November 2203

Procyon's family campaign

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November 2203

Postby procyon on Wed 18 May 2011 02:48

November 2203 part 1

November 2nd 0315 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Triton orbit, Neptune

The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 was disgusted with how the Elders had viewed his continued survival. They treated it as if the ship had returned this many times only due to cowardice. That they had survived where others had died was shameful. The sensor and ship logs clearly showed that they had been anything but cowards. They had engaged the enemy on no less than three occasions. They had destroyed two enemy ships and damaged two others. They had even taken damage from enemy fire. How could that be viewed as cowardice? Only Patrol Vessel 14 had destroyed more of the native race's ships than Patrol Vessel 17, and they had died following an enemy vessel through the debris fields near what was now known to be an enemy home. Perhaps dead heroes were all that the Elders wanted.
The assignment that they were on now was a punishment. Perhaps a suicide mission. They were to accompany Patrol Vessel 13 to the enemy home in the debris field and release the scout craft on board. The scouts were to attempt to destroy more of the enemy on the small planet in the debris fields. The Patrol Vessels were then to return to the fleet base for their next assignment. Assuming they weren't found by the natives and destroyed.
The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 was senior, and would command the mission. But this mission would not go how the Elders had ordered. The Commander had needed every bit of control not to betray what his plans were to the Elders. They would have easily sensed the intentions of a lesser Commander. Time had hardened him, taught control in the face of fear and death. The Elders would find out what Patrol Vessel 17 was capable of. That, or Patrol Vessel 17 would not return.
The Commander altered the fields around him. The crew responded and the ship began to pull away from the moon that had become one of their race's new homes. Soon they would show the Elders that they were no cowards.

November 5th 1030 hours/Queen Elizabeth, 18 light seconds from Earth

Admiral Jude Kushnir locked her station and began to key in orders. She was surprised how good it felt to be on board a ship. Not to long ago she had wondered if she would ever be allowed to command again. For the moment, it was only training. Not the nerve rattling flight through the asteroid belt that had been her last experience on a vessel in space. Just the check out cruises for the 3rd Battle Group and the Q.E. after their repairs. That, and following the new training protocols.
Brenna had been busy during her stay on the Euro Space Station. Relaxing for her involved doing what she enjoyed, which was working on training and teaching. She had put together a new training and doctrine outline in three weeks, all based on existing protocols updated with her (sizable) experience dealing with deep space combat. Although Brenna was the most junior of the space side admirals, she was undoubtedly the most experienced. Also one of the most successful. 'To her credit', Jude thought, 'she has never lost a ship from her Battle Group. Whether fighting the Chinese, or aliens, she has acquitted herself well.'
Brenna had insisted on her new training protocols being passed on to the US, so as to help coordinate activities between the two powers in joint operations. Jude had required several endorsements to get that request ok'ed, but it had finally passed. Brenna didn't know it, but with the beginning of the new year, the US and Pan Euro were to begin joint operations in an attempt to locate the alien's base of operations and transition to the offensive. Better coordination between the two groups might save many lives. Brenna had no way of knowing about the plans, as only Jude, the Defense Council, Ministry of Defense, and Lord High Admiral were aware them. Jude wondered how the UK had managed to hold onto its position controlling any 'navy', and the Chain of Command.
That control was also reflected in the name of the Q.E., and the newest ship under construction at the Mercury Shipworks. The Queen Mary was already beginning to take shape, and would likely be ready for service early in the next year. 'Together with the US push to increase its force of Interceptors, we might just have a chance to make a successful offense in the near future.' thought Jude. 'If things will just keep going our way.'

November 6th 2235 hours/Interceptor Mk IIa JFK, Mars orbit

Rear Admiral Jack Ryan began to upload the new training protocols into the JFK's memory. The Euro Rear Admiral Muldoon was good, and it came through in her training plans. Jack felt himself fairly accomplished at training his Task Force, but he had to admit that Muldoon knew a whole lot more about training than he did. Tactically that was. Getting from point A to B in the best time had been omitted from her training regimen though. Getting to where you needed to be, in time to be useful was another part of that, but Jack had a good handle on how to do that without the Euro Admiral's help.
The visit with Meagan had been too short, but had been so good for the both of them. Meagan seemed to be doing better with her situation, and appeared to be a rising star amongst Admiral Walter's staff. The fiancé problem was still a problem, but looked to be getting smaller as the days passed. She was still young and - god willing if they were all still alive when this was done - would have plenty of time to find someone new. Jack had even heard that she would be up for promotion soon, and was in line for a decoration for her work in analyzing the alien technology. She had grown up too fast. Jack wished he had been able to spend more time with her while she was little.
Jack felt refreshed after the break from the routine at Mars. Things seemed clearer. Easier. Better. Seeing home and his daughter had given him new strength. It also reminded him how important all this was. It was easy to despair of the routine. Get too focused on the danger. The seemingly impending doom that hung over them. To forget what it was that you were fighting for, and how much more important that was. Jack had decided to request that his group be rotated to Earth for a short while after the Interceptor being built here at Mars was clear of the dock. It would do his crew a world of good. Especially since his daughter had passed on to him they were the most likely group for the next deployment out system against the aliens.
Going out system could only end up one way, with ships trading death across the long dark spaces. Seeing his daughter's smile had convinced him that it was better that happen for him, in the depths of space, than anywhere near Earth and his little girl.

