A Lion At The Door.   Posted by Terradyne.Group: 0
Alexander Thorton
 player, 41 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Wed 1 Jun 2016
at 17:31
A Lion At The Door
"We're on the way Captain, disengage as you're best able, and stand by for additional counter-boarding parties from the Atlantis." I began, my voice calm, as I studied the tactical picture before me. The various paths and proboabilities flickered in my head, but I was well aware of the next few moves to come, as we wove through the possibilities together.

"To all ships, accelerate at 90% of full capability, and let's get the task group out safely." I continued firing off orders.

"The fleet acknowledges, increasing engine power." The captain replied, the worry in tone dissapearing. The feeling of additional acceleration only momentairly present, as the vessel compensated.

"Signal to Cartright and Atlantis to launch strike craft, have Atlantis teleport additional LORD and MORD units to all vessels, and have them ready to assist in counter-boarding ops."

"Understood Admiral, deploying." The icons sprang up over the tactical screen, miniature swarms zipping ahead.

"To all vessels, begin firing long range missile and torpedo weapons, and get that Imperial Cruiser to either join us or to get out of the way."

"Lastly, broadcast to enemy ship. Attention Chaos Vessel, This is Admiral Alexander Thorton of the Terran Federation Navy. I offer you the same thing I offer all of those before you and after you, the opportunity to self destruct before I get there, to save us both some time." The tone as bland as I could make it.

I could see Bell rolling her eyes at the corner of my vision, while I felt the sigh from my Captain.

<"Don't fire your long-range guns yet, I want us a bit closer before those go off.">
Melek Khoura
 player, 9 posts
 Daemon Prince
 Chaos Undivided
Wed 1 Jun 2016
at 20:22
A Lion At The Door
The control he could leverage over his vessel was one of the most convenient uses of his psychic powers, Melek had always thought. It meant he did not have to remain in a central control station or divide his attention when the enemy hailed him, for one.

Which, at this very moment, was quite important. Since his other half seemed occupied, it was the crow-head that spoke through the communications array. It sounded much as an actual corvid: its tone was high-pitched, and it frequently had to pause to take another breath.

"Thorton! You arrived -- finally!" He cawed excitedly, as if pleasantly surprised. "I know -- what happens. Wen would! Be ashamed of you!"

This message was last edited by the player at 20:50, Wed 01 June 2016.

Alexander Thorton
 player, 42 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Wed 1 Jun 2016
at 21:18
A Lion At The Door
"Funny, that's not the first time I've heard that, nor will it be the last." I replied, suprised I was for once not being ranted at about perfection or some skulls.

"As for Sigurd, I doubt it, I still haven't done anything nearly as reckless as he could." I responded quite calmly, having buried my mentor over fifty years ago.

"Might I have your name demon? I suspect you'll flee once the battle turns against you." I asked, well aware that simply making it's ship explode was unlikely to end it.
Melek Khoura
 player, 10 posts
 Daemon Prince
 Chaos Undivided
Wed 1 Jun 2016
at 21:29
A Lion At The Door
The crow was quiet for a few seconds.

It couldn't help but release a low cackle, a much softer sound compared to its previous tone.

"You think -- your failure is, being -- reckless?"

It decided not to comment on the matter further. Instead, it immediately moved on to Thorton's own question.

"The name -- is, Melek. Khoura. Once of, the Word Bearers. By all -- the gods, I have been blessed. I will -- naturally run away, if I am near defeat. Do you, assume all -- your foes to be -- hypocrites or, fools? Will you run, Thorton?"
Alexander Thorton
 player, 43 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Wed 1 Jun 2016
at 21:56
A Lion At The Door
"One should never assume anything." I stated as if lecturing "I just have much evidence from other Chaos commanders I had faced to draw on." I replied, all the while watching the tactical display.

"As for running, do not misunderstand, I see it as a perfectly valid strategy. I'd just like if my foe perished instead." I said, sighing.

"Regardless, as interesting as it was to actually have a conversation of a sort with my enemy, there is not much more I am willing to discuss. Goodbye Kohura, I hope you die."

