Exile alternate history part 13
Major ships of EFN Task Force Seven:
EFD Hesperia (Flagship) (Galahad)
EFFg Lincoln (Vidar)
EFFg Wolf (Vidar)
ORFg Carrington (Tychicus)
ORFg Fafnir (Agneya)
EFFg Everest (Solomon)
EFFg Princeton (Solomon)
EFFg Luna (Solomon)
EFFg Huron (Solomon)
ORFg Lassel (Vitalius)
EFC Trailblazer (Evangelist)
ORC Griffin (Amalthea)
EFCs London (modified Viscount)
EFCs Borealis (modified Viscount)
ORFs Terbium (Hephaestus)
ORLs Mendel (Hestia)
ORGt Photon (Pluto)
As you can see, all of our warships and major supply ships are currently active. We’ll need them if we are to finish what could be the final leg of our journey. We’ve also been fortunate to pick up some civilian ships along the way prior to leaving Sol. Hopefully when we join up with Exodus Fleet, this will help humanity’s future.
(Note: I decided to add in that there are a few civilian ships with TF7. I’ll say they just didn’t feature prominently in previous parts. I figure if they were able to save various warships before leaving Sol, they’d be able to save some additional civilians as well).
Everyone, we are in the end run here. This next mission will either end up with us reuniting with humanity’s remnants in Exodus Fleet or we will be stranded in this part of the galaxy with the Shivans. We have all done so much to get this far and I believe in all of you that we can win the day.
As you know pilots, we are currently in Mi Arae and preparing to enter combat operations in Terminus. We know the Gauri will try to attack Exodus Fleet soon so we’re preparing our heavy warships to go after in and save what Terrans we can.
The Hesperia, Lincoln, Wolf, Carrington, and Fafnir (along with their complements of fighters and bombers) will jump into Terminus. Then those ships will recharge their drives and jump to the coordinates of Exodus Fleet and the Ancient devices.
The lighter warships of TF7 will stay behind and guard our supply ships. After our strike force has engaged the Shivans near the Terminus device, the other TF7 ships will enter Terminus and wait for our all clear before we bring them to the Terminus Ancient device.
When we get to the engagement zone, we’ll probably find the Gauri and Tarka there. It’s quite possible we’ll find other Shivan forces there too. Defend the Ancient devices and all Terran forces there too…Exodus Fleet and TF7. After TF7 gets to the battle zone, we’ll deploy the heavy bombers we’re prepping right now. Hydras, you’ll be in fighters for this mission. I recommend taking the heavy Echelon or Vindicator fighter.
Once we rid the area of Shivans, we’ll call in our remaining warships and supply ships…along with the civilian ships we’ve picked up along the way. We’ll then officially join up with Exodus Fleet.
To be honest, I don’t really know the politics of the situation after that. I don’t know who will get to go through this gate first or who will be in charge of the military after TF7 gets there. Right now though, that’s not important. Let’s defeat the Shivans and reunite with our brothers and sisters and we’ll worry about the legal and political ramifications later.
A victory today may not bring us eternal security from the Shivans, but we must be victorious. They wouldn’t have brought Exodus Fleet here if there wasn’t some logic behind it. I’m hopeful we will find some measure of rest after passing through this portal.
We have been through a lot lately…as TF7 and as species. I want to thank all of you, and our Vasudan friend Asir, for helping us to get through this. If we are all that’s left of humankind and Vasudankind, let’s conduct ourselves with honor and courage. Godspeed to us all.
Eliminate Shivan presence in area [ ]
Protect Ancient device and ship [ ]
Protect Terran destroyers (EFN and ORS) [ ]
All TF7 heavy strike force capships survive [ ]
Near Terminus-Mi Arae jump node
Hesperia: Alright everyone, we’ve made it into Terminus. Our warships and the fighters we currently have launched will recharge our jump drives and then head into battle near the Ancient portal.
Hesperia: We’re leaving a stealth drone at this spot. I know you’ve heard this before, but a refresher never hurt. After we jump to the engagement zone the remainder of TF7, our medium and light warships along with the supply and civilian ships, will then jump into Terminus and hold position at our current location. The stealth drone will alert the remainder of TF7 if Shivans are headed to this point though. We doubt it, but better safe than sorry.
Bravo 3: General Spruance?
Hesperia: Yes pilot?
Bravo 3: Is there a chance we could run into the Tyrant? After it went ahead of us a while back, we haven’t heard from it since.
