The Multiverse » Arcs » War of Empires: The Admiral's Ploy

Shortly after an assault on the Aschen world of Molecay, Admiral Ilia, in command of the Strike Carrier Unglauss, assaults Cryo.

However, she finds more than she expected, and is forced to retreat. The consequences of even that, however, make themselves known to her enemies, and her allies.

As written by: Fishbucket, barney_fife, ClockworkTowers

9 pieces and 4 characters involved, written by 3 different authors.

1 places involved

So begins...

War of Empires: The Admiral's Ploy

The Cryo SystemSetting: The Cryo System

A vessel slipped out of the darkness, sparking a low read burst of energy as it's systems deposited it into the system. Just as quickly as it appeared, all readings returned to the standard levels found in the noise of space.

Aboard the Unglauss, Ilia and her crew busied about preparing for the expected engagement to come.

"Shockpoint deactivation confirmed, charge levels stable."

"Ma'am, we're not reading radiation from any lidar arrays in the area."

"Enemy starbase location confirmed."

Admiral Ilia Thauce began issuing commands in her usual calm manner. "Have engineering prep for emergency Shockpoint Charging for egress at my command, with auxiliary batteries prepared for translocation. Keep an eye on radiation levels and watch their planck field, alert me the moment it drops."

At that point Ilia smiled "Keep an eye on that starbase, but our goal is to catch the Aschen when they lower the planck fields to warp in. I want to be in position and ready by the time that occurs, so we are functioning at full stealth until we're close enough to that station to intercept their response teams. It stands to reason that they would warp in close to the starbase, as it's a foritified position that can cover them. Maintain obfuscation protocol until we've reached target Axii Morn"

The flurry of activity on the bridge of the Unglauss did nothing to disturb it's silent presence as it moved closer and closer to the starbase. An absolute minimum of output insured that the Unglauss was indistinguishable from the rest of space as far as electronic observation was concerned. And thanks to the Obfuscation protocol, a series of darklight projectors coated the ship in a silent spell that rendered it visually invisible.

Thus, the Unglauss was engaged in absolute stealth, for all intents and purposes invisible to all forms of detection, short of physical contact detection. This came with it's obvious benefits, but also a number of issues. The energy needed to maintain this stealth meant that the weapon systems had to be shut off entirely, if Ilia wanted to maintain a level of charge to the shockpoint drive and test her theory. It would take several subcycles to bring them back online to engage once the enemy responded. Furthermore, the mobility of the ship had to be limited to reduce IR signatures. The vessel was moving at a snails pace at this point, and wouldn't be able to accelerate without revealing it's position.
"Alert, Energy signal detected. Energy patterns consistent with Asylian shock-point drive. Though I am detecting no ships currently. They're likely using stealth technology. I'll attempt to adjust our sensor fidelity." EVE reported, as she appeared as a flickering hologram in front of the Watchtower's tactical officer. She highlighted the Sensors manager interface, and the signal appeared as a flickering icon.

Commander Jarlath grumbled, it wasn't long before he finished reading the mission briefing transmitted from command. He still had a somewhat respectable garrison from the initial encounter with the Tarragon. Though the Dragons were allowed to settle Cryo and live in relative harmony with it's colonists, undisturbed by the ever changing shift of Aschen politics.

EVE chirped up once more. "Admiral Hanley has suggested wild weasel tactics to maintain an air of unpredictability regarding the enemy. They're likely expecting us to signal for reinforcements."

Jarlath nodded. "We've got an ace in the hole." He said, opening up a transmission to Agarran down to the planet below.

"Tarragon Colony, this is the Cryo Watchtower. Our sensors detected an energy signature consistent with a ship that attacked Molecay a few days ago. I'm transmitting everything we have on this enemy. We'll need you to assist us in mounting a response. You are clear to engage enemy assets."

Terminating the transmission, as the watchtower command center was a flurry of activity, Jarlath turned to EVE.

"Have the Athos and her floatilla begin orbital burn, have them adjust their heading, and hold back at the far side of the planet. Scramble the alert wing, and redirect our garrison fleet to intercept."

