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The Silent Black Ocean (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 20 - The Silent Black Ocean[]

Battle of Idrmach
Idrmach Star System
Chainelane Isles, Deep Periphery
September, 3165

(Just when it looked like things were going well...)

The plan had been solid, and with a fraction of the tonnage, they'd been giving the Clan Cameron class Battlecruiser hell....literally.  But as Charlie Vanh was wont to say during the various conflicts of the 3050s, "Then shit goes downhill."

Downhill' could be code-speaking dogwhistling for 'The clanners bring in their buddies.

Seven Cutters at 98,000-something tons plus one smaller one at 77,000, is almost a tonnage equal to 860,000 tons of Terran-built, Clan-refitted advanced warship-if you screw your eyes the right way. There's a small advantage in being able to execute unconventional tactics, and with the nuking of the combat dropships and the EMP flatlining of fighters, things were almost...but not quite even.

For example, this is a Coast Guard unit-naval personnel clinging to an organizational ethos that civilians must be preserved at any cost, fighting Clanners who brought their civilians in the hold.  this means no nukes, the single biggest equalizer the cutters have, neutralized from the start don't nuke civilians.  This isn't the Quarantine, they aren't carrying a world-ending plague.  You just don't fire nukes at them.

That's because it's the Coast Guard, the move to board-and-neutralize is within both organizational experience running down bandits and shipjackers.  they're pretty good at this, pretty good at null gee combat, and pretty good at knowing HOW to make a ship stop working enough to take it over-but that's not against 860,000 tons of Warship carrying infantry in larger numbers, that are better equipped, and have at least practiced counter-boarding techniques enough to boil out of the airlocks that weren't shot to hell by the two cutters yet.

There's also the matter of achieving concentrated firepower without breaching the pressure envelope.  Preferably without shutting down your own people...the time frames to achieve that having vanished to nothing with the elimination of point-gravity sources via the destruction of the separated dropships.  There just isn't a window, and the whole time, the Incense has been flying straight-and-level out of the stable point's 'incoming zone'.

Which leads to the next set of problems.  Namely, the next three warships to emerge from jump.

Eight cutters might have a chance against one Cameron, if they are going all-out and have no restrictions.

McKenna Class Battleship (Fleet Command Variant - Delranes Fighting Ship 3061)

McKenna-Class Battleship

Doing it against a McKenna?

Ehhh...not so much?  This one had a huge roundel on the side, a triangle with a canine face painted full-on.  Clan Coyote.

Two clans.  Two sets of forces, and this new arrival is bigger, more powerful, and launching fighters while releasing dropships.

Not that that's quite the problem yet.  The problem is that the incense has gotten their fire-control power back up.  This being demonstrated by the fact that the KCGS Kelli Whyte was speared through immediately while trying to break contact with a single concentrated volley that included far more overkill than the little hull could take.

The second volley speared the Nathan Roshak at the same time.

In both cases, it took multiple hits, effectively having to annihilate the little ships because for some reason, they didn't 'brew up' properly.  Clan gunnery officers were able to really narrow in their calibrations due to the lack of visible catastrophic kill results.

Size, matters and tonnage does have right-of-way.

Sampan IV Class Cutter - LCS Delphin in Battle (Ngoverse)

Sampan Cutter under fire.

Naval historians on both sides will note that Commodore Von Jankmon didn't abandon his men, or their mission, or their morals, when he brought the rest of his squadron into play.  He did, however, order LtC. Consuela Apone to take ACGS Melinda Castellanao out of the fight, to reach a system with a working HPG to send calls for help.

Kimagure Pursuit Cruiser (Underway - underfire)

Clan Kimagure Class Pursuit Cruiser in pursuit with deadly content.

ACGS Melinda Castellanao was the only Coast Guard vessel left intact by third hour of the engagement, being as they were, at the fringes of the battle zone to monitor the situation and with Clan warships erupting from the stable points in the system, the most interesting part from a navigational perspective, was that the older, Sampan mk III* was cornered, running at full thrust, with a Clan pursuit cruiser on her tail, when she left most of her dorsal and ventral missile mountings behind, taking a four second leap of faith in the shadow of a rogue asteroid seconds before the enemy's weapons would have caught up with her.

This wasn't facing the Jade Falcons-gone-mongol, these guys know what they're doing.

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