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-   -   Dawn (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=37877)

attack_condor March 11th, 2008 09:38 PM

Re: Dawn - The race to Zezzis

Zezzis system
Onboard CDS Southampton

Captain Harrison was still wary. The Sithrak frigate had warped out of the system much like the Sergetti fleet did earlier. The Phong had colonized the second rock world in the system. The fact that four separate empires either had colonies or had ships in Zezzis was an almost certain scenario for something bad to happen. Over the communication channels, the Sergetti made the first move.

“We are planning a massive offensive in the Zezzis system. Remove your ships or they will get damaged.”

Harrison couldn’t be sure if the message was sent to all ships, or just the Dawn ships in the system. His briefing showed the Sergetti at war with the Cue Cappa, and also with the Sithrak. And they were both in this system. That couldn’t work out too well. He was also still waiting on whether the empire wanted to try and blockade Zezzis XII, which was the huge ice planet with oxygen atmosphere. He had to find out.

“Mister Davis, still no word from the Navy on Zezzis XII?”

The communication officer shook his head.

“No sir. Nothing yet.”

“Very well, Davis. Resend the message and add…”

“Captain! On the sensor display sir!”

The sensor officer interrupted Harrison’s message and they both looked at the new frigate in the system.

The Norakians were now the fifth empire now in Zezzis. Their frigate had interspersed itself between the Toronto and Artemis guarding Zezzis V with its advanced technology and Southampton. Harrison had read the intelligence dispatches about the Norakians being the prime suspect in the intelligence leaks of this past year.

“That’s not all, sir. Look at Zezzis XII again.”

Harrison zoomed on the planet, and saw them. Forty fighters were orbiting the planet. They were too late.

attack_condor March 12th, 2008 08:57 AM

Re: Dawn - The race to Zezzis

Zezzis V was now a Dawn planet. With its colonization, the Dawn empire had staked its claim to the system. The chance to colonize the huge ice planet was, realistically, nothing more than a dream in such a short time span. There were still planets waiting to be inhabited. While none of them had oxygen atmospheres, the strategic position of Zezzis made taking each planet, and thereby the system, a major objective for probably all of the empires that knew about it.

The colony on Dawn investigated the ruins and was able to learn the secret of a weapon that would deplete almost any shield in one shot. The data was transmitted back to the scientists on Nekkar, who would try to make use of the information. Meanwhile, the colonists began building a weapon platform known as a Hercules III. Armed with three anti-proton cannons on large mounts, it also had the latest shield technology. While it wouldn’t hold off a determined adversary on its own, it would be able to assist the ships above in defending the infant colony.

CDS Leeds and Northampton have entered and explored the Tilikanthua system. It is one system-wide storm, but there is a single small warp point leading out of the system.

attack_condor March 12th, 2008 11:44 AM

Re: Dawn - A new front

Tilikanthua system
...onboard CDS Leeds...

Sam Chase was never so happy to be at a warp point in his entire career. As the sensor officer for Leeds, the trip through this system was one headache after another. Storms of electrical and plasma discharges seemed to be everywhere. Now, with the warp point ahead, he and the rest of the crew on both his ship and Northampton had, for the past twenty-four hours been running full preventative diagnostics on their systems. With no permanent damage caused by the storms, the signal was sent for Sniper and Melbourne to follow to this warp point as the two frigates prepared to enter the warp point and begin the exploration of a – hopefully – more benign system...

The warp into the gate went off flawlessly, and both ships entered the new system. Chase was over the sensor display, and was waiting for it to resolve itself after the warp event.

'I hope we get these upgraded soon, the longer we wait on these the longer we’re blind to what’s...okay, here we go. "Sensors online Captain. Scans being run now, sir.’”

Chase began the process of separating the date each planet revealed about itself as it was scanned. He began the readout.

“Yellow star, five planets in view, sir. One asteroid field in view. Sir, all five planets are gas giants, and two of them are breathable.”

Chase looked again at the readout on Mentocka VII.

“Sir! Mentocka VII has ruins!”

Immediately, the captain notified Northampton, and they decided Northampton would orbit Mentocka VII, and Leeds would orbit VIII – a tiny planet, but it had oxygen – and get a bit more of the new system exposed to their sensor arrays. This was about to happen when Chase’s sensor display indicated a proximity alert.

