September 2204

Procyon's family campaign

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September 2204

Postby procyon on Fri 08 Jul 2011 02:58

September 2204 part 1

September 1st 0645 hours/South African Shipyard, Earth

The Dutchman walked carefully on the scaffolding along the hull of the Mary Reed. The workers were doing a good job patching the myriad holes in the outer hull left from the landing on Triton. The aliens had shot the old girl up pretty good, but the foremen were saying repairs would be finished late on the third. 'They are in an awful hurry to get us back out again.'
The Dutchman turned around and looked out at the assembled machinery and supplies scattered through the yard. 'As soon as we clear the docks they will start work on another ship. They say it will be a modified version of the Kestrel. I wonder how modified.'
He turned and continued down the scaffolding. 'In three days we will head back out system with a brigade of troops and as many supplies for them as we can hold. Only this time we'll be on our own. No Euro, US, or Chinese ships to protect us.' The Dutchman began climbing down the steps and looked out at the materials for the new ship and thought about the Kestrel and Marie Celeste.
'Our luck can't hold out forever.'


0820 hours/Armed Science Vessel Red October, docked to Pan Euro Space Station, Earth

Rear Admiral Robert McNeely looked at the orders on the monitor again. 'First promotion I haven't wanted.' he thought. 'And command of the 3rd Battle Group. Of course half of my command is either undergoing repairs or conducting them.' Robert looked at the visual display on the monitor and could see the Red October from the cameras on the station, along with the Isabelle docked to Mobile Shipyard Two nearby. 'The station looks as bad as we do.'
Robert looked up at the crew standing around the bridge. It was unusual to see them unlocked from their stations. Life had become a ritual of waiting locked in an acceleration 'couch' for the next alien contact. Another cyborg 'walked' onto the bridge, adjusting its footing as it moved down what would be a wall to Robert. 'Leave it to Stephan to make an entrance.'
"Welcome aboard Commodore Vasilikos. Congratulations on the promotion and command." Robert had been notified of Stephan's promotion and assignment to command the 3rd Light Battle Group, and had invited him to join him on the station for the upcoming briefings.
"Thank you, Bob. Amazing what they do to punish you if you disobey orders." Stephan unlocked his boots from the wall and pushed off. His boots snapped onto the deck and he walked toward Robert.
"Yes. If you had gotten your ship nearly blown apart you could have made admiral like me." Robert hated how everything came out in monotone, but he knew Stephan would be able to appreciate the sarcasm.
"Hey, god knows I tried. Some folks just don't have the talent." Stephan leaned on the monitor in front of Robert. "So why the invite. The chow here isn't any better than on my ship."
"Briefing. We need to go over the operations and intel from Command. With Admiral Kushnir gone and Admiral Muldoon three weeks out, we're in charge of ops here in the inner system." Robert got up from his station and motioned Stephan toward the hatch. "Starts in twenty minutes."
"Leave it to you Bob to find the one thing less fun than chow."


1400 hours/Beijing, China

Li Xue walked up the boarding ramp. She tried to look calm as she approached the entry to the lifter. She had trained for the last six months on the equipment she would be expected to use, but had never actually left the Earth. Xue stepped into the cabin of the lifter and saw the others strapped into couches in tight racks like sardines. Her knees began to feel like rubber and she closed her eyes for a moment, then walked down the narrow isle to where a human robot was directing her. Somewhere inside the black metal body was bits and pieces of a person, but you couldn't tell from looking.
Xue climbed into her couch and felt cold, hard hands strap her in. She closed her eyes again and took slow deep breaths. That was what they told you to do. Not to panic, just breathe. She could hear the last few of the passengers as they climbed into their couches and were strapped in. Her stomach started to growl, and she remembered that it had been nearly a day since she had eaten. She breathed deeper and tried to ignore it.
Xue felt a warm hand hold hers, and felt tubing being hooked up to the small IV site in her hand. Her hand tingled and burned for a moment as she heard a soft voice tell her to relax and she was going to be alright. Xue felt like she was already floating, and they hadn't even left the ground yet. She knew in a moment she would fall asleep, but when she woke up she wouldn't be on Earth. Or even in the lifter. She was going to sleep for the next few weeks on a big ship, and when she woke up she would be on Titan. Along with tens of thousands of other colonists.
...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: September 2205

