Near Centaurus V
1319hrs Landing Time, 7 December 3080
Commander Sonya Rayson looked around the bridge of her ship and mentally took stock of what was happening.
The warning message from the Lancer Deep Space station out at Centaurus VII had been received and the order was given for battlestations. As the fleet came up to ready, further details were gained and sorted through. The invading fleet, which appeared to be a Word of Blake formation, was a substantial force- four warships led by a McKenna class with several dropships deploying as well as fighters. The last sensor data drop confirmed the drive signatures of Interdictor class assault ships. Decidedly a specialized force.
Available to her was the Bismark, of course, the Denali and the Gloria, which were a Lola III and Whirlwind respectively. Dropship support was in the form of 3 Avengers, a Claymore and a trio of Leopard CVs, all from the Lancers collection of craft. Two dozen Lighting fighters, a dozen Eagle and half that of Rogues gave her apparent parity for intercept.Substantial, to be sure, but possibly not enough. Lancer Aerospace was being mobilized for planetary defense but would be busy trying to support their efforts on planet.
This was a fairly coordinated attack, she thought, and there was some initial thinking this would have been a heavy raid if not for the scattered attacks on Lancer assets planetside. Even the Comstar Compound had been bombed, which meant this was most likely MORE than just a heavy raid.
“Commander, all ships report at Condition Red and ready for movement.”
“Very good, Lieutenant,” She replied. “Commence movement to contact. Defensive Wedge Alpha.”
“Defensive Wedge Alpha, aye,” came the reply and the officer began to initiate the orders.
Defensive Wedge Alpha was a spear-tip formation, with the Bismark at the point and the small ships flanking. The Lancer assault ships, designed to tangle with fighters, would be the screening formation as they got closer. Fighters would deploy as they closed- there was no need to have them launch too early as the longer they were deployed, the sooner they would have to land to replenish fuel or munitions.
It might be a risky maneuver to wait on deployment… but the numbers supported it. It helped that six months ago, the fleet had war-gamed a scenario similar to this…. The difference being it had been the Mustafa as the command ship versus a Cameron-led fleet. The differences in warships… while substantial, didn’t change her plan over much. The Bismark had a strong broadside which should be enough to give the McKenna pause. The problem though… was that the Naval Particle Cannon on the enemy battleship broadsides were more powerful than her Naval Lasers and slightly outranged her.
But she had more guns than her counterpart, as well as a better overall range game; while it had Naval Particle Cannon, the bulk of the McKenna’s firepower came from the plethora of the Class 40 Naval Autocannon which had a far shorter range than the naval lasers and particle cannon. Keeping the Bismark and her fleet at longer ranges would have to be primary plan… until she had to close.
When that time came, Rayson hoped that the extensive amount of time conducting gunnery since they had arrived in this system would be the difference. After all, you can’t hurt what you cannot hit. As for the smaller craft, the Interdictors would be a problem, the powerful dropship capable of tangling with smaller warships if necessary. One would be no issue to deal with… four could prove difficult. She would worry about them when the time came.
Deep Space Station Agnes
1344 Hrs Landing time
The Word of Blake HMR-HE Hammerhead fighters closed on the station and began to engage it at range with their particle cannons. The station’s defensive weaponry, primarily Class II Autocannon, started firing at the incoming fighters. As they bored in, the large lasers joined in.
Being computer controlled, the accuracy was not bad, though it suffered some as the fighters began to evade. Even so, three of the ten incoming fighters were incapacitated or destroyed. A boarding shuttle, capitalizing on some of the damage done to the station, raced in and latched onto an empty pod bay. Using an override device, the marines on the craft forced the hatch to open and they boarded. The Word of Blake needed this station intact, as it was a warning post for anyone coming into the system… even via pirate point, as they discovered. It was also a reserve recharge station which would prove handy.
Advancing down various hallways, the intruders were alert for any movement. What they didn’t expect was the auto-shotguns in the wall at the end of a passageway to open up.
Part of the design of the station had a few weapon-stations emplaced in key passages. All of them were pellet- or flechette loaded weapons, designed to pelt or puncture space suits and add danger from ricochets. It was an ingenious set-up, as even Elementals troops would suffer losses from this. As such, the invaders took damage as their armored suits became compromised. This complicated taking the station- and the Adept leading the marines vowed he would execute whoever set up this trap. The delay was relayed to the fleet along with the noted lack of crew.
Defensive Bunker A-1
Surface of Centaurus VII
1430 hrs Landing Time
Sariah Ford stood at the communications and command room where sensor data and video feed from the Station was showing. She had watched some of the invading troops get hit by the station defenses and smiled grimly at their setbacks. Glancing at her watch, she noted when the Word troops finally managed to gain access to the Bridge and shut the internal defenses off.
None of them had figured out where the master controls were in Engineering, which amused her. Disguising them next to the section’s medical cabinet probably broke some law… but being an unexpected location probably was why they weren’t found. Also meant that no one on her crew or the opposite one had infiltrators. She did kick herself a little, in not setting up a password for the station on the bridge. Ah well…
“LT,” Kiiko called to her. “Inventory verified; enough supplies here for five months easy. Alpha Two is same status. No one has gone over to Alpha Three and Four yet. Tunnels are still closed as is the Beta Accessway.
The bunkers they were in were designed for forty people to last three months. The normal station compliment for Agnes when it had been a recharge station was a hundred and twenty with capacity for ship’s crews to join them if needed. In the years since, the station became more of just a sensor facility. It still was able to recharge a Jumpship or Warship if needed but those operations were long gone and replaced with an automated satellites. This, in turn, reduced the crew necessary for operations. Other functions being automated also reduced the need for station personnel as a whole, which is why there was only 25 personnel on board.
Even with the reduction of personnel, the number of bunkers remained the same. Decommissioning them made no sense so the entire complex of eight (four each in Alpha and Beta complexes) were kept up and supplied. Each complex was accessible to the other via deep tunnels and a (hopefully running) tram that was capable to traversing the two miles between complexes.
“Okay,” Sariah replied. “Get someone to get in them to see if their supplies are good. They SHOULD be but I want it verified ‘cause dumb shit happens… We then need to get to the Beta complex and check it. I want a fall-back position if needed…. Or the means to close off any back door to here.” She paused as the feeds from the station wavered. “And make sure everyone draws a weapon from the armory. Ah really don’t think they are gonna let us stay here without trying to evict us. Beta is deeper than here but then it’s under a bigger hill.”
Kiiko nodded. “Yes ma’am. Engineering is already looking at the Tram; Scotty figured you might want it checked. No report yet though.”
Sariah smiled. Warrant Officer Scott J Montgomery was a technical wizard and had long mastered the systems on the station, keeping them running with a smaller than standard tech team. That he was a step ahead of her on things here was a good thing, as far as she was concerned. “Good. I need to see if I can access the security systems here or connect to the Beta from here. If not, then I need that tram operational; I do NOT want to walk two miles underground….”
A chuckle. “Yes ma’am.” Kiiko then departed the command room and left Sariah with her thoughts.