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Chapter 33 - The Administrator[]

Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth

Imagine a nice game of chess...or checkers, imagine being an accomplished player of chess, sitting down for a nice game of chess with a lesser player.

Now, imagine that lesser player calling in a ringer to play that nice game of chess instead...only instead of playing chess, the ringer they call in is trying to play forbidden rules rugby (you know, where punching for the giblets is considered fair play and half the players brought knives.)

This is the sensation the Clan naval forces in the Tharkad system are currently experiencing.

Another way of looking at it, still retaining the sports metaphor, is attempting to play tennis while your opponent is running offensive Gridiron plays.

and not following excessive roughness rules.

CJF Jade Aeirie is...well, was a battlecruiser this morning, when she arrived with more than twenty jumpships escorting a Galaxy of forces diverted from the absolute, total and utter reaming of the Lyran Commonwealth. Here to let the Wolves finish taking the local defenses apart before taking those victors apart and claiming the capital world of the Commonwealth for themselves.

That was this morning at around 1300 hours, prior to an urgent emergency meeting with the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cutter Division of the Kowloon Coast Guard Marine.

She gave good account of herself, destroying eight out of the twelve cutters, another dozen shuttles, and twenty fighters. Her own escorting vessels managed to divert or destroy 5 thermonuclear missiles.

The problem being, that was five missiles, out of 32 launched by the squadron.

In an instant, six billion Star League dollars (rounded up) of Black Lion class Battlecruiser was converted into 802,000 tons of radioactive razor-blades and assorted exotic gasses.

Technically, this could be seen as a successful heroic sacrifice, as most of the Jade Falcon forces (wisely) turned around and made for the jump points at best possible speed, escaping the Tharkad system with only the loss of a few trinaries whose dropships were intercepted and destroyed en-route to their transports, and one cluster command vessel that was simply chased down and obliterated by 3rd Squadron's 2nd patrol of cutters.

Nobody, apparently, told the Lyrans that they were supposed to not be able to or willing to use pirate-point. A nonstandard jump point insertions to cross the system, nor did anyone apparently explain to the KCGM that they aren't supposed to use the most effective antishipping weapons available on Dropships, nor, apparently, on heirloom Warships dating to the halcyon days of Star League.

Presently, a number of Falcon-and-Wolf owned Pocket Warships are discovering that they no longer have the tactical manuever advantage, nor the strategic maneuver advantage in the Tharkad system, and the people coming after them don't seem to have the same 'sense of propriety' as they had enjoyed against LCAF forces thus far.

The Nerve on those people!

The Coasties focused not on the fighters, the 'real' combatants, but on their carriers and support ships! Hammering and chasing carriers and gunboats, denying OmniFighter crews places to land and refuel. Forcing them to BURN their fuel.

Steadily, the Clan Wolf control of Tharkand airspace began to degrade, as they lost the orbitals.

Steadily, the Jade Falcon fighter pilots who hadn't made it to a friendly vessel ran out of fuel and were forced to drift, rendered 'hapless' by their small fuel tanks and large weapons compliments, combined with a lack of available refueling assets (because those were driven off or destroyed.)

A fighter with no fuel, even one as advanced as a Clan OmniFighter, is worthless as a combatant, (though it does make a nice range target for calibrating your gunsights.)

In less than 12 hours, the Tharkad System belonged to the Lyran Commonwealth entirely and was time to deal with the ground battle on Tharkad itself.

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