Ria holodeck training

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Ria holodeck training Empty Ria holodeck training

Post  Diurne on Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:47 pm

Today, I'm starting a holodeck simulation. It is part of my training program to maybe become a bit less than just a science lieutenant and a bit more a bridge or commanding officer.
At my request, the simulation was set in conditions more or less similar to our previous 5-years mission. We were surveying a desolate sector of space, full of anomalies. The simulation is then set the same. According to the engineering officer in charge of the programming, a fair number of solar system will just be barren. Suitable planets for any project will be scarcer than what real space usually provides.
He didn't tell me what exactly the opposition even if he confessed a large number of simulated, unknown, specie will be included. I still suspect he has slipped in some better known species...

The simulation starts with a single planet in the hands of the UFP. Populated, with a spacedock.
Devonshire III is our operational base. The simulation made it a rich world with a lot of resources, supported by a rather large population.
Three other world are potentially colonized within the system, the planets Devonshire II and II plus the first moon of Devonshire VI.
All planets are suitable locations for materials production. But the trick is obvious to me.
The big issue is resources are finite. Gathering, mining them require an infrastructure. However, the raw materials production has to match the needs. Otherwise, we'll just have production means that work for nothing.
So I'm considering building storage places. Where we could put the materials in reserve until later needs.
On the other hand... we could settle the places for something unrelated to raw production.

Ria holodeck training 01turn_01

I decide to have a go for that last solution. We'll send Colonial-class ships with the required supplies to become a mix of storage places and study laboratories.

Ria holodeck training 01turn_02

I'm also uploading into the simulation a blueprint of a Horizon-class explorer. Don't look for it. It never existed.
My Horizon-class is an exercise for the simulation. It's an explorer ship built with the technology of the early space exploration. It would have been contemporary of the NX-01, in other words.

Ria holodeck training 01turn_03

The Horizon-class is plated for protection against enemy fire. It only carries one launcher, shooting old chemically powered missiles. Speak about a lack of class.

Since I only have one space dock, the first Horizon to fly away to boldly go where noone has gone before... will wait until the 3 Colonial-class ships are built.

Ria holodeck training 01turn_04

Starfleet provided us a lot of blueprints but we have to apply them to the local industry. Quickly, science teams are dedicated to various projects, be they scientific, technical or social.
For now, the teams are few and we lack a strong research network to fully make use of the blueprints.

One of my priorities is how to adapt that damn antique spacedock to phaser and deflector production !

Ria holodeck training 01turn_05

In this simulation, warp points are stable spots in space. Leaving a system from one guarantee you'll find a stable route in front of you. As a consequence, it also leads to warp points when you arrive in a system.
The wording is a bit misleading but it's just an astrophysics entrance or exit to limit risks.

Ria holodeck training 02turn_01

The USS Horizon NX-01, first of its class, reached the Wakunda system and started to survey it. The Horizon already found a planet suitable to colonization, while not ideal.
The rock planet is particularly poor in edible and appropriated organic resources.
I am speaking of organics because a recent report says we're going to lack food for the population if we don't find new fields to plant corps and keep cattle...
No, feeding everyone with replicators isn't a solution.

Ria holodeck training 02turn_02

Ria holodeck training 02turn_03

I'm confident with the new survey program. 2 Colonial ships are to be built to head to Wakunda.
2 more Horizon-class ships will follow, to explore the surroundings.
I would like to erase the words "Here there be Klingons" on my star chart...

Great news ! The Horizon found an ideal planet while surveying Wakunda A rather large planet whose atmosphere is totally breathable for UFP citizens.
The newest Colonial ship is immediately rerouted to this jewel.
On a second reading, that jewel is a bit flawed. The Away Team reports frequent storms and rain pouring on you daily plus quite cold temperatures. One can't have everything I guess.

Ria holodeck training 04turn_01

The geological reports isn't promising with a planet, after all, rather poor in minerals. A science lieutenant reports that few plants other than a specie of toxic algae grow here. Wonderful, it will solve my food problem...
The only happy news is rich heavy elements deposits. We might not mine much or grow food there but there surely will some uranium and dilithium to get from it.
Anyway, Wakunda II is immediately settled. Science labs are set in priority, followed by the classical infrastructure for the sector (space port for loading/unloading, storage places).

Ria holodeck training 04turn_02

I order the construction, in the near future, of a spacedock there. We need to expand our possibilities.

The Horizon didn't finish its survey mission but I recall it to Devonshire for resupply.

As the Horizon is resupplied, the colonization starts in Wakunda. The system is a crossroad in this area of unstable space, being quite steady itself.
If, for now, a mix of storage and research installations are built, I probably have to keep a Starfleet eye close on this system.

The USS Shooting Star is delivered by the spacedock while the USS Horizon has finished supply operations.
The Shooting Star is the second Horizon-class ship. It leaves first, to explore strange new worlds. It goes a different direction than the Horizon first survey mission.

And while entering a new system, discover an unknown ship on its sensors.
The Horizon, intended to be sent another direction, scrambles its departure procedure and warp fast to catch up with the Shooting Star.
The aliens intents are totally unknown for now, my explorer ships are relatively light armed and the home system is so close...

