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Hosted Projects - Standalone => Wings of Dawn => Topic started by: Spoon on April 03, 2017, 08:49:34 pm

Title: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on April 03, 2017, 08:49:34 pm
Welcome to the WoD Lore thread, where Enioch of Rule (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=92847.0) the Waves (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=93265.0) fame is going to tell you official stories set in the WoDverse, that will have some tie-in with the story that's told in the game.
The majority of these stories will be set in a time before the events of Episode 1.

Updates will be done on an irregular basis. Whenever Enioch finds time in his busy life.

Table of Contents:



Here is a handy table to see how the ranks mentioned in the stories correspond to their real life counterparts.

Real Life Rank
Delest Rank
CRF Rank
Fleet Admiral (OF-10)
High Executor
Arc Champion
Admiral (OF-9)
Praetor
Champion
Vice Admiral (OF-8)
Ter-Judicator
Paladin
Rear Admiral (OF-7/6)
Re-Arurior
High Knight
Captain(OF-5)
Arurior
Commodore
Commander (OF-4)
Ter-Iio
Knight
Lieutenant Commander (OF-3)
Iio
Knight Lieutenant
Lieutenant (OF-2)
Leytenant
Lieutenant
Title: Chapter 1: Beautiful Terconia
Post by: Enioch on April 04, 2017, 02:09:02 am
Table of Contents (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=93394.msg1845742#msg1845742) | Next >> (#post_)


The Terconia Campaign
A   W i n g s   o f   D a w n   S t o r y



Imagine a diamond-clear starfield, endless and beautiful. Populate it with glorious nebulas, distant suns and the band of the Milky Way. Try (you will fail, but at least try) to imagine its vastness – and your place in it.

Now, in this infinite backdrop, place beautiful Terconia, with her two suns. See the flaming yellow mass of Terconia Secundus above you; feel the absurd heat and power of the cosmic furnace slam into you. Look away, blinded by the foreign sun. Let your hurting eyes fall on the small disk of Terconia Prime, more than a thousand million miles away. Try to imagine how it would feel to be as close to the blue supergiant as you are to the yellow dwarf. Avert your eyes.

Look down, and see Hōseki. A blue world. A beautiful world. See the sunlight on her oceans. See the string-of-pearls of the city lights on her night-side coastlines. See clouds racing each other around her equator.

See the light of Secundus reflecting off the thousands of small, insignificant satellites that Man has given her.

See the sleek, predatory shapes manoeuvre on their thrusters to enter orbit, shuttling like hornets around their nest.
 
War has come to beautiful Terconia.



There is, arguably, nothing worse for a military commander than to be just good enough to realise that your position is untenable but not capable enough to find a way to somehow turn the situation on its head. Newly-promoted Praetor Ishiro Dyatlov could feel it in his bones and his mood was black as death.

His death, surely. Or the imminent death of the men and women under his command. For, in truth, given the intelligence and information he was privy to, there was little he felt he could do to prevail under the current circumstances.

The Dynasty would lose a Core World for the first time since its founding; and he would be forever remembered as the one who had failed.

Not for the first time, he glanced ‘out’ of the simulated window on the wall of his private quarters and bitterly cursed the probe that had picked up the undiscovered Starlance in Terconia’s turbulent Oort cloud. And then, for good measure and with all the pathos of a frustrated Delest, he laid a tenfold curse on the random stellar and gravitational eddy that had, sometime during the creation of the Universe, linked that Starlance with the system that would become what was known today as the fortified New British outpost of Andor III.

Overnight, Terconia had changed from one of the safest Delest Core Worlds (Hōseki was a crèche world, for the Emperor’s sake!) to a border system. A border system that, if lost, could give the Limeys a four-Starlance path to Ihefulian (Unacceptable). A border system that, if lost, would mean a loss of incubators and embryos like nothing the Delest had ever seen before (Unthinkable!). Dyatlov was natural-born himself and he was not encoded with the behavioural triggers that would send cold-shivers down the spine of any vat-grown Delest at the mere idea of danger towards the precious, precious incubation facilities; but he was Delest nonetheless and the thought of an entire unborn generation lost forever because of his failure…

It loomed in the back of his mind and sanity like an unformed, black monster.

Again, again he called up his forces’ composition on his desk’s holoscreen, in search of something that he could use to flip the tables. Again he fought the near-irresistible urge to scream as he browsed his subordinates’ reports and the patchwork abomination that was his fleet’s ship listing.

On the top of the list (and thank the Emperor for small favours), his core force: twelve Volyas, all less than two years old, big and nasty and in excellent condition. What was less excellent was that only six of those ships (including his flagship, Michiko) had been with him since his not-so-distant service as the CO of the 5th Frontier Fleet. The rest of his battle-line was cobbled together from what capital ships the various Home Fleets could spare, always subject to the ‘gentle’ prompting of their patrons from the different Delest family Branches. That practice, in itself, was a disaster: Dyatlov could not fault those Branches that had deployed Volyas under his command, but, still, these were ships that had never worked with his fleet before; that came with their own commanders (and whatever baggage that implied) and that had to be hammered into a cohesive fighting force on the eleventh hour.

Dyatlov could (and did, in the privacy of his own mind) fault those Branches that had chosen to deploy aging Vernost-class battleships, or (Emperor forbid!) outright obsolete Zhizn-class monitors, while holding their Volyas in reserve (allegedly for their own systems’ defence, or for ‘necessary, scheduled maintenance’). It was painfully obvious, of course, that the most capable ships were being hoarded by the various factions; and that they were intended to be used during the inevitable infighting and power-plays that any competent politician could sense building up behind the scenes of Vladimir Yama Delest’s Imperial Court. That, however, still left Dyatlov with what he had come to generously refer to as the ‘Support Battle-Line’ in his Staff meetings (because ‘The Scrapheap’ would have indubitably caused morale problems): sixteen old capitals, in various stages of disrepair, with crews of indifferent quality at best and, of course, assembled from different units and fields of operations.

Then, less than two dozen cruisers (and most of them, thankfully, from his old 5th Fleet command): Five Grazdhanin heavy cruisers (glorious, glorious ships, what he couldn’t do with five more of those) and seven Zarya-class point-defence vessels, followed by a patchwork gathering of old hulls and Delest Branch contributions that he wished he could say he could have done without (unfortunately, he couldn’t; he needed every hull and body he could throw at the enemy, even if said hull was a leaking twenty-year-old tub). One notable exception was the sensor- and electronic warfare cruiser Orakul, generously attached to his command by the Imube Branch; it was now the apple of Dyatlov’s eye.

He was still undecided on his destroyer and frigate squadrons. Escort ships had yet to prove themselves in a fleet battle; but Dyatlov could see the benefit in having them present to guard his flanks, or detaching them to strike at targets of opportunity. If only there was any cohesiveness in his light forces’ equipment, doctrine or morale. Some of his ships came from fleets where escort vessels were thought to be useless cannon fodder and a low-responsibility dumping ground, with all that this implied for their crew quality and morale. Others came from jeune école-like fleets; and their officers and crew were confident in their belief that they were God’s gift to their Admiral and the key, indispensable element around which all strategy and tactics should be woven. In short, a headache Dyatlov could have done without.

No, no he couldn’t, he growled to himself internally. He needed the ships.

Emperor, but he was tired.

Dyatlov extinguished his display and leaned back on his chair with a drawn-out sigh, his hands rubbing his eyes. No stroke of genius, then. No inspired insight or masterplan out of the blue. Nothing to help him deal with the inbound CRF juggernaut beyond what was already on the table.

Small surprise there. Alright then. What was on the table and how could he best leverage it against that demon, French?



Arc Champion Julius French laid his dataslate on the table with a sharp click and glanced up at his Staff and commanders.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he said, calmly, "I have just received word from the Admiralty to go to high alert. Barring any significant changes in the diplomatic situation, an ultimatum is expected to be delivered to the Delest within the next twenty-four hours. By this time tomorrow, we may be at war."

There was a lot of murmuring; some muted cheers from the far-side of the table; grins and smiles all around.

"Yes, yes, Deus Vult and so forth, we are all very happy at the chance of giving Johnny Delest another damn thrashing," French flatly said, his fingers tapping at the table. Silence immediately fell once more. "I would prefer it, however, if we could refrain from any premature celebrations. We are proposing to invade a Core Delest holding for the first time in recorded history and if you are still, somehow, after all my efforts to disabuse you of this notion, thinking that this is going to be anything like the border skirmishes of our last scrap with our dear neighbours, I fear you will be unpleasantly surprised."

His eyes did not linger on any officer in particular, but there were some who flinched noticeably and even some sheepish smiles. French made a mental note of names and postings and continued, his voice even.

"I am sure you are, by now, intimately familiar with the invasion plan as it currently stands. I will not insult or bore you by going through its intricacies again, but there are some points that I wanted to raise. Again, in some cases.

"First and foremost, BuInt remains consistently disappointing in its performance. I am sorry to say that we still have very little information regarding the enemy force composition. Intercepted communications indicate that they have deployed what they call the ‘10th Home Fleet’ in-theatre. There have been no references to this Fleet in the past, so it’s reasonably safe to assume that this is something that they have cobbled together for this emergency, either through levying forces from the various Delest Branches or through joining several understrength units together. In any case, they are likely to be out-massing us in absolute hull numbers, but their organisation will be sub-optimal, even for Delest, and they might have mobilised older, mothballed ships."

A brief touch of the holographic input panel in front of him; the room’s light dimmed and a blurry projection of Ishiro Dyatlov’s face sprang to life over the table.

"We have had one notable success: we managed to identify the enemy theatre CO. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Ishiro Dyatlov, until recently the Ter-Judicator in command of their 5th Frontier Fleet. BuInt is, once again, drawing much more of a blank than I’d like. Apparently, this here fellow has had an uninspiring career so far; and yet, still, when facing this crisis, their Admiralty chooses to promote and assign him to defend a threatened Core World, over several more experienced and well-connected commanders. This either means that our dear, newly minted, Praetor Dyatlov has more political clout that we had realised with one or more of the Delest Branches; or that he’s a compromise solution, so as not to favour any particular Branch over others."

Knight Helena Featherstonehaugh of the Falchion raised her hand. "Or...that he’s that good, Sir? That they would ignore their internal rivalries to get the best man for the job in a crisis, I mean?"

French’s eyebrows rose an infinitesimal fraction of an Imperial inch and he conceded the point with a sharp nod. "A proverbial Dark Horse, you mean, Madam? That is possible, I must admit. However, it would imply that old Vladimir somehow found his brave pills and chose to stand up to his satraps. I find the possibility...distinctly unlikely. That said, this does bring us nicely into the next point I would like to raise.

Again, his fingers danced on the input panel. Dyatlov’s face flickered out; and a trio of heavy cruisers, easily identifiable as Grazhdanin-class took its place, floating gently over the polished mahogany of the Arc Champion’s table.

"These are the Volga, the Baikal and the Pamyat Slavy," he said, his face impassive but his voice grim – and suddenly he held the undivided attention of all veteran officers present. "And yes, those amongst you who served with me during the St. Helen incident are familiar with them. I have reports here that they were recently pulled out of their usual stations in the frontier regions, and given new postings – exactly where remains unknown. I am afraid that the establishment of this ‘10th Home Fleet’ during the same time period makes it highly likely that these cruisers were assigned to Dyatlov’s command. For those amongst you who were assigned to this fleet following the St. Helen deployment and who might not be aware, these are ships of the Ural Branch, crewed entirely by Yonsakuren."

Silence. Absolute silence. French glanced around, noted which faces were pale and which showed grim determination, gave a small nod and continued.

"I realise that this is grim news for most of you but, in all fairness, it would have been highly improbable for the Delest not to deploy some of their best fighting units in the defence of a Core holding. This also means that, even if Dyatlov is an utter disaster of a commander, he will still have ships and crews on-station that will be highly dangerous. Consider this a priority order for those among you who will be operating independently from the main fleet: if at any point you encounter these ships, you are to engage with extreme caution and signal for help, or outright disengage. I realise that there are many among you who would gladly seek out the honour of a Yonsakuren kill, but I warn all prospective glory-hounds right here, right now: I will have none of that in my fleet."

And, both his officers and French himself knew that he would have none of it. It had been firmly established in the past that it was worth more than one’s career to challenge a direct order from the Arc Champion.

"A final point and, possibly, the most important one," French stated after a few seconds of tense silence, apparently satisfied that he had gotten the message across. "As some of you might already be aware, we are receiving reinforcements. In six hours, a Pegasus Exarchate Task Force will arrive in Andor; and we are ordered to operate jointly with them for the invasion of Terconia."

A moment of stunned disbelief among his audience; and then, murmurs started. French continued without missing a beat.

"I am aware that this might somewhat affect our plans of operations, but for the time being, you should expect the first stages of or attack to go as planned, with the added benefit of available reinforcements and relief forces where and when-"

"With all due respect, Sir Champion," Paladin Orestes Attwood of the Repulse exclaimed, "What is going on?"

French's eyes snapped to his subordinate immediately, in incredulous surprise; his lips narrowed to a thin line. For a few seconds, his eyebrows twitched nervously; and then his right hand tightened into a white-knuckle fist.

"This is our operation," Paladin Attwood continued, his eyes darting around the table, seeking support from the other officers; and finding it, in nods and scattered 'hear hears!' "Your operation, Sir. You've spent weeks, months even, planning the invasion. We can do this without Pegasus - we were prepared to follow you in there without Pegasus five minutes ago and we're still prepared to do so. Sir, I've worked with Pegasus before -most of us here have- and, while I won't deny their skill in combat, it always ends the same way, with snide comments directed toward our tactics and behaviour, with orders being 'misunderstood', with fake apologies, frayed manners and tempers and with...aspersions cast on our honour and valour. Sir, in God's name, why does this need to happen? Is this political?"

The Paladin's pleading eyes finally returned to his commanding officer; only for French’s irate glare to pin Attwood to his seat like a butterfly on a piece of cork. To Attwood's credit, he maintained eye contact for several heartbeats, despite the drops of sweat slowly making their way down his brow and despite the efforts of the officers sitting next to him to gently lean out of the expected blast radius.

"It is a matter of courtesy not to interrupt one’s commanding officer, Sir Attwood," French finally said, his face an impassive mask of frozen lines, ice-blue eyes and white hair, "Rather ironic, given that you seem so eager to criticise the manners of his fellow Britons. I would suggest some time spent in prayer and meditation; meditation on the serious character fault of impatience and on the proper behaviour behooving a Paladin of Arc Victoria. As to your question, of course this is political."

The implied addition "-you fool!" was not spoken aloud, but it seeped out of the Arc Champion’s tone with every word, mixed with thinly-disguised contempt at the stupidity of the question.

"Pegasus wants to prove that they are as good as Arc Victoria and they cannot allow us to lay sole claim to Terconia’s resources. On the other hand, Arc Victoria has no excuse to deny Pegasus volunteers the opportunity to prove their fealty or honour in the field of battle without offering mortal insult to the Exarchate. And, frankly, Ladies and Gentlemen, we can ill afford to refuse their assistance, when they will, apparently, be bringing an additional eight Lord-class dreadnoughts to the fray against an enemy the capabilities of whom we have yet to probe.

"Do not misunderstand me – this is still an Arc Victoria operation and I intend to make this absolutely clear to the Pegasus commander, whomever they decide to send. You have my personal word of honour regarding this and I hope that this allays your fears. However, I wish to make absolutely clear that we will, in turn, be courteous and welcoming of the Pegasus forces and we will be granting to them the respect they deserve as our compatriots and as members of the Nobility and Knighthood of New Britannia. I will not tolerate any outbursts like that of Paladin Attwood that might cast the slightest stain of dishonour on our chivalry and embarrass us. Am I understood?"

He was.

"Are there, perchance, any further objections?"

There weren’t.

"Dismissed."

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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 04, 2017, 02:23:36 am
Buh...wuh?

I'm awake, I'mawake.

Yeah. Uuuummm. Thanks to Spoon-sempai for letting me write words for his universe. These are apparently canon now, so....uh. Yeah.  :nervous: He says he likes them, but he might be lying to spare my feelings (because he's a kind and considerate Spoon-sempai) and that's why I have the shrine set up in my basement.

These should be weekly updates, but I can't guarantee that something RL won't take precedence.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: The E on April 04, 2017, 02:58:32 am
Buh...wuh?

I'm awake, I'mawake.

Yeah. Uuuummm. Thanks to Spoon-sempai for letting me write words for his universe. These are apparently canon now, so....uh. Yeah.  :nervous: He says he likes them, but he might be lying to spare my feelings (because he's a kind and considerate Spoon-sempai) and that's why I have the shrine set up in my basement.

These should be weekly updates, but I can't guarantee that something RL won't take precedence.

Dude. Don't worry, these are fine words. Very Weber-esque (in the best way). Me like.
Title: Re: Chapter 1: Beautiful Terconia
Post by: Lorric on April 04, 2017, 08:28:13 am
Why do I get the nasty feeling my beloved CRF is going to be on the wrong end of one almighty ass kicking at the hands of the DD... :nervous:

I will be shocked if it doesn't happen. The DD has already been painted as the clear underdog here, even before we take into account who the writer is. I think it will either happen immediately, happen after some initial CRF success, or (and the way I would try to do it if I was wanting to weave a DD victory story from this start point) after the CRF have had a series of great victories and pushed deep into DD space, putting the DD's very existence in dire peril, that's when the almighty ass kicking gets dished out and the CRF invasion is utterly destroyed.

Thanks to Spoon-sempai for letting me write words for his universe. These are apparently canon now, so....uh. Yeah.  :nervous: He says he likes them, but he might be lying to spare my feelings (because he's a kind and considerate Spoon-sempai) and that's why I have the shrine set up in my basement.

I've seen Spoon dish out both praise and criticism, and he's probably as straight a shooter in that department as we have around here, so I wouldn't worry about that.

See the flaming yellow mass of Terconia Secundus above you; feel the absurd heat and power of the cosmic furnace slam into you. Look away, blinded by the foreign sun. Let your hurting eyes

No! :p
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 04, 2017, 09:17:45 am
Why do I get the nasty feeling my beloved CRF is going to be on the wrong end of one almighty ass kicking at the hands of the DD... :nervous:

I will be shocked if it doesn't happen. The DD has already been painted as the clear underdog here, even before we take into account who the writer is. I think it will either happen immediately, happen after some initial CRF success, or (and the way I would try to do it if I was wanting to weave a DD victory story from this start point) after the CRF have had a series of great victories and pushed deep into DD space, putting the DD's very existence in dire peril, that's when the almighty ass kicking gets dished out and the CRF invasion is utterly destroyed.

Quote
The DD has already been painted as the clear underdog here, even before we take into account who the writer is.

I'll let Spoon-sempai decide how much spoilery information he wants to reveal as teasers (because, and I need to make this clear, this is his plotline, like everything else that I will be writing). For now, I'll only say: "For shame. Give me some credit for impartiality."  :nono:

And stop fishing for info. :P

See the flaming yellow mass of Terconia Secundus above you; feel the absurd heat and power of the cosmic furnace slam into you. Look away, blinded by the foreign sun. Let your hurting eyes

No! :p

Listen, young man, you will look where I tell you and like it. :hopping:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 04, 2017, 09:29:49 am
I wasn't actually fishing for info, just speculating. I appreciate that clarification though, I thought Spoon had just let you loose essentially.

I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes though, even if it does indeed involve the CRF taking a beating. I enjoy your work very much, this is going to enrich the Spooniverse considerably I think. :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on April 04, 2017, 10:13:28 am
I'll let Spoon-sempai decide how much spoilery information he wants to reveal as teasers
None whatsoever!
Speculate away!
Title: Chapter 2: Pegasus
Post by: Enioch on April 11, 2017, 03:30:59 am
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17-year-old Midshipwoman Juliette Landsgrave decided that she was going to take this punishment in stride, as was to be expected from any Officer and Lady in the service of Their Majesties’ Fleet (she was no Lady from a legal standpoint yet; that would only come if she passed the Examinations and became a Lieutenant or if, God willing, she drew the attention of a Knight of the Realm and was dubbed a Squire – but, until then, she would bloody well act like one!)

So, she would wear her dress Whites. And play honour guard to whatever posh tosser Pegasus decided to send their way. And stand there in nice, orderly ranks with her fellow midshipmen in the cavernous hangar bay of the Nelson as the Pegasus shuttle punched through the atmospheric forcefield and coasted to a gentle landing. And even suffer through the fifing of that utter pillock, McFarland.

But God these shoes hurt like iron maidens.

"Hey, July," she heard Ranger's low voice from behind her and her eyes shifted slightly. "Hey. Four Imperials say it's Forsythe." 

A low groan from her right; Seymour Holborn stood in rigid attention but his rolling eyes still communicated his utter revulsion at the idea. "God, I hope not," he muttered. "They should have put him out to pasture a decade ago. I swear, if it's him, old French will have an aneurism."

"Shut up, all of you," came the snappy admonishment from Her Divine Majesty, Lady of All she Surveys, Smug ***** Extraordinaire Clara Settwee, First Midshipwoman of the Nelson. "Also, Ranger, you're on. Four Imps say it's Simmons."

"Guard - ATTEN-HUT," came the call from Master-at-Arms Vinter and a few hundred feet stomped on the deck. Landsgrave winced as pain shot up her leg. Further to the right, she could see a small detachment of Marines, in their ceremonial red coats presenting arms.

The shuttle doors slid to the side; and, after a few heartbeats, a small figure emerged, straigthening his own dress Whites as he went. Landsgrave heard Ranger curse softly behind her; and she could already imagine Settwee's smug, infernally punchable face as His Grace, Pegasus Champion Paul Simmons (Fourth Lord Simmons, Earl of New Westford, Knight of the Realm, Member of the Order of Merit etc etc.) came to attention and exchanged salutes with ol' French.

And then, the Pegasus Champion stepped aside and saluted again; and Landsgrave's breath hitched in her throat as a second figure emerged from the shuttle; this one tall and considerably more feminine.

"Well bugger me sideways," she heard Settwee gasp and for once in her life, Landsgrave felt like fully agreeing with her.

For the woman who had just stepped out of the shuttle with a gentle smile and immaculate Whites was Her Grace Aretha; High Lady of the Realm; Eighth Exarch of Renkin and current High Mistress under God and King of the House of Pegasus.

Midshipwoman Landsgrave, being by all accounts (including her own) a savvy girl and having a pretty good idea of what ol' French would think of this development, could only bring herself to mutter a laconic expression of her discomfort, in anticipation of what she could only assume would be difficult days ahead.

"Oh, bollocks."

And her ****ing shoes were still torture.



You could cut the tension with a knife during the regal dinner, where the usual platitudes were exchanged and the appropriate jingoistic sentiments were expressed but where no matters of essence were discussed; and you would probably need a rather sharper implement to cut the tension during the after-dinner Port, when Victoria and Pegasus officers exchanged condescending looks and pointed comments. Throughout it all, Arc Champion Julius French and Exarch Aretha Pegasus were the epitome of icy politeness, maintaining (with timely enforced changes of topic and the occasional glare) an iron grip on their subordinates' manners, at least superficially.

And when the Port had made its round and the Loyal Toast was toasted, it did not take long for the Champion to invite the Exarch to adjourn for refreshments in private; or, indeed, for the rest of the officers to also leave the Nelson's officers' mess, huddled in groups of Victoria and Pegasus personnel and commenting (perhaps a bit more loudly than their relatively minor inebriation could excuse) on those oh-so-evident lapses of their opposing numbers' manners.

Meanwhile, in the Arc Champion's quarters, coffee and liquors were served (coffee, black for the Exarch; a small glass of grappa for the Champion); the stewards withdrew; and the two commanders enjoyed a few seconds of silence, before French leaned slightly forward in his seat, laid his glass on the low coffee table between the two and brought his hands together on his knees.

"Well," he said, his voice expressionless but not outright cold, "this is certainly irregular."

Exarch Aretha raised an impeccably made-up eyebrow over her coffee cup, her face framed by her auburn hair. "Unusual, certainly," she conceded with a half-smile. "But, surely, not irregular, Sir Champion. I assume, of course, that you are referring to my assuming the command of the Pegasus forces?"

"Indeed," French said. "Frankly, I was expecting one of your Champions, Your Grace. It is hardly expected of an Exarch to lead their troops in combat anymore."

"In Arc Victoria, perhaps," Aretha replied, and her lips twitched in a way that might indicate a degree of condescension. "I am sure that Their Majesties have more important business to attend to. But I can hardly delegate something of this importance to others. In Pegasus, at least, Exarchs are expected to share some of the danger of the battlefield."

French's eyes flashed up sharply "I see. Well, there's going to be quite a lot of danger, I can assure you. You do realise that I cannot guarantee your safety, if you choose to lead from the front?"

"How chivalrous," Aretha retorted with a smile. "You are not expected to guarantee any such thing, of course. Neither by me nor by my subordinates."

French leaned back with a nod of acknowledgment. "Still; I would have preferred to have known much earlier. You have received the briefing documents I forwarded to your forces, I'm sure, but it would only have made things easier if we had more time to discuss the overall invasion strategy and the specific battle-plans."

"I will grant you that, Sir Champion," Aretha said with a small laugh. "I truly am sorry for causing you this much trouble; I am sure you are quite overhelmed by having to deal with your own forces already and the last thing you needed was more trouble. However, our negotiations with Their Majesties to arrange for our presence here took up more time than I had originally planned for."

This time, French's eyebrows came together and his fingers tightened on his glass; but good manners prevailed again. "I appreciate the sentiment. I assume you have gone through the briefing documents?"

"I have indeed. In general, I found your invasion plan to be ingenious and most of my Staff, including Champion Simmons, agree; Arc Victoria is justified to be proud of your skill as a fleet commander," Aretha smiled and sipped some more of her coffee. "There are some aspects of it that I find, frankly, sub-optimal but they do not detract from the worth of the whole."

The clack of French's glass on the table sounded like a gunshot. "Your Grace," he said, his face an expressionless mask, "I would be most grateful if you could elaborate on that statement."

"I am referring to your apparent focus on the preservation of the Delest infrastructure," Aretha replied in a matter-of-fact voice. "You acknowledge the danger of allowing the two starbases that are currently under construction in Terconia to be completed. You acknowledge that the orbital shipyards will be a major help to the Delest in keeping their damaged ships into the fray. And yet your plan calls for a cautious - perhaps too cautious advance, which will preserve these structures and most of the asteroid mining platforms at the cost of increased casualties on both sides."

"I am aware of the risk to my ships and crews," French countered,"but I will not gift my King and Queen with a burnt-out wasteland. If the annexation of Terconia is to be viable in the mid- to long-term, some of the Delest infrastructure in-system needs to be preserved; or Terconia will be a massive drain of resources instead of an asset."

"An asset to Arc Victoria, you mean?" Aretha asked and, for the first time, her voice carried more than a hint of hostility.

"An asset to New Britannia," came the immediate answer.

"I see." Aretha's smile and narrowed eyes looked much less accommodating now. "You do realise, of course, that I object against any plans that will needlessly endanger the lives of my ships and personnel?"

"I would be happy to log your objection, your grace," French scowled, "should any such plans need to be implemented. For now, however, I believe all risk inherent to my overall strategy to be necessary."

"I disagree," Aretha countered, her voice cold, "and so do my advisors. With our numerical and qualitative superiority, our projections show that the optimal way to proceed would be to seek out a decisive battle, perhaps even over the Hōseki orbitals. A new Trafalgar, as it were, to completely eradicate the system defenses-"

"-and give the Delest garrisons time to plant demolition charges and scorch the entire system behind them as soon as they realise that the battle is lost. Unacceptable," French interrupted, his tone angry, "and indicative of a focus on tactical over strategic victory. No, Your Grace, we will follow the plan as laid out by my Staff and myself."

"Typical," Aretha shrugged softly and returned to her coffee. "Well, far be it from me to tell you how to run your fleet. We will, of course, provide support where possible, but be aware that my first priority is to preserve my crews, not squander them so that Arc Victoria can lay claim to yet another God-forsaken asteroid mine."

"I will keep that in mind when determining the Pegasus deployments, Your Grace" French replied, slightly more than a hint of sarcasm in his voice. His hand reached for his glass again.

"...I'm sorry?" Aretha looked up, sharply.

"I said that I will seek to keep your wishes in mind when I determine how the Pegasus forces are best to be deployed," French said, his eyebrow arcing over the rim of his glass.

"...Oh. Oh dear," Aretha exclaimed, apparently worried. "There seems to be a misunderstanding."

"How so?"

"Well, Sir Champion..." and Aretha's gentle smile had just a hint of dry humour in it, "you have no say in how my forces will be deployed. I'd be happy to discuss things with you, of course, to provide as much help as I-"

"What."

French's expression was a kaleidoscope of emotions, none of them particularly positive ones. There was some shock; and anger; and, primarily, sheer incredulity. Aretha, on the other hand, seemed perfectly at ease.

"My forces are not under your command, Sir Champion. They are under mine. 'My' forces, you see? And I am not eager to squander my dreadnoughts as nannies for Marine boarding detachments."

French unfolded off his seat like the wrath of God. In all honesty, his greying mid-length hair, magnificent sideburns and bristling eyebrows did lend him an air of considerable gravitas.

"Madam," he said in a low growl, his hands clenching into fists, "I am the senior commander in this theatre of operations, answering directly to Their Majesties and the War Department, and by God you will follow my orders."

"How quaint," Aretha replied, leaving her cup on the table, "I was about to say something along the same lines. Well, I wasn't going to ask you to follow my orders, of course - you are an Arc Champion, after all. But I am the Exarch of Pegasus and I'm not part of your chain of command, Sir Champion. Nor are my ships and crews."

"Your forces have been assigned to my fleet as support elements-"

"Not so," Aretha interrupted. "I am here under orders from Their Majesties to provide support and relief where it is deemed necessary and you can rest assured, Sir Champion, that I fully intend to do so. But my task force is an independent command, recognised as such by Their Majesties. I'd be happy to forward you my deployment orders and you may peruse them at your leisure."

"This is preposterous!"

"This war is preposterous, Sir Champion," Aretha replied; and her voice was cold steel. "Pegasus did not wish for this war. It is not our economy that suffers, or our people who live under the spectre of unemployment and poverty. It is not we who need to shift into a war economy or seek out Delest spoils like starving jackals. We are still here, helping Arc Victoria out, because it is our duty as loyal Britons. But as long as we are here, we will conduct ourselves as we see fit and seek battle as we see fit. If Arc Victoria wishes to have Terconia and her riches, then let her, I say. Pegasus will be satisfied with victory and glory on the battlefield. Under our own banner."

French staggered back under her words as if he'd received a physical blow; but he rallied, drawing himself up again.

"Your Grace, you are jeopardising this entire operation and, by extension, your own forces. I have more than thirty years of experience as a battlefield commander-."

"So does my own Champion Simmons," Aretha countered hotly and French winced at the interruption, but kept on.

"-and seeking out a decisive battle at this point would be a disastrous mistake. We need to advance cautiously; we need to choke Dyatlov out, deprive him of his assets; not kick his door down and fight him in his own house where he holds all the cards."

"I am no fool, Sir Champion," Aretha said, contemptuously. "I do not propose to run my fleet down a Delest gauntlet. I can wait and pick my fight. And, when the hostilities begin and we take our ships through that Starlance, I will help you where I can. But when the time comes, I will seek out the enemy and blow them out of the sky, instead of inching forward from one barren space-rock to the next. I hope that, when that time comes, you make the right choice."

French, by this point, had gone past apoplectic rage and into the still waters of the other end. "Madam," he said, slowly descending into his seat once more, "I will ask you once again. In the name of God and all that is good and right, will you follow my orders?"

Aretha bestowed upon him a pitying look; not unkind, but sad. "Yes, Sir Champion," she answered, softly, after a few moments of silence. "I will follow your orders - those that I can agree with and no others."

"Then God help you Madam," French replied, his eyes blazing and his voice a low growl, "for you have taken yourself and yours beyond my help."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 11, 2017, 06:34:21 am
So who is right? What is the goal of this conflict? It looks like it's just an opportunistic grab for a valuable system in which case Arc Victoria would appear to be right, otherwise what's the point? If the higher goal is hurting Delest though Pegasus would appear to be right. Ordinarily you'd want to end a war quickly and decisively. Especially when the CRF and the DD aren't the only players in the game. They'd love to see the DD and CRF grind each other down and turn Terconia into Stalingrad. So I'd like more information, but I'm leaning more towards Pegasus being right here. Expend minimal resources taking Terconia. If the system's worth having it's worth rebuilding if necessary. If not, it's not worth fighting over if Delest going scorched earth essentially makes the operation a failure. And Delest would surely figure it out for themselves too after a while and use that to their advantage. So yes, I think Pegasus is right based on what I know right now. If the system isn't worth having without the Delest infrastructure intact, better not to go in at all and instead lean on Delest and get a favorable peace agreement. Possibly leaning on them could include trashing the place to get them to the table.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Thisisaverylongusername on April 11, 2017, 07:43:52 am
French = Severanti
Aretha = Steele

... I couldn't help myself.  :p
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 11, 2017, 08:05:39 am
The more I think about this the more I think French's strategy seems foolish. This was a core system. It's suddenly no longer one. It's not going to have a deep defence, and the CRF should be coming in hard and fast. It's also extremely valuable to the Delest, they'll feed in more and more forces as time goes on, the CRF need to clear the system and secure the starlance/s.

I'm also wondering about the Delest people in the system. If they're vat-grown, won't that mean they are compelled to resist? I don't see how the CRF is taking the system without exterminating the whole population. Then they'll have to bring in their own people, and that seems like it would dwarf the expenses of rebuilding a handful of space installations.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 11, 2017, 09:09:10 am
As was eloquently said by our kind producer:

Speculate away!

And, from a personal standpoint #activediscussionmakestheauthorhappy.

I can and will answer this, though, because it's sorta-kinda basic universe 'knowledge' and not exclusive to this plotline:

If they're vat-grown, won't that mean they are compelled to resist?

Vat-grown loyalty to the Emperor/Empress is near-absolute, from what I've been given to understand. Add to that the desire to protect the vat facilities in Hoseki and you would have, indeed, a major part of the population (not the entirety of the population, mind you) being as fanatically resistant to occupation as you can get.

That doesn't mean that the authorities won't give the order to evacuate the system if the war takes a turn for the worst. Vat-grown civilians and soldiers represent a major investment of time and resources on behalf of the government (and on behalf of their clans / Branches / families). Moral issues aside, it would be stupid to order them to die if the system is clearly lost. Better arrange for a surrender and a population evacuation under flag of truce.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 11, 2017, 09:22:58 am
Hmmm. That makes me think it must be a lot more expensive than I thought to pump them out. I thought the facilities would be extremely valuable but the people themselves would be basically expendable drones not worth the expense of shipping out as well as the expense that accomodating an enormous influx of people into new areas would bring.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 11, 2017, 09:49:20 am
Vat-grown people are far from drones. Many of them are indistinguishable from natural born at first glance.

Growing someone in a vat grants two major benefits, which make the vat facilities invaluable: first, you accelerate growth massively. The best vat facilities can grow a person from zygote to 18-year-old-equivalent maturity in 2 years. Of course, granting such a person the skill, experience and social savvy of a natural-born and -grown person is tricky and expensive (and in some cases flat-out impossible); and young vat-grown people can be...childish in some ways, despite looking like they're young adults. Which is why they usually start off from low-responsibility positions and move up.

The second benefit is that you make young people when the government thinks it needs young people. The Delest have, by definition, no demographical problems.

The vat-grown people might be, in average, less creative than natural borns  (because imagination and blind loyalty don't mix too well) but they're not meat robots.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 11, 2017, 09:54:53 am
It seems like their role is to be mindraped drones essentially though, when they need to be. Their role in life is predetermined and so are even their actions. They are further robbed of a childhood and 16 years (at least) of lifespan to be put to work right away. Their lives belong to someone else. Literally mind, body and soul.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 11, 2017, 11:00:13 am
And this is where I think it's best I stop responding on this particular topic because these themes, in particular, might (or might not) be better explored in a future lore story or in WoD.2 proper and I don't want to spoil things as per producer-set guidelines.  :P
Title: Chapter 3, Part 1: Fire in the Sky
Post by: Enioch on April 18, 2017, 03:04:54 am
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This particular part of empty space in Terconia's Oort cloud was indistinguishable from any other empty patch of nothingness - at least to the naked eye. The nearest idle ball of rock and ice that might, someday, under the gravitic influence of a passing celestial body, become a comet orbited the binary system more than a hundred thousand kilometres away.

You would be excused for not noticing the presence of the little, ominous, black spheres, lying in homicidal wait for trespassers. They were, after all, made with stealth in mind. You would also be excused for missing the three ships, concealed behind the nearby comet. Two of them were small, sleek and predatory, almost hugging the ball of ice. The third was almost twice their size; and she was beautiful in her own way. Unlike the warships, she did not promise speed or violence; but a glittering tracery of metal, glass and plastic extended around her and beyond the comet's concealing shadow. She was Orakul and she was an infinitely delicate artificial ear pressed against the barriers between dimensions.

She listened; she picked up the tremors; she felt the unseen enemy's presence draw ever nearer, from the direction-that-is-not-a-direction. Thin communication lasers stabbed out toward her escorts; the warships responded and came to life, gently coasting off the comet on reaction thrusters and forming up on their ward.

The wait is over. The time is now.

The barriers between dimensions break; a hundred thousand kilometres away, a glowing rift splits space itself. Orakul turns her sensor arrays toward the portal, like a stag turning his head to show off his antlers to the skulking predator. She listens.

A flood of EM radiation spills out of the portal. Subspace static, mixed with shield and drive signatures; sublight radar; sensor pings and active scanners, as whatever is hiding in subspace tries to get an idea of what is waiting for it outside. Orakul and her escorts do not stir. They are well-hidden and confident that they lie beyond the enemy's sight. Orakul lies still; and watches.

Something material breaks through the portal; a long cylinder, riding a thin thruster of white flame, moving fast and still accellerating. It is followed by another. And another. And ten more. And then hundreds. Orakul sees them all; tracks them; follows the course of each and every one as they blossom out and scatter among the waiting black spheres, who will now never have the chance to-

Light.

The minefield erupts in apocalyptic fury. Missiles and mines annihilate each other in mass chain reactions. And, through it all, missiles continue to pour out of the Starlance, in successive waves, carving a path for the fleet that is still waiting in the safety of subspace.

Orakul lies still; and watches.

Finally, the bombardment ceases. A brief moment of respite and the portal flickers; and then several small vessels break through. Orakul focuses on them with her long-range optics, records their IFFs and drive signatures with her passive EM sensors, consults her vast databanks and identifies them as the 5th ArcVic Destroyer squadron, operating the new Block II Cavaliers. The CRF Destroyers adopt a loose formation and begin sweeping the Starlance for any surviving mines and suspicious debris with their point-defense clusters.

Then, the first capital ships slip into realspace, through their own individual portals. Orakul turns her attention to them; and her sensors are immediately retracted as far back behind the cover of the asteroid as possible without compromising her capability to overlook the starlance.

These are Dukes; and, as their modified silhouette and relatively sluggish movement shows, they've been fitted with hangars. It is only a matter of time before-

And, yes, here come the strikecraft. Rather distant for certain optical identification, but drive signatures correspond to Firefly-class scout fighters. One squadron stays with the motherships; two more begin an ever-widening sweep of the Starlance, picking off isolated surviving mines where possible.

Well, there are several more enemy eyes on the battlefield and the game of hide-and-seek has become considerably more dangerous; but the sensor suite of a fighter cannot compare to that of the Orakul. She will see them coming. And they will be coming; there is no way the CRF will not be investigating the closest Oort asteroids for Delest listening posts.

But, until then, Orakul and her escorts will remain on-station, waiting, waiting for the moment when-

Jackpot.

The main portal flares; and a massive capital ship begins its realspace transition. Orakul focuses her sensors on the CRF giant and her crew work frantically on her data and analysis banks. The hull is almost immediately identified as a Lord class ship; then weapon emplacements are factored in; the drive signature is analysed; her shielding frequencies are recorded against the etheric background radiation. Within three minutes, the probability that the Dreadnought is the recently commissioned HMS Rodney is estimated to be 92%.

Then a new ship breaks through to realspace on her own portal; and another; and the Orakul analysts get truly busy.

HMS Revenge - 87%
HMS Thunder - 85%
HMS Invincible - 94%
HMS Royal Oak - 68%
HMS Avalon - 76%

And they keep coming, Dreadnought after Dreadnought after Dreadnought. And Orakul keeps up her silent vigil. And the CRF fighter patrol draws closer, ever closer.



"Praetor, I would like an explanation," Governor Bao Zhai said, his voice tinged with equal notes of anger and concern.

Dyatlov stood in a loose approximation of parade rest before the three figures lounging in comfortable chairs in the Governor's observation deck, on board the orbital station Diamond 1. The crescent of Hōseki dominated the sky above them; Secundus was about to set on the far side of the planet and the light refracting on the atmosphere painted the station a ruby red, as it slipped into the planet's penumbra.

"His Excellency the Governor need only ask and I shall endeavour to clarify matters to the best of my abilities," Dyatlov replied, not allowing any of his exasperation to show. He should be on board the Michiko, waiting for news from the Orakul, not here, apparently defending his actions (and himself) so far above his paygrade.

"I'm sure that we'd all like to hear what you have to say," the Governor said, leaning forward, "regarding your actions in defense of this system so far. Or should I say your inaction."

"Your Excellency?" Dyatlov allowed his head to tilt slightly to the side. "I am not sure I understand."

"Oh, come now, Praetor!" the young man to the Governor's right said, his voice calm and, for a lack of a better term, dry and crackling. "We don't have the time for this and your attempts at verbal jousting are pathetic and, frankly, slightly insulting."

Dyatlov repressed a shudder. Out of the three people opposite him, Ivan Nakayama was the one he wished to have the least possible amount of interaction with. One of the youngest scions of the Nakayama family, he was rumoured to be the bastard offspring of an affair between his mother and a minor Delest noble; he was deeply involved in running his family's orbital mining megacorporation; and he could easily make-or-break the career of an officer with Dyatlov's lack of political backing. Dyatlov knew that, arguably, he would be better served by keeping Nakayama happy rather than the Governor.

"It was not my intention to be disingenuous or offer insult," Dyatlov said, making his tone as apologetic as possible. "However, I do require His Excellency to be more specific. My current plan to defend Terconia is a multi-layered one and I am unsure as to which aspect in particular has apparently met with His Excellency's ire."

