Welcome back to ITSZ. Today, I have a lengthy (and hopefully worthwhile, but you might want to grab a cuppa first..) post giving you a narrative battle report detailing the assault of the 913th P.N.D. against the waypoint of NSZ-87 (Northern Storm Zone, Waypoint 87) held by the Aquan battle fleet of Tye Ho’Gyn. Fresh from his victory over the defensive line formed by the Sorylians and the Terrans, Draykon Rense led his “Earthbreakers” in the assault from the bridge of the indomitable Retribution class Dreadnought; DNS Wrath of Rense, the Pride of Dramos being stuck in repairs after the previous battle. The roster of battle fell thusly:
913th P.N.D. “Earthbreakers”
DNS Wrath of Rense (Retribution Class Dreadnought and temporary flagship of Draykon Rense)
- +3 Wing Capacity
- -1 Turn Limit
- Remove Ablative Plating
- High Energy Kinetics
- 3 Interceptors
- 1 Retarius Class Escort
The Sisters of Sorrow; DNS Vengeance and DNS Mournful (Cataphract Class Battlecruisers)
- -1 Turn Limit
- Double Mines
- High Energy Kinetics
Hurricane Squadron; DNS Hurricane, DNS Typhoon (Tempestuous Rage’s replacement), DNS Storm’s Wrath (Secutor Class Cruiser Squadron)
Tempest Squadron; DNS Furious Tempest, DNS Steel Blizzard, DNS Iron Storm (Secutor Class Cruiser Squadron)
Canis Squadron; DNS Canis, DNS Hound, DNS Lupus
Jackel Squadron; DNS Jackel, DNS Anubis, DNS Osiris
The Aquan Defenders
The Deeps Endless Wave (Dagon Class Battle Carrier and flagship of Tye Ho’Gyn)
- +1 Shield
- -1 Turn Limit
- +2 Point Defence
- Energy Transfer (1)
- Quick Launch
- 2 Kappa Class Escorts
Rift Stalker and Storm Chaser (2 Orca Class Battle Cruisers)
- +1 Shield
- Energy Transfer (2)
- Corrosive Torpedoes
Sea Dart Squadron (4 Isonade Class Cruisers)
- Difficult Target
- Energy Transfer (1)
Chimera Frigate Squadron Alpha (4 Chimera Class Frigates)
Chimera Frigate Squadron Beta (4 Chimera Class Frigates)
Snapper Corvette Squadron (6 Snapper Class Corvettes)
- Pack Hunters
Mission: Hold the Waypoint
Placement of Objectives: The Aquan waypoint was placed in the upper left corner of the battlezone, hidden behind an asteroid field and gas cloud. The Dindrenzi one was placed in the lower right close to the asteroid field there.
Deployment: Draykon deliberately let slip a small blip of his fleet’s presence to the Aquans waiting for him, taking the bait, the Aquan commander began to reorganise his forces to repel the invaders. Ordering Jackel and Canis squadrons to hold back in Fold Space giving the Aquans more time to show their hand, Draykon finally reacted. His fleet punching through into the battlezone as the Aquan ships were coming back into their final locations. Adopting the pincer manoeuvre that had served him so well against the Sorylians the Sisters and Tempest Squadron deployed on the left while the Wrath and Hurricane Squadron deployed on the right flank. Facing off against them, the Aquans had deployed a refused flank; the Endless Wave, flanked by the two squadrons of Chimera Frigates and the Sea Darts while the Snappers took a position in the centre and the Rift Stalker and Storm Chaser were deployed in the centre-right in what would rapidly become apparent as a trap. One which Draykon, in all his arrogance, ran straight into; and without the added offensive power of Jackel and Canis the ending became a forgone conclusion…
The opening move of the battle came from the Aquans; Sea Dart squadron moving cautiously behind the asteroid field to retain their cover, dropping two sets of mines to cover their rears from the potential of the outflanking Thraex squadrons. Taking aim at the DNS Mournful, they opened fire but between the asteroids and the considerable PD the Sisters could put against the torpedo attack they remained unscathed. Sensing the opening threat, Tempest Squadron responded in kind, they knew from past experience the danger these ships could pose if left unattended. Tempest combined all their fire on the lead element, rail guns and torpedoes both, to overcome the effect of the asteroid field. However, the volume of fire was unnecessary; the triple rail guns struck the target a midships splitting her in two with thunderous force leaving the torpedo salvo to stream through the empty space her midpoint once occupied.
