Monday, June 7, 2010
"Last of the assault fleet jumping out now.", the ELINT officer reported crisply. "Relief force reports that they are inbound, ETA one hour." It had taken a week of hard work and coordination to get the colony established below. His ships had been fighting constantly for over a month without relief and only now could he send them back to Station Prime for repair and refit. Morale was at an all time low after news of homeworld spread to the fleet.
Tor'han sighed as he observed the crew working in Throne's cavernous bridge. So young now. They are all so young.
"Acknowledged", responded Battle Leader Fen'sta. Again she looked up at the Warmaster standing at her shoulder. "Sir, are you sure you don't want to take command? This seems...irregular." She looked uncomfortable holding command of a ship with the Supreme Warmaster present, as if she were usurping his authority.
"Negative, Battle Leader. While I do plan on transferring my flag at some point, you are far more familiar with this ship's systems and operations than I." Tor'han again gazed around the bridge at the amazing display of advanced technology. The capabilities of Throne of Judgement outstripped anything he had experienced. And until he was able to master its nuances he did not intend to take over for those that did.
Fen'sta's record showed that she served as a lead engineer during design and construction and served with the ship since it left dry dock six months ago. She was a brilliant engineer and a promising tactician. Her crew followed her with an almost fanatic devotion. The original commander of Throne was killed only days into her first deployment. The young Battle Leader took command in the field and brought the ship through a harrowing gauntlet in order to reach Krish. No one was more qualified than she to sit at the conn.
Outside in the skies over Demeter the latest batch of new and experimental vessels took station around the massive battleship. These had arrived shortly after Throne of Judgement, representing the peak of Dilgar technology. Some were weathered veterans with hastily installed advanced systems. Others were new from the keel up, like Throne. All were rushed out of the shipyard to ferry their precious technology to Krish. Even now there were as many scientists as soldiers on the vessels. The Warmaster would be glad when the relief force arrived. This motley collection of ships was more a technology showcase than a proper fleet.
Other concerns weighed on his mind. His fleet had survived two massive clashes with the humans, leaving it in rough shape. Fully 80% of his ships were being refitted and repaired at Station Prime. While he didn't believe the humans would come at him again for a while, the Centauri were another matter. Fighter patrols were sweeping the system searching for the elusive Centauri fleet, but they had yet to make contact. Where were they? Surely they aren't cowering behind the station at Krish Prime. No matter. He had set things in motion to draw them out.
"Contacts inbound!" the ELINT officer excitedly barked.
Fen'sta looked over at the Warmaster expectantly. Tor'han nodded once in response. And then he watched something amazing happen. The youthful, unsure officer he was begining to know transformed before his eyes. Her posture changed, her face became a mask of professionalism though her eyes showed the feral anticipation of a hunter. She began to calmly issue orders rapid fire.
"All hands to stations. ELINT, give me numbers and types!", Fen'sta span around in her chair to face the comms officer. "Contact the fleet, tell them to form up in two pentacons, centered on command destroyers Order and Duty. Even while ELINT was sounding off the list of enemy vessels in the background she continued to issue instructions to to the fleet.
Tor'han watched the tactical displays. The Centauri were taking no chances, jumping in on the far side of a heavy debris field made up of wrecked Diglar and human warships. It looked to be a heavy raiding force, perhaps even enough to retake the space around Demeter. Their ad-hoc collection of new ships and untried crews were all that stood in the way.
A Call to Arms, 7 Points Raid
Primus, Emperor Morell
Balvarin, Turhan's Glory
Maximus x2, Principio, Retiario
Kutai x4, Parry, Thrust, Slash, Lunge
special: Due to an 'other duties' result, the Centauri was forced to leave one Maximus, the Principio, behind.
Mankhat Dreadnought, Throne of Judgment (extended range missile rack, mass drivers)
Omelos Light Cruiser, Flawless (+2 AD forward hvy. bolters)
Ochlavita Ki Command Destroyer, Order (extended range missile rack, advanced sensors)
Jashikar Tae, Hazard
Ochlavita Ki Command Destroyer, Duty (Jump Engine)
Jashakar Vi Scout, Assassin
Jashakar Vi Scout, Whisker
Jashakar Tae, Peril
In my last few encounters with the Centauri, they had begun bringing large numbers of razik fighters to the field. This largely neutralized my own fighter threat, forcing me to rethink my composition. Intelligence reported that the Centauri had just purchased a Balvarin carrier. I suspected it would be in this battle. Rather than try to win an uphill fighter duel, I decided to bring no fighter force and leave his fighters with little to do.
