[TGG] A War Like No Other: "The Thundering of Guns"

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[TGG] A War Like No Other: "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-01-16 05:27pm

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I've had ideas for starting story anthologies in the TGG Multiverse for some time. As opposed to stand-alone fics like "The Decision" or the more well-known "Anatomy of a War" or the more serialized fics like the Jhayka-Dani series of fics, the planned TGG-BattleTech Trilogy, or the SG-1 crossover fics (not to mention the planned metaplot saga that both my SG1 fics and Marina's nBSG fic are setting up), it's not so much a story about an event or specific characters as it is an event or time period during the TGG Multiverse's timespan that can be used as the setting for stories covering aspects of said event.

Well, some inspiration has led me to what I consider a good idea for such a story, but I'm an orderly person and I feel that any good event or specific time-based setting needs a good introduction. And so we come to what I consider the first of the TGG Anthologies.

So may I now present TGG: A War Like No Other's introductory story, "The Thundering of Guns". I'm sure you'll soon guess what the anthology title is talking about. ;)

Central Command, Cardassia Prime
Cardassian Union
Universe Designate ST-3
10 November 2159 AST

For most the day was going on as any other in the New Order. Cardassian natives watched with anxiety as Jem'Hadar tromped about their streets, working directly with the Home Guard to maintain order. The Alien Quarter was growing especially quiet. No longer were members of other races outside of Cardassian subjects to be found; even the Tsen'kethi and Breen that had become common sights with their empires' treaty with the Cardassian Union were staying out of Cardassia Prime itself, made leery by the increasing numbers of Jem'Hadar.
Most Cardassian citizens were told that the Dominion was a powerful ally, sympathetic to their plight after they'd been so humiliated by conflicts with the Klingons, the rebellious Federation colonists in the DMZ, and most prominently, the Alliance of Democratic Nations. The State Press was replete with editorials encouraging Cardassians to support the new alliance with the Dominion, forged by the war hero Skrain Dukat, as a tool to protect Cardassia from her enemies and, perhaps, avenge the humiliation of their defeat six years before.
Of course, the Dominion was more than that. They had no intention of making Cardassia anything more than a semi-autonomous puppet of the Founders, a convenient ally to finally bring Order - or rather what the Founders considered to be Order, which conveniently included being the unquestioned overlords, even deities, of their subjects - to the Alpha Quadrant on the shattered bones of the Klingons, the Romulans, the Ferengi, and every other power that could oppose them. Even, particularly, the Alliance.
Few Cardassians knew this. Gul Skrain Dukat himself only suspected that intention but had long convinced himself he could outmaneuver the Founders. So they went about their daily business, oblivious save a scant few (including, ironically, the extremely anti-ADN xenophobic groups) to their impending status as another subject race of the all-powerful Founders, encouraged and extolled to supporting a massive arms buildup and preparations to avenge Cardassia's humiliation by the rest of the Quadrant.

The atmosphere in the streets was growing increasingly tense from the rumors. It was said and whispered that the Federation was mining the Bajoran Wormhole, seeking to stop the flow of warships, Jem'Hadar, and machinery that the Dominion was using to turn Cardassia into their base to begin the subjugation of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. If so, it would clearly be war. A war that Cardassians were scrambling to prepare for, a war that some wondered if they were truly ready for.
But these rumors, doubts, and concerns were below the notice of the innocuous Harold Smith. The brown-clad Human man in his 50s, wearing a simplistic but business-looking three piece suit of plain color that matched his plain brown hair and dark eyes, was escorted into the heart of Cardassia Prime's nerve center by two Cardassian soldiers of the Home Guard and two Jem'Hadar. Mr. Smith was a man unaccustomed to seeing aliens, so the Cardassians were alien enough; the Jem'Hadar, with their violent reputations and horned facial ridges, looked almost demonic to him.
Mr. Smith carried with him a case meant for the eyes of Skrain Dukat and the Founder who represented the Dominion on this side of the galaxy. It was a case that any of Cardassia's neighbors but most specifically the Alliance would have expended lives to acquire, had they known of its existance or its contents.

The man was permitted into an unassuming Cardassian conference room, where he was left mostly alone save for the two Jem'Hadar who watched him after confirming a final time that his case was not a weapon of some form. They were more like statues than living things to Smith, but again his upbringing made them seem demonic and evil. Just what are we colluding with? was the thought that went through his head as he sat and waited.
After some time a door on the opposite side of the room opened. Three figures entered to meet Smith. The first was a humanoid unlike the Cardassians or Jem'Hadar. It looked male to Smith's eye with large, lobeless ears with ridges along the outside and obscured by the figure's dark hair along the upper half. The face was mostly human at least, with the man having bright blue eyes that appraised Smith coldly.
The figure that came behind him was human-shaped and feminine, more human-looking than the Jem'Hadar or Cardassians but with hollows around her eyes that were definitely un-human. She seemed haughty and arrogant to Smith and that told him she was likely the Founder he'd been sent to meet.
The last figure was a face Smith was already well-accustomed with. Gul Skrain Dukat, the Hero of Cardassia, the only man to defeat Alliance naval forces in battle it was said (more realistically, he didn't win in an open engagement but neither did he lose) who reorganized the Cardassian fleet after their devastating defeat against the Alliance and made it the terror of much of the Alpha Quadrant, a well-led and organized force that was superior to anything else save the Alliance and, possibly, those races and nations that had adopted Alliance tactics and doctrines. Only the superior force of the Klingon fleet, combined with confusion due to the purging of large numbers of military officers upon the Detepa Council revolution almost two years before, had defeated Dukat's reorganized fleet, and it in turn had driven the Klingon Empire back in recent months with support from the first waves of Dominion reinforcements, again an alliance that had been Dukat's creation. An altogether truly capable and dangerous individual in Smith's view.

"Gentlemen, ma'am, I thank you for agreeing to meet with me on such short notice," Smith said to them as they took their places at the table, prompting him to sit opposite them.
"The notice we were given of your journey to meet with us was all the interest we needed to permit it," the Founder remarked with what felt like some cold and a lot of reserve, but not necessarily distaste or distrust.
"We are quite impressed with the fact that you were able to come here without alerting the Alliance," the second alien added.
"This is my Vorta subordinate Weyoun," the Founder explained to Smith, indicating the first alien who had entered the room. "And I believe you are familiar with our ally Gul Dukat?"
"The Gul is known, even in my home universe." Smith nodded, noting the quiet attention he was getting from the Cardassian generalissimo. "To get down to business...."

Smith opened the case. Within was a simple holographic projector with an internal computer, including a recorded holo-recording. The projector came alive with the press of a button by Smith.
The man that appeared was clean-shaven with short, graying black hair. His eyes were of blue color and even here, a universe away from him, they showed the intensity of the passion, the vision, burning within him. Only the top half of his torso was visible, showing white vestments over a brown suit as simple as the one Smith wore.
"On behalf of the Colony of New Plymouth and the Church, I bid you greetings. I am Hanson Leewood of the Divine Elect, appointed by the Grace of God as Presiding Bishop of the Church and Colony during these trying times." The man on the image scowled deeply. "Like the Cardassian people, we have suffered humilitation and scorn at the hands of the perifidious and atheist Alliance. Like with you they have given succor to our enemies and insulted our rights. Both of our nations lay under the threat of their power. None of us can hope to fight them alone. But even if the means to destroy them is outside of our worldly power, if we work together we can at least drive them from our home universes, ridding ourselves of their presence. Even the Alliance cannot fight wars in two seperate universes against foes of our power and the allies we can call upon. Cardassia and the Dominion can call upon your treaty allies as we will call upon ours; if we attack near one another, we can defeat them and drive them out."
"I offer you, Gul Dukat, Founder, the opportunity that you need as much as the Colony does. If one of us goes to war with the Alliance so must the other, otherwise we are both lost to further humiliation. God grant you the wisdom to choose well."

The recording ended and Smith deactivated the projector. He tried to read the faces of the others. Weyoun's seemed pleasant and diplomatic, the Founder opaque and unresponsive, and Dukat... The Cardassian had the faint hint of a grin on his face. Recalling his instructions, Smith hit keys on the case to bring up the preliminary Plymouthite terms of the secret agreement he'd been sent to negotiate. "We have absorbed several hundred ships from the old Devenshiran fleet into the Church's Navy," Smith explained, "and during the Fall of Devenshire we secured the major shipyards at Pranton, Illustrious, and Jacksontowne which we have used to build our fleet to new heights. Our Chinese allies..." That made him shift uncomfortably, the idea of the Church allying with the Godless Communists of New China. "...have fortified the critical hyperspace junction at Ganzhou and possess the forces to stalemate the Alliance's most likely ally of our universe, the British Empire. The French Emperor has voiced support for driving the Alliance out of our universe and has pledged to support us against them. Finally, we have made strides to traversing the hyperspace shoals that protected the Alliance's gate in our universe and will be able to destroy it if we can remove their main fleet." Smith swallowed, knowing this was going to be a hard sale. "We wish to pledge our willingness to declare war upon the Alliance should it at any time attack the Dominion and ask for a reciprocating agreement; we also propose that within the next eight to twelve months our empires commence attacks on the Alliance, jointly, to drive them out of our universes."
There was still some silence. Weyoun would be the one to end it by remarking, "Well, you are correct in that we are interested in a final decision involving the Alliance and its interference in the affairs of this universe. I believe we are open to negotiating the possibility of a common agreement to face them in war with you."
Smith smiled at that.

A short time later the three leaders left Smith in the room, returning to Dukat's office within the bowels of Central Command. Dukat settled into his seat while looking up at the Founder and Weyoun. "The man out there is as much a fool as his leader," Weyoun remarked openly, abandoning his diplomatic tact from earlier.
"He is," Dukat agreed. "But he does provide us with an interesting opportunity."
"An unenforcable agreement to side with us against the Alliance is not something I am willing to entertain, not on the word of a Solid." The Founder leveled a gaze at Dukat. "I do not trust Solids."
A slight grin crossed Dukat's face. "A wise policy, Founder. But I would consider the opportunity at hand before we dismiss it."
"You mean the chance that they would honor their side of the argument and would foment a powerful alliance in their universe to oppose the Alliance, forcing it to divide its attentions and preventing the Alliance from focusing on either of us?"
"Exactly, Weyoun."
"I do not think the chance of success is worth the risk," Weyoun remarked. "We are not ready to fight the Alliance. Not until we have finished dealing with the Federation and the Klingons."
Dukat gave a nod of agreement. "Yes. Preparations on that end have begun now that the Romulans are taking our non-aggression offer seriously. And we have made feelers to the Bajorans to guarantee their sovereignty and continued payments in exchange for transit rights."

"If not for the treaty binding the Alliance to protect Bajor I would prefer conquering them," the Founder replied. "They are too dangerous to us with their ability to threaten our connection to the Gamma Quadrant."
"A project that sadly must wait for a later day. Let us concentrate on defeating the Federation first," Dukat said.
"Yes, and with the Federation under Dominion control we would be able to attack both interuniversal gates in this side of the galaxy, permitting us to remove the threat of the Alliance with a swift blow. Which again calls me to question the wisdom of accepting this agreement. The timetable is too short to permit us to conquer the Federation and prepare for an all-out strike on the New Liberty and New Ivers gates."
"You overestimate the Federation's staying power, Weyoun," Dukat remarked. "Cracks have already appeared in the fabric of the Federation, cracks that battlefield defeats will widen into full ruptures."
"It will take many troops to secure..."
"I doubt we'll be securing the entire Federation as you imagine it, but rather just a zone from here to Earth and then as close to the Triangle and Klingon border as we can manage. The rest will succumb to the predations of the Federation's neighbors or invite the Alliance in, which can only benefit us. Instead of being able to concentrate their forces into two zones they would have to maintain large units away from the gates. And from there we would have a window of opportunity until they could add new gates to their system." Dukat noticed the expressions on their faces and stood. "Now, I know what you are thinking. What if Leewood moves before we are ready? Our only choice would be to either attack anyway or to violate our agreement. The latter would be damaging, but the former would be fatal. If we are not ready when we make our first move against the Alliance, it will marshal its powers and destroy us."

"Or we could ignore this Leewood and let the Alliance stand alone while we conquer the rest of the Quadrant," Weyoun said. "After all, a number of governments have already responded positively to our offers of non-aggression pacts, including the Romulans. If we control the Alpha and Beta Quadrants then the Dominion holds the fate of over half the galaxy. The threat of the Alliance will become non-existant."
Dukat frowned at Weyoun. He had his own ideas on who would hold the fate of the Alpha Quadrant, after all. He let the Vorta finish before saying, "I don't think you appreciate the threat we face, Weyoun. Perhaps we would, indeed, have a preponderance of strength over the Alliance assuming they kindly stand by and let us conquer the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. But what good does that strength do when the Alliance has access to far greater quantities of space than we do? We are talking about a civilization that spans sections of several direct copies of this galaxy. This is not a fair fight. We are at a severe disadvantage."
"Until we acquire their technology," Weyoun points out. "I am confident..."
"Confident that what? With decades of careful experimentation based on observations of their gates the Dominion might be able to replicate it? Decades during which the Alliance will gain an insurmountable edge in manpower, resources, and industrial capacity? An edge that they would surely apply against us when they realized we were on the verge of creating our own interuniversal technology. And I am skeptical that we can make our own interuniversal drives in a reasonable amount of time."
"Even the Alliance does not fully understand the interuniversal gate technology that has permitted it to exist, they only know how to build it. Plans that our best efforts, Cardassian or Dominion, have abjectly failed to procure. Listen to me..." Dukat turned his attention to the Founder. "We have one chance against the Alliance. We must be peaceful with them until the moment we can guarantee destroying their gates. Once that act is done, once we have made it clear that their presence in this universe will not be tolerated any longer and that any attempt to return will be met with force, only then do we have a modicum of safety. There is no other alternative. We must destroy their Gates, accept eventual destruction at their hand, or abandon our plans to bring the Alpha Quadrant to our feet."

The Founder seemed to consider Dukat's words for a moment. Naturally she found the latter two possibilities intolerable. Furthermore she hated to admit that the Great Link's timetable for unifying the galaxy under the Dominion had been completely disrupted by the unforseen consequence of the Multiversal Contact. "What do you propose we do with Leewood's offer then, Gul?"
"I say we accept it. At best, he attacks them when we do and provides us with a distraction. At worst.... he attacks when we are not ready, and we leave him to his fate."
"I see." The Founder looked to Weyoun and then back to Dukat. "I believe you are correct. I will agree to this pact against the Alliance, Gul."
"Of course, Founder."
"You may go inform Mister Smith that we are prepared to accept. Go over his proposed terms and negotiate with my complete faith," the Founder instructed Dukat, having very different ideas as to their relative positions than Dukat himself did, or at least harbored.

Dukat, of course, knew the tenor of the command. But for now he would maintain the charade of being a loyal part of the Dominion and so he left, permitting the Founder and Weyoun to be alone. Weyoun watched him go and, as soon as the door closed, said, "I do not trust him, Founder. Dukat is too prideful to accept being part of the Dominion."
"Like many Solids he has a great deal of pride and arrogance. Undoubtedly he believes he is manipulating us when it is we who are manipulating him." The Founder turned back to Weyoun. "Now, tell me more of our preparations for a Federation attack..."

Bishop's Estate, City of New Plymouth
New Plymouth Colony
Universe Designate CON-5
20 November 2159 AST

The Bishop's Office had been stripped of most furnishings and accoutrements by Hanson Leewood, who demanded it be a humble chamber for him to direct the lives and souls of the many billions of citizens and subjects of the Colony. The leader of the Faith Church, elected twenty-three months before, had spent the last two years girding the Colony for battle with the hated Liseans and Devenshirans and their atheist Alliance supporters. The time had come for the Christians of New Plymouth Colony to fullfull a destiny four hundred years in the making; taking their place as the predominant power in what used to be the Terran Federation and reclaiming Earth and the sacred sites there, all in the name of God and the True Church.
Oh, there had been fears for Leewood. He had been unhappy in having to ally with one Atheist power to fight another, even if Maoist New China was necessary to check the power of the British Empire. He had little love for the pompous, worldly Bonapartes and the predominantly Papist French, but their alliance or benevolent neutrality would be necessary in the coming conflict. And as these days as Presiding Bishop had passed, what little fear had been in Leewood's mind was removed by the powerful faith beating in his heart. God would see him and the Colony through to victory over all opposition, whether by heretic "Church liberals" within or by the Popish anti-Christ and atheist hedonists without.

And another sign of God's favor now sat on his desk. Harold Smith, an assistant secretary to the Foreign Office of the Church, had succeeded in his covert mission. He was en route back to New Plymouth now by circuitous route via the Federated Commonwealth, where the newfound apathy of the Intelligence Secretariat to moves by enemies of the Alliance had enabled Smith's mission to be performed with a minimum of risk of detection. Now his ship from Cardassia via Dervak and Galax had put in to Luther and Smith had been able to send his report; the Cardassians and Dominion had agreed to the secret pact. The Anti-ADN Pact was now sealed and three powers, and their allies, were committed to each other's aid in the event of future war with the atheists.
Leewood gave a prayer of thanks to the Lord. The factories were producing their guns. The shipyards were constructing their ships. The camps and training yards were training fine young Christian boys to be soldiers and sailors of the Church. Soldiers of God armed and supplied with the produce gleaned from the hell-destined subjects of Plymouth's tributary planets. Soldiers ready to fight Leewood's Crusade to destroy the atheists and make the power of the Church unassailable.
Soon there would be war. And the universe would be forever changed.
Last edited by Steve on 2009-01-21 05:51pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-01-18 12:45am

New Virginia Spaceyard Complex, Lunar Orbit of Henry, New Virginia System
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate AR-12
29 November 2159 AST

The New Virginia Spaceyard Complex was abuzz with activity with the CEO of the holding company of New Virginia Shipbuilding, the Governor of New Virginia, and the Secretary of Defense for the United States AR-12 all among the attendees of a ceremony commemorating the completion of the Mitchell Wing of the Complex. From the lounge above the central hub of the Complex the attendees could all see the new round structure, a hollow top-like construct miles across that contained sixty slipways of varying size, over half of which having the necessary space and machinery to construct ships of up to sixty megatons dead-weight-tonnage and ten rated up to ninety. It was connected to the Central Hub of the Complex by a quartet of tubes that primarily carried transport tubes for personnel and material as well as the support umbilicals for the primary life support and electrical systems of the Wing.
Of all the VIPs the most interested in these was the newest arrival; the Chief Admiral of the Stellar Navy. Matthew Darlington was a native of Universe HE-1 and a long-time veteran of space navies, albeit mostly of the more primitive navy of United Earth HE-1 prior to the formation of the Alliance. His graying light brown hair was cut and combed close, with a trimmed beard and mustache for facial hair. The shape of his face and the way he looked at people with his blue eyes made him appear gruff in demeanor, though in private Darlington was often of softer attitude. An admiral for the entirety of his service to the Stellar Navy, Darlington was considered something of an older protegè to the esteemed naval theorist and strategist Robert Dale, fitting given his succession to various high posts that Dale had vacated in his own rise through the military establishment of the Alliance.
Other than these distinctions, he was most known publicly as commanding the Stellar Navy expedition in late 2151 that intervened in the One Week War of Universe GA-18's Earth, defeating forcefully the attempt by the Principality of Zeon to drop an opposing space colony on Earth during Zeon's brutal war of both independence and conquest against the planetary government and then imposing terms on Zeon and Earth in the Treaty of Side 6.

Drinks were handed out and it was left to New Virginia Shipbuilding's CEO, Carl Haller, to begin the ceremony by calling for a toast in time with the activation of the Mitchell Wing's power systems. The drinks were timed with the lights appearing across the structure, after which the gathered gave applause. Afterward Haller walked up to Darlington, smiling and offering a handshake. "Admiral, good to see you've made it what with everything going on."
"This has been in the plans for a long time," Darlington noted amiably. "The Mitchell Wing is vital to the security of the Alliance, as you know."
"I have to admit that even with all of the grants and offers from the Alliance and American governments we've had some misgivings about this ambitious shipyard project. We were a little worried that the market wouldn't be large enough for private contracts to justify our new slipways. Then this whole business with Plymouth in CON-5 and now the Dominion in ST-3 came along, the orders increased last year, and this whole thing looks great."
Darlington smiled thinly in reply, looking to be diplomatic and familiar with the astropolitical situation. "Yes, it is a dangerous time. Might be too much to hope that we won't be needing to use those ships." Darlington looked out one of the ports at what was called the Lewis Wing of the yard. The closest slipways were occupied by the frameworks of ships. Transports of varying purposes and sizes were in various stages of construction as well as ships that he was more interested in seeing completed: warships. One of the most visible was a mostly-completed fleet carrier, the Defiant, which would be joining the fleet in a few months. A much-needed addition due to recent developments.

"Say, Admiral, is it true?" Haller's voice prompted Darlington's attention again. "What the IUNS is saying about the Federation mining the Bajoran Wormhole?"
Darlington gave a stiff nod. "They started a few days ago. Apparently the Dominion's already learned about it. Truth is I almost canceled this appearance over the crisis."
"Well then." Haller smirked and sipped at his champagne. "I guess it's a good thing we've got that new wing up and going. I hope the Navy will consider putting it to good use soon?"
"Sooner than you might imagine," Darlington said. "Sooner than you might imagine..."

Kensington Fleet Base, Kensington System, Alliance Colonial Zone
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate ST-3
2 December 2159 AST

The Kensington Fleet Base was a Type II installation in the lists of the Stellar Navy; that meant it was the second largest type to be found, a trio of central spines linked by thick tubes, each of which capable of accomodating smaller ships, while arms stretching out from the central spines contained the dockspaces necessary to accomodate larger ships. Those familiar with Federation space were often stunned by comparing the Fleet Base with the Federation Starbases, considering the central structure to be akin to binding three Starbases together.
The spines themselves were home to the machine shops, the refining stations, and the supply depots that permitted the Fleet Base to support the Alliance 5th Fleet, the command responsible for protecting the Colonial Zone, the Cardassian Free Republic, and Kelos, as well as serving as overseeing authority for the small command of Alliance ships and advisors that supported the defense of the Talarian Steadhold and supporting what few advisors remained with the Bajorans (5th Fleet was also responsible for the first stages of a war involving the defense of Bajor).
Along their mid-points the spines were also joined by a triangular-shaped structure that was the heart of the station, containing the commercial areas that serviced the military personnel, dependents, and civilians passing through or stationed to Kensington as well as the habitation and recreational areas and, most importantly, Base Operations and Fleet Command, currently designed 5th Fleet HQ (5FHQ).

5th Fleet HQ was itself a large chamber not far from Base Operations and manned by staff officers educated in the finer science of fleet command and control. 5th Fleet was under the operational command of Admiral Zhiang Gui Yu, a graduate of China SE-1's Space Operations School earlier in the century. The stocky son of a storekeeper from Nanjing, Zhiang had risen through the naval ranks of China and
then the Stellar Navy through a fairly skilled, analytical mind and an attention to detail and protocol. He was neither popular nor disliked among his subordinates given his tendency to fairness and the occasional laxity to soften the terse, curt nature he showed, particularly when faced with failures and mistakes of varying scale.
The Admiral was surveying Fleet HQ from the second level, where his duty office adjoined a conference room with windows permitting the occupants to survey the flat wall monitor. Space was three-dimensional and nature and so 2D maps were inaccurate, but they also provided a quick base reference using the "slice of space" technique. If that was insufficient, the large holotable on the first level that was displaying a three-dimensional model of the space under 5th Fleet jurisdiction. The plots were not quite real-time, relying on data updated constantly from electronic-warfare cruisers and destroyers along the border and reflecting any reports by other ships not immediately under 5th Fleet command or not directly providing border security. 5th Fleet's Intelligence Staff would also periodically update the 3D plots of ship movements by neighboring powers with reports from SIGINT and ELINT resources plus any reports from HUMINT sources, not particularly common these days due to the improvement of Cardassian operational security and their reinforcement by Dominion assets.

The crisis over the Federation mining the Bajoran Wormhole was ratcheting up. The Bajoran government had issued a mild protest and refused to cooperate and had ordered an evacuation of Bajoran civilians and personnel from Deep Space Nine, the likely first target of any military response to the mining operation. However, the Bajoran Republic was clearly not up to actively resisting the minelaying, not when most of that government distrusted the Dominion and Cardassians so thoroughly. It remained to be seen if the Dominion and Gul Dukat's new satellite regime for the Founders would honor the Treaty of Oakland or if they would attack the Bajorans directly as part of an effort to prevent the minelaying, a potentiality that had Alliance forces in ST-3 on DefCon 3. As a Fleet CO Zhiang was privy to some details of the situation, enough to know that things were tense but not unsalvagable. The Dominion was attempting to negotiate with the Federation to cease the mine-laying in exchange for permitting convoys to continue on assurances of only permitting "humanitarian and civilian materials" in further shipments. The Federation, in turn, was insisting on inspection of said convoys, which the Dominion had not replied to.
Since the Dominion installed Dukat with the support of revanchist movements displeased with Cardassia's failure to ultimately recover from the Winter War and their renewed humiliation under the Klingon attack, the situation had remained fluid. A brief surge of tension early on followed by months of diplomatic maneuver and quiet Dominion-Cardassian activity, clearly aimed at turning Cardassia into a fortified camp or, for the more paranoid, a militarized base from which the Dominion could begin expansion on this side of the galaxy. Early on the Alliance and Bajorans had been willing to support mining the wormhole or otherwise declaring it closed until concessions were granted by the Dominion, but the Klingons had proven unwilling to forgo a chance to regain their breath after several early defeats and the Federation was preferring an attempt at containment without making a clearly provocative act. That failure had, as Zhiang had expected then, been total.

One thing that Zhiang's official and personal contacts in the Pentagon had failed to clarify, however, was the readiness of President Mamatmas to commit to completely supporting the Federation's sudden shift from containment to direct confrontation. In the intervening months Plymouthite and Chinese troop and ship movements in CON-5 had attracted attention and reinforcements there. Indications of Plymouth and China seeking a French alliance had Alliance diplomats scrambling to keep Henri Napoleon's government out of the situation. The situation in MWB-32 had changed dramatically since the Pondicherry Incident with the collapse of the ADN-FedCom Entente and FedCom withdrawal from the Rochester Pact, risking the isolation of the Talarian Steadhold. As such the Joint Command Authority that once oversaw RochPact forces had been dissolved with the FedCom withdrawal and the albeit slim potential for hostilities with the Commonwealth had forced a complete reorganization of Alliance and Keloan military dispositions and war plans. Altogether, the situation was not stable and Zhiang, as well as his counterparts in the other services, were left guessing as to the Alliance Government's eventual course.
An intelligence report about Tsen'kethi troop deployments to their border with the Federation was on Zhiang's desk, a cup of half-finished green tea in his hand, when a tone sounded on his computer. A direct communiquè had been sent to 5FHQ from a Stellar Navy listening post near the Badlands, technically in Bajoran territory, that kept an eye on the Bajoran-Cardassian border. Zhiang keyed it onto his screen and read it.

