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  #61  
Old April 9th, 2008, 01:22 AM

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Default Re: Dawn - Ones and zeroes

2411.1

Nekkar III
Fleet Training Academy...


The simulator was state of the art. The bridge of any ship known to the empire – friend or foe – could be simulated. Prototypes could also be simulated - which was, of course, the entire reason for the simulator in the first place. Those that proved successful throughout the various trials the designers and military put forth were now serving the Empire as ships of the line. Those that didn’t pass had their failures analyzed and evaluated. There were unsuccessful tests, but each test increased the knowledge of the designers, even if it was only in what not to do.

Today’s simulation was a test of the current anti-proton cannon battleship and a torpedo equipped battleship. Their challenge was to reduce the defenses of an active Norak colony. The crew that commanded the current battleship bridge simulator were Academy students, under the command of one of the heavy warship theory instructors. The command staff of the school had been asked to provide their best, and the crew on the bridge simulator was doing a very good job in reducing the defenses. The classic technique of slipping into range of enemy, firing and slipping back out again was used, and the defenses were ultimately eliminated.

Admiral Harrison had been running this Academy since its inception. He had pioneered the technique used and it was now standard practice when assaulting a planet.

Until today.

After the simulation was cleared, a lone man entered. He was carrying a single small satchel, and withdrew a set of chips, which he connected into the simulator computer. He then punched in an access code and looked back at Admiral Harrison.

“We’re ready.”

The exercise was repeated with two changes. First the anti-proton beam cannons had been replaced by the anti-matter torpedoes that were now available. Maintaining their lethality over 130km, they could out range the current cannons, out-punch them over distance, and as a result end assaults quicker. The only drawbacks to the torpedoes were their reliance on ordinance and the fact that point defense had a chance at destroying them. Still, with proper ordinance and supply support, they could be even more devastating than the beam weapons.

The second change was a bit more radical.

There was no crew.

The ship was run by a master computer, which could control the ship’s functions. Ship space would no longer be designated for the support of personnel, which meant more weapons, armor, shields, etc.

Harrison watched the demonstration impassively. He, and most professionals, knew the day was coming when computers would control the ships. Of course, they all thought it would come just a bit later.

Harrison signed off on the test results. Seeing no significant advantage to having members of the military in harm’s way, the ships would begin to refit for computer control as soon as they could...

Lezzari system
Lezzari IV...


The planet was colonized, and work began immediately on a Hercules VIII platform. Crews on the planet worked overtime to get the platform completed. The frigates Thames and Oxford orbited to defend the colony, while Montreal and the repair ship Alice Springs waited at the warp point. The stealth ship Springer was still shadowing the Norak fleet as it moved through the system. Springer reported that the fleet’s orders were to still warp out into an unknown system. Now that Dawn had established the colony there, everyone was wondering what the Norak fleet would do now...

Zezzis system...

With the establishment of the Dawn colony in Lezzari, Southampton, West End and Artemis were detached from Fezzran and were now heading to Lezzari. The Norak weren’t the only ships in the system, as a Sithrak carrier and support ships were also present, in orbit over one of their colonies. The Sithrak had stayed out of the war to this point, but caution would be observed. They would be offered a treaty, but the ships were still on their way.

Toronto also warped into the system from Fezzran, but she put into port to begin the upgrade to a Canada X class light cruiser. She would be the first capital ship in service to get the master computer upgrade. She would also swap one of her anti-proton beam cannons to carry 900kT of armor and a level-2 flak cannon with a range of 110km. She would also upgrade to a level 2 solar sail.

Fezzran system
Fezzran-Zezzis warp point...


With the departure of the four ships to Zezzis, the task of guarding the warp point now fell to Bismarck, along with Dunwich and Norwich. They would also upgrade as the situation allowed...

Sheliak system...

In Sheliak, Mastiff escorted the cargo ship Adams and the repair ship Townsville to the first Norak colony, Sheliak IV. It was a tiny planet with only one mining colony, but it was a first step. The Santa Maria ice planet colony ship on its way to the ruins at Sheliak X was met by Dover, and would be escorted through the system until it reached the planet. Bristol was already there as a deterrent from others to send a colony ship that way.

The stealth ship Beagle reported that the spaceport on Sheliak I was now protected by ten weapon platforms. The Cheththod fleet guarding the warp point to Lacerta was still over forty ships strong with two carriers, which held thirty fighters. A third Norak destroyer was on its way to the Sheliak-Pantrissa warp point, and the empire ships guarding that point were alerte...

Pantrissa system
Pantrissa V shipyard...


The cargo ship Monroe returned for a master computer upgrade. Roosevelt was due in for the same next month. Warping in from Zanthris was the battleship Tirpitz. She was en route to Sheliak and would take part in the assault on the Norak colonies there. A Santa Maria would colonize another ice planet in Pantrissa next month as well. This was a large ice planet, with a carbon dioxide atmosphere that would be home to a colony of Phong citizens of the Empire.