The board had asteroid fields (density 6) and a dust cloud in one corner. The rest of the board was clear.
Placing my ships first, I decided to give the Centauri the corner of terrain. This would encourage him to try and hide in the terrain, allowing me to dictate the range of the engagement. Knowing my opponent's conservative nature, it was a good bet. I placed both pentacons in the corner opposite the terrain.
The Centauri didn't disappoint. This turn he had won his other battle, successfully defending the planet Garden from attack. Thus the stakes in this battle weren't as high in his estimation. He set up nearly all of his ships behind the asteroid field. The Primus and Balvarin were even pointed to the far edge of the board, in case they needed to beat a hasty retreat. His Sulust Stalwart (the one long-range weapon in his inventory), was set up in the asteroid field along with one Kutai, Parry. They had high enough crew quality that there was no chance of damage. It seemed he wished to castle up behind some stealth and see what I would do. All his fighters were placed in the asteroid belt, looking like a cloud of angry wasps.
There was a great deal of distance between our two fleets. This suited me fine as I wanted to try some long range missile tactics.
Our extreme range left me little to do but advance forward with both pentacons, keeping my ships together for mutual support.
The Centauri moved his Primus and Balvarin behind the dust cloud in the corner. He had to give an APTE order to the slow carrier so it could make the distance. This meant it was not launching more fighters this turn. All other ships gave an All Stop order. He seemed to like his current position.
The swarm of fighters moved forward to be just outside 15" (bolter range) of my fleet. This gave me the option of ignoring them or using my slow-firing missiles against them. I chose to ignore them, so there was no shooting this turn.
I call an All Stop with both pentacons. My reasoning is that I am far outside range of his Sulust and if he does nothing on this turn I will start using missiles on his fighters. Most of them are raziks with a single weak weapon, but they are a lot of them. If the Centauri stays in his "fort", then I should be able to take some shots without risk.
The Centauri responds by moving his three kutai near the Sulust out and toward my fleet. The two that were behind the asteroid field swing around and angle in toward me, the one in the asteroid field is able to just move straight out. All kutai issue CBD orders. The Primus lumbers behind the dust cloud, slowly turning toward my fleet. The Carrier issues a Scramble order and unloads the remainder of its fighters.
Here we see the treacherous Centauri hiding behind a dust cloud.
And here we see the brave Parry moving out to face the Dilgar fleet.
The pile of fighters elects not to move. They won't give me free bolter shots.
As I'm considering my fire options, I notice that the closest kutai, Parry, is just within missile range of Throne. I'm itching to try out my new ship so I decide to fire, unloading 20 AD of tripple damage missiles into the little boat. It explodes spectacularly. First blood to the Dilgar! The missiles on my other ships are only in range of the fighters and I don't want to waste all my slow loading fire.
My pentacons again both call All Stop, hoping to stay out of range while Throne reloads its missile racks. I make a mistake by keeping the dreadnought out front.
The Sulust Stalwart races out of the asteroids and places itself 24" away from my flagship, inside range of its beam but outside the 24" range of the missiles from my other ships. He also moves his other two Kutai, Thrust and Slash, forward toward my fleet.
His Primus swings about to take position inside the dust cloud. The balvarin holds position, facing the edge of the board and ready to run at any moment.
His fighters continue to hover outside botler range.
Stalwart gets an unanswered battle laser shot at my flagship, scoring 6 hits with its 4 AD beam. The damage roll scores three criticals. I'm stunned as the three criticals rolled are a 5/6 (Hull Breach), 6/3 (Engineering), and a 6/6 (Catastrophic Explosion)! The Throne of Judgement reels as it takes 25 damage, 20 crew, looses all traits, can issue no special actions, and has no damage control for the rest of the game. Ouch!
I again decide to not fire missiles at the cloud of fighters hovering in the distance.
This was my first turn to finally win initiative, but it couldn't have come at a better time. My pentacons moved slowly forward since the dreadnought couldn't issue an all stop. I had the Jashakar Tae Hazard move in front of Throne and issue the order "Maneuver to Shield Them!" - kicking myself for not doing the same last turn as is my normal tactic.
The Sulust gave a CBD order, expecting a great deal of return fire this turn. Thrust and Slash moved further forward, one within gun range of the Throne, the other just short of the dreadnought but able to fire on Hazard.
