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Saints of a Solar Empire - A SoaSE Story *Book 2 Complete*

By on February 19, 2008 11:58:51 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums


Join Date 02/2008

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.

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February 20, 2008 12:51:05 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Nice story, can't wait to hear the rest.
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February 20, 2008 1:18:32 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
nice when can we expect more?
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February 20, 2008 7:13:15 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Cool! Its fanfic like this that stops me from doing naughty things in my bosses coffee. More!
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February 20, 2008 7:16:21 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
good story enjoyed reading it w e want MORE!!!!!!!!
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February 20, 2008 7:35:19 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
good job

cant wait 2 hear the next part

1 question... why are "we" listening to the TEC its TEC there TEC here....
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February 20, 2008 1:01:25 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Because the TEC is the largest galactic power at this time. They're also the most human, so the readers can empathize with them more and get drawn into the story a little more.

Plus, at this point, there's only the TEC and Vasari, and, in my story, most of Vasari battles are taking place on the Western Front where truly massive fleets are being thrown around.
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February 20, 2008 1:13:44 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Hey if you really want to get into it, try making a blog with some screenshots. I'm doing the same thing, from the advent viewpoint. Check it out:

WWW Link

BTW I think your post is very welldone. Unlike my poor narrative .
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February 20, 2008 1:29:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
That was fantastic! Acutally dieing to read more! Bookmarked
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February 20, 2008 3:10:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Thank you for this nice story.
The last part of the story literally screams for a follow up.
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February 20, 2008 4:23:02 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Saints of a Solar Empire,Part 2: Reprieve

On a galactic scale, the nexus from which TF3 escaped from and the Hades system were close--almost overlapping. However, distance at an inter-galactic scale is so mind-numbingly great that were it not for phase space, humans would have taken decades to reach their closest interstellar neighbor.

Using their anti-matter capacitors, ships are able to punch a hole through the dimensional barrier seperating the 'real' universe with a smaller phase space. What translates to sub-light speeds in phase space propels a ship at several times the speed of light. The only limiting factors of space travel become the endurance of inertial compensators, reactor mass, and enough anti-matter charged power to translate sufficient mass of the ship into phase space.

Of course, phase travel has its own set of risks. For one, even the greatest--known--phase space translators restrict movement to outside the deepest part of a gravity well of a sun and planets. All attempts to understand the why of what happens have failed, but the what is quite clear--the total destruction of the vessel greater than even a matter/anti-matter explosion of a failed reactor.

Phase space is also restricted to 'lanes' between cluster of stars around a central, planetless star. Phasic theorists are still baffled as to why this occurs, but as a rule, the only way in and out of a star cluster is through the nexus. Ships attempting to forge new phase lanes through the darkness between worlds directly to planets have never been heard from again, and any ship plotting a course outside a phase lane has a 70% chance of running across some gavitic, cosmic, or other anomaly, resulting in the destruction of the vessel.

So it was, when TF3, ER-TECN, was ambushed in the Multanna Nexus Star, the closest and, strangely, only connecting system was Hades. What took light years to travel took the task force a little less than a day.

"We're coming up on the phase out coordinates, Captain."

"Very well, Astrogation, take us out of phase space," said Forscythe with the comfort of the mundane and day-to-day affairness of breaking out of phase space. As per regulations, the ship was at General Quarters and the crew was locked down to prevent accidents and injury.

The captain listened to the astrogator countdown to exit coordinates. He felt his ship's slightest quiver as more and more of its systems were brought online and the inertial compensators were brought up to maximum efficiency.

"...Zero! Our ship has left phase space, Captain." And it had. Bleeding megajoules of energy, the ship has slipped from the higher phase back to the 'real' universe, coming to a full stop just outside of Hades' grav well with only the slightest quiver as the inertial adjusted to the small oscillations of decelleration.

"Type seven sun, sir. Energy signature matches the database. We've arrived at Hades."

"Thank you, Owens. Sensors?"

"We're detecting the rest of the task force, sir. Still scanning the system, but all we're detecting not are type six emission with approximately eight type eights."

"Sir," interrupted Lieutenant Focker, "automatic IFF codes are accepted. We're plugged back into the data stream."

Forscythe opened his console and scanned the stream. The remaining frigates had already divided back into battle squadrons. Despite standardized training, the captain had some reservations about mixing and matching ships that had never worked as a squadron before. Still, it was acceptable for what they were...

"Andrew, raise Commodore Priev," ordered Forscythe, with the slightest hardening of his voice. "Inform him that he is the task force leader." And kindly ask him what the fuck he is doing with his squadron, though Forscythe.

The battlecruiser squadron was in shambles. The ships were merely sitting relative to their phase out coordinates. They hadn't even moved into the gravity well to prevent anyone from phasing out directly on top of them.

