Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Contest for Delta-Zukhona Three - Campaigning with Star Navy 5150

    Captain Ferdinand  Branson accessed the heavily encoded priority one  message by syncing it with his cortical implant, and it unlocked, with the icon of the Gaea Prime Star Navy, blazing withing his brain. He assimilated the contents with a mixture of anticipation and foreboding.

"FROM: Star Navy, Lyris Sector Command

TO: Ferdinand Branson, Captain, GPSN

Captain Branson, GPSN intelligence reports indicate that the Hishen may be preparing to attack our colony on Delta-Zukhona Three. While the population is small, the colony extracts and processes the majority of the Rubidium used by our forces in this sector. Loss of the colony would gradually impair the ability of all Star Navy ships in this sector to enter and leave hyperspace. Pressing matters elsewhere in the sector, as well as the uncertain reliability of these reports leave sector command able to allocate only limited resources to this matter at present. Therefore, you are hereby requested and required to take your own ship, the GPSN Heavy Cruiser Jaguar, and two other ships from Task Force 95 to be assigned to you by Rear Admiral Espinoza, and proceed directly to Delta-Zukhona Three. After arrival, your squadron will patrol the area, driving off any enemy forces encountered, and then return to the planet and report your findings to the planetary GPSN security officer, and wait for further instructions. Hereof, fail not!

Sven Toerjold, Fleet Admiral, GPSN, commanding Lyris sector. "

   As he digested his new orders, his command console cheerfully chimed out the tune. "The Leader of the Pack", indicating a message from the commander of Task Force 95, Rear Admiral Wendy Espinoza. Branson had a whimsical side that endeared him to his subordinates! Keying his implant to the message's access code, Wendy's familiar face appeared on the screen.

"So, Ferdy, it seems that your day has come at last. Take a shuttle over to the Retribution, and we'll discuss the ships I am to assign to your squadron".

"Aye-Aye, Admiral, I'll depart immediately."

"Acknowledged.  Espinoza out".

    Wendy was a long time comrade and mentor, but it still didn't pay to keep the brass waiting! He arrived on the bridge of  the Retribution in good time, smoothing out the largely imaginary wrinkles in his uniform. With a nod to her flag captain, Epinoza gestured to Branson to follow her to her command suite.

"Congratulations on your first taste of higher command, Ferdy! Although it's long overdue, I can't say that I will be happy to have one of my best fighting ships and captains detached form Ninety-Five. The Huishen have been giving us fits in Lyris sector, and now this possible treat to our Rubidium supply!  My intuition tells me this is real, so although I'm stretched thin, I'm willing to let you have you pick of the cruisers for your squadron, as long as their captains are junior to you... of course."

"That's very generous of you Admiral -"

"Oh, please drop the formalities when were in private, Ferdy!"

"That's very generous of you, Wendy," he intoned with the trace of a twinkle in his eyes. In fact, it was quite extraordinary. It helps to be the favorite protege, Branson observed to himself.  "In that case, I'll want another Heavy Cruiser for punch, and a Light Cruiser to be sure we can fend of the missiles those accursed Slavers."

"Wise choices, Ferdy. I am pleased that your time in Nintey Five hasn't AL been spent chasing pretty women!"

"No Ma'am, mostly been spent chasing ugly Hishen!"  The two friends shared a somewhat nervous laugh. "Anyway, I'll take the Heavy Cruiser Panther, and the Light Cruiser Wombat. Both ships have well seasoned crews and fine captains, even if I'm not exactly friends with Quyat after that dust up  at New Dordrecht. Still the Wombat's the best light CA in the Task force, even if those Moltulians can, err, get under your skin, if you know what I mean?"

Wendy chuckled, the Multilians being an allied race within Gaea Prime that was well known for the periodic (and rather messy) shedding of their epidermis. "I agree, his ship is the best, but aren't you worried that your past differences might cause problems within your squadron?"

Branson sat up straight and peered into the eyes of his friend and CO. "I expect that Quyat will do his duty; nothing, more, nothing less. If not, we;;, I have been rumored to have friends in Task Force Command, no?"

Wendy's now stern face, relaxed, then broke into a small smile. "It's settled then. I'll send the necessary authorizations to Quyat , and captain Dhruz on the Panther. Good luck and God speed, Ferdy!"

"Thanks, Wendy. We'll see what the darned Hishen are up to, and hopefully put a stop to it! I'd love to stay and talk, as we may not get to see one another again for a long time, but I have a zillion things to prepare for the Mission. By your leave?"

"Dismissed, Captain," Wendy responded smartly, back to her Admiral personna once again."

"Aye-aye, sir!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: this is almost all fluff created (largely) from random rolls for names, and the outcome of the starting phase of the 5150 Campaign set up. In game terms, we selected a campaign with the Active player having the Star Navy, and the enemy being the Hishen. A Campaign always starts with a Patrol mission and a squadron of 3 - 4 ships. It was determined that the Star Navy was Defending the planet. The ships were rolled for randomly on the Class 4 ship table, and all proved to be of Rep 5 (the best possible - elite crews/captains, hence the above dialogue). Barry dad the Star Navy, playing the rile of Captain Branson, while I would handle the (dice generated) evil Hishen. 