"Our concern, Praetor," Lady Aiko Imube Delest interjected with a smile, making a genteel, gesture that encompassed the other two officials and herself, "is that your fleet remains in orbit over Hōseki and other capital installations. You have shown no intention to contest the enemy at the Starlance or done...well, anything really. You can understand that we are highly concerned. We are no strategists, but surely it would make sense to intercept the enemy at the Starlance bottleneck, whenever they arrive?"

Dyatlov slumped slightly. "I see, My Lady," he said, with a bow. "Many thanks for the clarification. With your permission, I would like to explain."

"Proceed, Praetor," Nakayama said, "And this had better be good. And brief."

"Understood." Dyatlov took a moment to gather his thoughts. "Firstly - I believe there's a misunderstanding about a Starlance's nature, from a strategic perspective, at least. A Starlance...well, it is not a chokepoint, in the traditional sense. A chokepoint allows the attacker to channel a limited portion of their forces against the defender; therefore, it makes sense for the defender to force a confrontation there. A Starlance..."

His posture loosened somewhat; his right hand moved in a "so-so" gesture.

"...well, frankly, there is nothing to prevent the attacker from massing their entire fleet in Subspace and translate into realspace as one concentrated force. True, we'll know where they'll appear but we can do nothing to achieve superiority in numbers or firepower. Quite the opposite, in fact."

Nakayama was sitting, stony faced; Bao Zhai was listening carefully, but appeared slightly lost; Lady Imube seemed quite interested. Dyatlov felt encouraged to continue.

"An attacking force, waiting in subspace, can just open a portal and scan the surroundning realspace for threats. If they acquire any targets, they can fire ordnance through the portal; the defenders need to fire back through the portal. This results in what we call the 'Arrowslit Effect': the attackers can get a good read on the defending ships and need to fire through a portal located at a known position relative to their ships; the defenders, on the other hand, need to fire at ships masked against Subspace radiation, through a portal that they have no control over."

"Oh, I think I see," the Governor interjected, with a self-satisfied smile. "It's like shooting with the light in one's eyes, yes? This is fascinating!"

"Indeed, Your Excellency," Dyatlov said, somewhat relieved. "It is like shooting against the sun, at a small target that may or may not be there when your shot reaches them, through a hoop. While they get to shoot back at you with no such problems. You see, Your Excellency, what we do with Starlances, is mine them, not defend them. Now, the enemy knows the Starlance will be mined and they are unlikely to just translate into the minefield; but it delays them, quite a lot. You see, if there wasn't a minefield, the enemies could translate through the Starlance as a fleet, recharge their drives, and be in the Hōseki orbitals in, say, twenty minutes after their arrival in the system. And we would have, essentially, no warning."

The Governor's grimace at that idea was all the encouragement Dyatlov needed to drive the point home.

"It takes time for the enemy to clear a minefield and they cannot translate their entire fleet as a unit until the minefield is cleared," he said. "And it usually takes more than one missile to proximity kill a mine; and missiles are more expensive than mines. It's a delaying tactic, Your Excellency, something to stop the enemy at the Starlance while we bring our fleet to readiness."

"And I assume you have mined the Starlance, Praetor?" Lady Imube asked, leaning back.

"Yes, My Lady," Dyatlov replied. "With several overlapping minefields; stealth mines, homing mines, torpedo buoys. Everything we had, really. And I have the Orakul standing by to let us know when the enemy translates. My most sincere thanks to the honoured Imube Branch for their kind contribution to the fleet - Orakul is central to my plan."

"Well then!" Bao Zhai leaned back in his chair, considerably more relaxed. "Well then. That sounds quite reasonable, I must say. Quite reasonable. I don't see how we can accuse the Praetor of any sort of negligence in his duties. He seems to be on top of things, don't you think so, My Lady? Master Nakayama?"

Dyatlov's relief at Lady Imube's smile was short lived, as Nakayama cleared his throat with a sound like dust and cracking wood. "Yes, well," the young man said. "Putting aside the Starlance defence, for now. What I am hearing is that the Praetor's plan involves granting the enemy a foothold in Terconia unopposed."

"Hardly unopposed, Sir," Dyatlov protested. "The enemy cannot engage our planetary defenses or comparable installations without suffering considerable losses. I have deployed my forces in such a way that they will be able to delay any concentrated assault long enough for our entire fleet to translate to the battlefield. And, from that point on, the enemy will need to either retreat, or bounce between targets, with our fleet in hot pursuit. French's fleet simply does not have the capability for a concentrated attack on our forces. He'll need to start creeping forward, perhaps taking over our more remote outposts and facilities but, frankly, we can afford to lose them, while bleeding him along the way. We have reinforcements coming up; and, once the two Starbases in our orbitals are complete, it should be possible to take the fight back to them."

Dyatlov hoped that he sounded considerably more confident than he felt. His plan was by no means perfect; and it involved giving ground in as controlled a fashion as possible, taking opportunistic fights and waiting for reinforcements. However, this granted all initiative to French; and playing rope-a-dope on a strategic level would surely be a nightmare with his less-than-cohesive forces.

"I'm sorry, Praetor," Nakayama said, his voice like sharp glass and ice. "I must have heard you wrong. Did you say you have deployed forces to all critical facilities?"

"Yes, Sir," Dyatlov responded. "I have capital ships from my main Battle-line and my Support forces in orbit over Hōseki and the two moons; two heavy cruiser squadrons with escorts are defending the shipyards. I also have two Volyas with Destroyer and Frigate escorts deployed at the solar energy stations in-system."

"Praetor," Nakayama said, his voice taking up slight tones of exasperation, not unlike that of a parent explaining something fundamental to a stupid child, "I have fifteen megatons of Nakayama Inc. facilities in more than thirty asteroid mines and refineries spread throughout the system. A conservative estimate places the total value of Nakayama infrastructure in this system at around three billion Hez. More than a tenth of the Nakayama Inc. metallurgy output comes from our facilities in Terconia. And, after consulting with my overseers, it appears that the most they have seen of your fleet in the last two weeks is two Frigates passing by...let me see...ah yes, Refinery R08, in a survey of the asteroid cluster. Now, my question is this:"

Nakayama leaned back in his chair, his eyes shifting from Dyatlov to the Governor, who flinched slightly under the cold glare.

"Why have no measures been taken to defend these critical facilities? And why should Nakayama Inc. continue to invest in this system when the local administration and our military show no concern for us?"

"Sir, it would be impossible to defend every asteroid facility and outpost in Terconia," Dyatlov protested, "My forces would have to be spread too thin. I am truly sorry, but the defense of the system is my priority, not individual stations. In that context, it is simply not viable to..."

"But you have already split your forces, Praetor, have you not?" Nakayama asked, his eyes fixed on the fidgeting Governor and not Dyatlov. "To cover other facilities? And it would be possible for forces from all over the system to converge at a single point if the enemy were to attack, would it not? Is this not your plan, anyway?"

"Sir, I have split my fleet into task forces" Dyatlov replied, heatedly. "Squadrons with command ships that can be managed at a strategic level and can operate as units. You are proposing that I split my fleets to an unmanageable degree. And for what? Sir, a task force is barely sufficient to defend a facility from a concentrated attack for the time it would take for the rest of the fleet to converge at the site. A smaller force would simply be annihilated before we could come to their aid. Or even before they could get out a distress signal, for that matter."

"Your failings as a strategic commander do not concern me, Praetor," Nakayama said, coldly. "Nor does your ships' apparent suboptimal performance. What does concern me, is the preservation of the Nakayama Inc. investments on this system. And if nothing is done to preserve them, I have no choice but to inform you, Your Excellency, that we will be discontinuing all further investments in this system. And, while I cannot directly speak for them, I do not imagine that our patrons in the Hokke and Dragunov Branches will be...happy to know of this clear failing in our civilian and military administration."

A few moment passed in heavy silence, as Dyatlov considered the imminent end of his career; and then the Governor turned to him, a drop of sweat making its way down his forehead.

"Praetor," Bao Zhai said, his voice only slightly shaking. "Please see what you can do about Mr. Nakayama's request. Surely you can spare a few ships to guard...? A couple of capital ships, maybe?"

"Your Excellency, my capital ships are barely sufficient to cover the facilities I am currently defending," Dyatlov replied, his voice tired and his lack of sleep suddenly looming in the back of his mind like a dark wave. "Which of them would you like me to stop defending? Perhaps the solar stations? Or maybe the Starbases under construction - I'm sure that French will not test their defenses before they're complete? Or perhaps this very station?"

"N-Nothing so drastic, Praetor," Bao Zhai said. "But we cannot simply..."

"May I propose something?" Lady Imube interjected, with a kind smile towards Dyatlov. "Praetor, perhaps you could spare some smaller ships? Set up a...a patrol, of sorts? A few Frigates, maybe a Destroyer or two?"

"My Lady, my escort ships are an incohesive mess," Dyatlov answered, and damn with pretenses. "The crews of half of them think they're flying Volyas and will engage any enemy they see on sight, even if it gets them killed five seconds into the fight. The other half last received training five years ago, or are composed of the most stereotypical, low-responsibility dullards you will ever see. Which ones would you rather I deploy to defend Mr. Nakayama's facilities?"

Lady Imube raised her hand demurely to cover her smile; Nakayama bristled; and Bao Zhai coughed discreetly.

"Yes, well," he said. "Ahem. That's all well and good. But Mr. Nakayama has a point and I think that Lady Imube's proposition has merit. Proceed, then, Praetor, if you please. I propose a small...'task force', was it? Yes, maybe twenty ships or so, all Frigates or Destroyers. Have them patrol the Nakayama facilities - and they can call in the fleet if they are attacked."

Dyatlov felt faint. "Sir, twenty ships? In independent patrols? It would be impossible to re-attach them in any fleet formation in case of a large engagement. That would, essentially, take out half of my escort screen."

"Nevertheless, Praetor," Bao Zhai said sternly, encouraged by Nakayama's smirk, "it needs to be done. We cannot allow it to be said that we have left the Emperor's subject's undefended. Mr. Nakayama, I assume you would be satisfied...?"

"Oh yes," Nakayama replied with a barely noticeable shrug, "quite. I must say, I have no particular confidence in the Praetor's skills, but I cannot fault the Terconia civilian authorities for what is clearly a failing on behalf of our military. I will inform my patrons and superiors of your kind assistance here, Your Excellency. Now, if you'll excuse me..."

He got off his chair, with a jerky movement; picked up his small compact briefcase; bowed elegantly to the Governor and Lady Imube; and made his way, with a slightly spastic, clockwork-figure-like walk to the exit. While passing next to Dyatlov, he gave the Praetor a small nod and moved on with no further acknowledgement, almost shoulder-checking Dyatlov who was standing there in dismal despair. Before he reached the door, however, it opened on its own; and a sharply-dressed valet walked in, almost immediately standing aside respectuously, to allow Nakayama to pass. After the door had closed, the valet coughed delicately and turned to Bao Zhai.

"My apologies, Your Excellency," he said, "But I have an urgent message for Praetor Dyatlov."

Dyatlov accepted the proffered holocrystal and slotted it into his dataslate as if in a dream; and he had to read the message three times before he could register its contents, his thoughts still fixed on how completely and utterly ruined his career was. Once the urgency of the message made its way through the haze, however, he staggered backwards.

"Your Excellency," he croaked, "My Lady, I...I will need to take my leave."

"Praetor...?" Lady Imube asked, her voice filled with concern. "Are you feeling...?"

"They're here," Dyatlov mumbled, his mind already on Michiko's bridge. "Orakul has engaged the enemy. I must go."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 18, 2017, 06:47:00 am
I like this idea that what you'd expect gets flipped on its head and an engagement at a starlance favours the attacker, not the defender. And yet it is an advantage to the defender if they don't engage and put mines everywhere, costing the attacker time and resources.

I also don't think I've seen a tale before where both sides are hamstrung by politics. So that will be interesting too. Usually the leaders are limited only by their imaginations and resources, or only one side is hamstrung.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Torchwood on April 22, 2017, 02:57:50 pm
Nice! This is some good inspiring work. Had just as much fun reading through as with Paul Wang's military fiction.

I like the part about Starlance tactics, it's definitely something to keep in mind for the purpose of mission design.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 22, 2017, 05:27:59 pm
I like this idea that what you'd expect gets flipped on its head and an engagement at a starlance favours the attacker, not the defender. And yet it is an advantage to the defender if they don't engage and put mines everywhere, costing the attacker time and resources.

I like the part about Starlance tactics, it's definitely something to keep in mind for the purpose of mission design.

I'm particularly happy about you people liking these ideas, because they fit with Spoon-sempai's (and mine) desire to make Starlance pushing/defending something more than "put a Starbase and a fleet on top of it and alpha strike everything that comes through". This was intended to make Starlances primarily pathways and not chokepoints, and allow for a more "flowing" warscape in this story and, (I hope), in the game. It's good to see that the response was "this is an interesting, if counterintuitive, new element"  instead of "this is stupid". :P

I also don't think I've seen a tale before where both sides are hamstrung by politics. So that will be interesting too. Usually the leaders are limited only by their imaginations and resources, or only one side is hamstrung.

It was important for me to show that there's good and bad external and internal factors affecting each side. Note that I have yet to introduce several important characters and the baggage they will bring to the table...

Nice! This is some good inspiring work. Had just as much fun reading through as with Paul Wang's military fiction.

Didn't  know this existed. Thanks for pointing me in its direction.  :yes:

Also, woot, we are on the Announcements (thanks Axem!) and nearing 600 views. Can we get to 1k by the end of this chapter, whaddayathink?  ;)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 23, 2017, 11:30:20 am
I think system entry chokepoints are a road block in telling a story. Getting rid of them I think is a boon for any campaign except perhaps one where the opposition is overwhelming so it's then a big help to stop that overwhelming opposition.

Iirc in old WoD the Hierarchy just threw Nordera capital ships by the hundreds at starlances until they made a hole. :P
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: QuakeIV on April 24, 2017, 07:37:47 pm
Well, this is proving to be quite the entertaining read.
Title: Chapter 3, Part 2: Crash
Post by: Enioch on April 25, 2017, 11:00:29 am
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"Squadron 3 reports enemy contact, Sir!" Comms Officer Guillen screamed (considerably louder than was warranted, Aretha Pegasus noted) and Champion Simmons near-teleported from his Flag seat to the main holographic 'tank' in the middle of Bellerophon's bridge.

"Red Alert. Confirm battle-stations on all ships," he ordered curtly. "Weapons free on all fighters and all point-defense batteries. And, Ms. Downey, for God's sake, update the display, I need to see what in the hell is going on."

"Right away, Sir," the sensors station Lieutenant responded, her voice sheepish. "We've had some interference from leftover mine radiation; sensor feeds from the fighters coming up...now?"

The holographic display flickered; and then three glaring red dots blinked into existence next to that suspicious ball of dirt and ice that Simmons had just known the Delest would have used as a listening post or an ambush point. Squadron 3 was maneuvering wildly near the rock in question; bright yellow blinking lines connected the enemy ships with the CRF fighters, indicating incoming fire.

"ID on those ships?" Simmons barked.

"Tentative at best, Sir," Downey replied. "They're in the asteroid's shadow; all we're getting is garbled sensor feeds from the fighters. Solid confirmation on outgoing point-defense fire, though."

"Sir, Squadron leader Fallow reports two point-defense vessels, Frigates or Destroyers," Guillen called out. "And, I quote, something bigger, that I haven't seen before. Designating targets."

The holodisplay updated again. The two flanking ships were now marked as 'DDFg1' and 'DFg2'; the central ship acquired a distinct halo and the designation 'DDCap1'. Simmons, bent over the railing next to the holotank, squinting at the display, grumbled under his breath for a few seconds and then straightened up.

"Vector in Squadron 3 and 4 now and order Furious to scramble a heavy strike wing," he ordered. "All other flights are to stay in tight fleet formation. My compliments to Ms. Fallow and she's to keep her distance until reinforcements arrive. Mr Guillen, contact the Nelson and provide Arc Champion French with a sitrep. Inform him that we are engaging the enemy with smallcraft and standing by for incoming fire."

Simmons turned sharply and vaulted up the stairs with the agility of a man half his age. As he settled back into his seat, to her immediate right, Aretha couldn't help but notice how her Champion was wound up taut, like a coiled spring.

"Come on, you bastard," she heard him mutter, his eyes fixed in the distance. "Come on. Make your move."



Ter-Iio Aimi Dimitrievna Akiyama was sweating in both a figurative and literal sense, despite Orakul's excellent climate control. Her sensor technicians and analysts had given her a very good idea of what was waiting for her ship on the other side of this cold, Emperor-forsaken space rock and she wanted to hug it real tight and never leave its protective shadow. On the other hand, this situation was something they had planned for and she had clear instructions on what to do.

"Ma'am, tightbeam from Strela," her Comms officer said, his voice slightly distorted by the enclosed VR helmet he was wearing. "Iio Popov is on channel 2."

Ter-Iio Akiyama fiddled with her own earpiece, her eyes never leaving the sensor plot in front of her. "Orakul Command, listening," she said.

"Aimi!" Gregori's voice was tenser than she felt, which, in a way, was comforting. "Please tell me you eggheads have all the info you need."

"Yes, we've got what we came for and more," Akiyama replied. "I have the distinct impression we've outstayed our welcome."

"You said it," Gregori's voice was filled with relief and Akiyama couldn't fault him. "Waiting for your go-ahead to start our cycle."

"Roger that, stand by."

Akiyama turned to her Nav and Tactical officers, reclining on their crash couches. Their fingers danced on holographic keyboards extending from the armrests and their headsets were directly linked to each other. "Dasha, Akihiro, I need a subspace plot out of here yesterday. Transmit to escorts and execute when ready."

"Already..."

"...prepared..."

"...five minutes ago..."

"...Skipper," came the response. "Charging Drives..."

"...T minus five thirty-five..."

"...Mark."

"Good," Akiyama leaned down from her raised bridge into the Pit; a long corridor of sensor consoles, databanks and analysts' stations, running the length of the ship's habitable portion. Two rows of seated engineers and technicians still pored over the data flowing in from the ships' sensor arrays. Her Chief Intel officer immediately looked up, awaiting orders. "Leytenant Aksyonov, five minutes to translation. Switch to active lattice and send out the handshakes."

"Aye aye, ma'am," the Leytenant responded; and immediately rushed down the corridor, calling out orders. Akiyama returned to her commander's chair and strapped herself in for what promised to be the five longest minutes of her life so far.

And for the first time since her arrival in this corner of nothingness, Orakul stopped listening and called out.



In the dark empty space around the Starlance, a considerable distance away from the main minefield and farther away than the CRF fighter patrols had reached, Orakul's call reached a dark, sleeping shape. And another. And then many, many more. Some (a very few) of them continued to sleep. Something had gone wrong with their simple electronic brains; or perhaps they had been killed in their sleep by the shrapnel and radiation that had been the inferno of the minefield's annihilation. No-one would ever know.

Still, sixty-five torpedo buoys woke up.

It took three seconds to boot and run through their self-diagnostics. Two more to run through the avionics package of the four DD12TR birds each of them was carrying and confirm that everything was running smoothly. And another two seconds to establish a handshake with Orakul's signal and download her latest sensor data on the CRF formations clustering around the Starlance.

If the rudimentary AIs of the buoys were any less rudimentary, they might have licked their proverbial lips at the quality of the targeting information they received. As it were, they just logged that downloading the relevant information took twice as long as the average expected time; popped their launch hatches and flushed the tubes, before triggering their own self-destruct sequences.

Two hundred and sixty birds streaked towards the enemy, in wings of bright fire.



"There it is, you little bugger," Simmons growled, as the tactical plot updated again. "Played your card, did you?"

The three enemy ships were still maneuvering to keep the asteroid between them and the fleet but, for now, they weren't his primary concern, Aretha noted. The hundreds of torpedoes converging on their fleet from all directions, like an ever-constricting sphere, occupied her Champion's sole attention. Aretha pondered for a moment whether it would be best to ask him whether the fleet was truly in any danger and, perhaps, remind him of the enemy ships that were surely planning to make their escape; but she decided that distracting him at such a time might not be the best of ideas.

Also, the incoming wall of missiles had a certain...ponderousness in it that made Aretha nervous. She didn't really mind him focusing on that, not at all.

"Tracking two hundred plus signatures, Sir!" came Downey's call and Aretha noted that the woman appeared quite calm. A promising officer, then and one that might warrant more attention. "Contact in thirty seconds...mark."

"Signal fleet: tight formation. Cut drives, all power to shields." Simmond's voice was, likewise, calm and professional and Aretha felt a considerable degree of satisfaction for how her officers comported themselves. This was the first time she commanded a Pegasus fleet from the front and, in all honestly, she had expected being under fire to be more...chaotic. The degree of professionalism shown by her crew was a very pleasant surprise. "Fighter patrols are clear for missile intercepts. Establish point defense links with the cruisers and open fire."

"Twenty seconds, Sir."

"Mr. Guillen, my compliments to the 2nd Group and I want the Gorgon and the Indefatigable to tighten up their formation. Now, Mr. Guillen."

"A-Aye, Sir."

"Missiles in range," came the call from Tactical. "All laser and ion batteries engaging...scoring good kills, Sir."

"Ten seconds!"



"Now!" Ter-Iio Akiyama called; and Orakul sceamed like a banshee, sweeping through all CRF frequencies with a pulse of jamming, deafening noise.

And then she ran like hell.



On board the Bellerophon, the holotank flickered, as sensors were scrambled and returns were lost in static. The not-inconsiderable ECM suites of the Lord-class kicked in immediately, but the initial lock on the incoming torpedoes was lost and had to be reacquired, something that cost the point-defense gunners precious seconds.

More importantly, Orakul's jamming interfered with the point defense network that effectively co-ordinated the CRF ships' firepower. As the network links collapsed and came back online, inefficient targeting solutions were identified and targeting had to be re-shuffled again, with more time lost. All in all, when the CRF point defense got its act back together and with the torpedoes less than five seconds from impact, no more than fifty birds had been shot down.

It didn't really matter.

Simmons and French had clustered their fleets together in two massive groups, behind an impenetrable wall of overlapping shields, overwhelming point-defense firepower and iron discipline; all of these came to bear in a near-instant. In those last five seconds, the space surrounding the CRF Dreadnoughts and their point-defense escorts became a near-solid wall of coherent light and hyperaccelerated ions that chewed up the Delest torpedoes in droves. More than half of the incoming missiles died in those furious five seconds; and then the rest slammed into the energised ether of the CRF shields, delivering their payload in blinding gouts of plasma.

Among Aretha's ships, Indefatigable, Atreus and Menelaus took the worst beating. The shields of the first two barely held under the merciless battering; both had several of their secondary shield emitters overload quite spectacularly (although the timely opening of the relevant compartments to hard vacuum promptly extinguised the ensuing fires). The latter's shields collapsed utterly and a final torpedo was barely intercepted by point-defense mere yards off the portside engines; the ensuing explosion knocked out a major thruster and left the ship limping but, thankfully, field-repairable.

French, on the other hand, had adopted a more mobile defense, with ships rotating between the inside and the outside of the cluster formation. As a result, more of his Dreadnoughts had been on the receiving end of torpedo fire; but the damage was more evenly spread out and none of his capitals had been crippled. Nelson herself, leading from the front, was one of the most heavily damaged ships, with only a failing primary shield emitter.

As one, the CRF ships ponderously turned toward their fleeing tormentor. Neither French nor Simmons were willing to take their ships into pursuit or break formation, in fear of more mines lying in wait; but they had more aces up their sleeves. All through the CRF fleets, pilots scrambled to their fighters and those that were already flying started up their jump cycles.



"Well, crap" Akiyama cursed, as the radiation died down and her sensors told her the tale. "I was hoping for at least a mission-kill on something. Oh well, it is what it is. Time to translation?"

"T-Minus..."

"...Two-oh-five..."

"...Mark." came the chorus from the Tac and Nav stations. "Also, Skipper...?"

"Three light fighter..."

"...and one heavy fighter..."

"...squadrons are..."

"...inbound at..."

"...full burn."

"Escorts are..."

"...engaging."

"Understood." Akiyama tapped her headset. "Leytenant Aksyonov, you are clear for full Pythia protocols; prioritise the pursuing fighters."



Orakul had neither the speed nor the maneuverability to evade the incoming strikecraft; and she certainly did not have the weaponry to swat them out of the sky. For her defence, she was almost completely dependent on her two Frigate escorts; and Drotik and Strela were very much aware of the importance of their ward.

As Flight Lieutenant Fallow's strike group closed the range to the Fleeing Delest ships, the two Frigates interposed their slender hulls between the incoming fighters and the sensor cruiser. And opened fire, with every particle cannon they could bring to bear.

The CRF Fireflies were more than maneuverable enough to dodge out of the escorts' protective envelope, but they had heavy fighter backup and, after the Delest torpedo attack on their fleet, they were seeing red. Fallow had her strikecraft ripple-fire missiles against the escorts and bored in with a bloodthirsty "Deus Vult!"

It was unfortunate that Orakul's EW suite chose that moment to give the pursuing fighters her full attention. Missile locks just vanished and the missiles themselves just corkscrewed off-target. Comms were blanketed with crackling static. Sensors and Nav systems went completely haywire. Fallow's squadron disintegrated into a confused semi-furball and pulled back in disarray, under the constant fire of the escort Frigates. The Fireflies staggered back, their shields crumbling, and, ironically, found cover behind the same rock they had chased the Orakul away from.

Flight Lieutenant Fallow would bitterly curse that moment of perceived humiliation for years to come. But she had, in a way, scored some success. For Orakul's EW suite had focused on her and not the rapidly inbound Tyrfings, which now unloaded their entire missile banks into Strela at a range of under a kilometre.

These weren't capital-grade torpedoes but, on the other hand, the Delest Frigate did not have the benefit of Dreadnought-level shields either. Her point-defense could only do so much against the fighters themselves and their ordnance. Her defenses crumpled after a few seconds of concentrated fire; and, as the Tyrfings peeled off to disengage, Strela's portside thruster went up in spectacular flames, with secondary explosions ripping her thin armor apart. She fell out of formation, trailing burning gas and debris, her engineering crews cutting power to her starboard engine as well, to prevent off-centre thrust.

It was probably the worst possible time for two more wings of Tyrfings to emerge from Subspace just a few thousand metres from Orakul's aft. The CRF fighters spent a couple of seconds re-orienting themselves after the rapid jump; and then they accelerated on full afterburners toward the retreating cruiser.



"T-Minus..."

"...ten seconds."

"All crew..."

"...brace for crash..."

"...translation."

The portals that formed in front of Orakul and the Frigates were tiny, hastily constructed, pathetic things, barely sufficient to admit them to Subspace; but they were sufficient. Ter-Iio Akiyama gritted her teeth and clenched every muscle in her body, as her ship sccccrrrrrrraped itself against the torn edges of realspace. For an infinite ten seconds, she felt truly nauseous. She tasted blue blood in her mouth and heard sweet steel all along the left side of her body and then the confusion was past and she was the commanding officer of the Delest sensor cruiser Orakul again, safe in the shimmering corridors of Subspace.

'Behind' her, in the direction-that-was-not-a-direction, her portal winked out with a flash of displaced ether. Two full wings' worth of missiles screamed past the space her ships had occupied only moments ago, to the howling frustration of the CRF pilots.

"T-plus..."

"...ten seconds..."

"...Mark."

"Translation..."

"...complete."

"All systems..."

"...nominal."

Akiyama breathed.

"Comms! Sensors! Are the Frigates still with us?" she cried into the Pit, unclasping her combat harness and staggering forward.

"Wait one, Ma'am," the Comms officer replied, and no mechanical distortion could hide the shakiness in his voice. "Drotik is checking in, still in formation. Strela...Strela is checking in, ma'am! They are piggybacking in our tunnel and their reactor is down to 30 percent output, but they're stable. They are reporting heavy casualties, but their bridge and jump drive are fine."

"Cut our speed and divert power to the jump drive," Akiyama ordered. "Take up as much stress on the tunnel as we can, to support them. Make for Hōseki at their best speed. And open a wide-broadband tightbeam channel to Drotik - I want you to download our scans and analyses to their databanks and I want them to go on ahead. The Praetor needs to see this and I don't want to risk a long-range subspace transmission, not even an encrypted one."

She returned to her holodisplay and called up one of the last scans of the CRF fleet. Two massive point-defense formations, weathering the storm of the Delest torpedo salvo.

Two formations.

"The Praetor needs to see this," Akiyama repeated, her voice tinged with confusion and wonder.


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 25, 2017, 11:21:08 am
New update is up. Sorry for delaying it this week; I'm currently on the bus to Uni, after a 4-hour flight.  :ick:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on April 25, 2017, 11:48:01 am
Not to be confused with the bus to Uuni
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 25, 2017, 12:40:55 pm
A patient opening of hostilities from our author. Lots of action, but no ships destroyed, except maybe the odd fighter. I wonder if there's a counter to that sensor disruption of an entire fleet. Short of blowing up the ship. If the DD fleet was on station, could it just keep putting out the signal indefinitely, hamstringing the whole CRF fleet and making it easy meat for the DD fleet?

Overlapping shields. Is that something that can be implemented in Wings of Dawn? You can fly under the shields of the Fura'ngle ships, but they'd have to have a very large sphere of influence to make it possible on such a scale. The only game I've played which had shields where this might have been possible is Star Trek Invasion on PS1. It was easy to fly your fighter under the shields of a capital ship, but even then the shields, while extending far out from the host ship, would have had to have two capital ships all but scraping up against each other in order to benefit from double protection.

I could see myself coming back to these if I ever end up writing about battles involving CRF ships. This is canon now. This is how the CRF fights and how the CRF military works.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 25, 2017, 01:11:14 pm
Quick response for now, because I'm off to a meeting:

I wonder if there's a counter to that sensor disruption of an entire fleet. Short of blowing up the ship. If the DD fleet was on station, could it just keep putting out the signal indefinitely, hamstringing the whole CRF fleet and making it easy meat for the DD fleet?

In order: Yes there is. Yes it could, but not as effectively as you might think.

Quote
Overlapping shields. Is that something that can be implemented in Wings of Dawn?

Yes.

Quote
I could see myself coming back to these if I ever end up writing about battles involving CRF ships. This is canon now. This is how the CRF fights and how the CRF military works.

Keep in mind that this is how the CRF fights under very specific circumstances. :P
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 26, 2017, 03:43:07 am
A better response, now that I have the time to sit down in front of my PC:

I wonder if there's a counter to that sensor disruption of an entire fleet. Short of blowing up the ship. If the DD fleet was on station, could it just keep putting out the signal indefinitely, hamstringing the whole CRF fleet and making it easy meat for the DD fleet?

Orakul in particular is primarily built as a sub- and realspace sensor platform - think a massive AWACS ship in FS terms. She can do EW, but that's not her primary role. Her disruptive capabilities are directly tied to how much power she's willing to sink into active jamming and CRF systems can, eventually, adjust to interference. What she can do, quite well, is jam a particular ship or frequency for a longer period of time (dedicating a lot of her EW capabilities to counteracting the enemy's countermeasures or just drown them in noise) or do the massive frequency sweep she did early on. The latter is useful, to a degree, but it has its drawbacks. Namely that it involves the ship pumping out lots and lots of EM and subspace interference, which lights her up as a beacon to enemy sensors when they, inevitably, adjust. It's the equivalent of lighting a massive searchlight into your enemy's eyes in  a night battle - it might blind them for a while and allow you to get a sucker punch or two in, but it also screams 'here I am' when they get their act back together.

So no, keeping wide-scale interference going is not viable in the long run.

Quote
Overlapping shields. Is that something that can be implemented in Wings of Dawn?

Yes.

(https://s17.postimg.cc/6a96xejz3/Point-defense-formation.png)

The above is the standard pre-WoD-main-storyline CRF formation for receiving massed torpedo volleys (add a smattering of PD destroyers all over the formation at your discretion). It is the equivalent of this:

(https://s30.postimg.cc/5ttzsigf5/The_Four_Feathers2002_Abu_Klea.jpg)

As you can probably imagine, maneuvering in such a formation is problematic. It gives you situational double shield layers (so, if one collapses, there is another layer to soak up fire) and allows for a heavier PD screen. It has its drawbacks, however. Firstly, the allied ships  need to be positioned carefully, so as not to limit the larger ships' PD batteries' arcs of fire. Secondly, it is a static formation - there's a reason Simmons ordered a full stop and all engine power diverted to shields; if you blink or move you run a high risk of ramming a friendly. This is not a formation for green or undisciplined fleets to assume.

The CRF are that disciplined, however. They are good enough to make this work.

And, on a sidenote, the different tactics the two fleet commanders employed should tell you something about the quality of their forces and their own skills (at the tactical level, at least).
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 26, 2017, 06:10:53 am
Thanks for that Enioch.

French's formation would seem to be the harder to pull off and yielded the better results. However, I'm unable to visualise why it was better. The whole thing was over in a few seconds, so there wouldn't have been much time for movement, and I would have thought staying still would have improved the accuracy of the point defences both from being stationary and from not having to worry about moving friendlies. And also the shields would get a power boost from using the power not being used on the engines.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 26, 2017, 06:49:25 am
Thanks for that Enioch.

You're welcome.  ;)

Quote
French's formation would seem to be the harder to pull off and yielded the better results. However, I'm unable to visualise why it was better. The whole thing was over in a few seconds, so there wouldn't have been much time for movement, and I would have thought staying still would have improved the accuracy of the point defences both from being stationary and from not having to worry about moving friendlies.

There are several ways to move in such situations. Those include rolling the ship around to spread out the strain on the ship emitters; having the escorting destroyers nudge around to intercept specific torpedoes on their shields (and spare the capital's shields for where it's more important); or move out of the way to uncover specific PD batteries on the escorted capital ship. A single torpedo getting through can make a difference and having a Lord roll ninety degrees or having a destroyer nudge a few dozen metres to the side to catch a slip-through missile on her shields can be critical.

It is much harder to pull off, because of the exact reasons you've noted; but note that the CRF PD network is organised on a fleet level. The minutiae of taking into account the motions of the ships are mostly automated. The Admiral and his Knights have to a) trust in their weapons to not fail them (a big thing in the CRF 'Knightly' way of thinking) and b) handle the ballet of all the little ship motions that will truly optimise their performance. Some don't risk (b). Some do. It can backfire.

Quote
And also the shields would get a power boost from using the power not being used on the engines.

It has been established (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=74794.msg1845982#msg1845982) that WoD ships have reaction thruster tech for small-scale maneuvers. In such cases, power drain is minimal.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 26, 2017, 07:30:06 am
Thanks again. Makes sense now. :nod:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on April 26, 2017, 08:44:35 am
In addition to Enioch already excellent explanation, capitalships can also increase the size of their bubble to some extend (at the cost of a higher power consumption of course) to aid in the flexibility of these kind of formations. (For those of you who have played Earth defense force, I'm sure you can attest to the annoyance of overlapping shield bubbles!)

Quote
This is not a formation for green or undisciplined fleets to assume.
Because then it'd end up looking something like this.
(http://i.imgur.com/2TBgeEB.gif)

I think system entry chokepoints are a road block in telling a story. Getting rid of them I think is a boon for any campaign except perhaps one where the opposition is overwhelming so it's then a big help to stop that overwhelming opposition.
Exactly. That was a thing I was kind of struggling with for a while when coming up with WoD RE's plotline. Its pretty limiting to have a starlance basically be a locked door, unless you drive a tank through it. It limits the story to either having one side invade a system enmass or not at all. Establish a bunch of powerful static defenses at the starlance and the attacker wouldn't stand a chance of achieving a breakthrough without being completely crippled from the resulting battle.
So when Enioch and I, were bouncing some ideas back and forth about the workings of the WoDverse, it was very convenient for me that Enioch solved that particular storytelling roadblock with logical thinking and good words. While making perfect sense in the established workings of WoD's subspace.

Iirc in old WoD the Hierarchy just threw Nordera capital ships by the hundreds at starlances until they made a hole. :P
Indeed they did. Quite a fireworks display really. (Spoiler, that's still the preferred Nordera way of making an entry)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 26, 2017, 09:02:07 am
Without that second picture I wouldn't have appreciated the use of British troops to depict CRF formations. Oh I knew what they were in the first picture, but I didn't make the connection. I don't know where either of them were taken from.

Back when I was trying to make a campaign for old WoD, I had this long term idea of having three campaigns if I had succeeded with the first one and been hungry for more, each set in a different system as the Hierarchy pushed further in. And conveniently avoiding all the starlance fighting. Though there was going to be a starlance evacuation mission as the final mission on the losing path of the first campaign, since the system was so remote the starlance wasn't full of defences. The losing path would have had you relegated to supporting and leaving with the main evacuation, and thus easier missions compared to the winning path which would have had you out there in Hierarchy territory disrupting the Hierarchy and rescuing stragglers in daring missions and ending up being among the last to leave. The winning path should be harder, not the losing path.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Commander Zane on April 26, 2017, 09:47:16 am
After I just read the Youjo Senki manga the other day I can't help but grin that the CRF's missile defense formation is compared to an infantry square.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: crizza on April 26, 2017, 09:58:36 am
Reading this I can't even decide which side I'm on :D
That Missile attack would look great in game... Emerging from subspace and targeting mines.

What I can imagine is the pain it is being a fighter jockey...
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 26, 2017, 10:12:42 am
Is the current situation still limiting in some ways? A big force would still be needed to clear away the mines. Could a smaller force or raiding party weave or cut a path through the mines?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 26, 2017, 11:11:21 am
A smaller force or raiding party could just jump out to any point in the system, but then would have to deal with the (formidable) Delest garrison.

The minefield needs to be cleared so that the entirety of the CRF fleets can jump in; and then a supply base / fortification needs to be set up in the area, to secure a path of retreat. Then you can push on.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on April 27, 2017, 07:33:02 pm
https://my.mixtape.moe/myuyys.webm a quick and dirty recording of some torpedoes getting intercepted.

I might cutscene the space combat from these stories properly some time (no promises though)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on April 27, 2017, 07:49:54 pm
https://my.mixtape.moe/myuyys.webm a quick and dirty recording of some torpedoes getting intercepted.

Nice. Lovely CRF ships in defensive formation. :pimp:

I might cutscene the space combat from these stories properly some time (no promises though)

(http://www.enterthemothership.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DO-IT-700x317.jpg)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Destiny on April 28, 2017, 04:45:19 am
Kinda a shame that you can't use a single missile/projectile that makes a huge Dragonslave explosion to intercept a cluster of torpedoes. PD would probably look less messy :P
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on April 28, 2017, 04:48:00 am

(http://www.enterthemothership.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DO-IT-700x317.jpg)


WoD Lore anime series? :3
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Commander Zane on April 28, 2017, 05:36:53 am
Kinda a shame that you can't use a single missile/projectile that makes a huge Dragonslave explosion to intercept a cluster of torpedoes. PD would probably look less messy :P
Isn't it possible if the bombs are flagged to take splash or shockwave damage?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: AdmiralRalwood on April 28, 2017, 11:49:08 am
Kinda a shame that you can't use a single missile/projectile that makes a huge Dragonslave explosion to intercept a cluster of torpedoes. PD would probably look less messy :P
Isn't it possible if the bombs are flagged to take splash or shockwave damage?
Either that, or the weapon is flagged as a CIWS (http://hard-light.net/wiki/index.php/Weapons.tbl#.22ciws.22).
Title: Chapter 4, Part 1: Yonsakuren
Post by: Enioch on May 03, 2017, 11:43:53 am
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"Ladies and Gentlemen," Arc Champion Julius French said, his voice sharp, "My congratulations to all commanding officers and crews. We have secured a foothold in Terconia with no casualties or ship losses; we may now proceed to the second stage of the plan. Which is what I wish to discuss with you in detail before we commit."

The Champion was alone in Nelson's briefing room, but a curved holoscreen projected the faces of his capital ship commanders in a massive conference call. There were some murmured 'hear hears' but enthusiasm was muted. Despite the undeniable success of the CRF fleets in completing the Andor - Terconia translation, the small Delest picket force had managed to escape with no apparent casualties and the Delest fleet itself had refrained from making an appearance. Long-range sensors had located several capital ships in-system, but the exact disposition of the enemy remained unclear.

"Messrs. Hogue and Longstall of the engineering corps have notified me that assembly of the mobile starbases has commenced and that the subspace tugs are bringing the modular compartments over from Andor in good time and order. In a couple of weeks, the Starlance will be relatively secure as a centre of operations, in case none of the captured Delest installations strike our fancy. And on that topic..."

A slight press of a holographic button; a map of the system blinked into existence in the centre of the screen, shouldering the video feeds of the CRF officers aside. The map was highly detailed for several Astronomical Units surrounding the Starlance; its resolution fell considerably further away, however.

"This is a map of the system as it has been pieced together by our fighter patrols so far," French said. "Please note the asteroid belts past the outermost planet."

A second button press; several red dots appeared throughout the asteroid belt in question.

"Our fighters have probed the belt. These are all Delest installations, identified thanks to their power signatures and output. Obviously, we have not explored the entirety of the belt so far - you can see that the region across the system is pretty much a blank - but we can, in all likelihood, assume that the Delest have established a comparable number of bases there as well."

"Military outposts, Sir?" Paladin Iphigenia Thursdale of the Revenge asked.

"Unlikely, but not impossible," French conceded. "Mining stations, more likely, given their power signatures and complete lack of shielding. Remember, Madam, that this was one of their Core Worlds until recently, with little use for in-depth defense. Now, I cannot confidently state that there aren't any military platforms seeded among these asteroid mines. Unfortunately, our fighter patrols were driven off by their own pickets; I have here reports of...let me see...ah yes, at least eight Frigate or Destroyer-class vessels and an indeterminate number of strikecraft in semi-regular patrols throughout the asteroid belts."

"Capital ships, Sir?" Knight Featherstonehaugh asked.

"None," French stated. "At least none that are powered up to any noticeable degree. We are getting at least fifteen different capital-grade drive emissions from in-system, however - all of them near what we presume our core installations."

"So, he's defending strategic locations, then?" Thursdale interjected once again. "He's abandoning the outer planets and installations to us, while concentrating his forces for the defense of the inner worlds and vital installations?"

"Probably," French conceded. "I must admit that I am not sure about the ships that he has left in the asteroid belt, however. They fulfill no obvious function. If his purpose were to delay our advance or counter our boarding operations, he has vastly undercommited. If we were to engage these ships in any concentrated push, we could wipe them out before Dyatlov brought his capitals on-scene."