"<Cut the Channel.">

<"Well dear, shall we work together on guiding us through the next few hours?"> I asked a presence far more plesant than the thing I was speaking to moments ago.

<"Of course."> she says, brushing against your mind. <"I shall divine what secrets I may from this...beast.">

You feel the skeins of fate - though not the way that others do, for unlike the Farseers of the modern Eldar, you do not run them in the same manner. She seeks out visions, possibilities - not hard facts and events. But even moments into her seeking you feel something wrong - an illness, as though you were sick, and the world wrong. She breaks off with a retch, pulling back from the future suddenly. <"Ugh. It's...wrong. Awful. The taint of Chaos is...too much."> you feel her shake her head back and forth. <"The beast is a tough one, and powerful. Your weapons...will not hurt it so much as you might like, I fear.">

<"Annoying."> I replied, even as I sent back the telepathic equivelant of a reassuring hug. <"Then let us focus on guarding against any potential tricks on it's part.">

She sighs. <"Yes. I'll do what I can to prevent that from happening again...">

This message was last edited by the player at 22:27, Wed 01 June 2016.

Terradyne
 GM, 289 posts
Thu 2 Jun 2016
at 19:54
A Lion At The Door
And yet for all of your confidence - bravado - the enemy is no simple thing to underestimate. Thorne contacts you yet again, though she is far less composed now.

"We've got to get out of here!" she shouts, unhinged - desperate, terrified beyond belief. "Run, before it gets its claws into you, too!"

And you watch with horror as two of the frigates and a precious cruiser detonate, overloading their own power-cores out of a terror so crippling that it has driven them to end their own lives rather than live with it any longer.

The rest slide out, entering the warp at a reckless pace. Hopefully they will deal with the remaining foes aboard without further issue, now that they are away from the source of their distress.

And you slide ever closer to the enemy's guns - already the longest-ranged pepper you with fire.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 44 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Thu 2 Jun 2016
at 21:39
A Lion At The Door
"Damn it. Continue towards the enemy, we'll intercept it at medium range, stick close for a few volleys, and continue onwards."

"Keep firing missiles and torpedoes, but do not open fire with main batteries until we're about to hit the yellow zone."

<"Let's co-ordinate with the fleet's Psykers. Nothing offensive, that thing is proboably too powerful for an assault, just...let's make sure we can keep the crews calm if that thing is trying to attack us from that direction.">

"Signal to the missiles, some are to continue acting as chaff for the torpedoes, the rest are to thin out strike-craft numbers where possible."

I could see the icon's changing vectors, the smart programming onboard allowing for on-fly adjustment.
Terradyne
 GM, 293 posts
Fri 3 Jun 2016
at 09:09
A Lion At The Door
<"I'll do what I can. Be careful, Alex.">

Your ships launch another volley, while the first torpedoes fly into the massive cloud of fighters. Twisted abominations of spiked metal, they are dangerous things - but not invincible. Missiles streak into them, impacting shields, smashing them down. Plasma burns through their hulls, into whatever thing gives them direction.

But the abominable juggernaut is of a size to give it an unending legion of such craft - beyond anything you possess. Such vessels existed once, but rarely as the product of anything less than an Oversector - and you are far from such a level.

Hundreds of strike craft make short work of your torpedoes, holding the strikes back - even as they die, burning, their sacrifice ensures that their carrier lays untouched.

You close in on the ship itself, plotting a course to hopefully keep you from the worst of its fire, while allowing you to strike it from afar. Moving ever closer, it fills more of the screen, a great leviathan of corrupt metal, iconography and munitions. Were it less organic, it may resemble an Ork vessel, but the fell powers that infuse it keep it from being a flying scrapheap.

Passing an invisible line your ships begin their own assault, weapons firing far across the void. Each shot flies far, but the shots impact shields of abominable strength, red light flickering with each impact as they stay up, against a barrage of fire that would end a battleship in short order.