"Sir," chimed in Lieutenant Anna as she hovered over the sensor station. "Something strange is going on here." Forscythe gestured for her to go on. "The emissions on the battlecruisers--they're showing less power usage than would account for their battle damage. They're operating at about eighty percent of normal specifications."

Forscythe raised an eyebrow. "How is that possible?"

"I believe I have the answer to that, sir," stated Lieutenant Focker calmly.

"Report, communications."

"Sir, the battlecruisers are all mark ones. They're basically civilian hulls, sir."

"Ah." HQ still hadn't gotten around to scrapping them yet? This just gets better and better.

Outwardly identical, Dunov class battlecruisers, like so many of the TEC ships, tended to have two marks. When the Vasari first appeared, the TEC lacked any significent military might beyond system defense forces against roaming pirate bands. As the war dragged on, the TEC confiscated ship hulls, slapped whatever weapons and systems they could onto it, and called it a warship.

However, the first models were failures. Not only were they made with civilian components which tended to corrode and fail quickly, but the ships themselves were designed for merchant efficiency, not the crucible of combat. Any hit which penetrated the shields and broke the armored hull of the ship found a soft center. Blast doors closed automatically, and peripherals were lost. Systems were simply shaked out of the fire control net and forced to operate locally under an increased degredation of effectiveness.

In fact, the only reason Dunovs weren't completely scrapped that no one in their right might would fire at them when there were battleships and dreadnoughts in their weapon-ranges. As fire-supports and cruiser hunters, they performed superbly, but they were eggshells armed with sledgehammers and when they were targetted, they were forced out of combat, one way or another, quickly.

Once the Vasari understood this, Dunov destruction rates began to climb steadily, at which point the TEC fleet designers put into construction the mark twos. The mark twos had reinforced hulls, back up systems, extra control runs--they were proper warships. Forscythe had always wondered what had happened to the old Dunov-Is in the Western Front, secretly hoping they had been relegated to training vessels or decomissioned. Now he knew that they were simply shuffled off to the last place TEC HQ had expected a fight.

"Captain, I'm in communication with Athens. Apparently, Dunov can only transmit through secondary, back-up arrays. Commodore Priev has transferred command to Captain Andrew."

"I see." Forscythe didn't know how he should feel at the moment. With Commodore Priev unable to effectively command his own detachment, much less a task force, Forscythe had suddenly inheirited TF3. However, his responsibility was clear. "Andrew, inform the rest of the task force that I am assuming command. Anna, get on the horn with the other ships and have the Dunovs begin resupplying our ships. Start with the Javelis ships then fighter munitions."

Forscythe scrolled down his screen, eyeing what his ships were reporting in the data stream. His orders were crisp and clear as he managed to pull back the shattered remains of his command from an untrained mob to a trained rabble. Fifteen minutes after assuming command, his ships began to form up and proceed away from the gravity wall.

"Has there been any change?"

"Not since their first message, Crusader Altima," reported the communications officer.

The crusader thought for a moment, relaxing as she soaked up the thoughts and emotions of the bridge crew. There was discipline, but there was also excitement generated by the news of a TEC, the new name of an entity once known as the Trade Order, task force, followed by their reports of a Vasari fleet following on their heels. Just as the scout vessel reported.

Of course, the TEC vessels had been granted safe passage. The Republic of Hades only had two oversized squadrons of light frigates as its entire offensive space force. However, their requests for assistance had been denied, though they had been given free passage through Hades space to the exit coordinates that would--eventually--lead them to a wormhole which would allow them to escape their pursuers.

"Force Leader Shaitan will keep her units between the TEC units and the planet. Are they still on course?"

"Yes, Crusader. Our pre-cleared course will bring them within range of Nibelheim, and the Crusade is under strict emissions control, as per your orders, M'lady."


The Crusader turned to attend to another matter of duty. She didn't need to look at her subordinate to feel her smile. It was hard...and predatory.
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February 20, 2008 4:36:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Great story. btw I've added you in my thread in a list I'm making of different Sins stories. (So far you're the only one )Well your still at the top
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February 20, 2008 6:06:52 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Awesome, keep it up
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February 21, 2008 7:14:50 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
i am addicted to this story more more moreeee!!!!
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February 23, 2008 7:41:13 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Nice second part !
And you know really well how to make people wanting more (at least me)with just only one word:

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February 24, 2008 3:56:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
comon! more please!
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February 24, 2008 4:42:39 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
very well put together definetly bookmarked keep it up bro   
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February 25, 2008 8:18:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Saints of a Solar Empire, Part 3: Sucker Punch

"Sir, sensors reporting a massive phase out!" reported the sensor rating. Forscythe had to almost force the first shift to their bunks or the mess to ease battle weariness. If the Vasari had followed their standard operating procedure, they would have waiting for repair and resupply before attempting to use their superior speed to chase down the isolated task force.

Unfortunately, the Vasari in command hadn't believe in standard operating procedure.