Zhiang stopped his sip cold. He felt the hairs on his neck begin to stand up, making him wonder if this was it, if the Cardassians and Dominion were going to go all-out against Bajor or limit their attack to the Federation's minelaying operation. The latter left open the likelihood of continued peace for the Alliance - for the moment - while the former meant that war would be imminent.
Zhiang emerged from his office and toward the set of stairs that would bring him to the first level. When he spoke aloud, it was with the diluted Chinese accent of someone who'd been speaking their second language far longer than their initial one. "FleetCom, send to all active ships to prepare for Contingency Orange. This is not a drill."
"Yes Admiral," a Lieutenant at the primary communications section answered, relaying orders to his enlisted subordiantes to begin transmitting orders.
As the order was sent, the system processed the newly-received report from the listening post and plotted the approximate location of the Cardassian-Dominion force on the 3D map. Those who were not privy to the note and who had not yet noticed the Admiral's order did notice the new plots. A bit of talking began filling Fleet Command along with some very silent personnel staring intently at the glowing Cardassian symbol in the depth of the holographic map.

Whatever his own concerns, Zhiang could not allow this moment of growing anxiety and dread to interfere with the smooth operation of Fleet Command. "Pay attention to your stations," he said in firm, deliberate tones. It worked as he intended by prompting everyone who had frozen up or began whispering to return to their duties. With this done Zhiang turned his attention to Communications again, knowing that he needed to sortie the warships docked at Kensington and New Liberty and make sure that his peers in the other services, and the ST-3 Command Staff in Wexford, had been given the alert.
And all Zhiang could do was watch and wait, the fateful decision of war and peace out of his hands, as the signal went up and out to Wexford, Washington, and the assembling 5th Fleet.



CDS Dunkorak, Approaching Cardassian-Bajoran Border
Cardassian Union

There was a measure of silence on the bridge of the Cardassian flagship as it led the joint Cardassian-Jem'Hadar fleet toward Bajor and the Wormhole, the key to their plan to rapidly overrun the Alpha Quadrant and prepare for their final bid to drive the Alliance out of the Quadrant. From the bridge the fleet was being personally led by Gul Skrain Dukat and his Vorta "advisor" Weyoun. Had they been on a Dominion ship the lack of a main viewscreen would have forced the wearing of a rather bulky-looking and uncomfortable metal support on their shoulder, placing a small viewscreen over the left eye, but Dukat had insisted on riding the pride of the Cardassian military into battle personally.

The Dunkorak was the first of its kind; a Cardassian attempt to replicate the powerful combatant warships of the Alliance fleet that had battered its ships six years before. Shaped in the same fashion of other Cardassian ships, with the wide winged bow section with a tail containing the primary reactors, the Dunkorak was the pride of the Cardassian fleet, a testament to the hardiness of Cardassian engineering. It was centimeters shy of being a full kilometer long and was as wide along the tail as a Keldon was long. To make up for the loss of maneuverability the Dunkorak and other larger ships designed since the Winter War - as the six week conflict with the ADN was sometimes called - contained generators for multi-layered deflectors and a thicker hull plate to act as armor. Weaponry consisted of capital compressor beam emitters on all six arcs with multiple torpedo launchers on all but the ventral and dorsal arcs. Rapid fire "pulse compressors", the latest development from Cardassian military R&D, provided the anti-fighter point-defense that older generations of Cardassian ship still sometimes lacked.
Around them was a fleet of a hundred and fifty Cardassian and Dominion warships, with another three hundred about five hours behind them. Enough force, it was believed, to easily take or, if absolutely necessary, destroy Deep Space Nine, though the primary mission was to prevent Sisko's minefield from being activated. Whether the reserve would be necessary was still unknown as it all depended upon if the Bajorans decided to join Sisko after all. If that occurred, Dukat had to admit it made things very bad, as Bajoran hostility in defense of what was legally their territory would certainly lead to the Alliance coming to their defense. It galled Dukat to think about how the Bajorans would get away with a neutrality they unfairly applied given that the Federation was defying their protests about the minelaying without even the benefit of a harsh diplomatic word while there was a very real possibility that the Bajorans might change their minds at the last minute and join the defense of Deep Space Nine. But as much as he might like to avenge Cardassia's humiliation and to restore Bajor to the fold, the demands of the moment were clear: the Alliance had to be kept out of the war. The Dominion and Cardassia had to act with extraordinary care to not give the Alliance the slightest opening to become a belligerent, even if it meant tolerating a malevolent neutrality like the one Bajor was showing.

"I hope this show of force will be enough to persuade Captain Sisko to be reasonable," Weyoun remarked. "I would prefer buying more time for our buildup than committing to war here."
"Sisko won't back down," Dukat answered. He found his seat in the fleet operations room on the Dunkorak, another innovation of Dukat's that had been added to the Cardassian fleet since the Winter War. Deep down Dukat couldn't wait to pit the Cardassian fleet he had reorganized, unhindered by the forced resignations and internal dissensions that had impeded its effectiveness against the Klingons, against the Federation or against the Alliance. After the embarrassment of the Klingon Invasion he wanted to show the Alpha Quadrant that Cardassia had learned her lessons fully and that she was ready to reclaim her place among the premier powers of the Quadrant. An active fight against the Alliance-built station that had replaced Terok Nor would be merely the first chance to showcase Cardassia's potency, buoyed by the sheer manpower and military technology of the Dominion.
"Our sources say that the Federation has refused to send him reinforcements of any kind. Whether it is because they have lost their nerve or because they're afraid of being held in violation of the Oakland Treaty we cannot determine. Either way, this should be an easy victory if it comes to violence."

"It is neither of those things, Weyoun. The Federation has no worry of being denounced if they send reinforcements to Sisko and if they had lost their nerve this attack would not be necessary. They are plotting something.... not that it matters. Let them scheme." Dukat grinned slightly. "We will reopen the wormhole and take control of Deep Space Nine. A flood of Dominion warships will enter the Quadrant, guaranteeing the swift defeat of the Federation and the Klingon Empire and forcing the Alliance to accept our hegemony in this galaxy. Not that it will matter, since we will expel them from it anyway."
"Once the Alpha and Beta Quadrants are under the Founders, it will be quite a challenge to maintain a vigil to ensure the Alliance does not slip back into the universe."
"Yes it will. But with the resources of half a galaxy to support us, the Alliance will be deterred from any entry into our universe. At least one that is not on our terms."
At that Weyoun smiled. "Indeed."
A tone came over the ship's comm system. "Gul, we are about to cross the frontier. We are detecting a transmission from just over the border, it appears to be coming from a Klingon vessel and is being directed toward Bajor."
"Jam it," Dukat ordered. "In fact, use our communications array to overpower the signal and feed it through to here instead.

A few seconds later, the screen came active with a view of Captain Sisko in Station Operations on Deep Space Nine. He was standing with the posture Dukat long expected of Starfleet officers and seemed not too surprised with Dukat's decision to cut into the signal. "Captain Sisko. I don't suppose you'd like to surrender and avoid unnecessary bloodshed?", Dukat remarked, knowing and relishing the answer.
Sisko barely moved his head while giving a laconic reply. "Absolutely not."
Dukat restrained the urge to chuckle with glee. "I was hoping you'd say that."
Last edited by Steve on 2009-01-21 05:52pm, edited 2 times in total.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-01-21 12:40am

Space Station Deep Space Nine, Bajor System
Republic of Bajor

"We'll buy you all the time we can, Old Man." Sisko's parting words led to an understanding nod from Lt. Cmdr. Jadzia Dax on the Defiant before she terminated the transmission and returned to work on laying the minefield. Sisko was now left with monitoring the situation in Station Operations or "Ops", as it was called. Situated within the inner section of the station, the two-leveled nerve center of the station was centered around a pit where the watch officer's station was.
To the "north" was a station for communications and behind that, along the wall, the door to the station commander's office. To the "east" was the viewscreen with station operations, Chief O'Brien's usual spot now occupied by Nog. The "west" had the stations Worf and Jadzia normally manned, though right now it was Worf and another officer. Opposite of his office and communications was a wide pathway linking the Command portion of Station Operations to the Traffic Control portion, currently mostly unoccupied, that was normally overseen by civilians trained to manage the massive traffic of space vessels DS9 normally had. But today the Bajoran staff and their sole remaining Alliance-sent advisor had departed and Kira and Odo were overseeing the traffic of vessels evacuating DS9's civilian population.
"Sir, Captain Valan reports that the starfighters are ready to launch," Worf reported from his station.
"Give them the green light, Commander, I want them out of the combat zone before Dukat gets here," Sisko remarked, wishing he could actually have them participate. The combat wing of Alliance-built sublight fighters assigned to the Bajoran military would have given the Defiant excellent protection in the coming battle, given those designs sacrificed warp capability for varying amounts of superior maneuverabiliy, combat payload, or sheer survivability since they didn't carry any volatile anti-matter.

The Bajoran government had opted not to support the minelaying, though, as they were not convinced they were able to defend their space from the Cardassians and Dominion and had been informed by the Alliance government that Bajor's territory "could not be guaranteed" by the Alliance in the event of a conflict now (how Sisko knew this, well, that was the kind of thing that a Starfleet officer might never have found out but the Emissary of the Prophets could easily get to). As such the starfighters could not participate and had been ordered to depart Deep Space Nine for temporary housing on one of the Alliance-built carriers leased-sold to the small Bajoran Navy.
Sisko watched Captain Valan and her pilots launch from the fighter bays attached to the underbelly of Deep Space Nine's core. The last ships were beginning departure procedures, leaving DS9 abandoned of all but Starfleet personnel and a handful of other denizens who had chosen to ride out the battle.
A battle that was only scant minutes away.

Dukat and Weyoun didn't bother messaging Sisko again when they entered the system. Their fleet came out of warp and silently approached, weapons charged and shields raised. Sisko returned the favor with similar orders.
At Worf's command Deep Space Nine shed the facade of being a civilian port and unveiled its claws. Armored coverings on the four docking arms slid away and multiple 260mm triple particle cannon turrets rose in place, four per docking arm. The ends of the docking arms, meant for the biggest ships making port calls, had their own protective coverings slide away to reveal pulse phaser cannon emplacements and missile cells to go with the visible point-defense pulse phasers.. Additional photon torpedo turrets that Chief O'Brien and his crews had spent two years retrofitting and modifying slid out of surfaces along the docking arms.
The Habitat Ring's weapons were of a different kind, the armored surfaces opening to reveal point-defense pulse phasers and missiles that were intended by the ADN designers for shooting down enemy starfighters and missiles. Internal shield generators specifically installed for the Habitat Ring provided maximum protection for civilian occupants during an attack, though in this case they merely added to the already-impressive deflector screens going up.
The biggest guns were situated at the center section of the core, below the Promenade deck. Eight triple turrets of 310mm particle cannons arrayed on both the upper and lower core to provide all-arc firing, accompanied with torpedo launchers and phaser arrays that O'Brien's engineers had rigged onto them and the terminal point-defense batteries consisting of rapid-firing particle guns.

The main doors to Ops opened and admitted Kira, wearing the olive brown duty uniform of the Bajoran Marines. "Captain Sisko, on behalf of the Bajoran government I officially protest Starfleet's refusal to hand over control of the station."
"Protest noted," Sisko answered.
"Good. With that out of the way..." Kira took up Jadzia's usual post. "Kira Nerys reporting for duty."
"Good to have you with us, Major," Sisko answered.

The battle erupted with all the ferocity of a terrestrial lightning storm. The white-ish beams of polaran emitters on the Jem'Hadar "bug" attackers and from their larger battlecruisers lashed out along with the yellow hued beams of Cardassian compressor arrays. The beams struck against the powerful hull-hugging deflectors, getting only minimal bleedthrough.
The advantage of space stations was aptly demonstrated under the careful aim of Worf and his tactical computers and course predictors. A barrage of pulse phaser energy streams and thick blue bolts of particle fire retaliated against the Cardassian-Dominion fleet even as their fire battered with little clear effect on DS9's powerful deflectors. The lack of engines might make DS9 a "sitting duck", but all that power available for weapons and deflectors meant it was a well-armed and armored sitting duck.
On the bridge of the Dunkorak Dukat's immediate operations officer was immediately taken aback. "Sir, the Jem'Hadar polaron weapons are not disrupting the shields. Their shield strength is remaining steady."
"What?" A genuinely-shocked Weyoun stepped up behind the Glin at fleet operations. "Impossible! Our weapons have always worked against shields, even Alliance ones."
"Never underestimate the ingenuinty of Sisko or the technical skill of the Federation or the Alliance," Dukat chided Weyoun. "Attack Wings 1 through 5, ignore the station and concentrate your attacks on the Defiant."

Sisko watched a spread of photon torpedoes crash into one of the massive Jem'Hadar battlecruisers while DS9's primary armaments wreaked havoc on the Dominion's fleet formation. Jem'Hadar attack craft blew apart swiftly when struck with pulse phaser cannons or a couple torpedoes; the occasions when they wandered into the lashing beams of the big particle cannons led to their being swiftly sliced apart.
"Jem'Hadar ships are breaking off and approaching the Defiant," Kira warned.
"Mister Worf?"
Worf triggered commands in the gunnery computer that loaded the targeting data and priority lists into missile computers. From the docking arm facing the wormhole several missiles flew out of the missile launcher cell. Their ion drives fired and quickly closed the distance to the Jem'Hadar craft approaching the Defiant. Some of the Vorta captains of those ships began breaking off on detecting the missiles, but for a number of them it was too late. The missiles reached their detonation ranges and went off, anti-matter warheads overpowering shields and blasting through hull plating. Those ships damaged fell behind and were quickly picked off by the pulse phasers along the docking arm's end. The Jem'Hadar that managed to survive were targeted by Worf's next barrage.
While on one side DS9's armament was protecting Defiant as she began the final minelaying run, on the other it was pouring it on against the Cardassian and Dominion fleets. The big ships were proving survivable, especially Dunkorak. Dukat's flagship was soaking up the abuse of two of DS9's turrets, including one of the big ones, with only partial shield failure, while its torpedoes and compressor beams were battering away at the powerful deflectors of DS9.
Another group of Jem'Hadar ships moved to engage Defiant with Dukat's entire fleet beginning to orientate itself to be in a position to fire directly on the ship from long-range. Sisko realized that the Dominion fleet, whether orientated by Weyoun or Dukat, had underestimated the station's ability to cover for Dax with both weapons and target-scrambling ECM and were now interested in focusing their attempts on the Defiant itself.

For the attacking force came a further complication. Just as a couple of the Jem'Hadar ships to have evaded Worf's covering attacks pulled to within easy weapon's range of the Defiant, they came under fire from the decloaking Rotarran, General Martok's command ship joining the battle.
"I wonder why they aren't just shooting at the Defiant from current range," Nog muttered under his breath while watching his station. "It's not like they care if they hit the mines."
"But they do care if they hit the wormhole," Kira pointed out.
The station shook again, under the guns of the heaviest enemy warships while increasing numbers of Jem'Hadar attack ships were attempting to approach the Defiant directly. Worf appropriately re-directed the station's weapons, concentrating torpedo, missile, and phaser fire on the attack craft while the slower turreted particle cannons kept their fire on the larger Dominion and Cardassian ships.

Streaks of phaser energy lashed out at the maneuvering Jem'Hadar fighters, claiming some, while others succumbed to damage from the torpedoes or the missiles being sent at them. Deep Space Nine's particle cannons raked across the shields of two Jem'Hadar battlecruisers above the station while below they cut in two a Model VI Cardassian Galor and damaged the newer Model VIII nearby. A Keldon retorted with torpedoes that were shot down by the point-defense fire. Those torpedoes from other ships that managed to penetrate struck the deflectors, continuing the slow process of weakening them.
The deflectors were still holding under the onslaught when Kira noted that additional ships were approaching from long-range, numerous enough that the sensors couldn't yet identify the exact number of contacts. Sisko showed no immediate reaction to Dukat's calling in his reserves as he'd expected Dukat to commit more forces once he realized just how potent DS9's capabilities were. It meant their odds had just gotten longer, though.
But that wasn't the part that mattered. "Status on the Defiant?"
"They are laying the final series of reservoir mines," Nog answered, referring to the cloaking mines that were not themselves explosive but carried the raw material permitting the self-replicating mines to engage in replication even if target ships were completely vaporized.
"Come on, Old Man..."

The Dunkorak shook violently after taking a direct hit from a blast of one of the major turrets on DS9. The three thick particle beams played across Dunkorak's shielding, which held but not without protest. "Shields down to seventy-one percent," the woman at operations reported. "No hull damage yet."
"Status of Deep Space Nine?" Dukat asked.
"Their shields are still holding, roughly sixty-eight percent."
"It would appear this entire battle has been a mistake," Weyoun muttered. "We should have waited for Gul Turel's forces."
"They're not going to get here in time," Dukat growled. "The Defiant will be finished any moment." To his staff, he ordered, "All ships, concentrate fire on the Defiant."
"But the wormhole!", Weyoun protested. "Even with the Founders' sabotage strengthening it, if it suffers too many..."
"I'm aware of the risks Weyoun," Dukat barked, not entirely convinced that they'd lose without it. Not against just the Federation and Klingons.

The combined fleet was focusing more than ever on the Defiant. So far Martok's skill had kept any lucky Jem'Hadar ships to get through Deep Space Nine's gauntlet from scoring hits.
Now a flurry of torpedoes and energy shots blazed past the Defiant as it continued the final minelaying run. On the bridge Jadzia had to grip the chair firmly to avoid being thrown out. "Chief, we're going to have to take evasive maneuvers!"
"You do and you risk setting off every mine on this ship," was O'Brien's heated response.
Another beam, a Cardassian compressor, grazed Defiant's unshielded armored hull. "And if I don',t we might not have a ship left!"
Just as she was about to give an order to turn, there was a magnificant series of explosions. Deep Space Nine's missile cells were firing almost as fast as they could manage, pumping out a multitude of varying-range missiles that, in the tight combat sphere, literally couldn't miss. Contact and proximity fuses ensured every missile found some kind of mark, if just from the resultant detonation of the warhead, tossing around Cardassian destroyers and Jem'Hadar fighters like leaves on the wind. A Jem'Hadar battlecruiser erupted in short-lived flame from several well-placed torpedo and particle cannon hits, a pulse phaser cannon battery tearing a Keldon apart before its gunnery officer could lock torpedoes on the Defiant.
There were still enemy ships approaching, but time had been bought. Enough time, Jadzia thought, as she waited for O'Brien to confirm the minefield was complete.
Meanwhile, Worf was aiming his guns based on the targeting computer's estimates of communications activity in the enemy fleet, and focused them upon a particular target. All upper particle cannon turrets opened up on a single target; the Dunkorak.

The Cardassian flagship rumbled strongly under Dukat's feet, nearly throwing Weyoun off his. "Report from the bridge; we have lost ventral shields, attempting to redirect to accomodate the loss," Glinn Drutal reported from her station at operations. "The station is focusing its main guns upon us."
"Keep firing at the Defiant, fire at the mines too if..."
And like that, it was over. The mine field waved out of direct view and disappeared from the Cardassian sensors. Defiant and Rotarran moved away from the wormhole and toward Deep Space Nine while a couple of Jem'Hadar fighters and one Cardassian Hideki-class destroyer were riddled with sudden explosions, the victims of being too close to the activated minefield. Weyoun glowered at the sight. "It appears your confidence was slightly misplaced, Dukat."
"A minor setback," was the reply the Vorta got, through gritted teeth. "We can still take the station, and once it belongs to us we can remove the minefield at our leisure. Send to all ships, fall back out of Deep Space Nine's weapon range. We'll wait for reinforcements there."
After this order was confirmed, Weyoun stepped up closer to Dukat. "You are assuming the Bajorans let us have the station," Weyoun pointed out.
"According to our peace treaty with the Alliance, there are still several months left before the Bajorans were to be given full control over Deep Space Nine," Dukat pointed out, "and unless the Bajorans want to say they supported the Federation's minefield and open themselves to attack, they'll need to expel the Federation from the station. And since the Alliance agreed to not maintain any military installations in Bajoran space..."

"The Dominion is the only feasible alternative." Weyoun smiled slightly. "Then hopefully the damaging or loss of over a hundred ships will be worth it. I suppose we should stand off and wait to see if Sisko does evac..."
"Gul!" Glinn Sevid, at Communications, got their attention immediately. "We have received an emergency signal. It's from the Torros III shipyards, they've come under attack from the Federation and Klingons..."
Weyoun shot Dukat an angry look. Dukat glowered back at him, realizing now what game Starfleet had been playing by not helping Sisko defend Deep Space Nine. "It looks like they are finally ready to fight," Dukat murmured. "We shall see if their confidence has been misplaced or not."

It was only about an hour later when the Dominion-Cardassian fleet watched the Defiant and Rotarran pull away from Deep Space Nine while a detachment of ships from the Bajoran Navy approached. From inside the station Kira looked to one of the Bajoran technicians she'd brought to Station Ops for a report. "Torpedo and missile complement has been reduced to two-thirds," he confirmed, showing just how much firepower Worf had been throwing at the Dominion. "The shields did hold, though."
"Computer systems?"
"Wiped of all Starfleet-critical data."
Kira sighed at that. It was funny for her, in a way, as years ago she'd been upset to have the Federation getting control of the station and now... now she was missing the Starfleet officers and crew she'd spent years serving beside. "Do we have any orders from Bajor concerning Dukat's fleet?" she asked, hoping that maybe they'd get the order to resume firing.
But it was the exact opposite, unfortunately. "The President and the Council of Ministers have agreed to ask the Dominion to take up the remaining seven months of the Treaty of Oakland's observation term now that the Federation has withdrawn."
Scowling, Kira gave a stiff nod. "Send a message to the Dominion fleet. Tell them the Bajoran government officially welcomes them to Deep Space Nine."

As the order went out her eyes turned back to the viewscreen, showing the distant profile of the Dominion fleet. Knowing now that their fight had been part of a greater operation, that the time they bought and Starfleet's abandonment of Deep Space Nine had been used to strike at the Dominion's growing industrial complex in the Alpha Quadrant, took some of the edge out of the betrayal she'd felt when learning the Federation was not going to help Deep Space Nine repulse an attack.
There was another party that had to answer to Kira as well. Six years ago she had heard a young man named Pedro Nimenez tell her that the Alliance he represented would leave Bajor to govern itself, that it would not replace Cardassia as an imperial overseer. So far his people had lived up to that. But there was another promise they'd made, a promise to protect Bajor from the Cardassians, from the insidious race that had now invited the Dominion into the Alpha Quadrant. And here they were, about to let the Dominion and Cardassians take over DS9 and launch a war against the Federation and Klingons. No Alliance ships had come to oppose Dukat's fleet. They hadn't even sent so much as a "Good luck" note.
The question in her head was a simple one, one she would gladly have shouted at the people in charge of the Alliance.
Last edited by Steve on 2009-01-22 08:20pm, edited 1 time in total.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-01-24 02:53am

The White House, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
5 December 2159 AST

An early and informal dinner was about to be put out for President Nicolas Mamatmas and his immediate family to enjoy a quiet and private evening. While Karyn oversaw preperation and Nicolas' older grandkids kept the younger ones in line, Mamatmas himself was in an adjoining wardroom in a private meeting with key members of the Alliance Security Committee. Robert Dale, the Minister of Defense, was sitting closest to Mamatmas as the senior official present, with General of the Army Gregory Becker sitting further down across from Security Advisor Sir James Bronson.
The Christmas season of 2159 was looking particularly grim. The entente with the Federated Commonwealth that had heralded a near decade of peace in the Inner Sphere had collapsed, pitting the Commonwealth and Alliance against each other in the ruins of the Draconis Combine and prompting FedCom withdrawal from the Rochester Pact. New Plymouth Colony and New China in Universe CON-5 were aggressively demanding the formal cession of their claims on the rebuilding Kingdom of Devenshire - reformed from slavocracy by the Treaty of Westminster - while New Plymouth continued to rattle sabers with Lisea, an ADN ally, and the Bonapartist Empire occasionally dallying with a Plymouthite alliance to counteract the growing ADN-British Entente. And ST-3, well, that particular boil had already burst.
"The Stellar Navy Intelligence Division isn't convinced that the strike on Torros 3 will be as decisive as Starfleet and the KIDF planned," Dale said to the assembled. "The Cardassians relocated a great deal of industry after our war with them and the following Klingon invasion, bringing it further into their interior systems, and that's where the Dominion has been focusing their efforts according to our resources. Hitting Torros 3 will at least reduce the possible tempo of operations that the Dominion can maintain closer to Federation territory, so I can see why they decided to hit it instead of trying to turn Deep Space Nine into a kill zone. Well, beyond the political reasoning."

"The Bajorans were ready to intervene on Sisko's behalf," Bronson remarked afterward. "But only if we promised the deployment of 5th Fleet to protect Bajor, which I'm sure General Becker will tell you would have left New Liberty unprotected."
"Obviously, Sir James," Mamatmas muttered. He had seen his supportive branch of the Democratic Party decline because of charges that he'd overextended the Alliance politically and militarily while Rachel MacKenzie had prevailed over Kevin Maxwell-Fyfe in the Chancellory race by running as a proponent of more passive policy. Even if she had ironically been partly responsible for the most disruptive policy decision Mamatmas had made in the past year, namely his decision to acknowledge a Capellan letter from Chancellor Candace that the Alliance considered their old treaty with Saint Ives as still in force with the entire Capellan Confederation. A decision that had led to the joint Marik-Liao counter-attack on the Sarna and Tikonov Marches to try and prevent the Federated Commonwealth from conquering the entire Draconis Combine, buying time for the radicals and liberals that had formed the Grand Duchy of Pesht and setting the stage for the Pondicherry Incident.
The other figure responsible for that decision spoke up again. "I know we've already announced neutrality, but we should realize we can't stay neutral forever," Dale said. "Sooner or later the Cardassians or the Dominion will do something that will leave us no choice but to get involved. And who knows which of our other enemies might exploit that situation. Leewood, at the very least, maybe Riviera too." In that Dale was referring to the Captain-General of the European Union (Universe FHI-8), who had sworn to drive the Iranians out of the Argolis Cluster and Mesopotamia and to "liberate Betelgeuse Province from the Jewish swine". These threats against two Alliance member nations were not going ignored, having prompted the assignment of 15th Fleet to join 7th and 16th in joining the national forces in protecting the EuroUnion borders of FHI-8.

