The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 13 Ognath Revisited
Ognath had to fall. Lotar was caught in a difficult spot. The Battle Cruiser Transport TF's had been scrapped, and new Battleship Transport ships were being produced, but the number required would take time. In addition, our new hull size war vessel, the Dreadnought was still ten cycles away, at best.
Our Eolodi military liason had provided critical intelligence information on the Laraan. Apparently, we outnumbered them in ship count, at a ratio of 1.5 to 1. If this was the case, then they were either fighting wars on multiple fronts or had simply not the same production capacity of our Empire. Either way, it was good news, but that meant the time to strike was now. We couldn't allow them the luxury of time to develop their fleet.
The difficulty of the situation was that it meant Lotar would have to send a fleet of ships comprised predominantly of 2nd generation TF's to Ognath. These ships, while having Level IV shielding, did not possess the Zortium armor that our newer 3rd generation ships now had, and it was obvious that missile fire was one of the main tools of engagement preferred by the Laraan.
Lotar met with his ships' captains to discuss the situation. While Lotar had the final say and was certain that any order would be obeyed without question, he was not comfortable with sending his ships on, what could be described under the worst-case scenario, a suicide mission. Dissent never came. All ships' captains wanted to be the first through the jump lane and engage the Laaran. It was done. With the approval of the High Council, our fleet set course once again for the Ognath system.
Our Attack Fleet was comprised of the following:
Four 2nd generation LR TF's
Four 2nd generation IF TF's
Two 3rd generation IF TF's
Labon had transferred his flag (and himself) to one of the 3rd generation IF TF's, as per Lotar's instructions. When they emerged into the Ognath system, all hell broke loose.
The Laaran had obviously been expecting us, once again. The system was heavily fortified, with multiple IF Orbitals surrounding both the planet and it's distant moon. This distant moon's fortification provided an excellent defensive platform for the Laaran; it provided what was truly a cross-fire scenario for them, for if we wished to take the planet, our ships would come under fire from two different directions. The Laaran had a full ten TF complement of ships, predominantly made up of CF and IF TF’s, but also with their requisite SR Attack TF's as well.
Missiles from all vessels lit up space, and in the smoke and fire, it was difficult to "see" what exactly was happening. Our four LR TF's were coming under massive attack from Laaran missiles, fighters and the SR Attack TF's. Our missile boats had locked on these SR Attack TF's in kind and the destruction at the centre of this firefight was spectacular, to say the least. After the first wave, we had lost two of our four LR TF's; the Laaran losing both of their SR Attack TF's, but a trade-off in vessels was not what Labon wanted. It was imperative that we take out as many planetary defenses as possible in this assault. It was obvious to Labon that taking Ognath would not occur this time, so a reduced Laaran defense force would be a prerequisite for future endeavours.
All ships targeted the solitary planets' defense bases and IF Orbitals. While a 2nd wave of Laaran missiles and fighters engaged our two remaining LR TF's, we were obliterating any future detriments for invasions to come. The planetary defenses fell and our remaining missiles streaked across space to engage the Laaran Carrier and IF TF's, but without LR backup; they had been obliterated in the 2nd wave of the Laaran attack.
Labon and his five IF wings fought bravely that day. Two more 2nd generation IF TF's fell to the Laaran forces. Our fleet had completely exhausted their supply of missiles and with no more offensive capability; it would have been madness to stay. The Laaran had lost six TF's as well, but had also lost seventy-five per cent of their planetary IF Orbitals and all the planets' defensive bases had been destroyed. The Laaran still had Carriers left and another wave of fighters would certainly be coming soon. "Withdraw to Moya, full impulse to the jump lane." commanded Labon, and with that they headed home.
News of the "stalemate" in Ognath reached Lotar in Moya quite quickly. While he had hoped for a miracle, the news was not unexpected. Many Evon had died that day, but the initial goal of the mission had been achieved. We had reduced their forces considerably and had not suffered a disproportionate loss ourselves. In addition, once again, it was our "weaker" ships that had been lost.
Furthermore, our scientists reported that the Dreadnought class vessel was now available. While these ships would strain our production facilities once again, Lotar implemented the build order, with all vessel classification to be increased one hull size; LR and IF to be Dreadnought class, Point Defense to be Battleship class and Recon to be Battle Cruiser class. In addition, an improvement to the Hard Beam had been discovered, increasing its firepower without any incremental increase in space requirements. This modification, too, would find its way onto our new ships. If our assumptions about the Laaran ship production capability were correct, it wouldn't be long before we could strike again, and perchance this time Ognath would finally fall.