Author Topic: Adventurous class Frigate: Boldly Going and All That  (Read 418 times)

Liam's Ghost

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Adventurous class Frigate: Boldly Going and All That
« on: 18 November 2023, 05:25:48 »
author note: this fluff is incomplete. Once again I grossly underestimated how long I can drag a bit of fluff out, but its two in the morning and I need to sleep so I'll finish it tomorrow, probably.

  As the Navy saw the 29th century wind down, the Admiralty had begun to take stock of their current fleet and, finding plenty of room for improvement, ordered the Naval Upgrade Program of 2898. In addition to upgrading the existing fleet of cruisers and light destroyers with improved electronics and armor protection and beginning a major, and long delayed upgrade package on the fleet's perpetual flagship the Washington, this action also dictated a wave of new construction, including several "almost" all new classes meant to greatly expand the fleet's capabilities. One of these classes was the long overdue Adventurous class.
  While the navy had hundreds of capital ships on the registry, the Bastion's fleet was still overwhelmingly configured in accordance with the Coastal Defense doctrine. At the time, the only ships capable of conducting or supporting an operation far beyond the Bastion's borders were the Washington and the two modified Riga class frigates Tallinn and Vilnius. And for quite a while, the Admiralty had considered this adequate, even cancelling plans to build more modern long range vessels in 2825. After all, there were no organized entities strong enough to threaten the Bastion's security anywhere within four hundred light years, and even the great houses of the Inner Sphere were by all accounts not only ignorant of the Bastion, but likewise incapable of organize a sufficiently threatening force after spending so many decades devastating each other. And even those isolated groups that had found their way to the bastion had proven easily dealt with, and their apparent backers in the Star League Ministry of Communications had seemed to lose interest by the middle of the 29th century.
  Of course, simply because there was nothing to worry about beyond the Bastion's borders now didn't mean that would never change, so these deep patrols were still considered an essential duty. And as the twenty ninth century was drawing to a close, it was gradually realized that the ships responsible for the job were showing their age. The Tallinn and Vilnius were certainly capable ships, but they were by this point centuries old, and even with the refits they had received, their machinery and jump cores were so outdated that manufacturing replacement components was essentially custom work, which heavily inflated operating costs. And the Washington was the most powerful, most storied, most beloved ship in the fleet, and herself quite the grand old lady, and increasingly it seemed insane to continue to risk the heart and soul of the Navy to a possible malfunction or misadventure far from home.
  So, new ships would be needed to take up the task of leading the deep patrol. And as it happened the navy had a hull and jump core that they felt could solve all of their problems.
  Though the new class, to be named the Adventurous, would be classified as a frigate to reflect its long range patrol role, it would still share the same hull, machinery, and jump core of the Impetuous class and its half sister designs being developed in parallel, simply reconfigured to fit its intended role. As a long range frigate specifically intended to support an expeditionary force of smaller short ranged capital ships, this primarily meant carrying a large amount of cargo. To this end, two of the Impetuous's five transit drives were removed from the design, along with all of the Imperator-Whirlwind cannons, reducing the ship's primary armament to "only" its twenty four Kreus XXX naval PPCs. Redesigns of the interior spaces and the dorsal hull to accommodate the ship's improved storage capabilities also resulted in the Adventurous' characteristic "Humpback", a design choice made to make access to the cargo bays more convenient and thus make underway replenishment of supporting units easier. While this modification does make the ship's cargo spaces more likely to take damage in combat, designers claimed it would also have a small but measurable benefit to the Adventurous' overall survivability. At flat angles of attack, the taller profile of the Adventurous compared to her half sisters tended to draw the aim of gunners unfamiliar with the design higher, meaning more shots would tend to penetrate around the cargo bays and thus miss more vital areas. While experienced Navy personnel were unlikely to be taken in by the Adventurous' hunchback, the same could not necessarily be said for any foreign opponents. Actual simulation tests seemed to tell a different story however. While yes, aiming at the ship's perceived center of mass would mean that some shots that would have hit dead center over the ship's vitals might instead strike the relatively expendable cargo bays, it also meant that shots that would have missed low would instead be potentially striking the ships' vital points instead, making the affects of the cargo bays soaking hits a net wash at best and a disadvantage at worst. Captain Garson of the tactical studies office would describe the results thus: "It was a cunning bit of fast talking, but in the end making your ship wider and easier to hit is never conducive to survivability".
  Arguments over the hunchback aside, the Adventurous class would begin entering service in 2900, and would immediately replace their predecessors on deep patrol duty, with Washington being assigned to the home fleet permanently for a few decades before going into her first stint in Permanent Ordinary, while the Tallinn and Vilnius would go through a brief period in Ordinary before being mothballed in 2905, thus freeing up their names for two new Adventurous class frigates intended to carry on their legacy.
