Red Banner / White Star.
- A continuation of Battlestar Galactica.
18 Jan. 2104 CE.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
They had attacked continuously throughout the night and well into the morning, relentlessly driving back the outposts, overruning the kolkhoz that had spread outwards, claiming the alien land in the decades since colonization, and steadily driving 17 Diviziya Guards Motor Rifle back toward Vladimirovka. All of the modern technology that The Discovery had provided proved sufficient only to hold the line, for their enemies, robotic, relentless, knew no fear and continued to attack regardless of casualties. Already General Pavel Arkadievich Radimov estimated that he’d lost twenty percent of his men combat ineffective in action, and the damned things had only landed three days prior.
Well, not all men. Major Svetlana Borisovna Lukachenko reminded him of that much as she turned with a crisply grim expression set on a gray-eyed face that otherwise charitably reflected her Estonian mother. The cool delivery belied the seriousness of the news. “Comrade General, the enemy has detonated nuclear weapon about Kolkhoz-1449…. ComBat for 2nd motorized battalion is still intact, but he estimates at least fourty percent casualties. They didn’t get any tanks, but the high radiation levels are masking what doubtless must be a high concentration of enemy troops and they’re requesting immediate dispatch of both reinforcements and decontamination gear.”
Even in the bunker dug three thousand meters beneath a rolling ridgeline to the north of Vladimirovka, the news was utterly chilling, and the young major’s words all the more impressive for how coolly she had delivered news of the major escalation. The rest of the staff exchanged very grim glances indeed and Colonel Fyodr Ivanovich Bakin was the first to speak. “Comrade General, I recommend we immediately withdraw the 2nd Motorized to Stop Line Belaia and prepare to shift 1st Battalion Armoured from the divisional reserve to reinforce Belaia. The contamination units can also be positioned there to the immediate rear,” he gestured to the main plotting map with an ornate old pointer, “Where the terrain will cover them while they work. Also we should now authorize the use of our own tactical nuclear weapons to show the enemy that we do not lack their power and immediately break up the troop concentration that’s obviously being effected about Kolkhoz-1149.”
“Comrade,” General Radimov addressed the young Svetlana instead, as he leaned over the plotting board to muse, “Contact Air Defense Regimental headquarters and tell them that if the enemy attempts to overfly Vladimirovka it should be assumed that a nuclear attack on the civilian centers and reserve depots is underway and immediate use of nuclear anti-air missiles should be undertaken.”
“Yes Comrade General!”
He glanced upward toward his Chief of Staff, Colonel Stepan Igorovich Baryshnikov. “I am concerned about a marked escalation in the use of tactical nuclear weapons as long as they resort to the high orbitals. Until the population has fully been evacuated to the deep shelters we could lose a hundred thousand or more, and most of the material we’re need from the reserve depots to fight underground if they try to dig us out. I want you to find out from the militsa exactly how long it will take for the evacuation to be completed.”
“Yes, Comrade General.”
Radimov looked back to Colonel Bakin next. “Comrade, we will horde the rest of the armoured reserve for a counterattack with our full tactical nuclear arsenal, in an effort to reverse the advances of these… Monstrous machines. We must hold out without nuclear weapons until we can be sure of the safety of the citizenry. Nonetheless—the new TH-101s can retreat across Lake Chalypin—we will adopt your proposals and fall back to Stop Line Belaia. Make the necessary orders immediately!”
Behind General Radimov’s back, nobody noticed the faint stiffening of Major Lukachenko. She just brushed a lock of red hair from her face as she waited for a reply from the Voyska PVO headquarters on the planet to report to the General, a brain working far faster than that of anyone else in the bunker wondering on the implications for the Project that the mysterious hostile machine army would have. A part of her gamed all the possible scenarios, including that, should her consciousness be the only surviving sapience from Kolonija Kondrashka, that she not explain the nature of their enemies lest primitivist backlash prevent the technological triumph of the Marxist ideal. But that idea was dismissed as quickly as it had come.
She was as loyal as any other daughter of the Soviet Union, and was the future and the promise, the culmination of the heritage of every human in this facility. Giving the Union the chance to react quickly and efficiently to this new threat was a moral imperative of the highest order, even if it meant delays to the Project to explain the differences between the two forces. Blood, after all, still flowed in her veins as it did those of all her clone sisters. And the deeply classified foldtech transceiver layered into her body had already alerted Sixth Banner Fleet headquarters, anyway. Relief would come to brave Vladimirovka long before the General could have hoped.