Postby procyon on Fri 08 Jul 2011 03:06

September 2204 part 2

September 2nd 0200 hours/Sector 52:04, Surface of Triton

Oberfeldwebel Tanya Frank crouched behind the jagged crystalline feature she had chosen as cover. Her squad was spaced out across the bleak landscape beside her. She looked back to see the US 'tank' pop up above the small crest it was sheltering behind. Tanya's HUD glowed with the IR signature of the laser cannon as it silently fired. A moment later it was again below the crest of the icy 'sand' dune. Geysers of sand rocketed up in plumes as alien return fire struck the position.
"Why do they bother Tanya? They're only heating the dust." Tanya heard Heinz, the leader of Team B, talking to her. She looked over her jagged cover to the alien complex nearly a kilometer away. The entire area was shrouded in clouds of dust and ice particles thrown up and suspended in the low gravity. The aliens had learned that the clouds of dust rendered the US lasers much less effective, and made targeting for the Pan Euro Rollover and Lancer Missiles nearly impossible. It didn't seem to bother the alien mass drivers though.
"Who knows why the Americans do anything. At least they don't waste any of our ammo doing it." Tanya answered. She settled back behind her cover and checked the time. 'Half an hour to go. Then we get another chance to die. Of course with the supplies we have left, dying is pretty much a certainty. Just a question of when and how.'
Tanya called up the scans from the US ship Taylor of the complex. The Intel folks back on Earth seemed to think this particular collection of mud and ice piles was important. Some sort of production, command, or research facility that made it more important than every other pile of ice that had been flattened by the nuclear bombardment of the surface. Of the hundreds of complexes that had dotted the surface of Triton, this was the last one standing.
The aliens seemed to realize that little fact also. They had retreated into the underground shelters everywhere but here. They had fortified the area, and garrisoned it with every 'battle suit' and support weapon they seemed to have. The first probes yesterday had even discovered a few new ways the aliens had come up with to kill you. The most colorful was the gouts of plasma they seemed to channel down magnetic field lines. It was short ranged, but looked like it could cut through a spaceship hull. Power armor and cyborgs didn't stand a chance.
So in half an hour with what supplies they had left, and for however long they had before they died from the hellish environment, the troops on Triton were to try and take the alien complex and transmit any information that could be gained back to Earth. Intact if possible. Please and thank you. First abandoned, and now sent on a suicide mission.
Tanya checked her '93, and reseated the magazine. Twenty seven minutes left.
'Guess I don't have anything better to do.'


September 3rd 1105 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home 1 (Eris)

The Elders reviewed the information that had been gathered recently. The attack on the enemy holdings in the inner system had went well, with substantial losses incurred - but lower than projected. Repairs were already under way on the Assault Vessel and Patrol Vessel 17. When the Assault Vessel returned to New Home 5 it would undergo extensive refits. The magnetic field generators would be strengthened, while the mass drivers would be removed to make room for additional torpedo launch bays. The torpedoes had proven to be more useful in engaging the enemy warships, if less accurate on the whole.
Due to the durability of the enemy orbital installations, the orbital shipyards of New Home 1 would begin construction of modules to allow the station to be protected by multiple magnetic field generators. This would allow it to withstand raids by the native race, and prevent it from suffering the same fate as the orbital installations of the enemy home planet.
The fleet of ships used to survey the possible colonization sites in this system were also in the process of being scrapped for the materials in them. They would be unnecessary for a great deal of time, perhaps generations. The systems of the vessels could be put to better use constructing warships.
The last order of business was the identification and attack of the research center on New Home 3. The enemy had spared it from destruction and now seemed intent upon its capture. Steps might have to be taken to ensure its destruction if it was likely that it would fall.
What had once been anticipated as a rapid elimination of the native race had become a grinding and protracted struggle. One with no sure and lasting signs of victory.


September 4th 0445 hours/US Q Ship Vigilance, Mars orbit

Commander Scott Moreland watched the visual feed as the newest Interceptor MkIIb, the James Madison, undocked from the Mars station and fired its maneuver thrusters. Seconds drifted by as the large ship turned and drifted away. Then the feed dimmed as the dampers kicked in and the Madison engaged its drive for the first time.
"OK ladies and gents, lets take this old can in and get the dents taken out of her. Helm, plot the course for docking with Mars Station." It was finally time for the Vigilance to get repaired from the landings on Triton. Survey Vessel One would be next, as soon as the Vigilance was finished.
"Aye, Captain."
Scott heard the helmsman. It was now almost a joke that he was only a commander. The Vigilance had been in as many engagements as most US vessels, and more than some. The commander of the Madison was a Captain, but had never even seen combat. It had always been common usage to call the commander of a vessel captain, regardless of his rank. But on this ship it held special meaning.
Scott flipped his display over to the sensor returns and saw something else that held special meaning. As the Madison moved away from Mars and joined the other ships of Task Force 1, three other icons lit up the screen. Holding formation about one light second behind the US ships was the Pan Euro 3rd Light Battle Group. 'Let the aliens come back now for a little tussle.' Scott thought.
Word was that not only had Pan Euro Admiral Muldoon transferred the 3rd Light BG to Mars, but she had authorized the sale of Pan Euro Heavy Supply 02 to the FSC for no more than what it would cost to unmothball Heavy Supply 03. Everyone knew that although the FSC had committed to supporting the troops on Triton, they didn't have the ships to actually do it. The admiral everyone now called 'Battling Brenna' had given them the lift capacity to actually try.
Of course the rumor mill was also wondering if she was flexing her new muscles, or trying to get fired from her new post. It was no secret, even in the US, that she had made most of the civilian government very upset.
...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: September 2205