Drepana system
Drepana III...


The colony ship navigated around the sectors known to contain hostile ships, and eventually touched down. More Cue Cappa ships were starting to come into the system, but the Dawn had established a colony in Drepana, and had three warships there to defend it. The colonists immediately began working on a supply point to keep their defenders well stocked. The ruins yielded secrets of massive planetary shields, and would prove useful on high value planets.

Nekkar III
Corporate headquarters...


Along with the offer of trade to the Sithrak, a new peace offering was made to the Phong, this time showing Phong citizens of the empire productively engaged. They were happy and prosperous. It was a blatant attempt at propaganda, but if it worked, one less empire would be seeking to destroy the Dawn...
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  #62  
Old April 10th, 2008, 01:21 AM

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Default Re: Dawn - The choice

2411.2

Sheliak system
Sheliak IV...


The ground troops moved throughout the colony. They had already destroyed the colony militia that opposed them. There was still the task of finding the inhabitants and meeting with their leader, to explain that the “occupation” wouldn’t really be an “occupation”, that – with the exception of activities that would hurt the empire – the colony was free to pursue whatever goals it desired.

During the battle, the residents left their homes and facilities, and had probably gone to some underground shelter. The commander of the ground forces reported that the colony proper was deserted. The search continued into the undeveloped areas on the planet. A report had finally come in that the Norak had been located. The members of the Pantrissa Urban Pacification Center were on board Adams overhead, and now prepared to shuttle down to the planet to meet with the residents.

They never made it.

Reports began to come in from various points along the planet. More and more enclaves of the Norak citizens were being located. Each report was more disheartening than the last. The Norak, either through their own propaganda, religious fervor, or abject fear of capture had taken their own lives rather than live under the rule of the empire.

The empire’s latest addition was a dead planet.

At the same time as the ground troops were making their discoveries, Tirpitz had warped into the system and began the trip to the Norak spaceport at Sheliak I. She had steamrolled over a Norak destroyer who challenged her, and would meet with Bristol to begin the bombardment of the planet. Dover was escorting the Santa Maria ice colony ship to Sheliak X and would be there next month, freeing Bristol to escort the battleship...

Nekkar III
Corporate headquarters...


Upgrades were in progress throughout the system. Medical labs and space yards were undergoing improvements. Also being improved was the satellite coverage of systems. Warp points would be monitored by anti-photon cannons mounted on Checkpoint satellite systems, while interior system coverage would be provided by new Navstar satellites. Little more than radars on a computer platform, they would provide low-maintenance coverage of system space.

Chairman Lomax listened to the reports of the improvements in the empire’s technology and living standards. They were upbeat, but his mind kept wandering to the reports of the Norak colonists on Sheliak IV. How the Dawn empire must be perceived for a group to choose to take their own lives as opposed to living with them was something he couldn’t fathom. Of course, he was biased. But had he ever looked from the viewpoint of others? Did the Dawn empire have the right to impose their standards on others? Surely the improvements were considered beneficial – other races had adopted to their way of life easily enough.

Still, the thought persisted. Would they win the wars they found themselves engaged? Probably. Their technology and skill were more than a match for anyone they found themselves in opposition with. Yes, they would probably win against whoever they faced. That wasn’t the issue. There was a more fundamental question.

Should they?
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  #63  
Old April 12th, 2008, 10:13 AM

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Default Re: Dawn - Enter the computer

2411.3

Nekkar III
Corporate Headquarters


Rita Edwards was pleased. Her intelligence department was finally starting to engage in some offensive missions of its own. The attacks against the enemy’s facilities were definitely helping, but she was sure that the day was very near when the department would be able to glean just as much information from other empires as they had been acquiring from hers. Her agents were in the field, and they were getting better with each passing day.

Of course, the old earth scientist Darwin could have told her that as well…

Meanwhile, the economic situation of the empire was improving as outdated weapons platforms, fighters and troops were scrapped. Mineral production was just keeping up with the demands of an ever-updating fleet, and research efforts were now focused on improved mineral production...

Zezzis system
Zezzis XI...

CDS Bismarck
was now operational as a class two battleship. The removal of the “biologicals” resulted in enough space for several improvements. Her main update had been to weaponry. Gone were the anti-proton beam cannons, and in their place were nine torpedoes. She also carried 900kT of emissive armor along with a class-7 shield with regenerator.

The last technician on board the ship had cycled the computer, and confirmed the readout. He keyed in the security code and Bismarck became the empires first fully automated warship...

Mentocka system
Mentocka VII shipyard...


