Hull 721, plot arc the second

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Eleventh Century Remnant
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2014-02-17 05:05pm

Maybe I should actually explain what I'm using for a theory of hyperdrive, hypermatter and hyperspace in general, then things might become clear again. (I always liked that line in, whose was it, Stravo's signature? "Suppose that you are not confused...")

I'm going with the tachyonic perspective theory, which means that hyperspace is normal space experienced form the other side of the light barrier. So far so basic. To generate power in normal space, you de- energise tachyonic material- hypermatter- essentially by cooling it, because relativity works in the opposite direction. High energy particles move more slowly, only barely sublight- when something loses energy in tachyonic space, it gets faster.

Apart from anything else, this means that the reactor must be slightly porous, permitting high speed low energy particles to leave. So there's a detectable trail there, if a vague and imprecise one- and the most basic hyperspace sensor essentially consists of using your own fuel pods as a cloud chamber.

Your slurry of supraluminal particle soup is also your leverage to enter hyperspace, to convert the formed object in a sublight state to a formed object in a supraluminal state, and at this point we are having to try very hard to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain because I suspect that in reality doing this and remaining a formed object is actually many orders of magnitude the far side of 'don't.'

Power generation when the ship is in hyperdrive is my biggest point of bafflement at the moment, actually.

Here's the problem. Gravity well qua gravity well makes no difference at all to something as small as a particle. It does across the span of a ship. Space doesn't have to be very radically curved for a ship travelling as fast as SW hyperdrive to find itself in a situation where one side of the craft is trying to achieve several multiples of lightspeed more than the other.

On one level, this is clearly a solved problem, because, well, where does a gravity well end? They don't really, do they- intensity falls off at the inverse square law, but it takes a very long way and a long time to reach only a rounding error off zero. Even outside the planetary sphere of influence, you're still in the star's, and the local cluster's if one, and certainly the galaxy's. So, the technology- artificial gravity, tensor and stasis fields and electromagnetic standing waves for navigation, can obviously cope with gently curved space. For a practical value of 'gently' related to how good your systems are.

So, when I say that is it possible for values starting at absolutely suicidal, that is it can be done in the physical sense, but it makes as much human and technological sense as playing russian roulette with a gatling gun. You can enter hyperspace from the landing pad if you feel like it, as long as you don't mind ceasing to be said formed object. Better hyperdrives can jump from and carry you safely through more strongly curved space, but from the surface is way beyond the current state of the art. (Holonet transmissions are feasible because, well, they are just a stream of particles, are they not?)

Incidentally, none of this was what the idea consists of.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Esquire » 2014-02-18 02:44pm

Hmm. It sounds like artificial gravity might have been developed to make hyperdrive less suicidal, under this theory - a sort of protective bubble to make spacetime less curved for the jump to hyperspace, which was eventually modified into a plane to make starship architecture easier.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2014-03-19 06:56pm

Again, basically tactical-

The loyalists were right about one thing; it was much easier to develop a sensor picture than it was to figure out what was actually going on. The subspace transmission had to be repeated so many times to overcome garble that Black Prince caught all of it, more than enough to draw conclusions and make plans from.
'The fighter action was a disaster for them, and presents us with too good an opportunity not to follow up. They know that. They were expecting a ship attack, and will not have relaxed their defences against it- so what's our move? Ideas?'

How much would we suffer in a fighter attack against Interdictor one?' Brenn asked. That was the interdictor in the middle of the destroyer group.

'More than we did against the frigate group.' Wathavrah said. 'More guns better handled- could hardly be less. Six squadrons of fast strike fighters and four of bombers remaining- we'd take losses, twenty- five percent maybe, but it could be done.'

'If we were actually desperate for an escape route, it might be worth the cost.' Lennart said. 'As it stands, the obvious thing for us to do is to break past the frigates, and their obvious move is to microjump around the planet when we do, to bring us into a standing fight. For that they actually have to shut down the grav wells on interdictor three, and that is a window of opportunity in which a fighter strike might be worthwhile.

Falcata's withdrawing, we can make better speed than she can- no need to trail too closely. We don't need to intercept the frigate, not if it prevents our manifesto getting out. Problem being that they are clearly setting up an ambush.'

'Got an idea.' Brenn said, and asked Wathavrah 'How precisely can you control those rattlers?'

'You could be a bit more precise about what you want me to do with them.' The gunnery officer said. 'We have the basic modes sorted well enough, what are you thinking of, counter-interdiction?'

'I wouldn't bet your pet hamster's life on being able to jump safely out of that.' Brenn said, knowing the gunnery officer had no such thing.  'No, I know they can do shear planes, but can you manipulate those planes? Form them into, say, geometric shapes?'

'If you're going where I think you're going with this, I approve.' Lennart guessed at what he was up to. 'We'll have to do it as close to the last second as possible though, and put the fighters in afterward. Which means that he'll be waiting for the other shoe to drop. What use is he going to make of that time?'

The first thing that had to be done was to reorganize the frigate group. Officially it consisted of the light attack, patrol and pursuit lines the attached destroyers had brought with them; seniority issues had been a major contributing factor. Unofficially, major operations had a habit of cutting across formation boundaries.

They were against a ship that individually vastly overmatched any of them; collectively, they might perhaps be able to take a light or merely averagely handled line destroyer, but not the ship they were supposed to be hunting.

'We thought about this at the time. And decided to bring the light forces anyway. Somebody remind me why.' Olghaan said. Then remembered why himself. 'I don't mean that it's your fault, X, ' meaning the executive officer, 'We came in on an operations plan that assumed we would have a purpose for them, but what useful purpose do we have for them now?'

'Even If it does dissolve into a running fight, they'll be of limited use anyway.' Swiftsure' s exec admitted. ' Looking them up, Lennart is the man who turned off his nav computer and made a jump on the  basis of slide rule calculations.

Their actual navigator took a Venator down the Kessel Run in fifteen point one. Between the people, the computers and the hardware, they can outrun us and pick off whatever light elements do catch them.'

'So the only use is to stop things coming to that.' The navigator said.

'Every sacrifice play so far, he's shredded whatever we've offered and refused the hook anyway. Ineffable' s not gone but she is combat incapable. No more bait.' Olghaan stated.

'He does have a support ship, a fleet tender outside the immediate oparea. Worthwhile search target- would be worth going to look for?' The nav suggested. 'Even without existing needs, there will be information.'

'Let the frigates and corvettes scatter when he does emerge, and some of them to pursue the tender? The interdictor will be the first chosen victim, and will have to be the first out. Which leaves him free to run- how do we arrange circumstances in which we can get a gravity well on him without his being able to shoot out the cruiser?' His exec posed the problem.

'Hide it under layers of thick, turbulent atmosphere.' Olghaan realised the obvious. 'We could have played bait with them, sent them down into the middle layers where they could still receive targeting handoffs and he would have to come up after them  and they would still be fully able to gravitate. That's hindsight though.

For the moment we're doing as much as we can by having them on opposite sides of the planet, which still exposes at least one of them to his fighter wing- so why aren't they being attacked?'

The exec fielded that one. Normally the position the captain of any Imperial vessel had to worry the most about and cover his back against, Swiftsure's second in command was very relieved that it was not him in the chair for this business- certainly in it, and shouldering part of the load, but not under the full weight. 'Possibly he has some kind of set piece plan that requires a particular timing?'