Postby procyon on Mon 11 Jul 2011 07:37

September 2204 part 3

September 5th 0330/University of Cambridge, England

Henk Leering studied the monitor screen as the readouts began to scroll across it. His eyes burned as he strained to look over the data, and he tried to rub it away. It only succeeded in making everything blurry. He heard footsteps behind him and slowly swiveled his chair around.
"I brought you some more coffee. Your habit of staying up till all hours and drinking this rubbish will be the death of my marriage." Thomas O'Connell sat the cup of dark black liquid on the counter beside Henk, and then sat on the stool beside him. "Any progress with the modifications to the alien field generator?"
Henk leaned back in his chair and stretched. Then he picked up the cup and held it to his nose and breathed deeply. "You do a horrible job of making coffee Thomas." Henk blew across the top of the cup and took a short sip. "Not that I care." Henk sat the cup back down and turned the monitor to face Thomas. "The readings are difficult to analyze. I think we are making progress. We have been able to verify the gravitomagnetic precession induced in a secondary body, but correlating the field to calculate the frame dragging on the base and secondary branes has been a nightmare. It’s definitely happening, but doing it in a useful way...." Henk reached for the coffee again.
Thomas looked at the screen, and then reached up to scroll through the data. Long minutes passed. Finally Thomas leaned back from the counter. "Henk, you've got more done than anyone would have guessed. Hell, no one even thought of this before you. Keep working. If anyone can get this bloody thing to work, it's you."
Henk took another sip of the coffee and grimaced. "Thomas, your pep talks are as bad as your coffee."
Thomas looked at him. "Henk, do you really think you can get these things to move a ship without needing a nuclear blast to push it along at a useful speed?"
"Yes. And you'll even be able to ride on the damned thing without needing to get turned into a machine to do it. Unless the emissions from the generator turn out to be lethal." Henk took one last sip of the coffee and turned the monitor back to face him.


September 7th 0645 hours/Cruiser Chiang Ki Shek, 144 light minutes from Sol

Admiral Hu reviewed the repair progress reports. The baffles of the Minh had been damaged for months now. With the return trip to the inner system taking a month to complete, it was a perfect opportunity for the Zhuang's crew to utilize their ship's facilities and equipment. It would take three weeks to complete the repairs if work went at the current pace, but that would still see everything finished several days before they arrived at Venus Station. The Shek was also in need of repairs to its outer baffles, but it would have to wait until work on the Minh was finished.
Reports also indicated that work was underway at the Venus Station dismantling the remains of the damaged defense modules. The two damaged sections were to be cut away and replaced with two new modules. The new additions would essentially be the same as the previous sections, but the missile bays were to be replaced with laser capacitors and batteries. It was hoped the lasers would provided a better defense against the high speed bombers that had attacked Earth, while still providing adequate short range protection against the alien warships. The new doctrine for Venus Station was to avoid any long range engagements unless forced, and to rely on short ranged weaponry to engage alien ships should they move close enough to prevent the station from using the planet as a shield. If alien ships remained several light seconds from the planet and spread out enough to prevent the station from using Venus as protection, they would be easily engaged piecemeal by the defending cruisers and frigates.
The first colonists were also on their way to Titan. The Troop Transports that would have been loaded with additional soldiers and supplies for the combat on Triton were now being pressed into use as colony ships. With the destruction of every Manchuria Class Armed Colony ship, the Troop Transports were the only ships capable of moving non-cyborg personnel. They would be on their own though. No defenses could be spared for the convoy or new colony.
Admiral Hu turned off the monitor and tried to relax. It was still a long trip home.


