Archive for campaign

Turn 7: The Minbari Stand Alone

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Campaign, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 20, 2009 by redcoat668

The new year saw the beginning of a new turn in the A Call To Arms campaign, as the League made a concerted effort to wipe out the now isolated Minbari.

Having removed the Earth Alliance as a factor with a convenient peace treaty, the League of Non-Aligned Worlds unleashed four major battlefleets, hitting the Minbari at Volk’s Star and Rilus V, as well as sending re-enforcements to finish the Minbari fleet at Wuj. In the face of this massive wave, the Federation could only re-enforce their main fleet at Volk’s Star and their treaty starbase at Caesar’s Folly and pray to Valen for deliverance.

In the meantime, the Centauri, readying themselves to open hostilities with their major rivals the League, found their plans interrupted by a Tza’sol Narn raid on Defiance which pinned their system fleet and forced the Centauri battle fleet targeting Henders to return to fight the renegade Narn.

Still smarting from their turn 6 defeats, the Kha’ri Narn brought their heaviest ships into Ancona and awaited the inevitable League counterthrust into the system, which came in the form of another huge (4 points Armageddon huge) fleet.

And so, the stage is set for the final battles of the MinbariLeague conflict. Can the Minbari, alone,  hold off the hordes with their superior technology? Or will their presence in-sector be reduced to the single starbase in Caesar’s Folly…a base situated in the uneasy neutral space between the Earth Alliance and Centauri Republic

turn7map

Turn 7 Battles:

Volk’s Star (D6): League vs Minbari

Rilus V (A6): League vs Minbari

Wuj (D8): League vs Minbari

Defiance (F8): Tza’sol Narn vs Centauri

Ancona (G7): League vs Kha’ri Narn

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Turn 7 EA Retrospective: You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Posted in A Call to Arms, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , , on January 18, 2009 by redcoat668

SCENE: The camera pans across a starfield lit by a beautiful purple nebula. A convoy of three freighters and a liner moves through space, with Starfuries accompanying. We hear the radio traffic of the convoy as the camera gradually focuses on a single ‘Fury with a point-down broadsword painted on top.

SHOT: Int. Cockpit and a PILOT

PILOT: So…I hear you and Jessica are quits.

2nd PILOT: (over radio) Yeah…we got the papers finalized Tuesday. She’s keeping the house, we’re splitting part time custody of the kids, and I got the dog.

The camera pulls back out and upward over the convoy.

PILOT: (over radio) Still…that’s something, right?

2nd PILOT: Not really…I hate that damn dog.

Several jump points open simultaneously, and two Takatas and many Brakiri fighters appear.

MUSIC OVER: Juno Reactor: Navras.

PILOT: Crap…two jump points and multiple targets. Brakiri ships, you have entered Earth Alliance space. Please state your –

The Brakiri fighters break into an attack run. One of the freighters is hit and begins spinning away from the convoy.

PILOT: All ships, all ships. Incoming Brakiri contacts are hostile. Break and attack. Break and attack.

The camera judders as if it’s been hit and then begins to spin lazily across the battlefield revealing the Earth and League ships engaged in a furious battle around the now burning convoy ships.

RADIO VOICE: (faintly) This is Earth Liner Weber to all Earth ships…we are under heavy attack…breaking up…in the name of God there are children on board…

The camera pulls back and we can see that the action is taking place on a conference room screen aboard Victoria Station. Admiral redcoat668 and his staff do not look happy. Also present are JULIE MUSANTE, Earth diplomat FREDERICK LANTZ, and a very sanguine looking BRAKIRI delegate.

redcoat668: (tapping his foot) Well?

BRAKIRI: Most tragic, Admiral. What a senseless waste.

redcoat668: Well at least you admit –

BRAKIRI: (cutting him off) All Brakiri marriages contain an embedded pre-nuptial agreement that is legally binding. That man would at least have gotten half the value of his house had he taken such precautions. 

redcoat668: Oh that’s IT!

LANTZ: (interrupting quickly) I have spoken at length to the ambassador, and he assures me that these were rogue fleet elements not acting on behalf of the Brakiri government or the League of Non-Aligned Worlds.

redcoat668: Rogue elements not bothering to remove their fleet markings or change their fleet encrypts.