"Gate out echo matches tonnage and numbers for the Vasari fleet, sir."

"Sound general quarters."

"Aye, sir."

Forscythe studied his personal sensor screen as the Vasari began to shake down their formation and proceed towards the task force. It was unfortunate, Forscythe though. If he had known the Vasari admiral--or whatever they used to denote rank--was going to be this rash, almost arrogant, he would've positioned himself to throw another Vandenberg Twins into their faces.

As it was, he only had a few surprises waiting for them.

"Inform Captain Holden that her bombers have permission to engage.


Percheron-class light carriers were designed and deployed under severe time constraints, following the Vasari invasion. Extremely austere, the Percheron ships carried little more than two squadrons of strike craft and point defense to protect themselves from the errant missile or strike craft.

And TF3, TECN-ER, still commanded twelve of them.

Combined with the remaining Dunovs, Forscythe had sixteen squadrons of bombers who were unshaken and at full strength, while the Vasari strikecraft had been mostly gutted in the running battle.

When Captain Holden, the commander of the Pecheron squadrons, received permission from the flag, all sixteen squadrons suddenly swooped down into the Vasari blindspots.

It had been a risky and audacious plan. Bombers had minimum life support and if they waited too long, they would be unable to return to their tenders. However, the rashness of the Vasari commander in rushing his forces had created the perfect opportunity.

The Vasari, like the TEC, used a layered system when advancing towards the enemy. Outside of missile range, the only danger came from fighters. Because of this fact, the Vasari advanced with their Sentinel-class anti-strikecraft/missile ships with their missile and light frigates sandwiched between the cruisers, battlecruisers, and capital ships with point defense to spare.

Unfortunately for the Vasari, all their point defense weapons were pointed in the wrong direction--a ship could not cover their direct rear because of their engine pods.

The Vasari were not caught by total surprise, but as close to it as possible. Their point defense picked off several bombers before they closed on their attack runs. Unfortunately, point defense was useless against bomber missiles that were as blindingly fast and self-immolating as TEC researchers could create.

Forscythe lacked enough bombers to make the strike decisive, but another Maurader-class battlecruiser fell out of formation, shields down and streaming atmosphere, two heavy cruisers exploded as their reactors went critical, and eight Assailant-class missile frigates joined their comrades as cosmic debris.


"...and eight of their missile frigates."

Forscythe listened to Lieutenant Focker's reports as he once again occupied the main communication station. There was a light cheer, and Forscythe knew that those little bombers pilots should have won the DSC with that little stunt. A battlecruiser, two heavy cruisers, and eight missile frigates destroyed or driven out of combat by sixteen squadrons!

Unfortunately, the Vasari had not died alone. Seventy percent of his bombers had died after that first success as Vasari anti-strikecraft weaponry was brought fully to bear on the retreating craft. He would not be able to do it again.

Forscythe pressed opened a circuit at his arm rest. "CIC, this is the captain. When will the Vasari enter extreme missile range?"

"Fourty-five minutes, sir."

Forscythe closed the circuit without another word. Combat Information Control was desperately working with the TATA computers aboard the Cielo-class command cruisers and didn't need to be disturbed more than necessary. "Anna, inform the fleet that we're adjusting to formation Beta-four. If the Vasari want a missile duel, we'll just have to oblige them."


Forscythe smirked. "This Vasari didn't wait for his forces to be resupplied, and our Dunovs carry plenty of surplus ammunition. Between our PD and Gardas, we have plenty of anti-missile fire, probably more than their missiles can take. They'll have to aim carefully while we'll be able to go rapid-fire from the beginning, especially with our battlecruisers and dreadnought to thicken our missile launches."

"Aye, sir. The fleet has acknowledged the command," gestured the Lieutenant Commander towards the shifting light codes where the more vulnerable ships moved to the front of the task force while the Garda frigates and capital ships clustered along the trailing edges of the formation.


Forscythe sat in his command chair, the shock frame secured, along with most of the other crew. His emergency helmet, however, was not attached just yet. His first captain had been a great man, and had instilled in Forscythe the ability to put the rest of his crew at ease by many acts, both large and small.

"The Vasari vessels are closing into extreme missile range, sir."

"Inform the fleet that all missile ships are released to fire in the standard pattern," ordered the flag captain.

The fleet shifted slightly as the Dunov battlecruisers, Javelis LRM frigates, and the single Marza dreadnought turned a broadside towards the advancing Vasari ships and belched a full missile barrage.

Dozens of the sprint little missiles charged at the enemy, and all were aimed at six lightly armored Assailant-class missile frigates.

Assailant frigates were not designed to absorb shocking amounts of damage, like most frigates. They were designed as long-ranged snipers, depending on the rest of the fleet for protection, as it could not be guaranteed that the enemy would not aim for them while larger vessels hung in the enemy view screens, like the light frigates depended on.