September 10th 2206 hours/Interceptor MkIII Yari, 32 light seconds from Sedna

Rear Admiral Jack Ryan waited as the Sensor Conn completed their sweep. The group of alien ships had made their last course alteration ten hours ago and then begun a straight line run toward the dwarf planet Sedna. Jack had ordered the Yari to break off and complete a sweep of space near the planetoid, in hopes of picking up the alien convoy again. The possibility that an alien warship might be hiding behind the huge ball of ice and rock, or an alien sensor post was hidden on the surface, was to great to risk following the alien ships any closer to the overgrown asteroid. The Yari was more than fast enough to reacquire contact with the alien ships if they did not stop at Sedna, but so far the sensor returns had been clean.
"Sir, no contacts. We are too far to get accurate scans of the surface of Sedna to confirm any alien structures there. Orders sir?"
Jack listened to the Sensor Officer's report, and thought for a few moments. "Helm, take us away from Sedna to a range of one light minute, then plot a course for the return trip to Neptune. Forward course plot to my station when finished. Do not engage drives for Neptune until I have reviewed the course. Comm, when we reach one light minute from Sedna I want a tight beam transmission to the Taylor with our current position and all sensor data on the alien ships for the last twelve hours. Have the Taylor confirm receipt on broadband transmission per standard encryption protocols. Inform me as soon as you have confirmation." Jack tapped several keys as he checked first one screen, and then another. 'We are just too short on supplies to hang around, and I can't risk tipping off the aliens that we know anything about Sedna. If they have a colony here, we need our attack to be a complete surprise.'
Jack quickly typed out a short note to Meagan and tagged it onto the transmission queue. When the Taylor got the transmission, they would forward the note along with everything else. 'It's been weeks since I've let her know I'm alive. She has to be worried sick by now. She will probably hear about our transmission and know from it that we are still out here, but a note from dad should do a lot for frayed nerves.'
Jack tapped on the keys to confirm the transmission.


September 12th 1950 hours/New Delhi, India

Chairman Mukata slumped in the chair. The meeting had been grueling, and the board members less than cooperative. It had been necessary to convert several of the Consortium's 'industrial assets' into capital. Sale of corporate property was not a new thing, but doing it for less than a specified profit margin was. The pressing nature of the new operation to support the surface combat at Neptune had left Mukata no choice but to sell for less than the established margin. Without the capital, the FSC would be unable to support both the combat operation and ongoing research at the same time, let alone purchase a Pan Euro cargo ship at a ridiculously low price. Mukata knew just what the answer would be if the board was given a choice between delaying the current endeavors or selling assets.
But there had been no time to consult the board before the decision had to be made. 'They are going to make sure I understand that I don't have the authority to do this on a regular basis. I definitely do not like these marathon meetings and the endless questions.'
'It’s done though. By the end of this month our space fleet will have doubled in its number of ships, both combat and commercial. And with some luck, the Queensland research group will begin to show some results soon.'
...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: September 2205

Postby procyon on Mon 11 Jul 2011 07:39

September 2204 part 4

September 13th 0855 hours/Sector 52:04, Surface of Triton

Oberfeldwebel Tanya Frank dropped the magazine from her PzGw 94 and pulled another from her harness. She looked up as she seated it in the weapon. The NMI had turned her display into a mass of white lines so she disabled it. She spotted the two US soldiers setting up their heavy lasers on the 'balcony' above, along with one of her squad members. The US troops were to be the anti armor team for her squad. The US M174 Laser was bulky, and the backpack sized power supply even more so, but it was one of the few weapons capable of tearing holes in the alien armored suits that didn't use precious ammo. Hauptgefreiter Ludwig Schimmelpfennig was with them to add a little punch to the group. Only one member of any squad was allowed to carry Rollover's to conserve the precious missiles, and Ludwig seemed to have a talent for picking out the alien suits and bringing them down.
Tanya checked the HUD for her squad's status. She was already short two troops and couldn't afford to lose anyone else. She scrolled down through the list to the extra soldiers assigned to her. The fact that she had picked up a second squad when their Feldwebel had fallen was only making it more difficult to keep everything organized. Add a pair of US troops, and the need to coordinate with a nearby Chinese platoon and Tanya knew that if she had any hair, it would have been pulled out by now. Tanya shut off the strings of text, poked her head and weapon up above the twisted piece of machinery she was squatting behind, and fired a dozen flechette rounds across the open area. Settling back down she waited for the inevitable return fire. Chunks of ice and metal spun through the 'air' near her as pieces of her cover were ripped away. Dust and ice billowed as a nearby detonation churned up clouds of it. On the IR display Tanya could see the US soldiers targeting the suits firing on Tanya's position, the laser leaving glowing streaks as it sliced through the dust in the air. The lip of the balcony disappeared as some alien support weapon ripped most of it away. The trail from a pair of Rollover's told Tanya that Ludwig was still alive, but the US equipment ricocheting off the ceiling told her that the laser team hadn't been as lucky. As even more of the balcony disappeared in an explosion of fragments and debris she doubted even Ludwig was alive. Two of her squad tried to hop up and then use their maneuver packs to come down near an exit from the section of the building they were in, but only one made it. The other trooper was left cart wheeling several meters off the floor as he was hit by several alien weapons.
Tanya rose up and finished emptying her '94. "FALL BACK. FALL BACK." She watched as several soldiers were cut down trying to leave their positions. She had seen over a dozen alien suits plus dozens of unarmored aliens moving toward them. The whole 'room' was a mass of bullet and weapon impacts occasionally obscured by clouds of dust as explosions ripped through the area. "HQ GET THE TAYLOR ONLINE. REQUEST FOR ORBITAL SUPPORT THIS LOCATION."
The world suddenly spun out of control and Tanya felt her maneuver pack firing wildly. She came to a stop near a wall and looked back to see that her cover had turned into another cloud of dust and debris. An alien suit came floating through the dust and turned toward her. Tanya watched as the front of it was suddenly torn into a dozen fragments. Tanya had only enough time to see the Chinese 37mm Gun crew that had saved her before they also disappeared in a cloud of dust and debris. Tanya tried to flatten out as much as she could and began to pull herself along the floor. As she reached a blast hole in the wall she crawled through, pulled out her 9mm LE/SR and turned to look back the way she had come. Four aliens were rapidly floating towards pieces of cover. Tanya fired short bursts at each of them and watched as each alien in turn was sent spinning in the low g. Then something exploded near her hole and clouds of dust blocked even her IR and UV returns. Tanya looked about her for a moment and then pushed off toward the nearest bit of cover.
"HQ to Oberfeldwebel Frank. Support request granted. Time to fire mission 30 seconds. HQ out." Tanya crouched down as low as she could and waited. If she hadn't gotten far enough away, it wouldn't matter what she did. An alien weapon sailed out of the hole she had just crawled through and detonated, churning up more dust. And then the wall it had come through disappeared in a million fragments, along with the rest of the building as the US ship destroyed it.