BRAKIRI: That’s how they come off the showroom floor, Admiral. We’re not responsible for their use after the buyers sign the waivers.

He ostentatiously hands redcoat668 a stack of forms. LANTZ beams happily.

redcoat668: You’re like a race of evil used car salesmen, aren’t you.

MUSANTE kicks him.

LANTZ: In any case, this new treaty clearly defines our respective areas of influence in this sector, and should prevent any further incidents.

BRAKIRI: Excellent. Then I shall withdraw and inform my Emperor.

redcoat668: “Emperor”.

BRAKIRI: I’m sorry?

redcoat668: “Emperor”. You have to verbally add the quotation marks to evoke the level of respect he deserves.

BRAKIRI: Of course. Forgive me. (he leaves

LANTZ and MUSANTE are all smiles. redcoat668 and his staff confer.

CARRIERE: No offensive operations? After they killed all those people?

redcoat668: Nope. So we sit here. And wait for more ships. And take a window seat when those bastards and the Centauri start tearing each other to pieces after they finish with the Minbari and Narn.

CARRIERE: And then?

redcoat668: And then…someone has to pick up those pieces, don’t they? The question is simply when to start sweeping.

CARRIERE: Brilliant. Every race in the sector is at war and we’re the janitors.

KAER: You know you’ll never get authorization with Lantz here.

redcoat668: Point. Something’s got to be done about that guy.

YUN: There could be…an accident.

redcoat668: Something not obvious. Until then…I’ll just have to handle him with my trademark charm and tact.

YUN and CARRIERE exchange uneasy looks, but redcoat668 is already approaching LANTZ and MUSANTE.

redcoat668: (laying on the charm) You know, Mr. Lantz…I’ve been wondering since you arrived: are you related at all to Walter Lantz?

LANTZ: (surprised) Why…yes…in fact I am.

redcoat668 (genuinely equally surprised) Seriously? Woody Woodpecker Walter Lantz?

LANTZ: Actually, yes. You know I’m very surprised, Admiral. I don’t often run into people who know about that particular bit of 2oth Century historical arcana.

redcoat668 (with newfound reverence): Mr. Lantz…I insist that you have dinner with me.

SCENE: A restaurant aboard Victoria Station. redcoat668 and LANTZ are sitting at a table together with a large green neon sign reading BENNIGAN’S – OF EARTH behind them. redcoat668 is enthusiastically attacking a plate of wings while LANTZ picks gingerly at a salad. redcoat668 has clearly been talking at length, and LANTZ is not enjoying himself.

redcoat668: -and another thing…what about that poor walrus? He never could catch a break, could he?

LANTZ: (spearing a crouton) I suppose not.

redcoat668: You know…this is really enjoyable. Just think…we can have dinner together every night while you’re here and share our appreciation for your ancestor’s work!

LANTZ: Oh…well…you know, I actually have to leave for EarthDome tomorrow. Something…uh…suddenly came up.

redcoat668: But…but I thought you were staying here for at least a month after the treaty was ratified.

LANTZ: No…and I’m afraid my shuttle leaves early tomorrow and I must depart to pack. Thank you for dinner, Admiral. (he leaves as quickly as he can while still remaining dignified)

A WAITER approaches with a pitcher.

WAITER: Another drink, or just the check, sir?

redcoat668: (looking wistfully after LANTZ) Why is it that sometimes getting what you want is just as painful as not getting it?

WAITER: I don’t know, sir…I’m working to pay for a useless Art degree, not a useless Philosophy degree.

redcoat668: (holding out his glass) Top ‘er up, Caravaggio.

FADE OUT

The Battle for Business Mission: Narn vs Narn

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , , on December 3, 2008 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 6/April, 2261

Scenario: Flee to the Jumpgate (modified)

Terrain: One jumpgate.

Situation: With the Tza’sol position crumbling in the face of Centauri aggression, the remnants of the Narn Regime decide it’s time to forcibly bring their breakaway brethren back into the fold. A powerful Kha’ri loyalist task force is formed to take the jumpgate at the lucrative trade world of Business Mission and destroy the Tza’sol fleet there. As the attackers deploy from hyperspace, Narn on both sides prepare for that bloodiest and most unforgiving of battles – brother against brother.  