Hesperia: I won’t lie to you…I don’t know. The Gauria and Tarak will likely be there at the battle, but I’m not sure where the Tyrant is. It could be there or it could not. If it’s there, so be it. We have to hurry into this battle to save the Ancient technology and Exodus Fleet. We don’t have time to worry. Hydras get ready to jump to the engagement zone.
Alpha 1: Hydras, our first mission objective when we get there will be to destroy the Gauri and its escort Tarak unless you hear otherwise. It’s likely we’ll be coming in behind them so the bombers we launch will target their engines. That will keep them away from the Ancient vessels. Then we’ll go for general destruction of the ships. Alpha, Bravo, and Delta will keep Shivan fighters off the bombers.
Delta 2: After that, can we talk to Exodus Fleet? I think I have friends on the EFD Redemption.
Hesperia: I don’t see why not. Though it will have to wait until we’ve made communication with Fleetmaster Caliphtys or whoever’s in charge of the forces at the node. After all the diplomatic stuff is out of the way, I’m sure we can all arrange some reunions.
Hesperia: Okay, enough chatter for now, we’re armed and ready for this operation. This is for Sol and humanity. Jump in two minutes.
(Note: the scene now transfers to the battle area of “Sol Invictus” shortly after Fleetmaster Raji comes back through the Malia. To fit the new situation, I’ve changed some of the dialogue.)
Ironclad: Asira, you’re crazy, you know that?
Anjaneya: You’re probably right Horatio, but I’m not leaving any people behind if I can help it.
Ironclad: You’re willing to risk letting Tyrant and these other Shivan destroyers through? We’re not exactly at full strength.
Anjaneya: It’s my business to know my people and what we’re capable of; I know we can do this.
Ironclad: I don’t know whether your stubbornness irritates me or makes me admire you more.
Anjaneya: Why not both?
Ironclad: In any case, I’ve stopped the countdown for Malia. We’ll finish off these destroyers then finish off Tyrant.
(Note: If I put part of a communication line in parentheses, it means in this case that people on board the ship are having a conversation in mission. If it’s just the ship name, assume it’s either the ship CO or XO talking. In this particular case, it’s one of the Ironclad’s chief communications officers.)
Ironclad: (Comms) Fleetmaster Tyrone…we have a problem…
Ironclad: We have several right now. Be more specific.
Ironclad: (Comms) Sir, I’m detecting two incoming subspace signatures. One appears to be heavy destroyer class and one cruiser class.
Anjaneya: With the Shivans, one never fully knows when or where they’ll show up.
(The Sammael Gauri and the Lilith Tarka now jump in on the edge of the engagement zone.)
Sparks: This…is not good.
Ironclad: You can say that again pilot.
Fives: Squadmaster Harper, what do we do?
Harper: Our squad doesn’t have the strength right now to take down heavy capships. Maybe with enough massed firepower we could take down the Lilith eventually, but not a heavy destroyer…even a damaged one. Fleetmaster Tyrone, any chance for bomber support?
Ironclad: Maybe in a few minutes, but not right now. It’s going to take a few minutes to prep them anyways.
Harper: What does that mean?
Ironclad: We’re between a rock and a hard place figuratively speaking. I wish I could give you better news. Focus on doing what you can. Keep the Shivan bombers off us and maybe disarm Shivan beams if you can.
Ironclad: (Comms) Oh no, oh no…
Ironclad: What now?
Ironclad: (Comms) Fleetmaster, I’m detecting another battlegroup coming through subspace right to our position here.
Ironclad: No! Not now!
Ironclad: (Comms) I wish I could say I was joking sir, but it looks like that’s the case. Subspace readings look like one heavy destroyer and four heavy frigates…along with at least one squadron of craft. They’ll all be here shortly.
Harper: You can’t be serious, there’s no way we can hold that in addition to what we’re already up against.
Anjaneya: This is all my fault. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
Demetrius: Curse the both of you! We were so close to getting most of Exodus Fleet out then the two of you had to put your pride about the greater good! Our blockade is barely holding, and I’ve had to reinforce it with Escort Fleet frigates. Now, because the two of you couldn’t follow orders, we’re going to have at least two more Sammaels coming through? If they get past the blockade we’ll probably lose hundreds of thousands of civilians!
