The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 22 Battle at Caladar
The Tokan system was well in hand. Final mop up was underway and Battle Cruiser Colony ships were en route to the final two planets, which had been cleansed of silicoid life. Semak had contacted Labon and given him a full status report. Fourteen TF’s were now stationed in the Caladar system, along with the first of Sasktewels’ new armor TF’s, with two more on the way. It had been determined that two of the planets would be assaulted with ground troops and the remaining three would be cleansed of rocks. Labon was pleased. So pleased that he ordered the eight TF’s now remaining in Tokan to move immediately to the Moya system to further bolster their ranks at our key northern chokepoint. This would bring the Moya system up to more than full complement, a total of eleven TF’s, all 2nd generation Dreadnought class vessels. Then a disturbing and puzzling thing happened in Caladar.
In our first assault on one of the planets in the Caladar system our “allies”, the Eolodi, joined us in the attack. Semak was taken completely by surprise. The planet was one that had been targeted for obliteration and immediately upon our glassing the planet; the Eolodi landed a colony ship on the planet, claiming it as their own. Semak immediately contacted Labon and issued an update on the situation. No, the planet was not yet theirs, according to the provisions in our alliance, for there were less than the one thousand inhabitants alive on the planet surface. Obviously, the planets’ atmosphere was not very hospitable to the Eolodi. “Your orders, admiral” asked Semak? Labon wanted to know how the hell they had arrived in Caladar without our sensors picking them up sooner. “How the hell had they done that?” thought Labon. “Did they have some kind of new cloaking technology?” he pondered. No matter, this had to be brought before the High Council. This
wasn’t a strictly military operation anymore. Labon certainly couldn’t open fire on the Eolodi without the High Councils permission, although he wanted to. “Damn gasbags.” he muttered.
Multiple colony ships were already en route to Caladar and would arrive very soon. Sensors currently picked up no more additional Eolodi vessels in the area, so Labon ordered Semak to continue with the set plan. The first colony vessel to arrive was to immediately disembark its inhabitants onto the currently “outposted” Eolodi world, in the hope that we could still gain control of the planet through peaceful and treatied means. In the meantime, Semak was also to do a diagnostic on all sensor equipment. Labon was going to meet with the Lebak and the High Council to discuss this new development.
Very rapidly, the situation went from bad to worse. Over the course of the next two days, with the elimination of the Laraan in Caladar, the Eolodi managed to somehow slip in more colony ships undetected. When it was over, we controlled only two of the five planets in the system, while the Eolodi claimed three. The High Council was incensed. The Eolodi had withdrawn their ambassadors from their consulate offices and had returned to their homeworld. In contact via interstellar communications, Lebak informed the Eolodi in no uncertain terms that their transgressions, while legal, were not acceptable to the Evon people. The Eolodi countered with an offer of an antiquated weapon technology as an appeasement. We demanded the turnover of all three planets. The Eolodi flatly refused.
Lebak had had enough of these creatures. He summoned Labon to discuss our preparedness for war. Labon’s update was excellent. Fifteen Superdreadnought TF’s were on standby, awaiting orders. All production was now churning out 2nd generation vessels with level VI shielding at an excellent rate. Moya was fully fortified. Lebak instructed Labon to immediately mobilize five 1st generation Superdreadnought TF’s in the Selia system, to bring its forces to the ten TF minimum requirement for optimal defense on our southern front. We still hadn’t been able to ascertain how the Eolodi had been able to slip into the Caladar system undetected, but we were certain that the fourteen TF’s now in the Caladar system under Semak’s command could handle the situation quite handily. The test would come soon, as would our error be exposed.
War was declared on the Eolodi the next day at dawn. There were only two Eolodi TF’s in the system and they turned tail and ran before Semak could even get off a shot. This presented a new problem. Where were they going to run? We thought the only place they could go was back down the one-way street that led to Caladar and back into our Empire. That meant that we needed to defend Tokan because that was the next system down the line. The only thing defending Tokan was our fifth LR Battle Cruiser TF that had been originally stationed in Ursa previously but had been re-deployed when we ceded Ursa VI to the Eolodi. Semak dispatched four of his fourteen TF’s to Tokan. Semak felt that four TF’s would be more than adequate, leaving him a full ten TF’s in Caladar to continue the assault on the three Eolodi planets, which were soon to be ours. After all, there was now no way, because of our state of war, for Eolodi ships to “slip” past either Moya or Selia undetected. Any Eolodi
reinforcements would be immediately engaged in a system far from Semak’s location. It was the next day that sensors finally revealed the terrible truth.