November 7th 1405 hours/New Delhi, India

Chairman Mukata reviewed on his console the progress reports from the Queensland Facility. They had made great strides with the information the Chinese had provided them. The Chinese had been terribly silent about their own progress. That could be due to a number of situations, or simply their distrust of the FSC. Regardless, steps would be taken to create back up copies of any results and discoveries made. The project was too vital for it to suffer any setbacks. Many of the separate cartels had diverted funding to assist the project. The Chinese were too large of a power to openly contest, but quiet measures would be adequate to safeguard the information. Sometime within the next year the FSC should be able to field the first working prototypes of this new technology. Then they would be in a better position to negotiate with the Chinese. A more lasting and profitable relationship might be reached.
The board had directed Mukata to again visit the facility in Australia and ensure that the reports were accurate, and the staff 'inspired' to perform at their best levels. While he was there, he would ensure that they were no longer the only repository for the information they were gathering. It was a security risk to duplicate the information, but one well worth the dangers. Loss of this project would be disastrous. The board would not have to be made aware of this. Only if the original data was compromised would the copy ever reach the light of day. For now, it was the Chairman's concern. And this was his decision.

November 9th 1950 hours/Beijing, China

Bao moved along the darkened street. His cell had been activated, and it was time. For years he had posed as a simple maintenance worker here in Beijing. His entire cell had spent many years forming lives here. That would all have to be left behind soon.
The handler had made contact, given the orders. Now they would have to plan, and then act. This was going to be far more difficult than Bao had ever imagined. Gathering information on people and events had been easy enough. Penetrating into a Chinese Military Facility was not. The risks were great. The reward was an end to the charades. A chance to live a real life in a free country, with enough money to never need to work a low and menial job again. The years of training would finally be put to the test, pay for all the suffering he had endured. If they lived.
The beginnings of the plan had been laid. Tonight Bao would begin shadowing one of the lab assistants for the Facility. Learn his routines. His weaknesses. Find out how they could use that to get access to what they needed. Tonight they would start a course that would decide all of their fates.

November 11th 2320 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, Asteroid Belt, 12 light minutes from Ceres

The Commander monitored the scout craft as they moved away from the Patrol Vessels. Followed them until they disappeared even from the extended range he could sense through the ship. It would take time for them to reach the enemy colony. Time for them to make their attack. Die there most likely. The native race would be gaining skill in destroying the small ships with every encounter. Six of them would pose little problem. Perhaps the small ships would actually be able to inflict some damage. Most likely not.
The Elders had ordered this, letting it be known that they wanted the enemy to concentrate on this colony. Keep his ships there. Limit the native race's ability to maneuver and react. It would take time for a new Combat Group to be formed and readied. The enemy could not be allowed to use that time to attack. They would be given reason to stay with their colony.
And the crews of six scout craft would perish to do that. Perhaps they intended for the crews of the Patrol Vessels to join them. To die here in this floating mass of rocks. Dueling with the enemy ships that would comb through the area looking for the vessels that had deployed the scout craft.
It wasn't going to happen that way.
The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 had studied the engagements with the enemy. Tracked their movements. Tactics. And the Commander had come to a conclusion. The enemy vessels were difficult to track, and had been able to intercept Patrol and other vessels with alarming accuracy. Perhaps the native race had learned to track the magnetic signature of the Patrol and Combat Vessels. If this was true, it would make operating the protective fields unwise. Operations would be much more dangerous with the fields down. But if the alternative was giving the enemy the ability to track the Patrol Vessels while the enemy remained invisible, the fields would have to be turned off. At least until the battle was joined. The theory would have to be tested though.
Orders had directed the Patrol Vessels to remain at a 'safe' distance from the scout craft, monitor their progress, and transmit the results to the Fleet Base. That would have to be changed slightly. The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 changed the fields on his station and the crew responded. The protective fields shut down. Then the two Patrol Vessels began to move. If the Commander was right, the enemy would suffer for it. If the Commander was wrong, well, the Elders would get what they wanted.
...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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Re: November 2203

Postby procyon on Tue 24 May 2011 23:30

November 2203 part 2

November 13 0010 hours/Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek, Ceres orbit