Branson's squadron started in low orbit around Delta-Zukhona Three, while three PEF's (Possible Enemy Forces) were generated at various locations on the 6 x 6 square grid. Branson's PATROL mission was to resolve all PEF's and then return to the planet. If any PEF enters the Planet square or  Branson's squadron is destroyed, the mission is lost.

We had agreed that the first real contact would be judged to have the result of the battle generated from the campaign we started last time (I hadn't been able to save the Campaign "map"). Thus contact with PEF #2 was swiftly handled, representing said battle, in which the Star Navy prevailed. "After the Battle" checks resulted in the Squadron restored to undamaged condition for all ships. The next PEF to be contacted was #3.

"Sensors show that bogey now resolving to be a solitary Hishen Slaver, Sir!" observed his XO,  Commander Ishiahara."

"Well, they're no match for us, so I'd expect it to turn tail and hyper out once they scan us, but... let's be ready anyway, eh? No telling what the Hishen will do, even when they're outnumbered! Shields up! Gunnery, work your firing solutions on that Slaver!"directed Branson crisply.

"Sir, she's spotted us and... is coming straight in at six kps! we're equivalent ship classes, except... there are THREE of us!" exclaimed Ishiaharra, perplexed. "They musty be trying to close to missile range as they can't expect to penetrate our shields. Get those Antimissile salvos up and loaded, and keep revising your targeting solutions!", the XO directed.

Quite right, observed Branson silently to himself. It was all over in a few stellar minutes; the Slaver, having weak shields and guns, took heavy damage from the gunfire of the Star Navy ships, but was unable to break through their shields in return. It did manage to fire a fullsalvo form its two missile launchers, but the abundant (and highly competent) anti-missile batteries easily destroyed every last one before it could do any damage to Branson's ships. Immediately thereafter, the Slaver's fusion bottle lost containment, and it exploded in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. "Bastards never really had a chance", observed Branson dryly.  "Good work on those missiles, Quyat" he sent over the con to the Captain of the Wombat. "Aye-aye, Sir" came the terse response. Branson sighed. Old quarrels die hard, it seemed. "Set course for that final Bogey, Commander. Let's clean out the last of the trash!"  "Aye-aye, Sir!", replied Ishaiharra as he gave the necessary orders.

The Hishen Slaver explodes, out numbered and outclassed. 


Branson's Squadron was as follows:

Jaguar, Class 4 Heavy Cruiser, Captain Branson (FLAG)  Rep 5
Thrust 3    Hull 8    Shields 3    Guns 4    AA 1    

Panther, Class 4 Heavy Cruiser, Captain Dhruz      Rep 5
Thrust 3    Hull 8    Shields 3    Guns 4    AA 1   

Wombat, Class 4 Light Cruiser, Captain Quyat       Rep 5
Thrust 3    Hull 8    Shields 3    Guns 2    AA 3

Hishen Forces

Bondage, Class 4 Slaver          Rep 4
Thrust 3    Hull 8    Shields 2    Guns 2    Missiles 2    AA 2

"I'm reading multiple engine signatures from that final bogey, Captain. Resolving.... now! Looks like no cake walk this time, no disrespect, Sir! I make it a Hishen Mother ship with a Monitor and a Patroller as escorts." Ishiaharra felt some anxiety; he had seen what those fighters could do if they broke through, back at the battle of Sigma-Leonis prime, and it wasn't pretty!

"XO, get me Captain Quyat on the con."

"Captain Quyat, we have hardly been friends in the past, but I picked you and your ship because, honestly, you have the best Light Cruiser in the task force. We both need each other to be on our best game today. Can I count on you to have our backs against the pocking Hishen fighters?"

"Aye-aye, Sir. You can count on  me, my ship, and my crew. You shoot that Carrier out of space and we'll take care of the Fighters. Quyat out!"

"Well, I don't think he's a member of my fan club yet, but unless I misjudge my, er, man, he'll give it all he's got" muttered Branson under his breath.

The Hishen of coursed launched their full complement of fighters and held them back until a second group could be launched. The (?) insane Hishen carrier design has NO shields, and thus all the Star Navy ships fired  their on her. As they had the initiative, a lucky shot turned one of the four hangar bays into a blazing inferno, incinerating the unfortunate pilots before they could even launch their fighters. The fighters ganged up on one of the Heavy Cruisers (The flagship, Jaguar). 

" Sir, there are SIX flights of Hishen fighters headed our way, and it looks like we're going to be their target." Ishiarra blurted out to Branson. 

The Captain accessed his cortical implant, reviewing the tactical display. He was not pleased by what he saw. "Captain Druhz, you have drifted outside of the 2 click range necessary for our AA batteries to act in sync! Close up with the rest our formation immediately!  Acknowledge!"

"Roger that, closing up. Dhruz out!"

