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Speculation - The Tactical Weaknesses of the Rebel Flagship

Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:47 pm
by atavisticnarrativist
The Federation was dead; it had been dead for generations, (or at least since the roughly 150 years following the disastrous Reconsolidation Wars of 708 A.F.C.), notwithstanding its apparent vitality and power. It was the hollow shell of a once-great polity, like a massive long-dead tree that waited only for a final blast of wind to topple it. The Rebellion, in contrast, was alive with potential and the pent-up momentum of history, coming like a whirlwind from the restive and growing frontier.

The triumph of the Rebellion and the final military conquest of the Federation is usually dated as having occurred around 866 A.F.C., starting with the defection of Admirals Etrebla and Haws (now melodramatically referred to as the Betrayal at Tolleman's Gate). But in a real sense, this was nothing more than an emphatic punctuation on decades of low-grade brigandage and violence that had long since left the outer sectors more or less ungoverned. In fact, the anarchic political situation along the frontier meant that the few pickets and fleets still nominally loyal to the capitol had no reliable means of communicating their plight to the senior leadership of Federation Defense Command.

By an accident of luck, an Engi freighter had crossed paths with forward elements of the newly organized Rebel invasion fleet, and had been boarded by a defecting Rebel engineer who sympathized with the Federation cause. This human (Able Starhand Teodor "Rip" Jakops, E9) had served aboard the newly-commissioned Rebel flagship Blood of Orion as its chief engineer, and knew that just before the flagship had been "liberated" from the Federation shipyards at Tregasse, secret backdoor circuits had been installed in its integrated weapons systems by the fleeing shipyard crew. With remote access to these circuits, some of the fearfully powerful technology of the flagship could be neutralized, at least temporarily.

The Blood of Orion was not a particularly imposing ship in terms of mass; it's basic hull was just that of a reconditioned 3rd generation light missile cruiser. Although it was outfitted with the equivalent of a capital ship's ion beam and laser turret, this was merely a refit that eliminated two of its standard multi-missile launchers. Less than a third the size of a mainline battlecruiser, it would hardly have struck fear in the hearts of Federation admirals at the height of the Federal Peace.

But the Blood of Orion had a wickedly sophisticated integration of the latest improvements in Zoltan and Engi technology that made the ship essentially impervious to existing Federation weaponry, and capable of shredding even the largest capital ships in a matter of seconds. The flagship's standard loadout consisted of a perpetually regenerating Zoltan shield that would not buckle even under sustained bombardment, two dozen self-repairing attack drones with independent A.I. control, the capacity to breach enemy craft with an endlessly renewable swarm of boarding drones, multiple internal bulkheads, and redundant circuitry.

The shipyard sabotage was not widespread enough to guarantee that the flagship could be permanently crippled; as soon as it was discovered, much of the damage would likely be repaired. But a remote signal could theoretically cause the self-renewing Zoltan shield to fail, at least for a few minutes, and could potentially slow down or interrupt the manufacture of attack drones.

The flagship would still be a formidable capital ship, but swift action could conceivably overwhelm the ship's standard shield and defenses long enough to damage its hull and take advantage of one serious design flaw. To affix capital-class weapons to the hull, the work crews had simply bolted the turrets to the exterior of an already-constructed hull. As a result, the turrets could not be accessed from within the ship, and could only be serviced or manned through external hatches; there was no provision for combat-ready EVA equipment, and the gun crews were therefore inaccessible except by means of external dockside teleporters.

Jakops was able to get transport on the Engi freighter to the depot shipyard at Enzugg, just ahead of a punitive pursuit fleet that was mobilized in response to his defection. Once at the shipyard, he was able to convince the post commander to invoke General Order 61, issue letters of marque and reprisal, and enlist a privateer to carry the technical data to Rear Admiral Keckhaven at the Hub Cluster.

As we all well know, this sequence of events led to the heroic and desperate flight that has been immortalized in epic poems like "The Lay of the Driftward Clusters" and "The Last Days of the Federation." While the destruction of Blood of Orion was ultimately of no lasting military importance, except perhaps to slightly delay the fall of the Federation, it was nevertheless an act of bravery that kept alive the dream of a peaceful interplanetary union of the entire Sophonic Sphere. In that sense, it was perhaps a small step toward transforming the racist, xenophobic, and human-dominated Rebel Empire into our own enlightened Democratic Stellar Union.

Re: Speculation - The Tactical Weaknesses of the Rebel Flags

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:02 pm
by ImplacableTardigrade
If only all forum literature could be like this.

Re: Speculation - The Tactical Weaknesses of the Rebel Flags

Posted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:45 am
by D0nn311y321
This is awesome. Nice writing. I was engrossed for the few minutes of pleasure that this gave you.

Re: Speculation - The Tactical Weaknesses of the Rebel Flags

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 11:26 am
by Marinealver
Nice little story on the History of the Rebellion. Would like to see a mode or prequel chapter to where you can get the rebellion up and running. (Maybe even a plot twist where the main rebel character/leader uploads his brain into the Flagship and becomes that sophisticated autopilot that can run the ship all by itself.)

Re: Speculation - The Tactical Weaknesses of the Rebel Flags

Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 5:50 pm
by TheNewbie
Riveting story! Well written and very interesting. Keep making good lore like this. :) +1