'Make the fighter attack nearly simultaneously- in the same tactical moment- as he decides to come out to fight ship to ship?' Olghaan hit on the most likely plan. 'Perhaps delayed by long enough to take a shot at the interdictors and any clusters of fighters we're daft enough to have.'

'Tactically completely unorthodox but we're long past that stage anyway.' The gunnery officer said. 'Could be as little as two or three seconds to establish that advantage. Far less than one tactical cycle for most of the small ships.'

'If they're that good in a straight fight, why are they resorting to elaborate schemes?' The exec said.

'It wouldn't take us very much longer than that.' Olghaan said, gloomily. 'He's in no hurry to put that to the test, wants to pick off as many of our supporting ships- fair or foul, doesn't matter how- to get the odds as heavily as possible in his favour. We originally began expecting something like this, and brought the squadron for him to use up and waste his bag of tricks on, if you recall.'

'He' s not going to plunge straight into the middle of them all, firing in all directions, concurrently with his own fighters emerging, surely?' The sensor officer said, disbelieving. 'There's too much possibility of friendly fire.'

'As near it as makes no difference- what are his other options, after all? Would he even defend his tender if we were to send something in pursuit of it? Would it defend itself in his interests? Is it in fact no more than another opportunity for us to divert forces into an ambush?' Then an idea occurred.

'The timing can't be that close. If we can get our small craft complements to land on faster than his can abort a hyperjump, we can catch his fighters extended and bombard them, cost the renegade that limb of his force.'

At the point in the void occupied by Grey Wolf and her tender, and an increasingly confused cast of starfighters, they had exceeded plannng entirely and moved on to System D. The four squadrons of Rebel strike craft- three of Y wings and one of X- had emerged distant from target and with a bad vector, had to burn to catch up-that took them time that Grey Wolf had used to jemmy open and jury rig her own launch bays.

Fuelling the TIEs on auxilliary power- the spherical emergency generators that were popularly referred to as, and assumed to contain, hamsters on treadmills- was the hardest part; letting them loose was relatively easy, but there was no ground control to manage them- they would be largely making it up as they went along, relying on basic training.

Whether that was enough, the rear- admiral had his doubts. The ship could run passive sensors, the computers to interpret the take, and enough communications to give some kind of flight control, in principle. In practise the individual modules were still virus riddled and refusing to behave well enough to even allow the attempt at integration, which was invariably disastrous anyway.

Against Y wings, that might be enough. They were exactly the kind of light bomber that most ships' dual purpose LTL rigs were effective against. A squadron of X was a more serious problem. Then something very strange happened- a cluster of about twenty light freighters, broadcasting various identities- several of them showing as Imperial prizes, others as active in rebellion- emerged.

One of the squadrons of Y diverted to investigate, which should lessen the odds- then external loads started to fall off the freighters, all of them including the supposedly rebel ones; TIE fighters and bombers, what looked to be a reinforced three squadron wing, broadcasting regular Starfleet IFF.

The Alliance was never very big on considering the odds. Four against nine was perfectly reasonable for them; on an astrophysics estimate that was practically even odds, and quality could make up the difference. Changed nothing. Even if Y' s were a very poor mount for fighting the Empire's TIEs, according to the 'rebs it was the human, or otherwise, qualities of the pilot that mattered.

A frightening proportion of the time they were right. The rebs tended to operate independently anyway, without the benefits of GCI and with much more complicated sensor and jamming gear. The Empire's pilots went through long and arduous training, but that was not quite the same thing as realistic and effective- too much of it was classroom drill and far too much of that was political- ideological.

Grey Wolf's fighters were still emerging, slowly, and the Alliance X- wings made the sensible move to intercept the emerging, unformed stream. The shooting started with the detached group of Y at the same time.

The gaggle of light freighters Nerveless' crew had appropriated were those that were still more or less functional, which in the engagement they had been taken in had meant least threatening- the ones that hadn't needed to be put down hard, or that had the sense to yield quickly. They weren't first class gunships.

What fire they did put out was enough to get the Y- wings weaving, sparked off the shields of a couple, confirm hostility- a better move might have been to jam and blind, wait and sow doubt, then open fire at close range and release the TIEs, but whoever commanded there hadn't thought of it.

The Alliance fighters opened out and opened fire, most of them showing themselves to be turret types- the Y wing had a pair of light ion cannon that were intended originally to keep separatist droid fighters off their back; fragile and underpowered for capture ops, the rebels used them because needs must; but they were enough to work on TIE fighters.

The one thing it did achieve was to give a mark for the imperial fighters to shoot back at.  The flashes of blue fire were met with green, landing bolts of light - it took the watching rear admiral no time at all to realise that it was not an even fight. Advantage- as so bloody often- Alliance., at least in terms of quality, but were the numbers enough to make up for it?

The gunships made some difference. In fact the first Y- wing kill was from an Azomatic MegaVelociPod, which must in its' former life have been the piratical equivalent of a golf buggy with scythes on the wheels. Surprise had played a useful part. 

Most of the gunships had turrets, and while there were a couple of friendly fire incidents traceable to ureprogrammed IFF,  the intervention group did have the numbers to hold the rebel fighters in stalemate at least, or actually slowly win.
Grey Wolf's fighters were not doing so well, which was a disappointment if not a surprise. However, they were not the end of it. The IMpeial Navy did not approve of thinking outside the box, which was a very silly way to fight. They were still more freethinking than the army, but there were termite colonies with more average individual wit and creativity than the army.

Fighters were for fighting, bombers were for bombing, shuttles were for shuttling and landers were for landing. That was how it was and it made perfect sense, and no variation necessary. Unless you had an IQ slightly higher than that of a beredugian ratweasel, that was.

It shouldn't have surprised the Alliance fighters nearly as much as it did when Grey Wolf's complement of Lambdas and Sentinels started launching, but it did, incidentally highlighting how many Imperial officers did not have the intelligence of a ratweasel.

Both were large gunships, not quite a combat YT equivalent maybe but well provided with anti- fighter weapons, mostly turreted, and when they were being shot at it was usually without the benefit of flight controllers- they were much more used than the fighters to having to make it up as they went along.

Fifteen of each in addition to the two squadrons of TIE bombers and four of fighters should be enough to tip the scale. The Alliance fighters, charging in to cut apart the cloud of TIEs, scattered- abandoning the engulfing attack they had intended to follow up with- and headed outwards, hoping probably to lure and dilute the defence, string them out until they could be defeated in detail.

That was the Alliance's theory, anyway, and for the several millionth time they inadvertently demonstrated the futility of trying to do hit and run with craft incapable of the second term in the series. The difference between a Lambda and a Y- wing in speed and agility was less than the difference between the maintenance and upkeep they were likely to recieve- for every souped up, stripped down hotrod the rebels had to their name, there were at least two limping cripples.

X's were a different story, they were much more dangerous- but today there was an opportunity. The alliance were romantic- read, stupid- enough to do things like never leaving anyone behind if they could help it, and the faster X kept doubling back to cover the Y. That was the chance the still faster TIE fighters needed.

What had looked like being rather an unpleasant day was turning out rather well after all. The four squadrons of rebels managed to inflict loss, of course, it would have been extraordinary if they hadn't, but it was obvious that they couldn't push enough through the fighter screen to cripple the destroyer or the tender. Given that the sensible thing to do was cut their losses and run.

