The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 7 The War With the Meklar… Or Not
Hektar led his ten TF fleet, comprised predominantly with either top-of-the-line Dreadnought TF’s (although still quite old) or 1st and 2nd generation Superdreadnoughts, through three allied systems. Close behind him were eight 4th generation Superdreadnought TF’s escorting two Battleoid troop TF’s. The first system where any resistance was expected was a small two-planet affair where our Eolodi allies held one planet, while the Nommo held the other.
Upon entering the system the familiar “Red Alert – Proximity Warning” beacon wailed its refrain. Seven Nommo TF’s had locked their weapons on our fleet and had started a run. Hektar was completely prepared. As ordered he would have been willing to ignore these “fish” had they not been aggressive, but now, their fate was sealed. In addition, Hektar decided it would probably be more efficient to just destroy the little planet entirely and leave it for our allies. There was no point in having an enemy with a presence anywhere within our borders.
All of these thoughts flashed through his mind as he ordered all missiles and fighters to launch. The “fish” weapons were significantly more effective against our older-style Dreadnought TF’s than they had been in our assault on Draconis years before where Keetal had vanquished them with much newer Superdreadnoughts. Missiles flashed past each other in space acquiring their respective targets and PD weapons on both sides lit the sky. Hektar was certain it was our sheer number advantage that won the day. With three extra TF’s firing that many more missiles and launching just that many more fighters the Nommo defenses just couldn’t keep up the pace. With every TF lost, the Nommo lost more and more PD capability and their second and third missile waves were greatly reduced in numbers. When the dust had cleared Hektar counted only one destroyed TF and a second, while not obliterated, greatly reduced in number. The planet was glassed on Hektar’s command. When contacted via in
terstellar communicator Labon gave his blessing to the plan. Hektar chose to wait one cycle for the remaining, more advanced, fleet to catch up to his lead group. He was down to only eight full TF’s and the next system, which sensors indicated held only one planet occupied by more Nommo, was heavily fortified. He couldn’t risk losing any more of his battle group before even reaching Meklar space. Hektar had decided that he would take this planet from the Nommo as well, utilizing one of the two Battleoid armies at his disposal. He would use the second army to further take another one-planet system from the Nommo, which lay in a “dead end” system one step south of the next system. He had already called in for more Battleoid army reinforcements and they were being mobilized now in Tapau.
The 2nd fleet arrived as scheduled and Hektar transferred his flag to one of the newer 4th generation ships. The 1st fleet, now counting only eight TF’s, would remain in this system while the 2nd fleet advanced on the Nommo-held one-planet system further east. When our 4th generation Superdreadnoughts hit that systems’ space one could swear you could hear “fish” screaming in the void. To put it simply, it was a pasting. Nommo missiles were either extinguished by our superior PD or seemingly bounced off our Very Heavy Neutronium Armor like sand pebbles. The Nommo were actually wise in retreating from the system as quickly as they could before they lost all their ships to our superior firepower. Hektar scanned the sole planets surface and was surprised to see a significant military presence on the surface, obviously well prepared for our assault. He decided to implement a single bombing run of the surface in an attempt to greatly reduce this military presence. Unfortunately, Hektar wa
s still a little too unfamiliar with the greatly increased power of the 4th generation Superdreadnought fleets’ weaponry. A single, limited run on the planet resulted in the complete annihilation of all life. Hektar was stunned. We had no colony ships available to land on the surface. It was evident that within a single day our Eolodi allies would grab this planet for their own. “Damn” he thought. “Better make sure I don’t make that mistake again.” But Hektar would soon have other things to worry about.
Coilis sat on the bridge of his Dreadnought missile ship, dreaming of battle and glory. Hektar had been chosen to lead the assault from Tapau, while he sat twiddling his thumbs, charged with the defense of the Tuscanni system, as well as Tapau, although he was stationed in the Tuscanni system. When Hektar had left Tapau with his older fleet, Tapau’s defensive force had been replenished with new 4th generation Superdreadnoughts. Coilis, however, still commanded a ten TF fleet of older vessels, as had Hektar. Coilis listened intently to all updates from the far off systems where Hektar was now engaged in battle and he longed to join his friend. “What I wouldn’t give to get a shot at a Meklar,” he mumbled aloud.
“Red Alert – Proximity Warning.” Coilis practically jumped out of his command console. Over the past few years, many ships and fleets had passed through Tuscanni, ranging from Eolodi to Trilarian, on their way to who knows where. It was the nature of the beast, simply because Tuscanni and Tapau were two systems that were literally in the middle of allied space; they were not connected to our empire geographically. “Give me a sensor reading and make it quick!” Coilis ordered. His tactical officer was able to make a determination immediately, thanks to our updated databases, a benefit of Senate membership. “Meklar, captain. They’ve got a weapons lock!” “Battle Stations!” cried Coilis. “Bring all tubes to bear. Target any TF’s that are closing on our position, ignore their missile boats and carriers for now.” Coilis knew that with his older ships, it would be highly unlikely that his shields could take much of a pounding from any ty
pe of up-to-date beam, plasma or particle weapon. Coilis’s assumption and tactical choice was the correct one. Four Meklar SR TF’s were closing rapidly and their weapons range was phenomenal. Their beams seemed to arc out effortlessly across space and when they made contact with Coilis’s fleet, the result was devastating. Our first missile and fighter wave had just been released when one of our TF’s literally seemed to evaporate before our eyes. Tuscanni I’s planetary defense commander said he had never seen anything like it before. He, too, targeted all his planetary defenses at the fast-closing Meklar SR ships, firing Beam and Missile silos and launching all planetary fighters to aid in the cause. Our missile boats were all armed with four reloads, and it took all of two of them, plus the sacrifice of hundreds of fighters to destroy the four Meklar SR TF’s. The Meklar beam weapons had destroyed an additional two TF’s before they fell. It was then that the Meklar mad
e their first, and as it turned out, their last mistake of the battle. Coilis had pulled his fleet behind Tuscanni I to provide it with some measure of protection. The Meklar chose to assault the planetary defensive systems with their remaining fleet, taking, at least momentarily, some pressure off of Coilis. “Fools.” Coilis thought. Our planetary defenses were situated well outside any populated regions of the planet, and while controlled by men, were not actually physically manned by them. The control systems lay deep within mountain ranges, where the operational officers were relatively safe.
