War Fonts

Withdraw

SEGMENT TRANSCRIPT:
PROVIDER: HUOXING ANSICAST NEWS
PROGRAM: WAR FONTS
TIMESTAMP: [2654.02.13 16:34:02]
Gunther Frei

 After the loss of Artemis III, the Terran Sphere Navy has shifted to a strategy of anticipation and evacuation. Fleet Intelligence has been utilizing precogs to forecast the likely Shohan invasion targets, which are then evacuated ahead of the enemy advance. The TSN also uses these forecasts in order to leave traps for the invaders. The Terran Sphere may not be able to hold all of its worlds, but it can at least keep the people safe.  

A fine example of this stratagem was recently demonstrated over the colony of Saneesh. The Shohan fleet arrived just as the last evac ships and their Second Fleet escorts were reaching the grav shore.  A pair of enemy destroyers jumped in to take the evacuees, but the Second was ready. In a few minutes of furious combat, the ships of the Second Fleet drove off the enemy destroyers, saving the evacuees at the cost of one of their own.  

Two days later, this video started floating around the networks:

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A long distance shot of the city of Saneesh.  Several Shohan dropships descend,  touching ground briefly near the anchor of the beanstalk before spreading out to overfly the city.  Suddenly an intense pulse of light appears, which burns out the camera’s photoreceptor. About half a minute later, the camera records a loud thunderclap, which marks the end of the recording.

When asked for comment, the former mayor of Saneesh City said, “Yes, we left that device for them. It took us three years to build that city. With time and peace we can build another. Our servicemen are willing to trade their lives to diminish the Shohan threat. The least we can do is trade bricks and time for the same goal.” 

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The Absence Of...

SEGMENT TRANSCRIPT:
PROVIDER: HUOXING ANSICAST NEWS
PROGRAM: WAR FONTS
TIMESTAMP: [2655.01.25 15.07.42]
Gunther Frei

Facts.  They’re what I’m supposed to be reporting, what the news is all about.  But facts are scarce right now.  Here are the few I’ve managed to find; He Fei has gone silent, as has Pulau Merah.  Given their locations, we may assume enemy involvement.  Shohan scouts have been spotted in a few systems, where they have fled in the face of any opposition.  The facts, such as they are, don’t make for much news.  So now we turn to speculation.  

The Shohan advance has almost stopped after Artemis III.  They send out scouts, conquer small colonies to consolidate their invasion corridor, and nothing else.  Are the Shohan limited by some factor as yet unseen?  Is there a logistics tail that we can attack?  Are the manpower requirements of planetary occupation forces straining their military?  Do we dare hope that the Shohan count Artemis III a Pyrrhic victory, one that they will not soon recover from?  It seems that the sacrifice of Fourth Fleet is still buying us time.  I pray we make good use of it. 

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Debriefing

SEGMENT TRANSCRIPT:
PROVIDER: HUOXING ANSICAST NEWS
PROGRAM: WAR FONTS
TIMESTAMP: [2654.03.14 03.01.48]
Gunther Frei

 What exactly happened at Artemis III?  We now have as complete a picture as we’re likely to get, and here’s what I can tell you:

Fourth Fleet was deployed near Artemis III to ambush any invader, with numerous contingency plans. All those plans disappeared in an instant, as multiple Shohan battle groups jumped into point blank range of most of the Fourth’s deployments. Apparently, Shohan FTL drives are not limited by grav shores.

Despite the sudden shock, Admiral Perez issued commands for the Fourth Fleet to retreat hoping to escape the sudden trap in which the Shohan had ensnared them. For a heart wrenching period of time, it seemed like we would be able to flee intact, as the Shohan fleet was strangely inert. But, on the cusp of our escape, the dreadnaughts began to open fire. Fourth Fleet fought bravely, but the protection afforded by their ship’s force fields was too great, and their guns too heavy; their hypercannons twisting entire squadrons into twisted wreckage as we sought escape.  Numbers were also against us, as the Shohan fielded far more ships than any estimate thought possible.  Admiral Perez, amongst many others, was lost in the initial wave of fire and Admiral Marikesh, the last surviving squadron commander, was gravely injured in the subsequent fire.