  With the introduction of the Adventurous class came a revision to how deep patrols were conducted. Initially, a deep patrol force would consist of a single mothership responsible for carrying the task force's supplies, with usually a picket flotilla of light destroyers for escort and to conduct the actual survey operations of the mission. This was fine if everything went well, but it also left the entire patrol force with a single point of failure. If the mothership was disabled by malfunction or enemy action, then depending on the distance from Bastion territory the entire patrol force could find itself stranded. Or at the very least, waiting for months for one of its number to make it back to the Bastion to send rescue. The threat of just such an incident happening to the aging Washington, Tallinn, and Vilnius had been the final push needed to even get the Adventurous built in the first place, and while the navy now had newer and potentially more reliable ships to do the job, the risk was still there.
  So with the first Deep Patrol of 2900, the frigate Adventurous would be paired with her sister ship the Bonaventure, along with the standard flotilla of Hunt class destroyers. Having two motherships ensured that the patrol force was not at risk of being stranded by the loss of one vessel, and the extra space afforded by the vast carrying capacity of the two long range frigates ensured that plentiful spare parts could be carried to support any necessary repairs or maintenance issues. Using a pair of Adventurous class frigates would become standard practice for Deep Patrol missions to this day, with even the Washington's symbolic Deep Patrol in 3032 on the four hundredth anniversary of her commissioning being accompanied by the modern incarnations of the frigates Tallinn and Vilnius. The unfortunate encounter with the SLMC (or "Comstar" as they preferred to be known) explorer ship Ptolemy during that trip would see the Washington's part of the voyage cut short, but the Tallinn and Vilnius would lead the rest of the group further back along the Ptolemy's route of travel, searching for any additional SLMC ships that might have been following the Ptolemy, returning only once they were confident that there were no other SLMC ships probing close to the Bastion.
  The Bastion would complete twelve Adventurous class frigates over the course of a rather sedate six year building program. Very often one pair of frigates would return from a completed patrol only to pass the duty on to a pair of brand new frigates that had just cleared their acceptance trials. As the number of available frigates grew, the navy was quickly able to maintain two active deep patrol forces at all times, greatly improving the Bastion's knowledge of the surrounding space and nearby territories like the Axumite Providence, the Hanseatic League, or the Thelos Sector. A refit of the entire class with advanced sensor systems in 2950 only improved their ability to passively monitor these interstellar neighbors, gathering mountains of data while avoiding detection themselves. Though these missions would net valuable intelligence and scientific information, their crews tended to regard them as ordinary, even painfully boring. Maintaining secrecy meant shore leave was never an option, and the occasional unavoidable encounter with a foreign vessel only offered a brief bit of violent excitement followed by decidedly hostile interaction with any survivors. Even the vast database of entertainment media the ship's computer was able to store, or the local entertainment recorded during signals intelligence missions, only offered some respite from the humdrum routine of shipboard life. While service among one of the Adventurous class was commonly billed as a prestige position, enlisted personnel might make only one or two tours aboard a frigate before requesting posting with a ship that operated closer to home.
  Oddly enough, the desire to not be cooped up aboard ship for as much as two years at a time would even cause some crewmembers to challenge their own deeply held personal beliefs. By the middle of the thirtieth century, service aboard an Impetuous class cruiser, a Lee class escort, or a Pentagon assault ship required that a prospective sailor provide verification that they had received gene therapy to enhance their resistance to high gravity, along with confirmation that the therapy had properly taken hold. For the Admiralty, this was simply a practical precaution. These ships were all capable of extremely high acceleration, and ensuring that their crews could endure the force of such acceleration long term greatly increased their tactical and strategic capabilities, and as this was job related, prospective crewmen could receive the normally very expensive gene therapy at no cost.
  While those who were unwilling or unable to receive gene therapy were not barred from service in the navy, their options for available postings were still somewhat limited. Those who still wanted a place on a capital ship would either have to fight for one of the scarce billets on a Formidable or Relentless, join the picket fleet, or sign up with an Adventurous. Since most of these available capital ship postings meant you would find yourself joining a deep patrol force at some point, many sailors who were once vehemently opposed to elective gene therapy would come back from  a two year stint in the desolate emptiness around the Bastion with a fresh new perspective and a burning desire to serve in a posting where you got to see something other than the same people, bulkheads, and endless emptiness regularly.
  Tedious or not, it was almost universally accepted that the Adventurous class was performing a vital service for the Bastion by keeping an eye on the surrounding space. While the Ptolemy incident of 3032 certainly reinforced that notion, that was nothing compared to the news that came to the Bastion in 3052. That was when the Bastion learned about the Clans.
  The catastrophic, world changing psychological shock learning of the existence and origins of the Clans had inflicted on the Bastion cannot be done justice here. Suffice it to say, after reading the reports provided by the Morgan Commission, then Director General Martin's first call wasn't to the Senate or his advisors, but to the Army General Staff and the Admiralty. Passing on the information he had received, he then ordered the Bastion's top military commanders to draft a plan for an offensive war, with the stated aim of rendering these "abominations" extinct.