Vice Admiral Zhu Rongji brought up the sensor readings on his console. Contact at two and a half light seconds. Unable to identify. Closing. They had to be small craft. Anything larger would have been picked up long ago. Zhu keyed open the comm link and gave the order for all ships to battle stations. The bridge crew of the Shek was already locked into stations, as they had been on watch for the last two hours. Systems ready lights began to flash across Zhu's screen as the ship came on line. The Missile Frigates were slower, and still seemed to be struggling to get all their systems on line and crew locked down.
Zhu's screen flashed again. The contact had resolved into six separate ships. All were the small alien bombers that had attacked Ceres barely two months ago. At least it wasn't twenty or so like that time. Zhu watched as the weapon crew's targeting solutions registered on his screen. They were ready for them this time. Then his screen flashed again. New contacts. Two. At just over 5 light seconds. The magnetic signatures had just appeared. Those weren't the little ships. They were too far to resolve, but they were out there, and they were big.
Realization suddenly came to Zhu. The aliens had discovered that they were being tracked by their magnetic signature. It would have only been a matter of time before they discovered it, but so soon?! Damn. The aliens had him in the same position that they had been in two months ago. Zhu knew that if he fired on the small craft, the larger ships would target his launch signatures and have missiles inbound on the Shek before he could respond. Assuming the Shek's long range missiles would even be able to target the alien ships at so great a distance in the asteroid belt. Five light seconds was their limit even in clear space. They would never hold a target lock for that long in the debris. He hoped the aliens would have the same problem. He would have to fire on the bombers. Six was still enough to kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of colonists on the surface of Ceres. The damned aliens knew they had him over a barrel. Why turn on the magnetic shields now, before they had launched, other than to rub it in!
He didn't have to give away the whole situation though. Zhu keyed in for a tightbeam link to the Henan and Shangxi, and then ordered them to maneuver for the far side of Ceres. That would keep them safe while they brought their systems online, and keep them hidden from the aliens in case the big ships could be lured in. They wouldn't be able to fire on the small craft that were closing from a position on the far side of Ceres, but it didn't look like they were going to be ready anyway.
Zhu watched as the small craft closed. Three hundred thousand kilometers. Two hundred thousand. One hundred and fifty. There was no sense in firing early. It would only give the aliens more of a chance to target the Shek before the little ships got into effective range. At one hundred thousand kilometer Zhu keyed the order to fire. All seven bays released their missiles and seven drive blooms flared to life. The Shek's drive blazed also - hopefully they would have a harder time tracking the ship if she didn't hold still at this range. Missiles detonated around the small craft as sensor alarms flashed that two inbounds were closing. Zhu watched in satisfaction as four of the alien bombers lost their drive blooms or were consumed by them. Four out of the six, and there would still be time for one more launch before the little bastards reached the colony. The satisfaction disappeared as he realized that the two inbounds had lost tracking on the Shek, but he had lingered too long by the giant asteroid. The two alien missiles slammed into the surface of Ceres even as the Shek pulled away. Tense moments passed as Zhu waited for the fireballs to dissipate. Both had detonated on uninhabited portions of the surface. He keyed over to progress on the next launch in time to see the reports as seven more missiles left their bays. The Shek's crew had only been on board for a few months, but they would make any commander proud. Sensors indicated two more inbounds, but the Shek was clear of Ceres now, and nothing could be done about them for the moment. Zhu watched as the Chinese missiles followed the small craft as they approached Ceres. Detonations clouded the returns for a few heartbeats. One of the small craft had broken apart, and the other was tumbling wildly. Yes, both were down. Oh no. Zhu watched as the tumbling craft bore straight in on Ceres. He knew what was going to happen even as the infantry's weapons fired at the damaged craft. The detonation as it slammed into Ceres was bright even at over 100 thousand kilometers away. And this one had been headed right into the main concentration of habitats.
Zhu reflexively tried to brace himself, even though he was locked into his station. The two inbounds closed, and then passed. Zhu checked the weapon crew’s status and wanted to curse as they seemed unable to get the systems to plot a solution on the almost invisible launch signatures. It was just too far. But not for the aliens. A third set of inbounds sprang to life on Zhu's monitor. Eventually the aliens were going to get lucky.
Zhu ordered the Shek to come about 130 degrees onto heading 010 at minus 0.5 ascension. The drives cut in and out as the big ship struggled to come about. The bridge became a kaleidoscope of colors as the grey and blue flashed over and over. The third pair or inbounds lost tracking as the ship turned onto its new heading and the drives blazed. But the sensors were already registering a fourth pair. This couldn't go on forever. If the aliens didn't hit her, the big girl would come apart under the stress of combat maneuvering. The new heading would bring her on a course away from the aliens though. They would have to follow and perhaps come into range of the Missile Frigates, or break off. Colors flashed again as Zhu ordered the Shek to bring her bow down hard. The fourth pair of alien missiles passed over the Shek, tracking some sensor ghost.
Zhu watched the monitors as the alien contacts moved to follow his ship, and then changed course. Over the next two minutes the aliens accelerated out and away from the Shek, and then disappeared as the magnetic fields dropped. The aliens were now as invisible in the belt as any other ship. As Zhu brought the Shek around and rejoined the Shangxi and Henan, he knew this was only the beginning. The aliens had tested them. And he had failed. The next time the aliens returned, it wouldn't just be a pair of ships, and just two missiles at a time. It wouldn't be just six little bombers. It would be dozens. And the Chinese ships would have the choice. Die defending the colony, and have the colonists follow them into oblivion. Or abandon the colonists to the bombers, and try to engage the alien ships.
There wasn't really any choice. But Zhu didn't want to be the one to have to make it.

