Tuesday, March 3, 2009
-VV- Chronicles: Beginnings
All eyes had been glued to the news feeds coming into the cruiser, ISS Defiance. A large Minmatar-Thukker armada had opened up in the Yulai System and to everyone's amazement began bombarding the CONCORD Bureau at Yulai IX. Tensions had been high since the first appearance of the mystery armada, but no one suspected that the Republic would strike against the one source of peace between the empires.
CONCORD (Consolidated Cooperation and Relations Command) was founded over a century ago, not long after the empires had established contact with each other. Relationships between the factions were strained right from the start and one of the main purposes of CONCORD was to ease the fragile tension and create a foundation for the empires to work their differences out in a peaceful manner. In this regard, the workings of CONCORD can be said to have been successful, since the empires have kept the peace over the last century.
Now, in one single move, this peace has been shattered.
Even though his attention was needed on matters regarding his ship, Aleczander Kerr of the 1st Praetorian Guard, also kept a wary ear on the development of the hostilities. "Lieutenant, any orders coming in from Command and Control?"
"Nothing more Sir, other than the standing orders to go to high alert," came the quick response of the comms officer. The entire fleet of the Vigilia Valeria Alliance had been called in from regular field duties and were en route to offer any aid needed in this attack. "Captain, we are being hailed by the Intrepid though."
"Patch him through Lieutenant," replied the captain. "Make sure the line is secured."
Alone, Kerr turned his attention to the screen. "Edarius, what's up?"
The captain of the Intrepid, Edarius K’Tol came into view. Though he had been experienced in the 1st Praetorian Guard for a while, Aleczander could see that he was visibly shaken. He didn't think anything could unnerve his colleague.
"Alec, Kor-Azor Prime is under attack," the Intrepid's captain answered.
"It began just moments ago, when we were pulling out of station here." Edarius was interrupted by his comms officer and he momentarily turned and gave him a quick command.
The screen changed. The view opened up and Aleczander could see the invading fleet hanging above the system’s main planet, Eclipticum. The markings on the sides of many of the vessels were clearly Thukker, while others carried emblems of an unknown type. "I don't think these are Republican Regulars," Edarius indicated. "Look at the markings on the ships. They’re Thukker markings. And besides, the Republic doesn't work with the Thukker Tribe." Dozens of small drop ships were already launched and beginning their decent to the surface. "Where is the Defiance right now?" he asked.
"I'm coming through Youl at the moment," forcing himself to remain calm. The Empire has never been invaded, and for the Minmatar to take such brash actions is just unthinkable. Without hesitation, Kerr called out to his navigations officer and quickly gave directions to change course for Kor-Azor Prime. "We're heading your way," he assured him.
They broke connection.
As the Defiance made its way through the jump gate, Aleczander Kerr wondered why would such a large Armada attack CONCORD headquarters, and Kor-Azor Prime? It was foolish to take on an entity that was funded by all five factions. CONCORD was established to keep the peace, not to be an offensive tool. They were designed to offset any force, and to work in tandem with Empires under attack.
Slowly a light started coming on in Kerr’s head. If an enemy of Amarr were to strike first, then they would be fighting both Amarrian as well as CONCORD forces. But if CONCORD was knocked out first… It finally coalesced that the true target wasn’t CONCORD. And with Kor-Azor Prime not being a major system of the Empire, the attack there must be a diversion. A diversion from their real objective.
Immediately, Kerr opened up channels to -VV- Headquarters. “Aura,” shouting directly to the ship’s computer, “patch me in to Legatus Vulpayne, immediately!”
“I am sorry, but Legatus A’rdan Vulpayne is not currently available”, came the non-emotional response of the ship’s computer.
The captain slammed his fist down in frustration of not being able to get through. “Sparks!” he shouted to his comms officer, “Get a hold of the Intrepid and tell K’Tol that Kor-Azor is not the primary!” He leaned over and checked the progress of their flight. “And by glory, hail me every combat ship around here!”
By the time the Defiance reached the Throne Worlds, the third and main front of the Matari armada struck.
Gazing out on the battle field from his Omen class cruiser, Aleczander felt that the gates of Hell had opened wide, vomiting the vile poison within its bowls. He could see the cynosural field still open, and row upon row of the barbarian fleet being cast out into the sacred skies above the planet Mekhios. Though he had been a seasoned warrior, and had experienced more battles than he could remember, Aleczander Kerr could not recall the time he saw so many ships in one place. The Naglfar, Matari dreadnaughts were so large, that they made the battleships beside them appear to be nothing more than toys. Gunships, cruisers, and drop ships filled the sky. All of them moving as a swarm of locusts, toward the primary planet of Sarum Prime.
“Sir,” cried out the comms officer, “Command and Control hailing us.” Immediately, the screen was filled with the image of Admiral Grr of the Epitoth Fleet Yards, one of the three high commanders of the Vigilia Valeria alliance.
“Captain,” came the voice of Grr, “A’rdan is caught up in the rescue efforts of Yulai. I’ve been asked to coordinate the defense of Mekhios with the alliances.”
“Where do you need us, Sir?” came Aleczander Kerr’s quick response. With Admiral Grr directing the front lines, he knew everybody’s chance of success greatly increased.
“We’re getting calls in from the Imperial Academy. They’re trying to evacuate the station, but the enemy is opening up on them.” The look on Grr’s face was hard. It’s one thing when an overwhelming force is firing on military targets. It’s totally different when the enemy target’s innocent lives. “I need you and the Victorious to do whatever it takes to get them to safety.”
“You can count on us, Sir!” Aleczander Kerr saluted.