The computer console in front of her politely pinged and she returned her attention to it, noting the message in an eidetic memory and rising at once to address the General. And outside and above, the hovertanks of the 1st Battalion Armoured rushed toward Stop Line Belaia at 300km/h, loading high explosive rounds into bustles of the autoloaders serving their gauss-cannon. Even without authorization to use tacnukes the 175 tonne hovertanks that had until now been held in reserve would come as a nasty surprise, and Svetlana felt the same flush of hope and pride in that as everyone else did, three klicks below the surface of an alien world. We’ll show those bastards how we defend our homes…
Union Cosmos Ship Dmitry Pozharski,
In transit through deep space;
14 lightyears from Kolonija Kondrashka.
Captain First Rank Elena Pyotrovna Markova felt like the acceleration couch was an infinite foam cushion from hell which kept giving and giving without ever stopping. It should hurt but it didn’t and it should provide support—and it was—but the material didn’t seem like it did. It was, in short, driving her insane, and the prospect of military action against an unknown alien race occurring within minutes seemed joyful in comparison to the continuation of the exquisite torture. The best designed acceleration couches in existence combined with the best designed G-suits in existence, and the entire ship had been designed not in the stereotypical sky-scraper arrangement of decks which uneducated simpletons who’d never been in space thought was ideal for acceleration, so that the gravity pushed you down into the deck and made it like you were standing on Earth… No, no, that was the work of fools. At least when imagining military ships. There, the decks were laid out just like on a ship on Earth, structurally. The difference is that each deck’s rooms were subdivided to be just a couple of meters in length, but very broad, covering almost all of the hull.
Consoles in front and banks of acceleration couches directly connected to the walls in command spaces was perfect, because the actual fact of physical response to high accelerations (derived in tests in the mid-20th century no less!) was that eye-balls in horizontal acceleration was the best resisted by human beings. That was the kind of acceleration they were presently experiencing, and in combination with their G-suits and acceleration couches they were remaining functional through direct neural interfaces with the ship’s computers even as they pushed thirty gravities of continuous acceleration. Behind the ship a continuous stream of small four-ton cylinders were being ejected, and in a steady drumbeat a few atoms of anti-matter were released from containment into the dense metallic hydrogen that comprised the rest of the cylinder’s internal volume and tearing into the polyethylene coating, creating energy densities sufficient for a multi-gigaton fusion detonation against the massively shock-absorbed graphite-ablative pusher plate.
They had been accelerating for more than four hours from the moment the highly classified and urgent orders had come in and progressively between each jump. Now their velocity on entering the Kondrashka system would be peaking at excess of 4,350 km/s, more than 20% of their max delta-v. The Dmitry Pozharski was a rather short-legged fuel hog of a Large Rocket Cruiser, but beautiful to the crew. Her four spherical pressure hulls were contained in an outer vacuum-open hull reaching nearly two kilometers long and collectively massing thirty-six million metric tonnes at full load displacement, slightly flattened at the top and bottom and broader along the beam to accommodate the independent manoeuvring missile buses and radar buses which were the primary armament. Her outer hull was painted in antiflash white with only intentionally dulled Red Stars on raised ablative blisters to mark her nationality, and coated in graphite.
“Comrade Captain! The jump drive has spun up and is stable. Onboard astrogational computers stand ready for transpositional fold operation,” Bridge Flight Engineer Mariya Sergeyevna Filonova reported with a dull professionalism which probably epitomized the best coping mechanism possible for sustained high-g accelerations.
“Spherical Error Probable into the Kondrashka system is estimated with plus/minus four percent confidence to be nine hundred and twenty kilometers, Comrade Captain.” That voice, which was not spoken aloud but in her mind only through the direct neural interface, was marked by the computer signature which showed it was her astrogator, Captain 3rd Rank Yevgeniya Mikhailovna Gregorova. That was one point in which the Cosmos Fleet Command was ruthlessly practical. To squeeze every ounce of capability out of their ships, the crews were entirely female and with it gained a further, statistically significant resistance to high-g forces.
