Monday, November 15, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 20
Last Stand at Venice
The final push against Kilrathi forces in the Vega Sector began in April of 2653, with two fleets prepared to strike at Venice Station. The first fleet, under the command of van Oranje, consisted of two battleships, an arsenal ship and four carriers, and would hit Venice from the McAuliffe System. A second fleet, under the command of Turner comprised of an additional four carriers, three battleships and a second arsenal ship. Both fleet would converge on the Kilrathi Sector HQ at Venice Station. The Kilrathi had seven of their own carriers ready, as well as nearly two hundred fighters on Venice Station, as well as sixteen thousand soldiers on the station.
Venice Station orbited an ocean world, which the Kilrathi had little interest in. Only limited colonization took place on the planet. All their Sector assets were in space. The final battle for the Vega Sector would not involve a full-scale planetary invasion. Instead, the target was Venice Station itself. Turner wanted to take the station and use it against the Kilrathi. However, van Oranje did not wish to pour tens of thousands of Marines on to the station, only to have the Kilrathi blow it up. He was in favor of destroying Venice Station.
The first attack came from van Oranje. Flights of Raptors tested the Kilrathi’s defenses, damaging several ships, but failing to destroy any. The Kilrathi Admiral was torn over which one to attack. He focused all seven of his carriers on attempting to destroy van Oranje first. Over three hundred Kilrathi fighters, as well as twice as many drones, descended upon van Oranje’s fleet. The attack was the fiercest the Kilrathi had ever launched, with more than one damaged Kilrathi fighter choosing to slam into the nearest ship rather than limp back home. Ragnarok destroyed most of the drones before being ordered to retreat behind the rest of the fleet. Van Oranje’s flagship took heavy damage, forcing the admiral to transfer his flag from the Prince of Orange to the Tiger’s Claw. Two destroyers, as well as the carrier Exeter were destroyed. The Kilrathi lost 19% of their fighters before returning home.
Turner’s fleet launched its own fighters, intercepting the Kilrathi on their way home. Depleted of missiles, the Kilrathi fought as hard as they could, but lost more fighters to Turner than van Oranje. Fighters launched from Venice Station struck back at Turner’s fighters, destroying a number of Raptors before the Last Judgement opened fire on them. Massed decoys fooled most of the missile swarm. Kilrathi bombers fired all their anti-ship missiles at the arsenal ship, with little effect. The Last Judgement was damaged, and like the Ragnarok, fell back behind the fleet.
Turner and van Oranje reached within 0.5 AU of Venice Station roughly the same time. Van Oranje, with seniority, assumed full command of the attack. Attempts to capture Venice Station were scrapped. Marines would secure the few settlements on the planet, but the station itself was to be destroyed. At 0.1 AU, both arsenal ships fired two spreads of anti-ship missiles at the Kilrathi fleet. Few missiles breached Kilrathi defenses, destroying two of their carriers. The Kilrathi had one last surprise; over ten thousand football sized drones, launched like bird shot towards the fleet, with their transponders screaming as loud as possible.
The collision of forces occurred first when both side’s fighters engaged at a half-way point between the fleets. The Kilrathi killed more Terrans than the other way around, but even this was not enough to hold the system. The Tiger’s Claw, broke off from the engagement and flanked the Kilrathi fleet. Fighters from the Tiger’s Claw drove through a gap in the defenses and hit Venice Station. The slip in the Kilrathi defenses allowed a number of anti-ship missiles to hit the station, blowing it wide open. Secondary explosions, including the station’s own stockpile of anti-ship missiles, destroyed the Kilrathi sector HQ.
Down two carriers and a number of other ships, the Kilrathi fought their way out of the battle and escaped from the Venice System, retreating into the Kilrah Sector. As soon as the engagement was over, Confed Marines landed on the planet, securing the few landmasses and turning them over to construction regiments. The battle for Venice was expensive, with Confed down a carrier, three cruisers, an assortment of smaller ships, as well as 30% of their fighters. The Prince of Orange finally had to be abandoned when its life-support system failed, and the fail-safe was activated. Kilrathi losses were heavier, but their retreat made the Admirals worry. With Venice under Confed’s control, attacks into the Kilrah Sector could commence. How easily the Kilrathi disengaged was worrisome to the brass.
With the conquest of Venice, Banbridge was able to declare the Vega Sector Campaign over. The Kilrathi also began to abandon other systems in the Vega Sector. Celebration raged across the Confederation, and some assumed the Kilrathi were already as good as beaten. After years of having the war in Confed’s favor, the people were growing complacent. Some politicians were pressuring the fleet to invade the Kilrah Sector. A few Admirals wanted to shift all their fleet to Munro, punch through, and drive on Kilrah itself. Confed HQ decided to hold off, and clear out any Kilrathi stragglers in the Sector, as well as close off any points where the Kilrathi can raid. What the public refused to see is that most of the Kilrathi’s fleet element escaped.
The Kilrah Pride moved on the planet Hhallas before the defeat at Venice. The Hhallas Pride opposed the Imperial Pride for years. The Emperor decided to seize control of the industry on the planet, and the planetary Pride resisted. In response, the Kilrah Pride invaded the planet, killing all the males of the Hhallas Pride on the planet, as well as the elder females. Imperial cousins moved in to take over as the kings of the Pride, and placed the Hhallas Pride into a dependency role beneath the Imperial Pride. Of the Pride, only one the kings survived, Ralgha nar Hhallas, captain of a Kilrathi cruiser serving in the Epsilon Sector. He did vanish during the invasion, and was believed dead, only to resurface in command of a Fralthi-class cruiser under the control of the Hhrass Fleet.