TO&E:

Narn Regime:

  • 1x Bin’Tak
  • 8x G’quonth (shipbreaker mines)
  • 1x G’tal

bobs_fleet

Tza’sol Narn:

  • 1x Ka’Bin’Tak
  • 4x Bin’Tak
  • 5x G’quan
  • 1x Var’Nic
  • 1xT’loth
  • 2x Rongoth

scott_set_up

Turn 1: The Tza’sol admiral kept his fleet in tight formation as the loyalists exited the gate, leveraging the longer range of his mines over the loyalists more powerful but shorter-ranged shipbreakers. His Bin’tak, the only ship in range, peppered the loyalists with mines as they deployed into their own battle formations.

end_turn_1_bob

end_of_turn_1_scott

Turn 2: Now ready for battle, the loyalist Narn trained their heavy lasers on their Tza’sol opponents and let fly while contuning to advance. A shot from their flagship tore into the Tza’sol Ka’bin’tak’s engines, rendering it immobile, while a G’quonth sliced her heavy laser into a Tza’sol Bin’tak’s main reactor, producing a critical explosion before the Tza’sol engineers could activate safety protocols. The resulting explosion and accompanying wave of Cadmium-2 radiation killed the entire crew instantly, leaving the ship adrift (there were three 5-6 crew crits in a row!). The loyalists were not wholly unscathed, however, as their opponents’ mines and firepower took their toll.  A lucky hit brought the loyalists’ G’tal flagship to a halt, leaving both sides’ admirals in the unenviable postion of having to conduct the battle from stationary ships – and boresighted on each other. Trying desperately to avoid the massive blasts of the Tza’sol mines, loyalist and Tza’sol fighters engaged each other in their own dance of death.

end_turn_2

Turn 3: Like gunfighters, the loyalist and Tza’sol flagships stared each other down – and then unleashed their firepower. The G’tal got the worst of the exchange and was left crippled and with only a skeleton crew to keep her running. The loyalist admiral promptly transferred his flag to the Bin’tak. Meanwhile, the heavily damaged loyalist cruisers were concentrating their fire on the Tza’sol dreadnoughts, their combined fire destroying one Tza’sol Bin’tak with what would have been a most satisfying explosion – had it not engulfed four flights of loyalist Frazis.  As the battle raged, engineers aboard both flagships worked frantically to repair battle damage. The loyalists succeeded in repairing the damage to their Bin’tak’s engines while the Tza’sol Ka’bin’tak fixed its faulty fire control systems.

turn_3_end     

Turn 4:  At last the loyalist fleet had reached shipbreaker range, but with its numbers sadly depleted. The shipbreaker mines of the loyalist G’quonths wreaked tremendous damage on the Tza’sol fleet, but the remaining ships were not enough to turn the tide of the battle. The Tza’sol Bin’taks quickly finished off two more loyalist G’quonths, and a final Bin’tak salvo destroyed the Loyalist flagship. With no direction from their Admiral, the remaining loyalists individually broke contact and fled for open space.

end_turn_4

Aftermath: The Tza’sol forces made a thorough sweep of the area for survivors, and the loyalist prisoners found themselves well-treated. Among those recovered were the loyalist Admiral and his staff, all of whom immediately defected to the Tza’sol (the alternative -execution by the Kha’ri for this fiasco, was unpalatable).

The Tza’sol Narn, whose stock had been at a low ebb after their well-publicised failures against the Centauri, gained a great deal of prestige in the sector from their victory at Business Mission and many of the burgeoning Narn expatriate population now began to see them as a valid alternative to the Kha’ri-in-exile. 

The Earth Alliance, unsure which Narn faction most deserved an autographed Molly Rome photo, instead spent the money on some buffalo wings and a copy of Johnny English as a morale booster. Molly Rome did not attend the showing, though she sent a nice note.

Molly Rome comforts the Narn

Analysis: With two roughly equal Narn fleets, this battle ended up hinging on the advantages of regular vs shipbreaker mines. Given the slowness of Narn ships, the regular mines proved significantly more useful as Scott was able to cause considerable damage over time as Bob tried to close with him. The attrition effect of mines really racks up over several turns.

Thanks to Marc for the pics and rough notes!