September 16th 1500 hours/US Interceptor MkIII Naginata, 2 light seconds from Earth

Commander Jason Collins III absently checked the sensor returns. The surface based installations would be able to detect any alien ships long before the Naginata could, but it was a good habit to get into. Dwelling on the sensor returns was not something Jason enjoyed though. Most of the ships defending Earth were actually under repairs. The only other US Interceptor, the Sai, was docked to the US Space Station. The Sai had been damaged so badly that the crew had been forced to leave the ship. The life support systems had been so badly compromised that even a cyborg would find the environment of the ship hostile.
The Pan Euro had a Battle Group stationed at Earth, but the only ship larger than an Attack Escort was a floating wreck being repaired at the nearly ruined Pan Euro Space Station. Of the four Pan Euro Attack Escorts, one was in terrible shape and being repaired while the other three rotated time at general quarters so that only one Attack Escort was combat ready at any given time. The deployment of the Pan Euro 3rd Light Battle Group to Mars helped protect the last intact US Space Station and Shipyard there, but it definitely left Earth a little light on mobile defenders. Mars now had more combat ships protecting it than Earth did.
Jason checked the date. It was still a week away from the arrival of the Pan Euro 4th Battle Group. 'With a Pan Euro Royalty Class warship, the 4th BG is real power and protection. The 4th BG carries nearly as many launchers as the US has surface launch sites. Until then we'll have to rely on those surface defenses. Four small ships just won't scare the aliens very much. Not if they show up with the number of ships they brought last time.'
Jason cleared his monitor and brought up the duty log. 'Three hours till it’s our turn. I wonder if the civilian channels have anything interesting on today.' Jason brought up a broadcast listing and began to scroll down the list.


September 18th 1720 hours/Elders' Chambers, New Home 1 (Eris)

Reports of activities and progress were presented one after another to the Elders. The flux in the personnal fields of the Elders was disconcerting to those who brought data for them. The news brought a mix of conflicted emotions on the part of the assembed Elders.
The defense of New Home 3 was slowly being crushed by the enemy ground forces but the research facilities had been almost completely destroyed in the fighting. No action would be needed to ensure the native race gained nothing from that facility. Only one enemy ship remained in orbit of New Home 3. It was possible that the other ships were still waiting just beyond sensor range, but a patrol to ensure this might be required. The fields betrayed that several of the Elders beleived that if New Home 3 could be successfully relieved, the population might be evacuated to New Homes 2 and 4.
Funding for the project to mount weapons on the external hull of the Combat and Assault Vessels had been stopped as it had proven impossible to implement at the current time. Torpedoes were simply too large of a structure to support under the immense acceleration of a warship in combat. This discuvery had come to embarass several of the Elders who had supported the project's additional funding. The resources had been reallocated to the project to miniaturize the current mass driver designs. This project was proving more promising and the first functional prototypes should be available for testing in the near future. Deployment of the system would give current designs a much greater advantage in an engagement, and surface deployment would allow the New Homes to protect themselves from enemy bombardments.
The largest expenditure under review was a new construction project at New Home 5. A new orbital construction platform was being assembled there, to replace the lost capacity of the facility destroyed at New Home 3. It would not be functional for quite some time, but was considered necessary. With current fleet levels unacceptably low, construction of new vessels was a priority as were the facilities to build them.
The Elders continued to review and plan. The war would need constant attention to be won.
...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: September 2205