Despite the defensive fire of the entire fleet, three of the frigates shattered with another bleeding air and the last with its shields half down.


Forscythe had expected the Vasari to immediately start opening fire as soon as they came into range. Normally, he didn't complain when his enemy allowed him to score, effectively, free kills, but there was still an awful lot of tonnage out there heading towards his ships.

"Sir, the Vasari formation is shifting."

Forscythe's head looked up towards the screen even as his informed him.
"It appears that they're peeling off their frigates, sir."

Forscythe nodded. TEC frigates were faster than battleships by about eighty percent, and Vasari vessels were faster than their terran counterparts.

"Sir, CIC revises its earlier assessment. The Vasari frigates will enter efficient missile range in six minutes."

"Understood. All missile ships are given permission to go to rapid fire mode."
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February 26, 2008 1:30:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Keep it coming!! (darn I cant access the smileys)
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February 26, 2008 2:23:54 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Simply amazing story.. Well done!

Would you mind if I posted the first three parts in a sci-fi forum I frequent? I'll assign you full credit of course, and link back to this thread so others can keep up to date..

Keep it coming, and I'll wait to hear your permission before copying the story..


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February 26, 2008 4:24:58 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
mmmm FanFic goodness i must have more...  keep it up
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February 26, 2008 4:49:41 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Yeah, sure, Trippedup, though you may want to wait until later this evening when I post the chapter finale.
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February 26, 2008 6:18:41 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Ok, waiting like a little girl who's about to lose her virginity..

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February 26, 2008 6:37:44 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
*rapes trippedup*

im loving it
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February 27, 2008 1:20:37 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
Saints of a Solar Empire, Part 4: The Price of Betrayal

The Assailants and Sentinels with Skirmisher escorts closed in steadily through the missile storm until the TEC vessels entered their effective firing envelope. At extreme ranges, missiles only had enough drive power to reach the targets with minimum or no evasive manuevering, allowing point defense plenty of time to refine tracking on the missiles. However, the Vasari missiles were able to perform complex vector changes, confusing fire control and vastly increasing their missile surviveability.

They were hurt going in, losing another four Assailant-class frigates, but then they entered the range when Assailant missiles were devastating and even the anti-fighter missile armed Skirmishers were deadly to targets as lightly armed as terran Javelis vessels.


"Sir, the Athens has lost all shields and the Fraser reports substantial casualties in engineering. She's down fifteen percent off her maximum."

Forscythe nodded at Anna's report. At first, the missile exchange had been fairly even, which had favored the terrans as the Vasari didn't have the ships to absorb that sort of punishment. However, between their third and fifth barrages, the Vasari had switched from targetting most of the LRMs and Dunovs to tracking the Marza-class dreadnought Blair Fraser, and two dozen of their phase missiles slipped through the surprised latticework of defensive fire to crash against the dreadnought's stupendous shields. A third of the barrage slipped through the Fraser's shields and impacted directly into its armed, tearing it asunder and killing weapons and people.

Several more missiles slipped through in the next broadside as point defense crews expected the Vasari to finish off the wounded dreadnought only to have them switch priorities back to the frigates and battlecruisers. The LRM frigate Caprison paid for the mistake with the loss of all hands.

"Tell the Athens to retreat further ahead. She'll be nothing but a liability with her shields down. Status on the enemy?"

The lieutenant commander didn't even have to check the display. "We've only destroyed two more Assailants and three Sentinels, but we've driven most of the Skirmishers out of battle. They're retreating back to the capital ships."

Forscythe nodded. They knew how important the Sentinels and, especially, the Assailants were, and Skirmishers were strictly short ranged attack frigates. With the in mind, they were seeded among the Sentinels and in front of the Assailants. Whenever it looked as if one of the immolating missiles would collide, the Skirmishers would drop their ECM and act as magnets for the missiles. The tactic had worked, and exponentially increased the surviveability of the missile-ships, but had reduced their strength dramatically. By the time the last of the air-streaming wrecks had retreated, Forscythe was down to half-magazines.

But they were gone now, and Forscythe felt a smile creep over his lips. Without the light frigates, and despite the withdrawal of the Athens and the damage to Fraser, the Assailants and the Sentinels were about to pay dearly. Now, if only those missile-heavy Marauders could be persuaded to come in alone without the Devastators and Desolators to support...

"Sir, the Assailants have gone to rapid-fire!"

Forscythe's head shot up. Between their losses, the Vasari only had thirteen Assailants left and fifteen Sentinels. The Sentinels didn't go to rapid fire, but in a minute of rapid-fire, each Assailant put eight missiles into space, and the Sentinels put an equal number with their extra launchers adding to their multiple launches. Over two-hundred twenty missiles streaked towards Task Force 3.

Because of the staggered launch, Forscythe's ships only had to face a few dozen at a time, and point defense knocked out almost half of them. Another third lost tracking as over-extended computers aboard the Assailants simply failed to lead their children to the enemy. Sixty-eight missiles entered terminal tracking and crashed against the task force.