“Sir, contact! Contact is a Xi’Chung frigate. Distance is ten sectors. She’s eight sectors from Mentocka VII. She appears to be headed this way."

immediately went into orbit around Mentocka VII, and Leeds held at the warp point to black any attempt to get behind them and into Dawn space unopposed. The Xi’Chung were supposed to be only interested in rock worlds, but no one was taking any chances.

Nekkar III
Report to the board

Upgrades to research stations now almost complete. Current research point generation is over 130,000 per month. Cloaking will be available next month, as will an upgrade to space yards (level 3), climate control facilities (level 2). Also available next month will be phased energy weapons.

Time to start thinking about building up a home fleet...

End of report

attack_condor March 13th, 2008 02:57 AM

Re: Dawn

Zezzis system
...onboard CDS West End...

Captain O’Rourke was ready for this moment. She, along with the light cruiser Montreal and the repair ship Alice Springs were guarding the warp point back to Velocitas. She had trained long hours. She had served as an operations officer on Southampton. She had participated in battles, but was not in command of any. She was always carrying out someone else’s orders. She longed for the chance to prove to herself – not for the ability to impress others with her accomplishments. She wanted to know herself that she could handle the responsibility of leading her crew into harm’s way and safely back out again.

Oh yes, she was ready.

The Sithrak were giving her the opportunity. What was presumed to be an expeditionary force of one frigate and one supply freighter was trying to make it to the warp point. O’Rourke had followed standard procedures – hailing, warning, interspersing; but the Sithrak didn’t respond. Finally, on their third attempt to get to the point, the freighter turned away to run and the frigate closed on the Dawn ships.

O’Rourke was in command of the blocking force. She sent Montreal ahead of her, and followed behind. Alice Springs needed no encouragement to clear the field. Scans of the frigate showed it was woefully outgunned. It didn’t stop, however. When the frigate got inside West End's missile envelope, it didn’t stop. When it was hit by one of those missiles, it finally slowed down.

Montreal was closing onto the Sithrak, and opened fire with its three anti-proton beams. Montreal took hits from the Sithrak DUC, but the shield regenerator had the shield at almost full strength before the Sithrak could fire another shot.

West End launched a second volley of missiles, and then shut its targeting computer down. O’Rourke was operating on a limited supply amount, and Montreal should have no problem finishing off the frigate. She didn’t, and the resulting explosion was something of an epiphany for Katherine O’Rourke. She realized she was the reason that 100 lives – alien or not – were no longer part of the galaxy.

She ordered the force to stand down, and the freighter exited the system. They wouldn’t have caught her before she escaped, and O’Rourke finally had her trial by fire. She knew she had won, but she also felt she lost.

She now knew why Captain Harrison and her instructors didn’t really say much about their combat experiences. She wondered if they felt this much shame as well.

She ordered Montreal to hold the point, and she moved West End two sectors into the system to join up with the Pinta that just entered the system. Together, they would colonize one of the gas giants in the system. O’Rourke hoped she would feel better when they would be building a colony instead of destroying lives.

Chazzwazzer Star System…
...onboard CDS Harvester 004 in asteroid field #3...

James Cabrera was fast becoming a wealthy man. One of the first captains of the Harvester class mining ships, his radiation resources were flowing like gas out of a nebula. His crew was also very handsomely rewarded. He was able to arrange for some “unofficial” shuttle flights planetside for his crew, and had taken advantage of the opportunity to enjoy some of the activities that were just this side of legal that some traders offered.

Today, though, all hands were onboard, as the supply shuttle was due in. Cabrera was always nervous when another ship came into the field with his freighter. He knew most of the shuttle pilots, and they were all good enough men and women; but flying in and amongst rocks that weighed on the order so several kilotonnes required a skill all its own.

The shuttle docked, and supplies were being transferred. One passenger on the shuttle got off, and was flanked by two people wearing intelligence directorate uniforms. Before they made it out of the hangar, the workers had already passed the word that some very inhospitable types were on their way into the ship probably to see the captain. Cabrerra knew they were coming, but where would he go?

