(36) To Be Named
The Crusader Campaign (140-1123)
This file has yet to be fully
This file has yet to be fully
It's 07:20, and what looks like the final engagement of
the Battle of Tussinian has been going on for an hour
and a half.
On the Defender starboard bow is Tr-X-1, engaged in
maneuvering dance for position, facing off against the attacker fleets
of Raweh (base layer) and Iderati (high position,
second layer). All three of these are being conservative, and
of them have taken noticeable losses, or even exchanged much serious
fire. Commodore von Krantzhoff is commanding the loyallist
defense from the flagship of Tr-X-1.
On the Defender port bow is Tr-X-2.
Initially they were fighting Elixabet, but those
attackers were routed and the remains are climbing towards the two
fleets already out of action at the innermost moon.
New Rome had been assigned to this location, but was
pulled out of position and damaged by Nightshade. The
flagship and three other capships have been killed. It has
finished regrouping and is moving retrograde towards Tr-X-2 on the
Gl-X-1 moved from the bow of the third layer diamond
to replace Elixabet. They have engaged the defenders with heavy
fire, but in the one-on-one conflict there has been no clear
advantage. Gl-X-1 holds the high position.
The Glisten fleet has started to move from port of
the top layer to join Gl-X-1, but made a bad approach and were caught
with restricted maneuver in the gravity well. Tr-X-2 took
advantage of that to inflict significant damage. They are still
recovering from their mistake, and will have to engage at the base
In about 20 minutes, Tr-X-2 might be facing three
Defender port aft is Trin. They have suffered
heavy losses and are well under half strength.
Emape was initially on the base layer here, ahead in
the orbit. They took the initial brunt of the conflict. Nightshade
hit this fleet at a critical moment, getting capship and cruiser kills
and disrupting formation. The resulting hole in the shield was
exploited by Trin, driving Emape's formation into dispersed halves and
forcing them to withdraw. They are currently climbing to the
reserve position by the innermost moon, but only just started to do so
Motmos was in the high position, with more room to
maneuver but expending more fuel. They used position to gain the
advantage in the early fight here. They advanced strongly on Trin
while the latter was out of formation and vulnerable, only to encounter
Nightshade diving directly into the center of their front line,
mission-killing six cruisers and one capship so far. While there
is a hole in their front facing the regrouping Trin, their capship core
has demonstrated the capability to coordinate spinal mount shots on Nightshade's
Trin is still out of formation, exposing their rear
to Motmos, but Nightshade has bought them time to
regroup. They will be very weak, however.
Gl-X-2 has moved out of position from aft of the
third layer diamond and is descending and moving forward in orbit to
Defender starboard aft is Murchison. They are
starting to yield under the heavier numbers facing them. Jone and
Mille Falcs are facing Murchison, Jone on
the lower layer and Mille Falcs in the high position. They are
winning mostly by sheer weight of numbers.
In the attacker third layer is the Darotukshi
Tigress Battle Group, yet to move out of formation.
At the top of the attacker pyramid is the Llanamith
Tigress Battle Group, yet to move out of formation.
On station matching the innermost moon on orbit
around the mainword, well out of battle, are the remnants of the Egypt
and Mirriam fleets. Elixabet and presumably Emape are on their
way to join them. As yet, Santanocheev's actual whereabouts are
Nightshade has expended 96 missiles -- four
less than Sir Misha's initial allowance -- and is spearing head-on into
the well-prepared Motmos fleet at the starboard-aft of the battle.
It is 07:20. The battle continues...
Nightshade hurtles under full acceleration straight
middle into the Motmos fleet. Kalida fires at the flagship,
taking it out with the
expander. It starts dropping rapidly. Helia is doing her
very best job at pilot, managing to dodge everything on the way through
despite the speed.
The Motmos capships deliver 5 meson gun shots
directly on Nightshade's shields, perfectly
coordinated. The shields go down for the first time -- there's a
big flash, and the shields dissapate visibily. To those in
sparkly pink, this is much more than just a prickly feeling. It's
not enough to be distracting, but it feels like they could really use
Thanks to Mich, however, there is no internal damage
as he shunts the overload around. He can't give a realistic
estimate of how long it will take to get the screens back up.