"Do you think the Federalists will agree to expanding the defense budget on an emergency basis this January?" Becker asked. "You've been closer to them than any of us, Robert."
Dale gave a shrug. "I might have a lot of political friends in the Federalist Party, Gregory, but I'm afraid even they're not sure. I've spoken with Sir Kevin about mustering Federalist support for an emergency defense budget increase but the party leadership is still interested in trimming the budget down a bit. I'm hoping the situation will convince them otherwise, of course." The Defense Minister rubbed at his head. "We need to buy about six months, I figure. The more time we buy, the more of our long-term projects we complete and the faster we can start gearing up for war."
"Well, we've got to do something now," Sir James remarked. "With the war started in ST-3 and Leewood's arms buildup growing, we can't afford to look complacent. It'll demoralize our allies and the public. We have to start being proactive."
"Nicolas, you could approve an emergency spending order," Dale said to Mamatmas. "Redistribute Alliance funds to make up for it, maybe even begin some deficit spending... as dirty a word as that's been for the Alliance government." The truth, of course, was that there was already deficit spending, but it tended to be at the national level; the Alliance government itself had, through the financial tightfistedness of the Plotinikov years, amassed a surplus and reserve and had managed to keep some of it intact thanks to new member nations joining over the 2150s and paying their yearly "dues" in process. But as decent as that surplus was, a serious defense spending increase would wipe it out quickly and unless the Alliance Government improved some kind of spending increase and the budget adjustments to match it, the Alliance government would go into debt as well.

"I'll take it under advisement, Robert," Mamatmas replied in all due seriousness. Glancing at his watch, he added, "I'm afraid I'm overdue for a dinner with Karyn and the grandkids. I hope you'll excuse me for the night."
"Of course, Mister President," Sir James remarked.
The three advisors began leaving, Dale in the rear. "Oh, Robert," Mamatmas called out, prompting Dale to turn and give his attention. "How is Julia?"
"Starting the new semester at Sheffield," he answered, referring to Vice Admiral Julia Andros, a skilled stealth ship officer who happened to be the first and current love of Robert Dale's life.
"Have you two made any plans?"
Smiling slightly, Dale gave a chuckle. "Not too many yet. Even though I'm officially retired from the service and we're free to be together, Julia's still interested in her career. I'm hoping to eventually make a decision with her."
"But you're at least seeing each other now," Nicolas pointed out. "That's an improvement."
"It is."
Heading toward the door, Nicolas remarked, "I look forward to hearing something about you two. By the way, are you going to send anything to Natalie's kids?"
Dale tried not to show a reaction. Nicolas did occasionally like to tease him about his time as Military Governor of the Kerensky Territories, and it was an open secret in Washington that his "personal assistant and cultural advisor" Natalie Ward had been... more than an assistant to him during his two years on Strana Mechty. "She and Horace have sent their kids' Christmas lists. I'm thinking of sending one of those new upgraded holo-game systems."
"I'll pitch in a couple games," Nicolas offered.
"Find something suited for five and three year olds," Dale remarked. "Now we'd better get going, Karyn's going to give you an earful for being this late and Susanna will give me worse if I don't make our reservation time at Carlotta's."
"Have a good dinner with your girl, Robert," Nicolas called out before heading to the dining hall where his family awaited.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-01-31 09:33pm

DNS Maximillian von Spee, Alliance Colonial Zone
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate CON-5
19 January 2160 AST

The Jellicoe-class dreadnought Von Spee was moving at a leisurely pace through warped-space, en route with her battle squadron to a monitoring area facing the Lisean and Plymouthite frontiers as part of the 39th Battle Squadron, TF 8.2, 8th Fleet.
The ship was just ending its first full year of service on a second deployment in Universe CON-5, part of the fleet charged with protecting the Alliance Colonial Zone and assisting in the defense of the Republic of Lisea against the increasingly aggressive New Plymouth Colony. The 39th Battle Squadron was expected to take part in any hostilities that might break out with the violent Leewood regime, a possibility that many observers found increasingly more likely in each passing week given the rapid buildup of military force Plymouth was undertaking.
With a crew of three thousand enlisted and nearly two hundred officers, support facilities were a must. The areas immediately around the inner armored keel of the ship provided the spaces for a barber shop, the mess halls and officer's lounge, a recreation center, a library and commweb station, and of course, an expansive gymnasium with running track, aerobic exercise equipment, and the other areas that ship's company could use for exercise and sports.

Gerald Walters, age 23, was one of the new Ensigns assigned to the Engineering Department, straight out of the Stellar Navy Engineering School at New Portsmouth, dribbled a basketball just out of reach of a Crewman rate in the same department, their three-on-three "officers vs. enlisted" teams jockeying for position. He faked to his left and moved to his right suddenly, getting briefly open before seeing his defender was a bit faster than he'd hoped. He passed the ball inside to the paint, where Lt. Lance Oglethorpe, one of the Engineer's Mates, muscled in against a slightly-less built up petty officer for superior post position. He accepted the ball from Walters, held onto it for a moment, then pivoted on his left foot to put up a hook shot. It hit the backboard and then went through the hoop.
"And the officers win again," Walters crowed happily. "Three out of five?"
The man who'd been guarding him shot him a look. "No thank you."
They walked off somewhat sullen, leaving Oglethorpe and Walters alone with their teammate, Lt. Kyle Manson from Gunnery, also departing after the obligatory fist-smacking with his victorious comrades. Walters' eyes journeyed to an adjacent court where a group of lady officers were competing. One quickly caught his full and undivided attention, a bronze-complexioned woman with a head of dark hair who made an athletic shift of direction, the kind of thing he'd tried and failed to do, and drove to the rim for an easy lay-up. The way she'd moved, the flexibility of her limbs and the way her black sports bra and shorts flattered a well-curved, proportioned feminine figure made Walters stare long enough for "Oggie", as the senior Lieutenants called him, to gently elbow him in the ribs. "Ow. What was that for, Oggie?"

"Envying what you cannot have," Oglethorpe answered.
"What do you mean by that? I'm sure I could ask her out when we have a general leave," Walters remarked confidently.
"Sorry, Walters, but you have the wrong plumbing to try to get a date with Lieutenant Verdes."
"Plumbing?" Walters said.
"He means that she's into tacos, not hot dogs, Ensign," a new voice called out. The two men turned and faced the slim female figure of Lieutenant Carla Maples. The chocolate-complexioned Assistant Chief Engineer, the second-in-command of the Engineering Department who reported to the ship's Chief Engineer Lt. Commander John Keller directly and managed the day-to-day duties of the enlisted engineering staff, was a woman with a slim figure, almost the "stringbean" shape. She wasn't in exercise wear like the others, which prompted the two officers to salute (though Oglethorpe's equal in pay grade, Maples' rate made her his superior). "Commander Keller was supposed to have a report on the overview of the ship's warp field generators on his desk this morning, Lieutenant Oglethorpe. He's not seen it."
"He said tonight, not this morning," Oglethorpe replied defensively. "Don't worry, I have Lieutenant Donner leading a team for inspections, he'll have the report tonight."
"I'm sure he will." Maples looked back toward the womens' game nearby. "As much as I think she's not really officer material, at least Lieutenant Verdes keeps Reactor Control well-run. Be at rest, gentlemen, you can go back to whatever you're doing before your watch begins in... what? Forty minutes?"

Maples walked off, leaving Oglethorpe and Walters standing there. "Hot dogs? Tacos?"
"Dani's a lesbian, Walters," Oglethorpe said, sighing at the young officer's obtuseness. "And Maples is a pain in the ass. Maybe Dani's right and she does need a good...." He let the remark trail off in front of the young man. "Keller's a damned good engineer but I'll be damned if he can't remember who he's assigned to do what and when. I wasn't supposed to have that report done until tomorrow originally, then it was bumped up to tonight." He began moving toward the showers, Walters following. "Now I have to go make sure Lieutenant Donner's going to be done in time, plus I have to begin work on checking all the conduits feeding plasma to the nacelles and make sure the anti-matter injectors are in acceptable form."
"Didn't we just check that stuff a couple weeks ago? I thought the usual inspection cycle was a month?"
"It is. Welcome to the life of starship engineering, kid. Hardasses will spoil your day every time."

Oglethorpe had swapped his sweat-drenched exercise clothing for a duty uniform and was heading off to get a bite to eat before his watch began. He got to the door leading to the centerline corridor when Dani Verdes, similarly dressed, came up by his side. "Hey Oggie," she said cheerfully. "So, what did Maples want?
"The usual, riding my ass. Keller decided he wanted that report on the WF generators this morning and forgot to tell me."
"Ow." Dani made a slight grimace. "Keller's been riding everyone lately. But he's getting the pressure from above too."
"Oh?" Oglethorpe smirked. "More gossip tidbits from Lieutenant Parrio?"
Dani answered with a mirthful grin. "He does like to talk about what he overhears. Apparently Line Captain Chemerkin is riding all of the COs in the division to maintain high readiness for our ships."
Oglethorpe whistled. There was that sick feeling in his stomach he got whenever he thought about how things were developing these past few months. "I guess the Line Captain thinks we might be seeing action soon. Or he knows something we don't."
"I guess things really are getting that bad. Which means they'll be riding us harder to keep the ship in top shape."
"Yeah. Just, well, never put much thought into getting involved in a war, y'know?" Oglethorpe allowed a slight grin to come across his face. "So, um, are you ever going to point out to Lieutenant Parrio that you're on the other team?"
"Not yet," Dani giggled. "After all, if I get lonesome on general leave I could always pay him a visit."
"Oh, that's mean..."

USS Sitting Bull, Dominion-Occupied Space
United Federation of Planets
Universe Designate ST-3
4 February 2160 AST

Smoke and the smell of burnt out circuits and power conduits wafted through the bridge of the Sitting Bull. Medical teams were attending to a couple casualties as the ship rocked once more from a direct hit from a Jem'Hadar polaron beam. Captain Simon Hampton was as shaken as his remaining crew by their predicament, being trailed by an entire wing of Jem'Hadar attack ships.
The Akira-class Sitting Bull was the last survivor of the 2nd Tactical Wing, a group of Starfleet vessels attached to the decimated 5th Fleet that had attempted, without success, to hit the Dominion supply depots in this theater. Their comrades were mostly dead with any survivors from their shattered ships likely being collected for emplacement in the Dominion prison camps. It was a fate they would soon share unless they got lucky.
"How far are we to the border?" Hampton asked his Tellarite helmsman as the ship rumbled once more. The tactical officer gave a report of firing torpedoes aft at their pursuers as the question hung in the air, damaging one of the Jem'Hadar ships.
"We'll cross in just a couple minutes!" Another rumble through the ship. "We're losing power to the impulse engines."
"Divert main power! Our only chance is to get over the border!" Hampton listened to his crew confirm the order as the report of shields being down to ten percent came in. A tenth of his crew was dead and dying, many were wounded, and his ship was being hammered to pieces, but they were within reach of the one haven that would save them from death or being at the tender mercies of the Cardassians and Dominion as prisoners of war.
The Dominion ships realized this too, redoubling their attempts to cripple the Sitting Bull, as it crept ever so closer to its lifeline: the Alliance border.

DNS Pylos, On Patrol, ADN Colonial Zone
Alliance of Democratic Nations

"CO in the CiC!"
It was a formality at most, Lieutenant Captain Vladimir Pochenko ignoring it in favor of focusing his attention on the situation that Pylos' long range sensors had detected. The Marathon-class patrol cruiser was responsible for monitoring this section of what was once the Federation border, now a border with territory mostly occupied by the Dominion and their Cardassian puppets. The initial stream of Federation ships seeking safe refuge and Alliance ships bearing war refugees and people fleeing the Dominion advance had recently slowed to a trickle.
The Dominion had declared the region a Military Exclusion Zone, threatening to attack any vessel not engaging in "necessary interplanetary commerce" - that is, the delivery of foodstuffs and medical supplies to colonies incapable of self-sufficiency - and closing the region to foreign shipping. It was an act that the Alliance had, as of yet, not opposed beyond protests; furthermore the Alliance had agreed to shelter governments-in-exile for all Federation charter colonies that were cut off from Federation territory before being overrun, while the humanitarian situation from the refugee influx had started to surpass that of the Bajoran refugee migration in 2153.
"So what was this emergency report?" Pochenko said, almost demanded, from the staff of officers and NCOs overlooking the complicated sensor equipment that permitted the cruiser to monitor such wide reaches of space. "I was in a subspace conference with the Flotilla's command staff on Krellor and they'll want me back."

A Lieutenant (O-3) Roberts, a tan-skinned man with an Anglo-American accent, looked up from his station. "We detected a Federation starship limping toward our border. They were forced out of warp a light-minute or so out and are being hotly pursued by a wing of Jem'Hadar ships."
"I guess if you can't get back to Federation space, an internment facility on New Liberty is still far superior to whatever the fascisti would do to them, eh?" Pochenko grumbled, wishing that the Stellar Navy could do more to deal with the fascists that were now clearly bidding to conquer the Alpha Quadrant. Fascists here, fascists in CON-5, fascists in FHI-8, everywhere in the Multiverse you look there are fascists, fascists, fascists. It is worse than being in the Motherland in 1941. "Hrm. Just three Jem'Hadar ships, probably damaged. Send in the Walton, Ziu, and Stucker to meet that ship if it crosses the border."
"Yes sir," the petty officer at Communications answered. "Sending them now."
"Sir, if I may, the light cruiser Torino is also in the area," Lieutenant Roberts pointed out. "Just in case the Jem'Hadar need a little reminder. You may have heard what they did to that Feddie Miranda that crossed over in the Lake Trasimene's patrol area a couple weeks ago."
"I remember, Lieutenant. Pah. They should've let the Ulyanovsk launch a strike operation like they were begging to do when those Snakes pulled that." Pochenko frowned. Technically he only had on-station deployment authority over the destroyers of his assigned divisions in the flotilla. The Torino would fall under Task Force 5.2 command, meaning he would either have to ask them to order the [i}Torino[/i] or send the request and hope the Torino's skipper wouldn't be an ass about things. Swallowing his pride, Pochenko took the latter. "Ask the Torino's skipper if he wouldn't mind warping to the intercept point as well. Just in case the Snakes get feisty."

DNS Torino

The new Milan-class light cruiser came out of warp beside the trio of destroyers already on the scene, her 230mm particle cannons at rest but their gunnery crews preparing should the worst happen. The ship went to standby alert with raised shields but inactive weapons and targeting sensors, facing three Jem'Hadar attack ships that were sitting at the border while a thoroughly mauled up Federation starship finished limping over the border.
In the Torino CIC Lieutenant Captain Alexandros Louganis had put on his safety harness just in case, the rest of the staff there doing likewise. A holotank plot beside Louganis showed the approximate position of all the ships in relation to the Alliance border, which the Jem'Hadar were hanging about a kilometer off of. "Commander Sutter of the Stucker says the Dominion ships stopped firing as soon as the Feddies crossed the border," the petty officer at the Comm station reported.
"Status of the Federation ship?"
"Sitting Bull has an inoperable Cochrane drive, multiple hull breaches, she's pretty much crippled sir."
"Sir, Jem'Hadar vessel is hailing."
A press of a button by Louganis allowed the Greek to bring the incoming video-audio signal onto his holotank. A severe-looking Vorta female appeared with striking blue-purple eyes. "Alliance vessel, I am Delis. As you are a neutral party in the current war, we request that you honor that announcement and order the Federation vessel out of your territory."
"I am Lieutenant Captain Louganis of the cruiser Torino," Louganis answered. "Under the provisions of the Third Bern Convention on Interstellar Passage, the Alliance recognizes the rights of belligerent vessels to seek sanctuary in neutral ports for a period of thirty-six hours in order to seek humanitarian assistance and effect emergency repairs to ensure spaceworthiness of the vessel. If the vessel remains beyond the thirty-six hour limit it will be interned under the authority of the Third Convention. As such, I must deny your request."
Delis moved her head slightly, not looking angry and perhaps not even surprised. "Captain Louganis, the Dominion has not agreed to this Third Bern Convention of yours and nor do we recognize it as valid interstellar law. We insist that you expel the Federation vessel from your space or we will consider it a violation of Alliance neutrality and an act of hostile intent toward the Dominion."
"Your government may consider it as you wish, Madam Delis, the Alliance Stellar Navy will uphold our treaty obligations. Louganis out."

The Vorta disappeared from the screen. After several seconds the three Jem'Hadar vessels turned away and went to warp back into occupied Federation territory.
"Hail from Sitting Bull."
Now it was a shaken Starfleet captain, dark-haired and somewhat thin, who appeared on Louganis' holotank. "Captain, thank you for granting my ship and crew sanctuary."
"As I explained to the Vorta, Captain, you have thirty-six hours to repair your ship and seek medical aid for your wounded in an Alliance port, after which we will be obligated to place you in internment," Louganis explained. "Nor will you be permitted to enter Keloan space or to use the New Liberty Gate Assembly under the provisions of Third Bern and the New Brasilia Treaty Neutral Obligations Amendment."
Captain Hampton gave a nod. "I understand, Captain Louganis. Thank you anyway. Can we get assistance to regain warp capability?"
"I have called for a drydock ship to come and transfer your ship to New Liberty Orbital Station," Louganis answered. "Don't worry, by law your thirty-six hours will only begin when you arrive. I am also preparing to send medical personnel to give humanitarian assistance, our communications department will handle the details. Torino out."
Hampton disappeared and Louganis undid his seat harness, ordering the ship to return to standard running status. Given the shape of the Federation ship he highly doubted they would be out in thirty-six hours, nor would they want to. Not since the Dominion had completely overrun the Federation sectors adjoining the Liberation Zone. But, he supposed, better the comfortable confinement of an internment facility on New Liberty than the harsh realities of a Dominion prisoner-of-war camp.
Under Louganis' order, the destroyers remained behind to watch the Sitting Bull while Torino warped away, continuing her own working-up cruise.

P.S. My thanks to Stas Bush for providing me with the kind of names Russians would call Jem'Hadar.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-03-02 02:52am

The Pentagon, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
19 April 2159 AST

Within the recesses of the old headquarters of the American military the Alliance Armed Services had spent the years since the confirmation of the capital's permanent stay in the former (in this universe) American capital turning the Pentagon into the nerve center of their multiverse-spanning forces. The Alliance Joint Command Staff and the staff organization supporting them and the Defense Ministry put the old building, and several underground levels added since, to good use, so much that the four individual services had their own HQs in addition (the Stellar Navy used nearby Annapolis for ease, the Marine Corps used Quantico, the Army was HQed in the Kremlin in Moscow as it had been since the Plotinikov Administration, and the Aerospace Force was in London).

Within the lower underground levels was the Strategic Command Amphitheater, from which reports from across the Multiverse could be collated for the benefit of the Alliance's military planners and analysts. The displays were currently set to Universes CON-5 and ST-3, the perpetual hotspots of the last months. Icons identifying major Plymouthite military commands told the story of that nation's rapid militarization, with the Hitler-esque Hanson Leewood looking very ready to begin war as his rhetoric increased in violence in synch with the expansion of the Plymouthite military, specifically their warfleet.

Markers for the three Lisean fleet commanders and their task forces showed that republic's readiness for war, joined by the marker of the individual task forces in the 8th and 11th Fleets, assigned respectively to the defense of the Alliance Colonial Zone together as well as Lisea and the Coreward regions of Devenshire respectively. They were not the only power looking to protect the rebuilding, reformed government of Devenshire; the British fleet of CON-5 had recently taken up advanced positions in Canton and New Catalonia Provinces to support the rebuilding Devenshiran military should a war ignite, Sir Alexander Grant's Tory government having confirmed its willingness to commit the British Empire to war to uphold its obligations to Devenshire under the Treaty of Westminster.

From one of the conference rooms Defense Minister Robert Dale overheard his weekly briefing on the progress of the Dominion War in ST-3. The results were not being kind to the Federation; the recent savaging of their fleet by a Borg incursion, combined with lingering losses from the short Arkanis Conflict with the Klingon Empire, had left them unprepared for the sheer scope of the Cardassian-Dominion assault. The focus of the Dominion efforts seemed to be on the Federation by all reports; the Klingons were being held in place by a vigorous defense with occasional raiding-force sorties against Klingon supply lines while the bulk of the Dominion fleet was headed to the Federation's core worlds. It was yet to be seen just when - or if - the Federation would consolidate its defenses, and some pessimistic projections had the Jem'Hadar and Cardassians marching through the streets of San Francisco and Paris by summer. If this occurred or even seemed to be on the verge of occurring, it was considered highly likely that Cardassia's two Rovelek Pact partners, the Tsen'kethi Imperium and the Breen Confederacy, would join the war, likely dooming the Federation. And more.
Such a potential outcome for the war was already having a ripple effect. The Talarian Steadhold, fearing encirclement, was undergoing full mobilization and hastening the construction of newer, improved defensive stations and underground bunkers on their homeworld, bankrolled greatly by Alliance aid dollars due to the stagnation of the Talarian economy (as bad as that sounded, one had to consider that in May 2154 AST the Talarian economy had been even worse, on the verge of utter collapse). The Romulans and Ferengi were beginning to pursue further negotiations with the Dominion on the assumption of its complete victory in the war while a number of other minor races were either turning to the Alliance for protection or lining up to offer the Dominion favors in exchange for continued peace.

Alliance-Dominion relations, never very happy, had become increasingly hostile since the war began. The Dominion had expelled Alliance merchant shipping from occupied Federation space and more recently had expanded that expulsion to include hospital ships and other humanitarian aid measures, citing as an excuse the refusal of the Alliance to expel Federation ships and crews interned at New Liberty after they'd escaped into Alliance space; the Dominion, after all, did not recognize the codified international laws that had governed the nations of the Multiverse from before the ADN's founding or even the dawn of the Interuniversal Era. In a number of cases the Dominion ships had even fired across the border at Federation ships, though they'd not yet done so much as lock a weapon on an Alliance ship.
In the last month the Alliance Council, motivated by the course of the war and the intransigence of the Dominion and their Cardassian "allies" regarding the trading rights of the Alliance in occupied territory, had made a violent riposte. On the 28th of March, just before the final session before the weekend was to end, the Alliance Council took two important actions. First, it had approved a resolution expanding the scope of the 2158 Lend-Lease Act to include the Federation and the Klingon Empire as well as any other Alpha Quadrant state "engaging or preparing to engage in direct hostilities with aggressive forces that are a standing threat to the security and interests of the Allied Nations", or in other words, the Dominion and any ally it gained. The Act, initially ratified as part of the Alliance-British (CON-5) plan to restore the military capability of the reforming Star Kingdom of the Devenshires, was named to specifically invoke its counterpart from the Second World War. Through it, Starfleet and the Klingon Empire were now able to essentially write "IOU"s and purchase massive amounts of war material from Alliance companies on the Alliance Government's tab.
Secondly, the Alliance Council had approved a massive $800 trillion increase to the year's defense budget, money that would fund various war-preperation projects such as accelerated construction schedules for several major fleet units such as the new Jellicoe- and Royal Sovereign-class dreadnoughts and mass production of new B-202J Starfortress interstellar bombers in the Aerospace Force, also providing for the first test run of the "SB-1" stealth interstellar bomber (more secretly, the money would also help the Alliance military begin putting together its first run of Guyverite-boosted matter/anti-matter strategic warheads, giving the Stellar Navy and Aerospace Force a terrifying new ability to commence strategic attacks on enemy planets).

"What is the status on Betazed?" Dale was looking over reports on the recently fallen Federation territories. "Our intelligence seems to have lost an entire Army of Jem'Hadar and the President would like to know where it is and if the Dominion's ready for a push against Earth or another Core world."
"At last indication the Dominion bypassed Betazed," an Indian Lieutenant Commander, Gupindra, answered, looking over a military PDA. "A raid was confirmed against Andor last night but we have no signs that the Dominion and Cardassians are immediately capable of a sustained invasion of any world within twenty light years of Earth ST-3. They appear to be consolidating their hold on the Midrange Colonies and Bolarus."
"So Earth could become a target by the end of the month, maybe mid-May," Chief Admiral Darlington remarked from his seat. "Unless the Federation recovers enough to launch some form of flanking attack, maybe force the Dominion to pull back and consolidate their gains."
"The Federation does seem to be marshalling its forces, though whether they have the capability or the will to counter-attack cannot be determined right now," Lt. Cmdr. Gupindra informed them. "Their attempts at limited counter-attacks and anti-shipping raids so far have shown dismal results, with many ships lost and three of their fleet units shattered."

"The Klingons aren't faring much better, with the Dominion using spoiling attacks and raids to keep their fleets off-balance while they continue their 'Federation First' strategy," Aerospace Force Group Captain Lummer - an American woman of brown complexion - added. "The Romulans aren't helping matters by still rattling sabers over that dispute near the Coril sector."
"So basically the Dominion is still winning and will probably be winning for the forseeable future," Dale remarked sullenly. "Do I have any good news to give the President about..."
The door flew open to admit a Lieutenant, holding a dispatch in his hand. "Sir! We just got this from Naval Intelligence!"
Dale took the dispatch and read it. The header indicated it came from the Stellar Navy Intelligence Division's SIGINT offices, though not the origin. As far as he knew neither the new Cardassian naval code nor the Dominion codes had been broken, so he guessed it came from a civilian source of some source.
Slowly he looked to Darlington, who saw the look on Dale's face and knew the news wasn't good. "Sir?"
"We need to inform the President right away," Dale remarked with great trepidation. "The Dominion's begun to disable the Federation minefield at the Bajoran Wormhole. The Alpha Quadrant's about to get flooded by a few thousand Jem'Hadar ships."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-03-28 01:54am

BRV Kai Opaka, Bajor System
Republic of Bajor
Universe Designate ST-3
21 April 2159 AST

With a flash of phaser fire the conflict was set to begin. The Bajoran Navy, sortieing to oversee an armed retaking of Deep Space Nine due to dispatches from Maj. Kira Nerys that the Dominion was ignoring the Bajoran Republic's decision to forbid their armada from the Gamma Quadrant entry into Bajoran space, was still moving into position when the Dominion and Cardassian officers overseeing Deep Space Nine triggered the station's phasers. The blast was a wide-beam format, permitting it to hit several of the Federation mines. A series of detonations moved outward from the beam, the mines detonating themselves in conjunction with several more pinpoint phaser strikes from Deep Space Nine.
The tension had already been thick on the command bridge of the Kai Opaka. The first of the Kai-class dreadnoughts - a 45MT DWT vessel from an Alliance shipyard that had been designed and ordered by the Bajoran government for its Navy - the Kai Opaka had been designated the command flagship of the Bajoran Home Fleet, the Navy formation responsible for the protection of the Bajoran system itself. The impressive vessel possessed an impressive array of 300mm particle cannons and turreted pulse phasers, as well as a number of missile cells and torpedo launchers. It was quite a potent vessel as it was able to sacrifice cruising range and long-range capability for better protection and firepower, easily a match for any dreadnought of its mass range in the navies of the Multiverse.