Postby procyon on Mon 11 Jul 2011 23:50

September 2204 part 5

September 21st 2015 hours/Ministry of Defense, Beijing, China

Minister Po looked out the window at the rain. It had rained for several hours. Not that the weather had slowed down the number of meetings, conference calls, and messages. Everyone had questions, suggestions, or orders. What no one had was a good answer or extra funds. Not that Po intended to give out any of those either.
Po turned around and picked up the papers from his desk. Most sensitive information was still stored on paper, as the computerized networks were to easily compromised. The first packet covered the activities at the Venus Station. Work would be finished by month's end on the two new defensive modules there. The effort to salvage the wreckage of the two cruisers that had been under construction when they were destroyed by the aliens was also progressing nicely. The ships hadn't even finished having the hull frameworks finished so much of the equipment and electronics were still intact or awaiting shipment to the station. Projections showed that materials to construct another cruiser in the Minh class would be available and the cost would be minimal.
The other packet went over the details of the scrap and salvage operations on the station here at Earth. It represented half of China's space based construction capability. Many of the ministers had fought fiercely to spare it, and have it repaired. Po knew that he had created a number of enemies when he had finally managed to get the confirmation to disassemble the mammoth structure. It was a great loss, but it would provide the raw materials to begin construction of new war and support ships. Few cared to see the ray of hope in the disaster this situation was.
The last booklet was a report based on transmissions from Triton. The troops there were reaching critical levels on many supplies. The power armor troops in particular were less able to withstand the environment of the distant moon. They would begin dying in considerable numbers soon. The FSC supplies might help, but there was simply no way the two ships that had been recorded leaving Earth could carry enough supplies, even if everything on them was directed toward the Chinese troops.
Po saw the screen on his desk flashing. 'Someone else, with more bad news or criticism.' Po turned his chair back around to face the rain.


September 24th 0005 hours/Queen Victoria, sunside of the asteroid belt

Admiral Brenna Muldoon watched as the sensor returns confirmed the transmission she had just received. The Chinese ships were breaking off from the rest of the convoy. Their course would carry them toward Venus. It was common knowledge the Chinese had an installation in orbit of the planet. It was conjectured that they may have a small site on the surface, but it had never been confirmed. Most 'experts' considered it unlikely. Of course most of those experts would have considered an alien race arriving in the solar system and engaging in a war with the human race unlikely also. 'They have something worth guarding there. Don't know what, but it can't seem to guard itself.'
Brenna looked over the course plot. It would still be several days before they reached Earth, and alien interception of the convoy was possible. 'The Vic's crew is still a bunch of new grads from the academies, but the rest of the battle group has been through the wringer a couple of times. We should be alright even if we encounter anything out here. What we can't beat, we can still run from. In a few days we'll be home, and shortly after that the 3rd Battle Group should be finished with repairs. Then we won't have to worry about running anymore.'
Brenna pulled up the latest training schedules for both battle groups. Devising tactics and training regimens for a new weapon system is hard enough. Doing it for one that isn't even in service yet is harder still. But they would start soon. Groups would pull away from Earth to go on 'Patrol' or 'Escort' duty. And when they were safely away from Earth the new protocols would be tested, revised, and finally revised again when the operational system was deployed. Whether the system could even be installed in the current ship design was yet to be seen. It may need a whole new class or classes of ship. Regardless, Brenna had to have some framework ready when the new missiles came into service.
As hard as working on the training was, it was still easier that the work waiting for her at Earth. The ceremony for her promotion and the change of command ceremonies. Then the memorial ceremonies for Jude. Jude. Probably the last person who even began to understand her. For decades they had enjoyed each others company or shared fears and doubts. When one would falter, the other would be there. They had always had an arrangement in the service. Brenna would get the crews ready to fight, and Jude would lead them through it.
But now Jude was gone. Brenna would have to carry the burdens they had shared. And she would have to do it in situations where failure meant more than just a black mark on your record. It might make the difference between whether there was anyone left to keep records or not. There would be no more chances to make mistakes. No time to cry for lost friends, and the loneliness that waited.


