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Title: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 19 July 2020, 01:25:27
No Truce With Kings
The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions


“Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” - Denis Diderot (attr.)

Terra’s Age of Revolutions: nearly four centuries of fire, spanning 1642-2014. The power of the old ruling classes, either humbled to mere memory of former glory or annihilated altogether in the cleansing fire of modernity. Science and industry unchained by inquisition and inequity. War, no longer the province of noble and mercenary fighting for glory, honor, and advantage, but conscript and factory worker, fighting for homeland and cause. It is as yet early days, but it seems fair to say the Human Sphere is in the midst of another Age of Revolutions today.

Another such spasm of revolution was likely inevitable. After centuries of war, stasis, and war again the Sphere was little more than a motley collection of thatch and tinder which needed but a spark. Terra, of course, provided just such a spark. But that is not to say another spark would not have come; if history teaches anything, it is that neither force of arms nor bread and circuses nor all the propaganda in the galaxy can stand athwart the tide of history yelling Stop. Technology, the way human beings related to one another and to production, had changed too much under the enforced political settlement of the Star League, even with Cameron and Council directing--or damming up--as much as they could. And with the Star League’s Dissolution Wars finally coming to an end, given emphatic codicil with the Terran Revolution, neither could war itself serve as a brake as it had then or during the earlier Age of War.

-from The Bawmhillian Theory of Revolution In The Long 29th Century, 2765-2913 by Anna Silva, University of Washington Press, Terra, 2924. Prof. Silva is Visiting Professor of History at the University of Washington and Chief Scholar in Residence, Department of History, at Portent University, Gibson. Her research covers early-spaceflight theories of history and the macrosocial movements of the Human Sphere.

What did the Warlords think when they first heard of trouble on Terra? To a large extent we don’t know. The Scouring of Luthien means records from the Kuritas are lost, of course, but even where records or autobiographies are available we have to question their reliability given the secrecy of affairs of state combined with the tendency towards self-justification and making excuses after the fact. The best account we have is from Elizabeth Steiner, in her memoir My Time at the Helm. In a word, she was vexed. She had just heard back from her envoy to Philippa Marik’s court on Atreus, sent to secure peace after the third Dissolution War, and that goal was consuming her attention. “We were discussing the League’s internal political response--we later learned James [Marik] was already on the way--but Friedrich [Alberts, Chancellor of LIC] cut that discussion off well before the end of the hour, saying, as best I recall, he had ‘another matter of some importance’ to discuss. Looking back I was certainly harsher in my response than I could wish. What did some indigestion on the part of Uncle’s [Marcus’s] hated foe have to do with the chance for peace in the Inner Sphere?” Writing her memoirs a quarter-century later, the Archon could not have been unaware of the irony of her statement.

-from “What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?” by Magnus Jorgensen, in The New Terra At Fifty: Essays on a Shattered Sphere, ed. Martin Grimsdale, The New Press, Dieron, 2915. Dr. Jorgensen is the author or editor of over fifty books of popular history and countless articles and is a frequent commentator on netshows.

Author's Note: I started writing this setting nearly 20 years ago. It was based on a setting idea from Cray/Mike Miller on Sarna ( here (http://'') ). I wrote some history, made some mech, vehicle, and ship designs (and in the process bashed my head against the wall that is BT's thirty-year attempt to make warships as a class conform to the nerfed stats of TRO 2750), and made some art and wrote some short fiction. Pretty much none of it ever got posted, as I recall--heck, I haven't been actively following BT in about 15 years, although apparently my account survived multiple forum disasters here! But quarantine got me rereading BT fanfiction and story tribbles, and with my usual pursuits denied I decided to dust off the old Terran setting. And then I came across Mal-3's Rift Congress setting (and Candle, which is another revolutionary look, albeit with the mother of all deus ex machinas) and I asked myself--why think small? And that brought me to an interesting place: BT's weird sociopolitics and its schizoid tech development (or, heh, "economy").  Untold gazillions of electrons have died to try to explain why Battletech's technology dictates its social structures, from the first House Books to the latest online debates. But what if we've gotten it the wrong way around all these years?

Here is my attempt to run with that answer. Note that throughout I will mostly cleave to the earliest depictions of the setting (modulated for the mid, not late, Succession Wars time period for the Houses)--so expect my take on Star League technology to follow that of the early sourcebooks rather than the rules we eventually got.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: Tegyrius on 19 July 2020, 07:32:40
I am intrigued by your style and concepts and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: EAGLE 7 on 19 July 2020, 09:25:52
Another fellow traveler willing to hear the story of your world.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: Ttw1 on 19 July 2020, 11:47:15
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 19 July 2020, 15:54:02
It remains unclear whether ComStar instigated the invasion of 2866. What is clear is that, after ComStar’s evacuation of Terra in early 2865, relations were strained at best between the First Circuit and the provisional Terran government, soon to become the Terran Union. An uneasy peace has continued for the last decade, where Terran diplomats and ComStar precentors jockey for influence with the successor states. In an unspoken modus vivendi, ComStar has not tried to reconquer Terra, and the Union has not directly attacked ComStar’s lifeblood, the HPG network. But rumors continue to swirl--that Primus Marteen and President Ng have concluded a secret treaty, ending the cold war; that ComStar was indeed involved in the invasion and is planning another; that the Union is about to secure a deal with the Lyran Commonwealth, never overawed by ComStar, to replace the organization in running its HPGs; and that ComStar has hidden enclaves beyond its HPG compounds and its public-facing headquarters on Dieron. Given ComStar’s demonstrated ability to keep its HPGs running despite the Terran embargo, the organization must have some new manufacturing base, but whether that was built on Dieron or on another public enclave, or hidden from view entirely, is as yet unknown. The Department of Intelligence has consistently denied any knowledge of hidden sites, however.

-from “Foreign Policy Takes Center Stage As Presidential Race Heats Up” by Andrea Appiah, in Foreign Affairs May 2876 issue, Terra. Ms. Appiah is a reporter for Foreign Affairs netzine.

To understand the peculiar character of the Terran Union, one must understand the twin traumas of its past century of existence. The first trauma is obvious: in 2750, Terra stood at the zenith of the grandest empire humanity had ever seen. A century later, that empire lay shattered, and of the state at the heart of it, the Terran state, which had lasted for over half a millennium, all that was left was the Sol system itself. What had caused such a fall? Terrans had an answer: aristocracy. Dynasties beget dynasts, whose first priority are their family legacies, second their pride, and third--if their subjects are lucky--those subjects. Even positing the best of intentions and finest of goals, however, what remains is the question of the competence of the lordling, and the utter absence of recourse at its lack. At the height of the Star League, it was possible to believe that Terra was gradually stealing power away from the House Lords, quietly shuffling them inexorably into gilded irrelevance as the League bureaucracy grew. Even were that the case--something the League’s last fifty years and the member states’ inaction during the First Dissolution War gave lie to--that still left out the most important dynasty of all: the Camerons. They had acted in the finest tradition of dynasts themselves, of course, amassing power for themselves and their heirs and eliminating check after check, and it is no exaggeration to say that the entire Sphere has paid the price.

The second trauma is less obvious. ComStar is an easy shorthand, but that ignores the currents just beneath the surface. When Terran radicals decried Karpov’s heavy-handed ordinances, or Terran scientists protested an area of research defunded by the Bureau of Terran Affairs, they were tapping into long-simmering discontent. Indeed, Toyama’s and Karpov’s recourse to the Word of Blake served to clarify through shock the extent to which even during the League technical change had been subordinated to social order, increasing quality of life on the one hand while being careful to avoid increasing political engagement on the other. Theocracy was only the latest guise in a long line of censors, for all it was the most brutal since the Alliance Civil War. The Hegemony preferred carrot to stick, but the existence of HRAD and the Golden Ten Universities did not preclude the Blackhearts.

It is therefore unsurprising that “No Gods, No Caesars” became a rallying cry of the Resistance and later of the Sieyesists during the drafting of the Terran Union’s Basic Laws. A corruption of a line from an ancient ballad, the phrase came to mean a rejection of warlords and aristocrats, or indeed anyone placed above the people; and a repudiation of limits to open inquiry and free association, putting no holy writ or party line above human freedom.

-from No Gods, No Caesars: A Short History of the Terran Union by Elias L. Chang, Banner Press, Venus, 2886. Delegate Chang is an organizer and politician. He writes extensively on Terran politics and political history.

Though the Abdication Crisis has led to no formal amendment to the Articles of Acceptance, Archon Simon has furthered the changes to the constitutional settlement begun during the reign of his grandmother Elizabeth. These include changes to executive power, to the organization of the Estates General (Generalstaaten), and to the political organization of the Commonwealth. Supreme power, subject to the Articles, resides in the Archon, who appoints a Chancellor of the People (Volkskanzler) who can secure a majority in the Estates General. This Chancellor then nominates the other members of the Commonwealth Council, chiefly the State Secretaries (Staatssekretäre) for Internal Policies, for Finance, for Foreign Affairs, for the Armed Forces, and for Intelligence (Law to Regulate the Government of the Commonwealth, 2883). The Minister-Presidents (Ministerpräsidenten) of Donegal, Skye, and Tamar are responsible to their provincial Estates, serving by the grace of the Archon, the Duke of Skye, and the Duchess of Tamar respectively (Law on the Organization of Provinces, 2892) . The provinces thus no longer have direct representation on the Council.

The Estates General has undergone multiple changes to its structure over the centuries. As of the Law on the Organization of the Estates General, 2892, it contains two houses: the People’s Chamber (Volkskammer) and the Nobles’ Chamber (Adelskammer), although in common parlance only the former is meant by Estates General. The Chancellor is responsible to the People’s Chamber, from which all legislation must originate, although the Nobles’ Chamber also plays a role in legislation. Under its present apportionment, the People’s Chamber consists of 510 members from 85 six-member districts, elected using the Single Transferable Vote. The district size varies between a quarter of a world, on Tharkad, and ten worlds, in Coventry Province (Law for the Apportionment of Districts, 2926). With the 2883 law, the Speakership of the People’s Chamber is now a mostly ceremonial role, chiefly concerned with rulings on parliamentary procedure. Appointment of the Speaker (Präsident der Volkskammer) is made by majority vote, and is generally given to a long-serving representative of the party of government. The Nobles’ Chamber was established in 2892 as part of the Compromise of 2892 with a size of 481 members. It is elected from and by the nobility of the Commonwealth, although the Dukes of Tamar and Skye are permanent members and alternate terms as Speaker (Präsident der Adelskammer). Since Archon Simon’s resolving of the Veto Crisis, it no longer has the power to veto legislation, but may delay certain laws of the People’s Chamber (Laws on the Legislative Process, 2913 and 2930).

-from The Foundations of the Lyran Commonwealth (Grundlegung zum Gemeinwesen der Leier), eds. Marguerite Aten and Klaus Macreigh, Office of Commonwealth History, Tharkad, 2931. This is the 9th edition of the bilingual overview of the sociopolitical structure of the Lyran Commonwealth. The editors are a Universitätsprofessor at Tharkad University and a former General Director of the Lyran Commonwealth Civil Service.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 19 July 2020, 15:56:52
Thanks folks! I make no guarantees about posting rate, but I do have some prewritten, both the history backbone and some short fiction.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 24 July 2020, 23:28:13
But the Dissolution Wars were not merely prologue for the revolutions we now see. Amaris would not have succeeded as well as he did for as long as he did without vast untapped wells of discontent, in the Hegemony, in the Territorial States. Further, just as war and its suffering triggered the French and the German revolutions, those revolutions occurred not during war but during the peace which followed--but they cannot be analyzed apart from the wars of the Bourbon kings in the French case, which had bankrupted the state, or the First World War in the German case, which had done far worse. The devastation of the Dissolution Wars put the First World War to shame, but it also broke many of the methods by which the House Lords had previously maintained control. And studies of societies have consistently shown that revolution occurs not during the moment of greatest privation, but afterwards, once things have begun to improve. So it was with France and Germany and a dozen dozen besides, and so it was for the House Lords.

The first to be affected was House Steiner. With archons chiefly concerned with war (or, in Claudius's case, torture), the Estates General's unofficial power grew during the Dissolution Wars, but it was always careful in the exercise thereof, from wartime patriotism and healthy fear of military disaster. Secure in peace however, the clash between Archon and Estates General, long avoided, was now all but assured. Yet the history of the Lyran Commonwealth has been one of political change as much through new precedent and informal arrangement as changes to law and the Articles. Minoru Kurita had famously disdained it as "that nation of shopkeepers", a realm of traders and burghers rather than proud warriors and loyal servants. That flexibility, on the part of both Archon Elizabeth and the Estates General, prevented any major clash through a series of compromises and new traditions. Her son, however, was neither so skilled nor so flexible, and would pay the price.