Not that sense was very common in the Alliance, but they did demonstrate some of it by breaking and running, the X covering the Y' s runs to hyperspace, not entirely successfully - the line TIEs could catch them both. Final score was expectably lopsided, but that mattered less than the ship result. The Empire could afford to lose a lot of TIE fighters, could afford to trade ten to one and still come out ahead.

Not that the pilots appreciated that, of course. Closer to two to one in fact, and a problem to solve- the rear admiral ordered the transports and fighters to dock on Grey Wolf; there were questions to ask.

When he started finding the answers, even a determined rationalist could only boggle at the perversity of fate. This was everything he had been looking for, essentially poured into his lap. By the grace of a failed gamble taken by a desperate man.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by drakensis » 2014-03-20 03:38am

Sorry, going to have to get a couple of pet peeves about your writing out.

1. Space before and after a hyphen, or no spaces either side. Which it is depends on whether it's a break in the sentence or the word, respectively. Having no space in front and one after is always wrong.
2. phrases of 'he said' or 'said Lennart' attached to the end of a spoken sentence should have a comma, not a full stop at the end of the spoken sentence. “Got an idea.” Brenn said should be “Got an idea,” Brenn said.
2.a. Optionally change the phrases to have the named character doing something, which implies they're the speaker without always saying it. In the above example, “Got an idea.” Brenn turned to Watharvah and asked: "How precisely can you control those rattlers."
3. If someone's speaking and you have a paragraph break in their speech, start the new paragraph with a speech mark.
3.a. And consider if you need to break paragraph at all.

okay, sorry. These things just bug me.

I do like the story and the current section feels very much like a submarine hunt story.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Vianca » 2014-03-20 08:11am

Grammer depends on American or British, so let Remnant in piece, would you, because to me, your grammer correction is quite wrong.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Vianca » 2014-03-20 08:27am

Remnant, if you need to get away...
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2014-03-20 10:19am

Drakensis, nope, that's not how I was taught to do it- and I don't see that the American way makes sense. Think about the pattern of speech this particular twist of punctuation is meant to represent.
It's a run on half- change of subject (or as just demonstrated a break betwen a whole word used as a prefix or suffix and the thing it modifies), that doesn't qualify for a semicolon or full stop.
"And another thing" rendered in pill form. Spacing it out is exactly what it shouldn't be used to do, and the American version doesn't make enough sense to me to be worth adopting.

As for the hesids- shesids, gaaahhh. Relax. Stop worrying and learn to love the bomb- or I may start writing in Lallans, Doric or Gallic, or possibly all three. (I actually get bored doing it the same way over and over again, and start putting it slightly differently just to break the monotony. For that reason, change is unlikely.)

I do tend to take criticism a bit thin- skinnedly in general, and one of the reasons for that is that usually the scrappier, more poorly put together chapters with most of the bobbles in them are precisely the ones where there had been little clear flow and the writing process has been patchy and uneven, and stressful, and it's a relief to get it finished and up at last, and off my back.

Vianca, I'll raise your TF43 with the voyages of the Hibiki, an AAR starring the crew of an IJN destroyer that I would have been disgracefully heavily influenced by if I had found it earlier.

SpaceBattles is much larger, with much higher visitor and view numbers in general, than SDN, and the main reason I don't crosspost to there at least is that I've spent so long not being there that it would seem odd to change now.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Crazedwraith » 2014-03-20 11:29am

Vianca wrote:Grammer depends on American or British, so let Remnant in piece, would you, because to me, your grammer correction is quite wrong.
No. The comma for ending speech marks rule is equally valid in British English. I used it and I just checked various British authors; Rowling, Pratchett and Iain M Banks and they use it as well.

And the other advice pertaining to varying speech tags and using longer paragraphs is actually quite good. I'm sorry if you take these things harshly ECr but it's meant constructively. Your fic is good. your technical ideas are interesting and your characters and plotting is strong. But your writing style could be improved if you wanted to.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Simon_Jester » 2014-03-20 01:08pm

ECR used to get criticism for how long his paragraphs were, and for sentence structure that reflected stream-of-consciousness writing. In my opinion he's actively improved in the past few years. Back in 2009 I'd hit passages that confused even me; this no longer happens.

As to what amounts to typesetting- spaces before hyphens, commas here and there... Honestly, I don't think it makes a bit of practical difference. The real function of punctuation is to break up lines of text, cut them up into phrases. The phrases need to be short enough that the brain can store them all at once, while preserving a clear logical flow.

Printed English is subject to, essentially, the gospel according to Strunk and White- but in many cases it serves no practical purpose. The main reason I perceive for the intense standardization is that the publishers don't want to have to deal with people trying to roast them for 'bad' typesetting conventions.

There is no advantage to putting a space before a dash; would the phrase above read better as "the gospel according to Strunk and White - but in many cases it serves no practical purpose?" Does that honestly communicate more information, or represent that information in a more organized fashion? Really?

As far as I can tell the only reasons we even have some of those rules are:

1) To screen out illiterates, whose real problems are usually in their poor word choice or phrasing, but who can be made to improve. By forcing attention to nitpicky details of punctuation, you force the poor writer to pay attention to the exact details of what he is saying, which makes him a less-poor writer. Here that serves no purpose; ECR is quite attentive to what he is saying. He's doing fine.


2) To serve as ammunition in arbitrary, acrimonious arguments over whether we should break our hard-boiled eggs at the big end or the little end. Which was bad enough when being done by Lilliputians.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by drakensis » 2014-03-21 03:28am

Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:Drakensis, nope, that's not how I was taught to do it- and I don't see that the American way makes sense. Think about the pattern of speech this particular twist of punctuation is meant to represent.
It's a run on half- change of subject (or as just demonstrated a break betwen a whole word used as a prefix or suffix and the thing it modifies), that doesn't qualify for a semicolon or full stop.
"And another thing" rendered in pill form. Spacing it out is exactly what it shouldn't be used to do, and the American version doesn't make enough sense to me to be worth adopting.

As for the hesids- shesids, gaaahhh. Relax. Stop worrying and learn to love the bomb- or I may start writing in Lallans, Doric or Gallic, or possibly all three. (I actually get bored doing it the same way over and over again, and start putting it slightly differently just to break the monotony. For that reason, change is unlikely.)

I do tend to take criticism a bit thin- skinnedly in general, and one of the reasons for that is that usually the scrappier, more poorly put together chapters with most of the bobbles in them are precisely the ones where there had been little clear flow and the writing process has been patchy and uneven, and stressful, and it's a relief to get it finished and up at last, and off my back.
Okay. As I said, I like the story.

It was just something I had to get off my chest rather than any expectation of it being changed. Sorry. Nature of my job, mildly OCD about punctuation.

And I'd like to think I'm at least a Grammar Commnunist, not just a Grammar Nazi. :wink:

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Lerryn » 2014-03-24 10:16am

Completely bypassing any and all grammatical debates: I love how well you're conveying the fog of war here. Olghaan has some idea of what's going on, but not the whole picture, and is scrambling to pick up the pieces of his shattered battleplan. Lennart&co can see most of the picture, and think the artist sucks - they're looking for a way out. The rebels stumbled on what they thought was an easy target, which wasn't as easy as they thought it was - possibly the most straightforward part of this mess. Thrawn just got an intel goldmine, but still is on a crippled platform... he's still pretty much a wildcard. And, of course, any and all of this is subject to change at minimal notice, especially if the 800 pound gorilla (Vader) decides to officially notice what's going on.