EVE nodded. "Calculating possible trajectories based on point of origin, I'll focus sensor sweeps on this sector."
The Unglauss, slowly but surely, made it's way to the prime position nearby the tower. This success was not met with elation or enjoyment. Ilia stood on the bridge, looking at the tower, a frown distorting her otherwise pleasant features. "....What are you doing, Aschen?" She muttered to herself, contemplating the lack of response from the Aschen.

"Confirm, they've detected our entry yes?" She said to the bridge officer.

"Yes ma'am. Our stealth systems became active immediately after, but the initial entry could not be hidden. There's no doubt the Aschen detected it." The officer responded.

"Then why haven't they warped... Ahh." Ilia smiled several displays lit up and the crew began calling out about activity on the station itself. "I see... They value this planet less than Molecay, so they're reacting with the forces they have on hand. Appropriate I suppose. Begin Analysis, I want a full register of their response forces and capabilities. We can use this to draw a correlative to their other planets garrisons."

An affirmative rang out, and the bridge activity began in earnest. Ilia sat back in the command chair and issued another order to the bridge officer. "Maintain current position and stealth systems, but change power priority from the engines to the weapons, and bring them online. The Aschen are up to something, and I don't want us caught unprepared."

"Yes ma'am" the officer responded, before relaying the orders to the engine room. As she did so, Ilia continued to gaze curiously at the tower. Something in the back of her mind, some unbidden instinct of the Asylian people, was digging at her consciousness. It set her teeth on edge and disturbed her deeply. Instincts existed for a reason, and she knew that this one was important, but could not understand why...
Commander Jarlath scowled in front of the display, before he decided it was time to play his hand, or maybe bluff his opponent into revealing themselves.

"Activate the aegis field." The Commander ordered, and on cue, the Command crew began to work diligently, manning their controls, as the lighting faded to red, and alarms began to blare throughout the station.

"EVE, launch all fighter wings, and bring all batteries online, have all garrison crews report to their ships, and prepare for engagement, but keep everything on the low."


All throughout the station, alarms blared, Damage control, and security teams began to rush to their posts, taking up cover behind bulkheads, while the Station's fighter wing all began to run to their ships.

The Prowlers were out first, sophisticated stealth fighters that vanished the moment they launched, using a sophisticated array of ECM, hull cooling, and a carbon composite hull to make themselves virtually invisible to nearly all forms of detection, they began to blend in seamlessly with the background radiation of space, even visually they were difficult to distinguish thanks to their glossy black coloration.

Hundreds of Raptor Talon star-fighters began to pour from the main body of the station, moving into tight formations to provide a broad range of cover. A Single Hesperis class drone carrier, and a salvaged Royarks class robotics cruiser from the Coalition era.

Positioning themselves near the station, the Hesperis Drone carrier began to unleash a swarm of Furie drones, by the millions these automobile sized drones, armed with four 30mm MECS A-6 Thraxon kinetic weapon systems began to swarm fourth from the cruiser, like writhing tentacles of metal began to swarm around the Watchtower in a thick soup of metal, and plastic.

The shimmering aegis field flared to life, engulfing the watchtower and the two cruisers in a shimmering sphere of light.

Cresting the planet, the Athos, and seventeen Aschen warships could be detected as they came over the horizon. Three Iconoclast class battleships, five Punisher class battleships, four Hastati class cruisers, two Athena class missile cruisers, and seven Triarii class destroyers.

Commander Murios was aboard the Athos, watching her displays carefully, Commander Jarlath had summoned the Tarragon, possibly to see their capability. She had been under orders to simply hold position until the Tarragon responded.

"Commander, I have calculated all possible locations of the enemy ship, taking into account possible angles of approach against the watchtower. I believe the enemy vessel is in this zone here." EVE said, highlighting a wide swathe of space between the jump point, and several attack points against the watchtower.

"A missile salvo from the Athena class cruisers covering this sector would be sufficient to force them to disengage their stealth systems, and engage."

Murios nodded. "Commander Jarlath has a plan, our objective is to hold position, and gather data."

The formation of Aschen warships had come in with Cryo's sun at their backs, making them difficult to detect given the sun's radiation, and light output. However, once they reached their position, they came to a stop, just beyond weapons range, but well within striking distance.

The Aschen knew they were there, and judging by their orientation, had a pretty good idea where the Unglauss was, but they didn't strike. Like the watchtower, the floatilla of Aschen warships held position.
Ilia smiled as she saw the Tower respond with it's plethora of fighter craft, drone carriers, and other assorted vessels.