For the Mariks, too, it was not Philippa but her heirs who reaped the whirlwind Kenyon the Eagle had sown. The repeal of Resolution 288 in 2870, once it became clear that the peace with the Lyran Commonwealth and with the Capellan Confederation would hold, was the calm before the storm. Philippa had managed to hold off repeal for years, and managed to secure the peacetime continuance of a hereditary, unbroken Captain-Generalcy as had obtained during the Star League, but in the end accepted the judgment of Parliament with grace. Any record of her private thoughts is now lost, but her arguments for delay were, in the main, taken as genuine by contemporaries. Her death in 2874 marked the beginning of the end for the old League.

-from The Bawmhillian Theory of Revolution In The Long 29th Century, 2765-2913 by Anna Silva, University of Washington Press, Terra, 2924. Prof. Silva is Visiting Professor of History at the University of Washington and Chief Scholar in Residence, Department of History, at Portent University, Gibson. Her research covers early-spaceflight theories of history and the macrosocial movements of the Human Sphere.

Philippa Marik died in 2874. Her successor as Captain-General was Marie Marik, her eldest child. Marie's reign lasted only a little over two years. Spending most of her time on Atreus, she continued Philippa's policy of attempting to maintain Marik preeminence in executive authority. With the repeal of Resolution 288 the Captain-General was no longer the military dictator of the Free Worlds League, but the holder still retained a number of useful powers. Marie, as Philippa did before her, traded on her role as commander-in-chief of the military and on the relationships forged between successive Captains-General and various influential MPs to secure favorable Speakers and success for her domestic and foreign agenda. She ably managed the gradual drawdown in FWLM forces as well as the delicate balancing act between Terra and ComStar and the prevention of hostilities on either the Lyran or Capellan border. The highlight of her brief reign, however, was the temporary occupation of the Circinus system and its surroundings, concluding the League's earlier attempt to root out piracy on the periphery rim. The constant meetings with Parliamentary figures and MoD officials during the occupation left her vulnerable during an outbreak of Branthian Fever in late 2876, however, and she succumbed just after New Year's, predeceased by a number of MPs and her nephew. James, her younger brother, succeeded her.

James's reign was even shorter. A former soldier wounded in the Dissolution Wars, a diplomat who had gone to Tharkad to secure peace with the Lyrans in 2864 and returned with both a treaty and a Lyran wife, James seemed the perfect fit for the role. Trading on his earlier role as his mother's chief diplomat, James spent his first year on missions to the surrounding powers. In March he travelled to the Capellan border for a coldly polite face-to-face discussion with Dainmar's son Otto, where he reassured the son of the Chancellor that the League had no intention of interfering with the ongoing Capellan-Suns conflict. In the fall he travelled on a grand circuit with long stops at Tharkad and Terra. He and his family spent the longest on Tharkad, where his mother-in-law now chaired the Committee on the Judiciary. Leaving Tharkad, he journeyed in company with Archon Elizabeth on a good-will tour of planets on both sides of the border of the Isle of Skye, a decade post-war; Elizabeth recorded in her memoirs that they spoke of border adjustments now that peace seemed sure to hold, though no surviving Marik records substantiate the claim. Terra was the last stop before returning home. Unlike the avowedly pro-Terran Lyrans, the League had steered a middle course, but his visit signaled to the Sphere at large the beginning of a shift in direction, despite James's public protestations to the contrary. As we now know, through Terran archives released during the Civil War, this was indeed the case. As spring turned to summer in 2878 James returned home to concentrate on domestic politics, soothing MPs and provincial leaders in turn. In late summer he began another grand tour, this time keeping within the League's borders. Only a month into the tour, however, tragedy struck when the hoverlimo carrying James and Theodora and the Earl of Stewart along with their aides crashed in New Edinburgh on 8 September 2878. There were no survivors.

-from Four Years, Four Mariks: The Path to Civil War by Ingrid Chakravorty, Royal Press, Marik, 2890. Ingrid Chakravorty MPP is the current Leader of the Opposition in Marik Province. This is her first book.

By the end of the Great Succession War, the Draconis Combine looked stronger than it had at any time since Minoru Kurita's death early in the first half of the war. The DCMS had taken many worlds from the Lyrans, mostly in the Tamar Pact, including a deep salient ending at Orestes, and while the balance was close along the border with the Federated Suns, the Dragon's banner flew over Robinson, capital of the Draconis March. But appearances were deceiving: the Combine was rent with internal divisions, and the peace of exhaustion at the end of the war brought them bubbling forth.

Eyewitness accounts and reports declassified from MIIO speak of a Shadow War between Roweena and Miyogi Kurita in which elements of the ISF loyal to each hunted the other's partisans in the agency. Further, the new Warlord of Dieron, Hiroshi Takeda, had been installed due to his predecessors' failures in their efforts to take systems in the Isle of Skye and doubtless wished to expunge such shame in the blood of enemies as quickly as possible. Finally, the underclasses of the Combine were growing restive. While no widespread rebellion had occurred since the Suppression of Richmond in 2827, this was more due to the increasing brutality of the ISF than any improvement in conditions. Indeed, rationing of essentials continued apace, with the system entering its eighth decade in the 2860s. The destruction of the People's Reconstruction Effort and sidelining of Roweena Kurita that marked the ending of the Shadow War made things even worse, as the agency which had worked to better the common people's lives, and the friendly grandmother who was its face, had both suddenly disappeared.

Coordinator Miyogi's answer to these problems was the same as his uncle Jinjiro: war. Records from strategy sessions make clear that Miyogi's goals were threefold: first, the traditional Combine aim of conquest; second, to punish the Federated Suns for learning of the Shadow War; and third, to prevent the "weakening of the spirit" of the Combine's citizens that peace would bring. Noting, much to Warlord Takeda's shame, the inability of the DCMS to advance in the Skye region, Miyogi commanded the secondment of forces from the Rasalhague Military District and some of Warlord Benjamin's regiments to the Skye thrust and made clear he expected rapid results from Takeda--or else. Once the heavily-industrialized worlds of the Isle of Skye were taken, a second thrust could jump off from the Orestes salient. Against the Suns, by contrast, it would be a broad-front advance beginning with a push from Robinson.

In the Federated Suns, Prince Michael still hoped for peace in the Sphere. The Suns had a formal treaty with the Capellan Confederation, recognizing all gains on that front, and the League and Commonwealth had also recently signed a treaty and were in the midst of a drawdown of forces. Prime Marshal Peter Davion, however, expected the worst from the Combine and began preparing for the inevitable, but was unwilling to challenge his nephew's policies. The inevitable came in 2866, and Michael's son and heir, Carl, was caught along with his rebuilding Fourth Royal Guards in a DCMS raid on their staging area on Klamriz. The Heir-Designate's bravery in facing down the elite of the Second Sword of Light galvanized the defense of the world, especially once Colonel Davion's Marauder fell in a rearguard action.

With heavy pressure from the Benjamin and Galedon Districts, MIIO expected an invasion from the Dieron district as well. Such a thrust could cleave off the new Addicks PDZ and leave the Suns disconnected from Terra again. By the start of 2867 however no such invasion had materialized, and stranger yet there had been no invasion of Skye either. Instead, a dozen regiments of the DCMS, along with Warlord Takeda, had seemingly vanished off MIIO's radar.

-from Dragon's Rise, Dragon's Fall by Hugh Gascoigne-Martin, Regents Press, El Dorado, 2922. The author is a former analyst for MIIO and writes on a broad range of topics. Many of his books use recently declassified material to shed new light on old events.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 26 July 2020, 17:42:20
Terran Orbit
December 31, 2866

It was New Year's Eve, and Robert Shaw wished he were home. Either would do--his new home in Zurich, with those ETH friends and comrades who'd survived Geneva and the running battles afterward until Liberation; or his old home on Ceres, awash in parents and relatives. Or visiting his grandparents and cousins outside Boston--that would be fine too. Instead he'd drawn the short straw: void duty over the winter holidays with a crew he'd barely met, newly-minted XO of the Grissom.

This wasn't totally unfamiliar territory, of course: he'd done his years in the main belt's defense force, that collection of fighters and assault ships that had protected the Belters since the end of the Amaris war. But he'd thought that term of service--nearly two decades ago, now--would be the end of it. Oh, not the end of space, of course; space was in his blood, for all his father was born dirtside. He'd crewed on the Ceres-Luna run after his time on sloops, putting those skills to work for himself.

As tensions mounted between Karpov's ComStar and the people of the system, dirtsiders and Belters both, those runs became harder. In hindsight, ComStar was tightening its grip on goods and people flowing between the Belt and the inner system, both as a way to pressure the Belt and a way to isolate its subjects. But at the time it looked like just a minor hiccup in trade, something that would blow over in a few years, like that time in the 30s when Toyama had a snit. So Shaw had decided to weather it as a student rather than a merchanter, getting a doctorate in KF field theory at ETH Zurich. Only it hadn't blown over, it had blown up. And five years later--a combat veteran, of all things!--he was strapped into an accel couch on the bridge of a sloop of war. On New Year's Eve.

Serving in the Provisional Space Defense Force wasn't all bad. For one thing, the whole service was as much a mixture as he was, part Terran and part Belter. There still wasn't a state it served, but it served a people, all the Terran people. Belter ships, by and large, excepting fighters captured or recovered from caches; Terran and Belter crews both; Terran funds and component manufacturing feeding the Belter yards, churning out sloops as fast as possible. Plans were on the drawing board to lay down new warships at the Titan yards, but for now the PSDF made do with the big Belter sloops like Grissom, on whose bridge Shaw sat.

Two things happened nearly simultaneously, rousing Shaw from his ruminations. The plot changed, showing a large mass of new contacts a nearly light second from Terra, on the line to Sol-Terra L1; and seconds later, flash traffic came through from PSDF Command. The light lag from Grissom's 10,000 km Terran orbit to Luna City was also about a second, at right angles to the newcomers. The message was nothing unexpected, once Shaw's brain fully engaged with the situation, informing all ships and stations of a large fleet appearing at Sol-Terra and ordering an immediate raise in readiness and for docked commands to stand clear of their berths.

Shaw's hand was already reaching for the alert klaxon trigger when a second, much more worrying message arrived. That was slugged Harpy, a light sloop just hours out on a Terra-Mercury run, and bounced through Command. The klaxon started to wail as he absorbed the new message: optics on Harpy could make out details of the fleet. She reported Draconis Combine markings on the jumpships and dropships, and of those dropships most were DCA combat vessels--Achilles assault ships, Overlord and Excalibur troop carriers, Vengeance fighter carriers...the list went on, and made the fleet's intentions quite plain. Command would almost certainly want to intercept them as far from Terra as possible; Shaw tripped the grav alarm and its hooting joined the alert klaxon as Captain Pawar floated in through the bridge hatch.

"You have the Conn, Captain," Shaw advised.

"I have the Conn, aye," the slightly bleary-eyed Pawar replied; Shaw figured he'd been up late on a hololink with his family in Guntur and only recently gotten to sleep. "What do we have?" That was sharp as usual, as Pawar took in the situation on the plot and the last bit of tiredness evaporated.

"Combine jumped an invasion fleet into Sol-Terra." That was speculation, perhaps inaccurate but Shaw really didn't think so, more's the pity. "Harpy is within 50 k-klicks, we've got eyes-on."

The rest of the bridge crew made it up from their quarters and started strapping in. Ricardo at the helm: Belter born and raised, she was the best pilot Shaw had ever flown with; Chun at the EW station: a quiet man from Luna City that Shaw didn't have a read on yet; and Maudet, chief gunner: an older woman who'd lost children at Geneva. Her drive, Shaw understood rather well. Grissom's Christmas Tree reported all positions at action stations and secured for thrust. That made for 74 crew and 16 pilots and techs, suits on and strapped in--and probably buzzing with adrenaline like Shaw himself.

Pawar flicked on a general channel. "Attention all hands. The Coordinator's sent us a New Year's gift, nineteen jumpers and eighty-seven droppers at Sol-Terra. We're going to go unwrap it. We won't fire the first shot but we will defend our homes. We haven't shoved off ComStar's heel to lie under another's. I know you, Grissoms, and I know you'll do us proud. Bridge out." Connection closed, in more normal tones he continued, "Helm, give her three Gs and break orbit towards that fleet." Clearly Pawar wasn't waiting for orders from Command any more than Shaw had waited on the captain's.

Sure enough, a minute into the burn flight paths winked to life on Shaw's and the captain's plots. Command was ordering all but one of the heavy Leonov-class sloops in Terran orbit out towards the Combine fleet. Shaw was less worried about leakers, however, than about additional Combine forces that might hit other targets: the Titan yards, the Belters' yards near Jupiter, and the big settlements in the main belt. Where his parents and his sister not think about that. Belters had been preparing defenses for a century, there were all those fighters and fixed emplacements in addition to the PSDF and Belter sloops near the yards and the big habs like Ceres.

