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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 181

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October 3070
The Battle of Verde - The actors take the stage

Mayetta PDZ
Draconis March
Federated Suns

Precentor Chang slowly stood as the after effects of the jump wore off and leaned forward hungrily barking a single command. "Report."

The adept in charge of the long range scanners looked up with a hint of worry on his face. "It's hours out of date Precentor... But it appears... There is a large task force in system!"

"WHAT?!" Chang snarled and stormed over to the adepts duty station but the sensor readings were self evident even from the pirate jump point that his task force has arrived at. At least three large cruiser sized ships were in orbit over the planet along with no less than seven corvettes. How had the AFFS known they were coming?! It was impossible... Unless... A traitor! Someone had betrayed his task force to the Davions! Either a ComGuard ROM agent or one of the damn incompetent Kurita's had let something slip about Operation Scouring! Still whoever it was couldn't have been fully cleared as they hadn't given the Davions the full strength of the task force. Or they'd have sent more ships. Or perhaps they simply hadn't had the ships to send... Either way he had to decide, whether to commit to action or seek to avoid it. With enemies of the Blessed Blake in front of him it was no choice at all...

Suffren Class Destroyer (Matt Plog)

Suffren Class Destroyer

"Communications! Have the fleet form up around us. All dropships to launch. Fighters to be made ready for a long range strike on the shipyards. Let the bastard Davions feel Blake's Blessed Wrath descend upon their heretical shipyard complex and learn that there is no enemy that Blake's Sword cannot strike down! All ships to load special ordinance! The heretics will burn in holy fire!" He snarled the order as he returned to his command seat. The orders went out and all around the WoBS Ray of Enlightenment her lesser sisters formed up. Along with his Black Lion class flagship, he had the Aegis class WoBS Herald of Wisdom and WoBS Herald of Justice who were a match the three enemy cruisers. A hard fight, but his lesser ships would give him the edge. Along with the three cruisers his task force contained two Dante class frigates - the WoBS Nice & WoBS Paris, two Suffren class destroyers - the WoBS Liverpool and WoBS Birmingham along with four Zechetinu II corvettes - the WoBS Tolai, WoBS Snowshoe, WoBS Natal Red Rock, and WoBS San Jose Brush. While his cruiser line was matched by the enemy he had a massive superiority over their lighter ships, perhaps not in ship numbers but in size and weight! Combined with the nuclear ordinance he was prepared to throw with the first volley it would be enough to break the enemy and allow him to complete his orders to destroy Verde's vital industries and infrastructure...

Fox Class Corvette (in orbit from MW3 art revamped)

Fox Class Corvette, FSS Remagen

Aboard the FSS Remagen, Rear Admiral Walker Clay sat on his flag bridge as the first confirmed reports began coming in. An unknown but suspected Draconis Combine or Word of Blake task force had jumped into the system. They could be here for one of two targets - either Verde's shipyards or for the Nova Cat convoy. He strongly suspected that it was the shipyards, as it was unlikely they could have known the NovaCat's were coming to Verde. Still it was possible. Deep down Clay had always had his doubts about whether or not he had what it took for flag rank. He knew his failings - a tendency to react aggressively and a problem with listening to alternate viewpoints that tended to combine and had earned him a reputation as a "bull in a china shop" flag officer prone to shoot first and ask questions later. Still right now that might not be a bad thing he reflected. Turning to his flag captain he nodded. "Order all ships of the Division to prepare to engage the enemy at point blank range. Clear for action. The system defense dropships and fighter regiment can hang back and cover the shipyard against any long range strikes. The two fleet aerospace regiments and the dropship flotilla can come with us. We'll take the Division down their throats and tear their guts before they can get close enough to do any real damage..."

"And the Cats?" his flag captain asked as the enemy were confirmed to be Toasters...

"Connect me to the NCS Principle..." Clay hung on for a minute as all around him the ship's of his four Fox I corvettes prepared for the fight of their service lives while their dropships detached and began to form up. Finally on the communication screen of the flagship Star Admiral David Leroux appeared. Despite himself Clay couldn't help but feel that the genetically engineered warrior was looking down his nose at him but he buried it deep. "Star Admiral. As you are no doubt aware an enemy task force has jumped into the system. I intend to close with them and drive them off from the vital shipyards. However I cannot rule out that they are here for you and your Clan's convoy. As such I will do my best to allow you time to gather your people and get clear of the system. My orders from Vice Admiral Black were very clear, I am to do all in my power to protect the vital cargo your ships are carrying and you have my word that I and my ships will obey those orders!"

Left unsaid by the Davion admiral was that his ships were extremely unlikely to survive engaging the superior WOB task force bearing down upon them...

"That will not be necessary Admiral Walker..." The Clan Star Admiral smiled sourly but, with respect glinting in his eyes. "My orders too are clear. I am of course to protect the ships and cargo of my convoy, but I am also to take every opportunity to show the people of the Federated Suns that Clan Nova Cats are honorable allies. Abandoning you in this fight would hardly comply with my orders. I will detach the Void to carry it's priceless cargo free of the system with your permission, but I will join your attack upon the surats with my remaining ships, Admiral Clay!"

Recognizing the honor of the Clan warrior calling him by his second name, Clay nodded and couldn't help but feel his own lips breaking into a fierce smile. "Of course Star Admiral... Given your heavy ships addition to the combat power available for the defense I would be happy to cede command to yourself if you desire it...?"

"That will also not be necessary, Admiral Clay. Although my cruisers bring considerable firepower to our joint task force the largest number of ships and attached fighters remain AFFS and it is after all a Federated Suns system that is under attack. I will subordinate myself to your commands, but if I may offer a suggestion?" At the Davion admirals nod Leroux continued. "My cruisers have shorter ranged but powerful guns. We can close with the enemy while your larger number of fighters and dropships give us cover and your Fox corvettes provide longer range support and prevent any enemy vessels breaking past us both..."

"Agreed. If any of your dropships with combat capability can offload their civilians they can join the system defense forces that will be the final line, if that is agreeable Star Admiral?" Clay nodded to his flag captain to begin giving the necessary orders as he and the Star Admiral continued to coordinate the defence of Verde even as their ships began to form up and head out to meet the enemy. Already each Fox corvette had detached a Vengeance class dropship fighter carrier and two A3-Overlords each along with additional assault dropships. Orders to every Davion ship were also sent out via carefully encrypted code - load nuclear ordinance. The WOB was doubtless going to be firing nukes so the AFFS would meet their nuclear fire with it's own from the first volley! The NCS Void was even as the other ships prepared breaking orbit and heading for the nearest pirate point under a heavy escort of dropships from the Clan forces - escorting dropships that would not jump out with her but would return to guard the planet once the Void had gotten clear.

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