Also, thanks for posting the link to the adventures of the Hibiki! I think you posted it a while back somewhere, but I lost the link after reading it... It's an amazing story wound around the structure of an AAR.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2014-05-11 03:45pm

next update-

721 arc 2 chapter 32

The fighter wing were wondering when their turn would come; the miserable endurance of most Imperial fighters was for them less of a problem, all being fitted with advanced life support gear that could keep them breathing for far longer than any but the most idiosyncratically dedicated wanted to be in a small cramped box.

Shulmar had been slow to realise that he had a job to do even when they were all doing nothing; as a transport pilot, he was good at waiting- whether the fleet picked them for the job because of their temperament, or their temperament was moulded and reshaped by the job, most people said bit of both.

He was in charge of people who were not, though, and it was his responsibility to stop them getting fidgety, spacing out, wasting energy in mock dogfight, wasting time in gibberish speculation, or deciding to go off and fight private wars while his back was turned.

Passing on what good info came his way was one way to do that, but there was little of it apart from the details coming through from the two deployed Avenger squadrons, who mostly had their own sensors to rely on. An occasional burst of contact with the parent ship, of course, but little to go on. Until the plan came through.

'Group,we have our cue. We will jump to precalculated point D in one hundred and fifty seconds from...Mark. I will give you a final count, Eta relay that it is important that we arrive immediately after the big kaboom.'

Well, that was good news. Especially the bit about after. What it involved, though...

'I hate surprises.' Gamma One- Aron- stated. 'Especially when they're sprung on me by my own side.'

Epsilon One decided to pre- empt his rant. 'I've seen you play high-nerfalorum. You have a strange definition of hating surprise. Eta did relay that Swiftsure did think we might be about to try for a stellar burn, but the planet has too many heavier elements, too much fusion poison for that...What if it's not the entire planet?'

On a larger and more open battlefield, this would be a good time for psychological warfare. Above and beyond the moral effects of direct action, that was. The two remaining interdictors must surely have their nerves screwed up to breaking point.

In fact what was happening justified the usual Imperial practice of telling the crew little or nothing. Worse than mushrooms, even; numerous Ithorian sponsored studies had convinced most of the gardening population of the galaxy that it was good to talk to their plants from time to time.

What they didn't know couldn't panic them to the edge of mutiny, after all. That it was probably too late, that even if they ran for the life pods now most of them wouldn't make it, that if they ran up the white flag their own side would shoot them as cowards instead- in theory, confidence could give them a performance edge that might actually keep them alive.

In practice, not really. There was almost nothing they could do that could have kept both ships alive- they were too important as targets. On one ship, the one surrounded and kept in order by the guns of three fleet destroyers- two of which were increasingly twitchy themselves- the chief engineer did have an idea, and meant to use it.

On the tethered goat, they could see no way out. There was a limited crosstalk, sidebands only, mostly gunner to gunner- they could embed signals, messages, in the output of their local control active scanners. A simple 'ranging ping' on a neighbouring ship in formation could be modulated, scuttlebutt in action; a self test sequence could be a conversation.

One of the channels rumour and gossip made their way through the fleet by, and it was fully active now- even if of minimal help and less cheer. Enough of them knew who and what they were up against.

The renegade- the lower deck opinions ranged across the spectrum on that one, but the officers knew what was going on, and what they could not say about it. There were many who were not at all skeptical about the Imperial project- to whom it gave a position of power, authority, prestige.

They were looking at the fact that that as the middle of the ladder, they were as expendable to those above as their own underlings were to them; no surprise for the professional soldier, but most of them were not professionals, and let it hit them personally. Discipline counted for little.

On Swiftsure herself, no issues. They knew what they were about. The destroyers, with the possible exception of Ineffable, mostly the same- a being, might as well say a man there were so few exceptions, had to claw their way up to command one of those, which meant at the very least they had to be good claw- fighters. They got the cream.

Small ships saw a fair amount of action, not all of it meaningless, not all of it successful; if justification was to be found for the Empire, it was in the economics. Small traders- there was a reason the bureau of ships and services called them tramps- could complain about tyranny all they liked, but you rarely got their customers complaining about how much less expensive things were when they came at maybe a fiftieth of the transport cost.

To say nothing of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the piracy of the late republic was conducted by those same tramp freighters, when they weren't smuggling drink, drugs and guns. Too much ship wrapped around too little cargo bay to pay for themselves, unless the margins were high- which usually did mean illegal.

A thousand- cynics would say more like fifty million- local minor conflicts brought to a resolution, driven underground, or with both participants having their heads banged together. Pirates suppressed, trade barriers and tariffs torn down, freight and passenger routes opened up; much of what good the Empire did was done in the field of economics and trade.

For the navy, most of that was small ship work though- after the Destroyers had laid down the law, it was the corvettes- many of them rated in the nonsensical BoSS system as frigates and light cruisers, which just went to show the disadvantages of fossilisation- which did the work of patrol and assist, escort and rescue, survey and defend.

That meant that after the mailed- fist line destroyers, the Carracks, Munifexes, Bayonets and downwards were usually the most effective and smartly handled ships in the service, and they were thinking hard about what was to come.

It made no sense to send them after a renegade destroyer- they simply operated on a different scale; like sending ferrets after a forntarch, using trained moles to dig out a sarlacc. Unless they were Odelgian Turbomoles, of course, and good luck training those cybergenetically enhanced monsters.

Still probably easier than taking on one of the galaxy's crack ships. Or at least a slower doom. They weren't beneath notice either, inability to do harm would be no defence- once the hunt broke into open space, their engines and sensors would make them useful. Relevant targets.

Black Prince's strike fighters had paid a small but measurable price- vastly less than the toll they had exacted though. A close, mutually protective formation that covered them against the fighters and bombers would leave them sitting ducks for the destroyer, and vice versa.

Soon, the renegade was going to make a run for it, and there would be a bloodbath. Then unless everything went to plan, there would be a chase- a running battle. The corvettes were the most ready and the least reluctant; some of them were even looking forward to watching Swiftsure and Black Prince go at it in what should be one of the great ship to ship duels of the age. As long as they could stay out of the way of the occasional stray turbolaser bolt, there was that.

The frigates were the soft part of the setup, and on many of their bridges there was doubt. On the ship that had been the defence coordinator, the brutal lessons of failure had been more or less accepted. They knew they had dropped the ball. It was on the ship that had taken over the duty that mutiny was being plotted.

Olghaan had left behind, intentionally, most of the middle- weight ships there could have been with the force, had present no light destroyers and few heavy frigates, precisely because they were more vulnerable than they were likely to be worth. Probably still managed to bring too many.

As the fleet grew through the age of Empire, the names got ever more obscure, overwrought and pandering. All the good ones were taken, well before they got to anything like the three million ship fleet, which produced a rich crop of political- pandering absurdity like The Endless Future of Total Law Enforcement and The Efficient Abolition of Unnecessary Democratic Rights;

and many others which would more clearly have been satirical if a profusion of boots stamping on human faces, and all other species of face within reach, had not made it abundantly clear that most of the New Order had no discernible sense of humour.

His Imperial Majesty's Ship Total Voluntary Submission to the Greatness of the System, deputy, now acting fleet fighter defence coordinator, had formerly been RSS Skyrondel Meridian- which name would actually have been perfectly acceptable to the New Order except that the moff thought he needed to score conformity points- and he had never liked that planet anyway.