  Fortunately, this objective was not practically viable at the time. While the Senate exploded in fiery rhetoric and panic in the public grew at a fevered pitch, the Admiralty recommended the much more restrained option of dispatching several deep patrol forces towards the rear areas of the clan incursions into the Inner Sphere, dedicated to identifying possible supply lines or, if it could be done quietly, even seizing the odd isolated clan vessel to gain more information. If possible, it was also advocated to identify a location for a forward base to support future operations. Beyond that, nothing else could be done. Neither the Army nor the Navy were equipped to simply go charging across the void to fight a war far from its own source of supply. And even if the Senate were prepared to allocate the funds for a colossal building program that would dwarf the programs that followed the evacuations from the Hegemony, it would still be years before those would pay off to make a serious attempt.
  The only alternatives to this cautious approach would be the genocidally massive use of weapons of mass destruction, an option that the military made clear to the Director General that they would not support or implement.
  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed (barely) in the senate, with the vote for an immediate declaration of war against the Clans in their entirety failing by only the slimmest of margins. While the public got over their shock at how quickly their leaders had almost pushed them into a massive war hundreds of lightyears away based on centuries old grudges, the Admiralty's scout plan was approved, and four deep patrol forces centered around the frigates Adventurous, Bonaventure, Insolence, Tallinn, Vilnius, Indefatigable, Essex, and Shannon were dispatched on their long journey. While the Director General's orders included instructions to target shipping owned by the Clans if practical, the Admiralty quietly added the following addendum to each force's orders. "Absent notification of a formal declaration of war, each commander is instructed to only take hostile action against any encountered vessel if that vessel represents a threat to your ship's security or the security of the rest of your patrol force."
  The fleet would not actually arrive at their patrol along the coreward periphery until early 3054. Bastion charts for this region of space had not been updated since the fall of the Star League, so extreme caution became the watchword as the fleet broke up into independent patrol forces and began surveying star systems for evidence of these clans. The primary method used was long range passive observation, with ships running minimal emissions while remaining at least twenty astronomical units from the proximity limit of the target star while their powerful sensor systems monitored for radio traffic and other signs of life. Over the course of a year, this allowed the scout fleets to identify six separate periphery outposts then under clan control, as well as collect signals intelligence from border worlds in the Lyran Commonwealth, Draconis Combine, and from the various clan occupation zones. In a bit of a strange diversion, the Hunt class THS Trahn Truk Ngo would receive special instructions to survey the Kowloon system, despite this system lying outside the original planned survey area. In addition to monitoring system communications, the captain would also order honors rendered to the birth world of the ship's namesake, before quietly slipping away to rejoin its patrol force.
  Their mission complete, the fleet would meet back up again and begin the long trip back to the Bastion, arriving in mid 3055 to find a very different political situation from the one they had left. In their absence, the Blue Revolution had seen the old Senate and the Director General swept from power, along with wide reaching efforts at reforms that had left the economy and political landscape in turmoil. Reasonably certain they would come home only to find out the Bastion was now at war with the clans, they instead found new leaders committed to keeping the Bastion as far away from entanglements with the Inner Sphere as possible. Economic uncertainty and budget cuts had seen half the active fleet placed in ordinary, and most of the ships returning from their nearly three long expedition would soon join them. During these lean years following the Blue Revolution, the Admiralty found itself unable to maintain even one deep patrol on continuous rotation, and even had to fight tooth and nail to preserve the budget to send each deep patrol out with two motherships simultaneously.
  Even so, the Deep Patrol continued its work where it could, probing further towards the coreward periphery, now focused on where the Clans might have come from. And in time the political and economic factors hamstringing the navy began to let up, and in time the fleet was once again operating at full capacity. These efforts would greatly expand the Bastion's knowledge of coreward regions beyond the Hanseatic League, but their search for the CLan Homworlds would come up empty. In the end, the Bastion would only learn this secret in 3060, after it had become public information in the Inner Sphere. Patrol forces would quietly poke around the edges of the Clan Homeworlds in 3062, and again in 3065, but a very close call with an unexpected task force owing allegiance to the Burrocks led to further operations in or near clan space being curtailed, and the patrol forces would instead resume concentrating on territories closer to the Bastion. While the Bastion's new government had moved away from their predecessors' barely controlled rage towards the clans, they were still willing to acknowledge that between the clans and the rapid recovery and pseudo-unification of the Inner Sphere under a new Star League, that the Bastion would at the very least find itself at risk should its own location be discovered. With that concern in mind, the Senate would vote through special funding to construct an additional twenty four Adventurous class frigates and another run of Hunt class destroyers in 3066 specifically to expand patrol efforts around the Bastion. This decision would prove especially prescient soon enough, as in 3068, news of the conflict later known as the Jihad would reach the Bastion, and roughly a year later, so would the Word of Blake.
 
