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Event A Test of Strength

Discussion in 'Open Roleplay' started by Cpt_Buttersworth, Dec 17, 2019.

  1. William Buttersworth

    William Buttersworth Director of PS&E, Captain of the Revenge

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    76
    Character Biography:
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    William was in his private quarters when a series of messages arrived. It has been unusually quiet since the rogue fleet stopped to repair after the first booby trap, but now they were underway and the clock had begun its steady countdown once again.


    Huh...The UN were the last people I expected to help in this situation...He thought, climbing out of his bunk and to his feet. He opened up the sensor manager on a nearby display and scrolled through the amassed ships, before copying the data and transmitting the information back to Sheldon with the attached message: I don’t know what you’re doing Sheldon but whatever it is, do it quickly.

    He closed the window and was about to return to his bunk when another alert arrived. He stood there for a moment leaning over his bunk and rubbed his eyes with exhaustion. Even with his augmentations, several days on barely any sleep was beginning to wear on him. He turned around with an audible groan and walked back to the display, magboots clicking as he went.

    William buttoned up his shirt and ran a hand through his unkempt hair in a vain attempt to look slightly more presentable before sending a reply.

    “Commander Hunter, rest assured we will be focussing most of our efforts on taking that Donnager down. Should it become necessary you can take cover amongst the asteroids.”

    —-

    OOC: the Providentia defence fleet is currently rallying at the asteroid belt. The core of the fleet are several state of the art warships, part of the Providence Security Fleet, however much of the fleet is civilian, rockhoppers and militia. These vessels have rockets, PDCs and other weaponry haphazardly welded/attached to their hulls. Others are towing rocks, cargo containers and various objects which could be used as projectiles. Several nearby asteroids also appear to have rockets strapped to them.
     
  2. Ashlen Balboa

    Ashlen Balboa Commander, MCRN Frontier Fleet

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    Bio
    CIC, MCRN Aegis - Slow Zone - Frontier
    Ashlen Balboa looked at the scanners. They'd entered the Slow Zone. Their next task was to rendezvous near New Tycho and wait for orders. Ashlen didn't like that plan. A stream of thoughts went through her head. If she wanted to, she could go rogue. Her entire crew supported Destin's decision to go rogue, and undoubtedly would support her too. The Aegis would be a huge bargaining chip, especially if whoever wound up in control of the ship could reverse-engineer it.
    She dismissed the thoughts.
    Ashlen told the nav team to keep the drives hot and ready. She was going to get orders from Torin, and she was going to leave afterwards. Right now, orders mattered not. Right now, the only thing that mattered was negotiating with the renegades. She could see that this faction believed it operated in the best interests of the Martian terraforming project. Nationalist factions like these had existed since before the airplane was a thing, and they almost never agreed to a deal. However, the Martians were different. The NCFN, the very faction that rushed to Providentia's defense, had been giving terraforming materials to Mars ever since they landed. These Martians could surely obtain assistance from the frontier worlds, but this was the wrong way to go around it.
    By now she anticipated Kapisi's orders. They'd go along the lines of "Attack the rogue Martian fleet and capture their command staff."
    The Aegis could bring massive amounts of firepower against the rogue fleet.
    But before they could push off for Providentia system, fifteen unknown contacts matching the profiles of smaller UNN ships emerged from Octavia system burning hard for New Tycho.
     
    #42 Ashlen Balboa, Dec 24, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
  3. Darius Buccheri

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    4
    Mariner Valley, Mars

    What was once a hub of order was now a hub of discord. Mass standoffs, speeches, casualties, it was all signs of the government's missteps turning into the effects. People felt that the Martian dream died, that all of the government officials instead pursued an age of imperialism when their work wasn't done yet.

    Perhaps the group with the most potential was the Terraformists. These people wanted terraforming to come first, and in their view, and what seemed to be the view of many Martians, the government didn’t have terraforming as the first. Darius Buccheri had been a prominent figure in Mariner Valley, and before him stood the largest group attending a speech.

    “What makes a good Martian? Let’s brainstorm that question. One that follows orders? One that slaves away for Mars? One that thinks back to his or her proud, Martian heritage after every productive day working for the Martian Dream? Or is it one that goes after alien worlds, without any regard to what he’s left behind?! My brothers and sisters, here we fight for Mars and our collective dream of breathing life into this once barren world, of which so many people stole from us. Now, our own government, who was supposed to represent us, has abandoned us, stole this dream from us. They and their dirty imperialist sentiments, their black market deals. Just for their own benefit. And the people that went with them are all the same. Treasonous betrayers of the Martian Dream. All of them! Think of the pieces we must pick up when you aim and shoot at the immoral bootlickers, when you topple the people in government sitting on their asses, and when you work along with your fellow brothers and sisters to finally realize the Martian Dream, once and for all!”