"And if they're just scouts, then he's overcommited," Paladin Attwood mused.

"Mmmmh," French assented. "I'd like your input on this, Ladies and Gentlemen."

There were a few moments of silence, as the Knights and Paladins of Arc Victoria gathered their thoughts. Then, Knight Laura Rosslyn of the Thunder tentatively raised her hand.

"Well, Sir," she said, every part the hesitant, recently-Knighted youth that she was, "I don't think Dyatlov is a bad commander. I mean, we were considering the possibility, but after the minefield, I don't think that that's the case. It was...too well orchestrated."

There were murmurs of assent among the others; Featherstonehaugh, notably, seemed particularly pleased that her protegée (and, if French was not mistaken, ex-squire) was stepping into the spotlight.

"Yes," Attwood agreed. "That was no maverick commander biting their thumb at us. This was directed from the highest level. So, from a tactical standpoint at least, this Dyatlov fellow seems to know what he's doing. Good point, my Lady."

"Which makes this asteroid patrol business...jarring," Featherstonehaugh snapped. "If Dyatlov organised the Starlance defense - and I grant you that this is the most likely scenario - then this asteroid garrison mess is quite unlike what he's shown us."

"A trap perhaps?" Thursdale suggested. "A rather poor one, I admit. Or, maybe there's an independent commander here, operating beyond Dyatlov's authority? Not unlike our own...well, allies?"

There were some chuckles and some polite coughs at this. Neither CRF fleet had suffered particularly in the Starlance torpedo strike, but the Arc Victoria force had certainly fared better than their Pegasus allies and there was a certain degree of schadenfreude and self-satisfaction to be had.

"An independent commander?" French asked, before the conversation could devolve. "With only a Destroyer and Frigate force? Doubtful."

"Well, Sir, there may be some merit there," Featherstonehaugh remarked, thoughtfully. "Dyatlov is just a Praetor, is that right?"

"According to BuInt, certainly," French confirmed.

"Well, Sir, a Praetor isn't that big a fish, politically speaking," Featherstonehaugh said. "If he'd been promoted to High Executor, then he would have been near-untouchable from a political standpoint. That would have been almost as drastic as giving him one of those Delest Mandates and turning him loose. But Old Vlad didn't promote him to High Executor. And a Praetor...well, a Praetor can still be tossed to the wolves if they fail, unless they really watch their step."

"So, it's political," Attwood said, ruefully, with a crooked smile. There were laughs.

"What I mean to say," Featherstonehaugh said, with a roll of her eyes and a thin smile, "is that he must be under a lot of political pressure. My bet is that there's a lot of valuable property in mining rights there that he can't afford to be seen not defending. That's not Dyatlov we're seeing pissing away his forces. That's the moneybag bumblers holding his strings."

"Well," French mused, with a half-smile. "Then perhaps we should proceed with tangling these strings? These mining stations are valuable targets and the original plan calls for a slow push forward anyway. The asteroid fields present us with excellent staging points for a future system offensive and they will be magnificent prizes in themselves. I'd rather capture them first and make sure the Delest don't blow them out of the sky behind them. Not to mention that the political pressure this will put Dyatlov under might force him into...less then optimal decisions."

Again, a few moments of silence; nods and solemnity as the Knights of Arc Victoria indicated their assent.

"Alright then," French said, and any indecision had been cast out of his voice and features. "We will adopt a slight variation of Plan Charlie. Triumph and Thunder will lead the left flank..."



"I am putting forward Ter-Iio Akiyama for a Silver Lion for this piece of work," Dyatlov stated grimly, hunched over the holographic table, "whatever my recommendation ends up being worth, in the end. How certain are we?"

"As certain as we can hope to be, Sir," Arurior Maria Sebrenova, Michiko's commanding officer stated confidently, raising her head with a wide smile. "Look at how they're moving. Never mind the ship identifications - look at how they're dealing with the incoming fire."

Her hand moved over the holographic controls and the ghostly formations of the Arc Victoria and Pegasus fleets scrubbed forwards and backwards in time.

"See how this formation flows to rotate new ships into the incoming fire? Classic, textbook French. He did the same in St. Helen, eight years ago. Look at the bastard juggle them. Oh, uh...begging your pardon, Sir."

"Never mind, Seb," Dyatlov said, with feeling. "I'm thinking the same."

"And then, look at this fellow here, whoever they are," Sebrenova continued with a half-smile, indicating the second ship cluster. "Well, they're Pegasus, if their ships are anything we can go by; and would you just look at their discipline. Stationery, under heavy missile fire, their sensors blown to all hell by the Orakul's jamming and they don't flinch, do they?"

"Unfortunately not," Dyatlov mused. "Definitely two commanders, then?"

"I'd stake my life on it, Sir" Sebrenova said, seriously, "and so would my team. Two very good commanders. And, if we're not mistaken, they don't particularly like each other. Well - they might, but they don't plan to work with each other, at all. There's simply no coordination between the fleets that we can see. None. They've got their own separate point-defense nets; their own logistics vessels; and even their force makeup is different. Look at this, Sir."

Fingers danced in empty air; the fleet of Arc Victoria now filled the entirety of the holographic display. The CRF Dreadnoughts loomed over the figures of the Delest officers, bathing them in red light.

"Fifteen Dreadnoughts, all of them Earl or Lord-class: the latest Arc Victoria has to offer. More than two dozen Cruisers for strikecraft coverage and tactical flexibility. Eight Destroyer squadrons. Four flotillas of supply vessels with their escorts, including the modular dockyards the Limeys like to use for field repairs. This is a force set for a slow, methodical campaign - the sort of careful, glacier push that makes French...well, French. Frankly, Sir, you could have just shown me this fleet composition and told me nothing else, and I could have told you who's in command. This guy, on the other hand..."

A flick of Sebrenova's fingers; a flicker of light; and now the Pegasus ships occupied centre stage.

"This guy, I'm not so sure about," Sebrenova mused. "Nine Dreadnoughts - all Lords, but slightly modified in what we think is a faster, more lightly armored variant, built in Pegasus. Fourteen Cruisers, with a distinct focus towards carriers. Only four Destroyer squadrons that we know of. Sir, if I had to guess, I'd say either Simmons or Spalding, based on the focus on carrier Cruisers; but the battle-line is considerably more heavy than what they've deployed in past skirmishes. Maybe it's a new commander, a student of theirs, perhaps; or maybe something else is going on that I'm missing."

She met Dyatlov's eyes with an apologetic shrug. "I just don't know, Sir, I'm sorry. What I can tell you, is that this screams 'heavy assault' to me. If French is the glacier, this fellow has come to smash our face in. He's got the strikecraft to run extensive patrols and raids; he's got the battle-line to hurt us, or at least keep us occupied until French jumps in to help him; and he's got the speed to be where he needs to be when he needs to be."

"And his force is highly disciplined," a smooth, silky voice interjected from across the table. "Do not forget this, Arurior. Praetor."

Arurior Ermolai Yonsakuren was leaning forward, palms on the table and hunched over. His eyes were reflecting the ruby glow of the holograms and Dyatlov was taken aback at the sheer intensity of the Yonsakuren's stare. His jet-black hair, darkish complexion and perfectly-groomed circle beard gave him an almost demon-like appearance that was, frankly...new. In the few weeks he had known the man, Ermolai had been...distant, for lack of a better term, always exuding an aura of subtle and sullen discontent. This change was striking, to say the least. And Dyatlov was not the only one to notice: the rest of Sebrenova's team and those members of Dyatlov's Staff that were present were giving the man a wide berth.

"You have something to contribute, Arurior?" Dyatlov asked and mentally prepared himself for the task ahead. This new attitude of Ermolai's had to be encouraged; but Dyatlov's years of on-and-off interaction with the Clan had taught him that any conversation with a Yonsakuren was a...delicate affair, not unlike taking a stroll in a minefield, and sure to result in headaches.

"Yes," Ermolai answered and slowly and fluidly unfolded himself from his hunched position to his full height. The motion reminded Dyatlov of a big cat; and there was a distinct sort of animalistic swagger in the posture of the Yonsakuren that communicated perfectly how honoured everyone should feel for having been granted his attention. "I have many things to say. Some, I wish to say to specific people here present. Some, I wish to say to all. Some, I wish to say to you only, Praetor. In private."

"That...can be arranged," Dyatlov acquiesced. "We're listening."

And that was the truth. Ermolai commanded attention in a different way than Dyatlov; perhaps it was the raw charisma of the man. Or, perhaps, the fact that everyone in the room knew that, despite his lean build, he was strong enough to casually snap the spine of any person present in two and probably take great pleasure in doing it. And the fact that he had kept to himself during the earlier weeks certainly lent him an air of exoticism that he now consciously wielded with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

"Alright," the Yonsakuren replied. "With your permission, then."

He moved; and the infernal swagger was muted, replaced by a prowling gait that brought him before Arurior Sebrenova in a few steps. She retreated a hesitant step before his bulk; and then Ermolai stopped, well within her personal space, leaning forward and looking directly into her eyes.

"Your presentation of your conclusions was concise and insightful, Arurior," he said, in a low, rumbling purr - and oh my God that smile. "It was also fascinating and displayed your professionalism, experience and talent as an analyst and tactician. I find these traits highly desirable."

..."Meep."

Dyatlov could see the blood drain from Sebrenova's face and the kaleidoscope of emotions that followed, none of them particularly positive. He could feel his tongue stick to his palate; like everyone else, he had heard the tales. His hand dropped to his sidearm, ready to defend his ship's captain and friend and he noticed several others amongst his officers doing the same. Ermolai, however, was not done.

"It is unfortunate that you are not a Yonsakuren, Arurior," he continued. "Your physical frame is most pleasing to the eye but, ultimately, quite frail. This makes me sad. We would be most unevenly matched if I were to...agressively pursue your affections in a physical manner as is sometimes done in my Clan. That would bring me little pleasure - and considerable dishonour. But this does not diminish your obvious talent or my admiration and desire. I have therefore decided to make my feelings clear here, before witnesses, and inform you that I intend to further explore my attraction to you, in pursuit of your approval. Hopefully I will come to prove my worth to your satisfaction in the upcoming days. If, at any point, you wish to discuss this matter further with me, or desire comfort in these uncertain and glorious times of war, or simply wish to...experiment, please do not hesitate to contact me. I guarantee you will not be disappointed."

The Yonsakuren bowed ever so slightly, his eyes never leaving those of the -now furiously blushing- Sebrenova. The impression was that of a tomcat staring down a terrified smaller furry animal for one, two, three seconds - and then Ermolai turned away on his heel to address the rest of the glaring officers and Sebrenova staggered back into the supporting hands of two of her friends.

"That is what I wanted to say to a specific person," Ermolai said, lightly, and very notably not looking at the hands still grasping sidearms all around Michiko's CIC. "Now I would like to say something for all to hear."

"Proceed, Arurior," Dyatlov said, coldly, "and, for the Emperor's sake, limit yourself to matters that concern the current military situation."

"Understood, Praetor," the Yonsakuren said with a crooked grin. He stepped back to the holotable, shoulder-checking a glaring Commander out of the way and gestured toward the Pegasus fleet.

"This is your opponent," he said. "Not French. French you have a plan for. French you can delay, and stall. And if you stall him long enough, help will come. But this fellow here, whoever he is, this fellow has not come to play chess with you, Praetor. This one has come for the fight alone - to brawl and to destroy us. If given the slightest chance, he will seek you out with all his force and you need to prepare for it. You cannot afford to ignore him."

"I do not intend to," Dyatlov said, stepping forward. "This is why we are here. To figure out how to best deal with our enemies."

"From my perspective?" Ermolai said, with a fluid and surprisingly expressive shrug, "The key is in their discipline. French builds his fleets like wheels within wheels. Everything linking together, everything redundant. You cannot kill French's fleet by killing French himself. His people know how to fight together and alone and they knew how to move to weather your fire. This Pegasus fellow, on the other hand? This fellow does not build his fleet like a machine. He builds it like a family. He has the love of his people. Believe me on this. Nobody sits and takes fire like the Pegasus sailors did without loving their commander more than life itself. Kill him, and his forces will fall apart. That's how you deal with enemies like him. That's what we should be figuring out."

There were a few moments of silence, as the Yonsakuren's words sank in.

"Thank you for your insight, Arurior," Dyatlov finally said, his voice quaking with suppressed anger. "and for your contribution. Anything else you would like to say?"

"Here, to all?" Ermolai asked, smiling wide and displaying two magnificent rows of startlingly white teeth. "No. But I have more things to say to you Praetor. Privately. And as soon as possible. Perhaps even now, if you can spare the time. It will take but a few moments."

Dyatlov considered for a few heartbeats, then gestured with his head toward the small airlock separating the CIC room from the rest of the ship. "In there. Give me a second."

As Ermolai made his way toward the airlock, conspicuously ignoring most of the other officers and with that obnoxious grin still on his face, Dyatlov approached the still-shaken Sebrenova who gave him a wan smile from between her two self-appointed bodyguards. "Hello, Sir," she said, her voice brittle. "You'll never guess what happened today."

"Are you alright, Seb?" Dyatlov asked, considerably worried. All around him, the CIC had erupted in excited murmurs and hushed exclamations, but the officers present were smart enough to give them - and the retreating Ermolai- their space.

"Oh yes, Sir," she replied. "Not any day a Yonsakuren expresses their interest to you. Fancy that."

"Listen to me, Seb," Dyatlov said, his voice low. "You are safe. He has stated before witnesses that he will not hurt you in any way. Making any agressive move on you right now would be the height of dishonor for him. Now, I'm going to go into that airlock and give him a piece of my mind, but I need you to understand that you could be locked in a rating's bunk with him right now and he wouldn't lay a hand on you against your will. I promise you that."

"Yes, Sir," Sebrenova answered, making a valiant effort to appear convinced. "Go, Sir. Get this over with. And then...we can figure out what to do. Go."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 03, 2017, 11:52:05 am
Apologies for the delay. Yesterday was a full day and I went to bed at like 3am. Christ, I'm getting old and decrepit.  :doubt:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Thisisaverylongusername on May 03, 2017, 12:16:29 pm
My goodness, Ermolai was so charismatic that I was drawn closer to my screen as I was reading this. Very well done.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 03, 2017, 02:36:45 pm
I want to see what he has to say to Dyatlov, I wasn't expecting it to cut off there. Enjoying it though.

If the CRF can work together I'm sure those two fleets could compliment each other. French's strategy makes more sense now that I know you can't rush for the starlance/s and block out the reinforcements. He's going to gradually make the system belong to the CRF piece by piece, fortifying and assimilating as he goes, while rebuffing any DD attempt to stop him, yes? I wonder if it would be better instead to go straight for the vats? They are of immense value to the DD but zero value to the CRF, if they were razed, would that limit the desire of the various DD factions to come in with their investment destroyed? Or would this be seen as an unforgivable atrocity that would have the whole DD screaming for vengeance?

Did she really say "meep"?

Yonsakuren courtship certainly sounds interesting. He made it sound like males and females are an even match physically. Have the Yonsakuren found a way around the male / female strength imbalance somehow? Otherwise I can't see it working, these aren't going to be just any males, but males in excellent physical condition that no female could get anywhere near. She is a military woman, so she's going to be far from frail, so that implies this isn't just rough play, it's something much more physically intense. Maybe something like what Klingons do?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on May 03, 2017, 03:20:33 pm
The average Yonsakuren female has the strength of a well trained 'normal' male. A well trained Yonsakuren female... well, you're starting to get into Dragonball territory  :p
Of course the average Yonsakuren male is going to be comparatively physically stronger and bulkier, but there's a point where just adding more raw strength isn't going to be that big of an advantage anymore, outside of wrestling. I mean, if you get hit by a punch that has a force of 2000 pounds, or one that has 2300 pounds. Either way, you're going to have a bad time. So technique, speed and reflexes become increasingly more important factors when everyone is throwing punches of such power. And in those aspects, Yonsakuren males and females are basically equal.

Going after the vats and destroying them would be a massive escalation of the conflict. If the CRF would do that, it would kick the whole of the DD into a total war mindset.
Compare it to a pre-napoleonic kind of war. Two countries go to war, the armies have a series of battles, until a peace treaty is signed, some territory is exchanged, some war reparation are made. Then there is peace... until the next rematch.
But destroy the vats and the conflict shifts from pre-napoleonic to world war 1, where both nations gear up their entire industry and manpower pool for a long and devastating war. With the goal to completely defeat the enemy. A scenario both sides would very much like to avoid, because the winners from such a conflict would be the SF and UGC.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 03, 2017, 03:30:03 pm
My goodness, Ermolai was so charismatic that I was drawn closer to my screen as I was reading this. Very well done.

Okay :P Take note, ladies and gentlemen, Yonsakuren can almost seduce people through the fourth wall.

If the CRF can work together I'm sure those two fleets could compliment each other. French's strategy makes more sense now that I know you can't rush for the starlance/s and block out the reinforcements. He's going to gradually make the system belong to the CRF piece by piece, fortifying and assimilating as he goes, while rebuffing any DD attempt to stop him, yes?

That is, indeed, the plan.

Quote
I wonder if it would be better instead to go straight for the vats? They are of immense value to the DD but zero value to the CRF, if they were razed, would that limit the desire of the various DD factions to come in with their investment destroyed? Or would this be seen as an unforgivable atrocity that would have the whole DD screaming for vengeance?

Think about it. How would you feel if your enemy specifically targeted a neonatal care unit in a hospital, reaching a six-digit baby kill count?

Yeah. You tell me how the DD would feel and how they'd react.  :shaking:

Quote
Did she really say "meep"?

No, you must have misheard.

Quote
Yonsakuren courtship certainly sounds interesting. He made it sound like males and females are an even match physically. Have the Yonsakuren found a way around the male / female strength imbalance somehow? Otherwise I can't see it working, these aren't going to be just any males, but males in excellent physical condition that no female could get anywhere near.

The Yonsakuren are not exactly human, remember. They have incorporated alien animal strains into their DNA, and their muscle density is off the charts, for both males and females. When I wrote that Ermolai can casually break a human spine, I was being literal. It would take him seconds. And any Yonsakuren female of his age would have comparable physical strength.

Quote
She is a military woman, so she's going to be far from frail, so that implies this isn't just rough play, it's something much more physically intense. Maybe something like what Klingons do?

The Yonsakuren are not exactly human and they don't exactly think like humans either. Remember how a lot of the animal kingdom does the 'courtship' and 'mating' thing? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_coercion)

This is quite acceptable (but not the rule) in Yonsakuren society. With both men and women playing the active 'aggressive' part in a case-by-case basis. Creeped out, yet? :blah:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 03, 2017, 03:49:40 pm
Thanks for the answers gentlemen.

About the vats, I anticipated the possibility, but I still can't wrap my head around the mentality, how they can care that much and yet take that much from those raised in the vats.

As for how the CRF would deal with the vats if they took them, I guess by allowing all personnel within to reach maturity and turn them over to the DD, then shut the vats down?

I don't find the DD sexual behaviour creepy, perhaps because I've watched a lot of nature programs. It also sounds like you're taking a big risk engaging in such behaviour if your advances are unwelcome. No helpless victims here. Which I guess is kind of what makes the whole thing work in a society that values strength and with no helpless ones (and indeed, if they were, we now know that would be considered dishonourable to go after someone like that in that fashion) I can see how they might find it attractive if someone was willing to take on those risks to have you and were able to subdue you.
Title: Chapter 4, Part 2: Fight-Making
Post by: Enioch on May 08, 2017, 08:16:22 pm
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Dyatlov had done many things in his life that, upon recollection, mortified him. Barging into a small, confined space like the wrath of God, and directly challenging a waiting Yonsakuren warrior would stay on his top ten list for the rest of his life.

"What were you thinking, Arurior?" he snarled, as the airlock door closed behind him, cutting them off from the CIC room. "By the Emperor's name, you were out of line."

"You are concerned for your fine lady's safety," the Yonsakuren said calmly, leaning against the opposite door. "And you are offended that I caused her some embarrassment. These are irrational fears and sentiments and do not become you, Praetor."

"You propositioned the Arurior of the Fleet, on the bridge of her ship, in front of fifty onlookers!" Dyatlov said, not mollified in the least.

"It was an excellent opportunity," Ermolai countered, raising his hands, in a placating gesture. "An honest expression of interest, following an exceptional display of skill on her part. No insults whatsoever, neither as you or as the Clan perceive these things. A wealth of witnesses, to preserve both our honours and clarify my position in the matter beyond any doubt. The presence of you, yourself, to act as a representative of sorts on her part, as you are currently doing, I might add. My intentions were and are entirely honourable, Praetor. Or - well. As honourable as fair Arurior Sebrenova would like them to be. Would you have preferred if I approached her in a more private setting?"

"Of..." course, Dyatlov would have said, but then his brain finally caught up with his anger and his mouth snapped closed. He could only imagine Seb's reaction if the Yonsakuren had 'expressed his interest' somewhere without the other officers ready to defend her if it came down to it. "You could have certainly waited for a more opportune time," he finally said.

"Praetor, tomorrow, both she and I literally might be dead," Ermolai said, in a gently admonishing tone. "Now calm your ruffled feathers. You have done what is expected for your friend. There are things we need to address that are equally, if not more important."

"Speak, then," Dyatlov said, his teeth grinding more than he would have liked. "What do you wish to say?"

"I did not like you, Praetor," Ermolai answered immediately, in a matter-of-fact voice and a sly grin. "At all. I resented the fact that I had been assigned to your forces, when I could have gotten a better fight bedding Yonsakuren beauties back in Uuni. You are a compromise solution, Praetor. You have not earned your rank. You were assigned here because no Branch could overrule the others and get their own pet admiral given command. So the Emperor picked you out of the Frontier Fleets, slapped an extra golden lion on your shoulder and threw you out here to shut them up and get himself some peace of mind."

"I do not like you either, Arurior," Dyatlov said, "and I'm liking you even less as time passes."

"Ah," Ermolai countered, "but the situation has changed. I saw how you planned the Starlance battle. I heard the transmissions from the Orakul. It was glorious. Praetor, I believe I was wrong and I owe you an apology."

A moment of silence.

"I beg your pardon?"

"No, actually, I'm begging yours," Ermolai said, grinning that infernal cat-like smile. "Tell me, do you know what Yonsakuren like most in this world?"

"I'm guessing the answer isn't 'a fight'?" Dyatlov asked, his patience wearing thin.

"Close," the Arurior replied, "but not quite. We love a challenge. We love high stakes and we love to dance between victory and defeat. There is no glory, honour or pleasure in a fight against a weaker opponent, where victory is all but assured - because such a fight has nothing to teach us. And there is no glory or pleasure in fighting a vastly superior opponent, because why would we seek out death in combat when there is no hope for victory? But a close fight - a fight where we bring all our resources and skills to bear against our opponent, where we face the challenge with our all - that's a fight worth fighting. An honourable fight. There is great pleasure and exhileration in it. And there is great worth in what one can learn from such a challenge. Even a close defeat would be a thousand times better than taking the coward's path of certain victory."

"Come to the point, Arurior," Dyatlov snapped.

"Do you not understand, Praetor? First I thought that my ships and Clanmates were assigned to you as a token force. Here to die, against a vastly superior enemy, so that the godforsaken Delest Branch in whose fleet we were serving could say 'Look! We sent Yonsakuren to fight!' We were resentful. Sullen. Thought to have been discarded, placed as worthless pawns in the hand of some bumbler. But then we heard of Orakul. Three ships you sent. Against two fleets. And, by the Emperor, they kicked the CRF in the teeth and got out by the skin of theirs. We heard the transmissions. It was glorious. We no longer think you are a bumbler, Praetor."

Ermolai pushed himself off the airlock door and stood to his full height, his eyes burning. Dyatlov could feel the tension in the Yonsakuren's frame, like a massive coiled spring.

"We have a coveted skill, in Uuni, a skill that takes years to hone. 'Fight-making', we call it. It lets people take a bad fight, a fight that is worth nothing and twist and hammer things and people around until they make it a good fight. I have some of that skill. My superiors in Uuni have more. You proved that you have quite a lot of it. I deeply respect that and so do my crews. It makes you...very desirable, Praetor."

The Yonsakuren grinned from ear to ear. "You should watch yourself near Clan women. And some Clan men. I hear Yonsakuren can be quite aggressive in such matters. Heh."

"But nevermind that. Here's what I wanted to say. Whatever happens, my crews and I will do our duty here. We are servants of the Emperor, and we will serve where and how you see fit. But if you put us where the fighting is thickest - if you give us the glorious fight we want, like the one you gave the Orakul, I promise you, we will fight for you like nothing you have seen before. More importantly, no matter whether we live or die, if we are granted a fight worthy of us, I guarantee that word will reach Uuni. And the Clan pays its debts, Praetor. Always."



"We will pay them back a hundredfold," Aretha Pegasus growled; and the grim looks on her Champion's and officers' faces only served to underline the sentiment. "But I am not stupid enough to go chasing after shadows. Champion Simmons, your recommendations, if you please."

"Before anything else, Ma'am, we must tend to our hurt capital ships," Simmons replied immediately, his tone clipped. "Especially Menelaus - she's limping and we can't have that. Thankfully, our engineers are reporting that they'll have her back up to specs in a couple of days, especially since French has allowed her some time in the field-repair yards. Meanwhile, we can deploy fighter patrols throughout the system, like French is doing. But it is imperative that we keep the rest of the battle-line out of danger for now."

"Are you saying that we should squat on our haunches and wait, Sir Champion?" Aretha replied, frustrated. "Have nine of the best ships New Britannia has ever built just...linger, while French and our enemy grind away at each other? If you think that looking for a bloody scrap is unwise, I'll trust your judgement, but surely we could at least join French's operations. Do something to leverage our ships?"

A quick look around her officers' faces saw a mixed response. Commodores Ramsworth, Dawson and Walpole of the Oak, Cyclops and Atreus seemed to agree with her, if their grim, determined expressions were anything to go by; but Commodore Davenport and Knights Sorensen and Carmichael of the Indefatigable, Invincible and Avalon seemed considerably less certain - even displeased in the latter's case. And the rest of her officers, including High Knight Fletcher, who commanded her Duke carriers, and Commodore Cookson of the Menelaus were exchanging concerned looks.

"Ma'am," Simmons said, after a few moments of awkward silence, "I strongly recommend we keep the battle-line out of combat, until all our ships are ready. If you desire, deploy the Dukes in support of Arc Victoria; but for God's sake, don't engage with the capitals for now."

Some confident nods from what Aretha had labeled as the 'cautious' block. A low 'hear-hear!' from Fletcher, even. Aretha took a deep breath; searched not-so-deep inside her for her anger and frustration; wrapped them up in a little burning-coal-like ball and set them aside for now. "Explain, Sir, if you please."

"Ma'am..." Simmons ran his bony fingers through his grey-white hair, his wrinkled face a grimace of dismay. "...we are a very unconventional force. We don't have staying power. At all. We have a limited escort fleet; little with regards to extended supply or field-repair capabilities and little tactical flexibility. What we do have, is a God-almighty battle-line, concentrated to a point of our choosing; a relatively secure base of operations provided by our allies; and the scouting element to find the enemy. Ma'am, from a strategic viewpoint, we are a massive wrecking ball and we can come crashing down on the Delest anywhere on the system with maybe an hour's warning."

"And that's it," Sorensen interjected, darkly.

"And that's it," Simmons agreed. "We can do that really well, but that's all we can do. This fleet is simply not built to split up. If we do that, we're just feeding the Delest isolated ships, without the equivalent of French's logistics structure to back us up. So we'd have a permanently crippled battle-line, with ships constantly rotating back to the field repair yards - and there's nothing to guarantee that yard space will be available, with French in the fight. We could challenge the Delest now, pick a strategic target and come down on it like the wrath of God. But we'd do that without the Menelaus. And that's more than ten percent of our anti-capital firepower -and point defense. So when the Delest drop their next torpedo strike on us, we take more hits. And things snowball from there."

Her Champion shrugged slightly. "And, in a nutshell, we'd hit the Delest once, maybe wipe out one of their fleet elements. And then we'd have taken so much damage that we'd be out of the fight for the rest of the campaign."

"I understand," Aretha said, and she did understand, even if she didn't like it. "In a nutshell, Sir Champion, you are telling me that our strength is in our battle-line; and so our doctrine should be to never seek an engagement unless we can engage with the entirety of said battle-line."

Nods around the table; Ramsworth and Dawson seemed unhappy, but Walpole looked convinced. Simmons, likewise, nodded, with a tight-lipped smile. "In a nutshell, Your Grace, that is my argument."

"Very well," Aretha acquiesced, with a small scowl, "But I'll be damned if I sit here and twiddle my thumbs while we babysit French's supply ships during the time it takes for Menelaus to re-join the line. When the time comes, Ladies and Gentlemen -and it will come in the next few days- we'll need to have a solid plan on how to proceed. Sir Champion, you mentioned that, with our battle-line ready, we could give the Delest a damn good thrashing wherever we choose to engage? So, let's figure out where, exactly, we will be offering battle."

"Of course, Your Grace," Simmons replied; and there was some satisfaction and pride in his voice, Aretha noted. A small, well-hidden part of her rejoiced at the old soldier's approval. She was keenly aware of her own inexperience in most matters military, which is why she deferred to Simmons whenever possible; but she was determined to improve greatly on her basic grasp of military command and she seemed to be on the right track.

The holographic projectors of her briefing table hummed to life with a touch of her hand; and the same map that French had consulted blinked into existence, as the lights dimmed.

"We are in a target-rich environment," Aretha said, ruefully. "First things first, though: I have told French that we will not be joining him in crawling forward one asteroid at a time. I assume that you all agree with this?"

They did. Simmons nodded, deeply; the other officers also indicated their assent with 'hear-hears!' and, in some cases, rapping their knuckles on the table.

"And from what we've discussed so far, this makes sense, given our force composition," Aretha continued. "We want to keep our battle-line ready and push with all of our capitals against a single target, not disperse them over half a dozen balls of dirt. The question is, if we eliminate the asteroid mining facilities as our battlefield..."

The red strings-of-pearls of the Terconia belt mines and refineries winked out.

"...then what are our options? Based on the scouting information we have so far, I can identify four points of interest."

Her fingers danced on the holographic keypad on the armrest of her seat. Points of golden light materialised on the display; as Aretha addressed each one, thin brackets drew her officers' attention to them.

"Our first option are the Hōseki orbitals. It is reasonable to assume that they will be ferociously defended - and not just by Delest ships, but by static defenses and Starbases as well. This is by far the most dangerous target we might choose to engage, but the rewards will be proportional. Control over the orbitals will, essentially, grant us complete gravitic superiority over the planet itself.

"Our second option are the Sodesuka military shipyards, located here, over the moon of Saphaia. They are, likewise, of great strategic importance, as they are the only installation capable of repairing Delest capital ships that we know of in-system. We can expect them to be heavily defended. More importantly, BuInt has informed us that two major starbases are nearing the final stages of construction there; a strike would allow us to cripple them before they come online.

"Our third option is their supply base in the small fortress moon of Paru. Long-range patrols and scans lead us to estimate that almost a third of the military supplies, ammunition stockpiles and fuel are kept there. I hope I don't need to explain how significant a breakthrough it would be if we were to destroy or capture the facility.

"And, finally, our final target are the solar station arrays, near Terconia Secundus. They power most of the civilian infrastructure in-system and are comparable in output to our own SBSP arrays in Authuria. Taking them out would have French scream at us for blowing up vital infrastructure, but our analysts guarantee that any assault on them would undoubtably force a Delest response. They simply cannot afford not to defend them."

Aretha leaned back into her chair, steepling her fingers and meeting the eyes of her officers yet again. "Your input, Ladies and Gentlemen, if you please."

"With all due respect, Ma'am," Fletcher said, after a few seconds of silence, "I think we can scratch the orbitals as a potential target. Our goal is to lure out and crush their mobile assets, not occupy the planet. And certainly not to engage in a close-range fight with their orbital fortresses. My recommendation would be to aim for one of the peripheral targets: either one of the moons, or the SBSPs."

"I can only concur, Your Grace," Simmons stated with very little hesitation. "Our force is relatively mobile - pushing against an entire planet's worth of orbital fortifications would not be playing to our strengths. We would suffer avoidable losses."

"In that case, we find ourselves in agreement," Aretha granted them. "What of the other options, then?"

"My choice would be one of the moons, Your Grace," Walpole suggested, twirling a strand of her dark hair thoughtfully. "Leaning toward Paru, just for the benefit of depriving the Delest of their supply depots. Still - once again, we'll be going up against prepared static defenses: hardly an optimal course."

"Mmmh," Fletcher agreed. "I'll agree that the moons present the most tempting targets. The solar stations might draw a Delest response but, ultimately, the loss of civilian power infrastructure will hurt the Delest in the long term. Not now. We'll bloody their nose, but they'll just retreat to their military bases again, repair their ships and we'll just have to fight them again a few weeks later, when we've repaired our own battle damage. Not a winning proposition."

"Indeed," Ramsworth said, tapping his lips thoughtfully. "My preference would be the shipyards, actually. They have some static defenses, but not as much as a dedicated fortress; any damage to the shipyards will severely hurt Johnny Delest's capability to repair his ships and we might get a kill on those starbases before they become operational. That's a huge defensive investment by the Delest down the drain, without any returns."

"Shipyards, Your Grace," Sorensen nodded, laconic as ever. "Same reasons. They're good reasons."

Aretha took note of other nods and indications of assent around the table; her officers were reaching a consensus and, in all fairness, the arguments put forward made good sense to her. She glanced over to Simmons, who, while thoughtful, also gave a sharp nod of agreement at her unspoken query.

"Very well," she said, "the shipyards it is. Now, with Menelaus out of drydock in a few days, let's see how we can best leverage our forces. Mr. Fletcher, I believe that your fighters will serve as an excellent first strike element..."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: crizza on May 09, 2017, 11:57:02 am
I would laugh my ass off, if the two starbases are finished by the time of the attack and only sit inside their cradles to lure the enemy out :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 09, 2017, 05:08:23 pm
Return of the Jedi did that already. Give me some credit for originality  :P

The starbases are armed (I.e. their weapons have been installed) but they have no fire control (yet). They are fully armed but by no means fully operational (and no, I don't intend to cheat around that with Orakul). They are out of the fight, period.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on May 11, 2017, 09:04:32 pm
Quote
The Yonsakuren grinned from ear to ear. "You should watch yourself near Clan women. And some Clan men. I hear Yonsakuren can be quite aggressive in such matters. Heh."

That's it, I'm rooting for the Delest. A CRF victory has significantly lower odds of space Russian yaoi.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 12, 2017, 10:29:42 am
I keep thinking of a panther on the prowl when Ermolai is involved for some reason.

I like this Yonsakuren concept of a good fight. Usually it's the reason for or the scale of the fighting that makes something a good fight. For them it's the fight itself.

Is being so up front about everything a Yonsakuren trait or just this character?

When I was reading, I too thought the shipyard the best target. Even without the tempting starbase targets. That would make the DD have to limp out of the system to get repaired if it's the only repair facility. A harder decision is whether to go straight in, go straight in once at full strength, or wait for French to draw some attention to himself and then go in. I really don't know. The longer you wait, the more prepared the DD is. I'm leaning towards waiting for French to draw some attention then attack. Because French's fleet alone was thought to be enough to do the job, and his slow advance strategy would have been factored in expecting DD reinforcements. So having both fleets attacking targets at the same time would put the DD under immense strain. If one fleet was thought to be enough to do the job, no need to be risky. Bring the full weight of both fleets down on the DD.

Top class stuff. Really high quality. :yes:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 12, 2017, 01:58:10 pm
I keep thinking of a panther on the prowl when Ermolai is involved for some reason.

Means I got the flavor right.  :p

My mental image of Ermolai (with thanks to PTerry) is (https://s18.postimg.org/j301zp5h5/9c39dbf0d4c4fcc762bf443bb2295302.jpg) human (https://s28.postimg.org/9f446hkpp/greebo_by_drjavi-d8vmejo.png) Greebo (https://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/Greebo).

Keep in mind that most of the animal DNA spliced into the Yonsakuren comes from the Sursaa, a large predator native to Uuni, which bears some similarities to bears and big cats. This has affected Yonsakuren mannerisms to some extent.

Quote
Is being so up front about everything a Yonsakuren trait or just this character?

Why would a Yonsakuren not be upfront about something? Are you implying that social circumstances dictate the behaviour of Yonsakuren, instead of the other way around? Honestly....

(Yes, they're all like that. Quite like cats, actually)

Quote
The Yonsakuren grinned from ear to ear. "You should watch yourself near Clan women. And some Clan men. I hear Yonsakuren can be quite aggressive in such matters. Heh."

That's it, I'm rooting for the Delest. A CRF victory has significantly lower odds of space Russian yaoi.

Space Russian catboy yaoi. Anime universe, remember? Embrace the tropes, xeno (https://s18.pixxxels.org/wmelybmbd/image.jpg) (arguably NSFW).
Space Russian catboy yaoi not guaranteed
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Droid803 on May 13, 2017, 07:58:37 pm
I suppose I should pop in and say I've been very much enjoying reading this :yes:
Title: Chapter 5, Part 1: Opening Exchange
Post by: Enioch on May 15, 2017, 06:29:38 pm
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In Orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 16:42 Central System Time.

Arurior Ragunov was angry: a low, simmering exasperation, towards the universe in general, her inconsiderate commanding officer and, more importantly, the complete and utter pieces of junk he had saddled her with. She did not know what her sins had been, but they must have been pretty bad for her to be deserving of this.

She suspected that a lot of her resentment was because of the contrast between the different ships under her command. If she had been given a command that consisted entirely of what the Praetor charitably called 'Support Battle-Line' ships, she would have sighed and dealt with it. But she had retained command of her own darling Oichi only to have the albatrosses of the old capitals Petrograd and Sevastopol and the thrice-be-damned monitor Penza hung around her neck. And then Praetor Dyatlov had deployed her ragtag force here to keep the shipyards secure.

She had no illusions about how long her ships could last against the incoming juggernaut. If it came to it, and Dyatlov delayed or mistimed the deployment of her reinforcements, she would die. Very quickly.

"Ma'am," her communications officer piped up softly, well-aware of her miserable mood, "I have Ter-Iio Hayakawa on Channel 2."

"Patch him through to my station," Ragunov near-growled and threw herself sullenly into her captain's chair. She couldn't fault poor Hayakawa for the failings of his rust-heap of a vessel: he was a more-than-capable officer, who had been repeatedly sidelined on the path for promotion simply because of his lack of political backing. He was also a pleasant man and a good conversationalist. That said, she had come to dread (and almost resent) his calls, as they usually heralded some new problem on the Penza.

And yes, she scowled as his face came up on her private screen and a link was established with her earpiece, if his apologetic expression was anything to go by, this would be another fiasco.

"Lay it on me, Sasuke," she sighed under her breath.

"Cooling manifolds," he said, with a what-can-you-do shrug. "Busted all down her secondary port thruster. I've got damcon teams down there dealing with it now, but until then, you should know I can give you maybe sixty percent thrust. Or, you know, burn out the entirety of my port engine cluster."

"You're saying she's a wallowing pig," Ragunov moaned, her fingers massaging the bridge of her nose. She could feel the headache coming up.

"She's a wallowing pig," Hayakawa cofirmed ruefully, "more than she used to be, even. Until further notice. Sorry Stella."

"Urrrgh. Fine," Ragunov said, by now fully resigned to it. "Contact Sodesuka, I suppose. See if they have the time to squeeze you into...Dock 3, I think?"

"Understood. I'll- hold on," Hayakawa glanced to the side, listening to an off-camera officer's voice. "Wait. Are you getting this?"

"Getting wh-"

"Arurior!" came her communication officer's voice again, this time considerably more urgent. Ragunov looked up and met his eyes - he was quite pale, holding his earpiece in what she had come to know as his 'I don't like what I'm hearing' stance, wound up and nervous. "Incoming message from Central Command - priority Violet. Forwarding to your station, Channel 4."

"Hold one, Sasuke," Ragunov said and flicked between channels, her heart sinking. There were very few things that would warrant a Violet transmission and none of them promised a boring afternoon.

"All ships, Central," came the clipped voice of Arurior Sebrenova over the comms. "Orakul confirms enemy subspace activity in asteroid belts Epsilon and Kappa. Multiple capital signatures identified. Heavy subspace tunneling has also been traced towards point Sodesuka Alpha. Expect capital-grade incursion in less than half an hour from time of receipt. All asteroid garrisons, initiate De Tolly immediately upon receipt. All capital forces, move to reinforce Sodesuka Alpha; navigate for time of arrival 17:35 Central System Time. Arurior Ragunov, you have full conn on-site until the arrival of the flagship. All ships, please acknowledge upon receipt."

No.

Ragunov keyed in the necessary response, her fingers moving like in a dream; her eyes moved lazily along the ghostly faces of her bridge personnel. Sounds seemed - muted, for lack of a better word; and there was an otherworldy quality to...well, everything around her.

No. No. Nonononono.

"B-Battle stations," she croaked; and the very act of doing so brought reality back in a blast of colour, sound and cold sweat running down her back. "Battle stations! Clear for action. Comms, contact the shipyards - order a full evacuation. They have less than half an hour. Then, get a line on the Vernosts, order them to form line of battle on us. Sasuke, get that pig of yours to cover the starbases until they can get their shields online. Launch every fighter we have. And sensors, for the Emperor's sake, focus on the approaches from the Andor starlance. I want to see them coming the minute they come in range."


Asteroid Belt Kappa, near Asteroid Refinery R-16 - 17:00 Central System Time.

Nelson emerged into realspace with a grace that belied its absurd weight; and then, with a flare of its massive thrusters it accellerated toward the hulking refinery R-16: a squat, sprawling angular tumour growing on the side of a large asteroid. Rodney, her sister-ship, dropped out of subspace on her side and maneuvered into formation, closely followed by a handful of Destroyers and the Duke-class Penelope.

On the flagship's bridge, Arc Champion Julius French smiled his thin, steely smile. "Sensors?"

"Link with Rodney and Tempest established, Sir," came the response. "PD net operational. Medium-range sensor feeds coming online, now - we have confirmed hostiles. Updating holotank, now."

A flicker in the holodisplay that dominated the centre of Nelson's CIC; and half-a-dozen red markings came to being around the massive return that represented the refinery. French squinted at the display, suspiciously. Three small ships were holding defensive positions in front of the installation; another was, apparently, at the final stages of undocking; and two more were burning hard away from the incoming CRF forces, their subspace drives already charging.

