The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 9 Re-evaluation
The crushing defeat of our Fleet in Moya sent the High Council and our military commanders into a spin. Labon and his lone TF (reduced by three ships itself due to the devastating plasma assault) were now heading for Saak at maximum warp. Our second 2nd generation LR Battle Cruiser TF had now come on-line and, along with its sister TF, now had new orders: defend Saak at all costs. Any thoughts of aid and benevolence toward our lost Alkari friends would have to wait. It appeared that self-preservation was once again our first priority.
Our military commanders had to issue a report to the High Council. Recommendations for future actions were required immediately. Lotar, our Vice Admiral in charge of all fleet operations called in his staff along with our scientific advisors to analyze our current status and future potential weapons advances that were on the horizon. Lotar was a thoughtful and composed man, and he was not prone to rash decisions but he had spoken with Labon via interstellar communicator and he agreed that Labon was the man to lead any further incursions into Ithkul space. Lotar was also a warrior and he knew that no other commander in our ranks had the experience that Labon had acquired, and that no one would be more motivated when the time came.
Our defensive status was outlined as followed:
The Selia system, bordering our Eolodi friends, was as solid as we believed we could afford to make it. Five full 1st generation LR Battle Cruiser TF's manned the system, and while there had been one or two incursions by a fish species over the past years, they had never proven to be any type of threat. Hell, their weapons had not even scratched our paint. In addition, our status with the Eolodi was as good as it had ever been. We were enjoying the fruits of a Full Alliance, trade in economics, research and intelligence were at an all time high, and as indicated many years earlier, there were only Eolodi systems in that direction as far as the sensor could see. No, nothing more need be done at our southern front, at least for the time being.
Saak, at our northern frontier was a completely different story. It didn't take long for the Ithkul infestation to re-acquire the Takaras system after our defeat in Moya. Within six cycles, both Takaras I & II had been repopulated with the vermin scum. It was only going to be a matter of time before they came to Saak.
Saak had two 2nd generation LR Battle Cruiser TF's and our old four-ship LR Cruiser squadron protecting the entire system. If the Ithkul came now, we could only hope that our 2nd generation shielding would provide some measure of protection against their new plasma weapon. We hoped we wouldn't have to find out.
On the scientific advancement front, advances were coming very fast and things were looking very good. Lotar was ecstatic when he was informed of the following:
A new class of ship was now available, a BattleShip size hull, twice the size of our old Cruisers and capable of packing on a lot more weaponry.
A new, more powerful missile had been developed, certain to be excellent in preparing Ithkul barbecue.
Neutron cannons for our fighters had come on-line, and while not packing much more punch than our fusion fighters, took up significantly less space, obviously enabling us to either add more fighters or more of any other type of weaponry we so chose.
Mathematics advances had brought on-line two miniaturization technologies for our Hard Beams, again enabling more for less.
The same held true for our Rail Gun particle weapon technology; more was available for less.
Newer, faster warp and system engines were on-line.
Armor was now classified as Medium and was now made of pure Duranium, a significant advancement in missile defense technology.
Our scientists also assured Lotar that while Shielding remained at Level III, Level IV was not far off. Assurances were given that with only a little more effort, Level IV could be attained within twenty cycles.
Lotar allowed himself a chuckle. Xetaph, a senior member of the High Council and an old academy chum from yesteryear, had obviously pushed the High Council to spend much time and resources where it mattered most. He reminded himself that a nice bottle of ale would have to find its way to Xetaph's residence in the not too distant future.
With this plethora of good news, Lotar was able to make the following recommendations to the High Council:
Bring all ship production facilities on-line to produce the following ship types:
1) Battleship LR Attack vessels. Like their smaller Battle Cruiser cousins, they would have a variety of weapons, mixing missiles, fighters, Spinal Mount attack and minimal Light Mount point defense weaponry.
2) Battleship IF Attack Boats. Single function units, loaded with our new missiles with minimal Light Mount point defense weaponry.
3) Battle Cruiser Point Defense vessels. These ships would have our best sensor technology along with as many Light Mount point defense weapons that they could hold.
4) Cruiser Recon vessels. These ships would have our most advanced ECCM technology available, plus Light Mount point defense weaponry.
Our new TF's would consist of the following breakdown of ships:
Twelve Mission ships (either LR or IF)
Four Point Defense ships
Two Recon ships
Lotar advised the High Council that all our TF's should be mobilized in the Saak system with defense of our empire as our first obligation. He knew the High Council, reflecting the overriding attitude of our people being that of caution, would approve this plan. It also gave Lotar the double-edged sword of allowing him to change this defense force into an attack force, once sufficient production had been realized. Revenge would have to wait, but it would be sweet.
As it turned out, the Eolodi were correct. They had advised us that the Ithkul were, in all likelihood, engaged in numerous wars on multiple fronts and that they would not attack because they were too busy trying to defend themselves from eradication. No incursion into Saak ever came. Three more LR TF's came on-line in Saak without so much as a hint of an Ithkul threat.
Our scientists also brought forth additional good news. Level IV Shielding was now a reality. From this point on, all new ships would be given this extra defensive advantage; hence a 2nd generation of Battleship TF would be born.
Two Eolodi Missile TF's had taken up station beside our now five TF strong fleet. They had simply signaled that they were awaiting our instructions and were standing by, at the ready. With two more 2nd generation TF's about to roll off the assembly line within days, Lotar went to the High Council.
"Our people need more space. The overcrowding situation in our Empire, while not a serious issue yet, has obviously grown since our last attempt at expansion into Ithkul territory. The Alkari people, whom we have had no contact with for what is now decades, may be enslaved, or God forbid, worse, by these Ithkul vermin. Our allies stand ready! Our fleet is prepared! The Saak system is currently in no danger. The time has come, gentlemen, for victory!"
The vote was unanimous. Attack.
Our combined allied force of one hundred and twenty-six ships waltzed through the Takaras system. Labon had taken command of our ninety-ship fleet at the helm of our solitary Missile TF, because Lotar didn't want Labon charging into battle in a LR TF, only to die a hero. Labon's job was to coordinate the attack, not to die in it. Lotar convinced Labon that killing Ithkul with missiles was just as much fun as killing them with Hard Beams and Rail Guns. Takaras fell in two cycles. We took no casualties and no prisoners.
Moya was next, three cycles flight time. En route, Labon wished for opposition. "Where was the fleet of ships that had killed my commander and friend? Would they still be there, in Moya?" Labon truly hoped they were. He was thirsty for revenge. Waiting had tempered him, and command had taught him patience, but he so wanted to kill more Ithkul.