And yet it can do little harm to you in turn, its guns not quite as effective as yours, and having to deal with so many vessels at once. A stalemate, played out across the stars.

But there is something else, your eyes registering something that did not seem to be there before. You knew it was there, and yet it did not seem to be there, even to your vessel's sensors. The Grey Knight's Strike Cruiser is close to your foe - clearly intending to ram - but whatever trickery they were using to hide appears to have failed, leaving them far too close to it - but at the same time, too far to complete their mission.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 45 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Fri 3 Jun 2016
at 21:31
A Lion At The Door
"Well, that could be a problem." I muttered, the enemy's vessel taking in the sort of firepower I'd expect a fortress of that size to have trouble handling.

"Execute Plan Three, Signal to all ships: Immideate high gravity maneuvre, emergency thrust vector Plan three." The maglocks on my boots engaged momentairly, as the fleet's RCS and engines went into overdrive to execute a turn at high speeds, allowing us to remain in range longer and potentially drawing attention away from the Knights, or damaging that beast, while still moving us forward at high speeds. Powerful as it is, volume of firepower was in my favour.

The strike-craft were going to be in range in a few moments too, and with how the enemy's group has been thinned...

I resisted the urge to sigh.

This was still extremely dangerous, but if I can draw his attention away from those Knights, they might have a chance.
Terradyne
 GM, 298 posts
Sat 4 Jun 2016
at 13:50
A Lion At The Door
At first its shields seem to thin, as the enemy surges forwards - some weakness in its power transfer system meaning that it can only run one system at full power at a time. But as it moves out of range of the Grey Knights - beyond any reasonable distance to ram them - it slows once more, and its shields strengthen.

The stalwart warriors of the Imperium endure, however, their ship taking hit after hit - yet still not being destroyed, or taking damage to render it combat-ineffective. A marvel, when compared to the paper-thin nature of so many of their ships.

Your strike-craft - less numerous than theirs, but more advanced and deadly - streak in and engage, flitting between the enemy flyers, greater mobility and firepower combating their advantages - but they are not so much more durable, or carry enough firepower to make it a rout. The skirmish is joined, a battle of smallcraft much the same as the whole; an extended stalemate that your opponent just might lose, the longer it goes on for.

As you burn around onto an adjusted trajectory, your weapons start to show a greater effect upon the colossal ship. Its shields flicker and fluctuate, before falling, revealing the bare hull below.

You start to dig into it with each hit, gouges struck from the hide of a beast as you pound it further. Great rents appear, chasms a half-mile deep, and cultists stream from it like air - but they are only flesh-wounds on this leviathan, a monster the size of a small moon.

And as it slows, it seems to split - images, each as seemingly real as the other, diverge from the original. After a few moments, you cannot even truly tell which is which - did it speed up, or slow down? Turn left, or turn right? The illusions are struck with warp-power and built to be indistinguishable to even your sensors. Perhaps in time they will be seen through - but they respond realistically enough.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 46 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Mon 6 Jun 2016
at 15:32
A Lion At The Door
"Have the fleet shut down engines, then spin us about to continue facing the enemy, we'll coast on out of here, but it'll keep us in range a bit longer." I began, formulating my plan on finding our enemy.

"Contact the Frontier, I need their sensors to try to burn through this trick."

"It's like fighting the Eldar"
I muttered, to noone in particular.

"Send a message to the fighters, I want half of them to detach from the current fight, and attempt to make general contact with the hull of each of those illusions."

"Signal the Grey Knights, ask them if they are able to see through these illusions."

<"Jarvis, take a look through fleet data, and see if you can determine which of those is depleting shield strength on any of our vessels. Or if any of them are."> I frowned, as I realised the potential for all of those to be fake, or at least for the real one to have stopped firing.

<"While I have no wish to actually try to seek out the mind of that...thing before us, is there any way to see through the fakes, or at least narrow it down?">
Terradyne
 GM, 300 posts
Mon 6 Jun 2016
at 16:16
A Lion At The Door
"Acknowledged, command. Ramping sensors to full power." ---, and several of the illusions vanish from your screens - not gone, precisely, but dismissed as unreal. It is not enough, however. Perhaps with the others, it might assist.

