3110•08 Week One

The War in Thor…

Thanks to some brave correspondents on various ships and in diverse communities, we have been able to piece together the tumultuous goings on this week in the Thor system.  However, for the benefit of those readers who have not kept up to date with recent goings on, maybe a refresher would help.  It all started 3 months ago when the then Governor Jarlsberg disappeared from Hammer Station.  At first, the story seemed to indicate Captain Siegfried and the Botany Bay were in some way responsible for the kidnap and murder of the said Governor.  In response to his disappearance, an ex-aid to the Governor took upon himself the responsibility of being the next Governor of the Thor system and so we got to know Governor Langhammer.  However, it soon became apparent that all was not as it seemed.  The Botany Bay had apparently eluded the forces dispatched to deal with it and through some fortuitous decisions and events, made its way to the Freyan system.  There information began to emerge that far from butchering Governor Jarlsberg as had been declared, Captain Siegfried had in fact rescued the Governor and kept him safe from harm by facilitating his escape from the clutches of his would be murderers!  As is always the way in such political situations, the mud was slung backwards and forwards until there was no recourse other than military might to solve the issue.  The Federation Navy, whilst easily the more powerful force, was handicapped by the simple fact that it cannot involve itself in internal affairs of member systems.  This must have particularly smarted, as Governor Langhammer and his supporters were undoubtedly formed of the remainders of the Norse Kombinate, the losing side from the recent war, a fervent anti-federation faction.  This left Governor Jarlsberg by de-facto to take the position of pro-Federation.  He added to this by theatrically reviving what he referred to as the old religion, claiming as his undisputed right the Kingship of Hammer as the high priest of Thor.  This was a savvy move; with the Federation being tolerant of all religions, it meant only that it took some support away from the opposition as the Kombinate had suppressed the old ways for decades.

So the scene was set, both sides with their allies and what mercenaries that could be afforded; everyone was on high alert when news reached Hammer that the Botany Bay and a fleet of ships had left the Freyan system intent on retaking Hammer station.

The end of last week saw the opening of hostilities, as the Botany Bay headed a force of 16 ships that entered the Thor system through the Midgard gate, easily defeating the force of six longships stationed to protect the entrance to the system.  However, a deception plan that had lured the enemy to the Freyan jump gate had not quite held long enough and the naval forces of Hammer were now rapidly approaching.  The original plan had been to make a quick grab for the station before these forces could return, but sadly that was no longer possible.  King Jarlsberg and his captains agreed with the advice of Captain Siegfried, and leaving the assault ships by the Midgard jump gate so they could escape if things went badly, turned with the remaining 12 ships of the freedom fleet and headed directly for the approaching Hammer fleet that numbered 15 ships.  This consisted of two waves of six longships and three gunboat class vessels including the former Federation Naval vessel Persuader, which had been taken by pirates some 6 months ago.

Now anyone who has witnessed a large-scale space battle will know it is full of colour, light and unless you have a tactical feed, silent death.  It is not our wish to aggrandise violence and it should be stated that several hundred souls are believed to have perished in the space of a few hours and our prayers go out to those poor souls and their loved ones.  However, this was not a simple battle.  It started badly for the forces of King Jarlsberg, when a mass missile attack broke their formation and allowed the more manoeuvrable longships in amongst their more cumbersome opponents.  This would have been disastrous had Captain Siegfried not realised the danger.  He used the Botany Bay, which was acting as the Flagship, to step in and tackle the three gunboat class vessels of the enemy.  This bought his other ships the time to regroup and deal with the longships that were relying on the heavier firepower of the gunboats to exploit the hole they had made in Jarlsberg’s formation.

Captain Siegfried was aware that as far as the enemy were concerned, the Botany Bay and the people she carried was the real prize and so he offered it to them in a manner they could not resist.  For a long time the four ships duelled, exchanging salvoes of missiles and lancing with beams of energy.  Both sides were sustaining heavy hits; despite the prowess of his crew and the quality of his ship, the three to one odds were beginning to tell on Captain Siegfried, when something unexpected happened.

The Strontium Dog has been in the Thor system for several weeks and if rumour were to be believed, had spent the time working for the Hammer Navy.  There is certainly confusion still amongst the survivors from the Hammer Navy as to what happened next!