    Buccheri raised his weapon upon finishing the statement, and a thunderous, energized crowd returned a collective roar of applause for Buccheri. Groups scattered into different directions, pursuing different goals to topple the government. The Terraformists acquired a good bit of military weaponry and had made it halfway through getting Mariner Valley. Terraformist groups from Buccheri were making their ways toward First Landing and Guangzhou Nova where similar Terraformist groups were gaining steam. Other, more covert Terraformists went towards Londres Nova and military points of interest to gather supplies and start Terraformist movement at the capital city of Mars. Mars was experiencing a major power struggle for the first time in its history of relative stability.

     
  4. Emmet Sheldon

    Emmet Sheldon Deputy Undersecretary of Political Affairs

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    The Martian revolt has scaled up. The current members attending the Security Council and a femore others watched all the events with a tense mood around the air. How much of this will hit Earth? Chatters among attending members were numerous, and the Undersecretary of Strategy hadn’t returned back to the meeting.

    “Mr. Niael, reply received, will be here in three hours. I’ll forward it to you.”

    Sheldon swiped the message to the Secretary-General’s terminal, in which Niael nodded and continued discussing. At this time, the Undersecretary of Strategy also forwarded preliminary plans to the Secretary-General.

    Been monitoring speeches and developments. Will start with a supply mission, dressing it as a find for the Terraformist group.

    The rogue MCR fleet was underway yet again. Background checks indicate that many members onboard the fleet were part of a different, nationalist militarist faction. UN Intel also found out that they were the spark to the MCR’s civil war as well.

    The Sec-Gen excused himself from the meeting in order to make a public speech.

    “The UN will be taking a neutral stance on all of these events until we gather enough evidence to make the right moves and to not run into mishaps. We haven’t dealt with a conflict this huge, but we will try our damnadest to make the right moves, and the right move right now is to stay neutral.”

    The UN kept watching.
     
    #44 Emmet Sheldon, Dec 24, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
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  5. Thomas Pearson

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    CIC, UNN Harry S. Truman

    “Admiral, relay request from the office of the Undersecretary of Strategy. Here’s the message.”

    UNN Okimbo, you are to dress and drop a weapons cache to these Martian coordinates. Make it look accidental. Sending details of whole operation. —files—

    “The relay request is to a specific set of vessels. Should we facilitate?”

    “Go ahead, but let me have a look at the files.”


    “Yes sir.”

    The top secret files were opened by Pearson. Black ops. The first mission was a resupply dressed like flotsam. The second was in development, and it included installing operators designated with secretively aiding the rebels.

    What will be the long range effects of this?
     
  6. David Farrell

    David Farrell Captain, MCRSF

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    Firebase Phoenix - Mariner Valley - Mars
    Firebase Phoenix was usually a training ground for new Martian Marines. Nobody had been deployed here on a combat mission. But now the Terraformists were advancing, and they'd gained massive amounts of support in the recent weeks. Within a day they'd be within spitting distance, and if they had aircraft, it would only take a couple of hours. Already the anti-aircraft missile batteries were being prepared and armed, and the howitzers were arrayed and prepared to repel invaders.
    David Farrell was a cynic. He believed that if the Terraformists took over that the UN would have such a significant lead in the frontier that the MCR wouldn't be able to beat, unless the Frontier led some sort of massive independence movement. He wanted Mars terraformed, but he also didn't want to live under the control of an Earther overlord. He was a part of the Martian Special Forces, and though they were normally deployed to Martian outposts in the Belt, they were now deployed here, in the Valles Marineris. Had the Ring Builders not flung Phoebe at Earth two billion years ago, none of this would happen. Mars would've continued terraforming, and eventually the Earthers would clog the planet with so many people that they'd start having mass famine and war, leading to Martian hegemony over the human race.
    But for now, it was Earth and not Mars that had a clearer shot at domination.
    Damn aliens.
     
    #46 David Farrell, Dec 25, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
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  7. Destin Antares Hunter

    Destin Antares Hunter Commander, Vernier Federal Navy

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    Bridge, NCFN Archer - Providentia system - Frontier
    There was a message from Buttersworth.

    “Commander Hunter, rest assured we will be focussing most of our efforts on taking that Donnager down. Should it become necessary you can take cover amongst the asteroids.”

    "This is Commander Hunter to Commander Buttersworth. You have my thanks."
    "This is Commander Hunter to Captain Darrelson. I'm going to need your ship."

    "This is Darrelson. We're on our way."

    Twenty minutes later, the Resolute's docking tube extended and met the Archer's. The Resolute was a bona fide command ship, meant to lay low and go fast. Destin always thought of this move as being cowardly, but his friends told him that it was only necessary, and that they didn't want to lose the man who built Nautilus by his own hand. The Resolute was a Morrigan-class patrol destroyer, a smaller ship, and definitely one that the rogues would suspect of being the flagship.
    He heard his crew singing another song as he left.