"Identifications on those ships?" the Champion asked.

"Hold one, Sir," the Sensor officer replied. "Trying to- there we go. The screening force is comprised of a Destroyer and two Frigates. The ship currently docked is another Frigate; and the ships fleeing are a Frigate and a freighter of sorts. Sir, this looks like an evacuation."

"Mhh," French agreed. "Any defensive measures? Mines? Sentry guns?"

"None that I can pick up, Sir. Hold one- yes, Rodney concurs. No power signatures beyond what we can see and any mines would have shown up on our active scans by now."

"Good." French leaned back in his command chair. "Mr. Walder, weapons free across the fleet. Get this rabble out of our way."

"Sir," came his Tactical Officer's curt reply.

The two CRF Dreadnoughts manoeuvered slightly, to bring their spinal beams to bear on the small Delest garrison and commenced their firing cycles. The escort ships fanned out, to give their larger brethren clear shots, but stayed in loose formation and their own sensors pinged the surrounding space constantly. French would take no more chances.

The Delest reaction could best be described as 'chaotic'. The Destroyer and one of the Frigates parked over the installation turned wildly and sought to open the range, at full burn. Sensors indicated that they had begun their jump cycles; but even a crash translation would take them time they didn't have. French immediately wrote them off as harmless to his fleet; they were clearly inexperienced, cowardly or both; and they would be dead shortly.

The second Frigate, on the other hand, was clearly conned by a capable commander. In a flare of tortured thrusters, her helmsman took her on a wild rolling flip, just over the top of the refinery and over the other side. Her weapons came online just before the installation's silhouette concealed her; and her particle emitters put accurate fire into the Ardent, the CRF Destroyer leading French's left flank.

"Bloody gnat," French heard his Tactical Officer murmur behind him. "Firing on the Destroyer."

The Nelson's spinal gun spoke, in a blinding flash of coherent light - and two thousand yards away, the Delest Destroyer was hit amidships. Her shields held, for a few brief seconds; and then something failed. The CRF beam speared right through shields, armor, hull and powerplant and out the other side, in a gout of flame and plasma; and a secondary explosion atomised the entirety of the Delest ship's aft. She tumbled off into space, completely and utterly dead.

Rodney fired a few seconds later; her own beam reaching out for the escaping Frigate. This Delest captain once again proved his inexperience, failing to engage in even the most basic of evasive manoeuvers. The CRF lance crumpled the tin can's shields like tissue paper and proceeded to carve its path through the entire length of the vessel. In a brief couple of seconds, the Delest ship was gone.

"And that, as they say, is that," French declared, satisfied. "Detach two Destroyers to harry the freighter and her escort, if they can catch up; meanwhile, hold fire. Bring us closer to the refinery and engage the docked Frigate with secondaries. Keep an eye out for the gnat."

"Aye aye, Sir. Detaching Ardent and Ajax."

As the CRF ships drew closer to the asteroid facility, the docked Frigate cast off and, with a couple of thruster bursts, moved towards the shadow of the asteroid. Her helmsman was good, French noted, keeping her a hair's breadth away from the massive installation.

"Getting power spikes on the fleeing ships, Sir," his Sensor Officer cried. "Imminent translation. And-"

Six thousand yards away, the fleeing ships disappeared in a flash of blue etheric light. "-and I'm also getting etheric resonance from the facility vicinity. The two Frigates have begun their jump cycle."

"Engage the visible one with secondaries as soon as you have a solid lock," French ordered. "Recall Ardent and Ajax and have them loop around the facility and engage the slippery one. And deploy Marine away teams. I want that installation secured and searched top to bottom."

"Aye, Sir. Secondaries clear to fire; Destroyers vectoring. Valiant and Vanguard are deploying assault troops."

Nelson ponderously swung to port, to unshadow her secondary batteries and her railguns peppered the fleeing Frigate's shields with a hailstorm of projectiles. The fleeing Delest ship staggered under the hits, but her shields held for the few seconds it took for her to get behind the cover of the asteroid and out of immediate danger. Meanwhile, two CRF Destroyers carefully descended upon the refinery, deploying assault pods; and another pair accellerated to get a clear field of fire behind the asteroid.

The first Delest Frigate chose that moment to come to meet them, her engines at full burn. Her manoeuver was well-planned and expertly executed: her course unavoidably put her inside the firing arcs of both the Ardent and Ajax, but the rest of the CRF fleet were still eclipsed by the asteroid's mass.

She steered right between the two CRF ships, which had to juke wildly to avoid a collision; her particle emitters focused solely on Ajax. The Destroyer's shields held under the hail of what, essentially, amounted to fighter-grade weaponry; but her sensors were drowned under the static of tortured ether and vaporised particles. As the Delest Frigate screamed past, she brought her single spinal grav pulser to bear on the Ardent, at the same time as the CRF Destroyer acquired a lock with her railguns.

Miniature singularities ripped into the shields and hull of the CRF ship; in return, hyperaccelerated slugs pummeled the Delest Frigate in the few seconds it took for her to swerve under her enemy's keel and disengage. She had suffered considerably: her engine cluster was sputtering and leaking burning fuel. The CRF vessels turned to pursue, Ardent streaming burning gas and atmo from several hull breaches. Too late; too late. Space flickered in front of the Delest ship, her subspace portal already forming. In a flash she was gone, crash jumping to safety.

The final Delest Frigate took that opportunity to make her final appearance, boosting away from the facility, a few thousand yards behind the CRF Destroyers. Her grav pulser spoke once, twice, three times, gouging a massive gash in Ardent's aft hull; and then she turned away, manoeuvering wildly while her jump engine completed her jump cycle.

She was, literally, seconds from safety, when the Penelope rose gracefully from behind the eclipsing asteroid and blasted her out of the sky with a perfectly executed energy broadside.


HIDMS Michiko, on subspace transit to Sodesuka shipyards - 17:30 Central System Time.


"Sir, urgent message from the Tanken," Comms cried out and Dyatlov and Sebrenova raised their eyes from the holotank in alarm. "And -please hold- from the Hishu as well. Iio Fiodry reports heavy incursions throughout the belt. Sir, the Tanto has just gone off line!"

"And that's French, goddamn him," Dyatlov seethed, his fists clenching. "We can't deal with him now. To all asteroid garrisons; confirm De Tolly and pull back to the Hōseki orbitals double time. Wait for further instructions there."

"Understood, Sir."

"Leytenant," Sebrenova added, her voice hard as steel. "Make sure you get De Tolly confirmations."

"Yes, ma'am!"

As the officer scrambled to oversee his frantic comms operators, Sebrenova moved closer to Dyatlov. "This is likely to go very wrong, very quickly," she hissed. "I did not expect them to coordinate this well."

"Indeed," Dyatlov agreed, in just over a whisper. "It's a good thing we started evacuating the asteroid fields yesterday. They're lost to us now."

They stared down the holotank, where the entirety of the Terconia system floated in glowing glory. Blue trails marked the trajectories of the Delest fleets, converging towards the Sodesuka shipyards and one of their enemies at what amounted to many times the speed of light; but a blot of red had also made its appearance in the godforsaken refineries that were now sure to cost Dyatlov his career. French was in the asteroid belts and Dyatlov knew full well that there was no dislodging him from there. Hopefully, the Arc Victoria Champion would be as methodical as he had been in the past in securing his prizes.

"Sir," came the Comms Officer's voice again, "I've got six out of ten confirmations so far. Latest transmission from the Sablya. She has just engaged the enemy and escaped from R-16. The refinery superintendant did not appreciate being evacuated at gunpoint, but they managed to get all civilians out. Molniya and Britva were lost with all hands, however."

"****!" Dyatlov spat, gritting his teeth. Britva had been one of his own, 5th Fleet, Frigates and one of his best on top of that. He could ill afford to lose ships and crews like that. "Well, there's nothing we can do. The Sablya is to fall back to the orbitals with the others and they are to stay there."

"Aye. Sir, two more De Tolly confirmations from Lopast and Fubuki. And...Sir, that's all we're gonna get. Hashidate and Bylinka are gone - with their freighters, I'm afraid."

And the civilian crews of at least six mining stations, Dyatlov knew but didn't add.

"Very well," Dyatlov nodded assent. "Comms, drop every surviving garrison ship off our net. They've done all they can and we can ill afford the distraction. Be prepared to link up with the other task forces as we emerge into realspace - the faster you can pull it off, the less casualties we're going to suffer. Arurior, the task force is yours; take us in."

"Aye, Sir," Sebrenova said, her voice ringing. "Tactical, link us up with the other caps. Grazhdanins take point. All weapons primed. Crews brace for battle translation."

The bridge of the Michiko had by no means been silent; but now it exploded into a maelstrom of activity, as orders were passed down to sub-stations and, through Comms, to Michiko's task force. The low, throaty whoop of the imminent translation alarm echoed across the ship and Delest sailors tightened their holds on crash harnesses, weapon controls, tools and their nerves.

"Time is 17:35," Sebrenova stated calmly for the logs, strapping herself into the commander's seat. "Drop, drop, drop."

With a surge of her massive reactors, Michiko ripped a hole from not there to there and, with the grace of a whale breaching the surface of the ocean, left Subspace behind her.

And emerged into Hell.


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 15, 2017, 06:31:25 pm
For your speculative reference: Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Andreas_Barclay_de_Tolly)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 15, 2017, 08:04:02 pm
Argh, cliffhanger!

That's the main force Dyatlov is bringing in, right? I wonder if French will send reinforcements. He doesn't need to be swatting flies in the belts when the main enemy force is right there. Obviously they must have talked to each other to both attack at the same time.

Can't wait to see how you handle this massive engagement. I love your style, you paint vivid and visceral pictures. I'm transported onto the decks of your ships.

I wonder if Spoon will visualise French's engagement. That should be no problem for him. The big one though... that might be a challenge... :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on May 15, 2017, 08:08:30 pm
From what I understand this is all history by the time WoD ep1 starts so an in-game representation of this specific engagement seems... unlikely. Though something similar with different forces in play wouldn't be too much of a stretch. Unless Spoon decides to start FREDDing  and recording these engagements as supplementary material but he has better things to do like procrastinate or FINALLY MAKE EP2 DAMNIT.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 15, 2017, 08:25:51 pm
Spoon said he might FRED and record. He made a quick video of the attack on the CRF by the Orakul.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on May 16, 2017, 08:51:27 am
I made no promises!
If I were to do it, I'd have to put in enough effort to do Enioch's great writing, justice. Which means time and effort spend on setting up proper camera work.

but he has better things to do like procrastinate or FINALLY MAKE EP2 DAMNIT.
Yeah!
(Those are the two things where most of my time is being put into)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 16, 2017, 11:02:10 am
I made no promises!
If I were to do it, I'd have to put in enough effort to do Enioch's great writing, justice. Which means time and effort spend on setting up proper camera work.

but he has better things to do like procrastinate or FINALLY MAKE EP2 DAMNIT.
Yeah!
(Those are the two things where most of my time is being put into)
I know, I said might.

But where does the most time get spent? On Ep2 or procrastination? :p
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 16, 2017, 11:07:02 am
"Yes"  :p
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 16, 2017, 03:32:09 pm
Just a thought I had, I was assuming there was going to be a huge battle next, but maybe not. Perhaps emerging into hell means emerging into the debris field made up of the wreckage of one shipyard, two starbases and several fleet vessels...
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on May 16, 2017, 08:28:35 pm
Unacceptable. I want space catboy Russian yaoi, dammit!
Title: Chapter 5, Part 2: Scorched Earth
Post by: Enioch on May 22, 2017, 04:19:17 pm
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HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 17:30 Central System Time.


"Incoming tunneling!"

Simmons was bent like a vulture over the holotank, his hands gripping the railing in a white-knuckle grip as he took stock of the situation. Aretha could not help but notice the way his shoulders tightened at the urgent call from the sensor station. She did not begrudge him the response - it was his job to worry, after all.

And he had reason to be worried, she had to admit. The accursed Delest were proving to be formidable opponents indeed. That carrier of theirs...

She could not join her Champion near the holotank, she could not show her own temper, frayed and ready to snap. She had to sit in her Commander's chair, back straight, face impassive - the picture of the stoic Knight of Britannia, her upper lip stiff and her spine forged in steel. Her fleet took their cues from her - and their discipline was an extension of her own. So, she had to limit herself to the smaller displays integrated into her seat's systems. And they did not paint as pretty a picture as she would have hoped.

Three of the four Delest capitals had formed line of battle in response to her forces' arrival; and they had steadfastly refused to allow her forces through to the shipyards. Even as her own Dreadnoughts had taken the enemy ships under fire, even as Temeraire and Avalon had pummelled their shields with their spinal beams and Fletcher had drowned them in waves of fightercraft, the Delest ships had hammered the Royal Oak, the Cyclops and the Atreus with devastating torpedo broadsides and grav pulse fire, knocking out weapon emplacements, ripping through shields and armor and leaving the Atreus puttering along at half-thrust. They had paid the price, of course: one of the older Delest capitals was now a rapidly expanding cloud of plasma, the second was limping away toward the shipyards in very bad shape but that goddamn fleet carrier...

Its point-defense had reaped a bloody toll on the CRF strikecraft that had dared to close in; her shields had taken a battering but were still up; and she was now retreating in good order toward the shipyards, lobbing accurate, long-range torpedoes back at the pursuing CRF battle-line. In the few minutes (had it been just minutes?) that had passed, Aretha had come to hate that thing. She wanted to scream.

And that thrice-be-damned piece of scrap that the Delest had detached to guard the shipyards, that crippled ancient monitor still taunted the CRF ships. She sat in front of the half-completed starbases, like a
monolithic slab of iron, her weapons at minimal power, all of her antique reactor's yield channeled into the inhibitor fields that she had raised as soon as the CRF battle-line had jumped in. For several dozen kilometres in each direction, the sea of subspace now resonated angrily. If the CRF ships wished to tranlate, they would have to divert all power to their subspace drives, to punch through the etheric barrier and tunnel their way out. Doing so would mean drawing power from weapons and shields - and that, with that infernal carrier still shooting at them, would be suicide.

That thing had the gall of presuming to hold her fleet here.

And now, Aretha saw on her display, there were traces of subspace tunneling coming in, as Delest forces converged on-site, to assist their beleaguered fellows. Bright red lines, creeping toward the cluster of CRF and DD ships from several different angles. The Delest knew the frequencies of their own inhibitors; and what would be a sea of near-impassable, boiling energy for the CRF forces, they could still navigate through unhindered. They were coming for her.

This did not look good.

"Ms Downey," Simmons called from the holotank. "Any signature returns?"

"Nothing concrete, Sir," came the response. The Bellerophon shuddered softly, as a Delest torpedo impacted on the fore shields. "But these are definitely capital-grade tunnels. We have a minimum of four task forces converging in on us."

"Four it is," Simmons mused; and turned to Aretha. "Ma'am, this is both a very dangerous situation and an excellent opportunity. If we break formation and order full pursuit, we can focus fire those two ships down and, perhaps, disable them quickly enough to take down the inhibitor fields in time to disengage. But if we fail, our formation will be broken when the Delest reinforcements arrive, with all that this would entail. Our other option is to reform here, and prepare to receive them. With a tight enough formation, I believe we can smash their attack; and if French reinforces us in time, the day will be ours.

"Ma'am, I need a command decision, now. Do we attempt to disengage, or do we stand and fight?"

Exarch Aretha Pegasus locked eyes with her Champion, noting his confident stance; and then glanced around the bridge of her flagship, taking in expressions of her officers, where apprehension and eagerness clashed.

In truth, there was no choice involved here.

"Champion Simmons," she said, her voice ringing with every ounce of authority she could squeeze into it and her eyes cold, "abandon pursuit. Form tight battle-line on the flagship. Stand by to receive enemy assault."


In orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 17:35 Central System Time.


Four separate Delest squadrons (the near-entirety of the Delest in-system force) dropped out of subspace near-simultaneously, Volyas leading the charge. Within the space of a few seconds, the Pegasus fleet was outnumbered near three-to-one in capital tonnage; and Aretha's forces found themselves under fire from multiple directions.

However, numbers, while not insignificant, did not fully reflect the tactical situation. The CRF forces were in formation, and had had sufficient forewarning to prepare themselves for the attack. They now stood ready, in an ordered battle-line.

The Delest forces, on the other hand, did not. Dyatlov had made sure that his entire force would be ready to respond in an emergency by assigning capable commanders and 5th-Fleet ships to lead each of his separate squadrons. This had paid off from a strategic perspective: his squadrons had responded in time and his entire force was now at his disposal against a numerically inferior enemy. However, to achieve this, Dyatlov had sacrificed any hope of tactical superiority at a fleet formation level. His single most coherent force -the ships of the 5th Fleet- had been broken up, to assure no cock-ups at a strategic level. He had no ordered battle-line to match the CRF forces: just four separate clusters of capital ships, with different capabilities and with no particular experience in working together, ponderously manoeuvering into firing positions and closing the range to the waiting CRF wall.

The first, long-range torpedo salvo of the Delest forces reached the CRF fleet in a staggered, ragged mess. The already-wounded Cyclops took a hit that gutted its starboard railgun emplacements, but the rest of the CRF battle-line emerged outscathed - and really, really angry. Active sensors pinged the Delest formations; targets were designated; and the CRF returned fire in a massed, co-ordinated salvo of railgun slugs and coherent light, which ripped through the shields of the Volya-class Gangut and Olga and the Vernost-class Arkhangelsk in seconds.

Arkhangelsk took the enemy fire first on her buckling shields and then on her old, heavy armor. Some got through both; and her starboard missile silos went up in smoke. Thankfully, her magazines remained intact; and she staggered back into cover behind the shields of her task force flagship, the 5th-Fleet carrier Oku. Olga was crippled, as a CRF beam stabbed through her port nacelle, and fell behind, out of formation, her off-centre thrust taking her on a wide, uncontrolled spiral. And Gangut literally ceased to exist - her reactor explosion hurling shrapnel and debris against the shields of her nearby sisters.


HIDMS Michiko, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 17:45 Central System Time.


"Holy stars!"

Dyatlov had known that his plan would place his ships in danger; and he had thought he was prepared to accept any losses that might incur. The loss of the Gangut was not a surprise and certainly not due to any mishandling
on behalf of her crew - the situation was, actually, still better than his worst-case scenario. But the explosive brutality of the loss; the fact that twelve million tons of fleet carrier and crew had been blown out of existence in an instant shook him to the core. He couldn't hold back his hissed exclamation. Next to him, Arurior Sebrenova gaped at the central holodisplay for a few heartbeats, eyes wide. Then she took a deep breath; and Dyatlov saw her draw herself up again.

"All right, people, that's enough gawking!" she cried, and her glare swept around the bridge. "Comms, Nav, get me a battle-line going, for the Emperor's sake! Masako, Anastasia and Poltava form up on us; Task Forces Gamma and Delta form up on Oku. Grazhdanins screen and prepare to receive enemy strike."

Frantic "Ayes" called back to her from the various bridge stations, as Michiko shuddered, shrugging off the blow of a CRF spinal beam. The flagship reached out to her côterie of Volyas and Vernosts, slowly herding them together under fire. Slowly, torturously slowly, the Delest forces formed up, in two separate battle-lines, flanking the Pegasus fleet. It was a gruelling manoeuver, which exacted its own bloody toll on the Delest: the monitors Rotislav and Sagami, responding sluggishly to their helms, found themselves drawing much more attention than their old shields could take. They barely staggered away, in auxiliary power, streaming burning debris, atmosphere and charred bodies from where the CRF lances had carved huge gashes into their armor.

But finally, finally the Delest ships were in formation and their return fire grew in intensity - and effectiveness. Grav pulses, superheavy torpedos and hyperaccellerated particles clawed and chipped and ripped at the Pegasus shields. And CRF sensor readouts blossomed with returns, as the Delest fleet carriers finally did what they were designed to do: shift their launch rails from ordance to strikecraft functionality and disgorge wave, upon wave, upon wave upon wave of strikecraft. Fighters, bombers and heavy Sodesuka gunships swarmed around their motherships in an ominous cloud.


HMS Nelson, near Asteroid Refinery R-16 - 17:40 Central System Time.


"Sir, the station has been evacuated," Royal Marine Lieutenant Faulton reported, her voice clipped. "We have secured all control centres and have not encountered a single Delest; my Marines are now conducting a thorough search of the refinery. We have discovered several scuttling charges, on timers; my BD teams are disarming them as we speak, but I would strongly advise that we refrain from disembarking any further troops until we're certain we've found and dealt with all of them. Some of them were quite high-yield devices."

"Understood, Lieutenant," French said, "As you were. We will remain on-station to provide support."

The Arc Champion minimised his comms holoscreen and frowned, in thought. So then, the Delest were not planning to defend their asteroid industry - their intention was, instead, to scorch the belts clear, leaving nothing for the CRF to annex. This was simply unacceptable.

"Sir," his Comms officer reported, jolting him out of his increasingly brooding mood, "we have an incoming message from the Warspite and Anson. Their Marine detachments have engaged Delest ground forces in Belt Delta."

"Put it through," French ordered, bringing up his personal screen yet again.

"Sir," the calm monotone of Commodore Kendall said, as her face filled the holographic window, "be advised that I have dispatched two Marine platoons to each of the mining platforms M-03 and M-05, after driving off Delest evacuation ships. There were still Delest troops on board the stations in question that are now offering severe resistance. My Marines are currently under heavy fire, but they should have the platforms' Engineering and Control Stations secured within the hour."

Oh no.

French gripped the armrests of his Admiral's chair, until his knuckles turned white. "Pull out your forces, right now, Commodore. The Delest are planting scuttling charges on their asteroid bases. If you push them-"

Several astronomic units away, Nakayama Industries Ore Extractor M-03 disappeared in a blinding flash of apocalyptic light. Commodore Kendal looked up, her expression alarmed; but before she had time to say anything, the shockwave and building-sized debris reached the Warspite, hammering into the two-kilometre ship and flipping her end-over-end like a tin can.

The communication link with Nelson went dead, in a burst of static.

"Good God," French muttered, his face ashen. "Comms, get them back. And if you can't reach them, try any ship of their taskforce."

"A-Aye, Sir," the Comms officer stammered, shaken as well. "I'll- Sir, I got a hail from the Firebolt!"

A Destroyer of Warspite's task force, that. It would have to do. "Put them through, now."

The young Lieutenant in command of the Destroyer was a picture of horrified dismay - and the bridge of his ship, behind him, was a mess of smoke and frizzed electronics, damcon teams and medics hurrying around. "Sir? - oh thank God, it's still working. Sir, we've lost the Anson and three Destroyers. The station just blew. Some sort of warhead or scuttling charge - I don't know what it was, but it was big. The debris smashed the Anson into an asteroid like a hammer. She's gone, Sir. The Warspite is hit and she's lost FTL Comms, but she's alive."

French leaned back into his chair, his right hand trembling slightly and his face a mask. "Well done, Lieutenant. I'm overjoyed to see you safe. Please forward my compliments to Commodore Kendall and inform her that my orders are for you to provide any assistance you can to Warspite and for both ships to pull back to the Starlance if and when you can. Understood?"

"Aye, Sir."

"Excellent. French out."

The connection went dead and French leaned back in his chair. This had become a very dangerous game now. Allowing the mining facilities to be destroyed was inconceivable. Only through the preservation of the system infrastructure could this war be in any way profitable to New Britannia. But risking his ships...

"Full broadcast, to all task forces," he finally ordered. "Capital ships are to pull a safe distance away from enemy asteroid installations. Boarding operations are to be conducted by Destroyers alone. Should the station be abandonned, Marine platoons are to prioritise locating and disabling the scuttling charges that will, inevitably, have been placed in concealed locations. If the stations are still defended, and if the Marines encounter any resistance, they are to pull out; following that, the control and engineering stations of the installations are to be destroyed by energy bombardment from maximum range. Also, open a channel to Penelope - my compliments to Knight Sawyer and he's to jump to the Warspite's location and offer any assistance he can."

"Aye, Sir"

"Good. Helm, reverse thrust - pull us out to two thousand yards from the station."

As the Dreadnought slowly coasted away from the Delest facility on reaction thrusters, French couldn't help but question his own decision. There was great risk here - and there were so many things that could go wrong now. Dyatlov had played his card, and it was a stunningly good one, if completely and utterly insane from a strategic and political standpoint. If Dyatlov had any backers among the Delest higher-ups, this stunt must have enraged them. Millions of Delest Hez, down the drain in an instant.

Oh, how they would howl for his head. But that didn't help French out now. Damn the man and damn those vat-grown suicidal lunatics! French would have to keep a close eye to each of his individual forces to prevent anything-

"Sir?" the Comms Officer's voice once again tore him from his musings. "Sir, incoming message from Exarch Aretha. She's engaged...well, she's been engaged by the entire enemy fleet, Sir. She's...asking for support."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 22, 2017, 04:28:26 pm
Early update for this week, to compensate you for next week.

I am defending my thesis on Monday, so I need to do some preparing. I will probably not be able to post a new chapter next week. Apologies.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: crizza on May 22, 2017, 04:49:38 pm
All of my yes for this :D
Edit: And good luck Enioch. :yes:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on May 23, 2017, 06:51:38 am
Cliffhanger again and a two week wait likely. Keeping us dangling on the hook. :D

I'm quite surprised the confrontation has come so soon. Dyatlov is putting it all on the line. Including his neck it seems blowing those mining bases even if he wins. But it had to be done. Will French intervene? Surely he must, with everything he has. Then maybe he can catch Dyatlov in a pincer and crush him. If they defeat him here the system is theirs until and unless the DD send in reinforcements to contest that. Maybe Dyatlov has a way of keeping French out of the fight, I don't know. But he didn't seem like he was ready for French's attack and was surprised by it, so I don't think so.

Good luck with the thesis. :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: crizza on May 23, 2017, 08:37:38 am
So, this Inhibitor-ship...
Does it only prevents enemy ships from jumping out or does it forces enemy ships out of... uh... subspace/whatever earlier?

Dyatlov is clever, if he can damage Britannias fleet enough, maybe he'll get the reinforcements he needs.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 23, 2017, 08:50:49 am
Spoon should probably confirm this, but, from what I understand, inhibitor tech works by making subspace (and etheric barriers between dimensions) resonate at some very specific frequencies around the inhibiting ship. This, essentially, makes the 'sea' of subspace energy 'denser', like a thick soup.

This, effectively, makes it near-impossible to punch from realspace into subspace within the inhibitor range, unless you know the inhibitor frequencies and can tune your jump drive to them. A capital ship can brute-force its way, if it is willing to shift all available power to its jump drive, but that would probably result in it being crippled while going through her warm-up cycle (as it would have little to no power for shields and weapons).

Any ships already in subspace can tunnel 'around' the inhibitor field and they can drop from subspace to realspace at will (higher energy state to lower energy state ->easier translation). So, Thrawn-like Interdictor tactics, for instance, don't really work. Inhibitors are only, really, good for one thing: preventing the enemy from jumping out.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on May 23, 2017, 06:14:12 pm
Can confirm that this is exactly how it works.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on May 29, 2017, 08:14:28 am
Well. That went well.  :D

Unequivocal recommendation from both my examiners, with a strong undertone of 'You need to publish this, because it will revolutionise the field'. So, the upcoming weeks will be considerably less stressful that I had anticipated, because I will not have to do a lot of corrections.

Which is good news.

So, I might be able to squeeze in a double update or something (by next Tuesday). We'll see. Still not tomorrow, though. Gomen nasai orz
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on May 29, 2017, 09:48:31 am
Niiiice
Congrats!

(http://i.imgur.com/P4XKIZg.png)
Title: Chapter 5, Part 3: Strike
Post by: Enioch on June 05, 2017, 07:32:16 am
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YCS Pamyat Slavy, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 17:55 Central System Time.


Ermolai Yonsakuren prowled across the silent CIC of his flagship cruiser, looming over the backs of his bridge officers. Yonsakuren ships did not have commanders' seats - a commanding officer was not supposed to be comfortable in his role. Instead, all critical information was routed to the small augmented reality headsets the COs wore; and in turn they made their presence known by bouncing between bridge stations as the situation required.

The way the bridge of a Yonsakuren vessel operated would have seemed utterly alien to any trueborn human. There were no shouted orders; no reports being called out. The entire bridge crew was wound up tighter than a coiled spring, riding a sublime cocktail of adrenaline, endorphins and emotions; any escalation on that (even as much as a snarled order that could be mistaken for a challenge) could result in utter, unmanageable chaos. Therefore, orders were given subtly, calmly, with a minimum of interaction; and both the Commanding Officers and their crews kept an iron grip on their self-control.

They were Yonsakuren Bridge Officers, after all: the undisputed best of the best. It was a matter of pride that they used their battle-lust instead of succumbing to it. Unlike the crews and the fighter jockeys, who often reveled and danced in it.

"Open a secure channel to the Volga and the Baikal," Ermolai ordered his Comms Officer, casually brushing a finger across the man's nape. The officer, in turn, moved his head just so, acknowledging the order; and a new small translucent window opened on the side of the Arurior's vision.

"Receiving you, Ermolai," the heavily scarred Ter-Iio Esfir Yonsakuren of the Baikal said with a tooth-bearing snarl, as soon as the connection was established and her face flashed up. "What do you want?"

"Artyom, Esfir," Ermolai rumbled, "the Praetor will shortly be ready for his strikecraft attack. We will provide support."

Artyom Yonsakuren, the dark, swarthy commander of the Volga grinned widely. The expression would have sent any non-Yonsakuren running at the sight of the not-quite-human sharp teeth. "Flyswatting?"

"Yes," Ermolai responded, his hunched walk taking him behind his Tactical officer. His hand absently extended over the woman's shoulder, pointing at a cluster of contacts that looked like a lagging squadron of CRF Destroyers on her screen; the Officer grinned ferally with a low, guttural, chuckling laugh, gently tapped his arm to acknowledge the order, and assigned a couple of grav pulsers to hammer the enemy ships. "We take point behind the cloud, swat flies and pull back again."

"This is not a good fight," Esfir protested, her voice rising to a mewling complaint. "Too easy. Ermolai, we were promised a good fight!"

"I am aware of that, Esfir," Ermolai calmly said, gesturing in empty air to acknowledge the reports of his damcon teams and making his way back to the Pamyat's small tactical holotank. "We will wait until the Praetor has finished making the fight. I cannot see it all yet, but I can see it taking shape. Not long, now. You must show patience."

"Yes, Arurior," his subordinate replied and Ermolai was pleased to notice that she looked suitably chastised. As was only good and proper. "I am in error and you have corrected me."

"Good," Ermolai replied. "You have shown weakness of character, but your sense of duty and honour is impeccable. I am ending this matter here."

Esfir nodded slightly, her eyes locked on his, acknowledging both the rebuke and the compliment; and Ermolai allowed a thin smile to grace his face.

"Now-" he said, "-form up on me. The 5th-Fleet Grazhdanins will take the left flank. We have been granted the honour of providing cover to the Praetor's squadrons."

He had spoken out loud, for his bridge crew to hear; and he felt their reaction in the air; in the smell of their sweat and the subtle way they shifted in their seats. Tighter, ever tighter did the coil wind, tension building.

"Yes!" Artyom spoke for all, his voice even (as it should be), but resonating with triumph in a way that only a Yonsakuren would understand. "We are at the centre, we are at the fulcrum. The hand of Uuni tips the scale."

The dark swarm of the Delest strikecraft screamed past the bow and stern of the Pamyat Slavy in impeccably-ordered three- and four-ship wings, beginning their attack runs on the Pegasus fleet. From behind, their drives formed an almost solid wall of light moving away from the Delest formations. Ermolai couldn't deny that the sight was awe-inspiring: this was the largest such attack in living memory.

And then the deck of the Pamyat rang in a frequency just beyond human hearing, as thrusters fired and his ship nimbly turned, to follow that wall of death into the fray. The Volga and the Baikal slotted into formation at his side; his crew was riding high on battle-lust; the unseen hand of Clan and Home was behind him, pointing the way.

It was glorious.

And, as battle was joined and the weapons of his ship sang out, Ermolai allowed himself the luxury of closing his eyes for a moment, in exultation.


HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 17:50 Central System Time.


"What do you mean, you can't help?" Exarch Aretha hissed at her personal screen.

"Exactly what I said," the video thumbnail of Julius French replied, his face a mask of disdain. "It is impossible for me to provide any effective aid at this point in time."

"You..." Aretha gripped the armrests of her seat tightly, as Bellerophon shook under Delest fire "...what are you talking about? Their entire bloody fleet is here. You are not being engaged. There is nothing preventing you from helping us. All we need is for you to jump in and we can wipe them all out!"

She glanced up, hopefully, and saw Simmons looking back from the holotank. His expression was grimmer than she had ever seen before; and his eyes were dark.

"Your Grace," French said, notes of exasperation and anger in his voice, "first of all, my forces are being engaged by skirmishers and garrisons all through the asteroid belts. And even if they weren't, my capitals have been dispersed and are working based on a well-rehearsed plan and timeframe - a plan and timeframe that you were well aware of. I cannot simply order my forces to jump to your location from their current positions. The result would be chaos. I would arrive piecemeal, out of formation, and the Delest would blow me out of the sky. As you quite rightly pointed out, your sally has accomplished the one thing I was trying to avoid: get the entirety of Dyatlov's fleet in one location, ready to fight. And I will not feed my ships and crews into that one at a time. I might as well gift wrap my Dreadnoughts and mail them to Dyatlov."

"Damn you, French!" Aretha snarled. "You can't leave us here to die."

"Spare me," French spat right back. "You are in command of a well-disciplined force and you went looking for this fight. You got exactly what you wanted. You are an Exarch of New Britannia - bloody well act like it. Stand firm, and you'll live. You'll only need to endure for an hour or so - and by then I'll have pulled back enough forces from the asteroid fields to do a fleet jump and assist."

"An hour!?" Aretha looked up again - Simmons shook his head sadly, almost imperceptively. "By God, French, you craven bastard, we'll all be dead in an hour!"

"Not by my estimates," French replied, cooly. "But if you are, I'll have to avenge you, because I can't bloody well save you from your own stupidity. I warned you, Your Grace. You have taken yourself and your people beyond my help; I sincerely hope your crews pay a lesser price than they should for your mistake. French out."

The channel died, with a burst of static; and Aretha bit her lip bloody so as not to scream out her frustration.

Simmons approached, his brow furrowed. "One hour? We may survive, Your Grace. We'll be rightly mauled though."

"...I'm sorry, Paul," Aretha said, hoarsely. "I got us into this mess. I should have known that we shouldn't have counted on French. I should have.."

"He's right, Your Grace," Simmons said, smiling thinly as Aretha looked up in surprise. "It would be suicidal to commit his forces here without pulling back to reorganise. But it didn't hurt to ask. We might have been lucky."

"...If you say so, Mr. Simmons," Aretha said, hopefully not looking as unconvinced as she felt. She was angry now, and her anger knitted her shattered confidence back together. "Enough of that. We need to survive for an hour and that's that. What can we do?"

"Get through this mess, one minute at a time," Simmons said. "For now, we need to deal with this upcoming strike."

Aretha looked up at the holotank and her blood froze once again at the sheer number of contacts closing swiftly on her fleet. The incoming fighters were a wall of red contacts, much much closer than she had realised - and rushing closer to them by the second.

"What... get Fletcher on comms!" she gasped. "Every fighter we have. Engage them near the capitals, get our gunners to provide point-defense. We need to break their formations, force them to abort their runs."

"Understood," Simmons said, approvingly. "However, it will not be as simple as that, I'm afraid. Their battle-line is flanking us, Your Grace. We need to respond."

And, indeed, Aretha noticed, the Delest capitals were fanning out from behind their strikecraft in two distinct string-of-pearl battle-lines, forcing the CRF formations to split their fire. "Suggestions?"

"Redirect our battle-line to meet their own. Let the fighters and escort carriers deal with the Delest strikecraft. Fletcher's force will be utterly mauled, but if we allow those carriers shots at our flank unopposed, they'll drown us in torpedoes."

Aretha stared at him, aghast. Simmons was, first and foremost, a carrier man. Fletcher was his protegé; most of the crews in Aretha's escort Hangar-Dukes had learned their trade under Simmons. For him to just throw his boys and girls against the teeth of that Delest strike without battle-line support-

"I see," she said, truly realising that the situation was considerably more desperate than Simmons wished to acknowledge out loud. For the first time, it truly registered with her that she might not make it out of there alive. "Make it so, Sir Champion. And...and inform Mr. Fletcher that our thoughts are with him. Please."


In orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 17:52 Central System Time.


The Delest squadrons bored in: light Cheburashka-class interceptors leading the front, in wings of three; then five-ship wings of old Zhuravlik space superiority fighters, their engines near-overheating under max thrust, but their weapon banks still deadly and ready to receive the enemy; and, following them, the true strike element. Wing upon wing of massive Shilo bombers, their missile banks housing several anti-capital torpedoes; and brand-spanking-new Sodesuka gunships, hot off the shipyard assembly lines and requisitioned into Dyatlov's forces.

In response, High Knight Fletcher had at his disposal the strikecraft complement of Aretha's Lords; and the Combat Space Patrol fighters of his own six Duke escort carriers. Hull-for-hull, his forces numbered almost two-thirds of the Delest strike wave but ton-for-ton, the Delest outmassed him almost two-to-one.

CRF strikecraft technology was simply not up to international par, and Fletcher (and Simmons) knew it. In the past, both Knights had lobbied hard to draw the focus of the CRF design bureaus into producing a modern, capable fighter design; but BuShips had, instead, stubbornly poured billions of Imperials into producing the new generation of battleships. And while the Earls and Lords were exquisite warships, that did not help the Pegasus fighter crews that now had to fly tincan Fireflies or cumbersome Tyrfings into battle.

First contact between the strike wave and the intercepting CRF fighters took place at less than three kilometres from the ragged carrier line and the retreating Lords. Fireflies and Cheburashkas were the first to join the frey, wings quickly dissolving into pairs or trios of dogfighting craft. Then the Tyrfings arrived, to brawl with the Zhuravliks and things truly got heated. Space boiled with the superagitated ether of the fighters' shields; weapons fire and plasma lit up a battle-zone nearly four kilometres wide.

Through this zone, the Shilos and Sodesukas stately waded, the former's shields supercharged for their final torpedo runs and the latter's turrets and gunports keeping their wards safe. The surviving Fireflies tried to intercept; in some cases even ramming the heavier bombers in desperate kamikaze runs. And, for a while, with point-defense fire coming in from the carriers, the Delest strike almost seemed to stall.

And then Ermolai's Grazhdanins arrived on the scene, their own point defense batteries on overcharge. Keeping to a brisk, constant speed and a parade-ground, rigid formation, they smashed into the fighter furball and out the other end with all the subtlety and effectiveness of sledgehammers hitting fine china. By the time they were through, less than one in ten of the Pegasus CSP fighters were still flying; and the path to the carriers (and the coveted target of the CRF battle-line) lay clear.

At 18:03, the Furious sent her last broadcast to her carrier group and the rest of the fleet:

"FIGHTER COVER COMPROMISED. STRIKE INBOUND. MAKE READY AS BEST YOU CAN. GOD SAVE PEGASUS."

All across the carrier group, crewmen and -women prayed by their stations; veteran officers and NCOs did their best to encourage them, but some amongst them had faced Delest anti-capital strikes before and they knew what was coming. "Brace for graviton strike" is the order, in most cases followed by muttered expletives. Those veteran crewmembers who were not actively manning a station curled up in their crash harnesses, making themselves as small a target as they can.

At five-hundred yards and under heavy point-defense fire the Sodesukas and Shilos silenced their particle turrets and anti-fighter weaponry and shunted power into their anti-capital batteries. Power flowed into the massive, massive graviton emitters housed in the gunships' sleek hulls. And suddenly, gravity was granted leave of absence and decided to take a short sabbatical. Space folded and formed passages, marked by flaring, tortured ether; and the not-so-miniature singularities that the Sodesukas were housing reached out in ravenous hunger.

The first graviton beam salvo hit the carriers at 18:04 and the shields only held for a few seconds. The beams were aimed at point-defense batteries, engines, gun emplacements, hangar bays, ship CICs. Metal found itself pulled - irresistibly pulled away; and giving way with tortured shrieks, in a hundred different places all over the striken ships. Turrets were ripped off, their crews sucked into space. Hull plating buckled and deformed. Implacable lost an entire engine pod, which then exploded a few yards from the ship. Illustrius' bridge was literally peeled off, armor layer by armor layer, her atmosphere venting in seconds. Three beams punched into the reactor of the Glorious and the ship just...died, internal explosions making parts of the hull balloon outwards grotesquely. But it was a Shilo anti-capital torpedo that finished the Furious, breaking her spine and snapping her weakened hull in two under her own engine thrust.

It took the Delest strikecraft time: they were meticulous and conscientious with their work and the carriers died hard and slow. It took over twenty minutes under repeated, overwhelming strikes for the last ones to fall silent and for the Delest wave to finally continue their pursuit of the Pegasus battle-line.

Out of the six thousand Pegasus sailors manning Fletcher's force, less than four hundred survivors were picked up after the battle.

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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 05, 2017, 07:35:46 am
I am a kind and generous wordsmith and I feel bad for not having the time to do a double update after thinking that I might, so I'm updating early this week to make up for last week.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: pim on June 05, 2017, 09:04:51 am
It's always worth the wait. This story is really nicely laid, nicely paced and nicely crafted. Thank you.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 06, 2017, 09:04:45 am
Thank you for taking the time to respond  :)  It's a pleasure to write these.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on June 06, 2017, 09:16:11 am
Jeeeeeeeeeez, now I feel kinda bad for Pegasus.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 06, 2017, 05:38:27 pm


Seriously, this looks like something that will go down as one of the greatest military mistakes of the space age. It's like they handpicked the worst possible time to launch this attack. And I don't understand how they let this happen. Did they underestimate the strength of DD forces in the system? Aretha listens to Simmons, so how could he allow this to happen? I can only think they must have thought they could win and cut French out of the equation and grab all the glory for themselves? They knew exactly what was what, they knew French couldn't just exit the belts, they knew his plan in full detail. I can't see any excuse they have for this.

Did it take over 20mins to kill just 6 Dukes? Or were there more capships there? I hope the CRF have good ejector pod technology in their fighters. I suppose we'll be finding out how the capital ship battle goes next time. Maybe the CRF will fare better there if that's where their resources have been sunk into. I guess they'll also be able to deploy their bombers too unmolested by fighters. It sounds like the DD threw every fighter and bomber into the centre battle.

