August 2203

Procyon's family campaign

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August 2203

Postby procyon on Sat 07 May 2011 04:11

August 2203

August 1st 0430 hours/New Delhi, India
Chairman Mukata stood and addressed the board. "Gentlemen, we are faced with a choice that is unprecedented. We have conducted 'business' with Chinese interests on several occasions, but never of this magnitude. The Chinese Government has discreetly passed to us data that would indicate they have discovered how the aliens are able to erect the magnetic barriers around their ships. They only need facilities to create operational prototypes."
Mukata looked at the passive faces of the assembled group. None flinched in the least at what had been said, but none would. Dealing in life and death was what these people did on a daily basis. Board member Tehk raised the question that was on everyone’s' mind. "What are the arrangements of this? What will it entail?" What he meant was 'what was in it for the corporation and him, and what were the risks'.
"Gentlemen, they need more 'capable' facilities than they have available to them at the moment. They have the capital, but lack adequate research facilities to develop a system in an acceptable time frame. In return for our assistance, they will allow us full rights to deploy the system on any of our ships. They will also provided monetary assistance to start the project totaling the equivalent of two hundred and fifty million, in US dollars. We will be provided all of the data they have at the moment. The requirement is that none of this data be provided to other governments outside the FSC. We will also not deploy a ship with the system before the Chinese have done so. If we accept and fail to meet our obligations, well, the Chinese deployment of a Strike Vessel in orbit should clarify that."
Tehk again questioned him. "A quarter of a billion US seems lacking. A system like this could take billions to develop. Are we sure that this is worth the investment we will have to put into it? It would put our deployment of any new vessels from Queensland or South Africa on hold indefinitely."
Mukata turned to face Tehk. "The investment could be more substantial, but the rewards of a successful system are great. It would place us in a position to demand greater recognition from the US and Pan European power blocks. It would also give us a powerful ally in the future if we continue to support Chinese interests. Developing and deploying ships without these systems will be fruitless when the Chinese, or other powers, manage to develop this system. We lack the quantity of close sensor data the other powers possess. Without assistance we will be left far behind in the current arms race. With this arrangement we stand to profit greatly both materially and politically. If we can deploy ships with this system before the US and Pan Euro, they will find hiring our vessels to protect their interests a necessary situation. Not pursuing this is unthinkable. Shall we move forward on this?"
A low murmur finally turned into a quiet but general approval by all of the board members present. Tehk stood. "It is decided. Mukata, make the necessary arrangements."
Mukata nodded and pressed a key on his console. "Get me the South African Cartel. They need to get their man Dutchman to Earth now."

August 2nd 0800 hours/Chinese Space Station, Venus orbit
Admiral Hu reviewed the progress reports. The Cruiser Shek was undergoing the same sensor refit the Tung had, while all the Missile Frigates were undergoing work to place the sensors in a more protected location inside the hull. The battle near Ceres had shown that the sensors would be quickly destroyed in the current location on the Frigates. The innermost baffles were compromised by single impacts of the alien weapon system. Losing the sensors that quickly would be devastating. They had to be moved.
The aliens had lost one ship, and another was damaged. If the Euro transmissions were accurate, they had lost two other combat ships in June. If they had any depth of reserves, they would likely have deployed them already. This was possibly the best opportunity for taking the ships out of service, while the aliens were reorganizing. It was worth the risk.
The fact that the Cruiser Mao Tse Tung and the Attack Frigate Yunnan were the only operational ships was the terrible consequence of this rapid upgrade. The aliens couldn't come back now. If they did, this war would be over for the Chinese.

August 4th 0205 hours/Patrol Vessel 17
The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 assessed the sensor returns. The repairs of his vessel were complete, and for some time they would verify that the systems were functioning properly. It would take time, but they had more than adequate time. The race that inhabited this system had never been seen this far from their sun. It was strange to consider a race that could live in the inferno so close to a star.
For now they had joined three other Patrol Vessels, and two Combat Vessels. This was the beginning of the next Combat Group that would destroy the native race's homes and ships. Nearby, at the station in orbit of the largest moon of the nearby planet, was the vessel that would complete the Combat Group. It was one of the Assault Vessels that had accompanied the colony ships on the long trip through space. The Assault Vessel was massive compared to the simple Patrol and Combat Vessels. The native race had managed to destroy two of the last Combat Group's Patrol Vessels. They would stand no chance against the power of an Assault Vessel.
The Commander looked forward to again finding the native race. They would pay for the many lives they had destroyed. This group would see to that.