Your fighters fly in, but even as they make contact with each one in turn they can sense no differences - no changes in design, hull type or energy emissions. Certainly nothing that can indicate either way. An ongoing plan, the enemy having spread their own fighter cover thin in an attempt to confuse your own - something that has not succeeded.

<"Inconclusive, I am afraid."> replies Jarvis, his voice echoing through the ship. <"No data correlates with shield impacts. I cannot explain this; it is as if we are being hit by nothing."> he pauses. <"Even this is not conclusive, however - the true vessel may be firing illusions as well.">

<"I can..."> she shudders. <"Such foulness. A blight - a cancer upon this reality.">

Moments pass. <"There."> she says, finally, and a number of vessels change colour on your display - manipulated inside your mind, but enough to point out which is real and which is not.

Before a moment more passes and you discover it with unfortunate ease. One of your fighters touches down upon a vessel...only for it to surge up around the craft, and consume it utterly. Without a doubt that is the true foe - and now a target.

But something else occurs, also. Warp-sensors blare alarms and the vortexes of dozens of enemy vessels open on the far side of your fleet - a pincer manoeuvre, and a trap. Further out than perhaps might have been wise, but still dropped with uncanny precision.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 47 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Sat 11 Jun 2016
at 18:26
A Lion At The Door
"Right, time for us to exit the system." I commented as the enemy warped in additional forces.

"All Ships: Continue to pour as much fire as we can into the Dreadnaught." I begun firing off orders.

"Captain, turn us around and let's burn out of here, maximum thrust."

"Signal All ships:, we are leaving along [Path Delta], evade the enemy fleet and co-ordinate a warp translation as soon as we are able."

<"Signal to reinforcement point Alpha, to break off.">

"Contact the fighters, have them cover our withdrawl, then once we're gone, the rest are to kamikaze the enemy dreadnaught."

"Lastly, contact the Grey Knights, advise them to leave."
Terradyne
 GM, 310 posts
Sun 12 Jun 2016
at 11:57
A Lion At The Door
"Understood. All ships acknowledge withdrawal order" You feel the ship move slightly as its drives kick up to full power, moving you off as rapidly as they are capable. Your foe closes in - but they can only move so quickly. Had their jump been more accurate then it may have devolved into a sprawling starship-melee, but they did not, and so you pull back, far away from all but the longest-ranged of their weapons.

The dreadnought moves with a ponderous inevitability - as all ships of that mass do. A small fleet in a single vessel, it is quite possibly the most dangerous ship you have seen in the galaxy as it is now.

Weapons continue to pound into its shield, but it is stronger than any of yours, sheer mass and power keeping it up beyond sense - esoteric means of reinforcement taking greater damage than their lesser technological base would suggest they could take.

You do no further damage to it - though you have injured it slightly - but it has not been able to stop you from withdrawing. And as your drives flick into green status, they engage, and you drop into the warp, moving off at high speed. The last thing you see is the Strike Cruiser follow suit, unable to keep up with the enemy, or to face down their growing numbers.

This message was last edited by the GM at 11:57, Sun 12 June 2016.

Terradyne
 GM, 336 posts
Mon 20 Jun 2016
at 10:40
A Lion At The Door
The deep-space rendezvous point is quiet, as you sit far from any star. Only the running lights of your ships provide more than the faintest of illumination here. Repairs, maintenance and psychological evaluations are carried out here, a consequence of your contact with such a dangerous - and potentially infectious - foe. Thorne and her squadron have yet to report in, and you still have no idea what their fate is, as of yet.

Bell shudders as her avatar continues its long rant, occasionally repeating the same points out of frustration. "...cheating, magic bastards. That ship isn't possible. Seriously, it doesn't work. Sensors say it should have fallen apart, but of course like the damn Orks it just gets held together by bullsh-" she blinks. "Oh, shit."