Could French have everyone jump out of the belts to an area of open space and then jump again to the battle? Or is that what he'll be doing anyway?

I'm really interested to see what effect, if he survives this, what happened to Fletcher's force will have on Simmons. They were his pride and joy, moulded by him over presumably many years. Mostly wiped out in about half an hour. They died magnificently, he could not have asked for more of them. But they're nearly all dead and he gave the order that sent them to their deaths. It's the kind of thing which could make a man have a mental breakdown, even if it might have been the correct thing to do.

Excellent work again. You called yourself a wordsmith. I don't think that was pretentious of you.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 06, 2017, 06:29:56 pm
Seriously, this looks like something that will go down as one of the greatest military mistakes of the space age. It's like they handpicked the worst possible time to launch this attack. And I don't understand how they let this happen. Did they underestimate the strength of DD forces in the system? Aretha listens to Simmons, so how could he allow this to happen? I can only think they must have thought they could win and cut French out of the equation and grab all the glory for themselves? They knew exactly what was what, they knew French couldn't just exit the belts, they knew his plan in full detail. I can't see any excuse they have for this.

Good question. Some insight may be found here (if you'll allow me to quote Aretha):

[...]

We are still here, helping Arc Victoria out, because it is our duty as loyal Britons. But as long as we are here, we will conduct ourselves as we see fit and seek battle as we see fit. If Arc Victoria wishes to have Terconia and her riches, then let her, I say. Pegasus will be satisfied with victory and glory on the battlefield. Under our own banner.

[...]

To some extent, this is a political statement for Aretha and Pegasus in general.

Also, keep in mind that Aretha and Simmons are operating with a completely different doctrine from French. They have the highly-mobile wrecking ball; he has the slow and implacable glacier. To some degree, the concept of a non-rapid-response force does not register with Pegasus; and they made their plans accordingly (and erroneously, as is the case).

They also seriously misjudged Dyatlov's determination to not defend the asteroid fields. They expected to deal with a large part of his fleet, sure, but they had also expected him to detach capital forces to somehow try and stall French. Instead, Dyatlov went "**** the asteroid fields and **** my career, I'm bringing in my entire fleet, piecemeal to kill you." Which is not behaviour one would reasonably expect.

Finally, note that, if French did abandon everything and jumped in, he would wipe the floor with Dyatlov. He can save Aretha - he has enough numbers to choke the meatgrinder. But that would involve taking horrendous casualties and giving up the asteroid fields, which are two things he absolutely refuses to do. It's not like he made it absolutely clear to Aretha what the priorities of his plans are...

Quote
Did it take over 20mins to kill just 6 Dukes? Or were there more capships there? I hope the CRF have good ejector pod technology in their fighters. I suppose we'll be finding out how the capital ship battle goes next time. Maybe the CRF will fare better there if that's where their resources have been sunk into. I guess they'll also be able to deploy their bombers too unmolested by fighters. It sounds like the DD threw every fighter and bomber into the centre battle.

Yes, it took 20 minutes to kill the Duke carriers, because the Delest were out for complete annihilation of Fletcher's force - not a mission kill. The Dukes, despite being retrofitted as carriers, are still built around a heavy cruiser chassis. They can take considerable punishment.

And the CRF are using Tyrfings as hybrid heavies / bombers. Pegasus have, essentially, no fighter cover left, period.

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Could French have everyone jump out of the belts to an area of open space and then jump again to the battle? Or is that what he'll be doing anyway?


That's the plan. An orderly retreat of his capitals to open space, establishing a battle-line from scratch and then shock-jumping as a group.

There are problems with this approach, of course. Considerable ones. Which is why French is seething mad at Aretha right now.

Quote
I'm really interested to see what effect, if he survives this, what happened to Fletcher's force will have on Simmons. They were his pride and joy, moulded by him over presumably many years. Mostly wiped out in about half an hour. They died magnificently, he could not have asked for more of them. But they're nearly all dead and he gave the order that sent them to their deaths. It's the kind of thing which could make a man have a mental breakdown, even if it might have been the correct thing to do.

Speculate away! - Find out in the next episode chapter!

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Excellent work again. You called yourself a wordsmith. I don't think that was pretentious of you.

It was pretentious as all ****, but I appreciate the compliment.  :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on June 07, 2017, 06:18:17 am
Can I call you a wordwizard?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 07, 2017, 06:30:06 am
(https://i.imgflip.com/1qgcac.jpg)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on June 07, 2017, 07:44:29 am
Was it really "**** my career", though, with the Yonsakuren behind him (relatedly, **** spelling that word)? I mean, that scene had to represent something besides space yaoi. If he turns out to be right, I think that could work out well for him in the end.

This would probably be a good time to know more about WoD >_>



EDIT: The proper term is, of course, "wordzard".
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on June 07, 2017, 08:10:08 am
You keep going on about Yaoi, but uh, that's really not WoD's thing...
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on June 07, 2017, 08:11:24 am
I knew it. Yuri in WoD confirmed. Launch ALL OF THE SHIPS.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 07, 2017, 08:17:20 am
Aretha + Sebrenova OTP.

Ermolai watches.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Commander Zane on June 07, 2017, 08:42:19 am
I get the impression of bridge crews having the tone of Vaygr Fleet Command from that bit on Yonsakuren command etiquette.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on June 07, 2017, 08:50:37 am
You keep going on about Yaoi, but uh, that's really not WoD's thing...

Then what's the point?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 07, 2017, 09:06:11 am
I get the impression of bridge crews having the tone of Vaygr Fleet Command from that bit on Yonsakuren command etiquette.

Good parallel, actually. I've never played as the Vaygr (never made it fully through the HW campaigns, actually) but, upon looking them up, that tone is pretty much on par with the Yonnies.

The fighter jockeys and crew can revel in their battle-lust as much as they like - they're still young and learning, after all. But if your bridge crew is showing emotion on a live channel, either **** has hit the fan to a staggering degree, or said crew has been over-promoted and need to be disciplined, hard.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 12, 2017, 03:39:04 pm
Thanks for that big post of answers Enioch. I had originally intended to sit down and go through it and talk about it here, and I didn't think it would take nearly this long for me to do so, but now that I'm here, I don't have as much to say as I thought I would. It's good stuff and interesting. It seems like I was right then about glory being the main motive. They want to outshine French and Arc Victoria. It doesn't seem like French has the same issue. I suppose we'll find out by if he works diligently to send reinforcements.

I particularly liked the idea of a lack of understanding of the very nature of French's force, doctrine and limitations being a part of why this happened. Bad mistake by Pegasus, but even so makes them seem much less stupid for doing what they did. Does French have the same issue with Pegasus, or does he understand how Pegasus works?

Did you say Dyatlov arrived piecemeal? I thought he arrived as a fleet.

The CRF don't even have a dedicated bomber? Is that down to lack of funds or was the thinking they'd have the better fleet craft and destroy the enemy fleet craft ship to ship so they wouldn't need bombers?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 03:59:39 pm
Thanks for that big post of answers Enioch. I had originally intended to sit down and go through it and talk about it here, and I didn't think it would take nearly this long for me to do so, but now that I'm here, I don't have as much to say as I thought I would.

Hey, np. Glad I could help.

Quote
I particularly liked the idea of a lack of understanding of the very nature of French's force, doctrine and limitations being a part of why this happened. Bad mistake by Pegasus, but even so makes them seem much less stupid for doing what they did. Does French have the same issue with Pegasus, or does he understand how Pegasus works?

French understands how Pegasus works, but he doesn't understand why they work like that. He has been ordered to seize the system with its infrastructure more-or-less intact; he believes firmly that this will benefit not just Arc Victoria, but New Britannia as a whole; and he just does not get why the Pegasus-folk insist on seeking 'glorious victory' instead of playing it safe and methodical.

Like Ermolai said - French works and thinks with wheels within wheels. Pegasus-folk think straight like an arrow.

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Did you say Dyatlov arrived piecemeal? I thought he arrived as a fleet.

Kinda-sorta. He coordinated things so that his ships arrived from the various garissoned areas at the same time; but his different task forces arrived in different positions and had to scramble to form up. Strategically, he arrived in an organised manner; tactically, it was a disaster.

(As a sidenote, if French attempted it now, it would be even worse; Dyatlov had planned and trained for such a response. French, on the other hand, has not (instead he has trained for a glacier assault); and if he gives the order for his ships to jump to Aretha's help without gathering them up first, he is likely to arrive both at different locations and at subtly different timepoints - which would be flat-out suicide)

Quote
The CRF don't even have a dedicated bomber? Is that down to lack of funds or was the thinking they'd have the better fleet craft and destroy the enemy fleet craft ship to ship so they wouldn't need bombers?

Both. CRF economy sucks in relation to that of other factions; and they have, therefore, opted to concentrate all their anti-capital firepower onto their Dreadnoughts and heavy cruisers. Simmons and the carrier folk are very much a minority and need to make do with converted Block I Dukes for escort carriers. And they are primarily employed as recon elements and Combat Space Patrol, the theory being that, if you engage the enemy strikecraft within your own capitals' PD screen, you'll win.

Problem is that, this time around, the fighters did not have that luxury and were slaughtered.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 12, 2017, 04:21:24 pm
Thanks again for the explanations.

Well, French isn't alone, I don't understand it either. They're not after the spoils of war. What good is glory by itself?

And of course French's forces shouldn't have to suffer because of the mistakes of others. Especially when it was felt his force alone could do the job.

So what happens if the other force doesn't do what Pegasus wants them to do? Which is happening right now. Doesn't that make it all too easy to defeat them if their force isn't playing to the strengths of the CRF? Mobility is useless against a jump inhibitor.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 04:48:41 pm
Well, French isn't alone, I don't understand it either. They're not after the spoils of war. What good is glory by itself?

Arc Victoria and Pegasus are political rivals. Earning a major victory in a campaign led by an Arc Victoria field commander would make Pegasus' prestige skyrocket.

...whooops, I guess?  :nervous:

Quote
So what happens if the other force doesn't do what Pegasus wants them to do? Which is happening right now. Doesn't that make it all too easy to defeat them if their force isn't playing to the strengths of the CRF? Mobility is useless against a jump inhibitor.

Sure. But, in their defense, the strengths and doctrines of the CRF (Pegasus included) were settled on based on past experiences. That are, suddenly, no longer applicable.

I'll point out again that, as far as Pegasus knows, Dyatlov is insane. He is not playing by the political rules that have dominated all past CRF / DD conflicts in the past. He is literally all-inning against the Pegasus fleet, and only offering token resistance in the asteroid belts against French: he is sacrificing the economic lifeblood of the system, just to kill Pegasus. No Delest admiral would have done that in the past: they would be much too hobbled by political pressure to commit their forces so extensively.

Conventional Delest doctrine would mean that the Pegasus strike force would have encountered a considerably smaller force in the shipyards (somewhere between three to six capitals, instead of the current twenty-three). In that scenario, no inhibitor fields would have helped the Delest.

In short:

Aretha: "What the **** is this; he has left the entire system undefended, simply to fight me? This makes no sense!"
French: "What the hell? WHY DID YOU MAKE HIM BRING HIS FLEET TOGETHER, FOR GOD'S SAKE? I WANTED HIM SPLIT BETWEEN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS!"
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 12, 2017, 04:57:50 pm
That you've thought this through so well is increasing my anticipation and excitement for what's to come... :)

If Pegasus survive, and in good enough condition to continue the conflict in some way, I wonder if they even can. If the goal is glory, it seems impossible for them to achieve now. Dyatlov has practically put Aretha down on her knees, begging her rival to save her and her people, which if all goes well, he will be the one coming in to take all the glory and be much better equipped to take more glory in the future. Would they even stick around relegated to a supporting role? Though perhaps honour and revenge might be motivators for that...

I hope you can express this CRF view of Dyatlov appearing to be insane in the story.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 05:02:56 pm
That you've thought this through so well is increasing my anticipation and excitement for what's to come... :)

*Happy dance*

Quote
If Pegasus survive, and in good enough condition to continue the conflict in some way, I wonder if they even can. If the goal is glory, it seems impossible for them to achieve now. Dyatlov has practically put Aretha down on her knees, begging her rival to save her and her people, which if all goes well, he will be the one coming in to take all the glory and be much better equipped to take more glory in the future. Would they even stick around relegated to a supporting role?

Oh, barring any miracles (and/or really effective propaganda), Pegasus is ****ed from a prestige standpoint right now.

Quote
I hope you can express this CRF view of Dyatlov appearing to be insane in the story.

Give me time.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 12, 2017, 05:09:34 pm
I'm looking forward then to them perhaps raging incredulously at Dyatlov. :D

Speaking of propaganda, I could see a bit of that perhaps coming from the DD side too...

(http://pre15.deviantart.net/95a1/th/pre/f/2011/086/2/c/dead_pegasus_by_dyb-d3cmeyg.jpg)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 05:19:43 pm
Topkek.  :lol:

What the hell, you made me laugh and it's 23:15. You've earned an early update.

(Shhhh, don't let Spoon-senpai find out)  :nervous:  :shaking:
Title: Chapter 5, Part 4: Brawl
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 05:22:04 pm
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HIDMS Michiko, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:01 Central System Time.


"Strike has engaged the enemy," Michiko's Comms Officer reported, his voice ringing loudly over the blaring alarms of the flagship's bridge. "Heavy enemy casualties reported. Arurior Ermolai is on-station for PD support."

"Good!" Dyatlov called back, his eyes never leaving the holotank. "Orders to the Pamyat: Arurior Ermolai has the conn of the strike wave. They are to pound the carriers to scrap and then they are to come up the Pegasus rear."

"Understood, Sir!" came the reply; and Dyatlov could now glare at the sensor readouts to his heart's content.

The CRF forces had formed a double battle-line, sailing in parallel. Three enemy ships were badly hurt: they brought up the rear, in a tight cluster. The others were covering each others' flanks; and they were offering battle, closing the range on Dyatlov's own ships. Their main beams had clear shots at the Delest battle-line; and their sensors were already pinging the Delest ships.

Dyatlov's forces were in a looser formation - two long columns of Volyas, Vernosts and the remaining Zhins, with minimal Destroyer and Frigate escort. They moved sluggishly, constrained by the poor maneuverability of the old monitors; but, while, originally, the two columns were sailing in the same general direction, they now split apart, aiming to flank the incoming CRF line.

"Maria," Dyatlov ordered, the minute it was clear that Arurior Kunokin of the Oku had managed to complete his manoeuver successfully, "You are free to engage with long-range weaponry. They're likely to come after us - if they do, we simply need to hold them and give their side to Kunokin to rake with ordnance. Whatever happens, we need to hold the line here."

"Aye, Sir," Sebrenova snapped; and then she turned, a whirlwind of white, black and silver.

"Tactical!" she called, "Get me a firing solution on their lead ship. Engage with torpedoes and gravitons. Helm - engines at half power; transfer all the rest to shields and energy batteries. Comms - send the message down the line - spread our fire around, close formation and hold here."

The CRF forces continued to close the range - and Dyatlov's stomach sank, slowly, painfully, as all of his training screamed at him that he was making a dreadful mistake. The Volyas were glorious ships - but they were primarily carriers, not close-range brawlers; and what he was offering the enemy commander here was a point-blank slugfest against their own Dreadnoughts. But he had no options. He could not afford a running fight, like the ones the Volyas were designed to engage in. One of his battle-lines would need to take the brunt of the assault - delay the CRF forces and keep them within the inhibitor field's range, while the other, hopefully, pounded them to scrap. He hoped and prayed that the CRF commander would identify his challenge for what it was - that he would come after the Michiko and her force, giving Kunokin the chance to...

But it was not meant to be. At four kilometres, the CRF battle-line turned, gracefully and ponderously, to starboard; and trained their main batteries on the Oku and the ships that had followed her.

Dyatlov's blood ran cold.

"Belay!" he called, turning to the bridge crew. "Belay! General signal, to our battlegroup - engage in pursuit, flank speed! Fire at designated targets - double-time on all torpedo launchers! Get Kunokin to..."

The CRF ships fired, a perfectly disciplined staggered succession of main beams, starting from the front ships and moving down the battle-column, as it turned, ship after ship after ship. They had concentrated their fire perfectly, to the credit of their commander: three ships per target, on the Oku, the Poltava and the Vernost-class Imperatritsa Varvara Enma Delest.

The Oku visibly lurched, her reinforced shields holding for a few seconds and then collapsing under the pounding. One CRF beam stabbed through her port nacelle, cutting through armor, struts, fuel tanks. Secondary explosions ripped a two-thousand-ton chunk of debris off the ship, sending her into a slow roll. Yet, miraculously, the carrier's compartmentalisation held true; and the Oku stayed in the fight. Her followers were not so lucky, however. The Poltava was hit through her fighterbay and her fightercraft ammo storage compartments. Fire and plasma belched out of her fighterbay entrance and into the ship, melting metal and flesh indiscriminately. The flash-fire lit the space around the ship like a roman candle. The ship did not break apart, but it, nevertheless, died, quite conclusively.

And then CRF fire tracked onto the Imperatritsa - and the old battleship's armor crackled like flaming paper. Her missile batteries spoke once, lobbing a desperate salvo towards the closing Invincible; and then her entire starboard side was peeled off, venting almost half of the ship's atmosphere and crew into space. Even worse, now the CRF battle-line was sailing broadside-onto Kunokin's force, still closing; and their broadside railguns tracked targets and opened fire, in a single devastating salvo.


HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:10 Central System Time.


"Yes!" the Bellerophon's bridge crew were crying, in a hoarse, triumphant chorus and Aretha found herself crying out with them, a wordless scream of joy and battle-lust. Simmons, next to her was silent, his eyes fixed on the holotank, but his fist was pounding on the railing. No more tricks for the Delest. Fletcher (Sir Fletcher, Aretha decided, then and there, whether that hero made it out alive or not) had pinned their dreaded bombers several kilometres away - and now the Lords had their hands around the enemy carriers' throats. This was what she had come here for - this was what she had sought.

"Keep it up!" she cried to her officers - her family, her battle-brothers and -sisters, now, "Keep it up! Concentrate our fire! Helm, take us in closer - fix engagement range at a thousand yards."

She paid no more attention to Simmons. Now- now, she had a battle to win.

As for the silent Champion, next to her - he continued to slowly, repeatedly, pound the railing, his eyes fixed on the blips of the escort carriers, blinking out, one at a time, with horrible finality.


HIDMS Michiko, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:11 Central System Time.


"Bright Lord, preserve us," Dyatlov choked out, aghast at the destruction visited upon his fleet. "Arurior, for God's sake get us in there!"

"We have the range, Sir," Sebrenova growled behind him; Dyatlov turned to see her hunched over her tactical officer's shoulder. "That one," she snapped, pointing at a ship on the targeting display. "Pound the ***** to slag, Leytenant."

"Aye, Ma'am".

Michiko flushed her tubes, followed, in quick succession, by the other capitals of Dyatlov's battlegroup. More than eighty anti-capital torpedoes screamed their way towards Aretha's ships.

And, twenty seconds later, eighty more.

And, twenty seconds after that, eighty more.

And again.

And again.


HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:14 Central System Time.


Aretha didn't speak, or cry out, or allow herself to howl out her anger; but her hands tightened around the holotank railing until her knuckles turned white. She had allowed her crippled Lords, Royal Oak, Atreus and Cyclops to fall behind her main line, in an attempt to keep them safe from the counter-fire of the enemy battlegroup she was engaging. Now, looking at the massive torpedo volleys the second Delest battlegroup had sent up from behind, she considered whether that had been a mistake. On the one hand, her crippled ships were likely to attract most of the Delest attention and were likely to not survive the encounter. On the other hand, this left her main battle-line mobile, and still able to punch a hole through the secondary battlegroup.

"Message to the Oak," she ordered. "My compliments to Commodore Ramsworth, and he's to set up a tight PD formation with Cyclops and Atreus. Stay as close to the battle-line as they can. And then, to the rest of the fleet: Full turn to starboard, on my flag. Get us into knife-fighting range, and push through them. We must be getting to the limit of their inhibitor fields by now."

She glanced to her right, where Simmons was still glaring at the holotank; he was nodding, almost imperceptively, his fist still clenched. Aretha felt a welcome surge of relief and confidence; if her Champion was approving of her orders, they might still escape this.

The orders went out; and the massive CRF Dreadnoughts began a graceful turn, bringing their spinal guns to bear on Kunokin's carriers, reinforcing their forward shields and channeling every smidgeon of power they still had to their engines. Thrusters flared; and Aretha's battle-line pushed forward, opening up with every forward-bearing weapon they had.

The Bellerophon was less than a thousand yards from the nearest Delest carrier, the enemy ship scrambling out of formation to dodge out of her arcs of fire, when the Delest torpedoes arrived, in dense, overwhelming waves. As Aretha had feared, fire concentrated mostly on the trailing Dreadnoughts, to devastating effect. Cyclops was the first to go, not with a bang, but the victim of multiple, merciless hits, that tore from her her remaining thrusters, her guns, her batteries, her armor, her crew. She died like a Dreadnought ought to die: unbowed and fighting to the last. Atreus did not have that distinction. Her port thrustter took a hit that sent her spiralling out of formation, in a ponderous, slow turn; and the Destroyers Achilles and Memnon did not have the chance to maneuver out of her way. The Dreadnought plowed into them like a juggernaut and rammed both of them out of the sky; her own armor did not withstand the impact or the ensuing point-blank reactor failure of the Memnon. She died too, a drifting ball of flame, scattering the small CRF flotilla to the four winds and allowing the fourth and fifth Delest salvoes a clear shot at the Oak.

Ramsworth tried, he really tried to bring what remained of his escort ships back into formation. But, even though he was a brave man -an exemplary Knight-, he was neither the inspiring leader that Simmons was, nor did he wield the tactical genius of French. The Oak died alone, pounded to scrap, her Destroyer escorts fleeting the scene of the slaughter, the Delest fifth salvo hot on their heels. A third of Aretha's capital fleet was simply gone.

But, meanwhile, Kunokin's battlegroup had dissolved into an undiciplined mess. Only the Oku and the Tomoe (both originally ships of the 5th Fleet) were still operating in anything resembling an ordered formation; the other carriers were frantically spiralling out of the line, to avoid the devastating incoming fire. Into that chaos, the Pegasus Dreadnoughts calmly advanced, firing with frontal spinal mounts and both broadsides, swatting enemy missiles away with concentrated PD fire and soaking up grav pulses on their overcharged shields. Railgun shells and lasers burned their way into the guts of the Delest carriers; and Kunokin's force broke like a dry twig.


YCS Pamyat Slavy, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:22 Central System Time.


Ermolai stood behind his Sensor Officer and cocked his head in acknowledgement of her summons; she immediately forwarded her latest data to his headset and he confirmed receipt with a light tap on the back of her chair. Ermolai considered the information with a slight frown.

The collapse of Arurior Kunokin's battlegroup was unfortunate, but unavoidable. Sadly, this did not make the imminent escape of the enemy forces any less disastrous. The Praetor's battlegroup was pursuing, but they were still lamed by the presence of slow Vernosts amidst their ranks; they had destroyed the trailing CRF capitals, but they were unlikely to catch up to the fleeing ones in time without breaking order of battle completely.

The Praetor would not make that mistake. He would prefer to preserve his remaining capitals rather than allow a disorderly pursuit. And thus, more than two-thirds of the enemy battle-line would escape, potentially ruining the Praetor's plans and souring this victory. This was unacceptable.

Ermolai thought deeply, calling upon his own battle-making skill. He did not consider himself the equal of the Elders in Uuni, or even the Praetor; but for better or worse, he now had the fastest, most rapid-response force in the battlefield and he was a Yonsakuren Arurior. This was a test, a gloriously difficult one and he felt his heartbeat skyrocket. Adrenaline brought the world around him in perfect, crystal-clear focus, and his mind spewed out a stream-of-consciousness mess of ideas and plans that he cheerfully and gleefully began untangling.

What is my power? What is their power? How can I match them?

He moved to Tactical; touched the shoulder of his Officer there to let her know of his presence and loomed over her shoulder for a better view of the tactical plot. He had six Grazhdanins, including his own three Yonsakuren ships; and a mass of strikecraft that were just finishing off the last CRF carrier.

"Can we get there in time?" he asked, softly.

His Tactical Officer immediately shook her head. "No, Ermolai," she said, her voice low. Her fingers danced on her keyboard; his headset updated with a projected least-time course. At max thrust, the Grazhdanins would arrive twenty minutes too late to assist.

My cruisers are not my power. What else do I have?

"What of the fighters?" he asked.

"Negative," was the response, again, followed by another update. With all power to engines, his fastest strikecraft would be four minutes too late; and they would be the interceptors, with no true anti-capital capability.

He needed speed. It was maddening. He had a ship that could fly between the stars; but his jump drive was still recharging and he did not have the time to fly a few kilom-

And then things just clicked into perspective and Ermolai's eyes widened in surprised realisation.

He had to go the long way. But not all of his force did.

"No, no," he said, smiling wildly and showing all of his teeth, "not through realspace. Calculate a jump."

"A j-" and then, because she was his Tactical Officer and her mind was keen, she realised it too; and she shuddered in battle-lust ecstasy (in a most fetching way, Ermolai noted).

Dyatlov had brought his carrier force in as separate battle-lines; and he had launched his fighters on-site, instead of leading with a fighter assault. This had been necessary, to bring all his force together in as organised a manner as possible; but what it meant for Ermolai right now was that every Delest fighter out there had a fresh jump drive. This was so contrary to Delest doctrine (which stressed that carriers were supposed to stay out of combat and deploy fighters via subspace) and so rare an occurence that it hadn't truly registered before.

"It's...doable," she gasped, only half-conscious of Ermolai now, and twitching like a raptor bird. "Calculating, calculating. Yes. At least seven minutes of contact time. Yes. I need a link to the navcomps of the others, to crunch the numbers. Ermolai, by Uuni's light, let my hand tip the scale, help me, get me a link!"


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on June 12, 2017, 05:48:38 pm
Ngl, that ending sent shivers down my spine. I think we need to find more early update motivators.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: crizza on June 12, 2017, 05:52:55 pm
I'm grinning like a madman :D
Enioch, you better keep this up :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 05:57:46 pm
(https://s13.postimg.org/wm1j4jkp3/5500065_a175342d4a6b13c2b028a27620f56e31.png)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 12, 2017, 05:57:58 pm
Yes, he pulls at my emotions. Beautiful.

Topkek.  :lol:

What the hell, you made me laugh and it's 23:15. You've earned an early update.

(Shhhh, don't let Spoon-senpai find out)  :nervous:  :shaking:

I won't tell him if you won't. ;)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 12, 2017, 06:25:25 pm
Yes, he pulls at my emotions. Beautiful.

 :drevil: :lol:

My pleasure

Quote
Topkek.  :lol:

What the hell, you made me laugh and it's 23:15. You've earned an early update.

(Shhhh, don't let Spoon-senpai find out)  :nervous:  :shaking:

I won't tell him if you won't. ;)

Oh, good. I'm sure he won't find out.  :nervous:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on June 13, 2017, 09:01:41 am
(Shhhh, don't let Spoon-senpai find out)  :nervous:  :shaking:

I won't tell him if you won't. ;)

Oh, good. I'm sure he won't find out.  :nervous:

(http://i.imgur.com/eJhXMAi.png)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 13, 2017, 09:07:41 am
(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/972/842/1aa.gif)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 16, 2017, 04:53:51 pm
So, uhhh....  :nervous:

I have been killed by Spoon-senpai will be spending the upcoming weekend and week preparing to move out of the UK and into Belgium. Which means that I need to clear out my house here and do necessary corrections to my Thesis on the side. Add to that a trip to London and there's no way I can update this next week.  :sigh:

I apologise and will try to make it up to you fine fellows, but for now you'll have to sit on the last cliffhanger for a while...
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on June 18, 2017, 02:25:42 pm
It can't be helped ):

Have fun in wafflecountry, and safe travels!
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 18, 2017, 04:06:40 pm
Good luck with everything. Hope it goes easy and stress-free. :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 18, 2017, 04:10:31 pm
Stress-free is not an option, but there's the underlying grim satisfaction of "I got a research grant right out the gate," so spirits are high.  :p  :D

Thanks guys.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 18, 2017, 04:25:39 pm
 :yes:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on June 23, 2017, 03:30:54 am
Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed the campaign so far, you really are a talented writer.

So far I am hoping that Dyatlov can finish off the Pegasus forces but as his strike craft will jump to disrupt Aretha's planned retreat will this just leave the Delest forces open for slaughter unable to retreat when French's forces jump in force against their scattered lines?

Surely Dyatlov must have kept an ace up his sleeve?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 23, 2017, 05:51:31 am
Just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed the campaign so far, you really are a talented writer.

So far I am hoping that Dyatlov can finish off the Pegasus forces but as his strike craft will jump to disrupt Aretha's planned retreat will this just leave the Delest forces open for slaughter unable to retreat when French's forces jump in force against their scattered lines?

Surely Dyatlov must have kept an ace up his sleeve?
I don't think the strike craft will be that far away from the main force, and also, Aretha put in the distress call at 17:50, and it's now 18:22. French said it would take him an hour to show up. Ermolai's officer said the fighters will get 7mins of engagement time.

I've been pondering what they can do with 7mins. It took 20mins to kill the carriers. The fleet craft have no fighter escort, but they are Dreadnoughts, and backed up by smaller fleet craft. Maybe they could take some engines out in that time, but it doesn't seem like they'd be able to disable many ships for the fleet to finish off.

The one way I can think of to stop the fleet leaving is to target Aretha's ship's engines with the whole strikeforce. Do they know which one it is? If they can disable that one, would that force the rest of the fleet to stay to protect her?

I don't think Dyatlov has an ace, because his plan was to lure the CRF into a slugging match to keep them within the inhibitor field, but the CRF didn't fall for his trap and that obviously caught him out big time by his reaction to it.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 23, 2017, 06:23:10 am
It took 20mins to kill the carriers.

Emphasis mine.

Against Fletcher, the DD fighters were specifically going for killing instead of mission-killing.

Just pointing that out.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on June 23, 2017, 06:27:03 am
My take would be if Ermolai's Sensor Officer is that good then the strikecraft should emerge on to the vulnerable flanks of the Pegasus force. I'd imagine that striking an unprepared, already engaged battlegroup where it is most vulnerable would deliver far better results than attacking Fletcher's force which were prepared and had an effective point defense screen.

The fighter cover could also allow Dyatlov the option to ditch the slower Vernosts and deliver crippling salvos on to a now weakened and restricted battle line.

Aretha would then have a choice to make, run and endure more noble sacrifices as well as the loss of face this would accompany. (who would respect her after losing over half her fleet in this calamity, especially after French has his say)

Or she could risk all in a final battle with Dyatlov's forces, take horrendous losses but ultimately emerge as the commander who secured the Terconia system for the New British whilst French was messing around with mining facilities.

I'm hoping that Enioch is a lot smarter than me, so far he has not let me down.....
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on June 23, 2017, 06:41:08 am
Or she could risk all in a final battle with Dyatlov's forces, take horrendous losses but ultimately emerge as the commander who secured the Terconia system for the New British whilst French was messing around with mining facilities.

Important caveat on this I would fully expect her to die if she tried this.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 23, 2017, 07:01:52 am
It took 20mins to kill the carriers.

Emphasis mine.

Against Fletcher, the DD fighters were specifically going for killing instead of mission-killing.

Just pointing that out.
Indeed. That's why I said target the engines. I think Ermolai is going to go for Aretha if he knows where she is. I remember him talking about the difference between French and this fleet and the difference between what cutting the head off the snake will do to each one. So either way, the DD win, either they get to engage the whole fleet or the fleet gets away but they get to cut the head off the snake.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on June 23, 2017, 07:14:07 am
Uuuuuuunless disabling Aretha's ship backfires and leaves them in the middle of a fleet engagement when French tags in, which would probably suck.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 23, 2017, 07:22:02 am
I think they have a plan for that. And I'm thinking it's an escape plan, because of the way they destroyed the carriers. That says to me they don't think they can win outright, so they want kills now while they can get them.
Title: Chapter 5, Part 5: Jump
Post by: Enioch on June 26, 2017, 11:55:45 pm
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HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:27 Central System Time.


The Bellerophon pushed forward, toward empty space and freedom; and the debris of the carrier Takeko was shoved aside almost casually, scraping down the Dreadnought's starboard side and still venting atmosphere, fire and bodies.

Aretha Pegasus laughed, glad to be alive.

Behind her, her ships - her surviving ships, her beautiful ships tightened their formation, the Temeraire putting a final railgun broadside into the foundering flagship of the enemy battlegroup. And then they were clear, with the rest of the enemy far behind them.

"Background ether is stabilising, Ma'am," Downey called from her station, her voice as jubilant as Aretha felt. "Nav estimates...nine minutes to safe translation."

"Thank you, Ms. Downey," the Exarch responded. "Closest pursuing enemy?"

"At near-maximum weapons range, Ma'am," Downey responded. "PD net has solid lock on all incoming torps and our Destroyers are falling back to screen our rear. They can't hurt us."

"They most certainly can," Simmons said, softly, and Aretha's head turned sharply. She realised that her Champion had not spoken - had not uttered a word for several minutes, even while the fighting was the thickest. And she just managed to hold a disbelieving gasp when she looked at him, for the first time since they had ordered Fletcher to his death.

Simmons was pale, his skin glistening with sweat and his white hair matted with it. His hands were trembling, almost imperceptively - but for Simmons, the confident, charismatic officer, they may as well have been leaves in the wind. His eyes, as he turned his own head to meet her gaze, were dark and apathetic - distant, in a way that sent a cold shudder down Aretha's back.

"Their hand is long, and they have yet to strike at us, Your Grace," Simmons said, calmly. "They will not allow us to escape. Please. Ignore the torpedoes pursuing us. Get the Destroyers back with the fleet. What fleet we still have. We need their point-defense, now, now, now. Or we will die, like Fletcher did."

"Sir Fletcher's ships died defending us, Sir Champion," Aretha said, almost physically pushing her shock aside, "and I will not have them die in vain. The only thing that can hurt us now are the carriers-"

"The carriers are not important," Simmons interrupted her, his voice low, and his face spasming into a bitter wince, as he turned his eyes back to the holotank. "The carriers are only here to be big, and threatening, and die. And to keep us looking at them."

He shook his head, like an animal, a shudder that ran down his whole body. "No," he said, his voice a trancelike whisper, "it's their spawn that will kill us. Long-legs, long-legs they have and they are everywhere. They can still be everywhere and anywhere."

Aretha's hair was standing on end - this was not Simmons she knew. Not this - this broken down husk, speaking nonsense. "Get-"

- a grip, Sir! she would have said, but then Downey cried in alarm; and she looked up just in time to see the holotank's display shift the entirety of the mass of Delest strikecraft - that cloud of angry red that Fletcher had died keeping away from them -  into dark blue. Blue, for subspace jump.

"They were there but now they are here," Simmons said, his voice low and sad and resigned, amidst the bedlam that erupted on the bridge of the Bellerophon. "Too late, too late, Your Grace."


In orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:29 Central System Time.


The Delest strikecraft jumped, guided by the navigation coordinates that the three Yonsakuren cruisers had crunched in their stead. Their pilots gritted their teeth and clenched their muscles and minds during the five heartbeats it took for their ships to scrape their way into the boiling sea of subspace, make their way through the dizzying angry caleidoscope of blue-bitter-loud-copper-soft-blood and drop back into realspace. Some of them, very few, did not make it: either their jump drives malfunctioned, or they made a mistake when inputting the frequencies of the inhibitors, and their relatively light craft pancaked themselves against the agitated etheric barriers that the Penza was still maintaining around the shipyards.

But the others emerged less than three kilometres from the retreating Lords - the Lords that were moving towards them, their Cavalier escort behind them and unable to assist. Just outside the range of the CRF point-defense, they took a few seconds to regroup, reform their wings and picked their targets; and then they charged.

This would be no slaughter - not like the strike on the carriers at all. The Delest pilots had received very specific orders and, this time, their goals were much more...precise. Not to kill the Pegasus leviathans (for, in all honesty, no matter their vast numbers, they would be swatted out of the sky by the CRF point-defense long before they could carve them up like they had the Dukes), but to cripple. This time around, they would not be the butcher's cleaver, but the rogue's knife: cutting and bleeding and running.

Fifteen hundred metres - and the CRF Dreadnoughts slowly came together in as close a formation as they could manage, slowing down, perhaps hoping that their escort ships might catch up in time. The first shots went out - ranging fire, as the CRF PD net came online and tried to make sense of the incominc swarm. The Delest strikecraft stayed silent, their forward shields reinforced and their drives redlining, pushing themselves to close the distance.

A thousand metres - and the Cheburashkas leading the pack started dropping countermeasures and flares, filling the scopes of the Pegasus Dreadnoughts with false returns. Some of the interceptors died, being the first to come under the increasingly accurate point-defense fire, but their wards, the Sodesukas and Shilos were safe, for a few crucial seconds.

Five hundred metres - and HMS Avalon turned to interpose herself between the incoming bombers and the Bellerophon, in a desperate gamble to draw their fire away from her flagship. Her PD batteries wreathed her in a halo of white light and one- no, three- no, eight bombers died in balls of fire as they screamed in - and then they were there.

Contact.

The Shilos came in first, their powerful forward shields smashing into those of the CRF capitals. They slowed down, for an instant, and several of them paid for it with their lives. But then ether warped, shield emitters fighting against shield emitters and thrusters pushing forward, and the Delest bombers were through and under the CRF shields, and suddenly all the PD in the world was not enough.

Torpedoes were the first to be fired - what few of them still remained unused in their launch tubes, for the Delest had not had the time or opportunity to recover and rearm their bombers. The Avalon had sought to draw fire away from the Bellerophon; she succeeded tragically in that regard. Six torpedoes, fired at point-blank range and under her shields smashed into her primary bridge; her sensor array; her portside batteries. Two more corkscrewed into her port engines as the Shilos lumbered past and out, seeking new targets; the massive CRF Dreadnought staggered to a halt, an incontrollable wreck, her reactors on emergency shutdown and her IFF transmitting the universal automated 'my-core-is-about-to-blow-I-surrender' codes.

Behind her, the Shilos were now working on the Indefatigable and Invincible. The two sister-ships were working in tandem, covering each other with their PD batteries and they extracted the worst toll of all on the Delest strikecraft. But the pilots did not persist beyond two attack runs - and they did not have to, for on the second one, two torpedoes got through and found their mark on the Indefatigable's main thruster. The Delest bombers pulled away, in a shower of burning debris, and the CRF pair fell out of the main formation, the Invincible still trying to cover her crippled sister.

The Sodesukas, meanwhile, had found a perfect target in the Menelaus, hammering her with graviton strikes again and again and again, stripping away her weapons and sensors, until she was utterly blind. The Dreadnought kept moving, and supporting PD fire from the nearby Temeraire prevented her from being overwhelmed, but she did fall behind - and she did leave a gap in the PD formation, into which the Sodesukas poured to reach the Bellerophon.

By now, the Delest flight had been mauled. More than half of the attacking strikecraft had been downed or crippled; but there were still more than enough for one last attack run on the enemy flagship. At 18:34, with the CRF Destroyers less than thirty seconds away, and with desperate, concentrated PD fire turning the space around the Bellerophon into a raging inferno, a Shilo torpedo found her mark and buried her warhead deep into the Pegasus flagship's engine cluster, secondary explosions blasting two of her main thrusters clear off the hull.

And then, with their job done, the Delest strikecraft pulled out and away, in courses perpendicular to the CRF battle-line, to avoid the incoming Destroyers; and the angry red blips of the rapidly closing Grazhdanins crept closer, ever closer.


HIDMS Michiko, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:31 Central System Time.


"Ermolai, you magnificent bastard," Dyatlov cried into his commlink, "Emperor bless you, you saved our asses there."

"Yes, that was an excellent redeployment, and one of my better moments," Ermolai agreed, still smiling his infernal smile. "Although I cannot take the full credit for it. You enabled it yourself by deploying our strikecraft on-site and it was my Navigation officer, Alyona Afanasiyvna Yonsakuren, who did the necessary calculations."

"My thanks to her, she did an excellent job," Dyatlov said, maneuvering under a collapsed steel truss to reach Michiko's Nav station. The flagship had been hit by several long-range railgun slugs and a lucky shot had grazed the bridge; damcon crews were hard at work to get his darling back to the fight. "Ermolai, your job isn't over."

"Of course it is not," Ermolai agreed. "We have made this a good fight but we still have to win it. I am bringing my cruisers up and we can push together."

"Negative," Dyatlov said, his voice dark, as he came up to Nav and Tactical. Sebrenova was there, muttering obscenities over the tactical plot (the main holotank was out of commission for now) and juggling three comms feeds with other ship commanders in the fleet. "Not that easy, I'm afraid. They hit us hard during their breakout. I've still got Masako following me, with her escorts, but a lot of my capital strength was smashed with Kunokin and the fleet is...unravelling. We have an active mutiny on the Anano and the Evstafi is being suspiciously sluggish in following orders. We've suffered too many casualties and morale is breaking."

"Unacceptable!-"

"Is that Ermolai?" Sebrenova asked, her voice sharp as she looked up. "Please share the commlink, Sir. Petya, keep up the fire on those Destroyers, see if you can't slow them down, give our fighters some more time. Share the commlink, Sir, he needs to hear what I have to say."

Dyatlov raised his eyebrow, but obliged her; and Sebrenova brought up the comms screen on her small headset. "Thank you, Sir. Arurior Ermolai, that was exceptional."

"It is kind of you to say so, Arurior Sebrenova," Ermolai replied, his smile shifting slightly for maximum smugness, "but I am well aware."

Sebrenova's lip twitched slightly. "Yes. Good. That's exactly what we need right now."

Ermolai's smile did not leave his face per se, but it did turn hard, in a way. Small changes in the tilt of the head, the muscles used, the crinkling of the eyes made it absolutely clear that this was now less 'expression of humour' and more 'showing off the sharp teeth, oh my'.

"You need me, Arurior?" he asked. "What is your pleasure?"

Yes, that was clearly Sebrenova's lip twitching, and a very slight reddening of the tips of her ears, Dyatlov noted, but this time she held her ground. The fact that the Yonsakuren was on a different ship, several kilometres away must have played a part.