Shark is very impressed by the coordination of
fire. He suggests that they have some communication system that
is allowing just one person to fire the spinal mounts of all these
Trin still regrouping, but will probably ready to
engage by the time Motmos gets there. Gl-X-2 is still 20 minutes
Tr-X-2 and Gl-X-1 are getting into very heavy
but not taking too many losses now. Glisten has pulled into
postion and should be fully engaged at the base layer in 10
minutes. New Rome is 20 minutes out.
Murchison is doing a little better than expected, in
other words not very well.
At the starboard bow, however, von Krantzhoff's
Tr-X-1 suddenly gets a
positioning advantage over Raweh and unleashes heavy fire into
them. Iderati can't compensate for it, but is not in trouble
At 07:30, Helia makes it out the other side without
any collisons, but with a very near
miss bursting right through the middle of a fighter formation on the
way out. On the way past Kalida fires the expander, taking out a
significant capship among the possible targets. After doing a
quick tactical scan of the ships that could bring their weapons to
bear, she also fires one salvo of eight missiles on a heavy cruiser,
the missiles arriving just before it has a chance to fire, taking out
its spinal mount, screens and the main bridge.
Mich has managed to get the screens back up at about
60%, just in time to take two more meson gun hits. The shields
take the hits and immediately go right back down again. Mich
deflects the overload so there is no damage.
These will be the last shots from this fleet on the
way through. They'll be clear now for a little while, although
they are still in laser range and still being scanned.
Elsewhere in the battle, the Trin fleet is now in as
good shape as possible to face Motmos. They two fleets engage,
with no real losses on either side. Gl-X-2 is still ten minutes
Tr-X-2 is outnumbered but otherwise doing reasonably
well against Gl-X-1
and Glisten. New Rome has started their approach and is just 10
Murchison is taking more losses from Jone and Mille
Falcs, but has managed not to fold yet.
Tr-X-1 is back into a maneuver contest with Raweh
Raweh having been damaged in the last round.
crew decide that given the current state of the battle, their best
strategy will be to swing back up to the top layer and hit the fleets
up there, with their primary target being the remaining Happy Fun Ball,
Llanamith. That will remove the best command and control
ship from Santanocheev's fleets, even if he is not currently on board
It will take them 10 minutes to slow down, another
10 minutes to get back into orbital velocity, a further 10
minutes minimum to engage, and an extra 10 minutes to hit the top
layer. They won't make their intention obvious until they're
clear of laser range.
At 07:40, Nightshade is still in laser
range, but will be out shortly. Helia is visibly stretching her
wings out as she tries to slow down the ship as rapidly as possible,
and Shark's football sensors register a definite spike.
Shark checks the sensors and determines that there
won't be any ships in the immediate area for a while. He suggests
that the crew should take a 30-minute break, except for critical core
crew. That would mean Helia, Mich, and also Shark to keep the
tactical flow going constantly. Vonish arranges a snack to be
brought to those remaining on station. Shark also suggests to
Kalida that she might want to have a word with Jack and see if she can
shed any light on where Santanocheev might be.
Kalida first visits the lounge, and seeing that Jack
is not here grabs two cups of coffee and heads back forward to the
When Kalida enters, Jack does have a tactical feed
up, but it's only a subset of what she's doing. Kalida explains
that they're taking a short break for a while, and asks if she's been
paying attention to what's going on.
Jack says that she has, but she's not really a
battle kind of person. She asks how it's going.
Kalida says it's going better than expected, but
they probably aren't going to be able to delay them as long as
necessary. Still, they've caused enough damage that they're going
to have to do some rearranging before they leave here. She then
moves on to the real subject, and says that she's been trying very hard
to figure out where Santanocheev is. She adds that there are
several places that she knows he is not, but hasn't been able to work
out where he might be.