Forscythe rocked in his chair as, despite all odds, a single missile wormed through the fleet and collided with the shields of his own Paul Schuegraf. As the massive Kol battleship stabilized, reports came flooding in and Forscythe realized how truly lucky his ship had been. Thirteen LRM frigates had been destroyed in the launch, most of them with weakened shields through the engagement. Two more battlecruisers had had their shields battered and several missiles had passed through and rent their massive armor installations, and...

"Sir, Athens reports total system failure. She's little more than a hulk, and Captain Andrew has ordered the crew to abandon ship and--oh my god!" Forscythe looked at Anna's screen and watched as liquid fire ran along the battlecruiser's inner hull, renting and blasting, the metal seams in the armor buckled and ruptured and, finally, seventeen hundred men and women disappeared as the Athens' anti-matter reactor containment failed. There was no debris--simply a great flash of light and expanding gas.

"Captain, CIC advises that with our reduced speed due to combat damage, the rest of the Vasari fleet will enter effective missile range in three hours, two hours short of the gravity wall. They should enter short-range combat fourty minutes into the missile engagement." The lieutenant commander pressed at her ear where her communicator was placed. Forscythe saw what she was about to say in the data stream. "The Marauder battlecruisers have detached from the Devastators and Desolators. We'll enter their effective envelope in one hours, on the far side of Nibelheim."


Crusader Altima sat at her command chair, watching as the TEC and Vasari light codes disappeared from the main holo-tank. The arrival of the Vasari task force had been cause for concern, and the Crusader did not care to have both defilers in her system at the same time. It looked as if the problem were about to solve itself with minor changes to Altima's own plan as the battlecruisers raced forward to meet the damaged terran units.

Still, even if the Vasari annihilated the TEC vessels, they would almost certainly wreck the orbital infrastructure before leaving, perhaps even bombard the surface. They couldn't lock the world down, not with their lack of any troop transport vessels, but they could and would ruin years of effort and put the people of Hades back into pre-space ages.

Altima sipped her hot beverage, an ancient recipe her maid crafted with exquisite care, as a single point of oscilatting light appeared on the holo tank. The point where the crusader's forces would move into action when both invaders would be most occupied with each other.


Slowly the two forces began to close with the black asteroid-moon of Nibelheim watching over them like some arcane death god. The TEC forces knew they were doomed--they were too damaged, too depleted, and too shaken, while the Vasari battlecruisers were more than enough to destroy every capital ship in the terran force.

The range began to fall, and the battlecruisers opened fire at extreme range. They did not go into rapid fire, for they had also depleted their missile stores, but battlecruisers carried far more munitions that craft as small as their Assailant cousins. They would wait until powered missile range until they pounded Task Force 3 into dust.

Forscythe listened with calm expectation as damage reports trickled in. Shields were battered and armor was destroyed as phase missiles slipped between the protective fields. Weapons were destroyed and people were crushed as explosions ripped through their ships. After so much death, Forscythe didn't even react when the Javelis vessel Zetis spiraled out of formation and blew apart under a swarm of phase missiles.

"Anna," Forscythe finally said, "is everything ready for Plan Vandenberg?"

"Yes, sir," replied the exec with collected calm. "The task force will proceed as ordered once the Vasari enter effective missile range."

"Very good."

The Battle of the Vandenberg Twins had been the TEC's first victory against the Vasari, according to civilian reports, and it was, in a sense. In truth, it had been an exercise in mutual slaughter in which the terran ships had been fed into a meat grinder of Vasari plasma and beam and phase missile weaponry, where the terran short-ranged autocannons, lasers, and missiles could be used best against a superior foe.

A very young Lieutenant Forscythe had ridden the battle aboard the Sebastian Kol and watched as his admiral had hurled his ships past the space-equivalent of knife fight range, forcing his vessels almost shield-to-shield against the Vasari. Forscythe would never forget the trouble look on his captain's face as she relayed the admiral's permission for ramming runs against Vasari Devastators.

Plan Vandenberg was simple. Once the Marauders were in their most effective missile range, the TEC forces would simply turn around and accelerate at maximum speed towards the enemy. Marauders were missile heavy ships, their equivalent of the Dunovs, and Kol beam weaponry almost had the range of powered missiles. If Forscythe could gut the battlecruisers, perhaps some of his own smaller ships would be able to scatter and return to TEC territory. He had no doubt that there would be no ship heavier than a cruiser left when they were finished.

Engineering had assured him that they had plenty of redundant control runs. If the Schuegraf had power, it would have engines, and that was fine with Forscythe.


Altima watched as the range fell in her holo-tank. She had expected better of the infidels. Were they too cowardly to face their own death? Perhaps. Perhaps they still believed that some miracle would force the Vasari to disengage, or reinforcements to arrive. Sadly, neither would be the case, and the crusader expected the terrans to keep running as the Vasari pounded them to pieces. It would be fitting, in a way, she supposed. The thought reminded her of the custom of euthanizing ailing pets.