"Our fleet is falling apart around us, Ermolai Yonsakuren," she said, her voice steady, "and we need you to be yourself. That bravado of yours? We need you to show it now, not to me, but to everyone else."

"You need us to lead the charge," Ermolai said, a note of satisfaction creeping into his voice.

"We need you to lead the charge," Sebrenova confirmed, calmly, and Dyatlov nodded, next to her. "Now. Because if you don't, if the others don't see the Yonsakuren taking point right now, there is no way we'll be able to bring the fleet together in time to catch them before they reach the edge of the inhibitor fields. Crippled as they are, they are still more than a match for our remaining Volyas."

A few heartbeats of silence, as Ermolai considered; then a sigh.

"You do realise that my cruisers are no match hull-for-hull for the Pegasus Dreadnoughts, of course," he said. "We are good, but not that good."

"We do," Sebrenova replied. "I do. And we will be right behind you, I promise you. But if Michiko leads right now, she'll be given no support - the Praetor's authority will collapse, because he will have to give an order that will not be obeyed. Our carriers are simply too hurt and not disciplined enough to charge into that again and there's not enough of the 5th Fleet left to rally around. Their commanders or their crews will break and then the fleet will follow."

"So, you are asking me and mine to take point," Ermolai stated, matter-of-factly, "because you know that we would do it."

"Yes," Sebrenova replied - and she held his gaze. "Simple as that. If you lead - if the Yonsakuren are seen taking the fight, that should bring morale back up. We -the rest of the fleet-  will rally. And we will kill them."

Ermolai grinned.

"Truly magnificent," he said. "Damnation, woman, you make me physically ache to be with you. Very well, Arurior, Praetor. We will lead. And thank you, thank you both - this is more glorious than we would have ever dreamed."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 26, 2017, 11:57:40 pm
Back home and writing.

Hello, all!

 :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 27, 2017, 07:24:46 am
https://youtu.be/bV-rhtet4Ow?t=8

I recommend pressing 9. Repeatedly. :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on June 27, 2017, 07:38:32 am
Well, I think the CRF's fate has been sealed. Unless perhaps if French jumps in and kills everyone. But I don't think that's going to happen.

Ermolai told Dyatlov what would bring the Yonsakuren from Uuni, and he appears to have surpassed Ermolai's wildest dreams. Uuni is soon going to be empty of Yonsakuren. They will spill into Terconia and sweep the CRF away. The pendulum will swing back the other way, and I don't think it will be stopping in the middle. I can see the Yonsakuren riding the wave of bloodlust through the starlance the CRF came in through, and laying waste on the other side.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 27, 2017, 10:01:35 am
Well, I think the CRF's fate has been sealed. Unless perhaps if French jumps in and kills everyone. But I don't think that's going to happen.

Ermolai told Dyatlov what would bring the Yonsakuren from Uuni, and he appears to have surpassed Ermolai's wildest dreams. Uuni is soon going to be empty of Yonsakuren. They will spill into Terconia and sweep the CRF away. The pendulum will swing back the other way, and I don't think it will be stopping in the middle. I can see the Yonsakuren riding the wave of bloodlust through the starlance the CRF came in through, and laying waste on the other side.

Never at any point did Ermolai promise military help to Dyatlov. He doesn't have the authority to do that - he's an Aruirior, not a Clan Elder. What he did promise was "the Clan will owe you a solid if you give us a good fight".

Yonsakuren military deployment would require clearing it with the various Houses that the Yonsakuren in question are serving under or, if we're talking direct Clan involvement, considerable time to assemble a fleet and reach the theatre of operations. A fleet does not mobilise overnight, not even a Yonsakuren one; and, with the damage Dyatlov has suffered here, it is highly unlikely he'll be able to hold French until such reinforcements arrive.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on June 27, 2017, 10:09:42 am
Would have loved a running commentary of the Bellerophon bridge during that strike.

Interesting (as I did not think that the damage to Dyatlov's main carrier force or the strike craft would have been as severe) that both sides could still lose this battle. Can't see how the Delest  can still expect to hold the system with another full strength fleet ready engage their mauled forces.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on June 27, 2017, 10:16:33 am
Would have loved a running commentary of the Bellerophon bridge during that strike.

Nah, I think it's better if let you use your imagination for that.  ;)

Quote
Interesting (as I did not think that the damage to Dyatlov's main carrier force or the strike craft would have been as severe) that both sides could still lose this battle. Can't see how the Delest  can still expect to hold the system with another full strength fleet ready to engage their mauled forces.

Just to make this clear: they flat-out can't.* Dyatlov has six modern capitals left (not counting the Grazhdanins) to French's fifteen. There is no way the Delest can contest the system if French pushes.

*(At least not in a straight-up fight)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on June 27, 2017, 11:22:49 am
I guess the question is then whether French will try to finish off the Delest fleet now or continue with his prior plan. Even if Ermolai is able to lead the fleet to victory over Aretha they will be in no position to defend the shipyards and star bases - assets French may try to capture rather than kill.

A quick end may be in French's best interest but as he is instinctively methodical he may stick with his original plan.  Dyatlov could then refuse to engage French preferring scorched earth tactics whilst waiting to see if the Emperor could manage to get some reinforcements sent. The propaganda from the destruction of Pegasus could allow sufficient clout to get the Branches to fall in to line for the time being.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 03, 2017, 05:08:43 pm
I'm so sorry, but I need to finish some corrections on a major piece of academic writing. I should be able to post something later in the week, but right now I've got less than half of a chapter draft ready :/
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 03, 2017, 06:06:05 pm
Aaaw ):

Well academic writing definitely takes priority, so go knock those corrections outta the park!
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 03, 2017, 07:31:06 pm
Thanks for letting us know. Good luck with both. :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Admiral MS on July 04, 2017, 11:43:16 am
So I finally got around to play catch up and read this thread and... I already liked all the other fiction you wrote (WoD Forum game, RTW) but this one is really amazing. Can't wait for the next chapter!  :nod:

The only sad thing is that my beloved DD, even if they completely trash the Pegasus fleet, won't be able to do much against the other fleet for now besides scorched earth tactics and buying time.  :sigh:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: pim on July 04, 2017, 11:45:35 am
Enioch, just say a word if you need our help with academic writing so you can focus on next chapter;-)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on July 04, 2017, 02:03:58 pm
Quote
WoD Forum game
I'm intrigued.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 04, 2017, 02:39:40 pm
Be (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=251.0) intrigued (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=246.0) no (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=90448.0) more (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=90445.0)  my child (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=85262.0).

Thanks for your patience, everybody.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Admiral MS on July 04, 2017, 02:50:45 pm
Be (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=251.0) intrigued (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=246.0) no (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=90448.0) more (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=90445.0)  my child (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=85262.0).

Thanks for your patience, everybody.
As the second forum game was PvP there were quite a lot of diplomatic messages and posts. Those are hidden in PMs and the fraction subforums cause they were secret stuff, after all. Still even the public parts are really interesting and nice to read - especially DD vs CRF rhetoric  ;)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on July 04, 2017, 03:00:38 pm
Holy heck, I've honestly been debating running something like this myself. It seems there's a precedent, so who do I pester? (It's either that or Mafia on the Iceni.)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 04, 2017, 03:37:44 pm
Holy heck, I've honestly been debating running something like this myself. It seems there's a precedent, so who do I pester? (It's either that or Mafia on the Iceni.)
What do you mean? If you just want to write fiction, you could. If however it was to be canonical fiction as the work in this thread is, then you'd have to talk to Spoon. A forum game, well I tried to create one, just launched straight into it, and no one objected to it. Spoon even joined in at one point with a piece of fiction.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on July 04, 2017, 03:40:34 pm
Fffffffffair confusion, haha! Yeah, I meant a forum game. I guess a better question would be "How might one go about getting a subforum for one's forum game, if one thinks it warranted?" (which I'm not sure it is), or maybe "Why the **** is Xeno derailing this WoD thread with dumb nerd ****?".
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 04, 2017, 03:43:50 pm
Spoon has the power to create subforums in here, so you could ask him about it.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 04, 2017, 05:40:47 pm
Fffffffffair confusion, haha! Yeah, I meant a forum game. I guess a better question would be "How might one go about getting a subforum for one's forum game, if one thinks it warranted?" (which I'm not sure it is), or maybe "Why the **** is Xeno derailing this WoD thread with dumb nerd ****?".
You should contact an admin for that
Title: Chapter 5, Part 6: Tipping the Scales
Post by: Enioch on July 09, 2017, 12:38:04 am
<< Previous (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=93394.msg1850355#msg1850355) | Table of Contents (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=93394.msg1845742#msg1845742) | Next >> (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=93394.msg1851387#msg1851387)



In orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:35 Central System Time.


The Delest cruisers thundered toward their targets, crossing Dyatlov's battle-line so close to the foundering Volyas that Ermolai managed to send the message "FORM UP ON MY TAIL" by flashing the Pamyat's running lights, in addition to broadcasting it on every Delest frequency. They were six, with the Yonsakuren trio on the point of the formation, and they covered the distance quickly. The Grazhdanins were multi-purpose ships, jacks-of-all-trades but masters of none. Ton-for-ton, they had shields to rival a Volya and more armor, but no fighterbay. They were heavy, rugged ships, but they had powerful drives. And, while they were no match for a Lord hull-on-hull (a single Lord was more than twice their tonnage), they were probably the only asset that the Delest still had capable of going toe-to-toe with the remains of Aretha's fleet.

Behind them -considerably behind them- the Volyas drew together, under the whip of Arurior Sebrenova's and Dyatlov's rage. The captains of the Anano and Evstafi were summarily relieved of command, the former having been shot on the spot for incompetence by the ship's First Officer, under direct orders from Dyatlov. Now in command of the Anano, Ter-Iio Tetsutaro proceeded to crack down on the mutineers like a Fury out of Hell, deploying her most trusted people in critical stations and threatening decimation protocols against any crew party that did not fall in line.

Slowly but surely, the Volyas swung around to follow Ermolai's example, slotting into pursuit formation. Their launch tubes running dry, they lobbed a final salvo of anti-capital torpedoes against their fleeing enemies - and then they redlined their engines and surged forward, to battle.

But they were too slow to keep up with the charging cruisers, who had, by now, left them far behind - for Ermolai could see his quarry crawling towards safety and was determined to deny them that option. Like a hound without a leash and with singular, focused determination, he went for the throat.


HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:35 Central System Time.


Exarch Aretha Pegasus crawled forward, blood dripping down her forehead and pooling on the cold floor below her. She heaved, and, with the help of two damcon crewmembers, managed to drag her waist and mangled left leg from under the steel beam that had collapsed across the Bellerophon's bridge. She glanced to the side, as a medic worried at her wounds, and saw Simmons still faintly smiling, his dead eyes blankly staring at the crumpled cealing. His upper torso had been crushed completely by the falling beam - he had died almost instantly.

"Down-" she croaked, her voice just above a cough, "Ms. Downey!"

"Here, Ma'am," came the shaky response; her sensor officer was still alive. Aretha shoo'd away the medic, who had just finished anesthetising and putting her leg in a field cast and turned.

Downey was not looking at her - she was looking at the bodies of two of her people, buried under the debris of the collapsed consoles. The falling beam had come to rest less than a yard from the position of Downey herself - the young officer was pale as death. In al, honesty, Aretha knew exactly how she was feeling; but there was no time for this, no time at all.

"Ms. Downey, I need a sitrep, now," she said, trying (and failing, in her own ears), to imbue her voice with what little authority she could still bring to bear.

"Y-yes, Ma'am," Downey said, almost jerking awake and turning back to what was left of her console. "We're- we're still mobile, but crippled. Engines at one third power. Enemy strike group outbound, in full retreat. And- Ma'am, I'm getting several closing signatures. Mid- to capital-grade, their cruisers most likely."

Cruisers?

For a few heartbeats, she considered ordering her ships around. No cruiser could hope to brawl with a Lord and live, whether the Lord was crippled or not. For a few heartbeats, Aretha considered turning her ships around and facing her pursuers, those same ships that had killed Fletcher and were now coming for her. Her frustration, her fear, her rage at the death of her officers and crews, those brave men and women who had died covering her retreat, rose from within her like a dark, evil ball of mind-numbing anger and she almost, almost surrendered to it. It would be so easy to turn around, take the Delest cruisers under fire, smash them out of the sky, avenge her dead.

But no - her duty was to the living. Those ships that could still move and fight - those crewmen who had survived everything that crazy, crazy Delest bastard had thrown at them: she had to get them out. French would be here, shortly, to face the mauled Delest and avenge her people. Her job was to safeguard what she had left; and if she turned around now, then she would have to fight again, risking that one unlucky shot that could cripple or kill one or more of her ships.

"Comms," she ordered, clawing herself back into the ruin of her command chair, "Signal the fleet to tighten up formation. Helm, slow us to the best speed Indefatigable can make. Point us away from that damned inhibitor ship and commence cycling on the jump drive; as soon as we are out of the inhibition field, jump us to the starlance base.

"Aye, Ma'am," came the responses, and Aretha leaned back on her chair, closing her eyes and gritting her teeth against the throbbing pain of her leg.


YCS Pamyat Slavy, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:36 Central System Time.


Ermolai loomed over the seat of his navigation officer like a vulture, his lips pulled back in a snarling grin. "Contact time?"

"Three minutes long range, one minute mid range, less than fourty-five seconds point-blank," she responded, her voice clipped and professional. Her earlier adrenaline high had somewhat eased back down and she was focused again, something that Ermolai appreciated profoundly. "Then they'll be out of the inhibition field."

Ermolai nodded thoughtfully, knowing that his face would be just on the limits of her peripheral vision.

It would not be enough.

Against enemy cruisers, his Grazhdanins would have fared quite well in the four-to-five minutes of contact time he would have before the enemy jumped away. He would have had more than enough time to cripple or outright destroy his targets. But against Lords, his chances were slim; and his losses would be very high.

He backed off the consoles, absent-mindedly marking the slowest CRF Dreadnoughts (those crippled by his strike wings) as targets for the long-range graviton batteries of his ships. Whatever his final plan, it would help him to break up the enemy formation by further hurting their slowest ships. He paced the bridge behind his officers, for a dozen slow Yonsakuren heartbeats, weighing options and discarding them one by one as he went.

And then he came to the only conclusion he could - the only way he could guarantee the death of the Dynasty's and the Clan's (and Dyatlov's, a small part of him acknowledged, with a mental nod of respect to his Praetor) enemies. He took a deep breath and let it go, seeing the path clearly and accepting it for what it had to be, with a mix of pride and regret.

"Attention, crew," he said, calmly, his headset linking to the ship's intercom. "This is Ermolai. The Clan and I thank you for your service. Now hear this. I declare, here and before witnesses that, today, I am a perfect Yonsakuren warrior. There is nothing I can do that can add more glory to my name, or that of this ship. Will anyone contest that statement?"

Some of his bridge officers turned around in their seats, staring back in shock; others bent over their consoles, but their stiffening shoulders told Ermolai that he had their full attention. Yet no-one spoke and no-one challenged his declaration for the five-ten-fifteen seconds tradition demanded. In fact, some of them nodded, thoughtfully, seeing through his plan and accepting it.

"Thank you, all," he finally said. "If that is the case, then those of you who believe they may still improve themselves and bring glory to the Clan elsewhere may leave. You have two minutes from this moment to reach the escape pods."

Four of his bridge officers stood at that, all of them quite young. Ermolai clasped hands with them, one by one, smiling as they left the bridge. He knew that, all over the ship, station officers would be doing the same with other crewmembers.

"Helm," he finally said, as the blast doors of the bridge closed behind the last retreating officer, "We have an appointment with the enemy flagship. Burn our drives out if you have to, but do not let us be late. Comms, record a message to the Michiko. This has been a glorious fight, Praetor. We all thank you for giving us this opportunity."
 

HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:38 Central System Time.


The first shots were exchanged at extreme range - railgun slugs against miniature singularities. Shields flared and held, as the CRF ships retreated and Aretha smiled grimly as Tactical reported confirmed hits on the rapidly closing cruisers. Less than five minutes to the edge of that infernal inhibitor field...

"Ma'am," Downey called, "I've got multiple signatures pulling out of the cruisers."

Aretha blanched. "Torpedo strike?" At that range and against the crippled PD net of the Lords, that could prove disaastrous.

"Negative, Ma'am," Downey responded. "No active weapon signatures on them. They're spilling out of the first three cruisers. Frankly, Ma'am, they look like escape pods."

Aretha frowned. "Are they abandoning ship? We can't have hurt them that badly already?"

"No, Ma'am," Downey replied, looking as puzzled as Aretha felt. "The cruisers seem in relatively good condition and we certainly haven't scored enough hits to warrant this. Admittedly, we don't know how much Commodore Fletcher hurt them before. I think that this is a desperation move and a morale breakdown - their captain wants to try and duel us at short range, and his crew is abandoning ship on him."

"The Delest?" Aretha asked incredulously. "Abandon their precious chain of command? Disobey orders? Hardly. There's something else going on here and it certainly won't be good for us. Tactical, focus our fire on those three ships."


In orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:40 Central System Time.


If Aretha had turned her ships to engage the Grazhdanins, she may have had a chance to kill them before they closed the range. As it happened, the Lords could only bring their rear batteries to bear; and the shields of the cruisers held out long enough -just long enough- for them to catch up with the trailing Menelaus. The CRF Dreadnought had a total of twenty seconds to bring her broadsides to bear at the Delest ships screaming past, and she did so with the typical CRF precision, carving a huge chunk off Volga's port engine cluster.

The Yonsakuren ship staggered, for an instant -

-and then Ter-Iio Artyom Yonsakuren, having taken over the helm of his ship himself, after his young helm officer had chosen to abandon ship, drove his crippled darling straight into the side of the CRF giant. The shields of the two ships clashed for an instant - and then the Delest cruiser was through, her thrusters still boosting hard-

The force of the impact drove the bow of the Volga deep into the Menelaus' side armor and cracked her spine. Plasma from her reactor flooded her central compartments. And then the Delest cruiser's core blew, in an apocalyptic fireball that killed both ships in a bright, silent instant.


HMS Bellerophon, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:40 Central System Time.


"Great merciful God," Aretha gasped at the destruction of her rear guard, at the other two cruisers still closing in, almost on top of her now, and at her own ships, who were also drawing away from the inferno of the Menelaus' death. "Good God! What are they-"

And then the other two charging cruisers were among them, (Good God, they were among them!) one of them boosting straight for the Bellerophon, and Aretha whirled to the Comms station.

"Bring the fleet together!" she screamed. "Concentrate fire on the closing cruisers! That's the last card they have left to play, do you understand? Survive this and we live. Fire! Fight them! For Pegasus, by God! Focus fi-"


YCS Pamyat Slavy, in orbit near the Sodesuka Shipyards - 18:40 Central System Time.


Almost gently, tenderly the Pamyat Slavy's helmsman brought Ermolai's flagship down on the Bellerophon. The Delest cruiser was trailing flame and plasma, from where accurate shots had punctured her shields and armor; she waded into a near-solid wall of railgun and coherent light as she descended.

Deep in the Pamyat's engineering section, her Chief Engineer disengaged the core safeties, and then stood back, laughing in delight. The men and women under his command joined him. In gunnery stations all across the cruiser's hull, Yonsakuren crewmen and -women howled and whooped, as the looming hulk of the Bellerophon drew closer, tears of joy and battle-lust streaming down their faces.

The Pamyat's shields touched the Bellerophon's, and arcs of electricity and agitated ether crackled away into space. Her straining thrusters pushed her through and into-

On her darkened bridge, Ermolai grinned, his teeth almost glowing white in the gloom.

"It is my hand that tips the scale," he murmured, as if to himself, his voice holding the triumphant note of deepest satisfaction.

The fireball of the Pamyat's core going up only reached him as a distant sigh; and a heartbeat later, there was nothing.

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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 09, 2017, 12:54:08 am
I did promise an update before the end of the week. Shut up, Sunday counts.

In fact, I think "Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu" will, from now on, occupy a Sunday slot. We've managed to renegotiate our contract, or something.

My God, the weebness.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: QuakeIV on July 09, 2017, 01:02:22 am
(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/pudxJg3Ed9o/hqdefault.jpg)
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: xenocartographer on July 09, 2017, 01:44:40 pm
not the yaoi cat!




Dude, holy ****, this is some of the most badass writing I've seen in a long time. How much of the worldbuilding is yours and how much is Spoon's?
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 09, 2017, 02:09:02 pm
My eyes have now quadrupled in size and I have an irresistible urge to punch guys and call them perverts for no real reason.

Thanks, Enioch.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 09, 2017, 02:52:12 pm
Exemplary work as always.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about what Ermolai and his people just did. Self sacrifice is often admirable, but here the strongest emotion I think I feel is that it was creepy. It feels less like a noble sacrifice and more like machines running through their programming and executing what they've been programmed to do. Machines with emotions. Emotions that are an integral part of the programming.

I'll miss the characters that are gone. It's surprising how much you managed to put into them from so few words.

"Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu"
What does it mean?
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: Enioch on July 09, 2017, 04:13:31 pm
Dude, holy ****, this is some of the most badass writing I've seen in a long time. How much of the worldbuilding is yours and how much is Spoon's?

That's  a really difficult question to answer, because Spoon has been very closely involved throughout the process and I've been bouncing ideas off him all the time. And of course the main plotline is 100% Spoon. I've added some important characters and pretty much the entire background of the Yonsakuren is me, based off a two-sentence blurb that Spoon once wrote and on the feedback he gave me while I was writing.

If Spoon is OK with it, once this tale is finished, we can make public the plotline as he sent it to me?

My eyes have now quadrupled in size and I have an irresistible urge to punch guys and call them perverts for no real reason.

Thanks, Enioch.

You're quite welcome, it's been a pleasure turning you into a tsundere lead for our space opera anime. Tell Lafiel I said hi. :D

Exemplary work as always.

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about what Ermolai and his people just did. Self sacrifice is often admirable, but here the strongest emotion I think I feel is that it was creepy. It feels less like a noble sacrifice and more like machines running through their programming and executing what they've been programmed to do. Machines with emotions. Emotions that are an integral part of the programming.

Hah! *happy dance* I knew I would manage to creep you out! :p

Seriously, this is a very good point, and I'd like to raise it for discussion among the readers. How much did you like the Yonsakuren and would you care to comment on how successful you think I was in capturing the major ideological differences between the 2 (3?) parties in this war?

Quote
"Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu"
What does it mean?

"Legend/Tale of the Wings of Dawn". ;)

Thanks all, for the kind words, BTW.
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: Lorric on July 09, 2017, 04:43:06 pm
I think a big part of the creepiness factor is that normally the story is that it is emotions that separate us from the machines and it is emotions that AIs struggle to wrap their mechanical intelligences around. Here, and it's something I've never seen before, it is emotions that are making people into machines. Emotions that are doing the programming. Of course, emotions can sometimes do this to you anyway (freeze you with fear for instance) but this is different, because someone else did the programming.

I also am reminded of strategy video games. Where your little minions will do whatever you want, will do things real troops wouldn't do. Perfect soldiers. Just as Ermolai said.

You've done a good job with the ideological differences, but we're still pretty much in the dark about the cause of the war. Sure, we already know the basics of why the ideologies of the DD and CRF will clash, but we don't know why that has been enough to get them fighting such a destructive conflict. We don't know what's in the CRF's mind beyond seeing an opportunity to grab a system. We don't know for instance if this was someone else's system, would they have still gone in, or not? Are they already in a state of war with the DD? I don't think so because it was implied demands to avert war were sent (and we don't know what the content of those demands were), and if not met would create a state of war. I got the impression the two factions were not at war at that point. And we don't know what the DD mindset is. Obviously they will fight the invader, but if they kick out the CRF, what then?
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: Enioch on July 10, 2017, 03:34:55 am
I think a big part of the creepiness factor is that normally the story is that it is emotions that separate us from the machines and it is emotions that AIs struggle to wrap their mechanical intelligences around. Here, and it's something I've never seen before, it is emotions that are making people into machines. Emotions that are doing the programming. Of course, emotions can sometimes do this to you anyway (freeze you with fear for instance) but this is different, because someone else did the programming.

I also am reminded of strategy video games. Where your little minions will do whatever you want, will do things real troops wouldn't do. Perfect soldiers. Just as Ermolai said.

Glad to see someone got hit by the anvil I tried to drop.  ;)  :p

Quote
You've done a good job with the ideological differences, but we're still pretty much in the dark about the cause of the war. Sure, we already know the basics of why the ideologies of the DD and CRF will clash, but we don't know why that has been enough to get them fighting such a destructive conflict. We don't know what's in the CRF's mind beyond seeing an opportunity to grab a system. We don't know for instance if this was someone else's system, would they have still gone in, or not? Are they already in a state of war with the DD? I don't think so because it was implied demands to avert war were sent (and we don't know what the content of those demands were), and if not met would create a state of war. I got the impression the two factions were not at war at that point. And we don't know what the DD mindset is. Obviously they will fight the invader, but if they kick out the CRF, what then?

If that's your main concern - don't worry: the epilogue is planned to address and clarify these issues, to some extent.
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: Spoon on July 10, 2017, 06:51:09 am
Dude, holy ****, this is some of the most badass writing I've seen in a long time. How much of the worldbuilding is yours and how much is Spoon's?

That's  a really difficult question to answer, because Spoon has been very closely involved throughout the process and I've been bouncing ideas off him all the time. And of course the main plotline is 100% Spoon. I've added some important characters and pretty much the entire background of the Yonsakuren is me, based off a two-sentence blurb that Spoon once wrote and on the feedback he gave me while I was writing.
Enioch is amazing to work with, I give him some very global plot ideas and guidelines on what I have in mind, and he just comes up with wonderful words that make sense. Sometimes even pointing out that I'm about to contradict what I previously established (in a small blurb on the forums, some time ago, that I had already forgotten about because I didn't make note of it in my design document). He's also helped me solidify some of the WoD 'universe mechanics', as it were, such as ether and subspace etc.

If Spoon is OK with it, once this tale is finished, we can make public the plotline as he sent it to me?
I'll take it under consideration.

If that's your main concern - don't worry: the epilogue is planned to address and clarify these issues, to some extent.
I'll try and answer to the best of my abilities, any left over questions there might be after the epilogue.
Title: Re: Dawn no Tsubasa Densetsu
Post by: Enioch on July 10, 2017, 07:27:21 am
Enioch is amazing to work with, I give him some very global plot ideas and guidelines on what I have in mind, and he just comes up with wonderful words that make sense. Sometimes even pointing out that I'm about to contradict what I previously established (in a small blurb on the forums, some time ago, that I had already forgotten about because I didn't make note of it in my design document). He's also helped me solidify some of the WoD 'universe mechanics', as it were, such as ether and subspace etc.

(https://s4.postimg.org/jl246b1lp/ynprffn.jpg)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 11, 2017, 06:46:19 am
Something that seems strange, maybe we've just not reached the point where they do, but Dyatlov needed Ermolai to lead his forces into battle and yet it doesn't seem like his forces can even reach the CRF before they jump out?

I'm curious what Dyatlov will do now. He has enough time to jump out before French arrives. If he does that though, he leaves French free to lay waste to the targets Aretha originally came to destroy. Though knowing French he'll go for the capture rather than destruction, which would be even worse because then French will have a new shipyard.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 11, 2017, 06:50:56 am
With lots of big capships going up in flames it's very likely that it could completely screw up the engines of the surrounding ships and slow them down, or all the interference from reactors going critical could **** up their subspace plotting.

I don't think Dylatov or Aretha are getting out of this one alive. And this might just be a spark that gets the DD to send proper reinforcements and force the CRF to leave the system as it would no longer be worth it.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 11, 2017, 07:09:26 am
Aretha's very dead. The Bellerophon went up in smoke along with the Pamyat's core. I thought that was clear.

As for the CRF forces currently in system, let me give you a current list of the Pegasus capital ships and their COs: (from my own notes, see? I am organised. I don't pull names out of my arse)

Bellerophon - Simmons (Champion, Male) - OH SO VERY DEAD
Menelaus - Cookson (Commodore, Male) - OH SO VERY DEAD
Royal Oak - Ramsworth (Commodore, Male) - DEAD
Cyclops - Dawson (Commodore, Male) - DEAD
Atreus - Walpole (Commodore, Female) - DEAD
Indefatigable - Davenport (Commodore, Female) - CRIPPLED, IN RANGE OF THE VOLYAS
Invincible - Sorensen (Knight, Female) - ISOLATED, BEHIND THE FORCE, IN RANGE OF THE VOLYAS
Avalon - Carmichael (Knight, Male) - DISABLED AND SURRENDERED
Perseus - Allerton (Knight, Male) - LIGHT DAMAGE - CURRENTLY UNDER GRAVITON FIRE FROM FOUR CRUISERS, ONE OF WHICH IS YONSAKUREN (i.e. RIP)
Temeraire - Eastoft (Knight, Female) - CRIPPLED


At this point, Pegasus has nothing left. And French's best-case ETA puts him at least ten minutes away.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 11, 2017, 07:12:03 am
So by the time French arrives the battle will already have been lost.

There's a good joke about the Franco-Prussian war here.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 11, 2017, 07:22:28 am
This battle has been lost. Conclusively.

Of course, the Delest fleet is currently mauled, and their combat-worthy capitals are at the mid single-digits (need to update my list with the most recent casualties, but at first glance, I'm counting seven or eight capitals, including old monitors and battleships)

French has thirteen fresh Lords and his light forces. If he wants the system, he gets the system, it's that simple.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 11, 2017, 07:52:16 am
Militarily, yes. But Aretha's death might be enough to stop him from getting it politically.
After all, if he conclusively succeeds where she failed, even using the damage her ships dealt to secure the system that might cause some internal trouble in the CRF.
And a big victory might get the DD to finally get up and send some actual support, despite the politicking.


When I said that Dylatov probably isn't getting out of this alive I meant the war, not just this battle.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 11, 2017, 07:55:49 am
Oh. Oho.  :nervous:

Now I see what you mean.

Hohoho.  :drevil:  :lol:  :drevil:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 11, 2017, 08:16:46 am
Welp.

This can only end badly.  :shaking:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 11, 2017, 03:17:14 pm
Can't say i'm happy with the manner of Ermolai's demise, the suicide run has become a bit of a cliche in sci fi writing however it does fit with his mentality that he would choose a glorious death over a tarnished victory.

I was also hoping that he would finally get his way with Sebrenova but I guess unfortunately for her this was not to be

If the Volyas are out of torpedoes are they going to be able to finish off the remainder of Pegasus without further heavy losses? I can see a drawn out battle against the 3 remaining cap ships plus escorts allowing plenty of time for French to spoil the party....
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 11, 2017, 03:35:35 pm
Can't say i'm happy with the manner of Ermolai's demise, the suicide run has become a bit of a cliche in sci fi writing however it does fit with his mentality that he would choose a glorious death over a tarnished victory.

Sorry about that. I try to be original, but at some point you need to go for a good classic.

Quote
I was also hoping that he would finally get his way with Sebrenova but I guess unfortunately for her this was not to be

 :lol:

Women will mourn in a hundred systems, from Uuni to Old Earth at the news of his death.

Quote
If the Volyas are out of torpedoes are they going to be able to finish off the remainder of Pegasus without further heavy losses? I can see a drawn out battle against the 3 remaining cap ships plus escorts allowing plenty of time for French to spoil the party....

Nah, it's  much of a spoiler to tell you that Ermolai was right.

Aretha's forces have suffered over 70% casualties and have lost their Exarch. They're broken.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 11, 2017, 03:50:55 pm
No criticism intended, just my personal disappointment as I was a fan of Greebo and wanted to see his WOD alternate survive. From the moment Ermolai led the charge there was no way his forces were going to survive.

I had hoped Aretha or Simmons could have been taken alive or escaped the destruction of the Bellerophon, just to allow French the opportunity of not at all gloating over his shamed rivals. Guess he will have to satisfy himself with the destruction of the Delest fleet....
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 11, 2017, 03:53:53 pm
 
Guess he will have to satisfy himself with the destruction of the Delest fleet....

 :nervous:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 11, 2017, 04:02:02 pm

Women will mourn in a hundred systems, from Uuni to Old Earth at the news of his death.


I'm sure I could hear the echos of a billion lioness wails as I read the words a heartbeat later, there was nothing
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: QuakeIV on July 11, 2017, 08:37:50 pm
It basically seems like Aretha got annihilated, but French is still pretty much on track for his original plan of seizing the system, except somewhat less Russians for him to deal with at this point.

e: Unless their is some political fallout from Aretha getting destroyed while he was supposedly available to help.  Given that this was 100% Aretha's fault, it would require a pretty serious failure in political ability on the part of French's faction in order to get into any real trouble because of that.
Title: Chapter 6, Part 1: Horror
Post by: Enioch on July 15, 2017, 04:29:54 pm
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Arc Champion Julius French was angry, a simmering, stomach-wrenching rage that rose up in pounding heartbeats and sat like a ton of lead on the back of his head. He had been vindicated, proven right; and yet he drew no satisfaction from it, for so many good Britanian soldiers and sailors would have died by now, as a result of his rival's sheer stubbornness.

But he gritted his teeth, forced his breathing down, willed his reddening face into a calm, confident expression and turned to his Nav Officer.

"Engage jump for squadrons Alpha and Bravo on my mark," he ordered. "Charlie and Delta move out at Mark plus twenty. Upon arrival, execute a wide area sweep and secure the jump zone; weapons are free and all forces are to fire immediately on any enemy forces engaged with allied ships. Mark."

His tactical plot blossomed with blue signatures, as his cruiser squadrons and Attwood's battlegroup engaged their drives and smoothly slid into subspace. His chair vibrated softly as the Nelson's drive began its own cycle and, once again, he forced himself to calm down - or at least act like he had, for the benefit of his crew.

Inside, he screamed. Every strategic and tactical instinct he had were strumming on his nerves and ringing warning bells inside his stomach. This was not a good move. He was, essentially, jumping in blind: EW jamming had long since muted Exarch Aretha's transmissions. He could not risk jumping in with anything less than his entire force, for he had no idea how thoroughly Dyatlov had thrashed Aretha and what was waiting for him on the other end. And he was confident that his fleet was more than a match for anything the Delest commander would have available by now. But in order to guarantee that - in order to make sure that he was jumping into a fight he could not lose and not yet another trap, he was forced to pull out his entire battle-line from the asteroid belts; put his own plan on ice until this crisis was resolved. He had lost the initiative: he was now responding to a situation created by Dyatlov, rather than forcing the Delest to respond to his advance.

Or rather, he churlishly thought to himself, I am responding to a situation created by Exarch Aretha.

At this point, there were no good options. He would simply have to choose what seemed to be the least bad one, and hope that he was right (and lucky enough to get away with it).

Nelson's subspace drive finally hummed its agreement and tore a hole through ether and reality. Twenty seconds later, where she had been, there was only empty space.



Far, far away, several astronomical units "above" the system's ecliptic, the sensor cruiser Orakul was paying attention.

Her sensor arrays were fully deployed, in a brilliant tracery of glass and steel that extended for many hundreds of metres around her, like a massive spiderweb. Her escorts, the Frigates Drotik and newly-repaired Strela were floating dead-in-space, next to her, their own primary systems powered down and their waste heat being radiated away from them in tight, powerful infrared beams, focused directly away from Secundus. For all intents and purposes and to any outside observer they were dead rocks in space, but they were standing by to defend their ward, in case any adventurous CRF Far Patrol got lucky.

So far, none had. Ter-Iio Akiyama had had an unrivalled and unchallenged view of the events unfolding in the system, tracing the tunneling of the CRF and Delest ships. She had seen Aretha's forces deploy to the shipyards; the fleets of Dyatlov, converging to intercept. Her plots had shown her the angry red smudge that could only have been an inhibitor field going up. She had seen French's ships pull out from the asteroid fields, one by one, counted them carefully, tracked their movements. She had listened to the subspace conversations between the Delest ships, had followed the fight to its bitter conclusion.

And now, her sensors picked up French's task forces, as they departed their rendezvous point and tunneled straight for the shipyards.

Ter-Iio Akiyama had her orders for this contingency, and proceeded to execute them with gusto. First, a subspace tightbeam transmission was sent to Dyatlov's forces, warning them of the incoming threat. They would have less than fifteen minutes to prepare for the attack and every moment was precious. Then - other messages, encrypted to the highest possible degree, with codewords and secret orders were sent out to the light forces that had escaped the asteroid facilities and had by now converged on Hōseki. After that, a final transmission: a broadband link to the fortress moon of Paru, to establish a handshake with the massive planetary computers which sat there, waiting, for exactly this time.

And then, Orakul, her work just beginning, sat still and watched, taking in everything she could, her mechanical eyes and ears straining against the dark. And her crew, bent over their plots, toiled for precision, on which, now, everything rested.



The Nelson dropped out of the angry, angry sea of subspace with the gut-wrenching deceleration that made it absolutely clear to French that he was jumping into (or very near) an active inhibitor field. That was expected - Exarch Aretha had informed him in no uncertain terms that the Delest had been most insistent in denying her the option of retreating. He was keenly aware that this might still be a trap - apparently, the Delest forces were still present and had not elected to retreat. His eyes focused on his holotank display, eager to see what he could glean on the status of the Peg-

"My God - BRACE!"

The holotank updated a fraction of a second before the cry of his helmsman, too late for French to take measure of what was going on; and then Nelson's bow dipped down and to port, in a manoeuver that nearly overloaded her artigrav systems and made French's stomach do backflips. Something big collided with the starboard dorsal shields in a flash of plasma; what was left of it corkscrewed away into the darkness of space, but not before the outer optical sensors could snap a couple of pictures.

It had been part of a ship's hull - and, after realising that, it took French only a few seconds to recognise the starboard aft fin and engine thruster of a Lord-class Dreadnought.

His bridge crew were equally, if not more observant; and instead of the muttered oaths that any such manoeuver would normally ellicit, there was only appalled silence on the bridge of the Nelson as the holotank fully revealed what the situation was like.

They had emerged at the outer limits of an inhibitor field - and a debris field, which formed a trail of broken ships, slagged metal and clouds of vented gas, all the way back to the shipyards in the distance. There were shattered Delest hulls, floating dead in vacuum, but there was also so much debris around that could only have come from the destruction of Pegasus ships, to a degree that froze French's blood. This spoke of a desperate, no-holds-barred fight from both sides. These were not the remains of an ordered line battle - this had been a brawl unlike anything the CRF had experienced in living memory.

And it was clear that the victory, hard-earned though it may have been, had favoured the Delest. The shipyards still stood, untouched, in the distance. The starbases, which French knew could still prove to be massive assets for the Delest, were still in one piece, almost mocking him from their scaffolding cocoons. And - horror of horrors and humiliation of humiliations - sensors could now pick up two Lord-class hulls (or hulks), tentatively identified as HMS Avalon and HMS Temeraire, being towed towards the shipyards by four Delest cruisers, their own cores dead.

Whatever had happened here, it had been a disaster for the Pegasus forces. But - French realised - the Delest had suffered considerably, indeed. He could not know for sure how many of the Delest forces had been present here, but, judging from the debris, it must have been the majority of their in-theatre fleet. And now, sensors picked up only six of their carriers, the four cruisers and what seemed to be two older vessels. Against his own forces, and with the starbases' weaponry clearly offline, he could still win an easy victory here.

He still hesitated. Breaking the Delest here would mean that they would realise, beyond any doubt, that the system was lost. And if he forced them to that conclusion, it would be impossible to prevent them from scorching most (if not all) parts of the system infrastructure to the ground before he could secure them, as they had tried to do with the asteroid facilities. Arc Victoria - neck-deep in debt to the Guilds and with her own economy foundering - needed this infrastructure desperately, more than they needed a military victory.

It was crazy, French thought. He had the enemy fleet within his reach. He could reach out and crush them. He could demand their surrender. It would be insultingly easy.

But, still, the safe way - his way would have him turn around right now, to truly secure the facilities he had been forced to abandon.

God help me, French thought, but can I justify doing anything but leaving?

He looked around his bridge, taking in the pale, angry faces of his officers - and realisation struck like a hammer to the gut.

I can't leave I can't justify doing anything but attack them.

The Pegasus force - and through it New Britannia - had been handed a resounding defeat here. French had arrived late but was present with his entire force, here and now, against a clearly inferior opponent. He could even see captured Brittanian ships being towed away to dishonourable service, under the colours of the enemy.

If he did anything but order an attack and carry the day, there was no saving him - neither from the stigma of the coward, nor from the ridicule of his peers, nor from being forever remembered as the man who allowed the loss of Britannian lives to go unavenged. He would certainly lose the respect of his subordinates, almost certainly be relieved of command; and the campaign would be left to the hands of somebody else - someone less experienced and much more likely to cock things up.

He felt his blood pressure rise, felt the rushing of the blood in his veins and his frustration mount. And, not for the last time in his life, he bitterly cursed the name and memory of Exarch Aretha Pegasus who, even in death, led him into situations where there was no right response.

"Form-" he ordered, his voice even but his throat parched and his muscles aching, "Form line of battle to port. Close the range to the enemy fleet. May God save the souls of our brethren and may we avenge them before the day is over."



"There he is," Arurior Sebrenova said, rigidly, her eyes fixed on Michiko's holodisplay. "Perfect, as always. God help us."

Dyatlov agreed. They would need a certain degree of divine help, at this point. So many things could go wrong. Would French act and react as they had anticipated him to? If not, there was little hope that any of them would survive the day.

"It will work," he said, hoping that his voice sounded more confident than he felt. "And if it doesn't - well, it won't matter to us, much."

They stood, in silence, as the seconds ticked past and the CRF behemoths navigated to avoid the debris field. And then, they saw the unmistakeable turn that heralded battle deployment for a CRF fleet. Dreadnoughts swung to the side in ponderous precision. Like everything else in French's fleet, it had been exhaustively rehearsed and was now exquisitely performed; it took less than two minutes for the CRF forces to change their formation from four separate battlegroups to an almost perfect battle-line, right at the limit of the Delest inhibitor field and closing. French was, in no uncertain terms, offering battle and they did not have the luxury to avoid it.

"There it is, then," Dyatlov sighed. "We are both committed, now. Comms, signal to fleet: form battle-line on the Michiko. Confirm link-up with Orakul. And..."

Dyatlov took a deep breath and, for the first time since the beginning of the battle, stepped back into his commander's chair.