Jack says she's been working on that herself too,
but she hasn't been able to come up with anything either. She
then asks about the plans.
Kalida says they had to shoot themselves through a
fleet as quickly as possible, so they're out of the main action right
now. The attackers don't know where they are now, and they're
going to try to come in from a different direction. She says
that's allowed everyone to take a break. In fact, Kalida's going
to go and take a power nap now.
Jack says quietly that she's been working on
something, and while it isn't ready yet, if they're still here a couple
of days after the battle, she might have something they can use.
It might be a little risky, though. She asks Kalida not to tell
the others yet. She adds that it's along the lines of Robert's
Blue Screen of Death Ray, but it has drawbacks. If it gets to the
point where it can be used, Jack says she'll let Kalida know so they
have the option.
Kalida agrees that they shouldn't tell anyone about
it for the time, and goes off for her nap.
Mich has been working on the shields. He
reports that he should be able to get them back at full strength in 15
minutes, which would be at 7:55.
Shark is still monitoring the overall situation in
the battle, of course.
Trin, Motmos, and Gl-X-2 are now facing off and are
fulling engaged in a maneuver
confrontation. Motmos at 40% strength. They're all working
by the book and looking for a local advantage. That does mean it
will probably take longer before anything else happens here.
Tr-X-2 now facing three fleets: Gl-X-1, Glisten, and
Rome. All are holding off, thoroughly backed out of tight
Murchison is still holding on, amazingly, against
and Mille Falcs.
Tr-X-1 is still maneuvering with Raweh and Iderati.
Elixabet has made it to the wrecked fleet
zone. Emape is
still on their way but now safely clear of any fighting.
Some communications have been picked up, including
some standard messages that Robert can easily interpret. None of
these are critical, however, and none give any clue to Santanocheev's
location. The transmissions do include a very surprised fighter
squadron reacting to Nightshade streaking straight through
By 07:50 Nightshade is out of laser range
already. They slip into stealth mode, then changing direction
back and upwards towards the top layer. It should take about 20
minutes to get there.
Trin, Motmos, Gl-X-2, are into classic maneuver
situation. They're not really exchanging fire, just looking for
Tr-X-2 has maneuvered out of a tight enclosure, and
is now in a
clearer position. Gl-X-1, Glisten, and New Rome are moving to
re-engage. Shark checks with his tactical staff whether they
should withdraw. Bridgehead says that they should still press
their positional advantage, not try to withdraw -- if they did that
with three fleets on them, it would probably turn into a rout and they
would take heavy losses.
Murchison is still holding on against Jone and Mille
Tr-X-1 is still maneuvering with Raweh and Iderati.
At 08:00 they are now 10 minutes out from the top
layer, and will be
hitting laser range soon. Everyone is called back to
Shields are back online at full strength. Their intention is to
take out Llanamith
and sweep through as fast as possible across an edge, so they can
attack before the fleet has much of a chance to react. They will
be hitting the shell fairly flat, so it will be a real challenge to
Helia's piloting skills to avoid a collision.
Also, this time they will be hitting the best elite
fleet in the entire attacker flotilla.
Trin, Motmos, and Gl-X-2, still maintaining
Tr-X-2 advantage on Glisten, lets loose with heavy
fire, clears. This is the second big mistake the Glisten fleet
has made in this engagement, and it's cost them heavily. Gl-X-1
and New Rome clear of that firefight, but are working on maneuvering to
a better position.
Murchison is now getting a slight positional
and manage to damage both Jone and Mille Falcs.
Von Krantzhoff's Tr-X-1 has also moved into a clear
advantage, and has inflicted losses on both Raweh and Iderati.
At 08:10 they sweep into laser range. Helia
brings them in at a very high closing speed,
shields up, and stealth off.
It's a bad sign they they are picked up very quickly
and tracked effectively by the lasers from the Llanamith Battle
On board their own ship, Callisto is tracking the
fleet motion so Kalida can
analyze later for clues to Santanocheev.