The Second Battle of Ope’diar, Raid on Janegann: Minbari vs League

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , , on December 2, 2008 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 6, April 2261

Scenario:  A Call to Arms

Terrain: None

Situation: As the League defend their Ope’diar staging point from the Narn, a Minbari raiding force simultaneously jumps in-system near the industrial world of Janegann. Though his forces are already stretched to the breaking point, the CnC Ope’Diar scrapes together a small battlegroup to defend this vital source of war materiel. Sacrificing his system defence ships to lure away an over-eager Minbari commander, the League task force commander now faces the remaining fleet elements.

TO&E:

Minbari Federation:

  • 3x Sharlin (one diverted away by a Raid)
  • 2x Tinashi
  • 1x Nial wing

League of Nonaligned Worlds:

  • 2x Takata (BSS Stormbringer, Takata)
  • 2x Kaliva (BSS Will of the Prophet, Tears of the Prophet)
  • 3x Varl (VCS Banshee, Spectre, Wraith)

league_setup

Setup: The League defenders set up at the centre of the board, with the Minbari approaching in two wings.

Turn 1: The Minbari struck hard and fast, ripping into Stormbringer and knocking her engines offline. The League defenders quickly recovered themselves, heavily damaging one of the oncoming Tinashis with concentrated fire.

turn_1end

Turn 2: Will of the Prophet finished off the damaged Tinashi, and quickly found herself the focus of unwelcome attention from the Minbari. Heavy engine damage turned her into a floating gun emplacement in short order, as the rest of the League ships continued to pour firepower into the Minbari fleet. Meanwhile, Stormbringer’s damage control parties quickly got her engines back into working order.

turn_2 

Turn 3: Finally in range, the Minbari fighters tore into the League ships, though one flight was downed by Stormbringer’s anti-fighter defenses. Tears of the Prophet blasted apart the remaining Tinashi, while accurate Minbari firepower destroyed the fire control (and crews) for Stormbringer and Takata’s forward guns.

turn_3_in_progress

Turn 4: Drifting through the remains of the Tinashi, Tears of the Prophet’s captain brought his ship about and did his best to keep the Minbari off of the still immobile Will of the Prophet. Nials buzzed around the stricken Kaliva like hornets, but Will’s captain kept his head, and his anti-fighter defenses destroyed the remaining independent Minbari fighters.

turn_4_come_about

Turn 5: The superior firepower of the Shar’lins now began to tell against the damaged League ships. Will of the Prophet, her DamCon crews still frantically struggling to repair her engines, was raked by heavy fire and crippled. She was soon joined by Stormbringer, already heavily scarred by combat.

turn_5

Turn 6: For one crucial moment, Tears of the Prophet’s sensor crews got a fix on one of the Shar’lins. She lined her grav lance up and let fly, gouging a gaping hole into the Minbari cruiser’s aft section and surgically removing her engines (and engineering crew). As the second Shar’lin lined up on Will of the Prophet, her captain regretfully bid his ship farewell and ordered his crew into the lifepods. Moments later, Will was an expanding cloud of burning metal fragments. At this point, the League commander recieved word of the successful defence of the Ope’diar starbase, and gave the order to withdraw there.

 

turn_6_ugh_he_got_me

turn_6_ugh_he_got_me_again

Aftermath: Tears of the Prophet’s crippling shot on the Shar’lin saved the League task force, as the Minbari commander declined to pursue with half of his available cruisers out of action. Tears of the Prophet managed to recover almost all of Will of the Prophet’s crew complement, and her captain and crew recieved a sizable bonus from a grateful Brakiri Syndicracy for their excellent combat performance.

With both his Shar’lins repaired, the Minbari commander knew it would be only a matter of time before a stronger League force arrived to evict him from his new conquest, and he began to send parties of Warrior Caste marines to the surface of Janegann to destroy any stockpiles and means of production that could not be transferred to his ships. The running battles between the Minbari and the Janegann planetary militia continued throughout the month.

Analysis:

Marc says: From a tactical standpoint, I planned on not having initiative for most of the game and sent experienced ships to this battle.  Upon losing set-up, and the scout based re-roll, I set up in the center of the board.  The reason for this was so that I would get a decent shot at something on turn one, regardless of how far away he positioned his ships. 