Frigate Squadron Alpha continued the hostilities, swinging around the asteroid field that protected them and opening up against Tempest Squadron cutting deep into the Steel Blizzard, shutting off her point defence network. In retaliation against the rent in her hull the Sisters of Sorrow moved up to take aim at Frigate Squadron Alpha, splitting each of their shots to target a new member of the squadron. The first and second shots smashed apart a ship each while the third and fourth rebounded from the curved armour plating of the small ships.
The loses to Alpha Squadron trigger a reaction from Beta Squadron, using the planet as cover they move up into the flank of Tempest Squadron and unleash a blistering fusillade of coruscating beams against the already damaged Blizzard. The ships captain’s moment of triumph at the destruction of one of the Sea Darts was short lived as his ship was literally cut apart by the lasers. Draykon saw the Blizzard go dark on his screen and realised he may have made a mistake in baiting the Aquans so and splitting his forces. Still, he had a job to do and he would be damned if he was going to go back to Bilitas and tell him that he had failed. Setting the Wrath’s engines to slow burn he moved up to secure his waypoint, defending it with the not insubstantial fire power of the Retribution class Dreadnought, the Interceptor flights stored in her hangars flying free into the void to defend their ship. This fire power was moot at this point in the battle, however. The primary weapons could not find a line through the asteroids and the torpedoes were spoilt by the defensive fire of the Orcas.
The Snappers moved next, resolving to reinforce the centre of the Aquan lines. Despite moving at full speed they couldn’t quite bring their torpedoes into range of the Dindrenzi invaders. It wouldn’t be long though…
Hurricane Squadron moved up to support the Dreadnought, further reinforcing the waypoint and opening up with their torpedoes through the asteroid fields, shattering a Snapper from stem to stern. The Dindrenzi had made their opening moves and the Aquans knew it, having saved their heavy hitters for last. The Eternal Wave moved first, she cut the black elegantly, carving around the asteroid field and loosing torpedoes at the already depleted Tempest Squadron, their combined point defence was more than a match for the opportunistic attack however. She did retain control of the Aquan waypoint though. In the final scene of the opening act, the Orcas, Rift Stalker and Storm Chaser, crawled forwards slowly keeping the asteroids between them and the Wrath. They instead decided to punish the already battered Tempest Squadron with some long range torpedoes, dealing a glancing blow to the Iron Storm, the corrosive payload beginning to eat into the hull plating but the effect wearing off too soon to do any further damage.
Battle Log: Dindrenzi: 2 / Aquan: 2
Now the Aquans had dragged Draykon into their trap they began to dismantle the divided forces piecemeal. First, Tye sent out the preordained orders he had crafted based on the intel his forces had gathered from the battle with the Sorylians, beating the Dindrenzi’s usual ability to dictate the flow of a battle; Beta Squadron continued their run around the planet, bringing their fore beams to bear on the DNS Mournful while the main broadside continued to target the Iron Storm Secutor. The fore beams took some outer plates from the Mournful while the broadside cut deep into the Storm, causing a failure in the main drives and dealing significant damage.