The crew of the Konigsberg departed the ship for the last time. This battleship was also about to become automated. She would be even more powerful than Bismarck with a tenth torpedo being added to her arsenal. Her last act as a manned ship had been to escort McKinley as she dropped troops onto an Abbidon colony just established two months earlier at Abbidon II…
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  #64  
Old April 12th, 2008, 03:56 PM

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Default Re: Dawn - The Goddess

2411.4

Mentocka system
Mentocka II...


The Empire ground troops approached the colony. There were nine units, each armed with a torpedo with over twice the range of any known ground weapon. The Abbidon weren’t interested in a fight, and they abandoned their lone militia unit. Dawn had taken another planet with only a single shot. The Mentocka system now contained seven Dawn colonies and four planets that were still waiting for owners. With patrol ships at each of the two exiting warp points, the Mentocka system was no longer a war zone, but a front-line system. Infrastructure improvements could start immediately.

Lacerta system
...onboard CDS Beagle...


Ed Jefferies kept to himself for the trip into Lacerta. One of the black uniformed guards was at his cabin door the entire time. He did meet with the captain briefly, but his orders did most of the talking. Jefferies was a high-level operative, who answered only to Rita Edwards herself...

Captain Cabrerra was back in Lacerta with his stealth ship and crew. The first, and most experienced of the “ships that weren’t there” Beagle was running Ed Jefferies to Lacerta system. In the cargo hold of the ship was a small shuttle with no distinct markings. Cabrerra knew that Jefferies was headed to a Norak colony – alone – and was supposed to be back at the ship at a pre-arranged time. Cabrerra did have some leeway should Jefferies not return when scheduled, but even in a ship that couldn’t be seen, staying in one place too long was a risk. Should Beagle move and remain cloaked, Jefferies shuttle wouldn’t have the capability to warp out of Lacerta on its own. In short, he would be trapped in a hostile system.

All the more reason to run through the plan again, and again. Jefferies’ first operation was with a Norak sympathizer back on Pantrissa V. He still had the religious artifact she transmitted her reports through. His role this time was that of a trader, looking to purchase ore from the extraction facilities on Lacerta III. Extremely suspicious of outsiders, Jefferies trump card would be his “belief” in the goddess and his promise to spread Her message – provided his ship was able to get the ore he needed...

Cabrerra was right at home. Beagle had found an asteroid field and Cabrerra watched with amusement as his navigator tried to remain calm among the rocks. Cabrerra had negotiated fields more dense than this with a freighter four times the size of the frigate he now commanded. He reassured his navigator and the ship shut down its engines in between two asteroids that were tracking parallel courses. Jefferies boarded his shuttle and left the Beagle.

As he approached the planet, he sent a standard hail. There were five very menacing satellites each armed with a depleted uranium cannon in orbit around the planet. After stating his intentions and wishing the blessings of the goddess upon all who were in Her favor, Jefferies shuttle was cleared to land.

At the extraction facility, Jefferies approached the controller and walked up to him. Without saying a word, he withdrew a small weapon and smiled.

“Today, brother, you shall see the Goddess.”

Leaving the body behind him, Jefferies began to plant the charge he brought. It wasn’t very powerful and would do nothing to the extraction facilities, whose sheer bulk – mostly underground – could withstand a direct missile hit.

The control station, however, was another story.

After planting the charge, he had one more mission to perform that would take him into more popluated parts of the colony. A half-hour after he left, the charge detonated. The control station was severely damaged, and there was now no way to remove the ore that was mined by the facility. Totally automated, the facility continued to dig ore and send it back to the entrance for removal. When the ore at the entrance wasn’t removed, more piled behind it. The end result was that the ore in the facility was now entombed and the only way to extract it would be to take the facility apart and manually load it for removal and storage.

Dawn had just completed its first offensive intelligence mission against the Norak. For Captain Cabrerra and the crew of the Beagle, it was just another mission. They had second one on this trip.

They were to be a tour guide. Beagle's sensitive nose and ears was monitoring the warp point between Fezzran and Lacerta. Two Norak destroyers were guarding it. She also picked up emissions from the Empire ships that were about to warp into Lacerta from Fezzran. They were in for a surprise.

A big surprise...

Lacerta-Fezzran warp point...

The crew of the Norak destroyer couldn’t help themselves. They knew something unauthorized was coming into their system. They were on a destroyer. They were on a ship the Goddess herself would be proud of. It was the best the Norak had. There were rumors of the Dawn empire having larger ships, but that was discounted. How could another race have any ships larger than those that served the Goddess? And no one had come back from the encounters with the heathens of the empire to report of the rumored larger ships, had they?

Artemis actually came through first. She had received a single anti-proton beam cannon in her latest upgrade, so she was a threat to ships as well as to fighters. She warped in with the Norak behind her. She immediately went to her top speed and started away from the warp point. The Norak ships began to chase Artemis down...

