TEC Unleashes ‘Solar Storm’ Campaign
Vasari Occupied Epimethius and Yoshino Fall to Taskforce Turia
Future of Eos to be Decided
The Admiralty Information Agency (AIA) today released new information concerning a string of victories achieved by Trader Emergency Coalition forces. In the wake of last week’s tactical victory in Hirai, as least three TEC taskforces, led by the controversial Admiral Narleen Turia, embarked upon an aggressive gravity well hopping campaign called “Solar Storm”. Although the campaign is described as being in its “initial stage,” senior Admiralty spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jordan Littman confirmed two encouraging victories, one of which involved the annexation of the Vasari planetary hub, Yoshino.
Solar Storm Unveiled
While unconfirmed, anonymous sources indicate that Admiral Narleen Turia was the primary proponent of a sudden, first strike at the flank worlds of the Vasari, an idea she first proposed over a year ago. However, her initial plan met early opposition from the Admiralty because such a move would strip the home worlds of adequate fleet protection. As a result it was shelved indefinitely.
However, with the increasing hostility of the Versari, the sudden appearance of an Advent threat, and the augmentation of Home Fleet, the Admiralty dusted off the old plan, made some “revisions,” and charged Admiral Turia with its implementation. “She was thrilled,” commented Jindra Naval War College professor and confidant of Turia, Prof. Geoff Bennington. “She was still smarting from the premature abortion of the Hirai operation, so any opportunity to get another whack at them made her a very happy admiral.”
Unlike Hirai, Solar Storm was implemented as a much more aggressive operation. As before, Taskforce Turia, led by Turia’s flagship Lazarus, a Kol-class battleship, would lead the way, but this time augmented with an additional Slova-class carrier. An expanded Taskforce Zardre, led by Turia’s most recent wingman, Admiral Keff Zardre, would also participate. However, a third taskforce, led by Admiral Paknn Sush on Talekhi, his Marza-class dreadnaught flagship, would bring a formidable “third wave” to a campaign that was seen an “unrelenting gravity well hop”.
The pieces were all in place by late December (Jindra, local), when the Admiralty gave the go signal. Upon receipt, all three taskforces jumped into Pindarus, a quadrant occupied by a plasma storm that served as an excellent electromagnetic shield cloaking the massing invasion forces. Reports indicate that a Versari scout was encountered, but was quickly neutralized by the fleet’s Cobalt-class light frigate outriders.
The Campaign Map
First stop: Epimethius
Epimethius is often described as little more than “a clump of rocks”. However, these rock clumps are loaded with minerals and crystal, thus making the system very valuable. As such, Epimethius has changed hands at least three times in the past decade, with the most recent change occurring last September when a TEC mining colony was exterminated by Versari raiders, a day that has come to be known as “Black Wednesday”.
Jumping blind, the combined forces were gratified to see the quadrant devoid of hostile Versari warships. With the exception of merchanters, a transport, and some defensive orbital cannons, Epimethius was defenseless. “The fleet made quick work of them,” remarks Littman. “Within hours, the gravity well was scoured of enemy craft and the Vasari mining colony was occupied.”
A Vasari transporter comes under fierce strike wing attacks at Epimethius
While the occupation of Epimethius was relatively bloodless, there were reminders of not so spotless prior occupations. “Our troopers, while doing a reconnaissance of the exterior of the main asteroid base, did come across a number of TEC pressure suits containing the remains of what we believe to be TEC miners. Looks like the Versari vented them out the main pressure lock – whether alive or dead at the time, we’re not sure,” added Littman.
The Fight for Yoshino
Taking just enough time to consolidate Epimethius, two-thirds of the fleet then pushed on to Yoshino, with Taskforce Paknn remaining behind to police the sector and act as a ready reserve. Again, Turia was greeted with a virtually defenseless quadrant, only this time it was not a pile of rocks, but a fully colonizable planet. “Yoshino is a very beautiful world,” commented Prof. Bennington. “To have it right there, undefended and ready for the taking must have been an elating experience for Turia and her cohorts.”