But the situation turns to red alert fast.
The Horizon won't be able to catch up in time. But the Shooting Star, keeping distances, isn't attacked.
But an unknown alien ship, from another specie, suddenly appears in Devonshire system and strikes the moon Devonshire VI A.

Ria holodeck training 05turn_01

Ria holodeck training 05turn_02

The domed science station is seriously damaged, the dome breached and exposing the scientists to the hydrogen rich atmosphere. All will die.
Data analysis of the attack, sent before the moon ceases to broadcast, reveal the alien specie is using a fearsome psychic weapon.

Ria holodeck training 05turn_03

The Shooting Star comes back, the Horizon changes direction again while the newest Horizon-class, the USS Hope, is heading to join them.

The three ships charge in formation to the devastated moon where the alien ship is still orbiting.

Ria holodeck training 05turn_04
(The Horizon is the flag ship here, flanked on the right by the Hope and on the left by the Shooting Star)

Ria holodeck training 05turn_05
(the battle of Devonshire VI A : the alien ship flies through the old chemical-powered missiles by shooting at them. The Starfleet ships try to maintain maximum distance)

Ria holodeck training 05turn_06
The first hit is suffered by the Hope, which plated armor is punched through by telekinetic force emitted by the aliens. At the same time, a missile from the Horizon explodes against the aliens outer hull.

Ria holodeck training 05turn_07
(a new salvo of missiles is shot, one goes through the alien point defense again, the Hope was just hit once more by a telekinetic attack)

Ria holodeck training 05turn_08
(the Hope is now seriously damaged, the Shooting Star got some telekinetic love too. But the alien ship is equally badly mauled by repeated hit from our missiles)

Ria holodeck training 05turn_09
(the alien ship closes in and target the Shooting Star, reducing its plated armor to deformed scrap in a matter of seconds. The alien ship managed to shoot down all Starfleet missiles sent against it lately. The Hope and the Shooting Star are in bad position, the diamond formation imploded and distance wasn't maintained)

Ria holodeck training 05turn_10
(the battle turning point, two missiles strikes the alien ship at once, destroying what armor was left and crippling the sublight engines, cutting the alien speed by 40%)

Ria holodeck training 05turn_11
(with engines damaged, the alien ship can't keep up with our task force speed and the three explorer ships quickly create distance, shooting two more missiles salvoes. The alien can't handle everything at once and the enemy soon explodes in a ball of fire)

The battle is over and we were victorious. But the threat was real and the perspective to lose one Horizon-class was a distinct possibility.
The obsolete chemical-powered missiles showed their flaw in all plain light as a considerable number of them was shot without results, being destroyed in flight.

The Hope and the Shooting Star are sent back to the spacedock to have their armor repaired and a missiles resupply.
The Horizon leaves the task force and flies toward the nearest system from those psychic attackers probably came from.

I do have to consider resettling the Devonshire VI moon and build more armaments.
So I need transportation. The logical way would be to get a merchant marine ship. But since our spacedock would have to build it, I go another way.

As the Hope and the Shooting Star must have their armor repaired... I order the engineer to create the blueprint of a variant model.
The Horizon-c class will trade half its armor plating for a cargo bay. It's a matter of ship weight.

And the USS Hope will be refitted to accommodate the change. Instead of repairing all the plating, the engineer corps will install a cargo bay.
It's much faster than building a transport from scratch.

While two ships are repaired or refitted, the USS Horizon starts the survey of the system from where the psychic attackers probably came. For now, nothing in sight. Just a plasma storm, an asteroid belt and a ringed gas giant.

The USS Star Chaser is added to our fleet, another Horizon-class ship. I have a fondness for those explorers but I fear the fact they are totally unfit for space combat.
The Hope is refitted to get a cargo bay. The Shooting Star is repaired.

And another alien ship appears above the moon of Devonshire VI and bomb the uninhabited facilities. Now, the damage is complete and nothing can be salvaged. At least, they didn't kill anyone anymore. But the colony must be completely rebuilt...

In the Trantor system, close to our base of operations, the Horizon discover a planet inhabited by this aggressive psychic race.
It's a small colony set on a planet with a very forgiving climate, rich with raw materials.
The Horizon is told to keep surveying.

The USS Shooting Star and Star Chaser are tasked to patrol the limits of our system. The Hope, less armored now it traded it for cargo will be sent on exploration.
(yes, now the moon colony is completely razed, we need to send another Colonial class ship to rebuild it. Where, before, the Hope would just have to transport people who would have repaired the colony)

The USS Hope then goes to the unexplored system where we met that other alien race. Surprisingly, the alien ship is still around. Maybe it was damaged ? Or lack the necessary power to move now ?
The Hope avoids a confrontation and starts surveying.
Still, we open hailing frequencies and the Hope captain will try to negotiate a non-aggression agreement.

Ria holodeck training 06turn_01

The psychic race, we discovered since, is called the Cue Cappa Commonwealth. While the other alien specie is from the Norak Continuum.

The USS Horizon discovers another Cappan colony. The Hope leaves the Norakans presence while their religious leaders discuss our proposal. The Norakans will eventually accept.
I'm not sure if it's because they can't harm us for now or if it's sincere...

In the Trantor system, the Horizon finally make a major discovery. A large planet densely populated by Cappans, with three starbase orbiting it.