On the second day of planetary bombardment the “Red Alert – Proximity Warning” rang like a banshee wind in the ears of our fleet. Six Eolodi IF & CF TF’s had come round Caladar I’s moon and opened fire. Missiles and fighters closed the gap quickly and Semak had little chance to form up the fleet. In an instant one of our IF TF’s had been vapourized, the Eolodi fighters now tracking to engage the remainder of our fleet. Our flight crews responded well, and PD weapons opened fire in a hail of Hard Beams, obliterating the incoming fighters. Semak ordered all missiles launched and our two CF TF’s launched their fighters for a counter-attack. As our missiles and fighters flew to intercept the Eolodi war ships, the enemy’s second wave of missiles was already on an inbound course. Our lone LR TF in the system took all the missiles, while our PD weapons blazed in a vain attempt to save him. It was fruitless, there were just too many of them. Finally, our first co
unter-attack wave reached their targets and the face of Caladar I’s moon lit up with the fireworks of exploding Eolodi vessels. As our fighters engaged the remnants of their strike force, Semak launched our second wave of missiles. Their aim was true, and the Eolodi threat had ended, at least momentarily, as quickly as it had begun.
As our fighters returned to their hangers Semak was enraged. “How the hell do they keep doing that? Do they really have that many ships in our empire that we didn’t know about?” It was then that a blinding light was shone on the situation. One of the fighters returning to his carrier had swung around the far side of Caladar I’s moon and he had scanned the asteroid belt at the far end of the system looking for any straggling Eolodi fighters that may still be lingering. His sensors picked up a signal, faint, yet distinct, emanating from beyond the asteroid belt. “A radio signal can’t be coming from rocks, it has to be coming from somewhere,” the pilot thought. He swung through the asteroid belt, carefully picking his way, and when he emerged, there it was. The unmistakable spacial anomaly readings that indicated the presence of a wormhole and through it, was coming the faint signal of a radio beacon. “That’s how they’re getting in!” He swooped
in, took a full scan of the wormhole, and blasted back for the fleet as fast as his engines could take him.
At least they had found out how the Eolodi were getting in to their empire. This wasn’t a “dead-end” system as they had originally thought. The more pressing problem, however, was that Semak had just one cycle earlier sent four TF’s down to Tokan on a wild goose chase and he was down to eight TF’s with an open access point for the Eolodi to strike. The closest active mobilization center was in Laan, four cycles away for our new, fastest
Superdreadnoughts. The four TF’s that he had sent off had been recalled, one of which would return in two cycles, but the other three would not return for three cycles. He informed Labon of the situation and their findings. Labon cursed and then immediately mobilized and dispatched five 2nd generation Superdreadnoughts to Caladar, maximum warp. There was nothing else they could do. Semak was on his own for a little while longer.
Semak continued his work, setting course to obliterate the remaining two worlds in Caladar, which held Eolodi citizens. “Screw these gasbags! We will kill every last one of them.” His sorrow over the loss of two of his wings fueled his anger. When the “Red Alert – Proximity Warning” sounded again, Semak was not surprised but he was certainly struck with the horror that he saw. Ten Eolodi TF’s had exited the wormhole and were moving in for the kill. Semak was expecting them, however, and he immediately initiated his defensive maneuver, putting Caladar II and its moons between him and the attacking fleet. While a valiant effort, Semak knew it would not be enough. Missiles flew and fighters streaked across space to their respective targets. Semak tightly grouped his eight TF’s closely together utilizing each others PD weapons for maximum cover fire against the hail of missiles and fighters that seemed to want to literally rip the bolts from the plating of his hulls. O
ur missiles were having an easier time finding their targets; the Eolodi had entered open space between Caladar I and II and were trying to close with their SR attack TF’s. Our missiles tore them a new arsehole in short order. Screams and orders flashed across communication channels, the cursing of fighter pilots trying to avoid the inbound and deliver that crucial blow to a critical system were constant.
Semak was done to only three TF’s remaining, his and one other IF TF and a solitary CF TF. They were experiencing the first “lull” in the battle and he was trying to get a lock on what type of opposition remained. Sensors finished their sweep and tremendous news was the order of the day. A solitary Eolodi TF remained immediately on the far side of Caladar II. It was a Carrier TF and its fighters were re-fueling. Semak gave the order “Fire all tubes!” but his weapons control officer informed him quickly that he and his wing had exhausted all tubes, there were no missiles left to fire. “No matter” said Semak. “Flank speed, set course to intercept at point blank range. We’ll kill them with our PD weapons if need be. Tell our CF TF to get his damn fighters re-fueled and re-launched!” bellowed Semak at his communications officer. “I want all those bastards dead.” He never got the chance. The cowardly enemy commander had set course for the w
ormhole and in an instant and a flash of blue he was gone. We had held, but the hold was tenuous at best.
The next cycle came and Semak was able to finally breathe. The solitary IF TF that was next scheduled back arrived on time, only moments before the next Eolodi incursion. Thankfully, it was only a force of two TF’s, one Eolodi and one Tralaifa, the latter joining with their gasbag brothers in the war against us, but they were no match for our fleet which now numbered four. We met them in open space and Semak exacted another pound of flesh, payback for all his lost wings the previous day. The three remaining Dreadnought TF’s were on course and on time and would arrive the following cycle, bringing our numbers back up to a more respectable seven TF’s, with the five Superdreadnought TF’s expected two more cycles hence. Semak was going to finish his job of extermination of these vermin in Caladar and then he was going to implore Labon to allow him to transfer his flag to a Superdreadnought. He wanted to kill.