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The Other War (Cover)

Chapter 42 - The Other War
=Liquidity Crisis=

01/16/3062 Location – Strato Domingo, Kerensky Cluster

The thrusters of Aegis-Class Cruiser CDS Bloodlust burned white hot, its long thermal plume clearing the much larger fleet it was escorting. CDS Sea Fox, one of Clan Diamond Shark's two Newgrange Yardships was pulled out of mothballs and had its jump core repaired to serve once more. A small fleet followed in the wake of the factory ship CDS Poseidon and much smaller Merchant Carrack Transport, CDS Star Swimmer. The vessels were massed out with goods bound for Thule from the factories and refineries on-world. Poseidon itself was due to be deployed halfway down the Exodus Road and had received an elevated number of assault and carrier dropships for its protection.

Potemkin (Delrane Fighting Ships 3061)

CDS Poseidon

Burning toward them was the Liberator-Class Warship CCS Spirit in the Sky escorting a small fleet of Merchant dropships. It was a regularly scheduled arrival and drew no notice to Star Commodore Nathan Sutherland beyond the proper handling of any other large spacecraft. The Ensign assigned to his comm console yelled out, “Captain, we are being hailed by the Spirit.
Commodore Sutherland looked down to ensure his uniform was proper for a fellow Captain and of course it was, “Put them on the screen Ensign.”
Aff, sending it to the main screen now.”

A middle aged man with rugged features wearing a powder blue CSS appeared on the screen causing a mild panic, “Commodore Sutherland, I am Xavier Hill, Captain of the CSS Spirit in the Sky. As such I am issuing a Trial of Possession for the Star Swimmer's cargo. I bid my Liberator to the task.”

Commodore Sutherland paused taking in the suddenness of this event, Tamaron and Strato Domingo had been having challenges lately. Khans Koga and Sennet almost Grievanced each other over Hargel at the last session of the Grand Council. The were talked down by Marthe Pryde of the Jade Falcons and Lynn McKenna of the Snow Ravens who backed it up with a Joint Naval Star of Warships sitting at the Zenith of either system all last year. There was no preparation for this incident. “You are seriously challenging me for the Star Swimmer's cargo? Quineg? That cargo belongs to Clan Ghost Bear and it is under our protection.”

“Then protect it or do not, Commodore. There is no more Clan Ghost Bear in the eyes of Khan Koga and yours is the only other Warship in system. If you will not protect it then I will begin sending the boarding parties and loading it into my dropships.

Aegis Heavy Cruiser (2750) (by mattplog)

CDS Bloodlust, Aegis Class Heavy Cruiser

“The Bloodlust will not allow you to do that Commodore but this will be known and you will suffer for it.”
“Bargained well and done then, Commondore.”
“Bargained well and done.”

Commodore Hill disappeared from the screen and the Captain pressed the alarm for general quarters. Klaxons blared out throughout the ship and its escorted vessels. The Aegis was a slow ship but was already far ahead of the others. The Bloodlust and Spirit in the Sky would have to burn off velocity for them to have any chance of capturing a moving cargo or engaging in a meaningful fire exchange. Captain Sutherland triggered the intercom, “Attention all hands this is the Captain speaking. General quarters. Load all guns and missiles standby for additional instructions. Damage control report to your bunkers. Suits on and begin depressurization sequence. Fighters on standby.”

An hour later the two Warships neared the far end of their effective engagement range. Powerful naval lasers lanced out from the Bloodlust but the Liberator was better equipped for this long range utilizing heavy particle cannons that tore into the Aegis' armor plating. The carried momentum brought the Warships closer however as the Spirit could not turn to decelerate without giving Captain Sutherland a good shot at his vulnerable thrusters. The Shark managed to use his skilled crew to 'cross the T' bringing the fearsome Armstrong cannons of its broadside into play against the faster Liberator's bow.

The Spirit in the Sky's heavy particle cannons blazed across space bracketing the Aegis cruiser but these weapons still missed. CDS Sea Fox's immense bulk was behind the Aegis and as it turned the forward aspect of the massive Newgrange Yardship was right in line with the Bloodlust's amidships. A poor firing solution by one of the Coyote gunners resulted in damage to the Sea Fox and devolved the Trial into a melee.

Diamond Shark fighters and gunships boosted forward from their Potemkin mothership filling the RADAR screens. This school of fighters burned hot toward the Liberator which turned and burned along with its compliment of dropships back toward the Zenith rather than face them. Commodore Sutherland opened a channel to Loremaster Angus Labrov currently on-world for clarification of his orders.

A while later the message returned and Angus' dark skin and white hair were visible in the message, Star Commodore, you did the right thing. The Ghost Bears trusted us with this cargo and we are not going to let them down. I will elevate this to the Khan lad but send a technical team to assess damage and that will determine the next steps.”

Nathan opened a channel to his tech chief, “Daren, what kind of damage are we looking at?”
“Relatively minor all things considered Captain. Everything can be repaired while we are underway.”
“Good, only fix critical systems, Chief. The Loremaster wants us to send a tech crew to the Sea Fox and see if she needs anything.”
“Aff, Sir. I will have one assembled and en route within a half hour.”

Isle Azul, Strato Domingo

Loremaster Angus Labrov sat next to a noteputer looking out at the churning oceans of Strato Domingo from the other side of the wind. In the distance he could see the stacks of the Hargel refinery and Dominique City through the smog that was mostly naturally occurring on-world. The computer buzzed and he opened it to see a diagram of a very large tuning fork with a big hole in it. CDS Bloodlust's Chief Tech had determined that it was fixable but not on the timelines projected considering other projects in the works.

Projects like the Diamond Sharks relocation to the Chainelaine Isles. That hulk was going to serve as a large space station but that had been the scrapper in him thinking. The scrapper that helped rebuild the Shark's Touman after Tukayyid and who was working closely with the other Khans to allow the Diamond Sharks continued profit and thus viability. Since the Touman had been rebuilt their excess was eagerly brought up by the Coyotes. They should suffer but they also don't need to know his true intentions.

Angus picked up the phone dialing something into the retro style pad, a young woman's voice rang gently on the other side, “Merchant Factor's Office. Aff, Loremaster, how can I help you?”

“Can you put me on with Lorenzo?”
“Right away, sir.”

The voice of a very mature man that sounded every bit as worn as Angus came over the line, “Lorenzo, I want you to draw up plants to embargo the Coyotes bring Louis and Moriz into it with you. It will allow us to idle more factories so we can begin moving them; and show the Coyote's that they can howl as much as they want but we will not be intimidated.”

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