Gary split his formation into a weak side – strong side layout.  I went to the weak side because I thought I would be able to kill both of these ships quickly if I used the entire fleet against them.  It took 3 turns, not 2 as predicted. But this was not really a large problem.  I had ALL of my fleet remaining.  Some minor damage had been taken on most of my major ships.  At this point the biggest issue was the multiple critical hits to engines.  Basically, the one Kaliva had become a pillbox.  I still had the advantage in numbers and the scouts were doing a great job of lowering his stealth and concentrating weapons fire.  So I turned into the Sharlins. 

Critical hits won this one for Gary.  As soon as my turn was completed, the forward arc weapons went down on BOTH Takatas and were not heard from again.  Even so, the battle came down to a final throw of 16 dice to create just four hits and finish off the first Sharlin.  I only got three.  We had played up to the time limit and agreed to finish the turn.  Had the game gone just one more turn…   This was a very tight game.  Even our economic losses in ships are identical.  2x battle and 1x Patrol vs. 1x War and 1xBattle = 45RR.

Thanks to Marc for the pics, notes, and analysis!

The Battle for Ope’Diar: Narn vs League

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2008 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 6/May, 2261

Scenario: A Call to Arms

Terrain: Jumpgate in League deployment area.

Situation: Hoping to disrupt the concentration of the Non-Aligned fleet before it can begin a new drive into Minbari space, a large Narn force attempts to take the League staging point at Ope’Diar. Unfortunately, the Bin’Tak slated for the assault is drawn off by a daring Vree diversionary raid, and the rest of the Narn fleet jumps in-system into the teeth of the League’s fixed defences.

TO&E

Narn Regime:

  • 1x G’tal
  • 8x G’Quonth

League of Non-Aligned Worlds:

  • 1x Brostilli Warbase
  • 2x Shodrama sattelites
  • 1x Varl (VCS Ghost)
  • 1x Brokados (BSS Brokados) -2 falkosi cap
  • 2x Brivoki (BSS Street Justice, Desire) -2 falkosi cap/ea
  • 1x Convoy Guardian (Fearless)
  • 2x Urik’hal (Rich, Powerful)
  • 3x Strike Carrier (v1s) (Pelosi, Heinlein, Crusade)
  • 1x Patrol Ship (Officer)
  • 2x Ikorta (BSS Ikorta II, Regard)
  • 2x Tiraca (BSS Peace, Calm)
  • 1x Takata (BSS Catapult)
  • 2x Falkosi flight
  • 2x Sky Serpent flight
  • 6x Delta V1 flight

The League fleet prepares to defend Ope\'Diar

Turn 1: Alarms howled aboard the League ships and base as the Narn fleet roared out of the jumpgate. The Narn admiral immediately split his command into two divisions, one with the G’tal as its flagship to assault the Warbase, and four G’quonths to deal with the sattelites. The Warbase assault group immediately ran into strong opposition from the League defenders. While their Frazi screen downed any Sky Serpents foolish enough to attempt a torpedo run, heavy fire from the Brivokis Street Justice and Desire reduced the G’tal to a burning hulk before it even had a chance to fire a single mine. Meanwhile, the Warbase and its defense satellites concentrated their fire on the second division, causing heavy engine damage to the lead G’quonth.

The Narn position themselves to assault the Warbase

Turn 2:  The Brakiri defense sattelites were no match for the firepower of a single Narn G’quonth, much less four, and were soon transformed into so much floating debris. With the G’tal no longer a threat, the Brivokis began to concentrate on the G’quonths, and Desire burned one out and left it to drift. The Narn fighter defenses, however, remained highly effective and 4 Sky Serpent flights and a Star Snake were destroyed or scattered by Frazis or accurate gunfire from the G’quonths. 

The League fleet arrives and the battle switches into high gear.

Turn 3: With the satellites destroyed, the Narn desperately tried to recombine their cruiser divisions while under heavy fire from both the base and the enemy fleet. A G’quonth wrecked Ikorta II, but one of its division mates took a grav lance through its fire control center, knocking out all its weapons. Damage control teams rushed to get the fire control system back on line, but as they arrived a secondary explosion roared through that section of the ship, incinerating them instantly (that ship failed every repair roll it made…and never got to fire again for the rest of the game). As if in vengeance for the dead Narn engineers, another G’qonth sent a heavy laser slicing though the Warbase, neatly carving off an entire section (48 damage in one beam shot!).