What happened next was utterly incomprehensible to the Norak. Bismarck warped in and immediately fired all nine torpedoes at the closest Norak ship. The first Norak destroyer was vaporized. The master computer then assessed the remaining threat as insignificant to the battleship herself, and cleared her targeting computer, saving her torpedoes for bigger game.

The crew on the second Norak ship hadn’t fired. They were closing the range when they saw the battleship. Never before could they even imagine something so powerful. Those that could see it thought it was the manifestation of the Goddess Herself. They watched their sister ship be extinguished with one breath of fire from the giant.

Nobody moved. They knew their day was at hand, and they began to cry joyfully. They had seen the Goddess! They had been judged worthy of Her!! They would be with Her! The priests were right!! They fell to their knees and prayed to the ship. As they prayed, they saw the two servants of the Goddess also enter their system. Their joy knew no bounds!

The servants pointed the way to Her with a path of shining light. Shining brightly, showing the way! Burning brightly!!. Burning to cleanse them in preparation of being with Her!! Any moment now, and they would join with Her! Any mome......

Onboard the Dawn frigates, the captains were unsure why the Norak had stopped their attack on Artemis. They knew, of course, it had to be related to the appearance of Bismarck, but they couldn’t be sure as to exactly why. In a moment, it didn’t matter as the second Norak destroyer was now a fireball dissipating into the nothingness of space...

The frigates rejoined on Bismarck and Artemis and plotted a course for the first Norak colony. Beagle, who had been monitoring the battle, sent a coded signal to Lacerta III...

Lacerta III
Religous shrine...


The man was definitely an outworlder. The citizens of Lacerta III called for a priest to advise them of what to do. They had seen outworlders before – traders and some worshippers – but this one was raving about the Goddess. He wasn’t blaspheming. Quite the opposite. He was singing Her praises. But he was saying something that was causing a mild panic among the citizens.

The Goddess was here. In Lacerta. Right now.

Citizens flocked to their priests to understand what it meant. Work stopped, and everyone was going to their priest or their own personal shrines. Word was beginning to spread that the Goddess had indeed transited through the warp point and called the two ships guarding it to Her. She was coming – to call Her faithful back. Back to Her.

For his part, Jefferies milled about aimlessly, playing his role. Inwardly, he felt a bit sorry for the Norak citizens, for he had guessed their religion was controlled by priests, who were the direct conduits to the Goddess.

Of course, now that the Goddess was on Her way, who needed a conduit?

Jefferies smiled at the thought of the priests explaining that one away...
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  #65  
Old April 13th, 2008, 03:44 AM

attack_condor attack_condor is offline
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Default Re: Dawn - The quiet before

2411.5

Nekkar III
Corporate Headquarters...


Chairman Lomax thought he misheard Rita Edwards as she gave her report regarding the Lacerta system. He had never heard anything like it before.

“They think we’re what?”

Rita kept her voice impassive as she continued.

“Yes, sir. They think we are servants of their goddess. And, if our intercepts are correct, they think our battleship is their goddess.”

Nobody spoke as they tried to digest that last piece of information.

Rita relayed the report of her “asset” on Lacerta III and about how the population was in turmoil because they believed their goddess was on her way to their planet.

Someone made the observation that if their “goddess” gave a command to surrender, then the war could be over. Rita shook her head.

“It seems the priests of Norak were caught in a quandary – their goddess was actually here. But they’ve convinced the population that Bismarck is a false god and it is the duty of every Norak citizen to fight at all costs. They now see the war with us as a duty to save their goddess. From us.”

Chairman Lomax drew the inescapable conclusion.

“So any hope of ending this war peacefully...”

Edwards finished the thought.

“...has just been eliminated."

Lomax put his head in his hands.

Zezzis system
Zezzis XII...


The colony was jubilant. The planet, along with her sister planet, Zezzis X had just completed their space yards. With over four billion colonists each, the capacity for production was impressive. Zezzis now boasted five colonies with shipyards. Once a thorn in the side of the empire, Zezzis was fast becoming the jewel of the crown...

Mentocka system
...onboard CDS Bulldog


Commander Katherine O’Rourke was on her last mission. Bulldog would be refit with a master computer and her crew would be reassigned. O’Rourke was hardly a candidate for retirement, but she would no longer be putting her life in danger among the stars. Machines would do that for her. Her accomplishments were impressive, and she would no doubt speak at the fleet academy at Nekkar III from time to time. Her old commander on Southampton, Admiral Harrison (was it really that long ago?) had already issued an invitation to her to do just that. And it would be at the end of the Drepana campaign.

Her thoughts were interrupted. The sensor officer, Sam Chase updated her.

“Ma’am, I have Konigsberg’s beacon. She’s five sectors away from us. Data from her master computer confirms the ship is fully operational.”