    Now the time is coming fast
    And I think them days are here
    When each English yeoman he'll run before us
    And if there'll be a need
    Then our kids will say Godspeed
    With a verse or two of singing this fine chorus...

    Normally the song sounded upbeat, but now it sounded ominous and foreboding, especially the first two lines.
    Destin gave his crew a quick salute, and walked across the tube to the Resolute. Inside, most of the redundant features had been carved out to make room for the command center, which featured a state-of-the-art holographic table with the trajectory and movement of every single object larger than a milk carton in the system. Outside, extra scanner arrays had been fitted to the craft, so much so that it looked like a cell tower from the old movies.
    After the tube retracted, the Resolute cut thrust and went on the float. After about five minutes, the Resolute kicked on its main drive again, but this time in a parabolic arc, going for a gravitational capture at one of the large Providentian asteroids. This maneuver was so that the ship would stay within comms range of the fleet, while staying out of weapons range of the rogue fleet.

    "Captain, I want to be in weapons range of the rogues."

    "But sir, our orders are to prote-"

    "Did I stutter?"

    "No, sir."

    "Good. Now put us on course with the rest of the fleet."

    "Aye, Cap'n."
    Destin hated cowardice.

    "Wait. Sir? Are you seeing this?"

    "What?" Destin asked.

    "A Martian fleet just went through the ring. They're burning hard."
    Destin looked at the hologram. Sure enough, twenty-two Martian ships, most of them frigates, appeared and were marked in red. He marked them as yellow, the color for unknown targets. If they fired on Destin's fleet, then there was going to be a problem.
    Thankfully, they didn't.
     
    #47 Destin Antares Hunter, Dec 25, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
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  8. David Kincaid

    David Kincaid Gunner, NCS Alicorn

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    Emmeria Station was old. It was one of the earliest Belt stations, started by a pioneering Martian by the name of Emmett Hunter. His company, Hunter Minerals & Co., made tons of money back in the day. Now, Emmeria is bustling, with minerals no longer coming from the Belt, but from the frontier worlds, particularly Nautilus, a colony settled by Martians led by Hunter's grandson.
    David Kincaid worked for AnnanSec, a Mars-based private security firm, and the one employed on Emmeria Station. Their original job was to prevent the OPA from ever threatening the administration of the outpost, but now the firm served a different purpose. Their intention was to enforce human rights against the increasingly sketchy corporations setting up shop on the backwater station, which was slowly reinvigorating its business potential.
    An alert popped up on his terminal, from his unit commander Seamus Murphy.
    "Hey, kid. It's Murph. Get your butt to the docks. Something's going on."
    Kincaid rushed off and barely made it to the lift before the doors closed. After emerging on the dock level, he could notice most of the AnnanSec personnel in defensive positions. From his peripheral vision he saw rioters emerge from other levels, carrying guns, smoke grenades, and protest signs. He thought he figured it out. These protestors were here to drive AnnanSec off of the station and hand it over to the CIF, the successor to the OPA. Or maybe not.
    One protest sign bore the symbol of the Martian Terraformist Party, an outsider party that had only recently made it into the mainstream. Why were they here? Kincaid was an Earther, but he did understand the politics on Mars, and these guys seemed to be the equivalent of a modern-day IRA or Sinn Fein party. The thing that perplexed Kincaid was the fact that they were here, on Emmeria Station, not back home where their manpower was needed. Maybe because ships returning from the frontier docked here? Was it Destin and the Pur'N'Kleen ships?
    Then he understood.
    They were here to take control of a major waypoint on the path to the frontier, and use it as a bargaining chip to help the folks back home.
    Gunshots rang out. He whipped out his standard-issue submachine gun and returned fire.
    This wasn't going to be easy.
    The insurgents had all drawn their guns now, and it seemed at this point that the thirty-two AnnanSec men weren't going to stand a chance against 240 or so insurgents. Three AnnanSec cops had already fallen, and the carnage was only going to rise. While Murphy and his crew could continue fighting the insurgents, they didn't need to. AnnanSec wasn't Martian establishment, they were a corporation. They could leave. Kincaid dialed Murphy.

    "Sup. Dave. I'm in a sticky situation."

    "Yeah. I know. We need to evacuate."

    "What?"

    "This station is lost. We're outnumbered eight to one. And they all have equipment as good as ours."

    "Yeah, gotta agree with you on that one. Contract's done, folks. Get to the shuttles, free ride to Ceres. After that, I don't care what anyone does. Keep your guns too, maybe they'll become family heirlooms."

    Kincaid ran as fast as his legs could take him, but as he charted a course through the chaos, another person crossed his path and they took each other down. He took off his helmet. On the floor next to him laid a woman in a jumpsuit, incidentally also with armor.

    "Hey. I'm Tara Hunter of the P&K Salisbury."