One minute they were expecting the Strontium Dog to join the fight against the Botany Bay but before they knew what was happening, the Strontium Dog was pouring massed energy fire into one of the Hammer Gunboats at point blank range! Obviously a ship as capable and as experienced as the Strontium Dog scored hit after hit on the surprised vessel it had targeted.  This unexpected blow, had the Hammer Navy reeling.  Their longships were now in bad shape and desperately needed the support of the gunboats; support that had just been denied them thanks to the intervention of Captain Johnny Alpha.  In what turned out to be false hope, two of the longships number had made it past the other forces of King Jarlsberg and were making for the four Freyan Assault ships that had been left near the gate.  For without the assault ships, Jarlsberg’s fleet had very little chance of taking Hammer Station, regardless of the outcome of the raging space Battle.

However, it was here that blind luck played a part; just as the Assault ships started to power up their jump engines for escape, the Jump gate blossomed into life announcing the arrival of another ship or ships?  In fact the new arrival was the FreeTrader Nova Storm, captained by Janica Darkstar.  The very Nova Storm, which had rescued the Federation Navy survivors from the captured Persuader Gunboat all those months ago.  Indeed, we have it on good authority that some of the survivors she rescued that day have since left the navy and serve upon the Nova Storm now.  Captain Darkstar later confirmed that she had not come to Thor looking for a fight, but was on normal business, she just caught a lucky hyperspace current that brought her through when it did.  She quickly evaluated the situation and rightly or wrongly, depending on your point of view, identified the longships approaching as Pirates about to attack the nearly defenceless assault ships.  Captain Darkstar then proceeded on a lengthy defence of the Assault ships constantly putting the Nova Storm between the assault ships and the circling longships to keep the enemy at bay.  However, victory was not quick; indeed she was joined by two Freyan guardian ships sent back to intercept the longships, one of the guardian ships was disabled by the longships and became another ship that the hardworking Nova Storm had to protect!

Meanwhile more dramatic events were unfolding in the, please pardon the pun, Dog-fight!  With the Strontium Dog now duelling with two gunboats, the Botany Bay was finally on top of defeating the third, even so far as forcing it to try to disengage.  With things looking bleak for the Hammer Navy, their final doom arrived when a large jump point formed through which came the Federation Heavy Destroyer Agamemnon.  Broadcasting loud and clear that they were here to reclaim the Persuader from Pirate hands, the so-called pirates, never friends of the Federation, made the mistake of attacking the Agamemnon.  Now we salute their bravery, but the Agamemnon is a line of battle ship and equipped with defences and weapons beyond their capabilities.  The harshness of this was soon apparent, as the Agamemnon, unable to make them surrender and unwilling to leave the Persuader in pirate hands any longer, literally cut the gunboat in half, spilling her crew into the cold embrace of space.  At the same time, the Botany Bay and Strontium Dog now only facing even numbers, quickly dispatched the other gunboats.  The remaining longships tried to flee as well, but were either crippled or destroyed in the attempt.

There had been another wing of six longships approaching from the Delta quadrant that the Agamemnon declared to be pirates and turned to engage.  The Strontium Dog put her superior speed to use to get ahead in an effort to chase them down, whilst understandably on seeing what was coming their way, the 6 longships turned 180 degrees and high-tailed it out of there.

Meanwhile the Botany Bay and her fleet were left to count the cost of the battle; they too had lost ships destroyed and crippled, meaning 20 ships were now out of action that had started the day whole.  Once they had attended to those that needed saving and those that could be helped, the rest of the fleet turned towards Hammer Station, to finish what they came here to do.  It was at this point that a strange thing happened.  Just as Jarlsberg’s fleet came into range of the Station’s impressive defence grid, it mysteriously lost power!  Speculation is rife that the King had agents onboard who cut key power lines at the optimum time.  All that was left were the few squadrons of snub-nose fighters, which frankly were no match for the fleet arrayed against them and they failed to make any significant damage.

So the time had come for the final battle.  The four Freyan assault ships loaded with crack Valkyrie warriors, now came into their own and each ship attached to a different point of the hull and burned their way through, depositing their troops deep inside.  Meanwhile the Botany Bay, showing a great deal of agility and ability despite the damage she had already taken, stormed the Main dock and using her point defence weapons to great effect, launched a frontal assault on the Langhammer defenders there.  From this point on, the story gets a bit confused, because now virtually the entire station was involved, as loyal supporters of the King rose up to aid him in the final assault, against the supporters of Langhammer, who also arose to support their choice.  Indeed, given the Norse attitude to a good fight, we wonder if there were indeed groups fighting not allied to either side, but just enjoying the festivities as they saw it?

