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Battlefield: Diving Deep (GM Information)
The second battle in the Bunyip system was indecisive. Called the Battle of St. Clair by optimists in the Fleet, the Terran Sphere forces under the command of Admiral Zehun were able to regain control of the planetary system of St. Clair, its moons, and its port station. Additionally, they’ve been able to establish sporadic contact with the Colony, enough to get a sense of the picture on the ground. However, they were unable to dislodge the Shohan from their position over New Detroit and the colony is beginning to face serious shortages at all levels. Fortunately, the admiral and their staff have a plan to finish the job.

Resupply Run By - By the Numbers
GMs should treat this as two strafing runs (Corebook, p192) by the Dragons and Bridgeheads involved; one to bring them into short range with the planet and the Shohan forces, and one to take the Dragons out to far range. On their turn, the pilots/squadrons may spend an action point or battlestrain in order to roll to establish a defensive margin, but until then they are vulnerable as per the strafing rules. During the second turn GM will consequence the [Coming in Hot! 3] tag against the Bridgeheads, requiring a Hard piloting check, on a success they make a clean landing, on a failure the GM may impose penalties in the form of destroyed gear, target lock by the Shohan, or have one or more of the players accept a wound tag in return for an action point.

Should the players inquire: mission planners did originally consider Phantoms for the resupply mission, but even if they successfully slipped through the Shohan in orbit en masse they would wind up grounded on the planet. Fleet Command doesn’t have enough of these vessels in the numbers that it would take to absorb the operational losses of having that many grounded. Still, diplomatic players might be able to convince commanders in Fourth fleet to commit a squadron of Phantoms to help cover the retreat of the resupply force.

In a few months time the orbits of New Detroit and St. Clair will bring them into a close alignment. Before then, Fleet engineers are rushing to repair and upgrade the massive transit lasers once used by the station to push light luggers inward. Meanwhile, the Terran Sphere is planning a relief drop to the colony to deliver critical supplies, troops, and a small cadre of scientists to help study the Blue Zones. As envisioned by Fleet planners, the heavier fleet elements will dive from St. Clair to Bunyip’s grav limit, launch a raiding force of Dragons and Bridgehead shuttles, before retreating to St. Clair and repositioning themselves along the grav shore on the opposite side of the planet to pick up the raiding force and dive back to St. Clair once more. The Dragons will be charged with covering the Bridgeheads as they make the radical deceleration maneuver needed to land on the planet, then scatter before the Dreadnaughts can fire on their landing zones. Once the Bridgeheads have made their landing, the Dragons will have to make their way out to the rendezvous point at the grav limit.

The resupply operation carries some significant risks. On approach, the ships are likely to face volleys of fire from the Shohan Dreadnaughts with limited ability to maneuver. They’ll have to trust their speed and their force fields to carry them through the barrage. Even on the planet, the LZs for the the ground force are all in Blue territory, hoping to capitalize on the Shohan reluctance to bombard these areas. The Terran Sphere marines and their auxiliary crews will have to make a quick march through the hazards of these zones to link up with the planetary militias. Up above, the Dragons will still need to extract themselves from the the engagement. For them, the most dangerous possibility is that the Shohan may use their jump drives to leapfrog ahead of departing forces, give themselves enough time to clear whatever disables the Shohan post jump and re-engage the fleeing craft; turning the quick raid into a gauntlet. Mission planners hope that the presence of heavier fleet elements waiting at the grav limit will deter this to a degree.

And of course, the is only the prelude the main event begins a few months later...


Beyond providing support to the beleaguered population of New Detroit, the primary objective of the resupply mission is to keep the Shohan focused on the planet and away from the work being done at Port Lernoult. When the system fell, the station was abandoned. The Shohan did a cursory job punching holes in it to disable its systems, including the transit lasers that were used to push light luggers in system and brake those coming out to the station. Now fleet technicians are working round the clock shifts to repair these behemoth laser rigs and upgrade them for Admiral Zehun’s plan. It is imperative that they finish on time for the close opposition (when one planet comes between another and its primary) of New Detroit and St. Clair, for there is only a short window for the attack to commence. A Shohan raid that managed to inflict additional damage to the transit laser complexes has the potential to be devastating, and it’s the duty first of the groundside fighters and observers to keep their attention, and then of the fleet elements guarding the station to prevent that from happening.

Admiral Zehun and their staff hope that with support from the Transit Laser Array their fleet can finally drive off the Shohan forces. If the Shohan commander is worth their salt, they’ll take steps to mitigate the Laser Array’s effectiveness. This could be a counter attack on the station that defending forces have to drive off. It might mean detailing a dreadnaught to jump out between the Port, and the raging battle and hold open a hyperspace portal that can absorb incoming fire. A final possibility is that the Shohan attempt to either maneuver through the Terran Forces, or even jump if necessary to the far side of New Detroit, imposing the colony between themselves and the Station’s fire. The player and GMs should feel free to consider these and additional options.

The Battle of New Detroit - By the Numbers
Once the port’s transit lasers engage, pilots working for the Terran Sphere will have the option of replacing the Turn and Burn maneuver (Corebook, p193) with an attack from the Transit Laser Array, as they lure ships into the sweep of incoming fire. In the initial round, the difficulty will be Standard as the Shohan are caught unawares, but returns to Hard on subsequent rounds. The laser array has a Weapon Multiplier of 12x and possesses the Counter: Armor attribute. Because the shots are essentially coming in blind due to light lag, the Shohan Force may attempt to edit off of tags, such as a [Turn About Is Fair Play] tag generated by a Piloting to check to generate friendly fire on the Terran Sphere ships, but this is considered a Major Edit, costing 3 action points, a Rank 3 tag, or the equivalent in Battle Strain. Port Lernoult’s array can only supply fire support for 5 rounds of combat, after which it will be offline for weeks if not months of repair work to fix the damage that overloading it in this manner caused.

Leading enemy forces into the fire from light house stations as a tactic originated in the First Kriak Crusade. Ansibles have made the tactic more effective with better coordination between the station and the mobile forces. Even now it requires careful prep work from both the mobile elements and the station trying to pull it off. The focusing elements in the lasers need to be retuned, capacitors installed, and firing charts are not just distributed to the fleet but also trained against, until the pilots know instinctively where the shots are going to be and can use them to their advantage.

Category: Alistair Sector