The Centauri fleet core is slowly coming about to engage from the dust cloud.
His fighters then moved forward. Four sentri fighters took escort around the Sulust, raising its interceptor rating to 6. The rest of the fighters moved forward to fire on the one ship that was close enough to attack, my sacrificial Hazard (life is very hard on frigates under my command).
Scouts light up the Stalwart, broadcasting my intentions quite clearly.
Three flights of razik attack Hazard, scoring minor damage.
Then it's my turn to fire, and the command pentacon unleashes hell. Thirty eight dice of missiles converge on Stalwart. To it's credit the ship stops a great deal of the damage with its fighter escort and the CBD order. But in the end there are simply too many dice. Starwart explodes and takes out the escorting fighters, doing minor damage to Slash. Throne fires its guns on Slash and damages it heavily, though dodge and CBD keep it from suffering fatal wounds. All other bolters fire at fighters and manage to kill 3 flights.
Thrust fires on my flagship and scores a few points of damage.
My support pentacon fires missiles on Slash, reducing it to a skeleton crew. Their bolters fire on fighters to no effect.
Slash fires on Hazard and decrews the frigate, leaving it adrift.
This turn worked much better for me. Throne is hurt badly, but its maneuvering and weapons still function. In return I have destroyed the only long range weapon in the Centauri fleet.
My pentacons begin to angle toward the far corner, hoping to position themselves to attack the remaining Centauri fleet. There is some risk, though, as Throne is gravely wounded. A good volley from the Primus could send it over the edge.
Slash and Thrust move forward, getting very close to Throne in hopes of using all guns or, at least, harming the ship in their explosion.
The Primus initiates a Jump Point. It wants to be ready to leave on a moment's notice if things continue south. The maximus is right there with it. The last Kutai takes station at the edge of the dust cloud.
A cloud of fighters piles around Throne, hoping to inflict damage through sheer weight of numbers.
My scouts light up Thrust and Slash.
The fighters fire, doing a bit of damage to Throne. The massive ship is now at about 38 damage, 10 from being crippled. I can see my opponent trying to do the numbers in his head as he eyes his Primus.
Throne fires all guns in a spectacular light show, attempting to kill some of the fighters that plague it. Three are flights killed. It also fires a surgically calculated number of weapons at Slash and Thrust, managing to destroy them both without an immediate explosion.
The rest of my fleet fires all bearing guns at fighters, killing 2 more all told.
The moment of decision is upon the Centauri. Stay or leave?
My opponent didn't see any lucky criticals in the previous turn as he had hoped. So he decided to excercise caution and leave the planet. If this had been a one-off game I'm sure he would have charged in. But the Centauri are in dire economic straights right now and could not easily replace a lost Primus.
The Maximus first races through the jump point. The last Kutai (is that a movie title?), Lunge, can't make the jump point so it turns toward the edge of the board. It ends the turn a mere 2" from the table edge. The Bavarian lumbers off the edge of the board easily.
I continue to bear down on the far corner. I manage to get my scouts within scouting range of Lunge and I get Throne just barely within the 42" range of its single extended range missile rack. All my ships with anti-fighter traits huddle in close around Throne.
Centauri fighters also heed the call to retreat and run for the edge of the board. I breathe a sigh of relief.
Scouts paint Lunge.
Throne makes a 'Hail Mary' shot with 5 AD of missile at range 40". After dodge and CBD I do exactly 10 points of damage, destroying Lunge just before it can escape.
Sulust, Stalwart (10 pts)
Kutai, Parry (3 pts)
Kutai, Thrust (3 pts)
Kutai, Slash (3 pts)
Kutai, Lunge (3 pts)
1 razik flight (3 pts)
Primus, Emperor Morell (5 pts)
Balvarin, Turhan's Glory (2.5 pts)
Maximus, Retiario (1.25 pts)
Sentri (.75 pts)
Razik x2 (1.5 pts)
Jashakar Tae, Hazard (3 pts)
Dilgar victory (37 points to 3)
Playing within the scope of a campaign can greatly change how a battle plays out. This is one of the things I love about campaign play. My opponent had won a previous battle in this campaign turn, and so was not in a position where victory was necessary to stay in the game. Furthermore, he was loathe to risk any expensive assets because his income is currently low. This made him play very conservatively and I was able to benefit from this.
This battle wasn't "make or break" for me, either. But I had declared Demeter the new Dilgar homeworld and decided to defend it zealously, no matter the cost. So I was willing to risk big in order to keep it. It also helped that I am flush with resources in this campaign.