The now battered Tempest Squadron retaliated with everything they had left. Or they would have had they not struck the mine field that Admiral Ho’Gyn had laid before the Dindrenzi had arrived. The sleeper mines activated, being dragged onto the prow of the remaining two ships of Tempest. Of the Tempest herself the mines blew clear sheets of ablative armour but little else. Her sister ship, the Storm fared less well. Her captain barely having time to react before her ship blew apart, the mines finding holes in the superstructure and detonating deep in her hull. The Tempest took refuge in the gas cloud, but she was merely prolonging the inevitable and her captain knew it. The storm still had a bite, despite the loses, and targetted the remains of Alpha Squadron, her kinetic weapon driving deep into the fore plating of the first, turning her dark and spinning her into the black while the torpedo salvo sped towards the final ship, dragging clumps of the gas cloud with her and taking the Aquan commander by surprise. The warheads punched deep and blew apart the small ship in a welter of natural composite the Aquans grew their ships from.
The Sea Darts sensed the blood in the water and took advantage. Speeding from their cover behind the asteroid field their beam weapons cut the void; fore weapons screaming towards the Mournful cutting deeply into the superstructure but missing the vital systems, while the broadside fired into the gas cloud, trying to finally take down the Tempest, but the cloud scattered the targeting arrays. Their torpedoes, loosed in the wake of the lasers, hit the nose of the Mournful but did little more than pull superstructure loose.
Wanting revenge for the loss of the Storm and Blizzard the Sisters of Sorrow moved up, sowing the space behind them with a thick minefield. Their fore weapons joined together to mitigate the damage they had suffered, the first shot rebounded from the narrow ships while the second struck hard and started a fire in the bowels of one of the ships. The gun racks pivoted in place, aiming at Beta Squadron and fire rippled along the spines of the ship but dealing no damage to the wily craft.
In their haste to assault the Aquan lines the Sisters had put themselves out of position, a mistake that the Snappers planned to take full advantage of. The already damaged Mournful rocked under the assault of torpedoes, armour plates ripping free under the barrage, leaving the besieged battlecruiser limping badly, her hull barely holding together.
Hurricane Squadron attempted to stem the tide, but being isolated on the right flank there was little they could do. Moving ahead of the Dreadnought, they spun their guns to bear on Beta Squadron, their weapons firing as one to smash apart one of the ships who had cut so deeply into the Dindrenzi lines. They followed up with a torpedo volley but the shots either went wide or were shot down. Even as the wreckage cleared, the Wave cruised further around the asteroids taking her out of range of the waypoint but to set herself up for later in the battle.
Draykon could feel the battle slipping from him, he wouldn’t admit it readily but he knew it would be hard to come back from his current position. Even though he held the waypoint, his ships were dropping quickly; too quickly. Taking the fight to the Aquans, he continued the Dreadnought’s slow forward burn, adjusting his angle to bring his torpedoes to arc against the lead Orca and lining the gun racks up against Beta Squadron. The torpedoes split through the asteroids guarding the Orca and took chunks from her hull though the gun racks were less successful, not even scratching the surface of the enemy ship.
Rift Stalker and Storm Chaser moved carefully, keeping themselves protected from the worst of the Dindrenzi assault while taking shots at the now exposed Hurricane Squadron. The beams cut deep into the DNS Typhoon, the beams pierced the outer armour easily and cut into the core of the ship though thankfully without knocking out a major system.
Battle Log: Dindrenzi: 5 / Aquan: 2
The Aquans had the advantage. And Tye intended to press it, launching the next phase of the preordained battle orders, he sent word to the Sea Darts to continue the assault. The agile Aquan craft, far more nimble than any ship of their size had a right to be, thrust deep into the Dindrenzi deployment zone. Forgoing their fore mounted weapons, the ships pulled all available power to the broadside batteries. The ships glowed for a moment, crimson energy igniting the cold reaches of space before the shots slammed deep into Mournful. The captain’s last message to the Vengeance cut off mid stream as her hull broke apart.
The Tempest knew she was outmatched, the flank was lost and with it the battle. Jackel and Canis hadn’t appeared yet, caught up in Fold Space, and the Mournful was lost. The Vengeance and Tempest alone couldn’t hold back the Snappers, Beta Squadron, the Sea Darts and the Endless Wave. Her captain admitted this with a heavy heart and started the FSD Escape sequence, messaging Draykon with his intent. The Rense responded with expected anger towards the idea of retreat but there was little he could do. Yet, even as he gave the order to begin charging a shadow drifted across the scopes.
