The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 3 The Continuing Struggle
If the conquering of the Maestrom system had come to be called “The Seven Day War”, then our struggle with the Meklar and the different array of races that had colonized worlds throughout their Empire would, in all likelihood, be come to be known as “The Seventy Year War.” Labon had been correct in his earlier assessment; if he didn’t retire he would, indeed, die at his post.
Coilis and Hektar, as reported earlier, had been entirely successful in their two-pronged attacks on the Vagn and Saswahn systems, but when they moved with their fleets into the Thales and Iras systems respectively, sledding got awfully difficult. The Meklar, Nommo and Trilarians continually threw everything they had at us, including the kitchen sink. In addition to the defense of these two systems, they continually pushed beyond, back into the Vagn and Saswahn systems as well, literally attacking with thousands of warships, enabling them to “sneak” past Hektar and Coilis to reach the “inland” systems, forcing us to maintain an effective defense force in these systems as well. It was well over eight months before Thales and Iras fell. In addition, we had to, at times, abandon our plan to take all planets with troops and subjugate the planet. On many planets in both systems Kaytapa’s forces were met with the equivalent of four armies. Labon would not authorize more than three T
F’s of Troop Transport ships, wanting to maintain an attack force of at least seven TF’s. While completely understandable, it forced us to re-colonize these glassed worlds and finding volunteer colonists, while not impossible, was extremely difficult. If it weren’t for the excellent reputation and record of our military, finding hardy colonists to move onto a new planet directly in a war zone would have been highly unlikely.
In addition, new sensor readings of the surrounding solar systems showed that there were more “attached” systems than we had originally thought. An additional jump lane in Thales was discovered leading to a system to the north, which then led to a further system to the east. Coilis would have to take both of these systems, as well as advance to the system to the direct east where he had planned to collect on the bet with Hektar. Hektar also had more work to do. From Iras he would have to proceed through and take the Nostrum system before he could get to the final system where he could win the bet with Coilis. Also, there were two “dead-ended” systems, not the one originally detected, to the east of Nostrum.
Labon calculated that it may take up to ten full years of constant battle to secure all these systems, although he was hoping that it would take considerably less time. Regardless, he was already sixty old and had been at this a long time now. If all went according to forecast, and hoping that nothing ill befell either Coilis or Hektar, Labon decided that when this segment of the war was over he would choose from his two most decorated officers as to who would succeed him. A life at constant war was draining him of his spirit. He knew in his heart that the Empire was on solid ground when it came to stability and military strength. We had well over two thousand ships in reserve, all Titan class, and not a single experience in the past year had given rise to any possible thought of our Empire’s defeat at the hands of any other force that they had met in the galaxy. No, retirement would be good for him. To stroll on a beach at sunset on Sente II, so far from any fighting and so utterly peaceful would su
rely renew him. It gave him motivation, actually. “I will perform my duties to the best of my ability and with all the resources that I can bring to the position, and when I have completed this phase of our Empire’s expansion, I will retire with my head held high,” he said aloud.
In Naam, the situation unfolded almost identically, only taking two months less time. The Psilons were literally fighting for their right to live and Hebak had an equally difficult time in conquering the six-planet system, with two of the worlds requiring total orbital bombardment to bring about final closure. With the destruction of the last trace of the Psilons in Naam, Labon had approached Lebak concerning confirmation of the Tachidi reports of Psilon life in the remainder of the galaxy. Lebak had replied that, unfortunately, the reports seemed to be true. Subspace communications that had been tapped confirmed that the Psilons still held approximately ten planets in various solar systems scattered throughout the galaxy, in and amongst Meklar and Klackon space. On a more positive note, however, officially the war with the Psilons was over. Because their remaining systems were so far away from our Empire, formal hostilities had ended. While no real contact between our peoples existed anymore, our populace
was only blissfully aware that we were no longer fighting “our brothers” and this had led to an upswing in mood and deportment amongst our people.
In Heda, where we now held this one-planet system close to the New Orions, the Nommo continually attempted to overthrow the system in a vain attempt at reunification into their empire. The system commander reported at times well over two thousand ships massed “at the gates”, but our superior firepower had kept the enemy at bay. Tovam was also experiencing multiple incursions in Draconis by the Nommo where they were also attempting to re-take the system from us. Tovam, too, was having continued success in his defense of our “second arm” of our Empire.
The New Orions continued their harassment in the Tapau and Tuscanni systems, never staying long enough to engage our fleets.
Keetal had been re-assigned from his position in Nazin, where he commanded an older fleet in charge of system defense. He was assigned to the fleet in Juta and had been given the order to take the system to the north, which was a three-planet system controlled by the second silicoid race. This system was currently under attack by our Tachidi allies and already two of the three worlds had been glassed and stood open, prime for colonization.
This was not the path to the silicoid Empire, but was simply the remnants of an apparent extension attempt from decades earlier via the Juta system, which we now controlled along with our Tachidi allies. North of this system (called Eta Serpentis) was the center-east of the galaxy and the domain of the Trilarians. The Juta system, which we shared with the Tachidi, was truly a major junction in space. It not only led north into the center of the galaxy to the Trilarians, but west into Tachidi and Klackon space, east to Maestrom and beyond, where Coilis and Hektar now fought the Meklar, back via the wormhole to Rayden in the northwest and our Empire and finally through an additional wormhole which led to the far north and the actual “home” of the silicoids. Control of this system was truly significant. No wonder, then, that we had experienced multiple incursions in Juta from various races with constant battles the weekly norm. Our military machine was equal to the task and again, casualty rates s
tood at a ratio of approximately ten to one in our favour.
Keetal was simply ordered to lead a new ten TF defensive fleet to the system and escort our Colony ships as they disembarked on the planets, hopefully beating the Tachidi to them. The plan worked perfectly, for as Keetal entered the system, the third and final planet was being obliterated from space. Keetal positioned his fleet and the colonists proceeded to land. The Tachidi were incensed at our actions. We had exactly the same alliance agreement with them as we had with the Eolodi, so by treaty, the planets were now ours, but the Tachidi did not see it as such. They immediately declared war on our Empire, setting off a violent series of clashes in the Eta Serpentis and Juta systems. We responded by obliterating their fleets in Juta and capturing Juta II, which had belonged to them prior to the declaration of hostilities.
Unfortunately, they had over five thousand ships in Juta. Over four thousand of these same ships advanced to Maestrom where a solitary Titan CF TF was stationed for planetary defense. The captains and crews of this single TF will be remembered forever in our military historical records, as they gave their life in defense of the system. They were actually able to completely destroy two attacking TF’s and greatly damage a third, while skillfully maneuvering their armada in and amongst Maestrom III and it’s two moons to avoid direct attack from multiple beam weapons. In the end, however, they fell to the overwhelming force that attacked them. The Tachidi then proceeded to obliterate all life on Maestrom III, glassing the planet from space.
Labon was irate. The entire Juta fleet would be ordered to Maestrom to deal with these “bugs”, while a new ten TF defensive fleet would be mobilized in Juta to replace them. Additionally, a full ten TF defensive fleet would be mobilized in Anraq as well, should the Tachidi attempt to continue further through our systems. “They will pay! Don’t these damn bugs realize that we are the most formidable species in the galaxy? We will crush them under our heels like the vermin that they are” roared Labon. It was Lebak who had to do the calming this time. Usually, it was the other way around. But Lebak completely agreed with his old friend; he just didn’t want Labon to destroy his own office while he raged. Yes, we now had another new enemy to deal with, but Lebak was certain we would be victorious. Like Labon, Lebak was beginning to believe that it was our manifest destiny to control the entire galaxy.