Well, since there's no story section to the forums (hint hint), I've decided to post a little story set in the Sins universe here. If popular, I'll continue it. The story begins ten years into the TEC-Vasari War, just before the involvement of the Advent. I've taken liberty with certain elements (which I can chok up to balance-needs for the actual game), and I hope you all enjoy the story.
Saints of a Solar Empire, Part 1: The Road to Hades
"Four Devastator class ships closing from astern, Captain!"
"The Carrigall reports total system failure!"
"Captain, we've reached point Alpha!"
"Release the fleet for staggered phase jump! All ships are authorized to withdraw as soon as they cross the well!" Captain Forscythe commanded. He tried not to think of the twenty-five hundred individuals who just became cosmic detris as the Kol-class battleship systems were overwhelmed by the Vasari phase missile barrage. Nor did the captain try to think of the gaping hole in his own ship where the flag bridge had once when the Schuegraf's shields were pierced with one of the alien's missile storms.
The Captain felt the hum as the anti-matter reactors came online, quickly charging the capacitor rings. Already, most of the frigates had escaped into phase space requiring less anti-matter and proportionately less time to charge to enter the over-layed dimension. Despite his orders, however, a squadron of Garda-class flak frigates remained at the well-limit, bleeding Vasari bomber and fighter squadrons as they tried to pounce on the fleeing fleet units who were without the benefit of fighter cover as the carriers fled into space.
And then Forscythe's ship slid over the the gravity well of the nexus star along with her sister ship and a surviving Marza-class dreadnought. The ships powered up, to Forscythe and their crews, an aganozingly long time to power up even though he and they knew that the ship engineer crews were cutting the safety margins to zero, if not less. They ran the risk of catastrophic failure--when matter met antimatter, explosion was an understating term--but the risk of termination far outweighed the minor possibility of something as mundane as system failure.
The flag captain slumped slightly against his shock frame, having too much stubborn discipline to openly sigh. Unlike most of the Eastern Reaches fleet, he was a veteran of combat having been a mere system defense captain ten years ago. However, he gave himself a moment to feel a flicker of pride at the way his own crew had performed.
No, they weren't vertans, but they were the product of the TEC's newest training programs--the first generation in memorable history to be fully trained to serve in a unified military force for the whole, not just isolated systems, and they performed admirably. There was no hesitation in the execution of their orders, and they knew their duty.
Unlike the first few fleets who had met the Vasari in battle, where discipline and courage were found in short supply.
Forscythe quickly pushed the thoughts aside. "Communications, tie in with CIC and report on the status of the rest of the fleet according to their last data codes. Anna," said Forscythe, addressing his exec, "status report."
The slender-framed terran girl, no more than twenty five, and appearing in her late teens thanks to advances in medical science, took a moment to compose herself. The running battle with the Vasari Task Force had run the entire crew ragged, and she took a moment to check the displa before turning to her captain.
"Shields are down to fourteen percent, but they held. Any damage we sustained was due in part to the ability of the Vasari missiles to bypass our shields a certain percentage of the time. Point defence is down to eighty percent standard efficiency, Beam Three was cut from the curcuit when a missile hit the starboard side, and Doctor Hannoi reports that we have suffered approximately two hundred dead with another three injured to varying degrees. We also suffered a direct hit to the flag bridge with one hundred percent casualties, including Vice Admiral House and Rear Admiral Jerry."
The captain winced internally. Admiral House had been a good man, with a fair amount of tactical and strategic mindedness, and his loss had caused unnecessary confusion during the battle. His loss also meant that command should have passed to the next slot in the chain of command. Unfortunately, the same hit that gouged the fleet flag deck had had to cut through the battlegroup command deck which housed the Admiral commanding the capital ship component of Task Force 3, ER-TECN.
Forscythe had taken a grave risk in not passing command. The next ranking officer had been Commodore Priev commanding the battlecruiser component, and he, Forscythe thought after reading the Commodore's dossier, was a coward. He would've ordered the fleet to break cohesion and run for it. Which might have been acceptable, had the Vasari not enough ships to break with them and still destroy them...