Ria holodeck training 06turn_03
(the probable Cappan seat of power)

Further scans show the planet also has defense platforms on the ground and a heavy small spacecraft close defense.

Ria holodeck training 06turn_04
(a Cappan star fighter)

We have absolutely no idea on the various capacities of those defenses and I'm not likely to ask the Horizon to make field tests. If the sheer number of them didn't impress me...

So the situation looks bad. The Cappans displayed immediate aggression, possess a strange technology we don't really understand and are apparently entrenched well enough to simply harass us without fear of retribution. I also expect their are quite impervious to reason and diplomacy (do we really want to peacefully settle an agreement with a specie who simply wipe out a colony of ours without provocation ?).

Another red alert rings in the simulation. System sensors spotted a Cappan ship heading straight to our colony of Devonshire II !
It's probably the same ship that destroyed the moon colony.

The Shooting Star and the Star Chaser were on guard on Trantor approach. They are sent immediately to intercept the enemy.
Last time, it took us three ships to take down one of them. Now it's only two ships...
On their way, they run into a Norakan ship, which was strangely following the Cappans. Our recent treaty states non-aggression in neutral space. Here, we're in Federation space. The fact I feel we have the right to shoot at them doesn't really help when I see the Norakan ship turning to face the Shooting Star and the Star Chaser, arming its weapons...

Ria holodeck training 06turn_05
(the Norakan ship, a Blackmaw-class frigate, is turning away after failing to engage our ships and being pounded by missiles. It won't escape the next salvo)

Then the Shooting Star and the Star Chaser engages the Cappan ship.

Ria holodeck training 06turn_06
(closing in. Our ships are instructed to maneuver to keep the enemy at distance)

The battle is actually very one sided. The Starfleet ships maneuver at first and launch several missile salvos. For whatever reason, the Cappans didn't manage to intercept all the missiles as easily as in the first encounter. Quickly, the Cappan ship is hit several times while ours are totally intact.
Within 30 seconds, the Cappan ship is trying to escape desperately but is destroyed.
Our ships weren't hit once. Maybe the stress of the alien encounter the first time changed a lot our captains performance back then ?
They fired about 25% of their missiles. I keep them on guard in space. Too early to reload.

The two ships are sent back watching Trantor approaches.

Ria holodeck training 07turn_01
(As expected, the Cappan sent another ship, which was quickly engaged, ambushed and destroyed by the Shooting Star and the Star Chaser)

During a few weeks, there will be constant skirmishes in our base system outskirts. The Cappans sent several ships, uselessly. We finally realize they didn't install their point defense system on those ships, thus being unable to prevent our missiles to strike home.

The Star Chaser still ends with 95% of its plated armor destroyed, after another attack by Cappans (but this time, they had their antimissile system).
The Cappans will finally slip through our blockade and bomb (again) the colony moon, sending it (again) to oblivion.

Devonshire VI A, the failed moon colony, is resettled. This time I order the development of a domed hydroponic farm to solve the continuing food issue. It won't bring much but this is needed.

Skirmishes continue on the border, the trio of Starfleet ship handle the situation. I don't bring back the superficially damaged Star Chaser for repair in order to maximize our firepower.
I suggest a limited trade agreement to the Norakans.
The Horizon discovers a Norakan world.

The first phaser banks are now ready to be installed on our ships. I am considering recalling the defense patrol in Devonshire to refit it.

The moon colony is settled a third time but this time, the engineers are instructed to quickly build a Shield Defense system. It's a planetary defense platform equipped with two long range phaser banks and a missile launcher.

But at the same moment, against all odds, another skirmish with the Cappans ends tragically.
The Star Chaser, already damaged, is destroyed in combat while the Starfleet ships frantically tried to smash the enemy. This counter performance and the drama following hit us hard.
Our ships used the same ever tactic against the incoming Cappans but, this time, the Cappans evaded our missiles and pounded the Chaser to bits. The enemy even managed to escape the Horizon and the Shooting Star, fleeing to the moon colony orbit. Fortunately, that ship is too damaged to be able to bomb our (thirdly) built colony and it stays away.

Ria holodeck training 08turn_01

The USS Hope on distant survey mission is recalled back home. No suitable worlds for colonization were discovered. This is surely a barren sector of space...

A civil ship, the USS Odyssey, in the search of a new home for reckless colonist, meet the damaged Cappan ship escaping Devonshire. It will later meet in a neighbor system, a splinter group of humans calling itself the Confederation. Despite an expecting tragedy, the humans don't fire on the unarmed Odyssey...
A contact team is now in charge of clarifying who are those guys and what they expect in space.
Another fright happens when the Odyssey is chased by a human ship. Who will never fire a single shot. Odd but a relief.

Ria holodeck training 09turn_01
(The USS Odyssey (bottom left) fleeing in front of a confederate ship (top right) )

The humans confederate will accept a non-aggression agreement. The Odyssey will find their homeworld soon after.

The Breens !

Ria holodeck training 09turn_02

Our listening posts deciphered Breen communication over subspace. We don't know where they are know but I'm sure this is going to be an even larger problem than the Cappans !

