Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, fin
The final year of the Kilrathi War.
Following the disaster at Earth, both sides reassessed their situations. For the Emperor, the Kilrah Pride was bankrupt, expending so much in rushing the Hari Project, and at the loss of a good portion of that investment. Worse yet, the Emperor is diagnosed with cancer. Kilrathi medical science has always been lacking, and he has been given less than a (Terran) year to live. The Emperor has reigned over the Empire for 36 years, longer than virtually all Kilrathi had been alive. He was well over sixty, and ancient age for the short-lived Kilrathi. Not only are many planetary Prides clamoring for victory, but the Emperor wishes to face Sivar and the other gods, only after leading his people to victory.
Confed’s situation was dire. The Terran Confederation Navy was effectively broken, even with a pair of new battleships and a single super carrier of their own coming on line. They were still outnumber two-to-one in carriers, and lacked the ability to defend the frontier. If the Kilrathi came from several vectors at once, they would win. It was that simple. Even if they came as a single thrust, which was expected sometime during the year, Confed was still unlikely to keep back the Kilrathi. Times were so desperate, older ships were forced into frontline service, including the surviving Concordia-class carriers (light carriers by the 2660s standards). Anything with guns was pressed into service.
Over the past decade, Confed Intel and R&D have developed several covert projects, all of them doomsday devices. The most prominent was headed by Tolwyn; the Behemoth project. Behemoth was to rushed into service as fast as possible. Various parts of the ship would remain unfinished as all effort went into make engines, shields, and the main weapon operational. Even after the terror of thirty-five years, some in the meeting of January 7, were reluctant to release such a weapon upon the galaxy. But, hope for a conventional victory against the Kilrathi was all but gone. As Tolwyn said at the end of the meeting, "The war is drawing to a close. In six months, either Earth or Kilrah will be in ruins." With that, Project Behemoth was put into action.
The Kilrathi struck at several worlds during the next few months, pasting each with the Life-Eater virus. The first on their list was Locanda IV. The planet had been occupied by the Kilrathi before, but was no longer seen as useful. Instead of simply abandoning the planet, they would exterminate its population before leaving the system. Despite efforts by the Victory task force, the Kilrathi succeeded in bombing the planet. Afterwards, they struck at worlds in the Delius System and at the Epsilon System. Millions were killed on each planet, and the whole systems were quarantined by Confed.
The Behemoth Project
The TCS Behemoth was the largest warship Confed ever produced. It was two kilometers in length, and most of that comprised of amplifiers. Behemoth took the PTC design to an extreme, and with the amplifiers, built up a beam from the most powerful PTC to well over 500,000,000 gigawatts. Not only would this vaporize any ship it hit, but it would easily punch through the crust of a planet, and likely the mantle as well. Kilrah was a very unstable world in the geological sense, and the fly-by with tractor beams in 2667, only made it worse. If the Behemoth could fire at Kilrah, and burn down to its core, it was calculated that the planet would tear itself apart, and possibly explode.
Behemoth was a planet-killer, there was no two ways about it. The ship was rushed into service, with several shield generators that were designed to overlap. The shields were powerful, new multi-phase shielding, and could hold off Kilrathi attacks long enough to get its one shot off at Kilrah. After that, what happened to the ship did not matter. The shielding was not perfect, as there were gaps in the shielding. To test the biggest gun in the universe, the Behemoth was escorted to the Loki System, not far from Kilrah. Loki VI was an unstable world, similar in some geologic respects to Kilrah, and was also home to a Kilrathi garrison. The escort ships and fighters, including the carrier Victory, cleared a part for Behemoth which successfully destroyed the Kilrathi garrison, and punched clean through the planet’s crust. The gun was so powerful, it destroyed the planet.
Tragedy struck as the Behemoth was moving into Hyperion System, and preparing for the jump to Kilrah. A large Kilrathi battle group intercepted the Behemoth and its smaller ships. Due to more Kilrathi sleeper agents, the location of the weapon’s weak spots were located and exploited. Behemoth was destroyed before it could even reach Kilrah. The destruction of the ship was a deathblow to Confed morale, and Admirals made ready for a final battle, believing the end was nigh.