The figure in charge of the Home Fleet was a "political appointee" instead of a fully-trained officer, but when one considered that Bajor's independence was only just six years old the lack of proper high-ranking officers was perhaps more understandable. At any rate, Li Nalas was a good sort of appointee, a Resistance legend (even if in truth what he'd done to earn that distinction was hardly worthy of being a legend) who had been asked to serve his people and who could be trusted to, if nothing else, keep his ships in their places and fight them hard. Seeing the minefield go down put even more pressure on Li's shoulders. The Dominion armada would be coming through shortly and his fleet was the only thing between them and Bajor. "Status of Deep Space Nine?", he asked his officers.
A reply came from the sensor station. "I'm now reading power failures in the station's weapon batteries. They are no longer a threat to us."
"Then we just have to worry about the Dominion armada. Send to all ships; assume wormhole blockade formation."

The Home Fleet swiftly responded to Li Nalas' order. It spread out into a "dome" that covered the wormhole, establishing a kill zone for any ships coming through.
"Hail from Deep Space Nine. It is the Founder aboard. We are being warned to let the armada through or be destroyed." The woman at communications frowned. "The Founder is threatening to have Bajor bombarded if we do not give the Dominion reinforcement armada passage."
"Let her and Dukat threaten all they want."

That brought a few chuckles from the assembled. With confidence not born out by their non-existant combat record, but rather the confidence from the cause they had and the capabilities of the machines under their command, the Bajoran officers waited the tense minute that passed until the wormhole blossomed open and the first Jem'Hadar ships came out.
Without further order necessary, the Bajoran fleet opened fire.

Deep Space Nine

The battle outside was mirrored by the one inside, where the Bajoran security forces were forcing the Jem'Hadar and Cardassians to withdraw to pockets around their docked ships and the Operations Center. The station's impressive weapons array was disabled, preventing it from participating in the fight on either side, leaving it a spectator to the battle raging outside.

Among those standing on the upper level of the Promenade was Jake Sisko. Freed from the brig along with the others, he and Leeta had initially stayed hidden, that is until Odo's security men came down squarely on Kira's side and drove the Cardassians and their allies out of the area. Now they were free to stand with the other Bajoran spectators to observe the battle outside.

The battle was exciting for Jake but at the same time it seemed... repetitive. The wormhole never closed once as it disgorged an increasing number of Jem'Hadar ships from their reinforcement armada. Those ships, as soon as they emerged, were set upon by the Bajoran fleet, pummeled by barrages of energy fire. Blue streams of concentrated plasma, a handful of yellow-green beams from a few Bajoran ships equipped with weapons based on Minbari energy cannon technology, and the familiar streams or pulses of ruby-orange phaser fire lashed across space. Dominion ships were being torn, blasted, or cut apart every second.

They fought back, of course. Some survived the pummeling long enough to return fire, and some skilled Jem'Hadar gunners managed hits on the Bajoran vessels with their own energy weapons. A flash of bright light came from one quarter of the Bajoran fleet where a destroyer, hit one too many times, took a hit to the fuel bunker and was destroyed immediately. Closer he noticed a Bajoran cruiser billowing clouds of debris from her grievous wounds, bright fires burning within her hull.

But, nevertheless, she held her ground, and kept firing.

Time passed. The station was increasingly secured from the Dominion and the crowd on the Promenade increased as they watched the fate of their station and of their homeworld decided in the space around them. They saw the Bajoran fleet suffer her wounds from the larger Dominion armada as they sought to overwhelm this chokepoint and gain entry into the Alpha Quadrant. But no matter how many wounds they took the Bajoran ships never seemed to move, they just suffered the hits and kept their weapons firing. Starfighters from the Bajoran carriers darted near, firing their torpedoes at Dominion ships until they were either destroyed or, their weapons reserves exhausted, they returned to their carriers for reload.

And through it all, the battle continued to unfold.

BRV Dakhur Plains

Organized chaos was a good way to describe what was going on upon the flight and hangar decks of the Dakhur Plains, an American (AR-12) Gettysburg-class attack carrier refitted and restored to be sold into Bajoran service four years prior. The recently-expanded combat wing of 178 spacecraft was entirely committed to the action, every one of the fighters - older designs all - outfitted with anti-ship munitions to be launched at the Dominion fleet to support the outnumbered Bajoran Navy. The fighters were coming back in decreasing numbers to get combat re-loads, the demands of time such that they weren't even being lowered to the hangar deck but reloaded on the launch deck; a dangerous activity given the risks of an accident.

Chief Petty Officer Kalis Lunil didn't see it as organized chaos, however. Those still on the hangar deck were sending up munitions on time, the expanded crew on the launch deck was working steadily as they moved newly-landed jets coming from the stern forward to launch positions facing the bow, where armament crews were fixing the new weapons to the fighters before catapulting them right back into the void. Every man was wearing the appropriate pressure suit for activity on the launch deck, where only forcefields kept a thin, breathable atmosphere in and a loss of power or damage could expose the entire thing to airless space.

"Lutis, hurry it up, get that fighter back out in time with its flight!" he shouted to one of his subordinates, working with his crew to get an FB-34 reloaded with anti-ship torpedoes and taking a bit too long in his view. Behind him a partially-damaged F/A-35 Dragon came in for a landing. The sublight starfighter was looked over by the retrieval crew. After ten seconds they gave a thumb's up, indicating the fighter's damage was not so severe it couldn't be sent back into the battle. It was immediately moved forward by tractor beam to be loaded and launched back out. Another F/A-35 landed behind it, but only barely, having suffered a grazing hit from an anti-ship weapon that had clearly left it combat unworthy. The appropriate gesture led to the fighter being taken to the hangar elevator to be returned.

The F-30 sublight Raptor coming in next was immediate trouble. The pilot's maneuvering thrusters were out and he or she had not slowed to sufficient velocity for a proper landing. The fighter came in too far and hit the deck hard despite the efforts of the emergency tractor beams to reduce its speed. Sparks flew as it skidded across the ground, forcing crews to jump out of the way.

The tractors and the friction of the craft against the launch deck slowed it, but not enough. The cylinder-like Raptor plowed into the back of a F-31 Hellcat being reloaded, throwing that craft forward and partially smashing one of its engines. Because of the slight atmosphere there was enough fuel in the air to maintain a small fire that began from a fractured fuel line in the demolished Hellcat. The pilot immediately scrambled out of her fighter, the pilot of the Raptor not being so lucky; his cockpit had been crushed on impact, killing him instantly.

"Internal reserves, now!" Chief Kalis bellowed, activating his pressure suit's oxygen tank. The launch deck controller hit the necessary key to begin sucking the atmosphere out of the launch deck, denying any further fuel to the fire beyond that in the destroyed Hellcat. Emergency crew immediately ran to the crash site and began spraying retardant on the fire to extinguish it before it ignited.

"We can't extinguish it!" one crewwoman cried out, somewhat shaken.

"Get away!" Kalis shouted. A motion to the launch deck controller was all he had to make; as soon as the crews cleared the two fighters the controller used the tractor beam emitters in the launch bay to catapult the crippled craft out of the launch deck. They didn't have a lot of velocity to them, but given the lack of anti-matter on them - the Raptor didn't carry any and the Hellcat was not operating her anti-matter-powered warp drive - the explosion, when it finally happened, was insufficient to damage the armored hull of the Dakhur Plains.

There was little time to grieve for the dead pilot of the destroyed Raptor. The pilot of the Hellcat was quickly joined with a rearming team, no spare craft for her to use, and went to work rearming one of her squadron mates. As a whole, the hardworking hangar and launch crews of the Dakhur Plains kept up their dangerous, back-breaking labor, knowing that every torpedo launched, every Jem'Hadar ship destroyed, improved the odds of their Navy winning.

Deep Space Nine

Jake could no longer see the wormhole's mouth. A mass of charred metal had covered the area, the remnants of the Dominion ships that had tried to break through the Bajoran blockade. But the battle was still on-going, that he could see clearly, with the distant sparks of torpedo and missile engines and the beams and darts of energy weapons criss-crossing the black canvas outside the window, joined by the the bursts of fire that signaled a ship's hull being breached and the atmosphere within combusted by the energy of the hit. Clouds of metal were beginning to form everywhere due to the slaughter going on outside.

Slaughter. Yes, it occurred to Jake that he wasn't watching a battle anymore. The Dominion forces were certainly not giving up, but the remnants of their vanguard were preventing them from getting clean shots at the Bajoran fleet, at least until it was too late and the Bajoran fleet's impressive quantity of fire took them out too. It was a slaughter, and one that the fanaticism of the Jem'Hadar trying to force the wormhole only fueled.

But yet this slaughter maintained the attention of the people inside. It did, at least, until a single Jem'Hadar ship managed to survive long enough that it got too close in its attempt to break out of the trap. A pair of starfighters took out one of the ship's engine drives with missiles and the vessel went careening out of control.... straight at Deep Space Nine.

Jake sucked in a breath and felt his heart skip a beat, his fear driving him to begin moving away despite any continued fascination with the battle outside. Others in the crowd did not react quite so bravely, crying out and running for fear that the ship would hit the window and kill them all, not quite understanding that if it did breach the Promenade they were all dead anyway.

Thankfully it didn't. The Jem'Hadar ship's bearing wasn't right for such a collision. It struck the shields over Docking Arm 2 instead, sending a violent shudder throughout the station. But the event had nevertheless convinced a number of the prior spectators to find other things to do as the battle raged and their fates were decided.

"It's almost beautiful, isn't it?"
The voice caused Jake to turn his head, finally breaking his view of the battle. Quark had walked up to the window beside him, looking out at the raging battle. "All those bright colors crossing that black field, the brief plumes of red and orange, it can make you forget its a bunch of starships blowing each other up."
"Yeah," Jake agreed.
"It's all such a terrible waste anyway," Quark lamented. "That's why the Ferengi way is better. All war does is consume resources when it doesn't destroy them and kill potential customers as well as the labor force. It raises prices, reduces consumer spending, it's anathema to a productive financial society. We Ferengi know its better to negotiate, to make a deal. Rule of Acquisition Number 98. 'Every man has his price.'"
"I guess sometimes the price is too high," Jake answered. "Besides, I thought war was good for business under your rules?"
"Yes, Rule 34. And it's right; if people are going to go to war, you might as well make a profit from it. But remember Rule 35. 'Peace is good for business'. And in my experience, Rule 35 works better." Smirking, Quark then added, "Besides, I would think that a fine upstanding citizen of the Federation like yourself would agree with me."
"Oh, I do." Jake looked back out the window. "It looks like the battle's over."
"For now, anyway. Let's just hope losing that fleet makes the Dominion reconsider conquering the Alpha Quadrant," Quark replied.

BRV Kai Opaka

An uneasy silence was reigning in Li Nalas' command center. "It's been five minutes, Admiral," his sensor officer spoke up. "Maybe that was the last of them?"
"Or they're regrouping and rethinking their strategy," was his reply. "With all that debris it might be hard to get an unmanned probe through.... have a carrier send a squadron of fighters through, recon the area around the wormhole. If they see nothing we'll send a destroyer with a functioning set of long-range sensors through to see if anything else is on the way."
"Yes Admiral."
"Lieutenant." Li turned his attention to another officer, responsible for fleet operation communications. "How is the fleet doing?"
"We've lost twenty destroyers and four cruisers completely, another forty ships seriously damaged. Three battleships extensively damaged but not severely. And the Kai Meressa is running on emergency power, she was rammed by a crippled Jem'Hadar attack ship and has suffered crippling damage."
"Detach a division of our damaged destroyers to escort Kai Meressa back to System Defense Base for repairs," Li Nalas ordered in reply. "All other ships hold position and repair what is possible here."
"Do we scramble S&R shuttles to look for life pods?"
"Of course." Li Nalas leaned forward and waited for the squadron of fighters that went through to return.
The sixteen F-30s returned about four minutes after entering the wormhole. "11th Space Superiority Squadron to Fleet Command," a female voice said, "no sign of enemy forces on the Gamma Quadrant side."
"Send the destroyer, I want a high-powered long-range scan before we declare this battle over," Li Nalas answered. He allowed himself to hope he'd won, but he was going to make damned sure first.

CDS Dunkorak, Orbit over Gralis Prime
Cardassian-Dominion Occupation Zone

Dukat was overseeing operations to clear Starfleet forces from the systems around Gralis Prime, also commanding the Dominion-Cardassian armada that was confronting Sisko's allied fleet attempting to get to Deep Space Nine, when he got the subspace message from Weyoun. Reading the text of it and seeing his worst fears realized, Dukat settled into his command chair and felt his mind race.
This war had always been a long shot. He had, a year before, been faced with two very bad prospects before him. One was a future where he did nothing and the influence of Cardassia continued to wane against the growing power of the Alliance, meaning the losses of the Bajoran War (as the Cardassians knew it) would never be recovered and, potentially, the appeasers of his government merging their's with the Alliance-puppet "Free Cardassian Republic". The other was a gamble with the Dominion, a dice throw to conquer as much of the Alpha Quadrant as possible without Alliance interference so that the Cardassian and Dominion fleets could wipe out the Alliance's inter-universal jump gates. Dukat's pride, both personal and national (or racial, more accurately), prevented him from considering the first option beyond the acknowledgement that it existed. So he had committed himself and his people to war, and to possible subservience to the Dominion, in the name of reclaiming lost pride and driving the Alliance out of the Alpha Quadrant.

Now that cause seemed lost. Dukat knew what the Bajoran resistance meant. Even if the Bajoran Navy was not capable of seriously turning the tide of battle, their annihilation of the reinforcement fleet meant it could be years before the Dominion could attempt to send another. Without the reinforcements the chances of a quick victory became nil; the Cardassian and Dominion fleets already present were beginning to suffer overstretch and would have to end offensive operations without those reinforcements.
Even worse, the beginning of hostilities provided the Alliance with a justification to join the war. Dukat always knew this was possible, hence his desire for a quick victory. Now not only was he denied his quick victory, he was faced with their entry being much sooner rather than later. Alliance entry meant defeat for his aims, short and long-term.

But there was still a chance for a much lesser goal. The Alliance might yet be persuaded to not pursue a complete war now. Given years to recover and rebuild, the Cardassian-Dominion alliance might be able to try again on some distant future date, when the Alliance was involved elsewhere, when the Federation and Klingons had fallen back to quarrelling. If they could be subjected to a major blow followed by a generous offer of peace, if Hanson Leewood could be counted on to live up to the pact he sought with Dukat and the Founder and could provide the Alliance with a further distraction, perhaps there was a slim hope.

It was not a gamble now; it was a desperate throw of the dice, most likely to fail, with the consequences grave. But the alternative - abandoning the war, ceding the Quadrant to the Alliance and losing any hope, no matter how slim, of driving the extrauniversals out of Dukat's home universe - was again something that Skrain Dukat's pride could not let him consider. He would throw the dice one more time, putting the fate of the Cardassian people and the Dominion on the line for a final shot at something other than shameful surrender or utter destruction.

So he gave his response to Weyoun and his orders to his subordinates. "Send to all forces: all ships to fall back on our supply bases," Dukat said to his aide. "Have our force engaging Sisko break off and make for a rendezvous point at the bases along the border sectors. Let Weyoun and the Founder know that I'll be meeting them aboard their new dreadnought to take command of the regrouped forces."
His aide gave him a quizzical look. "Legate, why are you pulling our forces back? We're almost to Earth."

"We'll be unable to take it the way things have gone," Dukat answered. "The Bajorans have stood against us and forced the Dominion to attack their fleet. The Dominion has lost the battle and we are receiving no reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. Under the peace treaty we signed with them five years ago the Alliance has justification to join the war, and I have no doubt they will. And if they do, we will be defeated. We have only one option." Dukat's eyes looked beyond his aide, to the path he was about to set himself and his people upon. "We must strike first, before they are ready. Our fleets will reorganize in the border sector and, as quickly as possible, we will strike at the Alliance's colonies and destroy their inter-universal jump gates. That is the only hope we and the Dominion have left of survival."
Dukat's decision had been made. In forty-eight hours, the Cardassian Union and the Dominion would be at war with the Alliance of Democratic Nations.
And it would be a war like none the peoples of the Multiverse had yet seen...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-04-05 10:58pm

The White House, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
22 April 2160 AST

Eleven hours had passed since the annihilation of the Dominion reinforcement armada at the Battle of the Wormhole, as it was being called. With that victory of Bajoran arms the Dominion had also been forced to evacuate Deep Space Nine, which the Bajorans had resumed command of with the Federation and Klingons being permitted to use the station as a fleet command post.
Since that time the mood in Washington had gone into a mix of anxiety and relief. The relief was that the Dominion reinforcement armada had been destroyed, denying the Dominion the necessary forces to maintain its rapid offensive against the Federation. The anxiety came from not knowing what the response from the remaining Cardassian-Dominion forces would be. Bajor might have acted without consulting the Alliance government but this did not let the Mamatmas Administration off the hook over its obligation to protect Bajor, which acted within its rights when it stopped the Dominion armada.
This, of course, meant that the Alliance could be drawn into the war, and thus this was the potentiality that had senior policy makers of the Alliance Security Committee in a heated discussion in one of the conference rooms in the President's residence.

"I believe the bottom line of this situation is... we are not ready." Dale's point hung over the room. "Our projections for war readiness show us we need at least six more months to be ready for the likely result of a war with Dukat and the Dominion, namely a major war in CON-5 as well. We all know that the instant our back is turned Leewood will renounce the ceasefire and go after Lisea, probably the Izmir Worlds as well. We'll have to fight a war in two universes and several fronts, leaving other areas vital to Alliance interests underdefended. And if Riviera joins Leewood and Dukat..."
"The Bajorans acted without consulting us," Boris Umachov, the stout, moon-faced Foreign Minister of the Alliance, added to it. "We are under no obligation to protect them from what..."
"Are we not?" The accusing tone in Rachel MacKenzie's voice was answered by a glower from Umachov. The former Foreign Minister of the Jennifer Verdes Presidency, now Chancellor of the Alliance Council, was a rival of Umachov's and the two had clashed multiple times over various issues, most infamously the question of whether or not to tolerate the idea of Hanse Davion becoming the undisputed Hegemon of the Inner Sphere in MWB-32 (Umachov in favor of, MacKenzie steadfastly against). Now the two foreign experts and politicians were locked head on once more, MacKenzie on the side of fulfilling without question Alliance obligations to the Bajorans, Umachov in favor of not committing the Alliance to a war when the buildup of the prior decade had not yet born fruit.

"Chancellor, if we go to war with the Dominion, we will most assuredly be at war with Hanson Leewood within a week. And if that happens there's no telling how many other potentially hostile powers may try to take advantage of our situation," Umachov grumbled. "We would not have to worry about this so greatly if you had not led the President into destroying our alliance with Hanse Davion."
"There was no alliance with Davion and you know it, there was simply an understanding, one that you let him overestimate," MacKenzie retorted. "Maybe we wouldn't have so many concerns if you hadn't spent the last seven years sticking our noses into the business of so many different universes. But that damage is done and we must uphold our obligations. Not only are we bound to protect Bajor by treaty but by the expectations of our nations' citizenry. Our blood was spilled liberating the Bajorans from Cardassia and we invested far too much prestige and money into making the Bajorans a functioning state to abandon them to Legate Dukat and the Changelings now."

"Who said anything about abandoning them? The Federation and Klingons are already establishing a position in Bajor and can protect it and without the reinforcement armada the Dominion's forces are stretched too thinly." Umachov's hand thumped the table. "We have no need to commit ourselves. We must have more time."
At that moment the door opened and Mamatmas entered, accompanied by his Chief of Staff Roger Nxumalo. The assembled stopped speaking and sat up straight while Mamatmas rounded the table to his chair. "I've been on vidphone with President Shakaar for the last hour," Mamatmas explained. "The Bajorans are asking us to expedite the delivery of the older light cruisers we promised them last year as well as replacement fighters for those they lost. They're also asking if we can spare any forces to protect Bajor should Dukat launch a full-scale attack on it."

"We can do both," Dale answered, "but the more we seem to get involved here, the bolder Hanson Leewood will get. He's the bigger threat by far at the moment, unless you've had any luck with Sir Alexander..."
"The British Empire CON-5 is committed to maintaining the terms of the Treaty of Westminster, but no more. They won't come to our aid if Leewood just revokes the ceasefire from '56 and launches a new campaign against Lisea," Mamatmas confirmed. "Only if Leewood turns toward Devenshire again will they act."
Dale nodded at that. "Then if he's smart he'll focus on us and Lisea, and that will put us in a bind."
"Let's hope Leewood's more fanaticism than smarts then," Mamatmas remarked. "We knew that we'd get sucked in sooner or later and that it'd hopefully be later. Well, it might not be as later as we'd want it, but we take what we get. Robert, tell the Chiefs to send the orders." Frowning slightly and looking rather tired, Nicolas Mamatmas waved the others off. There was a weight to his decision that was clearly evident; the weight of having in all probability committed about ten trillion people to war. "Reinforce the New Liberty Republic and the adjacent systems along with the units being sent to support Bajor's defense. Put our ST-3 forces on DefCon 3 and raise the Alliance-wide alert to DefCon 4. I'll be in my office if I'm needed."

Deep Space Nine, Bajor System
Republic of Bajor
Universe Designate ST-3

The civilians on DS9 were still jubilant from the triumphant return of Benjamin Sisko and his people to the station, surrounded now by Klingon and Federation ships and a steadily-decreasing field of debris from the great battle. Early warning buoys had already been laid on the other side to warn the station if the Dominion was sending more ships to try again with other arrangements made should Dukat turn his gathering forces on Bajor.
Standing along the upper level of the Promenade, Ben Sisko had an arm around the neck of his son Jake as the two watched the personnel and residents of DS9 mill about as things returned to normal on the station, or about as normal as one could expect given the war was hardly over yet. Jake was telling his father about the article he was submitting to the Starfleet News Service about the Battle of the Wormhole and his witnessing of it. "So, speaking of the larger war, is it true the Bajoran government is going to declare war on the Dominion?", Jake asked after finishing his brief description of his upcoming work. "I'd love to throw an answer to that in."
"I'm told the Cabinent is debating whether to approach the Bajoran Assembly with that request," Sisko answered. "That's all I know."
"What, you can't use some of that Emissary charm to get more out of them?", Jake teased, prompting a mocking glare from Sisko.

The gruff tone caused both Siskos to turn and face Worf, carrying a PADD with him. "Starfleet Intelligence has determined that the Dominion fleet is gathering in Sectors 138 and 143," he said while handing Sisko the PADD to look at. "They have completely withdrawn from the Argolis Cluster and their ground forces have evacuated New Anglia and the Lewis Worlds."
"But there's been no activity outside the Sector 130 and 140 blocks," Sisko said. "And these dispositions aren't good for launching an attack on Bajor. Dukat's clearly not coming here, so what's he..."
Sisko stopped speaking at that moment as the situation clicked in his mind. He remained frozen for a moment, prompting Worf to ask, "Captain?" in an attempt to get Sisko to respond. Jake added a concerned "Dad" while staring at his silent father.
"That's what he's up to," Sisko suddenly remarked. "That's what Dukat's going to do. He knows that by defying the Bajorans and firing on their fleet the Dominion's opened the door for the Alliance to join the war, this is his only chance to... Mister Worf, go to Martok and have him ready all available ships for combat duty, get as many as he can! I've got to go call Admiral Ross to get the 2nd and 9th Fleets ready."
"Yes sir," Worf answered, hiding any bewilderment he may have felt.
"Sorry, Jake, but it looks like it's not time to relax yet," Sisko said to his son. "Head back to your quarters, we'll talk later." He immediately left, heading for Ops, his mind already composing the argument he was due to give his superior.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-07-20 04:06pm

Deep Space Rendezvous Point
Cardassian-Dominion Occupation Zone
24 April 2160 AST

The Dominion and Cardassian fleet was gathering in increasing strength every hour as detachments from as far away as Cardassia itself came in to prepare for Dukat's final dice throw.

In a central position of this gathering fleet was a massive Dominion warship, a "dreadnought" design that was among the most powerful ships ever fielded in the Alpha Quadrant, built using the best technology the Dominion had to offer. Numerous and powerful polaron beam emplacements were centered along the warship's massive hull, ideal for blasting apart other vessels that dared confront the ship.
Dukat materialized aboard and immediately made his way to the command bridge inside the ship. Weyoun and the Founder were there to greet him. "Gul Dukat," Weyoun said, a hint of irritation in his voice. "We've come. The fleet is abandoning our gains throughout the Federation. Would you mind explaining?"
Looking to the Founder, Dukat could see that even her usually vague expression was growing murderous. This was a growing fiasco and it was quite clear they intended to blame him.
"Our positions in the Federation are now untenable. I'm afraid our worst case scenario has occurred," Dukat remarked. "By engaging the Bajoran fleet we have handed the Alliance justification to join the war outright, and by losing the reinforcement armada we have severely weakened our grasp on our conquered territories. We must pull back to more defensive lines and seek to regain the wormhole... but not before ridding ourselves of a grave threat to our flank."
Weyoun nodded with understanding. "So you mean to attack the Alliance's Jump Gate Assembly at New Liberty. What of their other colonies?"
"Once the Gate Assembly is ruined we can do with them as we please," Dukat answered. "Invade if necessary or, preferably, force their surrender and use orbital bombardment to sterilize worlds that refuse. And a victory over the Alliance could be the key development we need to get our Rovelek Pact partners into the war finally, permitting our forces to join Tsen'kethi over what will likely be the smoldering ruins of Kelos and providing our enemies with further threats to dilute their strength.