0600 hours/Pan European Space Station, Earth orbit
Admiral Jude Kushnir walked through the Red October. Repairs of the plating and baffles were progressing, but not scheduled to be done until late in the month. The repairs would probably be done long before Jude's boards of inquiry were done with her. They had allowed her to continue serving as the Senior Pan European Space Fleet Officer. She knew it was because the turmoil of relieving her at the same time as they were dealing with the uproar from the public concerning the destruction of Pallas 2 Colony would be too much. For the moment she was the only officer they could hold up as having faced the aliens - openly. Even if it wasn't a victory. They were going to have enough problems explaining that all the 'missing' ships were gone. She had exercised her authority, and it had stirred a small amount of controversy. None of the civilian groups had attempted to challenge it though. She had given the order that all engagements, unless the contact was confirmed as human, were to be engaged with all safeties released. No sense wasting time or missiles anymore.
The Queen Elizabeth had arrived in Earth orbit two days ago, along with 1st Battle Group. They were flying the flag to help the folks at home feel safe. The ground based silos were probably better protection, but the ships were far more visible. Vice Admiral Avery was flying the flag on the Q.E. for now. Jude knew she was in to much hot water to take command of the Q.E. while the Red October was down for repairs. That was ok with Jude for the moment. The Q.E. was destined for combat, and Jude had seen enough of that for the moment.

August 6th 1615 hours/Kestrel, approaching Earth orbit
The Dutchman wondered what could be going on. He had been involved in a number of unusual situations over time, but this was unreal. NO ONE who wasn't a Chinese combat vessel docked at the Chinese Space Station. The Chinese Transfer Station would accept civilian ships and cargos, but the Space Station was a military structure. The Chinese Strike Vessel shadowing the Kestrel at only 1000 meters proved that. 'The pay for this had better be incredible' he thought as he approached the station.
The Dutchman had received orders to report to the Chinese Space Station and pick up a 'cargo'. He was then to descend to the Queensland facility and deliver the 'cargo'. Any vessel attempting to intercept him was to be avoided. If The Dutchman was unable to avoid being boarded, the 'cargo' was to be destroyed by any means necessary. Including scuttling the Kestrel. He had been warned that if he didn't, the Chinese would take care of that detail for him. It shouldn't come to that. The Kestrel was as fast as any ship in service, with the possible exception of the Red October if the Euro hype was to be believed. But the Red October was in for repairs.
Hopefully this would be a routine pick up. They seemed to be having a large number of dealings with the Chinese of late. The Mary Reed and Marie Celeste were headed for Ceres to act as troop transports and convoy escorts for the Chinese. The Dutchman wasn't sure if he liked the idea of siding with the Chinese. They were an awfully big brother to have watching over your shoulder.
And The Dutchman didn't like anybody watching him.

August 12th 0830 hours/US Space Station, Earth orbit
Admiral Bradley Walters watched as the members of his staff assembled for the morning briefing. They would each come with some new concern or development, but little of it could be dealt with from the station. Civilian issues were the problem now. Lots of them. At least they had loosened up the purse strings on the budget for the military.
They were still only frameworks, but in the two slips outside were what would become a pair of Interceptor Mk IIa's. The slip at Mars was likewise occupied. And after these three were completed, another three were to begin construction. The work would be rushed, but the plan was to double the number of Interceptors in service by the beginning of next year. It was a rather optimistic timeline, but any new ships would help. The sad truth was that they were horribly outclassed by the alien ships, but they were the best the US had in service right now. The best they might have for some time to come.
Although many alien systems and weapons had been identified, progress in research was painfully slow. Developments that were likely to have any impact on the war were possibly years away. Lobbying for increased research funding was rampant, but throwing money at this was of little help. Facilities, personnel, and just plain luck was what were needed, and the US was painfully short on all three.
At least US Task Force One was back up to full strength. The completion of the Missile Escort Owl had filled out the roster. The ship would be going through its shakedown cruise, but was combat capable in a pinch. Hopefully they would share the luck the Falcon had enjoyed.
Admiral Walters settled back for another long day. Hopefully it would be uneventful.