September 30th 1900 hours/Converted Freighter Mary Reed, surface of Triton

The Dutchman looked over the status reports. 'That was a lot easier than last time.' There were no reports of damage incurred during the landing, either from the aliens or just the environment of the moon. The troops were off loading without any resistance from the aliens. The cargo ship was reporting the same thing. No damage. No alien contact. 'We might make it back to Earth without needing something fixed or repaired for once.'
Suddenly the monitor began to fill with messages. The soldiers were filing report after report. 'Are the aliens just concentrating on the troops?' The Dutchman began to check the reports. One after another they said the same thing. First a few, and then into the dozens. And still the reports kept arriving. The Dutchman sat locked at his station and switched over to the external visual feed. And then he could see it for himself.
The Mary Reed had touched down less than a kilometer from the main Chinese base camp. All indications were that they would be lowest on supplies, so it had been decided to off load in their cantonments first. It appeared that wouldn't be necessary here. There was row after row of bubble tents set up for the power armor soldiers to use. For them to sleep in, dine in, and train in. Now to die in. Large sections of the bubble tents were now flat, the atmosphere converted to a thin layer of snow over the corpses of the soldiers that had died inside of them. Not just a few. Hundreds of tents. Thousands of soldiers. More than what the FSC had brought. Perhaps twice what had come on the Mary Reed.
The Dutchman shut off the feed. They had come to help fight one war, and found two. They had planned for the battle against the aliens. The other would be against Triton itself.
...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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procyon
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Re: September 2205

Postby procyon on Mon 11 Jul 2011 23:51

September 2204 part 6

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Overview

This month was a welcome break for all sides from the combat of the last few months. The players spent the month waiting for and dreading another attack, but the Nemotians were just in no shape to even try another offensive.
As there were a few events that didn't make it into the story for the month, we will get straight to the tale of the tape.

For the Pan Euro,
This month saw my wife pull her last full strength combat group back into the inner system. She also decided that although she was in bad shape, she was the best off of the 'non-Chinese' players. The US Mars Station represented the last undamaged and well protected SY so she shipped a LBG to help protect Mars. She suspected that if the Chinese were pulling back from Triton and scrapping the SS at Earth, that their holdings at Venus were intact but in danger. She then decided that the next target would likely be Mars (again) now that Earth's SY's were in a shambles. With the US barely able to scrape together a task force of three ships she decided a LBG would go a long ways to help protect Mars' SY.
She also decided that if the FSC was going to try and handle the ground combat at Triton they would need some help. She knew that the oldest girl had only a pittance to work with and almost no ships to her name. The Euro still had one FT mothballed in orbit that had escaped attack so she offered to sell the one in service to the FSC for the cost to unmothball the other. I don't think she realized that what she sold them actually had more cargo capacity that all of the FSC ships at that point put together. Without it the FSC initiative was pretty much doomed.
Economically - she only repaired ships to keep down costs and poured everything she could into IU and colonization of the AB. She started her research on Ica and pumped up her research on missiles. She was hoping to be in good enough economic shape for the refits and construction she envisioned occurring in the next few months. She was beginning to worry that the aliens were no longer the main threat. She couldn't out muscle the Chinese so she would need to out tech them - just as she had done at the beginning of the game.

For China,
This month was the first in a long time to see the middle boy spending MC on colonization (maybe since the game started come to think of it). His largest expense was building the two new SS defense modules at Venus, but this was more than covered by scrapping the SS at Earth and salvaging the two ships at Venus. (Why you can salvage a partially built ship that gets destroyed, and not a finished one that get destroyed is beyond me, but the oldest boy was pushing for this rule [M1.04.1] as it would help him also.) He finished the month with over 1500MC in his treasury, so it was obvious what his plan was.
I was fairly sure he had decided that if he pulled his ships off the line, the US and Euro would be forced to deploy their assets to cover the inner system. They would spend their time and resources trying to repair damage and maintain their current fleets. While they were busy with the aliens he was going to use his large combat force to lock down Venus. He would then begin, once again, to construct his monster. Once it was finished he would crush the aliens and then the other players.

For the US,
The oldest boy followed much the same plan as the Euro. He mostly repaired ships that were damaged and poured everything he could afford into colonization and IU. I think he could also see that if the current war with the aliens ended, the status quo would end. He was also the small dog of the group with almost no ability to defend himself from the Chinese and limited ability to support the Euro. He would need more income and ships to redress the balance.
But he still had his eye on defeating the aliens - along with strengthening his fleet - so when he salvaged the Q ship at Earth he used what he got to start another one. He wanted to be able to deploy several of them to support landings on any other alien world. He had decided that it would be impossible to catch up to the Euro and China using IU growth and colonization. The best way to even things out was to capture an alien population and gain that income in tribute.
And so began the plot to hit the alien colony he had found, by HIMSELF....