She raised an eyebrow as there was an abrupt change in the TEC formation as the Vasari battlecruisers entered powered missile range. A smile tugged at the corner of her lips as the task force adjusted course to charge straight at the incoming enemy ships with what had to be every available strike craft they had left. So, they were not cowards after all, but perhaps they sought death after all, and couldn't live in fear.

"Crusader," spoke the force captain. "Choir reports that the situational change has not affected the original estimate."

"Very well. Sound the alert, then. Our prey is almost within reach."

The force captain nodded without another word and retreated out of Altima's view. Her eyes were focused on the green, pulsating holographic representation of the six Vasari capital ships slowly clearing Nibelheim.


"Andrew, patch me through to the rest of the task force."

"Aye, sir," replied the diminuitive lieutenant in his typically quiet voice.

"When the Vasari first appeared, we didn't stand a chance. All we had were antique ships and weapons designed to hold back the occaisional pirate force. We had no fleet, no unified military force, nothing, and we were slaughtered in droves.

"But still, we fought them. The cost was high, indeed. We lost many great men and women fighting them, slowing them with our blood and dead. We did this because the alternative was unacceptable. For free terrans to become nothing but slave labor? For our livelihoods to become nothing more than melted slag as the Vasari stripped our worlds clean? For our culture to become suppressed and erased, and humanity to become nothing more than intergalactic cattle? Intolerable!

"All who die in the defense of our way of life are heroes! To die for the sake of others is the greatest calling we, as the TEC, can have. We did not start this battle, but, by God, we will finish it and make those damnable aliens ever sorry they engaged us in battle!

"You all are drawn from this sector, from the Eastern Reaches. You fight for your friends and loved ones, and every charred alien corpse that you send to drift amongst the stars will be one less assaulting their worlds and burning their lives to ash!

"It has been an honor commanding you all. The TEC may never know of our victory here, but it shall be a victory nonetheless. All ships, fire at will! Give no quarter!"


While Dunov battlecruisers and Marza dreadnoughts were primarily long-ranged combatants, Kol battleships truly shone at a closer engagement range. They were heavily armored with the best shields and armor that the TEC could afford, and each ship were armed with four massive beam cannons with ranges almost equal to terran powered missile envelopes.

As one, twelve beam cannons fired from the three remaining Kol battleships, and each one raked over a single Vasari Marauder. Vasari technology outclassed terran equivalents, but no battlecruiser in known space could hand such firepower. Even as the Vasari's shields adjusted frequency and attenuated the strength, they rippled and collapsed.

But the battlecruiser was only naked for moments as the terran battleships continued firing, rending armor and puncturing the hull of the battlecruiser. Reactors went into emergency shut down and damaged caused the air inside the hull to ignite, sending waves of fire throughout the battlecruiser, incinerated the crew and destroying weapons.

After a single devastating broadside, a single Marauder tumbled out of formation, nothing more than a powerless hulk, crew suffocating as environmental plants failed.

Terran fighters, bombers, and rapid-fire missiles followed those beams in as the Kols shifted to another target, and Marauders spat swarms of phase missiles and medium-ranged heavy pulse beam projectors, even as the Devastators and Desolators grinded on towards the battle.


Altima felt the crew's excitement as the Vasari creeped over the point of light.

"Force captain."

"Yes, M'lady?" replied the captain, barely a hint of anticipation coloring her voice.

"Give the order."


Forscythe grunted as another hit rocked his ship. The ranged had now fallen to autocannon and laser fire as the two forces interdicted, and it fell further. The terrans went past knife-fighting into the range of teeth and claws. Three more Marauders had died underneath his force's fire, burning them from space even as his shields, ships, and crew accepted reciprocating fire.

The Marauders were being destroyed so quickly because Forscythe was deploying his full strength against each at a time, knowing full well something like two-thirds of his damage was being nullified, but he had no choice. He had to destroy as many as possible before his missiles ran dry and before his ships started to die. Already most of his vessels had thirty percent shields and were streaming atmosphere.

Forscythe watched as another Marauder's shields went down and his fighters, zero ammunition, followed the beams in, piloting their craft like homing missiles and rammed into the gouged battlecruiser hull. All dozen ships disappeared together in a flash of light.

"Sir, I'm picking up some strange emissions from Nibelheim," reported Lieutenant Beaufort, affectionately called 'Beau', the sensors officer.

Well, of course, thought Forscythe. Nibelheim had a rather large mining operation that was putting out all sorts of interference, thanks to the Hades government forcing the task force to stay at range of the actual planet. Beau shouldn't've been confused by some dirt-mover's smelter...

"Captain!" cried Anna. "We're detecting another fleet! CIC designates Force Two!"