Kalida has determined that Nightshade and
the Llanamith fleet core will probably get the chance to open fire at
pretty much the same time. She could send some salvos in now, but
it would not disrupt any ships that could fire on them. She and
Sir Misha decide to reserve the missiles for later.
Trin is now starting to get into a tighter situation
Motmos and Gl-X-2.
Tr-X-2, having exploited the advantage over Glisten,
is back into a maneuver situation with them, Gl-X-1, and
Murchison is beating up on Jone, but Mille Falcs is
Tr-X-1 is still holding with Raweh and Iderati.
It's 08:20, and fire is finally exchanged with the
Llanamith Battle Group core.
Kalida inflicts more massive losses on the Imperial
Navy budget in the Spinward Marches, and takes out Llanamith with one perfect shot.
In return, the Imperial rebels land seven perfectly
coordinated shots on the shields.
The shields go down right away, and will be down for quite some
time. Through some miracle of engineering skill, Mich manages to
avoid any permanent damage to the ship.
Helia takes them through the fleet formation and
bursts into clear space beyond, slipping gratefully into stealth as
soon as she gets the chance.
Trin looks like it's about to get into a full-on
engagement with Motmos
Tr-X-2 is managing to give Glisten, Gl-X-1, and New
Rome the run-around. How they're managing that is beyond
Murchison has been really lucky, they leave an
opening but Mille
Falcs can't exploit it.
Tr-X-1 is still holding with Raweh and Iderati.
The Darotukshi Battle Group is now on the move to
Murchison. It will be about 30 minutes before it gets there.
It's 08:30, and they are in stealth and in the clear.
So what to do now? A quick discussion agrees
with Shark to help whichever defending fleet is doing best. The
fleets that are doing poorly won't make that much difference, but if
they can reinforce one that's doing well they can draw out that sector
of the fight. That one is selected as Tr-X-2, half an hour away.
That's when Mich breaks the news on the shields, and
it's not very good. It's going to take an hour and half to get
the shields back up, and clearly they can't go into battle without the
Shark's suggestion is that they go underneath the
fight in stealth mode. Obviously they'll have to go a lot more
slowly in the atmosphere without the shields, but they can get into
position. If the fight's over before the shields are ready, they
can then just move on to harrassing the refuelling operations.
Callisto's record of the movements of the Llanamith
Battle Group during their attack did not show up anything out of the
Nevertheless, Kalida tries to come up with a guess
as to who was coordinating it. The fire control was all coming
from Llanamith, and of course that stopped once Kalida took out
the flagship. She sits back, clears her mind, and gazes into her
mental crystal ball.
The battle is finally starting to turn against the
Trin is down to 30%, taking losses from Motmos and
Gl-X-2, and is in serious trouble.
Tr-X-2 in a bad situation too, pinned between
Gl-X-1, with New Rome backing them up but not significantly involved.
Murchison on the other hand is getting clear from
Jone and Mille Falcs,
with the Darotukshi Battle Group still 20 minutes out.
Tr-X-1 still holding on, von Krantzhoff playing his
maneuver game with Raweh and
The Llanamith Battle Group is moving down to Tr-X-1,
Emape has finally made it up to the reserve holding
Shark is full of praise for the defender fleets and
how they've been holding up against such vastly superior numbers.
It's 08:20 and Mich has been working hard. He
announces that he's managed to cut 15 minutes off the repair time, and
he'll be done in 1:05 from now. Nightshade is now just 20
minutes out from Tr-X-2.
The Trin fleet is finally going down, 10% and
falling. Motmos and
Gl-X-2 are smashing up what's left. Loyallist ships are starting
to jump, and lifeboats and small craft are diving into the atmosphere
as other ships are being
abandoned. Another 10 minutes and the fight will be over
On the other hand, Tr-X-2 manages to get out of the
tight spot, no
longer pinned, but all three fleets are now in good position to
Murchison holding on, and Jone and Mille Falcs can't
exploit an advantage out there. The Darotukshi Battle Group is
just 10 minutes out now.