The Kilrathi Armada
With the completion of the Hvar’kann, and the Emperor’s impending death, Thrakhath ordered that the Council of Eight (now seven following purges that greatly weakened the Ki’ra Pride) send their own fleets to assemble in order of Kilrah. Centered around the lone dreadnaught were twelve Kilrathi carriers, thirty cruisers, and on the surface of the planet, ten million Kilrathi soldiers assembled for the final battle. Thrakhath would conquer Earth and offer it to Sivar.
Behemoth was not the only secret weapon in Confed’s arsenal. One of the craziest ideas cooked up was a tectonic resonant frequency weapon, code-named the Temblor Bomb. The device could not bust a planet, but Confed Intel gathered enough information about Kilrah, especially from cloaked probes in the system, to pinpoint a location on the planet were several faults converge. Over the past five years, a Doctor Severin worked out the math and designed a weapon that would hit the planet’s resonant frequency at that very spot. He was unsure if Kilrah would explode, but the shifting of the planet’s plates would level everything on the surface.
His bomb was ready in 2669, after Severin was freed from Kilrathi captivity in the Alcor System. The bomb was small enough to be carried by a single fighter. Confed planned to deploy a squadron of Excaliburs, the newest Confed fighter and the only one to deploy Confed’s first cloaking device. Admiral Turner’s plan was to deploy the last of Confed’s naval forces in the Munro System, in a desperate attempt to finally drive the Kilrathi out. While the battle raged, the cloaked fighters would slip into the Kilrah System in a roundabout route. If all went according to plan, the fighters would deliver the T-bomb and destroy the Kilrah Pride, thus destabilizing the whole Empire.
Leading the squadron off of Victory, which jumped into the Freya System to get the fighters as close to Kilrah as possible, was one Captain Blair, known for his actions on board Tiger’s Claw and Concordia, and known to the Kilrathi as the Heart of the Tiger. The Excaliburs reached Kilrah undetected, and discovered the giant armada in orbit of the planet. There was little they could do against that firepower, but Blair knew a failure here would spell the end of Confed.
The fighters dove into the atmosphere, and were detected as they decloaked to make their attack run. Kilrathi fighters were upon them in an instant, lead by the Crown Prince himself. In a dogfight over the skies of Kilrah, Blair shot down and killed Thrakhath in single combat. The epic battle brought the other Kilrathi to a halt, as they tried to figure out a way to defeat a pilot so mighty as to slay their own Crown Prince. That delay was enough to allow Blair to deliver the T-bomb precisely on target. As he pulled out the atmosphere, the T-bomb’s resonance set off a chain reaction inside of Kilrah. The earthquakes were so strong, that the plates were forced apart in areas, and the mantle exposed. The pressure was explosively equalized as Kilrah blew itself apart.
In orbit around the crumbling planet, the Kilrathi Armada was caught by kilometers-size chunks of crust and mantle being flung outwards. Not only did the T-bomb destroy the Kilrathi homeworld, but it resulted in the virtual annihilation of the Kilrathi Navy, as well as most males of the Eight, and the entire Kilrah Pride. Blair was picked up by a surviving cruiser, commanded by Thrakhath’s former retainer. The Kilrathi viewed Blair’s success as divine retribution, at Sivar’s displeasure in the Kilrathi. Blair was seen as the warrior who single-handedly brought down the Kilrah Pride as well as the Empire. His life was spared out of respect for his might, and the retainer Melik, personally surrendered to him.
The Treaty of Torgo
Kilrathi survivors that rallied around Melik met with Confed Supreme Commanders and Joint Chiefs in the Torgo System for the signing of the instruments of surrender, and peace treaty. For the first time in thirty-five years, humanity had known peace. Unlike the false peace, the Kilrathi navy was simply gone. Even before the meeting, planetary Prides across Kilrah turned on each other as the stronger vied for the throne of their lost homeworld. The Kilrathi were already on the road to civil war that the removal of their most powerful oppressors had unleashed.
The military points of the treaty, such as withdrawal from Confed space and decommissioning of their fleets did not move according to Confed’s designs. Kilrathi warriors were already moving back into the Empire on their own, seeking to do battle with their own kind. The same was true with the surviving ships, which sided with various Prides. The treaty also stipulated the end of slavery and freeing of slaves. Not just Terrans, but all slaves under the Kilrathi heel. The Empire would not be occupied, nor would Confed impose its will upon them. Many admirals and generals believed the Kilrathi would eventually destroy themselves