What Forscythe had said was true. Nibelheim was a massive asteroid rich in materials useful for starship construction. As such, an impressive foundry had been raised on the planet to mine the valuable resource, and between the heat and electronic noise generated by such an operation, most starships tended to avoid such installations for a reason.

Force Two had been hiding in the shadow of Nibelheim's black face with their emissions cut to almost zero, and lost to space. Neither the Vasari nor the TEC were looking for the ships as they 'knew' where the system defense forces were, and even if they had, it would have been almost impossible to distinguish Force Two from a hole in space.

And now the ships powered up, shields raised and targetting systems activated.


"Status on Force Two!" commanded Forscythe, though his officer training kept him from shouting like some snot middy.

"Detecting sixteen battleship-range frequencies, along with twenty-four battlecruiser range and thirty plus frigates, sir!" replied Beaufort through his shock.

"Sir, CIC reports that they're beam armed," reported Anna, pressing her ear piece harder. "They're engaging the Vasari capital ships!"


Devastator class Vasari battleships are the most powerful vessels in known space. While the Desolators are bigger, they are mostly ranged snipers. Devastators are designed to engage the enemy closely--to take damage that would cripple a lesser vessel without a second thought, and to throw their full weight of fire into the enemy's teeth. The first generation Kol battleships of the TEC needed better than four to one odds to take on a single Devastator.

The Vasari knew this. There had only been one foe who had ever offered a challenge to the Lord of Destruction.

Their surprise was complete when over one hundred beams from Force Two targetted and fired on just two Devastators before they had even began to turn.

There was nothing left of the twin vessels--neither debris nor life pods. Heartless computers evaluated the data. There was no need for such over kill.

Twenty seconds after the first devastating strike, a hundred more beams fired and erased another two Devastators and a Desolator from existance before they had finished coming about.


Once Force Two had entered the battle, it became a rout. The Marauders, having seen their fellows slaughtered like helpless rodents before the claws of birds of prey, they broke away from the crippled wrecks of the terran task force, using their speed advantage to break and attempt to flee even as Force Two turned its vengeful beam cannons on the defenseless Vasari frigates.

It almost appeared as if the Marauders would escape until Force Two launched almost one hundred squadrons of strikecraft, moving faster than terran, or even Vasari, strikecraft could possibly, they intercepted the Marauders, armed with the same beam technology as their mothership counterparts, allowing them to rake the Marauders over and over without breaking off.

The last Vasari battlecruiser was annhilated twelve minutes before the phase limit.


Forscythe looked into the face of the too-young woman commanding Force Two. The admiral of the United Hadean Confederate Defense Force had commed the captain shortly after the last Vasari units had been tracked down and destroyed.

Forscythe had surprised the urge to want to strangle the girl--Admiral, he corrected himself. If they had merely coordinated when they first met, so many of his people would still be alive.

He shook the notion from his head. Her first priority, of course, was her own world. He couldn't fault her for that, at an intellectual level, and it was because of the Hadeans that any of his people were still alive, aboard their air-streaming wrecks, all their shields uniformly down and only a small collision away from total reactor failure.

"...and so I apologize, Captain. It was unfortunate I could not come to your aid sooner nor communicate with you without revealing my presence. As the Hadean representative, I am willing to offer you amnesty and a repair birth for your vessels. I am also prepared to shuttle over medical personal to see to your wounded. If you wish, we can discuss the terms in person while my hospitallars see to your wounded."

The captain thought for a moment. He didn't particularly like letting foreigners on board, but he didn't have much choice. There were already several hundred dead aboard his ship, and he knew the Fraser must be a charnal house of death at this point.

"Very well, Admiral Altima. I accept your offer, and please accept my invitation."


Crusader Altima cut the circuit as she and the trader admiral exchanged farewells. A small sense of satisfaction creeped over her as she reflected on how well the computer imaging software hid her surroundings and her more offensive aesthetics to the desecrator.

"Are the missionaries prepared?"

"Yes, M'lady."


Jackson Forscythe waited in the boatbay in his dress uniform as well as a marine honor guard. It had been difficult to scrape up such a detachment after so much battle damage and death, but it was his duty as a representative of the TEC. We still have our pride, he thought, and we damn well deserve it!

The Captain had felt a sick sense of relief as the trio of battleships slid in next to his shattered command. They had been streaming air like so many of his vessels, and he had the distinct feeling that even if their shields had not been raised, there wouldn't be that much left. These had to be their least damaged battleships.

Of course, they had to make a show of their own prowess, he understood. Still, it was relieving to know that no one could tangle with Devastators, no matter how numerically superior, without taking some hard licks in return.

The shuttles were a bit much, though. Assault Shuttles were designed to carry formations of troops down into surface combat. Heavily armed and armored, they were some of the largest un-phaseable ships in space. Forscythe could use the medical personel and supplies those ships carried, but having them delivered in such heavily armed shuttles was a bit heavy handed.