Ironclad: Fleetmaster Caliphtys…
Anjaneya: Horatio, don’t. He’s right. What we did may have felt good emotionally at the time today,
but militarily it was stupid. Now all we can do is deal with the consequences. Orders, Horatio?
Ironclad: There’s not much we can do really. Okay…all pilots…I doubt we can stop all the ships from getting through, but we’ll do what we can. Destroy all the fighters and bombers that you can. As for the capships, we’ll try to throw out some bombers but it’s mainly going to be up to you to do what damage you can to them. Try to take down enemy capital beams; that will at least give our blockade and other forces in Andromedae a chance.
Ironclad: Engineering, can’t we try to shut down the portal now?
Ironclad: (Engineering) Fleetmaster, it’s not like a kitchen light switch that you can switch on and off rapidly. It needs time for a proper set up. We would need at least 10 minutes before we could reactivate the process again.
(Note: I tried to create a reason why they couldn’t try shut down the portal right away. In official Exile, I figured they needed time to restart the shutdown sequence as well, but they would have felt less panicked in that situation than here.)
Sparks: What about you Fleetmaster?
Ironclad: Don’t worry about us pilots. We’ll stay here and distract them. Hopefully we can survive long enough to restart the Malia shutdown sequence.
Harper: Sir, you’re going to stay behind?
Ironclad: That’s a possibility. If it gets to that point, we’ll crash launch all our fighters and bombers and send them through the portal so they can survive. At the last minute, we’ll send our frigates through.
Fives: The Ironclad’s our home, sir. Can’t we stay and help you out?
Ironclad: No! That’s an order! At that point, there’ll be no point in you sacrificing yourselves. Don’t be fools like myself and Fleetmaster Raji. Go land on the Demetrius or Vermillion. Heck, the Redemption might even be willing to take you too. Try to take care of Shipmaster Le Brunon as well.
Harper: Is this goodbye then, Fleetmaster Tyrone?
Ironclad: Quite possibly, Squadmaster.
Harper: We’ll take down as many of the bugs as we can then. Godspeed. Pilots, let’s head towards…
Ironclad: (Comms) Fleetmaster! Fleetmaster!
Ironclad: What? What is it? You left your station and ran over to me so fast you look like you’re trying for the 50 yard dash in the Olympics or something. Also, what’s with that smile? What do any of us have to be happy about right now?
Ironclad: (Comms) Sir, you’ve got to see this!
Ironclad: I don’t have time for games, tell me what’s going on.
Ironclad: (Comms) Sir, my station has a new reading on those five incoming capships.
Ironclad: So what? We can now identify the type of Shivan ships incoming? With all due respect, that doesn’t really matter right now.
Ironclad: (Comms) No! That’s just it sir. They’re not Shivan! They’re Terrans! Terrans! We have Terran warships coming in behind the Gauri and Tarka!
Ironclad: Say that again…
Ironclad: (Comms) The reading is…a Galahad destroyer escorted by four heavy frigates: two Vidars, an Agneya, and a Tychicus. Look! They’re coming in now; I’ll zoom in a viewscreen for you.
(The first part of TF7 exits subspace and begins bombardment on the Gauri. The Hydras come in shortly after that and they, along with a squad of heavy bombers launched from the Hesperia, begin to attack the Tarka.)
(Fleetmaster Tyrone is stunned and stares at this scene speechlessly for a few seconds. Some people around him think he looked like he was almost about to cry tears of joy.)
Ironclad: (Comms) Orders, Fleetmaster Tyrone?
Ironclad: We might…we might actually survive this day.
Ironclad: Relay this information to Fleetmasters Raji and Caliphtys. Hopefully this new turn of events will calm Caliphtys down a bit. As for our battlegroup, continue to focus on the destroyers in front of us. Finish them off and then we’ll see about assisting our new friends with the Gauri and Tarka.
Anjaneya: Is this…this feels like the first time we’ve had hope in a long time.
Ironclad: It’s not over yet, Asira. But you’re right. There may be some light at the end of this tunnel now.
Harper: Should we hail these new ships, Ironclad?
Ironclad: We don’t really have time for a friendly chat right now. Let’s at least wait until we’ve cleared our immediate danger zone. For now though, see if you can get a reading on them so we can at least find out the name of those ships.
Ironclad: (Comms) Sir, the Galahad is the Hesperia. The Vidars look like the Lincoln and Wolf. The Agneya is the Fafnir and the Tychichus the Carrington.