    "David Kincaid. Used to work for AnnanSec. Sorry about that."

    "What's your experience on a ship?"

    "Used to be a gunner in the UNN."

    "Great. We need a gunner on our crew. Wanna sign up?"

    "How much do you pay?"

    "More than you're getting paid now."

    "Alright. Deal. Where y'all goin?"

    "Nautilus. Jules Verne system."

    "Good. My family's moving there right now, actually. It'll be a pleasant surprise for them."

    "So you're signing on?"

    "Yeah. I think so."

    Kincaid followed Tara to her ship's dock, and while the water hauler wasn't there, a small ship called the Mountaineer was. Tara said it was the shuttle to the ship, but he was sure that the ship profile didn't look like anything P&K owned. But Kincaid put his trust in the captain, and when they boarded, he saw an old ship, with quality that he'd never seen before. Everything looked top-of-the-line.

    "Where'd you get this ship?"

    "She's a hundred years old. Distant relative of mine found it adrift and almost singlehandedly started Emmeria Station."

    Kincaid climbed up to the ops deck where the gunner's seat was, and climbed into it. He familiarized himself with the controls of this ship, and when he was ready, he gave Tara the go-ahead. She pushed off the station and fired up the Epstein, pushing him back into his seat. He could overhear Tara telling the crew of the water hauler to turn for home again.
    Kincaid sank into his chair, relieved.
     
    #48 David Kincaid, Dec 29, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
  9. Aden Peterson

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    Bio
    [MCRN Kopis - Rogue Fleet]

    Alarms blared through the ship and sparks flew as Aden stumbled down a corridor. Something had happened that should not have - something had stopped the progress of the fleet cold. Something that came with a body count. He tossed himself up the ladder and grabbed onto the seat of the corvette, looking at readouts and triggering the drug dispensers in his seat to force his body back into focus.

    The readings didn't make sense to Aden. Multiple impacts to the Baltisk, and more to the rest of the fleet. A flash from the Baltisk had more information - tungsten-filled rocks and stealth composites mixed with asteroids in a cowardly stealth attack. War was meant to be fought face to face, personally. Sneak attacks and cowardice were the hallmark signs of unworthy terrorists.

    As Aden applied the RCS banks to counter the light spin the Kopis found itself in, fresh waves of alarms blared as a frigate on the far side of the fleet lost drive containment and exploded, sending fresh shockwaves through the fleet. Three ships lost. A high price, but for Mars acceptable. Mars would come out on top. They had to.

    Aden's commanding officer strapped in and keyed his encrypted short-range comms system, broadcasting to the fleet.

    "Baltisk, this is Kopis. Begining search and rescue."

    A short time later, a pingback came from the new repeater that had been set up hours earlier. It seemed that something - or someone - was against the Martians this day.

    What Aden didn't know, is that a message had been intercepted from the NCFN fleet, including a reference to his own ship, the Kopis. He didn't know anything, in fact, until the orders came across the radio.

    "Kopis, Baltisk. Kopis, Baltisk. Heave to, and prepare to be boarded."
     
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  10. Ashlen Balboa

    Ashlen Balboa Commander, MCRN Frontier Fleet

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    5
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    Bio
    CIC, MCRN Aegis - Slow Zone - Frontier
    "Report!" Ashlen shouted.

    "Eighteen contacts originally. More ships are coming through the ring! Looks like Martian ships too?"

    "I want their classifications!"

    "Seven Munroe-class destroyers, four Anlace-class destroyers, the rest small ships."

    "Hold your fire. I repeat, hold your fire. Do not fire unless fired upon!"
    "Are they in range, XO?"

    "No, not yet."

    "Good. Prepare for boarding action. I want weapons hot and PDCs ready. They're probably going to try and take our ship before nuking it."

    "Aye, Captain."
    "Cap, we have an incoming transmission!"

    "Run it."

    XO Archangel fired up the message.

    "This is Commander William Kaine of the First Wave Union-"

    "Arch?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Get me a tightbeam to New Tycho."

    A few seconds later it was operational.

    "Kapisi. These guys are Unionists too. They might be aligned with the rogues. I'm going to Providentia gate to make sure they don't go help them. Anything else I should know?"
    @Torin Kapisi
     
    #50 Ashlen Balboa, Jan 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  11. Jakob Aragorn

    Jakob Aragorn No allegiance. No oath. No matter what.

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    Ops Deck - Food freighter Mobius - Providentia system - Frontier
    Food freighter Mobius, you are cleared for gate transfer.