Set about taking it they did…at least until the Versari arrived. “According to the after action report filed by Admiral Zardre, a sizeable force of Versari warships jumped into Yoshino shortly after their arrival. Zardre speculates that their quick appearance indicates they were en route to lift the siege of Epimethius and just stumbled into the Yoshino action.”
Not giving the enemy time to react, Turia and Zardre oriented on the new threat and closed with a purpose. What resulted was a battle that even the experienced Turia referred to in her post action report as “a harrowing experience of constant maneuver, unrelenting fire, and instant death.” Fighter wings clashed in dizzying dogfights, bomber strike groups zipped between sizable cruisers to deliver their payloads, and capital ships embraced each other with particle beams and ion cannons. At one point in the battle, Zarde remarked that “the battlespace had become so cluttered and confused that our tactical comps were shutting down, leaving our bridge crews to make operational decisions based upon guesstimates. It was a most remarkable situation.”
And fierce - so fierce that Turia was forced to call in Paknn for help. “It was Admiral Paknn’s arrival that decided the matter,” comments Littman. For with the arrival of a third TEC taskforce, the Vasari had had enough and broke away from the battle, jumping to Agamemnon. It was here Turia made her gutsiest decision: she decided to follow them. “To allow a heavily damaged Jarrusul Evacuator-class cap escape and repair would have been a strategically incorrect decision,” Turia remarked in her report. “I decided to pursue with all forces, deeming the risk to be manageable.”
Taken by a rear gunner aboard a A-16 bomber, this photo shows the damaged Jarrusul Evacuator fleeing Turia’s fleet
Taking the Fight to Agamemnon
Jumping blind once again, Turia’s forces found themselves in Agamemnon, but unlike the previous systems, this one was packed with Vasari firepower. Remaining as unflappable as ever, Turia ordered Taskforce Paknn to distract the bulk of Vesari forces, while she and Zardre pursued the damaged Jarrusul. Limping from its many injuries, the Jarrusul’s plight quickly became hopeless as Turia and Zardre fired every weapon they had at their disposal. When the end came, it was sudden…and violent. “In the haste of our pursuit,” remarked Turia, “we had forgotten that the Jarrusul is the largest known cap class [capital ship class] in existence. Well…it reminded us.”
A remote probe took this photo of the blast wave caused by the destruction of the Jarrusul-class vessel. Fleeing the area is TDN Alteus, which suffered considerable kinetic damage
Completing their task, Turia ordered an immediate withdrawal back to Yoshino, something accomplished without the loss of a single TEC capital ship. However, both Turia and Zardre’s forces had suffered significant damage, requiring a speedy withdrawal to the drydocks at Agasthenes, leaving Taskforce Paknn to begin the subjugation of Yoshino and to act as rearguard.
The Death of a Planet
Admiral Paknn reported that he was “surprised and disappointed” that the Vasari did not counter-attack into Yoshino. With not much to guard against, Paknn brought his taskforce into a high orbit around Yoshino and proceeded to bombard the planet, all the while broadcasting a demand for an unconditional surrender. Over the next four days, Yoshino would resist but ultimately capitulated on the fifth day of punishing abuse, long after most major cities and military strong points were reduced to ashes by mushroom clouds. “I always hated this part of the job,” records Paknn, “but at least we refrained from using dirty nukes. Never saw the purpose in those.”
Taskforce Paknn’s siege of Yoshino, as seen by a photographer aboard Thanatos, an Acorva-class scout frigate
Eos and the Future
The Admiralty is now reporting that Admirals Turia, Zarde and Paknn have reunited after making repairs and revictualing and are now planning the next stage of the campaign. On the fringe of the solar system is Eos, now isolated from the rest of the Versari Empire. What is to be done with it? “Admiral Turia is mounting an aggressive psyop campaign and is hopeful that the people of Eos throw off their Vesari overlords,” remarked Littmann. Sources confirm the construction of a major ECM broadcast tower in neighboring Yoshino that is selectively jamming Versari frequencies while broadcasting official TEC communiqués urging Eos’ capitulation. Furthermore, Admiral Paknn is overseeing the system's blockade, limiting commerce to the bare essentials.
After Eos? The Admiralty would only say that “we are considering all options.”
Updates as events warrant….