Anjaneya: Hesperia? Wasn’t she literally lost somewhere back during the fighting in Sol? At best she would have been a lifeless derelict. How could anyone have possibly got her back in fighting order without a major shipyard stay?
Ironclad: Who knows? I don’t know about the Vidars, but according to our records the Fafnir and Carrington were lost back in Sol as well so I can’t account for them either. It looks like we’ll all have a lot of stories to tell when this is over. They just took down the Tarka and it looks like the Gauri is almost disabled. They’re doing their part, let’s focus on finishing off the destroyers in front of us and then we can all turn our attention to the Tyrant.
Fives: Wait a second.
Sparks: What’s wrong?
Fives: When I was looking over these new ships, the reading on the Hesperia said EFD Hesperia. Shouldn’t it be ORD Hesperia since Galahads are our ships?
Harper: You’re kidding me, Fives. The remnants of humanity just got a last second reprieve from death and you’re worried about a small targeting display glitch? That’s something we can worry about later. Shut up and fight!
Fives: Er, yes sir.
(By about this time the two destroyers that Anjaneya destroyed in official Exile should be destroyed.)
Anjaneya: We’ve taken out the two Shivan destroyers guarding the Malia.
Ironclad: Let’s have all our ships move in on the Tyrant. Perhaps we can force it to withdraw from the area and that would allow all of us to leave in peace.
(By now the TF7 bombers that destroyed the Tarka have rearmed and have joined the TF7 heavy capships in assaulting the Gauri.)
Anjaneya: Hull going critical…that’s it! I’m reading massive hull failures on the Gauri. They did it! The Gauri’s going up!
(After the Gauri explodes, the TF7 ships begin to move in against the Tyrant.)
Ironclad: (Comms) Fleetmaster, we’re being hailed by the Hesperia!
Ironclad: Take it then!
Ironclad: (Comms) We’re open.
Ironclad: To the new Terran arrivals, thank you…thank you. I don’t know who you are but you certainly came at the right time. Forgive my ignorance, but who do I have the honor of speaking to?
Hesperia: This is General Oliver Spruance, CO of the EFD Hesperia and CIC of EFN Task Force Seven. Ironclad…may I presume I am speaking to Fleetmaster Tyrone then?
Ironclad: That is correct, General. EFD Hesperia you say…so Fives was right? I’m sure that’s an interesting story of how an ORS class of ship became an Earther vessel, but that’s a story for later. Right now, what’s your status? Are these all the ships in your group?
Hesperia: All of our warships are in combat order, though we have more than what you see here. Our recon showed this spot you were in. We also were tracking the Gauri, which we had previously engaged, here so we took our heavy warships and rushed them here for combat. The lighter warships in our force are guarding the supply and civilian ships in another location here in Terminus until this area is clear.
Anjaneya: Are there any other Shivans following you? I hope we haven’t become relieved in one moment to worry about more despair later.
Hesperia: It’s Fleetmaster Raji, correct?
Anjaneya: Yes, General.
Hesperia: We’ve put stealth drones along the route we took to warn us if Shivans are coming behind us. We also have our AWACS ships scanning. While we can’t say for 100% certainty, our estimate is that the Shivans are at least a week behind us…give or take a day. We didn’t have to worry about Shivans behind us when we made our journey at least.
Hesperia: Anyways, I’m sure this is something all of our intelligence people can discuss together later. Let’s focus on the Shivans here. I don’t know which of you two is in tactical command here, but permission to bring in my warships here alongside yours and join the attack on Tyrant?
Anjaneya: That would be very much appreciated, General. Let’s bring the monster down.
Ironclad: Hesperia, if I may make a request…do you have any fighters you could spare? While we have the capital ship situation in hand now, the Shivans still are sending swarms of fighters and bombers against us.
Hesperia: Affirmative, Fleetmaster. Alpha and Bravo wings of the Hydras, head over near that portal and give the Exodus Fleet ships help against the Shivan fighter and bomber swarms. Delta Hydras, finish escorting our heavy bombers back to our fighterbay and then go and join Alpha and Bravo. We’ll launch another squadron for CAP on our strike force.
(For a while, the allied ships continue their attack on Tyrant.)
Anjaneya: Tyrant has dropped below 20% hull integrity. It looks like it’s trying to turn around and leave the area!
Hesperia: Ironclad, should we pursue?
Ironclad: Is it headed to your group’s rally point, Hesperia?