"...and record a message for the Nelson. Message as follows:

"CRF command, this is Praetor Ishiro Dyatlov, of the Delest 10th Home Fleet. We wish to discuss the terms of our surrender."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 15, 2017, 04:33:58 pm
Bet you weren't expecting that, were you?  :drevil: :lol:

A short-ish update this week, to keep the chapter length manageable as I prepare to leave for an archaeological excavation.

Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 15, 2017, 05:25:17 pm
What dirty little plan does Dyatlov have I wonder? Another sensory attack I'm guessing, something from that moon and the Orakul to power down French's fleet leaving it helpless.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 15, 2017, 11:15:37 pm
What dirty little plan does Dyatlov have I wonder?

Subspace anti-matter torpedo strike perhaps? I don't think Dyatlov has any conventional forces left in a position to strike against French's fleet even when powered down.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 15, 2017, 11:21:17 pm
Bet you weren't expecting that, were you?  :drevil: :lol:

No Mr Enioch, I was expecting him to die. :cool:

I might be clutching at straws here but Dyatlov is recording his surrender message rather than send a live transmission? Could this mean he is planning for a bit more mischief and needs a recording in case he does not survive the next stage of his plan?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 16, 2017, 01:07:23 am

I might be clutching at straws here but Dyatlov is recording his surrender message rather than send a live transmission? Could this mean he is planning for a bit more mischief and needs a recording in case he does not survive the next stage of his plan?

He's recording because he's sending the message to an enemy ship. The message will have to be set on repeat,  to keep knocking on French's metaphorical door until he answers.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 16, 2017, 01:30:12 am
So he is concerned that French may not conform to the CRF's gentlemanly code of honor by extracting a bit of vengeance before accepting his surrender?  :eek2:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 16, 2017, 01:57:26 am
That's a possibility, too.

But the main problemm is there could be a thousand reasons why the first transmission might not be registered by the CRF systems. When sending a message of this importance, it's best to put it on repeat and get back to managing your fleet until the other guy answers, rather than keep talking into a non-responsive comlink.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 16, 2017, 05:45:28 am
It's a fake surrender.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 16, 2017, 05:56:43 am
I mean, it doesn't have to be. Dylatov might not have an infinite amount of asspulls. He's most likely planning a system-wide scorched earth strategy or maybe a counterattack on the free node with whatever forces he still has. That might be why he says that " well, it won't matter to us, much", because whatever he's planning has little to do with his current situation.
I'd be very surprised if he had any real options for saving himself and the shipyard with only the few ships he has.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 16, 2017, 06:24:51 am
He's bringing in the units from the asteroid belts, so I think there's an attack plan here. I think he's either going to be manipulating French into moving into a certain position or just stalling for time for whatever the plan is. I could see him dangling the carrot of giving up all the juicy installations and such that French covets, and stalling for time over the specifics of the surrender. Kind of like this, now that I think about it:

Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 16, 2017, 06:36:05 am
It's already been established that in the entire system Dylatov simply doesn't have the numbers to fight off French successfully.
He'd need a massive asspull to win a direct engagement, and his warships simply don't have the firepower to quickly kill a big taskforce, even if they pull off a flank or set up their positioning perfectly.

He's almost surely stalling for time, but he's most likely stalling for those asteroid belt forces to do ~something else, not join him in a fight he can't win. Maybe threaten to blow up the infrastructure the CRF needs to get a negotiating advantage or just blow up the repair and resupply bases at the node before jumping away and leaving French's force logistically ****ed.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 16, 2017, 06:47:07 am
It's already been established that in the entire system Dylatov simply doesn't have the numbers to fight off French successfully.
He'd need a massive asspull to win a direct engagement, and his warships simply don't have the firepower to quickly kill a big taskforce, even if they pull off a flank or set up their positioning perfectly.

He's almost surely stalling for time, but he's most likely stalling for those asteroid belt forces to do ~something else, not join him in a fight he can't win. Maybe threaten to blow up the infrastructure the CRF needs to get a negotiating advantage or just blow up the repair and resupply bases at the node before jumping away and leaving French's force logistically ****ed.

Possibly. But it's all this talk about needing perfect precision and prediction of French's behaviour that makes me think French is the target. You wouldn't need such perfection just to stall. The moonbase I don't think is a factor either for an attack somewhere else.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 16, 2017, 07:33:04 am
Can I just say how glorious all this discussion and speculation is like from my viewpoint ?  ;)

#activediscussionkeepstheauthorhappy
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: crizza on July 16, 2017, 08:22:00 am
Maybe, just maybe, with that surveillance ship up and running, he's going martyr?
Broadcasting his surrender, only to get anihillated by French, who simply has no other choice than to kill him to save face in front of his fleet and the higher ups.
And that being recorded and broadcasted to the wider Delest systems should get a response, I mean even if that space-cat-dude sacrificed himself to take out Aretha, Dylatov was still CIC.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 16, 2017, 08:39:46 am
Dylatov doesn't strike me as the patriotic martyr type though. Nor is he the battle-crazy type like the Yonsakuren who would consider death for victory in battle the highest achievement. Then again, some of the choices he's made would land him in very deep **** even if he survives the battle for the Terconia system, so that might push him into doing something crazy.

Nor does the CRF strike me as the bloodhungry types. After all, they pride themselves on their dignity and civility, refusing a surrender would probably be seen as absolutely barbaric rather than the right thing to do for vengeance.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 16, 2017, 10:27:33 am
Can I just say how glorious all this discussion and speculation is like from my viewpoint ?  ;)

#activediscussionkeepstheauthorhappy
I bet we're all wrong and you're cackling away to yourself somewhere. :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 16, 2017, 10:45:00 am
Dylatov is buying time so he can complete the ritual summoning of the space dragon, to devour his foes. All of the death so far has just been a blood sacrifice.

Can I just say how glorious all this discussion and speculation is like from my viewpoint ?  ;)

#activediscussionkeepstheauthorhappy
Same.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 16, 2017, 10:54:32 am
Dylatov is buying time so he can complete the ritual summoning of the space dragon, to devour his foes. All of the death so far has just been a blood sacrifice.

OMG SPOON-SENPAI, URUSAI!

Spoiling the plot.

B-baka.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 16, 2017, 11:23:11 am
It's my plot to spoil
(http://i.imgur.com/3veYdEn.gif)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 16, 2017, 11:36:05 am
(https://media.giphy.com/media/3fmRTfVIKMRiM/giphy.gif)

I try to write interesting things. *Sniffle* All for him. *Sniffle* God knows I try. *Sniffle* And then, *sniffle* he goes and spoils everything I have he has planned on a drunken nonsense post.

Why, Spoon-senpai. Why are you so cruel?

Look at her eyes, Spoon-senpai.

Look at them.

Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 16, 2017, 02:56:08 pm
We can change it to a space hydra if you want. I'm flexible.
(http://i.imgur.com/cnZYDOE.gif)
Can't believe you'd shoot down my space dragon idea down in public like that
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 16, 2017, 03:50:43 pm
(https://i.imgur.com/WxrjKFC.gif)

I spend all this time writing about space dragons and now he wants me to change it into a hydra.  :shaking:

Don't try to paint me as the villain here, Spoon-senpai. You're breaking my heart.

But I will have my revenge, Mark my words. Dyatlov will now die under a falling piano, French will be kidnapped by space hobbits and the Delest and CRF will both be eaten by a horde of space slugs.

Serves you right.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 16, 2017, 04:03:46 pm
You could go with the classic "and then *insert character* woke up, and found it was all a dream."

THE END.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 16, 2017, 04:40:56 pm
But I will have my revenge, Mark my words. Dyatlov will now die under a falling piano, French will be kidnapped by space hobbits and the Delest and CRF will both be eaten by a horde of space slugs.
(http://i.imgur.com/dHDVhPq.jpg)
See? This is why you are so awesome to work with, it's like you read my mind, but then even make it better. Space slugs!


*ahem*
Allow me to return the thread to good lore&speculation posting. As incredibly amusing as this slight detour was  :lol:

While I'll go watch some more of this war of the three kingdoms stuff, thanks to Lorric's link
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 16, 2017, 04:54:33 pm
While I'll go watch some more of this war of the three kingdoms stuff, thanks to Lorric's link
Oh I highly recommend it. It's one of the best things I've ever watched. And it's all on Youtube. All 95 45min episodes. :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on July 16, 2017, 05:33:19 pm
Oh, I know. Space elves invade, everyone dies. A great resolution for whenever you write yourself into a corner :P
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: QuakeIV on July 16, 2017, 07:48:04 pm
(http://s2.quickmeme.com/img/a4/a48b444f89c2ccd2a7a37de2a9d3b51e9e9dd151e87b7dee4ffd819357ab8a23.jpg)


More seriously though, I kindof vaguely hope that whatever the Russians end up doing at least has some pretense of honoring the attempted surrender.  If they blatantly backstab the British with no qualms, then they would probably live in a universe where French would essentially say 'haha very funny' and then waste everyone in the battlespace anyhow.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on July 21, 2017, 02:54:03 am
Just out of curiosity what did the author have against the Menelaus? It seemed as though the ship was singled out as Dyatlov's designated punchbag.

Also will some of the minor characters such as Lieutenant Fallow or Arurior Ragunov make another appearance? I have enjoyed the perspective from some of the bigger wheels in the cog.
Title: Chapter 6, Part 2: Leverage
Post by: Enioch on July 23, 2017, 01:15:42 am
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Arc Champion Julius French told himself that he would not gape. This was one response that he hadn't expected - and it considerably contrasted with the impression he had formed of Dyatlov so far. But surprise was a short-lived thing with the Britannian Champion. It only took a couple of stunned heartbeats for his mind to truly register what he was hearing and then he matter-of-factly (and almost automatically) began to reassess the situation, pieces click-click-clicking together and falling into place.

Barring a defeat at the hands of this mauled Delest force (a defeat that was highly unlikely and would have to be the result of some truly ingenious trap or stratagem by Dyatlov), the worst possible result for French, at this point, would be a crushing defeat of the enemy - because that would force the rest of the in-system Delest forces to commit to a full scorched earth campaign. But this...

If the offer of surrender was a genuine one (and, after the shocking perspective shift, French thought he could see the reason behind it), it could solve everything. A peaceful surrender could guarantee the preservation of the system's infrastructure; it would give him the victory he needed; it would open the road to the annexation of the system without a months-long, expensive campaign; and, quite significantly, it would allow for the repainting of Exarch Aretha's ill-advised, utter disaster of a plan into a valiant, self-sacrificing offense, that broke the back of the Delest. French would, perhaps, not bask in the glory that he had been looking forward to, but those at high places who would know the true story would be appreciative and that was what truly mattered.

"Well, Ladies and Gentlemen," he said, wrenching his voice into the phlegmatic, calm tones expected of a Britannian officer, "it appears that Johnny Delest has had enough. Let us give them the benefit of the doubt. Close to seven six thousand metres but no more and bring us to a relative halt, but keep our shields and weapons powered up and the PD net at the ready. This still might be a trap after all. Comms, match that frequency and return the hail, if you please."

It was reassuring to see his bridge crew shake themselves awake at his commands - he was not the only one to be stunned by the Delest message, then. As Nelson's drive quieted down to a distant, almost subsonic rumble, and the ship coasted to a stop, French leaned back and tried to make himself as comfortable as possible in his commander's chair; this promised to be an interesting discussion and, possibly, quite a long one. He needed his wits about him, with as few distractions as possible.

The lions-and-crest of the Dynasty flashed onto his personal screen and he acknowledged the incoming call with the push of the button. A heartbeat later, the eyes of Ishiro Dyatlov met his own, at a considerably higher definition than any Intelligence provided image French had seen before.

The Delest admiral was seated in a chair similar to French's own, on what seemed to be the bridge of one of the Delest carriers. He looked, French noted, quite ragged, with deep dark circles under his eyes and considerably more scruffy than one would expect. In fairness, he had just fought (and won) a battle against one of the most formidable fleets New Brittania had ever put to space; but he was clearly an exhausted man, at the limits of his endurance. The possibility that the surrender was genuine was looking more and more likely.

"This is Arc Champion Julius French," French said, in as composed a manner as his soaring hopes would allow him. "I am the commander of the remaining Brittanian forces in-system. I have the authority to accept your surrender, on behalf of Their Royal Majesties."

"That is good to know," Dyatlov said, turning fully to face the screen. "If that is the case, then you'll be happy to hear that I am, likewise, the senior military commander in-system, by direct appointment of His Imperial Majesty. I propose to negotiate the immediate cessation of hostilities and the surrender of the entirety of the Delest military forces under my command, including spaceborne assets, planetary garrisons and all other military assets and personnel."

French's stomach did a violent backflip and his heart grew five sizes. This was, literally, the best possible scenario, becoming reality right before his eyes. It was too good to be true.

"I am prepared to accept that surrender, effective immediately," he said. "I guarantee that crews and officers will be treated with the utm-"

And then his heart sank again, for Dyatlov raised his hand, in clear objection.

"Hold, Sir Champion," he said. "This is by no means an unconditional surrender. There are terms that I will need you to agree to."

French's expression soured. A quick look around the bridge confirmed his suspicions: although he, himself, would be quite willing to grant Dyatlov any reasonable terms that the man might request, his bridge crew was not at all enthused by the idea that the defeated enemies would dictate the terms of their own surrender. In anticipation of similiar criticism by his political enemies back home, French decided that a show of force was necessary.

"Praetor," he said, "at the danger of sounding clichéd, I regret to say that you do not seem to be in a position to dictate terms."

"I beg to differ," Dyatlov countered. "I may be wrong, of course - I may have gravely misjudged the situation. Nevertheless, in any case, please grant me but a moment of your time to lay out my terms and explain my contingencies. Then, you may decide on whether they sound reasonable and whether you wish to accept my surrender. If it helps, I fully acknowledge that my own forces here are no match for yours and that any battle would quickly end in my defeat."

"Then you understand why I consider your negotiating position to be dramatically inferior to mine," French said, his heart sinking to his boots. He was savvy enought that he could see the bad surprise coming, even though it hadn't yet crested the horizon; and he feared that it would be a really unpleasant one.

"Of course," Dyatlov agreed. "However, there are more factors here than the balance of fleets, as I'm sure you'll shortly agree. My terms are the following: I will formally acknowledge the defeat of my forces and surrender my fleet to your authority under the usual international terms of parole. The Governor of this system will also acknowledge this and follow up my surrender with that of the political authorities in this system.

"The system will remain under Delest control and will not be annexed by New Brittania-"

At that, the bridge of the Nelson erupted in protest and French himself barely caught himself in a double-take. Dyatlov must have heard the bruhaha, for he trailed to a pause, while French glared his disapproval at his bridge officers, until they descended into a sullen silence. It was only then that the Arc Champion returned his attention to his enemy.

"My apologies," he said, "but, frankly, we are less than a minute into these negotiations and you are straining my patience. You have already admitted, Sir, that you cannot defend this space against my forces. How do you propose to prevent us from occupying it, then?"

"By making it unprofitable to do so," Dyatlov said, and he sounded almost sad. "Sir Champion, in truth, I believe these negotiations have reached a point where you require evidence of..leverage on my end. I rather hoped that it would not come to that - but I suppose that was an unreasonable hope. May I direct your attention at two points, which I consider to be of some importance:

"Firstly, your fleet is here, inside the bubble of my inhibitor field and I intend to keep you here. In order to leave this area of space, you will need to kill my carriers, which will take you considerable time. Comms, signal starbases; Code is Aegis."

A cry of alarm behind French. He half-turned to face his sensors officer; and then his holotank updated, flashing a bright red sphere into existence around the starbases still moored at the Sodesuka scaffolds. They were without claws, as BuInt had reported, but French's spirit fell dismally as he realised that their massive shield generators were operational and offering a considerable extra level of protection to the Delest capitals huddled around them.

"You may also try to run, Sir Champion," Dyatlov said, calmly, "if you feel really pressured to be somewhere else in a hurry. But if you try that, then I will send out a signal; and what I am about to show you will happen all over this system before you can cycle up your drives. So, before you give any orders, I suggest you give me a moment.

"My second point is that everything that I believe you care about here -everything that I believe would be of value to you, except the system of Terconia itself- well, it's not here, is it?"

"Comms, signal Orakul. Fire Mission One, weapons free, fire at will."



Far above the system ecliptic, Orakul received the signal, acknowledged it, and sent one of her own, down the link she had established with the fortress moon of Paru. Ter-Iio Akiyama was well-aware of the importance of her task; and so, the information she forwarded to her larger, blinder friend was double- and triple-checked, taking into account the most minute changes in the orbits of her targets and the presence (or absence, as was, indeed the case) of straggling enemy forces or still-active friendly garrisons.

In Paru, massive silo doors slid open, smoothly and ponderously on their bearings. Dormant missiles -dark and ominous shapes, larger than any shipborne torpedo- awoke to bloodthirsty readiness, received their target information and begun their pre-launch tests.

Less than thirty seconds after Dyatlov's order, six massive missiles, each the size of a Shilo bomber rose from their earthen and concrete cradles on Paru, riding incandescent pillars of flame. Behind them, the silos re-sealed themselves and began their scrub cycle, new missiles sliding slowly into place from underground magazines.

Twelve kilometres above the surface of the moon, at the limits of its almost non-existent atmosphere, the missiles' AIs ticked a very important box in their checklists, consulted their targeting info and adjusted their attitudes on hyper-sensitive vector thrusters. Their noses now pointing at seemingly unimportant points in space, their drives flared from burning white and yellow to an eye-searing blue - and the small jump drive in their long hulls cycled in a matter of seconds.

Their targets were not far (relatively speaking, of course) and their drives did not have to concern themselves with preserving the lives of squishy human pilots. The missiles slipped into and through subspace like sharks through water; and it took them only a few seconds to reach their targets.

Less than a hundred metres over the Nakiyama Asteroid Refineries R06, R10 and R21, the Asteroid Supply Station NAK/SS03 and the twin ice extraction facilities nicknamed Baba and Yaga by their workers, small subspace portals opened. Orakul's targeting info had been on point and exceptionally precise; and as the missiles slipped back into realspace, they acquired their targets, covered the distance to them, and disengaged the containment protocols of their antimatter warheads in an instant.

Forty-five seconds after Dyatlov's order, two megatons of orbital infrastructure, millions upon millions of Delest Hez, were nothing but expanding clouds of glowing debris, broken and burnt beyond all hope of salvage. The sole survivor and witness of their death was the CRF Destroyer HMS Arrow, which had been detached to capture NAK/SS03 and was now drifting out of control, smashed into near-destruction herself by the apocalyptic fury of the Delest missiles.

And, of course, Orakul, from her perch over the worlds. She saw their death, logged it dutifully, transmitted her success to Dyatlov - and began her calculations for the next firing cycle.


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 23, 2017, 01:20:43 am
As I told Spoon-senpai, my excavation team just found two unlooted 5th-century BC graves. We've all gone bananas. :nervous: :D

Therefore, have a regular (sadly unedited, so mistakes may have slipped through) update instead of the whoppinghuge negotiation chapter that I was planning; and be advised that next week's update is uncertain.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: niffiwan on July 23, 2017, 01:56:55 am
How much of a prick is French? Would he let Dyatlov destroy all the infrastructure then leave the system, and leave Dyatlov to be likely crucified by the rest of the Delest? Maybe destroy the rest of the fleet plus local starbases, cripple Dyatlov's ship and tow the captured CRF fleets back to CRF space? I'm guessing the answer is no, too much the Britannian knight (likewise, probably wouldn't accept the surrender, disarm/cripple missiles & then annex the system anyway, which also seems a logical response). Would losing the system & all its infrastructure hurt the Delest or the CRF the most? Seems that it'd hurt the Delest far more, their loss vs lack of CRF gain.

Dyatlov seems to be offering French nothing in the surrender, so why would he accept it?

edit: also congrats on your excavation finds!
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 23, 2017, 02:08:38 am
Oooooh, boy.

How much of a prick is French? Would he let Dyatlov destroy all the infrastructure then leave the system, and leave Dyatlov to be likely crucified by the rest of the Delest?

Yes. If he thought he could get away with it. Which he can't because he has a fleet of witnesses under his command. And also because he's been specifically ordered to bring back loot, not hurt the Delest.

Quote
Would losing the system & all its infrastructure hurt the Delest or the CRF the most? Seems that it'd hurt the Delest far more, their loss vs lack of CRF gain.

Define "hurt". The Delest are facing many problems as a nation, true, but one thing they're not is in debt.

Quote
Dyatlov seems to be offering French nothing in the surrender, so why would he accept it?

Based on what has been said so far? He shouldn't. Which is why I wanted to write a bigger chapter, with more of the negotiating in one place. I will say that Dyatlov will be offering things in the next update.

Then again, this way we can have more speculation :drevil:

Quote
edit: also congrats on your excavation finds!

Thanks! :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: niffiwan on July 23, 2017, 02:47:53 am
Cool - more speculation is good! So I'm guessing there's got to be some sort of loot handover, and that makes sense as something that Dyatlov can still offer. I was recalling that French was ordered to secure the system intact (to bring in recurring loot), and if Dyatlov took any possibility of that away from French then French has little to lose (ignoring that code of honour thing).

Also - really appreciating the writing, I'd tend not to get so fired up (:nervous:) about a story of lesser quality  :yes:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 23, 2017, 05:07:51 am
It seems to me that the deal will be the CRF takes possession of all the military assets in system. Which while of considerable value isn't enough. But there are other options, the Delest could pay a tribute to the CRF, or the CRF could get a cut of the profits from the infrastructure they want to seize, or even (though I don't think it will happen since it sounded like losing the installations in the belts could cost Dyatlov his career or worse) the CRF become the new owners of all or perhaps some of the infrastructure in the system. So the Delest would still get to keep those installations doing what they're there to do for Terconia and they'd take in tax money from them, but the profits would go to the CRF.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 23, 2017, 02:29:35 pm
(sadly unedited, so mistakes may have slipped through)
I found one on a second reading, but it's a really good one. Your missiles underwent an attitude adjustment instead of an altitude adjustment. But it's fun imagining that meaning that your missiles went into MURDER DEATH KILL mode. :D

Oh, and there's no u in forty.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 23, 2017, 03:11:53 pm
The former is actually correct (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_dynamics_(fixed-wing_aircraft)); the missiles did adjust their attitude, not their altitude.

Forty, indeed, has no 'u'. Fixed and thanks.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 23, 2017, 04:38:07 pm
Never knew such a definition of the word attitude existed. Thanks. So we corrected each other. :)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 30, 2017, 02:55:54 pm
I know there's still a bit of Sunday left, but if we're not going to get another installment this week, I wonder if it would be possible to tell us what Dyatlov's terms are. I understand if you're too busy or want to reveal it when the words come out of Dyatlov's mouth.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 31, 2017, 04:20:28 am
I know there's still a bit of Sunday left, but if we're not going to get another installment this week, I wonder if it would be possible to tell us what Dyatlov's terms are.

(http://www.reactiongifs.com/r/hhn.gif)

That was a bit harsh (sorry), but it kinda reflects my origina reaction.

In all seriousness, though, I'd be happy to PM you what will be going on, if Spoon is OK with it too; but I will not post spoilers of that extent on the public thread.

Meanwhile, on a relevant but tangential topic, I've just arrived home, after a full week of excavating this here lady's (https://postimg.org/image/dbfuubzin/) last resting place. Which means that I can start writing again. Rejoice ye faithful, repent ye sinners etc.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on July 31, 2017, 08:26:36 am
If you want spoilers by PM that is fine, as long as they stay out of this thread.

Meanwhile, on a relevant but tangential topic, I've just arrived home, after a full week of excavating this here lady's (https://postimg.org/image/dbfuubzin/) last resting place. Which means that I can start writing again. Rejoice ye faithful, repent ye sinners etc.
Did she drop any good loot?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on July 31, 2017, 08:38:56 am
Did she drop any good loot?

Heathen. 'Loot' is a parochial concept in modern archaeology (it all belongs in a museum (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-abUtRbUS_U), anyway). :P

She did drop a magnificent miniature black-glazed plate of the early 4th century BC, with her initial (A) engraved on the bottom, though. Right under her skull, it had been placed.

She was also quite short. The grave was merely 140cm long (4 feet 7 inches for those non-metric plebes amongst you). She also had some cavities (poor thing) and (apparently) very delicate feminine features. She seems to have died around her late 30s.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on July 31, 2017, 11:22:03 am
A PM will not be necessary as I was hoping to spark a discussion here about it. I will wait to find out when everyone else does.
Title: Chapter 6, Part 3: Agreement
Post by: Enioch on August 05, 2017, 09:33:18 am
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The Nelson's bridge was a malestrom of confused, chaotic reports and screaming; and French himself felt ill as the reports began to trickle in. R06 and R10 had already been occupied by Royal Marines and them dropping off the comms net nearly simultaneously was a clear sign that they had come under overwhelming attack. It was still possible, if unlikely, that the two facilities had been scuttled by well-hidden charges, but French did not believe it for a second - not after they had had the time to do a proper search. A strikecraft attack, then?

And then the desperate call for help from the Arrow had come in, containing the last piece of the puzzle - and French's blood had run cold.

Subspace-Strike Weaponry was not a novel idea. All major nations had experimented with the concept, some more recently than others; but the end-result prototypes had been deemed too expensive, cost-innefective and inaccurate to be employable in the actual battlefield. They were, after all, comparable in size and cost to a large bomber; and a bomber could offer similar functionality with pin-point precision and not blow itself up in its first engagement. However, if the Delest had solved these problems - if they could reliably employ FTL missile strikes, then that could very well upset the very foundations of modern warfare. And if they could launch a strike like that against his own fleet...

No, his steel-trap of a mind whispered to him, and he grabbed the fear inside and squashed it like a bug. He was the Champion of Arc Victoria, a direct representative of the will of Their Majesties. He would not allow surprise or fear to dictate his actions, especially when that fear was clearly unfounded. If Dyatlov had the option of effectively employing this new weapon against CRF ships, then he wouldn't have bothered with offering surrender.

He would just have blown French and his ships out of the sky.

"Order!" he snarled, and was pleased to see his bridge crew snap to something approaching the discipline he expected of his officers. "Ms. Newark," he told his XO, not taking his eyes off Dyatlov's tired (was that a note of triumph?) face, "you will handle the incoming reports in a disciplined and controlled fashion and you will allow Praetor Dyatlov and me to continue our discussion."

"Aye, Sir," came the response; and French, with an effort of will, tuned everything else out. He brought Dyatlov's signal up into his own private screen and put on his personal headset. At this point, with his bridge crew otherwise occupied, he could handle these oh-so-sensitive negotiations without them looking over his shoulder.

"You have my full attention, Praetor Dyatlov," he said.

Dyatlov's tight, nervous bearing seemed to relax, just a bit - French could see the signs of a man running on fumes. He could, perhaps, make use of that, by drawing the negotiations out, if no agreement could be reached.

"Good," Dyatlov said, meeting French's gaze. "That is good to know. To save both of us time, allow me to lay down my proposed terms and we can settle on things in principle - or not. Details can be hammered out afterwards."

"This seems like a reasonable suggestion," French agreed. "Please, go ahead."

"I propose an immediate end of hostilities in Terconia, with the Dynasty forces admitting total defeat. As we have both acknowledged, there is little I can do to counter your now-crushing military superiority. The system itself and all surviving Delest military assets will remain under Delest control. In exchange, annual war reparations will be paid to New Brittania equal to the total net profit from all remaining orbital and asteroid industrial facilities in the system, for a period of six years. I propose bringing in independent Guild arbitrators to provide us with accurate assessments."

Dyatlov spoke in a well-rehearsed way and part of French's mind ticked his opinion of the man upwards a couple of notches - this was clearly something that the Delest officer had thought about and planned out and not something he had been driven to out of desperation. Most of his conscious thoughts, however, were doing cartwheels around the Praetor's proposal. French took note of his own greed, pushing him to ACCEPT ALREADY, because raking in what amounted to the profits from an entire system's worth of infrastructure without the usual overhead of maintenance, population support and administration costs (not to mention the delays necessary to occupy and refit the facilities for Britannian use) was a spectacular opportunity. And then he sat on that greed and ignored it, for there were considerable problems here as well.

"I see," he said. "In principle, that is an agreement that Arc Victoria could agree with, if only to avoid further bloodshed. However, it is still unclear to me why I should not just attack your forces here and then seize the system in its entirety. Despite your demonstrated capability to perform what I can only assume are targeted subspace strikes, that capability must be quite limited, or you would have employed it against my forces."

French was lying. He knew quite well why he could not afford to press Dyatlov; but he needed to ask the question, simply so he could respond to criticism of his actions back home.

"You are both correct and mistaken," Dyatlov responded with a tired nod. "I still have over fifty subspace missiles on standby, ready to be employed against designated targets. However, they are very expensive munitions, and even with the advanced targeting capabilities at my disposal, they are still highly inaccurate. I cannot justify expending them against mobile targets, or defended installations. And targeting your fleet here would certainly result in the destruction of my own forces from friendly fire incidents."

The Praetor allowed a thin smile to appear on his face for a fleeting moment.

"But, at this point in time, Sir Champion, neither the asteroid facilities in this system, nor the supply station you have established on the Starlance are defended to any meaningful degree. I have refrained from ordering my second strike, in the hopes that an agreement can be reached here and so as to preserve our equipment and the lives of our people. If we fail to reach an agreement, however, my next strike will target your modular shipyards near the starlance. I imagine five warheads will be quite sufficient. And after that, I will drop antimatter warheads onto every civilian orbital installation in the asteroid fields - most have been evacuated beforehand."

"After that I will target the Hōseki orbitals - take out the System Administration Starbases. And after that..."

A tired shrug.

"After that, I'll drop every warhead I have left on this location and blow us both up, along with the Sodesuka shipyards. Clear the board, as it were. I guarantee that Delest reinforcements will arrive in-theatre before CRF forces do, Sir Champion."

"You're mad," French said; and he realised it was true as he said it. Even allowing for a degree of...creative overestimation of the capabilities of the Delest weapon systems, that was a hellish scenario. "They would-" crucify you, he was about to say, and then he remembered that the Praetor had just threatened to commit suicide by antimatter warhead. "You are bluffing," he finally said, rather more weakly than he had wanted.

"My orders from His Imperial Majesty were to retain control of this system for the Dynasty," Dyatlov replied, in a resigned tone that made French's hair stand on end. "Not to preserve my forces, or the civilian infrastructure. Naturally, that would be ideal, but such concerns are secondary. This is a crèche world, Sir Champion, and it cannot be allowed to fall to you. The only way you're getting this system is, very literally, over my dead body and over those of the sailors under my command. And, if, by the end, you're still alive to claim it, it'll be a scorched wasteland, I guarantee you that."

"I understand," French said, and he did. The Delest concept of honour was diametrically opposed to that of the Britannians in many ways, but it existed and he knew better than to challenge a line drawn in the sand by a Delest officer. And, after all, he told himself, the finality in Dyatlov's statements was there for everyone to hear and impossible to deny. This was pure gold from French's perspective - because it limited his options to the very same negotiation route he was so eager to pursue himself.

"You must understand," he said, "that I am not, in principle, against your proposal. However, I have serious concerns regarding its viability. For one, you are a military commander, with minimal political authority; and yet, here you are, making promises on behalf of your government. Are you authorised to do that?"

"No," Dyatlov admitted, bluntly. "But I do not propose that the reparations should be paid by the Delest government. Instead, they will be paid by the local system authorities and, by extension, the Delest family Branches that hold the most sway over Terconia. As I have been repeatedly reminded since my arrival on the system, that would be the Hokke and Dragunov Branches. Such an arrangement would only require the approval of the system Governor, who is an appointed representative of said Branches; and most of my surviving light forces are currently in orbit over Hōseki...explaining to the kind Governor Bao Zhai the wisdom of signing such an arrangement."

"Under duress?" French scoffed. "The Branches in question would repudiate the agreement as soon as we pulled our forces back, out of Delest space - and your little coup here will certainly send you to the execution block. How can you guarantee that the agreement will be respected?"

"The Branches in question will not be allowed to repudiate the agreement," Dyatlov answered, and his voice held iron-clad certainty. "Not if the Governor signs. Not if this is presented as an official surrender. They will not be permitted to back out."

"By Vladimir Delest?" French asked, some contempt colouring his voice. It was no secret that the Delest Emperor could exert only minimal control over his strong satraps.

"By the other Branches," Dyatlov said, coldly, some steel creeping back into his tired stance. "This will be a windfall for them. The Dynasty is not as united as it once was, Sir Champion and there's little sense in pretending otherwise. Dragunov and Hokke are powerful players on the Dynasty stage, but they are...overambitious. They have made enemies and they are certainly not powerful enough to defy the other Branches, the Yonsakuren and the Imperial Guard. A chance to whittle down their power by draining their vaults, while simultaneously securing peace in the Terconia front for the upcoming years? The other Branches will jump at the opportunity and they'll make damn sure you'll get your money, Sir Champion. At gunpoint, if necessary."

"And nobody will dare question the surrender," Dyatlov continued. "As long as I am here and in command, I am the representative of my Emperor by direct appointment, and my word regarding military matters is final. What happens afterwards is inconsequential. They may strip me of my rank, put me up before a military court, even execute me and they most probably will; but if the agreement goes through, then it will be respected. The person of the commander may be punished for their perceived failings; but the orders they have given must be respected, or a very dangerous precedent is set. Especially since I have carried out my orders to the letter, and the Dynasty will still lay claim over this system."

His mouth quirked into a crooked smile. "Until the next scrap between our nations, at least," he said, "whenever that may be. But I suspect that will not be my concern."

French leaned back in his commander's chair, his mind awhirl with the possibilities. Pieces came together and click-click-clicked, as he considered the response such an agreement would receive back home.

Not a bad one, he decided.

True, there was little glory in beating your opponent's face in until they agreed to pay you Danegeld; but it was simply impossible to execute his orders and perform a full annexation of the system with the threat of subspace-strike weaponry and Dyatlov's scorched-earth policy looming over his forces. Instead, Dyatlov was giving him the resources New Britannia was sorely lacking, without the expected burden of fully annexing the system and displacing its population. Furthermore, the potential for internal destabilisation of the Dynasty in the aftermath was highly interesting. Divide and conquer: if the Delest descended into a small-scale civil war, that would weaken them considerably and buy Britannia precious time to focus on rebuilding her foundering wreck of an economy.

Slowly, thoughtfully, he nodded.

"Praetor Dyatlov, I can agree to your terms, in principle," he said. "I will accept your surrender and grant you and your forces parole, provided you do not leave this area; and we will wait here, for the arrival of the system Governor, to finalise our agreement. If that goes smoothly, then we can both consider this war ended."

The relief in the Delest officer's expression; the way his shoulders deflated into acceptance was palpable. "Thank you, Arc Champion French," he said, his voice almost cracking. "Thank you for not forcing my hand. I will stand down my forces and authorise no more subspace strikes, provided you keep your own forces here. I am sure we can arrange for medical assistance and emergency repairs in the shipyards, while we discuss the particulars."

French nodded graciously, "Of course."

He hesitated for a few heartbeats, not quite sure on how to proceeed; and then with a mental shrug he continued. "On a personal note, Praetor, may I say that you have given us a damn good fight. I still think you're a bloody madman, but you and your sailors, Sir, have my respect. May I ask - is Exarch Aretha among your prisoners?"

"Exarch-?" Dyatlov paled and French realised that he had not known. And, immediately after that, that Exarch Aretha Pegasus was dead and French was glad he was seated, because the implications of that... "Ah- no. No, Sir Champion, I regret to say that this is not the case. Her flagship - was lost with all hands."

It was the Delest Admiral's turn to hesitate. "I- I regret that we did not know. We have not had the time to debrief prisoners. Her presence here certainly explains why her forces fought with such determination and fervor. And why - why they, well, fell apart like they did after she was gone. But-"

A slight shrug. "-but even if we had known, Sir Champion, it would not have really mattered. She had to be dealt with. Beyond everything else, she was our target."

French was startled out of his feeling of looming dread and felt somewhat...insulted, "Truly? How so?"

Dyatlov's smile was rueful. "It's...difficult to explain. I never thought that I could win against you, Sir Champion. Not with the forces I had available. But I could delay, draw this out; and, if the situation turned desperate, I expected the two of us would be able to reach an honourable arrangement, like we did just now. You are unstoppable, methodical, careful, reasonable - and known to be so. But she..."

French could swear the Delest officer was almost apologetic. "As a...friend of mine said, when we had our first look at the intel from her forces, she had come 'to brawl and to destroy'; and her fleet was devoted to her, heart and soul. I could not afford that, Sir Champion. I could not permit a glory-seeker in this theatre. You knew her better than I: would she have agreed to our deal here, today?"

"No," French agreed, almost reluctantly. "Probably not. She would have sought a total victory, scorched earth be damned."

"I expected as much. And so, she had to be broken," Dyatlov said, matter-of-factly. "Brought down to insignificance, to being a non-factor, so I could speak to someone who would listen. All these ships and people and friends, gone, sacrificed, so we two could find ourselves here and now, and so I could earn the privilege of surrendering to you."

His smile was bitter. "Did you know? 'Fight-making', the Yonsakuren call it."


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 05, 2017, 09:36:50 am
My ISP is having some problems and my home line won't be serviced before Tuesday, so have the chapter now, while I still have an internet connection worth a damn.

Some point-of-view epilogue chapterettes still left, probably for next week.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on August 05, 2017, 11:40:52 am
Bravo good sir  :yes:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on August 05, 2017, 01:50:39 pm
Well now I know why you didn't want to reveal Dyatlov's terms.

Brilliant work. And I love this concept, another new one to me, of realising you cannot win, and yet sacrificing all this just to change who's sitting across from you at the negotiating table. It makes me think of the Germans who ran West in order to surrender to the allies rather than the Soviets. And so both parties achieved victory in their own way, and Dyatlov's actions make so much more sense.

I also thought that last line was brilliant. I'm looking forward to the epilogue, and am now intrigued what Aretha's death will mean for the CRF. French's reaction and even Dyatlov's suggest it's a massive deal.

Anyway, I want you to know I'm truly impressed with your work. I could read it all day.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: niffiwan on August 05, 2017, 06:42:59 pm
I must have missed this somewhere previously; what sort of rank is Exarch? It must be something much more senior that I was previously thinking.

Well done on the story; I loved it. Hopefully it can go into WoD as some sort of (nu)techroom room entry, maybe even form the basis of a player campaign. Thank you
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on August 05, 2017, 07:50:47 pm
I must have missed this somewhere previously; what sort of rank is Exarch? It must be something much more senior that I was previously thinking.
Quote
For the woman who had just stepped out of the shuttle with a gentle smile and immaculate Whites was Her Grace Aretha; High Lady of the Realm; Eighth Exarch of Renkin and current High Mistress under God and King of the House of Pegasus.
She was the leader of the entire Pegasus faction.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: niffiwan on August 05, 2017, 08:43:16 pm
thanks! And yeah... that's going to be just as interesting for the CRF as Dylatovs deal will be for the DD...
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 06, 2017, 09:00:50 am
Ohai, look at that, I haz internet.

Thank you all for the kind words!  :D

I also thought that last line was brilliant. I'm looking forward to the epilogue, and am now intrigued what Aretha's death will mean for the CRF. French's reaction and even Dyatlov's suggest it's a massive deal.

I must have missed this somewhere previously; what sort of rank is Exarch? It must be something much more senior that I was previously thinking.

New Britannia works in a sort of neo-feudalism, with elements of the Republic of Venice thrown in. Essentially, there are four major factions, always vying for power within the nation:

(https://s2.postimg.cc/fx7kb5il5/New_Brit.png)

The four Houses / factions are theoretically equals, with the King / Queen of Arc Victoria being primi inter pares (but very emphatically primi): they ascended to that position by uniting the NewBrits against Sol, some time in the past. The loyalty chain, theoretically goes King/Queen -> Your own House.

Pegasus is tricky, because they are the richest House, and the only House to have produced a NewBrit monarch in the past. There are...tensions with Arc Victoria, and loyalty with them is never as clear as it should be (there have been cases of Pegasus officers putting their House above their monarch).

And now the Exarch of Pegasus dies taking part in a Campaign led by the Champion of Arc Victoria. Under...not the best circumstances.

To put this into perspective for those less historically inclined, imagine what would happen today if the Queen of England had died leading part of an EU military force from the front, under the overall command of a German field marshal.

Disclaimer: the above are based on discussions I've had with Spoon and earlier material he had written and published on the forums (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=90005.msg1789029#msg1789029). If anything needs to be retconned, his word goes.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on August 06, 2017, 09:01:15 am
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed these weekly chapters, I have looked forwards to the weekly updates as much as my daughter waits for Twirlywoos episodes (which is a lot believe me  :rolleyes:)

As much as Dylatov is pessimistic about his future I would at least hope that his victory over Pegasus and his ability to keep the system in  Dynasty hands would be recognised for the great feats they were. Sure he has made bitter enemies of the Dragunov and Hokke but he will have the (perhaps grudging) gratitude of the emperor as well as powerful allies in the Yonsakuren. Maybe being pensioned off or exiled to the Yonsakuren (with all those cat ladies interested in some fight making genes) would not be unrealistic?

I would worry about his subordinates though, if Dylatov is indeed served up as a sacrifice to the aggrieved branches would his immediate subordinates follow? Not to mention the effect on the officers of the fleet dealing with the stigma of disgrace.
   
For French I can imagine Athena's death is going to make the political situation back home extremely interesting, he may be cursing her name for the rest of his career if Pegasus make a big deal of him refusing to rush to the rescue, regardless of the facts of the matter.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Gray113 on August 06, 2017, 09:05:24 am

To put this into perspective for those less historically inclined, imagine what would happen today if the Queen of England had died leading part of an EU military force from the front, under the overall command of a German field marshal.

That made me laugh, I would love to live in a world where that happened, just to hear the howls of outrage  :D
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 06, 2017, 09:11:12 am
Oh, of course I get a new response while writing. Hey Gray.

I would worry about his subordinates though, if Dylatov is indeed served up as a sacrifice to the aggrieved branches would his immediate subordinates follow? Not to mention the effect on the officers of the fleet dealing with the stigma of disgrace

I can answer only this, ATM. No, they would neither be prosecuted nor stigmatised (with the possible exception of the light forces commanders who did the 'explaining' of the situation to the Governor, and that really depands on how they went about doing that). Everyone else was following legal orders. The Branches would have...issues with the man giving the orders.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on August 06, 2017, 09:52:01 am
<Amazing picture>
<Words>

Disclaimer: the above are based on discussions I've had with Spoon and earlier material he had written and published on the forums (http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=90005.msg1789029#msg1789029). If anything needs to be retconned, his word goes.
Confirming this is all true

Well done on the story; I loved it. Hopefully it can go into WoD as some sort of (nu)techroom room entry, maybe even form the basis of a player campaign. Thank you
I actually ended up removing the extra scripted, journal part of the main menu (or to be more precise, asked Axem to do it). Because I had issues coming up with stuff to fill it with... (Unlike Enioch, I'm not much of a writer)
Good forward thinking on my end.

