Monday, December 20, 2010
Wing Commander reboot, part 31
Early in the year, a Confed fleet, built around four carriers, entered the Ghorah Khar System. Only a few Kilrathi warships, at least those still loyal to the Empire, remained. These were swept aside, but not before they inflicted severe damage upon the cruiser Warspite and carrier Kyoto. Six of the new Gilgamish-class destroyers saw battle in the first weeks of the contest for Ghorah Khar,, one of them, the TCS Merlin managed to destroy a Fralthi in single combat (with the aid of its light fighters). The aging Admiral Turner was put in charge of the Ghorah Khar mission, and went immediately to the planet’s surface to meet with the Ghorah Khar Pride. Though he came with a heavily armed escort, ready to fight, the Pride females treated the Admiral with all the dignity of any diplomat. The Kings of the Pride were not so friendly, though after discovering one of Turner’s Marine escorts was also a veteran of Repleetah, gave the man their upmost respect.
Turner’s first move was to start the construction of a station orbiting Ghorah Khar, to protect it from another Kilrathi attack. Olympus Station had its core structure built in several modules and transported into the system. The armor, and extensions were built and provided by the Kilrathi. They also provided various electronic and optronic equipment, along with sensors. These were not installed, but rather secreted back to Confed Intel for analysis. Standard Terran units, more efficient than Kilrathi ones, were installed instead. The station, when completed by the end of the year, was home to over two hundred fighters (included five squadrons of Epees) as well as a dozen corvettes.
His second move was on the various crystal mines upon the planet. There was little in the way of construction concerning stealth technologies upon the planet, but several of the mine workers were also refiners of the crystals, knowing how to cut and polish the raw material into something that can allow a cloaking device to do its thing. This was another prize worth the risk. Though Turner was doubtful a Confed cloaking device could be ready in less than five years, the material and technical knowledge was hoped to give Confed new means of tracking cloaked targets.
Confed and the Ghorah Khar Kilrathi had trouble working together. It was understandable, with both sides being at war with each other for thirty year. The Terrans believed, like Terran cats, the Kilrathi would turn on them quickly, where as the Kilrathi were brought up believing Terrans to be prey, and weak. Both sides proved the other wrong. The Pride females were quite trusting, and Confed never backed away during a Kilrathi raid on the system (a number of which happened in 2664 alone).
End of Tragedy
2664, saw the last battles on the doomed planet of Repleetah. The planet’s formerly weak ecosystem was shattered, and the indiscriminate use of chemical and nuclear weapons slowly but surely wiped out defenders. As the year drug on, various fronts collapsed as soldier die-offs rendered them useless. The closing days of this act came when only division size units remained, each clustered around a single fortress, both separated by a few kilometers of no-man’s land. Around the same time Confed reached Ghorah Khar, the Kilrathi general on Repleetah ordered one final attack, committing all his soldiers to destroying the Terrans.
The battle started an hour before local dawn, with the Kilrathi marching through no-man’s land. Few vehicles remained on either side, and only a limited capacity to produce ammunition locally existed. When the Kilrathi attacked, they did not open fire until they were upon the fort, and too close for artillery support. Over the next three days, both sides battled each other around the fortress and inside. The final report sent from Repleetah to Confed HQ cited high casualties and severe damage to the Kilrathi. The station went off the air an hour later, as each side annihilated the other. The Kilrathi received no message from the planet following the general’s proposed plan. This lead both sides to believe that if anybody actually survived the battle, they died shortly after on the desolate world.
Final Generation of Fighters
Space is vast and rich in resources, but the easily extracted war materials were becoming depleted. At the start of the 2660s, a new generation of fighters were slated for production, and eventual replacement of the 2650s models. Arrows began to slowly replace the Ferrets, which were now largely used for garrison duty. The Rapier II was finally showing its age, as newer models of the Dralthi (the Dralthi IV) began to take its toll. Tomahawks packed more firepower, but pilots complained that they were not as responsive as the old Rapiers.
The Sabers would still see combat all the way to the end of the war, but the Thunderbolt VII was slated to phase out the old sword by the end of the decade. The lumbering Broadswords, which some were replaced by smaller, more agile Crossbows, would be supplanted by the sleeker Longbows. Again, pilots complained because the new bomber had only a tail gunner and not the three turrets of the giant Broadswords.
What was to be the final world in space superiority fighter came down to a competition between the Morningstar and Excalibur projects. The former packed more fire power, but the later was quicker. At first, Confed awarded the contract to the Morningstar, but only because Confed Intel wanted the Excalibur for their own use. They planned to use much of the captured Kilrathi technology from Ghorah Khar to produce a fighter that would win the war.