The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Part 3 Chapter 1 The Spread of an Empire
This was indeed the most ambitious military operation our Empire had ever undertaken. We now had a myriad of enemies who wished us harm, but it was also quite evident to the High Council and our people that a massive show of force was required to deter all who would dare to cross us. Yes, there would always be the factions within society that want “peace above all else”, but closing your eyes to the facts and hoping that everything will just be OK is not an acceptable or responsible way to govern and protect your people and interests.
Our attack forces were now predominantly comprised of Titan class war ships, with the odd smattering of top-of-the-line Superdreadnoughts thrown into the mix. Coilis led his fleets from Maestrom east into Malothim and then onward into Anraq. The Meklar controlled both systems and the fighting was intense. Both systems held multiple planets, all of which were heavily defended by numerous Orbital batteries as well as hundreds of war ships. On the ground, Kaytapas’ forces met stiff resistance from the mechs as well, and it has been with sadness that we have had our first reports of numerous “casualties” amongst our Battleoid warriors. In the end, however, all battles were won and now both systems and all their respective planets are now under our control. Coilis has reported a kill ratio of approximately ten to one with respect to his fleets, so while there has been mourning and sadness in our Empire for the loss of any of our brave pilots and crews, the people have taken comfort in knowing
that all that have paid the ultimate price have done so for our right to live and that we have inflicted staggering losses on the enemy in return.
This mission has not been without its missteps, however. In the northwest, near “home”, Sebak led his fleets south from Drossel into the Kuwartha system, a two-planet affair controlled by the Trilarians. As indicated earlier, we had a minor shortfall in Troop transports at the beginning of this war. Sebak, in his haste, elected to glass the planets and mark them for colonization instead of waiting for ground forces. As had happened in the past with any systems located near our allies, the Tralaifa or the Eolodi, the “gasbags” were quick to take advantage of any vacant worlds available to them. In the end, we were successful in colonizing only one of the two worlds, the other claimed by the Tralaifa. A minor setback, to be sure, but one that Lebak had hoped would not occur again.
From Kuwartha the path led to Urna, a six-planet system completely controlled by our “gasbag” allies. >From Urna, a single “dead-end” system called Aran lay to the south. Aran held five planets, four of which were held by the Psilons, one by our Eolodi allies. It was in Aran that Sebak gained the confidence of Labon as another fine military commander in the Evon Empire. It was here that the Psilons and the Trilarians threw over one thousand ships at our attack force. Sebak was under strict orders to glass no more planets, all had to be captured by ground combat. Like a mother bear protecting her cubs, Sebak expertly grouped his CF and IF TF’s tightly around his Troop transports providing maximum PD protection simultaneously releasing wave after wave of attack fighters and missile salvos from the relative safety of deep space. Solitary LR TF’s were no more. A minimum of two LR TF’s, now equipped with long-range weaponry that matched that of the Meklar, would adva
nce on the planet. Additional PD ships were now assigned to all LR TF’s, as well as staggered-range PD weapons to aid in their self-defense. The captains and crews of these LR TF’s were the true heroes of Aran. They knew that it was their job to draw the fire of the enemy fleets, protecting the ground troops was job number one. Our missiles were aimed at the attacking fleets, while our fighters were split between LR TF defense and attack of said opposing forces. A Silver Star already awaits Sebak upon his return. Not a single ship was lost in the battle for Aran. Ground casualties were another story. On all planets, a minimum of two armies met our forces. In the end, however, all planets fell to our superior technology and once again our people were comforted by the fact that it was mechanized warriors that paid the price for our victory, not flesh and blood.
Back in the southeast, Labon was faced with another strategical decision. From Anraq it was possible to go north to Vagn or further east to the outer rim to Saswahn. Upon review of available star charts Labon decided to attack both systems, for both paths formed a ring, which met up at a northeast location two systems further in each direction. All systems were controlled by Meklar, with the exception of one system, which was shared with the Trilarians. In addition, past Saswahn, there appeared to be another single “dead-ended” system further east, also controlled by Meklar. By taking all systems and meeting up at the top end, we could effectively control another large sector of space with no gaps or entry points other than the final destination.