The Eternal Wave closed to threat range. First, a swarm of bombers flew rapidly from the bays of the Battle Carrier. The isolated and damaged cruiser stood no chance as her pitiful remaining point defence rang out, striking down a handful of craft but leaving many more unscathed. The bombs fell, blossoms of fire and metal birthed into the void in their wake, voiding great areas of the hull and starting fires in the depths, crew either being pulled into the dark or burned alive. In their wake came the primary weapons of the colossal ship. The beams burned through the remains of the Tempest’s hull, the ship breaking apart under the stress of the battle wounds inflicted upon her. Her remaining weapons spat out at the DNS Vengeance, the beams striking deep and annihilating the command and control node for the boarding teams before the torpedoes rippled along her outer plating.
The Vengeance was crippled, her captain knew it, Rense knew it. It was with a heavy heart he asked one last sacrifice of the noble vessel. He apologised for his failing. For falling into the trap and leading them into this mess. Captain Fuegon nodded to himself and sent back a simple sentence. “For Dramos, aye.”
She cruised into the gas cloud that had sheltered the Tempest before her. She attempted to lash out at her attackers but to no avail, shots rebounding into the dark. Even as the amorphous cloud absorbed the hurting battle cruiser, Beta Squadron spun on a tight circle, bringing her alternative broadside to bear on the protective nebula. The beams split the cloud, the majority missing but one finding its mark and dealing further minor damage to the venerable ship.
Even as the left flank was collapsing the same was slowly unfolding on the right. Hurricane Squadron attempted to stem the tide, abandoning the waypoint, they pulled ahead and around the asteroids to assault the Orcas with everything they had but merely put an minor crack in the hull of the lead Orca.
Attempting to seal the fate of the Vengeance, the Snapper Squadron tried to dive into the gas cloud after them. However, they had not counted on the final trap laid by the Tempest before her demise. A mine field laid the doomed ship slew two of the Snapper Class as they attempted to encircle the remaining Cataphract, though the remainder stormed the nebula unabashed. Once in position their projectile weapons dealt further damage to the stricken vessel.
Rense knew the battle was lost, anyone could see it. His left had utterly collapsed while the Wrath and Hurricane held the right with dwindling resources. So he made a vow, to make as many of them pay as he could for the losses he had suffered. Activating the main drives once more he swung about, hard to port, taking aim at the Sea Darts. Alas, despite the power of the weapons the Retribution held, the shot was spoilt by a combination of the difficulty of drawing a bead on the Isonades and the asteroids they hid behind.
The Orcas once more took advantage of the Dindrenzian rash behaviour, pulling out hard from the asteroid field they opened up with everything they had for the first time, splitting fire between the Secutor cruisers to the fore and firing individually on the Wrath. The first shot peeled armour plating from the DNS Hurricane. The second, opened a tear in the nose of the Wrath. The third, rent that crack open and exposed entire decks to the cold blackness beyond, dragging crew to their dooms.
Battle Log: Dindrenzi: 7 / Aquan: 9
The battle was all but done, the 913th lay in ruins under the Aquan assault. Too late to make an impact, Jackel Squadron stormed in from the right flank, no doubt surprised at how much damage had been done to the fleet in their absence. Draykon noted their arrival impassively, understanding the limitations of their value at this point. Under his command the Wrath laid a spread of mines to protect the waypoint in her absence and took aim at the lead Orca, leaking water and atmosphere from the mass driver impacts in her hull. Ordering a twin salvo against her with a follow up torpedo spread the Retribution rocked. The twin impacts from her rail guns carved the Aquan ship apart, the first leaving a ragged wound down her flank that burned the plating and boiled the water within the ship even as the second caused the last of her superstructure to collapse, leaving her a blackened wreck.