Hesperia: According to Tyrant’s vector, it doesn’t look like that’s the case thankfully.
Ironclad: Good. As for Tyrant, I’m saying no on the pursuit request. I want to get our people out of here and beyond the Malia into Andromedae as quickly as possible. I don’t think we’ll see Tyrant ever again. We’ll have to let it go.
Sparks: Fleetmaster, I’m getting a message from the Mastermind!
Hesperia: What’s the Mastermind?
Ironclad: It’s a long story, for now all I can say is it’s on our side.
Hesperia: You call Mastermind an “it” and not “him” or “her”?
Ironclad: Like I said, it’s a long story you can hear later; I don’t have time to talk about it now. Sparks, what’s it saying to you?
(Note: The dialogue here will be fairly similar to how it happened in official Exile. I don’t remember the exact words, but I think I got the sentiment mostly right.)
Mastermind: Tyrant is not to escape. We can help you on this. The one you call Sparks, scan the Tyrant’s navigation subsystem.
Sparks: I don’t know what good that will do; but I’ll give it a try.
Mastermind: Hurry, Tyrant will jump out in about two minutes.
(Sparks does his duty.)
Sparks: Okay. Tyrant’s navigation has been scanned. I hope you can make good use of this.
Mastermind: Indeed we will. The hour of Tyrant’s demise is at hand. All Terran craft, I would recommend staying away from Tyrant’s engines.
(Like what happened in official Exile, soon after this happens explosions happen in all of Tyrant’s engines and the juggernaut is now disabled.)
Harper: Sparks, what did you do?
Sparks: I…I don’t know. I didn’t do anything myself. I just scanned Tyrant’s navigation subsystem and Mastermind took care of the rest.
Ironclad: This…this is incredible. Okay everyone, there’s a change of plans. We can’t squander this new opportunity before us. All allied ships in the area, move back into attack formation against Tyrant. Use all available weapons and let’s finish this monster off once and for all!
(Exodus Fleet ships and TF7 ships turn back to Tyrant and begin focusing all the firepower that they can on it. The already weakened juggernaut doesn’t stand up to this amount of firepower for much longer. This part would be a cutscene of Tyrant exploding like in “Sol Invictus”.)
Ironclad: Tyrant has reached zero! Primary and secondary explosions are being recorded all over. Tyrant is going down! All ships, back away from the explosion!
Anjaneya: Tyrant is down…it’s finally done.
Ironclad: Congratulations to everyone. That’s the first Shivan juggernaut that we have ever destroyed. I’ll make sure history remembers this day.
Hesperia: For the first time in a long time, the moment feels…almost peaceful. What happens now, my friends? Forgive my forwardness, I hope it’s okay I called you that.
Anjaneya: You helped save us all, we’re definitely friends.
Ironclad: I concur.
Hesperia: Thank you. We owe you a lot too for giving my group a home. So anyways, what happens now?
(The Anjaneya and her escort frigates begin to turn around.)
Anjaneya: Here’s the overall plan: I’m going to take my ships back through the Malia where we’ll relieve the ships there and send them back to the main Exodus Fleet rallying point. I’ll oversee the ships coming through Malia. You’ll call in the rest of your TF7 and bring them through.
Hesperia: When they get here I’ll probably have to send them through in waves…two or three maybe. I don’t think they can all fit through this thing at once.
Anjaneya: That’s fine. Can you send me a complete list of TF7 ships so I can keep track of things?
Hesperia: Sending now.
Anjaneya: This is an interesting detail. On the overall personnel section it says the number of Terrans you have and…”1 Vasudan”? Am I reading that right?
Hesperia: Correct. Commander Asir was part of the Earth embassy. He’s a friend of mine and did some intelligence work with the EFN. Do you have any Vasudans in the ORS or Exodus Fleet?
Ironclad: No, sadly. All Vasudans attached to the ORS died as far as I know. So it looks like he will be the only Vasudan to survive Sol. How’s he taking that?
Hesperia: He’s handling it remarkably well actually. He’s developed a taste for human food…fried chicken in particular. I’m not sure of the politics of Exodus Fleet, but it’s okay we brought a Vasudan along with us isn’t it?
Anjaneya: That won’t be a problem. He’s as welcome with us as you are. Anyways, after your TF7 ships come through, I’ll direct them to the main Exodus Fleet assembly point in Andromedae. After that, Fleetmaster Tyrone will bring the Ironclad and the rest of his battlegroup through.