The crew of the Defiance had been together for several years. While some capsuleer pilots remain enclosed in their pods, Kerr had learned that the secret of being a great captain is to include himself personally in the lives and activities of his officers and crew whenever possible. While piloting a craft inside the pod allows greater control, walking and working directly with his crew builds a greater bond that no capsule can offer. The bridge officers knew and loved their captain. Before he had the chance to relay the orders, his helms team and navigator had everything plotted and set. “Let’s go, Boys” came the captain’s voice, “We’ve got to save the day.”
The Omen turned and headed immediately to the station. The Imperial Academy was established as an institute of learning. Most of its residents were either faculty or students. As the Defiance approached, he could see the silhouette of the ISS Victorious joining him. The ship was hailed, and the image of Khal Sebrar came into focus.
“Alec,” the captain of the Victorious piped in, “we’re having troubles with these barbarians targeting evacuees. Give me a hand clearing the skies.” As they drew closer to the station, they could see several transports under attack by a squadron of Rifters. Without hesitation, the lasers opened up on both Amarrian ships, blowing away three, and scaring off a fourth. The Victorious came alongside the transport, dwarfing it with its Prophecy class hull. Aleczander Kerr turned his ship back to the station and found the next transport.
As he approached, a frightened female face appeared on the screen. “Please, help us Captain! We’ve got young children on board, and we are all terrified.”
“Don’t worry Madam,” replied the first officer, “we’ll make sure you will be safe.”
Another squad of enemy frigates attempted to come in, but were efficiently dispatched. After the first transport warped away to safety, Sebrar came back and placed his ship on the other side of the transport. It was at that moment that two Minmatar Tempest class battleships broke rank and started approaching the small convoy.
“Kerr, keep with this transport,” came Khal’s voice. “I’ll try to distract these guys.”
“Get some backup Khal!” shouted the captain. “There’s no way you’re going to stop them!”
“Everyone else is busy, my friend” came the reply.
With that the comms went silent. Both ships launched off their drones. The Defiance set theirs to coordinate with the Victorious, while Aleczander Kerr continued on course. All eight drones converged on the first battleship, tearing into its shields, and lighting the sky with their holy beams. All pilots within the alliance were devout to God and their empire. To dedicate their ships and crew into the providential care of their creator, set them apart for the sacred duty to defend their empire. While their engines sang the praises of God, the lasers purified the sinful and profane. The Prophecy turned its pulse canons on the second and flashes rippled across the barbarian’s plates. At the same time, both Tempests raged their hatred out through their artillery.
If the Minmatar’s fury could have been contained it would have rivaled the strength of a super nova, and after a while the damage done to the Victorious became more and more evident. One entire side of the warship was sliced open, with plasma and wreckage belching from its hull. The engines stopped firing and all that was left were a couple of its lasers. With one last effort, the Victorious charged its caps and fired an overheated salvo at the closest battleship, bursting its top dorsal fin in a single shot. It was then that a Minmatar shell found its target. Striking the central core, the ISS Victorious was engulfed in a single explosion, driving the two damaged battleships to the side.
Khal Sebrar’s efforts were not in vain. Aleczander Kerr and his crew were able to get the transport farther away. It was only a matter of seconds before the ship full of children would be safely out of harm’s reach. The far beams of the Defiance continued to fire on the battleships, while the Minmater vessels regrouped and continued their approach. But rather than locking on the Omen, both ships locked their guns on the transport.
“Helmsman!” barked the captain as he swiftly interfaced with the ship, “Get this hulk between the transport and those ships! Now!”
“Aye, aye Sir!” came the swift report. The Defiance maneuvered around, shielding the defenseless transport from the firing artillery.
Witnesses on the surface of the planet saw a sight that they would tell their children for generations to come. The sky, from horizon to horizon was lit up with the hurricane forces of battle. Exploding hulls, from both sides of the field, lit the darkness causing the night sky to come alive as if it were day. The citizens watched, knowing that the outcome if this conflict would determine their future.
Rounds slammed into the armor, shaking the entire ship to its core. Lights flickered momentarily as the computer rerouted power from the damaged area. Energy was diverted from secondary systems to the energized plating on the ship. Auto repair modules came to life, humming to restore full integrity to the armor.
As the two Tempests came closer, the Defiance changed their crystals to a more powerful set. The space between the ships lit up with fire from the Omen, ripping through the aft structure of the closest battleship. The Matari vessel tilted to one side and stopped, unable to coax its engines any further. The second battleship let fly her shells, striking the drone bay, almost ripping it from the ship.
“Seal off those lower decks!” commanded Aleczander Kerr. “I don’t want to lose pressure to the whole ship.” Another round hit the side of the cruiser, knocking out primary power to the bridge. Lights flickered again, and emergency backup was fed into the systems still active. Smoke started filling the control center, evident that life support had started to fail.
“Captain, banks two and four are down,” called out the weapons officer.
“Life Support is down Captain,” reported the first officer, “Hull breaches throughout the ship.”
Aleczander Kerr knew what needed to be done. He loved this crew as much as they loved him, but duty calls. When the helpless and innocent cry out for aid, every last sacrifice must be made to duty.
“Turn her into the Matari, helmsman,” ordered the captain. “change the crystals to multifrequencies, and start overheating the caps.” Each type of laser crystal has its benefits and drawbacks. Though multifrequency crystals have an extremely short range, they do the greatest damage. The Defiance, leaking plasma, poured everything it had into her engines in a struggle to close the gap between the Amarrian ship and the barbarian giant. Aleczander Kerr turned one last time to the transport and saw it slip smoothly into warp. He knew that the fight between his enemy and the Defiance would be soon over; cruisers just don’t survive a one-on-one with a battleship. But as he saw the flash of the Minmatar guns, he knew that the innocent and helpless entrusted to him would survive.
“Fire!” Aleczander Kerr raged above the explosions. The sky brightened before him with holy beams of wrath.