"Ma'am, we're getting readings of vessels coming over the planets horizon. Visual acquisition is impossible, the suns behind them."

"Confirmed stealth vessels have launched, several fighter sized craft were detected but have since dropped off of all sensors"

"Barrier technology confirmed around tower and cruiser vessels, unknown nature."

"No psychic response from drone carriers, unmanned weapons systems confirmed."

"Enemy taking up positions... No weapons contact."

"Of course not, they're being cautious. They've heard what we pulled off at Molecay and are waiting to see what we do here." Admiral Thauce said with her usual calm tones. "But their commander is impatient and wants us to make a move, so he's showing us what he has in hopes we'll react to it. They believe us to be barbarians who'll strike the moment we see prey, but that underestimation will cost them. Confirm time table."

"Yes ma'am, seven cycles until The Leaon, The Baruut, and The Sinval arrive."

"Good. Maintain position, and have everyone ready for their assault. They WILL attack, it's only a matter of time before they narrow down our position, and once they have they'll likely assault with flak to force us to respond. Charge the Superlative layer and Kinetic Plating. Once our reinforcements arrive, we'll force them to call for their own, and then we strike them all down."


Far Side of Cryo

Agarran yawned and stretched. It had taken less time than he had expected to launch the Auxillary orbiters from the Akorn. Some of his subjects had apparently had them prepped for months in anticipation. Not too fond of the planet it would seem to him, but it was no matter. This was their home now, and they would make do, as they always had.

The Auxillary orbiters were not nearly as impressive as the Akorn itself, measuring only a few thousand feet in length, and having far fewer weapons systems. They maintained the Phase Shift Defense technology, as well as several Crystal batteries for Assaults, but largely the orbiters were intended for transporting goods from colonies to vessels waiting in orbit.

For this reason, Agarran was not in his usual place at the command center of the vessel, but instead awaited in a specially designed Airlock. When the time came to eliminate the enemy, he would hold his breath and launch out into space. Escions were immune to the cold of the vacuum, were only empowered by solar radiation, and could hold their breath for months, years if they conserved their energy. He wouldn't be able to use the famed dragon breath, but considering most space faring vessels and species were incredibly heat resistant, it wouldn't have been of any use anyway. Tearing his way into an enemy ships armor and opening it to the void of space would be much more effective, as long as he didn't have to worry about hostile fighter crafting blasting his hide with Anti-mana and shrapnel.

He sent a psychic message to his crew, who then relayed the message to the Aschen vessels in the area.

Agarran here, requesting specifics as to where we are to be positioned, and what the nature of our foe is.
EVE responded promptly, transmitting her narrowed down zone of possible contact with the stealth ship to Agarran. The highlighted region of space was carefully put between the Asylian insertion point, and possible strategic positions of the watchtower. But EVE was also receiving real time intelligence from Langara.

"There is the possibility that the Asylian commander may attempt to open a portal to the warp, therefore I strongly advise we maintain Planck integrity throughout the course of this engagement." EVE reported to both Commanders Jarlath and Murios.

Commander Jarlath sighed. This meant they wouldn't be able to signal the fleet for reinforcements, and they would be at a maneuvering disadvantage with the Unglauss' shock-point drive, and it's auxiliaries.

This was something the Aschen were accounting for, though. The Prowlers were moving through the area, carefully, and stealthily deploying small canister sized stealth mines all around the perceived position of the Unglauss. The logic was when it attempted to perform it's instant move to reposition, it would impact one of the thousands of mines that were being deployed around the area. But it wasn't just mines the prowlers were deploying, several prowler squadrons were moving through the void deploying thousands of tungsten ball bearings, while harmless by themselves, the Aschen believed they could cause considerable damage to a vessel moving at high velocities through the clouds of these small bearings. EVE was testing a theory.

The ball bearings offered a second advantage of being easier to track, the Aschen could track their movements, and extrapolate a silhouette.