Cabrerra was contemplating how much a fine was for illegal activities on a planet when the door opened. The woman in the middle of the uniformed officers spoke.

“Mr. Cabrerra?”

Not ‘Captain’, but ‘Mister’, thought Cabrerra. Oh well, might as well see what they want.

“Yes, I am. And who might you be?”

The woman smiled.

“I have a special consignment you need to view and sign for.”

Cabrerra didn’t understand.

“I haven’t ordered anything like that. And I haven’t received any requests to assist the Navy.”

Technically, the Navy couldn’t order a civilian ship to participate in a purely military matter, but saying no to them wasn’t really a good idea. The woman looked a bit sheepish.

“Well, there’s the rub, Mister Cabrerra. We’re not exactly Navy, or Empire, for that matter.”

Cabrerra now caught on. Smugglers. He had been approached before about using his ship as a “drop”, but the price was always too low.

Cabrerra smiled back at them.

“Well, let’s go see what you have, shall we?”

Together, the group made their way back to the hangar. The supplies were finished off-loading, and the group approached a container near the shuttle.

Cabrerra approached it, but was stopped in his tracks when the two security guards leveled their weapons at him. Cabrerra backed up and raised his hands.

“Whoa, fellas – just wanted to take a look. I’ll sit right here if you want me to.”

The woman spoke again, but there was a distinct difference in her mannerism.

“Captain Cabrerra, I am Lieutenant Isly of the Intelligence Directorate. You are under arrest for illegal activities while operating with an Empire contract. You will accompany us. Your second-in-command is now in command. Please step into the shuttle, Captain.”

Cabrerra rubbed his chin while he considered his options. The hangar crew stopped what they were doing and were starting to approach the group, but their – and Cabrerra’s – options dwindled to zero when six more armed men emerged from the shuttle. Cabrerra made up his mind quickly.

“Okay, Lieutenant, I’ll go with you. Let’s get this cleared up, shall we?” He turned to his second-in command. “I should only be a few days – and a whole lot poorer,” he winked. Then he turned and boarded the shuttle.

Chazzwazzer-Nekkar warp point...

The shuttle docked with a freighter, that much Cabrerra had surmised. But no one got out of the shuttle. Through the docking port, the shuttle’s occupants had access to the freighter’s computers and displays. Cabrerra was watching the main view as the freighter approached the warp point. He seemed confused.

“Lieutenant, just where exactly are we going?”

The lieutenant was staring at Cabrerra as if sizing him up. Then, after an interminable pause, she answered him.


attack_condor March 13th, 2008 12:21 PM

Re: Dawn - All things \"official\"

Pantrissa system
Pantrissa V

Ed Jefferies was back in his favorite off-duty hangout, and his favorite companion was with him. What the woman thought might be the end of a potential gold mine of information turned out to be a boon. Jefferies came back complaining about having lost his wallet the day after the Intelligence Directorate raid, but the bartender told him his “companion” had turned it in to the bartender when he “went to sleep” because she didn’t want anyone to steal it from him. A grateful Jefferies returned to the establishment later that night and found his wallet – with his money still inside. The fact that the bartender was “doing a good deed for a fellow Empire citizen” helped improve his business, and the bartender had to admit doing things the way those stuffed shirt agents twisted his arm into doing wasn’t all bad. The girl also benefited. And so did her employers.

They had been talking about a more permanent relationship. They did enjoy each other’s company, but today, Jefferies was agitated and almost despondent.

“It’s my fault,” he confessed. “The engine coupling weld gave way and the entire compartment was breached!!”

She bade him to slow down, and he explained the story about how the CDS York – one of the last of the older frigates – was being refit, but his mistake caused the entire engine compartment to vent, filling it with radioactive gas. The gas couldn’t be contained, and the ship had to be abandoned. Shuttles were even now taking salvage crews to the York to save what they could before taking her to the edge of the system to become a target for a live fire missile exercise.

Just then, the video displays in the establishment cut in with a news story, about what had happened to the York, and reassuring the good citizens that the disaster was contained to the ship in space. The story then cut to the reporter asking the right questions and the expert giving the right answers…

The woman pointed out to Jefferies that no one had been killed, and this ship called “York” was old and outdated anyway, so it really wasn’t that bad of a tragedy. Besides, he was able learn from the failed weld and not make that mistake again.