0025 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, vicinity of Ceres

The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 felt some satisfaction. There was disappointment also, but satisfaction none the less. They had engaged the enemy again, and it appeared that one of the small craft may have completed its mission. It also appeared that two of the torpedoes had managed to strike the colony out of pure luck. Damage to the enemy was impossible to determine at this distance, but that could not be helped.
The fact that the single enemy vessel had managed to evade eight of the torpedoes was frustrating. The Commander had been tempted to pursue the fleeing ship, but had decided the risk of ambush was too great. What he had wanted to accomplish had been done. The native race seemed to have difficulty tracking the Patrol Vessels if the magnetic fields were down. They could be fired on at ranges that they seemed unwilling or unable to respond. This would be a great advantage. The next assault on the enemy colony here would destroy it. Of that the Commander was sure. Now all that was left was to test the new tactics in open space.
The Commander of Patrol Vessel 17 could feel his crew's approval as he ordered them to change course. They were heading in toward the blazing star. Perhaps more of the enemy's homes and ships could be found.

November 14th 2050 hours/Beijing Research Facility, China

Bao moved down the stairway. His maintenance job gave him access to many areas. None inside the main research sections, but many that were connected. He stopped inside the stairwell at one of the electrical junction boxes. The one supplying power to the security checkpoint into the main research bays. Bao pulled the small charges and detonators out of his pocket and affixed them to the power cables. He then set the timer and tucked it away neatly in the recess behind the fixtures. Stripping off his maintenance uniform, he pulled the laboratory assistant's clothes out of his tool pouch. Changing quickly and putting the identity badge on, he headed back up the stairs.
He had to be the one to do this. The other three members of his cell were all enhanced with cybernetic implants. They would have set off the alarms long ago. It had to be someone purely human. No extra metal or synthetics. Nothing to set off the X rays or scanners. Nothing to help him against the cyborg security guards and automated defenses except surprise and skill. Man against metal.
Bao stepped out of the stairwell and into the hallway leading to the research wing. Sliding the ID through the lock, he watched the light change from red to green. One hurdle down. Moving forward into the checkpoint he watched the two cyborg guards as they watched him. That wasn't right. Only one was ever on guard. They had been talking. Perhaps one had lingered after his shift. This would make things much more difficult.
The lights went out as the charges cut the power. Red lights flickered to life as Bao sprang toward the nearest guard. Bao pulled the backing off of a metal disk and stuck it to the guard’s chest. The powerful EMP pulse was silent, but shorted out the cyborg's circuits immediately. The other was moving quickly though, and Bao didn't have another pulse grenade. Bao backed away from the desk as the cyborg shoved it towards him. The desk crashed into the wall as the borg struggled to keep his balance. They were strong, but still only weighed a couple hundred kilos. The desk had been heavy too. Bao lunged forward and slipped under the cyborg's arm. Bao whipped off his jacket and wrapped it around the borg's head. Blinded for a moment the guard swung wildly. Bao slammed a chair into its legs and knocked the guard to the floor. Shoving him across the floor while trying to keep the jacket in place, Bao reached the entryway. Pulling the manual lever for the doors, Bao watched as the powerful hydraulic pistons slammed the blast doors shut. The cyborg's legs were crushed and pinned. Bao ran across the room and out the far door. Down the hall were the main labs, and his goal.

2215 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon listened to the report of an overdue passenger liner. It had been Pan Euro No. 0127s, returning from the belt to Mercury Colony. It had been carrying 35,000 passengers. And it was over 10 hours late. Too late. Brenna knew down deep that those people were gone. And that the aliens were back. There had been no warning. Nothing. And it would have been less than twelve light minutes from Mercury when it last checked in. That meant the aliens were at least that close to Mercury. To the one million plus colonists living there. And the Pan Euro's only shipyards away from Terra herself. Yards that were unguarded right now. And over eight hours away even if the 3rd Battle Group were to push their engines to their limit.
But they wouldn't be leaving Earth behind unguarded. No way would they leave billions unguarded for the sake of a million or so. No, Mercury Station was on her own.
Brenna wished she could just for once cry.
...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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Re: November 2203