"You are staking a great deal on that crazed Solid Leewood living up to his pledge," the Founder remarked.
"Even if he doesn't, a victory at New Liberty buys us time to build up defenses and to secure further reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant as is needed," Dukat insisted. "Our only alternative at this point, Founder, is to fall back to our space and try to retake the wormhole, but if the Alliance has its New Liberty Assembly in operation such an attempt would leave our rear and flanks subject to Alliance attack. We must remove that threat."
"Even if it guarantees Alliance entry into the war?"
"Yes, Weyoun, even if it guarantees it," Dukat remarked insistantly. "Our only other option is to give up any hope of bringing the Alpha Quadrant under our rule."
"The Dominion will not accept failure," the Founder replied. "If the Solids drive us out of the Alpha Quadrant it will be only a matter of time before they invade the Dominion directly through the wormhole."
"I'm quite aware of that, Founder." There was a dangerous glint in Dukat's eyes. "That's why I don't intend to fail."

Kensington Fleet Base, Kensington System, Alliance Colonial Zone
Alliance of Democratic Nations

Tension in 5th Fleet HQ was high. The military in ST-3 was at DefCon 3 as anticipation for entry into the war with the Dominion rose to new heights. In conjunction with the heightened alert level 5th Fleet was completely active, with only a few ships still in port due to being in the middle of major maintainance cycles. The holotank map showed that the Dominion-Cardassian fleet was massing, but it was unknown if they were consolidating and regrouping to resume the offensive at a better pace or to reclaim the wormhole, or....
Zhiang and his staff had all come to the conclusion that one potential action of Dukat's fleet would be to attack New Liberty, or specifically, the IU Jump Gate Assembly in the system. Said Assembly was instrumental to the ADN position in this section of ST-3; without it, the Colonial Zone, Kelos, and Talar would all be isolated and 5th Fleet's position untenable. The Alliance had not entered the war yet, true, but by the Treaty of Oakland they had every right to join it now that the Dominion and Bajorans had exchanged shots. Such a calculation would naturally occur to Dukat and could inspire him to launch a pre-emptive strike.
It was that potential that was occupying the minds of those present when the jamming started. Wide-scale jamming all across the border, generated from positions in Dominion-held space, enough to mask the presence of ships at warp until they had already breached the frontier. The power being put into the jamming was enormous, clearly the result of Dominion technology, and such that even the high-powered sensor systems of the dedicated patrol cruisers and ground-based defense scanners would have trouble finding any attacking forces.

Zhiang and his people acted immediately. The call went out to all aspects of 5th Fleet: invasion imminent. Similar commands went through each service, each militia, as the seventeen inhabited systems of the Alliance Colonial Zone prepared for an attack. Across the Colonial Zone warships were going to combat alert. Army and Marine units were arming up and getting into protective bunkers to confront potential invasion. Aerospace Force's bomber squadrons lifted off with full war loads, those still on the ground undergoing immediate armament for further operations, while their fighters took to the skies and void to provide defense for their planets.
A short time later, the final orders went out from the ST-3 Command Staff in Wexford, the capital of New Liberty, confirming the Sector-wide war alert and informing all that a Cardassian-Dominion fleet had finally been spotted.... one parsec away from the Alliance border, on course for New Liberty itself. The target of the fleet was obvious to all. These orders and reports were sent by IU radio to the Pentagon in Washington HE-1 to alert the Alliance's civil and military authorities of what was happening in ST-3.
Five minutes later, interuniversal radio signals crisscrossed the entire Multiverse from the Pentagon HE-1, traveling to every military command of the Allied Nations, informing them of the situation and giving appropriate orders according to plans long-prepared by the multi-service Strategic Planning Staff.
Once again, the Alliance of Democratic Nations was going to War.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-09-07 03:58pm

USS Archer, New Liberty System, Alliance Colonial Zone
Alliance of Democratic Nations

As the alert lights remained lit and the station was evacuated of civilian personnel attention went to the ships still in berths. At this point, with nearly three thousand Dominion and Cardassian warships moving toward New Liberty, every ship was being sortied as needed. Vessels still undergoing on-site R&R were crewed as best as possible and sent out to join the system defenses, 5th Fleet's task forces quickly gathering around TF 5.1 which, as was usual, always kept close to New Liberty anyway.
But there was one group of starships that had not yet been considered, the most damaged of them taking up berths in the station and the repaired ones in loitering orbits with their warp drives disabled and key parts stored on planetside by ADN authorities. These were the eighty or so Federation starships that had managed to escape Dominion capture due to one reason or another since the war began, kept interned in the Alliance after exceeding the 36 hour limit. The largest of them was a Galaxy-class, the Archer, which was still missing a chunk of internals from battle damage and was down to half crew due to battle casualties. Like most of the crews of the interned ship, the Archer's crew was kept interned upon the vessel while the creation of an expanded internment center planetside was still being undertaken, a small contingent of civilian experts (mostly Federation emigres, some with Starfleet experience) and Stellar Navy junior officers acting as "oversight crews" to keep the vessels under control while under internment.
Lieutenant Paul Choudry, an Anglo-Indian, rang the chime at the door to the quarters of Starfleet Commander Lewis Hall, whom permitted him entry. The lithe, refined man, of 39 years of age about, was standing near his desk, collating letters to be transmitted by the Interuniversal Red Cross to his surviving crew's families in the Federation. Hall had been XO to Captain Kello Tashani, a Centauran officer who had died when the Archer was in its fight with Dominion and Cardassian forces two months prior, leaving Hall to get the ship and its surviving 700+ crew over the border into Alliance territory and internment. "Lieutenant, to what I owe the honor?", Hall said. He got along with the junior officer well enough, accepting his direction under the laws by which the Archer was interned and appreciating Choudry's principled representation of Hall's crew to his superiors in Wexford.

"I've come to give you back your ship, Sir," Choudry said, saluting the higher-ranked officer respectfully. "The Alliance is now a belligerent in the war concerning Cardassia and the Dominion and given so we are no longer required under the Third Bern Convention to hold you in internment." Lowering his hand at Hall's nod, Choudry added, "Of course, I've also come to warn you that there's a Dominion battlefleet on the way."
That got Hall's attention immediately. "Say no more. Will you and..."
"Afraid not, sir, I'm needed elsewhere, the last of the contracted oversight crew will beam down after I take the shuttle back to Wexford."
"How're the odds with the Dominion?"
"Three thousand Dominion and Cardassian warships en route to New Liberty as we speak sir, another thousand or so are believed to be preparing to blockade Bajor, and as many as two thousand pulled out of Federation space may end up attacking here as well," Choudry explained. "I'm afraid it's going to be a bitter fight."
"They always are," Hall answered. The Starfleet officer tapped his commbadge. Choudry had already set the system to accept Hall's codes and authorization again, so the ship's internal comm system immediately patched him in. "Commanders Dunns and T'Stel, Lieutenants Parkman and Liens, report to the bridge immediately." Looking at Choudry directly, Halls added, "It was nice meeting you, Lieutenant. Thanks for giving me our ship back."
"I hope you're able to keep her together, Commander. Take care." Choudry left, heading to the shuttlebay to take his personal shuttle down to Wexford.
Not one to waste time, Hall took off for the Archer's battle bridge immediately.

Dominion Ship ARWE-00015, Nearing New Liberty System
Alliance Colonial Zone

Dukat was frowning now. Not so much from his worries over the battle to come but the annoying weight on his shoulder from the Dominion commmand viewer placed on him. He let the frown shift when he saw how Weyoun was looking at him, the smug Vorta seeming to enjoy Dukat's discomfort to some degree. "Time to target," Dukat said aloud.
"We will be at range in ten minutes," a Jem'Hadar answered from his post.
"Detach ARHT Special Operations wing to commence their attack as we enter the system."
Without blinking Dukat's order was given, condemning the crews of ten Jem'Hadar attack ships to death. At that order those ships began to accelerate at warp; two targeted a mid-range planet of the system that had domed colonies upon it while the rest were heading for New Liberty proper. Their goal was to ram the planets at warp speed, an extreme measure that would if successful devastate both planets and kill much of their populations, particularly New Liberty, with the resultant radiation and power of a warp-speed impact.
Dukat's intention wasn't entirely murderous but rather utterly amoral and cynical. The Alliance defense would have to choose to move its gathering defensive fleet out of position in order to have any hope of intercepting and destroying the ramming warships. If the ramming succeeded, well, those Alliance civilians wouldn't be the only such non-combatants to die in the war, nor would they be the last, and at least it would deny the Alliance any use for the planet and hopefully demoralize them (not that Dukat expected that, of course). If they failed, it still achieved the immediate tactical result of shifting the Alliance fleet out of position.

New Liberty System Defense Command, Wexford, New Liberty
New Liberty Republic, Alliance Colonial Zone

"Several Dominion ships have accelerated at warp," a Stellar Navy lieutenant at one panel reported for the benefit of President Gabriel Anson, the head of state for the Republic of New Liberty, and Field Marshal Caroline Hiller, Chief of the ST-3 Command Staff. "Course projection.... they're on ramming approach to Lanfield and New Liberty!"
An Aerospace Force Warrant Officer's voice followed. "System defenses are online and tracking! We are engaging."

The first activity came from the outer edge of the solar system. Satellites in the Oort Cloud of New Liberty System and a trio of Plutoid orbital bodies fired warp-speed missiles toward the oncoming Jem'Hadar kamikazes. The cheap warp drives on the missiles weren't as fast or as durable as a starship's but they didn't need to be, their guidance systems enabling them to use their superior positioning to make intercepts.
At warp-speed shields could protect a ship... but not as they can in real-space, and warp field generators tended to not like their fields being disturbed by a sudden surge in energy from a conflicting warp field impacting them. The one advantage that the Jem'Hadar ships had over more crude missiles was the potential for independent reaction. On some of the ships this saved them, the pilots acting in the nick of time to avoid the interceptors. Those not so lucky were struck directly, kinetic impactors overloading their warp fields and forcing them out of warp, often outright destroying them by getting full penetration.
The ships that survived were immediately engaged by the second stage of the New Liberty System Defenses. These were the same weapons as the first stage, fired from stations further within the solar system, and they further attrited the Jem'Hadar kamikazes.

Only a handful were left, piloted by the most skilled of the kamikaze Jem'Hadar who maintained their deadly course. Here the third stage of the system defenses began engaging. Rather than firing weapons they utilized highly-capable MET technology, jamming resistant through the use of superior power sources, to beam kinetic kill barriers into the paths of the attackers. The Jem'Hadar had almost no time to react and they plowed into these barriers.
All but one.
The one remaining ship was seconds away from impact and had the System Defense personnel crossing themselves or crossing their fingers, hoping and praying that the terminal stage would work. From orbit laser satellites fired on the Jem'Hadar ship, striking at its shields as it entered orbit.
In the nanoseconds before it would have made impact, the ship hit the literal last line of defense for New Liberty. A shield generator satellite, powered by a microwave generator system that had power sources in orbit and on the planet, emitted a powerful short-life deflector screen. The field would only last a few seconds before the components in the machine were shut down at risk of burning out but seconds were all that was needed. The kamikaze plowed into the field and was blown apart, the field absorbing the radiation release just before it too collapsed from the feedback.

And just like that, Dukat's attempt to draw off the defensive fleet failed, not that it mattered much to him as he only truly cared about one thing: taking out the gates.
"All ships assume attack formation," he ordered. "Focus firepower upon the Gate Assembly."

DNS Fuso

The main fleet unit present at New Liberty, Task Force 5.2, was one of the lighter task forces of the fleet, possessing two battle squadrons which meant a total of forty battleline ships. In this case there were only four dreadnoughts, all Tirpitz-class like the TF flag vessel Fuso, with a number of battleships of various classes including two of the Royal Oak-class "missile battleships" briefly ordered and six of the new Canada-class Fast Battleships.
Tactical command of the fleet, for the moment, came upon Vice Admiral Lillian Desmond. The slender brunette, a thirty year veteran of the British Royal Navy and Alliance Stellar Navy, secured herself with the harness of her seat in Fuso's combat information center. Captain Karl Sung would guide his ship's direct actions while she commanded the naval forces as a whole, consisting at the moment of about six hundred vessels. They were outnumbered five to one for the moment with the odds ticking in their favor every time the Gate Assembly opened and disgorged divisions and squadrons of warships coming to their aid.
"Form a defensive perimeter around the Gate Assembly and Control station." Desmond watched the red plots move closer via the tactical holotank and continued calculating her own tactical reply. The enemy fleet was approaching in a concentrated formation, an arrow pointed at her defensive screen to pierce it and force its way through to the Gate Assembly. "Carrier squadrons are to be our mobile reserve. Defend the Assembly at all cost."

The BatCarDiv assigned to TF 5.2 started launching their remaining sublight starfighters while the fleet took formation, newcomers from other universes trickling in and taking up spots under the direction of Desmond's staff. With the Navy protecting the Assembly the Aerospace Force's craft were assigned to help planetary defense units deal with any enemy ships that attempted to attack there as their main priority. System Defense Command cleared Desmond and her forces to engage when ready.
The first shots were fired as the vanguard of Dukat's fleet came out of warp. A storm of particle beams, coilgun rounds, and nuclear-disruptors lashed out at the Cardassian and Jem'Hadar ships who were quick to return fire. The smallest of the enemy ships, the Jem'Hadar eight-man "fighter" vessels, were among the first to die as they intercepted stronger fire meant to damage the bigger ships (one of the duties Dukat had given them, knowing that their use in combat with the Alliance fleet would be minimal).
The return fire struck a collected wall of energy deflectors. A couple of destroyers showed hull damage from being hit by full powered blasts but remained in the action. The enemy fleet quickly pressed in, looking to close the distance and smash itself through the thickening wall of Alliance ships.
The energy fire was immediately followed by the torpedo and missile fire. The missiles, fired by various warships as well as the New Liberty Naval Station, hit first, weaving around counter-fire to make contact with their targets. Some of the new Cardassian ships with point-defense batteries had some success with destroying or damaging missiles to prevent hits, attriting the strike as it came in. What came afterward consisted of hundreds of brilliant bursts of light against the deflectors of various warships in the fleet. Three Jem'Hadar attack ships and two Cardassian Hideki Mark Xs disappeared entirely.
The torpedo barrage came next. Cardassian torpedoes that survived the gauntlet of the Alliance point defense fire crashed into deflector screens and, in acouple cases, hulls. A "golden BB" hit from a lucky Cardassian tactical officer resulted in a Dorsetshire-class light cruiser in the ADN formation suffering a severe wound, lights flickering in the sections affected from damage to the cruiser's electrical grid. The Alliance torpedo fire faced less point-defense not just from a lack of PD weaponry in the enemy fleet but because what PD batteries they did have had been tracking the missiles. The torpedoes had similar effect to their Cardassian counterparts, degrading deflectors and damaging hull. A couple of Jem'Hadar attack ships blew apart from direct hits. A pair of torpedoes got through the battered shields of one of the Jem'Hadar battlecruisers and crashed into the hull, blasting part of the ship's bow off.

As this first exchange was taking place more of the IU Gates opened, every departure gate being fully employed. This time the arrival was a carefully calculated one, that of two task forces of the 9th Fleet provisionally assigned to Universe AR-12 joined with two heavy fleet units of the French national fleet of that universe led by the dreadnought Charles de Gaulle. With the addition of another three hundred ships to the fleet Desmond, still in tactical command, quickly brought them up to where she anticipated the first successful penetrations of the Cardassian-Dominion fleet would be.
The battle became most furious as the lead Jem'Hadar and Cardassian ships entered point blank ranges. At these near ranges misses were dangerous for the Alliance forces as they could result in blue-on-blue hits, as actually now happened, while even point-defense weapons now engaged the enemy warships and claimed a number of the Jem'Hadar attack ships.
As Dukat's strategy became clear Desmond was left with a choice; if she weakened her sphere in non-attacked areas to focus upon those where Dukat's force was breaking through, his numerical superiority enabled him to shift his focus to the thinner areas. Superior interior lines and the stream of reinforcements diluted this worry but it became a question about how much to draw away.

At her command divisions and squadrons began shifting in the sphere formation to match the thrusts of Dukat's fleet. Space between and around the fleets became a light show of energy blasts, torpedo and missile engine flares, and the explosions from where ships' shields were overwhelmed by individual hits.
This light show was being picked up by every visual recorder at the Gate Assembly's Control Station, every satellite in orbit over New Liberty, and the recorders on the New Liberty Naval Station. Almost without thinking those controlling these feeds began patching them in to the surface on public frequencies, permitting local stations to patch the footage into the holovisions and televisions of New Liberty's populace, many of whom were now in the underground bunkers operated by New Liberty Civil Defence.
Just as much, the local transceiver stations for the major news networks quickly began sending out the video of the battle via their subspace transmitters and their IU radio transmitters, meaning that not only would every viewer from the Dominion-Cardie OZ in the Federation to Bajor be seeing the battle, so would the entire Multiverse.

Times Square, New York City, Earth
United States of America, Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate SE-1

The summer day was slightly overcast, the result of a tropical wave that had moved up the Atlantic coast and was pelting Rhode Island and Connecticut with rain and light wind. People milled around the heart of New York City going about their business. Denizens going to and from work, tourists catching in the sights of the Big Apple, people going to the stores, Times Square was bustling with its usual activity.
Then everything stopped.
Heads popped out of aircars and their wheeled counterparts. People looked up from the street and out the windows of the shops. All eyes were turning to the massive holoprojector that usually displayed various news stations or other special events as it abruptly cut out the program it was on and showed a project of space.
Most citizens were familiar with the basic appearance of a starship. A single hull shape (With the exception of some liners that employed exotic appearances like catamaran-style starships) with two nacelles attached by pylon to generate the warp fields employed by Cochrane drives were a common technology in this universe and others. Some had even traveled in one before, going off-world for visiting family, going on vacation, or on business trips.
But for many, this was their first look at actual warships. And there were plenty of them, of various sizes and with various gun emplacements as well as exact hull shapes.
And they were on fire.

Or at least it appeared to people, even as they noticed the caption of "Battle at New Liberty" and continued to watch the footage, seeing beams of white and yellow cut into the ships as well as the occasional sparkling light while streaks of red and blue energy lashed out from the ships' guns. People watched in silent shock as ships marked with the ADN torch, and a couple with national markings like US white stars, British Union Jacks, and Russian insignia, suffered blow after blow against their deflectors and armored hulls.
As the camera panned around their enemies soon appeared, sinister vessels of varying shapes and sizes with glowing purple ribs along their bottoms and predatory orange-toned ships with hammerhead bows. The latter were recognizable to anyone who'd seen Winter War footage as Cardassian ships, the former recognized by those who watched war news as Dominion warships.

Televisions and holovisions across the city tuned into the news networks as they images spread across New York. Work crawled to a stop with even the most hardass business managers finding themselves glued to the news footage like their subordinates. Stomachs churned and hearts fluttered, especially among those who had friends and family in naval service as those relations may very well be dying as they watched.... helplessly.

USS Enterprise, Docked at Starbase 91
Federation Space
Universe Designate ST-3

Jean-Luc Picard and his crew watched silently on the bridge of their starship as the battle footage from New Liberty played. They were no strangers to this war, having already undertaken several combat missions against the Dominion-Cardassian tsunami washing over the Federation, but the massive scope of the battle being depicted had not yet been encountered.
"Shouldn't Ross' fleets be moving in to help?", Geordi asked from near the rear of the bridge. "If the Alliance loses that battle...."
"According to Starfleet Operation's last report our forces in the area are tied down holding Deep Space Nine from an attack by the rest of the Dominion and Cardassian fleet," Riker answered for him. "They're on their own."
A look passed between Captain and First Officer. A silent thought, a light now shining through the gloom of the desperate struggle of the past months, that yet made them guilty upon watching the carnage on the screen, the deaths of yet more brave men and women. Deanna Troi settled a look on them, sensing that mixture of relief, hope, and guilt more strongly that she was feeling it herself.
It was Data who gave voice to that guilt. "Captain, while I regret the loss of life.... even if the Dominion succeeds in destroying the New Liberty Gate Assembly and isolating the Alliance Colonial Zone from the rest of the Alliance, by my calculations it will only prolong the inevitable outcome as a result of their action. They have brought the Alliance into the war on our side...."
"Yes, Mister Data, they have."
"When you consider the economic vitality and industrial capacity of the Alliance and the sophistication of their armed forces, the ability of the Dominion to hold on to any part of the Alpha Quadrant has dropped quite sharply," he finished. "Such that it does not matter who wins today. The odds of our winning the war are now highly favorable."
"And tonight," Picard added with a subdued tone, "we and the entire Federation will enjoy 'the sleep of the saved and the thankful'."

Meiersworld Fleet Station, In Lunar Orbit
Meiersworld System, Alliance Colonial Zone
Universe Designate CON-5

The Water Hole was one of the favored on-station bars for the fleet personnel assigned to Meiersworld Fleet Station, located on the second level of the station's commercial deck. Dockyard repair crews, station personnel, crews of ships docked to the station, all frequented the spacious bar and enjoyed it's multiple holovision and television systems to watch sports together or occasionally news channels.
There was already an air of tension in the bar from those perturbed by the Alliance-wide DefCon 4 alert status. Due to being at DefCon 4 ship times in dock were reduced, crews both station-side and ship-side were putting in more hours, and there was a general feeling that this might very well be it. For those posted long enough to CON-5 there was a general feeling that if things went pear-shaped in ST-3 with the "Spoonies" and their new "Hornhead" allies, a certain "crazy Puritan minister" would certainly make his move and they would be in a war situation.
Among those who felt this way was a lone woman at the bar. Lt. Cmdr. Fayza al-Bakr looked up from her light drink, one of the few she permitted herself while off-duty due to the always on-call status of being a dockyard overseer. She was still in an engineer's blue worksuit with name tag and rank insignia, replete as it was with leg, hip, and torso zipped compartments for light tools and tight enough to make her attractive figure clear, if not completely flattered.

Fayza watched one of her subordinates, a Petty Officer, flirting with a guy from one of the docked warships and let out a lovelorn sigh; having joined the service relatively later in her life than most, her climb to her current rank had been rather fast and the work of someone who at least appeared to be an ambitious engineering officer. Simply thinking about her loneliness prompted Fay to motion to the barkeeper for another drink. She reached into her pocket to retrieve her credit chit that would pay for the drink straight from her Navy Personnel Credit Union account.
As the barkeep went to pour the drink, Fay watched him suddenly stop, an surprised look on his face. Fay followed his eyes toward the main holoviewer in the bar and felt her jaw drop and her lungs inhale sharply.
The screen showed a vessel she was familiar with: a Freedom-class superdreadnought. Plumes of flame were erupting from the stricken ship's hull as yellow and white streaks of energy pierced it, the visible main turret silent with its particle cannon barrels warped by some kind of direct weapons impact. A caption read "Battle at New Liberty" and a voice began to grow stronger as the barkeep fumbled with his remote control. "...battle continues to range in distant orbit of New Liberty. Thousands of Dominion and Cardassian ships are trying to fight their way past the naval ships struggling to protect the Jump Gate Assembly here at New Liberty. Fleet units from across the Alliance are surging through the gates to reinforce the fleet here. We even have reports that Starfleet ships interned at New Liberty under neutrality law have been returned to their crews and are entering the fight... wait, there's one!"

The camera switched to show a Federation starship, Saber-class Fay believed from what she remembered of the Starfleet recognition charts she'd seen. The destroyer-sized ship weaved around a damaged Alliance battleship, pouring phaser fire into a Dominion attack vessel it was chasing. Torpedoes came from behind, fired by a Cardassian Keldon, that blew a nacelle off the Federation ship as it moved off-screen. The sinister-looking Cardassian ship loomed on the camera for an instant before missiles blasted through its shields. It zipped off-screen with fire and atmosphere trailing from its tail.
The base PA system suddenly interrupted. "All off-duty crews, report to your ships for emergency sortie. Repeat, all off-duty crews, report for emergency sortie. This is not a drill."
The Water Hole soon emptied out. Fay found herself one of the few patrons remaining, staring intently at the screen as footage from the battle continued to play.

Novokuznetsk, Carlston IV, Beta Carlston System
Carlston Cluster Colonial Sector, Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate LRC-19

The Beta Carlston system was one of five inhabited systems in the tight Carlston Cluster, near the wild frontier of Human-inhabited space in LRC-19. The inhabited fourth planet of the system was the only one to carry the name Carlston as well, being the first planet colonized in the Cluster, with an international population. The planet's surface was 70% water, leaving the other 30% to be land in the form of two primary continents and four secondaries, one of which was joined to one of the primaries. An oceanside city of Novokuznetsk along the Eastern primary continent was the center of the Nenov Oblast, the Russian zone of the distant system and the largest city on Carlston IV. As the planet's main city and the location of its only major starport Novokuznetsk held a more diverse population than the rest of the Oblast: 80% Russian, 8% Italian, 8% Mexican, and 3% Swedish, representing the other primary colonial nations of the system, with the remaining portion taken up by the smaller Portuguese colony on the inhabited secondary continent as well as various ethnic minorities among the various colonizing nationalities.
Such a distant system usually meant that they were not privy to the latest news. Subspace communications and tachyon-based radios took hours, even days, to reach distant regions. Even the use of IU radio required a spatial relation that did not always make instant communication possible and IU radio transceivers to receive commercial and public broadcasts were expensive all the same. However, the people of Carlston IV in general and Novokuznetsk in particular were fortunate as they had recently acquired a high-powered IU radio receiver, capable of reading signals from other universes that were spatially distant from the Carlston Cluster.

That meant that out of all the colonies in the Carlston Cluster and other nearby systems, only Carlston IV was able to get actual news feeds from other universes in real-time. Now the population of this even this distant colony watched in amazement in their homes, businesses, and public bars and restaurants as battle footage from a different universe played on their televisions and holoviewers.
Different angles showed ships with brief fires that vacuum would put out, a couple spewing what seemed like mist from hull breaches, while missile drive flares, sparkling photon torpedoes, and solid beams of red, white, yellow, and blue energy continued to streak across the screen in places. An auto-translator system in the local receiver station converted the English-speaking anchorman's words into a somewhat stiff, mechanical-sounding Russian for the benefit of those watching, as the news anchor described in horror that some of the enemy ships were firing on the Gate Assembly.
A feed began, this one rougher and with writing in the signal to show it was some kind of official feed from the Assembly's control station, showing the protective deflectors on the Assembly failing. Energy fire and torpedoes began crashing into it, warping the wormhole generator rings on the gates and scouring the surface of the inner safety cone. One blast struck a central area between gate groups and created a blinding flash, the translated voice telling them that an anti-matter reactor had apparently been hit.