The crew did not exactly live up to it; apart from feeling that it was unlucky to rename a ship, a politically conscious, politically correct outfit is very rarely a happy one. They had had a scare when they had nearly been claimed by a rebel MC40- a light cruiser a quarter their tonnage and a sixth their fighting throw- weight; it had danced rings round them.

Their drills and moves had been theoretically appropriate enough to the situation- the starfleet was built on the back of a successful battle fleet, after all- but so glacially slow as to be completely inappropriate to the moment; trained to pass proficiency exams rather than achieve proficiency, the moment anything off book happened they were lost- and the enemy moved faster, hit harder, and did things they weren't expected to do in the manual.

They and the ship would have been destroyed, if not for reinforcements- a line destroyer arrived insystem to chase the rebel away, and gave them another chance. A chance they were/more than frightened enough to take- if they could. If the new order would let them throw the book away, or at least employ it selectively.

No chance of that. Committees and lectures and consciousness raising, and a strict accountancy that measured things that surely did not need to be measured made a bitter, futile struggle of attempts to sneak actual training into the program.

The trick, as a handful of units succeeded in practicing- such as the ship they were after, until they had decided it wasn't worth it- was to work the navy, starfleet side like a backstairs gangster politician, and work the political side like the righteous hammer of the state. Needed a bit of edge, a bit of footwork, fast wits and fast hands.

The last things that a closely ruled, micromanaged, starch and putty and gundeck outfit was likely to be able to develop. The heavy frigate' s crew was perfectly aware that they were not up to the task and feeling very much more like victims than enforcers of the New Order.

When the renegade destroyer' s next move started to emerge from the confusion, they were ready to cut and run anyway.

Lennart had wanted storm cover to fight under, and had been quite surprised by Olghaan' s reaction, he had moved as if fearing a stellar burn, an attempt at compressing the gas giant into a small star. There were too many fusion poisons in the whole for that to work- but there were layers in the atmosphere that could, there were well established techniques of separation, and there were four powerful, versatile gravitic projectors to hand.

What came boiling out of the mid layers of the atmosphere was not a thunderhead, it was a fountain of atomic flame, gas collected, compressed, forced into fusion and hurled at the frigate group. The starbright column would spread and split, blow itself apart of course, but accelerated to a fifth of lightspeed, most of the frigates and corvettes were still well within reach at lethal intensity.

They had at most perhaps a second to see it coming, which might have been enough for a small ship to react in; those that were on their nerves anyway, waiting for something like it. The heavy frigates' shielding would stand it, but the light frigates and most of the corvettes were depending on their engines to reach the edge of the pillar of fire in time.

The light corvettes mostly firewalled their ion thrusters, leaving visible trails that shot through and further excited the plume, started getting reactions from the belt of charged particles held in the giant planet's already disturbed magnetosphere; trillion volt flashes of lightning flashed through the scene, paralyzing and half melting some of the light corvettes on their way to 'earth' on the fusion column.

The mediums rode it out rather better, some of them blackened and burnt through partial shield failure, a couple crippled through overloading heat sinks, one Carrack- very heavily shielded for their size, the gun dogs of the fleet- that would otherwise have sailed through ending up broken backed and drifting when the Broadside class missile corvette they were trying to cover ate too much plasma and its' torpedoes cooked off.

The critical targets were the senior heavy frigate, defence coordinator, and the Interdictor. They were at the centre of the cone of fire. The Meridian class were shielded against heavy turbolaser fire, a splatter of fusion should do no great harm. Which it did not, to the physical structure of the ship- the mental state of the crew was much more fragile. They had seen their escorts melt away, in more than one sense of the term, and heavy support seemed far away.

The Interdictor caught the hottest part, and they were not sufficiently well shielded, nor able to move against the leverage of their own projections fast enough to run. As the plasma flowed over her, it entered the cones of effect of the grav projectors, an oddly spiky explosion, four coronas of redshifted light- then three as one of the generator globes burst.

The after port aspect was the hardest hit, the shields flared down and the hopelessly overloaded heatsinks flashing to plasma themselves, adding the chromatic rim of their burning rare earths to the detonation; the leading edges of the hull melting away behind them.

The main reactor ball stood it, and that portion of the superstructure that was in its' flash shadow and within enough blast doors managed to maintain environmental integrity and keep some survivors; but the ship was a wreck, more than half melted, projectors without power or control, engines melted and blown, controls, fuel feed and power uptakes burnt off the main plant.

No longer capable of barring the renegade's way.

The fighters that had been swarming round waiting their chance to intercept had no protection at all; the navigation shields even TIE fighters had were nowhere close to being up to the task of absorbing a nuclear explosion to the face. They vanished like flies in a flamethrower, and the strike advantage swung decisively to Black Prince's fighter wing. Who began to emerge, as it had been asked of them, immediately after the big kaboom.

That was also the cue for the destroyers to move. Swiftsure, no doubts, no hesitation; the other two, less enthusiasm, but three against one, the odds were still with them. The Interdictor, the last remaining operational, no enthusiasm at all. The hyperdrive malfunctioned, safeties rejecting the programmed course, defaulting to the line of least strain- straight up out of the ecliptic into safe, empty void.

Skyrondel Meridian was more open about declining the fight; lighting up all her navigation beacon lights in plain white, and shutting down fire control. Surrendering to the fighter wing.

This was a problem. The shuttles and transports had not their normal troop complement on board, even if there would have been time to board and secure. The legion had been disappointed- Lennart had been slightly worried by that they seemed to think everything was business as usual- but there was little sense risking them at this stage. The small ships were needed too much as attack craft, warhead carriers.

That had been the theory, anyway. Shulmar briefly considered the chance it was a ruse, a way to tie down their attack craft or reveal their rally point, before thinking of the losses the group had taken for no result. And of a way to dispose of them without risk. Give them a course to a neutral point, an empty patch of deep space out of the fighting; too far to be tactically of use to either side. Let them sort out their own problems there, in isolation.

It was more than a problem for Swiftsure. The plasma wave rising had been taken as the inevitable move and jump sequences begun on the strength of that, but the destruction of one Interdictor , the desertion of another- their last remaining- and the surrender of the largest of their second line, the savaging of their smaller hunter- chasers; the bastard has clearly won this round, Olghaan thought.

Was weight, throw weight, worth nothing? Was every trick going to go against him- had this fundamentally been the wrong place and the wrong way to try to bring the renegade Correllian to account? He had advanced a marker, his fighter wing, at least- still a good possibility of a straight fight at three to one odds.

Ah. Ineffable was reporting that she was being swarmed by local lifeforms, medusa- class, and would be unable to rejoin immediately. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst? That was starting to seem like unwarranted optimism. There was nothing to prevent the renegade running for deep space now, except the possibility of that fight.
The only purpose in my still being here is the stories and the people who come to read them. About all else, I no longer care.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Vianca » 2014-05-11 05:57pm

O, thats a very good chapter, Remnant, a very very good chapter..
Looks like Mirrannon might get some stuff to play with or not, if Olghaan has a say in it.
For some reason I 've a feeling that Olghaan & co, will get away and Lennart cursing that Mirrannon can't even wait with modification untill that damned refit is finally finished.

But then again, I wouldn't be suprised to hear that they have to paint the hull again, what with a couple of turrets now running the risk of getting wrecked.
Two three ship against one.
One ship being almost a match in firepower.
Why do I get the feeling they have to watch were they are going, very carefully???