She smiled as she delivered her analysis for him, and he did feel better. She was right – it was a mistake, but he cold learn from it. He really felt good about sharing with her, and he told her so.

She said she did as well, and that she would pray for him…

Meanwhile, James Cabrerra was thoroughly confused by this time. Both he and his “escorts” had been aboard the shuttle for over a month. Both they and their “mothership” – the freighter they were docked with – had made two more jumps to arrive in Pantrissa. Now free of the need for the freighter, the shuttle made remarkable time to the giant space yard at Pantrissa V. Of course, just when Cabrerra thought he had an idea of where he was going, the plan changed again.

“We’re not going to the yard?” he asked.

The men and women escorting him did not reply, but Cabrerra’s question was more rhetorical than anything else. He could see for himself they weren’t going to the yard, but to a ship that was just outside the yard.

“Mister Cabrerra. Please put this on. Now.”

The agent pointed to a space suit, and again, Cabrerra examined his options. Option one, put the space suit on. Option two was pointed right at his head, and held by an agent who was probably recruited for his distinct inability to show any facial expression.

He got into the suit.

When they docked with York, Cabrerra heard a voice as he stepped into the airlock. He turned and looked back, to see the agent with no expression now pointing a camera at him, with a bright light over his shoulder.

“Probably recording this for posterity, the bastards. And all of this for smuggling a little Sithrak ale.”

He stepped through the airlock.

Back at the bar, Jefferies was watching the story, when the reporter cut in again with a live news feed from one of the salvage shuttles.

On the shuttle, the female agent spoke her monologue perfectly, and the empire got a chance to see a real live salvage expert go into a real live radioactive ship and help save the planet from any further damage. When she was finished, the shuttle undocked and left the ship.

The other door of the airlock opened, and a man in a black uniform met him. His face was also devoid of emotion. He had one more thing in common with the man he just left. He also had option number two. He escorted Cabrerra to a small cabin, where he finally spoke.

“Remove your suit. Sit down. Wait here.”

The man left and the door locked behind him. Cabrerra was about to get up and test the door, when the display terminal on a table suddenly energized. It resolved into a strikingly beautiful female face. She smiled.

“Good day, Mr. Cabrerra. My name is Rita Edwards. Welcome aboard your new ship.”

After an hour, Cabrerra was finally a bit more informed of his situation. He was to captain a frigate that wasn’t an official ship, to head into space that wasn’t officially belonging to the empire, and to scan for ships without officially being near any ships.

He did know one thing for an immutable fact, however. He was – officially – now a member of the Intelligence Directorate.

attack_condor March 13th, 2008 02:46 PM

Re: Dawn - Tiptoe

Zezzis system
...onboard CDS West End...

Katherine O’Rourke was happy to have the colony on Zezzis IV established. She was less happy about it being 3 sectors away from Zezzis XI, a Sergetti planet. In point of fact, Zezzis IV, and Zezzis VIII were both new colonies for the empire. The situation was tenuous. The Sergetti claimed this system as theirs, with five colonies established. The Sergetti backed up their claim with a fleet orbiting Zezzis XI. The Phong also had two colonies in the system, and there was still one Sithrak frigate in the system. The Norak frigate was either out of the system or our of sensor range.

Captain O’Rourke had requested the Artemis to support her at Zezzis IV. Captain Harrison, the overall system commander, was on Southampton guarding Zezzis V and his defense was just augmented by 48 mines delivered by Aztec. Backed up by the minefield - and Montreal still guarding the warp point, he approved and detached Artemis. O’Rourke had good reason to ask for the PDS ship. The Sergetti fleet at Zezzis XI included five frigates and a freighter. But the concern to O’Rourke was the light carrier. She had found the home base of the fleet they had seen when they first entered the system. There were also 80 fighters in orbit around the planet. She wasn’t sure how the Sergetti would respond to the new neighbors, but they had been sending messages that were less than welcoming. Zezzis VIII was also colonized, and was being guarded by Toronto. O’Rourke knew she and Artemis could survive if the Sergetti moved against the new colonies, but her job was to provide security while the colonies got established. The colonists were doing their part – the new Hercules III weapon platform was available. With two anti-proton beams on large mounts, a new short range ripper beam, also on a large mount, two flak cannons, one beam PDS cannon, and a level five shield; it would be able to give as good as it got. Two of them were scheduled to be built on each of the three colonies. Fortunately, Zezzis V had completed the supply depot, and the ships were fully restocked. The question now was would they have the time to get the job done.