    Jakob Aragorn sighed in relief. He'd been doing the Ganymede to Ceres food run for ages, but now he did the Nautilus to New Tycho to Providentia run, as he had done for years. He'd left behind his family, but he promised himself he'd return. His brother Zev had perished in the battle over Titan. His sister Katya died on Ganymede Station. Jakob bought the Mobius to run from his problems. The ship had been heavily modified over the years, with Aragorn automating away most of the shipboard jobs, the installation of a massive fabricator in the engineering deck to print replacement parts. He'd also upgraded the autodoc on the ship with his medical intelligence, something he vowed to do after Katya died of an infection that otherwise could have been cured.
    After entering the gate, he should've received a ping from the Doorstop and the repeater. Instead, seventy-three military ships pinged him and warning klaxons began blaring.
    He was set to deliver the shipment to Providentia, but instead he walked into a warzone by accident.
    Instead of leaving the system like a sensible person, Aragorn made a promise to himself.
    His time as a medic had served him well. He'd done the same thing over Ganymede.
    Captain Jakob Aragorn resolved to save as many souls from the hell that was war.
    And so he would.

    [​IMG]
     
    #51 Jakob Aragorn, Jan 4, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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  12. Torin Kapisi

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    Torin was in the CIC of New Tycho Station, barking orders over the blaring alerts and sirens that seemed to simultaneously get turned off and then activated when yet another threat was detected. It had been a busy morning so far, and it was showing no signs of letting up. Not only had several unregistered vessels come roaring through their respective gates, maneuvered sharply and promptly hurtled back out through the Providentia gate, several unmarked UNN hull designs had arrived in the hub and were acting suspiciously.

    Torin looked up at the holographic projection of the Commander Balboa and her command, the mighty Aegis. A capable warship and commander as any, one that would easily turn the tide in Providentia. However he had other plans. "Aegis you are not cleared for any gate transitions. You are to take up a blockading position ahead of the Providentia gate and stop any vessels seeking to transition without clearance."

    Several sets of eyes turned to look at him questioningly. Why suddenly cut off the system? What purpose did it serve? Kapisi ignored them and entered a security code on the console in front of him.

    Hub Defence Platform Activation Initiated.
    Activation codes required.
    Kapisi, Torin: Authenticated.
    Yeager, Oliver: Required.


    Torin huffed to himself, of course the system was designed so that both the UNN and MCRN had to activate it simultaneously. It was a smart design, created in such a way that neither of the two superpowers could alone control the hub. He opened his terminal and called Yeager.

    "Admiral Yeager, your presence is required in the CIC," he stated before terminating the call.

    @Oliver "Cervan" Yaeger
    @Ashlen Balboa
     
  13. Cpt_Buttersworth

    Cpt_Buttersworth Moderating the shipping lanes

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    Bio
    The fleet was back en-route. Several other attacks had been detected and luckily...with their advanced warning...thwarted without too many casualties. Commander Silva gave credit where it was due, the belters were crafty and had set up dozens more proximity activated, and a variety of other automated booby traps as the fleet hurtled further into the system.

    However they were rendered moot when he ordered two of the fleets more heavily damaged vessels be flown ahead of the rest of the task force, piloted by those in the fleet who did not share his goal, under threat of the torture and deaths of their families. These Martians had no idea they were flying into Providentia or why, but it did not matter, they were simply meat for the machine. The dream of Mars writ large.

    Those vessels, crewed by mutineers, stripped of their communication equipment and weapons had been steadily cut to shreds by the belters traps, peppered with micro meteorites, impacted by chemical rocket propelled rocks, bisected by tungsten rods hurled at extreme velocities from stealth installations.

    The two burning wrecks how tumbled lifelessly in the void several hundred thousand kilometres behind the rest of the fleet. Silva promised any other mutineers would suffer a similar fate if they did not carry out their orders, but more and more it seemed the crews of the vessels were catching on to his betrayal. Even now and again gunshots echoed through the decks as squads of his most loyal men sought out and put down would be rebellions on the many ships in the fleet.

    He had given them orders of no mercy, and no prisoners. Prisoners used up air and water, something they require in the coming hours.

    He stood at his post in the CIC of the Baltisk, watching as the red dot signifying the mighty battleship and its fleet crept steadily closer to a dotted green line, showing targeting and eventually, firing range. The belters had amassed a significant fleet in the belt and were busy fortifying their position with several large rocks. But it wouldn't matter, nothing could stop them now.

    'How long until we are in firing range?" He asked a nearby officer who, without even hesitating, transferred the countdown to SIlva's console. 19 hours.
     
