Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 18
Fight for Trimble
Starting out the year 2651, Confed launched a small-scale invasion of the Trimble System. Trimble was not a terribly vital system, however it was a threat to the flank of the general advance across the Vega Sector, as well as the last avenue the Kilrathi had to attack the Vega System. Securing it would allow the campaign to continue smoothly. The Kilrathi knew this and planned to fight for the system. With their own new ships coming on line, the Kilrathi planned to take a firmer stand in Trimble than they had during the previous year.
A Kilrathi task force built around a carrier and two cruisers greeted the TCN and its two carriers and two cruisers as they jumped in from Vega. Confed was further handicapped in having to fight its way through a minefield. The two new cruisers, the Juno and Callisto packed enough firepower to clear a path. Minesweepers and perhaps an arsenal ship would have to come through later to completely clear out the area. One mine did strike the carrier Saratoga, damaging its port engines, though not enough to take it out of the fight.
The first Kilrathi attack came as the fleet had jumped into the system and was pathfinding through the field. Two flights of Jalthi shot up the other carrier Ranger, though failed as well in taking her out of the fight. The Hornets still assigned to these older carriers, as well as Rapiers, fought off the attack with minimal loss to either side. Once free in the system, both task forces chased each other across the system for over a month. Ranger was hit repeatedly, and finally destroyed while it was attempting to refuel in a gas giant. The ship fell from the sky and was eventually crushed inside the planet.
Saratoga struck back, damaging the Kilrathi carrier, and knocking out its flight deck. Further strikes hit Trimble Station, causing sufficient damage that the Kilrathi were forced to retreat to Cairo. With the fleet gone, Confed launched its invasion of Trimble Station. The station already lacked the ability to defend itself on the outside. However, on the inside, five thousand Confed Marines had ten days of hard fighting until the station was secured. With the space of the system in control, Confed could take the planets at its leisure.
Sitting at the coreward edge of the Vega Sector, the Port Hadland System had jump points that lead deep into both Confed and Kilrathi territory. To secure its final flank before the push on Cairo, Confed dedicated no less than five carriers to kick the Kilrathi out of the system. The Kilrathi viewed it just as strategic, for they had launched raids from time to time from Port Hadland. The Kilrathi constructed Hurricane Station in orbit over one of two habitable planets in the system, Hurricane. On that planet was the city of Port Hadland, an arcology sticking straight out of the middle of the ocean. The city was some three kilometers tall, from ocean floor to high in the sky. It was also protected by several shield generators as well as anti-aerospace defenses.
Instead of striking there, Confed struck at the other, drier habitable world, McLaren. This planet was never settled by Terrans as it was too arid. The Kilrathi took to the planet much better than they would have an ocean world. With several million Kilrathi colonists, as well as logistical support, threatened, the Kilrathi fleet was forced into battle on Confed’s turns. The battle above McLaren was short and brutal, costing the Kilrathi two carriers before they retreated back to Hurricane Station. Confed took loses as well, the carrier Bengal was heavily damaged. To the point where its automatic self-destruct (with the life-support) was set off. Confed lost a pair of destroyers. The Kilrathi left the wreckage of three destroyers and a mess of corvettes in high orbit of the planet.
Confed Marines proceeded to land on McLaren in June, securing the largest Kilrathi city along with its spaceport. For the most part, the Prides who have settled the planet were indifferent to the Terrans. Many were forced from their original homes by the Empire. While they were moved out to spread Kilrathi civilization, the Eight Prides took what they had previously built for their own. On the other hands, the Kilrathi soldiers, as well as Pride kings, fought tooth and claw against the Marines, and later the Confederation Army. Kilrathi resistance ended after seven weeks of fighting. With McLaren secured, Confed began to build up its own presence in the system.
Confed HQ had no desire to form a second Munro in the Vega Sector. That system already had at least four carriers on duty full-time. In order to speed up the conquest of Port Hadland, the fleet was reinforced by the TCS Epoch, the third of four arsenal ships built. Epoch was escorted into firing range of Hurricane by the full force of the fleet. The Kilrathi recognized the threat for what it was, but did not back down. Instead, Hurricane Station launched thousands of small drones with loud transponders to reduce the effectiveness of missile swarms. Confed had little choice but to launch fighters and bombers to strike to knock out counter-measures in order for the Epoch to fire.
When Epoch was finally allowed to fire, the Kilrathi admiral contacted his Terran counterpart. Rather than be defeated, the Kilrathi threatened to destroy the arcology on the planet and everyone living within it. Port Hadland (the city) had a population in excess of one million, and Admiral Winston knew the Kilrathi would not bluff. They would rather destroy it that allow it to be liberated. The question on how the Kilrathi would do so was critical. If they planned to do so from orbit, then their soldiers were likely evacuated. In that case, disabling the weapons on Hurricane Station would save it. If it was to happen by demolition, then the Kilrathi still occupied the city, and could trigger the detonation when invasion ships approach.
Turner took the safe choice and launched every Raptor available for a strike on Hurricane Station. Though it cost him 35% of his bombers, as well as 37% of Scimitar escorts, Hurricane Station was disabled. His Rapiers fought pitch battles with Kilrathi fighters, securing space-superiority. Rather than risk his fleet, the Kilrathi admiral, a scion of the Ki’ra Pride, ordered his fleet to break orbit and head for the Baird’s Star jump point. Turner failed to capture Hurricane Station, for once the Kilrathi evacuated their own personnel from it, they destroyed it. Port Hadland itself was untouched, largely due to the Kilrathi having abandoned it, and planning on its destruction from orbit. Since the Kilrathi had little interest in Hurricane itself, their occupation never extended beyond the city. With the Kilrathi retreat, the Port Hadland System was firmly in Confed hands.
While two larger battles raged across the Vega Sector, the Kilrathi launched a number of small raids beyond Confed lines. For months at a time, Kilrathi destroyers and cruisers operated in Rostov, Alcor, Brimstone and even Hell’s Kitchen. The raids were small, targeting lone transports or freighters, ambushing system patrols, and otherwise forcing Confed to divert valuable resources to hunt them down. The lone Kilrathi ships could not approach the primary centers of the systems, but made the peripheries a hazard.