Coilis used this precious time to refuel his remaining fighters and to ready his third missile launch. “Fire all weapons!” he screamed. He was getting the battle he had dreamed of. As our planetary defenses fell, our third missile wave screamed out past Tuscanni I, their aim true. Meklar missile boats exploded in space, and our refueled fighters wreaked havoc on their hulls. The tide was turning, but not before a final mighty missile salvo and fighter launch of the Meklars’ own found their way behind Tuscanni I. Evon Dreadnoughts buckled under this final assault and Coilis watched in horror as ship after ship exploded, lighting the surface of Tuscanni I with a ghostly glow. Many now-dead Evon ships’ captains sacrificed everything to launch their fourth and final missile salvo at the mechanical demons before drawing their final breath. Their sacrifice was not in vain. It was the planetary defense commander who was first able to get a clear sensor reading of space and relay the inform
ation to Coilis, now sitting in a vessel devoid of offensive weaponry and dead in space, his engines gone. “You’ve done it, Captain! The Meklar have all been destroyed. The fourth missile wave decimated their remaining ships.” Seconds later, inbound communications from surviving fighter pilots confirmed the news – the Meklar were beaten, for now. Coilis contacted Labon and requested reinforcements for the Tuscanni system immediately. The planetary defense commander confirmed that the Mobilization Center had been undamaged and Labon issued the order. Coilis had lost eight of his ten TF’s; his and one wing were the only ones left standing and both were badly damaged. Coilis was to take command of a new ten TF fleet of 4th generation Superdreadnoughts the next day. “Well done, lad. You’re a hero, now” said Labon. But there wasn’t any time for Labon to continue to banter with Coilis. New reports were coming in from Epta, where the eight remaining TF’s fr
om Hektar’s 1st fleet had remained after Hektar had transferred his flag and moved on to the next system. New, terrible updates…
Banto heard the alarm but never thought it would be introducing the day of his death. Ten Meklar TF’s had emerged in Epta through the jump lane, and murder was in their eyes. Sensors indicated that it was made up predominantly of Carrier ships and the stars seemed to disappear, their light blocked by the massive wave of fighters that closed on Banto and his eight TF’s. This was obviously a well thought out attack plan – overwhelm our PD weaponry with what seemed like thousands of fighters. Banto led his fleet well, but the odds were simply stacked too high in favour of the Meklar. While five of the Meklar TF’s fell to Banto’s missiles, his inferior shielding and hull armor was no match for the sheer number of fighters that assaulted his fleet. Hektar, now making his way to the “dead end” one-planet system of Heda with the 2nd fleet, could only listen and weep for the loss of his compatriot. “This isn’t over, robots, not by a long shot.”
Upon leaving the previous system heading south and bound for Heda, Hektar had made another discovery. The only direct route to Meklar space would require his fleet to travel north into the Orion system, home of the legendary New Orions. Sensors had indicated the presence of hundreds of ships and because their weaponry was clearly superior to our own, a trip through Orion would surely be suicide. Once he was finished in Heda, it would be possible to go back north one system and then head further east, but that way was long and circuitous and would require traveling through many more Nommo-held systems. Now, with the death of his friend Banto and the loss of those eight TF’s in Epta, this decision would have to be made by Labon with input from the High Council. Hektar tried to block everything superfluous out of his mind. He had a job to do in Heda.
As expected, the alarm sounded upon exiting the jump lane into Heda. “Red Alert – Proximity Warning” was the now-familiar signal. Sensors indicated six Nommo TF’s along with another interesting reading. The solitary planet was inhabited completely by more enslaved Alkari. The Nommo didn’t even stick around to fight. Our missiles and fighters from our Superdreadnoughts chased them out of the system, leaving the planet to us. Scans indicated another significant military presence on the surface, but Hektar was not about to make the same mistake twice. He ordered both Battleoid armies to land, no sense in fooling around. The surface battle was challenging but not without the expected result. Our Rhean ground commander was able to gleefully announce the liberation of the planet, all the while guzzling Alkari ale provided by the happy, liberated populace. Hektar reported the results to Labon and requested further instructions. Labon informed him that two more 4th generation Superdre
adnought TF’s would be arriving within one or two cycles bringing his complement up to a full ten, now that the two Battleoid army TF’s had been automatically disbanded. He was ordered to “Sit tight” and hold the system for now. Lebak had arrived from the High Council chambers and had informed Labon that the Nommo were pleading for an end to this war, even though formal hostilities had never been declared. They were begging for the signing of a Non-Aggression Pact. Labon and Lebak would have to review their offer as well as more closely analyze available star charts to determine if the potential signing of such an agreement would be beneficial to our people. Would it provide a safer route to Meklar space? There was much to contemplate and a rash decision would not be in our best interests. “Stay on full alert. Keep your eyes open for any more Meklar.”