  14. Destin Antares Hunter

    Destin Antares Hunter Commander, Vernier Federal Navy

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    42
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    Bio
    Bridge, NCFN Resolute - Providentia system - Frontier
    Destin wore a perplexed expression on his face. Two ships had been practically scuttled by the rogues, and a third had been swallowed up by the Donnager. The same ship, the Kopis, was the one he mentioned in the transmission. Destin dismissed the fleeting thought. Surely, he couldn't have denied the enemy a strategic advantage with a half-bogus broadcast.
    What had to happen now was he had to focus on plans to take down the Baltisk in the event that Buttersworth's railguns went out of service.
    There weren't that many things Destin's force could do except pray, but he knew the Silhouettes could try to outrun the PDCs' tracking computers on the Baltisk, but they'd probably die.
    He did have another answer.
    Every single ship larger than an interceptor had at least two breaching pods. Considering that this crew couldn't call for reinforcements, they wouldn't scuttle the ship. He could use the interceptors to distract the defenses while his ships flew in and dropped their soldiers.
    Destin sent a tightbeam transmission to all of his ships, encrypted using an old Martian cipher from twenty years ago. He knew that all of the codebooks from more than fifteen years ago were thrown out of MCRN ships.

    "This is Commander Hunter. Blind spots caused by damage are marked in cones from the Baltisk. Interceptor captains, form up and try to draw ships into a chase away from the flagship. Everyone else, if you are near the ship, attempt to deposit your boarding troopers. We all knew the risks going in. But the plan put forward by the Consulate and the Senate says that the risk is worth the reward. Mars Aeternam and TAL."
     
    #54 Destin Antares Hunter, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  15. William Buttersworth

    William Buttersworth Director of PS&E, Captain of the Revenge

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    76
    Character Biography:
    Bio
    The Revenge floated in the void like a predator surrounded by a school of fish. The warship bristled with weaponry, railguns, torpedo tubes and PDC cannons dotting its pristine white and grey hull from stem to stern. Around it, rockhoppers, skiffs and other civilian craft flitted to and fro going about their various tasks or simply milling around waiting for the battle.

    Nearby, the mighty Pale Horse, its enormous heavy rail guns bolted to each side, rotated slowly, spinning up sections of its hull designed to simulate spin gravity for the eventual wounded it would take onboard once the battle commenced. Flanking it were the two Red Horse destroyers, each other a cluster of asteroids tethered to them.

    The defenders had been preparing for a few days, stocking up on rocks to throw, dropping mines in various parts of the belt and consolidating their fleet for their stand against the invading force, why then did Bill feel so uneasy? He was used to seeing Martian warships bearing down on him, it wasn't the first time. That being said most Martian warships were not crewed by a rogue faction of the Navy hellbent on their destruction.

    He leaned on a railing which surrounded the upper level of the bridge, immersed in the volumetric display which filled the area. Second by second, inch by inch the targeting and firing ranges of the two fleets got closer together, the timer that filled a section of the bridge's main display counting down inexorably.

    With an explosive sigh he leaned up into a standing position and floated back to his crash couch before strapping in. "About that time eh bossmang?" Said one of the officers strapped into a console nearby. William nodded slowly and solemnly as he opened a channel to the fleet.

    "Beratnas, the time has come to defend our home. We always knew this day would come, and I have faith that we will meet this challenge head on. It has been an honour to serve alongside such honourable and decent people and I give you my word I will fight to the last breath, as I know you would do the same for me," he closed the widebeam transmission and switched it to a shipwide announcement. "All hands action stations. This is not a drill."

    As he spoke the words, the lights on the bridge faded to a deep red, contrasting again the glowing, ethereal lines of the volumetric display which shifted from showing the entire system to just the Revenge, the rest of the security fleet, and that of the rogues.

    "Load all torpedo tubes," he ordered, followed by a series of metallic clunks echoing through the ship. All along the length of the Revenge, armour plates retracted revealing rows of tubes, their caps lifting up and exposing their contents to the void. "Fish are in the tube Sir!"

    "Fire!" William ordered, listening the the repeated thumps as dozens of torpedoes were ejected from their tubes and kicked on the drives. All around the Revenge, other vessels, slaved to the battleships targeting computer, launched their opening salvos.

    "Time until impact, nineteen minutes," an officer called out, throwing the data from her console to the main display. A moment later, an alarm began to blare before being quickly silenced. "Torpedo launch detected from the enemy fleet sir, 43 and counting, time until impact is eighteen point five minutes. PDC networks are coming online."

    William watched as the two clouds of torpedoes races across the void between the two fleets, crossed paths and continued. The bridge was quiet, a tense atmosphere filling the space as the minutes and seconds wore on. "That's good enough, release the hounds," Bill ordered.
     
    #55 William Buttersworth, Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2020
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  16. Cpt_Buttersworth

    Cpt_Buttersworth Moderating the shipping lanes

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    Commander SIlva smiled grimly as he saw the telltale blue lights of the incoming torpedoes erupt from the belter fleet. He ordered a salvo in response and initiated a strike plan. Ahead of the fleet several Silhouette 2 frigates roared in an attempt to draw off many of the torpedoes with their superior speed and maneuverability.

    "Torpedoes impacting belter fleet in two minutes sir!" An officer called out, before making a confused sound and tying furious into their terminal. "What is it officer?" Silver said, his voice almost a growl. "Sir it looks like they're doing the same as us, several rockhoppers are moving ahead of the fleet...they're...towing something. Looks like large nets carrying rocks sir."