Postby procyon on Tue 24 May 2011 23:58

November 2203 part 3

November 16th 0224 hours/Pan Euro Space Station, Mercury orbit

Commander 'Jimmy' Hirsch staggered away from the console as the station shook from the impact. 'Damn it! This isn't a warship! We aren't made for this!' Sweat poured from his forehead and stung his eyes as he grabbed for the chair at his station and began to key in new commands. He wished he had time to strap the harness on, but there wasn't going to be any spare time.
The planet side colony had given them barely a minute of warning that there were contacts approaching before the first launches had come. The station didn't have the new Phoenix Sensor Array. Hell, they were getting half of their targeting data through an uplink from the colony. The station had six launch bays, but could only bring half of them to bear on a target at a time. When the target was farther out than the station's outdated sensors could see, that just made the whole situation worse. The fact that the six Military Modules affixed to the core were a whole lot more fragile than any of the warships was just icing on the cake. 'We're not just a sitting duck, we're a sitting eggshell.' he thought.
But Jimmy had proved the station wasn't just a sitting duck. He knew that they were only there due to good luck and desperate management of the few systems the station had available. The civilians on board were clutching anything they could as the ride had been violent. That the first impact the station had taken was on the third launch from the alien ships was due to the wild gyrations the station had managed. Even now the station was rotating hard on its axis to bring the damaged module away from the alien ships. Anyone in the outer ring was in for a 3 G ride for the next thirty seconds or so. Nothing compared to the warships, but still rough on the flesh and blood crew of the shipyards and modules.
Jimmy also knew he was running out of tricks. As the first salvo had closed the station had jettisoned every spare bin or piece of metal that could be thrown out of an airlock. The cloud of 'chaff' had managed to buy them time as the first missiles had detonated some distance out. Jimmy had managed to get the station maneuvered just enough to put them between the inbounds and the sun on the second alien salvo. The missiles lost tracking with the huge energy signature of Sol only a few light minutes away. The third alien salvo had been launched as the alien ships' courses took them to the far side of Mercury. Jimmy had managed to get the station far enough that one of the inbound missiles had been caught by Mercury's gravity well and had been bent off course. The other had managed to leave Module 3 venting air into space as the breaches in the hull spewed out atmosphere and crew. The status bar on the screen showed the missile bay in Module 3 was still capable of remote launch, and the laser capacitors were still online, but Jimmy wanted that Module away from the fight. 'One more good hit there and this whole thing might come apart.'
The station had managed three return salvos, and one of the alien Alphas had lost its protective magnetic field. That they hadn't just shut it off wasn't certain, but the ship was moving away from the planet regardless. The other Alpha was more relentless. The colony on Mercury was reporting that it was accelerating to move around the planet and clear its field of fire on the station.
Jimmy only had one trick left, and less than a minute to play it if the colony's sensor returns were correct. He keyed the comm link to the station core open. "Lieutenant Commander Schafer. Channel three now." Seconds passed as Jimmy waited. Then came the answer. "Yes Commander." The cyborg's voice was always so flat it was almost unnerving. "Schafer, grab deck crew four and get the Mary undocked and into this fight. NOW !" Jimmy knew his voice carried more than a little emotion at the moment, but unless something changed in the next few minutes, the station and everyone on it would be gone. Deck crew four was the EVA crew, cyborgs one and all. They would be able to survive the acceleration of a warship. Most were military, or at least had a very good idea how the systems on board the Queen Mary would work. Whether or not 27 cyborgs could run a half finished warship meant to hold a crew of 156 was the question of the day. "Uh, yes Commander." was the only answer as the link closed.
Praying wasn't Jimmy's style, but it was all he could do for the next few seconds that might make any difference.

0226 hours/Queen Mary, near Mercury

Lieutenant Commander Rolf Schafer locked the captain's station and keyed the monitor over to combat settings. The last and only assignment he had on a combat ship had been as the Sensor Officer on the Attack Escort Catherine years ago. That had only been for six months. Before and since he had been in Engineering and Construction. He had only done the combat post to help his chances at promotion. A few other cyborgs were locking themselves into stations on the bridge. Too few. Barely enough to control the few systems that were coming online.
The status bar showed only a few of the particle accelerators were functional. The ship would barely be able to manage one third of the acceleration she should be capable of. Far less than what the alien ship was doing right now. A ship that was already up to combat speed. The Mary would never be able to outmaneuver it. Three of the four launch bays had come on line. The fourth was still in the process of fitting the internal linkage. At least the new Phoenix Array was on line. Sensor data, WAY MORE sensor data than what Rolf was used to seeing, was flooding the monitor screen. Whoa.
Rolf saw that the ship was registering locked stations for everyone he knew was on board. He keyed the over ride and then the emergency undocking prompts. The ship shuddered as mountings were blown free and the ship began to drift. 'The helmsman must have some experience' Rolf thought as plots began to file along the side of his screen. Keying in for a course, he felt and sensed the ship's drive engage as the world went grey, then the blue halo formed. 'I wonder how many on board have only heard about this.'
Those thoughts vanished as the Mary cleared Mercury. Warnings flashed for a contact, then inbound. Rolf worked the keys as fast as he could. He knew how to plot a targeting solution, and the three missile bays were reporting ready status for launch. It wasn't fast enough. The Mary heaved as the drive cut out and the alien warhead slammed the ship with a wave of superheated particles. Damage indicators sprang to life. Most of the forward hull had been savaged. The Mary didn't even have the most rudimentary of plating in place yet. The thin plasma wave had fried wiring and struts. At least the forward compartments had been the least finished. Rolf finished the solution and launched. It was hurried. Poor. The missiles were away, but lost tracking after only a short distance. The alien ship was too fast. Too quick to react. This wasn't going to work. Even with the Mary's three launchers to the Alpha's one, they were going to lose. Then the sensors registered a fluctuation on the Alpha.
Yes. The station was clearing the planet also. Between the three missiles of the Mary and the three of the station the Alpha was struggling to thread a clear path through the blasts. Rolf keyed into the sensor link to start on new firing solutions, but found the Alpha had moved out too far. They couldn't lock the missiles on at that range. The alien ship was just to fast, and the sensor link was to slow with such a limited crew. Inbound sensors flashed. Rolf felt the ship pitch and strain as the drive cut in and out. The helmsman was doing his best with what little thrust the Mary had to make her a hard target, and still get her in range of the elusive enemy ship.