"Captain, I have your report," almost-whispered a voice from across the room. Lieutenant Focker was a slender man from a low-grav world much the same as Forscythe's exec. Focker's voice was not quiet out of fear, but out of habit from being able to talk clearly and concisely without slur, stutter, or a need to repeat.
"Let's hear it then, Andrew."
"Aye, sir. The Carrigall was lost with all hands, reducing our capital count to four--three Kol battleships including the Schuegraf and the Fraser. Our over-sized battlecruiser battlegroup is now an undersized one with the loss of Virgo, Kronus, Cancer, Greece, and Deneb. The Dunov suffered severe damage to her shield generators and anti-matter capacitors. She's still combat ready but only on standard reactors.."
The Lieutenant paused for a few moments before continuing. "Heavy Cruiser Squadron 657 and 435 have been lost, including the command cruiser. However, CruRon 414 and 512 are undamaged. Both squadrons of light carriers are unharmed, Captain! We've lost three fighter squadrons worth of craft, but our bomber squadrons are intact since they were never launched. According to last report, Commodore Cruze was attempting to reorganize the fighter squadrons."
Focker let out a soft sigh. "Unfortunately, sir, our screening elements were hit hard. All three scout frigate squadrons were lost--we think the Visari bombers were intentionally aiming for them to prevent us from stripping them out and sending them for reinforcements. None of our light frigates were destroyed, but once our LRMs opened fire, the Visari hit them hard. We're down to two squadrons of the Javelis ships, and two Garda squadrons."
Forscythe appeared calm as he tallied up the losses. One Kol battleship, five battlecruisers with another possible damaged beyond combat ability, ten heavy cruisers as well as their two command ships, eighteen scout frigates, and twenty four LRMs. Those fifty ships had cost the task force over twenty four thousand dead. Forscythe's squadron coherency was shot except in those rare cases that entire groups of ships were destroyed instead of one taken from squadron A and another from B.
"Anna, tell damage control to give top priority to shield generator repair and clearing the circuit to Beam Three. They can put it in manual if they must, but we're going to need it when we exit phase space. Andrew, what's the status on the Vasari Task Force?"
The Lieutenant continued without breaking a beat. "There are four Devastator class battleships and two Desolator class dreadnoughts. Our LRMs managed to destroy one of their Maurader class battlecruisers and we believe one was too damaged to continue. At the time of our phase out, it had not fired for two minutes. Their heavy cruiser squadrons are intact, but our LRMs traded missiles favorably to their Assailant heavy frigates and the Sentinel class defense frigates. We estimate that they only have two squadrons of the Sentinels and three of the Assailants. Unfortunately, their entire light frigate strength is intact at eight squadrons."
Forscythe remained thoughtful for a moment. Even without their technological advantage, the Vasari outnumbered TF3 and outmassed it around 3:2. With their tech advantage, Forscythe faced almost twice his own firepower.
Forscythe queued his pad. He knew of the system they were headed to but none of the details. Hmmm, a desert planet by the name of Hades. Not the most hopeful of names, and it was a neutral system which pocketed the Eastern Reaches, too stubborn or too far to accept Trade Order invitation or TEC might. Still, it was a poor system and they might slow the Vasari down. They would at least leave the task force alone, especially with an alien fleet inhabiting the system. At best, they would have enough forces to even the odds.
"Alright, Focker. Anna, you and the Lieutenant grab Beau, Shannon, and Jerome and meet me in the conference room. Let's brainstorm a few options for what's left of the fleet."
Neither the TEC Task Force nor the Vasari fleet, despite their more advanced technology, detected the nimble little craft under strict emissions control during their pitched battle, and by the time they reached a point where they could detect such a miniscule phase out with explosions and ECM playing havoc with their systems, no trace of the ship remained.