Seeing her sister torn apart so readily by the brutal Dindrenzi Dreadnought, the Rift Stalker burned hard, her captain throwing her into the flank of the Retribution at full speed, though the colossus was not her target. Beams licked out and found their marks, the first annihilating the escort attached to protect the Wrath from harm while the second scored a deep his into the midships of the Storm’s Wrath, shutting down the port side servos for the gun racks.
On the left flank, the crippled Vengeance vowed to take down as many of her assailants as she could. Moving deeper into the gas cloud, past the corvettes who sought to ensnare her she laid down a fan of mines just off her port and starboard in close proximity to the Aquans. Her main weapons were all but useless at this point but she would not be denied the satisfaction of a final kill.
Yet her survival was not to be. Despite the cover of the gas cloud which had thus far kept her alive it would not prevent the attentions of the Eternal Wave from falling upon her. First, she unleashed a cloud of bombers, screaming through the gas cloud and falling upon the Vengeance. Her remaining point defence crews performed admirably, destroying an incoming wing and putting dents in a number of ships. It was not enough. The bombs fell upon plate forged above Dramos herself and yet… the Vengeance weathered the assault, her hull proving too much for the Aquan strike craft. Tye adopted an expression of mild frustration; the battlecruiser was no longer a threat but she was still an irritant. Ordering all weapon crews on the starboard side to combine fire, pulling power from her fore weapons to ensure the Dindrenzi ship would not survive further she released enough energy to tear through a Dreadnought. Captain Fuegon saw his doom coming and bowed his head. The venerable Cataphract tore apart under the deluge of fire, forming yet one more field of debris in the ever spreading war.
Hurricane Squadron made a final attempt at stemming the tight of Aquans that were beginning to turn their attentions to the right flank. Coming about to support the Wrath, the squadron further mined the waypoint in defence of an Aquan flanking move. Unfortunately the Rift Stalker was now so deep in their lines that the best they could muster was a single kinetic shot and a handful of gun racks, the superior armour of the Aquan ship easily withstanding the fusillade. Their torpedoes, however, launched as a single mass, streaming towards the oncoming Sea Darts and breaking open the already damaged lead ship and destroying her.
The Sea Darts, still a dangerous squadron despite their depleted numbers, responded in kind. Fore beams lashed out to strike the Storm’s Wrath, already bleeding from earlier wounds and carving her apart. Even as the Storm died, a torpedo salvo sped towards the limping Typhoon, her gunnery crews frantically carving torpedoes from the void. But it was not to be, a lone warhead found her mark in an already weakened seam and broke the Secutor open, spinning her out of formation and drifting, lifeless. The Hurricane stood alone.
Jackel Squadron dove deep into the battle field, they had a lot to make up for. Targeting the remaining Orca, the ships rail guns spat their fury, penetrating deeply and knocking out her close range defensive weapons before following up with a torpedo volley. The projectile warheads failed to find their mark despite the opening the lack of defensive fire afforded them. Yet another failure to be laid at their door, Draykon thought. Sensing that the battle was all but won, Tye ordered the survivors of Beta Squadron to return to the waypoint and defend it against the incoming Dindrenzi frigates. As the ships came about, their captains could not resist the temptation to add insult to the Dindrenzi defeat, their beams striking the Wrath on her starboard side, peeling away yet more of the armoured shell.
The remaining Snappers, isolated from the main battle now it had switched to the right, decided to reinforce Beta Squadron, going for hard burn out of the gas cloud. Even as their engines fired up, the mines laid by the lost DNS Vengeance ignited the gas cloud. Two of the remaining three ships were atomised in the explosion, the lone survivor by pure chance being far enough from the initial blast to suffer nothing more than superficial burns before speeding from the scene of destruction.