The giant drive was thrumming solidly beneath them, having gently scaled up from nothing to pushing out 2.5 giganewtons of thrust, still only a little more than half of maximum. At maximum, they'd be crushed into their couches at 5.5G--and be putting out two-thirds the thrust power of the Hegemony's old Naga, Baron, and Carson destroyers, quite a feat for a dropship, even a heavy sloop like Grissom. Harpy, a Roc-class sloop, was based off plans for the old Titan fighter-carriers but up-engined and redesigned as an assault ship; she could outpace even the Achilles droppers they'd be facing, but she wasn't built for a slugging match, barely twice as armored as her prey or her progenitor. Instead her job was to keep watch on the fleet, make slashing attacks, and take care of any leakers.

Five minutes into Grissom's burn and the fleet had separated into two groups--the dropships starting to burn towards Terra and the jumpships unfurling their sails, guarded by a single Achilles. With her high initial velocity Harpy had already closed to within 30,000 km, flipped end-for-end and braking flat-out at 7G to not just blow past the dropships. Drive wash was fouling her sensors, but the big arrays in orbit had reoriented now, providing far better coverage and saturating the Combine fleet with active scans across the spectrum. Radio, too, Shaw was certain--Command wasn't bouncing comms traffic to them, but doubtless some pretty frank words were being exchanged between the provisional government and the defense forces and the Combine fleet. Even more frank since--oh, hell--some of the civilian traffic in the area were putting out distress calls.

A minute later the result of that exchange did get bounced to them. Slugged Provisional Governing Council rather than PSDF Command, it didn't mince words. "Invasion warning. Combine forces have jumped into the Sol system and have claimed it for Coordinator Miyogi. Multiple dropships and jumpships near Sol-Terra fired upon and forced to surrender. All civilian ships to scatter. PSDF will close and engage, rescuing captured vessels as threat allows."

EDIT: For some reason the first time I post a story segment, everything is fine, but if I go to fix a typo, all the unicode characters get converted to %u strings. Apologies.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: DOC_Agren on 26 July 2020, 19:31:58
interesting read   
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: Ttw1 on 26 July 2020, 21:44:46
Oh god, the Combine are gonna have a bad time.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 31 July 2020, 20:31:51
Thanks Doc!
Ttw1: Well, yes, they certainly are. But things never quite go to plan for either side.

(I should also point out that after years of working on and playing Kerbal I'm incapable of handwaving spaceflight. I should probably credit Excel as a coauthor for these segments. And as I mentioned, my headcanon for Battletech aerospace is heavily houseruled, dating back to the abortive "Aerotech 2.5" stuff I posted two CBT forums ago. So don't be surprised if combat is a bit different than StratOps-compliant.)
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 31 July 2020, 20:32:09
On Escape Trajectory, Terra

December 31, 2866

As Captain Pawar updated the crew, Shaw studied the plot; the sensor net had enough data to make positive IDs on all the enemy vessels, and they’d shaken out into formation. Besides the single Achilles hanging back to secure the jump point, nine more were inbound, all in the van. Behind them and on the edges came two dozen Overlord and nine Union mech carriers, the next best thing to assault ships compared to the Achilles. In the center were the conventional transports: nineteen Excaliburs, six Triumphs, and eight Condors, along with six Mules--two “sardine-carrier” variants and four cargo haulers. The five Vengeance carriers took up the rear. Against them was Harpy, far out ahead, and the Terra squadron, forming up: four heavies, Young, Brache, Yang, and their own Grissom; Peng and Garuda, Roc-class lights like Harpy; and Arbalest and Ballista, carriers on the Roc spaceframe that stuck closer to their Titan roots. Unfit for combat, they’d hang well back to handle flight operations. As long as the sloops could handle the Achilles assault ships, however, the carriers would be safe; even limited to 4G sprints as they were they could still outthrust anything else in the invasion force. A single Leonov, Merbold, would backstop the squadron and provide a last line of defense, although she was burning for high orbit to stationkeep 50,000 km from Terra on the axis of advance. The PSDF couldn’t afford to be at the mercy of a six hour orbital period, they were already losing nearly fifteen minutes for the main force to clear Terra, not to mention the steering losses to bend their course back, given the initial geometry.

There were two ways of looking at the odds, Shaw decided. On the one hand, the PSDF was outnumbered six to one in viable combatants (ten to one overall!) and five to one in fighters. To top it off the Kuritan crews and pilots were certain to be mostly veterans despite the horrific losses of the wars. On the other hand, the PSDF had a qualitative edge in hardware: the fighters were SLDF, the sloops featured League technology too, and the sum of the sloops’ tonnage nearly equaled that of all the enemy hard targets combined.

The plot updated with projected maneuvers, showing Command’s strategy. Given the Combine fleet’s acceleration, kept at a standard gravity, their turnover would be an hour and twenty-five minutes from start. But they’d build up a big velocity getting to turnover, as would the PSDF ships burning to intercept, and so pretty much any interception that didn’t involve fancy footwork meant a combined closure rate of about a hundred kps. So Command wanted the squadron to make a 3G burn sunward--Pawar had predicted well--but flip after only another half hour. That would mask the carriers as they went to a higher breaking burn to separate, and let the squadron start matching velocity with their foes. The main body would cancel out their Terra-relative velocity after another thirty-six minutes, then ramp up to a punishing 5.5Gs and retrace their steps, heading back towards Terra and lowering the closure rate. If the Kuritans kept to their timetable, the fleets would intersect at the enemy’s turnover point and with a closure velocity of only eleven kps and a PSDF fighter strike inbound. As the sloops blew past and flipped to rejoin the fight the Kuritan ships and fighters would have to choose between facing them or the strike.

All that seemed too clever by half to Shaw, it depended on the Combine fleet not pulling any surprises. But spaceflight was defined by the cold equations all the same--even if they did come up with something, they were at a thrust disadvantage and a considerable closing velocity. Plus they had a lot of vulnerable ships with vulnerable cargo to protect, cargo that didn’t do well with violent maneuvers. And that was when the other problem with this scenario hit Shaw full force. He’d been thinking of the enemy ships as blips on the plot, or at most ships of war like the Grissom, redundant, survivable, and laden with escape pods. But “vulnerable ships with vulnerable cargo” meant thousands and thousands of soldiers in metal cans. This was a corps-level assault, there was enough spacelift there for fifty-plus regiments--forty thousand soldiers, given the dropship distribution.

“Captain, has Command worked out ROE yet?” Shaw asked. The PSDF had been forged in the fires of the liberation from ComStar, and its ancestor, the Belter defense force, in response to Amaris’s Caspars. It was focused on fleet actions: everyone knew if ComStar came back the herald would be a warship flotilla smashing system defenses flat before troopships even jumped in. And if they could defend against that, they could easily defend against the warshipless Great Houses. But what if a House didn’t realize that?

“No, XO, they have not. It’s not a fast pass, we’ll have a chance to accept surrenders if offered. We’re not barbarians.” Like the Dracs went unsaid; ComStar’s propaganda hadn’t exactly been disproven on that score after their control of information in the system ended. “What’s on your mind?”

The PSDF was as yet quite informal, made up mostly of civilian spacers and former Belter defense force crews with a small number of ComStar and mercenary sailors and pilots who’d switched sides during the Liberation. That made for open discussion and a low frequency of sirring. Even so, this might be a touchy subject, so between the deep breaths needed to fight three times his body’s weight Shaw chose his words carefully. “This isn’t like with warships, they can’t blast cities from orbit. We’ve got to stop them before they drop, but that doesn’t mean we have to crack every shell wide open. I mean, there are Mule-Ts in that formation!”

“We’ll do what we have to, XO, but I assure you I’m no more eager than you are to see vented crew decks. And I doubt Command is either. But the Dracs have to be willing to surrender. I remember even before Toyama turned up the propaganda feed we got quite enough news about that.” Pawar was a good two decades older than Shaw, born at the turn of the century. Shortly after the Kentares Massacre, that would be, with his youth spent hearing of the Suns pushing the Combine back to the border and taking few prisoners--both sides’ choice, not just the AFFS. Pawar hadn’t sat out the Liberation--he’d flown in the Mosquito Fleet of tricked-out small craft that had run Belter arms to Terra, at great cost--but he hadn’t seen mass death up close like Shaw. His captaincy came as much from being one of the last graduates of Kure before Toyama shut it down, training few could match, and his time skippering patrol boats in the ComStar-backed Terran Patrol before going civvie, as it did from anything in the Liberation itself.

“Well, I really hope they’re reasonable then, Captain, it’ll make the fight easier if nothing else.” The aftermath, Shaw judged, might be harder yet--Terra wasn’t exactly set up for prisoners of war, and the squadron’s marines were a drop in the bucket compared to the troops on those ships. And with that the two officers returned to staring at the plot, although Shaw noticed Pawar sending a query off to Command.

The squadron shook out into line abreast with about fifty km separation between ships. Close enough for mutual point-defense support but far enough to not get burned by each others’ wash. The Rocs were on the ends of the line, Grissom on the right between Brache and Garuda. The carriers trailed two hundred fifty km astern.

There was very little to do other than fight the triple-strength gravity in the reclining accel couches. Maudet ran checks of the gun turrets and missile launchers and point defense lasers from the bridge, but her gunners were drilled enough such checks were merely good habit rather than strictly necessary. They were too far away for Chun to start fine-grained analysis with onboard sensors; he was piped into the analysis section at Luna City, using Command’s mainframes to sift data from the big orbital arrays. Ricardo, like Shaw and the captain, was studying maneuver tracks and sketching possible counter/response pairs. Terra’s gravity well would be almost unnoticeable at the projected engagement point, compared to even a standard gravity of thrust--there would be almost as little “terrain” as at a zenith or nadir prox point.

“All ships, this is Lang.” A freestanding holo popped up on the bridge showing Captain Lang on Brache, the senior skipper in the squadron. Of mixed Belter and Terran heritage like Shaw, she’d had a very busy Liberation indeed. “Here’s how we’re going to do this. Harpy will close to within heavy D-laser range of those Achilles and put a shot across the leader’s bow. If the Dracs keep coming, Harpy will try to draw off the high-thrust escorts or provoke an early fighter launch, make a nuisance of herself out of range of return fire. If they stay together as expected, Harpy will rejoin and we’ll engage at turnover as planned. The Achilles are first priority. We’ll salvo as we go in. Once the escorts are down, the Drac droppers are limited to under 3G and we can focus on the fighters. Fighters clear and we can start dealing with transports. Sloop Sabres will stay on close escort. Carrier squadrons, Rapiers on strike with a Swordfish each, Sabres on strike escort. Overlords take priority for the Rapier strike. Once all the Achilles are disabled or popped and the fighters are under control, sloops will focus on the Vengeances, then the Overlords too. Do not fire on the core of that formation until the outsides are dealt with and the fighter threat is gone. We want to give them a chance to surrender, and command thinks those ships are the ones most likely to do so. If at any point a ship stops firing, respect it. Good hunting. Lang out.”

That was asking a fair bit of Harpy. Only her heaviest bow lasers outranged the Achilles droppers’ armaments, and to top it off with only a 1G thrust advantage, she’d have to constantly flip back to burn away and keep the range open in between shots. And her Swordfish tubes, half her dropship-class firepower, were even more limited than the lighter D-lasers she shared with an Achilles: without a positive closure rate to boost to their meager delta V, the engagement envelope was little better than a standard PPC. That was Lang’s plan with the oncoming squadron: flush tubes before finishing the burn, let them take advantage of higher closing velocity. That would let the missiles spend most of their delta V matching target maneuvers rather than closing.

On the other hand, this plan with Harpy gave the Dracs one more chance to avoid combat; none of them could complain about that, Harpy was just the sloop on the spot. And if Harpy could disrupt the enemy formation, allow it to be defeated in detail or strand enemy fighters thousands of kilometers from the battle area--or if Harpy could knock out an Achilles!--it’d be a win for sure. And if only one ship could make such an impact on the Combine fleet, hopefully that’d give them pause; certainly Command was leaving ample opportunity for surrenders.

Strategy in place and ROE determined, Shaw settled in to wait, continuing his study of possible moves and countermoves. Turnover came, and Grissom flipped end-for-end along with the other sloops in the squadron. The carriers went to a bit over 3G and the distance to them built up. Each carrier stayed exactly behind a Leonov relative to the enemy fleet, hopefully keeping their increasing separation masked.

Harpy eased off her burn to reach engagement range. At five hundred fifty km she flipped bow-on to the Combine fleet and let loose with her bow DL/8s, aimed to pass a hundred kilometers ahead of the lead Achilles, designated Weasel 1. Instead of bearing off, the escorts leapt forward, upping to their maximum burn of 6G. Harpy fired again--two lasers missed but the other two caught the lead Achilles head on, although with not enough dwell time to do real damage. Range dipping under five hundred km Harpy flipped again and burned to regain separation, just barely avoiding return fire.