The alert klaxon sounds a moment later, and the Diligence immediately raises the battlefield projection to show the warp-rifts disgorging the enemy you thought - hoped - left behind. Yet this time they are not at the extreme-range that favours you, but within your own formation, their vessels jumping out of the Warp at point-blank range. The greatest vessel, the dreadnought, appears almost directly in front of the Belisarius, ploughing into her with force that would shatter lesser vessels. The great ship merely suffers damage to her hull, however - but you see worse happening as the enemy begin to entangle her in a web of boarding lines and tubes, seemingly intent on taking her for themselves.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 48 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Mon 20 Jun 2016
at 15:58
A Lion At The Door
My perception of time passing changed. I took in everything the sensors were telling me, ranges, available angles of fire, and Bell's detailed analysis streaming down one of the displays.

Most would find it impossible to keep track of, a cacophony of sounds and images vying for one's attention. The picture being presented to me was enough to horrify at a first glance...but only at the first glance.

Despite the skilled exit, in spite of the fact Bell was partially immobilized, I was in the better position, and I was going to make my foe painfully aware of this in the brief moment before it's demise.

<"Alex"> A voice inside my head chided.

I shook off the impulse to try to match the abomination in front of me in a fight. This wasn't the place for it. <"Sorry dear.">

"We have the enemy right ontop of us." I state, utter confidence in my tone, as if it was my plan all along to get that thing into CQB.

"[[All ships]], direct fire into the enemy dreadnaught's prow. We need to get rid of those boarding lines and towing cables, to allow us to leave. All torpedo vessels are to fire when able. At this range, interception and spoofing will be impossible for them." And hard for us, though I don't state this out loudly.

"[[All Frigates]], are to then focus on group attacks on other enemy heavies, I want that thing's support vessels gone as quickly as possible."

<"Bell talk to me, I need detailed status. Fire your reverse...no, fire main engines and emergency RCS and vector down.">

"Captain, contact the Atlantis. I want them shipping over every spare combatant they can."

This message was last edited by the player at 15:58, Mon 20 June 2016.

Terradyne
 GM, 339 posts
Tue 21 Jun 2016
at 13:13
A Lion At The Door
"All vessels acknowledge orders, Admiral." says the Diligence, as he redirects each communication to its proper target. With orders given you turn to face the projection of the core intelligence of the Belisarius. She looks concerned, a slight amount of panic evident in her eyes - if nowhere else.

"I can't-" she says, before her avatar flickers, expressiveness gone, replaced with a cold simulacrum. "You have been diverted to tertiary processes; orders acknowledged. Enemy boarders detected on decks 45,92 and 115."

"Attempting to execute directives; unable to comply. Safety lockouts in effect. Estimated override duration: one minute, thirty-five seconds. Warning: additional enemy forces detected attempting boarding actions. Activating internal defences."

It takes an agonising amount of time for your ships to rotate to correct firing angles, the enemy themselves blocking at times, or friendly ship in the line of fire. The enemy may be a colossal target but the specific point is not; a smaller arc than you might like as a target, without hitting the Belisarius unduly.

Boarders stream across by the hundred, cultists in pressurised suits and red space marines following, some by hand - others in tick-like dropships, grappling onto the side of the battleship. Other things move across the gap, stranger things. You can do little but wait.

Laser-fire flickers across, actinic plasma orbs and beams smashing into hardened void-shields. They start to weaken - but not quickly enough. It is the torpedoes that you will have to rely on, great spears of metal and plasma-flame darting through the battlefields. The enemy strikes out at them - but you have many, and your torpedoes are superior to their defensive measures. And so while some are shot down, others pass through the defensive curtain, and into the gap, detonating.

Multiple blasts burn through cable and hook alike, scorching off drop-pods and consuming thousands in the inferno. incandescent metal sparks off from the two colliding ships, as the Belisarius slowly starts to drift freely, her engines still offline - but soon to come back up.

