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Chapter 18 - The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet[]

All hands, all hands, standby for battle condition one, seal up, hook up, atmosphere venting in ten seconds." this is how Kowloonese go into battle in space-suited up and depressurized.

There are two reasons they do this. Reason number one is depressurization. While the Homeworld Clans, like their spheroid counterparts, have Harjel technology in their hull designs, providing a self-sealing feature to deal with inevitable hull perforations to keep air in, the Kowloonese followed a much simpler model-if there is no air, there is no oxygen to feed fires, and no medium to transmit shockwaves from impacts. Secondary damage effects (the REAL killer in ship-on-ship battle) don't propagate, and thus, only primary damage ends up counting.

Thus, reducing personnel losses and improving the speed and reaction time of damage control teams, since they're not having to fight fires and they're not having to deal with aftershock victims.

Because there aren't any.

The lack of a medium to conduct heat and secondary effects also means that damage is highly localized instead of being spread out, and it means that the internal power grid is able to route more power to systems like sensors, weapons, and ECM instead of trying to compensate for environmental and life support changes mid-battle.

Sampan III Class Cutter in Orbit (Ngoverse)

Sampan III Class Cutter (Warship)

Deleting the on-board atmosphere also prevents secondary and tertiary effects-a blow from a Naval PPC or Laser that would rupture and detonate a pressurized vessel does nothing but burn away a segment of hull plating that can be replaced, and maybe superheat one or two isolated frame members (isolated because they're manufactured in modular lots with interchangeable parts and thermal absorptive pads between frame joints for extended lifespan under load.)

The Sampan III class is remarkably hard to kill for a vessel of its size as a direct result of the doctrine it was built for.

The Nightlord class battleship is also remarkably hard to kill, but not so much proportionally, as simply the sheer quantities of armor and craftsmanship that went into each one makes it a hard target with a vicious punch it can deliver in rapid succession.

Like every warship descendant of the basic Hegemony architecture, conditions aboard are shirt-sleeves pressurized to one atmosphere with a decent mix of gases to make the crew comfortable, and to provide a comfortable environment for the command staff, while the cutter's crew will end up using suit mic, radio, and sign language, the Clan crew can speak normally and don't have to work around fully-gloved bodies.

It costs less to train a crew to work in shirt-sleeves, and due to Caste systems, the crew of the Sovereign Right are divided between the Warriors who command, and the techs who obey-damage control is isolated to specific trained teams of specialists.

Keep in mind, the DC teams on the Sovereign Right outnumber the crew of the Mila Weintraub by nearly two to one on their own, but they're also likely to be the only ones trained to deal with internal fires, depressurization-driven thermal damage to electronics, hull breach side effects, and the secondary damage effects the Coasties don't have to due to their doctrine going in.

Not that that's going to matter much here.

The Mila Weintraub slips from a stable lagrange point in the outer system in a flash, the pulse of their arrival at the L1 point for Haven's second moon arriving four tenths of a second before the ship itself., blinding the vanguard of Star Adder dropships that were rising from the planet to link up with the incoming battleship.

Naval Lasers go to work first. The Sampan III's full armament being a pair of Naval laser mounts (meter aperture beams, 360x270 firing arc) and capital missile or "Torpedo" tubes mounted ventral and dorsal. The Lasers are more than enough to burst laden dropships full of warriors and spoils from the planet before the Escort Star of fighters can react to the sudden appearance of the haze-gray vessel, their sensors and avionics still trying to recover from the relatively small emergence wave of the Kowloonese ship.

For the dropships and their fighter escorts, the term 'fish in a barrel' comes to mind, but the cutter launches her fighter complement to make sure, and those fighters are armed with air-to-air (space to space) missiles in underwing mountings, weapons able to inflict potent, capital grade hits on other aerospace craft such as dropships and fighters.

The sort of weapon nobody on this end of the galaxy has bothered to create, because dedicated naval battles of this sort simply haven't gone on, and after you've got Alamos, what more do you want?

Sabutai OmniFighter (Space Combat - IWM - Fanjoy 2009)

Sabutai Heavy OmniFighter in combat

This also allows a transmission to reach the incoming Nightlord class ship.

An image from a Sabutai pilot's gun camera before he is cut down, of a small ship with haze gray and dark gray hull, marked with a single roundel showing a leaping killer whale with a dying shark in its mouth, and the cutter's name, number, and service.

It is confirmation, if any is needed, that the Kowloon Coast Guard is in the Colleen system.

At five minutes before the orbits can intersect enough for the Nightlord to be out of the planet's mass-shadow, Fousa Lahiri makes an important decision, and engages his ship's on-board HPG, to send a report to the Star Adder High Command, and a request for backup.


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