Harpy’s skipper was a Belter: Luiz Buarque was well known in the PSDF for flying Harpy himself and letting his XO handle gunlaying, treating the sloop much as he would a Belter Sabre. Shaw watched the fight unfold, presuming Buarque was up to something. Harpy dashed in and out, finally scoring a solid hit to Weasel 1’s left wing, melting away about fifty tons of armor and likely slagging the PPC and LRM20 blister there, perhaps even the DL/5. But at the same time, the tracks were starting to diverge from the main body; Buarque was carefully orchestrating his flips to slowly draw the escorts off-position to the side.

Perhaps buoyed by success, Buarque cut his next flip a bit too fine and dipped into DL/5 range of the Achilles squadron. At the ragged edge of engagement range the irradiance wasn’t enough to seriously endanger Harpy, and her maneuvers kept the dwell time low, but the sloop wobbled slightly as at least two DL/5s caught her after quarter. The plot updated Harpy’s status with the details: two of the stern-mounted PPCs and a pulse laser cluster fried, and about an eighth of the aft armor slagged. Her rear-mount DL/5 remained unscathed however.

Either because they noticed how far off-axis they were getting, or because they felt honor had been satisfied, the escorts gave up the chase at that point and retired on the main body. Buarque kept harrying them for another ten minutes, albeit more carefully and thus to little effect, then burned to join the rest of the PSDF squadron at a sedate 2G, giving his crew a chance to recover from the high-G maneuvers--and ready themselves for the next round.

The main squadron, with Harpy formed up slightly in front, reached the final marker on their course plot and stepped up to 5.5G. Shaw groaned from the increase, easing to a soft hiss as his couch rotated near-flat with the deck to ease the strain and injected the first round of stims to help him stay conscious and combat-effective. As on the original plan, the plot still showed weapons range at 85 minutes from mark, 130,000 km from Terra, 11 kps closure rate at intercept. But then the numbers started flickering. The Combine ships weren’t keeping to their course and thrust, nor were they  flipping early to keep the range open and play to their advantage in fighters. No, the enemy fleet upped thrust to 2.5G and bore straight in. They were charging. Time to intercept dropped from twelve minutes to closing velocity at intercept nearly tripled.

Well, hell. They could deal with this, but it wouldn’t be pretty.

“Carriers come half radial and keep the 4G burn,” Lang’s voice snapped out, not bothering with a holo this time. Steering the carriers halfway between their present course back towards Terra and orthogonally outwards on that course on the plane of the orbit would keep them accelerating homeward but prevent the Dracs from coming too close, unless they split off the escorts or fighters. “Retask one Rapier squadron to heavy CAP, leave the other on strike if the Achilles go for you. Expend the fish on fighters if you have to, they’re cheaper than carriers. Launch when ready.” Well, that covered that base. “Garuda will support if needed. Good luck. All sloops, immediate fighter launch, they’ll be it for our CAP. We’ll blow through and burn to catch up. Heavies to launch Mantas at two minutes from engagement, tasked one per Achilles per sloop, spare fish double up on the Vengeances. Rocs pick a trailing Overlord each, two Swordfish per. Otherwise weapons free, but ROE as before and don’t double up--and for God’s sake stay clear of those DACs! See you on the other side. Lang out.”

Lang had chosen not to push the Rocs up to 7G. That would keep the squadron together and in mutual support, but leave the time until reengagement long. Plot claimed they’d be in range for less than a minute for guns, and then twenty-three more minutes before they could get close to a zero-zero intercept again--right on the 50,000 km line. Merbold would need to burn towards them slowly, then flip and burn hard back to not have an even shorter engagement time than this first pass--the Dracs would come screaming by Merbold at fifty-plus kps if she held to her station.

“Fighter launch! Stand by for drive flicker,” the air boss called over the ship’s net. Thrust cut out for a moment before building back up to 5.5G and in the temporary freefall four Royal-class Sabres shot off their catapults. Each was carrying a single underslung anti-fighter missile, the Star League-vintage Lamprey, cutting a full G off their max acceleration until expended. PSDF hoped it’d serve as a force multiplier; it was unlikely the Houses had the ability to mass-produce highly sophisticated electronics only to waste them as munitions. Shaw checked and the carriers, too, were well on their way through launching their squadrons--thirty-two Sabres armed like the Leonov sloops’ onboard CAP; sixteen Rapiers each with twin Morays to deal with any Drac heavy fighters, slowed down about a third of a G; and finally the second squadron of Rapiers with their Swordfish “dropper poppers”, slowed down a full G like the Sabres, although they had much less acceleration to lose.

The main body’s Sabres feathered their drives slightly to drift closer to the enemy and screen the formation. The Combine fleet finished their flight ops as well; at any rate the plot no longer showed fighters launching, instead the various squadrons opposing them forming up. DCA Air Companies had two flights of six, rather than the PSDF’s four flights of four per squadron--and the DCA force appeared to be an utter hodgepodge of different types. The majority of fighters opposing them were Combine standard models: Sabres (although thankfully not the upgraded Royal variant), Sholagars, Samurai, Shilones, and Slayers. But there were also two companies of captured Eagles and one of Corsairs, and even a company worth of former SLDF Hammerheads that had survived the wars. Nor did they keep to their own type; Shaw noticed one odd company-sized formation that had four Slayers, five Shilones, a Samurai, and two Hammerheads.

As the range ticked down laser comms flickered, linking the sloops’ targeting together, making sure point defenses on each ship could screen their fellows and the big weapons turrets and missile launchers wouldn’t double up on any enemies in the fast pass. Maudet was fully in the zone, picking fields of fire along with the other gunnery officers in the squadron and apportioning the Grissom’s gun battery, the big dropship-class PPCs and the secondary battery of DL/5s. Ricardo was in the midst of the opposite process, figuring out how best to evade the enemy droppers’ death zones and the rapidly expanding cloud of fighters. Pawar, like Shaw, was looking at the synthesis of both offense and defense. From the sudden sharpening of his gaze, it looked like the captain had spotted something.

“Helm, pass us just to port of Weasel 4,” he ordered. The Achilles flotilla were in a rough octagon shape with Weasel 1 in the center. 4 was on the outer edge of that formation, and Shaw traced the line back; it passed between two files of Overlord heavy transports, designated Badger 3 through 6 and 8 through 11. They’d be in range of Weasel 4 for about fifty seconds, the last thirty of which they’d also be in range of the Overlords. After a further twenty seconds they’d be clear. The Overlords and Unions only mounted fighter-scale weaponry and were no great threat to the sloops except in large numbers, so taking them close in wasn’t dangerous per se, but in passing they’d be on the ragged edge of coverage of Weasel 4’s nose autocannon, and thus reliant on Ricardo dodging the storm of shells if Weasel 4 decided to target them rather than another sloop.

Meanwhile Chun’s screens flickered faster than Shaw could follow; within 15,000 km of the enemy--a twentieth of a light second--the passive sensors were picking up very strong radar and lidar pulses, and Chun was trying to confuse the returns any way he could. They couldn’t disappear, not with a roaring flame of hydrogen propellant streaming out their stern, but anything Chun could do to add inaccuracy to Combine targeting or disrupt their coordination would be more than welcome.

“Five minutes to weapons range,” Shaw called out.

Suddenly, as if slipped from their leash, the Achilles formation bounded forward at their full 6G. But then a minute later they flipped nose-for-tail and headed back, passing through the nearly four hundred fighters.

“XO, ideas?” Pawar asked.

“Escort commander wants glory rather than to protect transports and the CO yanked them back? Cover for the fighters advancing? Distract us from something?” That last idea struck a chord for both of them, but it was Chun who found the second half of the puzzle.

“Captain, I’m getting some weird backscatter along our track--it’s not just backwash from the droppers drives when they turned tail.”

Dawning horror transfixed Pawar’s face. Shaw doubted his expression was any prettier. “Helm, evasive, now. Get us off-axis. Guns, clear us a path. Squadron signals, Weasels dropped some kind of mines, kicked them forward with that burn.” As the bridge electronics, warned by the keyphrase, grabbed the last sentence and transmitted it to all ships, Ricardo slammed her helm hard over. Shaw lurched in his couch as the maneuvering thrusters and gimballed drive nozzle fought to bring Grissom parallel to her existing course. Malevolently-colored cones appeared on the plot, radiating outward from the ghostly positions the Achilles droppers had obtained before they flipped back. There was no way of telling how much delta V the presumed-mines had, they could be anything from glorified gravel to smart submunitions. But they wouldn’t need explosives, hitting at thirty-plus kps.

The squadron scattered, escorting Sabres moving to the opposite sides of the four heavies, using their bulk to shadow the fighters from the strike. With presumably heavy dispersal over the 6,000 km or so they’d have to travel, the cones were of substantial size. That made evading them difficult but was good news for the Sabres, since it also meant decent-sized shadow cones from the sloops. With a half-angle of five degrees, probably the best compromise between spread and punch given how small the threats had to be, that would equate to over a thousand kilometer diameter circle at intercept. Using their guns to vaporize anything coming straight for them would also help immensely for survivability.

Chun started in on getting a better read for the cone size. With the drive plumes off-axis now, that problem was a simpler one. The mines would doubtless have some amount of stealth coating, but the area of space they presently occupied was small enough Chun could bring a lot of active sensors to bear.

A minute later--still three until estimated impact--he had something. “Ninety-percent cones going up,” he said, drawing the officers’ eyes to the new, tighter cones on the plot. Outside the cones--in which ninety percent of the mines were estimated to lie--were more amorphous zones with quickly falling off density. The cones aligned neatly with the sloops’ old courses, but left more gaps than first feared.

“Sir, if we burn hard, here,” Shaw used his hand controls to ping their shared plots, shaping a proposed course, “we can get near your original track. We won’t be in gun range of Weasel 4 but we’ll still slide between the two Badger lines.”

Pawar tweaked the course slightly; it stayed out of the ninety percent cone but now clipped the ninety-eight percent cone from Weasel 4. It did, however, bring them within gun range. “Helm, new course. Guns, lasers to path clearance, peeps on Weasel 4, fire as you bear. Stand by for missile launch.”
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 02 August 2020, 14:00:17
On Escape Trajectory, Terra

December 31, 2866

Grissom had built up 4300 mps lateral velocity from the off-axis burn. Ricardo swung the sloop around again, rolling inverted and ending about 30 degrees off prograde in the opposite direction to kill lateral while still slowing closure. The orbital track quickly started shaping closer to Pawar’s desired course.

With Maudet focused on the main and secondary batteries Shaw programmed the missile launches. The first nine Manta Ray tubes he targeted on Weasels 1 through 9, the last he set to target the leftmost Vengeance, Wolf 5, along with Yang’s spare fish. Followup shots were set to target any remaining Weasel, then spread through the Overlords they’d fly between; they’d only have time for three salvoes, one fully before contact, one at the edge of engagement with the escorts, and the last as the formations interpenetrated. That last salvo almost certainly would have to target the aftermost Overlords or even the Vengeances; the Mantas weren’t lightspeed weapons like lasers or PPCs, they’d take time to travel the off-axis distance to their targets, time they might not have given the rate of closure.

The Piranha launchers cycled faster than the bow tubes and the magazines were deeper, twenty-four missiles for each of the eight launchers, two per quarter. Rather than setting specific targets for the anti-fighter missiles, Shaw set general threat categories. The Eagles were the highest priority, slow and large enough to make dodging the missiles hard, but packing a heavy and comparatively long-range punch. The few Corsairs were next, each worth two-thirds of an Eagle at range. After that came the Shilones and Slayers and Samurai, all limited to under 200 km except for the Shilones with their single Large Lasers. The Hammerheads were only a threat if they got very close, the PPCs and Large Pulse Lasers could deal with them as they came, and the light fighters were too maneuverable for the Piranhas to easily hit. The squadron’s tactical net would make sure the sloops didn’t double-allocate Piranhas.

“One minute to minefield,” Chun reported. Grissom was almost perfectly on the desired track.

“Very well. All hands, brace for combat maneuvers. Point defense to auto. XO, loose as ordered. Helm, go evasive once the first salvo is away.” How Pawar could speak almost normally in five and a half gravities Shaw had yet to learn.

“PD to auto, aye.”

“Helm, aye.”

“Fish, aye,” Shaw acknowledged.

Twenty seconds later--just shy of the minefield--Shaw hit the trigger. Grissom bucked as her Manta tubes kicked 320 tons of missiles out her bow at 500 mps each. RCS jets flared as they spun around and sidestepped the sloop’s course, then their drives lit and they sped off, Grissom’s braking burn combining with their own acceleration to open the range quickly. Shaw queued the next salvo, set the Piranha launchers to automatic on tacnet control, and braced.

Missiles away, the big sloop shimmied atop her drive as Ricardo threw Grissom into a series of bearing changes to throw off their foes’ aim, while still keeping clear of the denser minefield cones and broadly on the prescribed track. The rest of the squadron followed suit, their escorting Sabres burning madly to keep in shadow. The Combine ASFs darted forward, rushing to meet the oncoming missiles and interpose themselves.


