The Alexanderov Federation
#2 - Growing Pains
By Robert Huntingdon
Table of Contents Prologue
Chapter One - The Senate
Chapter Two - Tailspin
Chapter Three - Meltdown!
Chapter Four - Storms on the horizon
Chapter Five - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part I
Chapter Six - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part II
Chapter Seven - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part III
Chapter Eight - 007 he is not
Chapter Nine - A time for peace...
Chapter Ten - Revelations
Chapter Eleven - Tachidi Raid
Chapter Five - The Battle for Rotan Prime, Part IAdmiral Goodman sat patiently in his command center, reviewing the data from the scanners and fleet intelligence as 30 minutes passed. The Raas, he remembered, have inferior technology in engines, scanners, and weapons, but their hulls are incredibly strong and durable, and their fighter pilots can endure significantly more radical maneuvers and the resulting G-forces, making them a deadly threat in a dogfight. Why then are they not launching lots of fighters at me? A message from his scout group appeared on one of his screens. From the passive sensor's reports of what types of scanner energy, they believed the Raas had 80% of his sensor range, but would be completely incapable of piercing his scout's stealthing. "Goodman to 77, revised orders. No scouting unless otherwise ordered, concentrate on missile defense at first." "Aye, sir!" Commodore Gretzov, the commander of Task Force 77, replied. "We're launching all fighters now." "Goodman out." As the last few seconds ticked down to the outside of missile range, Goodman felt the slightest twinge of nerves. Would the 800 ships in his fleet be enough to carry the day? "75 to Goodman. In range. Permission to fire?" came the message from Commodore Wessen, commander of Task Force 75. "Fire at will, Commodore, unless instructed otherwise." "Aye sir." "Goodman out." The first salvo of missiles launched very quickly, and Goodman watched the main tactical display, which showed the positions of the enemy fleet and the planet. Over 2,000 missiles streaked towards the planet surface. At the same time, Task Force 71 began a classic pincer maneuver. In 20 seconds perhaps they'd begin to teach the Raas about the value of sensors. A few seconds went by, and then the Raas began to react to the missiles. Turley's voice now rang out over the open com line. "Sir, the Raas PD ships are moving forward slightly. Our missiles will enter what we believe to be their firing range shortly. That seems further confirmation of their sensor abilities, sir. They just don't measure up to ours." "Good. Keep me informed." "Aye sir. Sir they're opening fire. Standard Hard Beams, sir. They aren't accomplishing much, sir." "How long to the planetary surface?" "Ten seconds. Uh oh..." "What?" "Sir, I've detected the launch of over 100,000 missiles, and they are ignoring our missiles. Tracking in on us now." "100,000?" "More, actually. But it appears they're very slow -- almost a minute to impact." "Goodman to 77, press your defense forward. You may risk falling into range of their guns, tell your pilots to be careful, but we have to start thinning that cloud out right now. Out." "Good news, sir. The fighters are having effect, and with the efforts of TF 77.1 I think we'll get most but probably not quite all the missiles. Our missiles have passed the Raas fleet now, we lost only 10 missiles, counting the fire from planetary batteries. Three seconds, two, one, impact! Sir, that's it for the planetary defenses. There's no way they survived that." "Goodman to 75, target the Raas fleet next time." "Acknowledged." "Fire as soon as you can. We can't afford another 100,000 missiles fired at us. Out." Goodman watched the display as Task Force 71 completed it's maneuver and opened fire. Concentrating their fire on only a few ships at a time, with the first salvo 50 Raas ships exploded almost as soon as the weapons fired. But then Turley broke in again. "Sir! The Raas just launched ANOTHER 100,000 missiles at us, and some of our PD weapons are starting to run a bit hot." Goodman's speaker blared out another hail almost immediately. "Borolin to Goodman. Sir, several of my ships have overheated their guns! How in the world did the Raas reload that fast?" the voice of Commodore Ivan Borolin came over the speakers in a rush, with a hint of fear in the tone. "I don't know, Commodore, but you must get those ships firing again. Evacuate the weaponry sections, put the crews in EVA suits and have them spray liquid hydrogen directly onto the coils." "That can damage the guns, even destroy them!" "True, but it will buy us at least 15 minutes. We can repair damaged weapons. We can't repair destroyed ships and dead crew." You could almost hear the gulp over the line. "Very well, sir. We'll get right on it." "Good. Out." Goodman turned around, preferring to watch the actual action at this point. He'd done just about all he could. His crews were well trained and would follow their orders to the best of their ability, soon his tactics would either succeed or fail. The pincer maneuver had caught the Raas unawares and was still tearing into their ranks. If the Raas continued to just sit there, in 10 minutes they'd all be destroyed. But of course, that wouldn't happen. "Goodman to Morolotski, make sure to shift fire if they use missiles on you." "Aye, sir. I've already told my people to do just that." "Good thinking then. Out." The light show from the distant Task Force 71 was indeed impressive. The thousands of Graviton Beams rapid-firing were impressive enough individually, and at this distance seemed to merge into just a large streak of light ripping across the night sky. Every few seconds several explosions rent the sky briefly, each marking another Raas ship as destroyed. Closer, the PD screen began firing at full intensity again, and here the shots were close enough they appeared as individual streaks of light as smaller explosions noted the missiles being shot down. "Turley, give me a count and a countdown." "10,000 enemy missiles left, sir. We're not going to get them all, sir, in the remaining... 10 seconds." "Goodman to 77. Order your fighters to take out the missiles at any cost." Gretzov's voice didn't change in the least, but he had to confirm. "Are you ordering what I think you are, sir?" "Yes, I am." "Very well, sir." The channel went abruptly dead, but Goodman didn't let it bother him. His heart grieved for the fighter pilots he'd just ordered to their deaths, but their sacrifice would buy the victory they needed. It was regrettable, but it was necessary. He forced himself to watch, to mark each one's fall, as the slight flares of light marked the fighter's acceleration towards the missiles, and the larger explosions of destroyed fighter craft began to appear in the sky in rapid bunches. "Turley, what's the count?" Turley would know exactly which count he meant. "2,487 sir." "Make sure I get an accurate list with the name of each and every one who made the ultimate sacrifice for the rest of us. They all get the Order of the Blue Banner." "Aye, sir." As Goodman returned to stare out into space, he watched the sudden appearance of over 2,000 missiles fired from his ships that began streaking towards the enemy formation. He continued to stare out into space as they dwindled to pinpricks and vanished below the detection threshold the human eye. Ten more seconds... five, four, three, two, one... impact. At that point he had no choice as his reflexes took over; he closed his eyes and turned away from the violent flash of energy as the remaining 1,300 Raas ships all exploded in a matter of seconds. Even with the automatic dampening effects of the window treatments, it was still a hideously bright explosion. "Turley, did they fire again?" "They tried to, but only a few ships got their missiles off, and most of those were destroyed in the plasma field. About 50 survived long enough to be destroyed by Task Force 71." "Very well, then. Goodman to all ships. Proceed to the planet and assume bombardment orbits, but do not fire. Begin preparations for landing two transports worth of troops on the surface. All Suslov-class fighter craft, as you will have support roles in the ground war, return to your carriers for refueling and rearming immediately. All craft, keep watch for enemy reinforcements. We do not know if the Raas have any other ships nearby that might decide to drop by. Goodman, out."
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