Other than the stealthed prowlers moving through the void. The Watchtower, and the Aschen ships continued to hold position.
Cryo System Outskirts

Appearing from seemingly out of nowhere, outside the edge of the system, a massive space station drifted forward while visibly decelerating. It wasn't long before it came to a halt and reactivated some of its features. Arriving shortly after it, four large assault satellites appeared similarly while moving to keep a defensive perimeter in front of the space station. As they drifted forward, they reactivated features of their own before eventually idling in what seemed to be designated spots. Then came a small number of ships, also noticeably decelerating, as they took a formation in front of the satellites. The formation was loose, if not organized. It was cohesive enough to show that they were a proper fleet, likely with a commander at the head. All the ships idled as they reactivated key features, awaiting the right moment to charge in.

Continuum Gooe-Group, under CT-6 Populus Tremuloides - 16 Ships

Primary Fleet - x5
Starbase - x1 (CRYSTON-SB♚)
Assault Satellite - x4 (CRYSTON-G!AS)

Secondary Fleet - x11
Battle Cruiser - x1 (OB|CRYSTON-G!BC♜)
Light Cruiser - x2 (OB|CRYSTON-G!LC)
Destroyer - x4 (OB|CRYSTON-G!DS)
Frigate - x4 (OB|CRYSTON-G!FG)

Onboard the space station, attached to a long brown and purple stick of organic matter, a green bulbous cross between a plant and a gelatinous slime form pulsed slowly and steadily. It wore a Continuum officer's peaked cap colored black that bore all the medals of its station. Before it, two young girls in full Continuum military uniforms, colored black with side caps included, sat before consoles, each with vulpine ears and a vulpine tail. One turned to speak to the green bulbous creature.

CT-6 Populus! All of our ships have arrived! It seems we are currently outside the Planck field, though it's outer extent lay before us. What shall we do?

cURR  Σ  NT B  Σ  GINNING D  Σ  T  Σ  CTION OF   Σ  N  Σ  MY PR  Σ  S  Σ  NTS.』 

Populus had the girls begin running the Four Spectrum scanning technology that was a Continuum signature design. Within seconds, the signatures they were expecting were displayed on a map projected before the bulbous plant creature.

aLL FL  Σ    Σ  TS R  Σ    Λ  DY FIGHTING   Λ  ND PR  Σ  P  Λ  R  Σ   ST  Σ    Λ  LTH   Σ  NT  Σ  R TO.

Roger roger! Sending out the orders now! All stations and fleets, the operation is to begin at once. I repeat the operation is to begin at once. Above all else, remember that any Aschen ships are friendlies. They are on our side so do not attack them under any circumstance.

Quivering somewhat loosely, perhaps excitedly, the bulbous creature began glowing profusely as if communicating to something.

『w  Σ   S  Σ  T UP TH  Σ  M TH  Σ   BIG L  Λ  S  Σ  R.
aLL TH  Σ  IR aDMIR  Λ  L   Λ  R  Σ   B  Σ  LONG TO US.
tH  Σ  Y H  Λ  V  Σ   NO CH  Λ  NC  Σ   TO SURVIV  Σ  ...M  Λ  K  Σ   TH  Σ  IR TIM  Σ  .』  

Roger roger, CT-6 Populus! We will ready the CRYSTON-MM!BFG06 to be fired at-will. All other ships are arming, and the Methane-Neuro Cryston-Linc has been formed between all personnel aboard this station. CT-4 Monarda has established Pollination for all ships, and has confirmed your orders, CT-6! All we await now is the signal and collaboration strategies of our Aschen allies.

With orders given, activity on the Starbase multiplied intensively as the girls in front of the consoles began encoding and sending a message to their Aschen allies. As they did so, they also had the CT-4, Monarda Didyma, ready the stealth devices their ships had, psychically powered wonders provided by the Bonsiin that allowed for short duration cloaking through mental manipulation. Paired with the other stealth technology they possessed from each race's advancements, they had four different overlapping effects that stacked with each other to ensure a hidden ship, even if one was taken out. The CT-4 did not activate them, however, not entirely deeming them necessary yet.