Vision returned slowly, everything foggy. His faceplate was closed and sound was muffled beyond even what he’d expect from that--except for a ringing in his ears. He could still feel the rumble of the drive through his back, still feel the incredible weight pressing down on his chest, so they hadn’t lost thrust. A slight wobble, probably a Piranha launch or Ricardo making a bearing change.

Still groggy, Shaw heard a voice, increasingly frantic. “...Captain? XO!?” That was Chun’s voice. And why hadn’t the captain answered? Shaw looked left. Then wished he hadn’t, but forced himself to look again, assess. Something had nearly cut the captain in two, diagonally from left hip to right shoulder. His faceplate was shut like Shaw’s--partial depressurization?--but his eyes were open and lifeless. Chun couldn’t easily twist to see Shaw and Pawar--Pawar’s body--and the suit and couch sensors were so mauled they weren’t reporting either alive or dead, just “error”.

“The Captain’s gone, Marvin,” Shaw managed to say, and in saying it began to process what that meant. They’d taken a hit, probably from the mines. Something had penetrated; either a fragment or spalling had made it through the bridge armor. It had sliced through Captain Pawar then...probably bounced off the headrest of Shaw’s own couch, knocking him out. Looking over, Chun seemed fine, if a bit shaken up; his vitals agreed. Ricardo was just at the edge of his peripheral vision, but her telltales reported a healthy pilot and she was still flying the ship. Maudet...her vitals were rough, but she was alive. And her left arm was shattered below the elbow.

But for the moment he had no more time to spare for the bridge crew, he had to think of the whole ship. “Engineering, report.” This was a spaceship, drive first. And the Chief Engineer also oversaw damage control.

“XO, we took a hell of a wallop whatever that was, but the torch is fine. DC can’t walk around at full thrust, but there’s a bunch of damage port-for’ard and dorsal-for’ard that we’ll need to see to. Casualties unknown.”

“Very well.” Shaw checked the crew display. Most were fine, but four suits in the affected area reported dead crewmembers, another five were wounded, and finally eight were offline--anything from dead to a broken radio. Grimacing, he switched Pawar’s tag from offline to KIA. On the systems display, the main turrets were on local control, secondaries too. They’d lost about a quarter of the armor in the direction of the hit, as well as a DL/5 blister, five PPCs, and a full pulse laser cluster--four larges and sixteen smalls. The Piranha launcher in that area was undamaged, however, and the magazine was safe. Or they’d all be dead, of course. Inside the armor belt they’d lost six lifeboats and the fragments had shredded weeks of provisions and about a quarter of the passenger and crew cabins.

Bridge sensors showed the leak had stopped; their faceplates popped open.

“What the hell was that?” Maudet croaked. Evidently she had awakened--and was on the happy juice, per her suit vitals. Good thing too, since under 5.5G of thrust that arm would be beyond painful otherwise.

Grissom bucked again, the second salvo clearing the tubes.

“We took a mine hit, fragment made it to the bridge. It hit the Captain first, then knocked me out, ricocheted around and hit your arm. We’re just hitting engagement range, you’re wounded and your backup is offline. Who else do you trust on main director?” Shaw hoped he wasn’t asking too much--even flooded with painkillers and stims, Maudet was in poor shape to answer a question as impactful as that. But as a newcomer--and he cursed not having longer to get to know the crew as people rather than service records, not making that time--he needed her input.

“Me, I trust me. I’ll do it.” Shaw could hear the iron determination underneath the pain and the labored breathing.

Shaw considered, then made up his mind. “Very well, Guns. Mains on Weasel 4 then Badgers. Lasers as they bear.”

“Aye, Captain,” Maudet replied.

The rest of the squadron had made it through the mines unscathed; Brache had also dared the outer edge of a cone, but had been luckier than Grissom. Of the enemy, Weasels 1 and 6 had ceased to exist while Shaw was unconscious. Weasel 5 was lamed, making only three gees and with a long gash along her starboard weapons nacelle. But the other escorts were alive and well, missiles having either missed or been shot down.

Grissom corkscrewed in, her dropship-class PPCs spitting lightning. Weasel 4 was also twisting, riding a full six gees of hydrogen torch and fighting to get into laser range at the same time she was trying to avoid Maudet’s fire. The remaining Weasels let loose with a couple DAC bursts each: too far away to have any chance of hitting directly, instead the Achilles flotilla was trying to further shape the battlespace, channel the oncoming sloops into range of their guns. Shaw knew those cones of death would appear on Ricardo’s plot and trusted the pilot to take them through safely--no more daring the edges as Pawar had ordered.

The other cones of death were those of the enemy fighters’ short-range guns, and they were harder to avoid. But unlike the DAC shells, Grissom’s tertiary battery could engage them, as could their own escort of Sabres. The sloops’ Piranhas had taken out forty-two enemy fightercraft so far, mostly the slower Slayers and Eagles. Now the fighters in the lead--the fast Sabres and Sholagars--had reached PPC range, and the anti-fighter turrets opened up. The PSDF Sabres stuck close to the sloops as yet, not wanting to risk darting forward until the odds were closer to even; without support from Ballista and Arbalest the PSDF fighters were outnumbered nineteen to one.

At the rear of the formation the two Vengeance fighter-carriers targeted by the first salvo had noticed the danger too late and had only just started evasive maneuvers when the Mantas arrived. Of the two that had survived the fighters and point defense one still missed but the other slammed home. Wolf 5 tumbled free of the formation, its torch quenched and venting air, lucky to have survived the hit at all. The Rocs had had better luck against the more sluggish Overlords: Badger 12 lost all thrust and spun around, mech bays open to space, while Badger 18, hit by both of Garuda’s Swordfish, broke in two. Just then the second salvo passed near the oncoming fighters; of the forty missiles seventeen survived. All these targeted the escorts.

Maudet let out a whoop as blue lightning connected Grissom’s ventral turret and Weasel 4’s stern. Still at long range the DPPCs lacked their rated punch due to beam dispersion, and of the six guns in the turret four went wide, but a hit was a hit, and what a hit it was. Sensors tracked thermal blooming on Weasel 4’s drive cone and her thrust fell off to 4.5G, her turns becoming much more sluggish. Probably lost thrust vector control, so she had to rely on maneuvering thrusters alone.

It was perfect timing. The Mantas from the second salvo reached the Achilles flotilla, and four targeted Weasel 4. Three connected squarely and the assault ship vanished in a fireball, only scattered wreckage emerging. Weasel 5 took two hits, one blowing off her bow and the other her drive nozzle. Likely most of her crew survived, but she was out of the fight. The remaining missiles landed three more hits: a glancing blow to Weasel 7 crushed the tip of her long nose, ruining the forward DL/5 mount and surely damaging her DAC’s ammunition feed beyond use; a solid hit to Weasel 9 slagged her port weapons nacelle and sent her spinning; and a hit square amidships on Weasel 3 broke her into pieces, her keel shattered. Of the nine Achilles dropships with which the Combine had started the engagement, four remained, two of them damaged. Shaw programmed the third salvo to target the Vengeances when it launched, trusting in their guns to take the transports.

Now it was the fighters’ turn. Sabre, Sholagar, and Samurai had closed to within medium laser range, and the heavier Slayers, Eagles, Shilones, and Corsairs, further back but with longer-ranged weapons, were now able to fire their large lasers. Grissom’s Piranha magazines were down by a third, but there were still almost three hundred fighters. It was going to be a bumpy ride.

“Fighters swarming Garuda!” Chun warned. Shaw, intent on missile tracks and Grissom’s own threats, had missed the fighters working their tracks over to the outside of the PSDF formation.

“Helm, close up with Garuda! Guns, DL/5s break up their runs!” Shaw didn’t expect Maudet and her gunners to manage any fighter hits with dropship-class weapons at this range, but it would at least force the Combine pilots to evade, fouling their attacks. Grissom bucked for the third and final time, the last salvo of Mantas going out.

Meanwhile Grissom herself had garnered some fighter attention. Streams of energy connected the big sloop with three squadrons’ worth of enemy fighters, medium and large lasers for the Combine craft and large pulse lasers and PPCs for Grissom. The pulse lasers were more accurate than Grissom’s fighter-scale PPC battery, but with only half the effective range. Hull sensors reported numerous light hits on the sloop’s damaged port side. They were doing more than scratching the paint, but not much more; with Ricardo bucking and weaving, along with the fighters’ own evasive maneuvers, dwell time on any given spot was quite short, and the lasers lost intensity badly at this range. Nothing punched past armor. Scattered autocannon and light missile fire sped past, a few shells and LRMs impacting Grissom’s thick hide, but a pair of Shilones got lucky with their LRMs and two full clusters hit home. Red warning messages cascaded Shaw’s systems display: two PPCs knocked out and some of the aft sensor mounts offline.

Then things got very bad very fast for Garuda. While her own fire, and that of Grissom and Grissom’s Sabres, had thinned the ranks and broken up squadron-level attacks, seven Hammerheads and a full twenty Slayers made it past the defenses and into autocannon range. The Combine pilots knew they were unlikely to survive unscathed and went to full cyclic rates on their ACs, as they would at close range in atmosphere. The result was just short of catastrophic. Most of the shells missed, but two bursts from the Hammerheads’ Imperator Zetas struck Garuda’s left wing, and dozens of lighter shells fired by the Slayers’ Zeus 56s peppered the light sloop’s fuselage, left wing, and stern. Aided by the incredible closing velocity, the shells did far more damage than normal.

Garuda’s left wing shattered, the outer half breaking off to spin away. A section of the after fuselage ballooned outward chased by flames, a propellant tank explosively rupturing. The drive flickered, then steadied back on at about 80% strength. Garuda herself started a wobbling spin under the force of the impacts and explosion before RCS got her under control. In total she’d lost about a quarter of her firepower, although none of her heavy bow lasers, and much of her port and rear armor was shredded. Shaw’s display claimed 2 known KIA and 9 crew offline, from a total of 27. Most of the unaccounted-for were marines; their bay was amidships on a Roc, just forward of engineering.

Of the twenty-seven heavy fighters to make the run, only 6 survived the attention of Garuda’s and Grissom’s anti-fighter batteries and the escorting Sabres. One of Maudet’s gunners even got a kill with a DL/5, and Garuda slagged a Hammerhead with her stern twin-mount. Then they were through the fighter screen and amongst the transports. Their Sabre flight burned hard to line up a run on a lighter--less dangerous--Union mech carrier, and Grissom steadied in on the two divisions of Overlords that Weasel 4 had been guarding.

“Guns, PD on antiship,” Shaw ordered.

“Antiship, aye.”

Lasers stabbed out all around them, and Maudet set the ventral turret to local control to deal with the division off their right side, taking the dorsal turret for herself and targeting Badger 8 first. Grissom slid between the two divisions; the Overlords were spaced forty km apart with two hundred km between lines. An aft DL/5 battery connected first, melting armor from Badger 3’s bow. Then Maudet’s guns punched straight through Badger 8, opening much of the transport’s forward section to space and exiting amidships on her unengaged side. Secondary explosions sparkled as AC and LRM ammunition cooked off from the electrical discharge and melted internals, and Badger 8 slewed out of line, wobbling from the change in mass and outgassing explosions. As Maudet lined up on Badger 9, the ventral turret scored a decent hit on Badger 4, cleaving off forward weapons turrets and melting armor, crumpling in the bow section. Badger 4 wouldn’t survive a reentry, but she could still thrust and fight--and could still drop her mechs from orbit.

Scattered fire from the transports peppered Grissom’s heavy armor, but she was in comparatively little danger: each turret on an Overlord was only equivalent to a single heavy fighter. Grissom’s main turrets, however, were enough to gut a transport if they connected squarely. This Maudet proceeded to do, hitting with four of the six guns in the dorsal turret. Coming in at a steeper angle than her first hit, they cut from just aft of the bow straight through to the drive and the propellant tanks. A bright flare showed briefly on the plot, and when sensor coverage of Badger 9 resumed she was missing her drive section, adrift and falling astern. The ventral turret finally landed a second hit on Badger 4, hitting the bow again and biting deep. Explosions bloomed, and this time it was the bow that blew off. Badger 4’s drive guttered and died, clearly her remaining crew did not want to further stress her frame.

By this point Grissom had pulled nearly even with Badgers 3 and 8. The anti-fighter battery, finally in range, added its own weight of fire. Massed large pulse lasers ate through Badger 3’s remaining armor and peeled open her after hull, venting her single giant mech bay, with the remaining beams cutting through the lower decks and into her drive. Her thrust tailed off, barely managing half a gravity. Badger 8 was luckier, avoiding a killing blow; she lost some armor and weapons from her stern, but thanks to having veered off-axis she had opened the range enough to survive. Maudet, taking the tertiary battery engaging as her cue, switched fire to the last Overlord in line, Badger 11, trusting the lighter weapons to see to Badger 10.

