The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War
Part Seven - The Battle for Tamarian
As Goodman stepped onto the bridge of the Sharktooth
for the first time, he felt the same sense of anticipation
as before. Though this time there was also a hint of anxiety.
He was no longer taking out a ship designed to not be detected.
He was now on a ship of war, designed to destroy or be destroyed.
And with the colonization effort now underway on Tamarian
I and the second wave on its way, it could only be a matter
of time before the Grendarl noticed and retaliated. Not that
he was particularly afraid, of course, but neither was he
a fool to disdainfully declare he was invincible.
Zollner had been correct, Alexanderov had not delayed in
the slightest to approve the plans of Mulkahey. Though popular
with most of the Federation's citizens, he was facing a serious
challenge in next years' elections, and a major victory over
the Grendarl could greatly enhance his chances of re-election.
It was time to move out. The jump lane to Tamarian was particularly
speedy and rather short -- the war could easily begin in less
than two weeks. That left Goodman little time to train his
new crew, but most of them seemed reasonably competent, just
needing good leadership. He felt himself and his officers
capable of providing that.
A week later, as the Sharktooth emerged from the jump lane
into the Tamarian system in company of over a hundred ships
of similar size and design which served as the escorts for
the main fleet, which was composed of 75 missile destroyers,
50 long-range-beam light cruisers, and a quartet of brand
new carrier cruisers. Following shortly behind were the next
two colony ships and over 500 civilian transports carrying
tens of millions of new inhabitants for the colonies. Each
volunteer on those transports knew they were walking into
a potential war zone, and volunteered anyway. Many were members
or former members of the reserves.
Morale was quite high in the Alexanderov Federation, for
they had recently received news of support for their desire
to finish off the Grendarl from no less than five Senate members.
The New Orions, unsurprisingly, were not among that number,
but two Psilon Emperors, a Nommo Prime, a Trillarian President,
and even a Rass Warlord had all been swayed by the words of
Ambassador Sharon Babcock on the Senate Floor. She had made
quite an eloquent speech. The Rass viewed the Grendarl as
dishonored brethren and offered to assist in 'teaching them
true herpatra' in return for rights to the Mahktoz system,
which had been politely disputed territory on the Federation's
upspin border for some time now. It was a tempting offer,
Mahktoz was not particularly valuable to the Federation except
as a neutral zone system. Nor would it be particularly valuable
to the Rass, though the two rather small planets there were
both in their sweet spot neither was particularly remarkable
in any other way. In addition, though behind the Federation
in technology, Raas ships were as tough as their Grendarl
counterparts, which could be valuable in improving survivability
all around. The other allies had all volunteered some ships
which were on their way even now, though their ETA was unknown.
Goodman watched with bemusment as his old ship, the Bumblebee,
discontinued all transmissions to go to silent running. It
disappeared immediately from his IFF screen, and seconds later
entered the jump lane to Rrk'g'kreg to see what the Grendarl
were up to and how long they would have to prepare for any
assault. No immediate return to report, good. That means we
may have some time to get set up and improve our odds further,
he thought a few minutes later. This is an insult they can't
afford to ignore. If battle comes before the year is out we
will be grossly outnumbered, though their ships will probably
be pathetically behind ours in technological strength.
Four months later, as the colonies on all three worlds were
just finishing the initial setup and beginning work on the
first planetary defense systems, the Bumblebee re-entered
the Tamarian system and began broadcasting an alert almost
immediately. Goodman had used the time wisely, running drills
and random inspections until his crew was honed to a razor
edge of skill. Now that would prove valuable, for the message
from the Bumblebee was definitely not good news.
"To all Federation ships in system. We have detected
a massive Grendarl fleet en route. ETA less than six months.
We estimate over 5000 ships, mostly PD destroyers and carrier
frigates, but fifteen missile cruisers were detected as well."
A reply was not long in forthcoming. "This is Admiral
Stockert to all ships. We need more defensive emplacements
and system ships. All ships will go on a rotation where two
thirds will stand down and donate their crews to the construction
effort at a time. Bumblebee, return to the jump lane, and
return for weekly status updates or immediately for urgent
Lieutenant Lewis looked up. "Sir, I received the assignments
on a sub-channel. We're up for first rotation."
"Very well, then. Ensign Stockert, move us into parking
orbit. Attention all hands, we are being temporarily reassigned
to defense construction duty. Report to the transport bays
for immediate transport to the surface. Goodman out."
He paused briefly. "Oh, and Ensign, say hi to your father
for me when you see him please."
Stockert smiled briefly. "Gladly, sir."
Five months and 27 days later, the battle lines were drawn.
The Grendarl fleet had just emerged from hyperspace and it
was obviously out for blood. Only the Trillarian ships had
arrived in time. The Nommo would be a week late, and the Psilon
had been delayed by having to fight their way past the rudimentary
defenses in Wasilkoff. The Raas were 'on their way', but nobody
had seen any of their ships yet.
Though outnumbered over 10 to one, the size and technology
advantages of the allies made this less of a lopsided fight
than the Grendarl had hoped. But tR'c'N'S, leader of the fleet,
still felt he could win. He had a plan that, if successful,
might split the human's forces and give him the needed edge.
He directed almost every warship in his fleet, numbering 5,280,
to move at top speed towards Tamarian I, the second closest
world to his position. But at the same time, a small segment
did something else.
As soon as it was known where the Grendarl fleet was heading,
Admiral Stockert gathered all of his mobile defenses to positions
near Tamarian I. One of the two task forces of long range
attack ships, as well as the main Trillarian task force, were
hidden behind a local moon. A task force of missile cruisers
and one of PD frigates was sent to a position from which they
could either foil an envelopment maneuver or, if undetected,
open up on the Grendarl from an unexpected angle, hopefully
causing large amounts of damage. His remaining forces, including
all of the recently completed 150 PD system frigates, he put
into a flexible formation at the outskirts of the planetary
gravity well, just off the likely path of the approaching
As the Grendarl ships began to enter sensor range of the
outlying scouts on silent running, the fleet seemed to pause
to take and hold a collective breath of anticipation. Unnecessary
chatter disappeared entirely, as the last few minutes to open
engagement counted down.