Pantrissa system
...onboard CDS Beagle...

Captain Cabrerra now had the full story. He was in command of a ghost ship. The Beagle was an intelligence-gathering platform. His ability to operate in the tight quarters of asteroid fields was his prime ability for this job. With this ship, he would be navigating through a different field of asteroids – the kind that fired back.

To accomplish his mission, however, he was getting the best the scientists of the empire had to offer. The “salvage team” was a team of intelligence technicians installing the most advanced sensor arrays the empire had available. There were also a team of the agents he had been introduced to on the trip to Pantrissa. Rita Edwards, the Intelligence Director, explained to Cabrerra through her pre-recorded message that they were there to guard the sensitive equipment and protect the highly trained and intelligent men and women, like himself, she added; from falling into enemy hands should their ship be discovered and captured. Cabrerra wasn’t that naďve, and he wondered if the “highly trained and intelligent” operators on board knew what that really meant.

He also was briefed on the new cloaking technology, the long-range scanners, the jamming equipment, and the ECM capabilities. There was also a minesweeping assembly. Extra supply storage was also included. Cabrerra took note of this – someone expected them to be away from home for a long time. He wasn’t briefed on weapons, shields, or armor for a very simple reason.

There wasn’t any.

His life, and the life of the ship’s crew would depend on their ability to be as invisible as possible.

In a final irony, Cabrerra found, in his quarters, a crate marked “Commander, CDS Beagle.

Opening the crate he found a bottle of Sithrak ale.

[i]Report to the board:

Hi everyone. Sorry for the long introduction to cloaking in the story, but it does fit in with the game. I'm losing quite a lot to enemy intelligence - just force concentration stuff and planet scans. The girl at the bar isn't Norakian, but a sympathizer. Of course, Jefferies isn't just a welder, either. I think writing the intelligence side of the game gives a few more possible storylines.

As I mentioned in the story, the Sergetti aren't amused with my intrusion into Zezzis. Neither are the Phong, but the Sergetti fleet in system can actually do something about it. We'll see how they respond.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment if you like, or just enjoy the story. http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/images/smilies/smile.gif Next chapter will be tomorrow.


attack_condor March 15th, 2008 11:02 AM

Re: Dawn - The Sergetti response

Zezzis system
...onboard CDS West End...

Still in high orbit around Zezzis IV, West End and Artemis both received a proximity alert at the same time. The Sergetti fleet had moved into the sector, and was on a direct bearing for the planet.

With the ships now in the same sector, the make-up of the Sergetti fleet could be analyzed.

“Reading seven contacts, Captain. Scans show four are equipped with multiple point defense cannons, one is a missile frigate with two missiles tubes, just like us. Contact six is a carrier, scans read 34 fighters on board. Contact seven is a freighter, but it does have a repair bay.”

The planetary governor sent a message that the weapon platform was still not available. West End and Artemis were on their own. O’Rourke did send a message to Toronto, but she would not make it to them before this battle started.

The Sergetti assumed an arrowhead formation with the one missile frigate in an echelon right position, and the carrier and freighter in an echelon left position. The four PDS frigates were in the center.

Sensors again reported.

“Captain, I believe I see an opening. If we can get in line with the missile frigate, and the enemy hold their positions, he’ll have only one PDS ship that can support him.”

He moved his cursor on the display to show where he thought the weak point was.

O’Rourke nodded. “Good call, sensors. Advise Artemis. Helm, try and loop around the back side of that missile ship, but be ready to close if they continue towards the colony.”

The plan was to stay in formation, and draw the enemy away from the unprotected colonists. Artemis, with her shields and regenerators, would stay in-between West End and the Sergetti. As a further enticement for the enemy to chase the ships, Artemis would slide into and out of the missile range of the Sergetti, counting on her own point defense to protect her.

The two forces closed, and the two Dawn ships began to try and loop behind the attackers.