Had the Cenaturi kept all his fleet together they could have easily destroyed the Throne of Judgement after it took so much critical damage on turn 3. It would then have been a simple matter to finish off the remainder of my fleet, as 75% of my firepower on the table was in that one ship. But he couldn't have known he would get so lucky. Instead he decided to hold back his most expensive units and see if he could inflict enough damage with his other ships to make easy prey for them to finish off.
The net effect of this was that I got to fight half his fleet with my whole fleet. Even then it was a close, exciting fight. Damn those high-quality Centauri ships.
The strength of the pentacon played a big part in this battle. It is likely a second shot from the Sulust would have crippled Throne. I absolutely had to kill it before it got the chance. Having the firepower of 4 ships all at once was the only way I made this happen. The loss of init sinks was a small price since the Centauri were holding defensive positions.
The planet Demeter (New Omelos) remained in Dilgar hands long enough for a relief fleet to arrive. The Throne of Judgement and its companions, bathed in glory, returned to base for repairs and a much deserved rest.
Supreme Warmaster Tor'han looked up from his console. He had taken over ELINT when the officer manning the station had been killed by shrapnel from a secondary explosion. It had been a long time since he served anywhere other than the captain's chair. There was a kind of purity in it. No tactics or mind games. Just efficiency and duty.
He spun around to see the Throne's true commander. Fen'sta had been flawless and the Centauri were in full retreat. In particular, she had a clear grasp on missile systems and linked targeting. Never had Tor'han seen such accurate and effective 'time on target' coordination.
As the ventalators were finally clearing the smoke from the bridge the two locked eyes, the old campaigner and the brilliant young warrior. His decision was made in that moment.
He stood up and walked toward the bridge exit. At the door he stopped and turned around. "I'm a creature of habbit, captain. I've grown comfortable in my quarters on Incorruptable and, frankly, can't be bothered to uproot my whole command structure every time a new ship is built."
Fen'sta turned to regard him, a confused look on her face. "Sir?"
"I'm going to leave Throne in your hands. I can think of none more capable, Battlemaster Fen'sta."
He left the bridge before she could respond. The cheers of the crew could be heard even through the close bulkhead behind him. For the first time since news of the homeworld, Tor'han smiled.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
"No, no, no! This is unacceptable!" Dar'Shal held his chronometer up, brandishing it like a weapon. "Your times are ninety seconds below standard!" The flight crew looked exhausted as they gathered in the ready room for his assessment of their ninth drill today. This was unusual work for a Battlemaster, especially one who was captain of his own vessel. But Dar'Shal had been asked to assist in training up crews in the fleet. Casualties had created massive shortages in manpower. Shortages that were being filled in by civilian recruits. Spite was the worst of the bunch with 80% of her crew being new replacements. If he could bring this crew up to military standard then thre was hope the fleet could sustain itself. He started his career as a flight deck officer so this was where he felt he could make a real difference.
The battle at Demeter had given the crew some experience under pressure. But a review of their performance in that battle proved alarming. Every order to scramble fighters at battle speed had failed to execute. It was a miracle that there hadn't been a crippling accident. Reading the ships personnel records he noted that Fleet Command's assesment of this crew had been upgraded from "disaster" to "potential disaster."
Now Spite was on a mission of its own and there was no large fleet to hide behind. Their only companion was the scout frigate Rogue providing ELINT and, more importantly, battle experience. The crew of Rogue were hardened veterans. While Spite was officially lead ship of the squadron, they would be following Rogue's lead. A large detachment of fighters was also along to provide additional space superiority. With the fleet in its current battered state attrition units were the order of the day.
There was no more time for drills today. The mission was about to begin. "Okay crew, today we are doing a reconnasance in force. We will try to establish a zone of control in the primary shipping lane to Garden. This means our fighters will be performing sorties with a Yellow Talon rotation schedule. One flight on CAP and one flight on Ready. We will be providing fuel and maintainence for two independent wings so keep bays 8 through 12 free and ready for stragglers. Straightforward enough. Any questions?"
Dar'Shal was dismayed to see over half the flight crew raise their hands. This was going to a long day.
As if to punctuate his thoughts the ship's klaxon announced the transition to battle status, bathing the crew in crimson light, and a voice over the intercom intoned, "Enemy contact. All hands to combat stations."