    Silva barked out a harsh and brief laugh. Rocks?! He expected the belters to rely on old tricks but some tugs towing nets of gravel were going to do sweet fuck all to his torpedoes. "Keep those rockets locked on, if any of those buckets gets anywhere near them I want them targeted and annihilated immediately. "Aye Sir."

    Ahead of the fleet, the Silhouettes opened fire, their upgraded PDCs pouring lines of teflon coated rounds into the cloud. They were rewarded by several detonations which chain reacted, wiping out almost half the cloud. The nimble frigates dodged, ducked and weaved through the incoming ordinance and looped around, giving chase while they still had them in range, and opened up with another stream of PDC fire.

    In the distance, the martian torpedoes closed in on their targets, the core of the belter fleet. Ahead of the main group of ships, three rockhoppers burned hard, their ancient fusion torch drives being pushed to their limits as they struggled to put as much space between themselves, the torpedoes and their own fleet. At the last second they banked hard, releasing the tethers to their nets and ejecting a quickly expanding cloud of micrometeorites, shrapnel and magnesium pellets ahead of them. With a quick and expertly timed burst from their maneuvering thrusters, the rockhoppers splashed their drive plumes across the clouds of debris, igniting the millions of magnesium pellets within.

    "They're using flares to counter the torp's targeting computers sir," an officer called out, "countermeasures aren't used to this much interference, we lost about half the salvo." Silva grunted in aknowledgement. "Prepare a second salvo."

    He smiled as he watched the display. PDC trails erupted from the belter fleet, followed by the birth of almost a dozen stars as the torpedoes reached their targets and detonated. "PDC network online, targeting incoming fish," the weapons officer said calmly, followed by short staccato vibrations as the Baltisk and its escorts opened up with their own defences. One by one the belter torpedoes were shot down until two remained and slammed into the side of a Corvette class, blowing it to pieces. "Only one ship down. Not bad. What are their losses?" Silva said, a edge of cruel triumph colouring his voice. "Sir, it's difficult to get exact readings with all the interference....but it looks like three freighters and approximate fifteen rockhopper type ships were wiped out."

    "Good. Again."
     
    #56 Cpt_Buttersworth, Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  17. Destin Antares Hunter

    Destin Antares Hunter Commander, Vernier Federal Navy

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    Bridge, NCFN Resolute - Providentia system - Frontier
    The first shots had been fired.
    Not too long ago, the Providentian and Martian fleets had exchanged fire, with minimal casualties on both sides.

    "All ships, you are cleared to engage the rogues. Fire at will and without mercy. Send 'em to hell, wouldja?"
    "General Quarters, General Quarters. All hands, battle stations!"

    Destin's force unloaded its torpedoes at the smaller ships of the rogue fleet. Forty-three fish flew straight and true, their guidance systems following the Martian ships like a hunter and its prey. These torpedoes had been modified with far newer guidance computers due to their black ops origins, so much so that normal Martian PDCs struggled to keep up with them.
    Ten minutes later the Baltisk returned the favor with twenty torpedoes aimed at various ships. The newer craft, armed with custom-built PanAstra Systems 30mm PDCs chewed through them with ease, their faster fire rates compensating for the slight drop in accuracy.
    Eleven minutes later the NCFN interceptors Hobby and Teal became new stars. Surprising, considering their advanced PDCs and maneuverability.
    In fact, they'd only been hit by part of the shockwaves, but they were close enough to blow. Destin felt a pang for the two captains and their crews.
    Twelve minutes later two small Martian ships went up, followed by a Hammer-class destroyer taking a direct hit and suffering critical damage.

    "All ships, this is what we've been waiting for. Fire second salvo and train for third. At the bloody flagship this time!"

    Thirty-eight torpedoes carved their paths towards the Baltisk and its escorts, with the PDCs taking down twenty-two before they hit. A Corvette-class frigate and a Silhouette-class interceptor went up. The remaining seven torpedoes closed in on the Baltisk.

    "C'mon fish, y'all can do this."

    A torpedo was shot down by the PDCs.
    Then another.
    Then another.
    A fourth one slammed into a Scirocco-class cruiser.
    The remaining three found their mark.

    "Yeehaw! That'll show them!"

    When the scanners were pointed at the Baltisk, three new explosions were seen. Two had been noncritical hits, taking out ten more PDCs.
    The third one damaged one of the railguns.
    But there was still another.

    "Load third salvo!" Destin shouted.
     