Still, the captain thought, he would reserve judgement until he met this Admiral Altima. After all, they may have a good reason for such a need to impress. When this is over, though, he would have to introduce them to civilized trader behavior.

These thoughts ran through the captain's mind as the shuttle settled into place and adjusted pressure. The ramp slowly creeped down, the light from the inner hull of the shuttle snaking out around the ramp.

Shock ran through the boatbay as the TEC crew looked not upon trained medical personel but assault troops in gleaming powered combat armor carrying some of the most advanced anti-personel infantry weapons in space.

Captain Jackson Forscythe, Trader Emergency Coalition Navy, Eastern Reaches, died before he could even reach for his sidearm as a hundred small hyper-velocity disks ripped through his body and embedded themselves in the hull behind him.


"Commander, I'm picking up some weird readings from those battleships."

"What do you mean, Beau?" asked Anna as she leaned over Beaufort's console to check his readings.

"They've stopped leaking air, and we're picking up some weird emissions, like they could be targetting links."

Anna frowned as she checked the data to confirm it. It could be any number of things. The sudden stopping of air could just mean that they've sealed the compartments exposed to space. Likewise, hull-penetrating scanners could be mistaken for targetting beams, which is why Task Force 3 wasn't exactly trying to unlock any technological secrets at the moment.

"Well, I suppose we should inform the captain and--"

"Sir, we've lost communication with the boat bay!"


"Commander, those battleships have just raised their shields!"

Anna quickly turned back as the first battleship opened fire on the surviving frigates. Frigates, being as vulnerable and small as they were, didn't need the medical personel shuttles like the rest of the fleet did, and so they were fully crewed by TEC humans, and they couldn't be allowed to escape.

Astonishment, confusion, and anger ran through the bridge as the Sherman Cobalt-class frigate broke in two under a battleship-range beam cannon.

"Commander," shouted Lieutenant Focker, the normall quiet and reserved communication officer. "Captain Holden reports that they've been boarded!"

Anna turned quickly to face the lieutenant as another comm channel opened. "Commander, this is Sergeant Arnolds, we've got boarders! We've been pinned down on deck seven! They've got engineering!"

"Andrew, open a channel to the rest of the ship."

Anna started speaking as soon as she heard the chime. "We've been boarded. These Hadeans have betrayed us! All crew report to the armory if you can and prepare to repel boarders!" She quickly cut the circuit.

"Tactical, get me a targetting solution on the lead battleship."

"Aye, ma'am!" responded Lieutenant Shannon as she worked her console, then stopped. She then smashed her fists against it. "Commander, we've been locked out of the system, and weapons and shields are non-response! They've cut the power."

Anna felt her face pale. With engineering and the power plant taken, the Schuegraf couldn't fight, move, or resist.

"Ma'am, Captain Holden reports that her ship still has power. She's making a run for it."

Anna nodded. If she could get away, they could warn the sector capital about this. Their deaths wouldn't be for nothing!

All hope vanished as a capital beam cannon smashed into Holden's ship. The Ausprey Pecheron-class light carrier blasted apart as the beam tore her in two, killing over four hundred TEC personel and an unknown number of boarders unable to fully suppress the crew.

Anna felt sickness welling in her gut. These weren't human--they were abominations! To betray the injured under a flag of kill their own when they couldn't complete the betrayal!

"All of you, get to the weapons locker on deck one. Arm yourselves and good luck."

The bridge crew nodded and raced for the exit without another word. They knew what she was trying to do.

It was standard protocol. Not one created by the TEC, but one far older, bred into every system defense man and women through the centuries--don't let your vessel be taken by the enemy.

Anna felt tears stain her cheeks as she slid into the captain's chair and accessed the console. Over the open communications channel, she heard a familiar voice shouting. She concentrated a little harder and discerned the voice of Commodore Priev.

"We surrender! Stop killing us, by god! We surrender!"

That worthless piece of slag, thought Anna. That vile, wretched worm!

Anna snarled, her resolve back as she activated the console and inputed the self-destruct code...then froze as the computer rejected the code, and the terminal powered down.

Over the channel, another voice opened. A soft, feminine voice echoed through the TEC ships even as another wave of assault shuttled billowed from the battleships.

"Attention traitors, betrayers, and desecrators. We have suffered your existance for a thousand years, but no longer! We are exiles no longer--we are the Advent, and we have come to claim what is ours. Surrender now, and join the Unity, or face oblivion."
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February 27, 2008 1:22:38 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums
End of Chapter 1.

Hope you all enjoyed it, especially the last part which almost doubled the whole chapter, whew!

If anyone has any questions, please don't be afraid to ask, and, as always, your praise is appreciated.

Also, anyone who wants to guess on how TEC naming conventions on the Kol battleships and Marza dreadnoughts works, if you get it right, you'll get a cookie.
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