The Shooting Star and the Horizon are refitted into the newest Barracuda-class configuration, trading their missile launcher for two phaser banks and a heavier armor.
The Hope is back home and is also refitted into the Barracuda-class (abandoning the cargo configuration, that was never used).

As for now, I have a patrol made of the USS Horizon, the USS Barracuda and the USS Espadon (all Barracuda-class at first or refitted into it), watching for Cappan incursions.

The Shooting Star and the Hope are ready for exploration. However, in reasonable range, I didn't have a successful survey. About half the space is just made of drifting gas, asteroids, nebulae.
The rare planets are already inhabited.

A new specie, the Elamos, contact us and propose a rather extended trade agreement plus the acceptance of the other colonies within our own territory, that we would communicate the security code of any minefields we could place, to each other and finally a scientific cooperation (albeit on proven technologies only, which mean "old").
I can only welcome such an agreement. The trade and the science cooperation will be beneficial.

Ria holodeck training 09turn_03
(The Cappans bypassing my blockade are engaged by my patrol of Barracuda-class ships. A Norakan ship happens to be on the same spot. Not sure it will fight and against whom ?)

Ria holodeck training 09turn_04
(now it's obvious, the damaged Cappan ship flees while the other Cappan, helped by the Norakans turn to face the task force led by the USS Horizon)

Ria holodeck training 09turn_05
(the Cappan ship under the phaser fire from the Starfleet patrol, the Norakan tries to support the Cappans by shooting from behind)

Ria holodeck training 09turn_06
(the end. The USS Horizon gives the coup de grace to the Norakan while the Cappan wreck finishes to burn before exploding. The USS Espadon armor has been seriously damaged during the combat but was still saved by the new improved plating)

Military defeats strike regularly the Cappans. Their advantage with their defense system against our chemical-powered missiles is now nul since we're shooting phasers. As a consequence, and despite an increase in Cappans incursions and numbers, our defense holds.
It also leads the Cappans to initiate a conflict resolution over subspace radio. They simply ask for a return to the status quo plus a non-aggression treaty over all the sector. Despite their large ship losses, I still remember the moon colony twice devastated with its colonists slaughtered.
As a first token of good faith, I counter by asking also the possibility for the Starfleet to refuel and resupply on Cappan depots.
The Cappans refuse, only barely agreeing to the non-aggression they already offered.
I then ask instead of the resupply possibility, that they communicate us their sensors reports. It would have two advantages. First we'd new where their ships are, so good to keep an eye on them. Two, it might help us charting the sector.
Finally, the unofficial war with the Cappans ends when they offer to have that kind of sensor sharing being two-way. I don't believe it would harm us to communicate our sensor reports so the deal is done.

A Colonial-class ship is send to a distant system, escorted by the USS Espadon, as the USS Shooting Star on survey reported its Away Team discovered strange old ruins.
Not only the planet is suitable (while not ideal) for colonization but the pursuit of knowledge can only motivate me.
But the colonization attempt is blocked by the confederate humans who claim the whole system is theirs. I offer a revision of our agreement, completing it by the colonization possibilities but also with trade and, for confederate citizens, the possibility to emigrate to the United Federation of Planets.
Discussions go back and forth and the confederacy tries to raise the ante, binding us more closely.
I do have hope we find a satisfying agreement when the distant Odyssey ship sends us a warning message : "We have found Tholians ! Tholians are attacking a confederacy planet !"
Fortunately, the Odyssey was crossing a gas cloud when it ran into Tholian ships. I can only hope it wasn't spotted.

Ria holodeck training 09turn_07
(3 Tholian ships orbiting a confederacy planet. 5 confederate ships are coming to help)

It's time to look back at achievements and evaluate the UFP situation in the sector.
Economically, especially the food issue, the UFP resources are ok.

Ria holodeck training 10turn_01

The UFP achieved a self-sustenance in organic production. The trading agreement are increasing our stockpiles. While not necessary, they are still welcome. But at least, if the trade is broken, we still have a production superior to needs.

The stockpiles of organics are still extremely low. If we have to increase our presence in the sector, the organic needs will increase as well. And I see no way to keep up with an increased demand.

Also, this situation looks good because there is currently nothing in production. If a major overhaul of infrastructure or a strong fleet development happens, we'll have to reap the stockpiles. So they better be high.

Ria holodeck training 10turn_02

Diplomatically, our situation is still shaky.
The Cappans spoke of peace but I don't really believe they will hold it for long.
The Norak Continuum didn't hesitate to side with the Cappans on the occasion.
The humans Confederacy looks to be the friendliest but as a splinter group from the UFP, I tend to estimate they don't exactly hope to join the UFP and our sphere of influence in the near-future.
The Elamos are enigmatic and remote, out of reach, encountered only by chance. We still dealt a treaty of non-aggression. But it's just convience of the moment.
The Abbidon Enclave is as remote as the Elamo Alliance (and met globally in the same distant area). We had no real contact.

Of course, the two main worries are the Tholians and the Breens.
The Breen presence is acknowledge but we didn't meet them yet. The Tholians are obviously at war with the confederacy.
Finding their area of influence, their base of operation will be a priority in the months to come.

