, needle beams, and advanced capital point defense four more Stilettos fell. Only three Spears were lost in the exchange.

Knowing that taking out fighters, while satisfying, meant little in the long term the Hatchet and Stiletto pilots forged ahead and engaged a Hokum ship at the warp point. This time it was one of the Axis-hulled minesweepers, and despite having their datalinks jammed the Hatchets destroyed it with the help of the external missiles from the fighter bases. Again the Spears took care of the attackers. Forming up, they waited as the bases rushed to rearm their surviving CAP fighters while the Fusillades, Interiors, Rangemasters and Imperiums fired loiter-mode SBMs in order to maximize their salvos against one base. When the 11 rearmed Hatchet squadrons came within 2 light-seconds of the warp point one base had lost its passive defenses and sustained some internal damage.

Four squadrons worth of Hatchets were shot down by AFHAWKs from the missile-armed Hokum ships. Again ignoring the Spears it was the other Axis-hulled minesweeper that bore the wrath of the Hatchet pilots. Heavily damaged, the ship survived to transit back to Woodshop and it was a forgone conclusion the Hatchets were shot down in their entirety. Those Spear squadrons still armed with close attack missiles, both nuclear and antimatter, went after the now empty fighter bases.

One base, under sustained missile bombardment, was destroyed by the time the Spears arrived. The other two were almost destroyed, firing only stopped when their spinal force beams were silenced. Marine boarding parties were dispatched to those two bases as well as the tractored light cruiser, engineless and weaponless. SAR teams scoured the area about the warp point for life pods. Five dreadnaughts, six assault carriers, two battlecruisers and four corvettes were destroyed. Along with 146 Garrochas shot down the total casualty count was 7,132 dead and 1,013 wounded. As for the two control and the small craft base they self-destructed, their shuttles and pinnaces tracked by scouts to see where they were heading. It turned out to be Bandstand Prime, and the scouts settled into their patrol routine, keeping the planet and the orbiting infrastructure under careful watch.

Just 20 Spears were lost, but that left 210 without hangers to return to. In another circumstance those fighters would’ve be scuttled, but Calixto recalled a piece of information in a report from Commonwealth Space Navy. After the conquest of Battlement the allied commander there had the same problem. He solved it by having the fighters land in the empty shuttle bays of pinnace tenders. While the fighters couldn’t be rearmed and take off from those bays, and removing them would involve a cumbersome operation between ships, it would preserve them for future use.

In regards to the future it would be some time before Calixto could consider going forward from Bandstand. Additional assault forces were en-route to Bandstand but it would be three months before they arrived. However Garrochas could be replaced far more quickly and more pinnace tenders would allow for an advance if conditions so permitted. A task element centered on minelayers was sent to the system’s other warp point to secure it. Scouting forces found fighter bases under construction on every moon and asteroid colony in the system. Thankfully only one squadron per base, each with outdated F0 fighters, were encountered and destroyed. That left Bandstand Prime with a formidable space station. Left alone that station could add more weapons and fighter bays to itself, not to mention munitions and new fighters and small craft. In a calculated move Calixto brought Strike Fleet to the edge of maximum SBM range of the space station to goad the Axis to attack.

Wertay’s successor saw something on the scanners that made her Comensal self-righteous blood boil. Of the Hokum ships present three battlecruiser, six heavy cruiser and six light cruiser hulls were clearly of Axis origin. Worse still were the three CVL and three CV hulls. There was no need for further consideration. 420 Hatchet fighters, 90% of them F0s, launched from hanger bays on the space station, planetary defense center, and both of Bandstand’s moons. Calixto was disappointed in the sense that the space station didn’t fire any missiles, thus giving an indication for its firepower. She was glad that the Axis gave in to hate, and as the Strike Fleet moved away at full speed (all the remaining DNs and damaged ships were at the entry warp point) she waited as the Hatchets edged closer and closer into AFHAWK range.

When the time came the missile-armed ships opened fire. Each ship fired individually so as to maximize the coverage. In the first volley at 2.5 LS nine Hatchets were splashed. Closer in that number was more than tripled due to improved fire control solutions. At 1.5 LS range those ships with needle beams and advanced capital point defense systems cut loose, culling a further 47 and bringing the total to 84, a full 20% of the force with at least one Hatchet out of each of the 70 squadrons shot down.

Calixto released her fighters, pitting 450 Spears against the Hatchets at a range of 1 LS from the ships and within the supportive envelope of datalink jamming. It was a vastly unequal contest for while 47 Spears where shot down a full 327 Hatchets were obliterated, leaving just 9 to be brought down by point defense for Calixto wanted to save on AFHAWKs at this stage. Fighters landed and rearmed, the fleet came about and went back to Bandstand Prime. As much as she wanted to support the fighters with long-range missile fire Calixto understood said fighters were far more replaceable than ships. So 403 Spears loaded with 3 FRAMs each charged the station, encountering point-blank fire that ranged from force beams, plasma bolts, point-defense lasers, and a handful of pinnaces and assault shuttles. 36 Spears were splashed and for that loss the station was utterly destroyed along with the attending small craft. Ten minutes later a smaller strike group took out the planetary PDC and the two incomplete lunar fighter bases.

The system was under Hokum domination. All that was lacking was a physical presence on the surface of Bandstand Prime. With no troops planned for the foreseeable future the task was to ensure the Comensal remained blockaded. This won’t prevent them from stockpiling resources and weapons, hoping for rescue and restoring their production capability. After broadcasting the required demand for the Comensal to surrender (which was promptly denounced by the planetary governor) Calixto kept a scout and a small carrier over the planet while the rest of Strike Fleet made for Bandstand’s second warp point. Despite the losses it was treated as a major victory over the Asteroid Axis. Losing another productive system had to be increasing the strain on the Axis war economy. Calixto hoped to increase that strain until the enemy became an exhausted, spent wreck of a nation.


End Chapter 5


Image
Hokum Imperium Space Navy Indomitable Class Dreadnaught - TL 10 Refit http://www.novacw.com/Hokum%20ISN%20Indomitable%20Class%20Dreadnaught.jpg
All Hokum DNs and larger capital ships had their external missile racks on their rear struts and sides of their port and starboard hulls.

Image
Axis Fleet Command Stalwart Class Heavy Cruiser - Di refit http://www.novacw.com/AFC%20Stalwart%20Class%20Heavy%20Cruiser.jpg
A mainstay of the Axis fleet the Stalwart class was slated to be eventually supplanted by Stout battlecruisers.
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Zume
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