With the fleet in disarray, it fell to Captain Shetley to lead the retreat.  Shetley, since promoted and decorated, not only kept his squadron together but killed one of the enemy’s mightiest dreadnaughts when it made a critical misstep, jumping into close range of his squadron without its escorts. The Shohan may be tough, but they are not invincible. Their ships can be destroyed, their captains can make mistakes. In the aftermath of Artemis III, I'm sure this will come as heartening news to many. Commodore Shetley has been transferred to the strategic office, where he will teach his fellow officers how to slay the mighty dreadnought while he recuperates from his own injuries.  

On a personal note, my replacement leg has grown in nicely.  Many thanks to the medics aboard the Houyi who kept me alive, and the crew of the freighter Clydesdale who got me back to Hawking’s World for medical treatment and recuperation. My recovery has left me with a great deal of time for reflection, and I'm compelled to admit that I was dismissive of the peace efforts in the lead up to the war. Having seen the battle first hand, I was wrong. War might have been inevitable, but if there was a chance such a massacre could have been avoided, it deserved to be taken. I pray that all those escape pods I saw over Artemis III landed safely. 

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Readiness State

SEGMENT TRANSCRIPT:
PROVIDER: HUOXING ANSICAST NEWS
PROGRAM: WAR FONTS
TIMESTAMP: [2653.11.14 13:02:41]
Gunther Frei

 

Fourth Fleet Is Ready. We’ve been receiving reinforcements throughout the last few weeks, waiting for the inevitable Shohan arrival. All our intelligence indicates that they are rapidly approaching Artemis III. This is likely to be my final report before our Fleet engages theirs. The tension on the ships is palpable. While the new arrivals train relentlessly to integrate themselves into the Fourth Fleet, I am left upon the sidelines as these brave men and women prepare for battle with a superior foe. As such, I am left to wonder at the most basic of questions surrounding this conflict: Why? What could have so inspired to the Shohan to this uncharacteristic and seemingly unprovoked attack? Despite the hours in which I have had to grapple with this question, I do not know. And I fear the cost in lives before we can demand answers of them for these actions. But I know that the courageous crews gathered here today to face this threat will give their all to defend the Confederacy against the Shohan’s onslaught, and I hope that by their actions, we will come one day closer to being able to call for that accounting from the Shohan.

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Know Thy Enemy

SEGMENT TRANSCRIPT:
PROVIDER: HUOXING ANSICAST NEWS
PROGRAM: WAR FONTS
TIMESTAMP: [2653.08.19 06:14:53]
Gunther Frei

 

Every good military operation requires intelligence, the more the better. It is to this end that Fourth Fleet has set into high gear, moving recon ships and drones about with such speed that I cannot follow them, even if I were able to report on the details such movements. These rapid movements gather ever more data on the Shohan fleet, while confusing the enemy as to our own disposition. That’s the official line, anyway. Make Starfall, appearing in a burst of radiation, scan, and disappear again before the Shohan can engage. Repeat. Repeat Again. And yet again; stopping only to refill fuel bunkers before heading out once more.
This harassment strategy may be running the Shohan ragged, but it’s not doing our own crews much good either. Eyes across the fleet can only turn in frustration to their status boards, where the ugly red icons marking the occupied worlds smolder. A campaign of harassment does not win a war, but buys time. Time, however, can only carry us so far. To be certain, a confrontation is coming though it may be postponed as long as diplomatic efforts are still on going. For the citizens of Zhujiangjin and Prospero, however, time is not a friend. Fleet Command at Trafalgar Station suggests that a major plan is underway. With the time they have bought, I hope it’s a good one. We need it.

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