“Central point: Planet Kondrashka. Jump Coordinates: Anteterra; twenty thousand klicks x. Voidward; One hundred thousand klicks y. Ten thousand klicks positive z. Stand by to jump.” Elena activated the necessary computer warning systems to alert the crew that they were now immediately entering a nuclear combat environment.
“Jump coordinates established, Comrade Captain. Jump on your command.”
“Jump the ship, Astrogator!”
The mass driver flinging the fusion cylinders out aft immediately shut down and as the effect in the shock absorbers dissipated the Dmitry Pozharski was given the most fractional of respites from the intensity of sustained acceleration at more than thirty gravities. But then she was twisted and ripped through reality by her jump drive… And unfolded back into it in the Kondrashka system.
“Deploy missile and sensor buses and establish the artificial nebula! Check acceleration! Stand by to manoeuvre.”
Quick-release hatches along the surface of the outer nonpressure hull popped up, dislodging a total of fourty-eight missile buses and a similar number of sensor buses. The moment they cleared the hull, telemetry links were automatically established as backups to the carbon nanotube cables which gave them a direct physical connection. The cables could be dropped entirely at command, as they were useful in certain situations, but a pointless hazard in others, and the buses did have small manoeuvring thrusters. Behind them a powerful magnetic field rapidly engulfed the hull and a cloud of magnetized gas was released between it and a second, inner, containing magnetic field, creating a semisold field to retard, refract and deflect incoming energy weapons fire or nonmagnetized projectiles (magnetized ones could be repulsed by the field itself).
And immediately radar and other sensor data came in, as well as—mercifully!—telemetry from Kondrashka which meant that something was alive on the surface below and recording the enemy for them. Within five seconds they had largely established their combat preparations, and it was good fortune, too, for they had arrived only twenty-nine seconds away from their closest approach to the planet at their present velocity. Now there were twenty-four seconds left.
“Comrade Captain. Telemetry from Voyska PVO headquarters at Vladimirovka indicates three enemy ships are in orbit with a double-sauce hull design. Hull compositions are consistent with Luna 10 Incident materials.”
There was a brief chill that seemed to ghost through the circuitry like a real thing. Are they responsible? The infamous discovery of the year 1966 on the far side of the Moon could never be forgotten by the human race, not ever, and the idea of, no matter how hard they had tried in the past one hundred and thirty-eight years to catch up, now running into those responsible for the wreckage that had been left thousands of years before… And we’re so lucky, for we only started building ships like this fourty years ago…
“…Their robots on the planet have used tactical nuclear weapons…”
“Do we have telemetry on the locations of their ground forces?”
“Yes, Comrade Captain,” Captain-Lieutenant Cecilia Metzner—from the German SSR—eagerly answered. “We have a safety zone around Vladimirovka designated by the Kondrashka Army Headquarters. Permission to flush tubes in ground-engagement regime on buses four, six, and eight? Even if those heavies in orbit get us…”
“We’ll buy them some time. Yes, Comrade! Flush the buses, and then we go weapons free on the invading ships, missiles and particle beams.”
“Yes, Comrade Captain!”
“Comrade Captain, the enemy ships are deploying a swarm of at least three thousand large missiles or payload buses toward us. They are all independently maneouvring. Computer suggests they are probably assault buses with many short-range warheads.” The report from Lieutenant Ng Shi in the scanning department came up tagged through the computers with the highest priority, and Elena took it as such. “Prepare countermissile batteries and roll the ship to present the pusher plate to the enemy and stand by for thrust-cylinder defence.” Their best chance against a missile swarm of that size was to vapourize as many as they could within the energetic detonations of the fusion bombs the Dmitry Pozharski used for propulsion.
Quickly, quickly, the manoeuvring thrusters spun the massive Rocket Cruiser to present her reinforced pusher plate toward the enemy while the countermissile clusters were unveiled and then countered the momentum they’d provided, while the missile and sensor buses released their cables and dispersed into a looser cloud around the ship, still providing and receiving tight-beam laser telemetry. From three, however, salvoes of nuclear tipped missiles had already been launched to the surface, and it seemed that the enemy was so intent on them that they would not be able to intercept the missiles aimed for the surface. It was a great relief to Elena, who was relieved that the first task of giving some greater chance to the civilians on the surface had been accomplished.