Ria holodeck training 10turn_03

Finally, the simulation gives me an evaluation of my performance. Currently, the UFP is 4th on the performance ladder. Only friendly powers are displayed there (following exchange of informations).
Most of my rank is due to the extensive research capacity, seconded by a nascent intelligence service.
Military wise, the UFP is far behind the others. It looks my neighbors invested a lot in defense spacecraft production. Where the 6 UFP units reported are the Shield Defense System, installed to counter the Cappan raids (and never used).
The technology performance is also lagging behind. But it's due to complex research to adapt the faster the Starfleet technologies to the ships (like getting working phasers).
The UFP is also behind in terms of raw materials production. But it's here a conscious choice to not make the production more powerful than necessary for now, to not waste resources.

The situation isn't that good. The 4th rank is only reflecting the power of science from the UFP. The ability to endure a war is debatable.
Now, the purpose of the simulation is to end with the best evaluation possible. I may need to increase the military abilities of the UFP...



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Ria holodeck training Empty Re: Ria holodeck training

Post  Diurne on Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:45 pm

Breen Attack !

Ria holodeck training 11turn_01
(a squadron of Breen ships flying to Wakunda II)

Ria holodeck training 11turn_02
(closing in Wakunda II)

Ria holodeck training 11turn_03
(the Breen formation is broken after the Shield Defense System activated. Two Breen ships are seriously damaged and are retreating. A third left totally the formation.
Two Breen ships are still intact and are going to come for the assault)

The battle of Wakunda II will display the usefulness of the Shield defense platforms.
While the Shield wasn't able to protect Wakunda II from bombing and damage was done to facilities and to population, it successfully repelled or soundly defeated the Breens.

I'm still left worried by the attacks. Wakunda II will be attacked by Breens three times in a few months. They were repelled because they were using old ship designs. Either a stronger attack force, either a more modern one would probably inflict serious damage on the colony world or destroy the Shield and then bomb Wakunda II into oblivion.

A patrol is set in Wakunda system. It will lead soon to a skirmish with a lone Breen ship.

Ria holodeck training 11turn_04
(The Breen under phaser fire)

Maybe inspired by the early reports on Cappan defenses, I decide to revive the concept of support fighters for Starfleet. Our doctrine is based on the deployment of specialized starship and fighters are never taken in consideration.
Other races and the Dominion War showed us the value of small armed spacecrafts.

As a consequence, I download data from the Dominion War and upload a new design blueprint in the simulation.

Here comes the Panther !

Ria holodeck training 11turn_05
(A Panther spacecraft from the Federation)

The Panther is lightly armed and lightly armored and won't be able to stand a chance against any warship.
But used in wings, with massed presence, they should be able to harass an enemy formation.

The first Panthers are produced on Wakunda II very quickly.
A flight of ten Panthers surge in the Wakunda II sky a month after the production start.

The idea is the next time Breens attack, Panthers will engage the enemy at medium range, away from the planet itself. Their attack should cause damage on the enemy ships or distract them.
In theory, we should have damaged Breen ships coming under the Shield Defense System fire. And the planet should be less harmed.

Two months later, the Breen will come for another attack and the Panther are launched.
The dogfight that ensue is confused and it's difficult to guess who will end victorious. But most Breen ships are lightly or even severely damaged. But Panthers get their losses as well.

Ria holodeck training 11turn_08

When the harassed Breen ships arrive in the Shield weapons range, the ground battery opens fire.
Under the combined assault of the Panthers and the Shield, the Breen ships are quickly destroyed.
5 Panther fighters, half the flight, will not come back from the combat mission.

The overall conclusion is the Panthers bought time and protected the planet surface from direct bombing. They can't stop by themselves the Breen ships. But their sacrifice mean less losses on the surface.
While the facilities may always be repaired, the civilian losses are definitive. So at least, they prevent such losses.

Far far away from the battle lines with the Breen, a crew lives its last hours.
After many frights, discoveries and a long journey, the USS Odyssey never found that world to settle on.

Its reactor core failed critically as the ship was passing by a black hole.
Using only secondary power, the Odyssey will manage to resist to the black hole pull for weeks.
Scrambling from the distant Devonshire base of operation, the venerable USS Horizon finishes its latest upgrade and then rushes to the Odyssey rescue.
The goal is to join with the Odyssey, repair the warp core and have the ship be saved from death.

Three months later, when the USS Horizon arrives by the black hole... the Odyssey is no more. The explorer ship hit the event horizon a few weeks ago already and vanished inside the black hole.

In the accretion disk, nothing is left to speak about that brave crew that traveled so far...

Ria holodeck training 11turn_06
(The Odyssey grave. The Black Hole, barely visible in the accretion disk, is at the right of the warp point to Uphada)

But the bad news don't stop here.
Leaving the Odyssey grave in space, the USS Horizon continues the journey, a step more to see what strange new worlds the Odyssey was about to discover.
...and the Horizon enters Tholian space.

The enigmatic race immediately pursues the Horizon and the first Starfleet ship to chart the sector is found by a lone Tholian frigate.

Ria holodeck training 11turn_07
(the USS Horizon faces its pursuer)

Refitted for exploration, the Horizon has one less phaser bank, to make room for a powerful power generator. It may have been fatal.