It will probably be impossible to track down the exact run of the battle throughout the station, but the final encounter came between Langhammer and Jarlsberg’s group at the Power Station in J-deck’s brown sector.  Rumour has it that Langhammer, sensing the day was lost, was trying to overload the reactors to take his enemies and indeed the entire station with him.  Jarlsberg, realising what was happening, ordered a frontal attack with what troops he had available, including himself and his two firmest supporters, Captain Siegfried, the thane of Mjollnier, and Ragnar Blackmane, Thane of Bilskirnir.  In the following action, we understand that the Brave Thane of Bilskirnir died, having saved the King’s life and disarmed the imminent explosion.  It was at this point that Langhammer himself struck Blackmane down from behind.  Captain Siegfried, seeing his friend and fellow Thane so cruelly robbed of life, in turn struck Langhammer down, but did so to incapacitate not kill.  We are then led to believe that despite the protests of Jarlsberg, himself gravely wounded, Siegfried marched the usurper to the central core promenade.  Here under the auspices of martial law, he gelded Langhammer and then had him hanged from a nearby gantry for the crime of High treason and murder.  The message to his foes is quite clear, as I’m sure you would agree.  Captain Siegfried was himself badly wounded, reports say he has lost his left eye and now sports a vertical scar from jaw to hairline through that very eye.  Obviously, he can if he chooses get some cosmetic surgery, but for now at least he is an imposing figure.  So imposing, that it was he who took initial control of the station in Jarlsberg’s name, allowing his majesty time to recover from some of his wounds before taking on the Herculean effort of getting everything resolved and repaired. Once the King had rested, he took over from his loyal fleet admiral and held a burial service for the Thane of Bilskirnir and the others who had died in his cause.

The massive work of clearing up however continues, thousands were killed and injured, Hammer station’s medical facilities are frankly overwhelmed and we are led to believe that Governor Adams has agreed to send medical assistance in the form of Federation Naval help.  We certainly hope that soon peace will have been restored and we can stop talking about such grizzly events.

However, the fighting wasn’t quite over, we are getting, and we must stress these are unconfirmed, reports of more fighting in the asteroid field of Delta C1 of the Thor system between the Strontium Dog and the six longships he was last seen chasing.   We have as yet no information on the result of said conflict.

Elsewhere in the Nebula…

The Challenger was spotted doing a quick but profitable food run between Midgardium and Moonin this week, and we are led to believe that the talented Captain Flint also managed to secure two new contracts on his return to Midgardium.

New ship in the Nebula, the Galacticus, has left Freedom1 for the first time this week and went on a short trip to Nibelung, quite possibly because of certain Freedom1 dock officials?.  Obviously, Captain Maximus Zillion is trying to find out the lay of the land so to speak, so we are surprised he has not contacted any of the more established FreeTraders in the region to seek advice.

One person he could call on is Captain Conrad Quen of the FreeTrader Estelle, who spent the entire week there repairing damage to his ship and equipment.  Obviously, Captain Quen can sympathise with Captain Zillion’s trouble with Federation officials.  After all Captain Quen is the undisputed leader of the “Captains they love to hate” list!  We have now had reports of some of the Estelle’s crew having gone missing on Nibelung, but we are unsure as to whether this is another in a long line of disappearances, or just a sign that finally Captain Quen’s crew has had enough?

Another Ship on the repair trail was the Yarr, who decided that the engineers of Freedom1 would be most gainfully employed in fixing the mounting damage in the Yarr.  It is understood however, that his crew feared Captain McCallister would need medical treatment when he saw the bill he had to pay.  Thankfully however, they were mistaken although he then spent the rest of the week finding out what contracts were available on Freedom1, no doubt in an effort to recoup his losses!

Meanwhile in the Freya system on Welcome Station, Captain Ozzie Issacs of the Second Chance has spent most of the week sourcing, buying and fitting new equipment to his ship.  We don’t know yet if it is for a specific reason or just a general upgrade.  Time will tell.

Word has reached us that the hero of the moment on Hole asteroid base in Balder, Captain Minahachi Manekineko, has left there on a run to the Midgard system; we would hope to see him safely arrived by the end of next week then?

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