The enemy have not been idle in this time, however, as they close with your distracted vessels - trying their best to commit to your orders - intending to board. The enemy outnumbers you, both in ships and in crew, and this is clearly a most dangerous threat. More fighters and assault boats are launched from the enemy ships to bring their deadly cargo aboard. You open fire against them, but their numbers are too great - and the enemy too distracting to get any focused fire. Several smaller enemy raiders detonate, at no loss to your own vessels, but so far you have yet to inflict major losses upon the enemy,
Alexander Thorton
 player, 49 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 16:36
A Lion At The Door
<"Get me Bellisarius's bridge crew."> None of the late-era warships strictly speaking required command staff. However, the redundancy, and potential to counter certain...phenomenon were simply too important to have a purely AI ship, even outside the context of a rebellion.

<"Commander, sitrep.">

I didn't wait on him replying, relaying further orders to the fleet.

<"[[All Ships]]: We're closing ranks, accelerate immideately, and let's form a diamond centred on the Atlantis. All ships are to co-ordinate fire between one another independantly of fleet command until the formation is no longer penetrated.">

<" Diligence, Yima, Cartright, we're the bug swatters. We're going to hang back some. Take out the closest vessels to you, and then the three of us are linking up to act as a concentrated fire platform.">

<"[Atlantis]: Captain, I need your vessel to get over to Bellisarius, and cover it. We cannot allow more boarders to reach it. You are to counter-board it as best able, and attach towing cables. We need to leave this place.">
Terradyne
 GM, 364 posts
Wed 29 Jun 2016
at 20:18
A Lion At The Door
All vessels acknowledge and break off, coalescing as best as they can, moving between the enemy. The enemy's fleet is larger than your own - considerably so - but far less powerful. This shows as your fleet move around them, a shoal of silver fish amongst the red metal of your foe, stabbing out with bright beams and flashing pulses of light. Silent breakups and blinding explosions mark the end of a dozen of your enemies ships - frigates and cruisers alike - slowly degraded their numbers, sniping off those that you can, that are the greatest immediate risk.

But your foe is close, and their numbers are great - their arrival in the middle of your formation makes regrouping much harder than it could be. Enemy carriers disgorge hordes of fighters, bomber and worse - the tough assault boats, shielded by screens of other smallcraft. Difficult to pick off thanks to that, and tougher than many other vessels of your foe, they burrow, tick-like into the hulls of four vessels - a cruiser and three frigates, burning their way through the hulls and allowing their Legionary payloads free access. The crews will do their best to repel them, but your foe is no simple one - and your counterboarding measures far from being optimised against them.

Not all is bad news however - indeed, that is the exception, more than the majority. Your vessels coalesce into a fighting formation, and your heavier vessels spear out with each passing moment, lancing through another craft, and another. Enemy cruisers pop like flares in the dark, and their frigates are little more than an ablative shield. Already a quarter of their forces are damaged, or destroyed - for little losses to your own, mostly damage sufficient to pull back on a few smaller craft. Still, though they are wounded, the forces they can deploy are still dangerous - and not to be trifled with.

***

<"Sorry, Admiral. We've been collating things."> comes the voice of the ship's captain - though the Belisarius herself outranks him. <"We've got boarders on thirteen decks; Legionnaires and Cultists, along with some kind of mutants.">

"We have a Theoretical Category Alpha Xenothere, too, Admiral" says the Belisarius, her avatar flickering back into full life with a grin. "Luckily, he's as stupid as he looks, so he just got led into the business end of a Falx class heavy tank, which I..." she pauses, hand rubbing the back of her head as he expression turns to one of embarrassment. "...forgot that I had."

The captain clears his throat. <"The Commodore can't do everything herself, however. The Null-Field is keeping the enemy's...less conventional assets suppressed, but their Legionnaires are still continuing onwards."> he pauses, sighing. <"We don't have an accurate count - some of the enemy seem to be able to perform some limited electronic warfare - but there are probably a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty of them aboard.">

"I've reactivated my main engines; they're in prefire state right now. Just running some final tests before bringing them back up." she frowns. "They're not supposed to take that kind of a physical shock, but they should be fine."
Alexander Thorton
 player, 50 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Thu 30 Jun 2016
at 21:03
A Lion At The Door
<"[All Ships]: We are leaving, prep warp-drives and break off. I need an assesment from every vessel about their current boarding status. If you feel you cannot push back the enemy, abandon ship and self-destruct, or have a nearby vessel do it for you."> I said, hoping it wouldn't be necessary, but I'd rather not have the enemy capture more of my vessels.