Tr-X-1 manages to hit Raweh again quite hard,
but Iderati doesn't suffer. The Llanamith Battle Group is 20
minutes out from that fight.
The wreck of Llanamith is still in orbit,
and looks like it'll stay up there for a good many days yet.
It's 08:30, and Mich has 55 minutes remaining to
finish repairing the shields. Nightshade is just 10
Tr-X-2, but staying in stealth mode outside laser range.
The Trin fleet is gone now. The victorious
Motmos and Gl-X-2 fleets are regrouping,
not moving out.
Tr-X-2 catches out Gl-X-1 and New Rome and lays very
heavy fire on them, but it's put them in a tight position relative to
Murchison is amazingly still holding on, but Jone
and Mille Falcs are now
reinforced by Darotukshi.
Von Krantzhoff's Tr-X-1 is working on maneuvering
position against Raweh and
Iderati again, with Llanamith 20 minutes out.
At 08:40, there's still 45 minutes until the shields
are fully repaired.
It's now that Kalida's crystal ball combines with
Callisto and Robert's skills to determine that Santanocheev's personal
directives are being transmitted from the innermost moon.
Suddenly that changes the priority target -- if there's a chance of
getting Santanocheev himself, that is more important than helping out
the defending fleets.
Helia says it'll take 35 minutes to moon directly,
but more like a full hour avoiding the fleets and their constant laser
scan. They'll time the approach to hit laser
range in 45 minutes precisely, at 09:05. At that time, if Mich is
right, the shields will be up.
Motmos and Gl-X-2 are still regrouping.
Tr-X-2 gets clear of Gl-X-1 and New Rome, but
slams into their rear. The defenders take heavy losses.
Murchison is taking fire from just Mille Falcs,
while Jone and
Darotukshi are still positioning.
Tr-X-1 is maneuvering with Raweh and Iderati, but
Battle Group is only 10 minutes out.
It's 08:50. Shields will be ready in 35
Kalida says that if Santanocheev isn't on the
surface of the moon, he's relaying through there. Callisto will
able to tell passively right before laser range whether it's a
reflector or not. If it is, as soon as stealth is taken down she
can actively scan and pick out the location within a few minutes.
At Sir Misha's request, Robert manages to get a
tight-beam with von Krantzhoff's ship. Sir Misha
relays that he needs the Commodore to draw out the fight for an hour
more if he possibly
can. If that means he needs to run and make the enemy chase him,
would be fine. They need an hour.
The Motmos and Gl-X-2 fleets are holding position in
Tr-X-2 has pulled out of the bad position, but is
about 50% strength. The odds arenot good against Gl-X-1, New
Rome, and Glisten.
Murchison is still holding on against Jone, Mille
Tr-X-1 breaks clear of the now three fleets coming
on them (Raweh, Iderati, and Llanamith)
At 09:00, Callisto can't make a
determination if it's a reflector or actual transmitter yet.
have to wait until they're just outside laser range, just a little
Motmos and Gl-X-2 are still holding.
Tr-X-2 and Gl-X-1 are engaged in a close fight, with
and Glisten on the outskirts attempting to maneuver.
Murchison's great run looks like it might be
over. They're in very bad shape now, pinned between the three
fleets and down to about 20%.
Tr-X-1 is holding clear with Raweh close by, but
with Iderati and Llanamith lagging behind.
It's 09:10, with just 15 minutes until the shields
Callisto says there's a
ship on the surface, a small courier, about 400 tons.
A quick crew discussion results in a guess that it
probably has a crew of no more than 5. They make plans to
board the ship. They'll go down in stealth and detour around the
fleets to get into position at the surface of the moon. Then
pop out of stealth, disable engineering with a laser shot, and drop
At that point the boarding party will go out in
battledress and secure the courier by entering through the hole in the
hull. If Santanocheev
isn't on board, work on the courier's computer should be able to
determine where he was relaying from.
Shark of course does his duty and points out that
this could be a trap. Still, even he considers the potential
payoff to be so high that it is worth that risk.