The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 8


Siege of Vega

With insufficient forces to launch any further invasions in the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi High Command, Vega Sector, switched strategies. Instead of conquering the Vega System, administration center of the Sector, the Kilrathi would lay siege to it. Siege warfare in space is far different than on land. Instead of continuous shelling, the Kilrathi would station task forces in Hubble’s Star, Alcor and Trimble, and would alternate between task forces in attacking the system. Each task force was built around a Snakier-class carrier, the Kilrathi equivalent to the Concordia-class, and included a pair of Fralthi as well as an assortment of smaller ships. One force would jump in, strike at targets in the system. As they jumped out, the next task force would jump in and take over. For several months, these raids continued, and with much devastation. Attempts to pursue the Kilrathi met with disaster, in that the ends of the jump point on their side were heavily mined.

In May of 2641, the most devastating attack during the siege occurred when the Alcor task force struck at Vega Heavy Industry’s shipyards. Vega is a young system, with no habitable planets, plenty of metal-rich asteroids, and abundant energy from the relatively young A-type star. These factors have summoned industrialist from systems poorer in metals. The administration center on Vega Station is supported by the heavy industries of the system. Along with a shipyard, smelters and processors gather raw materials from asteroids, purify them, and ship them to other systems. The easy access to raw materials is another reason of Vega’s vital importance. The shipyard service much of the Alliance-Hubble line, and its loss forced damaged Confed ships to jump back to Proxima, or in really bad cases, to Sirius in the Sol Sector.

Due to the spread out nature of the system’s industries, TCN could not be every where, all the time. A Kilrathi feint towards Vega Station drew in all the Confed ships, while the real task force struck the shipyards. Ships could not be spared from other fortified systems in fear that the Kilrathi made strike there in force. This is not to say Confed was ineffective during the Siege of Vega. Kilrathi fighters were regularly destroyed, and their ships damaged. However, when they jumped back into their own space, fighters were replaced and ships repaired, while the next task force jumped in to harass Vega.

Vega Sector Campaign

In June of this year, Admiral Banbridge presented his plans for the overall campaign in the Vega Sector to Confed’s Joint-Chiefs. His plan called for planet hopping. Key planets would be taken, as well as jump points secured, while other hold outs would be bypassed for later operations. His overall objective was to push the Kilrathi completely out of the Vega Sector. The campaign would call for no less than twelve planetary invasions and was projected to take at least a decade to complete.

To start the campaign, Confed had already constructed nine new carriers as well as a new Grenadier-class cruiser project underway, new and improved versions of century-old grasers, four new types of fighters, as well as the first of the Ragnarok-class arsenal ships ready for action. Ground combat was the largest concern. Not only were the Kilrathi larger and stronger than Terrans, but their planetary weaponry was little known. No doubt the first of the planet-hopping invasions would meet with several nasty surprises. Armor units of tanks and mechanized infantry units of powered armor were assumed to be quite effective against the Kilrathi, however regular infantry still used rifles and their own muscle. Hand-to-hand combat with the Kilrathi appeared suicidal.

The Joint-Chiefs, as well as Confed HQ, gave the go ahead for the campaign in August. The first target was highly classified, and only the fleet admiral and the flagships’s navigators knew the true destination. The fleet would not be able to deploy before 2642. Before then, to hide their true target, Confed set up a series of raids of their own to keep the Kilrathi off balance.

Fleet Actions of 2641

Confed launched three large raids during the year. The first targeted the Delius System, on the flanks of the main fight. The possibility of a flanking maneuver against the Kilrathi in the Vega Sector was a distinct possibility, and Confed wished to give the Kilrathi plenty to worry about. A strike force built around carriers Victory, Tennessee River and Libertè hit the system and struck at a starbase orbiting Delius V. Though the starbase was not destroyed, several orbital fortresses were knocked out of action, as well as habitat (domed crater) on the surface of its largest moon that was home to a Kilrathi division. More than twenty scope-ships (that scoop hydrogen out of Delius V’s atmosphere) were destroyed, rupturing the system’s fuel lines. No doubt a number of Terran slaves were killed in the attack.

A second attack struck coreward in the Vega Sector, hitting the Port Hadland System. Kilrathi resistance here was significantly larger, and the carriers Finback and Resolution suffered damage when Kilrathi fighters and bombers intercepted the force. This raid faired the poorest of the three, destroying several eights of Kilrathi fighters, bombers and corvettes. The strike force hit three convoys headed for Hubble’s Star, denying the enemy ammunition, spare parts as well as reinforcements. One freighter exploded with enough force to destroy the Raptor that attacked it as well, leading analyst to the conclusion it was storing annihilation (anti-matter) warheads on board, a warhead often used by anti-ship missiles.

The third strike was the most daring. It jumped into the Rostov System, crippled a Kilrathi starbase, as well as destroyed several ships docked at it, then proceeded to jump into the Kharak Tar System, as the Kilrathi called it. The system soon became known as the Venice System, for its pair of ocean worlds, similar to the pre-ice age tropics on Earth. More over, Venice System was home to Kharak Tar Station, the Kilrathi HQ for the Vega Sector. The station could not be destroyed by the fighter compliments of the Raj, Vendetta and Viking alone.

Due to the destruction in Rostov, the Kilrathi had advance warning of Confed’s attack on Venice. Two fleets jumped in from the Kilrah Sector in order to cover the system, revealing that the Kilrathi Navy was far larger than anyone in Confed realized. Both fleets were not the standard ships they had encountered during the past several years, but rather larger, more powerful ships. On fleet belonged to the Ki’ra Pride, and contained two carriers. The second fleet, with some of its ships actually gold-plated, belonged to the Kilrah Pride. The Imperial Guard was not a show piece, but rather comprised of the most skilled and able pilots and captains within the Empire. To be selected as part of the defenders of Kilrah was the highest honor. Of this fleet, four carriers were included.

Admiral Richards, commander of the strike force, realized too late that he was outnumbered two-to-one. Despite Confed’s more advanced fighters, the fierceness of the two Pride Fleets. Every Confed ship was damaged, as the Vendetta, as well as destroyers Garret, and frigates Minnow and Reuben James were destroyed outright. Viking was damaged, but managed to jump back to Rostov. To return to Confed lines, the strike force traced a highly elliptical course to the jump point. Neither Pride Fleet pursued, and it was later learned from defectors that none of the Council of Eight, or the Imperial Pride, trust each other enough to commit their personal forces to the war, and leave their own worlds exposed. Though they did no damage in the Venice System, this third raid was important in learning sooner, rather than later, of just how large the Kilrathi Empire and their forces truly were.

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