Code: [Select]

Adventurous Frigate
Mass: 830,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2900 (Mark I), 2950 (Mark II-V)
Mass: 830,000
Battle Value: 83,606
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-X-F-F
Cost: 22,270,814,000 C-bills (Mark I) 22,770,934,000 C-bills (Mark II-V)

Fuel: 2,500 tons (6,250)
Safe Thrust: 3
Maximum Thrust: 5
Sail Integrity: 5
KF Drive Integrity: 18
Heat Sinks: 3000 (6000)
Structural Integrity: 80

Armor
    Nose: 231
    Fore Sides: 231/231
    Aft Sides: 231/231
    Aft: 221

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Fighter (18)            4 Doors   
    Bay 2:  Small Craft (8)         2 Doors   
    Bay 3:  Cargo (134233.0 tons)   2 Doors (Mark I)
    Bay 3:  Cargo (133649.0 tons)   2 Doors (Mark II-V)   

Ammunition:
    2,880 rounds of Anti-Missile System [IS] ammunition (240 tons),
    110 rounds of Barracuda ammunition (3,300 tons)

Dropship Capacity: 4
Grav Decks: 2 (90 m, 90 m)
Escape Pods: 20
Life Boats: 30
Crew (Mark I):  45 officers, 176 enlisted/non-rated, 47 gunners, 76 bay personnel, 20 passengers, 30 marines
Crew (Mark II-V):  45 officers, 188 enlisted/non-rated, 47 gunners, 76 bay personnel, 20 passengers, 30 marines

Notes: Equipped with
    lithium-fusion battery system
    1 Mobile Hyperpulse Generators (Mobile HPG)
    1 Naval Comm-Scanner Suite (Large) (Mark II-V) only
1,328 tons of lamellor ferro-carbide armor.

Weapons:                                       Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat)                                 Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
Nose (36 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (720 shots)
3 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)     30   6(60)   6(60)   6(60)    6(60)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (30 shots)
FRS/FLS (920 Heat)
4 Naval PPC (Heavy)                        900  60(600) 60(600) 60(600) 60(600)  Capital PPC
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)     20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (20 shots)
RBS/LBS (906 Heat)
4 Naval PPC (Heavy)                        900  60(600) 60(600) 60(600) 60(600)  Capital PPC
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (720 shots)
ARS/ALS (920 Heat)
4 Naval PPC (Heavy)                        900  60(600) 60(600) 60(600) 60(600)  Capital PPC
2 Capital Missile Launcher (Barracuda)     20   4(40)   4(40)   4(40)    4(40)   Capital Missile
    Barracuda Ammo (20 shots)
Aft (6 Heat)
6 Anti-Missile System                       6   2(18)    0(0)    0(0)     0(0)   AMS         
    Anti-Missile System Ammo [IS] (720 shots)
   
