The Alliance-Hubble Line
With the loss of a good portion of the Vega Sector fleets, the remaining ship of TCN focused their defensive efforts on a fortified line that included the Alliance, Blackmane, Apocalypse, Enyo, Vega, Chengdu, Hubble’s Star and Proxima Systems. Of these systems, Proxima was the most vital, since its jump point lead directly to Earth. However, it was not technically part of the line, as it was one or two jump points behind Confed lines. While ships from the opposite side of the Confederation, as well as sectors not threatened by the Kilrathi, begin to transfer their fleets to hold the line. Given the distance, and limitation of speed, several months would be required to reinforce the sector. While the Vega System is nominally the capital and administration center of the sector, the vital importance of Proxima caused it to be the new location for Vega Sector HQ.
In the systems already named, new orbital fortresses and stations were rushed into service, as well as reinforced locations on planetary surfaces. Soldiers were shipped in to reinforce the systems, and protect the planets from invasion. Enyo II alone received four million additional soldiers to defend it. Many worlds in the line produced a surplus of food, which allowed for fielding of large armies. Only Vega lacked agriculture, and that was due to the fact the star was relatively young (in astronomical terms) and had no habitable planets. Its location on the jump point network did make it a center of trade, and dozens of stations were scattered throughout the station, as well as domed and underground habitats on the surface of Vega IV and Vega V, the former being the capital world.
In the space of five months, Blackmane Station, the key point for the system’s defenses, mostly because that in order to fly from one jump point to another, concerning any of the seven jump point, a ship will pass with striking range of the station’s fighter compliment. By the middle of 2635, Blackmane Station had a compliment of two hundred fighters and bombers. Apocalypse, known commonly as Hell’s Kitchen due its truly nasty environments, had an addition three stations constructed in system between 2635 and 2637. It was the system linking Blackmane and Enyo, as well as several other systems. It would be the perfect place for the Kilrathi to bypass stronger defenses.
With the bulk of Confed’s navy in the Vega Sector spread across its Line, the Kilrathi were virtually free to move into systems coreward of Hubble’s Star. In February, the Kilrathi entered Planck’s Star, conquering its small colonies, mostly on lifeless worlds, in a matter of a week. The Warsaw System, another system that lead to Vega, was a tougher nut to crack. Warsaw II, the primarily inhabited planet, put up a stiff resistance. Warsaw Station, in orbit of Warsaw between planets I and II, sent out waves of fighters against the Kilrathi. Two militia frigates waited in Warsaw II orbit for the Kilrathi invasion force to attempt to land. Both ships were destroyed by Kilrathi fighters. However, the Kilrathi targeted orbital fortifications of Warsaw II, instead of Warsaw Station. Fighters from the station destroyed three Ralatha as well as a dozen transports.
In response, when the Kilrathi entered orbit of Warsaw II, several of the planet’s cities were destroyed by fusion warheads, with an estimated death toll of twelve million. When the Kilrathi began to land on the planet, minus thousands of warriors, Warsaw Station struck again, damaging a Kilrathi light carrier and a Fralthi. Ground-based fighters and SAMs destroyed many of the invasion craft, but to no avail. Even with 24% of their invasion force destroyed before planetfall, the Kilrathi still landed ninety thousand soldiers during the initial invasion. The total conquest of the planet of seventy million took three months and required an addition seven hundred thousand Kilrathi soldiers. Warsaw Station was finally discovered to be the source of the spaceborne resistance after a week’s worth of attacks. The Kilrathi operated under the assumption that Confed had a carrier in system. The Station was not destroyed outright, but boarded and captured after two weeks of fighting on board. For the Kilrathi, Warsaw Station had a higher percentage cost in capturing than Warsaw II. For Terrans; in addition to the twelve million killed in bombardment, another twenty million died during the conquest of Warsaw II. The Kilrathi quickly put the survivors to work.
The Munro System put up some resistance, but surrendered after three weeks of Kilrathi campaigning on Munro III and the largest moon of Munro VI. Anti-coreward, the Kilrathi succeeded in conquering the Tali System. The system, and its three inhabited (though not inhabitable) planets, happened to be one of the larger industrial centers in the sector. Confed was forced to send its fleet in to cover the VOC freighters that were transporting the dismantled parts of a VOC Stars anti-matter production plant. The plant was built on a vulcanoid that orbited Tali once every four days. The solar power, and solar winds collected from the star generated great power, which in turn made it possible for anti-matter to be produced in economically useful quantities. Confed also evacuated as many specialists from the planets as possible.
When the Kilrathi entered the system, the TCN battleships Simon Bolivar and The Seventeen Provinces, escorted by the carrier Victory held off the initial Kilrathi attack. The Kilrathi believed that Confed had pulled out of the system, which they had in order to reinforce Blackmane and Alliance, and did not expect battleships or carriers. Consequently, the two TCN battleships destroyed most of the Kilrathi strike force as well as the initial landing force. Retreating ships returned to Kilrathi territory to report on the loss. In the space of a month, the Kilrathi were forced to shift forces away from Vega and Hubble’s Star to take a system that should have fallen in weeks. By the time the Kilrathi returned, with three carriers at the lead, TCN had abandoned the system. With no enemy to fight, the Kilrathi took out their frustrations on the inhabitants of Tali. After a seven week long conquest of all three planets, the Kilrathi killed off ten percent of the population and began to ship the remaining population across their empire to be used as both slaves and food.
The Vega Raid
With forces relocated across the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi could only afford a punitive raid against the Vega System. In October, a force of seven cruisers and eight destroyers entered the system. The cruisers had very limited deck space, and could only deploy a squadron each. Fifty-six Kilrathi fighters struck at listening posts around the Vega-Alcor jump point, as well as Fort Carson which defended the jump point. The fort survived, but the listening posts were destroyed. The Kilrathi passed the damaged fort and headed for Vega Station, the key to the system. They did not intend on conquering or even destroying the station, but rather targeted Confed ships in the system.
However, Confed had the Arc Royal at the head of a fleet of one battleship, the Kaiser as well as six cruisers and eight destroyers. The Kilrathi fighters did little damage to the station, and half were destroyed in the process. On the TCS Victor, a destroyer, was destroyed. The Kilrathi fleet suffered its own losses to Arc Royal’s fighters. However, the obsolete fighters and bombers did little damage, and as many of them were lost as Kilrathi fighters. This raid reinforced the need for Confed to design a new fleet of fighters and bombers to match Kilrathi technology. Normally, new fighters were introduced once every fifty to sixty years, and even rushing design and construction, Confed was stuck with Firecats, Wildcats and Warhammers for the next two years, though new variants of those designs were seeing action as early as 2635 (none in the Vega Raid).