Anjaneya: Once they’re through, there will be no more Terrans as far as we know in that part of the galaxy. We will then activate the shutdown sequence for the Malia. After that, we will remotely activate the self-destruct sequence for the Ancient controller destroyer. With it gone and the Malia shut down, the Shivans won’t be able to follow us through.
(Fleetmaster Raji brings the Anjaneya and her ships through the Malia.)
Anjaneya: We made it through successfully. General, you’re clear to begin bringing your people in.
Hesperia: Thank you. Borealis, are things clear there?
Borealis: Clear, General. We’re not detecting any Shivans in our area and long-range scans are clear too.
Hesperia: This is General Spruance to the remainder of TF7: You’re all clear to come in. Civilian ships, Photon and cruisers will go in first. After that, the second wave will be the Mendel, Terbium, and remaining frigates. The four heavy frigates here will then go in, and finally I’ll bring the Hesperia in afterwards. When you get through, follow Fleetmaster Raji’s directions on where to go next. All fighters and bombers, return to your ships.
(The rest of TF7 begins to jump into the Malia zone and begins entering the Malia in the order they were assigned after their jump drives recharge.)
Hesperia: This may take a few minutes. Can I ask you something, Fleetmaster Tyrone?
Ironclad: Go ahead.
Hesperia: What’s the political structure of Exodus Fleet like? Who’s in charge?
Ironclad: That’s kind of complicated actually, but I’ll try to give you a brief version. The actual overall leader is High Magistrate Al-Zardari of Colony Fleet; he’s the civilian leader. Fleetmaster Caliphtys is in charge of Escort Fleet and is the de facto military commander of Exodus Fleet. Off the record, some consider him to be the one really in charge.
Hesperia: What’s Caliphtys like?
Ironclad: That’s…another complicated question. Sometimes he can be frustrating and can seem cold, but I suppose men like him are needed who can always focus on the bigger picture. Ask 10 people about him and you may get 10 different opinions. You’ll probably get to form your own soon enough.
Hesperia: Will I get a chance to talk with him?
Ironclad: I’m sure he’ll want to talk with you and hear how you acquired the Hesperia. Considering the power TF7 is bringing I’m sure a face to face meeting can be arranged.
Hesperia: I noticed something else: you don’t just call yourselves Exodus Fleet…there seems to be a lot of different named fleets in this group. Could you explain that?
Ironclad: Sure. The overall body of forces that left Sol is called Exodus Fleet. Within that there are
Fleets that do different functions. Colony Fleet under Al-Zardari has our colony and civilian ships along with our supply ships. Escort Fleet under Caliphtys are forces that are meant to stay close to Colony Fleet and protect them and not leave unless it’s an absolute emergency. I head up Roaming Fleet; it is allowed to leave direct escort of Colony Fleet and clear the road ahead. We generally were a system or two ahead of Colony Fleet to clear the way of Shivans though sometimes we’d have to jump to the rear temporarily if the Shivans surprised us.
Ironclad: Fleetmaster Raji leads Heavy Fleet. It’s not as tied to Colony Fleet as Escort Fleet is but it’s not as ‘free’ as my forces are either. She has most of our heavy firepower and Heavy Fleet acts as kind of a mobile reserve you could say.
Ironclad: Leibniz’ forces are currently attached to Roaming Fleet and Tessandras’ forces are kind of Exodus Fleet’s black ops forces you could say.
Hesperia: Very interesting. What will happen to TF7 once we get through? Where, or to who, will we be assigned?
Ironclad: I don’t know right now. Once TF7 gets through and sent to the main Exodus Fleet assembly point in Andromedae, I think Caliphtys is going to let us all have a day or two of rest. After that, our strategic arbiters will decide where to put your forces. Your supply and civilian ships will probably be put in Colony Fleet, but I can’t say for sure which Fleet will get which TF7 warships.
Anjaneya: General Spruance, the Lincoln and Wolf have just completed their transit. You’re the only TF7 ship left.
Hesperia: Permission to bring the Hesperia in, Fleetmaster?
Anjaneya: Granted. We’re ready for you. I’d also like to add Fleetmaster Caliphtys is pleased to be getting another Hestia and Hephaestus. So that got you some goodwill with him. He says he’s looking forward to meeting you.
Hesperia: Thank you. Fleetmaster Tyrone says we might actually get a day or two of rest.