O’Rourke merely nodded. Five sectors to the warp point, and then eight sectors to the Cue Cappa home world. McKinley was there as well, loaded with ground troops ready to try and take the planet once the defenses were down. O’Rourke reviewed the latest intelligence updates. The planet had two base stations in orbit, six ships and two satellites. No weapon platforms were known to be there. The ships available were the battleship Konigsberg, her ship, Bulldog, and the frigate Portsmouth. McKinley was also there. The ships and satellites would be her’s and Plymouth’s responsibility. Konigsberg would take out the bases. McKinley would land the troops. The planet would fall. She would retire.

Somehow, she thought it might be a bit rougher than that. Still...

“Comm, signal Konigsberg we are waiting. Upload signatures for us, Portsmouth, McKinley and North Weald.”

Within seconds, Konigsberg sent a reply. The disembodied voice was female and almost alluring. O’Rourke froze when she heard it.

“CDS Bulldog, this is Konigsberg. The addition of North Weald to the is in excess of mission parameters. North Weald is assigned to planet defense at Drepana III. Please confirm command code override for reassignment, Commander.”

O’Rourke then laughed out loud, and heads turned. Sam Chase didn’t get it.

“Commander, something we should know about?”

O’Rourke shared a bit of her past.

“The old days, Mr. Chase. Warp point warnings used the same voice. I do hate that voice.”

The crew smiled and went back to their tasks. O’Rourke answered the query from the computer four sectors away.

“Konigsberg, this is Bulldog. Override code one-seven-four. Frigate class attack ship North Weald currently at Drepana III will join formation prior to mission start. Execute.”

The reply from Konigsberg was almost immediate.

"Command code confirmed. Mission parameters updated. Thank you, commander."

Under her breath, O’Rourke muttered.

"Thank you, sweetie."
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  #66  
Old April 13th, 2008, 03:41 PM

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Default Re: Dawn - Slaughter in Drepana

2411.6

Nekkar III
Corporate Headquarters...


The messages were sent, and a gift of resources was offered to the Wozen empire. Of the known life forms, they were the only one who could exist with no atmosphere. Attempts had been made at repairing the relationship between the Cheththod and the empire, but they were slipping away. Nine separate empires were contacted with offers of trade treaties. Most of the races contacted breathed oxygen, carbon dioxide, or methane. The Wozen were especially courted for the possibility of migration to live on planets in the empire without oxygen. The Cheththod were the only hydrogen breathers, but if the relationship with them didn’t improve, then the only chance of their race migrating to Dawn colonies was through capture...

Drepana system
...onboard CDS Bulldog...


After warping into the system, O’Rourke detached the repair ship Melbourne and the new fast repair frigate class ship CDS Beta at the warp point with Northamptom. She then proceeded on to Drepana I with Konigsberg, and Portsmouth. They rendezvoused with North Weald and attacked the home world of the Cue Cappa.

Sam Chase began the sensor sweep and provided the information on the defenders. What he found was a complete surprise.

“Commander, I’m not sure about this, but I’m not reading any weapon platforms on the planet.”

O’Rourke blinked. “Confirm that sensors – are you sure?”

Chase was already re-scanning the planet.

“Confirmed, Commander. Drepana I has no weapon platforms on the ground. Scanning base stations..."

O’Rourke breathed a bit easier. The fact that no weapon platforms were defending a planet was always good news. The news got even better.

“Commander, the bases are not armed. They’re construction bases only. Seven ships scanned; four are inbound – destroyer class. Three ships are not moving. They’re freighters, ma’am, and they don’t appear to be crewed. There are also two armed satellites”

The Cue Cappa were unprepared. O’Rourke could hardly believe her luck. Four destroyers were a sizable force, but against a battleship, cruiser and two frigates...

“Comm, update North Weald and Portsmouth with our data. Also, signal Konigsberg.”

The communication officer opened a channel to the battleship.

“Bulldog this is Konigsberg – how can I help you, commander?”

O’Rourke wasn’t afraid of the defenders now; she was afraid of the programming on the giant ship 40 km to her rear.

“Konigsberg, mission parameter update – signal ready.”

“Ready to copy, commander.”

“Konigsberg, target update – inbound targets are hostile. All other targets neutral. Target planet threat status is neutral. Target satelites hostile, but outside engagement parameters. Confirm, Konigsberg.”


A brief pause.

“Konigsberg confirms, commander. Four hostile targets inbound. Target satellites outside engagement parameters. No other hostile targets.”

O'Rourke now deployed her force. The only concern now was keeping the enemy ships away from the troop transport.

“Konigsberg, target first hostile. North Weald and Portsmouth, target enemy satellites. McKinley, avoid target range and launch troops at your discretion. All ships execute.”

The frigates made a wide loop around the destroyers, who had to concentrate on the battleship and cruiser bearing down on them. McKinley looped the other way, out of range of the satellites and made for the planet to drop her troops. Konigsberg pulled even with Bulldog and they made for the enemy ships.

“Commander, stay behind me. We wouldn’t want casualties.”