"How did we miss a super-heavy tank during the repair works..."
I trailed off as I stared at the holo-screen, pushing the thought to the back of my mind for the moment.

<"Those ships with me, we're going to continue firing for a bit more, but we are leaving just as soon as the main formation warps off.">

This message was last edited by the player at 21:04, Thu 30 June 2016.

Terradyne
 GM, 371 posts
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 14:09
A Lion At The Door
You get status reports sent to you from the ships - the Cruiser Orion is weathering a large boarding action but so far has managed to hold the enemy back from the core of the ship - they're taking losses slowly but so is the enemy. The frigates Crab and Eagle are both pushing back their boarders quite nicely, the enemy having underestimated the amount of forces available on smaller combat platforms. The Lagoon, however, seems to have been attacked by three times the numbers of the others, and is reporting their defensive lines being overrun by Legionnaires and daemons. Judging by the reports it won't be long before they're taken.

The enemy seems to be largely abandoning their strategy, however, and they are moving back to disengage just as you are - perhaps you have hurt them significantly, or without their leader they are less inclined to pursue you as doggedly. Whichever it is, it makes pulling back much easier than it would have been otherwise.

However, despite your order to do so, none of the boarded ships have yet issued escape pods or evacuation teleports - and indeed, any attempt to raise them now is routed only to the shipboard intelligence. The Atlantis is similarly affected, reduced to an adrift state, kept in position only by the AI.

The rest of your fleet starts to open warp-apertures, retreating in sequence. By the time you realise what has happened, two-thirds of your fleet has jumped into the warp, unable to return with any rapidity.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:15, Sat 02 July 2016.

Alexander Thorton
 player, 51 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 21:41
A Lion At The Door
"<[All Ships]: Immideate halt to jump procedure, form on fleet flagship." I hurridly called out, as i realised exactly what was happening.

<"Dilligence, communicate with the disabled ships intelligences, I want them to start blaring alarms, warnings and the like at those who are asleep. Might be enough to wake them.">

<"Communicating, Admiral.">

I put the Crab, Orion and Eagle out of my mind for the moment. Last report was that they were pushing the enemy back, and this attack has failed to disable the robotic defenders onboard, just the crews. Lagoon was critical, given it's last reports. Atlantis also, but more that I needed it up and running to help with the others.

"Diligence, I need you to take down Lagoon's shields, and as soon as they're gone teleport as many combat personnel and robots as Colonel Greenwood is comfortable with onboard the Lagoon, and start evacuating it." I wasn't going to waste time. As soon as Lagoon's crew was gone, the ship was going to be scuttled forcibly.

<"[Signal To Yima and Cartright]: Your job is simple, take down Atlantis's shields, and teleport a spare bridge-crew onboard,we'll need their firepower and robots for this.">

"Also, contact the other ships Psi-capable personnel, I need them to co-ordinate on making sure the rest of the fleet isn't disabled this way." I stated to the air in front of me. With the null-field running, it was hard enough for me to maintain my current concentration, let alone doing any sort of help in that regard.

Under the very weak link, I sent what little reassurance I could to Naesala, knowing that as an Eldar, she was likely even worse off.

Finally, I spared a moment to look at the tactical screen, sizing up the enemy. The picture was unplesant, but not massively so.

<"[Unassigned Vessels]: The enemy seem keen to get a bit away from us. Their two battleships are damaged, All ships are to target Siera One and destroy it, then proceed to take down Siera Two.">
Terradyne
 GM, 372 posts
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 22:07
A Lion At The Door
Your ships turn, aim and fire with the precision that you expect from them. The enemy has stalled, their own retreat ending just as suddenly as yours - but their ships are slower to turn, slower to realise.