    #57 Destin Antares Hunter, Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
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  18. Emmet Sheldon

    Emmet Sheldon Deputy Undersecretary of Political Affairs

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    The Security Council sat with deliberation, intently waiting for the battle to happen. The last update of the map showed the rogue fleet approximately five hours from firing range. By this time, they've developed shifts to keep consistent watch over the whole show, giving half of the SC time to rest while the other watches and vice versa. The Undersecretary of Strategy has also executed the first black-ops mission, with the dressed-up supply drop approaching a determined Terraformist stronghold, Tanis, in three hours. The supply drop had been skillfully jettisoned, being timed just right for it to slip out of view of the Martian orbital cleanup system.

    UN Intelligence has just wrapped up analyzing the Providentian fleet at PC-7 and sent the simplified data to the SC for view. Soon enough, the shift on duty, which included the Secretary-General, scrolled towards the railgun-equipped vessels the defending fleet possessed. It was one of the major rules of Donnager's Law, and the UN have failed at detecting this discrepancy. Granted, the jurisdiction of the Sol Coalition Navy could only reach so far.

    Then, Donnager's Law presented a challenge to the present Security Council. Officially, the UN didn't recognize the Belter colony as an independent state, but it was tolerated. Clearly, without help from official SCN fleets, the fledgling colony is forced to fight off the far more powerful rogue fleet. The new government of the UN was partly known for its relative hospitality compared to the old government, and while it always had Earth First in its name, it applied its help to where it was possible in their calculations. All the UN had to do was say their official statements to the documents, and it would mean their reputation, their future struggles, and their future relations.

    A debate commenced, mainly focused on the Undersecretaries of Political Affairs and what they would say to the information.
     
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  19. Darius Buccheri

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    4
    The Mariner Valley campaign of the Terraformists had struck a chord with many Martians. The idea of a fertile Mars seemed so close, yet so far, and in the people's opinion, the Assembly Hall with their 960 congressmen and government keeps running away with the supplies that belonged to them. Over half of the Valley was Terraformist-oriented people after the four days they have been campaigning there, and though their opposition has fought fiercely, it seemed likely that Mariner Valley would be a Terraformist stronghold. Even the local HU party and some SDL congressmen hailing from Mariner Valley endorsed their plight. Dhanbad Nova, Kalpana, and even the Alamo Base have been influenced by Terraformists as well, Dhanbad Nova being a self-cultured uprise of Terraformists.

    Of course, some peaceful protests were classified as revolts, probably in an attempt to legitimize their authority, and with that, the government effectively declared a state of war against the Terraformists.

    Alas, a new, militarist force has consolidated in various military locations and even Civarro and Los Brisbanos de Bled. They were part of the militant Mars First Party. These people also played off of the malaise of the Martian people, and they might even possibly be behind the mutiny of various Navy fleets.

    Buccheri stood at the podium, upon an assembly of cameras and people.

    "The government has declared many of our campaigns and peaceful protests as revolts. We've always thought of them as symbols of authority and order, but now, it seems that they've abused that authority over their own people. There is a certain balance between rightful authority and tyranny. Ours is a tyrannous, full of scum government that is now undermining rightful protest. We've now entered a war with a treasonous government. Let us respond, and let them have a taste of the true Martian essence. I know you can define that. I know we can do that. For Mars!"

    The crowd responded with an energetic, synchronized "For Mars!" Crowds watching the livestream from different cities responded in the same way. While a civil war was inevitable, Mars found itself in the beginning stages of one. Neither side stood down. The Terraformists prepared for this occasion by arming secretively. It also seemed that flotsam from a warship landed in Tanis at the right time as well.
     
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  20. Emmet Sheldon

    Emmet Sheldon Deputy Undersecretary of Political Affairs

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    The debate raged on, with many options on the table. By this time, the full Security Council has been called down to session. Sheldon has been unusually quiet, being watchful but unable to come up with any ideas.

    The current ideas on the table were:

    - Do nothing, uphold Donnager's Law
    - Hold Mars Accountable, uphold Donnager's Law
    - Stage evacuation, uphold Donnager's Law
    - Hold Mars Accountable, pardon Belter colony of Donnager's Law
    - Soft-word everything

    Sheldon more or less felt indifferent/disliked these ideas. Some were balanced but inert. Others presented bold diplomatic moves but seemed unbalanced. He then felt an unbalance within himself and excused himself from the debate. Going to the restroom and looking in the mirror, Sheldon rinsed his face and forced himself to think about options. He just lost it. The unbalance that once guided him to rational decisions now clouded his mind. Sheldon despaired, thinking about the total lives ruined by his lack of effectivity in thinking about solutions to the crisis.

    He then pursued a completely new way of thinking, still trying to harness his unbalance.

    When he did return, the New Tycho system was up alongside PC-7. 15 or so old, decommissioned UN vessels were shown on the projected holomap.

    "...not known anything about them as of date. We've sent a request to verify their weapons systems, complement, and so forth, but for the time being, we'll have to go off of their last specification before being sold off," the Secretary-General stated
     
    #60 Emmet Sheldon, Jan 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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