Anyway, Remnant, a good read, a very plessant suprise in the mailbox and a worthy wait.
Keep it up. :mrgreen: :luv: :mrgreen:
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2014-06-30 07:50am

Next segment;

The three destroyers arrived and took up one of the standard options, although not one the watchers could claim to have been expecting; they fanned out, then rolled and pitched into a triangular, bows- outward, mutual protective formation, as close as you were ever likely to be able to get to back- to- back.

If they had a definite target, they could roll out at a moment's notice to a more conventional attack formation, but they had not- yet. There was nothing stopping the renegade launching another plasma bolt, so no point gathering in the smaller ships, such as had survived.

Only his own fighters, which represented a frightening concentration of mobile firepower. Swiftsure, Forntarch Rampant and Y were launching their own as fast as they could, that had been part of the plan, but the plan had also called for eighteen squadrons' worth of line TIEs and six of attack- boat hunting Bombers to be there as hammer to the three destroyer wings now deploying.

Without them, ten squadrons of advanced heavy fighters, skilled and hardened and used to fighting other Imperial forces, and ten squadrons of ship killing attack boats, turrets spitting fire, were an overmatch. Falcata's heavy lasers were out of play- being chased by the local lifeforms- otherwise they would be ideal for hosing down the swarm, many of which could survive a single LTL hit.

Flak bursts would work- more so as the main targets were the three destroyers, all of whose shielding could withstand it; was Lennart cold blooded enough to sacrifice his fighter crews to gain a tactical advantage, the mode switching time in a scenario where seconds counted? Stupid question- he had been perfectly willing to kill thousands earlier.

He would let them do that then, set for emergency measures, then take advantage of that- why was he not more visible now? Neutrino and tachyon emissions suggested close- but that was no surprise. The fusion column should have been a giveaway, the gravitics used to make it happen should have drawn a bullseye: but the hash coming off it-

His EW people had used the plasma column as a resonator, as a giant emitter antenna; exactly the way that modern sensors were supposed to be able to filter out and see past, but they had the same set of filters, the same knowledge- and they had been quick enough to think of it.

'Squadron maximum evasive.' Olghaan ordered, expecting what was coming next, and right to do so. Black Prince appeared to them directly for the first time in the entire action- porpoising out of the upper opaque cloud layer, becoming hard and distinct against the clutter for the first time; three thousand kilometres from the base of the plasma stream.

Her refit had left the veteran destroyer with many weapon mounts, most of them with individually large arcs of fire, but placed to avoid the existence of all but the inevitable stern blind spot; there was only a very small space, dead ahead, where port, starboard, bow, dorsal and belly turrets could all see and shoot.

The multicoloured renegade pitched up and rolled slightly to bring the sweet spot directly across Forntarch Rampant, who had recieved the warning only just in time- a good ship but not a crack one, they were ready to roll and go, flashed power to engines, jammers, shields in that order, and it was the right order.

It was a snapshot, not really aimed, not based on running counter- countermeasures, just line up, best judgement, and shoot; this was the first time most of the gun mounts had fired live shot in anger. Against full evasion, the result was not quite up to the veteran destroyer's usual standards.

The inevitable Aldrem managed to land one hit, three of the light 32's connected with the corkscrewing line destroyer, one of the long- barrelled quad 70's, from the bow battery, landed two of its' track of bolts, two of the ion cannon splashed lightning over Forntarch Rampant, one only of the standard heavy 175's landed its' bolt, and the whole still added up, a primal pasade of thermal hammers, to more than the shield grid could surge.

Forntarch Rampant was Kuat built, and KDY had been coasting on their reputation a little lately. The bulk of the hits came in on the port side aft, superstructure and hull. As the loyalist tried to corkscrew out of the way and her gunners scattered officially approved monochrome green bolts back in return, the heavy dorsal 320 landed and struck the ship outboard of the lower port secondary engine.

Not a pierce, her shields could just handle that- Aldrem cursing and trying to will a faster cycle time out of the power converters- but a rolling blue white optical scream and a sudden pulse of neutrinos as they were hard stressed by the heavy bolt, and the rest took advantage.

Upgraded but unfamiliar control and weapon engineering management systems, better in principle but not yet worked up to full familiarity, not yet an advantage. The second hit cost the shields what integrity they had recovered, the first ion bolt brought them to zero at last and left a carbon score under dancing lightning.

The second ion bolt hit on the brim trench as the ship rolled- there was a bluegreen flare as one point defence cluster caught much of the force, shorted and blew, but that was much less than the damage could have been. Forty metres inboard and it would have disabled one of the switching junctions that fed the port- aft heat sink array.

That was bad, but not irrecoverable. The last two shot from this pass hit the lower superstructure, quarters and classrooms and administration- the greatest tactical disablement was the fighter direction centre, lost on the hot green wind that blasted the soft tissue off the structural bones of the ship and left a wobbling, precariously propped bridge tower over a molten spiderweb of beams.

The renegade was already rolling and diving for cover, but leaving another nasty surprise for the loyalists to be drawn by. There may- almost certainly were- com scan officers aboard the loyalist destroyers that noticed a faint sequence of magnetic transients just before the plasma column, but if anyone among them had been able to ignore the big picture and concentrate on their detail, and recognize swim- out torpedo launches, they had not yet managed to pass it up to command level.

Forty rounds, and a psychological advantage. It was not even at all costs, casualties irrelevant Imperial doctrine to put fighter attacks through space that was about to be filled with large explosions; there had to be a limit somewhere. Present the loyalist commander, Olghaan, with an apparent nonsense and he could either choose to accept it as evidence that the renegade, Lennart, really had made a long- overdue mistake, or that it was a deliberate sacrifice play...or a feint at one, which left him trying to pull an answer out of an inconveniently large possibility space.

It was possible that the torpedo volley would do as much damage to Lennart' s fighters, more, than to the three ships. The obvious target was Forntarch, of course- already wounded. Partially compromised. Worth moving to protect? Hopefully. That would work, that could be fitted into the plan.

Shulmar was surprised too, first by the heavy torpedoes themselves that were so obviously a blast hazard to him- what was the skipper doing?- then by the torps themselves, signalling group command, him, that they were on independent/ command override guidance. Terminal control and targeting were his. It was a kriff of a last minute addition to the fire plan, but it did potentially avoid fratricide, and handed him a very large hammer.

Tactical analysis, quick and dirty guesses that were they done properly would be called operational research, had never really been a strength of the Imperial Starfleet. Olghaan would work it out from ESM, but probably not in time. Grab and throw half of them at each undamaged destroyer, perhaps- no. Use the missiles to pin down the point defence of the more capable, and prevent it from supporting the others against the fighter attack.

Which would make Swiftsure the target. Launched from very close range as these things went, they had enormous reserves of motor energy, enough to make themselves very difficult targets on the way in.

It all came together in a symphony of shock and violence that Olghaan could only admire as he snapped out orders to disrupt it. Roll to bear and main guns fire on the disappearing renegade, largely guesswork as switch EW priorities to full antimissile defensive, point and area defence order of engagement direct bearings first, fighters scatter away from the blast then vector on the enemy Correllian pirate- transports that should be the renegade fighter command and control.

The fire plan would have done well enough against a standard target. The heavy turbolaser bolts burned huge green blisters in the planet's abused atmosphere, shedding much of their energy in wasteful display, but sending shock waves that could in theory reveal their target, as well as putting some energy in to the shields from blast and flash- although nowhere near as much as a direct hit.