Babylon 5 - Parking Wars!

Turn 4: A Narn heavy laser sliced VCS Ghost in half,and the Vree warship was soon joined in death by the hapless Patrol Ship. At the same time, the Narn fleet was dying. Their reinforced hulls had held up well against the almost constant stream of energy and and flight after flight of missiles being poured into them, but they could only withstand so much. One after another, three G’qonths rolled over and began to burn as their crews ran for the lifepods. Only four Narn ships remained, and half of those had been reduced to frantic skeleton crews.

With half the fleet destroyed, the Narn attack begins to falter.

Turn 5: With half of his fleet adrift and burning, the Narn admiral gave the order to disengage. As the ponderous G’quonths tried to come about, the League fleet went on the offensive. The Tiracas and Urik’hals destroyed two Narn cruisers, and Catapult  finished another. The remaining pair of Narn ships continued to make a run for open space.

Turn 6: The League continued to pour fire into the retreating Narn. One G’quonth blew apart under the continuous salvoes, damaging Catapult in the process. The Takata emerged from the cloud of burning metal and floating Narn casualties and fired a crippling shot into the last G’quonth, which was finished off moments later by Fearless. All that remained of the Narn attack force was drifting wreckage and the constant wail of the homing beacons on the Narn lifepods.

The remaining Narn ships are chased down one by one.

Aftermath: When it became clear that the Narn fleet was no more, the League admiral ordered an intensive search of the area. This was met with enthusiasm by all the races represented in the fleet: the Brakiri and Vree sought prisoners to ransom back to their families and potential salvage, and the Pak’mara viewed the vast number of drifting corpses strewn throughout the battlefield as a gigantic frozen meat locker.  The League fighter pilots, who had performed poorly throughout the battle, were harshly disciplined (the Brakiri were fined, the Vree shunned from their groupmind, and the Pak’mara sent to bed without supper).

Among the survivors repatriated was the Narn admiral, whom a court-martial completely exonerated. Narn captives without financial resources were either allowed to join the Tza’sol Narn fleet or imprisoned.

Having secured their Ope’Diar base, the League launched a wave of retributive raids on Centauri commercial shipping. Some raiders even reached Earth Alliance space.

Analysis: This was a tough one for Bob. Between the fleet and fixed defenses, he was completely outnumbered and outclassed, especially after the loss of his Bin’tak to the diversionary raid. Under the circumstances he acquitted himself well, causing heavy damage to the Warbase and destroying two ships. 

His one arguable mistake was dividing his fleet. The defense satellites really didn’t need 4 G’quonths to take care of them, and that additional firepower might have meant that Marc would have to spend his cash on an entirely new base rather than just repairing damage.

Thanks to Marc for the pics for this battle report!        

 

EA Turn 5-6 Retrospective: A Staff Meeting

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Campaign with tags , , , , on March 31, 2008 by redcoat668

SCENE: Conference room aboard the Orion-class station Victoria in orbit above Gustaviv’s Regret. Eight Earthforce officers are seated around an oval conference table set against a large picture window in which TF PEGASUS and its supply elements are framed holding station above the planet. Admiral redcoat668 activates a holotank which displays a rotating representation of the sector map.

redcoat668: All right, let’s hear it. (motions to his ADC)Petheridge?

PETHERIDGE: The last set of re-enforcements from Earth built us up to 12 ships of the line, plus capital-class support elements and full fighter complements. We’re officially back to where we were before Saguntum III and Caesar’s Folly.

General mutterings and unhappiness as this name is brought up.

redcoat668: I know…I know. That entire experience was pretty much crap, and it knocked us out of the game for about two months. Fortunately, while the rest of us were getting our butts lovingly spanked by the Centauri, General Yun’s exploration fleet was filling in our map of the sector. General?

YUN: We’ve added around eight new systems to the catalog, some of them with deposits of both germanium and Q-40. We’ve also established two jumpgates at Da’Valk and Tubanos. We’ve also got a bunch of random anomalies, ship graveyards and comets and whatnot.