The Tholian will pound the Horizon repeatedly. Fear grips the heart of the crew as the Horizon isn't able to retaliate with enough firepower to shake down the pursuer.
I quickly change the parameters of the simulation to order the Horizon to flee before disaster happens. The ship turns and flies full impulse away from the Tholian ship.
The Horizon will escape into a gas cloud.

Ria holodeck training 12turn_01
(The Horizon, renamed Horizon-A since its first revision. The ship is now in Zenith-class configuration, an updated version of the old Horizon-class. The Zenith-class has deflector shields the Horizons were lacking as well as a power generator basically allowing infinite energy. Its only armament is one single phaser bank)

Ria holodeck training 12turn_02
(the Horizon, in plain Tholian space, hides in a stellar storm)

Ria holodeck training 12turn_03
(the storm provides a medium cover (occlusion) against detection)

Time to get an evaluation of the global situation.

Ria holodeck training 11turn_09
(Sector map. The UFP is far from being the big guy of the courtyard)

Since the first contacts with various species, more contacts happened. Some species acted as intermediaries with distant races we never physically met.
So far, the biggest surprise was to learn the Klingon Empire is having a fair influence on the sector, holding numerous systems.
From data collected, the Breens don't look to be a major power, at least judging their space expansion. The Tholians on the other hand are a major player.
Surprisingly the human Confederacy is rather well extended in the sector. But it is a spread efforts with probably difficulties to defend the territory.

The Abbidons, an interesting specie native of gas giants and breathing carbon dioxide, are stuck between Klingons and Tholians, in a string of systems. I don't envy their position as a buffer state...

Ria holodeck training 13turn_01
(An Abbidon)

Likewise, the Confederacy is between the UFP and Tholians.
Actually, I am considering creating ties with those two powers. Both look to be the most stable and established in the region (aside from Tholians and Klingons).
They would be a good addition to the UFP itself (even if I doubt the Confederacy accepts).

Now, the Abbidons are engaged in an official war against the Cappans, the psychic race we were fighting in border wars. While the human Confederacy is in open war against Klingons.
Courting one of them will surely drag us in a conflict with their enemies.

Norakans and Cappans are stuck between their more powerful neighbors, their territories lies in the area of contact of the Confederacy, the UFP and the Breens.

Population also start to migrate as shown on Wakunda II

Ria holodeck training 13turn_03

Where we find a sizable population of Norakan and people from the Confederacy (identified as "Terrans", the UFP population being "Citizens")
In anticipation of that kind of races mix, we started a program of civic instruction to present the UFP. To people of nonUFP races, it may help them to understand and value the UFP. To UFP citizens, it may lessen the "frontier world mindset" sometimes prevalent on distant colonies.

Ria holodeck training 13turn_04
(Cultural studies allowed us to get achievements in Civics, increasing people loyalties)

In essence, it's buying civil peace.

On the engineering front, we started the production of new Saladin-class starships.

Ria holodeck training 13turn_02
(The Saladin-class, a variant of the Intrepid-class)

With the production of Barracuda-class, the Saladins are going to form the backbone of a first mobile defense fleet.
It's likely we must create a second to not be stuck by border combats and left defenseless elsewhere.
And probably a third for wartime policy outside of UFP space.

We do have the Zenith-class, aimed at exploration (less armed but with ability to survey forever, in theory)

The Panther spacecrafts were updated into a Panther II design, slightly better armored. But few were produced, only on Yullado II, a colony also threatened by Breens.

Good to have considered to reinforce the defenses of Yullando system since a small Breen fleet strikes at Yullando I, defended by the USS Espadon, a squadron of Panthers and a single Shield battery.

Ria holodeck training 13turn_05
(Panther pilots recklessly flying directly into the Breen fleet, one Breen ship is breaking away from the main formation to avoid them)

Ria holodeck training 13turn_06
(The USS Espadon engages the lone Breen with the support of a single Panther. The rest of the spacecrafts engages the remaining Breens, suffering quickly heavy losses)

Ria holodeck training 13turn_07
(The Panthers are now all destroyed. The Espadon tries to escape their fate, pursued by three Breen ships)

Ria holodeck training 13turn_08
(The USS Espadon, left as a lifeless husk exposed to the cold space. The ship was detroyed at 99%, engines, life support, weapons, infrastructure, everything... The Breens now cruise toward Yullando I, leaving the Espadon as the silent witness of their might)

Despite the losses, the Breen offensive failed. The three remaining Breen frigates were unable to silence the Shield battery and were destroyed in orbit. Damage to the colony is bearable.

While I'm pondering if this battle was a victory or not (loss of all Panthers and the Espadon as a wreck versus 5 Breen ships destroyed), I'm given a erport from Starfleet Intelligence

Ria holodeck training 13turn_09
(is this a good news ?)

With 20 ships in a single system, I estimate they have as many elsewhere, at least. So 40+ Tholian ships in the sector. With about 12 ships, the UFP pales in comparison...

But with ships so scarce on UFP sides, I have to get the Espadon wreck and repair it.
The USS Rubicon, a ship from the Engineering Corps, is dispatched from Wakunda II to Yullando I. Both systems are neighbors and the repair ship arrives within days.

Ria holodeck training 13turn_10
(the USS Rubicon, a repair ship built on a freighter infrastructure)

There are places in the galaxy that are cursed. The Devonshire VI A moon colony is one.
Destroyed twice by Cappans ships, a Tholian fleet struck it with all its might, reducing the place to space dust.
The moon is once again a barren moon, and only a moon.

