Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 21
At the corner of the frontier, in the Goddard System, a terran colony had existed, technically outside of the boundaries of Confed, for more than a century. The founding of Goddard Colony, on Goddard II. For the first twenty years of the war, this corner of the Epsilon Sector had seen little in the way of the war, aside from occasional Kilrathi fleet incursions. That all changed in 2654. Goddard sat at a junction for serval jump points, including the one to Epsilon Prime, later administration area for the sector. Danger to the Goddard System was learned in February of 2654, when Confed Marines, escorted by the TCS Wolfhound raided a Kilrathi research colony on Warhammer XII, learning of a new weapon to be tested on Goddard. By the time the Tiger’s Clawreached the system, Goddard Colony was flattened, as if a giant hammer slammed down upon the colony, killing all 250,000 colonists.
Operation: Thor’s Hammer
From the raid on Warhammer XII, Confed learned of the Kilrathi battleships Sivar. This was no ordinary battleship. Its standard armament was only slightly better than the new Fralthras. But its main weapon was what could best be described as a Graviton Cannon. What this weapon did was magnify local gravitational fields, crushing its target. Thus the shape of Goddard Colony. More over, the Sivar could not use its graviton gun against ships, but rather only against targets that could not maneuver, such as stations, fortresses, habitats and entire planets. The development of this weapon also consumed a great deal of resources, which partially explains the Kilrathi apparent weakness in the past couple of years.
Tiger’s Claw pursued the Sivar, and after several thwarted attacks on the ship, switched tactics. Something as large as the Sivar could not easily scoop fuel from conveniently located gas giants. Instead, it (like the Terran Arsenal Ships) had to rely upon tankers. Tiger’s Claw swept through the Midgard System, as well as the Jotunheim and Bifrost Systems. In Midgard, Marines on board one of the carrier’s escorts managed to capture an in-tactDralthi. Though Confed had the aid of Kilrathi defectors over the years, they had few opportunities to capture anything of the Kilrathi’s in working order.
The Sivar was prevented again from resupply when the Tiger’s Claw destroyed a supply depot in the Valgard System, but was able to escape (albeit low on fuel) as the Tiger’s Claw had to fighter its way past Kilrathi destroyers and frigates. The Sivar was finally caught orbiting a gas giant in the Vigrid System. Rapiers andRaptors off the Tiger’s Claw (a great deal of the Scimitars were destroyed in Valgard) caught the warship in low orbit, attempting to refuel by use of an old gas mining station. Two wings of fighters, using the planet as cover, swept in from prograde as well as retrograde, catching the ship between it. The Sivar was destroyed while attempting to break orbit. With its engines destroyed, the ship fell from orbit and into the gas planet.
As a result of the loss of the Sivar, Gilkarg nar Kilrah, the man in charge of the project, was executed. Thus died the last son of the Kilrathi Emperor. Taking his place was the Imperial grandson, Thrakhath nar Kilrah as Crown Prince and heir designated.
The New Concordia
In 2654, the first three of the new Confederation-class fleet carriers came on line. The first was, of course, the TCS Confederation. A month after that, the Congress was launched, and one after that came the new TCSConcordia. These three new ships brought Confed’s total frontline carrier strength to 18, counting the five newGettysburg-class fast carriers. With five carriers stationed at Munro at any given time, Confed believed that it had a 13:9 advantage in carrier strength. One problem with these numbers was that general Kilrathi design changed little, so that made positive identification on the ships difficult.
These new carriers brought with them new fighters. The Ferret (point-defense), Rapier II (escort and interceptor, slightly smaller and faster than the original Rapiers), Sabers (space-superiority, much larger than Rapiers it is replacing, and capable of carrying an anti-ship missile) and Broadswords (bombers almost big enough to be small corvettes). Three of these fighters were intended to completely replace the Hornets, Scimitars and Raptors by 2656. The new Concordia conducted a successful shakedown cruise during a tour of duty in Munro, where it launched its own raid on Munro III.
During Operation: Thor’s Hammer, the Tiger’s Claw discovered an increase in traffic in the Epsilon Sector. The Kilrathi had gone a long way in the past twenty years in building up the infrastructure. Several worlds that were rumored to have Terran colonies, such as Bifrost, Midgard and Asgard, were discovered to be utterly void of Terrans. There was some evidence that humans once lived in these systems, but if they had, then the Kilrathi exterminated them from these systems, and others that lead into the unprotected Enigma Sector.
Admiral Turner attempted to convince the General Staff that this could only mean the Kilrathi were going to hit the Enigma Sector, and try to outflank Confederation defenses that were built up in detail in the Vega Sector. However, Admiral Banbridge, now head of the Joint-Chiefs saw no evidence of troop movement. There was a great deal of building of stations and depots, as well as colonization of formerly Terran pioneer worlds. The fact that the Sivar was in the sector did not factor into the equation.
By the middle of the year, Confed Intel discovered a spacefaring (albeit only basic interplanetary) civilization that called itself the Firekka. The Firekkans were known to have outposts on the nearest planet to their homeworld, as well as orbital habitats. Little else was known about them, for Confed seldom had any interest in first-contact situations, and humanity had its own history of conquering aliens (the Wu more than a thousand years ago). Under normal circumstances, Confed would have labeled the system off-limits (for what good that would do on the frontier, which saw its natural leader as the Landreich). Given the system’s strategical location between two front lines, Confed had little choice but to send an embassy and introduce itself in 2655, as well as warn them about and protect them from the Kilrathi.