The Evon Experience
by Alex Poff
Chapter 20 The Southern Front
The situation on the Northern front appeared relatively stable, but Labon was certain that a long war of attrition (which we believed we would win) still remained within the “ring”. The two remaining systems held by the Laaran were heavily fortified with multiple Orbital platforms as well as a good number of system defense ships, according to our sensor reports. It was also a certainty that the rocks would continue to throw any star ship production they could muster via their mobilization centers into the defense of these systems as well. No, these systems would not go quietly into the night. Production was queued up for an additional fleet to assault these systems in much the same manner, as had been the two assaults on Laan. Coilis would head up this fleet when it was ready to go and Hektar would remain in the Laan system, tasked with holding it and preventing the Laaran from attacking from what remained of their empire, further to the north of Laan and the “ring”.
But things rarely remain constant in life, and this came to pass in Ursa, our shared system with the Eolodi, two systems “south” of Selia and, as previously indicated, now a direct link with the Tralaifa empire.
Long-range scans indicated a large fleet of Tralaifa vessels only one cycle distant from the Ursa system. Our High Council had been contacted by the Eolodi imploring us to break our Non-Aggression pact with the Tralaifa and assist them in defending our system, Ursa, from the dastardly invading fleet now bearing down on it. What was this?! We had heard nothing of this new development. According to the Eolodi, the Tralaifa were intent on destroying us all. It was time to stand with them, to make a stand against these oppressors in Ursa. Our High Council was perplexed by this development, but did we not owe our allegiance to our long-time friends? We could muster only two Dreadnought class TF’s to join our two existing, now hopelessly outdated, Battleship TF’s that now patrolled the system. “No matter,” the Eolodi stated. “It will be enough. Our fleet will join you, and together we will smash the invaders!” We formally broke the Non-Aggression pact and prepared for war. Whe
n there ships exited the jump lane, we moved to intercept.
It wasn’t enough. The Tralaifa smashed both fleets like they were crushing eggshells under their feet. Tovam was spared, simply because he had not the time to transfer his flag to one of the Ursa TF’s, and he was still two cycles travel time to Ursa in his older 2nd generation Battleship IF TF. This was truly a disaster for our people. We had broken a peace agreement with a race that we had no true quarrel with and had suffered devastating consequences. In addition, the Eolodi refused to return our entreaties for guidance and further assistance. We did not know if they even planned to mobilize additional TF’s in defense of Ursa. A hastily called session of the High Council was called. An immediate decision was required. Xetaph, close to death, gave the final recommendation, which carried the council, his words supported by Labon, Vice Admiral of Fleet Operations. “Make peace, now!” commanded Xetaph. “The power of their fleets is staggering,” added Labon. “Sel
ia has only five ancient LR Battle Cruiser TF’s, now nothing more than good targets to this force, should they proceed onward to our empire beyond Ursa. In addition, I have nothing to send for defense. All our vessels are currently mobilized at the Northern border.” “We must sue for peace, and beg their mercy and forgiveness,” stated Xetaph. And it was done, diplomats hastily left with our message to the Tralaifa.
Unfortunately, the message did not arrive soon enough, yet a total disaster was averted. In the day that it took our diplomats to re-open negotiations and access to the Tralaifa Empire, Ursa IV was obliterated. All Evon on the planet died in a massive assault. The Eolodi were nowhere to be seen, nor could we raise them on interstellar communicator.
Thankfully, the Tralaifa were more than accommodating to our entreaties. They simply accepted our offer of a declaration to an end to hostilities. They seemed to imply that they had never meant us any ill will at all and that their commanders were merely following orders. We had declared war on them after all, and their fleet had orders to show no mercy to any enemy. While all our agreements and our Alliance with the Eolodi was still technically in place, the High Council no longer trusted our “old friends” and with just cause. Labon gave the order to have the mobilization of our most advanced fleets take place in both Ognath and Selia. We were certain that the time would come when they would be needed, and we feared that it would be sooner, rather than later.
Tovam returned to Selia and a solitary LR Dreadnought was deployed in Ursa to patrol for contraband. The Tralaifa fleet maintained its position in the system, but did not attack further. Unfortunately, this effectively caused a blockade of the system, for no supply ships could get through. Our remaining world was starving, but we were certain we could rectify that with some DEA redeployment. Labon mobilized two Dreadnought TF’s in the Selia system; not enough he knew; but at least for the time being, the situation on the Southern front was calm again. Besides, the war with the Laaran to the north was still ongoing. The Lepus system was heavily fortified. As Labon had envisioned, it was becoming a war of attrition that we appeared to be able to win. Lepus had eight planets, all having a minimum of nine Orbital platforms for defense, but many had much more. There were system defense forces constantly being thrown at Coilis, as well as the occasional star TF, but all had been vanquished with minimal yet
heart-wrenching losses to our fleet. Lepus I had fallen to Sasktewels’ forces and was now rapidly working to deploy a mobilization center for the system. Lepus II had been glassed from space. Lepus III and IV now held only a few thousand silicoid life forms and would soon meet the same fate as Lepus II. It was at this time that we received the diplomatic messages that would rock the High Council.
In two separate chambers, at almost precisely the same moment, ambassadors from both the Eolodi and Olaptra Empires were beseeching us to join with them to destroy the other. If it weren’t so serious, Xetaph would have laughed. He was tired, and he didn’t need this aggravation, not now, not at his age. Xetaph personally met with both ambassadors, never letting on that the other was only meters away in another chamber. He assured them both that the situation was indeed grave and that the High Council would provide them an answer to their requests immediately, but he needed some time to discuss it with all members of the High Council first. Upon parting from the respective ambassadors, Xetaph advised Labon to join him. He trusted his old friends’ choice for Vice Admiral implicitly and wanted his input. “Do we do nothing, or turn them both down, angering them both, and risk a potential war on two more fronts? Or do we choose, now, between them?” It would be a difficult and, in al
l likelihood, an empire changing decision. “What to do, what to do…” pondered Xetaph. The decision would have enormous ramifications for the Empire and it was difficult to see the proper path.