Turn 62 - Cooling Debris

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Turn 62 - Cooling Debris

Postby Moonsword on Sun 16 Jul 2017 07:34

Omicron Eridani, Sargasso Warp Point, TCS Hispaniola
Command Planning Room
2154 February 17


By the time the combined TCN fleet guarding the warp point to the Sargasso - and beyond it, to the mysterious enemy - had come fully to action, the brief, furious warp point assault had been over. Surveying the damage aboard the command destroyer Hispaniola - chosen for the conference because of her superior command and control facilities - Vice Admiral Phoebe Sharp looked up from the report as the dark-haired form of Frederick Dyer came into the forward compartment, having boarded from his own flagship for the short conference. Commodore Ulani Vongphachanh, Hispaniola's designated admiral and the commander of the short engagement, started to rise to his feet before his superior waved him back to his desk. "As you were, Ulani," he said, his voice thick with an English accent as he gave Phoebe a polite nod. With similar seniority and the same rank, there was little enough difference between the two of them. "What's the final tally on the damage, Phoebe?"

Shorter than Dyer, the wiry admiral looked up from her data tablet with a grim smile. "We found a survivor from Phaethon," she said, voice husky with emotion. "Just one, an engineering rating who was blown clear of the ship without actually being killed by the plasma bloom. She's being sent back to Cernunnos for treatment," the very slightly senior of the two vice admirals went on before gesturing to her junior, who had been coordinating the damage control efforts.

Even shorter than Sharp, Vongphachanh leaned forward and nodded, "The 2nd Cruiser Squadron is going to require repairs but we probably won't have to send them back to the yards. Picard and Bavaria took armor losses and some damage to their ordnance racks but nothing that can't be taken care of in a few days each. Chihuahua, though." He made a face, shaking his head, and went on, "She's going to take more time. The crew is still putting out fires in one engine room, her forward magazine is a complete write off, and her armor was holed in multiple places. She's in a lot better shape than Corrientes was, fortunately, but she's still got several dozen dead already recovered."

Dyer nodded solemnly before he turned to regard Sharp once more, making her raise her eyebrow. Finally, he frowned thoughtfully, tapping his fingers against the table the three of them were around as he looked at the symbolic icon of the warp point to the Sargasso. "Still, we took much lighter losses."

"Because the Swiftsures were still standing down after that exercise," Vongphachanh pointed out, shaking his head. "Without their missiles, we'd never have managed to bring down those big bastards. You're not..."

"We are," Sharp answered in a much quieter voice. "Think about it. These people don't have or at least don't use courier drones. We know they don't because we haven't seen any launched despite hammering what was clearly a command ship into scrap and those two frigates last year had every opportunity to launch, too." She glanced at Dyer and he nodded slightly, ceding the floor to her. "If they wanted to know what happened, they would have to send a starship through, and the failure to follow up means they may not have enough ships left to risk losses. After that last engagement, they can't be too eager to stick their noses in here again. No intelligence about what sort of defenses we've gotten built after the loss of nine ships. We also know our big ships are a hell of a lot better armed for fighting their way through a warp point than theirs. If we can take the Sargasso, or at least keep a clear zone on the other side..."

"...then we've at least got a picket force the next time this happens. And maybe we can push into their systems, force a negotiation," Vongphachanh finished the thought, his dark face with the expression of a man who didn't like what they were saying.

"Or be able to communicate with them without having to push an envoy into the teeth of defenses that are on edge," Dyer pointed out, running a finger over a head shaved bald years ago. "We've got a few scraps of debris, images of their ships, but we don't even have a name for these people other than 'Lacedaemon'."

Sharp snorted, shaking her head and making her short brown hair jump. "And that's because the batch of analysts HQ sent out has too many history buffs. 'Symbolic coincidence', hell, they just wanted to name things after Greeks. They've already codenamed that command ship 'Leonidas' and the line ships 'Hoplite', after all."

Waving his hand to concede the point, Dyer nodded. "So we're agreed? We take the risk of probing the warp point, trying to hold it from the other side?" When the other two nodded, he smiled thinly. "Alright. Ulani, you'll retain Hispaniola as the commander of my screen. Phoebe? It's time to show these people how a warp point assault really works."

The assault was anti-climatic in the end, with no enemy ships within detection range, even for the enhanced detection radius of the Vega's "capital" sensors. Unseen, her own sensors even more sensitive, an enemy ship made her best speed home to report the sizable incursion and the probable loss of the entire assault fleet.
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