Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 22
Through small Prides and lone males have defected to the Confederation (or perhaps more accurately, away from the Empire) over the course of the war, never has a high born Kilrathi done so. That is until Ralgha nar Hhallas, only surviving king of the Hhallas Pride, was placed in command of the Fralthi-class Cruiser Ras Nik’hra. His plan to defect goes back two years, to the massacre of his Pride by the Imperial Pride. He survived by being in the services of a rival Pride in the Council of Eight. Ralgha was an able commander, and under his command, the Ras Nik’hra had won several victories, including against the cruise Petrograd.
The ship reached the Firekka System days before any other Kilrathi ship. Already in the system were the TCS Tiger’s Claw and the cruiser Austin. After a failed mutiny attempt by parts of his crew, Ralgha transmits a request to the Confed ships for asylum. This marks the first time Confed had its hands upon an intact and fully functional Fralthi, as well as its wing of Dralthi fighters. Nearly half of the ship’s crew was killed during the mutiny, including all those against it. A surprising number of Kilrathi spacemen were indifferent to the defection, with a majority having familiar connections with minor Prides that the Eight have exploited. In truth, there were very few minor Prides to have ever escaped exploitation.
A second mutiny almost started when Confed Marines attempted to remove the Kilrathi from the ship. While they were willing to fight against larger Prides of their own species, they assumed they would be doing so from their own ship. The thought of ending up in an internment camp caused more than one Kilrathi to commit ritual suicide rather than submit. Ralgha was thoroughly debriefed and interrogated by Intel, where he revealed Kilrathi plans for a Way of Sivar ceremony on Firekka.
The bird-like people of Firekka were in no place to fight a full scale Kilrathi invasion, which hit the system in September of 2655. As was expected, what little "defenses" the Firekka had in space were swept aside by the five carrier task forces that entered the system. With what they threw at Firekka, the Kilrathi could have conquered the rest of the Epsilon Sector. Instead, these warrior would be part of the ceremony, which involved mass slaughter of the hapless natives. Tiger’s Claw fought as hard as it could, with its fighters destroying several Kilrathi transports. The prohibition against being killed by the enemy caused a serious lap in escorts. Confed Intel estimated nearly ninety thousand Kilrathi were killed in space.
In the end, outnumbered five-to-one, the Tiger’s Claw was forced to retreat from the system. Confed had spent three months trying to equip the Firekka. Their similar size to human made many Confederation Army vehicles easily adapted. Confed tanks and artillery operated by Firekka greeted the Kilrathi invasion force. Small arms were more difficult to adapt, given the different hand structures. The Kilrathi succeeded in capturing five of the planet’s major cities, but lack of a proper spaceport (by Kilrathi or Confed standards) made the landing of soldiers difficult. Old Scimitars, recently retired by Confed (and many bought up by the Landreich and other frontier communities) were piloted well by Firekka pilots, shooting down dozens of troop transports.
Only the rules of the Way of Sivar, which called for the mass killing to be done by claw and teeth, prevented the Kilrathi from simply bombing the planet. Thus, Kilrathi attempts to conquer the planet were slowed. After two months of brutal guerilla warfare, as well as massacring of civilians, Confed returned to the system in force. The Tiger’s Claw was accompanied by the Raj, Waterloo, Gettysburg and Confederation, as well as the battleship Half-moon along with ten cruisers and twice as many destroyers. Confed attacks failed to destroy any of the Kilrathi carriers, but forced them away from Firekka. Instead of losing valuable divisions on the planet, the Emperor ordered the planet abandoned as not to divert forces from Operation: Unseen Death.
Operations in the Enigma Sector
Kilrathi presence in the Enigma Sector was minimal at the start of 2655. Only the uninhabited system of K’tithrak Mang, where the Kilrathi had built a large starbase and other in depth defenses. Much of the fleet that retreated from Firekka escorted the battered legions to Mang Station. Several million Kilrathi soldiers were already garrisoned on Mang V and the moons of Mang VI, and fleet forces have massed for attacks across the Sector. By the middle of the year, they had already moved into several other systems outside of Confed control.
The first move of the Kilrathi was to invade the Repleetah System. Repleetah II was but a simply research colony, home to various orbiting telescopes and sensor arrays at the edge of Confederation space. Beyond it was the Landreich, and beyond that the unknown. The scientists on the planet were far from helpless. When the Kilrathi began to land on the planet, they responded with nuclear charges mounted on surface-to-space rockets. Before the research colony was overran and its population wiped out, researched managed to send out a distress signal.
Though Repleetah was of minimal strategic importance, Confed responded immediately by sending in half-a-million men to battle the Kilrathi. Over the course of the next eight years, forces in Repleetah would peak at 12 million Terrans and 15 million Kilrathi. Neither side needed the planet, but neither side was willing to give it up. Repleetah soon became synonymous with stubbornness and futility. Before the battle’s end, both sides would sink to depths of savagery that humanity had not seen in millennia.