The crew stood in the room, looking confused and lost. "Move it, people! Team Blue get to ordinance. Team Red...fuel. Go!" This seemed to shake everyone into action and the crew filed out looking almost like professionals. I only hope we don't face anything too daunting. It would embarras War Leader Jo'Tok greatly to have her second crushed by an errant fuel canister.
And with that last positive thought the Battlemaster ran to take his station.
The campaign pushes on in the remote system of Krish. Remnants of the Dilgar Imperium are trying to establish a new homeworld in the wake of the capture of Omelos. Today they are attempting to capture the lush world of Garden. This is one of the two remaining locations held by the Centauri and they are determined to defend it.
Space Superiority, 4 pts. Skirmish
This will be a tiny battle, especially given the mission - to capture as much territory as possible.
Kutai x2 (Parry, Riposte)
Garasoch, Spite (5 Dartfighters, 5 Torpedofighters)
Jashakar Vi, Rogue
My plan here was to fight a battle of attrition. I would send in my fighters, aided by the scout and attempt to inflict enough early damage that I could then simply retreat off the board and win on points. The scout had a crew quality of 5. This enabled it to help the poor carrier (CQ 3) perform its Scramble order. It also meant that a successful Redirect scout action only needed a roll of 3. By my calculations, I only needed to kill a skirmish ship and the two kutai and victory would be mine. If things got too dicy, I would just spin round the planet and leave the board.
The map had a single moon on it in one corner which would be the center of the fighting. There were several asteroid clusters, but they would play no part in this battle.
The Centauri fleet set up as a cohesive group facing the moon. The Vorchan and Maximus were the center of the line, with the Kutais on the flanks and the fighters serving as escorts (unpainted fighters are Razik, painted fighters are Setnri).
The Dilgar fleet is simply a carrier and a scout in a small squadron. They set up in orbit of the moon, hoping the gravity well will give them extra options as well as some cover from the large array of Centauri guns. The scout hides behind the moon while the carrier has its guns facing the enemy.
I knew this would be a tough battle as soon as I saw the enemy fleet. It had both fighters (including the excellent Razik) and a Maximus providing anti-fighter and interceptors in support.
The Dilgar fleet calls an All Stop order with Spite also giving a Scramble order.
The Centauri fleet cautiously moves forward, measuring carefully to avoid any possible attack from the torpedofighters. All centauri fighters move to escort their ships.
Dilgar fighters move up in a wave in front of the Centauri outside of the range of their guns - or so I thought. It turns out that two of these vessels had refits with extended range weapons. I loose 2 dartfighters to bad dodge rolls.
In the end phase, all remaining fighters scramble from Spite.
The Dilgar fleet again holds position as Spite wants to keep its guns facing the enemy. It orders Close Blast Doors, just in case. Rogue remains behind the moon, holding position and getting ready to leand redirect for the fighters.
The Centauri roll up in a line, with all ships except the Triario giving a Close Blast Doors order. The slow Maximus must give an APTE order to keep up.
Having lost initiative, I am forced to move my fighters first. I realize that I can't out dogfight his raziks with my dartfighters. I also realize that his escorting fighters can fly out to attack my torpedofighters if they open fire on his ships. I decide to try and do some serious damage to both his big ships. I move a single torpedofighter in to dogfight each of the 4 raziks on escort duty (2 on each enemy ship). Then I send my dartfighters on suicide runs against the vorchan and maximus. Finally, I move the remaining torpedofighters to fire on the Vorchan from maximum range.
The suicide fighters are met by anti-fighter fire from Triario. Most get through and do moderate damage to the Maximus (no criticals) and moderate damage to the Vorchan (-1 AD crit).
My scout fails to redirect fire on Slicer.
Torpedofighters then unload onto the vorchan, doing light damage but scoring a single critical. The crit rolls up as a Reactor Implosion (6,5) doing heavy damage and killing all crew aboard.
One of my torpedofighters manages to win its dogfight, the others are lost. Two are recovered by the carrier.
Triario and the two Kutai fire on Spite. They all manage to only score only 2 hits, but one of these hits scores an Engines Disabled (2,6) critical and sets Spite adrift.
The scout Rogue leaves the squadron, attempting to init sink at least one enemy ship. This will prove to be a mistake, though it does manage to line up its guns on a kutai, Riposte. Spite gives an All Hands on Deck order and drifts in orbit around the moon.
The Centauri manuver to attack the scout, giving Concentrate Firepower orders with all ships except Riposte, which gives a CBD order.
