The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 14 Ognath Thrice
Lotar's reign as vice admiral of fleet operations would soon be ending. No, there was no coup about to take place. Lotar was simply getting too old to do the job anymore, and he knew it, too. He was going on seventy-seven years old and while still sound of mind and body, he just got too damn tired too often and too early in the day for his own liking.
No, he concluded, it had been a damn fine career. He had been one of the pioneers of the military in the space wing and had earned the respect of all the Evon people. There was only one thing left for him to do and that was take Ognath from those damn Laaran. The Laan system and the Alkari people would, unfortunately, be a task for the next Vice Admiral. Lotar knew it would not be anytime soon that the eyes of the Evon would gaze in peace upon the Laan system. If he only knew how true those thoughts really were.
Our ship production facilities were beginning to work on our Dreadnought mission ships, along with their Battleship PD escorts and Battle Cruiser Recon pickets, but it would be many cycles before these fleets came on-line. If he wanted Ognath before he retired, Lotar was going to have to take it with his existing fleets. The High Council was pushing for the advancement as well. Already, the civilian call had come again for "more space".
Our ranks had been thinned considerably in our last two encounters in Ognath. We had a total of twelve TF's with which to fight and defend. Lotar decided to go for broke, one more major push with ten TF's to Ognath, led by Loban (who was now the only serious consideration as his eventual replacement) and two TF's to remain in Moya for defensive purposes. If our intelligence was correct, we could smash the remaining Laaran and conquer the solitary world in Ognath, extending our mobilization base capability one step closer to Laan. But, oh, the cruel twist fate was about to play.
When Loban exited the jump lane into the Ognath system, he was once again shocked at what he saw, but this time, it was because there was practically nothing there. A mere two TF's were in orbit around the solitary planet. Labon was, for all intents and purposes, practically insulted. This battle was a forgone conclusion and Labon made certain of it. His LR TF's never even got a sniff of the enemy fleets or planetary defenses; they were obliterated in a hail of Evon missiles. The planet fell to our Rhean ground troops without so much as a single fatality. Sasktewel's mobile units chewed up the rocks like a hungry child chews up his cheerios. Labon ordered an open channel to Lotar in Moya to inform him of the good news, but all he got was static.
Apparently, at the same time that Loban was taking the two-cycle journey to Ognath, a six TF task force of Laaran forces was taking the same journey to Moya. When they exited the jump lane, they headed straight for Moya I. Moya I had no planetary defenses constructed yet, so our two defending IF TF's were on their own. The battle didn't last very long, and all members of both TF's have been awarded the Evon Cross of Valour, posthumously, for their valiant efforts in the face of overwhelming odds.
The attack on Moya I by the Laaran probably saved thousands of Evon lives. Moya I was our least developed and least populated world in the system, by a long shot. The colony had been having difficulty with immigration, and only 12,000 people had taken up permanent residence there, whereas the other three planets in the system all had upwards of 500,000 people each. A tragedy to lose any life, of course, but it could have been much, much worse.
We suppose that bad news broke both ways in this situation. The attacking Laaran must have either found out or deduced that our forces weren't in Moya to defend because they were in Ognath attacking, much as Labon had found out the same information in Ognath. The good news was that we outnumbered them. One of the Laaran's six attacking TF's had been destroyed by our two defensive IF TF's in the battle of Moya I, and thus, they left the Moya system immediately with only five TF's in their attempt to regain Ognath. Labon had sent two TF's home to Moya and, with the military capability of bringing our last two Battleship TF's on-line in two cycles, there would be four TF's in Moya for defense, with eight TF's remaining in Ognath.
When the five Laaran TF's exited the jump lane into Ognath, Labon was waiting for them. The Laaran fought well that day, driven by their desire to save their brethren, now enslaved by us on the planet below. They destroyed three of our eight TF's before falling to our missiles, hard beams and rail guns. It was a truly bloody battle, but in the end we were victorious and the Ognath system was, indeed, ours at last.
Medals, celebrations, pomp and ceremony were the order of the day on Sente II, our homeworld. Lotar resigned his commission with full military honours and Labon was named his successor, tasked with the ultimate defense of our empire and the goal of accepting the torch in the quest to reach the Alkari people, now only one system away from Ognath.
"To hell with dying in battle" thought Lotar. He had earned his retirement. When he went, he wanted to die in bed, preferably with more than his boots on. Lotar didn't know it at the time, but peacefully in his sleep would indeed come to pass, long before the Evon laid hands on the Laan system.