Battle Log: Dindrenzi: 9 / Aquan: 15
At the last, Wolf Squadron finally erupted from Fold Space behind the Aquan Waypoint, if they could just hold it, they may be able to salvage something from the day… But alas, it was a move Tye expected from them and used this to his advantage to steal back the initiative from Draykon. The Rift Stalker fired a full broadside at close range into the Wrath, starting a fire and leaving her dangerously exposed. Her other flank spoke less loudly, the beams missing the agile Wolf Squadron, even as her torpedoes ended one of the Thraex in fire and death.
Wolf Squadron reacted quickly to this assault, diving into the gas cloud to secure the waypoint and prevent further loses. Even as they did so, their fore kinetics slammed into the Wave, cracking her armoured shell. The paired torpedoes took a bead on the last remaining Aquan corvette and reduced her to ash. The Wave soon retaliated, sending her bomber flights to dispatch another of Wolf Squadron as they took cover though her main guns were less than successful… for now.
Draykon stood on the bridge of the Wrath as she burned. He knew there was no getting out of this fight, not now. Even the Retribution had suffered too greatly to survive long enough to escape. Still she voiced her anger, the kinetics barely touching the Wave even as her gun racks tore another of Beta Squadron apart, leaving a lone survivor.
The Sea Darts closed with the Wrath and Hurricane, determined to see them finally destroyed. Their combined fire dealt little more than minor damage to both of the formidable Dindrenzi ships while their torpedoes spiralled harmlessly passed Wolf Squadron. Hurricane attempted to interpose herself between the Darts and her Admiral, knowing it would mean her death. Yet for all her remaining weaponry she managed northing more than to further damage the outer plating of the Rift Stalker.
The last two members of Beta Squadron had drawn close to the waypoint now, sighting the last Wolf of the pack hiding in the gas cloud. Like a hunter after a fresh kill, the Aquan captains lined up the shot and loosed, the beams igniting the torpedo magazine in the prow of the ship and obliterating her in spectacular fashion. Wolf Squadron was no more.
The Jackels, determined to fulfil the Wolf’s final task and avenge them into the bargain sped across the back of the battle zone, venting their fury against the Aquan frigates and crippling one but not yet killing her.
Battle Log: Dindrenzi: 8 / Aquan: 15
Out of sheer desperation, the Hurricane launched an all out assault on the remainder of the Aquan lines. Firing from every available weapon system at the Wave, Darts and Rift Stalker but dealing no damage to any of them. She did at least leave a mine cluster just off the flank of the Rift, with any luck they would succeed where the ship herself had failed. Yet even as the thought crossed the mind of the Hurricane’s captain, she realised how in vain this was. The Wave came on calmly, like a deep sea predator who knows full well she is the most dangerous creature present. Her bombers swarmed past the Hurricane, her captain’s depleted gun crews helpless to offer more than an incoherent spat of fire at them, and lit up the already crippled Wrath of Rense. The titan listed badly to one side, one rail gun coming away entirely, billowing smoke. Even as she fell the Wave offered up a final barrage, the beams cutting through the superstructure and splitting her in two down the centre below the bridge. The Wrath was no more.
Jackel Squadron, determined to finish the job against Beta Squadron dropped their speed to keep the nimble ships in arc and avoid a mine to their fore. The rail guns sighted up the damaged frigate, ended her in an explosion of kinetic force, while the torpedoes powered their way into the flank of the final surviving member, obliterating the small ship.
Even as the last of Beta Squadron were turned to slowly expanding debris, Rift Stalker locked onto the limping form of the DNS Hurricane. Almost contemptuously, her beam weapons reached across the void and tore the last Secutor apart in a welter of metal and flame. The Sea Darts, vowing that not one Son of Rense would escape targeted the Jackels; their beams wrecking one in a single combined hit while their torpedoes skewered another amidships, ending her. A lone Jackel, DNS Anubis, had survived. Hitting the Fold Space Escape, she shunted out to rely news of the failure to upper command.
It was a red day for the Dindrenzi.
Final Battle Log: Dindrenzi: 3 / Aquan: 15
Result: Major Aquan Triumph