Anjaneya: Thankfully that looks to be the case. I think it’s something we all need. Caliphtys said he would like to have a friendly chat with you soon after you get in, but after that we’d all get some time off before we figure out where to assign TF7 ships. Anyways, the path is clear Hesperia.
Hesperia: Roger that. Helm, engage subspace drive into Andromedae. See you on the other side, Fleetmaster Tyrone.
(The Hesperia jumps into the Malia and now all of TF7 has left Terminus and is now on the other side of the Malia in Andromedae.)
Anjaneya: Horatio, the Hesperia has made it through and now all of TF7 is on its way to the Exodus Fleet assembly point. You and your ships are all that’s left. Are the preparations in order?
Ironclad: We’re ready. We’ve landed all of our fighters and bombers and remote shutdown of Malia
and self-destruct of Ancient control ship will commence after we made our jump. Helm, power up subspace drive and take us in.
(The Ironclad and its escort frigates now make the jump into Andromedae.)
Ironclad: We made it, we made it. Asira, good to see you here. Any sign of Shivans?
Anjaneya: Nothing here in Andromedae. Some of our fighters have made limited recon into a couple of the surrounding systems and no sign of the Shivans there either. So it looks like for the first time in a long time that we may not have to worry about them.
Ironclad: I doubt that will last forever. The Shivans are still out there somewhere so we can never 100% let our guard down.
Anjaneya: True enough, unfortunately. Anyways, we have one final piece of business to complete here. Ironclad, you’re clear to begin shutdown.
Ironclad: Roger that, Anjaneya. Begin transmission of shutdown sequence of the Malia. Our relay to the control destroyer seems operational as well so it should automatically destruct when the Malia device is turned off.
(About one minute passes.)
Ironclad: I’m reading a powering down of the Malia. I report no readings either from the Ancient destroyer…its destruction is confirmed.
Anjaneya: Did it all work?
Ironclad: Malia is dead and there’s no way to turn it back on. The operation was a success. I repeat: the operation was a success.
Anjaneya: Confirmed. Jump node is dead and unusable. We did it. Humanity will survive to fight another day. I wonder though, how do you think the Shivans feel about this?
Ironclad: With the Shivans, it’s impossible to tell how they’re feeling. They seemed to have almost no emotion when they glassed most of Sol…just like it was just something to do. Nobody knows whether they’re a hive-mind or sentient or some strange combo of the two. They probably don’t feel victories and losses in the same way we do. In any case, let’s be happy we survived this round. Like I said before, they’re probably still out there; they’re almost like a force of nature. It’s a matter of when, not if, we’ll see them again.
Anjaneya: Surely the new TF7 ships will help our chances.
Ironclad: Of course they will. Another Galahad and several frigates will be a big help militarily. Having those new supply ships will help our forces stay modernized and well equipped. Except for the Sathanas and Sammael, I’d even say we tactically outclass the Shivans one to one. With it being impossible to know their full numbers though, all I can say is that we may never conquer the Shivans and have to take day to day survival as a form of victory.
Anjaneya: Surely today we can be happy with our escape and new forces though?
Ironclad: Yes, it’s important to keep up morale. I’m not saying go into a depressive funk, just that we should mourn our losses and remember what we’re up against. I’m going to tell my pilots they can be happy about what they’ve accomplished…just don’t get cocky.
Anjaneya: Do you think it’s possible we could have a face to face meeting as well?
Ironclad: I, uh, think that could be arranged.
Anjaneya: In a few minutes we’ll begin our jump to the main rendezvous point. What’s the status of your forces? Also, what do you think happens now? I value your insight.
Ironclad: The Ironclad and my escort frigates here have taken a fair bit of damage. Our people need the days of rest Caliphtys has apparently said we’ll get; but our ships will need repair work as well. Big Buddha and our factory ships will be very busy in the near future.
Ironclad: After that, who knows? Like I said to General Spruance, I don’t know what will happen with TF7 ships, aside from their civilian and supply ships. You’ll probably be getting some for Heavy Fleet, and I’ll probably get some for Roaming Fleet. Naturally, Caliphtys will want to keep some for himself as well to support Escort Fleet.
Anjaneya: He won’t want Earth forces too concentrated. However, the TF7 ships represent a tangible increase in EFN firepower, especially since they have a new destroyer.