O’Rourke suddenly remembered why she never liked that damn voice. But, the computer was right. The bulk of the battleship was a natural bunker, and no Terrans were on board it to get hurt. She didn’t answer but let the battleship pull ahead.

Sam Chase provided the details.

“Konigsberg just fired torpedoes, Commander. She’s entering the range envelope of the first destroyer...enemy has fired on Konigsberg...target point defense activated...hit! Enemy has been hit and...”

Chase was speechless for a moment as he tried to absorb the enormity what he saw.

“Commander, the destroyer!! It’s...it's gone.”

Konigsberg was a bit more detached about the event.

“Target negated, commander. Second hostile targeted.”

Sam Chase suddenly had the urge to scream at the enemy – begging, pleading for them to run away. He wondered what went through their minds as they saw what they faced. Inside he begged them. Run, he thought. Please!!

Konigsberg took the brunt of the destroyers fire, but her shields were regenerating almost as fast as they were being hit. The battleship fired four times. It was over.

As the warships pulled back from the planet, O’Rourke reflected back on what her commander once told her about war.

“Katherine, never forget this. The last thing you ever want in a battle is a fair fight.”

With lives to protect, she understood the meaning perfectly well. But this…could this even be called a battle? The crew was even subdued. The release of tension after emerging victorious from a life and death struggle from past battles simply wasn’t here. They were simply in awe of what had just happened. Such power was difficult to contemplate. Opposing such a power was frightening.

Wielding it was even more so...
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Old April 16th, 2008, 01:55 AM

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Default Re: Dawn: U-Turn

2411.7
Nekkar III


The members of the board for the Colonial Dawn empire watched the replay of the attack on the Cue Cappa homeworld. They watched their vaunted battleship brush aside the best the Cue Cappa had to offer. They watched their most publicized – and beloved – commander lead the assault.

And then, they watched and heard her do something inexplicable.

They continued to watch and listen...

Drepana I
(last month)...onboard CDS Bulldog...


The radio blared to life. “Bulldog, this is McKinley – please repeat your order.”

O’Rourke’s voice was definitely heard. It was clear and unbroken.

“McKinley, this is Bulldog. I am exercising command authority. You are ordered to recover your ground forces immediately and join formation. Confirm, McKinley.”

The captain of the transport responded, and he was bewildered at such a command.

“Commander O’Rourke, are you serious? We've got these bastards on the ropes. We'll have control of the planet in less than a week!”

What happened next was impossible to comprehend.

“Konigsberg, this is Bulldog.”

”This is Konigsberg, how can I assist you, commander?”


Again, the calm and level voice of O’Rourke was heard giving the order.

“Konigsberg, exercise command override, code one-seven-four – new hostile target designate. Signal ready to copy.”

”Ready to copy, commander.”


There was a short pause, and then it continued.

“McKinley, this is Bulldog – will you comply?”

The video feed showed the bridge crew of Bulldog unable to take their eyes off of O’Rourke. She was calm, and looked for all the worlds like she was navigating a space port docking. It was impossible to tell that she was a hair’s breath from infamy.

“Bulldog, this is McKinley – commander, what are you doing?!!? Whose side are you on!!? We’ve received no such recall order!!!”

Again, the calm voice came through.

“McKinley, for the last time sir, will you comply?”

After what seemed an interminable silence, a new voice was heard.

“This is McKinley transport control, all ground forces disengage and return to drop point alpha. Stand by for recall.”

O’Rourke again was on the display.

“Konigsberg, cancel override, target is friendly. North Weald, escort McKinley to Drepana III and recover colonists. All other forces will disengage from planet blockade and return to Mentocka warp point. Konigsberg confirm.”

“Konigsberg confirms, commander. No hostile target. Disengage and return to Mentocka warp point.”

Nekkar III
present day...


The board members were quiet. The most publicized – and beloved – commander of the empire had just been recorded ordering the abandnment of the Drepana system and committing what might be the first act of treason in the empire’s history.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 06:17 PM

attack_condor attack_condor is offline
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Default Re: Dawn - Monster

2411.8

Nekkar III
Corporate Headquarters…


Three people outside the Drepana system were aware of what happened on board Bulldog. The commander of the transport McKinley was the object of Commander O’Rourke’s actions, as were the troops and colonists now aboard McKinley. The battleship Konigsberg also had data log video and audio of the event, which was viewed by the three people in the room. The frigates North Weald and Portsmouth also knew what happened, but they were fiercely loyal to O’Rourke.

O’Rourke was now on an encrypted live feed with the three people in the headquarters briefing room. Chairman Lomax was present, as was the Intelligence Department Minister Rita Edwards. The Defense Minister was also present. He was in the unenviable position of having his best commander taking actions that made him seem unaware of what was happening around him.

Which he was.

Lomax spoke first.