It's of course the red alert in the Devonshire system, the heart of the UFP in this sector.
The First or "Home" Fleet was assigned during months here, on watch. But I sent it recently to bring the battle in Breen space, instead of waiting to be struck.
When the Tholians raze the moon colony, the Second or "Strike" Fleet is just assembling and lack most of its ships.
Frantically, on two planets of the system, Panthers II spacecrafts are assembled. When the spacedock goes on the double to release Saladin-class ships.

And because it would be too easy, the system sensors detect suddenly the presence of 5 Klingon Birds of Prey !

Ria holodeck training 13turn_11
(Klingon Birds of Prey, those two are about to raid Devonshire I)

Ria holodeck training 13turn_12
(the Battle of Devonshire I, 4 Klingon BoPs were destroyed while causing minor damage)

The assault on the heart of the UFP continues.
Klingons and Tholians strike several times. The Tholians are defeated in Devonshire III orbit while the Klingons meet the same fate over Devonshire I.

After all attackers were destroyed or repelled, the Klingons informs us we're officially at war while the Tholians offers us a cease fire and a non-aggression treaty.

Meanwhile and despite the emergencies, we started to produce two new ship designs

The Republic-class, less armored but equipped with two plasma missile launchers.

Ria holodeck training 14turn_04

And the Hawking-class, based on the Galaxy design. The Hawking is similar to a Republic-class with two phaser banks and two plasma launchers but the phasers are more powerful.
Both classes are destined to engage the enemy at longer ranges, protected by smaller ships.

Ria holodeck training 14turn_03

Meanwhile, on the other side of the sector, the Horizon plays cat-and-mouse with Tholians. The ship enters a region of space filled by dust and gas and is caught in a stellar storm blasting partially its armor.

Ria holodeck training 14turn_01

Ria holodeck training 14turn_02



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Post  Diurne on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:01 pm

Now I enter another evaluation time.
Being truly at war with Klingons and Breens plus regular skirmishes and raids from Tholians (despite their supposed will to stop fighting),

Ria holodeck training Devonshire2battle1
(the Devonshire II battle, Tholians attacking us once again. Here, Panthers are flying to intercept Tholian frigates)

Ria holodeck training Devonshire2battle2
(the destruction of the Tholian warships, two Tholian support ships were following and will be destroyed as well)

So I'm studying new military ideas.

Since the Klingon space is distant from the UFP, any fleet sent there must be able top operate autonomously for a time.
I give orders for a second Rubicon-class repair ship to be assembled.
From that design now comes the Royale-class, a supply ship carrying missile warheads to replenish the warships (The Hawkings and the Republics) spent ammo.
Both ships would be included as logistic support in combat fleets, expanding their range of operation and time away from UFP space.

I then revive the concept of MACO (Military Assault Command Operations) and our engineers produce the blueprint of a combat shuttle destined to become the pviotal unit for ground action.

Finally, I give a reading of all the data collected on our enemies. Over time, with diplomacy, espionnage, I got dozens of blueprints of enemy, neutral and friendly species alike.
Browsing the long list of Klingon ships, I run into the Chan-class frigate.

Ria holodeck training Klingon-chanfrigate

That little guy packs much more punch than it seems and than any Bird of Prey encountered. The Klingons removed armor plating and installed a shield generator, mounted two energy cannons (similar to our best phasers) and kept an anti-missile system !

At the same moment, I was considering developping a fighter bomber to supplement the Panthers.
The Stingray was born, on datapad at least.
Made purposely slower than a Panther (so the fighter are in the front, no matter what), equally armored but mounting a small missile pod instead of a phaser cannon, the Stingray looked to have the punch needed to blast through enemy armor fast.

So I test the new concept against the Chan-class Klingon frigate.

Ria holodeck training Simulator1

I run a simulation of 10 Panthers IIb (the most recent upgraded version) and 10 Stingray against 2 Chan frigates.

Ria holodeck training Simulator2
As expected, the Stingrays (bottom left) lag behind the faster Panthers (center) while approaching the two Birds of Prey (top right)

Ria holodeck training Simulator3
Quickly, the Panthers are destroyed by the Chans. The firepower of those frigates give them absolute domination over the fighters.

Ria holodeck training Simulator4
The slow Stingrays are devastated by Klingon fire. They are unable to catch up with the agile Birds of Prey who evade them, keeping their distance. The missiles of the Stinrays have a too short range and the Klingons are out of reach.

Only a last suicidal style attack I ordered to the combat simulation made the Stingrays finally fire a volley against the Klingons, seriously damaging one Bird of Prey. But immediately after, the last Stingrays are wiped out.

The outcome is stunning. Without the forced suicidal maneuver, the Birds of Prey would have annihilated all the spacecrafts without suffering any meaningful damage !

The Stingray design is revised, engines are made as powerful as the Panther's but I have to remove plating to make room for the expanded engine.

Another combat simulation is run : 10 Stingrays against 2 Chans.
I don't expect a victory but am wanting to see if the Stingrays, on their own, can damage or destroy at least one ship.
The result is appealing with all Stingrays pulverized and only inflicting token damage to a single Bird of Prey.