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Daryk

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Re: Adventurous class Frigate: Boldly Going and All That
« Reply #1 on: 18 November 2023, 08:31:51 »
I could totally see a Rockjack legend growing up around the "Ghost of Tran Truk Ngo"... ;)

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Adventurous class Frigate: Boldly Going and All That
« Reply #2 on: 18 November 2023, 17:57:47 »
I could totally see a Rockjack legend growing up around the "Ghost of Tran Truk Ngo"... ;)

Honestly they're probably not the only ones to tell stories like that. The Deep Patrol is probably a bit more confident of their ability to slip in and out of star systems unseen than they should be.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Liam's Ghost

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Re: Adventurous class Frigate: Boldly Going and All That
« Reply #3 on: 20 November 2023, 00:00:35 »
the rest of the fluff. I would never have made it as a TRO writer with word limits and such

  The degenerate offspring of the Star League Ministry of Communications had shown an interest in seeking out the Bastion before, even if they may not have known exactly what they were looking for. It is considered very likely that the unknown attackers that destroyed Bandon Station and largely halted the flow of refugees to the Bastion were at least sponsored by the Ministry, for whatever reason. Their personnel also seemed responsible for the rumors which sent a number of pirates and treasure hunters in the direction of the Bastion in the early 29th century. And of course there was the incident with the Ptolemy in 3032, as well as all the reports coming from the Morgan Commission describing the strange and radical changes that had overtaken the Ministry since the start of the succession wars. Even so, this interest seemed at best passive and intermittent, and while news of the Jihad had included accounts of atrocities committed by this Word of Blake, their focus seemed to be on the Inner Sphere. Thus it was assumed that the Bastion had nothing to worry about.

  This assumption was challenged in 3069 when an outbound patrol force centered on the frigates Cochran and Insolence discovered a force of ships only seventy light years from Martin's Landing, well within the radio bubble of the Bastion worlds. Not expecting to encounter anybody this close to home, the patrol group emerged from their jump just above the zenith point, instantly revealing their positions to the task force, whose white paint scheme and the massive broadsword insignias emblazoned across their jump sails made their identity entirely clear.

  This presented a challenge for Commodore Tiffany Garcia, commanding the patrol force from the bridge of the Insolence. Standard protocols for such encounters close to the Bastion were clear. Any ships so encountered must be either seized or destroyed, and could not be permitted to leave the system. But that was easier ordered than done. The blakist task force was led by a Luxor class cruiser, riding herd on a small fleet of fully loaded jumpships. While the seven ships of her own patrol force should have the advantage, it would not be an easy victory, and there was a good chance they wouldn't be able to lock down all of the ships before some managed to escape.

  Nonetheless, Commodore Garcia ordered her fleet to battle stations and broadcast a command for the blakist force to stand down and prepare to be boarded.

  The response she received was a massive broadcast of static, some form of jamming signal was being emitted from the Luxor. At the same time, the destroyers of the patrol force reported unintelligible tight beam transmissions from the cruiser and other ships in the formation. However, none of these apparent electronic attacks had any affect on the ships of the Patrol Force, and Commodore Garcia repeated her command for the blakist ships to stand down, while simultaneously ordering the ships of her own force to make ready a full barrage of capital missiles.

  As fire control systems plotted their shots and missile tubes swung in line, the ineffectual jamming attempt from the blakist Luxor stopped, and, in what must have been a blind panic, the blakist ships began cutting their jumpsails loose.

  Commodore Garcia gave the order to fire, then to close with the enemy and engage. After loosing a broadside of missiles, the patrol force wheeled about with practiced precision and began accelerating, following their own missile trails in towards the enemy.

  The Luxor rapidly maneuvered to place itself between the oncoming Bastion patrol force and their own jumpships, flanked by a quartet of cargo dropships which quickly revealed their true colors by launching their own capital missiles from hidden launchers mounted in the forward quarters. As a precaution, Commodore Garcia ordered her own ships to tighten their formation, creating overlapping fields of fire for the various ships' point defense guns. This order very likely saved hundreds of lives. In a flash of thermonuclear light, the destroyer Eskimo fell out of formation, a large section of her bow blown off by a nuclear anti-shipping warhead. Fortunately, she would be the only casualty, as the remaining salvoes of nuclear missiles were swatted down by massed point defense fire.