“Full acceleration,” she ordered. In this case, it would not only lengthen the engagement envelope, but guarantee that a solid wall of progressive fusion events would stand between them and the enemy attack. And now again they were shoved deep into the acceleration couches as thirty-gravities of acceleration worked to slow their existing velocity, the engines providing all the delta-v they could… And turning space between the Dmitry Pozharski and the enemy into a sleet of hard radiation.
“Enemy manoeuvring buses are entering the killboxes of our countermissiles as they manoeuvre around the drive wash, Comrade Captain,” Captain-Lieutenant Metzner coolly noted. “Countermissiles are now on automatic. I am flushing all buses to side-one with a full magnum strike.” What did not need to be said was that the remaining side-two buses would be in the radiation shadow of the ship and could be used for further strikes or automatically flushed against the enemy if telemetry was lost—if the ship were destroyed.
Then the enemy’s maneouvring buses entered the standardized killboxes of the countermissiles, and more than two hundred and fifty nitroglycerine-powered rocket missiles leapt out of the cells at the incoming, each tipped with a 20kT neutron warhead and burning with white-hot intensity at 400 gravities of acceleration for six seconds before the engine was exhausted. At the same time, each of the side-one pods flushed its full compliment of fifty-two anti-ship missiles with heavy neutron warheads.
The rest of the battle was conducted within seconds. In four seconds interposition was reached between the countermissiles and the incoming manoeuvring buses of the enemy and the neutron warheads detonated in a slate that wiped out hundreds if not more. At the same time, the heavy armament of more than a thousand anti-ship missiles tore directly for the force of three enemy ships. They replied with a hail of energy batteries as the warheads moved closer, shocking Metzner who had never seen energy weapons with that kind of coherent visible beam structure or rate of fire before. They proved highly effective, too, with the Dmitry Pozharski’s counterstrike dissipated between three hulls which could share in mutual defence. Somehow, they had made it through the engagement unscathed… But so had the enemy.
And they were past the enemy force already, now, despite the full acceleration to slow their velocity relative to the planet, starting to widen the distance again. On the other hand, that meant that without rolling the ship their main particle beam batteries were now cleared from the masking of the drive tail to engage the enemy. Having already been authorized to use them, Cecilia opened fire with a simple thought even as the remaining enemy manoeuvring buses regrouped against them.
Then the missiles which had been heading toward the planet, burning through the atmosphere on their reentry courses, reached suitable altitudes to detonate, both to maximize the damage to the enemy forces on the surface and to minimize damage to Vladimirovsky. And detonate they did, scouring and ripping apart countless formations of the attacking robots, even as on the surface the 17 Diviziya’s tacnukes were being used with wild abandon to support a massed hovertank counterattack.
In the meantime the three enemy ships were firing energy weapons of great power at the Dmitry Pozharski, tearing chunks out of her artificial nebula, with a few shots lancing beyond to rip through the plating of the main hull. Realizing that in energy weapons—their’s were coursing through the armour of the enemy, they had no similar artificial nebula but the hull material was much stronger—were badly outmatched and the Rocket Cruiser could soon be severely damaged, Cecilia went ahead and flushed the remaining missiles, counting on the damage and distraction of the particle beams and a refined knowledge of the enemy’s defences to get a few penetrating hits.
But the enemy had received telemetry of the destruction of its army on the surface, and in some kind of unfathomable decision-making process, concluded that further operations were impracticable due to it. That was all the Dmitry Pozharski’s computer could make of things, anyway, when it had finished analyzing the reason that at that moment the three enemy ships had disappeared, and incredibly with them, the manoeuvring buses as well. Every single one had been fitted with a jump drive, and the sheer luxury and waste of materials it meant was perhaps the most stunning thing of all for the crew of the Rocket Cruiser to consider as they began their leisurely deacceleration and return to Kondrashka to provide what recovery aid as they could. At least the Union would not again be surprised, but complete absence of reasons behind the attack made that seem as little comfort, from the youngest rating on the Dmitry Pozharski straight up to the Politboro itself.
…And what would the Americans make of it?
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth.
-- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back.
-- Red Banner / White Star
, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.
Last edited by The Duchess of Zeon on 2013-01-14 12:15am, edited 11 times in total.