When the flash faded, having been auto-dimmed at the source to protect those watching, it was clear that the entire lower section of the Assembly was destroyed. The blast had torn an entire quarter of it off and knocked out groups above it as well, though the Assembly was not entirely destroyed. Those watching continued to, awestruck at the damage being shown.

New Virginia Naval Institute, Jamestown, New Virginia
United States of America, Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate AR-12

New Virginia was one of the first places to get direct word of what was happening at New Liberty, given that it was one of the most navy-centric solar systems in the entire Alliance. The system contained the Spaceyard Complex orbiting the moon of Henry (named for Patrick Henry) which was one of the largest shipyards in the Multiverse, New Virginia Fleet Base served as HQ for the 3rd Fleet, several defense contractors had factories in orbit and planetside for producing key components for starships like Cochrane drives and nuclear-disruptor batteries, and of course, the New Virginia Naval Institute was one of the most respected naval academies in the Alliance.
At one end of the Institute was the Holland Smith Marine Annex, where the Alliance Marine Corps sent some of its officer-candidates for training. Though they were an independent service, unlike the United States Marine Corps that initially founded the Annex, the reputation and quality of the Annex made it one of the most respected Marine officer academies in the Multiverse, a slot at the Annex being almost as prized, if not moreso by some, than one at the ANMC's primary school, Quantico Marine Academy on Earth SE-1.

A crowd of cadets of all four class years at the Annex were gathered in the mess hall, joined by many of their instructors, while the hall's holoprojector showed footage of the battle. Among the Marines sitting to one side were Cadets Rochelle Harverson and Hecate Maxwell. The only cadets to hail from Universe MWB-32, Hecate was of Rasalhaguan birth, orphaned by Crusaders of Clan Wolf in a bloody reprisal for attacks on their occupation forces in the first wave and afterward adopted by Alliance Marine Corps Sergeant Horace Maxwell. As a pilot she was a natural prodigy and her primary purpose at the Annex was to finish officer training and to attend the Harold Bauer Aviation School to become a Marine Aviator. Rochelle, OTOH, was born in an iron womb of the Cloud Cobras, adopted after the fall of the Clans by April Harverson - the aunt of Robert Dale's daughter Susannah - and permitted to enlist in the Marine Corps after she turned eighteen. A ground pounder through and through, Rochelle was a mustang due to experience in the Orion Conflict. Despite their respective pasts the roommates had for four years been close, if competitive, friends and were each ready to go their own way.when they graduated in the coming months.

There was silence in the mess hall at the sight of the grievous damage inflicted on the Gate Assembly, the sole lifeline that kept 5th Fleet in action in ST-3. Without it the line of supply to New Liberty and the half a billion souls in the ADN Colonial Zone would go across the width of the Federation from New Ivers, leaving those people isolated and vulnerable to the Dominion war machine. Everyone visible was hoping, praying, that the fleet repulsed the massive enemy fleet with its growing numbers while overhead the line of warships waiting for transit to the battle continued to grow.
The camera feed then showed a particularly uplifting sight. One of the functioning gates opened and from it emerged a beast of a warship, one that those cadets familiar with ADN naval ship types recognized as the first of the newest superdreadnoughts in the Alliance service. A cheer erupted from the assembled, including Hecate and Rochelle, as they watched the mighty warship turn its guns into play and begin fighting almost right out of the gate.

New Liberty System, Alliance Colonial Zone
Universe Designate ST-3

Now emerging from the remaining gates of the battered Assembly was the mightiest combatant to yet join the battle. The massive D.N.S. Vesuvius, over sixty megatonnes of dead weight tonnage and well over two hundred million megatonnes fully loaded, joined the battle flanked by a division of screening destroyers of the new Naresuan-class. Her massive turrets of 460mm Hypervelocity Coilguns began training on the nearest Jem'Hadar battlecruiser as soon as she cleared the Gate.
For the first time in her nine months of active life the Alliance's new superdreadnought fired her mighty guns in anger. Massive shells moving at decent cee-fractional velocities raced across the short (for space) distance to the Jem'Hadar battlecruiser penetrating Desmond's fleet cordon. The first and second shots by individual turrets battered the ship's shields and drained them, allowing a partial broadside of four turrets - 12 guns in all - to brutalize the large vessel. Explosions ripped from within its hull from the damage caused by the massive shells and the battlecruiser's main electrical system lost power, leaving it easy prey for a squadron of sublight F/A-35s from a supporting battle carrier.

Vesuvius arrived to a battlefield cluttered with the hulks of crippled and destroyed starships. The protective cordon was breached everywhere and the situation increasingly desperate - the very gate Vesuvius arrived in took a direct hit from a Cardassian photon torpedo and was knocked out of commission. The initial Cardassian-Dominion fleet had been joined by a second wave of two thousand more, a reinforcement overcoming the outnumbered Alliance fleet as its own flow of reinforcements slowed.

On the Dominion vessel designated ARWE-00015, Dukat and Weyoun watched the battle with intensity and calm respectively. Dukat's jaw was clenched firmly shut as he watched another precious heavy warship die, this time to the guns of the newly arrived superdreadnought. "We've almost done it," he said, seeing that over half of the assembly's gates were out of commission. "We have to hold!"
"Some of these Alliance warships are quite more formidable than I was expecting," Weyoun commented. "It appears they too have been busy upgrading their fleet."
"Order Attack Groups 10, 19, and 25 to focus firepower upon that ship," Dukat said, indicating the Vesuvius through his interface. "I want to reduce it to a flaming wreck!"

DNS Vesuvius

In the ship's CIC, Line Captain Simon Lupinsky was watching the displays show how well his ship was enduring the beating their foes were trying to subject it to. They had already lost an escorting destroyer from enemy fire but had picked up two Dorsetshire-class light cruisers and one of the Juneau-class gun cruisers to screen them. Behind them the Jellicoe and Sturdee, the class leader and the fifth ship of that new dreadnought class respectively, were following with the Conquerant-class battleships Hyuga and Bayern. The HV Coilguns on the ships proved rather devastating to the Dominion and Cardassian shields, set as they were to deal with the particle cannons and nuclear-disruptors of the other older ships. A new Mark 9 Galor disintegrated under the 440mm guns of the Jellicoe while one of the large Jem'Hadar ships suffered under a broadside by the Vesuvius. The Bayern and Sturdee finished that vessel off quickly just as another pair of ships focused their fire on Bayern. An older Missouri would have succumbed to the battering of the big ships but Bayern survived, focusing her guns on the target.
Within the bowels of the ship Vice Admiral Trishwant was working with his equal, Desmond, to stiffen the defense, leaving Lupinsky to direct the attack of his division and their screen. One of the officers, a young Korean man, spoke up, saying, "Sir, I'm getting a bead on one of their main warships, it looks to be directing fire upon us. Even in all these emissions I'm getting enough readings that it looks to be a flag vessel, not sure how important."
"All ships direct firepower on that vessel," Lupinsky ordered, just as the wrath of twenty Cardassian and Jem'Hadar warships was directed at his command.


Fire from the fleet converged on the massive Vesuvius, making its deflectors flicker. One of the Jem'Hadar personnel gave a report. "According to our sensor readings this Alliance vessel's shields employ some form of multi-layered configuration with variable wave and non-wave-based deflection properties. Our anti-polaron beams are ineffective."
"It seems the Federation is not alone in possessing technical ingenuity," Weyoun remarked, levelling a gaze at Dukat.
Dukat didn't respond immediately. "Assign more ships to direct fire on them then. We cannot afford for their new vessels to turn the tide of the battle." Once his order was given Dukat thought about it and came to a realization. "The Federation shared knowledge about the Borg with the Alliance and this... this must be the result. An Alliance vessel designed not just for their main battle fleet but to be capable of fighting the Borg."
"Our fleet has knocked out another group of interuniversal gates," a different Jem'Hadar reported. "Their Gate Assembly is now down to forty percent capacity."
"Dukat, I think we've done all we can here," Weyoun said warily. "Even with part of it intact we've drastically reduced the amount of ships that can come through. It's time to turn the fleet around and regroup to retake the wormhole!"
"In ten minutes Weyoun the Gate will be gone and our victory complete, we can take the wormhole at our leisure," Dukat retorted.

"And in those ten minutes we'll lose another thousand ships! We've already lost over a thousand in this battle as it stands, even the Dominion cannot endure the destruction of five or six thousand ships in so short a time!"
Dukat did not answer, prompting Weyoun to look pleadingly at the Founder. This made Dukat roll his eyes while his back was to them. While Weyoun's complaint made sense Dukat believed that the Alliance's ability to repair the Assembly might be greater than they expected, wiping it completely out was very much the preferable option. But he was not convinced the Changeling would have the stomach to risk her existance in direct battle.
"You have five minutes Dukat, then withdraw our forces so we can restore our focus on the real prize," the Founder finally said.
Dukat gave a nod, hoping that maybe his fleet could manage some lucky hits and manage the destruction he envisioned in half the time he believed necessary.

Unfortunately for all of them, they only had five seconds left.

At the fifth second ARWE-00015 took the full broadside of the Vesuvius, at a range and at relative velocities that it was impossible for the massive superdreadnought to miss her target. With her shields already slightly degraded from taking fire earlier in the battle the Dominion flagship was in no shape to endure the hits of nearly forty projectiles fired from the forty-eight 460mm HV coilguns on the Vesuvius.
Special counter-shield rounds, fired seconds before the others, broke down the ship's shields. Others slammed into the vessel's hull, blasting through it, twisting and warping the metals and ceramic alloys that made up the Dominion ship's structure, killing the Jem'Hadar crew and their Vorta officers across the ship. Weapon systems went offline. The electrical grid of the ship suffered extensive damage.
The armor-piercing rounds were the worst. The Dominion was perhaps the best of the native ST-3 powers in armoring their hulls, but even they had gotten too used to relying upon deflectors for protection and seeking greater speed in their designs. Where the AP rounds of the Vesuvius' coilguns would have only just penetrated the armor of a modern +40MT DWT warship in the rest of the Multiverse, they penetrated deeper into the Dominion ship's structure before going off, gouging out great chunks of the ship.

The other ships accompanying Vesuvius poured it on. More coilgun runs devastated the Dominion flagship while torpedoes blasted apart her warp nacelles and weapon emplacements. Particle cannon fire from the gun cruiser "below" Vesuvius excaberated the damage to the Dominion ship before the cruiser was crippled by concentrated fire by desperate Jem'Hadar ships, all now reacting to the threat posed to the Founder.
But it was too late for the Founder or for Dukat. As further fire struck their flagship, as Dukat gave desperate orders to break away, the Vesuvius fired another broadside. Jem'Hadar ships moving around the flagships proved a more effective shield than their remaining deflectors, taking sixteen of the projectiles themselves in a desperate attempt to preserve the Founder. The other rounds, however, hit home. The starboard warp nacelle on the ship ruptured and exploded as a result of an impact while the ship's insides were further ripped up by the attacks.
One of the shells, with an explosive warhead equivalent to a 500KT nuclear device, triggered its payload within meters of the bridge. The explosion tore the chamber apart, bathing everything inside with a burst of heat and energy that flash-fried every living thing. Even the Founder's robust form disintegrated in the inferno that resulted.
Skrain Dukat had thrown the dice. That throw had now decided his fate.

The destruction of the Dominion flagship threw the Dominion fleet in turmoil. Some Jem'Hadar and Vorta crews abandoned everything else in an attempt to rescue the Founder, to the extent that the cruiser-level ships even beamed aboard search teams to the stricken flag vessel to find her. The smaller attack craft turned into kamikazes and, in doing so, became a terror to the Alliance fleet. At these ranges even hitting the Jem'Hadar seemed insufficient to stop them. The Vesuvius's enhanced deflectors absorbed the suicide rams as best as they could while their division mates fared less well. Bayern's shields failed and a Jem'Hadar attack craft smashed into her port warp nacelle, blowing it apart. Sturdee suffered a grievous wound in her port hull from a pair of impacts and the Jellicoe lost a turret to a kamikaze from "above".
The Cardassians, meanwhile, reacted better. Even with the chaos of the Detepa Council's revolution in 2157 and the resultant Klingon invasions, Dukat's reforms to their officer corps after the diaster of the first war with the ADN had shown a lasting impact. There would be no sudden collapse of command authority as plagued them in the battles of their last war with the Alliance. Dukat's lieutenant on the Dunkorak, 1st Rank Gul Luret, took immediate command of the fleet. He made the immediate tactical judgement that the disarray caused by the sudden collapse in the Dominion fleet's discipline had made the battle unwinnable and ordered a complete withdrawal.

The problem, of course, was that the Dominion fleet had no intention of withdrawing, not when they were trying to rescue one of their gods. The Jem'Hadar ships began to gather around the stricken flagship, search parties being beamed aboard in a desperate attempt to recover the Founder, to save her.
Gul Luret was left with the uncomfortable choice of abandoning his allies or standing and fighting against an Alliance fleet that was recovering its footing. Initially he tried to help, diverting Cardassian formations to try and divert attention back to the Gate Assembly which, he knew, was Dukat's intent for the operation anyway. His orders were clear; give the Dominion forces time to verify if the Founder was alive, then withdraw upon confirmation of her status.
They were so clear, in fact, that when the Dunkorak succumbed to the broadsides of a pair of Alliance Canada-class battleships and the torpedoes of a starfighter flight, 2nd Rank Gul Uram immediately implemented them. The pride of the Cardassian fleet was burning and the Jem'Hadar and Vorta forces were too concerned with rescuing their Founder to fight an effective battle. Uram gave the fateful order: break off and retreat.

Fifteen hundred Cardassian ships began to pull away from the battle scene, leaving a Dominion force of nearly equal size to be hammered by the Alliance fleet. Their enemies were too busy trying to exploit the Dominion forces' disposition - and suffering for it from fanatical resistance and multiple suicide attacks - to engage in pursuit. The Cardassian fleet was home free.
That was, until the crash of radiation ahead of them heralded the arrival of a new party to the battle.

USS Defiant

From his chair on the Defiant bridge Captain Sisko felt Defiant drop her warp field and slow to sublight in tandem with the rest of his ad hoc force. A Cardassian fleet was in front of them, moving to warp out of the system.... and right into Worf's gunsights.
He didn't need to give the order and Worf gave no report. Quantum torpedoes erupted from Defiant's forward launchers and punished a damaged Galor, which lost its bow systems to a burst of fire from the pulse phaser cannons under Worf's control.
That signaled the entire fleet to fire. Six hundred Starfleet and Klingon ships vented their fury upon the Cardassian fleet as it strove to escape the system. The battle-worn Cardassians, having no stomach for a renewed fight, broke away in a different direction despite Sisko's inferior numbers and began to flee. Each second doomed another Cardassian vessel to being stranded in the system from a disruptor to the warp drive or a torpedo to a primary energizer.

When the Cardassian ships finally went to warp Worf asked, "Sir, are we going to pursue?"
Sisko began to think about it when Nog spoke up. "Captain, receiving narrow-beam transmission from the Alliance fleet, Vice Admiral Lillian Desmond of the Fuso. On speaker."
A woman with a quaint-sounding English accent began to address them. "Captain Sisko, welcome to the fight. If you'd like, we'll continue to deal with the Dominion forces while you overtake those Cardassians."
"Sounds like a good idea to me, Admiral," Sisko agreed.
"Good then. Happy Hunting, Captain, Desmond out."
"Old Man, plot pursuit course."
Dax reacted immediately. "Relaying the information to Nog now for transmission to the fleet. Here we go."
And just as quickly as they had arrived, Sisko's fleet took off in hot pursuit of the Cardassians.


The Vorta Sayon looked grimly through his viewer at the stricken flagship of their fleet, watching reports come in from the Vorta and Jem'Hadar that had boarded the ship to find the Founder. His heart burned with anger at the flight of the Cardassians and he swore to punish them for their cowardice and refusal to help save the Founder.
Because deep down, Sayon could not let himself believe that a God was dead.
Oh, there were stories of Founders dying. But only from tremendous effort by others or, in one tragic case, at the hand of another Founder. And to lose a Founder, on his watch? That was a disgrace and Sayon could not let himself believe he had allowed such a thing.
But the reports didn't lie. Even as his ship shuddered from the impact of more fire from the enemy fleet, resisting the efforts of their small ARHT fleet (the "bug" ships, as even the Cardassians called them) to keep them away through suicide attacks, the search of the flagship failed to find the Founder. The bridge was gone, destroyed, only miniscule remnants of those who had been within it remaining.
The Founder was dead.
A god was dead.
And Sayon had been there to see it happen.
This couldn't be allowed to spread in the ranks, he knew. His Jem'Hadar, all of the Jem'Hadar in the Alpha Quadrant, would kill themselves in disgrace. Even with new ones being grown the moment of weakness would be too much, would fatally undermine their defense of Cardassia. And if Cardassia fell, there was nothing to hold the Alliance and the Federation back from invading the Gamma Quadrant. The Dominion had to hold a line here.

His First, Huran'takan, spoke up. "My men and I will end our lives in atonement for failing the Founder."
"You will do no such thing." Sayon directed his attention to his communications unit. "All ships, break off and retreat."
Sayon, being the most senior Vorta still alive, was immediately obeyed by the others. The Dominion forces broke away fromo their lost flagship, those aboard it being ordered to detonate the ship completely to avoid technological secrets from falling into enemy hands. Vessels without warp drives worked to cover the fleet's escape while all those capable of warp flight joined Sayon's ship in moving away from the battle and initiating their drives.

Once they were out of the combat range Huran'takan spoke up again. "Vorta, we have been defeated, and with the Founder dead our lives are forfeit."
"You would have to have a life for it to be forfeit," Sayon snapped. "Do you not remember what you told your men, Huran'takan, before the battle? 'We are dead. We go into battle to regain our lives. Victory is Life.' Well, there is no victory. You are still dead. You have no lives to forfeit. But you can regain that life to forfeit it by continuing to serve the Founders." Sayon looked down at a panel before him. "We will answer for our failure when the time comes, but before that time comes we will continue to serve the Founders by holding the Dominion here. We will.. punish the Cardassians who fled and we will prepare to reclaim the Wormhole. Only after we achieve that victory will your lives be regained for you to forfeit out of failure. Do you understand, First Huran'takan?"
"Yes, Vorta, I understand clearly. I will inform my men at once."
With that handled, Sayon went into thought on how to hide the news of the Founder's death and to keep the war going.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-09-22 03:35pm

New Liberty System Defense Command, Wexford, New Liberty
New Liberty Republic, Alliance Colonial Zone
24 April 2160 AST

President Anson was still in Defense Command after the battle actually ceased, choosing to stay in case another wave came in and to give the public assurance that he was staying on the job. The system's Civil Defense Alert status had been downgraded from Red to Orange, signifying to the citizenry that they could leave the underground bunkers but that a protective curfew was still in effect. Downgrading to Yellow would probably happen when the Navy could guarantee the Dominion wasn't coming back and would permit the system to resume day-to-day living (if at heightened alert levels, with extra security and civil defense bunkers being at full readiness).
The crisis wasn't yet over anyhow. There were over a thousand vessels in orbit that had been destroyed or crippled in some way, creating a navigation hazard around the Gate Assembly. The parts of it that were still functioning anyway. Between needing to take potentially damaged reactors offline and outright battle damage, the Assembly was down to under a third of its normal capacity. This was a nightmare for the New Liberty Republic and its neighbors. The loss of so much Gate capacity would have a terrible effect upon commerce between ST-3 and the rest of the Multiverse, a commerce that fueled a sizable portion of the Republic's economy. Even the Gates still in operation would likely be devoted mostly to military traffic in the coming days. While no one would likely starve - the Colonial Zone had achieved food self-sufficiency four years before - the loss of access to manufactured goods not made in the Zone and the slowing of traffic was an economic catastrophe in the making.
Militarily the cost of the battle had been high. The list of ships confirmed destroyed or crippled was still growing two hours after the battle was over. 5th Fleet had suffered substantially by the preliminary reports, losing about two fifths of its combat capability. Somewhere in the neighborhood of four hundred fighters of varying types were damaged or lost. Thankfully New Liberty Station had taken no damage, having been far enough from the main battle that the handful of attacks on them had been absorbed by their deflectors. And among the shattered shells of warships in far orbit were hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded naval personnel who's care was going to stretch out New Liberty's medical resources until more hospital ships could arrive.

"Mister President." An Aerospace Force Warrant Officer looked up from her station. "I have President Mamatmas for you."
The Englishman straightened his collar a bit and stood still as the President of the Alliance's image appeared on the main secondary viewer. Unlike Anson Mamatmas' hair was fully gray with a beard and mustache of matching color, compared to Anson's dark brown hair and clean-shaven face. It wasn't often Anson got to speak with the President, their conversations having picked up in the past year thanks to the arrival of the Dominion to the Alpha Quadrant and then the outbreak of the war, and there were times Anson wondered if he would ever get a crack at that high office.
But political ambition was the furthest thing from Anson's mind at the moment. "Mister President, sir, I take it you've heard the latest reports."
"I have, President Anson. I'm calling to assure you that further reinforcement for New Liberty and its sister worlds is being rushed into ST-3 as fast as it can be arranged.."
"With all due respect, Mister President, it's not just the military situation that concerns me. Economic activity here has come to an utter standstill and with the Assembly closed off, I'm afraid that we face economic ruin."
"We'll see what we can do for you on that end too but it will come in due time, President Anson. As it is, we are now at war with the Cardassians and Dominion and measures must be taken accordingly. I trust you've activated your militia services?"
"Yes, I have."
"Good. We'll probably be needing those troops very soon. Good luck out there, President Anson. We're doing everything we can for you. Good day." Mamatmas hit a key from his end and the call terminated.

Anson ran a hand through his hair nervously. Everything seemed to be going wrong on him now, and he had a re-election campaign coming. The slightest missteps could ruin his hopes for re-election at the end of the year. His entire political career, not to mention the prosperity of the Colonial Zone, hinged on making the right decisions right now.

USS Defiant, Rokorav System
Cardassian Space

The hours-long pursuit was at an end as the Cardassian fleet finally came out of warp at their Rokorav base. Sisko's fleet came right on their heels and immediately began firing at them.
The pursuit itself had seen the Cardassian fleet whittled down. Stragglers suffering engine problems and falling behind had been picked off easily by Sisko's ships. And at the border of Alliance and Cardassian territory the Cardassians had run into an ambush by Alliance stealth strike ships, enduring multiple torpedo barrages that cost them another sixty ships before they moved out of range. Now was the time for the coup d'grace.
The Federation and Klingon forces fell upon the Cardassian fleet with a vengeance. The Defiant led the way, weaving around weapons fire from the Cardassians to severely punish any of their number that entered Worf's sights. Still relatively fresh compared to the Cardassians, Sisko's forces were taking a toll on their battle-damaged ships, exploiting the work already started by Alliance particle cannons and coilguns.
At Sisko's order two of the Klingon attack cruisers and a wing of five Akira-class torpedo cruisers, led by the USS Sentinel, broke off from the main engagement and focused their fury on the Rokorav Fleet Base. The Base's shields held under the initial assault but the intense fire of powerful Klingon disruptors and quantum torpedo barrages from the Sentinel and her sisters were showing their toll.

The Cardassians rallied. Their formation solidified and their weapons began to take their toll on Sisko's forces. The Defiant rocked from a direct hit. "Shields at sixty percent!", Dax called out.
"Bring the Klingons around for a pass on their flank, Old Man."
The Klingon fleet responded to the order, maneuvering to disrupt the Cardassian flank before it solidified. Sisko watched the progress from his tactica viewer and his expression grew increasingly sour as he saw that the Cardassians were proving impossible to shake up. Even dead, Dukat's leadership and training were still showing in his subordinates.
"Captain, receiving subspace signal from Admiral Ross." Nog turned in his chair. "The Cardassian jamming is preventing me from getting audio or visual, but the text of the message came through. Enemy forces in the sectors around Bajor have begun moving toward Deep Space Nine. We're being recalled to shore up defenses."
Sisko frowned sharply. He felt the chance for another quick victory, devastating to the Dominion and Cardassians, slip away. A few more minutes and the Rokorav base might have fallen, but every minute delayed put DS9 in more danger.
"Send to all ships. Come about and engage, on course back to DS9," he grumbled. The bridge crew knew better than to give any reaction save affirmation of the order.

The White House, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
25 April 2160 AST

As news of the battle had spread, the Alliance capital had become the epicenter of the reaction. Members of the Alliance Council used every contact they had to discover what was going on, officials of the Administration either received direction or tried to find what was needed of their departments, the press was looking everywhere for a reaction, all while the military planners briefed the President, the Chancellor, and other key members of the Government while enacting their own long-standing plans.
With his conversations with the national leadership of the governments present in the Colonial Zone, Nicolas Mamatmas joined an emergency session of the Alliance Security Committee. Umachov, Dale, Bronson, Becker, and MacKenzie were joined by Fleet Admiral Simonov, Chairman of the Strategic Planning Staff, and Samuel White Eagle, the Director of Alliance Intelligence.
"Clean up at New Liberty will take days," Simonov was explaining to the assembled. "Our losses are now tallied to at least thirteen hundred ships destroyed or crippled, another fifteen hundred heavily damaged. 5th Fleet suffered the most and will require immediate reinforcement. The Gates are little better. An IUCEC team will have to verify but our local experts believe that no more than a third of the gates are safe to operate at this time. Repairs will take months."
MacKenzie asked, "Our GateShip fleet?"
"Given their inability to be in constant operation they will not be able to make up for the lost capacity. We will have to ship material from New Ivers," Simonov answered.