  As the battle moved to closer range, Commodore Garcia gave no quarter, ordering all of her capital ships (minus the crippled Eskimo) to concentrate their fire on the Luxor while their fighter group blew past to deal with the enemy's dropships and jumpships. The patrol force ships hammered the blakist cruiser relentlessly, with even the Eskimo, contrary to orders, limping into position to bring her remaining guns into bear. The Luxor bit back hard, managing to force the destroyers Kincaid and Cunningham to break off due to severe damage and leaving massive scars across the armor of both of the patrol force's frigates, but as her tormenters continued mercillessly rain punishment down upon her, it seemed that only now did the commander of the cruiser seem to realize the hopelessness of his situation.

  On the brink of destruction, the Luxor jumped out of the system, abandoning her charges to the decidedly not tender mercies of Commodore Garcia's patrol force. Unwilling to risk any other blakists escaping, Garcia ordered her capital ships to turn their attention to the remaining jumpships, quickly reducing them to wrecks as well before turning their attention to the rapidly scattering dropships. Even with the Luxor gone from the field, hard fought battle, as nearly a dozen surviving cargo ships fled in all directions, trying to force the Commodore Garcia's own forces to spread out and thus become more vulnerable to the nuclear missiles still streaking through the battlespace. Under the risk losing a carelessly handled ship to a lucky missile hit, Garcia instead kept her capital ships in tight formation, relying on her own fighters to hunt down the fleeing blakists. After well over an hour of grueling combat, the last blakist vessel was reduced to a drifting wreck.

  With the naval action over, Commodore Garcia ordered her destroyers back to the Bastion, with the two least damaged vessels acting as escorts for their three sisters, while her frigates remained on station to conduct search and rescue operations. Even this would turn into a grim, arduous, and blood-soaked task, as marines were forced systematically move from wreck to wreck clearing out pockets of fanatical resistance before rescue crews could move in. Nearly a quarter of the marine complement of the Insolence and Cochran would become casualties during this phase of the operation, most of them lost when the wreckage of one of the cargo dropships used one of its own nuclear warheads as a scuttling charge. Less than fifty survivors would be pulled from the wreckage of the Blakist fleet, and many of those would have to undergo radical reconstruction to survive.

  As these efforts continued, Commodore Garcia was already reporting the engagement to the Bastion, through an HPG chain facilitated by her destroyers in the neighboring system, and the Admiralty's response was immediate, with pairs of cruisers or picket flotillas moving into the systems between Garcia's force and the Bastion to hunt down the missing blakist warship, while a dozen reserve ships began fueling, loading and gathering crews to reinforce the defenses around the home systems. A week later a picket squadron would locate the blakist vessel trying desperately to affect repairs in a system only one jump away from where the battle with Commodore Garcia's force had taken place, and the cruisers Glorious and Audacious were dispatched.

  This time the blakist cruiser attempted to talk, claiming the prior battle had been a "terrible misunderstanding" and requesting a chance to meet with the Bastion's leadership. However, when ordered to stand down and surrender their ship, the damaged Luxor instead attempted to run, only to be easily outpaced by the swift cruisers facing her. A brief exchange of fire quickly left the blakist ship disabled, and the Glorious and Audacious, mindful of the reports from Commodore Garcia about the fanaticism of their opponents, dispatched their marine complements fully armed to secure the vessel. The blakists would put up fierce resistance, even resorting to breaching still intact compartments and suicide bombing attack to slow the marines down, but deck by deck the ship was gradually secured, with the last holdouts, a small group of heavily augmented cybernetic soldiers in the main computer core, choosing to burn themselves and the core to ashes with a massive incendiary charge rather than surrender. Once again, very few survivors would be recovered from the wreck, which was itself deemed a total loss due to a combination of combat damage and sabotage by the crew.

  It would take months to glean any useful information from the few survivors and the remains of the various blakist ships. The first bit of information to be discovered was the identity of the Luxor. The ship's transponder identified it as the SLS Thebes, and examination of the handful of remaining memory modules revealed that it was the same ship as the one which participated in the destruction of Bandon Station so long ago, thus confirming, for many, the Ministry of Communication's role in that attack. Of more immediate concern, it turned out that the Word of Blake had only vague information about the Bastion, including a very broad area where it might be located and that it was protected by a full SDS system. Based on what information could be gleaned from the survivors, as well as the jamming and strange transmissions that had been recorded by Commodore Garcia's force, it appeared that the blakists believed they could subvert control of the Bastion's SDS network, particularly any CASPAR drones. This fleet of capital ships would then be brought back to the Inner Sphere to aid the blakist war effort. As a fail safe in the event of resistance, the blakists had brought a hefty stockpile of anti-ship and strategic nuclear weapons to use against any ships they failed to subvert or any human population centers that might have resisted their actions.