Centauri fighters continue to stick to their ships in escort. I am again forced to sacrifice several torpedo fighters in dogfights to enable the others to attack the kutai unmolested.
My scout again failed to lend redirect for the fighters. Their fire is only moderately effective between the dodge rolls, and the CBD rolls of Riposte.
Centauri fire destroys Rogue. Spite is only able to fire a port volley at a kutai, which is lent interceptors by Triario. This and the dodge rating keep any real damage from hitting home.
In the end phae, Spite rolls a "1" trying to fix the Adrift critical. This failure leaves her unable to attempt an escape.
Time is running out for the Dilgar to inflict sufficient damage. Continually losing initiative is also taking a toll on fighters.
Spite, drifting listlessly toward the edge of the board, issues a Scramble! order. She has a lot of hit points and needs more fighters in space to inflict harm upon the enemy.
The centauri ships all move up behind Spite, where she has no guns bearing. All ships give Concentrate Firepower! orders except the damaged Riposte which gives CBD.
Centauri fighters move first and engage many torpedofighters in dogfights. The remaining torpedofighters line up shots against Riposte.
Anti-fighter fire and dogfighting chews away the bulk of remaining Dilgar fighter forces. Dodge, CBD, and interceptors lent from Triario make the torpedofighters ineffective.
The Centauri open fire and do severe damage to Spite. She isn't crippled, but yet another Adrift! critical is scored. There is now no hope for the wounded carrier.
End of turn, Spite fails to repair a critical and launches her last 2 fighters.
Spite drifts further, now simply hoping for blind luck to allow her time to drift off the board.
The Centauri all stay in her aft arc. Triario gives Intensify Defensive Firepower order.
Centauri fighters race out to engage the new fighters and most of the remaining fighters. The hail of anti-fighter fire lent by Triario destroys them all.
Fire from the Centauri fleet finishes off poor Spite, reducing her to exactly zero damage. She goes dead in space and becomes a prize for the Centauri fleet.
Vorchan (Slicer), Decrewed
Garasoch (Spite), Destroyed
Jashakar Vi (Rogue), Destroyed
Centauri victory, 25 pts to 10 pts
Things really turned south for me when my carrier was set adrift with a lucky critical. Combined with the failed attempt to repair it and the second adrift critical - the carrier was doomed. I also failed all scouting rolls with a CQ:5 scout. This drastically reduced the effectiveness of my torpedofighters.
My opponent also brought just the right force to counter me, Raziks and a Maximus. This forced me to loose too many fighters in my "tie up" dogfights when trying to enable my attack craft a clear shot. The most effective weapon I had in this battle was my dartfighters making suicide runs on the enemy. But I only had so many fighters to expend.
I think I had the right idea, using attrition units and running away with the carrier. But since the carrier couldn't escape and the fighters were largely neutralized by good enemy fleet selection and bad scouting - I was doomed.
The Centauri excel at skirmish level, with the Maximus in the role of MVP. This tough ship is a force multiplier that can reduce waves of enemy fighters to so much scrap when supported by fighters of its own.
Splitting the scout off from my squadron was also a bad move. With the CQ 5 of the scout, my carrier would have been much more likely to repair its Adrift critical and escape.
A ship with a Dodge score and on Close Blast Doors order is extremely difficult to damage. Kutai are amazing patrol level ships.
The Centauri keep possession of the planet and gain valuable XP dice to spend on missions and upgrades. In addition, since the carrier was set adrift and didn't explode they captured BattleMaster Dar'Shal - one of my named characters in the fiction for the campaign. What fate awaits Dar'Shal? I can only hope for an eventual prisoner exchage. But I fear he is already in the hands of Centauri telepaths.
Station Prime, Observation Deck
Jo'Tok read the report a second time, but the words hadn't changed. Spite was lost. And with her, a close friend and one of the more promising officers in the fleet. And perhaps there had been the potential for something more once the war was over.
With effort she brushed these thoughts aside. There would be time to mourn later. For now there was still a war to prosecute.
This was the third carrier task force lost in Krish. It seemd that they glory days of the Thorun fighter were finally over. The tiny craft had swept the Dilgar to victory over the last three years, but that was against the League. Now that they were facing two major and highly professional navies it seemed the shock value of fighter groups had been greatly diminished.
The battleforce was just ariving from Demeter after their clash with the humans. Heavy damage was apparent on many of the ships and again there were several missing frigates. The War Leader sighed. Even victory has a heavy price.