Suddenly Grissom jerked, then jerked again, more even than usual for evasive action. From a parallel course to the Overlords and on a broadly reciprocal bearing, Ricardo had stood the sloop on her tail, burning up normal and away from the two lines; she’d noticed that the rearmost Overlords had been using their forward autocannon and LRMs to make the middle passage inhospitable. That spoiled the aim of the ventral turret, but Maudet managed a hit. Only two of the DPPCs connected, but they were enough: spearing in through Badger 11’s side coming fore to aft they missed propellant tanks or anything else explosive, but did manage to compromise the reactor. Badger 11’s torch faded as she lost all thrust.

That left Badgers 5, 6, and 10, with Badger 8 just out of range. The lighter PPCs were targeting 5 and 10, and the pulse lasers were soon to join in; the ventral turret had almost finished reacquiring Badger 5. The dorsal turret’s capacitors were redlined; Shaw could hear Maudet swearing softly in Swiss French. She might get to fire again while they were still in range, but it wasn’t a sure thing.

Grissom’s final salvo of Mantas arrived at the carriers. All ten had been launched late enough to avoid fighter attacks, but one had gone wild early and point defense had destroyed two more. Three of the remainder missed their targets--the high closure velocity was horrible for accuracy, leaving little time to match target movements--but the remaining four connected. Two of the heavy missiles obliterated Wolf 4, which had survived the earlier strike; only bits of glowing wreckage remained. Wolf 2 suffered a hit to the port fighter bay that blew the hangar off and left an instability in her drive plume. Wolf 1, already damaged by another missile strike, took a crippling hit that knocked out her power and caused her to tumble.

With a final whoop from Maudet, Grissom fell out of range of the transports and Ricardo steadied them up, again pointing straight towards the rapidly receding Combine fleet. The dorsal turret had fired again, tagging Badger 6’s stern quarter and biting into the mech bay. Her thrust kept up, however. The ventral turret had crippled Badger 5, reducing her to the same acceleration as Badger 3 and likely destroying much of her cargo. The anti-fighter battery and the DL/5s had savaged Badger 10; though she could still maintain 2.5Gs her cargo decks were open to space and Shaw doubted if more than one in three of her mechs had survived unscathed.

“Squadron, Lang. Come to 1G and form up close. Commanders’ conference in three minutes. Out.” That came over the captain’s channel, Grissom’s systems having promoted Shaw to CO. Three minutes was long enough to figure out exactly what shape Grissom was in, give the crew a rest, start medical treatment for the wounded and repairs to the ship. The Combine ships, too, had lowered their effective acceleration to allow the fleet to regain some semblance of order, start repairs, and not outdistance their cripples.

Shaw sighed in relief, they’d made it through round one. “Helm, cut us back to 1G. Engineering, get me an update on our damage. Dr. Grijalva, see to the patients forward. Do what you can to stabilize, we won’t be at 1G for long.” As the pressure on his back eased and his couch became a chair again instead of a bed, Shaw stretched aching muscles.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: DOC_Agren on 01 September 2020, 23:08:29
Nice battle view
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: greatsarcasmo on 02 September 2020, 13:33:07
Enjoyed that. Looking forward to more
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 14 September 2020, 23:47:20
Thanks! :)

Work has been especially busy this last month so this has (obviously) been on hiatus. But it's not dead, not even pining, just on a bit of a pause.

(I, uh, also got a bit sidetracked into the realm of numbers, since plotting out the orbital math and ranges inevitably led to sanifying the ranges for DEWs which lead to fixing up my prior revisions to the construction rules so I could have a coherent sense of what the ships really were/are. I'll be posting TROs of the sloops as well as the Achilles variant seen here.)
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: Ttw1 on 15 September 2020, 01:15:18
Thanks! :)

Work has been especially busy this last month so this has (obviously) been on hiatus. But it's not dead, not even pining, just on a bit of a pause.

(I, uh, also got a bit sidetracked into the realm of numbers, since plotting out the orbital math and ranges inevitably led to sanifying the ranges for DEWs which lead to fixing up my prior revisions to the construction rules so I could have a coherent sense of what the ships really were/are. I'll be posting TROs of the sloops as well as the Achilles variant seen here.)

Cool, can't wait.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 28 September 2020, 02:40:23
Technical Readout 2865

Arbalest was laid down in 2854 as one of the Flight III Crossbows as tensions mounted again during the last decade of Raymond Karpov's rule. Commissioned into service in April 2855 under Captain Hiram Yoder, Arbalest served on the Ceres Patrol for the next five years. In 2860 Arbalest was laid up at the Vespa Yardplex for a refit to replace a balky grapple arm and undergo N5B modernization. On completion it shadowed ComStar fleet assets with the Ceres Patrol during the Incident of 2862, but tensions had lessened enough by mid-2863 that Arbalest tied up at Ceres for a minor refit to its drives. With Yoder taking command of a new-build heavy sloop, Ride, Sandra Lang relieved him on Arbalest.

After the Sixth of June bombing and Grigori Hartford's broadcast, Arbalest was ordered sunward to provide protection for Belter traffic near Terra, now-traditional ComStar harassment having escalated to impoundment and even destruction of some vessels. As the situation on the ground worsened into July, Arbalest returned to Ceres with a convoy of refugees, then stood out for Terra again in early August in the company of the first of the Mosquito Fleet. While careful to avoid open breach with ComStar, Lang gave her charges every possible advantage in running the blockade. On the fourth of these missions, Arbalest was fired upon by a ComStar Lola, CSV Holy Martyrdom. Launching her ready-fives for cover, Lang made for high orbit and prepared a strike, but cooler heads prevailed on Terra before irrevocable action plunged ComStar into open war with the Belt. Arbalest again returned to Terra in late October, this time in the company of Onager, Griffin, and Ockels, Arbalest as flag. Holy Martyrdom remained in orbit, but kept its distance. The Belter squadron was on the far side of the planet when Holy Martyrdom struck Geneva; on Lang’s authority the carriers readied a full deck strike while the fighting sloops burned to clear the horizon. Through threats and bluffs Lang was able to force Holy Martyrdom out of its bombardment orbit, but was unwilling to fire first without authorization from Metis. As Ockels sent its shuttles to give what little aid they could to the shattered ancient capital, sensors picked up an emergence wave at Sol-Terra. Lang retreated to high orbit and requested backup from Metis, but soon received the fateful tightbeam from the Hartfords.

Metis sent the entirety of the Vesta Patrol sunward at high burn, secure in the knowledge they could outrun any ComStar warship home to the big habitats; they joined Lang on 4 November. Lang remained in command as the “woman on the spot” who already had rapport with the Terran Resistance. By this point the Essex-class CSV Hammerstrike, accompanied by corvettes Alacrity, Determination, and Resilience, had joined Holy Martyrdom in Terran orbit. A tense standoff continued for the next three weeks as the two flotillas faced each other down less than a hundred thousand kilometers apart, and small Resistance attacks continued on the surface, interspersed with ComStar reprisals.

The diversionary attack on the Hilton Head Castle Brian outerworks jumped off early in the morning of 27 November. Holy Martyrdom again burned for a bombardment orbit, this time in the company of Alacrity, while the other three ComStar vessels screened the pair against the Belter flotilla. As Alacrity closed to within weapons range of Resistance forces, however, it was gutted by a particle beam from the western SDS annex of the Castle, Julia Hartford’s team having succeeded in infiltrating the facility. In response Holy Martyrdom, trailing, began evasive maneuvers and opened fire on the ground battery with ballistics. Determination burned down-well to join Holy Martyrdom, but as the other two ships dithered, Lang ordered all fighters into the black and the fighting sloops to light their drives, calling on the ComStar vessels to clear low orbit or face attack. In response, Resilience and Hammerstrike launched their own craft and gave their own warnings.

With Holy Martyrdom fully engaged with the ground battery, numerous small craft launched from North America and closed rapidly on the ComStar warships. Holy Martyrdom, seeing little result, launched a pair of White Shark missiles and turned to engage the oncoming Resistance craft in company of Determination, but shortly before the Santa Anas reached initiation altitude a final lucky shot from the battery breached Holy Martyrdom’s stern armor and touched off its hydrogen tanks.

At this further nuclear release on Terran soil, Lang ordered the attack in concert with the Terran craft. Arbalest and the other carriers kept their distance, providing datalink coverage for the Rapier and Sabre squadrons. In exchange for heavy damage to Jensen and Sphinx and the loss of Griffin and nineteen fighters, the first pass left Resilience adrift and venting and imploded Hammerstrike’s dorsal laser turret as well as destroying or mission-killing all ComStar parasite craft. The fighters proceeded on towards Determination in the company of Sphinx and Jensen while the other sloops flipped over to make a second pass. On this second run Yehl was lost with all hands when a shell penetrated its bow armor and lit off its Swordfish magazine, but Yamaguchi and Ockels managed to knock out the destroyer’s remaining heavy laser battery while the other sloops destroyed two of the three Intersystem VII drives, limiting Hammerstrike to 1.3G. The sloops let their velocity take them out to long range for their DPPCs, giving their point defense the best chance against Hammerstrike’s remaining missiles, the only weapons capable of replying at that range. After another few minutes of pummeling, Hammerstrike launched escape pods and was scuttled.

Down the well, the Terran small craft had engaged Determination, taking terrible losses but knocking out many of the big Vincent-class corvette’s weapons blisters. This left a hole in Determination’s point defense which the Belter craft exploited with their remaining missiles. The few Rapiers still carrying Swordfish added their fire to the six Manta Rays of Jensen; four of the Rays made it through, along with a Swordfish. The Swordfish jammed Determination’s remaining NL turret while the Rays destroyed its port NAC sponson and the vessel’s computer core. Accuracy immediately fell off as the remaining weapons reverted to local control, and with its flak capabilities destroyed or disrupted the remaining light craft swarmed the corvette. PPC bolts from Jensen, now at close range, tore into Determination’s drive section, and after five more minutes of fire Determination’s crew, as well, abandoned ship.

With the orbitals secure the Terran craft broke orbit to provide close support to their compatriots storming Hilton Head; those few Belter pilots willing to brave an atmosphere followed to give top cover. Lang on Arbalest hauled the Belter flotilla back into some semblance of order and began to recover her strikes and send out CSAR shuttles; most of Griffin’s crew had escaped the wrecked sloop, as had many of the ComStar sailors and numerous pilots from both sides. The first warship battle in ten years--and first space battle in the Terran system in nearly a century--was over.

Arbalest is currently in PSDF service with the Terra Squadron under the command of Raoul Gomez.

-from “Arbalest and the Second Liberation of Terra” in Technical Readout 2865, PSDF Defense Technical Information Service, Luna City, Terra, 2865.


Due to issues converting formatting, I have linked the technical readout of PSDF craft as a pdf. I have also linked the design sheets for them, as well as all Kuritan ships encountered previously and the three classes of ComStar warship encountered above, as well as some examples to demonstrate the changed construction rules. Note that only the PSDF vessels and certain of the warships have fluff (in the case of the Star League ships, manufacturing details are supplied from TRO2750 even if I have not ported the fluff created new; the Lola III and Essex II do have complete writeups.)
Technical Readout 2865 (
All designs, including samples (requires Excel) (
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 28 September 2020, 02:41:14
However, for those who can't easily read the PDF, here are the PSDF craft only, in text form (and without detailed stats):

Crossbow class Carrier Sloop
Code: [Select]
Nation:             PSDF/Terran Union
Tech Base:          Star League (SL 2700+)
Introduced:         2836
Vessel Type:        DropShip
Construction Type:  Military Aerodyne
Atmosph. Capable:   No
Design Tonnage:     13,000.0  tons
    Light Ship:     6,904.5   tons
    Standard:       10,408.0  tons
    Full Load:      15,052.5  tons
Hull:               BDI Mark XVI
Length:             172 m
Width:              46  m
Height:             25  m
Maneuvering Drive:  2 GM 5600D4 Sublite
Safe Thrust:        2.67G
Maximum Thrust:     4.00G
Armor Type:         Metis Industries Foamtough      Ferro-Aluminum

24  AoW     Donal       PPC                 All in 180deg turrets
96  League  Pulsar-L    Sm Pulse Laser      All in 180deg turrets
24  League  Pulsar-H    Lg Pulse Laser      All in 180deg turrets