Most of the fire was directed on the assumption that the loyalists were shooting at a star destroyer. A more or less lollipop shaped distribution of shot that was actually based on assumptions about how long it took to pass and act on helm orders. Agile mechanically, but too many layers of command, could manoeuvre more quickly than it could decide to do so. A period of level diving away before an evasion order could be passed and acted on.

Olghaan would have known better if he had time to spare to think at all, but Shulmar had been coincidentally correct- directing the torpedo volley to deny him room to grasp the situation. Black Prince's helm and EW crews were too used to working together, to threading the needle; vague indications in the haze, but enough flickers and partial touches to make the fire pattern clear, and a rolling dive to deeper gas and thicker deception.

Another porpoise manoeuvre in due course- in a few seconds in fact, to support the fighters. The move would outstay its' usefulness eventually, but not yet. They would come to expect it, now what dummy to sell them? They could fire into the cloud, but that was as good as almost an entire other course of shielding, but the holes blown in it from giving and taking fire did suggest a move.

There was some shot coming down, but the bulk of the three loyalist ships' attention was on the fighters and attack boats. Now, perhaps because of the Force, the technologies involved were only as smart as their users. The ability to do immense violence, yoked to tiny, squishy, terrified beings. Something of a miracle that there are not more Alderaan incidents scattered throughout galactic history.

It is said by one of the most instructive examples of a slightly parallel universe that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb. Pause for a moment to consider what 'instructive example' really means, before noticing that tactically speaking, the short, wide- headed one may have a point. There is a naivety about raw, freshly- minted good in particular that yes, is dumb, and can easily be tricked and scammed.

Nobody sees their own faults clearly, and the fault too large for the mind's eye to compass here is that the sharp practise of evil does not produce a civilisation, does not make for order, can only produce a volatile, unstable armed truce, waiting for the spark- or the carelessly turned back. Conformity, yet, can be enforced only at the price of bad blood, of force and punishment and sparks.

Good may sometimes lose, here and now, but in the long run it is far and away the better bet because it builds stronger civilisations, better causes to fight for- and better tools of war, when it comes to it. Olghaan's crew were about the best there could be, within the system and its' strictures, within the psychic universe of stability, conformity and all its' baby- raping contradictions.

They could keep a faint trace on the renegade as he twisted and rolled away, enough to put down a close salvo- manoeuvre offensively to bring guns to bear and let the next split second worry about the incoming- ten triples, thirty guns firing- it was not doctrine to snap straight into maximum yield burst fire from cold. Ruined the barrel life, gave an excellent chance to find out the hard way if maintenance had been goofing off on the job.

Being able to think that way was also the luxury of naivety. Of assuming that the fights were all going to be open space set pieces, with time to see and manoeuvre, warm up the guns, prepare and clear for action, that in short the enemy was going to follow the script.

The Alliance to Restore the Republic was sometimes that stupid, influenced by theories of the monolithic grandeur and dignity as symbols of state power that rested in the ships of the line, but the Rebel Alliance very seldom- and Imperial renegades apparently not at all. They were also rather good at the techno union triple shimmy, if Olghaan recognised the move.

It wasn't, quite- but close. Three crashes of fire, one shot from the first salvo hitting, second completely outdanced, but two bolts connected from he third fire pattern. There were the flares of neutrinos from the shields and heat-sinks that signalled bleedoff- smooth edged though, not the sharp jagged seismic-shapes of penetration. Better steering cues, though.

Fire could not be sustained, because then it was the next split second and time to worry about forty incoming torpedoes, and shifting to bring point defence to bear. It would have been good to be able to see how the attrition ran before committing area defence, but there would be no time, and Swiftsure's gunnery officer switched them to supporting Forntarch.

Politically right- if the flag had gone onto total self protection mode it would have sent the wrong message entirely, there could easily be more desertions and refusals of duty; but given the weapons in play, debatable.

Dodgy advanced logics made what should have been a straightforward interception much more difficult; sensor- sharing, networked weapons relying that the defenders would not have time to bring the weight of their electronic warfare advantage to bear- and they were right- much more able than a standard load to sidestep defensive fire and close for the kill.

Forntarch had many more- looked like four, five hundred rounds of fighter torpedo fire heading towards her. Not an alpha strike, a maximum effort- the renegade's fighters looked to have loosed half their payload each on the wounded destroyer. They could do as much again, then, they hadn't shot their bolt, they were still a threat and the thing in the mist didn't have to come out to support and replenish them- and five hundred might be enough.

The renegade's fighters danced out of the crossfire, weaving and scissoring to avoid overs from the ships pouring out defensive laser bolts, snap off the few defensing TIEs that had managed to stay with them. They were good. It was possible to train and strain and practise and sweat, and learn nothing at all- if the exercises were unrealistic, the training norms set according to prewar theory and bureaucratic fantasy;

If the notions according by which one was trained were wishful thinking and management nonsense, and were prevented from changing by political orthodoxy as well as sheer inertia from the size of the organisation, then training could amount to no more than a guide to elaborate, expensive ritual suicide. Too many raw, new TIE pilots went through that.

Swiftsure's wing were better than that, but the were only one in three. The pace was set by the retreating Starwings, which all but the loyalist Bombers could catch, but that left the Hunters and Avengers with thrust to spare to support them. The faster Interceptors were the first to catch them, eight to one odds- fanning out to perform the book attack against fleeing bombers, they as doctrine required paid little heed to the defending fighters.

'No wonder the alliance still exists. They're idiots.' Was Aron's comment, and epitaph on the flight leader he picked out for his own target, disabled with long range ion and switched to grouped up all guns to kill it before anyone else had a chance.

I know more of what's really going on than most of my comrades, most of them are happy to take the captain's- and my- word for it, we're not totally against the empire, just almost everybody in it it seems at times, but kriffit I do feel like a renegade.

There's nothing wrong with the TIE Fighter, as a piece of machinery, really; nothing that disintegrating every last damned glorified paper- pusher in training and doctrine commands and starting again with, oh, actual fighter pilots couldn't fix. Which will never happen under the New Order, which in itself is worth rebelling against.

Not that a universe of total law is worth fighting for, or that anyone high up in the Empire believes in it anyway really, it's just a weapon of politics, just another big lie in an endless parade of them. Most of us are murderers by temperament anyway and the law of the jungle suits us just fine, even if they are fighting badly for a bad cause they'd still kill me if they could, if there are any of them left to try.

Well, another hundred thousand or so fleet forward deployed fighter wings to go after this lot, then the second line and second- rate based on smaller ships, then patrol, territorial and urgh, army to go- and how many of them are better than us? They might stand a chance if they all came at us at once, not otherwise.

The main problem is that we don't have time to play with them, there are warheads to deliver and ship targets to kill- oh, would you look at that.

'That' was the wave of impacts on Forntarch. Medium to long range shot, it was only expectable that she should be able to shoot down some of the incoming- but there were far too many, too well tied in together, for her to stop them all.

They dodged, they jinked, they broke locks, they drew defensive fire away from the pack, they scattered at the touch of a fire control beam- about the only thing that could be said in their favour as targets was that they still blew up when they were hit. They had no more total delta-V than a normal torp, but better engine management software so that was cold comfort.