Hektar was called up from Juta, where he had been experiencing quite active duty, especially for a “system defense” commander. As indicated earlier, an additional jump lane existed in Juta which led north into the center-east portion of the galaxy and was the direction of the second Geodic species we had encountered. The Geodic had not been the issue, but rather the Trilarians whose dominant area of space lay in this direction. Apparently, they were attempting a “push” from their Empire in an attempt to stave off our destruction of their various worlds that they controlled amongst the Meklar. Hektar had acquitted himself well, as Labon had expected, and while there had been fatalities due to the sheer number of Trilarian war ships that attacked the system almost daily, Hektar, too, reported a kill ratio in the area of ten to one.
Hektar handed defense command over to Retal and reported to Anraq where he would lead a fleet to Saswahn while Coilis would continue north to Vagn. The two best friends met over a coffee and sandwich at the officers’ mess at our newly constructed Mobilization Center in Anraq. “One thing I can say about these enslaved mechs is that they sure can build things quick, can’t they?” remarked Coilis. “Damn straight” stated Hektar. “Best thing we ever did here, not glassing these planets.” “No kidding,” agreed Coilis. “It would have been weeks until we would have been able to construct a Mob Center if we would have had to start from scratch.” “Probably the most humane, too” added Hektar. “Otherwise, these mechs would have just been so much garbage for our dumpsters.” “Yeah, that too, I guess.” Coilis said, nodding his head in agreement. “The best news is that reinforcements are only going to be one cyc
le away, if we need them, and I understand that already three of the five Anraq planets are now pumping out Titan class war ships, to boot!” “Yes, like you said earlier, these mechs sure can build things fast,” said Hektar. “OK, so what’s the bet?” Coilis asked. “Simple” said Hektar. “Beyond our next system, we each have one more system and then we are to meet in the one that joins the north end of the ring. Whoever gets there first, the other pays for the vacation at the Pleasure Dome back on Sente II!” “Done deal!” said Coilis, laughing as he spoke. As they rose to depart for their respective ships, both men grew quiet and somber. “You take damn good care of yourself, no stupid moves” said Coilis “I promise,” replied Hektar. “Let’s make damn sure that we’re both around to collect on this bet.” Both Coilis’s and Hektars’ fleet departed Anraq at 0600 bound for their respective ta
rgets. While Coilis’s target of Vagn was going to be more of a challenge, at least on paper, because Vagn held five planets to Saswahn’s two, Hektar would experience his closest brush with death to date.
“Red Alert – Proximity Warning” wailed the alarm as Hektar and his ten TF fleet exited the jump lane into Saswahn space. The alarm he was expecting, the quickness of the assault he was not. For the first time in any military commander’s history, the jump lane point exited out almost right on top of Saswahn II and its planetary defenses. Nine Orbital batteries immediately opened fire on Hektar’s fleet and the system ship defenses, also numbering ten TF’s, locked weapons and fired. In a flash our solitary Troop transport disintegrated along with the closest CF TF. “Pull back, Pull back! Reverse all engines, fire all tubes, launch all fighters, now!” Shouted Hektar. Missiles screamed from their tubes and daredevil pilots launched from their bays, targeting the Orbital stations, which were tearing us apart. The Meklar SR TF’s were having their own difficulty too. Because we had jumped so close to the planet, the enemy TF’s were not able to navigate ar
ound their own planet very effectively or quickly to allow for an effective weapons lock. Our missiles, which had automatically locked on their respective targets, found their way much more quickly and thankfully, with devastating results. Two more of Hektar’s TF’s were destroyed before our fighters had effectively cleared the sky of the deadly Orbital batteries. Now they turned on the remaining Meklar TF’s with a rage and passion that one could almost breathe. Close behind them came another wave of Hektar’s missiles, the fighters seeming to guide them in on their path of doom.
“Status report” barked Hektar to his tactical officer. “All enemy vessels and Orbital batteries have been destroyed captain. The planet is ours for the taking.” “Casualties?” “Four TF’s destroyed captain, including our Troop TF. We have nothing to invade the planet with. Should we glass them, Sir?” “Negative” replied Hektar. “Call for additional Troop TF’s to be dispatched from Anraq, as well as supplemental attack TF’s. We’ll sit here for a cycle, blockade the planet, make repairs and wait.” Hektar had been given no standing order not to glass any planets he saw necessary, but after seeing the benefit to the Empire of controlling an intact world versus new colonization in Anraq, the decision was an obvious one to make. No, he would wait, and he prayed to God that Coilis was having an easier time of it in Vagn.