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[FT] The Long Journey Home (AAR) Part 2/6

From: Beth Fulton <beth.fulton@m...>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 10:18:53 +1000
Subject: [FT] The Long Journey Home (AAR) Part 2/6


	The jump series out to the rim worlds, where the forces of
humanity had
gathered to prosecute the first major human offensive of the
War, is a long and arduous one. Crews could burn out easily and so the
had negotiated 'resting rights' on the outer edges of many of the
along the way. Thus, fleets from the major and minor powers alike had
become a common sight on the outer edges of these systems. During the
month of the offensive's build-up traffic flow through the 'rest
had been particularly hectic with fleets passing through every few days.
This had been particularly true for the inhabitants of the Inner Colony
system of Sirius, the system the Independent Antarctic States, the IAS,
call home. It was a fairly important jump node as FSE and NSL and even
ESU vessels had to pass through there to reach the areas being harassed
the Kra'Vak. Traffic had been at peak levels there for well over six
before it had quietened down again, with most of the fleets finally well
to their way to the rim. The Richelieu had been a part of the final FSE
NSL contingents that had jumped out from Sirius 3 weeks ago. The force
actually supposed to be a tri-nation force heading off to act as
for the assault on the Kra'Vak strongholds around Beta Trianguli
, but they'd had been forced to leave their ESU counterparts still
on the system's edge as a jump engine malfunction in the
had delayed their scheduled departure. However the Eurasian fleet's
subsequent actions and its Admiral's logs had shown these mechanical
difficulties to be nothing more than the opening ruse of yet another
pathetic betrayal... 

	"The IAS have hailed three times now inquiring about whether our
are cycling properly and asking to be notified if we're preparing to
Their forward observation drones have obviously detected that we've been
powering up, but I'm confident that they won't guess our true intentions
until we're well underway into their system. It's been 6 days now since
other fleets left, long enough from them to be far away, and nothing
powerful than a cargo hauler is officially scheduled to come in for
The IAS worlds will make a perfect jumping off platform for our Inner
Systems Campaign. With most of the fleets out fighting the Kra'Vak it
shouldn't take much to clear the other forces out of this system and by
time anyone can do anything about it, we'll be entrenched...

...I don't know how they found us out, but we've just detected the
IAS Warforce on an intercept course. We should meet them in 2.3 hours,
off their science stations around Ronne. No matter though they will
little chance against our best. They're little more than a ragtag bunch
scientists and UNSC lapdogs playing soldiers. We will be all but

They weren't, for there is only one thing more committed than a
or desperate, man and that's one whose protecting his family. With just
over 1.5 hours to contact, the IAS fleet commander hailed the ESU
requesting updates on status and intentions. The silence which greeted
their efforts was obviously answer enough as neither fleet hesitated
they eventually entered weapons range. The IAS Warforce suffered
casualties at the hand of the more experienced, more powerful and
numerically superior ESU force, but they did not budge. As ship after
fell more stepped up to fill the line, they could do nothing more
falling back meant losing their home. Even the sublight boats and
armed explorers stationed at Ronne joined the affray. However, for all
their tenacity, the IAS were doing little beyond moderate damage to the
invasion fleet and ultimately they could do little more than slow the
down. After two hours of such carnage even Admiral Zermansky was
by the loss of life and offered the IAS forces an honourable surrender,
they did not accept...

"... These stubborn dogs refuse to see reason. How can sublight boats
to do little more than clog up our jets when their carrier and
already lie wrecked about us? I must admit their courage impresses me,
have a spirit I did not expect of such cowering intellectuals. However,
their efforts will all be in vain. We should be in ortillery range of
Adelie within 5.4 hours..."

Less than half of an hour after these words were logged the ESU Inner
Systems Campaign was over and the Admiral was dead. At a little after
midnight Adelie time the largest UNSC fleet ever formed jumped into the
Sirius system just spinward of Ronne's orbital path. At the core of the
armada was a force of ships, their like never seen before, they were of
highest technology and sleekest design. Commissioned within hours of the
initial reports of first contact, these vessels were not subject to the
whim of any nation state, these belonged to the UNSC alone. Around this
flock of silent raptors hovered a bizarre flotilla of mixed designs and
clashing colours. Not as arresting technologically, these vessels were
astounding for what they represented. The smallest of nations who had
over half a century chopping and changing sides in the Solar Wars as
as they changed governments had finally thrown their lot behind one goal
and had ratified this act by sending all that they had. The IAS command
only received word of the fleet's impending arrival by fast courier boat
that morning. The IAS force that had met the ESU off Ronne hadn't been
to investigate the ESU, rather it had been on its way to rendezvous with
the UNSC forces. The vessels of the IAS navy, headed up by their new
Battleship fresh from its shakedown cruise, were to be the leadships of
left wing of this new multipartite fleet. The ESU forces themselves
have been notified by the IAS command of the imminent arrival if they
hadn't already broken off communications. The variegated armada must
been a commanding sight, it proved to be a decisive one. Literally
before jumpspace had birthed this juxtaposition of humanity the IAS had
launched its largest and final assault. Fighters, torpedos, missiles and
beams arrowing through space as if they were the coordinated limbs of
nightmarish chimera. To the IAS's horror the ESU superdreadnought did
react, it was as if it were some skittish fox held rigid by the glare of
oncoming lights. The IAS fleet commander couldn't know whether Zermansky
was distracted or cowered by the UNSC's arrival, either way it was going
be slaughter. He barked orders to try and divert the barrage, see it
harmlessly pass its mark and then he prayed the ESU would do something
protect themselves. In answer, as if it were Gulliver shaking himself
from the Lilliputian's bindings, the superdreadnought did finally swing
into action. PDS blazed and escort ships flew in to draw fire, but all
naught. The superdreadnought 's nose crumpled and implosions dominoed
bulk head to bulk head along its spine until finally the core breached
the hulk tore itself apart, showering its brood of escorts with glowing
debris. Under threat of facing the prodigious and untouched fleet of the
UNSC, and stunned by the sudden and spectacular loss of their supposedly
indestructible centrepiece, the remnants of the ESU fleet capitulated.

>>>>>> CONTINUED IN PART 3 >>>>>>>

Elizabeth Fulton
c/o CSIRO Division of Marine Research
GPO Box 1538
Phone (03) 6232 5018 International +61 3 6232 5018
Fax (03) 6232 5199 International +61 3 6232 5199


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