The World Today

The World Today
Earth in 2013

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wing Commander reboot, part 19


Kilrathi on the Run

Early in 2652, a Confed task force, built around the TCS Wolfhound entered the Delius System. Conquest of Delius was not vital to the campaign, but would put pressure on Kilrathi supply lines to the Epsilon Sector. The system was only marginally occupied by a Kilrathi supply depot orbiting Delius inside of its asteroid belt. The Kilrathi made use of small asteroids, mounting engines and cockpits into them and creating asteroid fighters. The natural armor of the metallic asteroids made these fighters difficult to destroy. Fortunately, they were no better armed than Dralthis and did little damage to the task force, save destroy several Rapiers.

The Kilrathi depot put up a stiff defense from the outside. No Kilrathi ships larger than corvettes patrolled the system, and were easily swept aside from the battleship Clive Arnold. Confederation Marines boarded the supply depot, and after a seven hour battle, were in control. Delius was the easiest victory of the war, and resulted in less than a hundred Confed deaths. Neighboring systems of Ariel and Caliban were similarly defended, and ignored for the time being. There would be plenty of time to mop up after the Vega Sector was firmly in Confederation hands.

Fall of Cairo

The big push came in May, when a fleet of seven carriers, three battleships, an arsenal ship, twelve cruisers, dozens of smaller vessels, and four million soldiers delegated to the operation, entered the Cairo System. Aside from Venice and Munro, this was the most crucial system for the Kilrathi in the entire sector. With it under Confed control, the final strike on Venice could take place. The Kilrathi would not let the system go without a fight. Their force was half the size of the TCN, and stayed at a distance while the TCS Last Judgement was on the loose.

Conquering the system would be a three-part opera. The first part would require clearing the space of opposition as well as taking Cairo Station, which orbited in polar orbit over the red dwarf Cairo at a distance of five million kilometers. The second stage would be an assault on Cairo I, an arid world larger than Earth and home to ninety million Kilrathi, with most Prides living in densely packed cities. Confed Intel estimated that at least two million Kilrathi soldiers were based on the planet, and thus would send in double that number over the course of a month. The final move would be to secure Cairo IV and its moons, the planet closest to the Venice jump point.

The first stage opened with a Kilrathi surprise. They sent out hundreds of drones with transponders, only this time they put annihilation warheads on the drones. Though only one gram of anti-matter were on board each drone, that was still more than enough to vaporize an entire ship if it penetrated the shield. The Last Judgement was forced to expend three salvos of FF missiles in order to destroy the swarm, but not before fifteen of the drones scored hits, vaporized six destroyers, the cruisers Pallas and Monarch, battleship Simon Bolivar and carrier Cobra’s Fang. All ships were lost with all hands, with the exception of the Cobra’s Fang, whose only survivors were the pilots already in space.

Sixty-four Kilrathi fighters came in behind the drones, using the reload time for the Last Judgement to strike at the arsenal ship and its escorts. The expensive arsenal ship suffered extensive damage before it reloaded and destroyed all the Kilrathi fighters. The damage was enough that the ship was forced to retreat, taking the Raj and Avenger as escorts, along with four destroyers. The rest of the Kilrathi defense put up stiff resistance in the space around Cairo Station, damaging every Confed ship to some extent, before retreating to Cairo I. Twenty thousand Marines were required to take Cairo Station, and only then they managed to take half of the station. The Kilrathi destroyed upwards to 46% of the station during the battle on board rather than let it fall into Terran hands.

Within a month, Confed moved on Cairo I. The planet was an industrial world, as well as food supply for the Kilrathi forces in the Vega Sector. Again the Kilrathi fought viciously, and again further damaged the Terran fleet, destroying two destroyers and the battleship Francis Drake. Confed had lost two of three battleships just in reaching Cairo I. Despite the importance of the planet, the Kilrathi were put to flight, after one of their carriers and two cruisers were destroyed. They headed immediately towards the Venice jump point and onward towards Venice Station, to fight Confed another day. Confed commenced its orbital blockade of Cairo I, and transmitted an offer to accept surrender. The Cairo Pride (Pride that rules the planet and the lesser Pride on it) responded by firing a salvo of surface-to-space missiles at the Terran fleet, causing no damage.

Seventy-three thousand Marines landed on the first day, securing two landing zones, one at the spaceport in Cairo’s capital. On the next day, a hundred thousand soldiers were delivered on to the planet. Intel’s estimate of two million defenders was not far from the truth. There were 1.8 million Kilrathi soldiers on the planet. However, they did not predict the Cairo Pride from siding with the Empire, and offering its hundred thousand strong Pride to aiding in defense. Lesser Prides were compelled to aid, and the fighting in the capital, as well as other cities, turned into brutal urban warfare. The use of combat drones was prohibited since artificial intelligence was not very (intelligent that is) and could not tell the difference between dangerous Kilrathi and passive ones.

All four million soldiers allocated for Cairo were needed in pacifying the planet. As the battle raged on the planet, parts of the Terran fleet in orbit were broken away from fire support to attack Cairo IV. Only one of its moons (the inner most) had a Kilrathi presence, and was overran within a single day. It was little more than a support facility for refueling ships that came towards the icy giant Cairo IV. Confed construction brigades set to build facilities on the other moons, including staging areas (once it became clear Cairo IV would not subdued until well into 2653) for the Venice operation, as well as fleet facilities and fighter bases to intercept any Kilrathi aid that tries to slip into the system. The base would also supply its fighters to close air support roles on Cairo I, some 3.9 AU away, as the fleet prepared for a joint attack on Venice.

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