0230 hours/Patrol Vessel 17, near Mercury

The Commander strained to hold onto his station as the ship's drive cut in and out. Even with the stations' magnetic assistance, the Commander could feel the crew straining to keep at their stations. The appearance of the enemy Combat Vessel had changed everything. Torpedo after torpedo sped in toward the enemy ship as the enemy weapons raced toward Patrol Vessel 17. At this range keeping the weapon's lock was difficult to begin with; the hard maneuvers of combat were making it impossible. The defense field generators had all burned out, the plating was damaged, the cargo section compromised, and the last of the ship's torpedoes was ready for launch. The Commander had ordered Patrol Vessel 13 to fall back when its field generators had gone down. She still had torpedoes on board, but was too far out to be of any assistance. This battle was going to be over as soon as the last torpedo was away.
The Commander sensed as the torpedo left its bay and began to bring Patrol Vessel 17 about. The enemy Combat Vessel had proved a difficult target, and the Commander had decided to have the last torpedo track the larger of the two platforms orbiting the fiery planet. He felt satisfaction as the last torpedo slipped past the Combat Vessel and detonated near the platform. The sensors showed more debris and gases venting from the structure. It was far from destroyed, but the damage would have to be extensive.
As the ship accelerated away from the inferno of heat that this system's star was, the Commander wondered what the Elders would think now. He had failed to obey the intent of their orders, but had gained so much of value. He was sure they wouldn't like it anymore than the request he would be sending - that a Mobile Repair Vessel be sent in system with supplies to effect repairs at the giant gas planet. It would be just as quick as the trip out to the fleet base.
They had managed to damage the enemy colony in the debris fields while engaging an enemy Assault Vessel, destroyed a lone enemy ship, located a second enemy colony, damaged an enemy Combat Vessel and orbital platform, and discovered why the native race had so easily been able to ambush the previous Combat Groups. Let them try to call us cowards now.

November 17th 0605 hour/Beijing, China

Bao tried to rest, relax. It was just impossible. They were hunted men now. What they had taken...
Bao only knew a little about the ships in space. About the aliens. But what he could understand of the data he had stolen - of the equipment he had seen - was terrifying. The Chinese would stop at nothing to get this back. It was too valuable. And now it was in Bao's hands.
Two of the cell members had died helping Bao escape from the Research area. The last was wounded. Dying. He had maybe a day left. Maybe two. But he was in a lot of pain. And there was no place they could go to for help. If they were going to do anything, it would have to be soon. The handler had made contact again. They were to try and get out on a lifter from Tianjin, in 18 hours.
Bao hoped it worked. They had to get out. If this didn't get out of China, the world would change. It was going to change anyway. But if only China had this, then the whole world would be China's.
And Bao had hated China his whole life.
Eighteen more hours.....

0800 hours/Queen Elizabeth, Earth orbit

Admiral Jude Kushnir looked over the reports. It was bad. Even so, it could have been much worse. The Mercury Station had two of its Military Modules damaged, and the Queen Mary would be months behind schedule on her deployment. But they were both still there, and the colony on Mercury had been unharmed. The construction facilities at Mercury Station were also unharmed. A small pile of recommendations for awards were waiting for her to review. A lot of them would actually deserve them.
Alien ships in the inner system were the real problem. Patrolling the belt was one thing. Guarding everything was going to be impossible. The offensive was going to have to be moved forward. If they just waited, they were going to be picked apart. Right now the aliens had almost no reason to tie down assets guarding their homes - where ever those were. That was going to have to change. Soon.
A lot of people were likely to die when they found one of those homes. A lot of ships wouldn't come back from an offensive against the aliens. But it was the only game in town right now. That, or die waiting.
Jude wasn't interested in waiting.
...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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Re: November 2203