"We'll make whatever arrangements we have to," Mamatmas answered. "I'll address the Council tomorrow on the situation." Looking at them all somberly, he added, "I plan to be introducing a declaration of war immediately afterward."
The replies consisted of silent, grim nods. There was no opposition to be had now. The Dominion and Cardassians had directly attacked them without a single act of provocation, without even a threat from the ADN government. The blood of Alliance citizens had been spilled in Alliance space. The populace would expect a declaration of war. For those assembled and likely for many in the Council, it would be a mere formality, an act of legality and ceremony to reflect the existing reality that anyone looking at footage from New Liberty knew about.
"The attack has rendered moot most of our war plans," Simonov stated, "but the Staff did draw up contingencies for defensive operations in the Zone in the event of a successful attack on the Assembly. The order to enact initial measures for them was sent to Field Marshal Hiller before I came to this meeting."
"What do we have in mind for reinforcing 5th Fleet?", Mamatmas asked.
"Elements of several fleets were brought in by the Assembly for the battle and will, for the moment, be kept on hand. Chief Admiral Darlington has set into motion taking these contingents and reinforcing 5th Fleet with them as well as reconstituting 10th Fleet." Dale looked up from his PDA, bearing the reports from Darlington and the Stellar Navy's senior leadership. "We've been holding a provisional 18th Fleet in reserve, made up primarily of newly-formed squadrons not yet assigned to task forces, that could be assigned as well, but with the Assembly so messed up moving them to New Liberty directly may not be feasible. In fact..." Dale put his hands together. "I'd recommend talking to the Federation and sending 18th Fleet through their territory. It could help them with sweeping out any remnant Cardassian and Dominion forces in their territory. With Dukat's pullout to man this attack the entire Cardassian-Dominion position in Federation space has collapsed and all that space is ripe to be liberated."

"And if Starfleet wants 18th Fleet assigned to an overall Starfleet commander?", Simonov asked pointedly. It needn't be said that the Stellar Navy wasn't enthused with giving what they considered a rather inferior service any kind of authority over a substantial force of Alliance warships.
"They're our allies now," Dale pointed out, "and we'll need their space to keep the Colonial Zone functioning until the Gate Assembly can get restored. I see no problem with giving Starfleet strategic authority over 18th Fleet if it's going to operate in their space anyway. If they do anything outrageous then we can reconsider."
Simonov was still glowering. "I suppose you'd do the same for forces from the other services assigned to Federation territories," Becker asked.
"Only proper," MacKenzie said, agreeing with Dale. "As much as we've grown to mistrust the Federation on some issues they're not going to bite the hand that feeds them."
"And once we can commence offensive operations we can hammer out command issues with Starfleet and the Klingons then," Dale added.
It was clear neither of the military officers were enthused with the prospect. Umachov gave an agreeing nod, however, and any consideration of further opposition was rendered moot when Mamatmas spoke up. "I have to agree. They're our allies now and we're going to treat them as such. Robert, I'm leaving it up to you to commence talks with the Federation and the Klingons on setting up whatever we need for a workable command structure. Depending on what Kelos and Talar do we'll even integrate what's left of the JCA into it." Mamatmas stood in his chair. "Thank you, gentlemen and ladies, for your time. We'll meet again tomorrow after I see the Council to see how the situation changes."

CDS Draxar, Hagarak System
Cardassian Union

The news had arrived a short time ago that Gul Dukat had been killed in his attack on the Alliance Gate Assembly at New Liberty and now the crew of the Draxar and the entirety of the Talarian Frontier Fleet had learned that there was shooting going on around Cardassia between the Jem'Hadar and their fellow Cardassians. Dominion broadcasts from the Vorta claimed that Dukat and the Founder had been "betrayed" by agents of the Alliance-puppets of the "Free" Republic. Fleet messages were less certain of anything save that the Cardassian fleet had been the first to retreat from the battle and that the Vorta were not too pleased by such.
There was immediate consternation at the idea that the Dominion had turned on them. Though suspicious of the Gamma Quadrant's hegemon the Cardassian officer corps had generally embraced them as an ally to avenge their humiliation against the Alliance and Klingons. There was always some discomfort about them, especially when Dukat took measures that effectively began replicating aspects of the Obsidian Order that the Cardassians were just getting used to not dealing with any longer, but Dukat was their hero and they firmly believed he knew what he was doing.
But without Dukat, what was going to happen now? These thoughts plagued 3rd Rank Gul Krucet as he was undertaking one of his bridge watches on his flagship, waiting for further reports....

"Gul, we are receiving a message from Central Command," the Glin at Communications reported. "The Frontier Fleet is being ordered to prepare for a full attack on the Talarian bases in the Ulithra Sector in accordance with War Plan Green."
"Have the Tsen'kethi or Breen begun their own movements?" Krucet was aware of the elements of War Plan Green, the Central Command's plan for an all-out war between the Rovelek Pact - Cardassia, the Tsen'kethi, and the Breen - and the Rochester Pact - the Alliance, Talar, Kelos, and at one time the other extrauniversal Humans, the Federated Commonwealth. Under that plan his force was to commence immediate offensive operations against the Talarian Steadhold with Breen and Tsen'kethi assistance, aiming to subjugate the Talarians before Alliance forces could feasibly come to their aid. But cutbacks to the Talarian Frontier Fleet to fill out the fleets facing the Klingons and the Federation had reduced his strength, down to 350 vessels. The Talarians could be expected to field three times that overall.
"Not according to this message nor our latest reports," was the answer, not what Krucet wanted to hear.
Glowering, Krucet drew in a sigh and remarked, "Then we will have to make up for lack of force with speed. Order our Strike Groups to subdivide as needed, we will use hit-and-run attacks until reinforcements come. Prepare..."
"Gul! Border posts reporting massive warp signatures on attack vectors into Cardassian territory! Alliance and Talarian ships on the move!"
"Forget what I said before, order all Strike Groups to prepare for intercept! We must preserve our positions in this sector!" Krucet felt his heart race as his ship went to combat alert. After months his "quiet little sector" was now in the thick of the war.
A war that, deep down, he knew they might not win.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-09-28 09:49pm

The Capitol, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1

The mood in the Council Chambers was somber as Mamatmas addressed the Council directly. He informed them of the preliminary findings from the battle scene at New Liberty, the casualty estimates, the military's plans for a reaction, their allies' reactions, and of other matters of import. During the session an update permitted him to inform them that the Talarians had launched an attack on Cardassian forces along their common border, fulfilling their obligations under the Rochester Pact.
Now he came to his conclusion. "I did not come here today to ask you, honored Council Representatives, to start a war. That is unnecessary. That war has already begun. The blood of our people has already been spilled.... spilled by a foreign aggressor seeking hegemony upon the bent backs and broken spirits of their neighbors. What I ask you to do is to announce to our enemies and our friends that we accept the war we have been thrust into and will prosecute it until those who have attacked us have been defeated."
"I ask this Council to vote upon and pass a resolution confirming that the Alliance is in a state of war with the Cardassian Union and the Dominion."

Chancellor MacKenzie took her place above Mamatmas at the Chancellor's position of the Council Chamber. "We shall vote for the President's resolution by affirmation vote."
Among the crowd two figures stood. They were clearly visible to all as Johann Tetzel and Gabrielle Dupont, the two Pax Party representatives upon the Council. "Madame Chancellor, I move to lay this resolution on the table. The President and the military establishment are trying to drag us into a war without bothering to attempt diplomatic..."
In the best of times Tetzel's radical pacifism was tolerated by his peers on the Council. They permitted him some leeway, seeing his various hardcore positions as tools in their own struggles over desired legislation. But today there was no mood for this. The assembled Council Representatives shouted points of order to the extent it became a cacophany of "Order!" and "Sit down!"
"I second Representative Tetzel!", Dupont declared, standing beside her party leader. "We must give time for diplomacy to...."
"Representatives, you will be seated," MacKenzie announced from her place, hammering her gavel away to restore order. "I see no purpose in trying to lay this resolution on the table given the circumstances, it will merely be duplicating a vote. All in fav...."
"May whatever God lives help you, Madame Chancellor, for your part in the bloodshed to come," Tetzel shot back, unwilling to let the matter pass without getting off a parting shot.
MacKenzie paid him no heed and called for the vote on the resolution. The tally came swiftly: 97-2 in favor of, the two dissenters being Tetzel and Dupont of course.

The announcement soon spread through the Multiverse: the Alliance of Democratic Nations had declared war on the Cardassians and the Dominion. For all that some pundits would consider it the equivalent of closing the barn door after the horse had gotten out, it was an electrifying moment. In ST-3 the declaration of war prompted celebrations in much of the Federation and the hearty approval of the Klingons. Ambassador Parmika and his staff would later comment that it was the first time they could recall where a crowd around the Alliance Embassy was not composed of anti-Alliance activists but of Federation citizens jubilantly flying the torch-and-stars.
A far different reaction was to be seen in Universe CON-5, however...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-10-13 08:53pm

Bishop's Estate, City of New Plymouth, New Plymouth
New Plymouth Colony
Universe Designate CON-5
26 April 2160 AST

The news spread quickly as the Alliance's declaration of war was announced over the news networks. The people of New Plymouth did not celebrate or generally react in any way. They despised the Alliance, true, but they had little love for the equally-atheist Cardassians or for the Dominion, whom it was said were ruled by beings who proclaimed themselves Gods. For the average Plymouthite they were all equally damned and could burn in hellfire for all they cared.
But for the higher echelon of the Church and Government, the Alliance entry into the war in ST-3 had opened a question. Very few in the senior leadership of the government had learned of Harold Smith's journey to Cardassia Prime half a year before, or of its result. Few knew of the Anti-ADN Pact that now bound their nation to go to war with the Alliance, or more accurately, to resume the war suspended four years before in ceasefire after the Alliance had entered Plymouth's decades' long conflict with Lisea.
Two more individuals had now been informed of the Pact. High Admiral Steven Pronai, commander of the Grand Fleet and Plymouth's senior naval commander, sat in silent shock while George Stone, the Speaker of the Synod, seemed to turn a shade of red on his face. He directed his glare at his leader, Presiding Bishop Hanson Leewood, and at Leewood's right hand men, Secretary Robert Keller of the Foreign Office and Jacob Willers, Chief of the Colony Security and Intelligence Office. The former had been the one to suggest the Smith Mission to Cardassia and was one of Leewood's most devoted followers, the latter was the shady character in charge of Plymouth's effective intelligence and internal security service, a cruel and vindictive man feared by the liberal factions of the Church whom he fully intended to violently purge from the Church body when the time came.
"Bishop Leewood, you had an obligation to put this Pact before the Synod for ratification!", Stone rasped. "I daresay it has no legal standing whatsoever!"

Keller frowned. Willers seem non-plussed. Leewood's response was to look Stone straight in the eye. "You know it is the perogative of my office to negotiate in secret to maintain security, especially under the War Powers Decision of '26. That act of the Synod specified a wide range of powers for the Bishop of the Church to wield without consulting the Synod if the security of the Colony and the Church is at risk. Negotiating with two of the Alliance's most virulent enemies from a different cosmos is certainly something we could not permit to become open knowledge."
Stone went to speak, but stopped himself. Leewood was damned right. The 2826 War Powers Decision had been passed by the Synod to grant the Presiding Bishop wide powers to prosecute the war with Lisea when it became clear that the war would not end quickly. That war had not yet ended, it had only been suspended by ceasefire after the Alliance's entry tilted the balance.
The Alliance entry into that war was deemed the greatest setback the Colony had suffered in two centuries. They had been on the verge of a final crushing victory over Lisea, forcing that republic to the negotiating table and opening the prospect of bringing it into their informal empire as a tributary state or, at the very least, severing a substantial swath of territory from it and requiring disarmament that would leave their frontier - and local tributary allies - secure for decades. Instead they were left with an unresolved war, an economy beginning to falter from twenty years of war production, and Lisea backed by an enormously powerful ally that posed a grave threat to Plymouth and its empire. This in turn had prompted the intervention in crumbling Devenshire to secure industrial resources, the collapse of that state, and the sequence of events that led up to the Treaty of Westminster and the newfound hostility of the British Empire and states aligned with them.

To this day there was harsh debate amongst the elite of New Plymouth about whether their aggressive behavior toward the Alliance had caused this. The argument was solid; had New Plymouth been less dogmatic about forbidding neutral shipping to Lisea, the Alliance would never have had casus belli to get involved in the war. Lisea was weakened by the war and would have fallen even with access to Alliance materials.
The only place the debate was not to be found was among the inner circle. Leewood refused to countenance the idea. It was no surprise to one that considered he had advocated every harsh step, every rebuking of Alliance negotiation offers, he had even opposed the ceasefire, a very solitary position at the time but one that seemed more acceptable as the moderate government of Tom Mather failed to win any concessions at the Westminster talks. Scandal erupted when the British and Alliance had hammered through terms that would keep Devenshire intact and require Denerios' complete independence, denying the Chinese claim on Ganzhou and Plymouth's intention to place protectorates over their occupied sections of Devenshire and "liberated" Denerios, prompting the fall of Mather's government and a walkout of the talks by Plymouth and China.
It was soon clear to many that the Alliance, with British collusion, was seeking to box in New Plymouth and to permit it to begin tempting the tributary allies away, the very thing Plymouth had gone to war with Lisea to prevent. For a short time Marcus Dather, the High Admiral and war hero, had held the Bishop's seat, but his poor health and the stress of the position was too much.
But the loss of Dather and the blow to his political supporters in the traditional conservative factions had been Leewood's gain. Leewood exploited the deadlock in the Synod to find Dather's replacement to gain it for himself and had immediately embarked upon a course for war. All offers of negotiation were rejected. Instead of agreeing to preliminaries for talks for either a permanent armistice or a ceasefire with the Alliance and Lisea Leewood had only agreed to renew the ceasefire when the quarterly periods ran out. Every quarter year that passed, after all, brought more ships into Plymouth's fleet and made them more ready for war.
A war Leewood now intended to renew.

"I have spoken to Ambassador Zhu," Keller said. "Though he does not yet have instructions from his government relating to the Alliance going to war in ST-3, he believes that the Premier will support a war if you agree to focus on Devenshire."
"If we go after Devenshire we will be at war with Britain and all of their treaty allies," Pronai pointed out. "I do not mind combat against the Alliance Navy or the Royal Navy, but at the same time? Even with our force strength as it is now, that is a dangerous prospect, Presiding Bishop."
"And what would you have me do, Admiral?", Leewood asked. "By the terms of the Pact I am obligated to make war on the Alliance now and to do so with all of the allies at my disposal."
"If we merely dissolve the ceasefire with the Alliance, then we can focus upon them and Lisea," Pronai argued. "Leave Devenshire for later."
"And alienate our only other major ally while leaving our flank exposed to the British?", Keller scoffed. "China will not go to war unless it involves expanding their zone in Devenshire and forcing Minerva and Driscova to permanently cede all claim to Ganzhou and its province."
"Bishop, if we go to war with Britain we will have to dispatch forces to cover our borders with the Amerindians and Scathford," Stone spoke up. "You will stretch our forces further out!"

"Or we can quickly swamp those meddlesome states and force them into tributary status as we should have done centuries ago," Willers responded. "The British will be too busy holding their long frontier with the Chinese and their positions in Devenshire to reinforce Scathford and the Amerindians and the Alliance, well, between Devenshire, Lisea, their own space, and the war in ST-3 they will not be able to help either. Within months we will have those states under control and paying us tribute so we can focus on greater prizes."
"The purpose of this war is a holy one," Leewood insisted. "It is to rid our universe of the atheist Alliance and their corrupting, hedonistic ways. At the earliest opportunity we must strike at their gates just as our Dominion allies did."

"In due time, Bishop, first we must secure our frontiers," Pronai pointed out. "Even with the Chinese on our side the Royal Navy is a grave threat to our positions in Devenshire. And the combined forces of the Alliance and Lisea..."
"Will be dealt with first, yes," Leewood agreed. "In the meantime, I will address the Synod. Secretary Keller, prepare the official statement. We consider the Alliance and Lisea as having broken the good faith clause of the ceasefire for failing to negotiate a permanent peace. They have three days to agree to talks based upon the demilitarization of the Millerton Salient and cession of the Palio Cluster or we shall terminate the ceasefire and resume hostilities. And you may inform Ambassador Zhu that I am ready to agree to a joint demand to the government of Devenshire for accepting all territorial claims."
Keller nodded in affirmation and walked off to fulfill his leader's commands. Pronai stood as well. "Permission to be dismissed, Bishop, I must go prepare the Grand Fleet and send out alert messages to our Fleet Commands."
"Permission granted, Admiral," Leewood agreed. He also nodded to Willers, who wordlessly left with the High Admiral. This left him alone with Stone. The Speaker leveled an intense stare at him, which Leewood answered with an intent look of his own. "Mister Speaker?"
"I pray to God that you know what you're doing, Bishop. You are going to turn the universe against us if you are not careful," Stone warned.
At that Leewood showed a content expression, almost a smile. "Mister Speaker, I am merely a servant doing my Lord's will. I know that with Him at our side we will see absolute victory."

Palace, Royal City, Devenshire
Kingdom of the Devenshires
27 April 2160 AST

The note was sitting on the table between Alexandria Driscova, Prime Minister of the Kingdom, and her cousin and sovereign, Queen Minerva. The Queen of the Devenshires, not even to the second full year of her reign in the restored, partially-occupied Kingdom, was frowning deeply after having read it. "So it will be war, cousin?"
Alexandria nodded stiffly. "I'm sorry, Minerva, but yes, it will be war." She watched the Prince Consort, Archduke Friedrich of Austro-Bavaria, gently put a hand on his wife's shoulder. Minerva's face betrayed her sadness and frustration with the situation. "I have already begun initial preperations for readying our military. We're still quite short of our goal for self-defense but Ambassador Trumble has assured me that Britain will stand with us. I would, admittedly, feel better about our chances if the Alliance were not now embroiled in that other universe's war as well..."

"That brute Leewood undoubtedly has sought to take advantage of their distraction," Freidrich remarked. Seeing his wife's fear he moved his arm to hold her close. "But even so, with all of the allies pledged to our aid, do not worry. The fight might be long and hard but I believe we will emerge victorious."
"We've barely begun to recover from the Fall," Minerva said quietly. "There are still so many former slaves with poor housing, no jobs, little education. Must I send them and their children to die too?"
"I would not ask you to if I did not believe it necessary," Driscova assured her. "But we have no choice. Demanding we recognize the territories they seized during the fall is one thing but also insisting on cession of bordering systems and demilitarization on our side of the border? No country can accept terms like this."
"It seems to me that war is what Leewood wants." Friedrich brushed a tear from Minerva's cheek.
"And... it is what he will get," she said, her voice sounding shaky. Inwardly her heart threatened to stop beating and her stomach felt sick. All she'd wanted was peace, to finally restore her father's nation and redeem her mother's people, to redeem all the others wronged by the Devenshires over the centuries. Instead it would be the fate of Queen Minerva and her subjects to have their dreams dashed by the ambitions of others. "God forgive us all."

The White House, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
28 April 2160 AST

The screen in the Oval Office showed the image of a moon-faced woman with flowing dark brown hair. After hours of setting things up between their respective staff members, Mamatmas was finally in conversation with Lisea's President Gabrielle Newson by her request, the subject matter being Leewood threatening to withdraw from the ceasefire if the Alliance and Lisea did not agree to talks that conceded territorial demands from Plymouth as a pre-condition. "We're going on a war alert, Mister President," Newson informed him. "Thanks to the four years of peace we've recovered quite a bit from our dire situation as it was when you entered the war. But I hope to God that Leewood's bluffing."
"Unfortunately, Madame President, I don't think he is," Mamatmas answered. "He's seeing an opportunity here that he intends to take. We'll do everything in our power to support you as much as we can, but 8th Fleet is going to be spread thin. And we're still sorting out what we can send where due to the outbreak of war in ST-3."
"I've already told the Joint Chiefs that we can't expect full aid from you for a while, not with everything else you'll be concerned with. But I hope it doesn't take long... our people are tired of war, President Mamatmas. We've had a few groups over the past years starting to agitate for signing a permanent peace with Leewood, even if it means major concessions, simply because of the trouble we've had economically and all the loss of life from the fighting. If I'm to keep Lisea united and in action I'm going to need help convincing our population that this won't drag on forever anymore, that there is an end in sight."
Mamatmas nodded with sympathy. "I understand, Madame President. The Alliance will not abandon Lisea, I assure you. And if Leewood wants to go this route, we will fight this war to total victory."
"What about the British? With the threats to Devenshire I know they'll be brought in too, but how do I know they won't end up making peace if the going gets too rough, leaving us all to face Leewood alone?"

That, of course, was the million dollar question in Washington as well. Umachov was of the opinion that the British would make peace short of total victory if Leewood and Premier Zheng offered suitable concessions and, something of a rarity around Washington, Chancellor MacKenzie completely concurred. Mamatmas himself had been unable to get Ambassador Shropshire to commit to any minimal requirements for peace with Plymouth although the Ambassador, and Prime Minister Grant himself through personal communiquès, had on multiple occasions assured Mamatmas that Britain would accept an reciprocal agreement to not pursue a separate peace without consultation with other allies first.
"I can't give you any guarantees about the British, President Newson, but I can assure you that the Alliance will not make peace without full participation of our allies. And I can assure you that I'm doing everything in my power to get a firm British commitment to a unified war effort in the event Leewood triggers a wider conflict."
That brought a nod from Newson. "That's what I expected to hear, Mister President. Thank you. I'll be praying tonight that something happens and we don't end up back in a war tomorrow."
"I'll be doing the same, Madame President. Good night." Mamatmas watched her image disappear. He took a deep breath, let it out in a sigh, and rubbed at his eyes. Sleep was hard enough with the stress of his work but the past week had been particularly grueling. He was down to barely four hours of sleep a night, busy with the daily affairs of state as well as the extraordinary affairs brought on by being at war and reading memos on the defense budget, force dispositions and movement, the activation of reservists, et cetera.

Mamatmas reached over and keyed his intercom. "Ms. Henley, you can have Mister Douglas and his people come in now." He barely heard his secretary's reply as he stifled a yawn, rubbed his eyes again, and awaited the arrival of his speechwriting staff.
With the situation being what it was, tomorrow Mamatmas was going to address the Council again, this time to ask them to do what had not yet been attempted in nearly 16 years of existance for the Alliance; to order total mobilization of the Alliance's population, industry, and economy for war. Though the 2150s had seen their share of conflicts for the Alliance, none had yet seen the Alliance government take such measures. Nobody was sure of what such measures might mean for the Alliance as a whole, whether they might spur discontent from various populations toward the Alliance or encourage the growth of a common "Alliance" identity from the populace from a sense of common burden and effort.
But there was no choice; to fight on so many fronts, in two separate universes, would require everyone to pull together. And as the hours ticked away toward Leewood's ultimatum, Mamatmas knew this was where they were heading.

402 Queen Elizabeth Street, New London
New Britain, Kingdom of New Britain
Universe Designate CON-5

It was growing late in the city of New London as the leaders of the Conservative government met to discuss the unfolding crisis. Sir Alexander Grant, the Prime Minister, sat at the head of the table, flanked by the Foreign Secretary, Lady Katherine Sheffield, and the Minister of War, Sir Winston Summers. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Gregory Temple, sat down from Summers, while the Right Honourable Andrew MacIntyre, Speaker of the Commons, was beside Sheffield.
"Ambassador Trumble has confirmed that Driscova intends to reject Leewood's ultimatum tomorrow, after his deadline to Lisea and the Alliance passes," Sheffield stated. "Devenshire's forces are going on alert as we speak."
"Any response from Ambassador Little?"
Sheffield frowned. "The Plymouthite Ambassador has refused all calls from my offices. Just as well, Ambassador Zue's secretary and Charge d'Affairs continue to insist that the Ambassador is in high level meetings and cannot be disturbed."
Grant's expression was grim with anxiety as he made his next question. "And Ambassador Soulice?"
He relaxed slightly at Sheffield's lighter expression. "The French Ambassador insists that the Bonaparte dynasty is committed to continued peaceful relations and will not support the Plymouthite effort against Devenshire or the Alliance."

"Thank heavens for small favors," Summers muttered.
"The French are just going to sit and wait to see which side will give them the most benefit," Temple pointed out. "It does them no good to go to war on Leewood's behalf right now."
"Nevertheless their neutrality is nothing short of divine providence," Grant remarked. The red-haired Scotsman took the cigar from his ashtry and puffed at it. "Time is of the essence. Unless Leewood is bluffing..."
"Highly doubtful," a dour Sheffield remarked.
Ignoring the interruption, Grant continued. "Unless he is bluffing, he will be at war with Devenshire by the end of the month. And our obligations are clear. Sir Winston, begin sending the orders. Mister Speaker, I need to address Parliament tomorrow. I shall be asking for them to grant emergency War Powers to the Government."
MacIntyre drew in a sigh. "The Liberals will not let such pass easily, sir. They've already accused us of bungling negotiations with China and of insufficient preparations, giving the Government War Powers before a declaration of war will be hard to extract from them."
Grant nodded stiffly. "I shall call MP Townsend and see what I must do to convince the Liberals to sign on."
"Even if they demand a Coalition government?"

"Yes." He took another drag from the cigar before continuing. "I think it is clear that within days we shall be at war, a war the like of which our galaxy has not seen since Terra's Fall. And we cannot rely strongly upon the Alliance because of the war they face in the ST-3 Universe. Our nation, the Empire as a whole, must be firmly unified if we are to see the war to come through to victory."
There were nods from the assembled. "I will contact Mrs. Townsend and the senior Liberals to meet you tomorrow, Prime Minister, before the Parliament convenes."
"If you are seeking a Coalition government, Mister Prime Minister, then may I suggest you accept my resignation and nominate Lord Baden-Gray for my post?" Sheffield looked as if she had swallowed a bitter pill. "I have never been popular with the Liberals and I fully expect that any terms of a Coalition government will include my removal."
Everyone present knew how hard Lady Sheffield had worked to gain her post in the Cabinet. That she would willingly sacrifice it was a point of pride on her part, selfish and unselfish. Unselfish in the sense that she was putting her nation before her ambitions; selfish in that voluntarily stepping down would look better, and more noble, then being removed as a result of political dealing.
"Your gesture is appreciated, Lady Katherine," Grant stated. Taking in another drag from his half-finished cigar, in part to stifle a yawn, he went on to say, "It is late and we have much work to come. I will see you all tomorrow as I go to address Parliament. I believe we should all get a good night's sleep for what we will face tomorrow."
There were nods from the assembled, but all suspected they would not be capable of sleeping well for a long time to come, not with their nation and empire preparing for War.

Watergate South, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
29 April 2160 AST

It was past midnight in Washington when Robert Dale finally returned to his current home away from home; an apartment, decently sized, in Watergate South. He had called it home since rising to the Defense Ministry and crossing the Potomac from the Pentagon, now the last of a number of apartments, homes, and billets he'd lived almost entirely for the past thirteen years save for a couple months in '54 when he, on leave, had actually managed to return home to the Dale family farmhouse back in Kansas HM-1.
His apartment was well-furnished. The kitchen was kept stocked by the apartment staff based on an ordering program he confirmed every month or so, with the living room containing a selection of replicated copies from his personal library as well as mementos, the bedroom containing more of both. He found a pre-made ham sandwich to wolf down, making up for the light working dinner he'd taken while being briefed at the Pentagon on the details of Alliance war preperations, and soon retired to his bedroom.

