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The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 71

March 3067
Interlude: Case Granite

L-5 Pirate Jump Point
Ridgebrook System, Ridgebrook PDZ
Capellan March, Federated Suns
3rd March, 3067

As the effects of the jump wore of Admiral Davidson leaned forward and stared at the sensor readouts with a single thought in mind: Where are they?! He had been promised support. He and his ships had been promised that prior to their arrival their allies would jump into the system and draw of the Davion warships from around the planet, yet all he could see on the readouts were enemy warships already coming to action stations to attack his task force! Worse, the pirate jump point they'd chosen was so close to the planet that there was no chance of getting away without a fight now!

Snarling he turned to the WOB Precentor who was his "technical adviser". "Where are the Capellans?! We were promised that they would send no less than 4 cruisers or destroyers and I don't see a single ship! WHERE ARE THEY?!"

The WOB adviser, and damn the fact that the Taurian Navy needed said advisers to run their new ships anyway, merely tried to look calmly back at him and glanced herself at the sensor readouts. "I don't know Admiral. But the Davion's are moving to attack..."

"I can see that!" He only b0arely kept the shrill sound of panic out of his voice. The sensor readouts were clear on that point, the Davions had been formed up in 2 formations, each one built around a cruiser with 4 corvette escorts with each formation being in a separate polar orbit. Now those 2 formations were rapidly heading towards his own 4 corvettes and the JumpShips and DropShips they were escorting. He had only minutes to decide what to do and with the jump batteries spent retreat wasn't an option. With 4 light corvettes and a handful of dropships, attack shuttles and what fighter formations could be scraped together the odds weren't just bad, they were horrific. Worse, not only his own ships would be under the Davion guns but also the large number of troop transports that he was escorting. This attack had been supposed to be a modern day Case Amber, striking the assembled Davion forces when they least expected it and destroying their attack before it could launch. The Taurian Defense Force had committed almost every Jumpship and Dropship it could spare along with all 4 of it's active warships! All of which were to be used to ensure that the Concordat Commandos, Gordon's Armored Cavalry, Pleiades Hussars, Pleiades Lancers, and 2nd Taurian Lancers. No fewer than 5 of the TDFs commands had been dispatched for this audacious attack on Task Force Sortek to hit them where they least expected it, as their base on Ridgebrook! His own command had been entrusted with making sure they reached their destination safely!

That mission had been largely dependent on the Capellans keeping their promise. Their ambassador had promised that the Chancellor would dispatch 4 of his own warships to jump into the outer system of Ridgebrook and draw the defending warships out of position 3 days before his own task force was due to arrive. That would have left the orbitals free of enemy ships or at worst case scenario left his 4 corvettes fighting against maybe 1 or 2 Fox corvettes. A hard fight but one that he had been confident he could win. However, now he found his 4 light ships facing off against 2 cruisers and 8 Foxes!

The WOB adviser stepped in closer and almost whispered. "We still can win this... We have the special ordinance. Authorize it's use. Immediately in a first strike on the Davion warships. We can smash them quickly and ensure victory... It's our own chance Admiral!"

For a half second the Admiral hovered on the edge of indecision, but the Lord Protector hadn't hand picked a weakling with no resolve to lead Case Granite! He jerked his head with a nod and turned to his communications officer, who was also a WOB "adviser". "Notify all ships. Turn broadside. All missile tubes to load nuclear ordinance and fire on any target of opportunity. Concentrate fire if at all possible on the enemy heavy ships. The Concordant Navy knows it's duty and will buy time for the ground forces to retake Ridgebrook from the enemy!"

He then leaned forward and keyed a personal communication into the arm of his command chair, linking himself with Colonel Monty Scott of the Concordat Commandos in the dropship Taurian Honor, who was the senior commanding officer of the ground forces. "Monty, things are bad here... You need to run for the planet. I'm going to nuke the bastards, but I'm not sure that will be enough... Get to ground and get in those bastards faces so they can't use orbital fire on you if they win... Good luck and make them pay!"

Even as he sent the message he could feel the TCS Revenge pivoting as it attempted to bring the barracuda missile tubes in the aft quarter of the vessel to bear on the charging Davion ships. All the other warships were doing the same, as the ground forces streaked for the planet in an attempt to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

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