For the FSC,
This month saw the FSC stretch itself to the financial limit. Between research, repairs, some colonization, building a new ship, and then having to come up with the MC to buy the bargain Euro FT, the oldest girl had to scramble and scrape to come up with the required cash. In the end she made it - but only by cutbacks on some things she would like to have spent more on.
She took over the die rolls for the ground combat this month even though she was only on the moon for the last few days. She got some incredible rolls for the assault phase but ended up destroying the research complex when she tried to make the roll to capture it. Actual combat losses for the players were next to nothing. Losses from lack of supplies killed over fifty times what combat did.
Her research projects were getting close to completion though so she was hoping to wrap up the combat on Triton quickly.

For the Nemotians,
Although building up the fleet was THE big priority, I had decided that the current crop of ships was not adequate in the prevailing combat environment. Battles had gone from the players' ships being pushovers to them going toe to toe with bigger ships and winning. After a good hard look at the Nemotian ships I decided that they were badly in need of upgrading.
First and foremost they lacked adequate defense. Euro DD's and Chinese FG's packed as much shielding as Nemotian CL's, while Chinese CL's had almost double the shields. The players CT's and ES carried the same or heavier shielding as the alien DD's. The Nemotian CT's had the lightest shields of any design. With shields being THE big defense of the game, depth in this area was obviously far more important than it had been in any previous game I had participated in. Increasing the number of shields on the designs was first on the list.
Second was getting point defense on line. Even the pitiful Da would be a huge advantage. In our more standard Ultra game, the players have pretty much decided that two HS of armor tended to stop more damage than the Da did. In this game with no one having datalink yet and one or two hits in a volley being the norm, a Da could cut the number of hits in half. The first chance for success would come in month 22, so I hoped it wouldn't take long.
The last issue on redesign was the kinetic weapons. I decided that the small range advantage of the Pt system was ruined by current use of K's. The K needed to get closer and the current designs forward mount forced you to close continually with your target, giving the R's an advantage. It also cut the DD and CL's firepower in half if you choose to break off combat. If the K's were swapped out for Pt's then the range issue and withdrawal ability would be solved. I hoped these three changed would increase the Nemotians staying power.
I decided to shield the SS's as the players' designs had proved (surprisingly) durable. I didn't arm them as the modules don't link, have poor grade, and were in nearly all ways inferior to the PDC based defenses I had installed on all the larger New Homes. But the ability to endure fire long enough to force an attacker to loiter in range of the PDC's - allowing them to take a toll on an attacker - was important. If the SS's proved difficult to damage it would discourage raids to take them out.
The biggest concern was the rapid down spiral of the Nemotian treasury. The war would soon be limited to only what their income could support. With an income only 50MC's a month more than the US, and 150 to 200MC less than the Euro or China, I had no illusions of what that would entail. Even more than in the case of the Euro vs. China, I needed to be able to out tech and out fight my opponents in the coming months.

A note on the ground combat is in order. The battle was nearly a success for the players, with victory being a little over 20 points away. The combat losses were only 0.1Qv for the players. Losses were much higher than that though. The Euro and US had enough supplies for all of their troops for the month. The Chinese had only a small amount plus whatever the Euro and US decided to send them. To their credit my wife and oldest boy sent every last spare H they had to the Chinese, holding nothing back for next month. The Chinese put it all into combat with none reserved for troop maintenance for the Qv that wasn't supplied. With unsupplied troops in an extreme environment, well you can figure out where this is going. The loss to aliens of 0.1Qv (which the Euro decided to absorb saying she was taking the lead in most of the combat) was dwarfed by the loss of 5.4 Qv for the unsupplied Chinese battalions. Death due to lack of supply now rivaled death due to combat. The middle boy stated that nothing less than victory was going to save the players at Triton anyway and holding something back just to lose made no sense.


As a sad side note this game has currently stalled out just past turn 100 due to the oldest boy moving out (-at age 20 he was due). None of the younger kids are ready to take over such a convoluted game and division of the US holdings into the other powers has proven problematic. But seeing that it has taken me over a year to get to month 21 in the story there should be at least another four years of work for me to get through (probably longer as it gets more complicated). Hopefully we can resolve the current issue of the US(USN) in that time.
Of course the oldest girl (who graduates high school this year) and the middle boy (graduating in three more years) may create more issues to deal with. Perhaps as the younger kids grow this campaign will get reborn in a new form much as our New Empires campaign has. Time will tell.......

Again, thanks for reading.
...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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