Ironclad: I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Leibniz is willing to work together with us, and even though I haven’t known him for long, Spruance doesn’t seem like the kind to want to start a civil war in Exodus Fleet.
Anjaneya: Fair enough, and I concur. I think we’ve found friends that although we may wear different labels, we are working together for a common goal.
Ironclad: Agreed. Let’s stay positive. I’m taking my group to Big Buddha now. We’ll talk later, Asira.
(A few hours have passed and TF7 is now at the assembly point they were directed to. None of the TF7 ships are heavily damaged enough that they got in line for Big Buddha. However, they are taking care of minor repairs to ships with repair drones and the Terbium is working on repairing some of the more heavily damaged fighters and bombers along with sending over replacement parts and munitions.)
Hesperia: How are you doing, London?
London: Very well, sir. Thank you. It’s been nice to give most of the crew a rest and stand down to the lowest alert status for the first time in a long time. Sir, permission to ask something?
London: I’ve only heard rumors about this, but have I heard correctly that TF7 is going to get split up in the near future?
Hesperia: I’m sorry to say that’s very likely. I know we’ve been through a lot, but they run things here technically. They’ll put our warships where they feel they’re most needed. I suppose it was inevitable. We have to think of ourselves primarily just as Terrans now and not necessarily EFN or ORS. Whatever the case, it’s been an honor. It’s not like we’ll never see each other again…just that we’re not technically in the same battlegroup.
Wolf: Hesperia, something big’s coming in near us.
Wolf: I don’t think so. It’s within the Exodus Fleet perimeter.
(The Demetrius enters nearby.)
Hesperia: Demetrius, to what do we owe this honor? There’s nothing wrong is there?
Demetrius: Greetings, General Spruance. Now that Exodus Fleet is safe and recuperating, I’m taking the Demetrius around to inspect various points and fleets to gain a good picture of things. I know we have long-range communications but sometimes it’s better to see things for yourself.
Hesperia: I hope things are going well across the fleet.
Demetrius: As a matter of fact, yes. The more heavily damaged ships are getting repaired at our mobile shipyard. The rest are conducting their own repairs and rearming and resupplying. How is TF7 doing?
Hesperia: Overall, we’ve been lucky. None of our ships have heavy damage right now so we’ve been able to conduct our own repairs. Other than that, I’m focusing on resupplying our forces and repairing our fighters and bombers. Plus, I’m trying to give my people some rest. They need that.
Hesperia: Fleetmaster Caliphtys, I believe this is our first official meeting. Fleetmaster Raji said you’d like to have a face-to-face meeting. Would you care to arrange that now?
Demetrius: That would be fine, General. It would be good to meet you and I’d be very interested to hear the story of how you came to acquire the Hesperia. Would you care to come over in say, 20 minutes? I have a very good chef staff and they’re familiar with most major Earth cuisines so you can pick out our dinner.
Hesperia: I’ll get on a shuttle and see you then. As for dinner, how do you feel about Mexican food?
Demetrius: That sounds excellent. I’m partial to chicken enchiladas myself. Dinner will be ready shortly after you arrive. I’m looking forward to meeting the leader of the group who provided us with a lot of help at the Malia. Oh, and one more thing…
Demetrius: I’ve arranged for a shuttle from the Anjaneya to come to the Hesperia. It will be arriving
within an hour or so and carrying Fleetmasters Raji and Tyrone. They will be having a goodwill meeting similar to the one you’re having with me. They just concluded a personal meeting on the Anjaneya from what I understand. They’ll meet with your XO and they’d like to meet this Asir, the only surviving Vasudan in the galaxy.
Hesperia: I’ll tell my people to be ready and have dinner ready as well.
Demetrius: Excellent. Some of my people recommended these two meetings so that you didn’t feel like you’re a hostage on the Demetrius.
Hesperia: Sir, I didn’t feel like that. I took your meeting offer in the spirit of goodwill that it was intended.
Demetrius: Very good. I also assure you that I’m not going to try and retake Hesperia. I recognize the reality of the situation. So, no need to feel any fear on that part.
Hesperia: For the sake of humanity, I look forward to working with you Fleetmaster.
Demetrius: As do I, General. A preliminary toast…to Sol…
Hesperia: To Sol…
(Note: This is the end of the main Exile AH storyline. There will be one more part after this. It will be an epilogue covering part of the meeting of Caliphtys and Spruance. There will also be discussion at the end among Caliphtys and his people on where to assign TF7 ships).