Misc Equipment:     Flight Ops C&C

Manufacturer:       Belt Defense Industries
    Location:       Vespa Yardplex
Comm. System:       StarComm 71F with OpsLink
Targeting System:   N4A Fleetlink (Datalink, with datalink/C3 level 1)
When tensions mounted between Conrad Toyama's ComStar and the Belt in the mid 2830s, the governments of the Belt responded by laying down a class of carrier able to project power into the inner system. Much larger than the smaller dropships that plied the Belt's traderoutes, and were at times deputized into militia service, the Crossbow class (as they would come to be named) were fighting ships taking the best of Belter engineering to give the Rapier and Sabre squadrons a survivable base. Starting from scratch for such a large ship was ill advised, so BDI based the Crossbows on the League's Titan class carrier dropships. However, Belter fighter organization uses flights of four and squadrons of sixteen, and defense strategists required a vessel able to carry two, an attack squadron and a space superiority squadron. Further, atmospheric ops were deemed inessential to Belt needs, so the did Crossbow not need to the Titan's large wings, heavy landing gear, and structural reinforcement for off-axial stresses. By the end of the dropship class had gained a thousand tons in its design tonnage versus the Titans, though they kept the latter's 4G acceleration by switching to two Pentagon vintage GM 5600s. Visually, a Crossbow resembles a squat Vengeance as much as a Titan. The flight decks are moved off the centerline into two boxy hangars that replace the Titan's wings. These extend two thirds of the way down the fuselage; forward of them in the craft's forward-most decks lie the bridge, computer core, sickbay, and then quarters in the nose, while aft of them are the nozzles for the two GM drives. The drives themselves buldge outward where the two hangars meet each other along the centerline. Like the Titan, however, launch and recovery doors are on the sides of the hangars, rather than requiring fighters to approach from the stern. This allows under-way recovery of fighters through matching velocity and retrieval by magnetic grapple arms; once connected the fighter kills its drive and is recovered.                     
The main strength of the Crossbow class lies in its fighter complement, usually a squadron of Rapiers for strike missions and a squadron of Sabres for space superiority. Not merely transports, however, the Crossbows are capable of dealing out, and resisting, considerable punishment themselves; they are over twice as heavily armored as the Vengeances or Titans and carry a heavier point-defense armament of PPCs and pulse lasers, arranged in twin-PPC sponsons and twin-LPL/quad-SPL blisters. Despite their large size and considerable weapons fit, heavy automation keeps the Crossbows' crew requirements low. Only half the normal quantity of technicians are required to service the thirty-two fighters and single shuttle; together with the dropship pilot, engineers, gunners, and flight ops officers needed this only amounts to 27 crew compared to the 36 pilots and crew for the onboard craft. An extra four staterooms are fitted, as are enough escape pods to handle everyone aboard with margin for safety.
The massive computer system which handles so many of the everyday tasks the crew would normally perform also acts as central node for the Fleetlink datalink system, a tactical net capable of tying together all carried fighters and, if needed, other local forces. Tying together sensors and electronic warfare, fire control systems, and more across all linked units it greatly magnifies the effectiveness of all units. This technology traces its ancestry to the SDS project, though it was also fitted (and retrofitted) to crewed warships during the Star League's last years. Due to the cost of its electronics and automation, however, and its advanced armor, the Crossbow is an expensive craft, at least in up-front cost, more than double the price of a Vengeance.

Roc class Light Sloop
Code: [Select]
Nation:                 PSDF/Terran Union
Tech Base:              Star League (SL 2700+)
Introduced:             2837
Vessel Type:            DropShip
Construction Type:      Military Aerodyne
Atmosph. Capable:       No
Design Tonnage:         13,000.0  tons
    Light Ship:         11,267.5  tons
    Standard:           11,894.5  tons
    Full Load:          14,467.0  tons
Hull:                   BDI Mark XVI               
Length:                 125 m
Width:                  37  m
Height:                 23  m
Maneuvering Drive:      3 GM 5600D4+ Sublite
Safe Thrust:            4.67G
Maximum Thrust:         7.00G
Armor Type:             Metis Industries Foamtough      Ferro-Aluminum

4   AoW     Thunderbolt DL/8                    All in 180deg turrets
5   AoW     Greenfire   DL/5                    All in 180deg turrets
2   League  Hoverbird   Swordfish Ln            with 24 rds, 12 per
24  AoW     Donal       PPC                     All in 180deg turrets
96  League  Pulsar-L    Sm Pulse Laser          All in 180deg turrets
24  League  Pulsar-H    Lg Pulse Laser          All in 180deg turrets

Equipment:      Beagle AP
Misc Equipment:

Manufacturer:           Belt Defense Industries
    Location:           Vespa Yardplex
Comm. System:           StarComm 71
Targeting System:       N4A Fleetlink (Datalink, with datalink/C3 level 1)
The Roc-class sloop was designed alongside the Crossbow-class carriers, though design difficulties led to the first Roc entering service a year after Crossbow and suffering teething troubles with its uprated D4+ drives for three more years before all the problems were corrected. The Rocs were designed as escorts and fast attack craft, with a maximum acceleration of 7G, higher than most heavy fighters, and double the armor and far more firepower than the League’s Achilles class. Compared to the Crossbows, the Rocs lack the formers’ giant hangars; instead they feature boxy weapons bays on either side of the main hull, with the top decks in the fuselage given over to centerline weapons. Without the Crossbows’ hangars taking up central space the Rocs are fifty meters shorter, though with their decrease in width and weapons bays further aft their hulls looks more like those of the Achilles class.
Roc class vessels have small bridges, which give the feeling of an oversized small craft rather than a 13,000 ton dropship. In total only 11 crew are required thanks to heavy use of automation and advanced Belter computer systems; Rocs are also equipped with a large Active Probe system for long range sensor work and the same Fleetlink datalink system used on the Crossbows. This lets a division of four Rocs fight as a single integrated unit, combining fire and allocating point defense as efficiently as possible. Rocs also carry quarters for eight marines and a bay for a single combat shuttle, used for resupply, SAR, and boarding actions. As the most powerful combat vessels in the Belt until the Leonovs were commissioned in the 2850s, the Rocs were responsible for patrol duties and emergency response as well as their escort and deterrence duties.
Post-Liberation the PSDF has adopted the Roc class as well; dropship yards in Terran orbit have received technical missions from BDI and keels were laid on eleven Flight IV Rocs in May 2865 with more to follow.

The Roc class retains the fighter-class weapons fit of the Crossbow class--twelve twin Donal PPC turrets and twelve pulse laser clusters. In addition to these weapons, however, Rocs carry four Thunderbolt heavy dropship-class lasers in a nose chin turret. Two Swordfish tubes with twelve rounds each extend backwards towards the midsection. Each weapons pod features twin Greenfire DL/5s with a fifth mounted between the drive nozzles. In addition to their phenomenal acceleration which leaves plenty of thrust to spend on evasive maneuvers, the Roc class features 1,750 tons of Metis Foamtough armor, slightly biased forward. Such heavy armor leaves the Rocs’ internals immune to most fighter-class weapons, though surface-mount features like the point defense blisters or FCS antennas remain vulnerable.
The Rocs do, however, have fairly small hydrogen bunkers. While this keeps them less vulnerable--and takes up only a little over 7% of the design tonnage, rather than the 10% more usual for other dropships--this means they can only maintain maximum burn for a little over 38 hours out of combat (doubling to 77 hours at maximum load) and less than 4 hours in combat. This the Belt considers a small price to pay given their performance, since Belter habs dot the system and the Rocs are not intended to venture to other stars. Another disadvantage is price: a single Roc costs almost five times as much as an Achilles. But for that price the Belt gets a far more capable vessel--and despite that one that risks fewer crew.

A-25F Rapier class Strike Fighter
Code: [Select]
Nation:                 PSDF/Terran Union
Tech Base:              Star League (SL 2750+)
Introduced:             2841
Vessel Type:            Fighter
Construction Type:      Military
Atmosph. Capable:       Yes
Mass:                   90.0  tons
    No Fuel/Ammo:       84.5  tons
    No Fuel:            84.5  tons
    w/ External Stores  108.0 tons
Spaceframe:             Interstar 290P             
Length:                 31  m
Width:                  22  m
Height:                 9   m
Power Plant:            Hermes      Rating: 360 XL Fusion
Safe Thrust:            3.00G
Maximum Thrust:         6.00G
Armor Type:     Metis Industries Foamtough      Ferro-Aluminum

4   AoW Donal       PPC       
9   AoW Starflash   Med Laser         
Misc Equipment:                   

Manufacturer:           Vesmet Enterprises             
    Location:           The Belt               
Comm. System:           ClearTalk 59               
Targeting System:       Tekniks Sureshot Plus (Datalink, with datalink/C3 level 1)
The A-25F Rapier is the premier strike fighter of the Belt defense forces and the PSDF. By the time the F model first dropped free of its construction cradle, the Belt’s Rapier was nearly the embodiment of that old joke about rockets long past, that they’d “lifted up the name and slid a new vehicle underneath”. At its core, however, the A-25F is still a Rapier: a fast heavy fighter using PPCs to strike at long range, with excellent electronics and decent armor. The Belt’s use of the Rapier began with castoff SLDF RPR-100s and 101s after the 100b’s introduction with the Royals; after the Coup Belter astronautics firms stood up their own ASF production lines, and the Rapier served as an excellent model for Vesmet Enterprises. In the chaos of the Great Succession War, however, any remaining thought of licensing with Bauer was quickly lost.
The A-25, its designation in Belt (and now PSDF) service, was based on the RPR-101 since its all-energy layout was more vacuum friendly. Starting with the C model the heatsinks were reduced and additional medium lasers fitted; the armor was later upgraded to Ferro and a datalink added. The E model involved the most radical change: swapping to a 360XL engine gained 50% more payload while keeping acceleration constant and gaining only 5t total mass. The planform changed too, the low-aspect wings exchanged for a cranked-arrow delta and moved aft, permitting placement of PPCs in the wing roots. The result looked like a larger version of the ancient Capellan Firebird. While slightly less maneuverable in an atmosphere than its progenitor, the A-25F is capable of higher top speeds “in the soup” and is much handier in vacuum.
The A-25F serves as the Belt's and PSDF's main strike fighter. It can out-accelerate any civilian craft but a racer and can pack a DropShip-popping punch. While sloops are few and spread thin, many Belter habs rate a flight or even a squadron of Rapiers, and carriers generally split their wings between Rapiers and Sabres.

The F-model Rapier has swapped almost every component versus its RP-101 ancestor. Its frame is still the old Interstar, which easily supports the extra 5t mass, but its engine is now a Hermes 360XL, its output now routed through two thrust-vectoring magnetic bells. The armor is Metis Industries Foamtough, the standard Ferro-Aluminum weave of the PSDF. The comm system and TTS are new, shared with the Sabre, although the Rapier mounts the Plus variant of the Sureshot to aid in standoff attacks. Even the weapons fit is different.
The PPCs are local-built Donals. In total the Rapier mounts four, two in the nose and two in the wing roots, and nine Starflash medium lasers, one firing aft and four in each wing close inboard. The armor is 15.5 tons of Ferro, two tons-equivalent more than the 101 mounted. With the fourth PPC the F increases heat sink count to twenty-one, one more than the twenty heat sinks of the A and B and six more than the C and D models.
While this makes the A-25F a potent strike fighter, it is the Rapier’s large missile capacity that is truly frightening. For aerospace superiority missions the Rapier carries two Lampreys and two Morays, dropping it from 6 to 5.3G, but on a strike mission in addition to a self-defense Lamprey it can carriy the large Swordfish missile, one of which alone is enough to destroy transport DropShips. While one is not enough to destroy outright an assault ship like the Achilles, it is still enough to cause significant damage if it hits, piercing armor and knocking out critical systems. PSDF tactics call for Rapier squadrons to deal with DropShip threats while the sloops harry larger vessels. In strike configuration the Rapier is limited to 5G, but this is still enough to out-accelerate anything but an assault ship, and indeed the same thrust profile as many heavy fighters.                     

A-32D Sabre class Interceptor / Space Superiority Fighter
Code: [Select]
Nation:                 PSDF/Terran Union
Tech Base:              Star League (SL 2700+)
Introduced:             2847
Vessel Type:            Fighter
Construction Type:      Military
Atmosph. Capable:       Yes
Mass:                   30.0  tons
    No Fuel/Ammo:       26.5  tons
    No Fuel:            26.5  tons
    w/ External Stores  36.0  tons
Spaceframe:             Inazuma SI-32             
Length:                 20  m
Width:                  17  m
Height:                 6   m
Power Plant:            General Motors      Rating: 270 XL Fusion
Safe Thrust:            5.50G             
Maximum Thrust:         11.00G             
Armor Type:             Metis Industries Foamtough      Ferro-Aluminum

1   League  Starbolt    ER Lg Laser       
2   AoW     Starflash   Med Laser         
Misc Equipment:                   

Manufacturer:           Vesmet Enterprises             
    Location:           The Belt               
Comm. System:           ClearTalk 58               
Targeting System:       Tekniks Sureshot (Datalink, with datalink/C3 level 1)
The Belt's A-32 Sabre can trace its lineage back half a millennium. The type was introduced by Raimei in 2314, and it has served the Alliance of Galedon, and then the rest of human space, ably ever since. The direct antecedent of the A-32 is the SB-28 model produced using Hegemony technology; it, and the SB-27b, served in SLDF Royal units during the Amaris Coup. Seeking a light fighter for the interceptor and space superiority roles, various Belter governments adopted the Sabre; it acquired the designation A-32 under the formalization of Belter designations spearheaded by the Metis Commission. Like the heavier Rapier, the Sabre has seen changes during its near-century of service with the Belt after starting from the SB-28 baseline; to increase performance (and to avoid licensing fees) Vesmet Enterprises modified the Sabre much as they did the Rapier. The current standard is the A-32D, which first flew in 2847 and entered squadron service in 2849. It features a fuselage stretch of 3 meters and a growth in mass of 5 tons to 30 tons total; this allows retention of the SB-28’s armament while increasing armor and adding a Tekniks Sureshot FCS with datalink support.
Most Belter habitats above the size of a homestead will usually have berths for at least a flight of Sabres, while large void cities may hold many squadrons. The Sabre, along with the Rapier heavy strike fighter, also serves on Crossbow carriers, and as the onboard fighter flight on Leonov heavy sloops. The PSDF has adopted the A-32D as well.

