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The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 12 - The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet[]

KCGS Mila Weintraub...

They'd had a decade of hot, no-holds-barred war to forge the doctrines of the Kowloon Coast Guard. A lot of those doctrines derive from the simple mismatch in the math. The Star League built hundreds, even thousands of capital grade warships, and even when The SLDF left with three fourths of them, and then the remaining fleets of the Great Houses annihilated each other over the following centuries, lessons were accumulated for those willing to pay attention.

The lessons of the last twenty years were a little bit different from the knowledge base that left with Kerensky. Warships, by themselves, aren't the decider they seem to be. Massive stores of value, even lighter capital ships are multibillion Kroner monoliths of industrial might and spending..but they're fragile.

Cutters, by contrast, are relatively cheap, but far less capable platforms, somewhere between a heavily armed assault dropship and a proper corvette, straddling a line in a range that the old Star League and successor houses hadn't even considered worth investigating, they aren't made to win a slugfest with a proper warship, as shown at the first battle of Jessenice during the Jade Falcon incursion, four cutters versus a Cruiser results in four destroyed cutters and a slightly dented cruiser with scratched paint.

This is why Cutters carry thermonuclear ordnance, instead of the more normal high-speed explosive warheads-their naval lasers just don't do enough damage fast enough to survive an open field fight with a larger vessel, even in larger numbers.

The Coast Guard's lessons were learned by the LCN when things rolled over in the civil war-for the same weight in raw materials you can build a dozen cutters for the price of a single Battlecruiser, and at significantly higher rates, it takes 8 months from core forging to commission for a Cutter, and 4 years for a Battle Cruiser.

But a cutter is NOT a Battlecruiser.

Not even close.

Lessons were integrated. The jumpsail, that assembly that lets a modern jump ship or warship charge their drive in passive mode, is normally a highly reflective structure focusing collected starlight and sunlight into a receptor mounted to the rear of the hull. Kowloon's jumpsails aren't reflective, because Cutters need to be hard to see to be useful, and having a big curved mirror is a great way to announce to any telescope Here I am!!.

Instead, layered weaves of radiation absorbent material is used, a 'solar cell' designed to absorb as many spectra as can be crammed into each meter of expensive cloth. Cutters have black Jumpsails because that color absorbs the broadest spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, and the cables are thick, expensive superconductor materials normally found in the construction of double-strength heat sinks and battlemech nervous systems, because that kind of throughput is the only way to make up the loss of efficiency.

In a sense, the Cutter is a marvel of little-used and often-abandoned design theories, cobbled together using previously less-strategic materials or smaller quantities of expensive materials in ways that had always been theoretically possible, but weren't commercially viable when National Navies were building the largest, most impressive warships they could get their hands on.

The Greatest Lesson of the Jihad and the wars prior to it, was that the navy you can field, is worth ten navies you can't get out of the shipyard.

Cutters in LCN service provide 'coverage' missions-the ability to have a functioning naval response across even low-priority systems with rapid and effective redeployment, or as commerce raiders, striking deep into enemy territory to interrupt logistics chains, sever supply lines, interrupt communications, and force an enemy to devote units to pursuit.

None of that, applies to the here or the now.

In the here-and-now, a cutter has gotten lucky killing a capital ship without backup, and is preparing to try to attempt a second, similar feat against a much better, more alert,and more aware enemy Battleship.

75,003 tons of Cutter

1,200,000 tons of Nightlord-Class Battleship.

The term 'punch above your weight' qualifies here, and Captain Samantha Diamh is working hard to figure out how to do this without dying.


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