This is truly worrying. The Stingray looks to be, simply, a bad design. The choice of mounting the missile pod costs the fighter bomber too much of its armor. And the short range of the missile is detrimental if nothing else can distract the target to leave the Stingray coming close.

But the combat simulation continues.
I put a single Hawking-class against two Klingon Chan-class. I want to evaluate the performance of the Hawking, on its own, against two serious opponents.

Ria holodeck training Simulator5
(the combat simulation shows the Hawking will easily dominate, staying out of range of Klingon weapons while bombing the Birds of Prey with its plasma missiles)

Ria holodeck training Simulator6
(the Klingons, trying to destroy the plasma missiles (the green dots) in flight, before being hit)

The cobat is one sided. The Hawking constantly flies away from the Klingons, keeping them in missile range while staying out of their weapons range. After 2 minutes, the two Birds of Prey are destroyed.

But the combat teaches me another valuable lesson.
To destroy those two ships, the Hawking spent 75% of its warheads cargo !

Of course, in fleet action, the Hawking missiles may not fired so intensively. Still... it looks the role of the new Royale-class as a ammo supply ship wasn't that stupid.
A single Royale carries enough ammo to resupply a Hawking for about 18 combats (or 3 Hawkings for 6 combats and so on).

From this combat simulations, I keep in mind the Hawking is actually a decent combat ship. But the UFP defenses relying on a combinaison of ground batteries and spacecraft may not be that stellar in the months to come, as enemies will send newer ships.

Last edited by Diurne on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:06 pm; edited 1 time in total



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Post  Diurne on Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:03 pm

The Battle of the Utekra Expanse

The First Fleet, looking to engage Klingon ships, finally find an enemy fleet in the Utekra Expanse, an area of space filled by gas and dust clouds.

There, the First Fleet faces 16 Klingon warships.

Ria holodeck training Battle1
(the enemy fleet, about half of the ships are of recent design)

Ria holodeck training Battle2
(the First Fleet, less numerous and not particularly more advanced. Our only advantage lies in the use of long range bombardment with plasma missile but the losses might be horrendous)

Ria holodeck training Battle3
(the first volley of plasma missile was launched but the anti-missile defense of the Klingon is still strong. Our fleet turns to keep distance with the enemy. The USS Sword, however, is already seriously hit by enemy fire)

Ria holodeck training Battle4
(the USS Sword under the concentrated fire of the enemy, being the only target in range)

Ria holodeck training Battle5
(Explosion of the USS Sword (left), the USS Fiji (center), who tried to rescue the crew, is caught under Klingon fire as well. The USS Republic (right) gives fire support from afar. The rest of the fleet is even farther)

Ria holodeck training Battle6
(The USS Fiji, unable to get out of the Klingon trap. The USS Republic joined back the main formation. The fleet fires another volley on Klingons)

Ria holodeck training Battle7
(The First Fleet flies away, in formation, shooting missiles and firing phasers. The USS Star Chaser II (top most), as a picket ship, tries to maintain Birds of Prey away and is caught by enemy fire. The USS Republic (extreme right) successfully avoided being entangled by Klingons and flies away, burning)

Ria holodeck training Battle8
(the USS Star Chaser II explodes ! The USS Republic (on the right) is pursued by two birds of prey. The fleet shoots side volleys at Klingons)

Ria holodeck training Battle9
(as shown on this picture, the Klingon fleet didn't manage to keep cohesion. Its ships, highlighted, are now a string pursuing the First Fleet. While the Starfleet kept a compact formation)

Ria holodeck training Battle10
(one minute later, the First Fleet disappeared. The focused fire of Klingon birds of prey was too heavy and the Starfleet ships, hit one by one, had to break formation to save their existence. They didn't. At that moment, the USS Hawking, protected by the USS Oceania, is keeping distance while firing plasma charges at the enemy. But victory is out of reach. Most of the Klingon ships are damaged or heavily damaged but number prevailed on the Klingon side)

Ria holodeck training Battle11
(a wrong choice from the USS Hawking captain as he decides to finish a Klingon ship and get caught between the pursuing Klingons and the previously damaged Klingons who were catching up. Between the hammer and the anvil ?)

The Battle of the Utekra Expanse is over and it's a sound defeat for Starfleet.
The lesson is the mix of the old Starfleet design, destined for medium range combat, with the newest destined to long range combat is a mistake.
The Barracuda-class ships and the Saladin-class ships were forced to stay close to the Hawking-class and the Republic-class and were shot without truly being able to engage and retaliate.

The power of the plasma missiles is obvious, scoring many powerful hit on enemy hulls. But facing a dense enemy formation, the crossing anti-missile protections lessen the value of this weapon as Klingons were protecting each other.

The only surviving ship is the repair ship, who is going to hide in the storms of Uketra

Ria holodeck training Utekraafterbattle

And as we can see on this report

Ria holodeck training UtekraAAR

13 of the 16 birds of prey were hit.
2 were destroyed (only) and 9 are damaged at 60-80%, 2 are damaged at 20-50%.

The Klingon fleet lost its ability to wage war efficiently any longer. But being not destroyed, all those ships may be repaired and sent again to battle.
And Starfleet has no fleet close to finish the job...



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