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The Alexanderov Federation
Book 1 The Grendarl War

Part Seven - The Battle for Tamarian (I)

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 news."

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 Grendarl.

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.




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