Forntarch's defensive fire started out with block salvos, all guns that could bear firing on the same part of the cloud on the same timing signal, but that soon turned to nonsense, the missiles zigged out of the way too readily. They might run the attack out of energy like that, but not in time, not with the distance they had. Group fires made better use of the heads they had.

Deception jamming- subtle confusion- achieved relatively little, there were too many outriders out of the cone of effect, too many separate targets. Barrage jamming was more effective, more likely to interfere with the networking signals between missiles; but the earlier damage had left them with holes in their emitter set, and it took a few seconds too long and a few missed opportunities too many to coordinate jamming and gunfire.

Point defence fired up at the inner engagement envelope, doctrine but too late- they should have been taking long shots, taking every chance they could. The predicted course of events couldn't be worse, after all.

Predictions turned out, in the end, to be slightly optimistic. Standard collision course fire and forget target seekers, even five hundred might only just have been enough to swamp the defences and land a few hits- not enough for a kill. Larger, more advanced warheads-

A tithe at most shot down by area, less to point defence too busy chasing targets, the predicted wall of shot breaking down; a few killed by fratricide, more killed by the delaying evasions necessary to avoid fratricide and the chances that gave point defence; more killed by Swiftsure's supporting fire, a few brought down by the shields flaring out and the heat sinks being focused on them- good lateral thinking there- but three hundred and forty hit.

A few individual flashes, but mostly bursts as half a dozen found the same hole and darted in, flares and splashes as groups of warheads found their endpoint and detonated. The look, and the effect, was not far off that of a rolling broadside.

When the radiation blooms cleared, the result was a wreck. The better of the two supporting destroyers Olghaan still had in play, which was why she had been chosen as a target, Forntarch had been well looked after by a good crew, which was the main reason any of her was still there. Gaping, glowing edged rents in the outer skin, venting atmosphere and vapour from flare- blasted structure, surrounded by blown off debris, electronically inert- almost certainly a constructive total loss, no longer combat capable, but not destroyed entirely.

A combat kill. Good enough. Also quite useful in distracting the prime target, the enemy flag, away from her own position of self defence against the heavy warheads reaching for her.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Vianca » 2014-06-30 02:26pm

Nice update, looks like somebody ain't quite heappy right now.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by kbird » 2014-06-30 07:16pm

Excellent as usual, still the most exciting Star Wars fights around.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Eleventh Century Remnant » 2014-06-30 08:01pm

Thank you- although there is one notable mistake; when I was writing this in the usual, scrappy, haphazard manner these days, I actually forgot what one of Olghaan's destroyers was called. Managed to retrieve the other one, but for most of the process I was referring to X and Y, intending to put them in when it was done- and you can still find the odd Y here and there.

There are moments when I think I'm spitting into the wind, that the board doesn't really care about Star Wars anymore and I'm basically running out of audience, which is the main reason chapters are coming so slowly- see what I can do for the next one.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Andras » 2014-06-30 08:22pm

I'm still reading! Nice to see the old girl's big guns back in action.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by RecklessPrudence » 2014-06-30 11:11pm

Definitely still reading! Just often find it some time after it's been posted, and don't want to necro.

Black Prince has still got it! And yeah, in all of that decreasing blind spots it makes sense that the alpha arc suffered a bit - didn't think of that, just blithely assumed that it would be staying the same or expanding. I like the comment on Good vs Evil and what that means for civilisations.

I feel kind of sorry for Forntarch's crew. They did their jobs and were more than competent at it, the best to be selected for this mission outside of the flag. If they didn't excel to the standards of Swiftsure and Black Prince, well, that's a high bar to set. They likely know even less about what's really going on than the people aboard Swiftsure, but as far as they're concerned, they're in the right. And then this renegade heavy destroyer that's handling like a damn blockade runner takes a snapshot at them, then twenty squadrons of crack attack craft come in and fire triple digits' worth of protorps at them! At least a third of the crew is dead or dying, of those left, a large number are living every spacer's worst nightmare - trapped in a sealed-off area, vacuum on every side, running on local power and air, with no connections to the rest of the ship, no knowledge about whether anyone else survived, or knows they're there, or is coming for them - and to top it all off, does anyone know if Helm had us in a stable orbit, or were we in a powered one and now we're falling?

Yeah, they may have been the opposing force, but they were outmatched from the start and likely knew it a bit before this happened, but they still fought with all they had, and now they're suffering for it.

Swiftsure is doing better, but the knowledge that they're down to a tiny fraction of the taskforce, and Black Prince has been systematically eliminating each of the possible threats - their best backup - has got to be taking a toll. As for Ineffable... they have to know that they're vastly outmatched, and basically walking around blind with a target painted on them while carrying a big gun in the middle of a firefight - slow to respond, not going to respond correctly, easy to hit, but still a threat and still something to eliminate. And having a n Imperial-classes durability is no comfort, not when they just had an object lesson in what that's worth in this environment.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by sropike » 2014-07-01 03:30am

I'm still an avid reader of your works, but currently lack reliable internet access.
The story is still superb, the decription of the fight is still very good, you manage to paint pictures in my head better than any CG ever will be. You have a rare talnet, that your fights do NOT become stale, do not generate into brainless slugfest, but stay slugfests with glorius explosions. But not brainless ones. We all know Black Prince is going to come out on top, but the road travelled...
Please do continue and do not lose heart. I am pretty sure there are many lurkers and guest reading your fic!
Lurkers and Guests! Please leave at least a "Thank you!" for ECR, so he knows his efforts are appreciated!
Thank you for a very nice read!

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by InsaneTD » 2014-07-01 03:44am

Oooh an update! Nice. Poor Olghaan probably doesn't realise yet, but I think his career is now dead in the water. Poor guy is so far out of his depth fighting black price.

Most of the forum may not seem to care, but done of us do and are still ecstatic to see updates. You've also got one of the best view to post ratios in this subforum, so while people may not be posting, they are reading and following the story.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Vianca » 2014-07-01 06:41am

This story is one of the few why I even still come to this forum, Remnant.
Nothing like the present.

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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by Tagzen » 2014-07-01 09:35am

I've read both the previous and the current arcs of this story, and not once have I ever come across a poor piece of writing on your part. Difficult to comprehend what is always going sometimes, yes. But that just means I get to re-read a brilliant story again.

The story and world you've crafted with the Black Prince and her crew is both intriguing and enthralling in both the manner you portray not only the combat at all levels, but what is going on in the minds of the commanders and crew of the ships.

The only author that I've read on the net who creates and populates worlds as well as you do is Peptuck.

Just only keep writing this story if you keep enjoying it though. I may get hunted down for that comment, but I'd rather have an unfinished work where the author poured all of their effort into it, then a slap dash ending by one who cares no longer for it. But I'd still keep reading.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by NPC » 2014-07-01 08:41pm

I'm still here. Actually this story is the reason I came to this site in the first place. Hope to see more from you soon. Others have said it before me but if I don't catch your update in the next day or so I hate to post a reply. I've had to many people necro my favorite threads to even consider it for just about any reason. That said I'll try to keep a closer eye on this story in the future.
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Re: Hull 721, plot arc the second

Post by PhilosopherOfSorts » 2014-07-02 01:59am

Vianca wrote:This story is one of the few why I even still come to this forum, Remnant.

Yeah, this. I always love to see an update on Lennart's Lunatics, but I hate to post in the thread, in case someone gets their hopes up for an update and just gets my dumb ass.

Its too bad you can't get this published, I'd pay good money for a dead tree version.
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