Postby procyon on Wed 25 May 2011 00:12

November 2203 part 4

November 18th 0800 hours/near Rizhao, China

Bao tried to calm his breathing. He was tired and his legs hurt. Things were not on schedule. At least he was on the way to the pick up point. In the next few hours he should be able to get out of China.
The last two hours had been busy. The last member of his cell had died giving Bao a chance to escape. While Bao had used the maser to take out the electric substation to the airport (and the only local radar station), his friend had driven up to the front of the airport at Tianjin. The Astrolite-1-5 in the trunk should have taken the front off of the terminal. The fire had sent plumes of smoke up into the sky. Bao had then used the maser to take out several of the fence mounted cameras, and then cut part of the fencing and wires on the perimeter. He had then climbed back on his scooter and left. The police and military should spend hours going through every plane and vehicle near the airport.
Bao was now near Rizhao. He was to meet a contact on the coast. But he was late already. A roadblock had forced him to abandon the scooter, and he was now on foot. Bao crept through the underbrush as he neared the beach. He held the maser low, trying to keep it hidden. It was definitely not a precision weapon and its range was only about 50 meters, but the microwaves were very damaging to electronics and flesh. Cyborgs would ground out the beam with a great deal of sparks, but nothing else. He hoped there were no cyborgs.
Bao saw the boat on the shore, and two figures crouched beside it. He flashed the small laser sight on the maser across the rocks on the beach in front of the pair, as he had been instructed to do by the handler. Two flashes from a small flashlight let him know that he was to approach the boat. Clutching the satchel with the data cards inside it, he moved forward. Soon he would be away from China.

0830 hours/Beijing, China

Minister Po sagged against his desk. He would be sacked, or killed. Regardless, his life was over as he knew it. The Research Facility had been breached, and although they could find nothing that had been taken, they would have to assume the project had been compromised. Thankfully the two prototypes had been undamaged. Only hours before the break in, they had managed to conduct the first small scale test of a field generator. It had been a resounding success. A full sized generator had been constructed, and was now being disassembled for shipment on five separate cargo freighters bound for Venus. It could not wait. They could not chance that it would be intercepted before construction and installation of the units began. In only a little over a month, the Tung group would have the first generators fitted and operational. Assuming nothing else went wrong.
Po looked up at the monitor. Steps were being taken to contain the leak. To try and prevent any further damage to the project. Perhaps they could catch the thieves. Perhaps not. Several were already dead, another had died sabotaging a costal radar suite. The Attack Frigate Yunnan had moved into orbit over the area to provide sensor coverage. But the lookdown capability was limited by ghosts and clutter caused by ground interference. Maybe all of the spies were dead. Po didn't think so.
He laid his head down on his desk. The next few days would be long. If he survived them.

November 21st 1750 hours/Heavy Escort Tatianna, Earth orbit

Rear Admiral Brenna Muldoon watched her monitor screen. The external pickup was showing her a view of the two latest Attack Escorts to be built. Both were still docked at the Pan Euro Station, but word was they would be released for trials in the next few days. She looked hard at them. Even now the names had been stenciled on. The Rachel Pierce and the Keely Sereg. They were the first to bear names of commanders who had died fighting the aliens. They had originally been intended to be convoy escorts, and not belong to any particular Battle Group. It didn't look like that was the plan anymore. Their was no 'official' word on what the deployment plans were for the pair, but rumor said they would be going out past the belt to try and locate the alien's bases and colonies.
Brenna was fairly sure that they wouldn't be going alone. Whether they accompanied the 1st or 3rd Battle Group was anybody's guess. Brenna was fairly sure that she would be the one to have the chance to see space out beyond the belt once again. But if she didn't, it wouldn't bother her.
It looked like the US was getting ready also, with two of the latest Interceptors under construction at the US Space Station. If she was the one who was making the schedule, the group wouldn't be hanging around much longer. They would get to celebrate Christmas out in space, far from any home.
Brenna looked at the ships. She wondered if Keely's kids would get to send her ship off.

November 24th 0755 hours/USS Tacoma, Sea of Japan

Captain Russel Goehring looked over the reports from the Communication Officer. The transmission had come through, and encryption had verified the content and sender. "Bring the ELF cable in. We're heading home." The sub commander knew this was not the safest place for a US sub, and with the package delivered, it was time to get back to the States. It would take a week or so, but they couldn't risk surfacing with the information that they had just received. It would wait till they were in port.

November 30th 2335 hour/Queensland Corporation Airstrips, Australia

Bao stepped off the small plane onto the landing strip. He had finished his mission. In a few more weeks he would be able to take a flight to the United States and start a new life. He had risked his life, and spent weeks hiding and running. They had managed to get the data transmitted to a waiting contact only a few days ago. The two men who had accompanied him the whole time had looked Chinese, but were actually US Seal Team members. One was even a pilot. They had managed to 'acquire' a small plane and had flown it to the FSC in Australia. Although the FSC was on friendly terms with China, they had no extradition. In a short time it wouldn't matter. It was raining lightly, but the breeze and rain felt good. He felt clean, and for the first time, free.
At that moment the Queensland Research Facility disappeared in a nuclear fireball.

Yes, you read right. That was the shocker for month 11. Just when it looked like the Earth (and the players) really were getting to where they had a good chance against the aliens, it fell apart.

We have some old house rules for espionage that we made up years ago for a 3rd Ed. game, and have just kept them. You can pay a paltry 1MC(each) to keep an espionage cell in place on anyone you had a trade agreement or better with. For this game they could have one on any or all the other players. They all had some in place. For another amount, you could activate them to try and accomplish certain tasks. The harder the task, the bigger the minus to the roll. I keep a chart that gives results for the rolls, and I (or whoever was the SM) made the rolls secretly. In this case, the US activated a cell in China. This was actually a case of real world espionage carrying over into the game. Let me explain...