"Dreck!" shouted Ishiaharra. "Those fighters are making their final; attack runs; Panther will be too late to help us knock them off." 

"We'll *really* have to hope Quyat can get past that affair on New Dordecht this time!" replied Branson.

"For what we are about to receive", Ishiaharra intoned the millennia old formula.

As it turned out, Wombat was able to take out two of the attacking squadrons, but that still left 4 to hammer Panther. Fortunately, the resultant damage was sever, but not crippling. "Damage control reports heavy casualties on all decks, major loss of Hull integrity. Gun Turret # 3 and Shield generator #2 are off line!" Ishaharra pronounced, rather unnecessarily as the reports were flooding Branson's brain already.  "Thank God those  Hishen ships don't have enough guns mounted to shoot their way through cotton candy!" the XO added helpfully. "Of course if they can close and combine their missile launchers with another fighter wave..."

"Brandson to Squadron. Concentrate all gun fire on that pocking Mother Ship! I want her bays blazing and he hull venting plasma, soonest, before she can launch even more Fighters!"

"Sir, sensors show heavy damage scored on the Mothership, with multiple hull breaches, and all her engines off line but... two of her fighter bays remain operational. By the taselled teats of Tinola, those damned Hishen hangar teams are well trained; two more squadrons of Heshees are coming our way - still six in total sir. They're forming up..."

"Commander, my implant is operational and I can still *barely* manage to read a tac display, thank you very much!" Branson snapped. "Quyat, Druz, I want every last one of those Hishen bastards we can target shot down this time. "Do it and I'm buying the next three rounds of Confucian Brandy at Spacer's Rest for you... and all of your crews!"

The crews of all three GPSN ships erupted with whoops as all three ships turned in 5 sigma performances!  Still, that left 2 flights of Hishen fliers. This time the Jaguar was luckier - all her remaining gun turrets were knocked out, but hull integrity held at a shaky 25%. The GPSN AA fire bushed also easily brushed aside two Hishen missile volleys from the Patroller and Monitor as well. Branson contemplated warping his ship out, as the Jaguar had little more to offer this fight, but he'd be damned if he'd appear a coward in the eyes of his squadron. "Dhruz, Quyat - Jaguar's a cripple. It's up to you. Kill that mother pocking Mother ship!" he intoned lowly and pointedly. " Oh, and that was might fine shooting by Wombat, Captain Quyat. I believe the drinks will indeed be on me!"

"Aye-aye, Sir!" replied both Druz and Quyat. The Panther's four heavy gun turrets pounded the Mother ship, and it exploded, scattering debris across the system. The it was Wombat's turn. Only one of her two batteries got past the Hishen's shields, but it completely vaporized the bridge of the much smaller ship. Coming hard on the loss of their Flagship, the Heshee next in command evidently decided he had seen enough and promptly warped out of combat. 

With the loss of their Carrier leaving them nothing else left to do, the surviving two flights of Hishen fly boys attempted one last run on the Jaguar; Wombat's AA salvos knocked them out long before they were any real threat. Still full of fight, the surviving Patroller's missile salvo was equally easily deflected, and it's lone light gun turret missed the crippled Jaguar. 

"Why  doesn't that Hishen bastard run for it?" mused Captain Branson out loud. "He has to see it's hopeless now, and we're sure to send the entire ship and it's crew to Hishen hell before long."

"Sir, the Patroller seems to be maneuvering for a final desperate shot up the kilt with his guns..."

"Squadron hard to Port! All batteries fire upon the enemy on my mark... NOW! ordered Branson calmly. The Hishen suffered such overwhelming damage that they were never sure exactly which shot did her in, but every man and woman of the squadron (and at least one Moltulian!) heaved a large sigh of relief as the final Hishen ship blew apart in a spectacular fireball. 

"Sir, sensors report no remaining bogeys in system", reported Ishiaharra, his still somewhat boyish looking face betraying his unbridled relief.

"Ishy, have the Squadron, set course for Delta Zukhona Three." ordered Captain Branson. "Damage control, I'm afraid you have your work cut out for you. However I believe I'll be making the proprietor of Spacer's Rest a wealthy man, and myself a pauper, but hey, you can't take it with you, right?"  proclaimed Branson with an evident twinkle in his pale green eyes. 

Besides, he observed to himself, anyone who joined the Star Navy looking to get rich was either a fool or hopelessly corrupt... most likely both. Anyway, he needed a drink... or three, himself!


This brought the  GPSN "Patrol" Mission to a successful conclusion. This post has gotten long as I got "in" to the write up, so we'll conclude the story of the rest of the Campaign in part 2. Hope you enjoyed this installment as much as Barry and I enjoyed playing it! 

Tune in next time, space opera fans!  :-)



  1. A great narrative, thanks. Looking forward to part two.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it; the rest should follow by this weekend.

  3. Good stuff, I really enjoyed the fluff!

  4. Very well done report. It's been ages since I've played something like this.

  5. Thanks, Mike. SN 5150 is easy to pick up and fast to play....