“Commander, you know why we are meeting. I need to understand why you have ordered the abandonment of the Drepana system. You have not received such an order from anyone here, I presume?”

The Defense Minister blanched, but said nothing.

“Chairman, Ministers; I will not apologize for my actions, but I will explain them.”

O’Rourke’s voice was as calm and as level as before. Rita Edwards now intervened.

“Commander, your record is impressive, and…”

O’Rourke wasn’t going to be interrupted.

“Minister Edwards, forgive me, but I hardly think you are here to review my record. You want to know if I am in full control of my own mind. The Cue Cappa have psychic abilities, and you want to know one of three things: One,” and she started holding up her fingers to emphasize her points, “you want to know if I am sane. I tell you, I am very much so.”

O’Rourke continued.

“Two, you want to know if I have been affected by some mind control by the Cue Cappa. Again, I say I am in control of my own thoughts. And three, have I defected and committed treason.”

Edwards couldn’t help but admire her, as most couldn’t. There was a honesty and directness that some found disarming, but Edwards found refreshing. Someone who was so like herself. Which is why Edwards almost hated asking.

“Well commander – are you a traitor?”

O’Rourke answered.

“No, minister, I am not.”

Lomax then picked up the questioning.

“Then why, commander? Why the retreat when we were so close to victory? The ground troops were almost in control of the plane when you threatened to have Konigsberg destroy McKinley. Why retreat then?”

O’Rourke now chose her words carefully as she continued.

“I say again, I am in control of my own mind, but one of my crew on board is not. My sensor officer, Lieutenant Sam Chase.”

Lomax looked confused, but Edwards leaned over to him.

“The surviving officer from the Leeds incident.”

O’Rourke continued.

“Mr. Chase was at his post during the attack on Drepana I. He witnessed firsthand the power of Konigsberg against the Cue Cappa. He knew the Cue Cappa had no chance against the battleship. He reported to me that during the attack, he was begging the Cue Cappa ships to run – that they had no chance against such a power: but he was doing so in his mind.”

A playback of the battle was shown, and Chase was staring at the display when his lips moved imperceptibly. He was crying as the battle was over.

“Apparently, Chairman, Ministers; Mr. Chase’s emotions and pleas were heard. He was contacted by the Cue Cappa. I spoke with him in my quarters, and have the video of the interview.”

The screen display dissolved and reformed on the commander and the lieutenant. Chase was sitting opposite of the commander, but was speaking to her as if she was far away.

“You have com-pas-sion in your species? You care about those you destroy?”

O’Rourke looked at Chase.

“We did not want war. We do not wish to destroy.”

Chase spoke again.

“Your actions, com-man-der prove your lies. Your ship is like god. Power we do not know. Power that you use to destroy. You destroy us. You on planet. You kill. You destroy. And you say you do not want war, com-man-der. What do you want, if not war?”

O’Rourke spoke again.

“We want peace.”

Chase howled in rage.

“Lies!! You cover our planet. You take our worlds! You take others! You take! You take!! You take!!! You only give destruction. You lie! We know of your others!!!”

O’Rourke was now the one confused.

“Others?”

Chase settled down, but continued.

“Sith-rak. Nor-ak. Ab-bi-don. Ser-get-ti. Eee. Phong. Xi-Chung. Cheth-thod. All you have destroyed, com-man-der. All you have lied to, com-man-der. Our enemies. Our friends. Now we are all friends, com-man-der. We all have only one enemy now, com-man-der. All are friends. All but one, com-man-der. All against one enemy, com-man-der.”

The three at headquarters now began to realize the enormity of what was happening. The entire galaxy was lining up against the Dawn.

The playback continued. Chase was still speaking.

“Yet, com-man-der – this one. This one cried out. This one tried to warn. You destroy and this one cried. Why, com-man-der? Is this one not you?”

O’Rourke was trying to formulate an answer and comprehend what was going on at the same time.

“There are others who live in peace with us. Abbidon, Sergetti. Phong. Even Cue Cappa. Live with us. In peace. This one is like me. But others live with…”

Chase cut her off.

“Then why this one warn us? It is like you. It destroys.”

O’Rourke tried to ply the opening she thought she saw.

“This one, and others, care. We all care. We want peace. Yes, we destroy. But we don’t want to destroy. We want peace.”

Chase was silent, but spoke again after a moment.

“Then go, com-man-der. Go and leave. Live, but go. Show us you want peace. Take what you brought and go.”

O’Rourke thought she knew what was happening.

“Abandon our colony on Drepana III?”

Chase howled again.

“Not yours!!! Not! Take yours and go!!”

O’Rourke pressed on.

“We will go, and there will be peace? All enemies will be friends?”

Again, Chase slumped a bit. It was a full thirty seconds before he spoke again.

“Take and go from Dre-pana. Take and go from Lezz-ari. Take and go from Fezz-ran” Take and go from She-li-ak. Take and go from La-certa. You want peace, com-man-der? Take and go.”