The middle boy (China) had a favorite chair that he likes to sit in and do his turns in. It has its back to the wall, and a small light beside it. He kept his turn sheets with him most all the time, even taking them to school (paranoid huh, apparently with good reason). The only thing behind the chair is a steep stairway to the boys' bedrooms upstairs. The nine year old always goes up to get his pajamas around 8 pm or so. The oldest boy (US) bribed the nine year old and slipped him a small digital camera one day (or so I'm told). The nine year old managed to take a few pics of the middle boy working on his sheet for turn 11. The oldest boy then blew up the pics on his computer and managed to make out that China was in the middle of researching shields. Knowing that China had made the breakthrough, he decided to activate his cell and try to get any info he could before the middle boy got too far ahead. (Back to the saying that for $100 anyone can be James Bond anymore.) Now we get back to the espionage sheet.

The roll for the cell indicated that it was destroyed, but succeeded in getting one piece of information on the targeted area. The lowest level of info would be the breakthrough, so that is what the US got. The roll also gave China the information that they had been compromised, the area that had been breached, but not who had done it. The middle boy decided that his sneaky older sister was the only one who would know that he even had shield technology, and must have been after tech data or copy info to speed up her research. Well then (he figured - I think) she must be close, and maybe even got a working copy. He decided he needed to stop her from finishing it, and slow up her ability to field it as she was the only other one with the breakthrough (this is all conjecture on my part - maybe he was just mad at his sis and decided to nuke her only RDS because he could).

Regardless, you can see where this is going and will lead. The next few months will be difficult times for humanity. I actually wondered at times if they were going to be able to survive each other, let alone the aliens.

As for the combats, the Nemotian ships had the worst rolls I have had for a long time. Granted I needed ones against the Chinese to hit the Shek, so eight misses wasn't a big surprise. Against the base, they needed a three to hit. They launched 15 torpedoes and only managed 3 hits. Not the best of luck. The Euro station and ship usually needed 2's or ones to hit the patrol ships and managed 5 hits in the same amount of time. Kind of disappointing.

China also had a roll to see if they succeeded on their second shield research project as the middle boy had accelerated the RDS as much as he could. He had a whole 10% chance. I made him use my dice. He rolled a 01. I gave up - no fighting good luck. He now had shields, and took a focus breakthrough to double the RP's at normal cost for the next 3 turns on getting shields to regenerate every hour project. -China was on a roll.

For those curious, here are the stats for the active ships this month.

Chinese Ships
Cruiser Chiang Kia Shek (BG -1)
as Mao Tse Tung (Sept 2203 pt 4)

Missile Frigates Shangxi , Henan
as Missile Frigates (Sept 2203 pt 4)

Nemotioan Ships
Patrol Corvettes 13 , 17 (BG +1)
as Patrol Corvette (Sept 2203 pt 4)

Pan Euro Ships
Destroyer Queen Mary (BG -3/incomplete) DD 30HS
[2} o o o o o o o o o o o Qa o Ra Ya Ra Ra (Cp) [2/1]
each o is an empty hull space taking 1/4 pt of damage each.
each system has a 3.3% chance times the # of days into the month of working the first time used.

Mercury Space Station
Core SS 82HS
[0] (SY1) H Qa (SY1) [0]
Military Modules 1-6 (BG -1) SS 12HS
[0]A A H Qa La Ra [0]

and for those who like to blow up human ships
Pan Euro Pass FT 0127s FT1 12HS
[2]A (BbS) Qv Qv Qv Qv H Qv Qv Qv Qa (Cp) [4]/gtos x1

Thanks for reading, and please don't think my family is as dysfunctional as it sounds.
We really do love each other (most days).
...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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Re: November 2203

Postby Cralis on Wed 25 May 2011 03:13

He nuked the RDS that was researching shields? Harsh...
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Re: November 2203

Postby procyon on Wed 25 May 2011 03:57

Cralis wrote:He nuked the RDS that was researching shields? Harsh...

You would have a hard time recognizing him away from the game board or football field.
Very considerate. Always helping out his mother and sisters with their work.

But make it a situation with win/lose involved and that all goes out the window.... :evil:

At the ripe old age of 12, he figured out that if he had S and his big sis (FSC) knew about them, that was bad.
If she was close, that could be real bad as somebody was up to something.

S was his one real advantage at this point. With Cp as the only drive, it was huge.
He did some reading, and decided this was the best target to shut down/slow down everyone else.
If he took out or at least damaged the RDS, the FSC couldn't finish the project and their RP's would begin to backslide.
Without an RDS, the FSC couldn't assist another power (US or Euro) with thier research until it was repaired.

He also knew that the FSC had VERY limited resources. So he planned to give her no chance to repair it starting in Dec. But that is another post.
...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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