Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 26
Battle of Pembroke
The Pembroke System was of vital importance to the Confederation for it sat as a nexus linking the Vega and Enigma Sectors. Loss of the system would not only split the sectors and add weeks to months on a journey between fronts, but would also put the Kilrathi within striking distance of the Sol Sector. Admiral Turner concentrated five carriers and four battleships, along with fifty other capital ships, around Pembroke Station (home to over 100,000 people) upon learning the Kilrathi planned to move against the system during the middle of 2659.
The Kilrathi appeared in the system in June and moved on Pembroke Station. The station had over a hundred Epees patrolling within one A.U. of it, on constant scan for any stealth attacks. As expected, the Kilrathi did deploy a number of Skippers in with their conventional missiles. The Kilrathi brought in four carriers of their own, and launched an immediate attack on Turner’s fleet. The first wave of Kilrathi fighters suffered losses and retreated. To Turner, the Kilrathi gave up a little too easy, and he suspected a trap. Instead of ordering a pursuit, he reigned in all his fighters, including the lumbering Broadswords. Epees detected a number of possible cloaked targets approaching, but the concentration of Terran fighters forced the Kilrathi to call off their own stealth attack.
A second Kilrathi wave came in, this time fighters sweeping in front of corvette. Corvettes were small ships, but still far larger than the largest fighters, and carried a number of anti-ship missiles. The Broadswords concentrated on them, expending their own anti-ship missiles in taking them down. Corvettes were considered a waste of ASMs, and using one was overkill. However, the corvettes probably carried Skippers, as they did. All corvettes fired their loads before three were destroyed and the other five escaped. Most missiles were shot down, but three struck the carrier Java Sea amidship, breaking it in half. Five destroyers were also destroyed in the attack, along with a dozen Confed corvettes. Most of these smaller ships were destroyed by Kilrathi fighters while covering the larger ships.
A third wave was less successful, but did manage to destroy the battleship Endurance, but at a heavy loss in fighters. The Kilrathi lost more fighters than they expected, possibly because they expected to only be facing Pembroke Station. While Turner’s fighters were protecting his fleet, the station’s fighters, two hundred Rapiers, Sabers and Broadswords, swept an arc around Pembroke V, to attack the Kilrathi on their right flank. With most of their own fighters engaging Confed forces, the Kilrathi fleet was in a fight for its life. One of their own carriers was destroyed outright, with another heavily damaged. Three Fralthi and a Fralthra were also destroyed, along with seven destroyers. The losses were high enough, that once their own fighters were recovered, the Kilrathi withdrew from the system, seeking an easier target.
Conquest of Niven
After abandoning designs on Pembroke, the same Kilrathi fleet jumped into the Niven System, via Rigel. Niven was lightly defended, by its own station as well as a couple of fortresses. The fortresses were overwhelmed by the Kilrathi within a day of jumping into the system. Despite being damaged, and down a carrier (broke off from the fleet in Rigel), the Kilrathi fleet re-entered combat faster than anticipated. Confed had yet to rush forces into the Niven System to counter a likely move, that was predicted to be months away. The Kilrathi Admiral was not about to return home with an outright failure on his record.
Terran populations in the Niven System were light, and its proximity to the Enigma System prompted it to have some defenses. The colony on Niven III had but a few hundred thousand people scattered across its surface. The Kilrathi landed unopposed on the planet, in one of its unpopulated deserts, and went about constructing their own base upon the planet. Terrans were rounded up and pressed in unskilled labor as Prides were brought in for the more specialized work. The Kilrathi began their own massing of forces for the planned push into the Enigma System.
To secure the system, and provide themselves with some secrecy, the Kilrathi eventually moved on Niven Station, which orbited the star at the Niven II-Niven L1 point. This was close to the jump point leading into the Enigma System, and must be under Kilrathi control in order to give them surprise in the upcoming campaign. The station was captured after a week of fighting, and only partially in tact. Life support systems self-destructed, and Confed personnel attempted to blow the station. They failed, but did destroy the flight decks on the station, which were filled with outdated Raptors and Hornets, most of the production of new fighters having already been allocated to the Vega Sector. What few survivors captured were killed by the Kilrathi in frustration, and some say they were also eaten by the conquerors.
Raid on H’hral V’krass
V’krass Shipyards, in the H’hral V’Krass System, within the Vukar Tag Sector, and several jumps behind Kilrathi lines, were the prime target of Tolwyn and his strike force in 2659. After spending half the year in transit from the Enigma Sector, a strike force built around the carriers Concordia, Gettysburg and Ranger arrived in the lightly defended system. The shipyards were owned by the Lushkag Pride, one of the Eight, and destroying them would not only weaken Kilrathi production, but was hoped make their government a little more unstable.
The shipyards were small, and mostly given over to the production of destroyers, with secondary facilities for landing ships, with anti-ship missile production facilities. Destroying the shipyards was easy. Tolwyn had his Broadswords concentrate all their missile fire on the shipyard’s own anti-ship missile production facilities. Since anti-ship missiles used anti-matter instead of hydrogen for its warhead, all the attack had to do was disable one of the containment fields within just one of the warheads. Being so deep within their own territory, in a previously uncharted sector (from Confed’s perspective) there was little shielding around the shipyard.
The attacks blew apart the shipyards. Had they been on a planet or moon, it would have left a crater more than a hundred kilometers in diameter. However, given the asymmetry of Kilrathi design, anything larger than a corvette must be built in micro-gravity (space or a small asteroid). Only a few invasion craft were under construction at the time, all of which were destroyed. However, given the centralization of Kilrathi war industries, one-third of their destroyer production had just been eliminated. Tolwyn paid for his attack, not in the H’hral V’krass System, but rather in the several systems he had to pass through in order to reach Confed lines. In each system, the Kilrathi attacked his fleet, but with most of the Kilrathi Navy either defending Munro or fighting in the Enigma Sector, little damage was done to his fleet.