Sensors provided the information for O’Rourke.

“Captain, multiple new contacts! The carrier has launched her fighters. The carrier and freighter are turning away.”

“Roger, sensors. Helm, stay on course. Let me know if they come for us or continue to the planet.”

Seventeen seconds into the engagement, O’Rourke had her answer.

“Contacts changing course, Captain. Bearing now 220, headed toward us. Targets 200 km from colony, 190 km from us.”

O’Rourke didn’t respond, but kept her eyes on the display.

“Helm, plot an intercept course with the lead frigate!”

“Recommend course 016, Captain.”

”Approved, helm. Get us in close to those ships.”

The two forces now closed on each other at a substantially faster rate.

As they closed, O’Rourke again turned from the enemy, and ran across their bow, hoping to get behind the missile frigate and attack it with as few PDS ships supporting it as possible. Artemis continued into the formation, trying to draw fire.

Twenty kilometers from the edge of the frigate’s cannon range, Artemis turned to starboard, and the two Dawn ships now split around the formation. Artemis was trying to get close to the fighters, and skimmed through the weapon arcs of the enemy. Meanwhile, West End fired her first missile volley at the lead frigate. O’Rourke gave the order to cease firing then until the missile frigate could be targeted. She wanted to see how effective the Sergetti PDS umbrella was.

As it turned out, the umbrella was quite effective. Both of her missiles were destroyed before they got within 20 km of the frigate. Meanwhile, the enemy fleet had decided she was the priority target and started to bear in her direction.

Thirty four seconds into the fight, West End was just 5 km outside the weapon range of the frigates, when she started to pull away from the enemy. O’Rourke had to keep her speed up, or else she would end up nothing more than an explosion in space. She was unable to get behind the missile frigate, so she was content to lead them away from the colony as well as Artemis.

, for her part, had gotten behind the enemy’s frigates and was bearing down on the fighters trailing the formation.

The battle now was for the two ships to stay alive long enough for Toronto to arrive…

Haphik system
...onboard CDS Aztec...

was on her way back to Zezzis. She carried 48 more mines from Haphik II. She was going to try and use these to help protect the new colonists in the Zezzis system. The crew had been receiving commsat reports of the Sergetti aggression, and tried to get every kilometer of speed out of the ship they could.

Nekkar III
Dawn headquarters...

Chairman Lomax listened to the report delivered by his research directorate. He was reluctant to approve this latest project, but the facts were overwhelming. In the battle with the Sithrak frigate in Zezzis, the entire compliment of Montreal’s boarding party had been wiped out by less than half of their number of Sithrak. They had to have an advantage to counter the physical superiority of adversaries. Biological warfare was a term used in hushed tones, and caused all sorts nightmarish scenarios to be conjured up, but there was really no choice. They had to proceed. The project was approved.

Rita Edwards then presented the responses of the Norak government to the demand to stop their spying. The reply was almost ludicrous.

“And what are you going to do about it, Chairman Lomax? Your military is a third rate power.”

Rita Edwards told the assembled heads of the corporation what they were going to do about it, and introduced them to a brand new ship, commanded by an ex-freighter captain...

Zezzis IV
...onboard CDS West End...

Captain O’Rourke was still alive. Her ship was damaged, but ship and crew was still alive. Artemis - with her shields and regenreators - took fighter hits, but was undamaged. The colonists were still alive as well, and that was the important part.

The Sergetti fleet lay burning throughout the sector. O’Rourke’s missiles had finally penetrated the PDS ships, and one was destroyed. The missile frigate, as well as the other four PDS ships was disarmed, and trying to escape the sector. Artemis’ flak cannon had taken out 23 of the 34 fighters launched against them. The carrier and repair freighter had left the sector, only to run into Toronto who was on her way to assist West End. Toronto fought through the limited fighter screen offered up by the carrier, and destroyed the freighter. The carrier escaped, and there was one more frigate that hadn’t participated in the battle still out there. Toronto let it go, returned to guarding Zezzis VIII. The colonists for all three Dawn planets reported they had completed the new Hercules IV weapons platform.

The Dawn empire had just secured a foothold in Zezzis...

attack_condor March 15th, 2008 02:21 PM

Re: Dawn - Busybodies

Mentocka system...