O’Rourke spoke quickly. Too quickly.

“You want us to leave those systems or there will be no peace? How can you…”

Again, Chase interrupted her.

“Com-man-der. We have one enemy. But we cannot defeat you. You would destroy all of us. You have power and you will win. But you will be alone, com-man-der. And who will be left for you to destroy, com-man-der?”

Chase stopped for a moment, and then continued.

“It has started, com-man-der. See your power, com-man-der. Take what you brought and go, com-man-der. Stay, and win. And lose.”

Chase went limp and O’Rourke started up toward him when her intercom intruded.

“I’m sorry, commander, I know you said no interruptions, but we have an attack in progress in the Mentocka system.”

The video switched back to a live feed. O’Rourke addressed the members again.

“You all know about that attack. Fifteen Abbidon destroyers took on four Dawn frigates. They were either destroyed or crippled, and not one of our ships were harmed. What you don’t know about is this attack, in Fezzran. I downloaded it from Konigsberg just thirty minutes ago. Bismarck was in transit in the Fezzran system when this happened.”

Again, the display dissolved and reformed. The view was of space, and then a tactical display of the situation. In the corner of the display was a log of the events and the decisions of the computer in charge of Bismarck. Thirty-seven Norak destroyers and eight supply ships were attacking Bismarck. The log was then displayed, with the tactical overlay in the background.

“Bismarck heading 022, Target One closing...120km...110km...100km...firing torpedoes...reloading...target point defense activated...eight torpedoes hit...Target One negated...Bismarck ahead slow…Target two closing...110km...100km...firing torpedoes...Bismarck ahead slow...”

The display continued with the same series of events.

“...Target twenty-seven negated...Bismarck ahead slow...Target twenty-eight closing...110km...100km…firing torpedoes...target point defense activated...seven torpedoes hit...Target twenty-eight negated...Bismarck ahead slow...Targets twenty-nine through forty-five turning, new heading 190, speed 13km/s…Bismarck has insufficient speed to pursue…Bismarck returning to course 018...”

The display again switched to Commander O‘Rourke. She continued.

“Chairman, Ministers, we have an update from our Ferret satellites that the Sithrak have a fleet of seventeen ships forming up in Lezzari, and the Xi-Chung have a fleet of seventy-three ships and over 100 fighters just outside Drepana. Our last intelligence had the Cue Cappa and Xi-Chung at war with each other. Now, the Xi-Chung fleet is traveling together with the Cue Cappa towards Drepana.”

The implication was clear. Dawn was a source of fear. Dawn could not be stopped. Lomax now understood why all gifts had been refused by every empire they approached. No one wanted to make a treaty with Dawn. No one wanted to ally with evil. Lomax, to his chagrin realized now that the empire had achieved everything it sought out to do so long ago. Knowledge, at any cost; power, at any cost. They had both, but they were a source of revulsion to the rest of the galaxy. The rest of the galaxy had banded together against the Dawn, and had decided it would be preferable to die than exist with this malignancy that called itself the Dawn Empire...
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Old April 17th, 2008, 09:58 AM

attack_condor attack_condor is offline
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Default Re: Dawn - Epilogue

2411.9

Nekkar III
Corporate Headquarters


Chairman Lomax was about to address the empire. He actually looked forward to this one. A great weight seemed to lift from his shoulders as he reviewed his notes. He was about to lead the empire into a new age. He had built up an empire, which was more than able to sustain itself, and grow in knowledge and power. His efforts in molding that empire were key to its success.

He was abdicating. He had a successor already chosen – Rita Edwards – and it would fall to her now to lead the empire through what were currently troubled times, but times which held promise. He had ordered the withdrawl from Lezzari, from Drepana, from Sheliak, and also from Lacerta. Almost immediately, the stance of the other races allied against him seemed to soften, and plans were made to share the wonders of the technologies Dawn had gained with all. There would still be a fleet, but it would spend most of the time at training facilities, responding only to incursions.

The goal of the empire would be to improve its knowledge and understanding not of the research projects it acquired so easily, but of those that lived with them in the galaxy. Through one compassionate act by a lieutenant in the middle of a slaughter, the empire found what it had been searching for. Greatness wasn’t to be had in the use of overwhelming power, but in the restraint of the use of overwhelming power.

Lomax looked forward to his last days. He had no doubt that the empire was starting a new chapter in theirs – an enlightened chapter of peace and growth for the rest of his days, and – he hoped – many more.

The technician gave him the signal, and Lomax smiled. He took a breath and began.

“Citizens of the empire..."

To the readers - This is a good place to write "fin" as the empire moves away from conflict and pursues a more "customer-friendly" approach. I have enjoyed writing this story immensely. Thanks to those who assisted, and thanks to you for reading it as well.
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