  Whether this plan would have actually worked against the Bastion's SDS network is, to say the least, in doubt. While investigations of the wreckage of the Luxor found the remains of an ancient project NIKE jammer and the intrusion software beamed at Commodore Garcia's ships showed considerable sophistication, it seemed to have been written to exploit protocols added to Hegemony SDS systems well after the Bastion had been created. These protocols were never installed in the Bastion SDS, so it is very likely that the intrusion software would have nothing to latch on to. And of course, the Bastion had abandoned the use of Caspar drones long ago, so there was no drone fleet to subvert in the first place. Very likely this force would have jumped into the Martin's Landing system and triumphally broadcast its subversion signal, only to be immediately jumped on by dozens of capital ships.

  But a doomed act of war is still an act of war. So even before investigators had finished putting the pieces together around the blakist plot, the navy was already moving to a full war footing. Every ship presently waiting in ordinary for their turn to deploy was reactivated. Within a week after the destruction of the blakist Luxor, the active strength of the navy had ballooned from one hundred ships to nearly three hundred. But, despite strong evidence that the blakists had intended to use weapons of mass destruction against civilian targets in the Bastion, and despite the repeated pleading cries coming from the Morgan Commission in the Inner Sphere to formally join the war against the blakists, political will at home was simply not there to support sending the army and the navy to the Inner Sphere to fight this distant enemy.

  Instead, the Admiralty would settle on mobilizing every available Adventurous class frigate, supported by ninety of the one hundred and twenty Hunt class destroyers currently in active service, for a "grand tour" of the space within two hundred light years of the Bastion. Unlike prior deep patrols, any blakist installations or ships located by these forces was to be destroyed on sight. Any survivors or useful material would be brought back to the Bastion, but everything else was to be left in place. If enough remained or a site or a ship that someone might one day stumble across it, crews were also instructed to leave a calling card, a small brass replica of the original ship's crest of the SLS Thebes, surrounded by the caption "Go Tell Kerensky". While any blakist who recovered this calling card would have almost certainly have failed to fully understand the meaning, the Admiralty considered it a solemn promise. Twice now the Ministry of Communications had brought violence to the Bastion and her allies. There would be no forgiveness for a third incident.

  This "grand tour" would see two outposts and three jumpships operated by the blakists identified and destroyed. Subsequent additional sweeps of the space around the Bastion, at their height employing roughly half the active fleet, would add a handful of additional bases and ships to this tally, but it was gradually apparent that the Word of Blake had learned the error of its ways, and by 3076, blakist activity seemed to have completely ceased in the territory patrolled by the Bastion. While this pace of naval activity would be maintained, and the Morgan Commission would continue to request direct intervention in the Inner Sphere, the Senate and the Admiralty believed the point had been made. Almost as soon as reports had reached the Bastion of the blakist defeat on Terra, the Admiralty began scaling back operations, and by 3080 the military had returned to its peacetime operational tempo.

  The after action report from Commodore Garcia's battle against the blakist Luxor raised concerns about the Adventurous' lack of firepower, with simulations suggesting that a single frigate would have likely lost the exchange. While the obvious answer to that was that these ships didn't operate alone, there were still calls to either improve the firepower of the Adventurous class, or to begin work on a replacement. Clearly the Admiralty and the Senate have approved the budget for neither option, but some speculative work continues in the background. In the meanwhile, the Adventurous class has continued to soldier on, though the rate of deployment has been greatly cut down since the heights of that era. The election of Jason Adams to the post of Director General in 3090 would see a renewed interest in the clan homeworlds, expanding the active fleet of frigates to ensure a deep patrol would be able to regularly pass through the region without impacting other operational areas. At present, eighteen of the thirty six Adventurous class frigates built are in the active duty rotation, allowing the fleet to maintain a constant active strength of three deep patrol forces at all times. The remaining eighteen ships are kept in extended ordinary, leaving them significantly more ready for an emergency activation than ships kept in mothballs.
« Last Edit: 20 November 2023, 00:02:23 by Liam's Ghost »
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

 

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