As Minister of Defense the widening war the Alliance faced had placed a massive load squarely on Dale's shoulders, leaving him the man holding the "buck", so to speak, on various matters relating to the Alliance military, bureaucratic and otherwise. For an undetermined amount of time his life would now consist primarily of meetings with the Security Committee or individual members of it, with his Vice Ministers and other Defense Ministry officials, with military planners, with representatives of defense contractors, other Ministerial officials, his counterparts in the national governments and their respective staff, and of course the occasional meeting with the Council's powerful Armed Services Oversight Committee and any other concerned Council Representatives, and even members of national legislatures, who could pull the right strings to get a meeting into the spaces of his personal schedule.
As he undressed and prepared for bed Dale took the time to look to his computer screen. A message was waiting for him from Susanna. She was on deployment again, serving as Squadron Gunnery Officer on the battleship Kansas, currently in the 15th Fleet on assignment in Universe FHI-8. It confirmed that her ship's squadron was one of those being re-assigned for the newly-forming 18th Fleet, destined for the front in the Alpha Quadrant.
As he read his daughter's confident message, a tear came to Dale's eye. My little girl's going to war was the thought in his head. The terrible thought of losing Susan made his gut clench and his heart sick. It made him think of Nicolas, his friend and President, who had lost his own son over twenty years ago due to war and had never recovered from it.
He turned the screen off and slipped into bed. Closing his eyes, he tried to quiet the doubts and thoughts, the fears, roiling about within his mind. He needed sleep to deal with business in the coming days and couldn't let anything interfere with that.
And sleep would come, hesitantly, grudgingly, finally quieting the mind of a father who for the first time in over a decade fully realized that the career he had inspired his precious daughter to follow might become her doom.

The White House

A short distance from where Robert Dale was slowly drifting into an unpeaceful sleep, no such thing came for the President of the Allied Nations. The clock showed 1:38AM as Nicolas Mamatmas studied incessantly the speech he and the speechwriting staff had drawn up that day.
Or rather, the speech he was seeming to study. As his eyes moved over the computer monitor and he murmured or thought the words he saw, contemplating a change here, a change there, his thoughts kept drifting away. His eyes would join them every minute or so, making their way to the family picture a quarter-century old, showing the Mamatmas family together in a dinner. Nicolas and Karyn together on one side, their little grandson Samuel in a high chair at the head of the table, and on the other end, Kevin and Claudia Mamatmas; his son and daughter-in-law.
Looking at the image of his smiling son brought the sensation of a knife twisting through his heart. It reinforced the void that had ached there for so long, numbed only in moments of occupation, always gnawing at him. It reminded him of that day when he, then the Vice President of United Earth, had been informed by a dour official that his son's fighter had been destroyed in battle against the alien Agresskan threatening to poison Earth as it had numerous other populated worlds.

It had taken years, but he was now certain the wound delivered to him that day was a terminal one, fated to kill him. The blow to his heart had left it sick and increasingly unable to take up the strain of his responsibilities. Not three years had passed since the day his heart had first threatened to quit, a heart attack that while easily controlled had served its purpose as a warning.
Perhaps his time would come soon. Perhaps this war would be the final burden that overcame that sick organ in his chest, striking him down as surely as that alien weapon had struck down his son.
Rubbing at his chest, Mamatmas used the other hand to pick up a small glass with water and take a sip. His bleary eyes tried to concentrate on the screen, but the words were getting blurry. He was tired. He needed to sleep.
But he couldn't. He was too busy. There was a war to be won now, a war unlike any that had yet been seen in the known Multiverse. A war that would soon envelop the explored spaces of two disparate universes, that would try the strength, the cohesion, of the Alliance he sought to strengthen and make lasting.
A war that would take the children of millions and billions of loving fathers and kill them, just as Kevin had been killed.
In a single moment Mamatmas' open hand lashed out, smashing into the monitor bearing his speech and knocking it to the ground. An act of violence that was his only outlet for his frustration, his pain. I don't want to do this! he wailed to himself. He couldn't take it. Here he was, overseeing the plunge into a war that would kill so many people. A war that he didn't want, yet everything he loved depended upon him going out and selling it to the people who would have to fight it.

A gentle hand brushed Nicolas across the shoulder. He looked up and over to see Karyn standing over him wearing a nightgown. She didn't say anything. She didn't need to. She could see the emotions roiling within him, the pain. Her lips gently brushed over his forehead in a kiss before she said, very softly, "You need to get some sleep."
Weak from fatigue and emotional exhaustion, the President of the Alliance followed his wife to the bed. Finally the thoughts that had kept him awake relented, giving way to the weakness in his aging body to let him settle into sleep.

The Synod Building, City of New Plymouth, New Plymouth
New Plymouth Colony
Universe Designate CON-5

The Elect of the Synod served as the legislature for New Plymouth Colony's theocratic republic, deciding upon matters of church and of state equally as the representatives of all Christians of the Church of New Plymouth. Here the distinction of "Liberal" and "Conservative" was not quite as strong as one might see in a secular nation, as both groups generally adhered to the same underpinning precepts in social and domestic policies. Their differences tended to vary primarily in foreign policy, in the dealings with New Plymouth's tributary allies and subjects and states from outside that collection, conservatives favoring a more aggressive policy coupled with social isolation while liberals favored friendliness and a willingness to congregate to varying degrees. One considered their enemies near-apostates, weak pacifists, and naive fools who risked corrupting the Church's flock by contact with the Hell-bound heretics, infidels, and atheists, the others considered their opponents hidebound isolationists not up to the challenges of existing in the modern universe.
However, even conservatives, for all their fire about defending the Church from enemies, were uncertain as to the course being charted for their Church, Nation, and Empire by their leader. Only his devoted followers remained unified in unwavering support these days. But through skullduggery and manipulation those followers held a thin majority of the Synod, so the rest had no real power to oppose Leewood when he truly demanded something.
And so they remained seated as their leader, spiritual and temporal, began his speech. With the fire of conviction burning in his eyes and his voice filled with the passion of a man possessed, Hanson Leewood spelled out to the Synod his version of how things were. Lisea, the old rival, had joined forces with the Alliance, a satanic entity of hedonists and atheists who flaunted God's natural law and sought nothing less than the extermination of the Church. This unholy alliance had begun a process of hemming the Church in, barring it from expansion, while destabilizing its empire by riling up seperatists in the tributary allies - a charge long used against Lisea over the past centuries.

But that wasn't it, oh no. Leewood charged Britain with collusion in this conspiracy. "Perfidious, ungodly Albion" was seeking to expand herself at the Church's expense. Britain was aiding Devenshire - "The Apostles of Greed! The Enslavers of Men!" - to undermine Plymouth's authority in the "Liberated" territories that had once been in Devenshire, all the while conspiring with the Alliance to crush New Plymouth.
So the charges were laid. "But God has not been blind to our danger, dear Brothers, for He has made His Will known!" Leewood proclaimed the outbreak of the Dominion War in ST-3 and the Alliance's being drawn into it as acts of God, meant to weaken Plymouth's enemies and preserve her from harm. "God has come down on our side, my Brothers, and just as he parted the Red Sea so that Moses could lead Israel away from Egypt, so has God parted our enemy's strength so that we may survive! The time has come to fulfill God's Will upon our cosmos, to crush the hedonists, the atheists, the blasphemers and heretics, and to assert our rights under God's Law!"
"As of this hour, I declare the ceasefire with Lisea and the Babylonian Alliance terminated! I also ask the Synod to see the Hand of God and where it points; understand what God has promised us and act accordingly! Declare war upon the Kingdom of the Devenshires, so that we may finally stamp out that offense in our Lord's sight!"
Speaker Stone, as dictated by protocol, grudgingly called the vote. The motion carried by that thin majority that Leewood had managed, built from the coalition of populist and conservative factions in his United Faith Party, and by their power New Plymouth Colony formally declared war on the Kingdom of the Devenshires.
By that act and Leewood's, New Plymouth Colony was now formally at war with three of its neighbors. That was a figure soon to rise.

The White House, Washington D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1

The locale chosen was the Oval Office. Once a proud symbol of the American Presidency in this universe - still such in others - it had now been appropriated by the Alliance President as a result of the decision to keep the capital on HE-1 Earth. It proved the best place for a President to deliver somber messages to his or her citizens, whether it was Jennifer Verdes informing the young Alliance that Alliance forces had engaged the Clans in Universe MWB-32 (the first such conflict waged by the new organization, it would be noted) or President Mamatmas announcing the outbreak of the Dominion War not half a year prior to this occasion. The familiarity of the setting, the sight of the Chief Executive of the Alliance seated behind his desk, provided both visual cues as to the gravity of the situation and some comfort that things were still under control.
With his hands on his desk and a solemn expression on his face, Mamatmas began to speak. "Fellow citizens, I come to you today in the most grave of circumstances. Earlier today the Colony and Church of New Plymouth terminated the January 2156 ceasefire with the Alliance and Lisea. We are again at War with New Plymouth Colony."
"The Alliance and our allies face a difficult struggle in not one but two universes now. This is a struggle unlike any seen in our history. We must wage war upon not one or two fronts, but many, against powerful militarized societies that seek to crush any who oppose their ambitions of conquest. We still face potential foes in other universes who may seek to exploit our situation for their own benefit, to attack the Alliance or those nations we protect while our forces are engaged elsewhere."

"Against these threats, real and potential, we must come together as never before if we are to protect ourselves. With this great struggle ahead of us, I have asked the national governments and the Alliance Council to enact total mobilization for the war... and they have agreed."
"Now I come to ask you, the peoples of the Alliance, for your aid, your sacrifice, in this war. I ask you for your blood... your sweat... your toil... your tears. I ask for you to accept service in the war whether it be in the mines and shipyards or the fleet and armies. I ask for you to sacrifice in your daily lives to preserve materials for the war effort, to conserve energy, to improve your self-sufficiency, and to do all things that are necessary to see the Alliance through to total victory."
"For those Nations that have already suffered War, great and small, in the past generation, I ask for you to accept this new sacrifice in the name of the Union of Nations that stands beside you against those who wish you harm. For those Nations privileged enough to have known a long peace, I ask for you to join your fellow Allied Nations in shouldering this burden in the name of the Union that has brought you further prosperity and security. Without your whole-hearted participation in this war there can be no victory, and the consequences for us all will be nothing short of disasterous."

For all his emotional control, the thought of what he had to say next caused a tear to form in the President's eye. "I know that what I ask of you is great. The price we pay for victory will be a terrible one. I do not ask this price of you lightly. It is a price forced on us by those who dream of conquest and enslavement, one we must pay if we are to save ourselves and others from living in a Multiverse where such evil thrives." As the solitary tear finished running down his cheek, he finally blinked. A breath was all he needed to compose himself from the ache in his heart. "I will grieve for every life lost and every family broken by the war we face and I will pray for the safety of those still on the frontlines. And I will remember that is through their ultimate sacrifice that we will emerge triumphant from this war. And with that victory we will guarantee all of the things that we cherish; hope, prosperity... freedom."
"I know that if we commit ourselves to this war we will be victorious. We will preserve our Alliance and save those that have put their faith in it. Through victory we will bring freedom to untold billions who today labor under the oppression of our enemies. Through victory we will provide an example to the Multiverse of the strength of our Alliance and what it stands for. We will prove that there is no stronger society, in peace or in war, than the society founded upon the principles of Liberty."
"May God watch over us in these trying times. Good evening and God bless."

A light flipped off on the display before him, telling Mamatmas that the feed had cut off. He drew in a deep breath and leaned forward against his desk, reaching a hand up to brush another tear from where it was forming in his eye.
He had done what he could to encourage the people of the Alliance to accept the sacrifices to come. Now all he could do was continue in his duties and have faith that they would rise to the challenge that had been placed before them.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2009-11-26 01:47am

Well, it's Thanksgiving, I put together this little update as a gift for the holiday. I may try to finish the story by Christmas.

PSV John Knox, on approach to Suleyman
Grand Duchy of New Anatolia, Kingdom of the Devenshires
Universe Designate CON-5
30 April 2160 AST

Accompanied by an entire battle squadron and attached escorts, the God's Judgement-class Plymouthite dreadnought entered distant orbit of the near-border world of Devenshire. Further back, about an AU distant, were the scattered debris remains of automated torpedo craft that had attempted in vain to cease the movement of the John Knox and her forces, having nothing to show for their effort save a damaged bulkhead on the destroyer Gabriel Bay.
On the command deck of the John Knox stood Rear Admiral Peter Wallace, a denizen of New Salem of Scottish extraction and from the Presbyterian sect of the Plymouthite Church. He, like many admirals in the fleet, had made his career as a combat officer fighting Lisea during the Twenty Year War, as that conflict had been called since the ceasefire four years prior. He'd spent the last four years in mostly shore duties and the academy, giving him time to live with his family once more and enjoy the company of his wife Ann.
Sadly, the call of duty had cut that short. Ann and the family were on a liner heading back to New Salem from where they'd been living on Abden - the site of the naval post he'd been assigned to - to get away from the front, and he was once again at war. And about to partake in a duty he had no love for.

That much couldn't be said for Squadron Deacon Jacob Little. The chaplains and deacons of the Church Navy had long been meant to provide consolation and direction to the men (and very rarely, the women) of the Navy; since Leewood, however, their powers had expanded to include ensuring the loyalty of the command officers and that they followed their orders to the letter. Little himself struck Wallace as the typical United Faith adherent; relatively young and with an arrogance that made him consider if Leewood and his followers thought that Christ's admonitions to be meek didn't apply to them. Even now he seemed eager to undertake their mission.
Their force, detached from the 4th Fleet under Admiral Haug, had been tasked to invade the Suleyman system. It was not a particularly important one, mostly an agricultural world with some light industry that served primarily the planet's needs, but it was part of Plymouth's bid to secure eventual victory by overstretching the enemy's logistical capacity.
"Sir..." One of his officers looked up from his display. "We have reached optimum firing point. The targeting program for the... special payload has selected targets in the planet's jet streams. The entire landmass will be covered within three days."
"Excellent," Little remarked. "Commence firing when ready."

"Does this not unsettle you, Deacon?", one of the lieutenants asked... rather boldly. Wallace noted him as a newer man, Andrew Heresford, from New Salem as well. "I understand if we were invading the world and had to open fire, but what we are about to do seems very un-Christian...."
"Lieutenant, remember that the Presiding Bishop himself has ordered this operation. His understanding of Scripture is superior to any of our's. If he says it may be done, then it may." Little put a reassuring, yet also threatening, hand on the officer's shoulder. "Remember that God punishes those who do not believe in much the way we are about to."
Little's words were not in the least as reassuring as he obviously thought, but there was nothing more to be done. Wallace permitted the Deacon the privilege of giving the order: "Fire special munitions."

Missiles erupted from the rails on the John Knox and the other battleships of the squadron. Ordinarily such weapons would carry warheads for damaging enemy light warships or even, with proper caps, blasting enemy deflectors. But these weapons were different: within were the fruits of the "Heavenly Wrath Project", as Wallace had learned in the prior months. A project meant to find a way to bring Lisea to its knees in the Twenty Year War, only fulfilled after contact with other universes permitted access to alternate sources of information and material to bring about the desired result, the weapon fired contained the Wrath Contagion. An artificially engineered virus targeted at agricultural foodstuff plants, though also capable of being carried by Humans and causing them some distress, it would swiftly kill the agricultural bounty of any world it was spread upon and leave the population starving without external help.
Wallace watched with a heavy heart as the missiles did their work, dispersing the Wrath Contagion into the jet streams of Suleyman. When it was done, a planet of two billion people would be left to starve, unable to grow food as the virus would linger within them, and some other life forms on the planet, long enough to infect and kill any replanted crops for years to come.
Suleyman was not to be invaded of course, and this "seeding" was only being done to worlds Plymouth did not intend to own. This was a poisoning of the wells, pure and simple, to force the enemy to divert massive amounts of shipping to sustain billions of people instead of their military forces on the front. This was to be Plymouth's "key to victory"; spoiling the worlds of New Anatolia to such an extent that their enemies could not win against their own powerful forces.

Yet he wondered if it would work. Would it dishearten the enemy... or enrage them? Would their own wrath be as swift and terrible upon Plymouth? Little, like their leader, was confident in God's favor being on their side and a victory to come. But as the John Knox turned away to head toward a hyperspace transit point and depart from the system, Peter Wallace found himself reciting another Bible verse in his mind.
As ye sow, so shall ye reap...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: TGG: A War Like No Other, "The Thundering of Guns"

Post by Steve » 2010-02-19 01:44am

Parliament Building, New London
New Britain, Kingdom of New Britain
1 May 2160 AST

The large, amphitheater sized chamber in which the Parliament could meet as a whole was packed beyond standing room only. The Commons and Lords were in session together to hear the words of their Prime Minister who, among other things, announced the formation of a "National Government" between the plurality-holding Tories and the next largest party, the Liberals.
The news would come then. With a somber expression, Sir Alexander stood and took the floor, informing Parliament of the reports from Devenshire. Several worlds had been invaded by Plymouthite troops; many others, however, had been subjected to bombardment from space with warheads carrying biological weapons, the nature of which "We are not sure of at this moment".
The notice of the bombings took the wind out of the sails of those MPs who were opposed to going to war over what some saw as the "mess of the Allied Nations". Grant had made as eloquent a case as he could for Britain's honor being at stake as the nation responsible for the Treaty of Westminster; now sheer outrage and disgust at the inhuman, barbaric behavior of the Leewood regime finished the work. A Liberal MP stood, was recognized, and called for a vote on a declaration of war on New Plymouth and China. A Tory MP seconded the call, while a third Liberal proposed they avoid declaring war on China and give the Chinese a way to get out of the conflict.
With the debating over the vote came, and it came with an overwhelming majority: the British Empire formally declared war on New Plymouth Colony. The consequences of such, given the network of British alliances and treaties, meant that by their act alone the belligerents or potential belligerents would stretch across much of CON-5.
The final consequence of Hanson Leewood's ambition had come, and like his purported allies in the ST-3 universe, he had ignited a conflagration that would now engulf his own.

Central Command, Cardassia Prime
Cardassian Union
Universe Designate ST-3

Sayon entered the conference room flanked by Jem'Hadar, distrustful but eager to get the situation over with. Cardassian guards were already awaiting him and they regarded him and his guards with suspicion, but they made no sudden movements, much to Sayon's gratification.
The near-week since the horrible, fateful battle at New Liberty had nearly doomed the Dominion's foothold on the Alpha Quadrant, or as Sayon sometimes ruefully considered, it merely brought it almost to fruition. He had returned with rage at the Cardassians who retreated and abandoned the Jem'Hadar to their search for the Founder and had ordered the executions of all command-rank officers in the fleet that fled. The Cardassians had refused, shots had been fired, and for three days it seemed like the two allies were on the brink of a war that would have certainly led to rapid defeat. Some Guls and officials had even sent unofficial feelers to the Alliance through various neutral powers seeking their support in renouncing the Dominion.

Then Matan Arterius arrived. The scion of one of the leading oligarchial families, one that used to dominate the Detepa Council before the rise of the Central Command and the imposition of military rule, Matan held great influence among the bureaucracy of state and military combined and quickly brought to heel the growing forces that were ready to cast off the Dominion and sue for peace separately. Sayon was uncertain of the grizzled Cardassian's intentions and wanted to get his measure. He doubted he could control Matan in any way, not as Weyoun and the Founder had done with Dukat, but better an ally that would fight and delay an invasion of the Dominion proper than a foe that would betray the Dominion.
The door on the other side opened. Matan entered, the definition of Cardassian leadership, complete with a scar across his forehead from prior service. He appraised Sayon closely before taking his seat, Sayon doing the same. "Vorta Sayon, let's dispense with pleasantries and get to the point. We are at war. You have jeopardized that war, and emboldened those who wish to sue for peace, by attempting to punish Cardassian commanders for a legitimate decision in battle."
"The Cardassian fleet abandoned us to the enemy," Sayon responded forcefully. "It turned its back on us as we tried to rescue the Founder."
"The Founder was clearly dead, and it was you who risked everything through your misguided devotions," Matan counter-charged. "Either way, one thing is clear. If we fight each other, the war is lost. I will lose control of the military and the side favoring peace will betray the Dominion."
"If this happens the Cardassian people will be pay the price of betrayal. We would wipe you off the face of this planet!"
"You would try," Matan corrected. "And the Cardassian Fleet would damage you so greatly in the attempt that, even if successful, you could not resist the rest of your enemies. The Klingons and Federation, reinforced by the Alliance, would hunt you down and wipe out the Dominion in this quadrant, leaving them free to invade the Gamma Quadrant. I doubt you wish to see this happen." Matan put his hands together on the table. "For what it's worth, I don't want it to either. I want to fulfill Gul Dukat's ambitions as best as possible. We start by ending this needless fighting and going on the defensive. We have time. It will take them months to clear the Federation systems we maintained garrisons on. Those men will sell themselves dearly, giving us time to establish defensive stations and to repulse enemy attacks."

"And the wormhole?," Sayon asked pointedly. "Even with the loss of the first reinforcement fleet the Dominion can field another shortly. Dukat's plan..."
"Dukat's plan was based on the presumption that the Dominion fleet would not suddenly attack the Cardassian one," Matan retorted in irritation. "Five hundred ships damaged or even destroyed by the skirmishes you've caused these past few days. You have gutted the very forces that we could have used in a counterattack."
"The reserves..."
"There are no reserves!" Matan threw a PADD across the table. "For your benefit. Fleets tied up with the Klingons, another caught in this new Talarian offensive, a fleet watching the Romulan frontier, ships spread across the breadth of the Cardassian Union keeping client races in line, our whole fleet is accounted for! All from your bungling."
Sayon looked over the list with a clenched jaw. "How long until we can bring the main combat fleet back to strength?"
"Given the thousands of losses we have endured? Even with our shipyards working at peak capacity it will take us months, over a year, with two months as the estimated time to get our damaged ships from the past month of operations back into service. Thanks to that damnable minefield we were forced to begin the war that Dukat and Weyoun planned a year ahead of schedule, before the yard expansions and upgrades could be completed. We have at least managed to reduce the New Liberty gates to only one quarter effective capacity, and that is our opportunity. We must throw everything into establishing defensive lines, trade systems, whole sectors if need be, for time to finish the yard overhauls and to set up defenses. We must do this now, Sayon, and you must give up your demands for executions among the command officers. Do this or I will go open peace talks with the Alliance myself!"
The look on Sayon's face betrayed how sour this was to him. There would be no immediate attack on the Wormhole and the Cardassians were completely untrustworthy as allies at the time. But he had little choice; if the Dominion collapsed here, without a fight to divert enemy resources, the Gamma Quadrant could be invaded before the Dominion was ready to contest it.
"Very well," Sayon finally stated. He gestured to Matan. "I will retract the charges on the Cardassian officers who fled at New Liberty. Let us work together to serve the Founders and be their protectors."
With a bit of a smirk, Matan added, "Let us indeed/i]." Unsurprisingly, his words had not a bit of sincerity to them.

InterStellar Alliance Complex, Tuzanor, Minbar
Minbari Federation, InterStellar Alliance
Universe Designate EM-5
2 May 2160 AST

"....confirmed that the Austro-Bavarian Kingdom has declared war on New Plymouth Colony, making it the fourth interstellar state of Universe CON-5 to issue a declaration of war since the invasion of Devenshire began two days ago. There is still no word from Krajowa on whether Nowy Krakow will join the conflict but sources close to the Premier...."
"....voted to mobilize reserves in Metropolitan France and its colonies. Sources in the French military state that many will be transferred to command of the Alliance Army for war duty, though national defense priorities would also play a part in the ultimate destination of...."
"....bond sales have spiked again today, as President Mamatmas' War Bond Initiative gains support from populations across every nation in the Alliance. Roughly six hundred trillion in Alliance dollars has already been raised according to government sources...."
"....Royal Navy confirm plans to deploy...."
"....voting on rationing of anti-matter fuel to be held...."
"....spend the summer liberating worlds still occupied by Card...."
A hand snatched the control, preventing it from being toggled to another channel. The movement caught the attention of the former holder. Blinking from the disruption to his thoughts, John Sheridan looked over to see his wife moving to sit beside him. Delenn muted the viewer as the news crew presented starmaps of the front in ST-3 and set the controls out of his reach. She said nothing further, waiting for him to speak.

"There's nothing good on," he finally said, in a lame tone of barely-attempted humor.
"There is not." Seeing the look on his face, she asked, "John, what is wrong?"
"You mean besides the massive war?"
"Besides that, yes."
Biting into his lip, Sheridan put his hands together in his lap and tried to collect his thoughts. Doing so was taking longer than he was used to... but that was to be expected. He was older, slower, and his time was running out. "Delenn... it's not just another war in another universe. This war has the potential to be bloodier than anything we've seen before, bloodier even than the Shadow War. And it's not a case of two sides who are both right and both wrong causing it, but of one side that's trying to do the very same things we founded the Alliance, our Alliance, to stop. This isn't a war where we can be neutral, not morally. We should pick a side."
"We also founded the Alliance to bring peace," Delenn reminded him. "And we need that. We've finally repaired the damage from Durla, but the Drakh... I shouldn't have to tell you this. You are Ranger One, this is something you should already know."
"We need to be doing something about this, Delenn. I need to be doing something. If I could get approval to have the Rangers..."
"John, you have more important things to do with the time you have left!"
That brought silence to the room. They looked at each other for a long moment before Delenn saw fit to continue. "This war is a commitment you cannot make. Not with so little time left. You have already fought your wars, John. This war is for others to fight."
"I know," he confessed. "But... I feel like it's wrong to do nothing. Not over these principles, with these stakes... I need to do something Delenn. Anything."
"We both will. We will sit, and watch, and we will pray."
The viewer remained muted as they clasped hands and sat together, in silence. A sigh came from both; in their time they had fought legends and toppled tyrants, but that time was over. Under Delenn and the InterStellar Alliance they had forged together, the universe they called home would remain an oasis of peace.

Elsewhere, the opposite was the same. Elsewhere the factories would be converted, the young called from their homes, the shipyards pressed to the limit. Elsewhere the gentle lifestyle of nations at peace would give way to the needs and rigors of Total War. Elsewhere worlds would be ravaged, populations subjected to shell and bomb, and the brave and the cowardly alike put to the fires of War.
Elsewhere, there would be no Peace, only the Thundering of Guns.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

Admin of SFD, Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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