Slower to react.

And just as that, they are turned so that their greatest profile faces you. A target - the battleships open to all the fire that you can pour into them. One is speared through by piercing lances of light, cored in such a way that it cracks open, in half in moments, the more pieces seconds later.

The other is already most of the way through its turn, unable to be so readily destroyed - but it too is badly damaged, left drifting by the sudden assault.

While you watch the enemy fleet be slowly reduced - but also close in upon your stricken ships - you receive an update. While downing the Atlantis' shields was not a simple task, you have managed to reactivate the ship - though the crew are...insensate. Not merely asleep, but actively catatonic. Even direct medical intervention will not wake them.

Still, you at least manage to activate its drives and push it out of immediate danger.

The Lagoon, too, is the focus of much of your efforts, and it is not long before its crew is pulled off - those that still live, at any rate, and the vessel is scuttled, reactor-core set to overload and ended.

But the enemy advance further and faster with each moment, spurred on by your weaker posture, forcing their engines beyond safe limits to reach you. Soon they overrun the Orion's position - the enemy moving in to surround it, and fill it further with their numbers.

The Crab and Eagle drift, perilously close to the enemy's lines. Though they may push back the boarders, they are hardly in any shape to respond to a new assault. Meanwhile the enemy launch wave after wave of fighters, bombers and assault boats from seemingly endless hangars - the dreadnought itself throwing hundreds of such craft at you. They sting and spit torpedoes, damaging your ships - a Nebula goes up in a pyre of plasma-flame and other ships start to show increasing damage, the enemy now on far more even ground, and able to concentrate their weaker fire more effectively. Their Macro-Cannon shells and Lances may not be as strong as your weapons, but in numbers they may threaten even you.
Alexander Thorton
 player, 52 posts
 Fleet Admiral, CINCFLEET
Sat 2 Jul 2016
at 22:46
A Lion At The Door
<"[All Ships]: We're forming a perimiter on the Crab and Eagle. Yima, Atlantis, knock down their shields, and Atlantis is to teleport additional robots onboard them."> I began firing off orders.

I glared at the holo-table, utilising all of my knowledge, years of combat and insight...and I could only really do one thing. I breathed out, far calmer than I felt.

<"[All other vessels]: All ships. Target the Orion and destroy it. We are not letting them capture our comrades, and they are definitely not getting our ships.">

<"As soon as Crab and Eagle are capable of moving with us, we're buring away until we can warp.">

I finished, the acknowledgements slowly filtering in with the same sort of tone I gave the orders in.
Terradyne
 GM, 374 posts
Sun 3 Jul 2016
at 09:02
A Lion At The Door
The enemy advances, yet you are the one to force the issue. A great barrage of fire emanates from your fleet, smashing into the enemy with force enough to burn the surface of worlds. Striking shield and hull, smashing aside armour and burning through decks with the fury of an age near-forgotten in the modern era. You remind them of it by your mere existence - and hammer that home with the potency of your vessels.

Enemy frigates are speared, cruisers damaged and broken as you fire - though the great leviathan moves on, damaged, but so large and bulky that you can scarcely do more than surface damage without an immense amount of time for such a fight.

You force them back from the edge, however, and they are repulsed from the stricken frigates, as you slowly pull them back towards friendly lines. They should live through the catastrophe, assuming you can escape in time. With the shields down you start teleporting robots aboard - though it also leaves the enemy in place to use their own teleportation capabilities to reinforce their boarders. Still, the growing distance should help in keeping these numbers lower than they could be.

The Orion is speared end to end by plasma-lance, followed by a blast from the Diligence's Dark Energy Eruptors, smashing it into pieces; the vessel cracks and twists, blasted apart. With luck, nothing survived the blast itself - and collateral damage was higher than it might have been, the enemy crowding closer than they should.

And so with the two frigates in a safer condition - though still not free of peril - you withdraw from the battlefield, dipping into the warp and moving off as fast as you are able.