A campaign would defintely be interesting, but hey, I should probably focus on trying to get episode 2 out of the door sometime...
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 06, 2017, 11:59:41 am
A campaign would defintely be interesting, but hey, I should probably focus on trying to get episode 2 out of the door sometime...

Yes.

Yes you should, Spoon-senpai.

Anytime now.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: niffiwan on August 06, 2017, 04:51:29 pm
:lol:  Yes, episode 2 definitely has priority!  Maybe someone outside the core team could try it  ;7
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: xenocartographer on August 06, 2017, 05:34:14 pm
I'm pretty swamped rn (mjn if you're reading this I'm scripting rn, don't execute me), but if no one's gotten to it in a month or two, I could try my hand.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 11, 2017, 09:49:22 am
Again: apologies, but I'm both swamped and burnt out for this week. There are some emotional scenes coming up, and I want to do them justice, so no epilogue this week; but, hopefully, I will be able to give you all three chapterettes next W/E.

Also, having guests over every day makes my head feel like dry cotton.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on August 11, 2017, 01:26:34 pm
Thanks for letting us know.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on August 11, 2017, 03:45:37 pm
ゆっくりしていって
Title: Aftermath 1: New Britannia
Post by: Enioch on August 19, 2017, 02:29:24 pm
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His Grace, Callum, Exarch Consort -Exarch Regent he corrected himself- of Pegasus (and father to the little, fragile ball of misery currently rolled up in her bedclothes) softly closed the door behind him.

"Deness?" he said, noting, with a note of detached surprise, how calm and even his voice was.

There was no reply. Callum, his own grief a still-nebulous, distant thing, couldn't help but marvel at the stillness of the room, the stuffiness (for lack of a better word) of the atmosphere, which contrasted sharply with the bright light streaming in from the large windows.

"Angel?" he tried again, moving closer to his daughter's bed and sitting down on its edge. He reached out; but the lump of blankets and sheets moved away, avoiding his touch.

"Leave me alone, Papa," she said, her voice muffled, and Callum winced. There was no note of whining or complaining in Deness' voice, only raw pain and his own feelings couldn't help but rear their ugly, ugly heads in sympathetic response.

"I can't, darling," he said, sadly. "Come, come out, let us have a look at you, yes?"

"No." Again, pleading, not complaining; and breaking his heart in the process.

Callum took a deep breath; and he took his boiling anger and fury, and pain, and grief, and choked them down. He took another breath; and he reminded himself how much he loved his daughter, and how much he had loved his wife and he embraced that, reaching out again.

"Darling," he said, "please. I know it's selfish of me to ask, but I need you, right now. I need you with me, close to me, more than ever. And I think-"

A pause; to think and take everything in, and to note that the little bundle of bedsheets was very still, now, listening attentively.

"-I think you need me too. I think that it'll do the both of us only good to be...well, anywhere but here, alone. I think your mother would agree, too. So, I can't just walk out of here. Come out, Angel, please."

A moment of indecision; and then the ball uncurled, and unfurled. Deness emerged, blinking tear-filled eyes, her auburn hair (so much like her mother's, Callum noted, with a heart-wrenching pang of grief) a tangled, messy halo around her face.

She did not meet Callum's eyes for long. Instead, she shuffled closer to him, a picture of pathetic despondency, and wrapped her arms around his waist, drawing herself into a close hug and laying her head onto his chest. Callum wasted no time in returning the hug and placing a soft kiss on the crown of her head.

"It's too much, Papa," she mumbled. "It doesn't...doesn't make sense."

Callum nodded, fingers softly patting down her hair. "It doesn't, Darling. I know. It's hard to believe, in the first place. That she isn't coming back."

"It's like a bad dream," Deness said. "I want to wake up, so bad."

"I know," Callum agreed. "I feel the same. It feels like the world has changed so much, in an instant, and it's so hard to keep up. And you feel...wrong, left behind, and lost, yes?"

There was frantic nodding, and a muffled sob, as Deness shifted position into a more comfortable leaning hug. "Numb," she said. "I feel bad, but...it's so far away. It doesn't hurt like in the stories. I don't want to..." she shrugged "...to break things, or scream. It just...feels fake, Papa, like the whole world is...not all here, anymore."

She pushed back against him, looking up at him. "Is that wrong? Is there something wrong with me? I should be more sad, Papa. This should be more painful."

"No," Callum said, firmly, cutting that poison, that black, horrible thing that had somehow slithered into his daughter's mind and out of her mouth at the root. "No, no, no, darling, never think that. No, there will be pain and sadness, in the days to come, I promise you that. Once we catch up with the world, once we truly understand what happened. Once we wake up from this nightmare. And it will stay with us, for a long time. But -listen to me, now- never think that you somehow...owe your mother grief or pain, or that there's something wrong with how you deal with this loss. Can you imagine how it would break her heart if she knew?"

A deep breath.

"She and I have always wanted you to be happy, and content. Things did not go the way we planned, but I will not let you tear yourself apart or doubt yourself because of this."

There were a few heartbeats of silence, which, if not comfortable, were underlined by less dejection than before. Callum could see that Deness had not been completely convinced, but she seemed accepting for now, as she returned into his hug.
 
"Papa?" she finally asked, her voice still unsure. "What happens now?"

Callum sighed. "For now, darling, we pick ourselves up, as a family, first. There are things that need to happen, including a big funeral, for Aretha, with big words about glory and country and sacrifice," and with an empty coffin, he thought, feeling his grief and hate coil up again, at the thought that the Delest hadn't even left him with a body to mourn, "but we can handle those, together, I think. Eh?"

Deness nodded, hesitantly.

"And then, we'll take a short break. Go to your grandparents, for a few days, to let our minds and hearts settle, yes? And then, we'll need to come back, and there's going to be a big ceremony again, and you'll be named Exarch."

Deness tensed up, like a taut bowstring, and pulled back, shaking her head. "No, Papa! That's - Mama is Exarch, I don't-"

"No," Callum said, softly, but firmly. "Your mother was the Exarch, Deness. That's you now."

"But-"

"I will be here," Callum continued, firmly. "Do not worry, you are not expected to learn to run the entire Exarchate overnight. I will be your regent, Angel, and I will be with you every step of the way, until you grow up and into your inheritance. But the Exarchate -your people, now, Deness- needs an Exarch, to love and rally behind."

He kissed her forehead, again, above her wide eyes, and smiled. "I must say, darling, I believe you will make a magnificent Exarch. And I know that, if your mother were here, she would feel the same way. Stay strong, Deness Pegasus, Ninth Exarch of Renkin. High Mistress under God and King of the House of Pegasus."

"Stay strong, my love - and you'll make us all proud, I promise."



"Your Majesties."

Arc Champion Julius French bowed deeply over the proffered hand of his Queen; and then, accepting the command to take a seat with graceful gratitude, slid into the indicated armchair with a minimum of fuss.

He was resplendent in his dress whites for the occasion, of course; and, he had to admit, he was more than a little nervous. So far, the Palace had staunchily supported him through the inevitable criticism the Terconia deal had sparked amongst the House of Lords, not to mention Pegasus. And yet, only a few weeks into this new, restless peace that he had brought forth, French could not shake the feeling that he was walking a very thin line. His study of the after-action reports and the memorandums he had circulated for what he considered necessary fleet upgrades (not to mention doctrinal reforms for the Fleet, reforms that the war had shown were urgently required) were sure to have ruffled many feathers; the peace he had negotiated had been decried as being dishonourable; and the hawkish elements in the House of Lords were asking for a resumption of the war against the Delest.

Of course, not everything was doom and gloom. His friends in high places (and he had a significant number of those) had understood the necessity of the arrangement he had been forced to conclude with the Delest; and the Guild debt-holders were  reluctantly (but with no official objections) already accepting the first Britannian payments. Payments which chipped a significant portion away from the crippling debts that the Guilders had spent decades cultivating in the Britannian economy. French was confident that, in fifteen or twenty years, what he had achieved in Terconia would be lauded in the history books as the peace which helped New Britannia stand back up on its own two feet.

For now, however, he was all too aware that he was not particularly loved amongst the Britannian political scene. And that it would be very easy indeed for his King and Queen to cut him loose and satisfy the circling sharks. So, it was with hope, but some degree of trepidation as well, that he waited for his King and Queen to address him - and either throw him to the wolves or send him back to work.

"Arc Champion," Queen Michelle said from her own seat, her voice tinged with a note of amusement, "Welcome. We apologise for the short notice, but there are some things We need to discuss in private as early as possible."

"Of course, Your Majesty," French said, his back ramrod straight. "I am at your service, as always."

His eyes found the rotund form of the fourth person in the room, Brigadier Clarice Sinclair, of Military Intelligence, in a silent interrogatory. French knew her by reputation only, as a capable but unambitious analyst, fanatically loyal to the Royal House and His Majesty in particular.

"The Brigadier is in possession of the information We wanted to discuss," King Rhys said, placing a trusting hand on the shoulder of the woman. "In fact, it was her agents that first brought this matter to our attention. Do not worry, Sir Champion; everything We say will stay within the walls of this room."

"Now," Queen Michelle said, "before anything else, let me say -let Us say- Sir Champion," a sideways look at her husband "that We are pleased, quite pleased indeed with the agreement you have brokered with the Delest. We are aware that your actions have received some criticism by the more...ill-advised members of the House of Lords and their clients; but, rest assured, Sir Champion, that you have Our full support and gratitude."

"A damn good show, Sir," King Rhys agreed. "The Delest are feuding like rabid dogs but they're still paying what has been agreed and the Guilds have been a damn sight more accommodating, lately. Not to mention...well, as God is my witness, it was a tragedy what happened to Exarch Aretha, really, but we can stand to live without her constant opposition in the House. A damn good show, indeed. You will not find Us ungrateful, I can tell you that!"

"...Quite," the Queen said, a hint of exasperation in her voice. "That said, Sir Champion, there are some things that cause Us concern. Namely-" she picked up a dataslate from the polished table between them, "-your recommendations for a reform of our fleet, as well as your preliminary statements regarding the Pegasus contribution to the war."

French nodded sharply and assumed as attentive a stance as possible; there was little to be said on his end. Here comes what pain Their Majesties see fit to dispense upon me.

"Let us start with the Pegasus matter first," the Queen began. "Your after-action reports are highly critical of Exarch Aretha's actions, especially with regards to her insistant pursuit of a decisive battle. While your arguments are valid, We would ask that you...refrain from such statements in the future."

"Yes," King Rhys agreed, his voice rumbling. "Pegasus may be difficult to deal with in the best of times, but now they're a hornets' nest. We know that you acted to the benefit of New Britannia, but they don't see it that way. Damn unreasonable, but we must oblige them."

"I have only reported the events as they transpired, Your Majesties," French objected.

"And we do not criticise you for that, Sir!" the King said. "It is your duty, after all. But you've also included your personal commentary on your reports; and you haven't been shy in defending your forces and yourself from criticism by pointing out the failings of the Exarch. That needs to stop, Sir. You have reported what happened; now let the diplomats and politicians handle the aftermath, or we're going to have Pegasus in outright mutiny within the year. If you are asked about Terconia from now on, Sir, We expect you to give no comment, until instructed otherwise."

French nodded, reluctantly. It was an understandable order, even though it meant that his fleet's honour might come to be tarnished in the upcoming days. The Delest had fallen into disarray, after the conclusion of the Terconia Peace; if New Britannia was to capitalise on that, she would need to stand together, and further fuelling the Arc Victoria - Pegasus divide would help no-one. If the absurd death of the Pegasus fleet had to be glorified into some sort of epic sacrifice for the benefit of that unity, then he could hold his tongue with very few pangs of conscience. "As you wish, Your Majesties."

"Capital!" the King said. "Now, onto the second matter. These...recommendations, that have been circulating in the Admiralty. And these requests for increased funding. Sir Champion...this must cease. At least for now. We do not have the resources to dedicate to such a massive undertaking at this point; the Delest war reparations are channeled almost entirely into the civilian economy."

"Your Majesty!" French protested, aghast. "If there is one thing we must gain from Terconia, it is that our old tactics are no longer effective. With the Delest now capable of employing effective subspace munitions, we must evolve and adapt, or die."

"Yes...about those subspace munitions." Queen Michelle motioned to Brigadier Sinclair, who produced a thin briefcase and slid it onto the table, towards French. "Military Intelligence has scored a considerable success."

"We had been working on this for some time, but only recently did my analysts manage to piece the various bits of information together,"  Sinclair said, her voice deep and throaty like rich syrup. "Your victory, Sir Champion, and the access it provided to Delest facilities for the more...adventurous of my agents certainly helped."

At her gestured prompting, French opened the briefcase, revealing a stack of flash-paper records (the best kind of carbon records for the suspicious spy), memos and what seemed like scans or photographs of partial design documents or blueprints.

"You will find that we have managed to, essentially, track the development of the Delest subspace missile program from its earliest phases, five or six years ago, to its recent conclusion, almost a year ago."

French was leafing through the papers, but raised his head in alarm. "The Delest have had effective subspace munitions for over a year, and this is the first we are hearing about that?" he asked, pale and incredulous.

"For a given value of 'having'," Sinclair said. "Their prototypes, apparently, were completed eighteen months ago. Fourteen Mark I copies of what they called the Dlinnoye Kop'ye torpedo."

"God help us," French breathed, "What is their effective range? Their warhead? Have they entered mass production yet? Your Majesties, I need to show this to my boffins, they might be able-"

"Sir Champion!" the Queen interrupted him, with a thin smile and a raised hand, "Peace! What the Brigadier is trying to say, is that there is a good reason we hadn't heard about this project."

"Indeed," Sinclair said. "After testing -testing that resulted in the expenditure of two of the torpedoes against stationary and moving targets- it was determined by the Delest evaluation bureau that the weapons were not practical. They were too expensive and inaccurate, for something whose purpose could easily and more consistently be achieved by a subspace-capable bomber wing. No more torpedoes were produced; the remaining prototypes were placed in long-term storage in the Paru fortress moon. They put the project on ice, Sir Champion, and never picked it up again."

"But that's impos-" French snapped, and then his mind click-click-clicked the pieces together, counting and realising. His heart raced. "That's-that-imp-p-"

Click-click-click, his mind went and he felt ill as realisation settled in. There had never been fifty subspace missiles, waiting to smash his conquests to oblivion.

"Sir Champion?" the Queen was saying, leaning forward, with a kind smile. "Nobody is blaming you for being deceived. There was no way to know for certain that Dyatlov was bluffing."

French's vision had gone red with impotent rage and frustration; the papers crumpled in his clenched fists and there was a rushing in his ears-

"Indeed," Sinclair was saying, her deep voice echoing in French's ears like distant mocking laughter, "and, given your assigned goals all of my analyst agree that your final decis-"

And then she screamed, pulling back in alarm, as the Arc Champion collapsed, insensate, his limp body smashing the flimsy table before him into splinters.


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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 19, 2017, 02:36:01 pm
Two epiloguettes for the New Britannian side of things.

Tune in next week for a view of the aftermath from the Delest side of things.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on August 19, 2017, 03:56:09 pm
Nneat. Wonder what sort of gruesome method will be used for Dylatov's execution  :drevil:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 19, 2017, 04:11:21 pm
Give him to the Yonsakuren! :drevil:

Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 20, 2017, 11:55:11 am
(Sorry for the double post)

One thing that I wanted to ask for was your thoughts and comments on the first epiloguette. Spoon started sending me tear-soaked messages (:p), but I would love to invite comments on that - and speculation on how things might develop in the NewBrit side of things.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on August 20, 2017, 12:31:02 pm
(http://i.imgur.com/mxKQ2z7.jpg)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 20, 2017, 12:33:48 pm
Yes, pretty much exactly like that.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Admiral MS on August 20, 2017, 01:05:41 pm
Haha, I didn't see that coming. Always expected Dylatov to have at least a large fraction of those 50 torpedoes ready to use. Guess he is really good at bluffing :drevil:

Now I expect French to die of a heart attack cause that is for everyones benefit. Obivously orchestrated by mixing some bad stuff into his food, courtesy of Sinclairs intelligence people and everyone was just fooling him with their friendlyness. Oh well, probably my view on the evil Britannians through those rose tinted Delest glasses is kinda skewed...  :lol:

Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: QuakeIV on August 21, 2017, 06:41:14 am
I assume he is just salty that they didn't warn him about the lack of torpedoes.  I mean, he is a fairly high ranking military dude, its not like there is any chance of the information spreading out from him and compromising some of their intel assets.  It should be perfectly safe.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 21, 2017, 08:24:02 am
Just a small heart attack. He is in his seventies, after all, and he's just had a very rough time followed by a very nasty revelation.

Nothing that FUTURE MEDICINE! can't easily handle, though. He'll be alright and leading the CRF for (some) years to come.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on August 21, 2017, 12:28:15 pm
FUTURE MEDICAL SCIENCE has also expanded the human lifespan by quite a few years, French easily has 20 more years of military life ahead of him, if he so wishes.
Title: Aftermath 2: Her Imperial Majesty
Post by: Enioch on August 26, 2017, 04:17:01 pm
Leytenant Ilarion Bezrodny could not decide how he felt. On the one hand, he had been entrusted with the transportation of a Praetor to his court martial, something that, to his knowledge, had never happened before in this generation. He was aware that The Man Who Would Burn Terconia had proven himself an enemy to the Dragunovs, the Delest Branch that Bezrodny owed allegience to. And he knew that, if everything went well, this operation could kickstart his career and elevate him in the eyes of his superiors.

Everything had been planned to the utmost detail; security had been tightened for the transportation and the flight plan was classified, known only to the highest-ranking personnel. He only had to not screw up.

On the other hand, Bezrodny had been entrusted with the transportation of a Praetor to his court martial, and, if things went wrong somehow, it was likely to mark his career forever. The thought was sobering and enough to send cold shivers down his spine.

As his small prisoner transport vessel prepared for the cross-system jump from the Yenisei starlance exit to the Ural starlance entrance, he spared a glance towards the prisoner observation screen, on a secondary console. Praetor Dyatlov was seated on his bunk, in the brig, under close observation by two Imperial Guardsmen. He looked small, for lack of a better word, Bezrodny thought; weary. But not nervous.

What was he thinking? Bezrodny couldn't help but wonder. Does he truly realise what will happen to him? What possessed him to do what he did?

"Sir, System Control has just confirmed our flight plan," his pilot said, drawing him back to the job at hand. "Coordinates plugged in and ready; our cross-system ETA will be just under thirty-five minutes."

"Understood," Bezrodny said, tapping in his codes for the jump drive cycle. "Proceed when ready."

Thirty-five minutes to the Starlance; then, perhaps an hour for the interstellar flight. And then, another three grueling hours ahead of them, across two more starlances, for the slog to Ihefulian.

It came as a distinctly unwelcome surprise to Bezrodny when, seven minutes into the subspace flight, his vessel's jump drive, without any warning or prompting by the pilot, decided to poke a hole in the etheric dimensional barriers and catapult them arse-over-teakettle back out into realspace.



Bezrodny came to, slowly picking himself up from the cold metal floor of the spacious cockpit area. His head hurt and his senses were still protesting, scrambled from what amounted to an emergency subspace crash transition. He could see only blurrily; and it took a conscious effort to identify the sounds emanating from the ship's comms console as human words.

"...ordered to power down shields and engines and prepared to be boarded. Any resistance will be met with lethal force. Any attempt to use your subspace transmitters will be met with lethal force. Please acknowledge, on a sublight frequency. Prisoner transport DPT-3561, this is the YCS Pamyat Chesti. You are ordered to power down shields and engines and prepared to be boarded. Any resistance..."

Bezrodny clawed himself back onto the forward console, still barely registering the meaning of what he was hearing, and raised his eyes to the viewscreens. He blinked for a few seconds, still trying to interpret the blinding, blurred image that somehow did not make sense; and then things snapped into terrifying focus.

His ship was orbiting high above the burnt-out surface of a rocky world; one of the fire-bathed inner planets of the Yenisei system. The star itself was a ball of nuclear fury, oh-so-close, and filling half of the horizon.

He was not alone. Far in the distance, not near enough for his blurry sight to make out properly, was a vague tracery of glinting silver, something like a vast spider's web, reflecting the red fire of Yenisei. And far closer, silhouetted in burnt-out black against the glare of the sun, its shadow falling dark onto Bezrodny's prisoner transport, was a Grazhdanin cruiser.

Bezrodny's addled mind gaped and hiccuped at the looming threat. Under any other circumstances, he may have made the right decision. But now, as his pilot groaned, slowly regaining consciousness, and the warship crept closer, he could only think of one thing.

They're here for Dyatlov. They're here to disappear him. And all witnesses.

He staggered to the comms console. He needed to get word out - let System Control know - ask for help. Frantically, he called up the frequencies for a general distress signal; and depressed the prominent panic button at the side of the console.

Ten seconds later, a graviton lance from the cruiser sliced through the shields of the transport like tissue paper and sharply sheared off the cockpit from the rest of the ship, vaporising everything ahead of the most forward bulkhead with clean, almost surgical precision.



Dyatlov pulled himself out of blissful unconsciousness and into painful awareness with a jolt. Whatever that had been - that stomach-churning, pressure-building lurch that had pulled his mind and body in five different directions, it had passed; but it had left its mark on him. He realised that he was face-down on the floor; and his first attempt to pull himself up into all fours left him gagging and throwing up in a massive heave. Thankfully, he somehow managed to not overbalance and slip back into his own filth.

Carefully, slowly, he shuffled backwards, finally resting his back against the wall of his cell and taking stock of the situation.

The ship was in trouble - that much he could immediately discern. The lights had dimmed into the dull red of emergency power; and even that was flickering intermittently. The hum of the engines was dead; and it was immediately clear to him, thanks to the minute changes in the signals his inner ear sent to his brain, that the ship had lost its inertia dampeners and was in realspace, in a slow roll. Thankfully, internal gravitics and life-support still seemed to be operational; and he could hear or feel no atmosphere leaks.

The two Imperial Guards outside were in worse condition - hardly surprising for ground-pounders, who had limited experience with subspace mishaps and crash translations. One was out cold; the other was only just moaning himself back to the land of the living.

Aaaaand yes, there was the vomit comet, as expected.

"Gaaaaah," the Guardsman croaked, "what the Hell?"

"Listen to me," Dyatlov said, urgently, leaning against the cell bars. "That was an emergency translation. The ship is in trouble. You need to-"

He paused, as the Guardsman scrambled for his rifle.

"Shut up. Prisoner will be quiet."

Dyatlov looked at him, incredulously. "Are you serious? In the Emperor's name, we're drifting, dead in space. You need to check with the pil-"

"Prisoner will be quiet!" the Guardsman cried and moved forward.

Thankfully, Dyatlov's mind distantly noted, as the rifle butt smashed into his hands, he's not stupid or addled enough to discharge a plasma weapon in here.

And then the pain hit like a hammer, and the Praetor fell back with a cry of pain, cradling his broken fingers, as the Guardsman gave a huff of approval and moved to assist his comrade.



It took more than a couple of minutes for Dyatlov to sullenly convince himself to disregard the agonising, throbbing pain and get back on his feet; just enough for the other Guardsman to have reached at least a semblance of alertness. When the Praetor dared approach his cell door again, it was to see the Guards trying (and failing) to access the forward compartments and the cockpit entrance.

"Why the hell is this not opening?" the woman said, as Dyatlov got his first good view of what had stumped their progress: the access keypad near the door.

"Vacuum alert," he said, his stomach sinking.

The man turned around, hefting his rifle again, "I thought I told you to be quiet!"

"Look at the bloody keypad, man!" Dyatlov cried, a note of exasperated authority creeping back into his voice. "Three lit red indicators in the upper left corner. Vacuum alert. The door is not opening because there's empty space on the other end of it. Whatever's happened to the ship has vented the forward compartments. Pilot's dead."

That stopped them on their tracks, Dyatlov noted with some satisfaction.

"We can probably figure out what happened from the engineering section," Dyatlov said. "On these tubs, access is at the rear, under the red grates."

The female Guard made to say something - and then the ship shook, sharply, its slow roll coming to an abrupt halt. Dyatlov, his arms wrapped around the bars of his cell door, staggered; the Guards nearly lost their balance, but recovered quickly, bringing their rifles to high port.

There was a clank from the front of the ship, the sound of metal-on-metal. And then, a faint hiss; and the three red lights on the keypad winked out.

Dyatlov, recognising what was about to happen, ducked as far back from the door as he could; the two Guards, on the other hand, were not Navy and did not have his reflexes or training. And Dyatlov did not have the time nor presence of mind to warn them.

The bulkhead door did not explode inwards so much as it decided to leave its fittings, accellerating from standing to a very appreciable clip of speed, catapulting metal shrapnel and the wreck of its hinges and locks throughout the brig. It hit the male Guard, spun him around like a toy, possibly breaking every bone down the right side of his body; and then clanked to a stop against the aft bulkhead.

The second Guard screamed defiance and shot through the empty doorway, once, twice, the plasma burning lines of fire in the air and dust; and then a figure blurred through the door, low and fast, under the shots, like an animal. It closed the range in an instant, raising an arm, to catch a plasma burst on its armored gauntlet and following up the motion by grabbing the red-hot rifle muzzle and pushing it up; and then the other hand snaked around the neck of the Guard and twisted making use of speed and momentum.

There was a sharp crack, followed by a wet squelch, and the head of the Guard popped off like a soda bottle cap, thunking and rolling on the floor like a grotesque football.

The killer did not stop moving or slow down. They were still holding the plasma rifle of the dead Guard; now they spun it around one-handed, to lay its stock upon their own shoulder, and fired one, two, three pinpoint-accurate shots into the body of her fallen comrade. The man twitched, and fell still, holes the size of fists punched through his armor by the point-blank shots.

And then, less than five heartbeats after its dramatic entry, the figure was still.

"Praetor Ishiro Dyatlov?" she asked - and it was a she, Dyatlov realised, now that his eyes could actually track her. Very obviously a she, going by voice and...body type, and dressed in heavy black-and-white Yonsakuren armor, with a dark combat helmet obscuring most of her face.

"Yes," he croaked. There was nothing to gain by lying, at this point. If she wished to kill him, there was little he could do to prevent it.

"Good," she commented, drily, and stepped closer to the cell door, grabbing a hold of the bars. "The alarms have been raised. There are potentially hostile forces inbound. We do not have the time to hack the secure locks, Praetor. Step back."

Feet spread out, and heavy soles gripped the metal floor; back and shoulders and arms and muscles like steel wire bunched up and flexed. And metal -solid bars of steel almost two-thirds of an inch thick- groaned and bent like wire, transverse bars snapping like twigs, bits of steel corkscrewing and pinging off all over the room.

The woman -the Yonsakuren- backed off, with a huff. "There is enough space for you to step out now, Praetor," she said. "Please proceed to the exit. Rapidly, if you please."



Dyatlov looked at the airlock viewscreen, as the boarding tube retracted and the ship pulled away from the wreck. A few hundred metres away from her, the cruiser's guns fired, a short burst; and what was left of the transport disintegrated in a flash, its small core going up.

"Is this a rescue of sorts?" he bleakly asked, still wrapped in the thermal blanket that the silently staring Yonsakuren around him had been kind enough (was it kindness?) to provide.

"No," the woman replied. "You are being recruited, Praetor."

For the first time she removed her helmet. She was old, for a Yonsakuren, with streaks of gray in her hair; but her face and body still looked stunningly youthful, as was usually the case with the Yonnies. Not to mention, Dyatlov had seen her move.

"I am Vladlena Yonsakuren," she said, cooly, pinning him with her gaze. "My role is that of Chief Boarding Officer on this ship, which is the Pamyat Chesti. These are the Yonsakuren under my command - the boarding warriors. Normally, they would have been tasked with extracting you. But I decided that it was not for cubs like these to perform such an important mission. It was not a good fight, but mistakes would not have been tolerated. And you deserved the honour of my personal involvement. And I desired the honour of extracting you myself. Do you understand?"

"I do," Dyatlov replied. "I am grateful for your help."

"Your gratitude is insufficient to repay the debt that the Clan owes you," Vladlena stated, her voice still cool. "My son and the daughter of my gene-brother served under you in Terconia. Personally, as a member of their family, I still owe you her life and his good death; as for the Clan's gratitude, it is greater still and likely to grow even more, now that we have recruited you and that we will be fighting together. That is something that I greatly look forward to."

"Chief-" Dyatlov hesitated, "Chief Boarding Officer, I fear that I am lacking important information. I am grateful for your help; but I don't know what you expect of me, nor why you would endanger yourselves in this...operation. Which, by the way, seems entirely and utterly illegal to me. Borderline treasonous, some might say."

The Yonsakuren laughed all around him - a low amused rumble, that crept up and down Dyatlov's spine.

"Treason implies the breaking of bonds of loyalty," Vladlena said drily. "And loyalty goes both ways. It is not us who broke these bonds and our honour remains unstained."

For the first time, a thin smile crept onto the face of the woman. "There are some who might disagree, of course. But we have decided that their opinion is irrelevant. We are Yonsakuren, after all."



Dyatlov always pictured treason being discussed in dark rooms, with shady figures skulking and hissing poisoned words from the shadows. This was - surprisingly pleasant and tame, in comparison.

There were three more people physically present in the bright room he had been led to, which seemed to be a conference hall of sorts, near the Pamyat Chesti's bridge. One was the commanding officer of the ship, a Yonsakuren Elder of advanced years, who had introduced herself as Arurior Nadyia Yonsakuren, with a handshake that had nearly broken the fingers of Dyatlov's other hand as well. The second was a corpulent and jovial man of middle age, who had introduced himself as Li Bai Kohakuren Delest, the distant cousin and self-proclaimed senechal of some minor princess of the Imperial Line, whom Dyatlov had barely heard about in the past. And, perhaps more importantly, and to his jaw-dropping surprise, the third person was Lady Imube herself, quick to grace him with a gentle smile and a kind word of welcome when he first entered.

There were other people attending, just not physically. Dyatlov was, again, pleasantly surprised to see Ter-Iio Akiyama teleconferencing in from Orakul, which was piggybacking on the Pamyat subspace tunnel on their way to the Ural Starlance. Apparently, the Orakul had been used to scramble the navigation systems of the prisoner transport, allowing its interception by the Pamyat. It was gratifying to see that Akiyama looked happy to see him as well. And then, there were two more Admirals teleconferencing in from out-of-system, their signals heavily encrypted and degraded, but still recognisable as belonging to the commanding officers of the 1st and 3rd Frontier Fleets.

"It is good to have you here, Praetor," Li Bai led the conversation, after refreshments had been served, by a teenage Yonsakuren attendant. "I must admit, that Her Highness disapproved most vocally when she heard about your arrest and imminent execution."

"I-" have not even been court-martialled yet, Dyatlov was about to say, when he realised the folly of that statement. "I appreciate Her Highness' concern, Sir, but I do not recall having ever met Her, or to have acted in her interests."

"True," Li Bai agreed, with a wry smile, "but you are a celebrity, Praetor. Cast in a negative light, of course - but not without friends in high places. Lady Imube enjoys Her Higness' full confidence, and she sang your praises at every opportunity."

Dyatlov glanced at the noblewoman, his eyes full of gratitude; she met them with amusement and a kind smile. "Thank you, My Lady."

"It was my pleasure, Praetor," she replied. "I do not pretend to be knowledgeable in military matters, but I can recognise resourcefulness when I see it. You have strived against overwhelming odds in the defense of your country, to considerable success; and this is the kind of ruthless resourcefulness that we will need in the days to come, to be honest."

"Indeed!" Li Bai nodded, seriously. "For the Dynasty stands at the precipice of disaster, unlike any it has seen before. And we must take a stand now, or fall with it."

"My Lords and Ladies," Dyatlov said, his voice tired and his body aching. "I am sorry, but I do not understand. An hour ago, I was being taken to be-" executed "-court-martialed. I have been held incommunicado for weeks. I thank you for saving my life but, if I am to repay you, then I ask you to be less cryptic, and assume I know nothing of what has been going on. With all due respect, that is."

"Very well. Dragunov and Hokke have signed a secret alliance," Li Bai said, his voice businesslike and to the point, his words striking Dyatlov like a physical blow. "They are planning to overthrow the Emperor and place Fyodor Dragunov Delest on the throne, with Nozomi Hokke Delest as Empress Consort. The Voloy and Akagi Branches are considering a similar arrangement, to counter them. Kobe is likewise declared against them. Kobe are standing alone, but are no less dangerous, thanks to their backdoor dealings with the Guilds. All in all, we are looking at a Civil War involving at least six of the thirteen Branches, with another four currently vaccilating at the precipice."

"Open rebellion against the Emperor?" Dyatlov's jaw dropped. For a natural-born, the idea was close to unthinkable; he knew that, for the majority of the vat-born, it literally was unthinkable.

"Infighting - and open rebellion against Vladimir Yama Delest," Li Bai said, with a quirky smile. The way he had stressed the name hinted towards something important. "I see that you do not really understand how loyalty to the Delest Dynasty works, Praetor, do you?"

"I-" Dyatlov was at a loss of words. Loyalty was loyalty; as it had been drilled into him since his childhood years. You should not betray - you did not betray the Dynasty, or the Emperor. It was that simple.

"This loyalty, this ingrained obeisance," Li Bai said, still smiling, "it's not magic, Praetor. It is weaved in, genetically, in the Delest and in his subject. It is a trait. Like the queen bee affects the swarm, so does the Delest of the Blood affect the vat-grown. Putting someone with the Gift on the queen bee's chamber, on the Throne, helps them - it is an advantage. A significant advantage. It is not easy or intuitive, even amongst natural-borns to challenge an accepted leader, after all. But-"

"-but if their Gift is weak," Lady Imube cut in, "if the Blood is not strong in them, then others can capitalise on their weakness. Then other queens can start carving off parts of the Hive for themselves. STAND AT ATTENTION IN MY PRESENCE."

Dyatlov was not vat born -knew he was not- and yet his knees jerked in response to the harmonics of HER voice. Li Bai winced. And Ter-Iio Akiyama's hologram jumped up in ramrod-perfect attention.

The Yonsakuren did not move a muscle.

"Hm," Lady Imube said, "Not vat-grown yourself, Praetor, but definitely someone in your family tree. Grandparents, perhaps? Sit down, Ter-Iio Akiyama, please."

Dyatlov nodded, pale and shaken.

"Vladimir Yama Delest is a tired, old man," Lady Imube said, her voice cold, "and his Gift is waning. It is, after all, largely a matter of focus and projection; and he has lost what little of those he had, wasting away, trying to juggle his courtiers and the schemes of the various Branches. The Branches will undermine a weak ruler and they will gravitate towards a strong one as a matter of course; and Vladimir has allowed himself to grow weak."

The last word was spoken in clear condemnatory tone, as if it were a disgusting character trait, or an outright crime.

"To the Delest of the Blood, that much is instinctively obvious," Li Bai said, gently. "If that weren't the case, a civil war such as the one currently brewing would be unthinkable. The conditions that led us here would have been unthinkable."

"This is also clear to us," Nadyia Yonsakuren cut in, her voice steel and iron. "The Yonsakuren respect leaders who will lead, uncompromising. Fight-makers. Benders-of-Will-of-Others. Like yourself, Praetor Dyatlov. You are the Man Who Would Burn Terconia, to keep her from falling to the enemy. And, for your faithful service, Vladimir Yama Delest throws you to the wolves. This is travesty. This is abomination. You are battle-friend to the Clan. The memory of Ermolai speaks your name with pride and the Clan echoes it. And if Vladimir Yama Delest-" the name was spat out "-expects to have your blood, to appease the baying scavengers, then he has trampled the Pledge of Uuni in the mud and the Clan denounces him for the faithless cur he is."

The tone was final - and another one of Dyatlov's preconceptions was shattered. Treason was meant to be alluded to, spoken of in metaphor and innuendo. Not screamed out in defiance. The muted 'Ayes!' from the Admirals' frequencies were also a surprise.

"Civil war is unavoidable, Praetor," Li Bai said. "But, in the long run, this is an oppportunity, not a setback, for the Dynasty. This is a chance to place on the Throne someone in whom the Gift is strong; a leader who can bring the Branches to heel and unite the Dynasty once more. Someone who looks beyond their own Branch and its petty interests. The Kohakuren Branch and the Imube Branch believe we have our candidate -someone whose Gift and focus surpass all others- and we are, both, willing to fight to the death to give her the chance she needs to save us all. We wish you to join us in this fight. We could use men of your vison and skill, Praetor, to lead our forces."

"Aye, say the word, Praetor Isshiro Dyatlov," Nadyia cried, with a laugh. "By the Clan, every Yonsakuren I know would call it an honour to serve with you and under you." A pause and a wink. "And under you, hah! if you can rise to the occasion, sonny." A pause. "I mean they'd like to bed you, of course. Good fight-making mind there, brilliant stock."

"Yes, Arurior, I think he understands," Lady Imube cut in, eyeing Dyatlov's pale face with a crooked smile - and some undisguised concern. "No need to elaborate, I'm sure you can...arrange things to both of your satisfactions...later. For now... Praetor. Everyone here, myself included, declare for Her Imperial Highness - I'm sorry, her Imperial Majesty Yu Ki Kohakuren Delest."

She leaned forward, and her eyes were twinkling stars. "And we would be honoured, if you would join us."

The Terconia Campaign
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Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 26, 2017, 04:17:58 pm
More than 50k words later...

...oh my God, it's over.  :snipe:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Lorric on August 26, 2017, 05:06:59 pm
50K words and the better part of 5 months. Congratulations.

I enjoyed these last two entries, but I don't really know what to say, they both seem to create more questions than answers, more like the set up to a continuation of the story than wrapping up the story.

Glad to see the Yonsakuren paying their debt. Did she rip that woman's head off with one arm?

Anyway, sorry I couldn't think of more to say. If you want to ask questions about things instead, I might be able to answer them.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on August 26, 2017, 05:18:23 pm
No peace for the weary, it seems.
His strategic and tactical abilities are legit, but I wonder how he'd adapt to the yonsakuren command style. Adapting to the new ships, tools, and people would probably take some time, but the completely different way they to act on the bridge might be something you could never fully adapt to.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 27, 2017, 01:13:19 am
I enjoyed these last two entries, but I don't really know what to say, they both seem to create more questions than answers, more like the set up to a continuation of the story than wrapping up the story.

It's almost like this fluff fiction is meant to lead into a bigger plotlne. A sequel movie, or a game, or something.   :drevil: :p  :lol:

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Did she rip that woman's head off with one arm?

Yup. Easy-peasy. Lemon-squeezy

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Anyway, sorry I couldn't think of more to say. If you want to ask questions about things instead, I might be able to answer them.

Hey, don't feel bad. Can't think of any questions I want to ask you guys, at this point, but I'll come back if I think of something. That said, I'd be happy to hear some of the new questions these epiloguettes seem to raise for you and ask Spoon-senpai to answer them, if I can.

No peace for the weary, it seems.
His strategic and tactical abilities are legit, but I wonder how he'd adapt to the Yonsakuren command style. Adapting to the new ships, tools, and people would probably take some time, but the completely different way they to act on the bridge might be something you could never fully adapt to.

Quite a valid concern and a good point, actually. That said, Yonsakuren can (and frequently do) meet normie commanders halfway. Working together with them is a challenge, after all, and we all know how the Yonnies think about those.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: FrikgFeek on August 27, 2017, 02:08:37 am
So would bedding a normie without scarring them for life be considered a similar kind of 'challenge'?  :lol:
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 27, 2017, 02:11:19 am
You're setting the bar too low.

The challenge is in getting them to come back for more.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on August 27, 2017, 06:52:01 am
More than 50k words later...

...oh my God, it's over.  :snipe:
And what a ride it was!

Thanks again, for your amazing hard work! Back when I asked you if you were willing to write a few words, I never would have imagined you'd write this many great words. (You shattered your own initial estimations too, for that matter.) You've greatly expanded WoD's lore, and I hope I can do it even a remote bit of justice ingame.

Take your well deserved rest. (and continue german rules the waves after!)
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Enioch on August 27, 2017, 09:41:52 am
More than 50k words later...

...oh my God, it's over.  :snipe:
And what a ride it was!

Thanks again, for your amazing hard work! Back when I asked you if you were willing to write a few words, I never would have imagined you'd write this many great words. (You shattered your own initial estimations too, for that matter.)

My pleasure - really. Also - heh.

For reference, guys, here is my first estimate (in a PM, after Spoon gave me the plot outline for The Terconia Campaign). Clearly, I am the best at estimating stuff:

That, actually, looks perfect. Good basis and not too restrictive. And of course, if I have any questions or require more info I won't hesitate to ask.

I assume you are aware that this 'campaign' will take multiple blurbs to go through, right? The way I see it, 4-5 blurbs along the same lines as my usual RP posts is a minimum to go through the entire timeline.

Unless you're looking for 'snapshots' of a few hundred words at a time?

Topkeks.  :lol:

Thing is, this turned out to be more fun (exhausting, but still fun) than I expected; and there was simply no way to get any sort of impact without getting into more detail than I had anticipated. And then chapters started balooning from my 2-3k word early estimates into 14k mammoths and I just rolled with it.  :rolleyes:

You've greatly expanded WoD's lore, and I hope I can do it even a remote bit of justice ingame.

Don't worry, Spoon-senpai, I am more than willing to look at you disapprovingly if you fail dismally.

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Take your well deserved rest. (and continue german rules the waves after!)

Y-you don't get to tell me what to do, anymore! I no longer work for you! B-baka! :hopping: :nervous:

Dawn no Tsubasa: 'Trouble Maker' OVA confirmed, by the way.  :nervous:  :shaking: Release date TBD, but in the far future. Meanwhile, new Germany update in the works. Back to Kantai Kessen we go.
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: QuakeIV on August 27, 2017, 10:21:56 am
Wait, are you telling me this universe has space germany prussia?
Title: Re: Wings of Dawn Lore
Post by: Spoon on August 27, 2017, 10:51:14 am
Wait, are you telling me this universe has space germany prussia?
It does not, I was refering to Enioch's other thread of words: http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=93265.0