Aschen Watchtower

From where the Aschen were, they'd receive notice that allied signatures had arrived outside the Planck field's reach. They'd also receive a private and encrypted incoming video message from the Continuum. When opened, CT-6 Populus Tremuloides was on the screen, attached to a large organic stick. The bulbous mass of slime and plant pulsated ever so slightly as it spoke in absolutely and unequivocally butchered, if somewhat understandable, Anquietas. At least it tried its best. Its voice was a slimy and eloquent mess, somewhat mired with a cross between a gurgle and a smooth reverberating tone.

tR  Σ  MULOID  Σ  S ct-6 cONTINUUM FOR FL  Σ    Σ  T aSCH  Σ  N   Λ  SSIST  Λ  NC  Σ  .
mOV  Σ   aSCH  Σ  N  ...FOR GR  Σ    Λ  T JUSTIC  Σ  .』  

A simple message, but one showing their full support of Aschen operations. They'd move when the Aschen needed them to, and not a second earlier.

After continued study of the Watchtower, Ilia began to frown at the lack of action. "They've given out their display, they can see it had no effect, and their smart enough to triangulate our likely position so then why haven't they issued flak" She muttered aloud, she then looked at one of her consoles where in continously recorded data from all sensors was being displayed. She flipped through several sections and brought up the record detailing the readings from the tower launching fighters. After a momentary glance she looked up and gave an order to the crew. "fine tune scanning equipment, look for any abnormalities in paths leaving the tower in our general direction with a vector magnitude of twelve.

Four seconds later one of the crewmates gave a report "I've multiple small, canister objects floating in space, along with a large volume of what appears to be metal balls of some sort"

Ilia rolled her eyes "They don't have an active lidar array, so they're going with an analog recreation. It stands to reason they can track the metal, and those canisters are likely to be depth charges of some kind." She collected her thoughts and began relaying more orders, but before she could.

"ma'am, Unidentified vessels detected at edge of Aschen planck effect" A crewmen called out. "Vessel is holding position, beyond psionic reach, we can't scan internal activity."

"Possibly Allies to the Aschen. Logical, but unfortunate. I'd hoped their pride would prevent them from calling on others to help them." Ilia sighed, then paused to process. They didn't have enough information to have verified the nature of the new arrivals, but the lack of pyschic readings suggested it wasn't Matokey, and the Tau should have been kept busy in their shogunate by Pilav and his raiders. An unidentified third party then that they had allied with, The Aschen were confirmed to be generally xenophobic, the likelihood of this being a standard terran humanoid faction was high.

Complications were continuing to pile up. "Very well, keep tracking on the newcomers, but our primary goal remains the same. Initiate telekinetic manipulators, produce a force replication of the unglauss and have it begin approaching the towers bilge. At the same time, charge kinetic pulses on those Depth charges, target the tower itself. The explosions will likely be useless for actually causing damage, but it'll get them out of our way and inform the Aschen against any unmanaged assets in the field. Unless they really are foolish enough to provide us with ammunition against them, in which case they just make it easier for us."

Ilia issued these orders and, in a rapid set of activity, the crew carried it out. Magitek specialists harnessed into amplifiers utilized their abilities to create an invisible field of kinetic force matching the size and shape of the Unglauss, and began guiding it towards the tower's base. As this invisible, imaginary entity traveled through space, it displaced the ball bearings, sending readings to the tower that would be seen as the ships movement. This maneuver was risky however, as the false ship had to be sent from the unglauss actual position, so if the enemy discovered the ruse, or thought to trace the path back the way it came, they would find the Unglauss. Ilia was only willing to make this move as, by releasing the ball bearings, the enemy had shown they did not have the means to track them, and as such would be watching the bearings for where the unglauss was. Knowing this, giving them a red herring to track would make their future movements easier.

The Kinetic pulses were traps placed over the depth charges with very specific purposes. These would activate whenever the Unglauss came close, immediately triggering an event similiar to that of the shock point drive, but of much smaller scale, essentially shifting the charges at high speed towards the tower. It was akin to catching a grenade and throwing it back at the one who had attempted to deliver it. Several of the kinetic sorcerers had to be held in reserve in order to maintain these traps, as they maintained them in their mind, and could only deploy and activate them once they were in range. This reduced the use the Unglauss would get from the magitek division until the traps could be deployed, but it would provide essential protection against the charges when the use of redeployment became necessary.

With these measures in place, Ilia began analyzing the minimal data they had gotten from the new arrival before it had dropped off of their scopes. They would have to wait for it to come closer before they could analyze it properly, and they would likely have to use the Psionics division to do so.