August 17th 2120 hours/Heavy Escort Rebecca, near Pallas 2
Vice Admiral Esme Jurkat looked at the visuals of the ruins of the Pallas Colony. Whatever these aliens were, they were thorough. And heartless. To destroy so many unarmed civilians. To destroy warships was one thing. To kill a million colonists was another. She had orders to scan the ruins, transmit the data to Earth for study. It was pointless. There was nothing to study. Scorched rock and structures. Shattered debris floating in a cloud around the asteroid, a million tiny moons circling, colliding. No grave stones. No memorials or statues. Just destruction.
She had heard the transmissions from the colony. The transmissions from the Red October. She knew that the ships the alien race used were more dangerous than anything she had in her group. And that the 2nd Battle Group's new post in the belt put her where the aliens would show up first. Her crews were well trained, her ships in top condition. The question was, would that be enough to stop the aliens when they came back?
She had a bad feeling she would find out. Sooner than she would like. But enough or not, scared or not, Esme knew she wouldn't run. She wouldn't leave another colony behind. Not to face this fate.
Not while she lived.

This month gave most folks a chance to rest.
The big events were between China and the FSC (middle boy and oldest girl). China decided that getting the R&D on shields (SL 1) was going to be pricey as he was Ind2. It was also going to take longer. He didn't want to go to his mom or older brother (Euro or US) as they would only gain a larger edge on him. If he was going to be competitive with the other big powers, he decided he couldn't give this one away. His older sister wasn't a threat, but after talking to her he found out she was EL 1, and would be better able to do the research. So he offered to pay most of the verification costs of the new tech for her (she couldn't have put together the money for months), and enter into a defensive military treaty (per se), so they could assist each other with the development. She was small in size, so the percentage of total income cost for the research was only a tiny part of his resources. His research had to deal with his larger resources (higher cost by percentage), and the doubled cost of being an EL behind. He would simply funnel her the cash. It was win-win for them.
China also took a big gamble putting in all but two ships in for refits. That gamble would be tested in September.

The US and Euro were trying to figure out how they could make a sortie/attack into the outer system. They knew that they weren't going to win waiting on the other race to attack them, but neither could come up with a way to free up the ships to do anything. Both wanted to keep their colonies protected, and refused to be the one to leave any unguarded. The US started to build up ships for an offensive, but the oldest boy knew that his little Interceptors and Missile Escorts were going to have a rough time of it against the alien ships. He wanted mom to commit her destroyer (the QE) and he would support it, but she didn't want to risk losing it right away (or maybe at all).

As for the Nemotians, I had decided they were going to step up the level of combat power coming into the system, but they were going to need a month to unmothball one of their bigger ships so it could relieve one of them currently guarding the colony 'worlds'.

September would see a large number of plans collide. A lot of cards were played that folks had hoped to keep held for a while.

A note on July and the destruction of Pallas 2 colony. Some folks have noticed that a bunch of gigs did in a settlement. The rules don't allow it, but it has been a house rule for so long that it never occurred to me to be a 'house rule'. Bombs are 1 MC for 10 and each occupies 2 csp. Shuttles and Assault Shuttles can drop them (as can big ships), and Gunboats/Fighters can carry them on external points. Gigs have had a cargo capacity of 5 csp in our other games, and we always allowed the slow little buggers the ability to carry a pair of the bombs. Makes them a little more useful, and harder to ignore. Otherwise the only use they serve is to move admirals from ship to ship generally. This was how Pallas 2 died. The ten gigs of the Nemotians dropped the bombs that killed the colony. Didn't surprise any of the players, but did draw some questions from folks out there. Hope that answers the questions. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy. September will take a bit to put together - maybe three parts.
...and I will show you fear in a handful of dust....

Cralis wrote:I would point out that the "what was" which is different from "here and now" can easily change in the "future then."
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