Mentocka VIII becomes the second Dawn colony in this new system. The ruins on Mentocka VII yielded a new technology that allows a weapon to be constructed that can siphon power from one ship onto another. A Cue Cappa frigate is six sectors from Mentocka VIII and five from the warp point into Tilikanthua and Ushphada. The frigate Leeds has moved into orbit over Mentocka VIII while Northampton, the PDS destroyer Sniper and the repair ship Melbourne guard the warp point to Tilikanthua. Mentocka VII has its first Hercules V weapons platform (two anti-proton beams and two meson blasters – all on large mounts – two flak cannons, one point defense beam, a level five shield and a level two ECM) and was building a second, to be followed by a supply depot.

Haphik system
Haphik I space yard...

The latest frigate design, the England VIII, was launched this month. The first of the new line was christened CDS Thames. It features three level four capital ship missiles, and additional ordinance storage. Again, there is no armor or shields. This is a pure offensive powerhouse.

The new ship warped into the Velocitas system and was on its way to augment the defenders in Zezzis.

Pantrissa system
...onboard CDS Beagle

Captain James Cabrerra wasn’t ready for the real thing. He had been spending the past month and a half working in simulators with the new frigate. Although he had demonstrated the capability to work in close, he needed to learn to work with the new crew and his new ship. The simulations of the engines impressed him the most. Most of his career was spent on large, slow-moving behemoths. Now, he was in a smaller vessel built for stealth and speed. He thought he knew how it would be to command this racehorse of a ship. He was in for a surprise.

The technicians on the bridge were all specialists in their own areas. Normally the case for any starship, it was especially true for Beagle. These were without a doubt the elite of the empire.

Two months ago, when Cabrerra was “assigned” to the York/Beagle, the ship limped to the edge of the Pantrissa, and Dover fired a missile, engaging a self-destruct command for the missile to blow up. The timing was perfect, since just as the missile exploded 5 km away from York/Beagle, the technicians engaged the cloak system. It worked perfectly. To the rest of the empire, York had been obliterated, along with the “radioactive menace” it represented.

CDS York was officially listed as destroyed.

At the same moment, Beagle was born.

That was two months ago. The crew was training, testing, and calibrating equipment until now. Now, Beagle was about to head into systems of other empires. She would be on her own. She had to be.

With the exception of the crew, only a handful of people even knew she existed.

“Ahead full, helm. Let’s see what we have here.”

Cabrerra’s command was instantly acknowledged. He unsuccessfully tried to keep his jaw shut while Beagle rocketed through the system on her way to Sheliak. The speed was even faster than the simulation predicted.

“Damn...” he whispered as they penetrated the Sheliak warp point. First stop, perform a scan of the Chethod ships and satellites at Sheliak III. Assuming they were successful, the next stop would be points beyond. They would try to get into Zezzis through Sheliak, but would be ready to scan and report on whatever they found.

Velocitas system
Velocitas Asteroid belt XVII...

The Harvester nudged itself into position. This time was looked forward to ever since the discovery of the “dead” system. The giant ship began its checks and engaged its robominers. Within a few days, the projections were in. This one belt was providing over 9400 radioactive resources per month.

And there were sixteen more belts to mine in this system alone...

Zezzis system...

Captain O’Rourke took West End back to Zezzis V while Captain Harrison and Southampton took her position guarding the colony on Zezzis IV. Alice Springs also headed to Zezzis V to perform repair work on O’Rourke’s frigate. Both ships also took on a full load of supplies from the planet. With 48 mines in orbit, and three planet based weapon platforms, this was about the safest place for Dawn ships in the system. O’Rourke and her crew needed the downtime. As soon as Alice Springs was alongside and repairs had begun, O’Rourke headed to her cabin. She felt like she could sleep for the entire month. She would need to.

There was another colony ship due in and she was to escort to the new colony – two sector from her battle with the Sergetti.

attack_condor March 16th, 2008 01:27 AM

Re: Dawn - War

Pantrissa system...
Pantrissa V

The woman was praying again. Ed Jefferies was in the other room. He was watching a repeat of the video that ran earlier.