Like its SB-28 ancestor, the A-32D’s armament consists of a single ER Large Laser and twin medium lasers. Unlike the SB-28, however, these are tied into the fighter’s datalink-enabled Sureshot FCS. Besides growing its tankage to keep delta V comparable to the 25-ton Sabres, the A-32D spends the rest of its extra payload mass on armor: 7.5 tons of Metis Foamtough ferro-aluminum. This makes the Sabre much tougher than the average light fighter, and not far off many Great House medium fighters. Against shorter-ranged opponents the A-32 can use its high thrust of 11G maximum to keep the range open, while against fighters that outrange it it can dash in to bring its medium lasers to bear as well, trusting in its heavy armor to survive.
The A-32D is generally outfitted with a pair of Lamprey anti-fighter missiles in its bay, but it can carry a third externally at maximum load. For interceptions it can carry a single Moray instead. Carrying a full load will cut the Sabre’s maximum acceleration to a little over 9G, while a single Moray or twin Lampreys only reduces acceleration by 1.3G. To be able to keep the pilot conscious and functional at 11G, the A-32D’s acceleration couch rotates to a perfect “eyeballs-in” position no matter the perceived axis of thrust and carefully conforms to the pilot’s body shape. Flight controls make heavy use of eye tracking and neurohelmet feedback, requiring little in the way of limb and finger motion. Thanks to these features a Sabre pilot can still fly and fight at full burn in space or while performing high-G aerodynamic maneuvers deep in an atmosphere. For these reasons A-32D has a reputation as a “hot ship” amongst its pilots, and its performance during the Battle of Hilton Head has endeared it to the Terran public as much as it is already a favorite of the Belt.

Leonov class Heavy Sloop
Code: [Select]
Nation:                 PSDF/Terran Union
Tech Base:              Star League (SL 2700+)
Introduced:             2856
Vessel Type:            DropShip
Construction Type:      Military Spheroid
Atmosph. Capable:       No
Design Tonnage:         85,000.0  tons
    Light Ship:         70,728.5  tons
    Standard:           77,924.0  tons
    Full Load:          98,301.5  tons
Hull:                   BDI Ultraheavy
Length:                 40  m
Width:                  40  m
Height:                 220 m
Maneuvering Drive:      3 Sunburst M-220L Megadrive
Safe Thrust:            3.67G
Maximum Thrust:         5.50G
Armor Type:             Metis Industries Foamtough      Ferro-Aluminum

12  AoW Kinslaughter-H  DPPC            All in 360deg turrets
16  AoW     Greenfire   DL/5            All in 180deg turrets
10  League  Holly       Manta Ray Ln    with 120 rds, 12 per
8   League  Ray-Hughes  Piranha Lnchr   with 240 rds, 30 per
104 AoW     Donal       PPC             All in 180deg turrets
416 League  Pulsar-L    Sm Pulse Laser  All in 180deg turrets
104 League  Pulsar-H    Lg Pulse Laser  All in 180deg turrets
Equipment:      Guardian ECM, Beagle AP
Misc Equipment:                   

Manufacturer:       Belt Defense Ind. & Krester's             
    Location:       Vespa Yardplex & Station Alpha             
Comm. System:       StarComm 84           
Targeting System:   N5B Fleetlink (Datalink, with datalink/C3 level 1 and Datalink Core)
The Leonov class heavy sloop represents the pinnacle of Belter defense engineering. The class was designed in the early 2850s as the governments of the inner belt became more worried about the future of Terra under ComStar. The last flareup of tensions a quarter-century earlier had led to the Crossbow and Roc class sloops; they were capable vessels, but they were insufficient to deal with the threat of ComStar’s warships except in staggering numbers. Unwilling to spend pilots’ lives on a swarm attack from Rapier strike fighters (or, for that matter, Rocs), and unable to build true warships, the Belt settled on something in between: the heavy sloop.
The Leonov class are true spacecraft. Incapable of atmospheric entry, they resemble corvettes rather than any spheroid dropship. They feature dorsal and ventral main battery turrets, sponson-mounted secondaries, and a staggering quantity of armor, but they are swifter than any corvette, even a Mako, with equivalent acceleration to the Pentagons and Avengers and only a half-G less than the Achilleses. A Leonov’s transit drive produces half as much thrust as an old Baron-class destroyer, which outmasses it nearly fourfold.
While principally a combatant, the Leonovs also serve as the heaviest patrol ships in the Belt. Whenever an emergency occurs or a rockhopper turns pirate, a Leonov can intervene quickly and effectively. The class has room for thirty-two marines, a boarding craft, and a shuttle, with four fighters for escort. Also included are thirty passengers berths, ten of each type, with the steerage cabins convertible to a brig.  Leonovs carry considerable electronics: sensors, ECM, a datalink core for squadron coordination, and automation systems, the last reducing crew complement to only thirty-eight with twelve pilots for the onboard craft.
The PSDF has adopted the Leonov class as well, rushing them into production in Krester's Terran yards. They will serve as system guards until the Titan complex comes online and true warships can be built.                       

The core of the Leonovs' firepower are two DPPC turrets, each mounting six Kinslaughter-H guns and backed by a datalink-enabled fire control system. Despite a technical maximum range of 3000km, beam dispersion takes them below their rated damage past 220km. Backing up the DPPCs are ten Manta Ray launchers in the bow, the heaviest sub-capital missiles in the Star League arsenal. Each missile masses 32t wet with 10.6km/s delta V and can destroy most dropships in a single hit. The secondary armament is 16 Greenfire DL/5 blisters evenly spread. These lasers lose effectiveness more rapidly than PPCs; their nominal engagement range is 144km but they can cause damage out to 531km. Eight launchers for the Ray-Hughes Piranha anti-fighter missile complement the DL/5s to provide standoff defense against strike craft. These 10t missiles, while less agile than Lampreys or Morays, are good for 11.7km/s delta V, yielding a better range profile, and are usually a guaranteed kill. The Leonovs’ tertiary battery, useful within a hundred or so km, is a mixture of quad Donal PPCs and pulse laser clusters, each with four larges and sixteen smalls. In total twenty-six of each type of mount are spread over the hull. This provides considerable security against any close-in approach by fighters, as well as ensuring most missiles are blown apart before they reach the Leonovs’ thick hide. And very thick it is: nearly 20,000t of Foamtough armor protect the Leonovs.
In all the Leonov class can outmatch any dropship in existence and Belt/PSDF tacticians believe wolfpacks would prove a threat even for large warships. All this comes at a price, however: quite literally. Barely cheaper than a small warship, the class must hold the line until they can be relieved by larger, jump-capable cousins.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 28 September 2020, 03:29:42
Based on some questioning, I realize I should probably post the readme from the archive, as it covers some of the rules changes that are involved in these designs. I do, however, highly encourage opening one of the spreadsheets to play around with, as the comments and options there (and the tables on the Tables tab) go into far more detail.
This sheet is derived from an original Battlespace design sheet by JS, found I believe on Sarna back in the late 90s. Full credit there for the excellent base I had to start from!

Some notes on the construction rules involved are worth adding here. These rules, and the gameplay changes backing them, were developed to steer BS/AT2 into a more naval-focused direction and better comport with real physics (no more superluminal exhaust!); while I started on them nearly two decades ago, the bulk of the changes were added in the last two months as I got more involved in (re)writing No Truce With Kings, to the point where work on them supplanted writing. Some highlights: the excel sheet used to construct vessels is universal: nearly everything is shared between all vessel classes (class is detected based on KF drive, maneuvering drive, tonnage, and vessel type). Supported classes are: Fighter, Small Craft, DropShip, Primitive JumpShip, WarShip, Sub-Compact Core WarShip, Civilian Compact Core, Monitor, and Space Station. The dropdown type selector can be set to Aerodyne, Spheroid, Fighter (only for fighters), and Large Craft (used for anything but fighters and DropShips/Small Craft). The number of SI points per unitless SI value varies based on vessel class (and equipment), and a considerable quantity of armor may be carried per ton of structure. Conversely, however, armor points per ton decreases continuously as ship size increases, and fuel usage is directly proportional to mass for all craft. 22 tech levels are modeled; each has access to a subset of equipment, different maximum masses, and different tech-based multipliers to equipment mass, efficiency, crew size, etc. Not all post-BMR weaponry/equipment is included, but a great deal of custom equipment for larger craft has been added, along with a set of primitive weapons (mostly capital, some dropship-class, and some standard primitive lasers to account for lasers being in use before their TM introduction dates). I broadly kept the stats I already had for dropship class weapons, though since their design canon subcapital weapons were introduced to broadly fill that niche and I adopted those names for the missiles. The old "Capital" weapons have been entirely rebalanced. The Terran tech levels (i.e. from the NTWS AU) are where most of the new modern equipment lives; for access to primitive equipment choose a pre-League tech level. The various Terran tech levels also add new standard-scale weapons.

The design sheet is covered liberally with comments to describe the various fields. In addition it will validate most inputs, and the set of any validation errors is shown on the Errors tab even if it is not readily apparent on the Design tab.

Certain rules changes outside of construction have considerable bearing here. Instead of the flat +5 rule for capital weapons, weapons have varying accuracy penalties and vessel size can give opponents a to-hit bonus. Unspent thrust in a turn can be put towards evasion, using the standard TMM levels. Fighters have an overthrust of twice, rather than 1.5x, their safe thrust. Movement from thrust (rather than velocity) is halved (round down). Weapon bays no longer exist for thresholding purposes. Turrets (sponson/casemate and full turrets) are supported. Three scales are used: Standard, DropShip (x10), and Capital (x100). Energy weapons’ damage varies by distance (inverse-square for PPCs and inverse-cube for lasers, normalized to 1x at the end of “short” range), though they are limited to a maximum of 3x their rated damage no matter how close a target is. Larger pulse weapons (standard and dropship scale) can defend against missiles along with PD weapons. Missile weapons’ engagement envelopes depend on their thrust vs. their target’s. Ballistic weapons have ranges that comport with reasonable muzzle velocities; they may fire into “extreme” range for reduced damage (fewer shots in the burst will hit) but beyond that a burst is not likely to hit a maneuvering craft. In addition to critical thresholds, immunity is also modeled: heavy armor (for small craft and above) is immune to damage less than 1% (round down) of its armor value. EW tracks probe and ECM power separately per vessel; each can be increased by mounting appropriate equipment (ECM and AP suites scale), though larger craft have inherent scores too, dependent on FCS and tech level. Fire Control systems are also more granular, and different types have different modifiers. Rather than C3, some higher-tech FCS offer datalink support; a craft may act as a core for all vessels the sum of whose cost does not exceed its datalink capacity. Various tactical computers can increase this capacity; the ATAC and DTAC systems are modeled as datalink cores in this way.
Title: Re: No Truce With Kings: The Human Sphere in the Age of Revolutions
Post by: NathanKell on 08 October 2020, 06:20:20
I decided I might as well not go halfway on remassing / reclassing canon ships (e.g. the Lola looks like a trade protection cruiser and quacks like a trade protection cruiser, so it's now just called a light cruiser; the Essex now has a more destroyerly mass; etc). I also updated the design sheet in multiple ways to support this effort, including changes to large weapons' mass and heat as tech increases. There was also an issue with bonus armor from SI which is now fixed.

As to the PSDF ships, this rework had very limited effects, although due to large weapons becoming lighter and more heat-efficient as tech levels increase, the Roc now includes a fourth DL/8. The alternate loadings for the vessels also changed slightly (and a single decimal point is now shown).
The archive and PDF are updated as is the post. The archive includes the following ships, beyond the PSDF ships featured above:
Aquilla Auxiliary Cruiser (Periphery refit using ~2450 tech to turn the Aquilla into a raider / AMC / etc.)
Bug-Eye (yes, it can land.)
Essex (2711) aka Essex II, with fluff
Liberty (the first standard-core JumpShip with docking collars, for those who missed the XTRO Primitives series)
Lola (2345) aka Lola I, with fluff
Lola (2662) aka Lola II, with fluff
M-5 Caspar, with fluff