Agarran sat silently for a few moments, irritated with the lack of action being taken on the Aschens part of things. He had arrived at the location they had directed him to and could see the enemy vessel very clearly. He was curious about why nobody was doing anything about it, and thought it might be a standoff, but the way the aschen were deploying explosives and fighters suggested otherwise.

It took him several seconds to realize that the Aschen couldn't detect the enemy vessel, at which point he chuckled. After enjoying the amusing spectacle for a few more moments, he then reached out with his mind and found one of the crewmen aboard the tower.

I apologise in advance for this, but I do grow tired of waiting He said to a young officer, before overrunning the poor mans mind and possessing his body.

Agarran opened eyes that did not belong to him, and found himself in a hallway outside the tower's bridge. Around his feet were some papers that his host had most likely dropped after he had taken over. "Well... That'll be unfortunate." He said with a tongue and throat that felt very strange to him. He decided not to stay too long, the body was decidedly uncomfortable, and covered in sweat. "I forgot how much mammals sweat." He said, shaking the body he had taken, before walking it onto the bridge.

The sudden arrival of a low ranking individual was likely to be noticed, but Agarran chose not to delay. "Apologies for this unseemly style of communication, but transmitting from my orbiter to your Giona would be to slow for this purpose." Agarran spoke, using the young mans voice "Put yourselves at ease, It is I, Agarran. I'll release this host as soon as possible, but first.." And here the young man would walk over to a display of the area surrounding the tower and point to a specific point on that display. "Your enemy is currently holding position here. Their stealth systems are phenomanal, to be sure, but they are yet still living and sentient organisms, and as such can be detected by any Escion. Their minds are a flurry of activity, like a thousand bee hives crammed into as small a space as can be found."

Agarran would then turn to the Admiral, smiling with the young mans teeth. Smiling wasn't something Escions did, unless they were trying to threaten someone, but he had read several books on human behaviors and had come to understand that humans did it all the time to set others at ease.
Aboard the tower, the readings began to slowly come through, EVE had been tracking the arrival of continuum ships, while fine-tuning the Watchtower's wide spectrum systems to further hone in on the Unglauss. Commander Jarlath watched with curiousity, as EVE absorbed as much data as she could, she watched the movements of the ball bearings. It was curious to the construct, the intended purpose of the ball bearings was to make shockpoint jumps difficult, it seemed though, the enemy had presumed the spheres were being used to track the Unglauss' location.

The ruse played directly into EVE's tactical assessment. It would only be confirmed with the arrival of the low ranking individual from the cooridors outside the main command hall. Jarlath looked to the young man for a moment before he identified himself as Agarran.

The Canister mines would react accordingly to the influence exerted on them, with no countermeasures that could be observed. The Aschen had deployed them more as a nuisance, and to gather data on the Unglauss' defenses, than any measure to stop them.

"Focus all wide spectrum scanners on that point." Jarlath ordered, and EVE nodded. "I'm detecting very faint whispers, wide spectrum is picking up psychic, and biochemical activity indiicative of lifeforms, we have confirmation from Continuum sensor readouts.

"We have positive sensor lock." EVE Reported.

"Right." Jarlath responded, looking to the false ship made from the displaced ball bearings.

"Let's take their bluff." He said, keying up the Athos.

"You have positive confirmation on their true position?" He called out, as Murios responded on the readout.

Jarlath nodded. "Excellent." He said, turning to Agarran's avatar.

"We're going to attack the false ship, lure them into a sense of security. When we make our move, I want you to open up on the true vessel, We'll coordinate with the Continuum. High Command wants prisoners, so if you can disable it, that would be preferred. If not, destroy them." Jarlath instructed.

"Transmit tactical packet to the Continuum." He instructed, and EVE nodded.

"Athos, you may initiate the attack, once the feint is complete, move in on the enemy's location."

Keying up the continuum ships, Jarlath spoke up.

"Tremuloides, this is Watchtower Actual, we're preparing a feint on the enemy position. I've instructed the Athos to attack the false signature, when it opens it's attack, engage the enemy vessel, and neutralize it. Disabling it is preferable to destruction, High Command wants the crew alive for interrogation."


A few moments later, the Athos opened fire from it's position, firing only a single projectile from it's frag cannons at the position where the fake Unglauss was moving through space. The opening signal to engage the real Unglauss.