Friday, December 17, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 29
With attempts to take Enigma itself thwarted (on more than one occasion), in 2662, the Kilrathi attempted to bypass Enigma altogether. By taking the Heaven’s Gate System, the Kilrathi would have only to jump to Callimachus and be able to hit the Sol Sector from there, with Sol itself just being two jumps past the Ella System. The Kilrathi struck the system with complete surprise, overwhelming the destroyer picket and storming Gates’ Station with the minimal loss to themselves. With only a pair of carriers and four cruisers, the Kilrathi took control of the space around the planets of Heaven’s Gate.
Confed reacted as fast as it could, sending the Waterloo, Fredericksburg and Resolution into the system only a week after the Station had fell. At the time, the Kilrathi were preparing to invade to ocean world of Paradise, with its tropical beaches and fertile agricultural land. The Kilrathi cared for neither, of course, and merely wanted the only habitable planet in the system as a staging area for a planned invasion of the Sol Sector. The war had taken its toll on both sides, and Confed was finally starting to feel the loss of ships. An engagement like this only a decade before would have included twice as many capital ships.
The Confed fleet struck at the Kilrathi carriers while they were resupplying near Gates’ Station. With their flight decks full of cargo shuttles, they were not able to launch fighters. Escorting cruisers launched their fighters, a squadron each, to help thwart Confed’s attack, but Rapiers and new Tomahawks kept them busy while Broadswords closed in on the carrier, and destroyed both targets. With their striking ability destroyed, the remaining Kilrathi ships broke in confusion. Without a strong, central commander, individual captains began to look after their own interests. A few ships stayed with Gates’ Station to defend the holdings, but more broke and ran. One cruiser even charged straight for the Terran Fleet, hoping to get within Skipper range. That cruiser made for great target practice for a squadron of Sabers.
The Kilrathi ships around Gates’ Station also never made it anywhere near the Terran fleet, as fighters made short work of them. Confed did move its fleet into weapons’ range to bombard the station. The Kilrathi had moved fast to reinforce it with more shields and point-defense weapons. Confed lost a destroyer to the station’s defenses. Fighting to retake the station was fierce, and virtually the entire station’s civilian population were killed in the process, mostly by hungry Kilrathi soldiers. Out of roughly seven thousand Kilrathi, only sixty-one were taken into captivity, and most of these were incapacitated. Nearly thirty years of war, and the Kilrathi still fought as viciously as they did at McAuliffe.
With the PTC proven reliable, a new class of battleships, the Dreadnaught-class, were put into production at shipyards on the other side of the Confederation in respect to Kilrah. With several PTC turrets, the new battleships were expected to have a firepower almost equivalent to the old arsenal ships, but without their vulnerability. Even while the PTCs were recharging, Dreadnaught would have plenty of other armaments, including improved grasers and rapid-reload missile launchers. The new battleships would also carry a squadron of fighters in each of its two flight decks. The class of warships was originally intended to be launched by 2663, but a series of technical problems continue to push the release date back further and further.
Over the decades of war, Confed lost hundreds of destroyers in various actions, ranging from fleet battles to small raids. The Gilgamish-class destroyers, the first ones launched in 2662, were an improvement over the previous designs. Not only were they larger, and hosted heavier shields, but they also came with their own flight deck. The Gilgamishes could hold a squadron of Ferrets, Epees, Stilettoes or the new Arrows that were preparing to make their debut, or a half squadron of Sabers. Virtually all future captains would opt for the squadron of point-defense fighters to protect his ship against Kilrathi missiles and fighter attacks. These destroyers were designed to operate alone, striking deep into Kilrathi territory, as well as in fleet actions.