PETHERIDGE: Commercial traffic is starting to flow through the gates and the Joint Chiefs sent us an entire battleship group to protect our new interests in the sector. May I introduce EAS Prospero, Morgana, and Maerlyn(the holotank image displays three Warlock-class destroyers)

EAS Prospero awaits sealer.

GENERAL CARRIERE: whistles. So they’re finally deploying the new Warlocks?

redcoat668: Just our “trial” battlegroup, and EAS Warlock herself which is staying in Earth orbit, firmly in the public eye while our three beauties undergo combat trials out here where nobody’s watching. I understand there’s some kind of stopgap “hybrid” ship program going on as well, but the President refuses to let those be deployed outside Alliance space.

general eye-rolling. GENERAL KAER suppresses the urge to make a wanking motion.

redcoat668: They’re just in time too, because our new Centauri “friends” are eager for us to begin joint offensive operations against the League.

KAER: And you told them that we’re not even close to being able to take on the League and their “Emperor,” and that even if we were we have a Presidential Order forbidding us from doing so, right?

redcoat668: I told them that we’d meet our treaty obligation to defend the Minbari, and that, gentlemen, is what I intend to do.

The holotank displays a map of the Minbari/League front:

The Minbar-League Front

redcoat668: We’re calling it Operation MARATHON. Essentially, we’re cutting down the Centauri front and repositioning to defend our new jumpgates and assist the Minbari before their crystal-waving and interpretive dance is erased from the sector by the Brakiri.

We’re going to concentrate at Moshelle, which, thanks to General Buechner is now squeaky clean and Raider-free. That way, we’ll be positioned to use either the Tubanos or Da’valk gate on the attack, and also to defend against nasty surprises coming out of either gate that the system defenses can’t handle.

CARRIERE: And if the Fanheads decide to break our agreement and roll up our systems?

redcoat668: I’m hoping that they’re going to be too occupied with the League to think about that for another couple of months. By then, hopefully, my request to the Joint Chiefs for additional fleets will have been answered.  We’ve got a sizable fleet at the treaty base in Caesar’s Folly, and Gustaviv’s Regret is only a jump away from Moshelle. Besides Emperor Cartagia and President Clark both have their signatures on that agreement, and we all know what that’s worth.

repressed snickers  

redcoat668: All right then…let’s get it done.

a scuffle is heard outside the room. suddenly the door bursts open and JULIE MUSANTE enters, followed by a sheepish-looking Earthforce marine with an SBS patch on his shoulder. 

MARINE: I’m sorry sir, she insisted on-

MUSANTE: (interrupting) Admiral this is the FOURTH time that you’ve held a staff meeting without informing me. Do I need to show you the Executive Order requiring a Political Officer to attend all such meetings yet again?

redcoat668: Hey now…let’s not get all crazy here. This isn’t actually a staff meeting…it’s more like an informal chat since I’ve got the privilege of having all my Task Force commanders in the same place for once. Look: we have donuts!

MUSANTE gives him a withering look and then stares significantly at the holotank which is still displaying the fleet deployments to Moshelle. The other officers try to look like they’re not paying attention.

MUSANTE: That had better be a defensive redeployment I’m looking at, Admiral.

redcoat668: Yes Ma’am, it is that thing.

MUSANTE: Good. Because I don’t want what happened before I arrived to happen again. You know…where you almost scuttled President Clark’s treaty with the Centauri…

YUN: (muttering) The one where we embarrassed ourselves by letting them pound the Narn back to the stone age with mass drivers?

MUSANTE: …with your completely unauthorized attack in Saguntum III.

redcoat668: Ms. Musante, I can assure you, on the life of the dog that regulations do not permit me to keep here, I am not planning ANY offensive action this month.

MUSANTE: Good. And next time you hold a staff meeting, Admiral, I’d better hear about it. (she leaves)

redcoat668: All right…donuts are gone, let’s get going.

the officers file out except for CARRIERE and KAER, who remain behind

redcoat668: Sometimes I actually envy Sheridan. Nothing to do but sit on Babylon 5, rake in the funds from commercial traffic, and complain about the government. No Nightwatch, no Executive Orders, and no effing Political Officers. Plus he did not-

CARRIERE: I know, I know…he did not sleep with that woman.

redcoat668: She was so much nicer before I did.