Warhead wrote:Communiqué to Admiral BlackDog of the Blue from Grand Admiral Cromwell of the Black wrote:I suggest you gather as many fast raider class ships as you can spare without endangering the security of the territories that you hold. With this fleet, launch a foray against the system in a bid to seize or destroy this prototype before it has had a chance to finish construction. Any ship building infrastructure found at site that can not be held or removed before a Scythian reaction force arrives must be destroyed prior to withdrawing your fleet. Good luck and good hunting Admiral. For the Queen!
Admiral's log: At 1100 hours today, our fleet sighted the experimental Scythian Darkstar-class battlecruiser. It is currently being escorted by two frigates, one of which appears to be a fighter carrier. This presents an additional difficulty in our plan, since the frigates, and presumably their fighters, carry light laser cannons accurate enough to shoot down our boarding pods. No matter. For Queen and country, we will push on.
Because of the importance of this mission I have chosen to lead personally from my own spacecraft. Our force consists of my ship, two gunboats, and a Q-ship which will be providing missile and fighter support as well as carrying our boarding pods.
With all of our royal marines called up to fight against the ASE, I was forced to choose from among a few ragtag volunteers to form the away team that will capture the ship. Two midshipmen were eager to join the fight, and I issued them pistols and cutlasses, always useful weapons in a boarding assault. In a stroke of luck, Captain Harris himself has chosen to leave his well-earned retirement to show them the ropes, and one of our weapons factories has been able to make a copy of the rotary muskets used by the Colonial brigades for him. Brutus, leader of my personal security detail, has joined them with his trusty plasma blunderbuss. Though they lack the spit and polish of our Royal Marines, I have no doubt that they will acquit themselves well once we board the ship.
Our final warp jump is complete, and the enemy fleet lies ahead.
The Q-ship breaks right with one gunboat accompanying it. Blackdog takes the other gunboat and breaks left.
The Scythian ships accelerate straight ahead, the small frigate firing its afterburners to close with the Q-ship and its escort. The big ship holds back. "Admiral? We're getting strong energy readings from the battlecruiser, but nothing's happening."
"I see it. They must be charging... something. Stay alert."
The Q-ship fires a missile at the fighters, but it misses. It also launches a torpedo towards the Scythian fleet.
Knowing that the Q-ship's survival is vital to their plan, its gunboat escort sheds velocity to put itself directly between the incoming fighters and the Q-ship. "All guns, stand by to fire!"
Blackdog and his frigate continue maneuvering for their attack on the fighter carrier.
The fighter carrier speeds up to avoid the incoming torpedo and strike at Blackdog's ship. Its attacks miss, and it takes a point of damage from response fire.
The fighter squadron decides that the Q-ship is too difficult a target with the gunboat blocking their paths, and go after blackdog and his gunboat instead. A lucky response shot from the gunboat takes out the squadron leader, putting the squadron in disarray and causing their attacks to miss.
The light frigate exchanges fire with the gunboat and Q-ship but neither side does damage to the other.
Finally, the Darkstar decides to enter the fray...
...and tears the frigate apart in a single outsized volley! "Bloody hell! How can its guns fire that fast!?"
The torpedo hits the Scythian fighter carrier, doing another point of damage.
The gunboat kills a fighter, and does two points of damage to the light frigate...
...and the Q-ship finishes it off with a missile.
Blackdog goes after the fighter carrier with little luck.
The fighter carrier drifts clear of the Darkstar's path, allowing it a clear shot at the other gunboat.
Blackdog kills the fighter carrier.
"Bloody 'ell, we're getting rogered out here! Launch everything we've got!" The Q-ship fires off a missile, a torpedo, a boarding pod and all three fighters. The boarding pods each have a teleport receiver, so when one of them docks with the ship the away team can instantly be transported aboard.
The fighters kill the last Scythian fightercraft. With no target left, the torpedo self-destructs.
The Darkstar concentrates all its firepower on the boarding pod. Despite the inaccuracy of its heavy guns, one shot still hits and destroys the pod. "Ah well, there's two more where that came from."
The Q-ship comes dangerously close to the battlecruiser, and manages to hit it with a boarding pod before its batteries can react. With the away team on board the ship and no other threats in sight, the action shifts to the battle to take the bridge.
The bridge crew are sitting at their consoles when...
"In the name of God, Country, the Queen, and my totally awesome hat, I claim this vessel for the Britannian Empire! Surrender, bitches."
One crewman with particularly fast reflexes gets a shot from his SMG off before Harris can react, and wounds him.
Harris responds by mowing down another crewman.
"All right, chaps, here's the plan..."
"You two, go left, try to catch those two crewmen unawares from the sides."
"Brutus, you head for the stairs and do something about the blighter on the upper walkway."
The shotgunner fires down at the two midshipmen, but misses both of them.
One of the crewmen attacks them from the front, and kills one...
...before being shot himself.
The other crewman kills Brutus; his chain mail spacesuit didn't help him at all.
Captain Harris comes around the stairwell and attacks him with his rotary musket, but both of his attempts fail. "Bloody modern engineering! They just don't build these things like they used to!"
I'm not gonna keep taking pictures when there's no action happening... but for your information, these guys spent every turn until the end of the battle shooting at one another... and missing. Every damn time.
Dissatisfied with the newfangled rotary musket, Harris picks up Brutus' blunderbuss instead and charges the SMG crewman, killing him at close range.
On the next turn, he manages to get to the top of the stairs but can't get close enough to the shotgunner to use the annoyingly short-ranged musket. "When I was a lad," he tells himself, "I could shoot a bird out of the air from two hundred paces with one eye closed. Let's see if I've still --" Nope. He fails the stupendous feat roll by 1, incurring no consequences but he's still unable to make the shot at longer-than-usual range.
The shotgunner finally kills the last midshipman.
And then gets blasted off the walkway at short range by Captain Harris. Still totally worth it.
"Admiral, Captain Harris here. We're ready to enter warp at your leisure."
Communique from Admiral Blackdog of the Blue to High Lord Grand Admiral Cromwell:
Lord Admiral, we have captured the Scythian battlecruiser as ordered and returned it to Blue Sector headquarters. The Scythian border has been quiet, but I do not know whether they are unwilling to retaliate for fear of revealing their new battlecruiser to other factions, or if they are planning something in the future. Our casualties in the raid consisted of two gunboats, lost with all hands, and two midshipmen who were killed boarding the Darkstar. I am submitting a formal request that the captains of both gunboats be knighted posthumously for their courage in battle. They placed their vessels directly in harm's way so that the Q-ship and her boarding party could complete the mission.
As I speculated, the Darkstar-Class battlecruiser does contain an extremely large Anti-Matter reactor. Surprisingly, it also contained an enormous bank of capacitors. When these capacitors are fully charged, its lasers can fire at twice the rate of normal Scythian laser cannons -- as we witnessed in its destruction of the first gunboat. With time we will be able to adapt this technology for our own use, but I should warn you that it might entail some trade-offs in our ship design. In particular, note the Darkstar's lack of point defense, which allowed us to board it easily once its escorts were eliminated -- by fitting it entirely with heavy guns to make the best use of its capacitor banks, its designers made it vulnerable to our attack.