“...and despite the best efforts of our diplomats, the announcement was made that as of this broadcast, a state of war now exists between the Sergetti Empire and the Colonial Dawn Empire...”

Jefferies walked into the room. She was on her knees, whispering into the talisman that was glowing. She didn’t react to his entry, but kept on praying. Jefferies recognized the words, and listened to her speak of a new type of a ship, and that York hadn’t been destroyed.

Jefferies leveled the pistol at the back of her head and pulled the trigger. He then put the talisman back into his pocket and left the building. His shuttle would be leaving for Nekkar in an hour.

Nekkar III
Corporate Headquarters

Like all hostile takeovers, this one needed to be done fast. The empire was going to lose production and research capabilities, but that was balanced with the prospect of capturing intact worlds and using them for the empire’s benefit. Lomax didn’t ask for this war. He only wanted to colonize Zezzis and live peaceably with the Sergetti (didn’t he?). He had no interest in conquest (none at all...?) but he gave the go ahead to both the research and intelligence directorate to take any and all steps necessary to end this war as fast as possible.

A brand new England VII slid out of the mooring docks at Nekkar III. She was christened CDS Manchester, and began the journey to Zezzis...

Zezzis system...

With the announcement of war, the ships in Zezzis now took absolutely no chances. Toronto finished off two of the cripples from the earlier encounter with West End. A new type of satellite, the Ferret, with cloaking and long range scan capability orbited each of the three Zezzis colonies. Information started to pour in, and a plan was forming for the capture of the Zezzis system and the elimination of a Sergetti presence there.

Sheliak system
...onboard CDS Beagle...

Captain Cabrerra read the message, and announced it to the crew. The fact war had broken out had done nothing to change their mission. Beagle made for the warp point exiting Sheliak. On her way, the technicians reported on the facilities of the two planets in their path, along with the defenders and support ships in the area. The scanners were working perfectly. They were about to leave the system, when the scans detected forty ships guarding the exit point. Thirty-eight were frigates, and two were carriers. That got the attention of the Pantrissa system, since there was only one frigate and one point-defense ship now guarding the Pantrissa-Sheliak warp point. Of more immediate concern was how Cabrerra was going to navigate unseen among that many ships...

attack_condor March 16th, 2008 12:53 PM

Re: Dawn - Lockdown

Sheliak system
...onboard CDS Beagle...

Captain Cabrerra didn’t like what he was hearing. No matter what he tried, he would not be able to get into the warp point undetected by the Chethrod blockade of over forty ships. He had no choice but to turn back to Pantrissa and try to get into the other systems through the Zezzis battleground.

Not the best option for someone who survives by being unseen, but there just wasn’t any other way...

Zezzis system...

Zezzis XI was the homeworld of the Sergetti. Toronto and Artemis had just decimated the fighter protection for the planet, and the carrier that was being repaired was also destroyed. In order to establish the blockade on the system, the fleet had left the colonies to defend themselves, which they were now capable to do. The plan was to blockade Zezzis XI, and close the system to outside interference. Toronto and Artemis had established the blockade of the Sergetti homeworld, while Southampton and West End took up positions guarding the two warp points out of Zezzis. Montreal still held the warp point back to Velocitas, and the first of the new class of frigates, Manchester, was due to arrive in Zezzis next month. Each of the three colonies in Zezzis began to build the newly designed Eagle fighter, both for their own defense, as well as to augment the impending invasion of the Sergetti worlds...

Haphik system
Haphik I space yard...

The ship was even bigger than the Harvester class of remote mining ships. Christened Freightliner, it was still two months away from completion, but it was able to carry supplies, ordinance, and just about anything else a system might need.

Including troops that were being trained on Haphik II...

Pantrissa system
Pantrissa V space yard...

The second minelayer of the empire was under construction. Based on the report from Beagle, the decision was made that the Pantrissa-Sheliak warp point was considerably under-defended. There would be no way to get enough ships in time to counter the Chethrod force, but a minefield would certainly help, especially since Beagle had not detected a minesweeper. There was a treaty between the Chethrod and Dawn, but treaties were no guarantee of another’s actions. Pantrissa III and Pantrissa VII were in-between the space yard and the warp point, so they began to build mines.

A lot of mines...

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